Key activists of Occupy Houston were once targeted by a sniper group while the FBI continues to withhold information about the assassination plot.
January 2013 an article was written concerning the early stages and findings: “Occupy movement nationwide targeted as an assassination plot unfolds: FBI gives no warning” which gave little detail about an assassination plot that surfaced after FBI documents revealed the following:
An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.
January 2013 article here: http://www.sheredore.com/?p=214
OCCUPY HOUSTON’S BACKGROUND
The article detailed Occupy Houston’s findings back then and this is now. Nearly three-years since Occupy Houston began, the assassination plot concerning key activists of Occupy Houston has become a hot topic once more, especially for those deeply involved with activism and the community. Occupy Houston is an extension of Occupy Wall Street that thrived in September 2011. The Occupy movement ignited after the Arab Spring in the Mid-East sparked protests all over the globe by individuals and groups who clearly had enough of corruption within their government and the role that major corporations played with political leaders. Occupy Houston jumped on board and hosted their first rally on October 6, 2011, just three-weeks after the start of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Houston is the 4th largest city in America which has a population of nearly 4-million (including the surrounding suburbs) and is considered the Energy Capitol of the World. Houston has the 2nd highest number of Fortune 500 companies after New York. These corporations include: Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips, Sysco, Halliburton, Marathon Oil and National Oilwell Vargo just to name a few. Occupy Houston along with Occupy extensions throughout the U.S. were assembling on public space while forming several actions that protested corporations, banks and political leaders who intentionally depleted the nations economy, used their financial powers to obtain special favors from Congress and of course the infamous 1%, 85 of the worlds wealthiest people. In fact, the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest individuals on the planet. Combine the highly imbalanced scale where it concerned minimum wage workers vs. the corporate elite, including our nations government who had passed a bill that gave an $800-billion bail out via tax dollars to banks and mega financial groups. Congress approved the $800 billion bailout quickly and quietly. Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and seven other U.S. banks were paid $32.6 billion in bonuses by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2008 which went to a handful of bank executives meanwhile the majority of the nations people were hit with job losses that had a negative rippling effect for individuals personally and America’s economy. It is no surprised that The People were fed up and wanted to do something about the growing problem. Occupy was born. Although mainstream medias perpetrated a very negative view of the Occupy movement, those who were personally involved and those who supported Occupy had first hand knowledge that while imperfect, Occupy was attempting to make positive changes within the country. Occupy worked hard to ensure that voices were not silenced, giving people an outlet and even breeding new activists. With all the positive energies surfacing with a true will to do good in society, Occupy Houston was appalled upon learning about an assassination plot. Even worse, the FBI failed to inform Occupy Houston of the plot which added speculation among local activists.
MEET RYAN SHAPIRO
Ryan Shapiro is a researcher and an advocate for animal rights groups. Shapiro is most known for his FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to government entities and has almost become an expert concerning FOIA requests. When the U.S. government has refused to process those requests or provided data that is highly redacted or presumed to be manipulated, Shapiro has pursued repeated litigation that has been widely publicized. Shapiro currently has more than 700 active FOIA requests and four pending lawsuits with the FBI. Most recently Shapiro has been in the media worldwide concerning Occupy Houston and the FBI. Shapiro learned of the assassination plot aimed at key activist of Occupy Houston and initiated a FOIA request through the FBI to obtain more information on the assassination plot. The FBI responded by giving Shapiro heavily redacted (information intentionally blacked out by the FBI) documents that gave Shapiro no information concerning the plot. Shapiro filed a suit against the FBI for a violation of FOIA itself. The FBI had identified 17-pages that concern the plot but only surrendered 5-pages however little to no information was obtained by Shapiro or his FOIA attorney, Jeffrey Light. FBI FOIA Chief David Hardy defended suppressing the information in a motion to dismiss Shapiro’s lawsuit. The request concerned material that the FBI had given to local authorities who were investigating “potential criminal activity” by Occupy Houston protesters. The FBI was working with them to assess potential terrorist threats posed by Occupy Houston and determine whether it had advocated overthrowing the US government. The FBI and the Department of Justice invoked the Bureau’s “general investigative authority” and its “lead role in investigating terrorism and in the collection of terrorism threat information” as a basis for its exemption from FOIA, but this did not convince Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
At no point does Mr. Hardy supply specific facts as to the basis for the FBI’s belief that the Occupy protestors [sic] might have been engaged in terroristic or other criminal activity,” Collyer wrote in an opinion that denied part of the FBI’s motion to dismiss. “Neither the word ‘terrorism’ nor the phrase ‘advocating the overthrow of the government’ are talismanic, especially where FBI purports to be investigating individuals who ostensibly are engaged in protected First Amendment activity. -Judge Collyer
Collyer gave the FBI until April 9th to provide a more detailed explanation for its exemptions, which the FBI can submit to the court under seal and can keep it sealed if the Judge chooses. Meanwhile April 9th has passed, Occupy Houston has knowledge of the latest information concerning the April 9th court date however out of respect for Shapiro, Occupy Houston has chosen to keep silent on the matter and awaits more information by Shapiro and his attorney which is soon to come.
