“Tripwires,” Mall Cops, and “Radical Cheerleaders”
On October 19, 2011, an FBI agent filed a report, titled “Domain Program Management [,] Domestic Terrorism,” detailing an October 11 briefing given to “Jacksonville Executive Management” (EM) and a supervisory special agent (SSA) “Counter Terrorism Program Coordinator.” The subject of the October 11 briefing had been the potential growth of the OWS movement throughout north/central Florida. (All agent names were redacted from this, and other, FBI reports.)
“During the 11 October intelligence meeting, writer advised EM of the Occupy venues and further advised that they may provide an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction,” wrote the agent, who went on to say that special areas of concern were Daytona, Gainesville, and Ocala, where “some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”
As such, the report’s author recommended that the Counter Terrorism Program Coordinator, “consider establishing tripwires with the Occupy event coordinators regarding their observance of actions or comments indicating violent tendencies by attendees” (emphasis added).
So that’s why they had snipers at Occupy in Austin… Chief Assinvader told me it was to protect us against “provocateurs” – I said. “Art, you guys are the provocateurs…” He LOL’d – no seriously he did.
PDF The internal papers were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice fund via a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, asked the agency to disclose “any documents or information pertaining to Federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments.”
Jason Leopold, an investigative journalist for Truth-Out, has obtained FBI documents – through the Freedom of Information Act – relating to Occupy Wall Street. Most of the pages in the documents are redacted, and show concerns of cyber threats against the financial sector. However, there are questions of assassination plots against Occupy activists in Houston, Texas. Because the documents have redactions, it is not clear who or what group was planning the assassinations.
On page 61, the section reads: “An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.”
The bottom of page 68 and the top of page 69 reads: “On October 13, 2011, writer sent via email an excerpt [redacted] regarding FBI Houston’s [redacted] to all IA’s, SSRA’s and SSA [redacted]. This [redacted] identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by [redacted] interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire.” ragingchickenpress.org
According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a “criminal activity” or even “domestic terrorism.”
The internal papers were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice fund via a Freedom of Information Act Request. The fund, a legal nonprofit that focuses on civil rights, says it believes the 112 pages of documents, available for public viewing on its website, are only “the tip of the iceberg.”
“This production … is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” wrote Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the fund’s executive director, in a press release Saturday.
According to the documents, the FBI coordinated extensively with private companies, including banks, that feared they could be affected by Occupy protests. Occupy, which took root in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September 2011 and spread to cities across the country, targeted corporations and other forces it believed to perpetuate social inequality. The FBI’s investigation included the movement’s manifestations in New York; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and Memphis, Tenn., among others.
Several organizations including Occupy Sandy, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, and another volunteer group called the Yellow Team also used the location. Mounds of donated supplies quickly took up the entire sidewalk for half a block in front of LaRocca’s Family Restaurant.
According to Farid Kader, 29, a Staten Island resident and a volunteer, the official said that he worked for the mayor’s office.
“He told us, ‘we’re moving you out,’ ” Mr. Kader said. “He told us it was unsafe. That’s the word he used.”
After that, Mr. Kader said, the official ordered a Red Cross truck that was delivering supplies to the area to leave.
The City Hall press office did not immediately respond to a message from a reporter on Saturday.
US experiencing militarization of its police by Ygurvitz for Flickr
|A few weeks ago I was with a few companions from Occupy Wall Street in Union Square when an old friend — I’ll call her Eileen — passed through, her hand in a cast.’What happened to you?’ I asked. ‘Oh, this?’ she held it up. ‘I was in Liberty Park on the 17th [the Six Month Anniversary of the Occupation]. When the cops were pushing us out the park, one of them yanked at my breast.’ ‘Again?’ someone said. We had all been hearing stories like this. In fact, there had been continual reports of police officers groping women during the nightly evictions from Union Square itself over the previous two weeks. ‘Yeah so I screamed at the guy, I said, ‘you grabbed my boob! what are you, some kind of f*cking pervert?’ So they took me behind the lines and broke my wrists.’ Actually, she quickly clarified, only one wrist was literally broken. She proceeded to launch into a careful, well-nigh…|
Read the rest of the story HERE:
Police violence against the Occupy Wall Street movement last Saturday night, resulting in the arrest of 73 people at Zuccotti Park, has provoked an indignant reaction from some City Council members who blame the NYPD for using excessive force.
“On Saturday, I stood right next to peaceful demonstrators who, in return for exercising their rights, were hit by NYPD police officers” Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez (D-Upper Manhattan) said at the park on Monday surrounded by injured movement protesters and a group of elected officials.
Rodríguez and his fellow protesters returned to the birthplace of the OWS movement to denounce the excessive tactics employed by NYPD officers on the protest’s six-month anniversary. They called on New Yorkers to rally Saturday to protest the use of what they called official violence aimed at the peaceful demonstrators.
