GREED

The Occupy Movement

INFO6802

Yes JAR2 was a staunch supporter of the Occupy Movement

https://occupywallst.org/

Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

"You may remember September, 17th 2011, the fateful night when Occupiers annexed a square block of Manhattan’s financial district. They called it Zuccotti Park—but we renamed it Liberty Square. It was a great victory. We sparked a global uprising against Wall Street tyranny. Now we’re in Philadelphia for the next chapter of our revolution." - OWS

We wanted to change the world for the better together against the banksters, the 1% and the Illuminati Globalists.

Occupy Chicago - Natalie Wahlberg "US capitalist system broken" PART1

24 October 2012, 14:20  Download audio file

http://m.ruvr.ru/2012/10/24/1276514137/wahlberg.jpg

In an interview with the VOR, Natalie Wahlberg, an organizer, spokesperson and activist with the Occupy Chicago movement, speaks about Obama as “the drone President”, US’s capitalist system being broken, as well as support for anti-NATO protesters. She finds it outrageous that $58 mln were spent by Chicago’s mayor on NATO summit rather than on Mental Health clinics.

It looks like the elections are coming to a close pretty soon. What do you think about the candidates? What do you think is going to change if Obama gets it or if Romney gets it? Is anything going to change in the US?

At Occupy Chicago we are post-partisan people’s movement – we do not support or endorse any political candidate as we believe the US capitalist system is broken. Romney and Obama are both puppets of corporate money and will never serve the 99%. For example Obama is “the drone President” having killed more people in Pakistan and Yemen than any other President. Estimates range from 1,886 to 3,191 dead men, women and children. And Obama has chosen not to prosecute Wall Street banksters, like Koch Brothers, and instead through the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Department of Justice who have persecuted innocent citizen activists. Thus the FBI entrapped Cleveland 4, the Chicago Police Department entrapped NATO 5 and the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters. If Obama is elected I see more dead people in Pakistan and Yemen and more innocent citizens in the US jailed for being free speech advocates.

So, give our listeners an update of what is going on with Occupy, please?

Well, I think the last time we spoke I was actually fighting a court case about my arrest in Grant Park that happened last year when we attempted to encamp. Around 300 occupiers were arrested last year and 92 of us, myself included, chose to fight our arrest based on the First Amendment grounds – the freedom of speech. And just recently it was announced that we won, our arrest was declared unconstitutional and thrown out, given how the Chicago Police Department would make demands and we would capitulate and then they would make more demands. So, the fact that we were in a park after hours was declared ok, considering that the public owns the park and we are the public. So, yea, I can get arrested again.

Did you have to pay a fine or anything? I mean do you have something on your record or anything?

Nothing. I’m Scot free.

Bravo!

Thank you, it was a long fight. A bunch of people chose to accept community service. And that’s amazing like there were so many of us that fought and so many of us there that night. More recently, last Saturday, there was Global Noise it was a global initiative where we, the collective “we” across the world, took to the streets in a casserole style march banging on pots and pans calling attention to gross economic injustice and the world debt crisis that has been occurring. It was a raging success where in Chicago we took and kept Michigan Avenue which is the heart of the shopping district, the heart of capitalism in Chicago. We kept the street with no arrests, nothing, it was ours. We, the people took back our street. It was beautiful and I’ve never felt more empowered and more proud of my allies and comrades, my heart was soaring.

That sounds great! What else has been going on?

Earlier this year Occupy Chicago supported the Mental Health Movement in Chicago when they decided to blockade themselves inside a closed Mental Health Clinic. Mayor “1%” Rahm Emanuel shot six out of twelve of Chicago’s mental health clinics claiming that there is no money. But then he brought NATO to Chicago to spend $58 million which would have been more than enough to fund the clinics. So, the Mental Health Movement blockaded themselves inside the Woodlawn Clinic with cement barricades, bodies and held their grounds for something like 10 or 12 hours and of course doctors, therapists, nurses, medics, activists and patients were arrested. Their court case was heard and the decision was handed down earlier this week where they were indeed found guilty of criminal trespass.

What’s the punishment for that in the United States?

Probation for a year and they have to pay a bunch of fines, I mean no jail times fortunately. But still, they fought for something they believed in and we at Occupy Chicago applaud them and stand with them.

What are you guys going to be doing coming into the winter?

Occupy Rogers Park and Occupy el Barrio which are neighborhood occupations in Occupy Chicago. Actually it should be noted that Occupy Rogers Park is on the very very north side of the city and Occupy al Barrio is on, like, the south side. So, it is a city-wide partnership where they’re going to be working on the Occupy Our Homes campaign, placing families into abandoned or foreclosed upon homes and actually doing something to help the houseless population in Chicago. So, that’s an amazing initiative that I simply cannot wait to be a part of.

Has there been any progress made in that regard in Chicago? Have you seen any changes?

I’ve seen the changes that occur when we move a family into a home we have rehabilitated but from the city – absolutely not. They don’t care about us.

So you guys are actually rehabilitating houses and rebuilding and giving them to people? That’s wonderful!

Yes, thank you. We constantly have ongoing support of the NATO 5 that the Chicago Police Department entrapped, anti-NATO protesters that remain in Cook County Jail on trumped up charges of a terrorist related nature. And they are still fighting. They need all the help they can get. We need donations to their commissary funds, we need letters written to them.

Has there been any progress in their case? Or it is pretty much moving along as it was?

It is moving along as it was. The NATO 5 has such high bails, money to pay to get out of jail…

In the millions, I think.

Yes, and it might as well be that they have no bail. The lawyers have been trying to argue for a lower bail but so far no luck and they’ll be held until trial which could be up to two years.

Two more years?

About 18 months now if we’re counting down until an actual trial and we are still in the discovery phase of pretrial. So, it is a long slow painful process and I call upon every citizen of the world to write to Sebastian, Mark, Brian and Jared and all of their information is at nato5.occupychi.org

Occupy Chicago - Natalie Wahlberg Obama Re-Election: Four More Wars PART2

6 November 2012, 17:00  

In an exclusive interview with the VOR, Natalie Wahlberg who is an activist, an organizer and a spokesperson with the Occupy Chicago Movement in the US, said that Obama and Romney are two sides of the same coin. “They are both funded by corporate money and will never represent the needs of the 99%.” If Obama is re-elected for four more years, it will be the same as four more wars.

Robles : It looks like the elections are coming to a close pretty soon. What do you think about the candidates? Do you think Romney will do the same thing or even worse maybe? 

Wahlberg: Yes, Romney and his Bain Capital Company have outsourced jobs overseas, while under-employment and unemployment are running at record highs in the US. 

Near Chicago there is this company named Sensata, they’re based out of Freeport, Illinois, and they are actually one of the companies that is closing and the jobs are being shipped overseas. For more information on Sensata, check out their twitter feed at hash-tag Sensata. 

Robles: For the internal political and social situation in the United States for the common Americans it will be much worse with Romney, would you say or better? 

Wahlberg: I mean honestly, they’re two sides of the same coin. They are both funded by corporate money and will never represent the needs of the 99%. 

Robles: So you see no difference whatsoever? 

Wahlberg: No difference. 

Robles: What about the Green Party? 

Wahlberg: That’s an impossibility given the corporate controlled politicalsystem but I think it is amazing and very interesting that Jill Stein herself and her running mate were jailed, shackled to metal chairs for 8 hours when they attempted to go to the debates. It shows what activists face, it shows people of color face! The intimidation and soiling by police department and the government. 

Robles: These were candidates for president and vice president. I mean normally they get secret service protection etc. 

Wahlberg: Exactly. But their voices, like the voices of the 99% are not recognized by Romney or Obama. 

Robles: What would you say that does to the American system in the eyes of the world? 

Wahlberg: Obviously the Obama administration comes out looking like complete hypocrites when we advocate with drones and bombs across the world trying to create democracy but the Obama administration doesn’t let a third party candidate be at a debate. 

Robles: How is it possible that in a so-called democracy candidates can be just barred from what should be public debate? 

Wahlberg: I would direct you to democracynow.org for further information. 

Robles: If Obama is in the White House for four more years, what do you see going on in the Middle East? Where do you think that is going to go? 

Wahlberg: If Obama is re-elected I foresee four more wars. 

Robles: Four more wars? 

Wahlberg: I mean he wants to say, like, he’ll get 4 more years, I say 4 more wars. 

Robles: I see. So, Romney, I think, he will pretty much “gut” the middle class and the working class. Would you agree with that statement? 

Wahlberg: Yes. 

Robles: If he is elected, Obama will continue to slowly, kind of support the middle class and the lower classes? Or also“kindly gut” the entire country. 

Wahlberg: “Kindly gut” the entire country, sure. That sounds about right. 

Robles: I can’t think of another way to describe what they do. Anything else you might want to add about where the country is headed and what people can do and if there is any chance that the people can take the country back? 

Wahlberg: Both Obama and Romney support the Keystone-Excel Pipeline, that is the oil pipeline, from the Karzans in Canada that is going though the US and causing environmental devastation in an attempt to continue our reliance on fossil fuel. 

There are some very brave men and women fighting and I would direct you to support them. They need funding, they need awareness. Also, both Obama and Romney have not proposed to do anything about the foreclosures and evictions that are happening across the United States, so I would recommend what everyone can do is support Occupy Our Home, which is a campaign by the Occupy movement that focuses on re-taking foreclosed-upon homes, and taking houseless families off of the street and putting them into existing structures. 

Robles: The whole oil thing, I mean, going back to that for a minute, it seems like the United States and the American people become slaves to oil. 

Wahlberg: With the Keystone-Excel Pipeline the most we can do is keep talking about it, seeing what the environmental activists are asking for, how we can support them from wherever we are and, secondly, we can consider alternate fuel sources. 

Robles :They have been able to make electric car for the last almost 50 years already that would have been workable and cheap but of course they are not going to release that. 

Wahlberg: Actually it was released but big oil lobbies like the big oil companies that have a hand in this Keystone-Excel Pipeline, they killed the electric car, so until we release the stranglehold that big oil and its corporate money has on the American political system, I don’t honestly think we will see a change. 

Robles : Do you see any way to quietly bring that about? 

Wahlberg: I think that part of the beauty of the Occupy movement, is that we have extensive networks of dedicated activists that are committed to raising awareness about Occupy Our Home campaign, about anti-oil, about anti-corporate money campaign. 

If there are more people that become educated and informed and therefore have the possibility to become radicalized, we can start making some substantive social change. 

Robles: Ok, thank you very much, Natalie. I appreciate you speaking with me. 

Occupy Chicago - Natalie Wahlberg: The Occupy Movement is Alive  PART1

22 September 2012, 19:32  Download audio file

The Occupy Movement has recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Natalie Wahlberg from Occupy Chicago shares her view on the future of the movement with our correspondent John Robles.

The Occupy Movement recently celebrated its 1 year anniversary. Some are saying the movement is dying away. Do you think that’s true?

I think that the Occupy Movement is still alive and striving given the thousands of dedicated activists that arrived in New York to celebrate the 1 year anniversary. There’s also solidarity anniversary that we celebrated this Sunday, September 23rd, across the nation, including in Chicago.

Do you know anything about the arrests that occurred in New York during the celebrations?

Yes, I heard about the mass arrests. I’ve been watching it live. And the arrests make it evident that the government is afraid of our power, because there was no reason for mass arrests. People were snatched and grabbed, including journalists, including independent journalists and of course, activists.

What’s the current status of those who were arrested? Ha everybody been released yet?

As far as I am aware, everyone has been released.

I talked to some people with Occupy the RNC and Occupy the DNC. One of the organizers had said that the Occupy Movement was probably going to go away and be reformed under a different name or in a different way – do you think that’s true?

I don’t know. The Occupy has become sort of a melting pot for dedicated activists looking to change the state of American politics, global politics and the way we interact with one another. I mean, certainly, there’s a possibility that Occupy may grow and change. But I think at its core the whole dedication to creating a better world with committed individuals will never stop.

What are some of the achievements the Occupy Movement has attained in the last year?

Occupy has changed the public discourse about politics and corporate taxes, corporate donations to political campaigns. In addition, Occupy has started the Occupy Our Home Movement where we return properties taken away from its owners by banking structures. Another victory of the Occupy Movement is radicalizing individual’s fuel, who never quite considered themselves political, but are now accomplished journalists like Joe Macare, J.A. Myerson. Occupy has also given a rise to incredible new citizen media, also live-streaming. It’s created an entire universe full of people who are connected to one another through Twitter. I’d recommend seeing Occupied Air and a whole amazing list of dedicated people who spend their time supporting one another through whatever campaign Occupy is working on.

Do you think that Occupy has too many different issues that you, guys, are tackling?

Yes, there’re certainly myriad issues that come up with Occupy. And they’re all interconnected by a common steam in that economic inequality. The middle class has been demonized and criticized within series in Chicago with the Chicago Teachers’ Union Strike and how that changed a face of public idea of education.

Have you been active with the Teachers’ Strike? What’s going on right now? Did they get their pay raise?

They agreed to suspend the strike yesterday while negotiations were still ongoing.

Right now in Chicago I know a lot of schools have been closed and they’re looking at 40 students or more per class.

The teachers’ strike was partly caused by the large class sizes and the lack of resources in classrooms. Occupy Chicago supported the Teachers’ Strike in showing what people can do, like how they can take their power back into their own hands and then radically change the state. Our media, the Occupy Chicago Tribune, dedicated an entire print issue to the teachers’ struggle and the headline on the front page is “Solidarity”. So we’re indeed assisting in that fight trying to stop it from being corporatized.

What things do you see being done to corporatize, for example, education?

The things that you bought up, like looking at kids as dollar items, trying to fit as many of them in the class with few resources. Kids are looked at like something to be educated or something to teach how to think. We entirely disagree with that.

A lot of the camps were pulled down in a lot of the major cities. How did this negatively affect the movement in your opinion?

Occupy Chicago was the only occupation that did not have a camp. And we were able to achieve so much! Certainly, it was heartbreaking to watch my home destroyed. But at the same time it only galvanized me to fight harder. So, the answer to the question, “Did it damage?” is “Yes”, but it also galvanized my fight.

Some people have said that the Occupy Movement excludes blacks.

Absolutely not. Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the world. And we work with neighborhood occupations like Occupy the Hood, Occupy the South Side which address the needs of all people, including people of color.

Are you, guys, active in any way in the elections in the US? Have you taken the position for or against either of the candidates? What’s your opinion about the Republican Party, the Democratic Party? Are there any differences?

We do not support either party. I truly feel that voting wouldn’t change anything, that it would be illegal. To me, there’s no difference. And this is the first election I’ll not be voting in.

Occupy Chicago - Natalie Wahlberg: The NATO '5' and the Future of Occupy PART2  

23 September 2012, 16:41   Download audio file

In part 2 of an interview with our correspondent John Robles, Occupy Chicago member and spokesperson Natalie Wahlberg speaks about the worsening employment situation in the U.S., the Chicago "5" who were arrested on trumped up sate charges during the past NATO summit and how you can support them and the future of the Occupy Movement. You can find part one here on our website. On September 23, Occupy Chicago celebrates their one year anniversary.

What is your opinion about the Republican and Democratic parties? Are there any differences?

At Occupy Chicago, we are nonpartisan social movement, so we do not support either party. Me personally, I truly feel that voting doesn’t really change anything, it would be illegal. So, to me there is no difference and this is the first election I will not be voting in. I’d rather be a conscientious objector engaged direct actions in my community. And we take dialog, offer education as opposed to just walking into a ballot booth once every four years and feeling like I’ve done my civic duty.

A lot of Americans feel the same way that there is no real difference between the parties, that big business and special interests control the entire US political dialog and landscape.

