Saturday, March 29, 2014

How the FBI Routinely Breaks the Law and Endangers Lives

If you or one of your close friends were the possible target of a sniper assassination, and if law enforcement knew about it, shouldn’t law enforcement have an obligation to tell you? And if they deliberately didn’t tell you, wouldn’t you be legitimately concerned that your potential assassin may be part of law enforcement?
 
In November of 2011, I arrived at Tranquility Park in downtown Houston about 15 minutes late for Occupy Houston’s nightly general assembly. I was having trouble finding a parking place when I noticed that the park was bathed in the flashing red and blue lights of the Houston PD's cars surrounding the park, and there were television news trucks adjacent to the park broadcasting live. I thought we were being evicted, and ran to the scene.
 
Just moments before I arrived, a 21-year-old man named Joshua Anthony Twohig had walked into the park, dressed in a suit and carrying a .40 caliber assault rifle. He pointed his gun at several of my Occupy Houston comrades, fired several shots into the air, and was shot by police before being taken into custody. As someone with a history of mental illness, Twohig was ruled incompetent to stand trial in January of 2012. The incident spooked a lot of people at the camp, many of us wondering if any of us were targets of a larger plot.
 
In December 2012, documents revealed by a FOIA request from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund showed that the FBI was investigating the Occupy Wall Street movement – a movement that explicitly operated on principles of nonviolence and direct democracy – for “criminal activity” and “domestic terrorism.” Those documents also revealed the FBI’s knowledge of a November 2011 assassination plot in which leaders of the Occupy Houston movement were targeted. In these public documents the FBI redacted the names of the individuals and/or groups plotting the assassination with high-powered rifles, and never approached anyone at Occupy Houston alerting them that their lives were in danger.