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On May 20th, The Center for Media and Democracy released a report containing the results of a year-long investigation about how national security agencies and corporate America have set up a public-private partnership aimed at monitoring (and sometimes harassing) social justice activists.  This very detailed report, based on almost 10,000 pages of open records material, "details how
 state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall
 Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012."

For some time now, it has been known that the Department of Homeland Security has partnered up with private corporations nationwide under the guise of protecting the country against "terrorism" threats.  This study, blows the lid off this subterfuge, clearly demonstrating that this arrangement actually represents a grave threat to our constitutional rights.

In an article titled "Spying on Occupy Activists," The Progressive highlights some of the main findings of the report (PDF):

OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread domestic spying on Occupy Wall Street activists, among others, on the shaky premise that these activists pose a terrorist threat. Often, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have coordinated with the private sector, working on behalf of, or in cooperation with, Wall Street firms and other companies the protesters have criticized.

- SNIP -

The anti-terrorist apparatus that the U.S. government established after 9/11 has now been turned against law-abiding citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. This apparatus consists not only of advanced surveillance technologies but also of “fusion centers” in state after state that coordinate the efforts of law enforcement up and down the line and collaborate with leading members of the private sector. Often, the work they do in the name of national security advances the interests of some of the largest corporations in America rather than focusing on protecting the United States from actual threats or attacks, such as the one at the Boston Marathon on April 15.

The emphasis is mine

When one reads the report, one becomes painfully aware about how these public-private partnerships set the stage for corporations to be able to basically buy off the entire security apparatus of the nation.  In another example of soft bribery, they find a way to transfer huge amounts of money to agencies, and to individuals (hence, buying their loyalty, and turning the security apparatus into corporate goons).

Some of the findings, include:

  • How corporations have become part of the homeland security “information sharing environment” with law enforcement/intelligence agencies through various public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. The report examines multiple instances in which the counter terrorism/homeland security apparatus was used to gather intelligence relating to activists for the benefit of corporate interests that were the subject of protests.
  • How private groups and individuals, such as Charles Koch, 
Chase Koch (Charles' son and a Koch Industries executive), Koch 
Industries, and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council 
have hired off-duty police officers -- sometimes still armed and in
 police uniforms -- to perform the private security functions of keeping
 undesirables (reporters and activists) at bay.

  
I will be following up on the source materials that were used to write the report, and on the still-developing implications of having what are essentially corporatist cartels play such a central role in our national security.

In the meantime, I encourage people to visith The Center for Media and Democracy website, and to read both, the report (PDF), and the article in The Progressive: "Spying on Occupy Activists"

Each blue dot on the map below represents a member of a growing nation-wide network of social justice and anti-corruption activists committed to finding the best way forward.  Join us in the effort!


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