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BofA, TEKSystems Keeping Tabs on Berkeley Marine Recruiting Station Protests

by Berkeley Pirate Party
Paranoia (Anonymous) has recently released "320mb of internal reports and and emails assembled for Bank of America by a sub-contractor named TEKSystems". One of the files released is a keyword list used for intelligence gathering. In the keyword list of subjects and events is the phrase: "Berkeley Marine Corps Recruiting Center controversy".

Bank of America, through the information management (espionage) contractor TEKSystems has a list of keywords and phrases it uses in data mining of social networking sites, blog postings, social calendar/coordination sites, and etc. The list includes people, social concepts, and events.

In the data mining keyword list is the phrase "Berkeley Marine Corps Recruiting Center controversy" followed by "Code Pink". The recruiting center (or station) on Shattuck Avenue has been a the location of an ongoing protest. The Marine recruiting station is situated one block away from the Bank of America in downtown Berkeley. While Code Pink is the only group mentioned in the keyword list, World Can't Wait and protestors of no particular association have also been part of the protest against marine recruitment in the city of Berkeley. While the larger weekly protests at the recruitment center on Shattuck Square have subsided, there are still occasional moments of protest against recruitment done by smaller groups or singular individuals.

The protests against the Marine recruitment have been nonviolent, and have varied from a camp-out in front of a city council meeting, to protesters standing in the doorway of the recruitment station, as well as chalking and signs. There was an incident in which a World Can't Wait organizer was charged with obstruction of police at the recruitment station, but that charge was dropped to a non-criminal infraction. The protest against Marine recruitment has decreased, but has not stopped. There will occasionally be stickers, chalk and other signs of sporadic protest.

There was a conservative reaction to the protest against the Marine recruiters. An economic boycott on Berkeley business was called by members of conservative media, conservative political groups, and individuals. It is not known what effect the boycott had, or how long it was sustained as a mass boycott.

The Shattuck Sq recruitment center is also a place of protest to show support for Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Occupy and Anonymous. A march for Bradley Manning by the Manning Support Network and Veterans For Peace was halted by Berkeley police in November of 2012.

Bank Of America has its downtown Berkeley branch one block away from the Marine recruitment center. As a company, Bank of America organized a multi-corporation economic blockade against Wikileaks. Bank of America does not process money transfers to Wikileaks. As a bank, Bank of America invests in companies that develop weapons and vehicles of war, including companies associated with nuclear weapons technology.

At its height, the protest against the Shattuck Square recruitment station attracted national attention. The protest is still locally recognized, despite the reduction in intensity.

It is disappointing, but not unexpected that the Bank of America would use a information gathering contractor like TEKSystems to keep track of the Berkeley protest against Marine recruitment through online data mining.

TEKsystems has offices in San Francisco and Walnut Creek (Contra Costa County).
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