New Evidence: Homeland Security Spied On Peaceful Protestors; Worried About Protests Getting News Coverage

from the homeland-security? dept

We just recently had a post on the head of one of Homeland Security's "Fusion Centers" (the same Fusion Centers found by a Congressional investigation to be a near total waste of time and money, finding no terrorists, but violating the public's civil liberties) who claimed that the DHS centers did not spy on Americans, and then immediately admitted that they spied on "anti-government" Americans.

The definition of "anti-government" was mostly left as an exercise to the reader. However, in a bout of good timing, the Partnership for Civil Justice has released some new DHS documents it received via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, showing that DHS regularly spied on peaceful demonstrators and activists. Because exercising your First Amendment rights must make you one of them there "anti-government" Americans, which means the DHS is free to spy on you.
Functioning as a secret political police force against people participating in lawful, peaceful free speech activity, the heavily redacted documents show that the DHS “Threat Management Division” directed Regional Intelligence Analysts to provide a “Daily Intelligence Briefing” that includes a category of reporting on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations” along with “Domestic Terrorist Activity.” (p. 68)

The PCJF has obtained thousands of pages of documents pursuant to its Freedom of Information Act demands and made them available for public viewing. The newly obtained documents show coordination and intelligence monitoring by the DHS, the FBI, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies of “Occupy-type” protests.

The documents show the routine use of Fusion Centers for intelligence gathering on peaceful demonstrations as well as the use of DHS’ “Mega Centers” for collection of surveillance information on demonstrations.
And it's not just the big cities. The new documents show that DHS is involved in spying on peaceful protesters and activists around the country. It also shows that DHS helped local law enforcement "crack down" on the various Occupy gatherings. But the key thing is that DHS seems to have no qualms at all about spying on anyone who disagrees with the prevailing positions of today's federal government. And it's clearly not because they're trying to protect others from any threat of actual harm. They seem to be focused on spying to further the goal of preventing the administration from looking bad:
The documents show a Department of Homeland Security that appears obsessed with the question of whether any and all protests that are being surveilled receive media attention and coverage. Reporting within the DHS on media coverage of First Amendment protected activities, even in the smallest places, appears to be a routine part of DHS intelligence reports. None of the documents explain why media coverage of peaceful demonstrations is of interest to law enforcement or concerns “homeland security” in any way.
That's because it doesn't concern "homeland security" at all. It concerns the job security of those employed by Homeland Security.




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    If Martin Luther King were alive today, Barack Obama would be spying on him. Think about that, Barack Obama!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    The problem we face is that many in the government have long ago forgotten (if they ever knew) what the purpose of the government is. At this point, many act as if government is an end in itself, rather than a way to achieve the ideals and goals of liberty, peace and security. Once government becomes the end, rather than the means, then any criticism of government goes from being viewed as a call for improvement and instead becomes a threat. For those who feel threatened, there is little difference between a domestic source or a foreign enemy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    Which is why, for example, Bradley Manning is being treated the way he is. The oath that soldiers take in the Us is to "uphold the Constitution and protect the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic".

    What happens, then, when the government is the enemy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    The very problem is that homeland security is told to work against anti-government for4ces. It would be better if it was told to work against anti-democratic forces, but that brief is possibly one that incumbent politicians might fall foul of.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    We were warned.

    "... We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me."

    George Orwell
    1984

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    The government is not the Constitution, and therefore soldiers are not under oath to support a government that is NOT following the constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    Re:

    That's how we got all the Red Scare nonsense not so long ago. It's better if they're told to work to defend our nation, rather than the government or democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:00pm

    If They're So Worried About Making the Administration Look Bad

    They should investigate themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

    Would someone please explain to the DHS what a "vicious circle" is?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    Bradley Manning is facing one thing: bureacracy

    It's actually something that people don't think about. What happens when someone thinks outside the box?

    No institution is a better fit for the bureaucratic structure than the military. It is a model for Weber’s “firmly ordered system of superiority and subordination in which there is a supervision of the lower offices by the higher offices.”