Yes, I believe that corporate interests and campaign donors are engaged in control of political campaigns, including the messaging, including the legislation as the one party wins, it’s all the same. And it comes down to the vast majority of 99% of the population who simply don’t have a voice in the very governing structures that rule their lives. Occupy Chicago, it has a one year anniversary and during that we will be going back to like all the early days at La Salle and Jackson Corner where we will see about how exactly we are going to make the world better. Currently there have been a number of arrests in Chicago from NATO, I work a lot with the Jail Support ladies.

Were you at the anti-NATO protests when they had this summit?

Yes, I was. I was on the street most of the week.

What is going on with the three guys that were arrested on terrorism charges?

The three men you are referring to are Brent Betterly, Jared Chase and Brian Jacob Church who were entrapped by Chicago Police Department informants, they go by the names of “Mo” and “Gloves”, but actually Chicago police officers, they triggered the situation and recorded alleged conversations where we don’t even know what was in, and the basis are these conversations that these three young men has been walked off. The question is why the city of Chicago is wasting resources in spreading nonviolent post-partisan social movements while the city is closing schools, closing mental health clinics. Why are they wasting their time?

And I know the conception is like “the NATO 3” but there were actually two other individuals that were arrested. That was Mark Neiweem and Sebastian Senakiewicz who were arrested by the Chicago Police informants for similar charges. So there are five men total who only had a conversation like you and I are having a conversation, only it was recorded, and they haven’t seen the light of day since May 16th . The Chicago Police Department illegally raided homes and disappeared people, if we didn’t have our amazing legal team from the National Lawyers Guild, I don’t know where we would be at.

I talked to the lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild when that happened.

Yes, for more information I would direct you to nato5.occupychi.org.

What else can you tell our listeners about your upcoming anniversary? Is there some where our listeners can take part or show their support for you guys?

I would say yes, absolutely. We welcome people watching us on iStream. I will take checkouts occupychi.org to find out who will be streaming and follow us on Twitter at Occupy Chicago. And I will be having live updates throughout the day. Sometimes the best thing people can do is simply reiterate, share information on Facebook, and share articles like half of Occupy is education. And the more people that know, the more that can be informed, and the more that chose to take part in this revolutionary dialog.

Is there like some address where people could send letters in support of the five guys that were arrested in Chicago?

Yes, please. On the nato5.occupychi.org we actually have a tab with letter writing on how to send letters. We call activists across the world to send postcards to these five men who have been locked up on ridiculous state created charges.

Where do you see occupy Chicago a year from now?

If you would have asked me this question like a year ago, I definitely would not have in vision this hardcore network of activists, including like lifelong connections and relationships of people working towards changing the society. Where do I see the Occupy in the next year, I’m not entirely sure. The thing is to follow like the rising stars over the Occupy Movement.

Has the situation changed in the US in the last year with employment opportunities, the education courses, is everything flat-lined? I know a lot of the original occupiers were college educated people who couldn’t get jobs for no fault of their own.

Yes, actually I was one of those people. When Occupy started I just graduated in May of that year with my master’s degree and I was looking for work for a really long time, and I couldn’t find any. I was a waitress…

A waitress with the master’s degree! Wonderful!

Yes. And then I got a low-paying level corporate job in PR, which one of my degrees is in. And through my connections and abilities at Occupy Chicago I well end up in a social justice oriented industry and I’m very happy here since. The troubled situation in the States is tighter. People need work – there is no work. I know that the unemployment numbers are improving, but if you actually look at the facts – people have stopped looking for work and they unemployment benefits have run out.

So, what you are saying is that the numbers are improving because people are no longer receiving benefits and they are just like falling off the radar?

Right! I don’t have the study in front of me. But if you look at some of the activists’ analysis once started like in 2000, it will be able to bring you to a more concrete analysis.

So, things are not getting better. Tell us about your anniversary gathering. Where is it going to take place if people want to attend it in the States?

We gather on September 23rd at 1 p.m. We have activities planned until 5 p.m. and those include music, poetry, family events. And we will have a letter writing corner for the NATO5. We will have a bookshop which was featured and planned at Chicago. It will be at La Salle and Jackson Street right in front of Chicago Board of Trade.

Ok, thank you very much, Natalie. I really appreciate it. You were listening to part two of an interview with Natalie Wahlberg, a member of Occupy Chicago. Thanks for listening.

Code Pink - Tighe Barry: Disrupts Mitt Romney’s Speech at RNC

31 August 2012, 13:42  Download audio file

CodePink disrupts Mitt Romney’s speech at RNC: “Democracy is not a business!” - interview

Code Pink Activists Tighe Barry and Medea Benjamin.

The Voice of Russia’s John Robles spoke with Tighe Barry, an activist with the CODEPINK Organization in the U.S. The group staged several protests and interruptions at the Republican National Convention this week, including interrupting Condeleza Rice twice and disrupting speeches by both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. Mr. Barry tells why they wanted to disrupt Mitt Romney’s speech. Mr. Barry did the interview in place of the co-director of CODEPINK, Medea Benjamin, who was injured by the delegates during the protest staged during Mitt Romney’s speech.

I understand you’ve just left RNC. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what happened?

It was exciting to be able to disrupt presidential candidate Mitt Romney from the Republican Party, but at the same time it was distressing, because the people in the audience were violent towards me. One guy gave me a headlock trying to get my banner, but we were able to stand up and say over and over, “Democracy is not a business!” and that Mitt Romney cannot buy democracy and cannot buy the presidency of the US.

So you actually just disrupted Mitt Romney’s speech?

Yes. There were three of us.

And how difficult was it to get into the RNC? Did it take a lot of planning?

It took some planning. We were given some passes, but the security there is very tight. As we’ve been doing for many years – we’ve been actively protesting the money in our politics that’s destroying the democracy and the country of the US.

Wonderful! You’ve just said that co-director Medea Benjamin was injured someway? Was that by the police? What happened?

Not, it was not by the police – it was by the people there, by the attendees. The police actually were able to do their job. They seemed to be very professional and they would just grab you and just pull you out. But it was Republicans around us that got violent.

So the delegates actually were physically violent? Oh my god!

Yes! And they were using use of language, spitting, I mean, they were pretty disgusting!

Spitting? They spat on you?

Yeah! And one woman put gum on one of our other activists. I don’t know how low you can go!

And these were Republican delegates?

Yes. And I mean there were terms used tonight that would make you stomach turn. One of the speechmakers that we had to listen to said that “this is our country and we own it!” Like it’s a piece of estate and you can purchase it!

We?

“We” meaning the Republican party or “we” meaning the wealthy – the way I took it. I mean this is a wealthy person, former Mayor of Carmel Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood said that?! He said that the US is their country and – what else did he say?

And they own it!

And they own it…

And he got a round of applause, a standing ovation for that. “It’s our country and we own it!” And this is the way the politics is going in US, where it’s to the highest bidder. Democracy is to the highest bidder and it’s not the country that I was promised when I was born or where I grew going to my school. And now I’m 50 years old! I was promised a country that is compassionate. And we were united and we all stuck together.

Listen, your people have managed to disrupt the race two times – if I’m correct – and Paul Ryan? Can you tell our listeners a little bit about those events?

Yeah, we went to see Condoleezza Rice, that was an event that she was hosting and we went twice, like you said, we were there to say, “Condoleezza is a war criminal, they used lies to get us into the war in Iraq and now we’re at war with five countries.” We don’t declare wars. But now we have the world’s largest embassy in Iraq and all the drones promised to be taken out of Iraq are now in the hands of the state department. So the group which was supposed to be there for diplomacy and for trade agreements and other such things now has its own private army. And we were there to talk to Condoleezza Rice about the fact that she was part of the war machine that killed over million people and she should be held responsible for that as the Republican Party says it’s the party of personal responsibility and as of yet none of war criminals – George Bush, Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell – were taken to ask for that. Our President today says, “We don’t look back.” But everyone knows that if you don’t learn from history – you’re destined to repeat it.

Of course.

So I was there in the front line to not repeat it.

Of course. Recently a general called Hillary Clinton “spokesperson for the US military” – what do you know about that?

The actual closeness of the State Department with the Department of Defense – the Department of War as we turn it – is evidential. They’re working together to justify wars around the planets, to justify army people who are not democratic and our dictators such as in Bahrain. We need to educate the American public that our State Department which is supposed to be a diplomatic arm of our government is actually no more than a spokesperson for the Department of War/Defense.

How many officials that are guilty of war crimes has your group attempted to affect as citizens to arrest on?

Every single one of them. We’ve got close to Dick Chaney, Carl Rove – who we also construe as war criminal because his propaganda machine was the one that came to turn on the weapon of mass destruction and instill fear in the American public. I talked to a high official within the Republican party just the other day here in Tampa who stated that “Iran was responsible for 9/11”

Now it’s Iran!

These are attacks that they’re luring themselves to, to bolster their new attacks on sovereign nations.

Who would you say was behind 9/11?

The problem that we’re having as American citizens is amount of transparency that our government is involved in. Today everything seems to be top secret. Everything seems to be not worthy of the American public’s ears. So I can only assume that it was a group of criminals that took down the buildings in NY whether it was conspiracy within our own government or it was al-Qaeda. Who it was I don’t know exactly, but I do know that it was a group of criminals and those criminals should be held responsible and should be dealt with in court of law. And what we mistakenly did – we attacked a country, a sovereign nation and called them the criminals! And a nation is not a criminal! A nation is a nation.

Code Pink - Tighe Barry: Democracy is Not a Business PART2  

4 September 2012, 17:03  Download audio file  

The group staged several protests and interruptions at the Republican National Convention last week, including interrupting Condeleza Rice twice and disrupting speeches by both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.

Have you ever heard of any connection between Iraq and 9/11 and Afghanistan and 9/11 that was actually believable?

Absolutely not. Actually, the United States government never said that Afghanistan was responsible for 9-11 because that would be beyond the pale! It’s one of the poorest countries in the world, there’s no centralized government. It would be impossible for a nation like Afghanistan to pull off an attack. But they used to lie that Saddam Hussein and Iraq was responsible. And we found that obviously Saddam Hussein and Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. And whether or not I feel personally that Saddam Hussein was a dictator and I feel that all dictators should be taken to task and should be brought down in peaceful, non-violent protests that are instigated by the people of that country, but to attack Iraq was wrong.

Back to the RNC, what can you tell us about current policies that your organization is against and how will they affect Americans if the Republican Party wins the White House?

Well, my personal opinion is that I know that their platform will be to continue the Bush tax cuts, to maybe add new tax cuts for the wealthy. I know it will be devastating for the poor and the middle class. But I don’t feel that there’s much difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties, to be honest with you. Any American can choose which party they want to vote for, but it behooves every single American to get out in the streets and say, no more! We’re not going to allow our government to spend more than the top 13 countries of the world!  The top 13 of our supposed adversaries. We outspend them all, in defense! And we’re an aggressive nation, we're an imperialist nation, and we need to put an end to that. We need to start taking care of our own people, we need to worry about the jobs at home, we need to worry about student tuitions, we need to improve our health care system to be on par with every other industrialized nation in the world. And we’ve failed miserably in those aspects.

Listen, I talked to an organizer with Occupy the RNC. He told me some things about the Tampa police. He told me that they actually had brought food out to the Occupier’s camp because they had run out of food and water. How have the police been treating you, guys?

The police have been fabulous! I think it’s amazing that the City of Tampa, the State of Florida and the Department of Homeland Security, would spend 55 million dollars of our money to just basically turn Tampa into an occupied zone. There are walls everywhere you look, fences. The police have been nice and I think they’ve been actually quite bored. And I think that’s helped them. Now we’re going to Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we’re going to see the same thing there. And we’ll see that it’s fear, the reason numbers were low in the Occupy and in the protest movement here in Tampa. It was because the city, the government and the state government instill fear in the people, really: fear of the police and fear of the protestors. Protestors were afraid of the police and the violence that they’ve perpetrated around the country on protestors and on Occupy. And the people of Tampa were afraid that there were these horrible, anarchist protestors. When every place we went, the police were surprised how incredibly non-violent and peaceful and just wanting to exercise the first amendment right to free speech.

So you’re telling me that the police were actually surprised as well? That they were told that there were going to be these horrible anarchists?

Oh, yeah, absolutely! They even said it to us on many occasions. They came out here the other day. I was grateful for the fact that it poured rain at one moment, because there were maybe 30-40 people in the street, that were continuing with the march that we knew the police were going to get violent at, because you could tell the level of attention there. And what they did; they brought out more SWAT, more anti-riot police, at least 6 to 1, riot police to protestor. And then suddenly the clouds opened up and everybody ran for cover, except for these SWAT, these riot police who were standing there looking drenched and cold in their brand new uniforms, their brand new military equipment that’s now being used on the city streets of the United States.

So, you’d say that police in the United States. have become completely militarized since 9/11 or in the last 10-15 years, right?

Yeah, it’s been gradually coming. I think this is part of the propaganda campaign of our federal government, of our state government and of our local government. I mean, the arms race is not limited to nation. Every single city that you get to nowadays seems to be upgrading into military-like equipment, they seem to be mimicking military in every aspect. They’re even starting to use drones in our country. And as a matter of fact, the President of the United States., Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who hasn’t found a war that he doesn't like, has called for the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, to open the US airspace to up to 30,000 drones by 2015.

I have one more question regarding the internal political situation in the United States.for the global audience because we don’t really know exactly what’s going on on the ground there. Has Obama done anything different than Bush? Or has he just, pretty much, rubber-stamped all of Bush’s policies?

I’d say your statement is absolutely correct. I do not feel the policy differences between George Bush and Barack Obama. I feel that the callousness and the vitriolic campaign that these two candidates are waging right now spells a more doomsday scenario for the United States, should Mitt Romney be elected, but I don’t think there’s going to be much difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, to be honest with you. They will continue the wars, ad nauseum, until the American people rise up and say; no more! We're not going to be surveilled. We’re not going to be beaten! We’re not going to be tear-gased anymore! We’re not going to allow the war machine to go over and attack other countries, like they plan to attack Iran! We’re not going to back despotic regimes like the one in Israel today or the one in Bahrain or others! We're just not going to be that kind of country.

Okay. Last question since this is the Voice of Russia and the Republicans have made very serious statements against the Russian Federation, officially stating that they will “Undo the reset", I don't know how you are with Russian policies, but they've also said they will "Curb Moscow”. They’ve said that they will train opposition activists in the United States and they said that Russia is the geopolitical enemy number one of the United States. How do you feel about that statement?

I think it’s laughable. I think the United States has little or no influence in Russia today. The fact of the matter is that most countries now in other parts of the world are starting to move away from the United States. The power that we once weilded is no longer there.

Resist RNC - Amos Miers: Protesting Dems and GOP PART1

31 August 2012, 15:46   Download audio file

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Amos Miers, an Organizer with Resist RNC in the US, shares his group’s ideas and explains why they are protesting against Republicans at the Republican National Convention. Miers says that instead of working for the people, both parties are working for special interests, so it doesn’t really matter for Resist RNC who’s going to win – the Democrats or Republicans.

What are the main reasons and what are the main points of the Republican agenda that have caused the Occupy Movement and your movement and other protest groups to protest the RNC Convention there?

We're actually protesting the Republicans and Democrats, we're protesting the fact that the two parties aren’t representing the people at all. Without getting into the fine points, the fundamental message is that neither party is representing the people and they're actually duopolies that are beholden to corporate interests and we are trying to get our government back.

Are the Occupiers there? And your organization, are there people involved from all over the country? What’s your relationship with the Occupy Movement and with CODEPINK and with the other protest groups?

There's over forty groups that have endorsed us and endorsed our message. And our main role at this event, we're local here in Tampa, and our main function is to provide support and logistics for the protestors so that they have a safe place to be, that they have food and water, rest rooms, and things like that. Also sleeping arrangements in our camp. So we support all the messengers that are coming and provide them with all the information on where to go and where all the locations are for them of protest. Our relationship with CODEPINK and Occupy Wall Street: we coordinate with their organizers, more so with Occupy Wall Street – a lot of their people are encamped in our location, Camp Romneyville, there's about 80 of them sleeping in our camp.

How many Occupiers are there? And how many protesters overall are there, right now, in Tampa by your estimate?

I think the largest that we’ve seen is thousand people, but tere's only a few hundred currently around Tampa. A little bit larger today because there were a lot of actions, they went over to a power plant and blockaded the power plant., but this year, for a wide range of reasons this was an extremely low turn-out. It almost became a non event. but the reason that - I think there's several reason why we had such a low turnout- one, ah, there’s a lot of infiltration in the groups. With the federal government, there’re a lot of provocateurs that keep groups fighting amongst each other. And then on top of that there’s a lot of fear put out about what the cops are willing to do with this RNC. There's a heavily-militarized-police state environment. Beyond that there was a storm that came through and it scared a lot of people because when a lot of the protesters come, they use a campout, they don’t have means to stay in hotels like the Republicans do. So usually at a protest like this we encamp, and so, the storm scares people off! But beyond that, you know, people in this country are struggling, most of the protesters fighting are now waging, you know, fighting for peace and fighting for justice, and they're struggling. They're on pay check away from becoming homeless themselves. So a trip like this: it's a pretty far distance, you know it's really far south, the South-East corner of the US. It’s a long drive. And the resources are very low. we're in dire straights in this country.

Expanding on that topic. Do you see things are getting better or worse if Republicans come to power?

I think worse. But, to be honest, most of us don’t believe there’s a difference. We believe it's a soap-opera made for people. Yes, there’s a philosophy in the Democratic Party and there's a different philosophy in the Republican Party and Americans argue about the differences, but most of us are seeing that it's a staged event, and all they do: it's the same deck of cards that they reshuffle ever four years and instead of working for the people, they’re working for special interests, so it doesn’t really matter to us who’s in a Democrat or Republican because they’re controlled from the first moment they step into office, so we still see that there’s an agenda being laid down to bring our country to a fascist state and whether it’s Mitt Romney or Obama it’s going to be the same.

Reminder

Who do you think is behind that agenda? Is there some secret group or is it large corporations? Who would you say is behind all that?

There’s an extremely ultra-elite wealthy group of people that run the world and there's some of them that are known, some of them are unknown and corporations themselves. So a little bit of both so when we call it “the 1%”, we’re really saying that the 1% of the people that are controlling the rest of the planet, we're really heavily in this country anyway. And it’s been that way since before the country was founded. When we read the true history of the United States, we find out that 1% of the people controlled the land and really controlled the country, to begin with. You know, they first wiped out the native Americans, and when they couldn't enslave the Native Americans, because they were so anarchist and socialist, they refused to be enslaved they brought in the Africans to come here and work and be their slaves and also the white servants from Europe, so there was 99% of the people being abused from the beginning of this country. And the messages now come back more than 200 years later about who is the threat: it's the ultra-power elite, and that's the message, it doesn't matter what party is in there they’re going to be controlled by the wrong people. P\The people we elect into office don’t represent the people they represent special interests.

What would you say to critics, regarding the Occupy Movement in particular, what would you say to people who say that they exclude minorities and blacks?

Unfortunately, there’s some truth to that. When it first started it really galvanized mainstream America, and there was a lot of mainstream in the movement, but it pretty quickly got to be just the hard-core people. What really kicked off that movement was college kids. We’re told in this country, if we go to school for 18 years and we work hard and get As and we listen to the authorities and we do this or do that and then go to college and get a good degree, that we are set, you know, that our lives are going to be great. We borrow a lot of money. We get into massive student loan debt   And these students come out, you know, spent 20+ years of their lives listening to everyone and they find that the system is fully broken, that there’re no jobs and they have all this debt. And yes, it is really mostly white middle class. They’re just now realizing that hey there some problems, so they have a lot of work to do, to eally engage the minorities and that’s something we have to work on. So I think there’s some truth to it. There’re a lot of different ethnic groups represented in the movement, but I think majority is white middle class. So we have a lot of work to do because that's a privileged class that just beginning to realize that the problem goes much deeper than just how they were affected because if you go to any city across our nation, you’ll find poor areas in every city, there's those poor black communities, there's even poor white communities and there's poor Hispanic communities, in every single city across our nation and they know from birth what is going on in this country. And they know things are wrong. And they don’t’ necessarily have a voice in the movement and that needs to change.

For our world audience, because we are international here, if the upper middle class and the privileged class are suffering that badly in the United States – I mean, you guys can’t get jobs etc. etc., what would you say the situation is like for lower class?

That’s even worse. I mean they don’t even have a place to live. When it rains they get wet! They beg for food. They’re in a very bad situation.

End Part 1

Resist RNC - Amos Miers: Living in a Police State PART2

5 September 2012, 11:55   Download audio file

The Voice of Russia talked to Amos Miers an organizer with Resist RNC, an organization affilitated with the Occupy Movement and which helped to organzie and coordinate the activites of over 40 protest groups who demonstrated against the Republican Party and their policies at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida.

In PART II our interview Amos speaks about the GOP's wish to control women's bodies, stopping U.S. imperialism, the Occupy Movement, the U.S. federal government, police exageration of the threat posed by protestors and security measures in place in Tampa.

Hello! This is John Robles. You are listening to the second part of an interview with Amos Miers – an organizer with Resist RNC in Florida.

What would you say the situation is like for the lower class?

That’s even worse I mean they don’t even have a place to live. When it rains they get wet, they beg for food. They are in a very bad situation. In the middle class, even when it is difficult to get a job, even though we’re struggling, even though the middle class is struggling, we are still better off than a majority of the world. I have carpet in my home I have A/C in my home. Most people in this country, they know there is a problem, they know things aren’t right but they go home and turn on the TV and forget about it. And that’s the problem. We are still privileged. Even though we have problems in this country we are exploiting a lot of the world to get stuff and all the stuff comes here. So, we are kind of content because we are given all the stuff and all these products and all these services. So, it’s a little bit hard for a lot of those privileged people to wake up, even though they have a duty to. You know, I like my jeans, I like my cellphone. What I don’t like is I find out that I’m exploiting people because the jeans are being manufactured in plants where there are kids underage or there are girls being raped in the factories where they’re making my jeans or my phone has parts, there are materials being taken out of people’s countries and then they have their lands being destroyed. I don’t like that. I would like to have my technology but I would like to treat people equal in the process. And I think there is a way to do it and we need to take a step back and say – hey, the way we are doing things is wrong. We are privileged, we’re getting all the stuff but this is wrong. It is extremely wrong what we are doing.

What do you think about Code Pink? I know they have a very serious message. They have staged an attempt to do a citizen’s arrest on Condoleezza Rice. My question is regarding their costumes and some of the ways they are protesting. Do you think that detracts from their credibility?

I don’t think it does. There is a police helicopter, I don’t know if you can hear that or not, hopefully you can hear me ok. I think that it is part of getting the attention so that they can get their message to media. Code Pink is very effective at getting their message across. So, I think part of how they operate attracts attention and when they get that attention they are able to deliver a positive message, a very important message. So, personally I don’t think it takes away at all, I think they are very creative people. I think they are very talented people. I think they are very empowered people.

I was particularly speaking about costumes they were wearing, in the shape of female genitalia…

Right! And the costumes were actually… I mean the costumes I think are actually pretty attractive I mean they were well done. Yeah, it’s a female part but it highlights the issue that the Republican Party really wants to control women’s choices on how they need to handle their bodies. I don’t have any rights to tell anyone how they operate on their bodies, whether a man or a woman. So, part of that costume is to get that message across. So, I don’t get taken aback by that at all, I think it is very clever.

What is your organization’s (your opinion) the Occupy Movement’s stance on Republican promises to escalate tensions with the Russian Federation, and their naming Russia as geopolitical enemy number one? What would you say to those statements?

I think that there are countries on this planet that are realizing they need to band together and stop what America is doing. So, I don’t agree with what their statements are. You know, it is interesting that we get some of our news from Russia that is better news than in our mainstream media here. So, I think we don’t have any business telling other countries what to do, and if other countries want to help stop the imperialism of America, then I welcome that.

What’s the current state of the Occupy Movement in general, I mean if you can talk about the overall Occupy Movement in the United States. Pretty soon it’ll be the one year anniversary. Do you think they’ve achieved anything or made any significant accomplishments during the past year?

I think most of the accomplishments occurred in the very beginning. I was surprised that it spread like it did, although we were ready for something like that. What it did accomplish… The original task was focused on removing the corporate grip on our government; the very first important step for any other positive change in this country. However that message got taken away really fast and they started focusing on really all the other issues, I mean they just spread to every single issue known to man. And I think they really went down to the root cause first and not going the other way, that’s my personal opinion. And what they did do though, they’ve got us all talking. When I saw the Movement happening and DC was going to be planned, and then the Wall Street happened first. I’m like, oh, I’m going to go and check it out, I might check DC out. By the time I was getting my stuff in order to go see them the Movement happened in my own town.

The interesting thing about America is that we are not a community, we don’t talk to each other don’t even know our neighbors and we are a very individualized people, not all the culture, but most of Americans are very individualistic. And I didn’t know where the other people were that felt like me but the Occupy Movement helped connect us all. I found all the people in my backyard. There were a couple thousand people, that showed up in downtown Tampa and we all got to know each other, and now we are all connected. So, the number one success of Occupy in my opinion was that all the people that want to find ways to make a positive change are now talking.

Another thing it did was got the conversation happening and brought it out onto the forefront. People… You know, you can go into a store, go into a doctor’s office and have conversations about what’s wrong with our government now, and before, a lot of people shied away from those kinds of conversations. So, it made it ok to have these kinds of conversations. Beyond that, I think the Movement is struggling. I think they haven’t figured out what their next step is and they need to be more effective in their actions and really some goals need to be figured out, strategy put in place and then the correct tactics to get there.

So, we need discipline, people need to educate themselves on non-violent methodology and how to be more effective. And band together we need to be collective on this and achieve that goal. So, I’m not sure if there’s a future for Occupy but regardless, the energy that Occupy started is going to continue, if it is going to continue in a phase two or to continue under a different name in a different group, remains to be seen but that energy is going to continue one way or another. I just don’t know if Occupy itself has any future.

You just mentioned police helicopter flying overhead. What is the situation currently down there in Tampa?

Downtown Tampa is about a mile across and we are in the north-west corner of downtown at Camp Romneyville and the RNC convention is on the south-east corner. So, we are on the opposite corner of downtown from them. We get regular visits from law enforcement, they drive by. They have platoons of twelve that go on bicycles by us and they have these little motorized carts that come by us, they have vans, we’ve just had mounted-police come by us on horses. The first few days they tried to provoke some things and we maintained our discipline, kept it calm and kept it peaceful. They were trying to say that there is a violent contingent of anarchists who are coming to destroy the town, and that’s what the Federal Government tells our local politicians, and then they enact oppressive ordinances. I mean we’re basically in a police state environment in downtown Tampa right now: there’s 3,500 law enforcement from around the state, 1,700 National Guard. They have face recognition software and cameras throughout downtown. They have license plate software recognition… You drive in, they catch your license plate, they know who is coming in and who is leaving. With all that, there was the potential for them to misuse those resources. And really they kind of create this myth of this violent anarchist to justify the fascist state we are heading to and they convince the American public: Oh, it is ok to have this police state because we need to be safe from a couple of kids that want to throw some rocks through windows.

That was part 2 of an interview with Amos Miers an organizer with Resist RNC in Florida.

Rick Rozoff: OSCE to Monitor Anti-NATO Protests in Chicago

14 May 2012, 17:33   Download audio file

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Interview with Mr. Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to GlobalResearch.ca. He will be debating NATO officials in Chicago on May 17th in a first ever event where those opposed to NATO are allowed to voice their concerns.

I heard that on the 17th of May you are planning to debate former NATO officials and current NATO officials. This is first debate of this type in history I believe. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about that?

Thank you for asking, John. It’s scheduled Thursday evening at 6 o’clock in downtown Chicago at what’s called the Pritzker Military Library, it’s probably an apt site for the discussion of NATO. As I’ve last heard two spokespeople advocating the NATO position, and those are Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the State Department and current NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political and Security Affairs James Appathurai are going to be presenting the NATO position. I’ve been asked to be one of two what identified in Chicago media as protesters who are going to be speaking against NATO. Initially Andy Thayer who is a leader in the coalition against NATO G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8), for short, was to be the other speaker from the anti-NATO position. I now hear that a representative from either Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans, is going to be speaking instead of Andy Thayer, so it will be the two of us.

Can you tell me a little bit of the format?

In my understanding each of the four of us is going to give a presentation and then there will be questions field from the audience. It’s going to be a very select group, there’s going to be 100 people permitted into the library in addition to media.

Who was behind the planning of this event?

It’s sponsored by the local Chicago think tank. Though, it’s my understanding, John, that somehow, I don’t know who contacted whom, the prime mover in permitting a discussion that has both sides being heard was emanated from the White House.

You mentioned before we started something about two OSCE parliamentarians. Are they going to be in attendance?

I heard from another leader of CANG8 that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced that they were going to send two, perhaps three European parliamentarians as part of the delegation to monitor the protest in the city of Chicago’s response to that, which would mark only the second time that an OSCE delegation has been sent to the United States, and the previous time was during 2008 presidential election and if in fact that’s true and that materializes, that may in part have led to the White House having them to make a concession to allow some form of public debate on the issue because to be frank with you, there has been none up until now. When the decision was made between the White House and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel last year there was no debate, there was no discussion with the City Council of Chicago and the neighborhoods that are going to be effected pretty adversely, as no community leaders and so forth were consulted, it was dealt with as a fait accompli.

How did you become involved in this? Were you chosen?

Andy Thayer of CANG8 invited me to join him initially, now it looks like it may be again an Iraq or Afghanistan war veteran and myself presenting the anti-NATO position.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit of what NATO was doing to promote their position in the U.S. and why and where all this money is coming from? So they’ve made a huge PR campaign in the Chicago area, I believe.

There is a host committee for the NATO Summit, which is headed up by former political officials but there is corporate sponsorship that is matter of fact goes to the website for the NATO Chicago Summit, they’ll have the corporate logos of major Fortune 500 type companies that have raised an estimated $37 billion (Mr. Rozoff apologized and asked that billion be corrected to million. Robles)  in corporate moneys for the summit in addition to what the Federal and the City Government are going to spend. The argument that many people make including myself that NATO is essentially the international armed wing of the one percent could not be made any more effectively or vividly than visiting the website for the Chicago Summit and looking at corporate logos that stand behind the NATO meeting on May 20 and 21.

Recently somebody, NATO spokesman I think, said that NATO was the war machine for any percent.

I believe that comment emanates from Ivo Daalder who is U.S. Ambassador and NATO currently and he is somebody who 6 years ago co-authored an article that was published in Washington Post and also on the website of the Brookings Institution where Daalder is on leave as a senior fellow, but the title of article was “Global NATO”. So, we are talking about somebody who in fact envisions, and keep in mind he is the envoy for the most part the member of the military block, the United States, and that somebody that for several years has been touting in exactly those words, the concept of an international worldwide NATO that can intervene (at will) any place it chooses. Any organization that has waged war in three continents since 1999 as NATO has, in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, is certainly a war machine.

