FOIA Documents Reveal How FBI Spied On OWS
December 28, 2012
FBI documents received by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal massive government surveillance of non-violent political groups in the United States.
The trove of documents (available for viewing below) also show how the government considered a largely peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement to be a terrorist threat.
“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 protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).
“These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America,” Verheyden-Hilliard said.
The heavily redacted documents demonstrate “that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” added Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.
The documents show how the government colluded with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests a month prior to establishment of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions scattered around the country.
The FBI moved quickly to criminalize the movement. For instance, on September 15, 2011, the agency released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” in Indianapolis and coordinated with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center,” the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence” and other national FBI coordinating mechanisms, according to PCJF.
In New York, the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to “sixteen (16) different campus police officials,” and “six (6) additional campus police officials” on the OWS movement. An official at the State University of New York at Oswego worked closely with the FBI and reported the activities of the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment consisting of students and professors.
The FOIA documents also reveal coordination between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and corporations. The Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussed the OWS protests to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” (Emphasis added.)
“The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients,” writes the PCJF. The DSAC issued tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defined as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.”
The documents paint a picture of close collaboration between Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and state and local law enforcement around the country.
Infowars.com has reported extensively on efforts by the federal government to criminalize political activity. In 2009, we broke the story on the Department of Homeland Security’s “rightwing extremism” document.
In March of that year, we reported on a secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” that described supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as “militia” influenced terrorists and instructed the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.
Also in 2009, we reported on a document produced by the Virginia Fusion Center.
In 2010, we covered a story reported by Public Intelligence documenting how a fusion center in Florida snooped on Ron Paul supporters and other political groups.
The FBI has long served as a political police force in the United States while promoting a misleading image of itself as a crime fighting agency. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security was created and sold to the American public as an agency dedicated to protecting the American people from terrorism.
As the documents released by the PCJF and other research reveal, the DHS and the FBI are dedicated to surveilling and attacking domestic political activity and organizations considered a threat by the establishment, transnational corporations and international banks.
FBI Spy Files on OWS