Occupy Houston’s One Year Anniversary at Houston City Hall
(Photo Credit: Burnell McCray)
OCCUPY HOUSTON CHOOSES TO FIGHT BACK
Upon learning about Shapiro’s lawsuit, activist of Occupy Houston began assessing the information that was pouring in by different medias all over the world. While Occupy Houston had little knowledge of the assassination plot in early 2012, the more recent information learned by activists forced several communicate and realize the importance of this issue. To be called a Domestic Terrorist and have knowledge that there was a true plot to assassinate, to literally murder individuals for practicing their First Amendment right, became very real for Occupy Houston. On March 19, 2014, Occupy Houston filed a FOIA request through the FBI concerning the assassination plot. On March 25, 2014, Occupy Houston issued its first formal statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Occupy Houston activists demand FBI release assassination plot details
We want to take a moment to thank everyone for your concerns regarding information released about the FBI’s knowledge of assassination plans that targeted key participants in our movement. These plots involved the execution of members of Occupy Houston through coordinated sniper fire.
We want you to know we are ok, we are not afraid, and we are not going to run from this. We, Occupy Houston, have launched a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the documents, and are awaiting a response before deciding our next moves.
Occupy Houston activists collectively stand together and have made it public that we are running our own investigation of the assassination plots after learning that the FBI not only had knowledge of these plots but actively refused to inform Occupy Houston activists of the details. These extremely suspicious acts lead us to question whether the plot(s) were a government sanctioned plot or that of an independent entity.
Let’s be clear: a terror plot such as this one put our lives in danger. The FBI has refused to inform us of the details. The FBI felt it was best to not only keep this imperative information from us but continues to heavily redact documents that would answer our inquiries. The FBI is actively shielding a vicious plan to murder us under the all-too-familiar guise of national security.
Throughout the time that Occupy Houston physically occupied Tranquility Park, it was made clear that the Houston Police Department, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the Houston FBI, Dept of Homeland Security, Austin Police Department (who infiltrated and set up Occupier activists from Houston, Dallas and Austin) and other government agencies were not interested in respecting peaceful democratic assemblies, and in fact they used the most undemocratic and violent methods to suppress our movement, here and all over the country.
We thank our supporters who have stood by our side since 2011. Occupy Houston has formally requested the documents as of March 19, 2014. We demand the FBI immediately release all information pertaining this case.
We would also like to thank MIT student Ryan Shapiro for his continued support and attempts to obtain these documents, which were previously denied by the FBI. Mr Shapiro, we appreciate your passion to stand up to government entities who work feverishly to defame and criminalize democratic movements that belong to us, the people.
On March 30, 2014, Occupy Houston collectively agreed to pursue information from local government agencies via TPIA to find out if local government agencies had any knowledge of the plot. March 31, 2014 an OPEN RECORDS REQUEST was emailed to the City of Houston, Mayor Annise Parkers office. Occupy Houston requested “identifying information” that dealt with any document concerning Occupy Houston and the Mayor’s office. a little over a week later, Occupy Houston received a response from the Mayor’s Director of Communications advising “We have no documents responsive to your request.” (See email below)
On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM, Evans, Janice – MYR wrote:
We have no documents responsive to your request.
Chief Policy Officer
& Director of Communications
Office of Mayor Annise Parker
However Mayor Parker’s office wasn’t being truthful. Twice in 2012, Occupy Houston was given information by the very same individual, Ms. Evans, in response to TPIA requests. One of the requests answered by Ms. Evans gives Occupy Houston a PDF file that had attached documents concerning Occupy Houston in late 2011 through early 2012. (See below email from Ms. Evan’s obtained in February 2012)
From: “Evans, Janice – MYR”
Date: February 27, 2012 6:46:36 PM CST
To: **** *****
Subject: RE: Open Records
I received your payment today. Attached are the documents we are able to release at this time in reference to your January 30, 2012 TPIA. We also have documents ready from your February 10, 2012 request. I will be sending a cost breakdown for them tomorrow. Other documents are still being withheld pending an opinion from the Texas Attorney General. You were previously copied on the correspondence from our legal department regarding that.
Dear Mr. *****,
Sent via electronic mail to email@example.com
Re: Your Texas Public Information Act request dated January 30, 2012 for All email correspondence, sent to and from the Office of the Mayor, on any publicly funded computer, or any other computer or electronic device that is used for official city business, that mention the following phrases:
“Occupy Houston ”
“Occupy Wall Street”
” Tranquility Park ”
In response to your above-referenced request received by the City of Houston on Monday, January 30, 2012, the custodian of records has located 88 pages of responsive documents. The fee for these documents is $8.80 for the cost of making copies. See the attached sheet for a breakdown of the charges. You may send your check or money order payable to the City of Houston to my attention at P.O. Box 1562 , Houston , TX 77251 or you may bring the payment in the exact amount listed above. The documents will be released to you once payment is made.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact me by phone at (832) 393-0800 or by e-mail at Janice.Evans@houstontx.gov
Director of Communications
Office of the Mayor
Why would the Mayor’s office tell activist that they don’t have any documents that was requested when two-years ago the very same Director of Communications sent Occupy Houston documents dealing with communications by the Mayor’s office concerning Occupy Houston? Could it be that Mayor Parker had knowledge of the assassination plot and is attempting to cover-up evidence? Parker’s office had received Occupy Houston’s official statement on March 25, 2014 which would give the Mayor’s office days to strategize on how to deal with the Occupiers if an open records request were to be made. Occupy Houston is working to gather more information and is interested in pursuing legal avenues concerning the denial of documents that come by our local government.
Several Occupy movements all over the country had been met by brutalities that came by local law enforcements in various cities. It was evident that Occupy was a threat to the 1%, local and national government, major corporations and banks. Occupy Houston activists were not engaging in plans to use any kind of domestic terrorism or violence. To date the FBI has made no arrests, no charges filed, have yet to identify the entity that wanted to assassinate key activists and what is most disturbing is that the FBI is working feverishly to protect an entity that wanted to kill peaceful protesters. It is troubling that our own government felt threatened by a group that have been making positive changes within the communities of Houston, Texas, shortly after their February 2012 eviction from Tranquility Park. While Occupy Houston moves forward to get answers, the situation that surrounds Occupy Houston should raise red flags about the FBI and all law enforcement entities tied to the government. For merely practicing your First Amendment Right: To peacefully assemble and freedom of speech, it is enough to get you killed, literally, and our government will do anything in their power to protect the assassins. Please stay tuned to the latest. You can reach out to Occupy Houston via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OccupyHouston or you can link to Occupy Houston’s website: https://occupyhouston.org/
(For more information on the FBI documents that was obtained by PCJF in early 2012, please see the link below. These are NOT the documents obtained by Mr. Shapiro or his attorney Jeffrey Light)
Vice Media: https://news.vice.com/articles/the-fbi-is-hiding-details-about-an-alleged-occupy-houston-assassination-plot
Occupy Houston Photos: Burnell McCray, Houston, Texas
Occupy Assassination Documents provided by Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) by FOIA request: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/549518-fbi-ows-documents.html