Department of Homeland Security Gives Occupy Wall Street the "Rightwing Extremist" Treatment


Occupy Wall Street and its sympathizers are livid over a five-page report found in the massive cache of Stratfor emails recently published by Wikileaks. Circulated in October and titled "SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street," the DHS report in question is based largely on publicly available information, such as news stories and Twitter feeds. The "ominous" part, writes Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings, is the analysis: 

"The growing support for the OWS movement has expanded the protests' impact and increased the potential for violence. While the peaceful nature of the protests has served so far to mitigate their impact, larger numbers and support from groups such as Anonymous substantially increase the risk for potential incidents and enhance the potential security risk to critical infrastructure (CI). The continued expansion of these protests also places an increasingly heavy burden on law enforcement and movement organizers to control protesters. As the primary target of the demonstrations, financial services stands the sector most impacted by the OWS protests. Due to the location of the protests in major metropolitan areas, heightened and continuous situational awareness for security personnel across all CI sectors is encouraged."

The Atlantic Wire's John Hudson rounded up some liberal reactions to Hastings' scoop: 

"The DHS document appears to be more concerned with protecting the mechanisms of the financial sector than in ensuring the safety of citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights," wrote Allison Kilkenny in Truthout. "The suppression of Occupy is nothing less than an attack on those who would try to exercises their civil liberties, their rights and seek to energize democracy," wrote Fire Dog Lake's Kevin Gosztola. The article was re-blogged across scores of Occupy tumblers including Anticapitalist, Occupy All Streets and #Occupy Wall Street.

On Current TV last night, host Cenk Uygur blasted the agency for focusing exclusively on Occupy Wall Street. "The Tea Party… that happens to be pro-corporate America is not anywhere to be found here [but] when Occupy Wall Street is not pro-corporate America, all of a sudden, they need to be investigated by the Department of Homeland Security." 

Hudson also notes that the Tea Party has been observed by DHS, and includes a link to a May 2009 DHS report titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurrgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." While the report doesn't explicitly mention the Tea Party, it does describe a slice of the American electorate that the Tea Party represents: 

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

It says the federal government "will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months" to gather information on "rightwing extremist activity in the United States."

Replace "white power militias" with "anarchist black blocs"; "abortion or immigration" with "health care or unions"; "federal authority" with "captured regulators," and the DHS report about right-wingers could be about Occupy Wall Street. 

Which is why I think it's odd that someone as passionate about civil liberties and the right to assemble as Cenk Uygur (and the rest of the lefties quoted above) could fail to see the forest for trees. The State does not care if people are "pro-Corporate America," just as it does not care if people are "pro-Obama" (as some folks interpreted from the DHS report on right-wing extremism). What the State cares about is order

a state in which the laws and rules regulating the public behavior of members of a community are observed and authority is obeyed

This is why, when the State decides you are not on its side, it doesn't matter whose side you're on; whether yours is a community of a diverse group of white all colors of religious fanatics living outside of Waco, or a group of black liberationists living in the heart of Philadelphia; if you're an Occupier or a Tea Partier. All of you are disruptors. That's what matters.