Anarchists strike back against Seattle’s expanded surveillance camera network
February 15, 2013 in Activism
Anarchists destroy 17 cameras in reaction to Puget Sound’s “system of surveillance” and the detainment of the Grand Jury Resisters
On Wednesday, a photo and short announcement was posted on the website Puget Sound Anarchists declaring that anarchists had “removed and destroyed” 17 security cameras in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.
The group responsible was described as the “Barefoot Bandit Brigade,” apparently named after the Northwest native Barefoot Bandit, an elusive burglar who remained uncaught until 2010 after a series of robberies that included airplanes, vehicles and bank heists.
He developed a cult following and was seen as a Robin Hood-type character to some. After one of his escapades, he left $100 and a note at a veterinary clinic in Raymond, Wash. that read: “Drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals.”
The Barefoot Bandit Brigade’s destruction of surveillance cameras comes on the heels of Seattle’s recently-expanded waterfront camera network that is being funded by the Department of Homeland Security and jointly controlled by Seattle police officers to combat terrorism.
In their published statement, the anarchists say the following:
This act is concrete sabotage against the system of surveillance and control. It is also a message of solidarity and a wish of strength to the Seattle Grand Jury Resisters, those currently incarcerated and those not.
The Grand Jury Resisters are a group of three anarchists currently incarcerated for their refusal to testify to a grand jury concerning events related to last year’s May Day riots. It should be noted they have been detained for five months now without being charged with a crime.
In a recently unsealed search warrant, it was revealed that Pacific Northwest anarchists were being monitored before May Day as part of a counter-terrorism strategy.
The search warrant was written by FBI Special Agent Geoffry Maron, also assigned to Seattle’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. A JTTF is a federal cell that works with fusion centers like the DHS and local police departments to not only respond to but prevent terrorism.
According to the FBI website, JTTFs are the “nation’s front line on terrorism.”
In the search warrant, Agent Maron states:
Because suspected anarchists have rioted and destroyed property at other recent demonstrations, and based on the call for “direct actions,” I and other officers were responsible for preventing and responding to criminal activity on May 1, 2012.
However, the Slog reports that the majority of questions the Grand Jury Resisters are refusing to answer pertain to political activity and social networks, not the actual crimes that took place on May Day.
The justifications outlined in the search warrant include the suspects being “known anarchists” by law enforcement, warrant-less surveillance and intercepted text messages that included the words “everyone,” “safe” and “awesome.”
If Puget Sound’s surveillance cameras are intended to be used to monitor suspected terrorists and anarchists are considered suspected terrorists by area law enforcement, it is reasonable to assume they would be used along with current counter-terrorism surveillance.
The Barefoot Bandit Brigade’s actions are part of the “CAMOVER” movement started in Germany.