|Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo, pictured, claim to be labeled "the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation" by the Washington Post. They founded the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, according to their mission statement, to defend human and civil rights as secured by law, to protect free speech and dissent and eliminate prejudice and discrimination.
FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
The PCJF has announced that they obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park in New York and other Occupy actions around the country.
“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” states Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). “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. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
According to Heather Benno, PCJF staff attorney, “the documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We [PCJF] are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation.”
Specific information has been posted here.