December 11, 2011 Adam Parris-Long / Yahoo! News & The Oval / USA Today
London Police have sparked controversy by producing a brief in which the Occupy London movement is listed under domestic terrorism/extremism threats to City businesses. The Occupy movement is listed alongside threats posed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, Al Qaeda and Belarusian terrorists. In the US, the White House has unveiled a strategy aimed at battling 'homegrown terrorism' that calls for teaching local officials to recognize 'violent extremism.'
Police Include Occupy Movement on 'Terror' List Adam Parris-Long / Yahoo! News
LONDON (December 5, 2011) -- City of London Police have sparked controversy by producing a brief in which the Occupy London movement is listed under domestic terrorism/extremism threats to City businesses.
The document was given to protesters at their "Bank of Ideas" base on Sun Street -- a former site of financial corporation UBS. City police have stepped up an effort to quell the movement since they occupied the building on 18 November, with the document stating: "It is likely that activists aspire to identify other locations to occupy, especially those they identify with capitalism.
"Intelligence suggests that urban explorers are holding a discussion at the Sun Street squat. This may lead to an increase in urban exploration activity at abandoned or high profile sites in the capital."
The Occupy movement is listed alongside threats posed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), Al Qaeda and Belarusian terrorists.
"Just the words themselves are enough to deceive the public opinion and this is what we see at the moment," Occupy spokesman Spyro Van Leemnen told Yahoo! News. "We are clearly nothing to do with extremists or terrorists, we are a peaceful group and we do use direct action to raise our point but definitely not terrorism.
"The building has been abandoned for a good few years now and we think it is crazy for a bank to have it empty and not used when we know at the same time there are so many family homes that have been repossessed. Occupying that building and giving it back to the community is definitely not a terrorist act," he added.
Commenting on the document, City of London Police said: "[We] work with the community to deter and detect terrorist activity and crime in the City in a way that has been identified nationally as good practice.
"We've seen crime linked to protests in recent weeks, notably around groups entering office buildings, and with that in mind we continue to brief key trusted partners on activity linked to protests."
WASHINGTON (December 8, 2011) -- The White House unveiled a strategy Thursday aimed at battling homegrown terrorism that emphasizes better coordination with local authorities.
The United States has made significant progress in degrading al-Qaeda's capabilities in recent years -- President Obama noted today that 22 of the top 30 al-Qaeda operatives have been killed or captured under his watch. Intelligence officials suspect the terror organization is increasingly focused on seeking US-born collaborators to carry out attacks. There have been 33 plots involving homegrown terrorists uncovered since 2009, according to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
"Protecting our nation's communities from violent extremist recruitment and radicalization is a top national security priority," according to the strategic document. "It is an effort that requires creativity, diligence and commitment to our fundamental rights and principles."
The strategy draws broad outlines for fighting extremism and follows up on the White House's National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which was released in June.
In a speech timed with the release of the counterterrorism strategy, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said the United States needed to avoid playing into al-Qaeda's strategy that "seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment." Brennan stressed that the White House would emphasize combating al-Qaeda's efforts to inspire people within the USA to carry out attacks on American soil.
One interesting facet of the new document is a call for teaching local officials to recognize violent extremism. The strategy suggests federal and local authorities tweak the way they approach the American Muslim community on the issue.
"Just as we engage and raise awareness to prevent gang violence, sexual offenses, school shootings and other acts of violence, so, too, must we ensure that our communities are empowered to recognize threats of violent extremism and understand the range of government and non-government resources that can help keep their families, friends and neighbors safe," the report says.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., said he was disappointed that the Obama administration isn't designating one agency to coordinate operations. He also expressed frustration by the White House's reluctance "to identify violent Islamist extremism as our enemy."
"To understand this threat and counter it, we must not shy away from making the sharp distinction between the peaceful religion followed by millions of law-abiding Americans and a twisted corruption of that religion used to justify violence," said Liberman, who is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee.
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