Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DHS vs OWS

From Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone comes confirmation of what we already took for granted: the Department of Homeland Security has kept a close watch on Occupy Wall Street. Hastings just got hold of a secret five-page DHS report culled from the five million newly-released WikiLeaks documents.

Three things are screaming out:

1). Homeland Security was created to guard against terrorism. Why is it even interested in a peaceful domestic protest movement?

2). Homeland Security is a Huffington Post copycat. It got all the info for its report from Internet news items, and simply republished them in aggregate form, links and all. I picture a 20-something, low-level DHS hack/wannabe blogger sitting in a cubicle, trolling the Web in a frenzy of copying and pasting. He/she/they even went to the Daily Kos to get a copy of a protest march route! Among other sources were Reuters, CNN, The Huffington Post(!), major metropolitan newspapers and TV outlets. There is no indication in the report that actual DHS personnel ever visited the camps.

3). This report was in the possession of Stratfor, the Austin, TX company that was the subject of a mass email hacking by the Anonymous hacktivist group. What is the relationship between DHS and a private intelligence firm whose clients are multinational corporations?  The Surveillance State is beholden to the Corporate State, it appears. Or they're in cahoots. Or they are really one big entity, each faction feeding off the other. Isn't there a word for that?

As Hastings notes, the DHS report is fairly innocuous on the surface, although slanted toward concerns about the safety of the target of the protests -- the financial services industry -- and the "potential for violence". There is no smoking gun, no direct evidence in writing of a conspiracy to destroy the movement. But it ever so subtly hints that law enforcement should be on guard against the mobs in the camps and in the streets. There is just the hint of a dog-whistle within its five pages. There is a whiff of an "us against them" mentality. The last paragraph reads:
The growing support for the OWS movement has expanded the protests’ impact and increased the potential for violence. While the peaceful nature of the protests has served so far to mitigate their impact, larger numbers and support from groups such as Anonymous substantially increase the risk for potential incidents and enhance the potential security risk to critical infrastructure (CI). The continued expansion of these protests also places an increasingly heavy burden on law enforcement and movement organizers to control protesters. As the primary target of the demonstrations, financial services stands the sector most impacted by the OWS protests. Due to the location of the protests in major metropolitan areas, heightened and continuous situational awareness for security personnel across all CI sectors is encouraged.
In retrospect, it should be noted that the DHS report was written in October, at the very beginning of the Occupy movement. It was not until the following month that coordinated police crackdowns on the camps got underway, reportedly in the wake of a conference call among the mayors and DHS. This must have come after the Terror State urged the mayors to become paranoid and "situationally aware."

 One more sordid chapter in the History of American Government Overreach. One more smidgen of proof that we are under the control of an oligarchy. One more small step toward complete oppression, one giant leap backward for civil rights. Happy Leap Day, everybody! 

NYPD Guards at Zuccotti Park (post-eviction)

Update: Hastings was on The Young Turks last night to talk about the leaked DHS report. Watch him here.

18 comments:

Denis Neville said...

“Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”- Juvenal

“Who watches the watchers?” Who will police the police?

Why is Homeland Security even interested in a peaceful domestic protest movement?

Social and Political Control!

Jeremy Bentham described the perfect prison as the “panopticon,” a place where prisoners could be under constant surveillance, the threat of which would be enough to coerce prisoners so that actual observation would no longer be necessary. Michel Foucault wrote, “Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmates a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.” Surveillance is a means of social and political control. It is a way for those in power not only to observe, but also to control.

The Surveillance State and the Corporate State as one big entity…Isn't there a word for that?

Yes, inverted totalitarianism. Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, “Inverted totalitarianism has emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions. The genius of our inverted totalitarian system lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.”

In Olmstead v. United States, Justice Brandeis wrote, “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.”

But I fear that we are a nation of contented sheep, lulled to pastures by the plutocracy, where we are being fleeced and eventually end up as lamb chops for the one percent.

Will said...

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."--Goethe

Jay - Ottawa said...

Remember the talk about detention centers supposedly hidden away by Homeland Security? The presence of newly-constructed internment camps was deduced from strange line items in government contracts with outfits like Halliburton, KBR, etc. Well, civil libertarians can stop driving AWD pickups down remote logging roads in search of DHS camps ready for the last roundup. Those detention sites in hidden valleys were a hoax.

