From a PCJF news release:
FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.
In other words, according to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the Executive Director of the PCJF:
“These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
It is always good to have allies in high places….
Along with the thugs they authorize….
This report may found in the New Yorkers deserve neither liberty nor security file:
The New York Police Department opened its Israeli branch in the Sharon District Police headquarters in Kfar Saba. Charlie Ben-Naim, a former Israeli and veteran NYPD detective, was sent on this mission.
You don’t have to fly to New York to meet members of the police department considered to be the best in the world — all you have to do is make the short trip to the Kfar Saba police station in the Sharon, where the NYPD opened a local branch.
Behind the opening of the branch in the Holy Land is the NYPD decision that the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact.
Ben-Naim was chosen for the mission of opening the NYPD branch in Israel. He is a veteran detective of the NYPD and a former Israeli who went to study in New York, married a local city resident and then joined the local police force. Among the things he has dealt with in the line of duty are the extradition of criminals, the transmitting of intelligence information and assistance in the location of missing persons, both in the United States and in Israel.
An NYPD officer assaults a teenager in a Sunset Park, Brooklyn subway station
Recently, political conformists in the United States celebrated the diminished presence of the Occupy Movement. To be sure, the lack of standing, active occupations — mostly due to the repression of such by America’s local militarized police forces — promoted a sense of relief among the conformists. The system worked! The Occupation failed; America remains intact; the natural aristocrats are still in charge. And their relief makes sense (to them) since the Occupy Movement was the first significant social challenge to America’s capitalist democracy and the austerity-minded political culture which emerged after the Recession of 2008. It is, after all, to this capitalist democracy that the conformists wish to conform. Failure, irrelevance ludicrousness of the Occupy Movement — these are the beliefs about the movement that pass muster among the corporate media.
Yet, we ought to ask, “Did the Occupy Movement fail?” The obvious answer: No! As Michael Niman points out:
The [corporate] media always held the Occupy movement to high standards, demanding nothing short of revolution, then calling the movement a failure when it failed to transform society in its first few months. But the pundits could only envision their own notion of revolution — replacing one set of leaders with another, all within the confines of our two-party system. Occupy, however, never aspired to being an electoral party or player, like the Tea Party, which, once organized, was co-opted by corporate interests in a matter of minutes. Occupy instead wanted to transform the debate — to shift the zeitgeist. To a punditocracy reduced to quantifying electoral battles as horse races, reporting on electoral tactics rather than substance, Occupy made no sense.
The Occupy Movement was and is a social movement, not an embryonic political party or new faction within the Democratic Party. Its goal: Radical change. Revolutions are instances of radical change. They are also improbable events just as radical change is improbable. It is because such change is improbable that demanding it from the Occupy Movement is tantamount to creating a pretext for judging the Movement a failure. Yet popular dissatisfaction remains intact, has real world motives and therefore must be considered a politically relevant variable in any analysis of America’s capitalist democracy that wants to be both sober and supported by evidence. The expression of this popular dissatisfaction only awaits an occasion which calls its name.
Charles M. Young made me laugh with this celebration of OWS’ first birthday:
Is there anything less threatening than a morbidly obese cop on motor scooter?
Okay, 25 morbidly obese cops on motor scooters — that’s even more unthreatening. When I’m out in the streets chanting, “Show me what a police state looks like! THIS is what a police state looks like!” I think I have a right to be oppressed by proper storm troopers who have spent enough time at the gym to bristle instead of sag. They don’t have to be television actors or anything, but as a taxpayer, am I getting my money’s worth when I’m being beaten and arrested by a parade of fried dumplings?
I’m going to be fair here and admit that I did see a morbidly obese cop on a motor scooter run over somebody’s foot last fall. That was moderately threatening until the ambulance arrived.
Note to Mayor Bloomberg: Is this why you banned the 32 oz. Big Gulps? All the guards at your cement bunker on East 79th Street were getting diabetes?
Note to Commissioner Kelly: Make your cops get off the motor scooters and chase those anarchists on foot. It’s good exercise. You might lose some anarchists, but think how much less embarrassing it will be to display fewer bulges in blue uniforms the next time Obama ties up midtown for a fundraiser.
At least 60% of the NYPD looks like the governor of New Jersey. Where is your pride?
It must be uncomfortable to have a hundred pounds of potbelly squeezing like toothpaste out the edges of those bullet-proof vests. They aren’t fooling anyone, using those vests like girdles.
It’s probably even more uncomfortable to work for a mayor who is cutting your pension while claiming you as a soldier in his “personal army.” That would be the same mayor who was worth $5 billion in 2002 when he was first elected mayor and promised to work full time in office. Now he’s worth $23 billion. How many cops on scooters made $18 billion while working full-time for the city?
Boy Scouts always prepare:
Thousands of Republicans from around the country will descend upon Tampa, Florida next week for the Republican National Convention, and if recent history is any guide, so too will hundreds of protesters.
To prepare, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has ordered the Orient Road Jail, a 1,700 bed prison in Tampa, emptied, relocating some inmates to another nearby prison and releasing others on bond. The entire facility has been transformed into a one-stop booking, detention, and bond-issuance center capable of handling large numbers of arrests, which begs the question: will Tampa police keep demonstrators on a short leash?
The upshot: Sheriff Gee intends to jail protesters for exercising some of their First Amendment Rights. To make this political repression efficient and effective, Sheriff Gee released some prisoners who committed crimes against property, persons and propriety! Is Sheriff Gee’s action bizarre? Yes, a rational mind would consider it bizarre to release prisoners in order to suppress legally protected speech and assembly. Is Sheriff Gee’s action surprising? No, not at all!
