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Archive for the ‘Occupy movement’ Category

Cointelpro Redux: police infiltration of Occupy/Updated

Posted by Charles II on February 28, 2012

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, truthout:

As Part II of this discussion will show, infiltration is the norm in political movements in the United States. Occupy has many opponents likely to infiltrate to divide and destroy it beyond the usual law enforcement apparatus. Others include the corporations whose rule Occupy seeks to end, conservative right wing groups allied with corporate interests and other members of the power structure including non-profit organizations allied with either corporate-funded political party, especially the Democratic Party which would like Occupy to be their Tea Party rather than an independent movement critical of both parties.

On the very first day of the Occupation of Wall Street, we saw infiltration by the police. We were leaving Zuccotti Park and were stopped in traffic by the rear of the park. We saw an unmarked van open, in the front seat were two uniformed police and out of the back came two men dressed as occupiers wearing backpacks, sweatshirts, and jeans. They walked into Zuccotti Park and became part of the crowd.

If it were a matter of police undercover agents simply coming to observe public events, that might be tolerable. But they are engaged in provoking criminality, in photographing or creating files on protesters engaged in lawful activity, and misdirecting the movement. The first is itself a crime. The second and third are the tactics of totalitarian regimes. The consequence is that the US is much less free than most industrialized nations in terms of tolerating dissent and protest. The majority of citizens are afraid of engaging in street demonstrations.

This is not healthy. The end result is likely to be an explosion, when things go so wrong that people overcome their fear, as happened in Egypt. The alternative is even worse: decline, with no bottom.
Update: Another Wikileak, not from the Stratfor file, shows that the Department of Homeland Security has opened a file on Occupy. While it’s based on open source reporting, it’s unsettling to have the Feds’ attention on a largely peaceful domestic protest movement. Kevin Gosztola has a summary here.

Posted in civil rights, Occupy movement, totalitarianism | 1 Comment »

Me or your lying eyes? Media and government create a false reality about protests.

Posted by Charles II on February 5, 2012

In watching most television, it’s sometimes wise not to trust your eyes. In this piece, police clumsily disguised as Black Bloc protesters attempt to discredit a Canadian protest. And are caught at it. According to what the National Lawyers Guild has reported, this goes on all the time in the US. The US media never report on it.

Posted in media, Media machine, Occupy movement, propaganda | 8 Comments »

How to turn them around?

Posted by Charles II on February 4, 2012

Occupy Oakland has a strong, non-violent faction, for example:

A Call To Oakland’s Non-Violent Movement: We Must Lead By Example

Posted on 03 February 2012 by NeilF

Those who would condemn the actions of activist’s violent responses to police brutality must show by example what a powerful non-violent response would look like. We must be there, on the front line, willing to sit down and refuse to move when tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades are going off all around us and injuring us. That is when the courage of our conviction to non-violence is tested and proven. That is when we prove the power of non-violence to oppose injustice.

Until we, the advocates of a non-violent response, can show the power of our convictions through our actions, we have no room to condemn violent protesters, especially when we do so while not also condemning the violent actions of the police in the same breath. We have no moral ground to stand on in this regard. We must build a moral high ground through the sacrifices of struggle. It is not automatically afforded to us without proving our commitment to non-violent resistance when it is tested the most.

Non-violence can be an incredibly powerful response to violence by institutions because it can clearly show who the violent side is and which side is fighting a moral struggle, rather than a military one.

But then I read this:

FTP March against Police Brutality
January 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm.

Posted by desiluna

When: Back to Calendar » February 4, 2012 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Repeats:Weekly on Saturday – forever
Where: Oscar Grant Plaza

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you identify as peaceful and are likely to interfere with the actions of your fellow protestors in any way (including telling them to stop performing a particular action, grappling, assaulting or holding them for arrest), you may not want to attend this march. It is a militant action. It attracts anti-capitalists, anti-fascists and other comrades of a revolutionary bent. It is not a march intended for people who are not fully comfortable with diversity of tactics.