The camps, it turns out, are our cities. That’s where troublemakers have always gathered. DHS, which took over the coordination of big city police, is steadily encircling these urban environments with electronic barbed wire. DHS is also facilitating the build-up of a militarized home guard, which is unusually well-equipped in big cities. Thanks to NDAA, the Pentagon is available for back up. There’s your camps. As Denis pointed out, a sweet coupling of velvet and iron.

At this stage it’s best to be reasonable and pragmatic. Take a page from the Yellow Dog Manual. What faces us is an inescapable dilemma that boils down to a choice between two evils. Which is the lesser evil? Think carefully. Would you prefer that fanatics from abroad -- or home-grown cultural misfits loyal to foreign powers -- terrorize you in horrendous ways from time to time because you insist on clinging to every line of your cherished Bill of Rights? Or wouldn’t you really prefer, as a lesser evil, continuous, pervasive and invasive (but legal) snooping by fellow citizens from your ever-expanding, job-making security state?

One out of three East Germans worked for, or volunteered information to, the Stasi. Relax, we’re nowhere near that level of collaboration with our keepers yet. Conformity is not that onerous, and you’ll be surrounded by more friends willing to talk about politically-inoffensive topics. If you must dip into social media, avoid using the keywords flagged in the DHS’s “Analyst’s Desktop Binder.”* Do not write an IOI (item of interest) or become an IOI (individual of interest). Forget about joining The Drone Spotters of America. Could be infiltrated. Think good thoughts and you will be well treated.

* https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/296596-analyst-desktop-binder-redacted.html

Karen Garcia said...

Here is my comment on Gail Collins's piece on Social Security and how Mitt wants to raise the retirement age...

Romney should talk. As somebody who pays an effective tax rate of only about 12%, he's been milking the system for all it's worth, doing his plutocratic duty of sucking the Treasury dry. He retired in his 40s, for crying out loud! He is living the high life on the backs of the less fortunate.

He obviously has had no personal contact with 50-and 60- year-olds whose bodies are tired and broken from a lifetime of physical labor, and who don't have the luxury of waiting till they hit 70 to retire. He cluelessly fails to factor in the millions of people who've lost their jobs in late middle age and who don't have a prayer of ever working again. If anything, in this time of economic depression, we should be LOWERING the retirement age. The extra money in all those frayed pockets would help stimulate the economy.

Mitt also probably doesn't know or care that life expectancy in the USA is really not all that great. If you live in a poor county, you live in the Third World. You can read the statistics here:

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20110614/us-life-expectancy-lags...

With 50 million of us now uninsured, premature deaths among the poor and near-poor are increasing. Even insured people are putting off seeing a doctor because of the increased co-pays and premiums imposed by the insurance leeches -- who, by the way, are raking in record obscene profits.

Leave Social Security alone, and let's just finally do it: Medicare for All.

Zee said...

@Jay--

"Bitter clinger" that I am, I think that I'll continue to cling to EVERY line of my cherished Bill of Rights, too.

And on the topic of our "continuous, pervasive and invasive" surveillance society, here's a link to something else that has been in the news lately, to which our sheep-like, fearful populace seem almost eager to submit:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/02/29/the-tsa-is-coming-to-a-highway-near-you/

Denis Neville said...

Another sordid chapter in the history of government overreach…

The Republican Declaration of War on Women: my home state Kansas Taliban Version

“Kansas Wants To Shield Doctors Who Lie To Women About Abortion”

A Kansas radical new anti-abortion bill exempts doctors from medical malpractice suits if they withhold medical information to prevent an abortion and also protects them from malpractice claims if a woman suffers an injury from a pregnancy as a result of information withheld from her to prevent an abortion.

http://www.care2.com/causes/kansas-wants-to-shield-doctors-who-lie-to-women-about-abortion.html

"I am pro-life," Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback said. "When I campaigned I said that if a pro-life bill got to my desk, I will sign it. I am not backing away from that."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/kansas-abortion-bill-governor-sam-brownback_n_1307076.html

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, “Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself…the force possessed by totalitarian propaganda – before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an imaginary world – lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”

Denis Neville said...

@ Zee – “our sheep-like, fearful populace seem almost eager to submit”

Apparently so, as indicated in this LA Times story:

"It's a great way to make the public think you are doing something."

“It's cool. They're doing what our tax money is paying them to do."

Etc.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/20/nation/la-na-terror-checkpoints-20111220

I was unaware TSA's viper program.

