Homeland Security memo warned of violent threat posed by Occupy Wall Street

An October, 2011 Department of Homeland Security memo on Occupy Wall Street warned of the potential for violence posed by the "leaderless resistance movement." (via @producermatthew).

Update: Looks like there's a larger Rolling Stone feature on this document:

As Occupy Wall Street spread across the nation last fall, sparking protests in more than 70 cities, the Department of Homeland Security began keeping tabs on the movement. An internal DHS report entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street [PDF]," dated October of last year, opens with the observation that "mass gatherings associated with public protest movements can have disruptive effects on transportation, commercial, and government services, especially when staged in major metropolitan areas." While acknowledging the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of OWS, the report notes darkly that "large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for violence, presenting a significant challenge for law enforcement."


  1. The  memo should have been sent to OWS warning of potential violence from law enforcement.
    “large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for law enforcement violence, presenting a significant challenge for peaceful demonstrators”

  2. Yes of course. Tea Partiers waltz around with guns strapped to their hips but they threatened no one in the status quo, of course no one batted an eye! Occupy Wall Street did and does threaten the status quo, as did the antiwar movement and as does most liberal protest movements. Of course Homeland Security was on high alert.

    1.  Plus, many Tea Partiers also drive cars, which could also be used violently!  This is much more relevant than the hundreds of actual violent crimes committed by OWS.

      Or maybe “status quo” is some trendy new synonym for vaj?  Hard to tell.

  3. That memo was not  as over-the-top or as ridiculous as I expected or hoped. Saying  there is a potential for violence at any large demonstration seems logical. I went to demonstrations in the good old days and there was often a touch of violence- Nixon’s inauguration in ’72 was especially lots of fun. There were always the generic red brigades and anarchists to stir up a little shit, burning mattresses and flags, busting windows and cars up, and tossing crap at the cops. Ah, those were the days…

    1. Kind of how I read it as well: that they wanted to keep an eye out for those who hide within larger protests, using them as a crowd to melt into and escape. The sorts of vandals who think the crowd gives them some sort of anonymity/invulnerability

  4. Nothing new here. Even non-violent civil protests/movements have been watched over by the feds since well, the earliest i can remember is the civil rights and or anti war movements back in the 60’s. Big brother is always watching.

  5. More evidence to support the idea that if you give people power, they develop what appears to be a form of brain damage.
    The find something they can’t understand, and try to find a way to make sure it appears nefarious in nature.
    One wonders if we would have had the same heavy handed police response had there not been the implied threat that only exists in a few peoples minds.

    1. The unknown (that which cannot be predicted, and therefore anticipated or controlled) is a threat to them. Therefore, disrupting the status quo is to threaten them with the one thing they cannot defend against: Change out of their control.

      Them being the 1%/banks/government/whatever the entrenched oppressors are, basically.

      1.  The fact none of them ever suspected that eventually the people would get tired of being shit upon and try to do something about it still supports the idea of brain damage.

        1. I think it comes down to Screw The Rules, I Have Money (RL section), along with a slow loss of empathy because of all the people you’ve had to fuck, knife, or fire to get where you are.

          I don’t think they’re surprised, the lower classes are never satisfied and are always jealous of them being so rich, but tough for them, they should strike oil like daddy did. Let them grumble, a new season of Survivor is coming to pacify them.

          What they might be surprised about is that, thanks to the Internet, it’s working, and now they’re dealing with a credible threat.

  6. Actually, I don’t think this is so/was far fetched – with the rampant proliferation of guns in the US and the general level of pissed-off-ness there I have been (and still am) expecting someone there to pick up a gun and start shooting people in suits. One is all it takes…

    But of course this viewpoint may stem from the “US Americans are gun loving nut-cases”-cliché that is quite common in Germany.

    Disclaimer: I do not wish to see anybody harmed by anybody. I am really happy that the protests were largely peaceful and I hope they will stay this way. Please don’t give them any excuse to whip out the “less deadly weaponry”.

  7. Bulletin: growing movement called democracy poses threat to people in power doing whatever they want.

  8. The Tea Party was subjected to similar scrutiny. See this Huffington Post article from 2009.

    And even when Speaker Pelosi tried to provoke a response by walking through the Tea Party crowd on the way to vote for the Affordable Care Act, the protesters refused to react illegally. In the Occupy protests, there were instances of sexual assault, public indecency, and trespassing (other than the intended protest areas), definitely with more arrests than Tea Parties.

  9. “large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for violence, presenting a significant challenge for law enforcement.”

    Specially when said law enforcement agencies are, quite visibly and caught on video, the source of all of the violence.

    Then said law enforcement agencies look like the psycho-sociopathic pile of human excrement they reveal themselves to be.

  10. Has the DHS not seen college towns during tournament finals week? I’ve seen cars flipped over / set on fire in columbus-freakin-ohio. Where’s the DHS notice about THAT?

  11. Looks to me that whatever else the Tea Party was about, it’s perception by authorities–and its track record–was sharply different than that of the OWS# set.

    Everyone’s politics are their own, of course, but how the Right and the Left went about it are very different (and telling.)

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