[News] Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?
news at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 14 14:19:59 EDT 2012
May 14, 2012
Documents Show How White House and Democrats
Worked to Protect the Banks Against Protests
Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?
by DAVE LINDORFF
A new trove of heavily redacted documents
provided by the US Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on
behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the
National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly
evident that there was and is a nationally
coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.
The new documents, which PCJF National Director
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard insists are likely only
a subset of responsive materials, in the
possession of federal law enforcement agencies,
only scratch the surface of a mass intelligence
network including Fusion Centers, saturated with
anti-terrorism funding, that mobilizes
thousands of local and federal officers and
agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.
Nonetheless, blacked-out and limited though they
are, she says they offer clues to the extent of
the governments concern about and focus on the
wave of occupations that spread across the
country beginning with last Septembers Occupy
Wall Street action in New York City.
The latest documents, reveal intense
involvement by the DHSs so-called National
Operations Center (NOC). In its own literature,
the DHS describes the NOC as the primary
national-level hub for domestic situational
awareness, common operational picture,
information fusion, information sharing,
communications, and coordination pertaining to
the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management.
The DHS says that the NOC is the primary conduit
for the White House Situation Room and that it
also facilitates information sharing and
operational coordination with other federal,
state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation
centers and the private sector.
A better description for a fascist police state network could not be written.
Remember, this vast yet centralized operation
what Verheyden-Hilliard describes as a vast,
tentacled, national intelligence and domestic
spying network that the U.S. government operates
against its own people was in this case
deployed not against some terrorist organization
or even mob or drug cartel, but rather against a
loose-knit band of protesters, all
conscientiously and publicly committed to
nonviolence, who were exercising their
Constitutionally-protected right to gather in
public places and to speak out against the crimes
and abuses of the corporate elite and the
politicians who are bought and paid by that elite.
Among the documents obtained by the PCJF in this
second batch of responses to its FOIA filing is
one from the NOC Fusion Center Desk dated Nov. 5,
2011, which collects at the federal level and
then distributes the names and contact
information of a group of Occupy protesters who
were arrested during a demonstration in Dallas,
TX against Bank of America, one of the nations
biggest predatory lenders. Although none of the
seven arrested were charged with any serious
crime (six were charged with using the
sidewalk!), their names and contact information
were widely disseminated by the DHS.
Fusion Centers, a post-9-11 creation, are a
federally-funded joint project of the DHS and the
US Justice Department which are designed to share
intelligence information among such federal
agencies as the DHS, the FBI, the CIA and the US
Military, as well as state and local police
agencies. By their nature they are designed to
circumvent legal constraints on various agencies,
for example the ban on CIA domestic spying, or
the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars active
military activity within the borders of the US.
There are currently 72 Fusion Centers around the US.
Another group of documents shows that on November
9, two days after a demonstration by 1000 Occupy
activists in Chicago protesting social service
cuts in that city, the NOC Fusion Desk relayed a
request from Chicago Police asking other local
police agencies what kind of tactics they were
using against Occupy activists. They specifically
requested that information be sought from police
departments in New York, Oakland, Atlanta,
Washington, D.C. Denver, Boston, Portland OR, and
Seattle all the scene of major Occupation
actions and of violent police repression.
Realizing that it would look bad if it assisted
in such coordination overtly, higher officials in
the DHS ordered the recall of the request but
then simply rerouted it through law enforcement
channels, where presumably it would be harder
for anyone to spot a federal role in the
coordination of local police responses. In
response to that order, the documents show that
the duty director of the NOC wrote that he would
reach out to LEO LNOs (liaison officer) on the
floor to assist. Verheyden-Hilliard explains
that LEO is FBIs nationally integrated law
enforcement, intelligence and military network.
On December 12, when Occupy planned anti-war
protests at various US ports, Verheyden-Hilliard
says the new documents show that the NOC went
into high gear seeking information from local
field offices of the Department of Homeland
Security about what actions police in Houston,
Portland, Oakland, Seattle, San Diego, and Los
Angeles planned to deal with Occupy movement actions.
Another document shows that earlier, in advance
of a planned Occupy action at the Oakland, CA
port facility on Nov. 2, DHS went so far as to
keep the Pentagons Northcom (Northern Command) in the intelligence loop.
Given the subterfuge revealed in these documents
that went into trying to create the illusion that
the DHS was and is not coordinating a national
campaign of spying, disruption and repression
against Occupy activists, it is almost comical to
find documents that show the DHS was in direct
communication with the White House to obtain
advance approval of public statements by DHS
officials denying any DHS involvement in anti-Occupy actions.
These documents show that both DHS and one of
that departments police arms, the Federal
Protective Service (FPS) were in direct contact
with Portland, Oregons police chief and mayor,
discussing how to deal with protesters who were
in part on federal property. The coordination
between the feds and the local police and
political authorities were intense. Yet the
approved statement sent to DHS from the White House read:
Any decisions on how to handle specifics (sic)
situations are dealt with by local authorities in
that location. If a protest area is located on
Federal property and has been deemed unsanitary
or unsafe by the General Services Administration
(GSA) or city officials, and they make a decision
to evacuate participants the Federal Protective
Service (FPS) will work with those officials to
develop a plan to ensure the security and safety of everyone involved.
There was, comically, also a White House-approved
DHS background statement, too! (Typically
background statements by federal officials are
supposed to be used when they want to tell a
journalist the true situation but dont want to
have that statement attributed to them or their
department. Having it pre-approved by the White
House defeats that purpose and is simply a manipulation of the media.)
The faux background information included the followinga flat-out lie:
DHS is not actively coordinating with local law
enforcement agencies and/or city governments
concerning the evictions of Occupy encampments writ large.
Tellingly, the documents also include a Dec. 5
copy of the Weekly Informant, an intelligence
report published by the DHSs Office for State
and Local Law Enforcement. The issue includes an
update from the Police Executive Research Forum
(PERF) concerning the activities of the Occupy
Movement. PERF, Verheyden-Hilliard notes, is the
group that the federal government claims
organized a series of multi-city law enforcement
calls to coordinate the police response to
Occupy, which led immediately to the wave of
violent crackdowns. It was at those meetings that
police were advised among other things to act at
night, to use aggressive tactics and weapons like
tasers and pepper spray, and to take steps to
remove journalists and cameras from the scene of crackdowns.
The overall sense from these latest documents is
that Washington and the DHS, along with the FBI,
was the nexus of the crackdown, orchestrating it,
encouraging it, and attempting to cover its tracks.
The documents among other things expose the
massive hypocrisy of the Obama administration and
the Democratic Party, which this election year
have tried to co-opt and claim as their own the
anti-fat-cat theme of the We are the
99%-chanting Occupiers, while actually acting in
the interest of Bank of America and its fellow
financial sector mega-firms in trying to crush the movement itself.
To see all the new FOIA documents, go to the PJIF website.
Dave Lindorff is a founder of This Cant Be
Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack
Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by
AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle
edition. He lives in Philadelphia.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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