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#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines
Thu, 8/2/2012 - by Jennifer Sacks

Photo: Justin Wedes. Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth: Anaheim, July 26.

This week in Occupy, the people of Anaheim continued their stand against a trigger-happy police force, Occupy activists got raided by the FBI, the NYPD was finally called out for its Occupy-related human rights abuses, and 13 years after he aggressively lobbied Congress to repeal Glass-Steagall, former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill said, “Just kidding!”

#Anaheim residents continued their protests over the the police shooting of two Latino men, demonstrating by the thousands in the neighborhood where police ran down an unarmed suspected gang member and shot him to death. “There were pieces of brain on the darn grass, in front of all these children, in front of all these people,” one resident said. “This traumatizes people, and these people are angry.” On July 24 protesters rallied on the steps of Anaheim’s city hall, where police pulled guns only to be confronted by angry protesters, who forced cops to retreat. Livestreamer Tim Pool and two local journalists were fired at by police, who shot rubber bullets into the crowd. The brutality sparked a march. On July 28, about 100 protesters gathered outside one of the entrances to Anaheim’s best-known landmark, Disneyland. Happiest place on earth, indeed. It’s worth noting that while Disneyland sustains Anaheim’s economy, the surrounding area is mired in poverty. On July 29, a crowd of about 250 demonstrators gathered outside police headquarters, resulting in two arrests.

The Occupy Wall Street Library Book Bloc

Photo: The Occupy Wall Street Library Book Bloc

#The Los Angeles offices of ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition were ransacked because of their support of the people in Anaheim. Their computers, bullhorns, protest equipment and files were stolen and destroyed. The Coalition has been receiving hateful, racist phone calls supporting the Anaheim Police.

#Vermont activists were questioned on July 26 by two FBI agents seeking information about the Northeast Governors’ Conference in Burlington that weekend. The visit follows a week of FBI raids on houses affiliated with anarchists in search of “anarchist literature.” The homes of activists are being raided in Seattle, Portland and Olympia on grand jury subpoenas, their property confiscated without explanation.

#Timothy Geithner was grilled by Congress about the LIBOR interest rate-rigging scandal. Lawmakers took aim at the Treasury secretary for going easy on Wall Street despite knowing that banks had been trying to manipulate LIBOR since 2008, but Geithner escaped relatively unscathed from the two-hour-plus hearing, with Barney Frank declaring that it was the banks, not regulators, that “grievously misbehaved.”

#Here’s ProPublica’s definitive LIBOR timeline detailing who knew what and when.

#Sandy Weill, the former Citigroup CEO who aggressively lobbied for – and won – the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which had separated commercial and investment banks since 1933, said he thinks the big banks should break up their banking divisions after all. Which is like Ronald McDonald calling for the abolition of hamburgers, or Donald Trump calling for a ban on gold trim, wrote Mark Gongloff on HuffPo. Does this means Weill’s now sweet on Occupy? Not quite, wrote Kevin Drum in Mother Jones – it’s actually not all that uncommon for elder statesmen who are no longer running things to have a change of heart. You know, after they’ve made billions from changing the laws to benefit themselves.

#“Suppressing Protest,” a report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys, paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters. The report, a joint project of New York University Law School’s Global Justice Clinic and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, goes beyond the pepper-spraying incidents that went viral, culling media accounts, video footage, Twitter feeds and legal observers’ own experiences, enumerating a total of 130 specific incidents in which police are alleged to have used excessive force. Here are 14 specific allegations of Occupy-related brutality.

A demonstrator protests immigration raids in Downtown Los Angeles in the 1940s.

Photo: The Los Angeles Times archive at UCLA. A demonstrator protests immigration raids in Downtown Los Angeles in the 1940s.

#It’s clearly not the NYPD’s week: As a 19-year-old was being frisked after allegedly vandalizing a subway station and jumping the turnstile, he made the mistake of flinching when touched between the legs, prompting the arresting officer to body slam himtwice. The NYPD also painted over a mural on the facade of an Inwood building that featured the text “We know the real murderers,” the last word blown-up and bullet-ridden, surrounded by tombstones for various controversial organizations including McDonald’s, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Bank of America – and the NYPD. Even though New York City graffiti artist Alan Ket had the permission of the building’s owner to paint freely on the outside wall, a pair of plainclothes officers armed with buckets of black paint, rollerbrushes and drop cloths painted right over it, calling it “a bad idea.” Another thing the NYPD apparently considers a “bad idea”: the First Amendment.

#As if there weren’t enough police cameras tracking New Yorkers’ every move, the NYPD will soon launch an all-seeing “Domain Awareness System,” developed by Microsoft, that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and potential terrorists.

