Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taking aim at the Occupy movement

An identified _____ as of October [2011] planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified _____ had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. _____ planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.\
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On 13 October 2011, writer sent via email an excerpt from the daily _____ regarding FBI Houston's _____ to all IAs, SSRAs and SSA _____. This _____ identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by _____ interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire.
Those are excerpts from documents obtained by Dave Lindorff through a FOIA request to the FBI regarding the Occupy movement. This is how seriously someone took the Occupy movement given the economic conditions and events happening around the world in 2011.

Through my work with the National Lawyers Guild I represented members of Occupy Houston, and their supporters, who were arrested during their "occupation" of downtown Houston. In the course of that representation a colleague, Greg Gladden, uncovered documents regarding the infiltration of the Occupy Austin movement by officers with the Austin Police Department. The documents also spelled out the involvement of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Never during the course of our representation of the Occupy Houston protesters did we hear anything about a plot to kill the leadership of the Occupy movement in Houston. If the information contained within these documents is true, it raises some very serious questions.

Just how scared of the Occupy movement was the government? Or, maybe the question should be just how scared were business leaders and their lackeys in the government? The Occupy protests were a mass movement that had the potential to catch fire. That they didn't is due to the government's crackdowns and, I would argue, on the lack of a cohesive message from the movement.

The more important question is, obviously, who was behind the alleged plot to assassinate Occupy leaders in Houston? Why did the government redact any identification information about whose plot it was? Is that information redacted because it would expose confidential sources, or is it redacted because the FBI was behind the alleged plot?

I must admit that I have a very hard time believing that the assassination plot was a government-hatched plan. The more effective tactics in shutting down the movement were either driving the protesters out of the parks or waiting them out. Sending in snipers to kill protesters seems like a massive overreaction.

Of course maybe the FBI had infiltrated right-wing groups opposed to the Occupy movement and were running an undercover operation to put the groups out of business. If that were the case, how much of this alleged plot was cooked up by group members and how much of the idea was planted in their heads by undercover agents?

Whatever the answers to the questions may be, we know that something was up. We know that the Houston FBI knew about the plot and that they provided no warning to the Occupy protesters in Tranquility Park.

We also know that the FBI characterized the Occupy movement as a terrorist organization - apparently because the participants dared to question the status quo and the government's role in the economic collapse.  For those of y'all who are okay with our government's domestic surveillance programs under the belief that the programs are keeping us safe, just take a moment to think about how low the bar is for the government to label a group as being a terrorist organization.

See also:

"FBI Document - "[DELETED]" plots to kill Occupy leaders "If Deemed Necessary," by David Lindorff, WhoWhatWhy (June 27, 2013)

-- Please note that Mr. Lindorff's story is inaccurate with regard to my role in the defense of the Occupy the Port protesters who were charged with felony offenses. I represented one protester charged with a misdemeanor arising out of that protest. --

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