Occupiers from across the country gathering at Boeing in Chicago as part of the counter-NATO week of actions Last weekend, scores of occupiers took buses from New York to Chicago to join thousands of people from the social justice movement, peace advocates, occupiers, students, and labor to face the forces of the self-appointed world police: NATO. The demonstrators protested the culture of militarism, war, and oppression pursued by NATO, by creatively bringing their messages to the streets. Once again peaceful demonstrators were pushed back violently and then blamed for the violence. The only suitable answer for those who try to silence us is to speak even louder, take more streets, occupy more public space, and continue to inspire the 99% to create democratic change Occupy these Upcoming Events Every Wednesday, 4pm The People’s Gong This Wednesday, and every Wednesday thereafter, we call on all people to join Occupy Wall Street in ringing the People’s Gong. We first meet at the steps of Federal Hall, mic check, and afterwards we return to Liberty Plaza to debrief and work on projects across OWS. We invite all working groups to re-occupy Liberty Park with us and join the report-back circle at 7:30pm. Wednesday May 23, 6pm Winning at Work: Labor Law for the 99% Communication Workers of America, 6 Harrison Street “If it’s effective, it’s illegal”. This is common wisdom for anyone trying to organize in workplaces today. The OWS Labor Alliance presents a workshop with Daniel Gross and Sonia Lin about how to challenge the hurdles facing workplace organizing. Wednesday May 23, 8:30pm Occupy: Chicago was a TRIP The Yippie Cafe, 9 Bleeker Street We’ve all heard it: Chicago was freaking CRAZY. So if you were there, come out to Occupational Hazards: we’ll have free food for Chicago Occupiers (and anyone else) and a soapbox to tell your story. This event features Sumumba of OccuEvolve, here to discuss how Occupy can reach the next level, and a musical guest. Thursday, May 24, 8am Goldman Sachs 2012 Shareholders Meeting Goldman Sachs, 30 Hudson St, Jersey City This year most financial groups are holding their shareholders meeting outside of NYC – away from Wall St. and OWS. Citigroup is having theirs in Dallas. Goldman Sachs is holding theirs conveniently across the river in Jersey City. Field trip anyone? Thursday, May 24, 630pm National Occupy Networking This Summer – A Town Hall Meeting The Brooklyn Commons – 388 Atlantic Ave. Seven months ago to the day, the Occupy movement spoke to each other for the first time on the first ever InterOccupy conference call. Join us this Thursday to celebrate how far we have come, and discuss how we can build together through the summer and into year two! Learn about what is happening and how you can plug in! Saturday May 26, 12pm Summer Disobedience School Bryant Park, 42nd Street and 6th Avenue The OWS Direct Action Group is launching Summer Disobedience School. We’ve completed Spring Training – and we’re moving and communicating in the streets like never before. Join us! Saturday May 26, 1pm Critical Walking Tours The Gandhi statue in the southwest corner of Union Square Engage the city, your body, and others, by putting yourself in motion on a set of 6 summer discussion-walks to engage the political, ecological, and your embodied urban environment – New York City. Each walk will start at different point in the city with a short inspirational text and space from which to launch our journey and discussion. Sunday, May 27, 2pm OccuPicnic at Astoria Park Astoria Park, 23rd avenue and 19th street, Astoria, Queens Occupy Astoria Long Island City would like to invite everyone to an Occupy Picnic! We’d like to celebrate the Occupy movement, catch up with all our friends throughout the five boroughs and make new friends. Tuesday, May 29, 630pm OWS Summer Reboot 33 West 14th Street In the Community Dialogues there was a break-out group around GA, Spokes, and structure. These points came up consistently: intentionality, inclusivity, community, communication, coordination, access, transparency. Now, we must ask ourselves what a structure looks like that meets these needs. Come to the Summer Reboot! Create the OWS you always imagined! (re-scheduled from Wednesday, May 23) This week’s featured Occu-Project INDIGNACIÓN Indig-Nación is the first Spanish language newspaper of OWS, and we aim to be an instrument that mobilizes and builds bridges between Latino occupiers, grassroots organizations and those yet to enter the conversation. Although a wide spectrum of Latinos have participated within the Occupy movements, the media discussion in Spanish regarding Occupy is underwhelming at best. We believe it’s essential for diverse voices in Spanish to intervene in the public conversation by sharing their personal stories and connecting Latin American history and experiences of struggle to our current situation. Learn More Daily #OccupyUnionSq Info Table, 9am – 9pm @OWSUnionSquare Every day Occupy Union Square has an info table open and staffed, acting as a hub to promote the constant flurry of events and meetings occurring in the park and across OWS. Click here to find out how you can help out with immediate needs of the Union Square occupiers to keep it running and growing. Help is particularly requested for providing content on the new website: http://occupyunionsquare.wordpress.com . For Text Message alerts on your cellphone about daily events, actions, and important information, sign up for the ComHub SMS blasts by texting @owscom to 23559. Times Square, May 12 2012
