Newly revealed documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund show that the federal government treats consumer boycotts and anti-Black Friday activism as a terrorist threat.
A leaked email reveals that Tom Wilkins, who serves as Executive Director of the Intelligence Fusion Division, Homeland Security Bureau, and is on the FBI-WFO Joint Terrorism Task Force, directed staff at the Washington DC fusion center to create a document notifying District Commanders of the “potential threat” posed by groups that planned to “disrupt retail activity” on Black Friday in 2011.
Wilkins directed federal agents to peruse a 30 page report circulated by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) which lists a number of “specific known threats,” including groups which encourage people to cut up their credit cards as a protest against debt serfdom, participants of “zombie walks” designed to embarrass shoppers in malls, people who organize free non-commercial street parties, and people who organize “Wildcat General Strikes” by boycotting stores or vowing to use no power or fuel for a period of 24 hours.
Posters with slogans encouraging shoppers to “buy local” or “do your shopping at a small independent merchant” were also included in the ICSC report circulated by Wilkins to federal officials. Occupy groups in general were also listed, notably those who circulated anti-war leaflets and material opposed to military spending.
“It is outrageous that counter-terrorism officials used their anti-terrorism authority and funding to “protect” corporate America from a consumer boycott. It is well past time that the vast flow of tax-payer money to the Fusion Centers be ended,” said PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard.
Anti-Black Friday activism has become a staple of many activist organizations that span the political spectrum. Infowars itself routinely covers Black Friday madness from an adversarial perspective and has featured numerous videos by social commentator Mark Dice which lambaste the shopping spectacle as a sad reflection of how American values have come to represent little more than mindless consumerism.
Given some of the other activities which the federal government has linked with terrorism, it’s unsurprising that consumer boycotts are also being treated as a potentially violent threat, underscoring how paranoia about domestic terrorism is having a huge a chilling effect on the First Amendment.