Anatomy of Repression: Military Tactics And Corrupt Media Used To Destroy Protest Movements

Back in 2011, people (like Naomi Wolf) who said the Department of Homeland Security apparatus was being wielded against the Occupy movement, were scoffed at and undermined by self-important media figures. By 2012, it was proven that not only was Naomi correct, but the scope of the civil violations and/or crimes being perpetrated by the state agencies in an effort to quell any and all dissent, had been grossly underestimated, and that those agencies were in fact coordinating internationally.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the Black Lives Matter / Ferguson movement and 2015 in Baltimore, and independent media, protest organisers and protesters themselves are reporting similar experiences – namely, their lives being dismantled piece by piece at a whole-of-government level and their physical safety threatened as they are stalked and surveilled by shadowy groups of strangers hell-bent on intimidating their targets out of performing their legal protest and journalistic activities.

Democracy, indeed.

Well now we finally know not only that this IS happening, but also precisely how. And the implications for those in the media sphere are astonishing. Due to the for-profit nature of these crimes, which are perpetuated and facilitated by governments and therefore NOT recognised and prosecuted by those governments, the problem is snowballing into a situation where not only protesters and journalists are being stalked and intimidated but even doctors, researchers, scientists, educators, civil servants, and anyone at all who gets in the way of the establishment.

Integrated with the global mass surveillance apparatus, this Stasi-State-On-Steroids is now operational around the globe, and can only be leading us to something even more sinister.

Without further adieu, here is a full transcript of the recent ‘Occupy Interview: COIN’ (COIN being short for \Counterinsurgency) podcast by the Occupy America Social Network.

Host: Terry W. Bain (@TWBainusW)
Guest: Michael Gould-Wartofsky (@MGouldWartofsky)

HOST: Hi and welcome back to Occupy Interview, this is the Occupy America Social Network and we are back on the air! We had a domain hijack. Some of you may have had trouble finding us but, we’re here and obviously you found us so, you’re here… this is Episode 41: Occupy COIN, for Counterinsurgency. Our guest is Michael – can you introduce yourself please, Mike?

GUEST: Sure, my name is Michael Gould-Wartofsky, I was a Day 1 occupier at New York City and ended up writing a book on the movement, it just came out this year, called ‘The Occupiers: The Making of the 99% Movement’, documenting what was going on within the occupations and also between the occupations and the state, the power players, that severely repressed them. I recently came out with a piece in the Town Dispatch which was widely republished in The Nation and elsewhere called ‘The New Age Of CounterInsurgency Policing’. I’ve been studying some of this stuff as a PhD candidate in Sociology at New York University and also just as a rank and file activist and photojournalist, for some time, trying to figure out what was going on, on the other side.

HOST: Can you give us a real brief look at Counterinsurgency 101? What do people need to know about Counterinsurgency?

GUEST: Counterinsurgency emerged as a strategy for control and containment of what was seen as enemy forces in foreign combat zones in the 1960s, as we know, and has really experienced a revival of sorts, a renaissance, since 9/11. It has been deployed in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other conflict zones around the world, in the so-called Global War on Terror. More recently, we’ve seen counterinsurgency understood as a struggle for control over contested political space, political territory. We see this counterinsurgency strategy imported back to the homeland, back to domestic uses. So the counterinsurgency framework depends on the establishment and consolidation of control over a population and over a given territory through both military means, that is, security forces, in the case of domestic protests, political means, economic means, and then the base of this, is information control, and we can get to that in a second.

HOST: That would be great. We’ve really been trying to find some more information on that. One of our guests on one of our earlier shows, was with Doug Valentine, a historian.  He wrote the book on the Phoenix Program, during Vietnam, and was working with our audience trying to give us a basic understanding of the structure of Homeland Security as actually mirroring the Phoenix Program. Can you elaborate? What are you seeing on that?

