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NYC Mayor Adams reveals Columbia University professor spied for NYPD, instigated violent arrests of anti-Israel protesters
By Belle Carter // May 09, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has said that the violent crackdown by the city and New York Police Department (NYPD) carried out on Columbia University students protesting Israel's genocidal attacks on Palestinians was the only possible solution to ongoing campus encampments – and its successful implementation is thanks to a university professor who also serves as intelligence director or "spook" of the NYPD.

During the May 1 press conference, a few hours after the NYPD arrested nearly 300 people on university grounds, Adams credited Rebecca Weiner, adjunct associate professor of international public affairs at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), for reporting the Palestine solidarity rallyists and directing the militarized raid that dislodged them from campus.

"There is a movement to radicalize young people and I'm not gonna wait until it's done and all of a sudden acknowledge the existence of it. And I'm not gonna allow that to happen as the mayor of the city of New York," the mayor said and proceeded to laud Weiner. "She was the one that was monitoring the situation," Adams declared, adding that the crackdown was carried out after "she was able to – her team was able to conduct an investigation."

During the April 30 protest, dozens of police in riot gear came to Columbia's Hamilton Hall after students seized the building earlier in the day, citing their request from the administration. Several hours later, officers used a heavily armored NYPD BearCat vehicle to enter the building through the window on the second floor. They arrested the people inside while another team swept up members of the encampment outside just a few hundred meters from the Gaza protest encampment at the campus. (Related: Pro-Gaza protester marches towards NYPD headquarters after police in riot gear stormed Columbia University to shut down "Gaza Solidarity" camp, arrest students and faculty.)

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Weiner maintained an office just a few hundred meters from the campus encampments. The professor, who is coincidentally also the head of the NYPD counter-terrorism bureau, "develops policy and strategic priorities for the Intelligence & Counterterrorism Bureau and publicly represents the NYPD in matters involving counterterrorism and intelligence."

The Counterterrorism Bureau currently maintains an office in Tel Aviv, Israel, where it coordinates with Israel's security apparatus and maintains a department liaison. Weiner appears to serve as a bridge between the bureau's offices in Israel and New York.

Since April 17, students at the university have been protesting against Israel's violent attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. They encamped on school grounds and refused to leave until the university fully divested from its Israeli-related investments. The said uprising has influenced over 100 other universities in the United States and abroad. There were similar actions occurring at Leeds University in the United Kingdom and the Sorbonne in Paris.

According to a 2011 AP investigation, the "Demographics Unit" operated secretly within the NYPD's counterterrorism office and spied on Muslims around the New York City area. It also monitored students at campuses outside the state who were involved in Palestine solidarity activism. The said unit appears to have been inspired by Israeli intelligence, the Grayzone reported. Weiner, who is also a lawyer by training, reportedly oversaw negotiations between the NYPD and lawyers for local Muslims who had their civil liberties violated by its "Demographics Unit."

Columbia cancels graduation ceremony

Columbia University, the epicenter of anti-Israel protests in the U.S., announced on Monday the cancelation of its main graduation ceremony, a key event in American university life amid the ongoing demonstrations that have greatly affected campus life for a few weeks now.

The educational institution released a statement saying it will not hold its main commencement ceremony on May 15. Instead, it will hold "school-level ceremonies" and other smaller celebrations for this year's graduation.

Similarly, Emory University announced it will relocate its various graduation events from the main campus to an arena and a convention center in Duluth, Georgia, which is more than 20 miles northeast of campus. Both Columbia and Emory, where police have responded to pro-Palestinian demonstrations and arrested dozens of protesters, cited safety concerns in their statements on the changes, USA Today reported.

According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden continues to call for peaceful protests and is sympathetic to the graduates. "It is unfortunate that a small group – a small group of people – went too far and cost their classmates this important event," she said, seemingly downplaying the university protest crisis.

No matter how the Biden administration seems to undermine the movement, the protest model has been catching fire, and not only on campuses and universities. Protesters have been taking every opportunity to express their solidarity with the Palestinians. In the recent Met Gala, they gathered to express their objection to Israel's planned invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city of the embattled Gaza Strip where hundreds of thousands of people are taking refuge. The Costume Institute Benefit, commonly known as the Met Gala, is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Some demonstrators gathered outside Hunter College and marched toward the venue donning traditional Palestinian scarves and waving Palestinian flags. "Disclose. Divest. We will not stop, we will not rest," the crowd chanted in videos posted to social media.

Check out Resist.news for more updates on the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests across the United States and even overseas.

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