VIDEO: Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: FBI Used Counterterrorism Resources To Monitor Occupy Group It Deemed NonViolent
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund recently released newly obtained Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents which reveal that the FBI has been spying on Occupy Wall Street activists well before their very first protest.
In spite of the agency having acknowledged repeatedly in their internal documents that the movement opposes violence, and thus poses no threat, it still used counterterrorism resources and counterterrorism authorities to monitor them.
This may indicate that the movement’s political views in themselves are somehow being construed by officials as a ‘threat’.
The FBI stonewalled The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s FOIA request for over a year, and chose to release the highly redacted documents on the Friday going into the weekend preceding Christmas — a common tactic used by Federal agencies when releasing potentially embarrassing information, to ensure minimal press coverage and minimal public attention.
Today, Amy Goodman invited Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, to appear on DemocracyNow to discuss the group’s FOIA request and findings.
Verheyden-Hilliard tells about the FBI’s “intense coordination both with private businesses, with Wall Street, with the banks, and with state police departments and local police departments around the country.” The documents show the FBI going as far as using private groups as “proxy forces” to conduct undercover infiltration against the peaceful protesters to then report their findings back to the agency.
MUSIC: Ziggy Marley, Chuck D, And Linda Perry Release Catchy Occupy-Inspired Reggae Tune
Inspired by the Occupy movement, Ziggy Marley, 4 Non-Blondes’ Linda Perry, and Public Enemy’s Chuck D recently collaborated in the studio, producing a very catchy reggae song, entitled “Can You Feel It?”
Inspirational political songs, these days, seem few and far between. Too often the lyrics come off as preachy and amateurish, and fail to provoke any passion or soul. Marley, Perry, and Chuck D managed to pull it off with this track. The political verses work, and the soulful Perry-led chorus will leave you humming the song long after it ends.
“Can You Feel It?” was released in June as a download to “enjoy, and share around the world freely.” You can visit Marley’s site for the FREE DOWNLOAD, or you can just listen to it here:
In the latest issue of SubMerge Magazine, James Barone interviews Marley, asking him about writing “Can You Feel It?” and what inspired him about the Occupy movement?:
Marley: … I was just happy to see people standing up for something at that level where it’s not about a student or religious thing, or even a politic per se, it was just a people thing … and how the economic structure of America seems to have been manipulated by those who have this inside knowledge or inside track. The common people don’t have that inside thing …
I want to see more of that. What I knew America for was that, really, people standing up in the streets and protesting things, and changing things… During the Gulf War and even after that, I was wondering how so many things were being put over on the American people. How are all these things being done, and the American people seem to not be involved in it?
I was just happy to see the people up and about and giving the system a run for its money. That song was a part of that.
The interview is only a couple pages long and delves further into Marley’s impressions of the Occupy movement and his opinions on the American political system. For those interested, the interview can be read in full here.
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VIDEO: Green Party’s Jill Stein: Romney Is A Wolf In Wolf’s Clothing, Obama Is A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein sits down with RT America to discuss the current state of the nation and the systemic forces that work against all efforts for real progressive reform. The video proceeds the following transcript highlights:
Stein explains how the 2-party political establishment works to marginalize all political opposition:
RT: You’re going to be on ballots but not in all states. Can you explain what it is in the system of the US that makes it so hard for a third party to break into this two-horse race?
JS: Exactly. The American system is designed to eliminate political opposition, like some of the dictatorships we criticize that have rigged political systems. In many ways the American system is also rigged, but in ways that are not so straightforward.
You have to actually see what it takes to get on the ballot if you are not already on as one of the big machine parties. Each state has its own set of rules which are very demanding, very detailed and bureaucratic and require lots of signatures in order to get on the ballots.
For the most part you need a lot of money, many millions of dollars, to buy your way on to the ballot, basically by hiring signature gatherers and people to keep track of this.
Stein explains that beyond their rhetoric, the 2 establishment parties are virtually one in the same:
RT: The Green Party often describes itself as the party that represents “Main Street” versus Wall Street. In what way do Barack Obama and Mitt Romney represent Wall Street that is against the interests of the American people?
JS: You know, Mitt Romney doesn’t even pretend to do anything other than advance the economic elites’ agenda. He has a track record which is to advance the likes of his own to acquire enormous amounts of wealth by tearing down other companies and businesses, firing workers and off-shoring jobs, gobbling up the profits themselves.
He’s got a track record which is pretty clear and he has a pretty straight-ahead Wall Street agenda.
With Barack Obama and the Democratic Party it is a little harder to see clearly what they are about because they do talk a populist line, but to actually look at their record – it is pretty clear who their allegiances are to.
George Bush provided about $800 billion in bailouts for Wall Street. But under Barack Obama it has been many trillions, some $4.5 trillion worth of bailouts that has already been dispersed and there there are many more trillions worth of loans and emergency loans and guarantees and quantitative easing through the Fed. All kinds of backdoors to basically funnel either out-and-out bailouts or free money to Wall Street.
