United States ‘security’ spying on Ferguson demonstrators


This video from the USA says about itself:

Ferguson Activists Ashley Yates & Tory Russell: The System Wasn’t Made To Protect Us

15 October 2014

Ferguson activists Ashley Yates of Millennial Activists United and Tory Russell of Hands Up United stop by GlobalGrind to discuss how the youth are leading the movement to end police violence and how politicians working with a broken system that doesn’t value black lives aren’t the ones effecting change.

By Jason Leopold in the USA:

The DHS Planned to ‘Plug’ Federal Officers Into the Ferguson Protests, Documents Show

July 21, 2015 | 9:15 pm

As the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri considered whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting death last August of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was working on a plan to “plug” federal officers into protests to “perform surveillance” and “collect intelligence in the crowd.”

The disclosure is contained in more than 700 pages of documents VICE News obtained from DHS in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and comes just a couple of weeks before the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death, which helped spark national debate about the targeting of African Americans by police.

It’s unclear, however, whether DHS executed the plan. Some information in the documents was withheld on grounds that it would reveal law enforcement techniques, procedures, and trade secrets, or potentially endanger the life of an individual, DHS said.

Kade Crockford, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Technology for Liberty project, told VICE News that sending officers into protests “to spy on dissidents is both relatively routine and extremely problematic.”

“The First Amendment protects our right to criticize the government and agitate for social and political change, and this kind of law enforcement activity directly threatens that right,” she said. “DHS’s choice to spend taxpayer dollars spying on today’s black civil rights activists shows that federal law enforcement continues to view black people’s demands for basic rights and equality as somehow threatening.

“Congress or inspectors general of the FBI and DHS should investigate how federal law enforcement agencies have been spending precious government resources keeping track of activists. The results of such investigations should be made public so we have a more complete picture of how and where the Feds are dedicating funds and staff to monitoring black dissidents in the wake of Ferguson.”

Protesters raised concerns at the time on social media about the presence of DHS vehicles at the protests. It is not uncommon for DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies to keep tabs on protests, particularly in cities where federal buildings and parks are located (St. Louis has both). But it has become increasingly clear over the years, internal government documents show, that federal law enforcement also views such high-profile protests as a possible breeding ground for domestic terrorist activity and a good source of intelligence.

The deployment of DHS officers to Ferguson and St. Louis was a reunion of sorts. “Looks like we are working together again,” one officer remarked to another in an email. “Long time since [Hurricane] Katrina. LOL.”

The cache of documents, although heavily redacted, reveal that DHS had stocked up on batons and shields due to concerns that protests could quickly turn violent in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision. Officers who were being deployed to Missouri were required to go through new “training” to learn how to handle themselves if riots broke out. The documents also reveal that DHS suspected that its operational plans for confronting the protests would attract negative attention from the public and the media.

The fears of riots were so heightened that DHS officials barred officers from scheduling vacation and taking time off in order to make certain personnel could be present and on call in Ferguson.

In an attempt to thwart the release of information, an employee with DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate distributed an email on November 11, 2014 reminding personnel to mark all electronic communications “for official use only” because of “recent events and FOIA requests.” (Though “for official use only” is not an official security classification, government agencies use it as a protective marking to exempt documents from public disclosure.) DHS personnel were also instructed to be mindful of their own social media posts about the protests and Brown’s death, as they could be a “hindrance or burden if the wrong thing is said/typed.”

The emails also reveal that in anticipation of a grand jury decision, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Security Division made a decision to deploy dozens of “FBI police officers” to St. Louis to “enhance the protection of the FBI St. Louis Field Office.”

FBI police officers are different than FBI agents. The police officers are uniformed members of the bureau who are tasked with protecting FBI facilities; they have limited law enforcement powers.

“The deployed FBI police will only be responsible for the protection of their facility,” said a November 6, 2014 email whose sender’s name was redacted. But DHS also provided the FBI with a “short-term (30-day) Delegation of Law Enforcement Authority to provide the deployed FBI Police Officers with legal authority should they become involved in a law enforcement action.”

The documents reveal that DHS received “intelligence” — largely based on a Fox News report — and subsequently investigated claims that Muslims had “co-opted” the protests in Ferguson.

“Have you seen this line of reporting before?” a Federal Protective Service employee wrote in a November 18, 2014 email. “Do you think Ferguson is becoming attractive to [redacted, though likely a reference to a terrorist group]? Any insight would be appreciated.”

