Seven Lessons From How Police Crushed Occupy

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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.

Occupy Wall Street Holds Major Day Of Action In New York City

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.

253301-occupy-wall-street-march-protests-in-new-yorkLate-Night Ambush

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.

Even the U.S. Military Was Involved

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.”

how-us-banks-and-federal-law-enforcement-worked-together-bringing-down-occupy-wall-streetAgents 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.

  • Aquifer

    “Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force”

    Whoa! I didn’t know we had one of those …

  • Occupy did a fair amount to do itself in, too. My recollection of the exchanges about Occupy on whether or not it is a political movement is that it was decided it was not a partisan movement. That was fine by me, but there was no discussion as to if it was ideological or not. That might be getting into minutiae, but it does matter to organizations and movements whose stated goals are to reform the Constitution of the United States.
    Before I left Occupy, it became clear that those who do believe in constitutional reform – and, by extension, reform of this republic – could not affirm that Occupy could, at least in part, participate in either the political or electoral system. That was due to the prevalence of anarchists in the movement and a choice to have group cohesion at the expense of having a clear, coherent direction of the movement.
    I’ve had a long standing objection to anarchism and anarchists in political parties. My thesis is that participation of anarchists in political parties and movements are antithetical. Considering that Occupy, with no regard to geographical area it is said to represent nor any purported political or partisan affiliation, cannot distinguish itself as not anarchistic and affirm that it is either constitutional or (small “r”) republican, I believe Occupy’s participation in a movement to amend the Constitution of United States is antithetical.

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  • Allan Barr

    Seems to me a whole lot of communistic types are trying to hitch a ride on the legitimate concern for Mother Earth. FxxxxK them. Only death and way more climate destruction follows in that path. Its not about social disorder nor system change per se. I am anti-anarchist, happy that we have the right to mumble and write what we chose to say, rightly or wrongly. A wonderful display of steam safety valves for society to use and enjoy social interaction for those of us who dont have an active social life. A legitimate forum to express opinions without any worries about sanctions from anyone. Your not going to find me out in any streets occupying anyones property thats for sure. We do have a real need for some chalk, dumped at the beginning and ending of ocean currents and Brazils foolish cutting down of the Amazon is definitely having an effect on California’s winter rainfall pattern. They are in drought now and so are we, please stop cutting down our water supply, if you can do without water Brazil thats fine but we cannot.

  • Thanks for mentioning NCIS. The TV show, NCIS-LA, did an episode specifically about Occupy LA, in which they portrayed a former 60s radical, teacher, who was secretly organizing a clandestine terrorist cell inside Occupy LA called “Red Tide.” Purely a coincidence that I, a former 60s radical, heavily involved in Occupy LA and one of the key organizers of the Occupy the Ports action which helped spark the West Coast Port Shutdown (which NCIS was all over, along with the Coast Guard, the harbor police, the LA and LBPD, etc), edit a newspaper “Turning the Tide.” Don’t neglect the disinformation and propaganda campaigns that were orchestrated against Occupy, and the COINTELPRO playbook of infiltration, disruption, psyops (profiling and psychological operations) and exacerbation of internal divisions that were used against Occupy and to isolate it from a deeper, broader and stronger community base.

  • TeeJae

    It was long ago proven that any “anarchy” associated with Occupy was conducted by covert government operatives intent on destabilizing and undermining the movement (as is their standard M.O. for most peaceful protest movements; see Ferguson).

    As for political or partisan affiliation, that’s not Occupy’s mission. Unlike the Tea Party, they have no intention of becoming a political party. Their whole purpose is to call attention to the 1%’s takeover of democracy, which they have succeeded in doing.

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  • As for political or partisan affiliation, that’s not Occupy’s mission.
    Unlike the Tea Party, they have no intention of becoming a political

    There is a distinction between being partisan and political action. Working, like I suggest that we all do, to fix the system in which parties work in isn’t partisan action.

    Their whole purpose is to call attention to the 1%’s takeover of democracy, which they have succeeded in doing.

    …which didn’t fix the problem.

  • TeeJae

    If you think the solution lies solely with Occupy, you really don’t understand the problem. Which is interesting, because if you are a regular reader of this website, you would understand the problem… and the solution… both of which extend way beyond Occupy.

  • Odd, I thought that I effectively stated that Occupy was inept and is defunct.

  • ed2291

    Excellent article!

    We should take a hard look at what worked, what did not work, and expected resistance before we go on to the next Occupy Movement.

    See also
    Lessons Learned from Occupy –