Vale and Belo Monte suspected of spying

Rio de Janeiro-Paris-Geneva, February 14, 2014. Today, FIDH and OMCT presented the press with evidence that Vale and the Belo Monte Consortium have been spying on civil society. The two human rights groups have called upon the Brazilian judicial authorities to take whatever actions are necessary to bring these facts to light and take punitive action against those responsible.
In light of the Brazilian government’s lukewarm reaction to allegations of illegal espionage by transnational corporations targeting civil society organisations and movements, FIDH and OMCT, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, conducted an investigation in Brazil from February 9 to 14, 2014.

The investigation included interviews with victims, persons working for social organisations, government and judicial representatives, members of Parliament, and executives working for the Belo Monte Consortium, and the National Development Bank (Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento – BNDES).

The testimony and documents obtained during the investigation appear to substantiate claims that Vale and Belo Monte have been engaged in acts of corruption, that they illegally obtained confidential information and access to databases, made illegal recordings, were involved in identity theft, and conducted unfounded employee dismissals. These offences have been perpetrated with the complicity of State agents. Documents have been unearthed that substantiate both the bribing of State agents and possible assistance provided by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Agência Brasileira de Inteligência – ABIN) to Belo Monte, whilst Vale worked with retired ABIN agents. Both companies are found have targeted persons and NGOs believed to be potential barriers to the companies’ activities.

Delegates from the fact-finding mission have criticised the State’s lack of progress in investigating these offences, which were reported to the State Prosecutor in March 2013. The persons heading the mission also called upon President Dilma Roussef to be consistent by applying the same standards to this case as those applied in the Snowden case.

The head of the Observatory mission, Jimena Reyes, Head of FIDH’s Americas Desk, stated that: “[…] the spying activities conducted by multinational corporations on social movements in Brazil raises serious questions about human rights respect by companies. These activities undermine freedom of expression and the right to protest, which form one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic state”.

Alexandre Faro, a lawyer and one of the mission delegates explained that: “[…] the lack of regulations on private intelligence activities conducted by corporations facilitates the perpetration of abuses against civil society”. He went on to state that, “the power held by multi-national corporations calls for a strong legal and judicial system to act as a counterbalance and stop any further excesses of this nature”.

A report on the fact-finding mission will be published in the coming months. It will provide a detailed account of the mission’s findings and recommendations, and will be presented to the Brazilian Government, non-governmental actors, international organisations, diplomatic representations, and to national, regional and international human rights protection entities.

18 February 2014

Find this story at 18 February 2014

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COPYRIGHT © 2014 – FIDH – WORLDWIDE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Brazil Accused of Spying on Belo Monte Dam Opponents

An activist collective opposed to the construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam [en] on the Xingu River in northern Brazil uncovered a spy in its midst [en] who confessed to infiltrating the group allegedly at the behest of the dam company and Brazil’s federal intelligence agency.

The Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre (Xingu Alive Forever Movement), a collective of organisations, social movements, and environmentalists in the region of Altamira, Pará that are against the power plant there, which is currently under construction, discovered the mole during an annual planning meeting on February 24, 2013.

According to the report on its website, the group found that “one participant, Antonio, who had recently integrated into the movement, was recording the meeting with a spy pen”:

Em dezembro [de 2012], segundo o depoente, ele passou a espionar o Xingu Vivo, onde se infiltrou em função da amizade de sua família com a coordenadora do movimento, Antonia Melo. Neste período, acompanhou reuniões e monitorou participantes do movimento, enviando fotos e relatos para o funcionário do CCBM [Consórcio Construtor de Belo Monte], Peter Tavares.

Foi Tavares que, segundo Antonio, lhe deu a caneta para gravar as discussões do planejamento do movimento Xingu Vivo. O espião também relatou que este material seria analisado pela inteligência da CCBM, e que, para isso, contaria com a participação da ABIN (Agência Brasileira de Inteligência), que estaria mandando um agente para Altamira esta semana.

In December [2012], according to the man, he began to spy on Xingu Vivo, which he infiltrated based on his family’s friendship with the coordinator of the movement, Antonia Melo. During this period, he followed meetings and monitored the movement’s participants, sending photos and reports to Belo Monte’s Consortium Builder (CCBM) employee Peter Tavares.

Tavares was the one who, according to Antonio, gave him the pen to record Xingu Vivo’s planning discussions. The spy also reported that this material would be analyzed by the CCBM’s intelligence, and for that he’d count on the participation of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN), which would be sending an agent to Altamira [that] week.