Police violence in Chicago: Boston Occupier gets 10 stitches from police baton Wood says that he remembers pulling at least two young women out of the scrum before winding up about three bodies behind the escalating conflict. Even back there he wasn’t safe though; within seconds – at around 5:15pm – a close-by cop indiscriminately swung his baton into the crowd, cracking Wood directly above the left side of his temple. Bloody and shaken, he says everything went blurry. http://tinyurl.com/bmtol83 When ‘black bloc’ and the police are the same thing As in so many similar situations in so many other countries in the past, the goal of this combination of violent acts and lying media propaganda is to invalidate any legitimate citizen protest of the many immoral acts being wreaked upon the peoples of the world by our governments. The techniques of imperial control which have been used so successfully overseas are now being fully deployed against the people at home. Deployed against us. As far as our war-addicted governments are concerned, we are all insurgents now. http://tinyurl.com/29agjos Chicago’s fishy NATO arrests While the facts surrounding the five arrestees remain murky, the furor surrounding the raids, arrests and charges in the past week are enough to illustrate the immediate impact of alleging terrorist threats during mass activist mobilizations. Twitter was abuzz with unsubstantiated, nervous rumors about pending police raids and lurking, unmarked vans. And once again, the terms “anarchist” and “Occupy” have been linked to terrorism in the media and public consciousness. Even if, as the NLG argues, the charges are “fabricated,” the suggestion of terrorism stokes fear and upholds the good protester/bad protester narrative that has long haunted Occupy groups nationwide. So while the Tribune may be right, that the NATO summit and surrounding protests did not leave a “black eye” on the city, even the worst bruises heal fast. Something more damaging may, however, remain: the ongoing persecution of anarchists and activists with entrapment, intimidation and trumped-up charges. http://tinyurl.com/dyebl6k Youth joblessness near crisis peak Youth joblessness is almost back at its peak following the outbreak of the global economic crisis and is unlikely to ease until at least 2016, the International Labour Organization warned Tuesday. The ILO said nearly 75 million youths or 12.7 percent of people aged 15 to 24 will be out of work this year, up from 12.6 percent in 2011. The jobless total is creeping towards the 75.4 million unemployed in 2009 when the financial crisis caused the number to soar. http://tinyurl.com/bu6xqqj ‘Members of the class of 2012 … You’re f*cked’ – former secretary of labor Members of the Class of 2012, As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today. You’re f*cked. Well, not exactly. But you won’t have it easy. First, you’re going to have a hell of a hard time finding a job. The job market you’re heading into is still bad. Fewer than half of the graduates from last year’s class have as yet found full-time jobs. Most are still looking. That’s been the pattern over the last three graduating classes: It’s been taking them more than a year to land the first job. And those who still haven’t found a job will be competing with you, making your job search even harder. http://tinyurl.com/c7vuxt9 For workers over 55, long-term unemployment has doubled since 2007 The number of long-term unemployed workers aged 55 and older has more than doubled since the recession began in late 2007. Getting back to work is increasingly difficult, according to a government report being released on Tuesday. For unemployed seniors, the chances of reentering the workforce are grim. Experts worry that unemployed seniors face a long-term threat as the impact of lost wages compounds. In what should be their prime earning years, these older workers rely on savings, miss out on potential wages and prematurely tap into Social Security – all at a time when Americans live longer and health care and other living costs are rising. http://tinyurl.com/bu3qskx Romney’s Economic Plan Would Throw 13 Million People Off Of Food Stamps According to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Romney’s economic plan would throw 13 million people off of food stamps entirely or force him to cut benefits by nearly $2,000 per family per year: Cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) would throw 13 million low-income people off the benefit rolls, cut benefits deeply – by over $1,800 a year for a family of four – or some combination of the two. These cuts would primarily affect poor families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. http://tinyurl.com/bmc8x7q What happened to the Occupy movement? Although media coverage has dwindled, Occupy cells are alive and well all over the United States – and beyond Keeping a space continually, and using democratic forms of self-governance recreates the commons, which has been colonised over decades by full-spectrum consumption – shopping, eating, drinking, entertainment and paid spectacle. Occupy Wall Street attracted throngs of journalists