Spying on Occupy

The big story that wasn't—around here, at least

The day before Christmas, a national story broke in the New York Times, CNN and most major mainstream outlets across the country. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to our daily newspaper. A national civil rights group, the Partnership for Civil Justice, filed a Freedom of Information Act request and discovered that the U.S. government had spent this past year spying on the Occupy movement. Even before New York Occupy had moved into Zuccotti Park and set up their first tent, the local FBI field office had called for a meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to “discuss the planned anarchist protest.”

This was just the tip of the iceberg. In the Dec. 29 Guardian, a reporter wrote: “These documents . . . show a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police and private sector activity so completely merged into one another that the whole is in fact one entity.” The story described how these entities were working for and with the banks to “target, arrest and politically disable peaceful American citizens.” On CounterPunch, Dave Lindorff wrote about one FOI document that showed an intent to “formulate a plan to kill the leadership by sniper rifles” in Houston.

The internet was buzzing with this news, as were mainstream outlets across the country. But not here. The Press Democrat was silent, so I decided to find out why. After a week of phone calls, I finally got the answer from an abashed editor at the paper: he was off on Christmas Eve, and a fill-in editor was in charge of checking the wires for national stories.

Although the PD is now “locally owned,” they still receive wires from several sources, including the New York Times, which reported the story. Believe it or not, there are still folks that do not get their news from the internet and/or watch TV. These folks may still not know about this, so I want to thank the Bohemian for this space.

Of course, this story about the FBI spying on activists hardly comes as a surprise to anyone paying attention over the years. I hope all local occupiers will join me in thanking the Partnership for Civil Justice for its quick and dedicated work, and for keeping this story going.

Mary Moore is a resident of Camp Meeker.Open Mic is a weekly op/ed feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution.

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