In his statement, recorded by Xingu Vivo, the CCBM spy confesses that he received 5,000 Brazilian reais (2,532 US dollars) to pass information to the agency about the movement’s activities:

The movement asked federal prosecutors to assure the spy’s safety and of the members of the Xingu Vivo, who say they feel “in a situation of risk and under threat”, besides asking for the investigation of the complaints.

In a brief statement [.pdf], ABIN denied any involvement in the espionage in conjunction with the CCBM. CCBM has not released any statement.

ABIN, established in 1999 as an instrument of the federal government, was appointed as the successor of the National Intelligence Service, an agency that actively spied on popular and labor organisation during the Brazilian military dictatorship from 1964-1985 in order for them to be better controlled or even crushed.

Greve em Belo Monte – novembro de 2012. “Mais de 17 mil operários trabalham na construção da hidrelétrica de Belo Monte, numa obra com custo estimado de R$ 25 bilhões”. Foto de Altamiro Borges (CC BY 3.0)
Strike in Belo Monte – November 2012. “More than 17 thousand laborers working n the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, a project estimated to cost R$ 25 billion”. Photo by Altamiro Borges (CC BY 3.0)
The agency has had its eye on Xingu Vivo in the past. In June 2011, ABIN published a report on the collective, saying that the organisation “has received support from foreigners and international NGOs whose activities in the country are partly financed by international organizations and foreign governments”. The movement’s response to the report was cited by the humanities research institute Humanitas Unisinos, from the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul:

O relatório sigiloso da Abin é “patético” porque as verdades que ele arrola “são mais do que públicas”. Estão no sítio web do Movimento que são seus parceiros e apoiadores. “Não precisava o governo gastar dinheiro dos contribuintes com essa “investigação’”, diz nota do Xingu Vivo. “Constrangedoras, porém, são as mentiras pelas quais o contribuinte também paga”, agrega. O Movimento desafia a Abin a comprovar que recebe apoio de governos.

The confidential ABIN report is “pathetic” because the truths which it lists “are more than public.” They are [stated] on the website of the movement as its partners and supporters. “The government didn’t need to spend taxpayers money with this “investigation”, says the Xingu Vivo note. “Embarrassing, though, are the lies by which the taxpayer also pays”, adds. The movement challenges ABIN to prove that they receive support from governments.

Several organisations and social movements have signed a joint statement condemning ABIN and expressing solidarity with the Xingu Vivo movement.

Símbolo da ABIN.
ABIN’s symbol.
The Workers’ Cause Party, in a statement released by Diário Liberdade on April 9, slammed the spying revelation:

A espionagem dos movimentos populares e sindicais não é exclusividade dos regimes militares. Em realidade, nunca foi erradicada, já que a “transição democrática” de 1985 manteve a maior parte dos privilégios dos militares e políticos ligados à ditadura. De uma só vez, a serviço dos empresários e do imperialismo, o governo do PT dá espaço para a ala direita da burguesia, que sempre esteve no comando dos órgãos de repressão, fazer o que bem entende contra o povo trabalhador.

The espionage of popular movements and unions is not unique to military regimes. In reality, it was never eradicated, as the “democratic transition” from 1985 retained most of the privileges of the military and politicians linked to the dictatorship. At one time, at the service of entrepreneurs and imperialism, the government of the Workers Party (PT) gave space to the right wing of the bourgeoisie, which has always been in control of the organs of repression, do what it pleases against working people.

Blogger Candido Cunha denounced that ABIN’s own website reports a standing agreement between the agency and Eletronorte, which is part of the Belo Monte’s Consortium Builder, since 2009:

Além do trabalho voltado a salvaguardar os conhecimentos de interesse estratégico para o Brasil, a Abin assessora a Eletronorte na elaboraração do planejamento estratégico de segurança para a proteção de suas infraestruturas críticas – instalações, serviços e bens que, se forem interrompidos ou destruídos, provocarão sério impacto social, econômico e/ou político.

In addition to the work aimed at safeguarding the knowledge of strategic interests for Brazil, Abin advises Eletronorte in the development of strategic security planning for the protection of their critical infrastructure – facilities, services and assets which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have serious social, economic and/or political impact.

Dock workers under surveillance

Porto de Suape Navio João Cândido. Foto de C.A.Müller (CC BY-SA)
Port of Suape, João Cândido ship. Photo by C.A.Müller (CC BY-SA)
But this is not the only construction site where opposition to governmental projects has allegedly come under surveillance by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency.

The agency faces allegations that it has also spied on workers at the port of Suape in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, in the city of Cabo de Santo Agostinho near Recife.