What can you tell our listeners about G8 Summit being moved to Camp David and what’s the relation between that and the NATO Summit happening in Chicago?

The two were to have occured not simultaneously but back to back. The G8 Summit was to have occurred on the 18th and 19th of this month and the NATO Summit on the 20th and 21st. And when the news first broke in spring of last year that Chicago would host them both, the announcement was made simultaneously, it was, if you will, a package deal, then several weeks ago the White House rather abruptly and without any explanations, the accounts in Chicago are that the Mayor himself, Emanual wasn’t even aware of the fact that it was being pulled until he heard it on the news. I can tell you my personal supposition, which is this: that in the interim between the time it was announced both the G8 and the NATO Summit to be held in the United States and the announcement by the White House they were relocated the G8 Summit to Camp David in Maryland, the Occupy movement sprang into existence in September of last year and I would assume that the White House was afraid that the demonstrations against both Summits would be large enough to create a political embarrassment, both for the city of Chicago and for the country, certainly for the Administration and thought that by relocating the G8 Summit they could take attention away form the NATO demonstration. I believe that it has backfired. Instead there will be a large public demonstration on the 20th . I am hoping that it will be possibly the largest counter-NATO demonstration ever held against the backdrop of the Summit. If you recall in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2010, I’ve heard estimates from 10-30 thousand protesters. It would be my sincerest wish that the people of Chicago and the joining states could turn out a force larger than that.

Larger than 30,000 people?

That would be ideal. Larger that 10,000 would be great.

Occupy Chicago - Rachael Perrotta: Violence at the Hands of the State

16 May 2012, 17:38   Download audio file

Violence at the hands of the state

Interview with Rachael Perrotta, an Activist with Occupy Chicago and a Member of the Occupy Chicago Press Team.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what’s going on in Chicago regarding policy brutality, intimidation and the upcoming demonstrations on the NATO summit?

The city of Chicago is running a classic fear mongering campaign. People were coming to town, not to cause trouble, but to stand up against the war and violence of NATO. Recently a group of people in a car who have come from out of town were pulled over. The police are here to intimidate and potentially to harm people who are peacefully demonstrating. People who are coming to town right now are experience a phenomenon that’s nothing new to many people in Chicago: the police are at war with many Chicago communities. In fact, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution against torture, not because they’re a liberal body, but because the police of Chicago torture people. It cost the city millions of lawsuits.

What do you mean by tortures exactly?

For over 10 or 15 years here in this city during the interrogations police would electrocute people, beat people. And as I’ve said the defendants want millions of dollars from the city of Chicago because the police were so violent.

What are the police methods they’re using to intimidate people?

There’s very heavy police presence in all of our actions and events. Today Occupy Chicago has not had one violent interaction with anybody in this entire city. The police are the ones with projectile weapons, the police are the ones with chemical weapons. Demonstrators are here to peacefully speak out against NATO. And we think that the city of Chicago and the Chicago police department are completely out of line in the way they’ve been treating peaceful demonstrators and that’s giving the city a black eye.

Don’t you think by going to such an extreme that they’re provoking the response?

I have myself participated in a number of mass-demonstrations. And the only violence I have ever seen in the streets has been at the hands of the police attacking protestors. We’re going to see here in Chicago an example of a militarized police stay, again much … in Afghanistan or Syria face at the hands of NATO. 

Have you been joined by protestors that were supposed to arrive in Chicago for the G-8?

We’ve already seen about 150-200 out-of-town protestors arrive in Chicago, they began arriving at midday.

Are you aware of the debate that’s going to be going on between NATO and protestors on Thursday?

Yes, I am.

I talked to Rick Rosoff yesterday. He said you may be expecting more than 10 000 protestors. What are your feelings on the figures?

It’s so hard to predict numbers. If these protests are going to be huge, it’s not going to be because of out-of-towners, it’s going to be because of Chicago …. There’re already over 6 million people in this area of Chicago in the suburbs. And that’s why we’ve seen this campaign to vilify protestors and to make protests seem dangerous and violent because the Chicago government does not want these people n the street, but nevertheless we’re ready to put our bodies on the line to stand up for those around the world who are being tortured and terrified by NATO.

Can you tell us a little bit about your tactics?

Occupy Chicago seeks to elevate the struggles of our communities to the international level by showing that the money spent by NATO should really stay here in Chicago, in the US to keep our schools open, to keep our clinics open, to make sure that job programs are happening. So that’s sort of our main message that NATO is bad for the world and the NATO summit is bad for Chicago.  

I’ve heard that corporate sponsors have out together 37 million dollars, I believe that is, just for the PR. A lot of schoolbooks could be bought. And a lot of teachers’ salaries could be paid, don’t you agree.

It’s disgusting that so much money is being spent to support an organization that’s so focused on war and death. I can tell you that right now, in the streets of Chicago people are rallying at high-school that’s supposed to be shut down and they’re doing that to show that money needs to stay here for education and not go oversees for NATO’s war and death. So it’s sort of campaign we’re doing to really tight together all the desperate issues in our city under the heading of “Monet for Chicago, not for NATO”.  And so many people and organizations have invested something for this summit, when in fact nothing happens. All of it goes on in conference calls, government meetings. This is a big show that has no purpose and is absolutely destructive to our city and needs of our people.

Why this school is being closed down?

NATO’s manual is absolutely dedicated to destroying our public services: closing schools, firing teachers, it’s also privatizing a lot of institutions, including educational institutions. We say that education should stay public and community involvement and community support is absolutely essential for strong education.

There’s a shortage of schools actually in the Chicago area.

Definitely. Community schools are being decimated not only by neglect and lack of funding, but also by the politicians to say that it’s ok to close them down.

 

Occupy SF Direct Action Section - David Solnit: The Occupy Movement is Expanding

28 April 2012, 20:38   Download audio file

The Occupy Movement is expanding

Interview with David Solnit, an activist in the direct action section of Occupy SF

Hello, David! How are you? Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what is going on with the Occupy movement? Because the mass media is not really covering it and a lot of people are with the idea that it’s dead. 

It’s more alive than it’s ever been. This winter the police repressed us. Some of the camps still are good. I’m sitting there outside. Here is a hardy group of people who stay here 24 hours a day. And the police arrest people who sleep in tents. So they sleep in the open air. But mostly what happen is people going back to their neighborhood, to their schools and their workplaces. And they have been going to bring the Occupy movement into our community. Here in SF we’re 12 thousand people in the process of losing homes to the big banks, we’re fighting house by house to keep our neighbors in our homes. Our students are fighting in their schools with the Occupy to keep the teachers and the school funded. There is a massive redistribution of wealth: 99% to the 1%, - that means cutting all our services, our education, our wages and our benefits. For an average student simply to get the education they come out between 25 thousand to 100 000 in debt. And this debt rises because student debt is like mortgage. And credit card debt is completely unregulated. And the problem with that is that the corporation and the banks control governmental politicians.   

When you talk about 100 0000 debt this is for a four-year bachelor’s degree, for example? 

Yes, I believe that an average student comes out somewhere between 25/30 thousand dollars in debt. To end up shackled with a huge debt which grows and grows and is completely unregulated by the politicians. Many students cannot afford that and they’re dropping out. And when they do get out, there is no job. 

It sounds like the Occupy movement is diversifying and starting to help people. Are you better organized than you were a couple of months ago? 

Oh, yeah. We are occupied in campuses, in our neighborhood. We have a huge learning co-work, we’re trying to find out, how is this that the banks take our homes, what’s the process and right now we’re trying to block it. We’re diversifying the options, we’re occupying, we’re doing whatever we can. We’ve actually got neighbors in SF who had been kicked out of the house for protests. And we’re simultaneously pushing for a moratorium. Couple of days ago took we over and disrupted Fargo shareholders’ meeting. 

What are the plans for the summer for Occupy SF and the Occupy movements in California? How coordinated these movements are becoming? 

We coordinate – I would call - emergent intelligent. Like when you see a flock of birds. They don’t necessarily have the central command or the head office, but they intuitively move to the similar direction. We move around education, around housing, around solidarity with work struggles.  And right now we are looking for May Day, next week, on Tuesday . There’s going to be a lot of local unions on strike. 

It should be pretty massive, right? Can you tell us how the police have treated you? Have you been a victim of any police brutality? What have you seen from the authorities? 

I’ve been fortunate, but we’ve had some beatings. In SF the police are much more brutal, but 30 years of organizing and political demonstrations showed that they’re less brutal than in the NY city. We fight for our rights and the police push back. They threaten us. Yesterday and two days ago when we were blocking the shareholders’ meeting, some of the shareholders were attacking non-violent protesters. They would attack, someone would push them over and the police would push them again. Being a professional police force they fought for 100 and 1%. Actually there were a few good apples, but our police force is beating around the tree.

The shareholders don’t get this right. They were attacking the protesters and the police were supporting them?

We’re trying to organize a meeting because in our city we’ve got 12 thousand people being kicked out of homes. The city itself is in audit with a private company, and it found out that 84% of these foreclosures were fraudulent. And that means that 9 to 10 thousand people having their homes taken away illegally. Basically that’s what gangsters do. And nationally we’re talking about 9 million people losing their homes. And for most folks that kind of the retirement plan when they take away your home – you’re going to be penniless when you are older. And it all happens because the banks strict the system.

What do you think of the upcoming elections? How do you think if that’s going to change anything?

We joke that we’ve got to choose between the Goldman Sachs supporting the Democrats and oil companies like Shell that support the Republicans. So would you rather have big oil or facultative capitalism running country? There’s really no choice. Our elections have always served the try to demobilize movements. We only have power, the ordinary people, when we organize ourselves. It’s a big distract. And in respect to other folks who hoped for Obama. I don’t think the question is whether or not he is a good person. I think you or I could have been elected. It’s like getting on a move in train. It’s a systemic problem.  One person can’t change it, only a mass movement with support from industries can. We don’t actually have the facility.  We joke that when people vote saying that this really matters, we ask what do you do other 364 days a year? People really don’t have control over the basic decisions. If you measure up what people are about, people say:  house care or stay in their homes or get the higher education, the actual decisionsreflect 1% of the wealthy elite. There’s really no one you could vote for, I would say that. The proper control of the electoral process representing democracy – for me it is broken. We can self-organize ourselves quite well and the elites are very bad, they make things worse.

Occupy San Francisco - Craig Rouskey: Repression Makes us Stronger

February 4, 2012 Download audio file

Interview with Craig Rouskey, an organizer with Occupy SF, an activist, and a molecular biologist.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what’s going on there right now and maybe a little bit on what happened in Oakland recently where more than 400 people were arrested?

I would say January 20th was a big day of action for us here in San Francisco we occupied our Financial District otherwise known as Wall Street West. A bunch of affinity groups organized to basically shut down banks and corporations that have not been acting with the interests of the 99% in mind. Events on the 20th ended with an occupation of the Cathedral Hill Hotel which is a 600 room hotel that has been vacant since 2009. We have here in San Francisco 10,000 homeless people on the street, 32 000 vacant units. So, it was addressing that.

Occupy Oakland the following weekend, on January 28th, attempted the same thing with the premise of liberating a vacant building. When the government enacts policies that don’t allow people to save money, I think someone like me, I’m a molecular biologist by trade, I have a master’s degree in molecular biology, I have a job as a scientist. The truth of the matter is, given the cost of living in the United States, I don’t save money, my option is to live paycheck by paycheck and that’s not due to irresponsible spending – I have nothing - it is just a matter of inflation and the cost of living in the US.

So, there are definite real issues that impact people’s lives, that make it difficult to live and even if you are financially responsible. I think the important thing to know is that our society our civilization isn’t set up to help these people. The social services that used to exist in this country have been cut, so we can continue to fund corporations over people and that’s something this movement is really trying to address.

400 people were arrested in Oakland, I understand you were present but you managed to get out of there before you were arrested. Can you tell our listeners kind of what happened there in Oakland?

Yes, definitely. And I think it’s really important to preface this conversation with the fact that in 2011 the American Federal Government allowed for $500 million to be dispersed to local police departments in cities like Oakland or San Francisco, Chicago and New York for militarization.

I’m sorry, how much - $500 million?

$500 million to be dispersed through cities in the US. I think they know that the people have had enough and they are working to make sure the systems of repression are there to stop any broad-based revolution, I mean just the way they deal with the camps – like clearing the camps here violently, it’s the same issue. So, I think, you know, what happened in Oakland is a direct consequence of the militarization of the police force. We had a peaceful march which is something that is promised to us in the Bill of Rights, our first amendment right to peaceably assemble. In Oakland, when the people started marching in the streets, they were kettled by police. I personally was there with members from the Occupy San Francisco community which included a woman pushing her baby in a stroller and a 68 year old woman who has a knee disorder and uses a cane to walk and before we even got to the point of liberating a building, we were kettled and flash grenades were thrown at us and tear-gas was thrown at us. So, what they did to us in the afternoon, was give us a dispersal order, but they were surrounding us and then would not let us disperse. So, we were all under arrest for failure to disperse.

How long are they going to be able to get away with doing stuff like this?

Well, the Oakland Police Department is being taken over by the Federal Government in about two and a half weeks, they have a long history of abusing people in Oakland. This is why the tactics used by Oakland protesters are so different than tactics used by San Francisco protesters. In Oakland for example, they had a group of police officers who called themselves “the rough riders”, these people would go out and beat up young black man, plant drugs and guns on them and then arrest them for being drug-dealers, for example.

And that kind of abuse of authority has been taking place for a long time in Oakland. The interesting thing to me will be - how Oakland looks once the Federal Government takes over. Unfortunately police officers in Oakland will probably still act autonomously against this action. I was personally that the police, uh, one police officer specifically told me that – we hate you people, we will kill you people. So, that’s really disheartening.

I’m sorry, stop. This was a uniformed Oakland police officer, he said: “We - hate you people, we will kill you people”?

Correct.

Oh, my god!

And there was an expletive in there, we “Effing” hate you people, we will “Effing” kill you people.

Can you tell a little bit about the segregation? Does that have anything to do with this?

Yes, there is definitely racial segregation in the two cities, I mean poor black people or poor people in general have been marginalized in San Francisco. And San Francisco is more of white middle class demographic, I mean you have areas that are more poor like the Mission District or the Tenderloin, or Bayview for example where you start to see some color diversity but those are areas that are generally targeted by police. The police presence in Bayview, and in Mission, and in Tenderloin is so much worse, you know, in these neighborhoods as compared to the, quote-unquote “white” part of San Francisco. Oakland is definitely more diverse in terms of race and I believe a lot of repression comes from racial motivation. Yes, I would say, if you go to Oakland the majority of people you see are black.

And most of the Oakland police are white. Ok, there we go.

I think it’s really important to know that the Occupy movement is growing, we are facing police repression and we are working through it. Every act of police repression makes us stronger. And together we are going to make the world that is sustainable and benefits all of us equally.

Thank you.

Thanks.

Occupy San Francisco - Sarah Page: Occupiers Shut Down West Coast Ports

16 December 2011, 15:24    Download audio file

Sarah Page Occupiers shut down West Coast ports

Interview with Sarah Page, one of the organizers of the Occupy San Francisco movement, www.occupysf.com . Yesterday, Occupy Oakland kicked off the West Coast Port shutdown, which had been planned for weeks. The group has joined forces with other Occupy groups in other big port cities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, Anchorage, Seattle, Tacoma and Houston According to Ms. Page, there have been several grounds for occupying the port, namely to prevent the ruling class, the infamous 1%, from getting excessive profits from the goods coming in and out of the port and to back trade unions that have been busted by companies in several West Coast ports.