GUEST: I think that a lot of the, if we’re speaking specifically about the information control that’s going on, on the one hand it looks like the control of information flowing to law enforcement, that’s one dimension of it, flowing to these paramilitarised forces, and that takes the form increasingly of an integrated series of platforms that spans both the public and the private sector, and one example of this is the Domain Awareness System, which is a program that draws on many, many, many datastreams across New York City, for example. It was created by Microsoft in partnership with the NYPD and the Federal Intelligence agencies to aggregate and analyse these datastreams, to analyse information constantly in real time from tens of thousands of sources. From criminal history databases and closed-circuit cameras to license plate readers to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) as they call it – that is, information gleaned from social media and people’s everyday communications – so that’s one dimension of it. The flow of information to them. Another, is controlling the flow of information to us.  The information that we’re getting. So it’s not just about the intelligence gathering, not just about the sort of predictive policing, but it’s also about trying to control what data we’re getting about what they’re doing, and a lot of this has to do with cybersecurity, Kilcullen(?) talks about media ops and information ops – there are stories that are planted, there are people who are working in media that are also working for intelligence. The Associated Press recently exposed this – there are FBI agents working as Associated Press. There’s also efforts to counteract the motivations and ideologies of the people on the ground who are trying to protest this homeland security state and on other issues like police accountability. And they involve, basically a constant flow of funding and personnel into the movement itself so you have lots of people embedded within the movement who are actually working for intelligence agencies and spreading disinformation and at the same time, spreading questionable data about what’s going on. And part of this too is to marginalise the protesters, to deny them sanctuary, to deny them sources of support from the larger population. And so we’ll see this in places like Baltimore, in places like Ferguson, they will attempt to associate dissidents with domestic terrorism, they will associate dissidents with violent activity, and they’ll try to split the allies that these movements have, and to divide and conquer.

HOST: In the show that we did with Doug Valentine, he had a question for you, actually two questions. You hear the term counterinsurgency and you hear the term counterterror – what is the difference between the two?

GUEST: Well of course, there’s a kind of slippery slope and a spectrum. But it has to do with the justification that the powers that be give for these kinds of practices I think, more than any fundamental difference in what they’re doing. I think that counterterrorism campaigns traditionally do employ counterinsurgency measures as a piece of them. We saw both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in effect in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Horn of Africa, you can even go back to Vietnam of course, and Latin America. So there’s a kind of dual face of this kind of security strategy. When it’s justified in terms of preventing actual terror attacks, as it has been since 9/11 they call it counterterrorism – when it’s justified in terms of control over a territory that may not belong to you, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’ll call it counterinsurgency.

HOST: I guess kind of an elaboration of that question too, Doug wanted to know, do you see any kind of a difference between the way the CIA handles an operation, and the way the military handles an operation, and the way the DHS – the Department of Homeland Security – handles a counterinsurgency program?

GUEST: Certainly. I think the military is certainly best trained and has the most experience in above-ground operations of this nature. So they have to follow very clear protocols, they have to answer for their actions at some level, there’s a very clear chain of command. Of course they’re subject to all the unpredictability and uncertainty that arises in battlefields and of course military tactics have now been imported to law enforcement agencies here but there’s still a kind of, there are military protocols that are followed. With the DHS and CIA it’s much more of a new frontier as to what they’re up to and I think they see much less need to answer to the public, there’s much less transparency around those activities and much of what the CIA has done, we don’t even know the full extent of that and it’s only due to some intrepid journalism and some leaks that we have any idea of what they’ve been up to since 9/11. Of course, they too have been deployed for some domestic counterinsurgency as we saw with some CIA officers embedded with the New York Police Department’s demographics unit and used against Muslim Arab Americans here in New York City so the CIA has definitely expanded the scope of its mission. And the DHS of course is a new creature, one that we’ve only had in the 14 years since 9/11 and DHS is a really vast infrastructure of, it’s hard to talk in generalities about them because it’s really such a world unto itself. But they are actively engaged in applying this domestically so they’re the ones who are thinking about ways to bring counterinsurgency home and are probably the most active in that endeavour right now.

HOST: There was a time when counterinsurgency implied warfare. And if you’re in the continental United States, in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in any of the cities across the country that’s having this going on – we are not at war. I never declared war on my government, why did my government declare war on me? What’s going on here?

GUEST: This is the kind of slippery slope I was talking about between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. When the US government declared the Global War On Terror in 2002 it was a signal and it was also a green light for this to really get global and that INCLUDES the United States. So they see the battlefield everywhere. If the streets of Batlimore and the streets of Ferguson looked like a warzone that was no coincidence. We look at agencies within the Homeland Security state here, like the DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis – they regularly issue communications to other agencies around the country saying. look out for civil disobedience, look out for civil unrest, and they associate it in some cases with terrorism overseas. There was a memo that came out some time around the Ferguson protests that associated the Ferguson protesters with ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. So they see this as a kind of spectrum of force that can be deployed anywhere at any time against almost anyone. They do see it as a piece of the larger strategy that they’re pursuing in what they do see as a global war that’s being waged on our own shores.

