United States

2011-11-20 Chemical cops & crimes against the humanity of #OWS protesters

In the last few days, many have seen the shocking video of a police officer, one Police Lt. John Pike, pepper spraying a line of seated, peaceful non-violent students at the University of California (Davis.) ...one female protester was rushed to hospital in an ambulance for treatment of chemical burns. Ten protesters were arrested.

This use of chemical weapons on peaceful students representing no threat to the community such as a breach of the peace, or any other sign of potential violence, riot, affray or public disorder escalates the 'war' against the #OWS movement to frightening new levels.

I use the words "Chemical Cops" noting that pepper spray is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and that being so, (given also that the Los Angeles Times in 1995 reported 61 deaths attributable to pepper spray since 1990) recklessness in its use may lead to a homicide being made out.

The question is immediately raised that if this substance is banned for war use, how do we allow it to be used on fellow citizens in time of peace? How do we allow its use for what is - obviously in this case - a method of extra-judicially punishing dissent?

The risk of death being ever present in its use; the culpability of its wantonly reckless use on innocent people by officer Pike is palpable.

2011-11-18 Arrests & Renewal #OccupyLA Day 48

I just got out of jail a few hours ago. I was one of 300 people arrested Thursday in Occupy Wall St. protests across the United States. In Los Angeles, a total of 67 people were arrested from Occupy Los Angeles, SEIU and Good Jobs LA which combined forces for two back-to-back protests, both of which had as there centerpieces acts of civil disobedience that brought important sections of downtown to a complete standstill as the biggest occupation in the nation took to the streets.

The first was a march that started at 7:00am to the 4th St. bridge, that brought Figueroa Ave, which at 30 miles, is the longest street in LA, to a complete standstill in the middle of the morning rush hour. This also pretty much shutdown freeway access to downtown, Figueroa is that important. 23 protesters, mostly SEIU members, were arrested in a very orderly, non-violent fashion after the protesters set up tents in the street.

2011-11-18 #WikiLeaks News: Christine Assange speaks in support of her son, Julian #Assange (video); Other Updates



The consensus of the Australian people I’ve spoken to… is the credibility loss at the moment globally for the U.S. is coming more from their reaction to WikiLeaks than the leaks themselves. - Christine Assange



This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.


Christine Assange on the Australian government's failure to protect citizen Julian Assange:
A video of the speech delivered by Christine Assange at the November 17 rally for Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning in Canberra is now available on youtube.




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  • The driver of @WikiLeaksTruck, Clark Stoeckley, arrested yesterday at Occupy Wall Street along with a reporter, has been released from jail. He tweeted about his arrest with his hands cuffed behind his back. A video of his arrest can be seen here.

2011-11-17 #WikiLeaks News: #day4JA with Christine Assange; Rudolf Elmer’s appeal; Other Updates



It is time for Australia to stand up for its citizens, for its values and for itself as a nation. - Jennifer Robinson



This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.

Protesters gathered in Canberra this morning for a rally in support of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. The protest happened as U.S. President Barack Obama was visiting Canberra to announce the expansion of U.S. military presence in Australia.

Outside the Australian Parliament House, chants of Assange and Manning, let them go - Let us have our right to know were heard.
Christine Assange spoke against the extradition of her son Julian to the United States, declaring: “my son could be extradited to Sweden and then the U.S. in four weeks” where he could face “U.S. style justice”. She then referred to the appalling treatment of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning - who has been under pre-trial detention in a military prison for 563 days - and the Australian government’s refusal to intervene for Julian Assange’s protection, saying: “The Australian government has done nothing for Julian.” She condemned the attitude of Australian leaders whom she described as ‘star-struck’ by Obama’s presence.

