Friday, October 14, 2011

OWS increasing terrorism risk to financial district

"What marijuana is to crack cocaine, social activism is to terrorism."  - SecFear  

When corporations or their politicians are confronted with social activism, we believe they need to focus on the geography of the protest site and talk about its national security implications.

There are various ways to link fear of terrorism to the geography of civil society campaigns.  BP adopted one approach during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when CEO Tony Hayward tightened security on the beaches and his guards questioned and obstructed potential terrorists (see "Terrorists monitoring BP oil spill response?").  

With regard to the Occupy Wall Street problem, Brookfield Global Real Estate is trying another approach.  Occupy Wall Street protesters are camped in Zuccotti Park which is owned by Brookfield.  Dick Clark, CEO of Brookfield, doesn't get paid a salary of $5 million a year for doing nothing.  When he asked the city of New York to evict the protesters from his park, the CEO knew to closely follow U.S. Department of Fear guidelines.  

We've quoted from Dick's letter which comes to us via Public Intelligence (our emphasis):

Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly
New York City Police Department
One Police Plaza
Room 1400
New York, New York 10038
Facsimile: (646) 610-5865

Dear Commissioner Kelly:

As you know, for over three weeks, Zuccotti Park (the “Park”) has been used by “Occupy Wall Street” and other protesters as their home base....

We are also concerned with the constant deliveries of materials to the Park. Delivery vehicles have now been appearing on a daily basis with packages of all shapes and sizes for the Park’s occupants. None of these deliveries are being screened by our security team or the police for suspicious or harmful materials. The Park’s location in the financial district makes this activity particularly concerning.

... In light of this and the ongoing trespassing of the protesters, we are again requesting the assistance of the New York City Police Department to help clear the Park so that we can undertake this work at the earliest possible time ...

I appreciate your time and consideration in addressing this important and pressing matter. Please call me at (212) 417-7063 with any questions or if you wish to discuss our request further.

Richard B. Clark
Chief Executive Officer

Brookfield Office Properties
Brookfield Glooal Real Estate
Three World Financial Center
New York, NY 10281-1021

T 212.417.7063
F 212.417.7272
As you can see, Dick writes state of the art eviction letters.  The Brookfield CEO wants packages entering the park "screened by our security team or the police for suspicious or harmful materials."  We believe police or private security guards have the right to search protesters' property at will.  American citizens should not be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights without ceding their Fourth Amendment rights.  

Dick's comment that "The Park’s location in the financial district makes this activity particularly concerning" brings to mind everyone's worst nightmare.  We think it goes without saying that if persons and property entering the park are not subjected to screening, some kind of doomsday device could be smuggled into the park under the cover of the protest.

These are dangerous times.  The American People need to be reminded from time to time that social activism opens the door to terrorism.   

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Dr. Rebecca Wolf
Undersecretary for Community and New Media
United States Department of Fear