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New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street 584

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
jvillain writes "The Guardian has up a story detailing the crack down on Occupy Wall Street (OWS). It goes on to show how the FBI, DHS, Terrorist Fusion Centers and the banks all worked together to stifle dissent. From the article: 'This production [of documents], 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 protesters organizing with the Occupy movement These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.' The next question is how many Americans are now listed as part of a 'terrorist group' by the government for their support of OWS?"
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New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street

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  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Monday December 31, 2012 @10:57AM (#42432483) Homepage
    Really? "Stifle descent?" You couldn't have corrected that to something that makes sense?
  • Yes we can! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 31, 2012 @10:58AM (#42432491)

    Is this the hope or the change?

    • Re:Yes we can! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bytesex (112972) on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:28PM (#42433843) Homepage

      The excuse that Obama is still busy cleaning up Bush's mess is wearing a bit thin, I suppose.

      • Re:Yes we can! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houghi (78078) on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:54PM (#42434063)

        The fact that he was the best option of the two does not mean he was the best option.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by man_of_mr_e (217855)

        Sadly, it's hard to clean something up when you're blocked by the house of representatives and a filibuster happy senate.

  • Um, what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slyfox696 (2432554) on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:12AM (#42432615)

    So the FBI silently investigated people who reasonably could have resorted to lawlessness, and that's now stifling dissent? As someone who supported the idea of OWS, even that doesn't make any sense to me. As the saying goes, civil disobedience is still disobedience. When you walk the thin line of breaking the law, you should expect the organizations which investigate crimes to be interested.

    The summary, and the article attached to it, seem nothing more than sensationalist in order to drive web traffic. More than sensationalist, outright biased. Just reading a few paragraphs of the summary pretty well shows this article was not at all interested in truth, but rather just spreading biases against the many agents and officers who were simply doing their job.

    This article and summary make very little sense. Or, would that be "since", in order to keep in step with stifling descent?

    • Right, now re-read what you said and keep in mind the fact that the FBI was coordinating and conspiring with the Banks that you're protesting against...

      Personally, I don't think we need "Terrorist Fusion Centers" at all. We're more at risk from dying in a car accident. We need more "First Responder Centers".

    • Re:Um, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:32AM (#42432765) Homepage

      I think there are several things in the article that are pretty much impossible to defend. Maybe you did not read it, or you have a very different worldview to me.

      • Classifying OWS as "domestic terrorists" and having agents in those parts of the FBI investigate them. This flatly contradicts common sense. People protesting against banks are not terrorists, unless you warp the meaning of "terrorist" to encompass any politically motivated crime. It's obviously very convenient if you can classify people you don't like as terrorists, but that doesn't mean they should be allowed to do it.
      • The fact that the government apparently lied in response to FOIA requests by claiming no such documents existed, when those documents later turned up. Lying in response to requests for citizens from transparency is a major warning sign of bad things to come.
      • The general line-blurring that apparently occurred between state and private security. Law enforcement is the domain of government for a reason!
      • The general point made about financing of WikiLeaks is sound. Going via the judicial system, passing laws which are not bills of attainder, building a case, prosecuting it, allowing for a defence etc .... all very messy and inconvenient compared to simply adding the people you don't like to a banking blacklist. Exclusion from the financial system should not be allowed, period - if somebody has broken the law, then it's the judicial systems job to handle that, not the banks.
    • I think the concern is less with the investigation and monitoring and more with the FBI walking-hand-in-hand with (for) private entities.

      If the FBI were working for the people, they would have been doing everything to protect the public from extremists as well as defending the right to PEACEFUL PROTESTS. But since they work for private entities, they do everything in their power to undermine peaceful dissent which their true bosses find undesirable.