Occupy DC - Kelly Meers: "We will occupy DC until we are heard"

12 December 2011, 12:12   Download audio file

Interview with Kelly Meers, one of the protesters at Occupy DC in the United States.

Can you tell our listeners about what’s going on there, what the mood is like and what your guys’plans are?

Yes, I’d say spirits are up, there are Occupiers from all over the country here, in DC this week. It’s been really interesting to me and to everyone, coming in from everywhere, from Tempa and West Virginia, Wall Street, Kansas City. All sorts of occupiers coming in. Spirits are pretty high. We had a huge day of action yesterday on K Street. Things are going really well there.

Compared to some of the other occupy movements, I’d believe that the Occupy DC movement would be extremely focused as to where your goals are and have some plan of attack. What exactly are your goals in Washington?

We have a declaration, as Occupy DC, on our website OccupyDC.org. The goals are myriad but also focused. My personal goals have to do with the legislative reform related to campaign finance contributions and the political power of lobbyists over our nation’s politics.

Do you feel any pressure from the authorities or are you afraid of speaking out? Have there been any threats by the police or any other forms of pressure by the authorities on our movement there? Are any of the people there afraid? What can you tell us about the climate there right now?

I am personally not afraid of speaking out. I think that the climate in the US now is really interesting right now and prominent in some ways to the effect that we are very polarized and very angry at one another, which is something that I think Occupier by and large think is rather unfortunate. I don’t think that we have to be separate, Democrats and Republicans, but this sort of differences between us is an obstruction in a sense. They are traded by corporate news media in the US and they hold us down. But I am somewhat concerned about people’s reaction to our occupying McPherson Square. I wouldn’t say “afraid.” Also, actions of our government are somewhat alarming in working on the NDA bill that gives the government authority to hold domestic citizens indefinitely as war criminals. That’s somewhat concerning. But I’m not afraid and certainly not an alarmist in that sense…

Do you know of any people who have disappeared or have been held indefinitely?

No, I don’t know of anybody in our camp who has disappeared.

You talked about differences between Democrats and Republicans. A lot of people say that politically, I mean when you are talking about the parties, they’re almost indistinguishable from each other. Would you agree with that statement?

Yes. I think that people are very upset with that kind of things in the US right now. It’s almost entirely Liberal vs. Conservative, or Democrat vs. Republican divide, like boxes that people put themselves into and put one another into.

That sounds like you are speaking about the people. What about the policies? What about the politics of the parties? What’s the difference; would you say, between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the US? Are people upset, disappointed or disillusioned with Obama’s promises?

Ostensibly there are a lot of concrete differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Republican Party would be for a limited, smaller government and quo lo que le faire economy. And Democrats are for a larger government. All that’s a step back.

But that’s classic. What about in operation? Do you see any real difference?

Ultimately they are the same. Probably about a half are lobbyists and they represent – doesn’t matter Republican or Democrat – corporate infests in the US, not the people’s interests. It’s not even appropriate to call it a democracy, in my personal opinion.

You said you wouldn’t characterize the US as being a democracy at this point?

Personally, no. I do not see that the US is a true democratic republic at this juncture. I think that politicians in the US represent corporate interests over human interests. And if you are representing the role of a machine over the role of man, that’s something more akin to fascism. I wouldn’t call it fascism outright. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. But it’s definitely not a democratic republic.

If you heard of Fox News, they’ve put out some protest footage from Greece and said that was in Moscow. Have you heard anything about that in the US?

No, I don’t watch Fox News but it wouldn’t surprise me if they would put out footage from another country in order to represent protest happening in Russia.

How long are you planning to stay in there?

We will be occupying DC until the government takes people’s best interest to heart. From my perspective, there are a lot of different views out there on the square about what it means to have “a government for the people, of the people and by the people,” representing the people’s interests in 2011. I think there is some legislative reform that would potentially lead us out of the park, Reinstating Glass-Steagall, and overturning Citizens United, which is, you know,  undoing basically the shackles of corporate person hood that hold the US people hostage, at this point, to corporate interests would be a great start. We are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Occupy Los Angeles - Marilyn an LA protester: "We want our democracy back" 

2 December 2011, 12:36   Download audio file

"We want our democracy back" - LA protester

Interview with Marilyn, activist with the Occupy LA movement in Los Angeles, California, USA.

We’ve got a lot of news out of Los Angeles. From what we hear, the Occupiers have been kicked out of the park, where they were camping. Can you give us some details on that?

1,400 LAPD officers raided the camp after midnight last night, cleared the park and arrested 292 protesters.

You said 292?

Some say 297. Somewhere into there.

So, close to 300 people were arrested. Do you know what they were arrested for?

Failure to disperse from an unlawful assembly.

Do you think that’s a legitimate reason for them to have been arrested?

I don’t know. It’s one of several that the police often use when they want to arrest people at a protest. The bail is not reasonable. It’s $5,000.

Why so high?

The rumour is that they want to keep people in jail for a few days.

They are trying to keep everybody separate. It’s a police tactic to break up a protest.

Yes. The people who were arrested last week, their bail was only $100.

For a lot of these people $5,000 is a lot of money.

Yes.

So, there is a lot of people sitting in jail, for how many days are they going to be sitting there?

Up to 72 hours until their arraignment. We expect them to be let out with no or lower bail when they are arraigned.

I have talked to a lot of the occupy movements, what are the goals of the Occupy LA people there? What are you guys protesting?

We are in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. We believe that our government and many of the governments throughout the world are controlled by a global financial oligarchy, that we’ve nicknamed the “one per cent”. We want to restore out democracy so that we can solve all the problems that we face.

If you had a key demand that they had to meet, what would it be?

The first thing most people think about is to get money out of politics so that our government can no longer be bought, so that politicians can no longer be bought so that they act in our interests and in the best interests of the American people, instead of just taking orders from the people who own them.

What would be your second demand?

I think that’s the main one. If we can restore our democracy so that our government belongs to the people again, then we could use the democratic process to solve all the problems that we have.

So you see the government as being controlled by the corporations, the rich?

They are not even in America. They are international corporations and banks. So, yes, I see our government as controlled by them.

And all the policies and laws are being implemented to benefit them?

Yes. And they are taking away our constitutional rights. This has been going on for a couple of decades. They are picking up speed right now.

When would you say it started? Can you give any concrete event that you would say kicked all this off?

Somewhere around 1990. There’s always been tendencies. Some people in our government have always had tendencies towards globalism. I’d say around 1990, maybe 20 years ago, George Bush, Sr., was a big-globalist. And then Bill Clinton, he is too. He started taking away our rights and he deregulated the banks.

Bill Clinton, you say?

Yes. Our… Both our parties belong to the same people.

Some people are saying that this is just a natural function of capitalism, that capitalism is just doing what it is supposed to do. Would you agree with that statement?

No. Capitalism is fine. What we have now is rich capitalism. We have these people with influence on our government that buy special favors to help them make more and more money and take more and more money from the American people.

If you look in the dictionary under the word “fascism,” it says “a government controlled by corporations.” Would you say the US has become a fascist state or a police state?

Yes, yes. When the government and corporations merge, yes. That’s what we are fighting. The purpose of the occupation movement is to fight that.

We talked about the Arab spring. We have the US Fall, as far as suppressing protest and freedom of speech how would you rank the US compared to Arab countries ?

Many things that our government supports in other countries they refuse to do at home. They supported protesters in Arab countries but they turn around and they are trying to squelch their own protesters.

Yes, why would they be supposedly supporting democracy and freedom of speech, dissent, protests…?

I think they saw a benefit in supporting it in the Arab countries. And they see no benefit in supporting it here, in the US.

Would you say that this is government-wide or maybe these are just isolated incidents? Do you think there is actually some script being played out here?

Apparently, the US Department of Homeland Security is orchestrating raids on Occupy camps nationwide. Apparently, the governors were ordered to evict their camps as they saw fit.

As they saw fit?

Yes, they were allowed some latitude in how they did it. But I believe they were ordered to do it. You heard about the conference calls between the mayors (Haven’t you?) and the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI?

No, I hadn’t heard too much. We haven’t heard too much of that over here. I talked to some of the Occupy Davis people and they said the Davis campus police at UC Davis had a directive, under which they had the right to use rubber bullets and tear gas. I would pretty much characterize it as kids sitting around.

Last night at Occupy LA, four people were up in a tree house. There were four men and a dog. They refused to come down and the police fired beanbags at them.

These big heavy beanbags, right?

They come out of a gun. I’m not sure. They got rubber bullets, although they are called beanbags. So they fired those at them to get them.

They knocked the people out of the trees.

No, the cops lifted themselves up level with them with some sort of crane. And they fired the beanbags to subdue them. I heard that one person’s arm was broken from it. He got hit twice. But I’m not sure that’s true – that’s just what I heard. They took the 4 protesters and their dog down.

Why do you think the government is so afraid of you guys?

Well, if our message got out about our country becoming more fascist and being controlled by corporations, etc. And if it kept growing, I think we have a chance of restoring our democracy. And maybe people don’t want that to happen.

Well, I think  the “one per cent” wouldn’t want that to happen, would they?

I would think they won’t.

They live in their big houses in the suburbs, driving their big jeeps around.

And they live in some other country.  I think we are a threat and an embarrassment. We’re on the news all the time.

What are the plans for Occupy LA? I hope you guys  are not finished. Or are you?

No, we are regrouping and we may occupy someplace else. I’m not sure. We haven’t decided yet. We are meeting today.

Occupy UC Davis - Artyom Raskin: U.S. A Pepper Spray Democracy

23 November 2011, 15:53   Download audio file

U.S. pepper spray democracyhttp://m.ruvr.ru/2011/11/25/1244969698/Artyom%20Raskin.png

Interview with Artyom Raskin, a media contact and an activist with the Occupy UC Davis and the Occupy Davis movements in Davis, California. (His personal views)

Can you give us a first-hand account of what is going on over there?

The occupiers have set up tents in the central quad of the UC Davis campus, which is legal until sundown. But they decided to stay there overnight and have an indefinite occupation going on. Chancellor Linda Katehi ordered the UC Davis police to come in and remove the camp. From what I understand, at that time she knew that the protocol would allow the use of pepper spray and rubber bullets and so on. So the police came in and removed the tents. After they removed the tents, the fact that protesters remained on the Quad was no longer illegal because the only thing that was illegal was camping. Being on the Quad in and of itself is not illegal. Nevertheless, the police continued to try to remove the students from the Quad, so the students formed a chain where they linked arms and refused to go. They linked arms in order to ensure that the police cannot pull them out of the crowd and arrest them other way that they did in UC Berkley several days before that.

You said they had the right to use pepper spray and rubber bullets. Is that correct?

Definitely, not the law in California. But they claimed their protocol allowed it. From what I understand, that’s not necessarily true because they are only supposed to be using it when it’s necessary. Of course, that’s a grey area term, so they have some cover behind that. But I’m fairly sure that it was not necessary because they claimed it was necessary in order to get through the line of protesters. If you look at the video, they could just walk around them. The protesters are not giants, so they could step over.

They did step over them. I saw the police stepping over them and the protesters weren’t doing anything. It seemed completely brutal what he was doing to them. Some people die from pepper spray.

Yes, I believe there was actually a report in August that the police killed a man in New York with pepper spray. So it’s definitely a fairly dangerous weapon. From what I understand, the type of pepper spray that they used in Davis specifically was the military type of pepper spray that’s not supposed to be used when you are closer than 15 feet (5 meters) to the person. And that’s what I’ve been told by one of the people who had been pepper-sprayed and researched that.

They were using military-type pepper spray? If I recall, he was about 2-3ft away from these people. I mean he was spraying right in their faces.

Yes. That’s definitely contrary to the instructions of how you are supposed to use that specific type of pepper spray. It’s not safe unless you’re 15 feet removed.

Were any people injured or taken to the hospital?

Yes, there were several people who were taken to the hospital. Also, from what I understand, there was a person who was arrested and taken to hospital because of nerve damage that was done to his arm when he was put in handcuffs that were a lot tighter than they should have been. Also, police forcibly opened the mouth of at least one protester and sprayed, with pepper spray, down his throat. So, he had to be given medical attention. He was coughing up blood an hour after the incident.

Why did they do that?

You’d really have to ask them. I don’t really understand why anyone would do that to a person.

Seriously?! They forced the guy’s mouth open and sprayed pepper spray down his throat?

Yes.

Have there been any repercussions against the police?

What happened was that originally the police and the university officials had said that everything was going according to procedures, that they didn’t do anything. And then after of course, there was the outcry and this got into the news and everyone saw the actual videos of what happened. So they couldn’t go on saying that everything was fine and dandy. So they formed an internal investigation and in the meantime suspended several officers who were responsible for that.

Do the UC Davis police have a history of being brutal?

Several of the protesters that I know told me they were pepper-sprayed in previous years when they were protesting tuition hikes. What I do know is that the police at UC Davis is not accountable to anyone besides the administration of UC Davis, which is different from, for example, the city police, which is accountable to democratically elected institutions, which is why the city police have been a lot more respectful of the rights of the protestors who are protesteing in Central Park than the UCD police have been.

What is going on with the Chancellor? Do you think she is going to resign?

We are calling on the Chancellor to resign officially. That’s been our stance as we believe that the Chancellor is responsible for this and she should resign. The Chancellor spoke to us at one of our general assemblies and did kind of a non-apology apology, in which she said that what happened on Friday was horrible – which it was – but neglected to mention that she was the one who made it happen. So far, I haven’t seen that she made any indication she is going to resign. Of course, if we keep up the pressure, I hope eventually it will happen.

What would you say to people all over the world regarding the extreme level of force used by US police?

I’m not superfamiliar with the level of force used in Europe. From what I understand, the British police have been militarized, recently. So I can’t speak to that. What I would say is that the level of police brutality that we’ve seen on campus is not necessarily unprecedented in the US. It’s just that typically it happens in lower-income communities or communities segregated by race, which means that no one pays attention to it. So it’s not so much that the protesters have precipitated police brutality that hasn’t existed before, it’s that they made it visible because of course once it happens to educated people now everyone suddenly starts caring about it.

So you are saying that if it had happened in some black neighbourhood no one would have said anything about it?

No one would even know about this. But it’s happening all the time.  

It's happening all the time. How are the protesters there on campus and in Davis? Are they afraid of the police?

We were discussing trying to turn this university into a sanctuary, in which the students would be maintaining security or at least trying to curb the amount of armor that the police are allowed to have on campus. We haven’t arrived at a perfect solution yet. We haven’t had any formal proposal passed that would achieve that goal. But we were definitely thinking about and working on that. So we are definitely concerned about this in the long term to ensure this type of brutality doesn’t happen again. In the short term, I think that they were sufficiently scared by the media reaction that I don’t think there will be another police crackdown in the short term.

So people are actually very afraid and are trying to plan on how to protect themselves against the police who are supposed to serve and protect them?

That is correct.

Unbelievable!

Occupy Wall Street - Bill Csapo: US is Not a Democracy 

November 17 2011  Download audio file  

Interview with Bill Csapo, an Activist and Organizer with OccupyWallStreet.org .

How are things holding up? Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what’s going on with the police shutting down the encampment at the park?

As you know, the momentum of this movement was just incredible and completely unforeseen. I have had some training and experience as organizer and, from what I’ve seen, there is no doubt that this is a grassroots movement, because something like this doesn’t happen with somebody pushing from behind. We’ve had 100-150 occupations going on in the US right now, with a variety of suppressing in the area. Some occupations are supported by the municipality therein, some, as you’ve seen in Oakland, were harshly suppressed. A variety of movements have been suppressed. We had a vicious fact at Celebrity Square in New York City Occupy Wall Street last night. The site was swept cleaned. The tents, sleeping bags, computers – pretty much all possessions were cleared away and thrown in dump trucks. We had 5,000 books thrown into dumpster. More or less paramilitary-styled police surrounded the square. The occupiers gathered at Canal, at 6th Street, and took a temporary occupation of Trinity Church, which is private ground.

