Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dave Lindorff: FBI Ignored Deadly Threat to Occupiers

FBI Ignored Deadly Threat to Occupiers: US Intelligence Machine Instead Plotted with Bankers to Attack Protest Movement
by Dave Lindorff

New documents obtained from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security by the Partnership for Civil Justice and released this past week show that the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies began a campaign of monitoring, spying and disrupting the Occupy Movement at least two months before the first occupation actions began in late September 2011.

As early as August, while acknowledging that the incipient Occupy Movement was “peaceful” in nature, federal, state and local officials from the FBI, the DHS and the many Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Force centers around the country were meeting with local financial institutions and their private security organizations to plot out a strategy for countering the Occupy Movement’s campaign.

Interestingly, one document obtained by PCJ from the Houston FBI office refers to what appears to have been a plan by some group, the name of which is blacked out in the released document, to determine who the leaders were of the Occupy Movement in Houston, and then to assassinate them with “suppressed” sniper rifles, meaning sniper rifles equipped with silencers.

The chilling document in question reads as follows:

“One identified BLANK as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified BLANK had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. BLANK planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest group and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership by suppressed sniper rifles.”

The wording does not sound like it’s some crank Tea Party faction they’re talking about — especially the words “deemed necessary” and the reference to “gathering intelligence against the leaders of the protest group.” Fortunately, in any case, no such assassination campaign materialized in Houston or anywhere else during the wave of Occupy actions across the country, but at the same time, there were never any arrests of whatever organization or individuals that the FBI clearly knew to be planning such a terrorist action against the Occupy activists.

Commenting on this peculiar lack of action by the FBI and other national anti-terrorist organizations, Partnership for Civil Justice executive director Maya Verheyden-Hilliard says, “The documents we’ve obtained show that the FBI was acting as a private intelligence and protective agency for Wall Street and the banks against people who are engaged in First Amendment-protected free speech activities. Yet here you had a real terrorist threat, which, if the FBI were serious about combating and preventing terrorism it would have acted upon, and it did nothing!”

Indeed, since 9-11, there have been a number of prominent arrests and trials and even convictions of people who were alleged to have merely talked with FBI informants about some fanciful terror plot. These arrests are typically prominently publicized to the media, with the perps trotted out in front of cameras during the arrests. There was nothing like this done in the above case, though. No arrests, no publicity. The only reason we know about it at all was that the FBI was required to release its files on the bureau’s monitoring of the Occupy Movement, and this particular document surfaced among the pages that were released.

Could the FBI have been so close to the plotters, whoever they are, that it felt confident it could simply instruct them to call off their plan — or put it on hold? We can’t know from the heavily redacted documents that have thus far been pried loose from the bureau. But it would not be that surprising if it turns out there is some link between the would-be assassins and the government. It would just be Nixon’s COINTELPRO all over again, where local police were killing activists as part of a nationally organized campaign.

To Read the Rest of the Commentary

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