Article first appeared in the Commondreams.org:
Results from a year-long investigation into the activities of the United States’ expansive counter-terrorism apparatus found that, throughout the country, the government has turned the tax-payer-funded intelligence-gathering against its own citizens in an effort to suppress dissent.
The DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy, the report, Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street (pdf), focuses primarily on the many instances of “fusion center” monitoring of Occupy Wall Street activists nationwide.
- How law enforcement agencies active in the Arizona fusion center dispatched an undercover officer to infiltrate activist groups organizing both protests of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the launch of Occupy Phoenix and how the work of this undercover officer benefited ALEC and the private corporations that were the subjects of these demonstrations.
- How fusion centers, funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, expended countless hours and tax dollars in the monitoring of Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups.
- How the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has financed social media “data mining” programs at local law enforcement agencies engaged in fusion centers.
- How counter terrorism government employees applied facial recognition technology, drawing from a state database of driver’s license photos, to photographs found on Facebook in the effort to profile citizens believed to be associated with activist groups.
- How corporations have become part of the homeland security “information sharing environment” with law enforcement/intelligence agencies through various public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. The report examines multiple instances in which the counter terrorism/homeland security apparatus was used to gather intelligence relating to activists for the benefit of corporate interests that were the subject of protests.
- How private groups and individuals, such as Charles Koch, Chase Koch (Charles’ son and a Koch Industries executive), Koch Industries, and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council have hired off-duty police officers — sometimes still armed and in police uniforms — to perform the private security functions of keeping undesirables (reporters and activists) at bay.
- How counter terrorism personnel monitored the protest activities of citizens opposed to the indefinite detention language contained in National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
- How the FBI applied “Operation Tripwire,” an initiative originally intended to apprehend domestic terrorists through the use of private sector informants, in their monitoring of Occupy Wall Street groups. [Note: this issue was reported on exclusively by DBA/CMD in December, 2012.] https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/20-4
Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street:
DHS spied on peaceful protestors; Worried about protests getting news coverage:
The head of one of Homeland Security’s “Fusion Centers” (the same Fusion Centers found by a Congressional investigation to be a near total waste of time and money, finding no terrorists, but violating the public’s civil liberties) who claimed that the DHS centers did not spy on Americans, and then immediately admitted that they spied on “anti-government” Americans.
The definition of “anti-government” was mostly left as an exercise to the reader. However, in a bout of good timing, the Partnership for Civil Justice has released some new DHS documents it received via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, showing that DHS regularly spied on peaceful demonstrators and activists. Because exercising your First Amendment rights must make you one of them there “anti-government” Americans, which means the DHS is free to spy on you.
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.” (p. 68)
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.
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.
And it’s not just the big cities. The new documents show that DHS is involved in spying on peaceful protesters and activists around the country. It also shows that DHS helped local law enforcement “crack down” on the various Occupy gatherings. But the key thing is that DHS seems to have no qualms at all about spying on anyone who disagrees with the prevailing positions of today’s federal government. And it’s clearly not because they’re trying to protect others from any threat of actual harm. They seem to be focused on spying to further the goal of preventing the administration from looking bad:
The documents show a Department of Homeland Security that appears obsessed with the question of whether any and all protests that are being surveilled receive media attention and coverage. Reporting within the DHS on media coverage of First Amendment protected activities, even in the smallest places, appears to be a routine part of DHS intelligence reports. None of the documents explain why media coverage of peaceful demonstrations is of interest to law enforcement or concerns “homeland security” in any way.
That’s because it doesn’t concern “homeland security” at all. It concerns the job security of those employed by Homeland Security.
View the DHS documents: