Report: NYPD broke international law with OWS brutalityJuly 25, 2012
A report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys released Wednesday morning paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters.
The report, which chronicles events from late September 2011 up to July of 2012, extensively documents numerous ways in which the NYPD acted with excessive force, attempted to intimidate and harass members of the press, expelled activists from public space due to the content of their speech, and ultimately concludes that authorities broke international law in their handling of Occupy Wall Street.
The executive summary states, in plain language:
“The abusive practices documented in this report violate international law and suppress and chill protest rights, not only by undermining individual liberty, but also by causing both minor and serious physical injuries, inhibiting collective debate and the capacity to effectively press for social and economic change, and making people afraid to attend otherwise peaceful assemblies.”
The authors of the report make several recommendations. First, they call for the city to enact a new, public protest policy, to be created in coordination with civil rights groups like the ACLU. Second, that Mayor Bloomberg establish an independent review of the policing of Occupy Wall Street since September 2011. Third, that New York State create an independent inspector-general to oversee the NYPD, and, if the state fails to do that, the report calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in to investigate the NYPD.
“The report calls for investigations and prosecutions of officials, and for new protest policing guidelines that ensure the NYPD respects core civil liberties and human rights,” said Sarah Knuckey, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Research Director of Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, one of the report’s main authors. “If these things are not done, the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate official misconduct, and bring charges where appropriate.”
The authors have filed the report – which focuses primarily on New York City, though subsequent reports will focus on other cities – with the DOJ, as well as with the United Nations as a formal complaint.  They have also submitted it to the mayor’s office, the NYPD, and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
Many involved with Occupy will be familiar with much that’s in the report, but its sheer scope makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And for international authorities who may be less well-acquainted with the less covered – though equally important – aspects of police repression, the report will likely prove a valuable tool.
“[This report] should serve as a wake-up call to the sleepwalkers who have not yet realized that the serious problems with the way New York City has been exercising its police powers are a real public health emergency that we have to deal with head-on and collectively, in a comprehensive and sustained way,” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told AlterNet.
Most shocking is the section titled “use of force”, and the accompanying 36-page table that documents 130 incidents of violence police committed against Occupy activists. The list of incidents by its very nature couldn’t be exhaustive, but is intended to show the wide range of force police used against activists. Some of the incidents are quite serious; punching, over-hand swinging of batons, and “intentionally applying very hard force to the broken clavicle of a handcuffed and compliant individual.” Reading through the table leaves one with a dizzying sense of brutality, as ten months of condensed violence flash before one’s eyes.
Source

Report: NYPD broke international law with OWS brutality
July 25, 2012

A report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys released Wednesday morning paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters.

The report, which chronicles events from late September 2011 up to July of 2012, extensively documents numerous ways in which the NYPD acted with excessive force, attempted to intimidate and harass members of the press, expelled activists from public space due to the content of their speech, and ultimately concludes that authorities broke international law in their handling of Occupy Wall Street.

The executive summary states, in plain language:

“The abusive practices documented in this report violate international law and suppress and chill protest rights, not only by undermining individual liberty, but also by causing both minor and serious physical injuries, inhibiting collective debate and the capacity to effectively press for social and economic change, and making people afraid to attend otherwise peaceful assemblies.”

The authors of the report make several recommendations. First, they call for the city to enact a new, public protest policy, to be created in coordination with civil rights groups like the ACLU. Second, that Mayor Bloomberg establish an independent review of the policing of Occupy Wall Street since September 2011. Third, that New York State create an independent inspector-general to oversee the NYPD, and, if the state fails to do that, the report calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in to investigate the NYPD.

“The report calls for investigations and prosecutions of officials, and for new protest policing guidelines that ensure the NYPD respects core civil liberties and human rights,” said Sarah Knuckey, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Research Director of Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, one of the report’s main authors. “If these things are not done, the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate official misconduct, and bring charges where appropriate.”

The authors have filed the report – which focuses primarily on New York City, though subsequent reports will focus on other cities – with the DOJ, as well as with the United Nations as a formal complaint.  They have also submitted it to the mayor’s office, the NYPD, and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).

Many involved with Occupy will be familiar with much that’s in the report, but its sheer scope makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And for international authorities who may be less well-acquainted with the less covered – though equally important – aspects of police repression, the report will likely prove a valuable tool.

“[This report] should serve as a wake-up call to the sleepwalkers who have not yet realized that the serious problems with the way New York City has been exercising its police powers are a real public health emergency that we have to deal with head-on and collectively, in a comprehensive and sustained way,” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told AlterNet.

Most shocking is the section titled “use of force”, and the accompanying 36-page table that documents 130 incidents of violence police committed against Occupy activists. The list of incidents by its very nature couldn’t be exhaustive, but is intended to show the wide range of force police used against activists. Some of the incidents are quite serious; punching, over-hand swinging of batons, and “intentionally applying very hard force to the broken clavicle of a handcuffed and compliant individual.” Reading through the table leaves one with a dizzying sense of brutality, as ten months of condensed violence flash before one’s eyes.

