The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) announced today that it is being joined by award-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore in the Freedom of Information Act ( FOIA) demands to federal and local law enforcement agencies seeking public disclosure of documents and information concerning their involvement in the coordinated crackdown on Occupy encampments across the nation.
Records demands have been issued to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Parks Service (NPS) as well as local municipal offices.
Explaining his participation in the FOIA effort, Michael Moore stated: "I think it's time to pull back the curtain on what appears to be a coordinated police attack on the Occupy movement. We, the people, have a right to know whether local governments may be operating in tandem with the federal government to suppress a movement that has inspired the country and the world. I'm glad to join with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in this demand that the government tell the truth to the public."
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, welcomed the participation of Michael Moore in the public records requests. "Michael Moore's work has been central in revealing the truth of the impact of corporate power and political influence on the lives of people in the United States," she stated, adding that the information sought in the FOIA requests was a “critical matter of government transparency and accountability.”
Verheyden-Hilliard continued, “While Congress holds political hearings today trying to ratchet up support to shut down the Occupy movement, we want to make clear that the Occupy demonstrations are not criminal activities, and police should not be treating them as such. This protest movement for social and economic justice has captured the attention of the country and speaks to the stark realities that 99% of the people are facing."
The PCJF is prepared to go to Court if the federal law enforcement agencies don’t comply with their legal obligations under the FOIA in response to our requests for information disclosure. The FOIA requests have been filed on behalf of the PCJF, Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee.
The PCJF has also just filed an appeal challenging the CIA's complete refusal to process the FOIA demand seeking information about its role in the Occupy crackdown. The appeal letter states, in part, "The Agency is obligated by law to conduct a reasonable search for responsive records. It may not simply withhold materials and refuse to search on the grounds that such material may reflect illegal conduct, or based on the untested inference that its selected search method would not uncover materials stemming from illegal conduct. Indeed the Agency only claims that it assumes its 'record systems are not configured' to locate records of such potentially illegal conduct — not that such records do not otherwise exist within the agency."
To read the requests and updates concerning the status of, and responses to, the requests, visit the PCJF's OWS FOIA page, www.JusticeOnline.org/owsfoia.