Was the Government Prepared to Deploy Snipers If the Occupy Protests Gained Momentum?
Was the U.S. government prepared to deploy snipers to disrupt the Occupy protests … “if necessary”?
TruthDig reported last year:
“Did the FBI ignore, or even abet, a plot to assassinate Occupy Houston leaders?” asks investigative reporter Dave Lindorff at WhoWhatWhy. “What did the Feds know? Whom did they warn? And what did the Houston Police know?”
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund yielded an FBI document containing knowledge of a plot by an unnamed group or individual to kill “leaders” of the Houston chapter of the nonviolent Occupy Wall Street movement.
Here’s what the document said, according to WhoWhatWhy:
An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] 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. (Note: protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)
Paul Kennedy of the National Lawyers Guild in Houston and an attorney for a number of Occupy Houston activists arrested during the protests said he did not hear of the sniper plot and expressed discontent with the FBI’s failure to share knowledge of the plan with the public. He believed that the bureau would have acted if a “right-wing group” plotted the assassinations, implying that the plan could have originated with law enforcement.
“[I]f it is something law enforcement was planning,” Kennedy said, “then nothing would have been done. It might seem hard to believe that a law enforcement agency would do such a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”
He added that the phrase “if deemed necessary,” which appeared in the bureau’s report, further suggests the possibility that some kind of official organization was involved in the plan.
Texas law officials have a history of extreme and inappropriate violence.
Kennedy has seen law enforcement forces attempt to secretly entrap Occupy activists and disrupt their activities in the city. He represented seven people who were charged with felonies stemming from a protest whose organizing group had been infiltrated by undercover officers from the Austin Police department. The felony charges were dropped when police involvement with a crucial part of that action was discovered.
A second document obtained in the same FOIA request suggested the assassination plans might be on the plotters’ back burner in case Occupy re-emerges in the area.
When WhoWhatWhy sent an inquiry to FBI headquarters in Washington, officials confirmed that the first document is genuine and that it originated in the Houston FBI office. Asked why solid evidence of a plot never led to exposure of the perpetrators’ identity or arrest, Paul Bresson, head of the FBI media office, deflected the question. According to WHoWhatWhy, he said:
The FOIA documents that you reference are redacted in several places pursuant to FOIA and privacy laws ….
Lindorff wants us to note that “the privacy being ‘protected’ in this instance (by a government that we now know has so little respect for our privacy) was of someone or some organization that was actively contemplating violating other people’s Constitutional rights—by murdering them.”
When the Houston Police department was asked about its knowledge of the plot, public affairs officer Keith Smith said it “hadn’t heard about it” and directed future questions to the Houston FBI office.
The obvious question to ask in attempting to determine the identities of the planners is this: Who has sniper training? A number of Texas law enforcement organizations received special training from Dallas-based mercenary company Craft International, which has a contract for training services with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The company was founded by a celebrated Army sniper who was killed by a combat veteran he accompanied to a shooting range.
Remington Alessi, an Occupy Houston activist who played a prominent role in the protests and hails from a law enforcement family, agrees with attorney Kennedy that the plot likely did not originate with a right-wing group. “If it had been that, the FBI would have acted on it,” he said. “I believe the sniper attack was one strategy being discussed for dealing with the occupation.”
As the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday, nothing has changed:
A federal judge has ordered the FBI to explain why it withheld some information requested by a graduate student for his research on a plot to assassinate Occupy Houston protest leaders.
In its motion to dismiss, the FBI stated that it maintained its records pursuant to its “general investigative authority” and its “lead role in investigating terrorism and in the collection of terrorism threat information.”
But the agency failed to supply facts supporting its belief that the Occupy protesters might have been engaged in terroristic or other criminal activity, the judge’s memo stated.
The judge ordered the FBI to explain its basis for withholding information under Exemption 7, which protects records compiled for law enforcement purposes.
If this sounds hard to believe, remember that:
- According to Department of Defense training manuals, all protest is now considered “low-level terrorism”. And see this, this and this
- An Army colonel has written a paper advocating military methods for “crushing” a Tea Party type insurgency
- Questioning government policy or “mainstream ideologies”, or challenging big bank policies can get you labeled a potential terrorist in America today. Indeed, for at least 40 years, the government has arbitrarily relabeled dissent as “terrorism” so it could go after dissenters
- The U.S. government has long used anti-terror laws to crush dissent and protect the powers-that-be
- Highly-militarized, federally-coordinated police used such brutal violence to break up the Occupy protests (see this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this) that the Egyptian military used the crack down on Occupy as justification for the murder of protesters in Tahir Square, Egypt