It is very well known that the police often employ people to commit crimes (or to encourage others to do so) in order to discredit protest movements. But agents provocateurs are only a few, perhaps half a dozen in a crowd. They don’t have any power to damage a movement unless many adherents of the movement give them that power.

Knowing this, why would anyone help them?

What will it take to turn them around?

Posted in Occupy movement | Comments Off on How to turn them around?

More on Oakland mass arrests/updated

Posted by Charles II on January 30, 2012

Figuring out exactly what happened is going to take some time. However, one key piece of information is this from the NYTimes:

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Oakland Police Department to consult with a court-appointed monitor before all major decisions, bringing the department one step closer to a federal takeover.

The order comes less than a week after the court-appointed monitor released a report that cited “serious concerns” about the department’s handling of the Occupy protest and its capacity to “adopt and hold true to the best practices in American policing” on its own.

The department has been under court monitor since 2003. The monitor was supposed to help carry out necessary reforms within five years.

Nine years later, Judge Thelton E. Henderson said sufficient changes still had not been made.

So the protests are taking place within the context of serious past abuses.
(Click for more)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Occupy movement | 2 Comments »

Oakland: mass arrests

Posted by Charles II on January 28, 2012


A group of protestors gathered at the YMCA at 2350 Broadway allegedly attempted to enter the building and were placed under arrest, according to Oakland police.

After a failed attempt to take over the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center Saturday afternoon, Occupy Oakland protestors regrouped and set out on a second march from Frank Ogawa Plaza around 5:30 p.m.

Protestors and police clashed earlier Friday when a crowd that police estimated at around 450 to 500 marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza and attempted to take over the building.

Oakland police used tear gas and”flash” grenades Saturday to break up the Occupy protesters after some demonstrators started throwing objects at officers and tearing down fencing. There were at least 19 arrests and no reports of serious injuries.

Watch your democracy decomposing here

Posted in Occupy movement | 14 Comments »


Posted by Charles II on December 11, 2011

(Image from Occupy Oakland)

An interview with Clarence Thomas and Leo Robinson of the Longshoremen’s Union is here.

Tara Lohan talks about the sweatshop on the docks and its connection to investment banks, notably Goldman Sachs here:

Between the dock where the cargo is unloaded and the shelf from which you pluck your treasure, there are several critical lynchpins. One of them is port truck drivers. These drivers (around 110,000 of them in the United States) are responsible for moving approximately 20 million containers a year from the ports to railway yards and warehouses. Drivers operating large trucks are expected to safely haul loads up to 80,000 pounds. It’s a job for professionals, only these professionals are earning poverty wages, sometimes even less than you’d make flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Once a middle-class profession, the port trucking (or drayage) industry has now been dubbed “sweatshops on wheels.”

Posted in Occupy movement | 4 Comments »

From Gaza to Tegucigalpa, Tegucigalpa to Oakland

Posted by Charles II on December 3, 2011

Bumped up to front page from a comment by Jo6Pac, this fascinating article by Max Blumenthal:

In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition….

…the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland… According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals.

“After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” [Fordham’s Karen] Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.

Using counterterrorism measures on peaceful civilians is terrorism.

Posted in Occupy movement, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

Was there coordination between Homeland Security and police departments in clearing out Occupy encampments?

Posted by Charles II on December 3, 2011

There has been one of these episodic s–t storms in the blogosphere over whether Naomi Wolf’s allegation that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated with local police departments in evicting campers from Occupied sites. Wolf’s original article said, “As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.”