    Work goes on within a compartmentalized environment structured by rank and myriad rules and regulations. Action is focused on fulfilling specific orders normally without reference to outside consequences.

    As a result, within the military bureaucracy thinking must always be within the box, which means it is done within the institution’s set thought-collective. Indeed, given the military’s particular environment, one that strives to shape the thought as well as the action of its participants, thinking can take on near totalitarian constraints.


    Bradley went against the "military code" by going to outside sources. It's why he's being persecuted so greatly and with the full extent of the US government.

    The government is supporting the wishes of the richest people and Bradley is a threat to their security by thinking outside of the box.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Well... Think about where most of their money comes from...

    They have immense pressure to go after a specific subset of Americans and they have immense power to go after them. But this puts them on the wrong side of history. While everyone goes about keeping their head down, they ignore all of the unrest their actions cause.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    Re:

    A circle of Sid Vicious clones.

    ...that was easy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Violated (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    Americans

    "Because exercising your First Amendment rights must make you one of them there "anti-government" Americans, which means the DHS is free to spy on you"

    Oh I understand that one. Any Government agent to me who violates the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is "anti-American". These after all are the founding documents which define the very nature of what it is to be an American.

    So here in the DHS, DoJ, FBI, CIA and more are these "anti-Americans" who are like Nazi Communist Triad Mafia Terrorists and who are a serious threat to the American way of life.

    I will expect Congress to pass the anti-American Cannon act with due haste so these people with lying passports can be violently exiled, using a 3 mile long power shot, into the closest large body of water!

    So the great United States was saved all thanks to the Google sponsored maglev cannon.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    John Nemesh, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Americans

    Your post has been deemed to be "Anti-American". Law enforcement officials in your area have been informed. You are not to leave the municipality in which you are currently located. Please stand by for a visit by our "education" department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    velox (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    "The very problem is that homeland security is told to work against anti-government for4ces. It would be better if it was told to work against anti-democratic forces"
    I'd like to hit [insightful] on this comment about 10 times!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Thats the mike masnick i miss

    More power to the people, damn straight.......first step, awareness.........oh shit..........so........THATS why homeland.........

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Thomas (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Secret Police...

    The feds fully believe there is no such thing as peaceful protesters - they believe they are all terrorists at heart. Constitutional protections are a joke to the feds anyway. The peaceful protesters are lucky they didn't get scooped up and sent to Gitmo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Secret Police...

    What makes you think they didn't get scooped up and sent to Gitmo???

    Can the government prove that no peaceful protesters were ever sent to Gitmo? Is there any record of who has been sent to Gitmo?

    Wait, there's a knock at my door, why it's just the friendly the Gitmo Educational Specialization Transportation Agency for Political Opposition (GESTAPO)... I'm sure they just want to talk, be right back

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re:

    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
    ― Isaac Asimov, Foundation

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Security perimeter coming to a fusion center near you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    gab4moi (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    Why don't they just rename the house of vipers with a really appropriate nic: 'The Edgar J Homeland Security Pleasuredome' (as in you're a long way from home, welcome to the...)#

    # reference Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who if they issued their videos today would probably attract a few dozen of the little grey human drones...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Secret Police...

    I've won a free trip to a remote tropical island, so I guess I won't be seeing anyone for a while.

    Gotta love our government for providing these free educational opportunities, they tell me I'll learn a lot while enjoying the local hospitality and climate.

    I can hardly wait to go so I can get back and tell everyone about the great education camp and activities. They said my free trip was for an 'indefinite' period of time, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to share what I've learned with the rest of you, just imagine me sunning on a tropical beach while learning the best our government has to offer (or so the travel brochure says).

    So why do I feel like the winners of the The Running Man before Arnold???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Damn you George Bush....OH WAIT...