2011-11-17 Mass arrests at #OccupyWallStreet, protesters block the Stock Exchange

The #N-17 'Day of Action' called for by #OccupyWallSt to protest for the violent eviction of the camp at Liberty Sq. on the 15th started early: at 7:00 AM hundreds of protesters blocked the intersections leading into Wall Street, actually managing to delay the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange by more than 30 minutes. There have been widespread reports of police violence against protesters practicing peaceful civil disobedience. The NYPD has created a partially militarized zone in downtown New York, after bringing out an LRAD audio cannon to disperse protesters and disallowing people to walk on certain streets, despite presenting valid IDs and press passes. There are at least 100 confirmed arrests, although the number could actually be much higher. Once again there have been reports of violence against members of the press. At 3:00 PM EST protesters will attempt to #Occupy the Subway, later they will head to Foley Square.

2011-11-15 #WikiLeaks News: Julian #Assange files for appeal, #Cablegate News, introducing a New Feature



A prosecution of Julian Assange for the WikiLeaks publication of secret diplomatic cables would be the worst thing for the press since the Pentagon Papers. - James C. Goodale


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.


Today Julian Assange’s legal team filed an application to have his extradition case taken to the Supreme Court, based on the following points:

1) Whether a European Arrest Warrant issued by a partisan prosecutor working for the executive (i.e. not an independent judge or investigating magistrate in the civil law system) is a valid Part 1 Warrant issued by a "judicial authority" within the meaning of sections 2(2) & 66 of the Extradition Act 2003?
This point argues that the decision goes against parliamentary intent in the 2003 Extradition Act (see SwedenVsAssange).

2) Whether a person in respect of whom no decision to prosecute has been taken can be said to be ’accused’ within the meaning of sections 2(3)(a) of the Extradition Act 2003?

On December 5, in a public hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (London), the High Court will decide whether these two points are 'of general public importance'. If that is considered to be the case, the appeal will then proceed to the Supreme Court.

2011-11-15 #OccupyWallStreet evicted by NYPD, occupiers re-assemble in Foley Square

At around 1:00 AM, November 15th, police forces arrived in full riot gear, batons, pepper spray and tear gas as well as bulldozers to clear out the park. Protesters resisting peacefully chanting “Whose park? Our park!”. Media was systematically blocked from reporting after being penned in, they complained from receiving rough treatment from police, their credentials were ignored and airspace was closed for helicopters.

Image

Liberty Square (a.k.a. Zuccotti Park) after being evicted.

2011-11-13 #WikiLeaks News: Appeal hearing for whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, Support Campaigns



The faster the US 'justice' system erodes its own legitimacy and independence the faster the ground will be set to replace it. - @wikileaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.


Upcoming Appeal Hearing for WikiLeaks whistleblower Rudolf Elmer


On November 17, whistleblower Rudolf Elmer's appeal hearing will take place. Prosecution requests 'convicted on all charges' verdict and increased sentence:

"Prosecution Office Winterthur/Unterland wants to make the case that Swiss Bank Secrecy protects the data in the Cayman Islands and that based on a former employment agreement Swiss Bank Secrecy applies also to Rudolf Elmer working in the Cayman Islands.
Prosecution Office wants to make the case that Swiss industrial secrecy laws also apply to the Cayman Islands in the case of Rudolf Elmer and accuses him of disclosing Julius Baer’s secrets on how it uses the operation in the Cayman Islands providing Trust & Company, Mutual and Hedge Fund services as well as the administering of Special Purpose Vehicles e.g. offshore companies of Carlyle, Washington D.C. within the Julius Baer Cayman office.

2011-11-12 Rendering Assange: Hillary Clinton's revenge?

ImageWhile speculating about the fate of Julian Assange -- in the face of U.S. wrath over the massive WikiLeaks disclosures of politically-sensitive diplomatic materials -- most media reports have focused on the likelihood of Assange's extradition to the U.S. to face criminal charges. Less discussed, however, is the possibility of irregular rendition, which could pose a far greater threat to Assange's life and safety. Unfortunately for Assange, the key to his fate lies in the hands of his political foil U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

2011-11-10 WikiLeaks News: WL and Bradley #Manning Support, #Cablegate, Threats to #Whistleblowing



We call upon everyone to assist us in this important fight. We have seen clearly what bankers' greed can do to our economies. We cannot allow them to directly infringe on our basic human rights. - Kristinn Hrafnsson


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.

Update: Former and current WikiLeaks associates Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp's twitter records are to be disclosed, U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ruled today. The unsealing of docketing information pertaining to the case, and of relevance in the context of the Grand Jury investigation on WikiLeaks, was however refused.

Jacob Appelbaum reacted to the decision with the words: Today is one of those "losing faith in the justice system" kind of days.

2011-10-30 The value of street protests in the Occupy movement

Speakers in order of appearance:

    Heather Marsh. As Georgie she has been writing about the revolution since before the beginning, starting with A Stateless War in September 2010. As editor/administrator of WL Central, she has created a community for activists around the world to provide a new hard news organization, covering only the news people require in order to govern themselves and working towards the Wikileaks model of scientific journalism. This is an ongoing project that is about to get a lot bigger, building off of everything learned in the last year.

    A Canadian activist, she created Take the Square Canada and works with activists around the world to encourage and facilitate connection and communication for the revolution, both in Canada and around the world. She has been active in human rights and freedom of information for years.

    Zak Yahya is a blogger at Lebanon Spring blog, where he writes about current affairs in Lebanon and Middle East. He writes in Wikileaks Central matters related to the Wikileaks cables, democracy and human rights issues. He focuses on the matters originating from the Levant - Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine and Iran. You can contact him on the Lebanon Spring blog or on twitter @TheZako

    Alexa O'Brien. In February of this year she founded usdayofrage.org, where alongside her friends, she pushed the edge of digital social media for scalable organization of civil disobedience and non-violent protest. usdayofrage.org was instrumental in the traditional and digital organization of the original September 17 action in 5 American cities, including Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oregon, and New York, and built trusted networks that spread #occupywallstreet virally across the United States.

    Since January 2011, she has covered the WikiLeaks release of US State Department Cables, JTTF memoranda known as the ‘GTMO files’, and revolutions across Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. She has interviewed preeminent US foreign policy expert on the Cambodia cables, and published hours of interview with former GTMO guards, detainees, defense lawyers, and human rights activists, as well as WikiLeaks media partners, including Andy Worthington, GTMO historian and author, and Atanas Tchobanov, Balkanleaks' spokesman and co-editor of Bivol.bg.

Listen to the conversation here.

2011-10-29 The Economics of Occupy Wall Street, Part II: Citizens United v. FEC

"I hope we shall ... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country." -- Thomas Jefferson

Earlier this month, a group within the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) published a draft of the 99 Percent Declaration, which proposes solutions to economic inequality in the U.S. and announces a plan to organize a national convention to be held in Philadelphia on July 4, 2012. Still a work-in-progress, the Declaration calls for the election of delegates who would draft and vote on a non-partisan petition of grievances to be presented to the U.S. President, each member of Congress, the Supreme Court, and all federal candidates in the 2012 elections. If, warns the Declaration, the government does not act within one year to remedy its stated grievances, OWS will form a third political party to run in every Congressional seat in 2014 and 2016.

2011-10-27 Trouble at the Hard Block Cafe - Day 26 @ #OccupyLA

Let me say at the outset that from what I have seen of the occupation movement, it has becomes so dynamic, so energized and been met with such wide support among the people that nothing can defeat it if it doesn't defeat itself.

However I fear that it is on the verge of doing just that. There is big trouble in the Hard Block Cafe!

Hard Rock Cafe, concept by Clay Claiborne, graphic by Mike SteeleThe Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly split into dueling factions Wednesday evening as a large number of occupiers who felt alienated by the highly structured, long and boring, but largely irrelevant GA , came in and took over the mike, overthrew the process, and made it an open mike session. The GA had been led by a facilitation committee that was far more concerned with process than content. This is a facilitation committee lead by a new core group. The original core group of facilitators that used the process to create Occupy Los Angeles have moved on to other areas. This may be "billed" as a leaderless movement but not only is there something to be said for leadership, there are a lot of advantages to consistent leadership, IMHO.