      I mean if they are going to stifle free speech just for the

  • Paranoid Much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MNNorske (2651341) on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:23AM (#42432695)
    I mean seriously this reeks of paranoia. There's a very valid reason for banks cracking down on OWS. In the USA there are really only two ways to legally create a bank account. One is as an individual the other is through an incorporation. Individuals can obviously have multiple co-signers such as in a family. And, incorporated entities can be businesses, non-profits, cities, etc... OWS organized itself as the antithesis of any incorporated entity. There were no official leaders, no board or leadership who was legally responsible for filing taxes, nothing. Their use of banks to collect donations, organize and pool funds, and then disperse them therefore broke pretty much all the laws that were put in place to stop groups like organized crime and terrorists from utilizing banks in the same way. The folks who work at banks can lose their jobs and face criminal prosecution if they don't report activity that looks exactly like what OWS was doing with the bank accounts they were opening. So please, use your brain and think things through before you post an article like this that simply reeks of paranoia. You may not like the system or the laws, but they exist, and the banks and FBI are simply following them.
    • by davecb (6526)
      Actually you forgot at least charities and political parties/associations. They can create a legally recognized entity as well, and so have bank accounts. An unincorporated club like the York Fencing Association can have an account too, if it has an officer who will assume responsibility for the account.
    • Re:Paranoid Much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:44PM (#42433437) Homepage

      You do not have to be paranoid to be extremely mistrustful of the FBI. In fact, "paranoid" would be a word that would be more accurately applied to the FBI itself.

      Read up on COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org]. The FBI actively worked against the civil rights movement, targeting individuals and organizations such as Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They built up an 1800-page file on Albert Einstein, who was involved with "communist front" organizations such as the American Crusade Against Lynching. They tracked his phone calls and went through his trash. The FBI has a long history of anti-union activity, starting from the era of the Palmer Raids, continuing through the McCarthy era, and on to the present day, with, e.g., arrests [stopfbi.net] in 2010 of peace and labor activists of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee.

      No way would I ever cooperate with the FBI in any way. They're a threat to democracy. Always have been.

      Your explanation of their surveillance and infiltration of Occupy is awfully naive. Trying to open a bank account on behalf of a group of people isn't the kind of thing that merits the creation of a "network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity."

    • by radio4fan (304271)

      I mean seriously this reeks of paranoia. There's a very valid reason for banks cracking down on OWS. In the USA there are really only two ways to legally create a bank account...

      You may not like the system or the laws, but they exist, and the banks and FBI are simply following them.

      Insightful, my arse.

      I'd like to say that you are living in cloud cuckoo land if you think this is anything to do with following banking regulations, but it's clear that in fact you're just bending reality to fit your dislike of OWS.

    • The folks who work at banks can lose their jobs and face criminal prosecution if they don't report activity that looks exactly like what OWS was doing with the bank accounts they were opening

      What a fucking joke. 1994: UBS execs got a slap on the wrist for laundering Colombian drug money --a low-level exec was reported to be arrested. 2012: HSBC laundered billions for Mexican drug lords and Iranian banks via American subsidiaries --no arrests have been made. I'm not even going to get into the mortgage fraud side of the story in the USA. Go ahead and search for bank fraud before the 1990s. There are many accounts of internal mismanagement and relatively few arrests.

      Nothing has stopped these

  • by PlanetX 00 (623339) on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:29AM (#42432741)
    Back in the day Janet Napolitano put out a report warning of right-wing extremist at the time of the Tea Party. Here is a bit of ranting by the progressives on how it should have been pursued: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/06/1117242/-Remember-the-DHS-Right-Wing-Extremist-Report [dailykos.com]

    At the time that the crackdown happened to the OWS people I wrote the following:

