Recently, cities like New York, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Oakland cleared out their Occupy Wall Street protests from their communities. Beforehand, many cities participated in several conference calls with representatives from the Federal Government about ways to break up these protests.
What the Feds role during these discussions hasn’t been fully ascertained. From their statements, they implied they were just giving advice and this was a local matter. These cities were advised by the Feds to seek out legal reasons to justify clearing out these protesters, like focusing on ordinances like curfew and zoning.
We don’t know who initiated the conference calls. Also, we don’t know what all agencies that participated in these calls or what all was discussed.
Since the official statements are a bit lacking, two organizations have filed a Freedom of Information Act requests asking for “any and all communications regarding the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”
Rick Ellis, Minneapolis Top News Examiner reporter, was able to get the Department of Homeland Security to admit they had a limited role. He reported that the Federal Protective Services (FPS) assisted the Portland Police. However, they were charged for mostly insuring that Federal Buildings that were nearby were protected. The FPS did make some arrests in Portland. The number of arrests is currently unknown.
There seems to be many issues swirling about the Washington DC wind. Did the Feds initiate these meetings between the cities? What legal authority do they have? What agencies were involved? If true, is the Obama administration supportive of the Occupy movement as they claim?
Since the statements from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department have been lacking, I wouldn’t be surprised if the FOIA requests show that the Feds were in reality very active.
If this was a Federal initiative, I don’t see where Article I: Section 8 gives them the authority. Some might suggest the General Welfare clause does. However, I wonder which interpretation that is being used: the Supreme Court rulings post 1920 or our Founder’s original intent? I think I know what Jefferson’s response would be.
Also, we need to learn everything that Homeland Security did here. (Doesn’t this organization have a name that would seem appropriate if were in NAZI Germany?) This is the organization that is suppose work with the other agencies and protect us from terrorists. Many Presidents have come and gone, only to tell us their number one job is to protect us. As Judge Napolitano has stated many times, the President’s role is to secure our rights not to protect us.
The Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey has already written an article about the TSA expanding its role outside the airports to our roads. So does this mean that our citizens are going to be groped along the side of the road?
What was it that Benjamin Franklin said about trading liberty for security?
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.
With DHS and TSA, we’re seeing Franklin’s warnings coming true.
Somehow, First Amendment Zones were created for protesters. (Usually a significant distance away from the locations of the protested event.) Isn’t the United States (I could make an argument for the world.) in its totality a “First Amendment Zone?”
TSA officials telling people that we give up our rights if we travel on an airplane. Wait? Isn’t our rights “unalienable?” TSA Employees must have not read the Declaration of Independence. Or understand the Fourth Amendment!
The DHS doesn’t have the authority to coordinate with cities to end protests. There are no reports of terrorists being arrested. This is clearly a State Issue via the Tenth Amendment. I doubt “Big Sis” takes her Constitutional Oath seriously.
John Lambert is the Outreach Coordinator for the Texas Tenth Amendment Center.
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