The original Wednesday GA started on the south side of city hall with the solar stage. After it was overthrown, the facilitators, for a while, reconvened their GA on north stairs before returning to the open mike crowd on the south stairs in the spirit of unity.

That there was a split at all is a sign of the deep divisions and serious problems that have cropped up at Occupy Los Angeles. About the same time this was going on, diagonally across First & Main from city hall in the LA Times building, they were posting this to their website:

Even in Los Angeles, where city leaders have greeted the demonstrators warmly, there are signs of protest fatigue and increasing anxiety about what happens next.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who earlier this month had ponchos distributed to rain-soaked Occupy L.A. protesters, said Wednesday that the encampment next to City Hall "cannot continue indefinitely."

Villaraigosa has instructed city officials to draft a plan for another location for the demonstration. He decided the camp could not stay after Los Angeles County health inspectors expressed worries about the cleanliness of the camp, and because of concerns about the condition of the lawn and trees.

2011-10-25 Six years after Subic rape incident, still no closure on VFA controversy

The October 26 visit to the Philippines of US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Kurt Campbell should be viewed as significant, coming as it is 6 years after the Subic rape incident involving four US Marines and a Filipina. Of course the US would now argue that no rape ever took place and proof of this was the acquittal of the principal accused, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, by an appeals court which reversed an earlier conviction by a lower court. The acquittal of course was surrounded by questionable circumstances.

But beyond the verdict of the courts, what the Subic rape incident did was expose the lopsidedness of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement. The VFA, which was ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999 (but not by the US Senate), sets the legal framework for the treatment of visiting US troops.

On November 1, 2005, a Filipina was allegedly raped inside a van and then left half-naked on the sidewalk in the former Subic US military base. Four visiting American soldiers were arrested. Their defense: only one of them engaged in consensual sex with the victim. The victim meanwhile said she was intoxicated and tried to resist the sexual advances of Smith. The other US soldiers cheered as the rape took place.

The Subic rape case triggered a controversial custody issue involving Smith, the US embassy and the Philippine government. While a Philippine court took jurisdiction over the rape case, Smith and his co-accused Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood, and Lance Corporal Dominic Duplantis were placed under the custody of the US embassy in Manila because this was what the VFA supposedly mandated.

When a guilty verdict was issued by a Regional Trial Court, Smith was handed a life sentence and ordered detained at the Makati City Jail. His three other co-accused were acquitted and were immediately spirited out of the country back to Okinawa.

2011-10-23 The Rise of the Occupy Insurgency, The World’s First Internet Revolution #OWS

The 1980's popularization of the computer and the birth of the Internet was a quantum shift in communication and an evolutionary step for human society. The Digital Revolution marked the latest stage of the information age. People in distant parts of the world now connect instantly and information flow has shrunk the world. One of the biggest changes recently is the interconnected immediacy of social networking. This is a communication revolution in itself.

The word revolution has roughly three different meanings. The first is political, signifying fundamental change in political institutions, such as the overthrow of a government and replacement with another form. The second describes a fundamental change in technology or society in general, such as the Industrial Revolution. The Digital Revolution brought a shift in how we communicate as well as a sea change in a vast array of technology. And lastly in astronomy, revolution is the orbiting of one heavenly body around another.

Until recently, the Digital Revolution has not been fundamentally linked to serious political change. Yet, it created the foundation for the ubiquitous social media that is now being linked with political revolution on a global scale.

2011-10-16 Ten Thousand March with #OccupyLA

Saurday was the biggest day yet at Occupy Los Angeles as it began its third week. Around noon, between 10,000 – 15,000 people, according to official LAPD estimates, marched from Pershing Sq. through the financial district and then to the occupation site at city hall. With so many protesters, the police closed the streets for the march, which was very spirited with people from all over Southern California and what is more important a mix of people that was incredibly representative of South California. As this is not radio, I will let the 14 pictures in the slideshow below the fold speak for themselves.