and the curious because it was a completely different spectacle. It was a miniature society that rejected the private, individualism and capitalism. The scene of hundreds of people exchanging food, art, music, knowledge, politics, healthcare, shelter, anger, ideas, skills and love was unlike anything else in our consumer societies – because not one exchange was lubricated by money (of course the goods were paid for at some point). Within the occupation, thousands shared the experience of having a direct democratic stake in a society they were helping to build from scratch. These democratic societies, more than 300 of which popped up around the United States by October 2011, propelled Occupy by enticing a huge number of political neophytes to join an organic movement. The real power of a social movement, from the 1960s to the Tea Party, is not to recombine existing activists in a new formation but to bring in the previously non-political. At occupations, experienced organisers marvelled at the ability to have meaningful conversations with people of radically different backgrounds and politics. Having visited nearly 40 occupations across the US, I encountered many self-identified conservatives and Republicans and even a few Tea Party members who said they were part of the 99 per cent. http://tinyurl.com/dx8lspn Policies at Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Create Conflicts for Ob-Gyns, Study Finds Thirty-seven percent of ob-gyns at religiously affiliated hospitals have faced a conflict with their employer about religiously based policies on patient care, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters reports. At Catholic hospitals, 52% of ob-gyns have experienced such conflicts, the study found. http://tinyurl.com/cfnroe3 California Man Commits Suicide Before Foreclosure “The engine is smoking like a chimney,” Norman Rousseau told his wife after working on an RV that was expected to be home for the couple after they were evicted from their house in Newbury Park, Calif. Those would be the last words Oriane Rousseau heard from her husband, who shot himself May 15, days before the couple were scheduled to be evicted after a long battle over their mortgage held by Wells Fargo. “I lost my husband and it hurts me like hell,” Oriane Rousseau, the wife of Norman, told CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody. This is horrible. I lost my husband. I lose my pets, I lose my house, I lose my furniture, everything…for nothing.” http://tinyurl.com/cqa54ja Neo-liberalism’s long losing streak Incumbents are being ditched unceremoniously across the globe as people show their anger at austerity, privatisation and the rest of the neo-liberal agenda. We have the demise of the governments of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Slovakia and Italy over the past two years. The administrations of the Netherlands and the Czech Republic look very shaky and France now has a new “socialist” president. We’ve seen it happen in Australia with the comprehensive drubbing of the NSW and Queensland Labor governments and, with a massive turnaround of political fortunes looking unlikely, it will happen at the federal level, as well. The problems driving voters to judge so harshly are the same here as with the headline-grabbing elections in France, Greece and elsewhere. People are sick of privatisation, the erosion of services and the rapid rise in their cost to households. They’re tired of the lack of action to secure local jobs (especially manufacturing jobs); the unwillingness to extract decent rates of tax from transnational corporations and big business’ thinly disguised control of the political process. They’ve had enough of war, corruption and the bosses’ mantra that “the community is living beyond its means”. http://tinyurl.com/bm757mc To get a daily listing of Occupy Boston’s events and activities (and more!), subscribe to the Daily Digest by going to https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/obupdates . To subscribe to the OB Media Rundown, send your request to email@example.com
New legislation in the Netherlands makes it the first country in Europe to establish a legal framework supporting net neutrality. In addition to the net neutrality provisions, the law contains language that restricts when ISPs can wiretap their users, and limits the circumstances under which ISPs can cut off a subscriber’s Internet access altogether. The anti-wiretapping section of the new law specifies that ISPs may not use technologies like deep packet inspection (DPI), except under limited circumstances, or with explicit consent from the ISP’s customer, or to comply with a court order or other legislative provisions. One Dutch ISP, KPN, came under fire last year for using DPI to determine whether its subscribers were using VoIP on mobile devices. The new law sets out an exhaustive list of six circumstances in which an ISP can disconnect or suspend the Internet access of subscribers. These include: termination at the request of the subscriber, non-payment by a subscriber, in cases of deception, at the expiry of a fixed contract, force majeure, or if the ISP is required to terminate by law or a court order. In addition, the network neutrality provisions also permit blocking of an Internet connection where necessary for the integrity and security of a network. The