    "But the key thing is that DHS seems to have no qualms at all about spying on anyone who disagrees with the prevailing positions of today's federal government. And it's clearly not because they're trying to protect others from any threat of actual harm."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    Re:

    You are right. And if John Lennon were alive they would still be keeping an FBI file on him. The government has always feared anyone that might influence people's minds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    shutslar (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    The DHS is just doing their job. They are providing security for those who feel "right at home" as officials in our government. They help protect those that wish to continue to live as they do, once they are elected. If I held a job with an equally poor performance rating and still be 85% - 98% assured I would continue to be employed in that job, no matter my performance, I would feel "right at home" too. I would also want to get something in place to help secure it. My gosh, it's the american dream. Stop picking on the DHS! It's their job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    Bais in political motivation reporting

    If it was about protecting the administration then the Tea baggers would have been targeted.

    Most police are republicans and Obama does not have direct mind control of everyone working in every level of government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    I do believe that the people in power has forgotten what a democracy is built on. Sure, they can be the boss of me, but they are the servant of us. Those in the bottom are the same as those in the top; namely the public.
    I don't really know why they have gotten such high status from just having the job, when all it really should be about, is respect. But respect comes with honesty and by actually seeming to have a good reason for the actions they take. Any reasonable person can respect a guy by these standards, even if they don't agree with him. I just wish that more of the difficult questions would be asked, without carefully formulating it to not offend, because that guy is "big". To often they get away with no real answer to questions and no follow-ups. I wish that we could get through to a lot of these politicians and leaders, that they actually suck and seem to be piss poor at their job. I say "seem to be" because their reasons for decisions are so often buried or hidden that it can be hard to tell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    Pay Attention To History

    What the 0.01% of the population, that has most of the money, and that owns the Government, are forgetting, are the lessons of the Russians and the French at the turn of the 20th century. Eventually the citizens get fed up with the oppression and put them out of our misery. The problem here is that the governmant has nuclear weapons and IMHO would use them if threatened too much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    Pay Attention To History

    What the 0.01% of the population, that has most of the money, and that owns the Government, are forgetting, are the lessons of the Russians and the French at the turn of the 20th century. Eventually the citizens get fed up with the oppression and put them out of our misery. The problem here is that the governmant has nuclear weapons and IMHO would use them if threatened too much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:59pm

    That's because it doesn't concern "homeland security" at all. It concerns the job security of those employed by Homeland Security.

    Wrong!. It concerns the messaging of the regime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Americans

    Using "anti-Government" would have been more valid.

    Look on the bright side when it only takes one or two firings to make all Government department to much improve. Send them all the videos to see.

    Google sponsoring the cannon is good for them. As the camera follows the pipe on the firing it can go like Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle. BANG ZOOM.

    I expect if we got enough pubic backing we can have the first and worst ever Government employee fired in under 5 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    If you disagree with the status quo, you're a terrorist

    The question is, what's the status quo?

    The key isn't to argue against the status quo, this only validates and highlights it in the mind of the public. Contention is a tool widely used by governments to polarize the public into inaction.

    Meet up with a friend, grab a dove and get onto a tour of the whitehouse. If you can't find a dove, grab a pigeon. It's the thought that counts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:14am

    Re: Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    We need an insightful quote button.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:31am

    Re:

    Imagine an alternate timeline where civil rights had not happened when it did, and he was fighting for those rights today. What happened on Bloody Sunday would have been a walk in the park.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:08am

    Thank god for homeland spying on peace protesters, I feel safer already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:10am

    Re:

    ^Peaceful... Sigh, this goddamn auto edit plugin has got to go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:36am

    to be fair, peaceful protestors can turn violent, so keeping an eye on a peaceful protest is probably a good idea. However, that is more along the lines of making sure they stay peaceful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    What Pvt. Bradley did that really cooked his goose was embarrass the Gov't.