Just a little while ago, the Manhattan Supreme Court had it found in our favour and barricades went down, the police backed up and we are trying to sort out whose property is whose and what was destroyed and such, because our property has been ordered to be returned. There is a complete mess and a quite vicious attack on the part of Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD. Mayor Bloomberg stated that he was concerned about safety issues. When there is a choice between safety issues and constitutional rights, safety issues, health issues take precedence over the constitution. So we are now worried about the dictatorship of the Department of Health, I guess. That’s what he is trying to say.

I saw photos of piles of stuff. That’s just horrible. Everybody’s computers. They didn’t give people a chance to even pack up?

No. Not at all. This was an attempt to suppression. This was a very violent attack. The NY City Council member was arrested and suffered an injury. People were injured. About 100 people were arrested. This was not pretty. This was a very ugly thing for them to do. They threw away 5,000 books in a dumpster. They threw out our library. They came in dressed in a very tactical manner. People that I’ve spoken to said it was military-type black gear on them. They went in with an expressed purpose of educating to the point that people would riot and they were ready for a riot. They were dressed for it, they were armed for it, they were deployed for it. And they went in, and it didn’t happen.

So, they were trying to provoke a riot?

From their actions, yes, they were ready for a riot. They were ready for a serious riot and serious suppression. Even the demeanor of the police.  People I’ve spoken to said this did not appear to be regular police.

So, they were like paramilitaries. Our report says about seventy people were arrested. Is that correct?

Yes, I can say that I’ve seen that number as a confirmed number. That would be the real estimate.

Were there any injuries, any people taken to hospital?

We do know that the City Council member was injured and taken to hospital. I did see it referred to later as a serious injury. I don’t have a new story on that yet. I read about that in one of our operations rooms.

What is the City Council member’s name?

Ydanis Rodriguez. He is the 10th District Council member of New York City in Manhattan. He was beaten and arrested last night. He was heavily injured.

He is the 10th District Council member and he was beaten and arrested?

Yes.

It’s already snowing here a little bit. What’s the weather like there and what are your plans?

It is the middle of November, so, of course, it’s going to be getting colder for a while. The people are aware of this and we are keeping supplies in our camp. They know how to camp in this weather. Unfortunately, we have a lot of people in this country right now who have experienced in the last 10 years of how to camp in harsh weather, veterans. So there are experienced people. And, as I said, unfortunately, we have that experience.   So we have their knowledge there. And, even last night when they came and took out tents and sleeping bags and blankets, the people were still committed to occupying as they had to stay in the rain. The weather will be harsh, but it happens every year and people know how to take care of it.

We started to report about a group last week – about ten people, one of them was barefoot – that headed off for Washington on foot.

Yes, they are marching to Washington and I think they are planning on arriving there on 22nd . And one of the occupations in DC, the Freedom Plaza occupation – I got in touch with people who work on this – is going to have a group come from their occupation and march up to meet them. And then, they’ll all return to Washington together. We’ve had a lot of people call in from New Jersey. A Church Federation called in and offered them room and board all the way across. They are doing well. They’ve got a lot of support, a lot of people behind them. It’s a nice.

You said a Church Federation offered them room and board? That’s good.

They have been travelling 20 miles a day. They’d have meals on their way and place to sleep.

In New York City, how many people have you got now?

There are 650 committed Occupy activists there. And, of course, throughout the weekend, whenever we have an operation, a march or something like that.

Is it still going up to 2,000-3,000 like it was before?

Yes, for marches and such, easily. I’d just like to say that, whenever when in a nation one of political parties can be purchased, that nation is not by definition a democracy. You can call it a plutocracy, an anarchy or a plutarchy, or whatever. What doesn’t enter into definition is democracy. The US is not a democracy. And that is what we are struggling for – to ‘install’ in the US a democracy.

Occupy Portland - Jordan LeDoux: "The American system is broken"

31 October 2011, 16:01    Download audio file

Interview with Occupy Portland media liaison Jordan LeDoux.

Can you fill our listeners in on what is going on there, in Portland? Apparently, there were several arrests made today.

Yes, earlier today 25 people were arrested in a park here, in Portland, called Jamison Square. The protesters were sitting peacefully. There were no clashes with the police, no violence or anything like that. It was more to make a point that our First Amendment rights don’t end at midnight. They exist everywhere all the time. In the end, we felt it was more important to hold on to our rights of free speech and free assembly than it was to try and find the solution that was acceptable to the Mayor’s office.

How many people are there, in Portland?

We have about 500-800 full-time campers and about 2,000 people that come to the camp daily.

Have you had any of your grievances addressed by anybody? Have any politicians or any officials come out to your meetings and try to interface with your people?

We’ve had the Mayor come out. We’ve had several of the City Council members come out. We’ve had some of our state representatives come and speak. The things that we’ve specifically brought up with the city so far have related to “instant runoff voting” (IRV), which is a specific format of voting that removes parties from the process. Basically, you rank your candidates according to how much you would like to see them elected. If no one gets a clear majority, the ranking is used to determine who the winner is.

That doesn’t really sound like democracy to me.

Yes, we are interested in returning the voice of our government back to our people. That is something that has been missing for far too long. The people here in the US have just been controlled by our two-party system. And there is nothing wrong with that if our representatives actually represent the people. But they haven’t been. And we’ve been trying to voice that as a society for 30 years, and nothing has changed. So we’ve stood up and said: no, we’ve had enough; we are not going to be quiet anymore; we want something that works.

Are you saying that corporations are running the country?

Yes, in a large sense, they are. People can’t get elected here without some huge corporate support. That is not what government looks like. That is not democracy looks like.

I mean, how can you have a public servant who needs a billion dollars to run for office?  Is that really a public servant?

Yes, it simply shouldn’t cost a public servant a billion dollars to go to people and say I think you should vote for me.

Can you give us a good example of this huge difference in wealth between the rich and the poor?

As for the wealth disparity in the US, the US is the wealthiest country in the world. That wealth doesn’t extent to a lot of people here. I think it is ridiculous that, with all the hard work that we put in as a society, America as a country, the people in America work more hours per person, per employee than almost anywhere else in the world, but we have almost nothing to show for it, because our system is designed to take the work of everybody and just funnel it to these people who have 3-4 houses, 2-3-million dollar houses. And the disparity can be seen here, in Portland, in places like Lake Oswego, which is a little neighbourhood here, in Portland. It’s a very-very white neighbourhood. There are no minorities there. And that doesn’t represent what America is. We have a huge wealth disparity between minorities and whites in this country. And not just that. We have a huge wealth disparity between rich whites and poor whites in this country. It’s a class issue. It’s a racial issue. And it’s just a societal issue. We have people that can barely provide food for themselves. And then we have others, who have hundred-million-dollar boats. I can assert that we are past that, as a society. These are problems that we can solve and we just haven’t.

Would you say that that is an institutionalized problem throughout the entire system?

A lot of people say that the American system is broken. I think that’s kind of a misnomer. The American system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do right now. This is what is supposed to happen in the system that we have. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t have corporations, that we shouldn’t have capitalism itself or anything like that. I don’t know the answers to that. But I do know the specific system we are using right now. We have very few people that make decisions that affect every person not just in this country but on this planet. Decisions that are made by these people here, in the US, don’t just affect American citizens – they affect people all over the world. I think that what we are doing right now is having such a huge negative impact on the people of this planet that we just can’t continue doing that.

One of the definitions in the dictionary of “fascism” is “a government that is controlled by corporations.” Would you characterize that as being the current US government? Is it being controlled by corporations?

That’s true in some senses. I don’t think that’s true in an absolute sense. We, thankfully, still don’t have corporations that actually write laws. But they get as close as they can to that. I think we are getting there. I think that’s the direction this country is going. and I think a lot of the people here and across the rest of the country that are standing up in this Occupy movement are saying no, we are not going to let it get there. We are not going to sit still and let you, guys, completely control everything that we have.

How long are you, guys, ready to keep on protesting until something is done?

Right now, everybody I’ve talked to is ready to stay here as long as we have to. I’ve heard people talk about staying here for the next six months or until the elections. I think these people are committed. You know, no matter what this movement looks like for anyone out there, as disorganized as it looks, there is no demand or things like that – this is not a movement targeting at politicians, at least not entirely. One of the things we’re targeting is you, the people. We’ve let this happen. And we can’t keep letting it happen.

Occupy Oakland - Noah Rothman: Protests in Oakland: Are Revolutionary

3 November 2011, 18:53   Download audio file

Protests in Oakland: are they revolutionary?

Interview with Noah Rothman, a politics news editor at Ology.com.

Can you give us your view point and let us know what is going on with US protests?

The movement has had a significant impact on media coverage and how politics is discussed in the US. We’ve actually seen a fair amount of rather disturbing video in places like Oakland in California, where the protesters were tried to be evicted. A variety of things came out: flash hand grenades were used and riot techniques, where mounted police tried to move people. Some rather disturbing imagery. But it’s been a fascinating movement that had grown rapidly in only 6-7 weeks.

Flash grenades were used?

That is unconfirmed. But that is certainly what it looks like. I believe the official police story at that time was that there were fireworks or something on those lines. But, from the videos that are available on YouTube that I’ve seen, there is definitely some ordinance that was used to remove those protesters.

I’ve been following this pretty much from Day 1. I talked to some of the New York people the first night out. At the beginning they seemed to be pretty loosely organized, to put it lightly. Do you see any tightening of the organization or is it pretty much just people doing what they want when they want?

I think you are right. What you’ve seen, as much as you can speak for them as a group, they are not fond of centralization and they don’t like to speak with authority, which is why, as a movement, they had a significant impact on the dialogue. But what you are unlikely to see is an impact on elections directly. They do not seem particularly fond of voting and I don’t know if you can really blame them. But they believe that participation in the political process is really not worth the time you would spend on it. So I don’t think you are going to see a Tea Party-like movement worried about the primaries of those Democratic candidates that the movement doesn’t agree with, for example, which is something the Tea Party does actively. I don’t think you’ll see a wave of elections necessarily on the backs of Occupy Wall Street movements. But the Democratic Party absolutely needs that energy and they are trying very hard to harness this movement and move it in a more organized political direction. So far, they haven’t had much luck.

How are they expecting to affect change and stay away from politics?

What you are seeing, at least from the perspective of the Oakland branch, is that they are trying to harness the techniques of Labour’s days of old by organizing them into a general strike and forcing change from below through a radical social organization. It’s, in my opinion, a little romantic, a sort of not really understanding the impacts of what that can have. And, frankly, the days when organized Labour was such a dramatically large force that it could move politics by getting out in the streets are long gone. What we are seeing in the US is a fundamental battle setup of the country vis-à-vis organized Labour in red states, purple states, like Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and New York, where they were curtailing collective bargain rights. And it really backfired. At the time when Labour should be focusing on public relations they are getting imbedded with real militant organizations that idealize revolutionary change. And that’s what Occupy Wall Street appears to be infatuated with. I just don’t think that it has the impact it used to.

Do you really think they are revolutionary? They seem pretty peaceful to me.

Yes, I think I agree. And I don’t think anybody is capable of violence or organization on a particularly large scale. And I don’t think this is what the goals of this movement are. I think they want peaceful change through marching and organization but not voting, not participating in the political process, they hope it will happen by virtue of changing of a tide, as it were in the hearts of ordinary Americans. I don’t think they are going about that the right way by organizing a general strike. But I think it appeals to a romantic notion of political change that was accomplished in the early 20th century. There’s certainly been a movement recently in a direction towards disparity among income. But what we are seeing more is a disparity among incomes between the upper middle class and the high high class and the lower classes as oppose to the middle class and the lower class, e.g. the 99% versus the upper classes. The upper class and the middle class are moving up – but they are moving up at a much slower rate. So, if you want to make that argument, I believe there is data for it, but there is also data I’ve seen to refute it, and it just depends on an economist you talk to. But that’s again not something that is going to move the middle and that’s really hard evidence of it. In a recession, you can make that case, but that’s when everybody is hurting. And it might play out politically. In fact, we’ve seen President Obama’s poll numbers go up rather significantly over the last month, when he’s embraced Occupy Wall Street and embraces a lot of their rhetoric. So, it may be moving the needle in that direction and that is maybe at time when income redistribution can play out politically, whereas in the past it has not. People are responding to that. Polls are showing that people are responding at least to the message of Occupy Wall Street. And they think they are in the right place politically. So, that may move the needle, as I said, but trying to move economically and empirically with data that incomes have in fact dramatically changed vis-à-vis the lower class and the upper middle class and the high class, it’s a little more difficult to prove. That is to say: is everybody hurting? we need to change – that’s resonating. And that’s absolutely on the democratic side, which is giving them a lot more energy that they need maybe a year down the line. And hopefully it doesn’t peak for them a little too soon. It’s absolutely energy on their side, and energy they desperately needed for the last two years.

What is the opinion of most Americans about Obama currently, especially democrats and people who really it is a hope message?

You don’t see a lot of people talking about hope and change anymore, you really don’t see that – a rank-and-file world rally about President Obama when it was time to vote. You don’t really see a whole lot of fans of the president. And that’s natural. I think, once the country really begins to gear up September after the Labour Day next year, I think you are going to see a whole lot of that stance on the issue. Most people on the left and then the center Democrats and independents who voted for Obama, are rather disappointed. The economic numbers are particularly bad. And all the changes that the Democratic Party has been able to deliver in the last two years of its government that were put under control of Washington, are not particularly popular. So, there is not a lot to run on. They have to run against. And they need the Republican Party and the Republican nominee in order to run against next year. The president has really enshrined a lot of President Bush’s techniques when it came to national security that were deprived. Rendition and extradition of terrorist suspects aboard is still practiced. There has even been an expansion in the theatres in which we engaged. We’ve seen increased airstrikes by unmanned drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Thad’s something that the Bush administration would have been taken to answer for. And what we are seeing now is that it’s basically enshrined in the national ethos.

Occupy Wall Street - Marisa Holmes: Wall Street Occupation Continues

18 October 2011, 16:46    Download audio file

Interview with Marisa Holmes, a member of the New York General Assembly and an organizer in the occupation of Wall Street.

Could you give the listeners an update as to what is going on on Wall Street?

Mayor Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, came down few days ago and gave an announcement that the park is not clean and they need to clean the park. People of Occupy Wall Street realized that this is just to try to keep people from this park, so we decided to stay and we got a lot of supporters – thousands of people came to the park to rally round and to prevent the sanitation crews from coming in. Right at that moment we actually got a letter from Brookfield saying that we could stay and they were not going to have forces to have sanitation, that we could bear on sanitation. So, this is a big victory that we are allowed to stay in the park.

That’s great!

It’s fantastic, people are excited about victory and they are moving forward and continuing occupation.

Did you hear Mr. Ivan Markovich yesterday, did he speak there? He was a part of the Serbian resistance back in the 1990s, did you know that?

I wasn’t aware; I don’t think I saw him.

You didn’t listen to what he had to say?

I was there for the whole thing, but I don’t remember him. I remember two city councilmen coming in to make speeches, but there were other speakers, our speakers from Occupy Wall Street.

These councilmen were supporting you?

They were but in a very superficial way – they see that something is happening and they want to capitalize on that politically.

How many days have you been over there?

28-29 days.

Are you ready for another six months or two years?

Yes, I am ready for a lifetime.

