If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April. But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.
The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Interest in the Occupy protesters was not limited to DHS and local law enforcement authorities. The most recently released correspondence contains Occupy-related missives between the DHS and agencies at all levels of government, including the Mayor of Portland, regional NOC “fusion centers,” the General Services Administration (GSA), the Pentagon’s USNORTHCOM (Northern Command), and the White House. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, contends that the variety and reach of the organizations involved point to the existence of a larger, more pervasive domestic surveillance network than previously suspected.
These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people. These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement. (justiceonline.org) …
The April 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine includes “The Warrior Class,” a feature by Charles Glass on the rise of private-security contractors since 9/11. The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq. Clips and photos from the videos are shown below, introduced by Glass’s descriptions:
Anti-bullying tactics. This is pretty cool.
Today’s cover of the Daily News boasts the exclamatory word “Rage!” and an ensuingstory about the reason a New York jury only convicted Michael Pena, the NYPD cop who attacked a school teacher on her way to work, of predatory sexual assault instead of rape, which would have carried a possible life in prison sentence instead of the 10 years that Pena now faces. Not the first NYPD cop to avoid rape charges this year.
The GOP led assault on the public sector work force has had an anti-stimulative effect and has limited the nation’s economic recovery. Of the eleven states that changed to being controlled by the GOP in the state legislature – public sector job losses were 5 times larger as a % compared to the other 39 states. It’s significant when over 20% of the states act like an anchor on the rest of the economy; to put it in another perspective – the Republican party has been following former President and Great Depression creator Herbert Hoover’s economic philosophy. Simply put – the absolute worst thing that can happen to a person who is unemployed is having even more unemployed people in the labor pool to compete with for a job.
As part of her floor speech pushing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Wednesday, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) told the story of her own history of being sexually assaulted during her childhood and then raped as a young woman.
“Violence against women is as American as apple pie,” she told colleagues. “I know, not only as a legislator, but from personal experience. Domestic violence has been a thread throughout my personal life, up to and including being a child repeatedly sexually assaulted, up to and including being an adult who’s been raped.”
The VAWA has been met with some resistance from Republicans. The bill would renew grants to U.S. domestic violence prevention and survivor support programs, would increase availability of legal assistance to victims and would extend assistance to battered undocumented immigrants and same-sex couples.
The House Judiciary Committee’s lack of support for the bill, Moore said, brought up terrible memories for her “of having boys sit in a locker room and sort of bet that I, the egg-head, couldn’t be had,” she said.
“And then the appointed boy, when he saw that I wasn’t going to be so willing, completed a date-rape and then took my underwear to display it to the rest of the boys,” she continued. “I mean, this is what American women are facing.”
Since Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have not allowed Democrats to bring up the VAWA as a standalone bill, Democrats tried to attach it to the vote on the GOP budget proposal on Wednesday afternoon. But Republicans voted unanimously to end debate on the budget bill before Democrats could do so.
While some Senate Republicans have pledged their support for reauthorizing the VAWA, others said the bill touches on too many controversial subjects, which distract from the bill’s purpose of protecting battered women. For instance, that it creates avenues for battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas and extends domestic violence protections to same-sex couples makes it tough for some conservatives to support.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who opposed the latest version last month in the judiciary committee, told The New York Times that he thinks Democrats have politicized the bill on purpose to make the GOP look anti-women.
“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” he said. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support, that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”