Right wing tabloid New York Post published a thinly-veiled press release today for the NYPD on how a slippery group of "rich kid" "anarchists" were using social media and burner phones to get one over on the NYPD:
Tech-savvy anarchists [ed note: LOL] ran rings around the NYPD during last week’s Ferguson-related protests — and cops are now on edge over what the renegades may be able to pull off after a ruling in the Eric Garner case.
Setting aside the Post's trademark hyperbole, the article amounts to little more than a public relations piece in the run up to the Eric Garner decision designed to prop up a straw man band of evil, rich liberal protestors and a plucky bunch of do-good cops trying to stay ahead of these bond-villian wannabes aimed at disruption and chaos. No intelligence or military agency (and make no mistake about it, the NYPD is both) ever went broke hyping a well-funded and sophisticated boogie man that's always one step ahead. This, in and of itself, while amusing, would not really be of much note however. What is of note, is that buried in paragraph five is rather explosive (and entirely casual) admission on the part of the NYPD: that they're using resources and personnel earmarked for Counterterror operations to monitor entirely peaceful activist groups:
“They wore me out,” said one counterterror expert who monitored the protests. “Their ability to strategize on the fly is something we haven’t dealt with before to this degree.”
The next paragraph makes clear the "they" in question are organizers of protests over the Grand Jury's Mike Brown decision last week:
Authorities suspect “a few hundred” of the estimated 4,000 protesters who took to New York City’s streets after the Ferguson decision used their knack for mobile technology to send out real-time advisories on where cops were located and where they were headed.
Even going so far as to withhold FOIL requests on an alleged plot by the FBI to "assassinate" an Occupy Houston organizer earlier this year:
A federal judge has ordered the FBI to explain why it withheld some information requested by a graduate student for his research on a plot to assassinate Occupy Houston protest leaders.
And we know that in addition to a CIA liaison embedded within the NYPD's own intelligence unit (offices in London, Paris, Tel Aviv and Amman, Jordan to name a few) the NYPD is a partner in the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF), so the assumption among most activists was the NYPD - like the FBI - was using its counter terrorism apparatus to spy, monitor, and likely infiltrate peaceful activists. Indeed, during Occupy's early days in 2011 members of the NYPD's Counterterrorism unit were spotted in Times Square helping kettle activists:
But up until today there had been no public acknowledgment by the NYPD that its counterterrorism unit was being used expressly for the purposes of monitoring domestic activism. The NYPD's own description makes clear the bureau's purpose and scope, as their very name would indicate, is entirely based on stopping "terrorism" in the wake of 9/11:
The mission of the Counterterrorism Bureau is to develop innovative, forward-looking policies and procedures to guard against the threat of international and domestic terrorism in New York City.
Here's 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley and former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly explaining why the Intelligence and Counterterror units were so important: 9/11 Changed Everything™. Notice the complete lack of references to "peaceful activists" or "protestors" when justifying the NYPD's mammoth size and power (its 50,000 members making it bigger than the FBI, as Pelly notes):
Now that we know for certain the NYPD is using its 'Counterterrorism' bureau to spy and monitor on Ferguson and Occupy activists this can only mean one thing: those involved in activism, by definition, are viewed by the NYPD as "terrorists" or the Constitutionally indistinguishable "potential terrorists" and are presently being treated as such. That such an admission - albeit one that was largely taken for granted - can be casually tossed in a New York Post article without so much as a peep or ounce of incredulity from our corporate media tells us how routine the slippery, politically-motivated manipulation of the term "terrorism" has become.
I've reached out to both Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman who won the Pulitzer prize in 2013 for their work documented the abuses of the NYPD for comment, if they get back I will update accordingly. If you can, check out their Book "Enemies Within" and its corresponding AP investigation