According to a report by Partido da Causa Operária (Working Cause Party), the espionage dates from March 2013 and aims to “investigate a possible strike by workers against the Provisional Measure of Ports, which would remove the power of state governments to bid new cargo terminals and reduce labor rights.”

The Provisional Measure of Ports, MP 595/12, a proposed Presidential act, provides for, according to various social movements, the privatization of Brazilian ports.

Blogger José Accioly republished a note by the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI) – which coordinates ABIN’s investigations and responds to the Presidency of the Republic – rejecting the accusations that it was spying on the union movement of Suape. But secret documents from ABIN, obtained and published by Brazilian news website Estadão.com.br, confirmed that it was monitoring the unions.

Operation “Risk Management”, formally known as the Office “Mission Order 022/82 105″ of March 13, 2013, not only disavows the GSI, reporting that the espionage occurs in all 15 coastal Brazilian states and its ports in order to avoid strikes and negative reactions to the Provisional Measure of Ports.

Retired teacher and engineer Ossami Sakamori compared the mood of government opponents during the military dictatorship and the mood of those opposing the government today:

O clima que os opositores ao regime vivia, era o mesmo clima que os opositores do poder da República vive hoje. Não sabemos de onde virão as represálias, porque estamos sendo monitorados, sim. Os achincalhamentos que recebemos, via rede social é a parte visível do processo. O que temo são as ações desenvolvidos pelos órgãos de inteligências contra os opositores do regime de hoje, pelos agentes invisíveis aos olhos do cidadão comum.

The climate that opponents of the regime lived through, was the same as opponents of the Republic’s power experience today. We do not know where the retaliation will come from because we are being monitored, yes. The mockeries we receive via social network is the visible part of the process. What I fear are the actions undertaken by intelligence agencies against opponents of the regime today, by the agents invisible to the eyes of the average citizen.

Several political parties, including the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), said they will “summon the minister of the Institutional Security Office, General Jose Elito Carvalho Siqueira, and the director of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, Wilson Roberto Trezza, to give explanations to the House of Representatives Working Committee the agency’s monitoring and intimidation of the union movement.”

Even employees of ABIN, represented by the National Association for Intelligence Officers (Aofi), reported in a note that they feel uncomfortable with the focus put on spying on social movements under General José Elito. The union Força Sindical issued a statement declaring it unacceptable that a party with its origins in the labor movement can use “organs of repression” against these workers.

Written by Raphael Tsavkko Garcia Translated by Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Translation posted 18 April 2013 8:00 GMT

Find this story at 18 April 2013

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Editor of The Progressive Calls for Eric Holder to Resign over Spying on Press, Occupy Protesters

As the Obama administration faces criticism for the Justice Department’s spying on journalists and the IRS targeting of right-wing organizations, newly released documents show how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police forces partnered with corporations to spy on Occupy protesters in 2011 and 2012. Detailed in thousands of pages of records from counter terrorism and law enforcement agencies, the spying monitored the activists’ online usage and led to infiltration of their meetings. One document shows an undercover officer was dispatched in Arizona to infiltrate activists organizing protests around the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group that helps corporate America propose and draft legislation for states across the country. We’re joined by Matt Rothschild of The Progressive, who tackles the surveillance in his latest article, “Spying on Occupy Activists: How Cops and Homeland Security Help Wall Street.”

Watch Part Two of interview here
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We end our show with a look at newly revealed documents showing how police partnered with corporations to monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy have obtained thousands of pages of records from counterterrorism and law enforcement agencies that detail how so-called “fusion centers” monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012. These fusion centers are comprised of employees from municipal, county and federal counterterrorism and homeland security entities, as well as local police departments, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

The documents show how fusion center personnel spied on Occupy protesters, monitored their Facebook accounts, and infiltrated their meetings. One document showed how the Arizona fusion center dispatched an undercover officer to infiltrate activist groups organizing protests around the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the secretive group that helps corporate America propose and draft legislation for states across the country. The undercover officer apparently worked for the benefit of the private entity ALEC despite being on the public payroll.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! reached out to the Phoenix Police Department to join us on the show, but they declined our request. Sergeant Trent Crump in the media relations department said in an email, quote, “Occupy Phoenix presented itself with a great deal of civil unrest over a long period of time. We monitored available Intel all the time, as it is used for Intel-driven policing. Intel dictated resources and response tactics to address, mitigate, and manage this ongoing activity which was very fluid and changing day-to-day. This approach ensured that citizens can exercise their civil rights, while we protect the community at the same time,” they said.

