Government Surveillance of Occupy Movement
Special Report by Center for Media and Democracy and DBA Press
- by Beau Hodai, CMD/DBA
On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.” The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.
The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the "Arizona fusion center") monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity.
While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting -- until now -- that details the breadth and depth with which the nation's post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.
REPORT Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's 'Counter Terrorism' Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street
REPORT APPENDIX open records materials cited in report.
SOURCE MATERIALS almost 10,000 pages of open records materials are archived on DBA Press.
- Part one: Dissent or Terror: How Arizona's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate Interests, Turned on Occupy Phoenix
- Part two: The Homeland Security Apparatus: Fusion Centers, Data Mining and Private Sector Partners
- Part three: Fusion Center Obsession With OWS: Monitoring Jesse Jackson, NDAA Protestors and Anything Else Deemed To Be a Threat
- First printed on December 31, 2012: "Operation Tripwire" -- the FBI, the Private Sector, and the Monitoring of Occupy Wall Street
Key findings of this report include:
- 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.]
- The Progressive, "Spying on Occupy Activists", Matthew Rothschild
- AlterNet, "How America's National Security Apparatus--in Partnership With Big Corporations--Cracked Down on Dissent, Alex Kane
- In These Times, "How the Government Targeted Occupy", Lisa Graves (also reprinted at PRWatch.org)
- The Big Picture, New Report Details Surveillance of OWS, Thom Hartmann
- Democracy Now!, "Editor of The Progressive, Matt Rothschild, Calls For Eric Holder to Resign Over Spying on Press, Occupy Protesters", Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh
- Modern Times Magazine, "Phoenix Metro Police, Feds Working Together To Blunt Activists", Wayne Schutsky
- The Investigative Fund, Is Homeland Security Spying on You?, Adam Federman
- Occupy Radio, Dissent and Terror: Homeland Security and Corporate America Target Occupy,