I hope that doesn’t happen. What’s going on tomorrow? There were supposed to be some international movements to support you.

Yes, there is an international call for the day of action against banks and primarily that was led by Spain, we actually came in later. Now they support us and we support them and we are definitely participating here, we have largely worked with SCRU, local networks, city workers, they are all coming out and then also Occupy Wall Street and Trinity organizations are going to converge on Time Square 5 p.m., basically just to show our discontent.

That's 5 o’clock on Saturday?

Yes.

5 o’clock on the 15th everybody should go to Times Square, right?

Definitely.

Have you got any feedback with Michael Moore? He’s been out. Has he tried to contact you?

Yes, he contacted with the media and he actually donated some money to Occupy Wall Street Journal, he’s been very supportive. He’s also filming his own project, but he’s been very supportive to the media team.

Are you filming there?

Well, I’m participating in it and we are also documenting it.

What’s going on with the politics out there? Are you getting a lot of heat?

No, everyone is very supportive; they basically use momentum to push their own demands and policy agendas, not what we are seeing now, that is dangerous collocation.

So, are they trying to exploit you? Can you give us an example?

Some of them are very supportive and some of them have their own agenda. For instance, the Democratic Party is coming out to support us ‑ city councilmen, but also President Obama are making statements about Occupy Wall Street– that is favorable, just acknowledging that there is anger and frustration and something has to be done about it, but I think they don’t want to go beyond a certain sort of political institutions and limitations.

Have you had any more problems of the police? I saw some videos of some people being manhandled; I believe there were charges against a couple of officers that pepper sprayed some people in a face for no reason. Anything like that?

This morning six people were arrested in the march on Wall Street. I didn’t see any pepper spray, but the police used the clubs to keep people away.

They were actually beating people?

There have been no incidents like that, nothing like the Brooklyn Bridge or earlier on occupation.

What happened on the Brooklyn Bridge? You were there, right?

I was there on the bridge. Luckily, I was not arrested, it was a monstrous situation and you probably have read in The New York Times that there were 700 arrests. All these are pretty small scale, people were released quickly after because they did not have the capacity and they didn't want to take the time to do that.

Is it true that they actually have blocked the pedestrian areas and the only place you could actually walk was on the road and then they arrested everybody for that?

No, it wasn’t the only place to us, but there was definitively police presence at the beginning of the bridge and they allowed us to go and to some accounts the police actually told people that it’s ok to go.

That’s what I heard that they were like caught into a trap?

Yes, it was definitely a trap and it was anticipated that we would be going into the street and they huddled us as a result and threw a net around us.

What do you mean by “threw net around you”?

They had this orange net, so they just throw it around the crowd.

You are kidding, really? Like cattle or fish?

Yes.

Did they use tear gas or anything?

No, they used pepper spray, but no tear gas so far.

Are you expecting things to get more difficult?

I’m expecting people to stay and to use non-violent means and direct actions.

Occupy San Francisco - Sarah Page: "We Want True Democracy"

29 September 2011, 17:00    Download audio file

We want true democracy - SF protesters

Interview with Sarah Page, one of the organizers of the Occupy San Francisco movement.

Occupy Wall Street - Marisa Holmes: Protests Will Hit Wall Street Hard

22 September 2011, 21:44   Download audio file

Protest will hit Wall Street

Interview with Marisa Holmes, a member of the New York General Assembly and a participant in the occupation of Wall Street.

How are things holding up there?

There are about 300 people or so. We are going to stay the night and we are expecting more tomorrow. We have marches planned every day this week. Every morning, when the bell rings, we will be on Wall Street. When they close, we will be on Wall Street. And when we are not on Wall Street, we will be here, in Liberty Plaza.

How many people are you expecting in total?

On Saturday, we had about 2,000 people come down and not all of the people stayed. Right now, we have about 300 people, who are staying the night. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be more during the day. In the evening we usually get between 500 and a thousand people who come to participate in the assemblies. But not all of them will stay because people have families, there are things they need to do. We are keeping a consistent presence of about 300 or so and we are willing to stay and occupy the square as long as needed. And we are building permanent infrastructure, we’ve got an Indy Media Center with a Wi-Fi hotspot and like ten computers going. We are Tweating about this on Occupy Wall Street, we’re live streaming this to all of the other solidarity protests in Greece, in Spain, in Israel, in Egypt – all over. It’s amazing. We’re getting about 5,000 or so hits on the live-stream, consistently, like, even through the night, so that’s amazing. And we’ve got blankets, we’ve got tents, about 50 of them and we are prepared for the rain. Let’s see. We’ve got real team, a medic team, a food committee. We’ve gotten over $10,000 in donations.

So spirits are pretty high?

Yes, we are here for the long haul. We are going to stay.

Have you had any problems with police so far?

Yes, actually seven people have been arrested thus far, mainly on minor charges or no charges whatsoever. I mean it seems like they are picking people up, holding them and then releasing them a few hours later without even charging them, just in order to scare people basically. People are not getting scared. They are not submitting to fear.

The poliсe, they weren’t heavy-handed?

No, they’ve been pretty even-handed so far …... It’s politically advantageous for them to allow us to be here because we are non-violent and we are engaging in democracy. It would look really bad for them to crack down on a democratic protest. They have made illegal arrests they picked two people up today for drawing with chalk on the sidewalk at the front of the Plaza.

What are your long-term and short-term goals right now?

The short-term goal is, of course, to maintain the square, to stay here, in Liberty Plaza, as long as possible. Basically, we are creating a village. This is a village, a model for a new society that we want to build, one that is democratic, and just, and reflects the best of human capacities. What people are interested in is building new forms of religions, new forms of cooperation and economy and basically doing things ourselves, because established political institutions have failed us and it’s time that we take things into our own hands.

Can you tell us about some of the problems Americans are having right now?

I’m 25. I’m one of those over-educated, under-employed youths that you often hear about. I work under a precarious position as a freelancer – I’m a freelance filmmaker – and I’m representative of a lot of people here in a way, because it is a predominantly young crowd, a crowd that sees their future as being sold out and the United States is definitely not the land of the free, not the land of opportunity. We have incredible stratification of wealth here. Actually, if you look at the Gini coefficient wealth we have a greater stratification of wealth than Egypt did under Mubarak. The class struggle here is the class struggle everywhere.

Do Americans right now feel let down by the Barack Obama administration?

Yes. Obama gave a lot of false promises. He appealed to a progressive base, an anti-war base and a lot of these people are very disheartened, and disillusioned, and angry, because it’s important to them, and they placed their faith in him, and he’s let them down. And I think a lot of people are realizing now that change doesn’t come from a politician, change isn’t something given to you, it’s something that you have to make yourself. And we are seeing it here.

New York has become something like a Disneyland. It has become completely sanitized. As far as I know, there is police everywhere. Apparently, you guys are able to express yourselves freely, right?

Really, since Giuliani the city has become incredibly militarized, I mean we have over 30,000 cops in this city and the financial district in particular is very high-priority for the city and also high-priority for Homeland Security, and New York Stock Exchange is No.3 on the Homeland Security list. Yes, it’s a militarized zone that we have entered into and turned into something completely the opposite of that, which is kind of incredible. But the city has become privatized, the city has become uninhabitable, the city has become a place from which life cannot thrive. And we are trying to bring life back into the city, create a social center again. That’s really what the square is supposed to be about – creating that space from which something new can emerge, something that’s more humane, more just.

What do you think about this going nationwide?

There are solidarity protests, let’s see, in: Chicago, Wisconsin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, heard about something happening in Boston. Next month, in D.C., there is going to be another occupation, in front of the White House lawn, and a lot of people here are also going there. It’s becoming this “culture of the square” and people are really living in the square. It’s time that we stand up to the economic forces that enslave us and take back what is ours, which is the common – the common access to resources, to water, to land, to culture, to our ability to live as human beings on this planet. It’s time that we stand up to these masters that control us. That’s all I have to say.

Occupy Wall Street (First Occupy Interview) Bill Csapo One of Occupy Founders:

The U.S. Needs Democracy and not Corporatocracy

19 September 2011, 20:04  Download audio file

America needs “Democracy and not Corporatocracy”

Interview with Bill Csapo, an activist with OccupyWallstreet.org , one of the organizations responsible for organizing the protests, taking place in New York.

A lot of things are going on in New York. Can you give the listeners a few details? What exactly are you protesting?

Once again. I’ve answered this question before by saying that it would probably be easiest for people to just pick up any major newspaper and read the headlines. We are dealing with a pretty much broken system that is untenable, even patches are not going to hold it together for much longer. There is too much flow of wealth going in one direction and not enought flowing into the economy. And it is falling apart. The main theme, I would say, would be “Democracy and not Corporatocracy”.

Some are likening this to the Egyptian Spring. How many people are expected to take part in these protests? Is this going to grow into something huge?

We had reports of numbers in the triple digits in New York. That gathering was scattered by some actions, by the NYPD. And the crowd was dispersed into various other areas already. This was an anticipated action by the NYPD, so people had other places that they were gathering at. At 7 o’clock this evening, which is was several hours after the crowd was driven out by the NYPD action, we had a general assembly meeting. There were 1,500 at that meeting there. And there were other various meetings and gatherings going on in the neighborhood of Wall Street and Bowling Green. All they did was scatter the main gathering but those people were not going anywhere. When you come from Iowa to go to a protest, you don’t go for three hours.

How bad are things in the US?

The average wage of working folks in America hasn’t gone up since 1972. It has flat lined. In that time, production has doubled. OK, that’s alright we worked our wealth, that’sa lot of wealth being extracted. The way the American worker was made to accept this is that they were given easy credit. When that all blew up, of course, it is the workers fault for taking the credit. It doesn’t matter that they only had half the wages that they should have had. And what we are seeing now and those are pretty much, I believe, flaws that are built into a Capitalist system, where you have to keep extracting more and more wealth to make the profits go up, to stay up and the stocks markets to go up. Anyway, people are seeing this now and they are seeing that not only millions and millions of people laid off, with no hope of getting jobs. Their houses are being foreclosed, people are going homeless and empty houses are being bulldozed. And during this time more and more wealth is being extracted to the profits of financial institutions at great levels. The people are suffering. And if those who are running the show think that this is a situation that can hold, they are a little crazy.

Can you tell us what is going on there on the ground right now, from your view point?

 As far as I know, as I said earlier, the main gathering was broken up but certain groups went to certain areas. The tactic by NYPD was foreseen. We have quite a few people there and we have quite a few people, who are committed to staying in the Occupation. They didn’t show up for a three-hour show. Some of these people came from a long distance and they came committed.

What are the protesters hoping to gain by this? Is there a concrete goal or do they just want to show they are dissatisfied with the way the system is working?

The main thing would be, of course, the social-economic issues I mentioned before. And this is not just something that is going on in the US. This involves the economic situation of the entire globe. As I said, the main theme would be “Corporate-ocracy, not Democracy.” Probably, what everybody is trying to do, and it’s because they are tired of being ignored for so long, is people are showing up to say “Hey, we are right here in the room, we are in the dialogue. We are not going to be ignored – not only in the political dialogue, but in economic and social dialogue also. We are not just here to produce, the 99% are not here to produce profits for the 1%.”

This is for everybody across the board, all, races, all nationalities, right? Anyone can take part in this?

We’ve had groups, a lot of your listeners may not understand it, but we’ve had groups more or less an analogy of Aunt Dee’s  sewing circle, getting mad and showing up at Wall Street, from Mayberry. We also have some young activists. We have the whole spectrum.

Is this the beginning of protests or do you think things will calm down soon?

This is probably the beginning of a reasonably long process.

How do you think  Americans feel right now about trillions of dollars being spent on empty adventures like Afghanistan?

People are, of course, sick of it. They’re sick to death of it, I also know treatment of the vets that are coming home. Vets shouldn’t have to come home after serving their country, for numerous tours of duty in some cases, and end up homeless.

Are the protests that are taking place right now expected to last several days? You said there were people coming from other states. You mentioned Iowa and other places.

Oh, yes, we have people who have come from other countries. The core group of this and everybody who is supporting it is pretty well aware, because, as I said, they got the messages on the forums, in the internet. This is a long-term operation. The people committed to this understand that this may last several months.

My last question is: how many people do you think are involved?

We’ve learnt from sources that an official police estimate put it in the triple digits at one point.

You are pretty much interested in occupying Wall Street and basically shutting it down?

It will be disrupted to the point that they will notice that something needs to be done.

Thank you very much, Sir. It was very nice speaking with you.

Very nice speaking with you too. You have a good one. Thank you very much. You don’t know how important this is to us. But maybe you do. It’s very important to get the word out. We are a little frustrated with media blackout here.

Well, you are not going to have a media blackout here in Russia.

Articles6802

RNC Unified the People Against a Common Enemy - By John Robles

31 August 2012, 18:57

The Republican National Convention will soon be history but the resonance of what occurred in Tampa may live on for a long time. For the first time in decades, police and protestors have found a common ground and mutual respect. Something the elites who met to plan their divisive foreign and internal policies and to continue and expand the influence of their party of exclusion, cannot be at all happy about.

There are still a few people out there who have not forgotten the plethora of crimes committed by the Republican Administration of George Bush even though many people who questioned 9-11 and the aggressive wars launched by the U.S. against countries that had nothing to do with it have been marginalized and written off to obscurity, some are still able to make themselves heard and are still fighting for those responsible for everything from Guantanamo to the Bush torture program to be brought to justice.

Although a majority of the American people are too scared to stand up and protest, there is a growing number of Americans who feel they have nothing to lose and that it is time to take their country back from the rich elites who have gutted the American dream for the many and have destroyed the image of the U.S. worldwide.

Many Americans are waking up and realizing that there is no real Democracy in the United States and that both parties are exactly the same. Despite this the U.S. Republican Party has classically and unapologetically been the party for rich white elitists and has now become the focus of protests by protest groups and the majority of Americans who are truly suffering.

One of these groups, Code Pink an anti-war group composed mainly of women, which has been attempting to make citizen’s arrests of various members of the previous US Administration under George Bush for years, due to the lack of legal entities who are willing to bring charges against the entrenched mostly former officials, has come out in force at the RNC Convention in Tampa Florida.

Code Pink’s methods may seem to be questionable and some might say even outrageous, but they are effective in getting attention and then using the attention to get their message out, in particular attempting to stage what is called in the US: a “citizen’s arrest.”

Along with the Occupy Movement and over 40 other protest groups, they descended on the “Convention of the Elites” who gathered in Tampa to select an already chosen candidate, enjoy looking at beautiful women stripping in front of them, listen to speeches and planning policy demonizing Russia and other “evil” countries and to pat each other on the backs and tell each other how wonderful they are.

Code Pink has been the most active at the RNC, for example at a speaking engagement tied to the Republican National Convention, members of Code Pink organized a protest outside of the venue while Rice was speaking inside. The protestors carried handcuffs and said they had come to arrest the former Secretary of State for war crimes.

The Co-Director of Code Pink Rae Abileah and Code Pink Member Colonel Ann Wright, US Army Retired, managed to enter the building where Rice was holding her speaking engagement and disrupt her speech regarding “compassion”.

At the beginning of the speech the Colonel stood up and began shouting the phrase: "You cannot be compassionate and kill people in the war of choice, the war in Iraq!”. Then Ms. Abileah stood up and shouted, “The blood of Iraqi children is on your hands!” Guard then escorted the women from the building.

Code Pink later confirmed on Twitter that the activists tried to prevent Condoleezza Rice from making political speeches.

The group also managed to pull off one of the most successful disruptions of their 10 year existence by infiltrating and getting through the intense security of the Republican National Convention and disrupting a speech by the vice presidential contender Paul Ryan.