Now the evidence was circumstantial, and Wolf’s writing style did not help. So, here’s a summary of her evidence:
* The Occupy movement would like to clean up politics, break up the connection between investment banking and commercial banking that led to the financial crisis, and end congressional trading the stock market on confidential information they receive. These goals threaten the powers that be and that therefore provide a motive for the extraordinary violence deployed against Occupy
* Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said she was a on a conference call with other mayors on “how to suppress” the protests, constituting method
* The Department of Homeland Security is not some random agency. It gets its money and its mission from Congress and the president, so the involvement in a phone call on how to suppress protests implies directives at the highest levels of government
* the evictions showed similar tactics, consistent with coordination
* The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists filed a FOIA to see if there was federal involvement in attacks on journalists by police, so Wolf is not alone in her belief that there may have been federal coordination. In Wolf’s own words, “members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent”

Now, this is thin evidence indeed that the suppression of the protests was coordinated by, much less ordered by Washington. But it does offer both motive and method for what did seem to be very similar and extremely violent responses to very different encampments, such as Oakland and OWS, and with very different local leadership, Jean Quan vs. Michael Bloomberg, who recently bragged that the NYPD is his “personal army.” In These Times’ Allison Kilkenny was struck by the similarity as well.

Holland says Wolf’s evidence is this:
* there were five simultaneous evictions
* the “Police Executive Research Forum, PERF, organized two conference calls between local law enforcement officials to share information on OWS, including, presumably, how best to evict them.”
* “The US Conference of Mayors organized two conference calls between various city officials to discuss the same issues”
* DHS and the FBI shared information with local law enforcement, but local law enforcement ran the show. Source: the Examiner
* A lobbying firm with strong ties to Republican leadership tried to sell the Bankers Association on smearing the Occupy movement, but this story emerged after the evictions [but here, Holland is arguing a non-sequitur, since the smear effort was clearly not a cause of the evictions, but a signal of the depths to which opponents of Occupy would go. As I recall, Hayes himself said, in effect, this is one memo that leaked. Who knows how many other smear proposals are out there?]
* DHS vehicles were seen near an eviction
* Some congressmen are, through a legal loophole, trading the stock market on confidential information they receive as congressmen
But that, Wolf’s additional evidence is defective because:
* Wolf has confused the Mayor’s conference call with the police officers’ conference call
* Wolf erroneously reported that Alternet had broken a story that “a shadowy private police consultancy” was ordering local police departments around. [Wolf was indeed wrong on this. Not only is PERF very unshadowy and has only weak links to DHS, no such story has appeared on Alternet]
* Holland has never heard Occupy members complain about congressional insider trading
* Wolf thinks that police spies have discerned Occupy’s agenda before Occupy itself has formulated an official agenda, which Holland apparently thinks is ridiculous. [And here, Holland is ridiculous. The people who started Occupy were smart enough not to state an agenda, but one need not be an informer to know, more or less, what it is. Police informers simply add confirmation and a high level of detail]
* Wolf claims that “DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King… directly, above King, to the president,” while the reality is that DHS reports up the chain of command to the president, and doesn’t report to Congress except in the form of reports and hearings. [this is basically a slap at Wolf’s sometimes sloppy writing; I feel confident she knows how Washington works]

Naomi Wolf has now replied. In fact:

* She cited Wonkette as the source of the claim that DHS was involved specifically with the mayors’ conference calls, and Wonkette in turn cited Rick Ellis of the MN Examiner, who had a source inside the Justice Department.
* “I am certain that NYPD coordinates with federal authorities in OWS-related arrests because an NYPD official informed me that they did so through the bars of my cell” [Here, Wolf is extrapolating. Apparently a sergeant told her that he would send her fingerprints to the feds if she got arrested again. While this is certainly outrageous, unconstitutional, and possibly criminal blackmail by a police official, it does not add up to DHS coordination.]
* In its response to FOIA requests on the issue of federal coordination, DHS is not denying any involvement in coordination, but it is trying to limit the FOIAs to activities by senior DHS officials. [Again, Wolf is reading into this more than it actually contains. But FOIA filers would be fools to accept DHS conditions, since a classic form of official lawbreaking is, wink-and-a-nod, to let subordinates do activities that senior officials know are proscribed.]
* “Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the DC Partnership for Civil Justice Fund [has said]…’Our constitutional rights litigation on behalf of demonstrators over the years has uncovered time and again federal agency involvement in what were initially claimed to be local police actions'”
* “LAPD has also acknowledged to him [Jason Leopold of Truthout] giving information about the protests to DHS
* Adrian Chen of Gawker has already reported on conservative Thomas Ryan reporting to the FBI on Occupy
* DHS has been establishing “security zones” for a long time: NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly “has confirmed to the New York Times and others close DHS-NYPD cooperation in the creation of DHS-managed surveillance zones where public protest is federally tracked”
* DHS has given billions of dollars to local police departments
* Tom Hayden, in summarizing FBI-local coordination, shows that Washington exaggerates threats to justify local crackdowns.
* As someone who has does journalism inside the Beltway, Wolf is much more familiar with the systems of influence than Holland is