provisions are the Dutch government’s implementation of the 2009 EU Telecoms Package revision framework. Article 1(3a) of the Framework Directive states that EU Member States may only adopt measures interfering with citizens’ ability to access and use the Internet in limited circumstances. In particular measures may only be imposed if they are “ appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society , and their implementation shall be subject to adequate procedural safeguards in conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and general principles of Community law, including effective judicial protection and due process .” As Dutch digital rights group Bits of Freedom notes, the new provisions are needed because “[c]urrently, Internet providers on the basis of their terms and conditions may terminate or suspend the Internet connection for various reasons.” This law ensures that ISPs cannot disconnect users for nebulous terms of service violations. This gives Internet users some protection against ISPs adopting voluntary or semi-voluntary measures, such as policies to disconnect Internet users on three allegations of copyright infringement. This is important as voluntary three strikes policies become an increasingly real danger. In the United States, for example, ISPs and major media trade groups have developed a voluntary “graduated response” program — the so-called “six strikes” deal — that is set to go into effect this July. EFF is now calling on Internet users to pressure the participating ISPs for a public commitment not to cut users off under the new program. The Dutch law comes after vigorous campaigning by civil society groups including influential digital rights group, Bits of Freedom . Ot van Daalen, the Director of that organization, hopes it will spark similar legislation elsewhere. “Bits of Freedom campaigned hard for these provisions and our work paid off. The law sets an example for other countries, and we call on the rest of Europe to follow.” Related Issues: Net Neutrality International
The scene late last night in Chicago via Interoccupy : While tens of thousands are in Chicago protesting NATO and many more are marching in the streets of Quebec, the action in your city must not stop! NOW IS THE TIME TO AMPLIFY! Use the tag #SOLIDARITYSUNDAY to organize! Send your meet up locations to Info@interoccupy.org or post a comment here to be included in this list. We will update as soon as we can. Occupy Boston : Action Assembly at 5:00 pm EST at Copley Square OWS NYC : Emergency DA Meeting – Sun 2pm, Washington Sq Park, NYC Occupy Denver : Gather at Lincoln Park, Rallying at 5PM and departing at 5:30 Occupy Portland : Meet up 2PM at Director Park, SW Yamhill + Park Occupy Austin : Pease Park at 2 PM Last week, Chicago police officers promised ¨billy clubs to the fucking skull¨ to a group of activists they’d pulled over without cause in the South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport. The activists recorded the encounter with a cell phone and the video spread virally across the internet. Now, three of those Occupiers are locked up on charges of terrorism that witnesses, lawyers, and family say are ridiculous. Lawyers for the accused say CPD planted evidence . This is now the second time authorities have timed high-profile arrests of alleged “domestic terrorists” to coincide with major days of action for the Occupy movement — the other was earlier this month when five Occupiers in Cleveland were arrested on charges of conspiring to blow up a bridge on May Day. In both cases, authorities surveilled and infiltrated activist circles to instigate and supply support for conspiracies to commit domestic terrorism. It seems clear now that these government-engineered “terrorist” plots are more than just a tool to entrap troublesome protesters; they are calculated psychological operations intended to manipulate public opinion and quash dissent with fear. Since well before the NATO summit, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Chicago Police Department have worked relentlessly to suppress free speech and the right to protest — presiding over mass arrests of Occupiers, pushing for laws prohibiting filming police (that have since been blocked by courts), and passing Draconian anti-assembly regulations that require over a million dollars in insurance in order to obtain a permit for a peaceful gathering. Then, last week, CPD (working with the FBI and Secret Service) raided activists’ homes with guns drawn in the middle of the night, without displaying a warrant. They arrested 9 people, who were held in horrific conditions without explanation. Arrestees report being shackled at the feet, verbally abused, interrogated about Occupy and the NATO protests, threatened with conspiracy charges, recruited (unsuccessfully) as informants, and held in solitary confinement for 18 hours. Six have since been released without charges, including two who, according Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office, were working with authorities to infiltrate Occupy. Three — the #NATO3 — remain in police custody, charged with conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism. Incredibly, these were the same activists who’s video of being threatened by Chicago police in Bridgeport went viral last week. Further straining credibility, authorities