HOST: We’re about 14 minutes into the show. There were reports coming out, and this will kind of begin to get into our next segment here in a second, but you’ve been following what’s been happening in Baltimore, but it looked like from the people who were actually there at the time, it was almost kind of a set-up on a bunch of high school kids. They shut down the transport, they came in with a tank, an armoured car, and a SWAT team in riot gear and they taunted kids, they ended up throwing rocks at the kids and the kids were throwing rocks at them…  a comment that came out it looked like Gaza USA. What do you see there? Can you elaborate and try to give people a better idea? It looked like the cops were just trying to incite a riot? That’s what it looked like.

GUEST: That’s right, and it is actually a traditional strategy for law enforcement – we’ve had those officers known as agent provocateurs of course for over 100 years in this country who’d go and get things going and get people riled up, to start taking violent action that would then justify a counter-reaction which was actually planned all along. [TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE TO READERS: THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED AT D8 TPPA SHUTDOWN 2012]  So what’s presented as a reaction to a violent protest is often part of a preemptive strategy to preempt non-violent protests, as I argued in a piece for the Washington Post two weeks ago. But in Baltimore, what you saw was the Baltimore police firstly engaging in state-of-the-art surveillance of people’s Twitter feeds, of their social media streams and they learned that this group of high school students wanted to protest the case, the killing of Freddie Gray, with a high school walkout and a march to the Mall. The BPD, instead of preparing for a peaceful protest, they armed themselves for war. They suited up in full riot gear, they had military-style weapons at the ready, military-grade weaponry and military-style tactics. And they faced off with these high school students, refusing to allow them to go home. Denying them avenues of exit, denying them the ability to disperse. Of course, given that scenario, it’s almost inevitable what followed. They came at the students with assault rifles, shotguns with lead pellets, barricades, projectiles, military-style smoke grenades. All the things you’re more accustomed to seeing on the streets of Baghdad, were of course seen on the streets of Baltimore. This is the general tendency with empires – the wars always do come home.

HOST: Well the war has come home. It turns your stomach to watch the news every night. We’re 17 minutes into the show and it would be a really good time to take a look. This is the guy that may have given the blueprint for all of the things that are going on right now, the strategy picture anyway. There’s the Foreign Affairs magazine – the former Ambassador to Iraq wrote a piece that’s basically saying the counterinsurgency effort is doomed to failure – that it has always failed – but we’ve brought it back home to Baltimore.

GUEST: That’s right.

HOST: Could you give us a little picture? Of a gentleman named Lieutenant-Colonel David Kilcullen(?) and his three pillars, and that’s built on information control, which we began to touch on that, and I think we’ve just been given a pretty good learning moment for how it works. Can you give us a little picture?

GUEST: Sure. So Dr. Kilcullen elaborated his strategy at the US Government counterinsurgency conference in 2006. There were some questions at the time as to the effectiveness of the strategies that were being implemented in Iraq, strategies in Afghanistan. This was a moment when counterinsurgency really came back to the fore as an answer, as they saw it, to the question, ‘Well how do you actually secure this territory?’ which may or may not be yours. In the case of Iraq it was very clear – but in the case of some of our inner cities there is also a sense that these are occupying forces so I think that this counterinsurgency framework again came out of the military’s experience overseas but then they found it very useful at home. So those pillars that you’re talking about – it’s a visual model that he presents, Kilcullen. It’s a model as a base – three pillars and a roof. The base is information – that’s the information control that I’m talking about and also the messages that are sent with counterinsurgency actions to the population. And then the three pillars are security, political control and economic control. And the roof is the outcome of the control over all of those mentioned, the establishment, consolidation and transfer of the control from an insurgent part of the population to the state that is seeking to control them. So the security pillar is the one that my article was dealing directly with and that goes everything from the military and paramilitary forces that might be in play down to police who then receive the tactical and strategic orientations of the military in this context and then you have public safety officers and the private security sector and what’s called population security. So you have that pillar of control is the one that we traditionally associate with counterinsurgency, but it’s not the only one, there’s supposed to be a balance right, to give you the efficiency, the effectiveness of your operations, but also to give you the legitimacy, which is hard to come by in these battlefields right, where you’re occupying a foreign country. So to get this legitimacy you also need to combine your security forces and your security activities with political and economic efforts so this looks like building agencies of government that are subservient, that are willing to do the bidding of those directly above them, and those directly above them will do the bidding of those above them, answering to the authority that’s claiming control over the territory. And that can be a knotty problem when you’re faced with an occupied country, of course it’s a little bit easier to pull off when its within your own borders and you’re able to buy off politicians, you’re able to depend upon the criminal justice system to fall in line, you’re able to depend on police officers and intelligence agencies to back you up if the political pillar falls, right, but that is a key element, and one that they keep returning to to reestablish legitimacy, is to say, this is lawful authority, you better obey it. And then there’s the economic pillar which is everything from resource distribution to those who might be sympathetic to insurgents or sympathetic to the rebels. Humanitarian assistance, development assistance, and the management of resource and infrastructure. This is really important actually, in the years since 9/11 we’ve seen a real nexus of the public and private sector around the issue of security. So what’s called critical infrastructure by the Homeland Security has special councils that it has designated and given the power to sort of manage, and critical infrastructure, we’re talking about not just things you might assume like power plants, things that people actually need. They also take it to mean banks, they take it to mean large corporations. So the management of the critical infrastructure is also a key piece of the counterinsurgency strategy because those have to be defended at all costs from the threat of disruption, even if the disruption is coming from peaceful non-violent protesters as we saw during Occupy,