    98% of the material classified, is so not because it's "national security", but because it's embarrasing to a higher up either military or political.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    I've been aware of this for a long time now. Before I started reading Techdirt like 2-3 years ago I had contact with this underworld of protesters, occupiers, anonymous that people weren't even talking about at that time. I've lost contact with this world due to real life issues (my job, my family and other things that started taking up more of my time) but back then there were some key protesters that found out they were followed and spied. By the US Govt. At the time Occupy was still very much embryonic and the focus were protests as harmless as some sex workers protesting against Google funding chauvinist organizations.

    Yes, it is that bad. And probably older than that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:59am

    Re:

    to be fair, this overhype of the issues with protestors tends to turn the LEO's into thugs who feel these terrorists have no rights even if they are citizens.

    And for the record the ones who did not stay peaceful are the ones who showed up in riot gear and assaulted peaceful protestors making situations worse.

    Creating the illusion it MIGHT spiral out of control, calling them terrorists for protesting highlight what has gone wrong in this country.
    Protest - get assaulted and your rights violated.
    Destroy the economy - get handed more cash, special protection details, and no punishment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re:

    Don't drone me bro

    Strange how short little comments are held for moderation ... or maybe it is key words, lets find out then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    Re: Define "Anti-government" and "Patriot"

    Many times, those who refer to themselves as "Patriots" are in fact espousing anti government rhetoric. The whole take back America bs is a good example.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    corwin155 (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    thank you

    thank you president Obama for signing the NDA.
    anyone deemed a threat to the united states , can be held without access to the court system.
    INDEFINITELY!
    bush may have started it but its President Obama who is signing your rights away!

    hold on i hear JACK Boots Goose Stepping my way

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was thinking about this. The Tea Party is anti-government. The Occupy movement is anti-big business. If they are ignoring the Tea Party and going after Occupy, they aren't worried about anti-goverment activities, they are worried about someones profits.

    This isn't even as noble(?) as protecting the goverment. This is corruption, pure and simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    corwin155 (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    agree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Rod Keller, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    What a waste. The largest mobilization in our nation's history to prevent illegal camping.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Hayley, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    Truthout/Jason Leopold had these documents two weeks ago

    Jason leopold at truthout reported on this two weeks ago. The Justice Fund didn't obtain anything that Truthout didn't obtain first. http://truth-out.org/news/item/15389-newly-released-dhs-emails-questions-federal-law-enforcements-ro le-in-violence-at-ows-rallies-in-oakland-and-new-york#.UVTaenHSavE.facebook

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    Google "agent provocateur"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Double Entree, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Tea Party is anti-big business too because they are against bailouts, against subsidies, and against crony-capitalism (aka corporatocracy, aka Fascism).
    Both movements are fighting a common enemy: The merger of big-government and big-business (pretty much the definition of corruption).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Any Nomous, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:34am

    Re: those in the bottom are the same as those in the top

    Except, those at the top can use tools and tactics that those at the bottom would be put in jail for.

    Is it right to kidnap your neighbor because you disagree with his speech?
    No, but the State can send costumed men to his house and "detain" him indefinitely.

    Is it okay for you to claim your neighbor owes you part of his food whenever he goes shopping? Would it be okay if you wrote it down? Would it be okay if 50 friends agreed?
    No, but the State can "tax" him and all of us and you would be okay with it as long as it appeared to have the "majority" of the vote.

    Is it correct for you to walk into his yard and punch your neighbor because he looked at you funny?
    No, but the State bombs&invades other countries for less.

    So, who works for who now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Git Mo Bairds, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:38am

    Re: If you disagree with the status quo, you're a terrorist

    They'll detain you for transporting a bird-flu vector. They'll over-react and ship you to Gitmo.
    They'll use this to pass more laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Any Nomous, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re: Provocateur

    Googel: "Put the rock down, this is our line!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Nostromo, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: insightful

    DPRK is democratic, the Union of Communal Socialist Republics was democratic, Greece elected their first Tyrant democratically and many peoples have followed in their footsteps over the following centuries.

    Democracy is a form of reaching apparent consensus, it is a way for a perceived "majority" to overpower a perceived "minority". It is not a way to secure freedom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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