The march ended at Occupy Los Angeles which now involves over 300 tents occupying almost of the grassy areas around city hall. Thousand of people stayed around for the celebration, dancing music, committee meetings, film screenings, yoga and more.

As city hall is closed on Saturday, we had the run of the place. The north, west and south stairs operated as three stages all afternoon and into the night. For the afternoon, Spring St. on the west side of city hall was blocked off to traffic so that people could rally there. A portable stage and sound system was set up in the middle of the street and that was the main forum for post march speakers and musicians.

2011-10-15 The Economics of Occupy Wall Street, Part I: The Glass-Steagall Act

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -- attributed to Thomas Jefferson

2011-10-14 Bloomberg backs down, occupiers can stay (for now) #OWS #OccupyWallStreet

The occupation at Wall Street received good news this morning: after spending the night preparing for eviction, the clean-up order was postponed.

A spectacular piece of news reached the Wall Street occupation on Friday morning: the private owner of Zuccotti Park, which has been the homebase of the movement since the occupation began on September 17, decided to postpone a scheduled cleaning operation of the square. Protesters, who had been bracing for an NYPD-inflicted bloodbath all night, let off an ecstatic cheer upon receiving the news.

Many protesters believe the planned cleaning operation was just a ploy to kick protesters out of the park. If they had left, they would not have been allowed to return with sleeping bags and other camping gear, presumably for feigned reasons of public health and sanitation. In order to counter any claims about the camp’s hygienic situation, the protesters spent most of the night cleaning and tidying up the square.

The private owners of the park, Brookfield Properties, released a statement saying they believed an arrangement could be made with the protesters — and that they were simply too many to be safely removed. Upon hearing the news of the clear-up order, 5,000 protesters had flocked into Zuccotti Park — renamed Liberty Square by the movement — to defend it in case of eviction. All night, debates were held and instructions given on how to peacefully resist eviction.

2011-10-12 Los Angeles City Council votes support for #OccupyLA

Contradicting the trend in New York, Boston, Washington, DC and other cities where the growing occupation movement has been met by official hostility and police violence, today, on the twelfth day of the people's encampment at Los Angeles city hall in opposition to the domination of the big banks and in support of Occupy Wall St., the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution to promote responsible banking by the City of Los Angeles and in support of Occupy Los Angeles.

The resolution with the title "First Amendment Rights / Occupy Los Angeles / Responsible Banking Measure" was sponsored by Richard Alarcon and Bill Rosendahl and was seconded by five other councilpersons, virtually assuring it of passage.

The agenda item for this read as follows:

09-0234-S1

CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION (ALARCON - ROSENDAHL - ET AL.) relative to the City's position to support the First Amendment Rights carried out by “Occupy Los Angeles” and addressing concerns regarding the Responsible Banking measure.

Recommendation for Council action, SUBJECT TO THE CONCURRENCE OF THE MAYOR: ADOPT the accompanying RESOLUTION to SUPPORT the continuation of the peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights carried out by "Occupy Los Angeles" and URGE the City Departments responsible for completing the implementation plan associated with the Responsible Banking measure (Council file No. 09-0234) that was approved by the Council on March 5, 2010, which would address some of the concerns of the "Occupy Los Angeles" demonstrators by demanding accountability and results from the Banks we invest taxpayer dollars in, to bring the Responsible Banking measure for a final vote to the Council by October 28, 2011

After dozens of public comments by members of Occupy LA including me and other citizens, the endorsement of many City Counclpersons, and the haggling over the date for the final vote on the banking measure, the council passed the resolution by a vote of 11 to 0 with a couple members abstaining.

2011-10-11 Boston Police Assault #OccupyBoston arresting around one hundred protesters

At 1:30 this morning police in full riot gear attacked the participants of Occupy Boston, which had peacefully gathered on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Without any regard for the protester's constitutional rights, the Boston Police Department made no distinction between protesters, medics, or legal observers, arresting legal observer Ursula Levelt, who serves on the steering committee for the National Lawyers Guild, as well as four medics attempting to care for the injured.

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