Good Grief!!!

Zee said...

@Denis and @All--

Not only does the Kansas bill "exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withhold information -- in order to prevent an abortion -- that could have prevented a health problem for the mother or child," it also further requires physicians to "provide" women with "information" of dubious scientific validity.

"The bill also requires that women be told that abortions would increase the risk of breast cancer, a controversial theory that the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and gynecological groups in the United States and the United Kingdom have said is incorrect." --Huffington Post (Emphasis added.)

My God!

What have we come to that physicians can now LEGALLY withhold information from a patient that can KNOWINGLY do the patient harm?

If a physician did this to me under cover of law, I would seriously consider exacting some "street justice," no matter the personal cost.

Or to provide medical "information" that appears to have no basis in fact?

You have no idea how it galls me to have Sam Brownback and his ilk referred to as "conservatives."

They are NOT conservatives. They are religious fanatics.

Will said...

Andrew Breitbart has died. (Sorry, but I don't think it's too soon to say he was a total asshole. Just ask Shirley Sherrod.)

His website:

http://biggovernment.com/

His appearance at CPAC 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbycMtTUDfE

"Cat" will do said...

what you really need to guarantee immunity from persecution by the man is one of these

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-29/the-credit-card-for-the-1-percent-of-the-1-percent-the-ticker.html

i gotta git me one a dem

http://roadblues-kitty.blogspot.com/

Jay - Ottawa said...

At what point will Americans reject the loutish habits of their own empire? Everyone else around the world seems to have reached that point. And will the relentless buildup of police powers from coast to coast snuff out further reflection at home?

We are living in interesting times, but don't despair. As well as being cursed, our interesting times may also hold unseen blessings slow in coming. But coming.

"How and why a people suddenly develops a will to change the conditions under which it's living is, to me, one of the deep mysteries of all politics. That’s why I don't blame myself or anyone else for not expecting or predicting the Arab Spring. How that happens may, in the end, be undiscoverable. And I think the reason for that is connected to freedom. Such changes in opinion and will are somewhere near the root of what we mean when we talk about the exercise of freedom. Almost by definition, freedom refers to something not visibly or obviously caused by anything else. Otherwise it would be compelled, not free.

"And yet there is nothing obscure -- in the sense of clouded or dark -- about freedom. Its exercise is perhaps the most public of all things, as well as the most powerful, as recent history shows. It’s a daylight mystery."

-- Jonathan Schell
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175510/tomgram%3A_andy_kroll%2C_the_unlikely_oracle_of_occupy_wall_street/

Fred Drumlevitch said...

It's been a while since I've commented here (some important obligations, which continue, have had to take precedence, plus I was feeling a bit of "political comment fatigue" with respect to adding my own comments), but, as always, Karen's choice and breadth of topics and the added information from other commenters here have all been great. And eloquently delivered. In this post and associated comments alone, references to Hastings piece on the Department of "Homeland Security" surveillance of "Occupy" peaceful protest, the DHS "Analyst's Desktop Binder", the Sheldon Wolin quote, TSA's unconstitutional "Viper" searches, and more.

The dissemination by this blog and others of a broad spectrum of information relevant to un-progressive and/or outright reactionary behavior and abuses of fundamental constitutional rights, by politicians of both political parties, is extremely important. Too many Americans (and others elsewhere too, but my focus is on the country of which I am a citizen) suffer from a gross ignorance of history and a deficient memory of even relatively recent events. In that context, it doesn't take much for the aforementioned anti-99% behavior and abuses of fundamental rights to be externally spun or to internally decay into a state of mind where they are viewed as isolated occurrences, and accepted, even by people who are fundamentally good. The coefficient of dynamic friction is usually less than static friction, and once sliding begins, the slope is awfully slippery. Information, analysis, and making a concerted effort to keep the broad spectrum of such matters — and the way in which they are linked — sufficiently in our thoughts are all essential in order to keep the bastards of this world from winning.


@Jay: Your mention of surveillance by the government in Communist East Germany is a good example and certainly relevant, but I believe that Romania under Ceausescu did it to an even greater extent than East Germany, particularly with regard to surveillance of telephone communication. (However, I don't have any specific reference at hand to support that).


old stuff:

@Jay and Kat: I haven't forgotten to address the issues (Vaclav Havel and truth, and Chomsky's recent lecture) that a long time ago I said I would, but 1) my thoughts haven’t fully gelled, 2) I've been unable to make the time, and 3) my answer will probably grow into a lengthy post that I'll eventually put on my own blog one of these days (or months!).

