For the first time (that we know of) drones will be used for a political convention for “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to government agencies”. “Wraiths” will also be used, ground-based robots that can be armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons. The manufacturer of these vehicles has crosshairs and a skeleton as their logo.
A bulletin was issued jointly by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on August 21st, warning law enforcement agencies about anarchist extremists and the report uses words and imagery that are usually reserved for terrorist insurgents. They invited the media to learn about their operations control center at an “undisclosed location” and today the fearmongering and demonization of “anarchist extremists” is blazing across the airwaves along with news about the drones that will be used.
CNN did a video report that is particularly egregious as it quotes from the report saying that the extremist anarchist protesters might use IEDs, and they explain that IEDs are the things used by terrorist insurgents in Afghanistan. They generously supply video clips of an explosion in Afghanistan and another one that is a military vehicle being blown up, with the shoulder of a soldier in camo coming into the view of the camera at the end. While the report explains that not all protesters are expected to be violent, CNN adds some video footage of Occupy Wall Street protesters chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and just in case you didn’t make the connection, they throw in some people in Guy Fawkes masks from some supposed Anonymous videos about the convention. The words and imagery used by the media and the government are meant to cause conflation of Occupy Wall Street protesters and terrorists, in my opinion, and to preemptively justify the excessive use of force during the upcoming conventions and extreme use of militaristic equipment.
The report also mentions that law enforcement should look out for anarchists who might be doing weapons training or buying explosives and they mention that they have used the internet for research and organization in the past. In the CNN video though, they say that the feds told them they are not watching any particular anarchists. No. And then after all of that fearmongering and set up, they say that no specific threats have been made.
It’s funny that the FBI/DHS waited until six days before the RNC convention to issue this warning, isn’t it? This report was made for the media, in my opinion.
The Set Up: Fearmongering and Demonization
A federal law enforcement bulletin “assesses with high confidence” that extremists from anti-government anarchist groups will try to use violence with the aim of disrupting both political conventions.
[ ... ]
Most of what these groups do, the bulletin says, involves vandalism, trespassing and attempts to block roads. But it says they’re becoming more interested in trying to use explosives.
Feds warn anarchists could blockade roads, use acid-filled eggs to protest conventions
Anarchists “see both parties as the problem,” so both conventions are prime targets for them, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.
[ ... ]
The bulletin mentions possible violent tactics anarchist extremists could employ, including the use of molotov cocktails or acid-filled eggs.
[ ... ]
On Tuesday, Tampa police confiscated bricks and pipes found on a rooftop several blocks away from the site of the Republican convention. Graffiti associated with the anarchist movement was also found. Castor called the discovery “disconcerting but … not surprising.”
(Reuters) – Federal authorities have circulated a bulletin warning that “anarchist extremists” are preparing to use “violence and criminal tactics” – possibly including homemade bombs – to disrupt the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
The Drones and Wraiths
This the actual logo displayed on the United Drones web site. No other content is available for viewing on the site unless you email them for access.
The vehicle, called an Aether Aero, is an eight-bladed vertical takeoff platform that will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to government agencies, according to Curt Winter, an engineer with United Drones.
The 41/2-foot-wide Aether Aero, which resembles a small helicopter, can fly up to 4,000 feet high and, with a specially built battery, can operate up to four hours at a time, Winter said. It is equipped with a 109x optical zoom camera, can lift up to 50 pounds and is so light it can be picked up with two fingers, according to Chris Knott, United Drones’ director of corporate development.
Yes, they are actually called Wraiths.
In addition to the unmanned aerial vehicles, United Drones will operate several unmanned ground vehicles, called Wraiths, at the convention. The Wraiths can travel up to 65 mph “and climb just about anything,” said Winter.
The Wraiths, also built by United Drones, have the capability of carrying surveillance cameras and even lethal and non-lethal weapons.
So the Aether Aero can carry a 50-pound payload and the potentially murderous Wraith robots can be equipped with lethal and nonlethal weapons. These will be used in an American city because of the incredible paranoia of our government officials about protesters at political conventions.
CNN Propaganda Video Report
Now watch this CNN video which is an outrageous attempt to paint anarchist protesters as the equivalent of terrorist insurgents in Afghanistan. I transcribed it for you below and did some screen captures of some of the imagery they used. Oddly enough, the report is based on an “intelligence report” issued by the FBI and Homeland Security, but the narrator is a “Foreign Affairs Correspondent” who wraps up her report with “Jill Dougherty, CNN, the State Department”. What does Foreign Affairs or the State Department have to do with protests at a political convention on American soil?
Transcript: (The CNN narrator is Jill Dougherty, Foreign Affairs Correspondent.)
Video: Excerpt of a supposed Anonymous video.
“Greetings, world. We are Anonymous. All of us have carefully prepared to face our authoritarian government at the RNC for well over a year now.”
