Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tennessee Highway Patrol emails on "well organized" Occupy Nashville: "This one is a little different"

NewsChannel5's Phil Williams posted THP emails he obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that show they conducted a "covert operation" on Occupy Nashville. There is no real surprise in police and security forces infiltrating social protest movements. It always happens. It is no conspiracy theory to expect cops to engage in surveillance and subterfuge; hopefully most movements are not naive, but they learn how to track and counter-surveil police and government operations on their protests.

But the emails do spur several questions:

  • Why was both Homeland Security and THP obsessed with conducting a "covert operation" on a nonviolent protest group to the point that it took troopers off the highways, away from protecting travelers and it diverted attention from tracking actual terrorism threats?
  • Why is it Occupy Nashville's job to "control the homeless" population who have been around Legislative Plaza for a long time?
  • Did protest-suppressing THP officers in uniform hide badge numbers and identities because they might also have been used as plain-clothes, "blend-in" infiltrators at other times?
  • Why did an Occupy Nashville leader compliment and thank THP for its illegal crackdown on protesters on October 28?

UPDATE: SouthComm reporter Steven Hale tweets that Bill Haslam is dropping all charges against Occupy Nashville protesters. That begs another question: how can the Governor justify the labor expenses and other operational expenses that went into what looks like a wasteful crackdown on nonviolent protesters?

UPDATE: Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Honorable Embarrassment, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

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