Karen Garcia said...

Here is my comment on Paul Krugman, who writes about the four fiscal frauds of the GOP primaries...



Our political system is increasingly becoming a fact-free zone. The GOPers, and the criminal wealth class whom they serve and strive to join, keep repeating the same lies: government is the problem, it's out to destroy all the "job creators", regulations make them feel stressed out and anxious (which is not good for us trickled-upon underlings), taxes might cause their heads to explode.... yada yada yada. Psychopaths always play the victim card, and there are plenty of gullible types (mainstream media come to mind) who fall for them. It's like the crash of 2008 never happened, and if it did, it's the government's fault for forcing welfare queens to take out subprime mortgages.

The combined wealth of the Forbes 400 is higher than that of the total worth of the bottom 50%. 400 people own as much wealth as more than 150 million people! The mere top one percent, who only possess a quarter of all the cash, are apparently feeling left out and deprived. Maybe they can buy themselves a few crooked politicians, bribe them with some bundled SuperPac money, and manage to steal even more from the bottom 40%, who are still clinging to their own meager 0.3% share of the total national wealth.

We obviously can't rely on the political puppets to remedy the extreme income disparity in this country. We can't rely on the stenographic media to untangle their twisted yarns and call out the lying liars, either.

Spring is coming. So... support Occupy!

Denis Neville said...

Krugman asks if we are worried about a “Greek-style collapse,” as prophesized by the four fiscal phonies.

John Holloway writes, “We are all Greeks. We are all subjects whose subjectivity is simply being flattened by the steamroller of a history determined by the movement of the money markets. Or so it seems and so they would have it…These politicians are just arrogant and pitiful symbols of the real object of our rage - the rule of money, the subjection of all life to the logic of profit.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/greece-protest-failed-system

Holloways asks, “How long will we sit still and see the world torn apart by these barbarians, the rich, the banks? How long will we stand by and watch the injustices increase, see the health service dismantled, education reduced to uncritical nonsense, the water resources of the world privatised, communities wiped out and the earth torn up for the profits of mining companies? How can we ask of people that they accept meekly the ferocious cuts in living standards that the austerity measures imply? Do we want them to just agree that the massive creative potential of so many young people should be just eliminated, their talents trapped in a life of long-term unemployment? All that just so that the banks can be repaid, the rich made richer?”

Greece is a cry that goes out to the world.

Karen calls for support of Occupy.

Remember that “Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes.”

Smedley Butler, “You’ve Got to Get Mad,” speaks to the Bonus Army:

“We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 per cent of us, the soldier class, the class from which all of you soldiers came. That class hasn’t any privileges except to die when the Tories tell them. Every war that we have ever had was gotten, up by that class. They do all the beating of the drums. Away the rest of us go.

“Remember, we can’t win this alone. We have got to have the sympathy of all of our class of people. Get all these people to join and then go after the enemy in the way that is provided for in your constitution. That is, go to the polls. Before you go to the polls, make every public office seeker state where he stands. Don’t take any alibi. A man who is not for the soldiers is against them. There isn’t any middle course. If he hasn’t got the courage to say yes for you, then lick hell out of him.

“Right now we are all called upon to support the administration. I know the soldiers; no matter what you tell them they are always going to support any president up to a certain point, but you must remember that you have two duties. One is to your own flesh and blood, yourself and your family; and the next is your public duty. Combined is another duty, equally important, and that is the duty to the people, the buddies who served with you, who have been hurt. Go along, do the right thing. We can’t afford to bust up this country. Nobody knows where these schemes are going to lead us nowadays. But they won’t work if the soldiers don’t make them work.

“When you go down to Washington, you’ve got to growl and bite. When you soldiers agree to lay aside your petty jealousies and personal ambitions and fight as you fought in wars, you’ll get somewhere. Not until then will you get what you want.

“You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to hate. You’ve got to turn on these fellows who call you names such as “treasury raiders.”

“The only trouble with you veterans is that you still believe in Santa Claus. It’s time you woke up—it’s time you realized there’s another war on. It’s your war this time. Now get in there and fight.”

http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/smedley-butler-speaks-to-the-bonus-army/

Occupy!

