Violent crackdowns on the Occupy movement last year were a product of not only the FBI and local police but also private security firms hired by the very banks the demonstrators were protesting, according to new documents brought to light by Naomi Wolf of The Guardian.
Wolf called the winking levels of cooperation between the FBI, regional police, Department of Homeland Security and the banks’ hired hands “Orwellian.” Each agency, working in conjunction under the umbrella title of the Domestic Security Alliance Council, clearly picked specific members of the movement to harass, apprehend, and remove politically.
Despite publicly acknowledging the Occupy movement as peaceful series of protests, law enforcement and security firms repeatedly classify the demonstrations as a homegrown terrorist threat.
“The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit,” Wolf wrote.
“The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there.”
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The FBI - which previously notified the New York Stock Exchange that a protest was imminent a full month before the Occupiers started arrived around Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan - previously denied any documentation on Occupy Wall Street existed at all. One critic called the level of law enforcement “police-statism,” particularly because of the lack of transparency.
Wolf wrote that the fact that the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund broke the story “should once shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?).”
Mara Verhyden-Hilliard, the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice told the New York Daily News the documents are “a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement.”