The group also heckled Rick Santorum pulling off more than the Occupy Movement and the other protest groups who had also gathered to protest at the RNC. According to Code Pink they have: “…become famous for confronting the warmongers, whether in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress, the national conventions of both the Republicans and Democrats, George Bush's fundraisers, the publicity tours of Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and others and even at Nancy Pelosi's house.”

Code Pink has compiled a long list of Bush era war criminals, available on their site which includes Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Stanley McChrystal, George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, John Bolton, Michael Chertoff, John Ashcroft, I. Lewis Libby, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Dick Cheney and George Tenet. They are calling for the arrests of all of the aforementioned and more and according to Tighe Barry, the actor and a Code Pink activist in an interview with the Voice of Russia the group has approached and attempt tp carry out citizen’s arrest on all of the individuals on their list.

Although the group is active regarding some of the most serious issues of our times, their tactics, such as the wearing of costumes designed to look like female genitalia, some say does not help their credibility and is actually insulting to women, others say this helps them get attention.

An organizer with Occupy the RNC, a local group which is assisting and coordinating with all of the groups that have come to protest the RNC, including Occupiers from all over the U.S., said there have been few if any incidents of violence between the peaceful protestors and the police. The organizer, Amos Miers, even said that on Thursday the Occupiers at the Occupy camp had run out of food and water and the Tampa Police themselves brought the Occupiers dozens of cases of food and fruit and dozens of bottles of water.

Code Pink activist Tighe Barry also had many kind words for the police who are reported to have been prepared for the worst, and who he said behaved professionally and without the use of violence or excessive force.

Miers said that according to police they had been told that they would be going up against violent anarchists and violent protestors and that the police were surprised at the peaceful and gentle nature of the Occupiers and the other protestors.

The Republican National Convention is coming to a close, and barring last minute and unexpected events, the RNC has accomplished one thing, for the first time in recent memory, the so called 99% have been looked after and have even found common ground with the police and the authorities, who until now appeared to be solely the servants of the 1%.

Occupy Update on Occupy movement - By John Robles

4 July 2012, 11:58

The Occupy Movement is it is an international movement against social and economic inequality. Below you will find a quick summary of what is going on in the Occupy Movement.

I have been covering the Occupy Movement since the very beginning with my first interviewee being Bill Csapo from Occupy Wall Street back on September 17th of last year. Since then I have spoken and interviewed “Occupiers” from almost every major Occupation. Below you will find a quick summary of what is going on in the Occupy Movement. Unfortunately it appears that after the Chicago NATO crack down the movement has grown quieter.

In case you are not aware as to what the Occupy Movement is it is an international movement against social and economic inequality. Different groups have different foci, but among the primary concerns is the claim that large corporations and the global financial system control the world, and the 99%, in a way that benefits the minority, the 1%, and undermines democracy leading to instability

Occupy Chicago

After months of organizing, Occupy Evanston managed to secure an Evanston City Council meeting on divesting from Chase bank. At the City council meeting this Monday, City Council members unanimously authorized the city manager to issue a request for proposals for a local bank that could replace Chase.

Chicago anti NATO protestors remain locked up, according to them; because Mayor 1% Rahm Emanuel and Chief Garry McCarthy needed to justify police harassment, intimidation, brutality, and repression leading up to the NATO Summit. Brian Church, Jared Chase, Brent Betterly, Sebastian Senakiewicz and Mark Neiweem are all being held in Cook County.

Occupy National Gathering

Currently taking place in Washington D.C.

The Occupy National Gathering kicked off on June 30th, 2012 with workshops, speakers, and a march against corporate personhood, making stops at Wells Fargo to protest racist predatory lending, Fox News to confront corporate profit at the expense of the peoples' airwaves, and ended with an attempt to set up a space away from Independence Mall, in a park behind the Second Bank of the United States, located at 4th and Chestnut. This was promptly, and brutally, followed by a National Park Service raid, which included the assistance of the Philadelphia police department, on approximately 150-200 people peacefully assembled for a redress of political grievances. The raid resulted in one arrest.

“Occupy” Greece

Claims that Greek Democracy was re-invented on June 17th .

Inter Occupy

InterOccupy Statement on NATO Protests

The protests in Chicago show that Occupy is a network committed to social change through direct action. Arguably, the policies of NATO benefit Americans the most, so to march against NATO in America is a very strong statement against war and how it perpetuates uneven capitalist development. At NATO, the rich and powerful decide which countries to invade.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Minneapolis

June 27th, 2012

General Assembly & All Committees Meeting scheduled. The General Assembly is to decide on whether to, and to what degree to support the caravans and the national gathering happening in Philadelphia on July 4.

Occupy Oakland

The 1st General Assembly of Occupy Oakland in the month of July was on Sunday, and there were a number of proposals being put forth, such as:

1. The proposal to endorse and help organize the Occupy Oakland Liberate Everything Conference this summer, geared towards providing a more radical tone and communicating the unique perspective of Occupy Oakland to others and the world,

2. A proposal to jointly plan an Occupy Oakland July 4th action of some sort or another

3. A proposal to deal with the (rather glaring) issue of quorom

The Occupy Caravan plan is officially launched!

Kicks off June 11 from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will travel three routes across America on their way to Philadelphia for the five-day Occupy National Gathering that ends July 4 on Independence Mall.

At each stop, cities will be organizing events to welcome the Caravan which brings with it musicians, speakers and performers -- a traveling democratic road show that educates as it entertains!

Feed-in caravans will be joining along the way, and celebrations are scheduled in half a dozen Hub cities.

Occupy Arrests

As of June 21, 2012 there have been 7,308 arrests of Occupiers in 116 different cities.

Source: Various Occupy web-sites

Occupy the World? A Summary of the Occupy Movement - By John Robles

31 May 2012, 16:57

I have been covering the Occupy Movement since the very beginning with my first interviewee being Bill Csapo from Occupy Wall Street. Since then I have spoken and interviewed “Occupiers” from every major Occupation. So what has changed and where are these movements today? At the beginning one of my first questions was always: what are your demands?

I have been covering the Occupy Movement since the very beginning with my first interviewee being Bill Csapo from Occupy Wall Street. Since then I have spoken and interviewed “Occupiers” from every major Occupation. So what has changed and where are these movements today?

At the beginning one of my first questions was always: what are your demands? And most of the people could not give a concrete answer. It did not inspire confidence and I thought they would disappear in a week. I asked them about their organizations, and no one seemed to know anything, not even that one of the key organizations that had started the whole things off was in Canada.

Looking back now this is probably what has saved them from being completely shut down, the almost complete lack of organization and centralization that is, as well as the fact that the movement has no clear leader(s).   

Almost a year into this they now have some level of organization and a sort of “Mission Statement” but they still remain loosely organized flexible, and multi-focused, covering and focusing on a multitude of social issues.   

According to Occupy Together dot org the Occupy Movement is: “….an international, people-driven movement of individuals with many different backgrounds and political beliefs.” One unifying statement on the site reads: “…we no longer trust our elected officials to represent anyone other than their wealthiest donors…. occupy empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up”, makes sense.

How big is the movement? Well the occupiers and organizers I have talked to all speak of a global movement, according to the site they are organized in over 100 cities in the United States.”

In the clearest “vocalization” of their goal, if you can call text on a web site that, which I have seen to date, the organizers state: “…the movement aims to fight back against the system that has allowed the richest 1% to write the rules governing an unbalanced and inequitable global economy…”

So what is the Occupy Movement up to? Well, it was daunting task from my little computer over here in my bunker in Moscow, to try to pin down all of these movements and find out what they are doing, that is until I found Occupy dot com. Yes these guys have a dot com.  

In the little space I have left here I will attempt to give you a quick rundown on what they are all doing, well the main events as they have appeared in the press and on the net.

Occupy Chicago

Clearly the NATO Summit protests in Chicago and the arrests on terrorism charges of protestors entrapped by Chicago Police informants (For shame for shame!) has to be at the top of the list of recent Occupy events. Numbers are conflicting but judging by photographs, I would say tens of thousands took part in the Chicago protests.

The organization Inter-Occupy has called the Chicago demonstration “over-policed and extremely violent.” And the US, National Lawyers Guild estimates that 117 people were arrested.

One of the highlights of the Chicago events was when dozens of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, threw away their NATO medals.

Occupy dot com gives us the following information on the most active “Occupations”:

Occupy Quebec

Quebec’s student protest, now in its 15th week, is being described as “the biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.” Demonstrations consistently attract 300,000 to 400,000 people. Focus on a 75% increase in the cost of tuition.

“Occupy” Greece

Greece’s Left Coalition (not officially an “Occupation”) was in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands who protested against NATO. “Fighting against NATO is also a fight in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Arab world who revolt against their dictators,” they wrote.

Occupy Mexico

On May 24th thousands of students protested in Mexico City, for the second time, the way the upcoming presidential election is being run and covered in the media.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street is suing the City of New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty over the destruction of the People’s Library during a violent raid. The librarians have estimated that missing and destroyed items were worth approximately $47,000.00 this includes computers and

Occupy Minneapolis

On May 25, police from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office abandoned an attempt to evict protestors from a foreclosed home in south Minneapolis, but  arrested 5 protestors the next morning. The protesters have been occupying houses to prevent foreclosures since the fall.

Occupy Oakland

Activists are protesting the city’s decision to ban protesters from carrying items such as shields which are often used by protesters as protection from police.

Occupy London

A court has granted Occupy London one week to build a defense against their eviction from a park in Islington Borough.

Occupy Portland

A dozen Occupiers were arrested in Portland as they chanted and sang outside a post office to demand a full-service facility and the resignation of the current Postmaster General.

Occupy Caravan

Occupy is hitting the road on June 11th and heading out from locations in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, traveling three routes across America to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a five-day “Occupy National Gathering” culminating in Washington D.C. on July 4th.

Occupy Arrests

Currently, according to Occupy figures 7,240 detentions of peaceful activists have been recorded since the birth of the Occupy Movement.

Occupy Moscow

There is no valid Occupy Movement here as the “Occupy” idea was hijacked by dissatisfied elites whose only target was the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. For some of the elites it became “fashionable” to protest Mr. Putin, although no one has any real demand or alternative vision.

The 1% in the guise of the 99%, these were NOT grass-roots popular demonstrations by the little guys and the people for social justice!

Disclaimer: I wrote this, I am responsible, and as we used to say; I’ll take the shot.

NATO and US vs Protestors - By John Robles

20 May 2012, 16:33

NATO and US vs Protestors

Steadfastly continuing the (perhaps not so) new American tradition of stripping the American people of their freedoms, oppressing them

Steadfastly continuing the (perhaps not so) new American tradition of stripping the American people of their freedoms, oppressing them and if need be eliminating them altogether, all in the name of safety, security and in order to save them from the evil terrorists hiding behind every tree, those evil Russians, the Iranians and North Korea, Chicago prepares to host a showcase summit for the world’s top war machine, an organization that will soon completely dominate and control the entire planet if the architects behind it have their way.   

Do the people in Chicago want the summit? No, but it doesn’t really matter, those in power want it. In the vernacular we will call them the 1%, they are also known as the elites, the globalists and what have you. It doesn’t really matter what you call them, they are those born to privilege who have little value for human life (other than their own of course) and who expertly manipulate and feed off the pain, grief, work, blood, sweat and tears of the common people.

Shamelessly and blood thirstingly profiteering from the death and destruction of what has become non-stop global war, from the illegal narcotics trade that decimates the poor and what they consider to be undesirable segments of the world’s population, and even from the illegal black market trade in human organs, no matter what stage of the bloody circle you focus on they (the 1%) are there, to benefit and profit. Which is why, in a nutshell, the 99% of us must protest, and stand up, before it is my eye they want, or your kidney, or your baby sister’s liver or they decide we are completely expendable without even bothering to harvest our organs.

Lest I digress, let’s look at what they (the 1%) have planned for the peaceful demonstrators who already have to must up huge levels of bravery, and in the words of one Occupier I spoke to; “…be ready to sacrifice my body… for the cause.” But before we do let’s look at who all of these preparations are being planned for.

In case you have been on a deserted island, in another galaxy, or in a country that just doesn’t give a toot about what is going on in the US and know nothing about the Occupy movement let me fill you in real quick. 

For decades the US has been on the verge of a complete and total societal breakdown. It had been repressed minorities, immigrants and the poor who have classically gotten poorer as the rich have gotten richer. These segments of the US population were growing more and more difficult to control and events were needed to crack down. 9-11 was that event. Then the election of a black president kept most of the minorities placated. So the elites, once again emboldened decided to decimate the middle class, classically made up of white Americans, and this gave birth to the Occupy Movement.

The Occupiers are not the radical Black Panthers or the hippies of the ‘60s. They are peaceful, educated and even a little nerdy and are becoming more and more organized and focused. Their addition to number of discontent masses is dangerous for the elites. Together they may now have the power to cut off the profiteering feeding frenzy that the elites have been on for decades.

How will these educated, discontent, and peaceful groups be dealt with? Well, with what the US Government does best, maximum force and violence and the stripping of civil and human rights! Sorry for the rhetorical question. How dare them protest the killing by the elites and their world domination! There will also be an unprecedented campaign of intimidation and “fear mongering” in order to keep the number of protesters to a minimum.

In a preview, the Chicago Police Department, one of the few if not the only police department in the US and perhaps the world as well, to have had to call a moratorium on torture, has began arresting these malcontents. Yesiree Bob, they must be stopped.

So far more than 20 people have been arrested with 3 people who were stopped and intimidated by police being made examples of. Last week Jared Chase, Brent Beterly, and Brian Jacob Church who arrived in Chicago from Florida, were surrounded by several police squad cars and detained for no apparent reason. They were questioned about why they were in Chicago and what they planned to do during the NATO summit. They happened to record the encounter and posted an edited version on YouTube and then the entire video on the internet.

On Wednesday night police raided several homes and apartments and arrested 9 activists. Police broke down doors with guns drawn and searched residences without a warrant or consent. After holding them without charges for 48 hours the police released 6 of those arrested and filed the most serious charges possible against the 3 innocent Occupy activists from Florida, including possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy. A gas can and some empty bottles in the car led to the explosives charges.

In an official statement released to the press the National Lawyers Guild, an official US wide organization for lawyers, Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People's Law Office, said the following: "The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree. It's outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it's the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest."

The media is also being controlled, in a document titled NOT INTENDED FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION. FOR MEDIA GUIDANCE ONLY, the Chicago Police Department has set out rules for the press, targeting independent  journalists in particular with passages such as the following: ”...media access generally will be the same as public access. Credentials will, however, allow media personnel access to media-only areas. No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.” Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken.” ”Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest.”

An Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel has used the event to install permanent changes which strip away even more rights and freedoms from the people. The new measures include:

1.   Authorization for the Mayor to purchase and deploy surveillance cameras throughout the city, without any type of oversight.

2.   Restrictions on public activity, including amplified sound and morning gatherings.

3.   Restrictions on parades, including the requirement to purchase an insurance policy worth $1 million and to register every sign or banner that will be held by more than one person.

4.   The power to deputize many different types of law enforcement personnel other than the Chicago Police Department.

Protests have been drawn from the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Occupy Movement.

The summit has also been designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the Department of Homeland Security thus passing final authority over law enforcement to the US Secret Service.

The Chicago police are armed to the teeth and have even ordered special armor for the horses of the mounted police.

According to Occupy Chicago, they are; “… organizing a week of actions highlighting the violence and oppression of NATO, and calling for the organization to be disbanded.”

Let’s hope for restraint and cool heads from all sides.

 

 

Last Update: 08/20/2018 13:39 +0300

 

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