Homeland Security Caught Monitoring Occupy Atlanta Protests
Over the past month protesters have noticed strange men hovering around Occupy Atlanta related protests and filming the events. It's not unusual for lots of cameras to be present at these events, but these people stood out. It was very obvious that they were with law enforcement.
One officer in particular had initially refused to identify himself, but after a nod from white-shirt APD officer C.W. Moss he eventually identified himself as James Hodge (first two photos).
The other man has not been identified yet, but was seen wearing a badge with the numbers 5308 on it.
After googling James Hodge's name, it was revealed that he is affiliated with both Atlanta Police Department as well as Homeland Security:
As of now, it is unclear what positions Sgt Hodge and 5308 hold with/between local and federal law enforcement, or what they are doing with the footage. But in light of recent events it IS clear that surveillance and intelligence gathering operations are taking place, targeting occupy protesters and especially radical activists in Atlanta.
Recently, anonymous hacked the emails of security/intelligence contractor Stratfor which revealed the company had been infiltrating occupy protests in Texas, with particular focus on radical environmentalists. http://rt.com/usa/news/stratfor-occupy-firm-law-899/
Here in Atlanta, Tim Franzen, who had been mischaracterized in the press as the "Leader" of Occupy Atlanta, has experienced repeated targeted arrests as well as inquiry by the FBI. Tim details these experiences on the American Friends Service Committee blog:
It was right after the first eviction that several young OA participants took me aside and told me that people from the FBI had visited their homes and questioned them about me. They claimed that FBI agents had asked if I would be open to acquiring weapons, if I had a militant side and such. One of the questioned youth actually gave me the FBI agent's business card. I called it the next day and informed the agent that I knew everything there is to know about Tim Franzen, that I was in fact the worlds utmost authority on all tings Tim Franzen. When he asked who I was I stated, "Tim Franzen."
As resistance to global corporate domination continues, we must be prepared to deal with this kind of repression. As activists we need to KNOW OUR FUCKING RIGHTS! If the police or FBI come to your door, DO NOT ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION WITH THEM! Don't try to argue with them or tell them why they are wrong. Anything you say to them will be providing info about the movement. You are not required to speak to them or give them any information. You should just say "I'M GOING TO REMAIN SILENT, I WANT TO SPEAK TO A LAWYER" and then close the door on them.
It's also important that people don't allow this kind of harrassment and repression to go unnoticed. The primary function of this kind of overt surveillance is psychological intimidation. The goal is to breed paranoia, fear, and suspicion, and it works best when those targeted keep quiet and allow themselves to become isolated. When these activities are brought out into the light they become ineffective. As the saying goes, sunshine is the best disinfectant!
If protestors see these people at their rallies they should call them out publicly, they should obstruct the view of their cameras with signs, they should make it as difficult as possible for them to operate, and they should be photographed and those photographs should be made public. It should also be understood that our own footage, livestreams, facebook posts, etc are also being monitored, and that we should respect other people who choose to cover their faces and anonymize themselves by not taking pictures of them, or identifying them if you happen to recognize them.
State repression will not be tolerated in Atlanta. We will support our comrades when they become targets of repression, and we will refuse to cooperate with law enforcement in any way.