The Crackdown on the Occupy Movement

  • Background

    The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests following evictions of Occupy encampments across the nation with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Park Service (NPS), and municipal agencies requesting that the agencies release information that they possess related to the involvement of federal agencies and local law enforcement in the planning of a coordinated crackdown on encampments.

    The PCJF has obtained thousands of pages of documents pursuant to its Freedom of Information Act demands and made them available for public viewing. The newly obtained  documents show coordination and intelligence monitoring by the DHS, the FBI, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies of “Occupy-type” protests.

    FBI documents revealed that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at Occupy protests.

    FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

    Separate government documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) showed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an agency created after the September 11 attacks under the rubric of combating terrorism, conducts daily monitoring of peaceful, lawful protests as a matter of policy.

    Functioning as a secret political police force against people participating in lawful, peaceful free speech activity, the heavily redacted documents show that the DHS “Threat Management Division” directed Regional Intelligence Analysts to provide a “Daily Intelligence Briefing” that includes a category of reporting on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations” along with “Domestic Terrorist Activity.”

    The documents show the routine use of Fusion Centers for intelligence gathering on peaceful demonstrations as well as the use of DHS’ “Mega Centers” for collection of surveillance information on demonstrations.

    The CIA won’t disclose any potential involvement in OWS crackdowns, resopnding to the PCJF's FOIA request by saying that because the Agency is legally prohibited from policing or conducting domestic law enforcement, their system is not configured as to allow the CIA to “search reasonably calculated to lead to responsive records.”

  • Legal Information

    New Documents Reveal: DHS spying on Peaceful Demonstrations and Activists

    Government documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) through its FOIA records requests reveal that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an agency created after the September 11 attacks under the rubric of combating terrorism, conducts daily monitoring of peaceful, lawful protests as a matter of policy.

    FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring

    FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even while acknowledging that organizers called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence.”
  • Press Coverage

    Project Censored: FBI Dismisses Murder Plot against Occupy Leaders as NSA and Big Business Cracks Down on Dissent

    Months later, Dave Lindorff reported for WhoWhatWhy, a document obtained in December 2012 from the Houston FBI office shows that the agency was aware of a plot to assassinate Occupy movement leaders—and did nothing about it.

    Florida Weekly: Tories and troublemakers

    Many were arrested, even though they protested peacefully on public streets and in public parks all over the country.

    NY Times: Officials Cast Wide Net in Monitoring Occupy Protests

    The documents show that people connected to the centers shared information about individual activists or supporters, and kept track of those who speculated in social media postings that the centers had been involved when police departments used force to clear Occupy camps.

    Unaware of Tsarnaev warnings, Boston counterterror unit tracked protesters

    In the fall of 2011, a key Boston police counterterror intelligence unit -- funded with millions of dollars in U.S. homeland security grants -- was closely monitoring anti-Wall Street demonstrations, including tracking the Facebook pages and websites of the protesters and writing reports on the potential impact on "commercial and financial sector assets" in downtown areas, according to internal police documents.

    As It Spied on Occupy Wall Street, Department of Homeland Security Fixated on Media Coverage

    The documents show that DHS, the sprawling Federal agency ostensibly created to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks, routinely spies on peaceful First Amendment activities and required daily briefing on the extent of media attention being given to Occupy Wall Street activities.

    Homeland Security Tracked Occupy Wall Street 'Peaceful Activist Demonstrations'

    A Department of Homeland Security division produced daily briefings on "peaceful activist demonstrations" during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests, documents released Tuesday revealed.

    The irony of joint FBI/private sector OWS policing

    There is some dark irony that an FBI program specifically dedicated to the partnership between the FBI, DHS and the private sector monitored the protests, providing information and tips to corporate partners on interacting with and combating Occupy groups.
  • Multimedia

    KPFA covers "Activism is Not Terrorism" campaign

    Stop the abuse of counter-terrorism authority to spy on peaceful protest. Take action at BigBrotherAmerica.org

    Mara Verheyden-Hilliard interview on WPFW: New revelations of federal spying on protestors

    Interview: new campaign launched to tell Congress "Activism is Not Terrorism! Stop the Spying"

    RT: Fusion Centers Approached 2011 Black Friday Consumer Boycott Like a Terrorist Threat

    Mara Verheyden-Hilliard interviewed on Abby Martin's 'Breaking the Set' to discuss the revelations of Fusion Center collaboration with international retailers in monitoring a planned Black Friday boycott.

    Audio: Mara Verheyden-Hilliard discusses DHS spying documents

    Mara Verheyden-Hilliard discusses documents newly obtained by the PCJF on the extent of DHS spying on Occupy Wall Street and other protest activities.

    Mara Verheyden-Hillard on 'Law and Disorder' on Occupy Monitoring

    In this comprehensive interview Mara Verheyden-Hilliard provides a broad perspective explaining how the FBI and other police agencies collaboration with Wall Street against the Occupy Movement is part of an historic tug-of-war between grassroots movements' for change and the institutions of power and privilege. She also explains how government documents obtained by the PCJF show in detail that when the people of the United States rose up against the economic suffering caused by the biggest banks and corporations the FBI and other law enforcement agencies functioned as partners with the same banks and corporate entities in opposition to the Occupy movement and the labor movement and others fighting for justice.

    Democracy Now: Mara Verheyden-Hilliard on FBI's Secret Surveillance of Occupy

    PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard joins Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez to discuss the FBI documents just obtained by the PCJF via FOIA demands revealing that the FBI treated the Occupy movement from its inception as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did not condone the use of violence at occupy protests.

    Homeland Security spies on the Occupy movement

    Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director for the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, joins RT America to analyze what DHS hopes to uncover.