maintain there is no connection between the events. Across Chicago, activists and bystanders report being stopped on the street without cause and questioned about Occupy Chicago and the NATO protests. In addition to local police, the Secret Service, FBI, and DHS, at least 40 federal agencies are reported to be coordinating the suppression of the NATO counter-protests. The military presence includes blackhawk helicopters and other aircraft that have been openly patrolling Chicago’s skyscrapers for weeks. There have even been several reports of predator-class drone sightings near Chicago, including this one caught on film: As confirmed by heavily redacted documents recently released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), federal agencies including DHS have been monitoring, infiltrating, and coordinating to disrupt Occupy since at least last autumn. PCJF National Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard says these documents “are likely only a subset of responsive materials,” and only “scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.” There is even some reason to believe the White House may have been involved in the crackdown and coordination of evictions of Occupy camps. Occupations and affinity groups across the U.S. have reported suspected agent provacteurs causing conflict and carrying our character assassinations on organizers. In Florida, a fake openly anti-Semitic facebook group claiming to be affiliated with Occupy was widely publicized by corporate media and right-wing blogs. Across social media, Occupy supporters are reporting unexplained disruptions, and an escalation in “trolling” that appears too pervasive and too persistent to be organic. Attempts to disrupt and discredit our movement take many forms. In Minneapolis , police from multiple jurisdictions engaged in a policy of picking up Occupiers and random people, giving them illegal drugs, and then dropping them off at Peavey Plaza, where Occupy Minneapolis continues its encampment. The story broke after independent journalists produced a viral 30-minute documentary exposing the practice. Similar stories circulated widely last fall in New York City, claiming the NYPD was dropping recently-released prisoners and potential perpetrators of sexual assault at Liberty Square. Without meaningful investigation, it is impossible to know if such incidents are isolated or widespread. Suspicious events like this one, however, are not few in number. The night before May Day in San Francisco, a group dressed like the black bloc rampaged through the residential Mission District, causing property destruction throughout the area. Occupiers (including anarchists and black bloc sympathsizers) publicly denounced the action, saying they had never seen any of those involved at Occupy Oakland, SF, or any other Occupation. OSF released this statement : We share your shock and outrage at the damage to the Mission perpetrated on the evening of April 30. We unequivocally denounce the actions of the individuals who vandalized one of San Francisco’s most beloved neighborhoods that night. The non-violent tactics OccupySF employs are only directed towards the overwhelming economic and political power aligned against us, and we condemn acts of pointless property destruction directed against hard-working individuals and their locally-owned businesses. We consider these acts of vandalism and violence a brutal assault on our community and the 99%. Many Occupiers are your neighbors. We, too, live and work in the Mission, and were saddened and angered by what happened. So, we offer you our hearts and, most importantly, our hands to help repair the damage to your homes, your businesses, and your trust. Similar events were reported in Seattle and other cities on and around May Day. Perhaps most shockingly, packages containing white powder meant to appear like anthrax were sent to banks in NYC with text referencing May Day. Although cops and corporate media were quick to blame OWS, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest Occupiers had anything to do with it. It could just as easily be another attempt to discredit OWS, cause the public to associate Occupiers with terrorists, and distract from a major day of mass nonviolent protest. Throughout the week of protests leading up to NATO, protesters have been overwhelmingly nonviolent and peaceful . And while we have not seen mass arrests on the levels seen last year, police have arrested numerous people for civil disobedience on unfounded charges like assaulting a police officer, contradicting both video evidence and eye-witness evidence from the National Lawyers Guild . After earlier reports that officials might interfere with cell phone towers, dozens of livestreamers and others in downtown Chicago area reported widespread service disruptions, unlike anything seen in the U.S. since the #N17 day of action in Manhattan. Mysteriously, our website (OccupyWallSt.org), along with NATOprotest.org and other Occupy-related sites that were used to organize the NATO protests, was taken offline early Friday morning by severe Distributed Denial of Service attacks — a common tactic often used by online activists such as Anonymous to overwhelm website servers. The perpetrators are unknown. Earlier this month, in the midst of major Occupy actions in Moscow and at the Bank of America shareholders meeting in Charlotte North Carolina, major video streaming services including Bambuser and Ustream went down simultaneously due to DDoS attacks targetting streams of Russian dissidents. Back in Chicago, CPD is targeting more than movement-based livestreamers. Earlier this week , The Nation’s Allison Kilkenny described ¨a memo allegedly from the Chicago Police Department Office of International Relations, marked not intended for general distribution . . . The three-page document outlines press behavior that will and will not be tolerated, including normally acceptable media maneuvers that will no longer be considered acceptable and actually might be grounds for arrest.