(NEW YORK) MintPress – The FBI is once again conducting itself with no regard for American citizens’ constitutional rights.
That is according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), which has just obtained FBI documents revealing that from the inception of the Occupy movement, an anti-corporate greed and anti-war movement, the agency treated it as a potential criminal and terrorist threat.
By September, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an Occupy protest.
Those same documents reveal that the FBI acknowledged that Occupy organizers explicitly called for peaceful protests and did “not condone the use of violence.”
The PCJF began seeking the material under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the fall of 2011 as the crackdown on the movement began.
“The FBI has a long history of conduct toward social justice movements and political activity in the U.S., from gathering intelligence to disrupting operations,” Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard tells MintPress.
“What we see here is that even before the first tent was set up in Zuccotti Park, the FBI was engaged in a focused effort to monitor and survey a peaceful and lawful expression of the First Amendment.
“When they see something coming about, they focus on it,” she continues. “It says something about what the FBI does and its purpose. It has huge funding from taxpayer dollars and no oversight.”
The documents also show that the FBI’s investigation included the movement’s activities in several cities across the country.
The FBI’s Indianapolis division, for example, was coordinating with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies” as well as the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center ” and the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence.” It released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on Sept. 15, 2011, even though agents acknowledged that no specific protest date had been scheduled there.
The FBI in Anchorage reported from a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of Nov. 3, 2011, about Occupy activities in that city.
The Virginia FBI was collecting information on the OWS movement for dissemination to the Virginia Fusion Center and other intelligence divisions.
The Milwaukee division of the FBI was coordinating with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety division in Green Bay, Wis. regarding Occupy.
The Tampa, Fla. FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison participated with the Tampa Police Department’s monthly intelligence meeting in which Occupy Lakeland, Occupy Polk County and Occupy St. Petersburg were discussed. They reported on an individual “leading Occupy Tampa” and the person’s plans for travel to Gainesville for a protest planning meeting, as well as on Veterans for Peace plans to protest at MacDill Air Force Base.
The Jacksonville, Fla. FBI prepared a domestic terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in October 2011. The intelligence meeting discussed Occupy venues, identifying “Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories as portions … where some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”
And the Birmingham, Ala. division of the FBI sent communications to Hazmat teams regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In addition, documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 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,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.”
That 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 …”
The DSAC, in fact, 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.”
It advised to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. 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.”
Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to the DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor for the port actions.
The NCIS describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.”
The NCIS also assists with the transport of Guantanamo prisoners.
“The documents are heavily redacted. It is clear this is the tip of the iceberg,” says the PCJF’s Verheyden-Hilliard. “We are appealing their production and actively pursuing information from other sources.
“The freedom to assemble, to speak and to associate are guaranteed rights,” she adds. “The issue is that law enforcement acts in disregard of these rights. It is the role of the people to force disclosure and take action, to hold the FBI accountable.”