Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was prevented from addressing a crowd in Seattle on Saturday. It is the second time Black Lives Matter activists have interrupted a Sanders event.
The protesters stormed the stage and commandeered the microphone, forcing Sanders to leave. He was unable to address his supporters.
On July 18 during the Netroots Nation political conference Sanders and rival Martin O’Malley were interrupted by Black Lives Matters demonstrators. Activists took over the stage for fifteen minutes and demanded the candidates recite the names of black victims of police violence.
Black Lives Matter protesters have yet to shut down a Hillary Clinton political event or those of her Republican rivals. Instead they have targeted Sanders, by far the most liberal candidate with an ideological stance that would seemingly appeal to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Feds Monitoring Black Lives Matter
Documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that the Department of Homeland Security has actively monitored the Black Lives Matter movement since protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
In addition to monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Vine social media, the “DHS deployed officers on the ground and at intelligence centers,” according to The Intercept.
In October it was reported the FBI was involved with police in Ferguson and together they drew up contingency plans in response to the protests.
A “cybersecurity” contractor, ZeroFox, also worked with the government to monitor Black Lives Matter activists and identified DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, two prominent Black Lives Matter organizers who took part in the Baltimore protests after the death of Freddie Gray, as “threat actors” for whom “immediate response is recommended.”
“The plans are being thrashed out in meetings being held two to three times a week, according to people who have attended them. The FBI said it was also involved in the discussions,” Reuters reported on October 7, 2014.
Since September 11, 2001 the government has increased not only its surveillance of targeted groups, but has also actively infiltrated them.
Citing the long history of FBI disruption and infiltration of political movements, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers document the destruction of the Occupy movement.
“Infiltration tactics continue, perhaps have even escalated today,” Zeese and Flowers write. “Not only have budgets increased in the post-911 world, but restrictions on spying have been weakened and court review has become rarer. The government, often with corporate interests, are gathering huge amounts of data on Americans and targeting a wide range of groups and individuals for intelligence gathering and infiltration.”
Infiltration of targeted political groups was highlighted in 2012 when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a National Lawyers Guild lawsuit challenging government surveillance and infiltration of legal political groups could proceed.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund also discovered a pattern of disruption and infiltration, specifically of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The heavily redacted documents also reveal “a close and intricate partnership between the federal government on one side and banks and private businesses on the other,” writes Tom McNamara.
Government subversion of political groups has a long history and its apex occurred in the 1960s with the formation of COINTELPRO, short for counter intelligence program.
Transcripts of official FBI COINTELPRO documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a communique issued on March 4, 1968 by then director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover:
The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or OTHERWISE NEUTRALIZE [emphasis added] the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder.
The Sanders Threat
The establishment considers Bernie Sanders a threat to the campaign of one of their preferred candidates: Hillary Clinton.
“Sanders — a self-described democratic socialist — has seen his crowds swell and is gaining ground in the polls on the formidable Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton. In New Hampshire, where Sanders was on yet another weekend swing, one survey last week showed him within 8 percentage points of Clinton,” The Washington Post reported in June.
The fear is Sanders will win the crucial Iowa and New Hampshire primaries and trounce the establishment’s carefully groomed candidate.
“If Sanders continues to build his momentum and cut into Clinton’s lead, and she gets sidetracked by controversy (typically a given when a Clinton is on the ballot), it is not inconceivable that Sanders could win one or both of the two first states,” Bloomberg notes.
In order to prevent this possibility the establishment is likely engaged in underhanded tactics to derail the Sanders campaign, including using DHS, the FBI and their corporate partners to sow chaos into the campaign.
Black Lives Matters would do well to associate itself with the Sanders campaign and glean political advantage for its socialist agenda. Instead, it is doing the opposite by interrupting Sanders’ campaign events and portraying itself as a disruptive and threatening political force.