So Mitt Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing. Barack Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.
How the establishment has worked to stifle and silence the Occupy Movement:
RT: Can you talk a little bit more about your involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement? Has the movement been big enough to make a tectonic shift in the US politics?
JS: I believe that that tectonic shift is happening and Occupy is one of the indicators it is happening. It is happening because one out of every two Americans is either in poverty or low income. Americans are really hurting and are desperate for solutions which they are not getting.
There is a rebellion that is in full swing. Occupy speaks for that rebellion. We saw in polls early on that a substantial majority of Americans was very sympathetic and supportive of the Occupy agenda.
RT: With the majority it is kind of a silent rebellion.
JS: Exactly. We are silenced. I believe it is not silent but our voices are continually muzzled. Through all kinds of ways. We cannot speak out politically. The media is very much in the hands of big corporations.
RT: The Congress approval rating is 11 per cent, so people are unhappy – but it is silent.
JS: Yes, by design. So that people have to work very hard to break through. And Occupy got the critical mass by assembling in our public squares, and they were very effective in breaking through – until the public relations campaign began to be conducted against them.
And we saw that, because that PR campaign actually got leaked. It was a many many hundreds of thousands of dollars campaign that was constructed even before the counterattack began. So you have both a media counter attack and than you had a counterattack by way of police brutality and suppression of our civil liberties as people were brutally attacked.
Stein describes U.S. foreign policy over the last decade as a failure, and how Barack Obama embraced George W. Bush’s policies:
RT: Let’s talk foreign policy. What is at the basis of the US serving as the world police? Would you carry on with it as a president?
JS: This world police policy is bankrupting Americans. We’re spending about $1 trillion a year on the military-industrial security complex. That budget has roughly doubled over the last 10 years, and we’re certainly not more secure for it.
We’ve spent trillions of dollars in Iraq. When we withdrew from Iraq how did we do it? We withdrew from Iraq in the dead of night, on a secret undisclosed date, because we were afraid that we would be ambushed in the process. How many friends exactly did we make in this war? What kind of a stable democracy did we make in Iraq? Iraq continues to tether on a brink of a civil war. It has certainly not become a straunch and reliable ally for the US, or for democracy, or for women’s rights, for that matter.
The barrel of a gun has not been an effective diplomat, and we need to heed that and take a lesson from it.
Unfortunately, President Obama basically embraced George Bush’s militaristic approach to foreign policy. On his third day in office he intensified the bombings in Pakistan, then went on to spread the drone wars into Somalia and Yemen. He surged the troops into Afghanistan. We still have about twice as many troops as we had under George Bush. It has certainly not made Afghanistan a safer and more secure place. We’re not in a better position to withdraw now and declare victory than we were years ago.
We know that when you have the kind of civilian casualties that you have with drone bombing, you’re simply aiding and abetting those very terrorist organizations that you’re trying to go after in the first place.
RT: What makes you concerned with regards to Mitt Romney’s foreign policy plans – if anything?
JS: His plans are basically, “let increase the military budget.” He has a lot of machismo and bravado when he beats the war drum. He wants to really flex muscle against Iran. But so too does the Obama administration, though they are less warmongering about it. But they are basically in agreement about coming down very hard on Iran, and holding no options off the table. So, they both threaten to use war where we should be using diplomacy.
On the 2-establishment parties’ financial dominance over third parties:
RT: We talked about money in politics. Everyone knows that campaigns are not cheap. You’re a physician. Your net worth is probably far from Mitt Romney’s $200 million. Your party is financing a lost cause at this stage. What is the real goal at this stage?
JS: In my view to say it is a lost cause is to say that our economy is a lost cause. It is to say that it is inevitable that we’re going to crash.
I mean the uphill battle for our election is identical to the uphill battle to rescue our economy.
We are a real political party. We’re not just the storefront that looks like it is main street, but is actually funded by Wall Street – that’s what the other political parties are. They pretend to really have the public support, but what they really have is the support of this 1 per cent. They have a propaganda campaign going on and intensive public relations and psychological warfare that is intended to convince people that they don’t have any options.
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WATCH: New 1 Minute Video Series: How The Worst Of The 1% Exploits America
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WATCH: The Origins Of #OccupyWallStreet: An Interview With Adbusters’ Micah White
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WATCH: Police Brutality Against #OccupyWallStreet Protesters In Times Square – 15 Oct 2011
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Bank Transfer Day: Simple Step-By-Step Guide To Finding A Credit Union And Ditching Your Greedy Bank
November Fifth is officially ‘Bank Transfer Day’ — a day when tens-of-thousands of Americans plan to collectively transfer all their money from the corrupt and greedy Wall Street banks to not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions. The steps involved in this process, however, can present some potential challenges to overcome. The key to a happy November Fifth […]