Washington Targets OWS
by Stephen Lendman
Last October, Obama told ABC News:
“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded.”
“And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.”
His key words were: “we are on their side.”
At the same time, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Secret Service agents were working cooperatively with local authorities to infiltrate, disrupt, subvert, and destroy the movement in cities nationwide.
Celebratory hope accompanied Obama’s election. After campaigning on a promise of hope and change, betrayal followed. He expanded the worst Bush policies. He usurped unbridled powers.
In June 2010, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said Obama “disgusted” him. Civil liberty infringements got worse. Rule of law principles faded.
Last year, Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin said “(w)e are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national security state.”
His administration created a “parallel track of preventative law enforcement that bypasses traditional protections in the Bill of Rights.”
In December 2008, before he took office, James Petras called him “the greatest con man in recent history.” He compared him to Melville’s Confidence Man. “He catches your eye while he picks your pocket.” He promises one thing and delivers another consistently on issues mattering most.
A November 2008 Robert Fitch speech to the Harlem Tenants Association revealed much about lay ahead. He said Chicago urban planners yearned to make the city’s south side developed like northern areas.
Demolitions for gentrification were wanted. Poor folks had to be driven out. Most were Black. As an Illinois state senator, Obama represented a targeted community. His “core financial supporters” and “inmost circle of advisors” stood to profit.
“Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE – finance, insurance and real estate industry” officials. Other key supporters included liberal foundations, elite universities, NGO community developers, and “real estate reverends who (preach and) produce market rate housing” at the expense of poor people kicked out for beneficiaries.
Together Fitch called them “Friendly FIRE….disguised by the camouflage of community uplift, augmented by the authority of academia, greased by billions in foundation grants, and wired” to provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995.
Obama was their guy, a front man. As president, Chicago style hope and change repeated across America. Before taking office in January 2009, Fitch saw what lay ahead. He wasn’t alone.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) is a public service legal organization. It’s “dedicated to the defense of human and civil rights secured by law, the protection of free speech and dissent, and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. Among the PCJF cases are constitutional law, civil rights, women’s rights, economic justice matters and Freedom of Information Act cases.”
Its work includes “landmark constitutional rights litigation, often concentrated in the areas of free speech, assembly or other protected political organizing activity.”
According to PCJF’s executive director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard:
“The major defining feature of the Obama administration on (core constitutional issues) is the eagerness with which it embraced the stunning evisceration of civil rights and liberties that was a hallmark of the Bush administration, and then deepened those outrageous programs. He has successfully counted on the acquiescent silence of the liberals.”
In March, PCJF obtained heavily redacted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested documents. They showed federal agencies began “coordinated intelligence gathering and operations on” OWS last September.
On September 17, 2011, protests began in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Secret Service agents were there covertly. DHS was also involved.
Documents show its top officials “were preoccupied with the Occupy movement and have gone out of their way to project the appearance of an absence of federal involvement in the monitoring of and crackdown on Occupy.”
“On the street it would be called “Three Card Monte,” a swindler’s game to hide the ball — a game of misdirection. The House always wins.”
Before Zuccotti Park’s first demonstration, the DHS Office Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) prepared National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration (NCCIC) alerts about planned OWS demonstrations.
At issue is ongoing spying since 9/11. America became a total surveillance society. Millions are covertly watched. Their communications are monitored, including phone calls, emails, and other online activity. Doing so alerted authorities about coming plans. They were ready well in advance.
In response to FOIA, press, and public inquiries of its involvement, one DHS official wrote:
“I understand we have already received some FOIA requests regarding our possible reporting of the ‘Occupy’….protests.”
“I think should the FOIA experts find it appropriate to release information about the manner in which this issue was managed with DHS, it could only be perceived as a positive by those in the public who closely (observe) the Department.”
DHS tried to evade and obstruct a complete FOIA search to conceal its disruptive and coordinated activities with other federal agencies and local authorities.
On April 30, PCJF “updated and made public the largest and most comprehensive” ever FOIA obtained DC police documents. Years of hard fought litigation got them. Washington police operate under a “cloak of secrecy.” Sunshine revealed some of what it conceals.
Society’s most disadvantaged are harmed. It’s true across America. DC is a microcosm of authoritarian police serving powerful interests at the expense of ordinary people. Willful legal violations occur. No one’s held accountable. Anyone challenging the system is targeted.
In part, PCJF cracked the District of Columbia government’s wall of secrecy. A trove of materials were gotten and made public. PCJF called obtaining them “historic.”
On May 3, PCJF headlined, “DHS Releases More Documents on Occupy to PCJF.” They reveal “massive (federal) nationwide” OWS monitoring and information sharing between DHS and local authorities.
According to Verheyden-Hilliard:
“These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the US government operates against its own people.”
“These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network” apparatus operating against the interests of ordinary Americans.
Documents gotten reveal “intense” federal monitoring of OWS activities. Those involved are identified to include names, addresses, and other relevant information. NORTHCOM’s kept informed ahead of planned demonstrations.
DHS stays in direct communication with the White House regarding ongoing operations and approved “public statements denying DHS’s involvement in Occupy actions.”
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano runs its anti-OWS operations along with FBI and other federal agency officials. Obama appointed her.
The man who told ABC News “we are on their side,” in fact, oversees a plan to disrupt, subvert, and destroy what they’re working for. Imagine what’s ahead in a second term if he’s reelected.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.