Schedule for Week of April 19, 2015 - The key economic reports this week are March new home sales on Thursday and existing home sales on Wednesday. *----- Monday, April 20th -----* 8:30 AM ET: ...
10 hours ago
"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."Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":
"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 protestors 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 documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.
The FBI deemed OWS to be a terrorist organization and went into “guilty until proven innocent” mode. Many of the FBI descriptions of possible OWS actions or those of affiliated organizations like Adbusters consistently look to have taken the most inflammatory snippets and presented them out of context.The rationale for this overkill was that OWS was a terrorist threat. That’s a striking contrast with the media depiction of the movement when it was in its encampment phase as a bunch of directionless hippies with no message. But the FBI response highlights how anything other than corporate or otherwise officially sanctioned assembly is no longer permitted in America. The main objection to OWS really isn’t violence, even though that serves as the excuse for the official crackdown. It was that it would be inconvenient and embarrassing to Important Organizations and People. Now I have to tell you as a resident of New York City, we are subject to inconvenient things on a regular basis. I’d have a lot less reason to take exception to the eviction of OWS if the officialdom was evenhanded about making the city efficient and keeping the streets clear by getting rid of (for starters) all parades, all street fairs, the marathon, and all Presidential visits (well maybe he can make a minimally invasive stop, say by going down the FDR to the UN and staying in those environs).
The FBI also seems to believe that there is no such thing as peaceful protest, that any non-violent activity has the potential to turn violent and therefore should be treated as violent. One document to corporate “clients” warned:
Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.The banks were deeply involved in the effort to put down OWS. The executive director of the PCJ stated, “These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” Naomi Wolf adds:
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).More details from the PCJ summary:
As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest…As a result, many of the perceptions of threats were paranoid. The FBI’s search for
Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients – the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…”….DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.”…
The Federal Reserve in Richmond appears to have had personnel surveilling OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”…
The Jackson, Mississippi division of the FBI attended a meeting of the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for “National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day” on December 7, 2011.
Communists in woodpilesOccupiers in midsized and small cities is obvious ovekill. And mind you, this is the same FBI that is nowhere to be found in investigating crisis-related big bank fraud. An individual “leading” Occupy Tampa was tracked when he went to Gainesville. Anchorage, Alaska, Denver, Colorado, Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and Green Bay, Wisconsin all had Occupy-related briefings and FBI activity.
Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the “longterm plans” of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.Assange has suggested a partial solution: the widespread use of encryption. The problem with using encryption now is that it’s like waving a red flag in front of the NSA and asking them to take interest in you. But if a meaningful percentage of the population, say as many as 3%, were to start using it for most of their communications as part of a large-scale plan, it would throw a wrench into the system. The officialdom would be presented with an unduly large list of parties of interest, most of whom by design would be uninteresting from a threat/intelligence perspective. And if this sort of thing were to take place, anyone who thought they might be objects of interest for the wrong reasons, as in they were members of Occupy, could also take up encrypting their messages for fun and sport.
There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.
Meanwhile over at Fox, The public by 52-43 percent sees the atrocity in Connecticut as indicating “broader problems in American society” rather than just the isolated act of a troubled individual. Many fewer saw the shootings last July in Aurora, Colorado, or last year in Tucson, Arizona, as signs of a broader societal problem, 24 and 31 percent, respectively, in polls by the Pew Research Center.Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes can’t seem to agree on the issue of gun control. Murdoch is somewhat surprisingly in favor of gun control, while Ailes is holding firm on his preference of guns over people
Views were more similar to today’s after the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, when the public divided, 46-47 percent in a Pew poll, on whether broader societal problems were at play. But the Connecticut shootings mark the first of these incidents that’s been seen by more than half the public as indicating a broader problem.
Notably, political and ideological differences are muted in this assessment: Half or more of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike see a broader societal problem (51, 52 and 57 percent, respectively). It’s also about half both among liberals and conservatives.
Monaghan is a devout Catholic and believes that using contraception is “gravely immoral,” according to his court filing. The suit adds that prior to the Affordable Care Act’s passage, the company specifically sought out insurance that does not cover contraception. The suit adds that prior to the Affordable Care Act’s passage, the company specifically sought out insurance that does not cover contraception. One of the regulations implemented after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law requires that all health insurance plans cover preventative care — which includes regular cancer and STD screenings, annual checkups and contraception for both men and women — free of charge. Employers that are morally opposed to providing contraception are allowed a religious exception that places the financial burden entirely upon the insurer. In his lawsuit, however, Monaghan insists that his religious freedom is being infringed upon by the coverage mandate. The billionaire argues that he’s actually paying for “abortions” by way of supplying workers with access to emergency contraception like “Plan B” and “ella,” which the lawsuit calls “abortifacients.”
"Chris, I wish to God she had had an M4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said.The M4 is the rifle favored by the U.S. military; you can view its specs on the site of its manufacturer, Colt. Yeah, that'll fix everything.
Hopefully, the Connecticut tragedy will be the tipping point after which a rising chorus of Americans will demand elimination of the gun-free zone laws that are in fact criminal-safe zones.As AlterNet reported in 2010, Pratt told a rally of gun owners at the Washington Monument that the Oklahoma City bombing was but a battle in a war between the citizens and the government. (He cited the assault on David Koresh's compound by federal law enforcement in Waco, Texas, as evidence of a purported war on citizens by the government. As we reported in April 2010, Pratt continued his rally speech, saying:
One measure of insanity is repeating the same failure time after time, hoping that the next time the failure will turn out to be a success. Gun-free zones are a lethal insanity.
We're in a war. The other side knows they're at war, because they started it. They're comin' for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They're comin' for everything because they're a bunch of socialists.Shame on USA Today for publishing Pratt as some kind of expert. Guess they couldn't find a Ku Klux Klan official.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2012
Greg Hernandez (202) 898-6984
Cell: (202) 340-4922