It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:
“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 … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that 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.”
Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.
FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal 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.
The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that 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.
“This production, 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 protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.
Hundreds of First Nations protesters waved flags, chanted slogans and shook a collective fist at the federal government Friday as they gathered on Parliament Hill to put Canada on notice they would be “idle no more.”
More than 1,000 protesters, a group stretching several city blocks, marched through the streets of the capital after meeting with Theresa Spence, the chief of northern Ontario’s troubled Attawapiskat First Nation, who is on a hunger strike.
"We are tired of having the boot put to our head," Algonquin Chief Gilbert Whiteduck told the gathering beneath the Peace Tower under a steady barrage of snow.
"We want the government of Canada to come to the table in a spirit of unconditional openness and transparency."
Other rallies were held in various cities across the country. Demonstrations in support of Spence’s cause also took place in the United States.
Hundred of people briefly blocked one of the busiest intersections in Toronto in solidarity with Idle No More, a grassroots aboriginal protest movement gaining traction on social media. Several Manitoba First Nations groups also rallied at the Winnipeg International Airport, congesting traffic.
Idle No More organizers oppose the Harper government’s recently passed omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-45, and accuse the Tories of trampling on treaty rights.
Fast Food Workers Rise Up
Fast Food Workers went on a 1 day strike for $15 an hour wages, for a union contract and against illegal retaliation and intimidation. Nov 29-30, 2012. NYC.
This is a huge deal. 2.7 million US jobs are in the fast food industry, which is a 47% increase from a decade ago. The modern American working class works in the fast food and retail industries - industries that are notorious for their exploitation and for the difficulty with which its workers can be organized (due in part to high turnover). Despite the fact that many still see fast food employment as temporary and largely part-time, more and more people have little choice but to try to support themselves and their families by working in the industry. Labor organizing in this industry is of the utmost importance both for labor, and for the good of the working class.
Take it from a food service worker.
This is Tahrir Square in Cairo right now: occupied, lively & packed with protesters.
Anti-Morsi demonstrators filled the Square last night after a decree issued on Thursday expanded his powers and shielded his decisions from any sort of judicial review until the election of a new parliament expected in the first half of 2013.
“We don’t want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom,” 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini said in Cairo.
Press release [linked] by Unist’ot’en Camp, a resistance community in British Columbia whose purpose is to protect sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory from several proposed pipelines from the Tar Sands Gigaproject and shale gas from Hydraulic Fracturing Projects in the Peace River Region. To support the camp, donations can be made at http://forestaction.wikidot.com/caravan. To promote and follow the actions on social media, follow @UnistotenCamp, use #nopipelines, and find them here on Facebook.
(Top) Black Friday labor protest at Walmart in Kenosha, Wisconsin - 23 Nov 2012
via Overpass Light Brigade: “This was one of three management/security guys who came up to tell us to leave. The second one stepping off the curb looks pretty pissed. They both came right up to me while I was taking pictures. “We’ll call the police right away!” the one in dark blue stated quite aggressively. I responded, “Oh my! What are we doing wrong?” “You’re causing a dangerous situation!” “Well that’s why we stopped here, because it seems a safe place!” I told him we’d move on after some pictures. He walked away mad. More guys came out. We moved on. (Notice that we are standing in front of a Kenosha County Sheriff’s squad!)”
International boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. In the context of Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, a global BDS movement against Israel’s rapacious occupation is necessary - and possible to organize - now more than ever
Here’s what Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah had to say about Barghouti’s book, BDS:
“Barghouti explains with lucidity, passion, and unrivaled intelligence…that bringing an end to apartheid in Palestine and seeing justice and equality for all the people who live there is not a distant dream but a reality we can bring about in the next few years using BDS.”