HOST: So we’re 23 minutes into the show and those three pillars that you’ve just described, when its operationally used overseas like Iraq, we hear the people in charge of implementing this plan, simplifying it down to Clear, Hold, and Build. Does that kind of fit with those three pillars or is that something else entirely?

GUEST: That fits with the three pillars, the three pillars are of course one way of conceptualising it that has become quite influential in recent years, but Clear Hold and Build of course has a longer lineage. It was developed by the United States Army, the three elements being civil military operations, combat operations and information warfare. So you’re talking about some of the same kinds of operational priorities but you’re talking about something that was designed specifically to deal with a guerilla force and of course that’s NOT what we’re dealing with in this country so they’ve had to adapt it somewhat to domestic uses.

HOST: Then again, that kind of goes back to the question of how do we see some differences when this is applied with a CIA operation like Phoenix operation, or Department of Homeland Security or military, there are certain differences that we’re going to see but there’s a lot of similarities too because when all is said and done it comes back to an occupation, an army of occupation, and it’s interesting to see how many people were observing that this felt to them, like occupied territory. Some of the tweets that were coming out were saying that they couldn’t believe that this was in their backyard, i guess after watching it in Ferguson and watching it all across the country. It does have a strange feeling when it’s, ‘now it’s here’. I guess that’s where we’re needing to get to from here cos I guess there’s a guy called Sun Tsu and he talks about if you can defeat your opposition’s plan then you’ll win the battle without ever taking casualties. So let’s go back to the plan again. We can see the three pillars, the pillars are resting on a foundation of information control, and that would appear to be how to defeat the plan. They have to control that information. And in the age of Twitter it doesn’t look like they’re doing that well. But it does seem to explain alot of the strange things we’re seeing, like we’re seeing tweets of them going into churches, Ferguson, which would be sanctuary I guess, and you can actually see the people tweeting from the areas saying everything short of sanctuary, safehouse. You can see the attack on the media, begins to make more sense.  So let’s zoom in on the microscope here, and there’ll be a picture that we’re talking about. But now we’re looking at the very base, that those pillars and the roof are sitting on. There’s six things there. The first one is intelligence. How does this apply to people having an occupation used on them in Baltimore? What’s going on with intelligence?

GUEST: They have all kinds of ways of gathering intelligence on the population, the target population. The poor black population of Baltimore in this case. They have everything from human intelligence, that is people embedded among the protesters, we saw this to great effect of course for many years, and they also have signals intelligence – they can gather through such newfangled devices as the Stingray which conducts wireless surveillance of enemy communications, allows them to jam cellphone signals, to force cellphones to connect to it, and to collect mobile data without people’s knowledge. And they’ve been using it, this is specifically something that was deployed in Baltimore. They also have Open Source Intelligence like I was talking about before; we think about social media as something that we can use to fight back in this information war but of course it’s also a tool that can be deployed by law enforcement for their own purposes. So in Baltimore you saw real-time tracking of protest events, you saw attempts to preempt the protest events by drawing on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, to paint a picture for them, gather intelligence for them about where the next protest was going to be, where the next crowd was going to gather. This is the new frontier, this is predictive policing, or PredPol as it’s known and this has a lot to do with counterinsurgency coming to the police, and it’s intended to basically predict where and when crimes or, let’s say, protests or riots are going to happen before they happen and who would be the most likely culprit to participate. And then to send, to basically have a search capacity, where you can send in forces to those targets to stop them before they even happen. So that kind of information control, through intelligence gathering, through predictive policing, is the new frontier when we’re talking about that information control base there. And that gets into information ops as well.

HOST: And that’s the other interesting point about this is it does not seem to be something that’s a simple little picture in a schematic. It’s not just intelligence, it’s how does the intelligence apply to the information operation. Or how does that apply on the media op. And again that goes back to the whole concept of the Department of Homeland Security and the Fusion doesn’t it?

GUEST: It sure does. So alot of these Fusion Centres use these means to good effect. To create a kind of unity of command but also an effort where intelligence can feed into information ops, and media ops, and can then be parlayed into actionable information for them and of course demobilising information – information that is denied to us. So the information ops can take many forms from sort of electronic warfare, you know when I was talking about the Stingray, Hellstorm technology – which is a form of psychological warfare, electronic warfare. Perception operations to disrupt – disruption of political communications on the part of protesters, and the corruption of the decisions that protesters take through this counterintelligence counterinformation campaign. Cos you can’t make informed decisions about what to do, how to protest non-violently if you have imperfect information. So that plays into all six of those pieces of the information control regime.

HOST: Would this apply to where the kids had rocks thrown at them by the riot police, the SWAT team? Was there an information operation probably – I don’t want to get into too much speculation cos we’ll know sooner or later. That’s the good part about this – it’ll all show up in discovery! But is that a form of information op when you put out a ‘there’s going to be an attack, a purge’ on some TV show – and have this complete story pre-made up and the pieces in place, the tank and the armour… I guess what I’m trying to say is, is that an example of an information operation?

GUEST: It’s certainly the product of an information operation – leading up to that of course we had operations already underway by Baltimore Police Department to neutralise these protests from the Saturday before. As to whether the purge was something that came from high school students just acting the fool or came from information ops, is still a matter of speculation.

HOST: Yeah nobody seems to be stepping up to claim where that came from. Which is another pretty good indication of usually a false flag – and I guess, would that be another type of media ops? So once again, this is like another way of looking at the same thing, but then the media operation would be again, I guess, if you had reporters with cameras in place to show pictures of the kids throwing the rocks – and this is a theoretical, this is not what happened in Baltimore because we still don’t have all the data yet – which would be, an information op! [Laughter] Media ops – could you give us a short view on what would be a media op.

GUEST: As they’ve gained quite a bit of control over our media without even having to do it in the name of the U.S. Government of course, they can do it through private corporations, with which they’re working very closely, so you know, somebody like Fox News is going to be there, ready to take pictures of the kids throwing rocks, whether they’re sent there directly by the U.S. Government or not, they’re ready to do it at the bidding of their employers.

HOST: That’s an interesting point to try to get out to people here too, is people want to portray this as, you could never have this big of a conspiracy. The conspiracy itself is driving it, that’s what it’s designed for. Once you set this machinery in place, it’s a go.

GUEST: I would hesitate to call this a conspiracy because just the normal operations of our security and intelligence apparatus would explain this. You don’t have to have a huddle in a back room with people twirling their moustaches for this to work, it can just happen because it’s set up to happen that way.

HOST: Again, Doug Valentine points out that this was created during the Vietnam war, the Phoenix program modelled after Ford motor company used a ‘command post’ system where they would have directors from on high and they had computerised statistics that would tell them whether or not they were meeting their goals or not – again, that’s what it was modelled on so that’s why you’re seeing the similarities. So on the other side of the box, first off do you think there’s a reason why they’ve got these three things kind of set – they’ve got three counters on the other side of the intelligence box – counterideology, countersanctuary, countermotivation. Again they’re all interlinked. What’s in each of those?

GUEST: Sure. So countermotivation, it basically denies people, it’s a sort of way of making it irrational for people to participate and its waging the cost at such a high level, such a high cost, for people to participate in a non-violent protest or a non-violent insurgency let’s say. Countermotivation is basically making it so that it’s almost impossible for people’s motivation to outweigh those costs. So to give people a disincentive to do anything really, to go out of their homes. This can be reinforced by the security pillar – as we saw when the National Guard was enforcing the curfews – but it also can take the form of psychological warfare – where you’re saying, okay, we’re going to expel all these high school students. We’re going to get all these high school students expelled for exercising their rights, for going out and protesting. So that’s a way of countering the motivation that people have. Counterideology is equally important. This was designed during the Cold War when they actually had this War on Communism – now they don’t have the same kind of singular ideological enemy, but they have seen fit to use propaganda, use denunciations of the ideas that people might have, who are out on the streets. You’ve seen this in Occupy, and more recently in the treatment of anarchists, you’ve seen this in the treatment of the Black Lives Matters protesters, portrayed as a sort of, an inherently violent ideology, and attempts to really deprive social movements of their base in the population by saying well ‘this is a foreign ideology’, ‘this is a hostile ideology’, ‘this is a violent way of thinking’. Countersanctuary of course is to deny them places to go, space to be in, just the space to operate in. This can take the form of, as we saw in Ferguson with the church, denying them physical space. They can also deny them their space in cyberspace. In recent years the technologies that are available to them, they’re using to deny people even their ability to operate and to communicate in cyberspace.