    "I’m very sorry to hear about your forceful removal from Zuccotti park where you were peacefully demonstrating against what you see as what is wrong with our country. You were exercising your free speech and free assembly rights and I hate to see this taken from you. Let me tell you that I know how you must be feeling right now. About two and a half years ago several of my friends and I joined a movement to protest the government bailing out the bankers that you are so upset with (first time I ever protested anything BTW). We had rallies around the country with the theme of promoting individualism over corporate cronyism. This movement was attacked by the press and government as being racist, gay-bashing, “Astroturf” (term for grass-roots effort sponsored by big money sources), and heartless (I’m sure there were cases where people on the fringe were causing such issues, the same can be said about the fringe in the OWS crowd, but for a majority of people I met while involved this was not the case) but now the whole movement has been marginalized. It is unfortunate that we were unable to convince you at the time of the importance of the issues we were facing and that you chose to sit on the sidelines mocking us as “Tea Baggers” and such. I do hope we can find some common ground now that you are awake and we can take our government back from the statist and big money influences we’ve ceded it to."
  • Answer: Zero. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dputiger (561114) on Monday December 31, 2012 @11:41AM (#42432845)

    The next question is how many Americans are now listed as part of a 'terrorist group' by the government for their support of OWS?

    Get some historical perspective and look at the stings the FBI ran on MLK Jr and the Civil Rights Movement. This is nothing.

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:06PM (#42433083)
    You mean the FBI and police sat down with business owners to talk about a large-ish scale protest outside their premises directed at them? Screw that, if there's a mob outside your front door, why would you ever want advice and reassurances from police, it's not like it's their job or anything!

    Police drawing up plans in case the OWS potentially resorted to criminal or terrorist behaviour ? How dare they! I demand a police service that doesn't prepare for any eventuality and is always taken by surprise!

    It is rather shocking that the police didn't inform the leaders of an organisation that prided itself in having no leaders that they had vague threats of violence against them. Imaginary people have the right to information too!
    • by mounthood (993037)

      Irony: denying the collusion of money and power, regarding the occupy wallstreet protests.

  • This is nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beeftopia (1846720) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:27PM (#42433279)

    'This production [of documents], 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 protesters organizing with the Occupy movement These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.'

    A highly decorated Marine Corps General, and one of only a handful of men to receive the Medal of Honor twice wrote:

    "It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."

    -- General Smedley Butler [fas.org]

  • Laugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Monday December 31, 2012 @12:55PM (#42433543)

    Step 0: Control media outlets and discredit all that are not under your power, Propaganda!!!
    Why is this step 0? Because with the media intact and doing what it is required by society, none of the other crap would have happened, however the buck stops with the people, if the people aren't going to do anything about it then they get what they get.

    Step 1: Create a crisis or allow one to happen.

    "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
    -Rahm Emanuel

    Create an enemy that will never go away (terrorist) and wage a war that will never end (terrorism) and define the enemy as "those without any rights" and can be held indefinitely (National Defense Authorization Act)

    Step 2: Promise to protect the populace from said crisis/enemy by any means necessary, begin by restricting rights in the name of security.

    Step 3: Implement a massive trillion dollar (data from The Economist) surveillance network HLS, TSA, NSA, DIA OMG, WTF, BBQ ), record all calls, maintain facial recognition database (thank you Facebook) fill the air with drones and the ground with cameras.
    Monitor for dissent. (see: fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy below)

    Step 4: Dis arm populace (http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons)

    Step 5: Tighten grip further via martial law or other "required security protocols", rename political protest groups as "terrorist" deregulate corporations, dismantle workers rights, remove environmental protections, and finally ammo up. (Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets)

    Anyone not complying or protesting is a terrorist. (see step 1)

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/09/costs-homeland-security [economist.com]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012 [wikipedia.org]

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/12/fbi-treated-occupy-terrorist-group/60289/ [theatlanticwire.com]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy [guardian.co.uk]

    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-28/news/31247765_1_atk-rounds-bullet [businessinsider.com]

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/27/5079151/california-gun-sales-increase.html [sacbee.com]

  • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Monday December 31, 2012 @01:07PM (#42433651)

    http://wh.gov/UCL9 [wh.gov] sign on folks! I can hardly wait to see the mealy mouthed BS answer to this... Oh, and expect to be on some FBI troublemaker list, if you're not yet. Consider it a badge of honor. ;)

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