Well, for more, we go to Matt Rothschild, editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine, wrote the cover story for the June issue of the magazine, “Spying on Occupy Activists: How Cops and Homeland Security Help Wall Street,” the piece drawing heavily on the documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy and DBA Press. Matt Rothschild is also the author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression.

Matt, welcome to Democracy Now! Just lay out what you have found.

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Hey, Amy. Thanks for having me on.

Yeah, I mean, these documents from the Center for Media and Democracy and DBA Press show that law enforcement and Homeland Security have equated protesters, left-wing protesters, as terrorists. They have diverted enormous amounts of resources from counterterrorism efforts to spy on these local protesters, and then they’ve collaborated with the private sector, some of the very institutions—banks—that these protesters were aiming at. And as you read in that statement from the Phoenix Police Department, the effort was to mitigate these protests. I mean, why is law enforcement, why is Homeland Security, in the business of mitigating protests?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to go to a response that we received from the Phoenix Police Department when we reached them for comment. And they said that they were not treating Occupy protesters as potential terrorists. They said, “[W]e are an all hazards incident management team, we have gathered information at all types of events [such as] Superbowl, World Series, SB 1070 protest etc.” So can you say how it is that their monitoring of Occupy protesters differed qualitatively from the other events that the Phoenix Police Department named?

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Sure. Well, they’re using resources from the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the Arizona fusion center, and they’re using Homeland Defense personnel in the Phoenix Police Department to track Occupy activists. So, it’s a little disingenuous of them to say they’re not treating these protesters as terrorists when they’re using their own anti-terrorist personnel to spend a lot of time simply tracking these activists. One of the police officers who was on the Homeland Defense Bureau of the Phoenix Police Department said she was primarily spending her time tracking Occupy activists on social media.

AMY GOODMAN: We also asked the Phoenix police if law enforcement is infiltrating Occupy meetings. And he replied, quote, “Infiltrate? No. Attend open meetings? Yes.” Democracy Now! also asked Trent Crump if law enforcement tracked Occupy activists online. He replied, “Yes, we gather intel on a number of social media sites regularly.” So, what about this? And also, this issue of law enforcement monitoring the protests against ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, when we asked him this, he said, “Yes, public safety.” Your response?

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, they not only monitored the ALEC protests in late November 2011, but they also sent a face sheet to the security personnel for ALEC, a face sheet of the faces and names and identities of Occupy protesters who have been doing some activism in the Phoenix area, to make the ALEC security personnel aware of who may be coming to their protests. They were also tracking—

AMY GOODMAN: So the police are working with the companies and the organizations.

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Absolutely. Yeah, they were working with security for the American Legislative Exchange Council. They were also letting security know when Jesse Jackson was going to be in town to join an Occupy protest and an ALEC protest. Is that really their job to be passing information on to these private entities?

And then, with some of the bank protests that Occupy Phoenix was planning, they were giving downtown banks all sorts of information. “Give downtown banks everything they need.” That was one internal memo from the Phoenix Police Department, when it was a day of protest against these banks and Occupy was urging the bank customers to cut up their credit cards from these banks. And which banks are we talking about? We’re talking about Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase—some of the very targets that Occupy had been protesting against. So, the question is: Who are the police department working for? Are they working for citizens? Are they working for the private sector? Are they working for the banks?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Can you put—Matt Rothschild, can you put this in a wider historical context? Is this kind of surveillance unprecedented in the U.S.? And what accounts for its occurrence during Occupy in the way that you describe?

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, unfortunately, it’s not unprecedented. There’s a terrible history of law enforcement and the FBI spying on left-wing activists, going back to the COINTELPRO program of the FBI in the ’60s and ’70s, where they infiltrated the Black Panther movement and the American Indian Movement. But interestingly, after those revelations came out, there were guidelines imposed by the Justice Department itself, the so-called Levi guidelines. Edward Levi was the attorney general under the Ford administration who said you can’t go spying on and infiltrating activist groups in this country unless there’s a predicate of criminal activity. Well, after 9/11, the Bush administration and Ashcroft, his attorney general, completely destroyed the Levi guidelines and let law enforcement do any kind of infiltration they want, without any necessity for any hint of criminal activity on the part of the activists.

AMY GOODMAN: Matt Rothschild, you’ve called for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder. Why?

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, for a number of reasons, Amy, first of all, for this scandal about investigating reporters. I think that’s outrageous. We had more than a hundred AP reporters and editors that the Justice Department was gathering information on, and now we have the revelation about the Fox News reporter James Rosen, who was being accused of being a co-conspirator under the Espionage Act of 1917 simply for doing his reporting job. Also, the attorney general has been essentially waging war on whistleblowers under the Espionage Act.

