Now that it’s been out for a few days, we wanted to point you to a recent entry over at The Informant in case you missed it the first time around. Federal law enforcement officers from agencies including but not limited to the FBI, DEA, and the Secret Service lined rooftops in downtown Oakland on the day that the verdict was announced in the trial of killer cop Johannes Mehserle. From the report:
Thirty-three federal, state and local officers were assigned to video details posted in buildings surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza and throughout the crowd of several hundred demonstrators. Among them were personnel from the Secret Service, the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation who took video of the protest. Some DEA and Oakland Police officers recorded the protest, while others dressed in plainclothes provided intelligence from within the crowd to OPD’s Emergency Operations Command Center at 1605 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
The FBI has apparently been involved in monitoring the Oscar Grant movement since its inception in January 2009 and has specifically targeted activists who they deem to be “anarchist.” On the day of the verdict (July 8), they even considered charging some arrestees federally. Why? Because “anarchist extremism” is apparently the exclusive province of the FBI:
Anarchist extremism is nothing new to the FBI. One of our first big cases occurred in 1919, when the Bureau of Investigation (as we were called then) investigated a series of anarchist bombings in several U.S. cities. And during the 1970s, the FBI investigated anarchist extremists such as the Weather Underground Organization, which conducted bombing campaigns.
Far from a blip, this increased level of monitoring represents a paradigm shift in localized surveillance. An important new investigation published today by the Washington Post notes:
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.
The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.
We’re as averse to conspiracy theorizing as anyone, but as the piece’s authors document concretely, this is an empirically observable trend. This is both about the centralization of surveillance power in the hands of the FBI, and about “[t]echnologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan … migrat[ing] into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.” We urge you to look at the Post piece after you finish reading The Informant.
Anyway, if you haven’t yet read it, we urge you to read The Informant report, complete with PDFs of pig documents corroborating their account. Good looks to our comrade on another top-notch reporting job!
Money for jobs and education, not for police occupation!
We won’t be intimidated by this new level of coercion. We’re not surprised; in fact, this just shows that state administrators feel threatened by our organizing. We know that Oscar Grant wasn’t an “incident,” but was police practice as usual. Just a few days after Mehserle’s sentencing, OPD pigs murdered another unarmed black man. They claimed they shot him as he tried to flee, but an autopsy revealed that he was shot in the front of his body. Last week, pigs in Long Beach shot a man holding a hose — yes, a hose — on his own front stoop 10 to 12 times without even attempting to make contact with him. Also last week, Vallejo pigs murdered a member of the Black Student Union at Napa Valley College who also happened to be a refugee of Hurricane Katrina. He was shooting a music video at the time.
These are just a few examples that have come our way in the last month or so. Over 1/5 of black Californians remain unemployed, and over 40 percent of black teenagers between 16 and 19. Ninety percent of the federal bailout money received by Oakland went straight to OPD. Police chief Anthony Batts and Mayor-elect Jean Quan tell us, “There are cultural things we could do to make sure incidents like this don’t happen again.” Cultural things. They give our limited federal funding almost exclusively to cops, do little to nothing to address the scandalous black unemployment rate, and then they want us to do “cultural things”? Draw your own conclusions…