In a move reminiscent of Bush era fear-mongering, the Obama Administration has issued a vague bulletin warning of possible terrorist attacks on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. While the actual date of bin Laden’s death is May 2nd, many media outlets (including the Huffington Post, Fox News, the New York Post, and Gothamist) have reported the date as May 1st. In reality, President Obama announced the successful mission just before midnight on May 1st EST, but bin Laden was killed on May 2nd Pakistan time. The Associated Press, who announced the bulletin, correctly cited the date as May 2nd.
While both the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security (who released the bulletin), as well as the White House and top NYPD officials, have said there are no “credible” or “specific” threats, New York Congressman Peter King told local media the public “might notice increased security” on May 1st. He went on to say, “Obviously if police or anyone questions you or asks you questions, understand why it’s being done.” The same day, DHS Secretary Napolitano told a Senate hearing that her agency was helping coordinate local policing efforts:
During a Senate hearing Wednesday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said DHS efforts “to get information, tools and resources out of Washington, D.C., and into the hands of state and local officials and first responders” have “led to significant advances” in protecting the homeland.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the Sun Times reports the head of the NATO Host Committee was “blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized ’Red Zone’ in the Loop [downtown Chicago]” weeks before the NATO summit, which is expecting massive protests from a coalition of Occupy, peace, labor, and immigration activists. The paper goes on to say (emphasis added):
The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit. […]
The Federal Protective Service will deploy additional personnel beginning May 1, bringing in more people from out of town and outfitting them in “battle dress uniform.” They will be carrying “non-lethal” long guns — bean bag weapons — in a show of force that at the same time will allow people to move in and out of the zone freely, federal employees were told.
Just months after Obama signed the NDAA “indefinite detention” legislation into law, federal official’s intentions to drastically increase security for May 1st conveniently coincide with the May Day General Strike in over 120 cities across the U.S. President Obama has already deported more immigrants than the Bush Administration; failed to close Guantanamo; continues to prosecute whistle-blower Pfc. Manning for taking an ethical stand by exposing horrendous U.S. war crimes; frequently invokes “state secrets” to carry out unaccountable, covert spying on U.S. residents; and continues the widespread use of unilateral drone strikes and targeted political assassinations. In response to the U.S. government’s escalating repression, thinly-veiled Islamophia, and attempts to militarize our cities and borders while scapegoating immigrants, OccupyWallSt.org hereby issues our own warning: A Solidarity Warning to the 1% and their beneficiaries and bodyguards in government. The 99% will not be intimidated. We will stand together and protect one another. We will not be terrorized. We will not be afraid.
Further, we reject any attempt to co-opt May Day — an historic, international celebration of labor and immigrants rights — by the government or media. For over a century, May Day has been a day of militant resistance against economic inequality. In the 19th and 20th century, the 1% used the imaginary threat of an immigrant-led Communist conspiracy to ensure May Day (which commemorates events in Chicago) would not become a federally-recognized holiday in the U.S., as it is in over 80 countries. Through the Red Scare to the War on Terror, we must honor the true history of May 1st. As we have seen countless times throughout history, we cannot rely on politicians from any political party to sincerely look out for our interests. They serve only the wealthy financial elite. We must stand together as the 99%.
However, we must also recognize that the State’s “anti-terrorism“ efforts target particular communities within the 99%. As such, this May Day, organizers are taking precautions to ensure the fullest amount of protection possible for undocumented and/or criminalized communities who wish to express their right to free speech on May Day. See here for more information on ways everyone can take part in May Day festivities!
And remember: If you notice suspicious people in uniform carrying weapons or plotting to spread fear through well-coordinated violent attacks on civilians on May 1st, alert your local Occupy community. If you see something wrong with racism and vast income inequality defended by a militarized government in this country, say something with us in the streets this May Day!
¨ [In 1891] fear of immigrants was widespread in the United States. In this cartoon [titled ¨Where The Blame Lies¨], published five years after the Haymarket Square riot and one year before the Homestead Strike, illustrator Grant Hamilton placed a judge scolding Uncle Sam: “If Immigration was properly Restricted you would no longer be troubled with Anarchy, Socialism, the Mafia and such kindred evils!” From New York Harbor behind them comes a horde of arriving immigrants labeled “German socialist,” “Russian anarchist,” “Polish vagabond,” “Italian brigand,” “English convict,” and “Irish pauper.” ¨ – The Library of Congress