HOST: So we’ve got these six things – and again, you’ve really given a clear picture, of how they’re all interlinked, and interwoven with all the other pieces. I guess a lot of what appears to be random, may not be what it appears to be at all. And I guess that might be a really good way of saying that’s what information control is all about.

GUEST: That’s right, that’s right.

HOST: One of the most interesting things to all of this though, with Kilcullen, basically he was credited as doing such a good job in Iraq with this version of COIN which came with the idea that he and Valentine have a worldwide Phoenix program. At the same time, we have the person who was the Ambassador to Iraq who just now came out with the article saying ‘hey this is doomed to failure – it always fails – it failed in Vietnam – it failed in Iraq – it failed in Afghanistan’ – so it’s not like this is some kind of perfectly created machine that’s going to win, in fact it’s doomed to fail. So I kind of guess that brings us to our third section here. With all of this gloom and doom what do you see as the good news, of being able to identify, hey, we’re having counterinsurgency used on us? What’s the good news here? We’ve got twenty minutes to find that!

GUEST: There’s no success here for the counterinsurgency campaign. There can be temporary wins, there can be pacification, they can disrupt and deter people for a time, from going to the street or taking part in protests. All of that – that can look like success, but really in the long term it’s inevitable, it’s doomed to fail, and it’s inevitable that a population will not respond to this by embracing those it sees as occupiers, those it sees as an occupying force. As you said, you didn’t see that in Vietnam, you didn’t see it in Iraq or Afghanistan and you’re certainly not going to see it here in the United States, I think where people have higher expectations of some basic degree of democratic legitimacy, so once they have access to this information, once the information control is broken, then the other pillars are much more likely to fall. We have a crisis of legitimacy in this country right now and part of that is flowing from the fact that like never before – we’re seeing what’s going on, we have access through some of the new tools that we were talking about, to unprecedented information on the kinds of activities that our government is engaged in. Of course there’s much more that we don’t know, that is going on, but the information control I think is much more tenuous than it used to be, as is the control over the population in the sense of legitimacy, because they have power but they don’t have the kind of legitimacy that they’re used to having when they carry out these kinds of operations – you’re not just talking about fighting a foreign enemy anymore, you’re talking about targeting civilians – targeting citizens. So I think it sounds really dire today but there is a silver lining to it in that people I think generally are waking up to this and there have been successful attempts to contain the growth of the security state, there have been successful attempts to reign in some of these programs, some states, ones that you wouldn’t even expect like Montana have passed legislation saying that they don’t want the 1033 program, that is the program to funnel surplus military equipment to law enforcement. We’ve had states like Washington State, where there were drones that were going to be introduced to police protests there and they said no, we’re not going to have drones policing our protests. There have been efforts in New York City and elsewhere, and I think we’re seeing a real conflict over this now, in New York City and elsewhere to stop the over-policing of protests and to actually bring civil and criminal complaints against the police department and in the case of Chicago you’ve even seen reparations that were won for domestic dissidents and other prisoners who were tortured in previous decades and of course Chicago is where we saw that black site during the 2012 protests. So this stuff is hard but there are real local wins, that I think people can take heart that it is possible to put the brakes on this thing, at least at the local level, and if this crisis of legitimacy continues I think we’re going to see some developments at the national level as well.

HOST: We’ve got about 14 minutes left and one of the most crucial things I’ve seen that is good news is how much airtime you seem to have gotten with this counterinsurgency. You’ve been talking to The Nation magazine. The corporate media has actually been paying attention here, to me that’s a big change. What do you see as having driven this, what’s going on here? Why are the corporate media suddenly doing their job?