The Fox News report focused on how the Council of American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) was trying to raise awareness about the 2009 shooting death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, an imam at a Detroit mosque. The right-wing think tank Center for Security Policy alleged in a report, which Fox News cited, that Muslim groups like CAIR had “ulterior motives” for joining in the protests.

The documents do not reveal how DHS followed up on the claim.

The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request: here.

USA: Members of the National Bar Association called on black lawyers to advocate for victims and protesters of police brutality by representing them in civil cases and pushing for reforms of the criminal justice system: here.

21 thoughts on “United States ‘security’ spying on Ferguson demonstrators

  1. America’s justice system is broken. Our prisons lock up millions of people, ruin lives, fail to make our communities safer, and waste $80 billion a year.

    People of color bear the brunt of this injustice, but there’s finally a real chance to make change.

    Please join our friends at CREDO Action in urging Congress to pass the SAFE Justice Act and roll back America’s incarceration industry.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    —-

    CREDO action
    What Congress can do about mass incarceration

    The petition to Congress reads:
    “Take action to roll back the incarceration industry in America.”

    Add your name:
    Sign the petition ►

    Dear Friend,

    America’s justice system is broken. Our prisons lock up millions of people, ruin lives, fail to make our communities safer, and waste $80 billion a year.

    People of color bear the brunt of this injustice, but there’s finally a real chance to make change.

    Comprehensive legislation to make significant changes to our criminal justice system was recently introduced in Congress, and has already earned support from legislators on both sides of the aisle. The Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective (SAFE) Justice Act offers broad based, system-wide reforms to dismantle our unjust prison system.1 But Congressional leaders are dragging their feet, refusing so far to schedule any hearings or votes on the bill.

    Last week, President Obama called out the racial disparities and terrible conditions in our criminal justice system and called on Congress to make change.2 With the president ready to sign a bill, and bipartisan support for substantive reforms, now is the time for Congress to act.

    Tell Congress to pass the SAFE Justice Act and roll back America’s incarceration industry. Click here to sign the petition.

    The SAFE Justice Act brings solutions that have proven successful at the state level to the federal prison system. It would reduce over-criminalization, offer sentencing alternatives, reward good behavior with shorter prison and parole time, and support individuals’ reentry into society.

    If we let the current system continue unchecked, millions of people will continue to be criminalized, millions of dollars will continue to be wasted, and communities of color will continue to be crippled. It’s time to implement reform now. The more of us who sign on, the more pressure we can put on Congress to get the SAFE Justice Act on President Obama’s desk by the end of 2015. Click the link below to sign the petition:

    http://act.credoaction.com/sign/end_mass_incarceration_dems/

    Together, we can pass historic federal legislation and end the vicious cycle of suffering mass incarceration has caused.

    Thanks for everything you do,

    Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
    CREDO Action from Working Assets

    Add your name:
    Sign the petition ►

    http://act.credoaction.com/sign/end_mass_incarceration_dems/

    1. “SAFE Justice Act Would Apply Lessons From State Reforms to Federal Sentencing and Corrections System,” Pew Trusts, 6/25/2015.

    2. “Obama looks beyond commutations in justice reform bid,”,” Kevin Liptak, CNN, 6/15/2015.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Police kill unarmed African American about car licence plate | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Sandra Bland, after her death in Texas, USA, update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Selma to Washington civil rights march in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: ‘Anti-African American police unions don’t belong in AFL-CIO’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Knitting against racism in Missouri, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Missouri, USA NAACP supports civil rights march | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Micheael Brown commemorated in Ferguson, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Michael Brown’s death and after, by an African American psychologist | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: St. Louis County, USA state of emergency | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Ferguson solidarity women, after marriage, four years in jail? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Ferguson, USA news update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Mass charges of demonstrators in Ferguson, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Donald Trump, Murdoch and anti-#BlackLivesMatter violence in Minnesota, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: #BlackLivesMatter and wildlife refuge gunmen in the USA, who’s the terrorist? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: United States FBI spying on activists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Hillary Clinton criticized by US State Department on emails | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Pingback: 300 anti-pollution activists injured for Dakota Access pipeline | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  19. Pingback: From bloody Iraq war to bloody Fort Lauderdale, USA airport | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.