“The park was full of people,” Nathan Kleinman, 29, an OWS organizer from Jenkintown, Penn., told the Daily News.
Protesters “were sitting and talking and laughing and singing and dancing, celebrating six months of the movement,” he said. “And without any warnings or prompting, a few hundred cops just started sweeping through the park and knocking people over and dragging people off the ground.”
On Nov. 17, Kira Moyer-Sims was near the Manhattan Bridge, buying coffee while three friends waited nearby in a car. More than a dozen blocks away, protesters gathered for an Occupy Wall Street“day of action,” which organizers had described as an attempt to block the streets around the New York Stock Exchange.
William Widmer for The New York Times
Kira Moyer-Sims said she was arrested in November while blocks away from protesters. Her lawyer said she and three others were preparing to sue the city.
Then, Ms. Moyer-Sims said, about 30 police officers surrounded her and the people in the car.
All four were arrested, said Vik Pawar, a lawyer for Ms. Moyer-Sims and two of the others, and taken to a police facility in the East Village. He said officers strip-searched them and ignored their requests for a lawyer. The fourth person could not be reached for comment.
Ms. Moyer-Sims, 20, said members of the Police Department’s intelligence division asked about her personal history, her relationship with other protesters, the nature of Occupy Wall Street and plans for upcoming protests.
“I felt like I had been arrested for a thought crime,” she said.
Mr. Pawar said that the police had charged his three clients, Ms. Moyer-Sims, Angela Richino and Matthew Vrvilo, with obstructing governmental administration, but that the Manhattan district attorney’s office had declined to prosecute them.
Now they are preparing to sue the city, Mr. Pawar said, adding that the arrests had violated their constitutional rights.
“Not only are the police disrupting people’s rights to free expression,” Mr. Pawar said. “They are taking pre-emptive steps by arresting people who might be just thinking about exercising their rights.”
Though Occupy Wall Street has largely faded from the headlines, organizers are planning springtime demonstrations in an effort to revitalize their movement. And they are troubled by what they consider continued monitoring by the police.
In 2003, citing the dangers of terrorism, a federal judge granted expanded surveillance powers to the New York police, who had previously faced restrictions in monitoring political groups. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and others have said the new latitude is essential to keeping the city safe.
But the Police Department’s surveillance efforts have recently gained attention and criticism with reports that officers compiled detailed data on Muslim communities. Now, some Occupy protesters worry that they are being subjected to similar scrutiny.
For the last few months, protest organizers say, police officers or detectives have been posted outside buildings where private meetings were taking place, have visited the homes of organizers and have questioned protesters arrested on minor charges.
“The N.Y.P.D. surveillance does not appear to be limited to unlawful activity,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “We count on the police, of course, to be on the lookout for terrorists and terrorism, but to think you could be on that continuum just by going to a peaceful protest is nuts.”
A police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Undercover officers are generally entitled to attend public political gatherings. Protesters said apparent efforts to keep tabs on them had included officers’ showing up at private meetings and what some described as attempts at intimidation.
Ashley Cunningham, an Occupy organizer, said that on Dec. 16, officers parked outside her home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where people were discussing a demonstration planned for the next day.
Another organizer, Sandy Nurse, said she arrived at her apartment building in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on Dec. 16 and found uniformed officers outside who told her they were there to conduct a “security check” for a condition they would not identify.
Although she told them they could not enter, Ms. Nurse said, an officer used his foot to prevent the front door from closing behind her, followed her into the building’s entryway vestibule, and threatened to arrest her for obstruction of government administration. Ms. Nurse said the visit did not feel like a coincidence.
“It means that they are watching us,” she Nurse said. “They know who we are, where we live and where we are organizing.”
At various other points, organizers said, officers have posted themselves outside a building in the financial district where organizers were meeting, and stood in a hallway outside of an art studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn, where protesters were making signs and banners.
Several people charged with offenses like trespassing said detectives from the intelligence division questioned them, with other officers explaining that it was because of their connection to Occupy Wall Street.
Some of those questioned said the detectives seemed mainly interested in knowing about coming demonstrations. But sometimes, protesters and lawyers said, the questioning went further.
Mark Adams, a 32-year-old engineer from Virginia, said he was arrested in November at an Occupy Wall Street protest in Midtown and was questioned by a police detective and an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who asked about his involvement with Occupy Wall Street, requested his e-mail address and inquired whether he had ever been to Yemen or met anyone connected to Al Qaeda.
Mr. Adams, a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Pakistan, said he was arrested during another protest in January and questioned by intelligence division detectives. In that instance, he said, the detectives asked him about specific names and addresses, asked about his work history, education and family, and questioned him about a trip he had made to Ireland.
Mr. Adams said he was disturbed that anyone would consider him a threat because of his ethnicity or political views. “It’s scary,” he said.