And on top of that, let’s remember, this attorney general, Eric Holder, has been rationalizing the assassination program that the Obama administration has been engaging in, saying that a drone can drop a bomb on a U.S. citizen anywhere in the world, and that U.S. citizen will already have had due process simply because the Obama administration itself or the president or the secretary of defense calls that person a terrorist. Now, that’s not due process, and that’s not what the Justice Department should be doing. Certainly the attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of this country, should know better than that.

AMY GOODMAN: Matthew Rothschild, isn’t he just carrying out President Obama’s policies?

MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD: Well, he very well might be, and then we have a more serious problem. We have a serious problem at the very top with a president of the United States, again, like George W. Bush, engaging in illegal activity.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to do part two of the interview and post it at democracynow.org. Matt Rothschild, editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine, wrote the cover story for the June issue, “Spying on Occupy Activists: How Cops and Homeland Security Help Wall Street.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Find this story at 22 May 2013

Bank of America intelligence analyst shared Occupy DC info with police ‘They seemed pretty excited’

Emails released by Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department about the Occupy Our Homes movement reveal frustration from one Bank of America intelligence analyst.

Occupy our Homes, a part of the Occupy movement that began in fall 2011, gained headlines as protesters fought back against home foreclosures across the country. Bank of America Senior U.S. Crime and Intelligence Analyst Amanda Velazquez offered weary commentary in an Occupy email she shared with MPD in September 2012.

“With all the Occupy DC leaders back home, it appears some concrete plans have materialized for the one-year anniversary. Our day for action is Tuesday, 2 October. I think there should be more participation that [sic] the last attempt against us; they seemed pretty excited …”

The anniversary plans included two days of “plays, music, art, political discussions and general assemblies” in Freedom Plaza, according to the email Velazquez forwarded. The occupiers had been forcibly evicted by police in February 2012.

The emails were requested as a part of the File for Aaron project.

by Tom Nash on May 1, 2013, 1 p.m.

Find this story at 1 May 2013

© 2013 MuckRock

The U.S. counter terrorism apparatus was used to monitor the Occupy Movement nationwide.

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.

PRESS RELEASE “New Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide”(PDF)

SOURCE MATERIALS almost 10,000 pages of open records materials are archived on DBA Press.

PRWATCH ARTICLE “Dissent or Terror: How Arizona’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate Interests, Turned on Occupy Phoenix”
Key Findings

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.]

Government Surveillance of Occupy Movement
– by Beau Hodai, CMD/DBA

Find this story at 22 May 2013

Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s ‘Counter Terrorism’ Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street

How America’s National Security Apparatus — in Partnership With Big Corporations — Cracked Down on Dissent A new report is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement.

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.

Another similar example of how corporate entities were helped by counter-terrorism units of police forces also occurred in October 2011. Then, businesses–including banks–received alerts authored by the Arizona fusion center about planned protest activities. Similar alerts to banks were given in the run-up to the November 5 day of action labeled “Bank Transfer Day,” which encouraged people to move their money from corporate banks to more local financial institutions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also engaged in similar activity, according to the report. “The bureau had been in the business of alerting banks (and related entities) tothe planned protest activity of OWS groups as early as August of 2011.”

The extent of law enforcement-corporate cooperation has also been taken a step further by the practice of corporations or right-wing corporate backed groups hiring officers for pay to police protests.

In late November-early December 2011, the largest Occupy Phoenix action took place outside of a conference held by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group that brings together right-wing lobbyist groups and conservative politicians to push model legislation in state legislatures. The protest was marred by police violence, with officers deploying pepper spray and pepper ball projectiles on activists and arresting 5. While the police portrayed the action as the work of violent anarchists, Hodai writes that this narrative of events had little grounding in reality.

Hodai reveals that the “tactical response unit” of officers working at the action was under the direction of Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Eric Harkins. What makes this noteworthy is that Harkins was “actually off-duty, earning $35 per hour as a private security guard employed by ALEC.” ALEC also “hired 49 active duty and 9 retired PPD officers to act as private security during the conference.” ALEC also employed off-duty police officers from Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department during another ALEC summit in May 2012.

The Center for Media and Democracy report also provides details on how police officers tracked and went undercover to monitor the Occupy movement. The report focuses on an undercover police officer who went by the name of “Saul DeLara,” who presented himself as a homeless Mexican activist. “DeLara” went to Occupy meetings and then reported back on their contents to the police.

The revelations are confirmation that, as the Center for Media and Democracy noted in a press release,”the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.”

May 21, 2013
AlterNet / By Alex Kane

Find this story at 21 May 2013