Weekend Open Thread: Info on Surveillance of Occupy Trickles Out

Whew!  With the election over, I feel more free to discuss topics that would have been a distraction even a week ago.  For example, this:

Government Surveillance of the Occupy Protests

The following documents, distributed by people working with counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing offices known as “fusion centers,” are a selection from among about 4,000 pages of unclassified emails and reports obtained through freedom of information requests by lawyers at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, who represent Occupy participants. The documents, which they provided to The New York Times, offer details of the scrutiny of the Occupy protests in 2011 and 2012 by law enforcement officers, federal officials, security contractors and others.

I have been both celebrated and vilified among the Occupy OC (and San Diego, Long Beach, and Los Angeles) communities for demanding, as OOC’s Civic Liaison, that we strictly adhere to non-violence and non-destructive protest.  (This was not only an ethical decision, but a practical one: violence and property damage would not scare the political and criminal justice leadership in Orange County; we saw how much they enjoyed dressing up and rolling out the heavy equipment to oppose it during the Anaheim civil unrest protests.  But it would certainly alienate us from the populace — much of which came here seeking personal security — and distract from our larger message anti-corruption message.)

By and large, local activists agreed — though they got out any frustration with visits to Long Beach and elsewhere, as depicted above — and, to its discredit, local media simply refused to cover us much if we weren’t going to give them blood and broken glass, which is what my critics had warned would happen.

So, as these reports on government surveillance of Occupy Wall Street start to come out, can I ask that they be evaluated in the context of Cliven Bundy and of people carrying firearms to retail stores and to political rallies they want to protest?  Do those people have rights that we didn’t?  If Occupy becomes active again, what’s the principle that denies US — or Black and Latino youth engaged in their own protests — the right to openly carry firearms?  How about the right to carry concealed weapons with a permit?  Can anyone explain the new rules — in a way that doesn’t reduce itself to “society thinks it’s OK to discriminate in Second Amendment rights when it comes to race, ethnicity, and ideology”?

Occupy OC goes to Long Beach

One possible difference between this photo and one in which the protesters were exercising what in the past couple of years have been widely accepted as their Second Amendment rights is that they’re not all lying in pools of their own blood.

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or anything else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decency and decorum.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)