¨ Last night, CPD stepped up their harassment of peaceful protesters. Despite there being no sign of a riot, police went all out with riot gear — even their horses wore armor. Police reveled in excessive force as they assaulted a nonviolent anti-capitalist march with blunt force weapons, leaving several bloodied and badly bruised. Multiple sources report that Chicago Police scanners described cops going undercover dressed as part of a black bloc. In what could potentially have been a lethal attack, police deliberately struck a protester with a van, who was taken away by an ambulance before being handcuffed, arrested, and later let go without charges. Later in the night, police stopped several well-known livestreamers, handcuffed them at gunpoint before tailing them trying to leave. Many other activists report being followed and initiated by uniformed and nonuniformed police on their way to and from protests. Also interestingly, the company under contract with 99% Solidarity buses to carry hundreds of passengers to the NATO protests from cities like New York, Washington DC, Oakland, and Portland have suddenly decided not to transport protesters to rally points today. The decision breaches prior agreements with organizers that the buses would be used to take people to protest sites all weekend, including today. According to @99Solidarity (who also had protesters sign explicit nonviolence agreements before taking the bus), a representative of the bus company stated: “I have been restricted by my company from talking to you directly at this point.” We must not allow this type of intimidation to continue. We must rise up and nonviolently resist. We must take our justifiable rage and use it to grow our resistance and solidarity. We will not turn against one another, and nor will we sacrifice our values. We will not be terrorized; our numbers will only grow as we expose the brutality of the system we oppose. The attacks on activists in the U.S. are but a fraction of the seemingly endless warfare imposed by NATO and the G8 countries on the nations they occupy across the world. We have exposed a tiny fragment of the true terror that is NATO. We will resist. Today, Occupiers in cities across the U.S. and the world are encouraged to gather in their squares and plazas to show solidarity with #noNATO activists in Chicago. As three anonymous comrades from OWS said earlier: We enter the stage with a righteous fire in our hearts at the injustice done to us and our comrades on these streets just a day before. Yet we will not be overriden with heightened emotions that cloud our judgement. We recognize this attempt at coercion as yet another manifestation of systemic oppression, and remain autonomous individuals who will not be ordered around, explictly or implicitly. Instead, we channel our anger, our pain, our compassion, our despair, and our passion for a better world without this oppression into our messaging and our actions. More on #SolidaritySunday via Occupy Denver : The Occupy Denver Direct Action Committee has endorsed the call out from Occupy Wall St. for solidarity actions in response to massive repression against protestors in Chicago. We will be meeting in Lincoln Park and Rallying at 5PM on Sunday May 19th and departing at 5:30. This is very short notice, so please tell a friend, tell a dozen friends, bring signs, noisemakers and new chants. We invite everyone in Denver to stand up for our brave brothers and sisters on the front lines in Chicago marching against the war machine. We are marching in solidarity with our Occupy Denver comrades who were beaten on the front lines in the Anti Capitalist March. We are marching in solidarity with the journalists who have been detained & harassed. We are marching against the war machine. We are marching in solidarity with the protestors who were illegally disappeared on Friday night. We are marching against a state that uses violent force to silence our first amendment rights. If the violence continues, we will keep marching. See you tomorrow.
Join the Occupy Boston Banking Accountability Group on Wednesday, May 23, from 6 to 7:30 pm, in Copley Square across the street from the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St. We will be considering campaigns and organizing in three areas: 1) An “Occupy Action Campaign” targeting one specific, to-be-decided Boston bank. 2) Organizing and/or participating in the “Long Term Massachusetts Public Bank Campaign.” 3) Organizing and/or participating in more educational events around banking and finance for the Boston community. Feel free to propose other ideas at the meeting. Meet at Boloco restaurant in case of rain.