GUEST: Well I think it’s not that they’re suddenly doing their job, but they don’t really have a choice. This is something that everybody is talking about. It’s something everybody cares about. Everybody who knows about this, who learns about this, knows that it is an issue that is something that is of the utmost importance of their lives, whether or not they’re politically active or whether they’re out there protesting, this is something that’s going to affect all of us, it’s going to affect our children, our grandchildren and so on so forth. I think that there’s simply a demand for it, that there hasn’t been for some time. A demand for information, a hunger for information about this and for some sort of analysis of what’s going on. And I think people feel short-changed by the information that they had been getting previously and they’re demanding to know more.

HOST: I keep thinking back to the scenes in Baltimore, and Ferguson, where you’ve got people telling corporate media, go home. And basically if you’re following it on Twitter and seeing what the people who actually live there are saying and seeing, and seeing what’s going out on CNN, or some of the other corporate media, I don’t want to just single out their bad behaviour… Did you pick up any kind of a change when you’re talking to corporate people who are suddenly covering this story? Do you see any kind of, how do they seem to you? Do they actually seem to be understanding? Or, did they get it before but were just paid not to, or… what’s your impression from talking to the corporate media, what do you see changing there?

GUEST: So my feeling is that nothing fundamental has changed with the corporate media.

HOST: [Laughter] Well I was hoping you had some better news than that!

GUEST: Well nothing fundamental. Though I think at the margins, at the edges, you see some shift. One of the things I think of during Occupy, is actually, even the corporate media became a threat, because to have a camera covering what was going on, to have people seeing what was going on, even that was perceived as a threat even if it was CNN, even if it was the New York TImes. I was out there with a camera at the front lines in 2011 and they were beating up anybody. Including mainstream corporate journalists. So I think some of the individuals in the media have changed their view, and feel that this is a threat not just to protesters but to them, and they’re exercising their rights as members of the press, the so-called free press. There are many people who are questioning what the legitimacy these kinds of tactics have, these kinds of tactics that we see in the streets.  And I think as individuals, they’re covering it differently. I think as institutions, it’s going to take more for them to change in a more fundamental way, and for that you’re going to have to talk about new media, you’re going to have to talk about democratising our media on a more systematic level. But for now, I think there is a cultural shift. A shift in the discourse, a shift in the way that people are talking about these things. There’s a sense among many of the population that if the corporate media isn’t here to tell us the truth then we’re going to need someone else to do that. So I think it’s an existential crisis for them because it really gets down to the role of the media in a free society, and if this isn’t a free society, then what is the role of the media then.

HOST: Good point, got about 10 minutes left and you’ve really kind of touched on some interesting points. For those of us who’ve been around Occupy from basically Day 1, the issues that we’re raising today aren’t exactly news to us. Basically we have, in the former show with Doug Valentine, to a degree, this IS what drove Occupy underground, although that has been overblown according to some of the other experts we’ve been talking to. But it is breaking down. The media is beginning to have to cover this. You were there at the original… were you there at Occupy Wall Street in New York?

GUEST: That’s right. September 17th 2011.

HOST: I’m a newcomer. I didn’t come in til about October. [Laughter]. That’s when the rest of the country started going up for grabs. That was an interesting point in time. We’re still seeing people… are you following Decentralise Occupy down in New Zealand?

GUEST: Yes.

HOST: She’s one of the people who was basically… was never a journalist, never in her wildest dreams she even wanted to be a journalist, but she is a reporter because she saw it wasn’t being covered anywhere else.

GUEST: That’s right.

HOST: You were at the Battle of Boston – I guess that was a couple of months after, was that December?

GUEST: There were several… and the battle of Chicago of course, in May 2012, was really one of the places where we saw some of this new type of policing really deployed in full force. At the North American Treaty Organisation protest (#NONATO), the anti-war protest that Spring. But we saw it from the first I think, they’ve had this stuff under development and they’ve had it in the wings and a lot of the infrastructure I was talking about, the tactics and the weapons I was talking about, they were out there on the streets… they didn’t use them to the extent that they have in the past year. But they had the sound cannons, the long range acoustic devices (LRAD), the less-lethal weapons and all that. All the cameras, that they have, that they were integrating to try to surveil what Occupy was doing, you know I think the groundwork had been laid, of course, long ago and we’re just starting to see the full glory now.

HOST: The credibility is beginning to switch to our side since the other side has been caught lying, the corporate side, so many times. We talked right before we started recording… that a lot of the protesters who had been arrested in the battle of Chicago actually went to the black site that has just now been brought up into mainstream news and reparations even. That’s that same site.