In my eyes, this entire miniature manure hurricane comes down to the question of appearance vs. proof. There is only one bit of solid evidence of federal direction of the attacks on encampments, and that is a single source from Rick Ellis. But the appearance of coordination and perhaps even direction? There’s plenty of that.

The difference between evidence and appearance is investigative journalism. The filing of FOAIs is a vital first step. This issue, of whether our federal government is in effect manipulating local police departments to shut down protests, is so d–n serious that it should not become the object of bickering. Journalists: do your job.

Posted in Occupy movement | 7 Comments »

A bunch of communists

Posted by Charles II on November 30, 2011

(Via Barry Ritholtz)

Really, having about 1000 people control corporations with trillions of dollars of revenue, and thereby control the political system more closely resembles the Soviet Politburo than it does a democracy.

Posted in Occupy movement | Comments Off on A bunch of communists

Inventor of pepper spray denounces its use by police

Posted by Charles II on November 29, 2011

One of the people who developed pepper spray in its weaponized uses for the FBI, Kamran Loghman, was so shocked by what he saw at UC Davis and in Seattle that he denounced the manner in which police are using it. He is the recipient of three patents, but has done everything from film making to martial arts to “alternative treatments for addiction and alcohol disorder.”

Here’s the summary from DemocracyNow:

We speak with Kamran Loghman, the expert who developed weapons-grade pepper-spray, who says he was shocked at how police have used the chemical agent on non-violent Occupy Wall Street protesters nationwide — including students at University of California, Davis, female protesters in New York City, and an 84-year old activist in Seattle. “I saw it and the first thing that came to my mind wasn’t police or students, it was my own children sitting down having an opinion and they’re being shot and forced by chemical agents,” says Loghman, who in the 1980s helped the FBI develop weapons-grade pepper -spray, and collaborated with police departments to develop guidelines for its use. “The use was just absolutely out of the ordinary and it was not in accordance with any training or policy of any department that I know of. I personally certified 4,000 police officers in the early ‘80s and ‘90s and I have never seen this before. That’s why I was shocked… I feel is my civic duty to explain to the public that this is not what pepper spray was developed for.”

He makes the point that pepper spray is ideal in the situation where a policeman is trying to subdue someone out of his mind on PCP, where the person who is pepper-sprayed can be decontaminated shortly thereafter. To use it on people who are sitting on the ground is unquestionably an abuse–a form of torture–and completely irresponsible in a situation where the police don’t have any clear means to decontaminate the person within a reasonable period of time. Two people at UC Davis were hospitalized. I suspect that these out-of-spec usages are likely to expose significant long-term damage, including permanent scarring of the airways and esophagus.

The idiots from Fox News called capsicum a “food product.” Well, yeah. So is LSD, opium, and atropine, all of which are dangerous when used in inappropriate dosages. Arsenic is natural, and aflatoxin is organic. What’s your point, Fox?

Posted in abuse of power, Fox Noise, Occupy movement, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Inventor of pepper spray denounces its use by police

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