One year ago today the Occupy inspired play, Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol, hit the stage for the first in what would be a series of standing room only shows across Chicago. Amid revelations this week that the FBI gathered extensive intelligence on the Occupy movement, according to formerly secret documents recently obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. The documents clearly show that the FBI gathered and shared intelligence about the movement, which it acknowledged as “peaceful and non-violent” that was then shared with corporations, Wallstreet, banks and media, all groups that w ere clearly and loudly in opposition to Occupy’s demands for reforms, transparency and an end to government corruption and collusion with corporate and banking interests to the detriment of the so-called 99% of the nation un represented, or under-represented. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/27/the_fbi_vs_occupy_secret_docs
Despite the increasingly overt violent rhetoric by the Tea Party, a corporate and media invention playing on the base fears of a predominently male and elderly conservative constituency, there was no parallel scrutiny by the FBI. Tea Party members regularly showed up at rallies with weapons, including a presidential stop in Arizona by Barack Obama, all implicit threats.
The FBI gathered extensive intell on Occupy movements across the country in a coordinated effort with proxies, local law enforcement and private agencies such as Stratfor to undermine and discredit Occupy. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, told Democracy Now this week that “there is repeated evidence of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, American intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arm for corporations, for Wall Street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.” Click the link below to view the documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund: http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html#documents
The documents show that the FBI rationalized its actions, by stating that Occupy might “provide an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.” Interesting that they did not apply that same template to the Tea Party movement, which was openly hostile to the government, and whose rhetoric maintained and built on an underlying threat of violence.
Occupy My Heart, the Occupy inspired play arose from the Chicago movement in November of 2011, drawing its small cast from within the movement. The play made national headlines, filled theaters and generated a radio play on WCPT, Chicago’s progressive Talk radio. The play helped change the national media’s negative narrative about Occupy. Now, in light of these recent revelations, the question arises; which member of the auspicious and talented cast was an FBI mole. As writer and producer of the play, I can confidently exclude myself, failing some Manchurian Candidate scenario. So, I will offer the suspects, and ask the readers to hypothesize which of the cast was a possible FBI infiltrator?
Zachary Johnson-Dunlop: “Josh” in the play, Zach played the banker who is visited three spirits in the play. Over the past year Zach has changed his appearance several times, and has become a vegetarian. Zach is an imposing figure. At first, recalling the outdoor play in Chicago’s Grant Park, I recalled that Dunlop’s suit was wrinkled and a bit tight, something I had trouble imagining any self-respecting FBI man would allow. Does that remove him from suspicion, or was it pure genius for an undercover agent?
Teresa Veramendi: Playing the female lead. Teresa is brilliant. Perhaps too brilliant. She played the part of a passionate Occupy protester, and Josh’s love interest almost too well. A founding member of “Theater for the Oppressed” in Chicago, could she still be gathering intelligence among the artists and actors she openly associates with?
Timothy Calwell: Tim’s contribution to the play was incredible, helping to bind the cast and production. He played several parts, including the Spirit of Christmas to come, an unemployed worker, homeless man and security guard. Within months of the end of the run, Tim moved to New Orleans. He claims to work for a film company there, but what a perfect excuse to have a lot of surveillance and camera equipment around. Tim remains, in my book, a strong candidate for FBI informant.
Hannah Friedman: Appeared out of no where, offering her amazing talents as director for the show. We met surreptitiously one evening at coffee shop, as if she did not wish to have too many witnesses around. Throughout the month-long rehearsals Hannah disappeared several times, traveling east to “visit family.” Hannah still directs and produces with the “Theater for the Oppressed” group, as well as other theater efforts. Theater and the arts has always been a breeding ground for subversives. Is Hannah, if that is her real name, a deep mole?
Rebecca Kling: Rebecca delighted audiences playing several characters in the play, a TV producer, Josh’s mother, and Josh’s cruel and heartless boss, as though she was trying extra hrad to gain their trust and favor. The ease with which Rebecca moved between those characters makes her suspect as a deep mole. She continues doing theater and recently released a new book, “No Gender Left Behind,” available on Amazon. Does that only deepen her undercover profile?
Donier Tyler: Donier, impassioned and talented as Zach’s floosey girlfriend in the play is in my opinion the least candidate for an FBI mole. She is outspoken on middle east affairs, having travelled there several times. Earlier this year she portrayed another character from my last novel, The Last Man, in a dramatic reading in which she wrested the part of the Black male character in the book and redefined it as a feminist/humanist piece; both which in the released documents the FBI have shown themselves to be opposed to. It might have been the perfect cover.
Keith Glab: He played a cop in the play, and nailed the part, almost as if it was part of his past. Hmm. He also played the jilted boyfriend to Teresa’s character. Keith lived through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He worked at Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and was the In-stadium operator of a system used to track and locate every pitch thrown in baseball games at Wrigley and US Cellular Field, both perfect covers, and excellent places to pass sensitive intell over to FBI contacts without being detected.
Agnes Otap: A student at the University of Illinois at the time, her parts as the “Corporate” journalist, who becomes disillusioned with the corporate slant on Occupy, and also as the quirky street-kid spirit of Christmas past were stand-outs. She was quiet and reserved, even nervous before rehearsals, but came alive during her parts. It was almost as if she was two different people. Suspect?
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