#“I don’t understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike. We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.” No, that wasn’t former Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis. It was Michael Bloomberg, Occupy-smasher, advocating a labor revolt on CNN.

#In pursuit of its goal of spying on all Muslims everywhere, New York’s finest crossed the Hudson River to New Brunswick, New Jersey, to establish a secret surveillance outpost, the AP reported last year. What wasn’t previously reported was how the police were discovered: by their building superintendent, who called 911 because he thought he’d stumbled upon a terror cell.

#Shocker: The U.S. military is being used to protect civilian events, like the 2012 Democratic and Republican Party National Conventions in Tampa and Charlotte. More than 20,000 troops were brought home and readied for deployment within the U.S. to assist in “civil unrest and crowd control.”

#CNN anchor TJ Holmes was pulled over for driving while black near Atlanta and tweeted the entire episode.

Adrienne Lauby participates in a “flash nap” on the lawn at Santa Rosa City Hall.

Photo: Christopher Chung. Adrienne Lauby participates in a “flash nap” on the lawn at Santa Rosa City Hall.

#On July 28, 38 people slept on the sidewalk outside Trinity Wall Street Church, where they were harassed by senior officers, or “white shirts.” Find out why they occupy.

#The Occupy Wall Street Library held a workshop on Governors Island focusing on Book Blocs, whereby activists create book cover shields to use for protests.

#For the third time in four months, Occupy Santa Rosa staged a flash-mob of nappers to protest a city ordinance prohibiting sleeping outdoors, which they say unfairly penalizes the homeless.

#The Occupy Movement has made its way onto the stage, most recently at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C.

#The targets of the FBI’s Portland raid have spoken out, pledging not to answer any questions during their court appearance other than their names. In other PDX news: Portland activists have rallied around Annette Steele, a homeowner being forced out by Citigroup, the Portland Occupier reported. A visibly gaunt Cameron Whitten, one-time Occupy mayoral candidate, ended his hunger strike after 55 days. And several members of the Cascadia Now! Movement gathered across from President Obama’s fundraiser and dropped a large banner depicting a Sasquatch foot kicking a Monopoly man holding a money bag, with the words “WAR”, “OIL”, and “COAL” written across it.

#5,000 people from all over the nation – and various parts of the world including Australia – united on July 29 on the west lawn of the Capitol demanding Congress take immediate action to stop fracking.

#During a demonstration that shut down East Avenue on July 21, a livestreamer in Rochester had his equipment confiscated.

#More than 50 West Virginia protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet Surface Mine 45 — part of one of the largest mountaintop removal complexes in Appalachia – and shut it down. They are now being held on a combined $500,000 bail and need your help.

#PBS asked if we should worry about mercenary occupiers.

This is what democracy does not look like: The offices of ANSWER Los Angeles after being ransacked.

Photo: ANSWER Los Angeles. This is what democracy does not look like: The offices of ANSWER Los Angeles after being ransacked.

#Bank of America has decided to renegotiate the terms of a Minnesota homeowner Ruby Brown’s mortgage just days before it was scheduled to be auctioned off following a week of action by Occupy Our Homes MN and other groups.

#In light of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Occupy OC suspended its protests of Mitt Romney’s campaign to show solidarity with the massacre’s victims. President Obama was not so lucky, as protests in Oakland drew hundreds.

#On July 20, just 24 hours after a new camera policy was enacted by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C. that forbids the confiscation of cameras and cameraphones and disallows police from ordering citizens to stop filming or taking photos of police action, the cops took the phone of a local resident trying to record officers who were punching a man they were arresting.

#The Seattle Police Department has reached an agreement with the Justice Department on a set of reforms designed to curb use of excessive force by the city’s police officers, CNN reported.

#About 500 people critical of the economic impact and corporate flavor of the London Olympics marched near the Olympic Park, determined to send a message that Britain is not united in backing the games.

#Several cyclists were arrested as they performed their monthly “Critical Mass” protest ride in London, joined by members of Occupy London. The cyclists had been served an order to stay away from the Olympic site, and police intervened when they apparently breached the regulations. The demonstration was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation.

The Gain in Spain: Indignados remain strong.

Photo: Raúl G. Villalón / Flickr. The Gain in Spain: Indignados remain strong.

#Angry demonstrators entered a government office in the port city of Qidong, near Shanghai, on July 28 and smashed computers and destroyed furniture to protest a waste discharge plant that they said would pollute the water supply.

#More than 20,000 people marched on Japan’s parliament on July 29 to demand a ban on nuclear power.

#Talks over the UN Arms Trade Treaty fell apart on July 27, effectively killing the agreement. The Arms Trade Treaty Legal Blog reports that the process seemed to be moving to completion when the United States requested an extension to the time allotted to negotiate the agreement, opening the door to other countries to begin registering more complex objections.