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

Denis Neville said...

Maria Popova’s “Occupy Omnibus: From Philosophy to Art, 10 Essential Books on Protest”

“2011 has been the year of protest. From the Arab Spring to the London Riots to the global Occupy Wall Street movement, civic unrest and sociopolitical dissent have reached a tipping point of formidable scale. This omnibus of ten nonfiction books that illuminate protest through the customary Brain Pickings lens of cross-disciplinary curiosity, spanning everything from psychology and philosophy to politics and government to art and music, extends an invitation to better understand the art, science, and psychology of protest, both in our present reality and in the broader context of our civilization.”

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/10/31/10-essential-books-about-protest/

Denis Neville said...

h/t Mitch Green @ New Economics Perspectives

“While the video is narrated in Italian, the message is clear in any language: When everyday people start to realize that austerity is the problem, not the cure, they will resolutely reject it, and begin to reclaim their democracy from those who would financially enslave them.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vanWVMUWF2U

Occupy!

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous because I used to work for DHS, but as a low-level "grunt." Even at that level the things I saw made me very scared for our country. DHS is a behemoth bent on power and control. Americans should seek to dismantle this department ASAP.

Neil said...

@ Denis Neville quoting Holloways, "How long will we sit still and see the world torn apart by these barbarians, the rich, the banks?"

Yesterday Zero Hedge reported in "Pictures From A French Mob - Watch As Sarkozy Bravely Retreats From Furious Frenchmen", quoting from AP reports, "Several hundred angry protesters have booed President Nicolas Sarkozy, forcing him to take refuge in a cafe protected by riot police as he campaigned in France's southwest Basque country." It appears that the European discontent is finally seeping rather aggressively into the core, and the political overhaul which many assume will take the Greek model of bloodless technocratic coups by banker appointed puppets may just not work too well elsewhere.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/pictures-french-mob-watch-sarkozy-bravely-runs-away-furious-fellow-citizens

So in Basque country they have some balls.

What about America? There was a riot in Orlando, Florida last week, an estimated crowd of 600 to 800 turned riotous over sales of $220 a pair Nike sneakers:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-florida-mall-footlocker-riot-gear-20120223,0,4649622.story

The Orlando Sentinel reported "The launch of an expensive new basketball shoe — timed to Orlando's hosting of the NBA All-Star Game — triggered a melee Thursday night at Florida Mall that was quelled by deputies in riot gear."

"The wild scene erupted about 9:45 p.m. as hundreds of people packed the mall's parking lot, hoping to buy the new shoe at midnight. As the crowd grew, a large contingent of Orange County deputy sheriffs arrived, braced for problems."

"Similar shoe releases have caused violence at shoe stores across the country."

"Witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel that the crowd was asked to wait across the street when the mall closed at 9 p.m., but one person made a mad dash toward the Foot Locker where the shoes were to go on sale, and hundreds followed."

"I saw hundreds of people running toward me. I thought I was going to get trampled," said Amanda Charles, 20, who was among a group of a half-dozen friends who drove from Jacksonville to try to buy the glow-in-the-dark Nikes."

"Witnesses said more deputies quickly arrived, decked out in riot gear and fortified by still more deputies on horseback, on motorcycles and in patrol cars. A helicopter with a spotlight hovered overhead."

"More than 100 law-enforcement officers from the Sheriff's Office, the Orlando Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol responded to the mall and were continuing to disperse the crowd as of midnight. People continued to mill about, and some cars remained in the lot after the free-for-all as many people were hoping the sale would go on as planned."

The Orlando Sentinel also reported on sneaker violence all across America:

"Just before Christmas, the re-release of the Nike Air Jordan XI caused a ruckus at stores across the country, with crowds fighting and, in Lithonia, Ga., breaking down the doors."

"In Jersey City, N.J., a 20-year-old man was stabbed seven times amid a crowd of about 300 people waiting to buy the shoes, a local newspaper reported."

"In Richmond, Calif., police said one person fired a shot at a mall as about 1,000 people lined up for their chance at the shoes; a suspect was arrested."

"Near Seattle, police used pepper spray to control fighting among would-be Air Jordan owners."

"Unruly shoppers also were reported in Indianapolis, San Antonio, Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va., resulting in several arrests and injuries."

So when will Obama and Homeland Security crack down and outlaw these dangerous sneakers that lead to so much violence all across America?