Narrator: Extremist groups already have posted videos on YouTube threatening to shut down the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Video: Another excerpt from supposed Anonymous video : “Republican National Convention August 27, 2012 is the day we take our battle to the streets of Tampa.”
Image: Copy of a FBI/Homeland Security document titled “(U//FOUO) Potential for Violence or Criminal Activity by Anarchist Extremists During the 2012 National Political Conventions, dated 21 August 2012
Narrator: Authorities are taking the threats seriously. In an intelligence bulletin obtained by CNN, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warn state and local law enforcement the anarchists are targeting the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina too and they could even try to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the type of homemade bombs insurgents use in Afghanistan.
Video clip of explosion in Afghanistan and then another clip of a military vehicle being blown up.
Narrator: The bulletin says since March, the FBI has had intelligence indicating that individuals from New York “planned to travel to Tampa and attempt to close” all of the Tampa Bay area bridges during the convention next week. The groups are likely to focus on critical infrastructure outside of the security perimeter, the bulletin said, because they expect the main venue to be tightly controlled.
Video clip of protesters chanting “This is what democracy looks like”.
Narrator: Extremists have a history of trying to disrupt major events like the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009 using tactics like blocking streets, intersections and bridges and sparking violent confrontations with police.
Video clip of a female law enforcement officer saying “Our mission is to ensure that everyone has a safe platform on which to express themselves”.
Narrator: Thursday, in an undisclosed location, the Secret Service showed reporters their multi-agency communications center, where law enforcement officials will coordinate their operation to keep Tampa safe during the convention.
Video clip of a police car with a large fire right behind it in the street, police in riot gear entering the camera view.
Narrator: Extremists claim they are ready too.
Video clip of a different supposed Anonymous video, a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, moving their head around while speaking, with female voice saying “You have an opportunity to fight back at the Republican National Convention. How you fight back is up to you”.
Narrator: But a law enforcement official tells CNN there is no specific threat to the convention and they are not watching any specific anarchists who they think might be trying to mount an attack. But they say they have to be prepared based on lessons they learned from the Republican convention four years ago and an alleged anarchist plot this spring to blow up a bridge near Cleveland in which there were arrests.
Jill Dougherty, CNN, the State Department.
Note: Anyone can create and upload a video claiming to be Anonymous.
Look at the words and imagery being used in both the FBI/DHS bulletin and the CNN video report:
Notice that the bulletin talks about concerns to the area surrounding the convention outside the perimeter. They talk about critical infrastructure, language ofteen used in discussions about international terrorism and homeland security. So are they worried about the area outside the perimeter because they are afraid that a few anarchists are going to do serious damage to it, or are they worried about the cocktail parties?
The bulletin, however, believes that security protocols around the respective conventions will stop “anarchist extremists” from crashing the parties.
I would submit that it is the Feds and law enforcement engaging in extremism. This is the kind of thing that leads to paranoia, overreaction and police brutality. Others have argued that it also endangers journalists and I would add that it endangers peaceful protesters who are not breaking any law and even protesters who are engaging in peaceful civil disobedience.
The bulletin cites the incident in Cleveland as a justification for their extremism. But there are some serious and credible questions about FBI informants and set ups in that case and in other cases. They also cite the Republican convention in Minneapolis and there were some serious questions about that too. Just ask Amy Goodman about the policy brutality and preemptive raids.
Mike German, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office and a former FBI undercover agent, believes these types of intelligence bulletins do more harm than good by driving up fears among local and state law enforcement without distinguishing what threats are truly violent and what activities constitute nonviolent civil disobedience.
“Treating blockades as an extremist threat is problematic,” he says.
German worries that by broadly labeling anarchists as extremists without proper context, the FBI and DHS are suggesting all anarchist protestors are potentially violent threats, likely leading to police overreach.
This information from the same article on the Security Management web site suggests that if the federal and local law enforcement really crack down on the Republican convention that it might discourage the targeted protesters at the later Democratic convention. Interesting.
The bulletin concludes by predicting how law enforcement handle anarchist protests in Tampa Bay will likely influence the protests in Charlotte.
“The perceived success or failure of anarchist extremist actions at events leading up to the conventions, as well as at the earlier RNC in Tampa, will likely impact the strategies of anarchist extremists preparing to disrupt the DNC, occurring the following week just 600 miles north.”
You are paying for this
One other thing I would like to know is, how much is all of this, in my opinion, excessive authoritarian extremism going to cost the taxpayers? And I mean the total bill, the tens of millions given to the cities, the money spent by cities and states and the money spent by huge federal agencies, plus overhead.
You are paying for this extremism and police state.
With the Republican and Democratic national conventions approaching, federal, state, and local officials are working tirelessly to ensure that Tampa and Charlotte welcome all visitors to their cities with rose petals and open arms. Just kidding – they’re actually spending tens of millions of dollars on combat training, armor, bloodhounds, and sophisticated weaponry. Guests who plan on protesting the events are, in a word, unwelcome. As are credentialed journalists who venture outside of designated boundaries.