Why, when protesters are peaceably exercising first amendment rights, is the machinery of counter-terrorism being mobilised?Read the whole article at The Guardian,
In our not-so-distant history, protest in the United States was handled by local law enforcement that treated demonstrations and marches as mere nuisance, mediating and directing as needed. Today, observing the interaction between Occupy movements and law enforcement suggests something different is afoot. Present Occupy protests are now being defined by a bewildering set of law enforcement strategies – and current practices display a worrying new trend.
While riot police are not necessarily an everyday feature at any given protest, the sheer frequency with which we are witnessing their presence on city streets throughout the United States is enough to give average citizens cause for concern; the excessive force being routinely deployed is alarming.
Within the first few days of Occupy Wall Street, protesters began to notice the presence of the NYPD's Counter Terrorism Unit at Liberty Plaza. Joanne Stocker, who has become a fixture since day one at Wall Street, recalls within the first few days waking up to a Counter Terrorism Unit van, parked on the fringes of Liberty Plaza, which was taking video of her and her friends while they slept.
Protesters at other Occupy encampments give similar accounts. Robin Jacks, a member of Occupy Boston's media team, relates being photographed multiple times by police. Dustin Slaughter, who has spent time both at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Philadelphia, attests to the presence of the NYPD Counter Terrorism Unit at Liberty Plaza, saying that the Counter Terrorism Unit have been at Liberty Plaza filming on a regular basis. Slaughter also comments: "Philadelphia Police Homeland Security Units have had a regular presence at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment."
Protesters are indeed correct to view the law enforcement they encounter at Occupy with a critical eye. The USA Patriot Act, which had its 10-year anniversary last week, gave the US government virtually unchecked powers to spy and track the activity of ordinary Americans without probable cause right after the 9/11 attacks. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement agencies – thus empowered – have shown up at various Occupy protests armed with cameras, most certainly, to keep surveillance on protesters who are merely exercising their first amendment rights....
Protesters are indeed correct to view the law enforcement they encounter at Occupy with a critical eye. The USA Patriot Act, which had its 10-year anniversary last week, gave the US government virtually unchecked powers to spy and track the activity of ordinary Americans without probable cause right after the 9/11 attacks. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement agencies – thus empowered – have shown up at various Occupy protests armed with cameras, most certainly, to keep surveillance on protesters who are merely exercising their first amendment rights.
Reports of targeted arrests of informal "leaders" at Wall Street, Chicago and Boston indicate surveillance measures are operating. In Boston and Chicago, reports of extended and humiliating detentions of targeted occupy "leaders", typically from Direct Action, media, legal and medics groups, are disturbing. Dan Massoglia of the Occupy Chicago media team further reports that arrested individuals were deprived of their phone call, food and water, and that mattresses were removed from cells, while one woman was placed in solitary confinement....
Occupy protesters should make themselves familiar with the USA Patriot Act. Section 802 expanded the definition of domestic terrorism to include persons who engage in acts of civil disobedience to coerce or affect the conduct of government by intimidation of the civilian population. Furthermore, the US Department of Defence training manuals, until an amendment in 2009, equated protest with "low-level terrorism". Although the DoD changed the wording two years ago, human rights lawyers and activists have lingering concerns about whether the sentiment and intent has caught up with the change....
Occupy and the militarisation of policing protest
by Ayesha Kazmi
This is a very disturbing article. It shows what happens when fear allows an authoritarian regime in which both parties are complicit to suspend the Constitution and Bill of Rights to "protect the nation."
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."UPDATE: 'Occupy' Now a Banned Search Term in China
—This was written by Franklin, with quotation marks but almost certainly his original thought, sometime shortly before February 17, 1775 as part of his notes for a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly, as published in Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818). (source)
According to UC Berkeley publication China Digital Times, Sina Weibo, China's hyper-popular microblogging site, is now banning any and all search keywords that could theoretically be associated with OWS. "A long list of banned keywords on Sina Weibo’s search function has been uncovered and tested by the CDT team yesterday," writes Sandra Hernandez. "All the listed phrases stick to one simple rule: a combination of 'occupy' (占领) and a place name—provincial capitals, economically developed regions, and few symbolic local areas." In other words, the hundreds of millions of Sina Weibo users are no longer allowed to search for "occupy Beijing," for instance.