GUEST: Yeah so the black site had been used for many years, to take prisoners of various sorts that the Chicago Police Department didn’t want to, or, didn’t have the goods on yet. They didn’t have the means to bring them up on normal charges so they would take them to this warehouse in Homan Square, in the case of the Chicago protesters, had them chained to a bench, in a wire cage and they apparently ended up charging three of them with domestic terrorism after they sent their own agents to set up this elaborate plot involving molotov cocktails and all this, it was an elaborate act of entrapment that they used to set up some of these protesters who didn’t know any better, didn’t know who they were dealing with. But in a lot of cases you’re seeing the counterterrorism campaigns as kind of having to invent terrorism, or terrorist plots to justify its own existence and Chicago is one example of that.

HOST: And one may well turn into another one, at the end of the day…

GUEST: That’s right, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those black sites turning up in Baltimore either.

HOST: I get the impression that you’re probably dead on target on that one too. In fact what’s really interesting is that when we were talking about this in Ferguson, we found not one but two Fusion centres operating in Ferguson, population 20,000 people. The numbers I keep seeing, it varies all the time. I don’t think there even is a clear picture of how many Fusion centres are operating at this point. That number doesn’t seem to be very realistic. With about 5 minutes left to go, there was something else I wanted to touch on… and I think I managed to forget it. There was one I was wanting you to remind me of…

GUEST: Well I know we were supposed to talk about… Chicago and…

HOST: Oh, that’s it! Infraguard! I was hoping you’ve got something on Infraguard, cos that’s the side of the Fusion centres that’s REALLY spooky. We’re not seeing much on Infraguard.

GUEST: That’s right, and this is actually just one piece of a larger puzzle, which is the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) for policing and for Homeland Security. Infraguard is just a link in that chain that the FBI is specifically responsible for. So they have over 55,000 members as of 2012, I’m sure it’s grown since then. But it’s an association of U.S. business, U.S. corporations, and the FBI, to put their minds together basically, to combine information sharing and intelligence functions with coordination and collaboration on efforts to prevent disruption and ensure business continuity as they would call it. But that can mean anything from, disruption can mean anything from an Occupy protest to a terrorist event but they don’t make any distinction, so, they’ve been using Infraguard, they’ve been using other councils like the Domestic Security Alliance Council and some of these advisory councils within the DHS; the Homeland Security Information  Network is another one, like Infraguard, that DHS is anchoring, that allow constant communication and coordination of public and private sectors to respond to what they see as the ‘threat environment’ that they face, as they call it. The threat environment makes no distinction between violent and non-violent activities so you’re seeing the use of these networks and organisations that were developed under the pretext of protecting Americans, actually being turned against them.

HOST: And again Doug Valentine’s observation here is that that basically parallels how the Phoenix program worked out in the 60s and 70s, the Vietnam War version. It’s a pattern that just keeps repeating until we stop it repeating but the difference is that very few people knew what the Phoenix program was in 1973 or 74. I think there’s a significantly larger amount of people who are beginning to get a handle on just how bad this situation is, as far as liberty. It’s interesting to see some of the tweets talking about the left-wingers on this one, but they’re divided from the right-wing. There’s been some observations like where’s the right-wingers on this one, where’s all the liberty people. And another classic example of that would be the Bundy Ranch situation, where the right-wing were there, on police militarisation, but the left-wing wasn’t too much there or showing up for that one. But the 99% – do you have any, in the last minute, how do we get the 99% to hang together so that we don’t all hang separate?

GUEST: Yeah, that’s the million dollar question.

HOST: Trillion!

GUEST: Yeah, trillion. There are some things that still unite us, no matter what the political ideology that might motivate us might be. One of those things is the desire to live our lives, free from constant government surveillance and constant government interference and control of what we do. There’s one kind of freedom that I think the ‘right’ takes for granted there, and that’s fighting for the right of businesses to do what they want, but what about the freedoms of individuals, what about the freedoms of communities like those in Baltimore, to just live their lives. That’s something basic right there that’s written into our constitutional laws, it’s supposed to be guaranteed to us. But I think this is one thing that the ‘right’ and ‘left’ have in common and that’s nobody wants to be followed around 24/7 and be a target of information ops or psychological warfare on their own block, or in their own country. That’s true of Iraqis, it’s true of Afghans and it’s definitely true of Americans. I think that, you know, if there’s one thing that’s going to unite us, in these final years of the Obama administration it’s the realisation that our democracy is under threat, our freedoms are under threat and it’s going to take collective action and some serious pushback to stop it.

HOST: Well, that pushback is underway and I can’t think of a better way to end this show. That pretty much says it all. I want to thank you for being with us, you’ve done a great job of making a really complex situation, by design, a lot clearer for us. