Occupy Wall Street activists are up in arms over a new report describing Homeland Security officials monitoring Occupy demonstrations, but a closer look reveals much ado about nothing.
The government paranoia machine took off last night after Rolling Stone contributor Michael Hastings published an exclusive on e-mails obtained from the global intelligence firm Stratfor via WikiLeaks. In his ominous appraisal of a Department of Homeland Security document, he notes that DHS officials read "OWS-related Twitter feeds" and other "publicly available sources" to keep tabs on the movement. "The government has a long and disturbing history of justifying the curtailing of civil liberties under the cover of perceived, and often manufactured, threats," he wrote. The article passed quickly through the Occupy information bloodstream.
"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.