Let us recall how St. Paul Minnesota greeted protesters during the 2008 GOP Convention:
Police violence is now endemic, and is a recurring problem during political conventions. And it is not limited to Republican Conventions:
The student’s name: Joe Diaz. His account of his arrest and the assault he suffered can be read here. The event occurred last December and was publicized by Kevin Carson on his blog.
A David Lindorff report presents evidence that the Department of Homeland Security co-ordinated the late-2011 suppression of the Occupy Movement: Evidence Homeland Security Coordinated Occupy Crackdown » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.
The Occupy Movement has just taken up Trayvon Martin’s cause. Martin was the Florida youth recently killed by George Zimmerman, a community watch member, for walking while black through Zimmerman’s gated community. The community is located in Sanford, Florida. Martin was visiting his father at his father’s girlfriend’s home at the time of the killing. Martin was rightfully walking the streets of that Community since his father’s girlfriend lived in the community.
It is noteworthy that Zimmerman, a mixed race man, had prior contact with law enforcement because of incidents in which he had acted violently or had posed a threat to another person. On the other hand, Martin, a young black male and a high school student of good standing, lacked a criminal record, was never a suspect in a crime, etc. Despite these differences and the fact that Martin had not committed a crime before Zimmerman shot and killed him, the Sanford Police Department exonerated Zimmerman for his killing of Martin. It did so because Zimmerman had appealed to Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground self-defense laws. Zimmerman claimed that Martin was a threat to him. Yet there is no sound evidence whatsoever indicating Martin threatened Zimmerman, anyone else or anyone’s property while he walked to his father’s girlfriend’s home. This lack of evidence makes Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin appear wholly unjustified. There is evidence supporting the claim that Zimmerman confronted Martin without police authorization.
At first glance, the Martin killing evokes images of racial profiling by the assailant, George Zimmerman, and the Sanford Police Department, while it also exposes the mindless brutality of a law that authorizes gun carriers to shoot-to-kill those individuals the gun holder believes to be a threat and wherever they feel threatened. Moreover, ambiguous evidence (an audibly distorted 911 call) exists which indicates the presence of a racial bias in Zimmerman during his confrontation with Martin. This bias, should it be proven to have existed at the time of Martin’s death, would undermine Zimmerman’s self-defense claims. It would also expose Zimmerman to manslaughter or second degree murder charges.
The Million Hoodie March was a collective expression of a demand for justice to be achieved in the Martin killing. But it was also more. The March gained in significance because it occurred in New York City (a place which specializes in racially motivated policing and low-consequences police brutality) and included the Occupy Movement as a significant element in the protest. The March not only affirmed prior protest actions that had occurred in Florida, as it was meant to do, it added to them. It thus registered more than a public’s disgust with racist violence; the protest also reflected the growth of a multi-class and multi-identity movement for justice in the United States. In the wake of this protest action critics of the Occupy Movement can no longer plausibly claim that a local Occupation is an instance of single-issue movement focused only on Wall Street. (Although, some have criticized the Occupy Movement for seeking to co-opt the Million Hoodie March. It appears that they find cross-movement solidarity troubling.) The March also shows the support of the Movement for Black American civil rights advocates and those committed to defending minorities from police harassment and discrimination. Anti-racism and the demand for social justice have much in common, of course, and the building of a cross-class and multi-identity movement is the goal pursued by most left protest movements.
In the end, the Million Hoodie March ought to be considered a positive development in struggle for justice in the United States. It reflected the strength of two important social movements while demanding justice in the Trayvon Martin killing.
The Million Hoodie March
The New York City Police Department, currently embroiled in scandals which are so common (ticket fixing, gun running and contraband smuggling, rape, killing of the unarmed, surveillance of the innocent, identity-biased stop-and-frisk searches, etc.) that they now define its very existence, added to its current scandal list when its members “rioted” (see this and this) while removing Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. The protesters reoccupied the Park while celebrating the sixth-month anniversary of its emergence.
Sadly, not much has changed for the better since 1996 when Amnesty International released its infamous report on the NYPD’s human rights violations. To be sure, the Department’s political and corporate paymasters would not have it any other way.
An elderly couple in Berkeley, CA, the Cukors, called the Berkeley Police Department to report a trespasser near to their home. When the Berkeley PD failed to send a patrol car to investigate the matter, Peter Cukor left his home and went to the local fire station for help. The station was out on a call, however. When he returned home, the trespasser beat him to death with a flower pot.
The alleged assailant, Daniel Dewitt, was arrested near to the crime scene and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Despite his illness, Dewitt failed to obtain the in-patient care he needed. Despite the Cukor’s calls to the Berkeley PD, they failed to get the assistance they needed to manage a situation that was more dangerous than they initially believed. Mr. Cukor is dead because of these failures.
The Berkeley PD’s explanation for its initial failure to respond to the Cukor’s call:
“At that time, available officers were being reconfigured in order to monitor a (Occupy Oakland) protest which was to come into Berkeley from Oakland in the next hour,” Greenwood said. “Only criminal, in-progress emergency calls were to be dispatched, due to the reduction in officers available to handle calls for service.”
So, the Berkeley Police Department blames Occupy Oakland for an event in which the movement was not involved. It is ironic that the march was peaceful, according to an Occupy Oakland activist interviewed by the Huffington Post.
Occupy Oakland has yet to release a statement on the incident and the blame placed on it by the Berkeley PD.