Seven Lessons From How Police Crushed Occupy
FBI Treated Occupy Movement Like a Terrorist Threat
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), via the Freedom of Information Act, obtained FBI documents revealing that the FBI considered the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began Sept. 17, 2011, a terrorist threat — even as they pointed out that the organizers called for peaceful protests and did “not condone the use of violence.” According to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security treated protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.”
Big Brother Watched and Watched
The perception of Occupy Wall Street as “terrorism” engineered extreme measures taken to undermine the group’s peaceful protests, including constant spying. FBI agents had OWS in their crosshairs as early as a month before the protesters took up camp at New York’s Zuccotti Park. “This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring and reporting on peaceful protesters organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Verheyden-Hilliard. She expressed how the documents also reveal how the federal agencies function as a de facto intelligence arm for Wall Street and Corporate America.
Government, Banks, Corporations All Partnered to Squash Movement
According to a December 2012 article in the Guardian, the Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia, hired a private security company to spy on Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passed privately collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI.
The Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), which is “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” gave corporate clients several tips on “civil unrest” ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It also advised workers to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues … Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”
Infiltrated Colleges to Sabotage
The FBI was found to have committed spying abuses through its “Campus Liaison Program” in which the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to 22 different campuses’ police officials, who reported information to the FBI on OWS encampments made up of students and professors in an attempt to sabotage them. At least six American universities were reported to have facilitated this kind of partnership.
In a move that caught protesters completely by surprise, New York City police in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park around 1 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2011, using bullhorns to announce that any protesters who did not leave faced arrest. Dozens of people were arrested, and dozens more were arrested when they tried to reoccupy their former camps in later months. The movement was founded on the idea of physical occupation representing a piece of land. And once the camps were broken up, they were unable to rebuild momentum, even though some tried and were arrested.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which assisted with the transport of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, kept its eyes on Occupy Wall Street and reported on OWS and organized labor for the port actions. This is the same NCIS that describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.”
Agents Everywhere, Including Alaska
In over 100 pages the PCJF acquired, documents uncovered a clandestine and sophisticated city-by-city plot, some violent, to crack down on the peaceful protest of American citizens.
An Anchorage, Alaska, port facility security officer coordinated with the FBI to infiltrate OWS meetings to gain intelligence and report what he heard to the Joint Terrorism Task Force — another case of spies infiltrating from all angles.
In Jackson, Mississippi, the FBI and the Bank Security Group – made up of multiple private banks – met to coordinate a response to the “National Bad Bank Sit-in Day,” which eventually was violently squashed.
In Florida, the Jacksonville FBI dispensed a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” to officials at the Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories, which maintain some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Tampa also had an FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison who met with officials and briefed corporations.
Members of private financial institutions and law enforcement in Denver met with the FBI and its Bank Fraud Working Group in November 2011 to discuss OWS and how to make sure it does not damage its bottom line.