I-Witness Video Blog : The Policing of Protest
NYPD RNC Intelligence Documents Revealed
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
Here are the NYPD Intelligence documents from the Republican National Convention spy campaign that lawyers for New York City fought desperately to keep from public view.
City lawyers argued that "The documents were not written for consumption by the general public," and "The documents contain information filtered and distilled for analysis by intelligence officers accustomed to reading intelligence information." Additionally, the news media would "fixate and sensationalize" on the intelligence documents.
Now you can see for yourself.
We have begun the process of posting all 600 pages of documents to the website. We will get them up just as soon as we can. We'll also be adding new indexing and searching capabilities to help you navigate through the documents.
After a quick scan of the content of the files, many of which are stamped "N.Y.P.D. Secret," I have to admit that I see plenty of sensationalism on display. Like the "intelligence analyst" who concluded that "First-aid" advice posted on the Internet for people who were attacked by police meant "that participants of direct action protests may be willing to physically resist and confront disorder control personnel." 
Perhaps we should all offer some help to NYPD by reviewing some of the groups listed in the N.Y.P.D. Secret files and explaining precisely what they do. Film festivals:  they show movies where people sit in the dark and stare quietly at screens. The Brooklyn Center for Anti-Violence Education:  dedicated for over 30 years to teaching anti-violence. The New York City AIDS Housing Network:  just like its name, it places people living with AIDS in decent housing.
What kind of training are these "analysts" receiving when they go out to collect "intelligence" information about a "mass leafletting" campaign conducted by a peace group, United for Peace and Justice? Information which is then placed in a file marked "Limited dissemination to law enforcement personnel and designated local, state, federal and military officials with a need to know"? 
It's sad, really, that the NYPD, for all its talk of "counter-terrorism initiatives" and "information-sharing", cannot seem to tell the difference between these folks voicing their opinion on the streets of the city and al Qaeda.
Even if the muckety-mucks at the top would like to imagine the NYPD as a sort of hybrid CIA-FBI, someone needs to break it to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen: your surveillance program is not "Top Secret," it's just "Cop Secret."