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Tag: protests

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

FBI Tracked, Surveilled Black Lives Matter Protesters More Than Previously Disclosed

Black Lives Matter poster on a window in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters went much further than previously believed as agents tracked the movements of an activist and conducted surveillance of homes and cars of people believed to be tied to rallies in Ferguson, Missouri, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents from 2014 indicate the FBI trailed an activist flying from New York to Ferguson, where protests broke out following the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Federal investigators gathered information from social media to profile and track activists. The FBI even sent informants and set up surveillance of antiracist activists.

The heavily redacted records provide a rough snapshot into FBI activities surrounding the protests.

A November 2014 report shows that an FBI agent alerted investigators that a protester was planning to travel from New York to Ferguson for a Thanksgiving Day protest. The activist’s name was redacted, but notes from investigators indicate they suspected the protester “had been arrested at a previous protest.” Another report suggests the FBI had compiled a dossier on the protester.

The documents contradict the FBI’s earlier assertion that agents don’t police ideology and only target people believed to be planning violence, said Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program.

“This is clearly just tracking First Amendment activity and keeping this activity in an intelligence database,” said German, in a phone interview, referring to the FBI report about an individual’s plans to travel for a protest. “Even if you made the argument that it is about a propensity for violence, why isn’t there a discussion of that propensity? Instead they are discussing bond money, not detailing a criminal predicate or even a possibility of violence.”

FBI Monitored Black Lives Matter Protests Over Fears of Violence

Black Lives Matter poster on a window in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests because of fears of potential violence, according to newly released documents from the FBI and Homeland Security.

The surveillance began after a gunman shot and killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas, in July 2016 during a rally against police brutality, Al Jazeera reports

Although the FBI acknowledged the gunman acted alone and was not part of the Black Lives Matter movement, the bureau began warning of “attacks against law enforcement,” using racially charged language, according to a series of emails.

“Due to sensitivities surrounding recent police shootings, the threat of copycat attacks against law enforcement exists,” one email read, adding that “there is a threat of black supremacist extremists attempting to violently co-opt the upcoming DNC/RNC”, referring to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

The emails refer to “black supremacist extremists attempting to violently co-opt the upcoming” Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Michael German, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, told Al Jazeera that the report was misleading because it involved the “blending of activities” of protesters.

“If I’m a police officer on the street trying to address the concerns raised in this report, obviously, I’m going to be focusing on black people,” German said.

In August, an FBI report warned of “Black Identity Extremists” targeting police.

“The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremists perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will likely serve as justification for such violence,” the report, dated August 3, read.

FBI Terrorism Unit Warns of Potential Violence from Black Activists

Protest in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A leaked FBI report shows the federal government is worried that “black identity extremists” are a violent threat.

The August 2017 assessment by the FBI’s counter-terrorism division claims that “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” 

The assessment has raised concerns among civil rights activists that black activists will be targets of surveillance.

“When we talk about enemies of the state and terrorists, with that comes an automatic stripping of those people’s rights to speak and protest,” Mohammad Tajsar, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Guardian. “It marginalizes what are legitimate voices within the political debate that are calling for racial and economic justice.” 

In a statement to Foreign Policy, the FBI said it cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights.” 

Secret Service Worried About Possible Violence at Trump Inauguration

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is on edge as it prepares for one of the most contentious inauguration days in U.S. history.

Protesters plan to converge in Washington D.C. to rally against Donald Trump, while tens of thousands of his supporters are expected to gather for the event, WTOP reports. 

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said he’s worried about potential violent acts.

“I think people today are willing to do things they may not have been willing to do in the past,” Clancy said.

Clancy pointed out other incidents during the campaign, “where people jumped over those bike racks or security zones into our buffer. In the past, it was very rare for somebody to do that. Today, in this past campaign, people were willing to do it.”

Among the concerns are terrorist attacks.

“We know that this (Washington region) is a high-profile [terror] target. It’s been attacked in the past, historically,” said Paul Abbate, the FBI’s executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.

Judge Orders FBI, CIA, NSA to Disclose Spying on Occupy Protesters

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge has ordered the FBI, CIA and NSA to disclose any evidence that they spied on Occupy Philly protesters.

U.S. District Judge Berle Schiller gave the agencies 60 days to comply with the order, Al Jazeera reports. 

Civil rights activists want to know whether the agencies spied on protesters who camped outside Philadelphia City Hall for seven weeks in 2011.

“The government should not be investigating its citizens simply because they’ve raised their voices in dissent, whether it’s against government or corporate policy,” civil rights lawyer Paul Hetznecker said Tuesday.

The right-to-know case follows the revelation that the FBI was monitoring Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York and other cities.

Secret Service to Boost Security Around Trump Tower Amid Protests

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service ad NYPD are boosting security around Trump Tower, where Donald Trump lives, because of protests targeting the building.

The tower all is expected to be the president-elect’s base of operations to prepare for his transition to the White House, NBC New York reports. 

NYPD said the department is “assisting the Secret Service with security measures for the President-elect.”

The Secret Service also will handle Trump’s personal security.

The extra security is intended to help with crowd control as protests continue to break out in New York.

Black Lives Matter Activists Claim FBI Agents Urging Not to Protest at RNC

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Black Lives Matter activists said FBI agents have been urging them not to protest at this week’s Republican convention in Cleveland.

The Washington Post repots that Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson asked President Obama to instruct the FBI to stop contacting activists ahead of the convention.

The Post reports:

Activists in Cleveland, San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis, and St. Louis have all told The Washington Post that they have been visited by FBI agents in recent days, which the activists consider an intimidation tactic.

One activist with Campaign Zero, the group co-founded by Mckesson, tweeted about a recent encounter he had with an FBI agent.

An activist in New York said an agent visited his home earlier this week.

“I don’t want to talk about particular groups here but there is a concern anytime there’s an event like this that people from across a spectrum of radical groups will be attracted to it,” FBI Director James Comey said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.