The scene of the deadly blast outside the so-called Palestinian branch intelligence headquarters on 10 May. Photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA Military defectors in northern Syria have denounced claims that al-Qaida was behind a series of deadly bombings in Damascus, contradicting the UN secretary general’s assessment that the terror group is taking a lead in the insurgency. The defectors were speaking before Ban Ki-moon’s claim on Thursday that al-Qaida was responsible for a deadly blast outside one of Syria’s top intelligence services on 10 May, which reportedly killed 55 people and wounded 372. “A few days ago there was a huge, serious, massive terrorist attack. I believe that there must be al-Qaida behind it,” Ban said at the UN headquarters in New York. “This has created again very serious problems.” The defectors, interviewed by the Guardian in villages in the Jisr al-Shughour and Jabal al-Zawiya areas this week, alleged that Syrian security forces had caused many of the blasts. Nine defectors, some of them officers who had fled recently, relayed first-hand accounts of plots they had witnessed being planned or executed that were later blamed on “armed gangs” or al-Qaida. All have provided details of the plots they say took place and are willing to provide testimonies to international investigators. They say they are reluctant to put their names to their allegations, fearing reprisals against their families. Another man, who was serving in the destroyed intelligence headquarters, known as the Palestinian branch, and who was injured in the 10 May blast, gave an account of regime compliance to his family and friends. The man, a guard at the headquarters’ prison, had returned to his village two days earlier after receiving treatment. “He told us that three days before the bomb the Alawite officers started disappearing and so too did all of the important prisoners,” the man’s brother said. “The cameras were also taken down and the important files were removed. The only people left in the building when the explosion happened were Sunni officers and guards or some prisoners.” The injured guard initially agreed to discuss with the Guardian his version of what took place, but promptly left the interview trembling and weeping. “He knows the price we will all pay if he speaks out,” the brother said. A non-commissioned officer who fled the feared air force intelligence on Tuesday said he had been responsible for the removal of cameras from the street outside the Palestinian branch a week before the explosion. “This was the most secure part of Damascus,” he said in Jabal al-Zawiya village the following night. “Nothing can happen there without someone knowing.” He said that despite removing the cameras, he had had no prior knowledge of a blast. He did claim to have witnessed an irregular mass transfer of staff from another security building that was blown up in late December, the first of the alleged al-Qaida attacks on the capital. “I was working very near that area that morning,” he said. “They put an emergency car with a flashing light out the front of the building and there was a prisoner inside [the car]. It was impossible to get near the area for two hours before the explosion.” Another officer, who defected in February, said he witnessed a van being loaded with explosives in al-Mustama military camp in northern Syria. “They then put prisoners in it and took it into town and exploded it,” the officer said. “For five days before, we knew [the explosion] was going to happen. But when I heard that they had killed the prisoners too, I left.” A fourth officer, who served in the air force intelligence branch in Damascus and fled in January, said he had seen a car loaded with explosives being driven from his building by guards who were transporting prisoners. “They told me to go to a checkpoint near Midan [a suburb of the capital]. They said the car would come to the checkpoint and I was to intercept it. The guards got out of the car around 400 metres from the checkpoint and 200 metres later we stopped the car and arrested the men inside. “I left the military after that,” he said. “I could not take it any more.” Across the swath of northern Syria visited by the Guardian this week, anger at the idea of al-Qaida being responsible was evident among the Free Syria Army and locals. “Show me one man from al-Qaida and I will buy you lunch,” said Firas Abu Hamza, a rebel commander in Jabal al-Zawiya. “There are no [Gulf] Arabs here helping us and there are no weapons coming in. “This is our fight and our fight alone,” Abu Hamza said. “We will accept weapons, but we will not accept al-Qaida. It is totally impossible in this community for them to be there without us knowing. “Have you seen those explosions in Damascus? They are massive, sophisticated, beyond our capabilities,” he said. “We tried to blow up a tank near a bridge last week with urea and sugar and barely damaged the tank. It is clear that a state is behind this.”
