Only one month into the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations last year, plans were formulated to identify key figures in the movement and execute them with a coordinated assault using sniper rifles, new documents reveal.
The revelation — discussed in a heavily redacted FBI memo unearthed late last month through a Freedom of Information Act request — reveals that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of plans for a violent assault on the peaceful protest movement but stayed silent on rumors of an assassination attempt only until now.
Information on the alleged plot to kill off protesters appears on page 61 of the trove of documents obtained recently by a FOIA request filed by the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund. On the page in question, marked “SECRET,” the FBI acknowledges:
An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] 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.
In the rest of the material obtained by the PFCJF, the FBI declines to mention any follow-up attempts to investigate the rumored assassination plot. Page 61, where the plot is discussed, was redacted heavily before it was handed over to the PFCJF.
“This correlation between the FBI, the Department of Homeland security and corporations in the New York stock exchange really showed who they are serving. It’s not the government in this case, it’s these corporations and a financial sector, and it’s certainly not the people,” independent journalist and activist Anna Lekas Miller told RT.
“The FBI is really just targeting ordinary people going about their daily lives as potential terrorists, and now people, who are participating in peaceful protests, are also characterized as domestic terrorists. So, I think the FBI is really picking and choosing who it categorizes as the type of civilians it wants to protect,” added Miller.
As RT reported when the documents were first published just before Christmas, other material released through the FOIA request showed the FBI and other law enforcement agencies labeling Occupy activists as criminal and domestic terrorists. This was the case from the beginning of their anti-capitalism and anti-corporate greed protests that started in September 2011.
“These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity,” PFCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard says. “These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
But while police agencies were working to expose protesters for alleged crimes against the country, the demonstrators themselves were being faced with very real death threats.
“The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Years, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world,” Naomi Wolf writes for The Guardian. Not all that unsurprising, though, is how the very agencies that acted to suppress the protest movement made little announcement of plans to execute the very people involved in the group.
“[T]hreats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire — by whom? Where? — now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader,” Wolf writes.
Commenting on the trove of documents, The New York Times reports, “The records show little evidence that the members of the movement planned to commit violence.”