[News] Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?

Anti-Imperialist News 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
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/14/did-the-white-house-direct-the-police-crackdown-on-occupy/

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 government’s concern about and focus on the 
wave of occupations that spread across the 
country beginning with last September’s Occupy 
Wall Street action in New York City.

The latest documents, reveal “intense 
involvement” by the DHS’s 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 nation’s 
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 FBI’s 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 Pentagon’s 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 department’s police arms, the Federal 
Protective Service (FPS) were in direct contact 
with Portland, Oregon’s 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 don’t 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 following–a 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 DHS’s 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 Can’t 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.




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