[[Ed Note: These notes were submitted by Denica. -GX]] Urgent Announcements * Bradley and Alex go to court on Monday. (update: https://www.aclunc.org/cases/active_cases/people_ v._allen_and_darocy.shtml ) * Robert in court on Friday to ask for video evidence that has been withheld from defense. * Santa Cruz community vigil for late Shannon Collins who was slain last week, on Monday, May 14, 2012 -6:30 PM at Campbell and Broadway. Working Group Reports Foreclosure: Announced event online for Tuesday, discussed later. 75 River Defense: Event on Friday at India Joze raised $325.00 for the defense fund. Block Parties: Meet at San Lorenzo Park 2PM Mondays 24/7 Occupy: Changing the meeting locations from the former Occuhouse to SubRosa. Seeking location for a 24/7 occupation, meetings etc. Contact Kim. Direct Action: Meet at SubRosa at 6PM on Tues. Reach In/ Reach Out: Changing meeting times. June 2nd: Pending Agenda Items Event on Tuesday at Quaker Hall has been listed as an Occupy Santa Cruz event with WILPF and MoveOn. No one informed GA of this event before now, and the name of OSC is being used without permission. Proposed that we remove the name of Occupy Santa Cruz from this event and ask that people respect GA enough to come and not to subvert it. Stack 1) What is on the website isn’t always agreed upon. Point of Info: This was an invitation and event title online on FaceBook 2) I don’t like that this is a MoveOn event. 3) There was supposed to be a media working group meeting that hasn’t happened, it needs to as there are some deep divisions. 4) I don’t think we should be too concerned. The more Occupy is said in general, the better. 5) We never voted to add our name to this. Remove the name because we are not represented in this Working Group at all. 6) General assembly can take the name off if we want. You can’t trademark the name but it is ours. 7) We should put a statement on the website in accordance to this, that no one should use our name if we do not agree upon it. It is a sign of respect for your peers to come to the GA and present idea/ event if you are going to represent something as Occupy. 8 ) The name doesn’t matter as much to me, the brand. I think that at the Camp we all learned some important things. It would be nice to do some more direct action such as helping homeless on the spot. Vote: Yes / Passed 24/7 Occupation Ideas: Looking for a place for our community to stay for free for a 24/7 occupation space. Stack 1) Try and buy land to build mud huts on. 2) We do not have the numbers for an outside place. I would look for an inside space, a house maybe that is under foreclosure. 3) The camp is not there, now we need a space for group to work out of. Occuhouse Owner [[upset]] over [[vandalism of political]] sign Stack 1) [[Owner]] said everyone has to leave and no more meetings there. Sheriffs [[to serve eviction]] on Wed. 2) Do the Occupants of the house have some kind of action they would like to see happen as a whole? 3) It would be interesting if the media went. 4) [[Owner]] doesn’t want help and seems to be [[upset with us]]. I think he needs to stay away and we should part ways in general. 5) This split up is what is supposed to happen. 6) People in the house have their own opinions and ideas. I haven’t heard anything so far that says everyone wants to do one action. Proposal: Buy two tents and [[occupy Owner's]] lawn even though he said no. Stack 1) The funds seem wasted on this. B said he doesn’t want to fight and will most likely take it. If not the sheriffs will. We want to save someones home that wants us to and cares. 2) I would hear from the people living in the house. 3) He does not want to hold the house, he even told me this. We can learn from this but no on the tents. 4) Tents not a bad idea but there seems to be no agreement on this. If people staying there agreed it might be worth it. 5) This is a chance to get photos and put up a fight. 6) We don’t want to be aligned w/ him as he doesn’t seem like a good [[candidate]] to help. Vote: No/ Withdrawn Brent Needs $32.50 to help with costs related to harassment/ charges of SC11 Vote: Yes The Bike Cart Needs a new Converter to play movies, lights etc. Cost $75-120 Vote: Yes General Announcements * Last date to register to vote for Presidential Election is on May 21st. * There are lots of people that need help, lets find them instead of what happened. * Some contacting Foreclosure working group not getting hooked up w/ info – we need them to contact Direct Action.
Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post To the surprise of no one, the “Criminalize Homelessness” ordinance put forth by the Denver City Council passed by a vote of 9-4. To call this a “camping ban” is disingenuous at best — camping is something people with houses do. Councilwoman Montero accused us tonight of being Hit and Run activists. What is really hit and run is the ordinance itself. If we take the city at its word, and not at the verbiage of this fascist piece of legislation, we are expected to believe that there will be few arrests, and then only after unavailable services have been offered. Chief White says that the police will have a “light touch.” We would like to remind the city that Denver County Jail is no day spa, in fact we’re quite sure there’s not a hot tub in the building. The Denver Police claim that this bill will be selectively enforced. What that means, literally, is that if they don’t like where you are, who you are, or what you stand for, then you might be arrested. We remember when the Patriot Act was passed, we were told that it would only apply to terrorists, now petty NSA surveillance, TSA strip-searches, and the death of habeas corpus are an accepted reality to all Americans. Homelessness is the ultimate symptom of a dying economy. To arrest people for sleeping on the streets because you don’t like the way it looks, is like throwing pumpkin seeds at an oncoming bear. Councilman Lopez was right, “this is class war.” Unfortunately, the front line is now the most vulnerable members of our community. Shame. Shame. Shame. Council President Chris Nevitt shouts “I need order, goddamn it!”, unable to handle any audience deviation from his orchestrated theater of the evening. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post Attendees demonstrate how powerful business interests have pushed through this ordinance, despite massive public outcry. Money has silenced the will of the people. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post