#The Spanish protest movement is finally getting new life from the previously discounted working class.

#In the Amazonian back country, tribes are challenging construction of the world’s third-largest dam—by dismantling it.

#The Yo Soy 132 Académicos, academics from several Mexican universities, released this statement on the controversial July 1 presidential elections in which Enrique Peña Nieto claimed victory.

#Instead of covering LIBOR, one of the largest banking scandals in history, American television news outlets focused on the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, shark sightings and a chimpanzee attack.

#Rep. Dennis Kucinich demanded an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Foreclosure defense enlivens Portland.

Photo: Pete Shaw/The Portland Occupier. Foreclosure defense enlivens Portland.

#Don Delves, an independent compensation consultant who worked for Best Buy for seven years, resigned from the company in protest after more than 100 managers received bonuses that weren’t tied to performance.

#The Senate GOP plans to preserve the Bush tax cuts on incomes above $250,000 already amounts to a budget-busting tax cut for the rich, yet Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch added an estate tax cut that benefits only the super-wealthy.

#Pennsylvania officials conceded that they had no evidence of prior in-person voter fraud, or even any reason to believe that such crimes would occur with more frequency if a voter ID law wasn’t in effect. The state is engaged in litigation over its voter ID law, one of the nation’s strictest.

#Last week we reported that Skype won’t say whether it can eavesdrop on your calls; this week The Washington Post reported that Skype has increased its cooperation with law enforcement to give police access to online chats and other user data, including credit card numbers and addresses.

#A protest by the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church was cut short after nearly 300 people dressed as zombies and drowned out the church members. Looks like a trend.

#Prop 37 in California would impose mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.

#Here are the top 10 genetically modified foods to avoid.

#Growing up black in Mississippi you’re always on parole, as this excellent longread demonstrates.


Photo: MR.H

#The Obama administration so far has awarded hefty new federal family planning grants to Planned Parenthood clinics in three states that have cut the providers’ funding: New Jersey, Tennessee and North Carolina.

#On July 26, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved an extensive anti-choice measure that would make it next to impossible to obtain abortion medication, enact unnecessary screening requirements and mandate irrational physical plant requirements that could shut down almost every clinic in the state.

#Former Lockheed Martin vice president Ann Elise Sauer was hired by Sen. John McCain in February as the top Republican staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The revolving door swings regularly in Washington, but the size of the compensation package Sauer received from Lockheed when she left the company is notable: $1.6 million in compensation around the time she took a buyout in January 2011.

#Kenichi Watanabe, the chief executive of Japan’s Nomura Group bank and the architect of its boldest expansion move – the 2008 acquisition of the Asian and European operations of Lehman Brothers – resigned, as did the chief operating officer, in the aftermath of an insider trading scandal.

#In Sweden, file-sharing is a religion.

#The battle for Internet sovereignty continues: Senator Lamar Smith just introduced a bill called the Intellectual Property Attache Act (IPAA), which incorporates much of the wording from SOPA and PIPA and is meant to “promote a level playing field for American innovators abroad and American job creation.”

Occupy LA, Pershing Square, July 17.

Photo: Giles Clarke. Occupy LA, Pershing Square, July 17.

#INDECT is an E.U. research project to further develop existing surveillance technologies and combine into an instrument of operational policing, which allows you to monitor a comprehensive urban environment. Learn how to stop it.

#A San Francisco police officer shot to death a 32-year-old chocolate factory worker who was suspected of having slashed a friend with a box cutter, and an Occupy SF activist captured witness testimony that implicates the cops.

#Palermo’s Pizza fired scores of employees at its Milwaukee factory citing immigration violations shortly after workers said they wanted to organize.

#Baltimore is actually not using every last dollar in its law enforcement budget to chase down and harass brown-skinned immigrants in a desperate attempt to focus the anger of the majority on a target that cannot fight back. Imagine that.

#The stigma of unemployment starts a month after you lose your job.

#McClatchy’s Washington Bureau established a no-alter quote policy, whereby they refuse to read politicians’ quotes back to them and allow their words to be edited. In case you weren’t aware, the MSM does this constantly.

Sign on the wall of the Paul Robeson Freedom School.

Photo: Justin Wedes. Sign on the wall of the Paul Robeson Freedom School.

#In order to get his golf course built in Scotland, Donald Trump told the local government he would be creating 6,000 jobs. He then bulldozed the landscapes, bullied the people, and lied through his teeth. A new documentary shows the Scottish people organizing against Trump.

#Here’s a guide to defending yourself against tear gas.

#Occupy Sacramento‘s Foreclosure Action Team has demanded an immediate foreclosure moratorium in California.

#According to Occupy Arrests, 7,379 people have been arrested since Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011.

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