Spying on Occupy Activists
OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread domestic spying on Occupy Wall Street activists, among others, on the shaky premise that these activists pose a terrorist threat. Often, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have coordinated with the private sector, working on behalf of, or in cooperation with, Wall Street firms and other companies the protesters have criticized.
Thousands of public documents recently obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy add new evidence to an increasingly powerful case that law enforcement has been overstepping its bounds. The documents, obtained through state and federal open records searches and Freedom of Information Act requests, demonstrate that law enforcement agencies may be attempting to criminalize thousands of American citizens for simply voicing their disapproval of corporate dominance over our economic and political system.
The anti-terrorist apparatus that the U.S. government established after 9/11 has now been turned against law-abiding citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. This apparatus consists not only of advanced surveillance technologies but also of “fusion centers” in state after state that coordinate the efforts of law enforcement up and down the line and collaborate with leading members of the private sector. Often, the work they do in the name of national security advances the interests of some of the largest corporations in America rather than focusing on protecting the United States from actual threats or attacks, such as the one at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
“The government has built a giant domestic surveillance apparatus in the name of homeland security that has been unleashed on ordinary Americans expressing concern about the undue influence of corporations on our democracy,” says Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and the former senior legislative strategist on national security for the ACLU. “Millions and millions of our tax dollars are being squandered violating the rights of innocent Americans who dare to dissent about legal policies and who have zero connection to any violent crime intended to cause terror.”
The documents reveal many instances of such misdirected work by law enforcement around the country. The picture they paint of law enforcement in the Phoenix area is a case in point. The police departments there, working with a statewide fusion center and heavily financed by the Department of Homeland Security, devoted tremendous resources to tracking and infiltrating Occupy Phoenix and other activist groups.
In October 2011, Jamie Dimon, the president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, was coming to town. A giant on Wall Street, Dimon heads the largest bank in the country, which played a pivotal and disreputable role in the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008. Dimon was holding an event with thousands of his employees at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in downtown Phoenix. Four days before the meeting, JPMorgan Chase’s regional security manager, Dan Grady, called detective Jennifer O’Neill of the Homeland Defense Bureau of the Phoenix Police Department and told her of the impending event. The two of them were primarily concerned that activists who had recently formed the group Occupy Phoenix might try to disrupt the event—or otherwise inconvenience Dimon.
O’Neill made it her job to monitor possible “terrorist” activity by Occupy Phoenix connected with Dimon’s visit.
On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy ?released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.
Libs don't care they're brainless little denial brats.