A new report is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement.
By Alex Kane
May 21, 2013
Counter-terror police officers collaborated with corporate entities to combat protests. Undercover police officers monitored and tracked the Occupy movement. A right-wing corporate-backed group hired a police officer to help protect a conference. These are some of the details revealed in a new report published by the Center for Media and Democracy’s Beau Hodai, along with DBA Press. The revelations are based on government documents the group obtained.
The report, titled ” Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street,” is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement in 2011 and 2012 and also help protect the business entities targeted by the movement. The report specifically looks at the activities of “fusion centers,” or law enforcement entities created after 9/11 that transform local police forces into counter-terror units in partnership with federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. The fusion centers devoted a lot of time–to the point of “obsession,” the report notes–to monitoring the Occupy movement, particularly for any “threats” to public safety or health and to whether there were “extremists” involved in the movement.
The documents obtained for the report from government agencies reveal “a grim mosaic of ‘counter-terrorism’ agency operations and attitudes toward activists and other socially/politically-engaged citizens over the course of 2011 and 2012,” writes Hodai. He adds that these heavily-funded agencies indisputably view Occupy activists as “terrorist” threats. Additionally, Hodai writes that “this view of activists, and attendant activist monitoring/suppression, has been carried out on behalf of, and in cooperation with, some of the nation’s largest financial and corporate interests.”
Much of the report hones in on the Occupy Phoenix branch of the movement and Arizona counter-terrorism agents monitoring, tracking and cracking down on the protests.
For instance, when JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was planning on coming to Phoenix in October 2011, a “counter-terrorism” detective employed by the Phoenix Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau exchanged information on potential protests with a JP Morgan Chase security manager. The detective, Jennifer O’Neill, received information on Dimon’s travel plans, and then shared information about Occupy Phoenix. O’Neill said that she and another officer had tracked the online activities of Occupy protesters to find out if they were planning to protest Dimon. No plans for protest were discovered by O’Neill, who also works with the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, otherwise known as the Arizona fusion center.