Source

"In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.” The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City’s Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.
Those who have the largest megaphones in our corporate state serve the very systems of power we are seeking to topple. They encourage us, whether on Fox or MSNBC, to debate inanities, trivia, gossip or the personal narratives of candidates. They seek to channel legitimate outrage and direct it into the black hole of corporate politics. They spin these silly, useless stories from the “left” or the “right” while ignoring the egregious assault by corporate power on the citizenry, an assault enabled by the Democrats and the Republicans. Don’t waste time watching or listening. They exist to confuse and demoralize you.” - Chris Hedges, Occupy Will Return (photo)

"In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.” The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City’s Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.

Those who have the largest megaphones in our corporate state serve the very systems of power we are seeking to topple. They encourage us, whether on Fox or MSNBC, to debate inanities, trivia, gossip or the personal narratives of candidates. They seek to channel legitimate outrage and direct it into the black hole of corporate politics. They spin these silly, useless stories from the “left” or the “right” while ignoring the egregious assault by corporate power on the citizenry, an assault enabled by the Democrats and the Republicans. Don’t waste time watching or listening. They exist to confuse and demoralize you.” - Chris Hedges, Occupy Will Return (photo)

FBI Lables Occupy Movement a “Domestic Terrorist Organization”

Cases where the FBI entraps activists with undercover informants have become a common tactic to smear Occupy’s intent & to put occupiers behind bars for serious offenses. Cases include the Cleveland 5 (accused of attempting to blow up a bridge) & the NATO 3 (accused of having Molotov cocktail materials; attorneys say the evidence was planted by an informant). 

By the way, Russia Today is a great news source that gives an international perspective on news happening in the United States. Throw it in your Google Reader!

Has the FBI Launched a War of Entrapment Against the Occupy Movement?

With the high-profile arrest of activists on terrorism charges in Cleveland on May Day and in Chicago during the NATO summit there, evidence is mounting that the FBI is unleashing the same methods of entrapment against the Occupy Wall Street movement that it has used against left movements and Muslim-Americans for the last decade.

In Cleveland the FBI announced on May 1 that “five self-proclaimed anarchists conspired to develop multiple terror plots designed to negatively impact the greater Cleveland metropolitan area.” The FBI claimed the five were nabbed as they attempted to blow up a bridge the night before using “inoperable” explosives supplied to them by an undercover FBI employee.

Then on May 19, the day before thousands marched peacefully in Chicago to protest NATO-led wars, the Illinois State Attorney hit three men with charges of terrorism for allegedly plotting to use “destructive devices” against targets ranging from Chicago police stations to the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Defense attorneys for the Chicago activists claim their clients, like the Cleveland activists, were provided with supplies for making Molotov cocktails by undercover agents in an operation that included the participation of the FBI and Secret Service. This was followed up on May 20 by the arrest of two other men on terrorism charges in Chicago for statements they made, which critics say amount to thought crimes. The Chicago cases are also reportedly the first time the state of Illinois is charging individuals under its post-September 11 terrorism law.

Full article

Activists in Albany, California have staged an occupation of a different kind of public space—a farm.
Early Monday morning, around 100 University of California police raided a five-acre patch of land owned by UC Berkeley and used occasionally for agricultural research. The raid came three weeks after roughly 200 activists, community members, and students took over a small patch of the land, known as the “Gill Tract,” located in the small city of Albany, just north of Berkeley. The group cleared out piles of wild mustard, tilled the soil, planted 15,000 donated seedlings, and set up camp. When the university ordered them to leave, they kept farming. The university responded by cutting off water access, setting up barricades, and then filing a lawsuit against 14 people. On Monday, nine protesters were arrested and part of the farm was bulldozed.
Full article

Activists in Albany, California have staged an occupation of a different kind of public space—a farm.

Early Monday morning, around 100 University of California police raided a five-acre patch of land owned by UC Berkeley and used occasionally for agricultural research. The raid came three weeks after roughly 200 activists, community members, and students took over a small patch of the land, known as the “Gill Tract,” located in the small city of Albany, just north of Berkeley. The group cleared out piles of wild mustard, tilled the soil, planted 15,000 donated seedlings, and set up camp. When the university ordered them to leave, they kept farming. The university responded by cutting off water access, setting up barricades, and then filing a lawsuit against 14 people. On Monday, nine protesters were arrested and part of the farm was bulldozed.

Full article

May Day Lineup 4 p.m. Union Square:
Tom Morello and the GuitarmyDan DeaconDas RacistThe Bobby Sanabria BandThe New York Labor Chorus+Brigades
The morning protestwill begin at 8 a.m. with a “pop-up occupation” at Bryant Park, a staging ground (as it was explained) for a number of actions against to-be-determined corporate targets in midtown. The park itself will also serve as a center for food, leisure and information, and then at 2 p.m. Occupy will march to Union Square where it will rally with the larger May Day coalition—unions, labor groups and immigrant rights organizations that have traditionally demonstrated each year on May 1. Source

May Day Lineup 4 p.m. Union Square:

Tom Morello and the Guitarmy
Dan Deacon
Das Racist
The Bobby Sanabria Band
The New York Labor Chorus
+Brigades

The morning protestwill begin at 8 a.m. with a “pop-up occupation” at Bryant Park, a staging ground (as it was explained) for a number of actions against to-be-determined corporate targets in midtown. The park itself will also serve as a center for food, leisure and information, and then at 2 p.m. Occupy will march to Union Square where it will rally with the larger May Day coalition—unions, labor groups and immigrant rights organizations that have traditionally demonstrated each year on May 1. Source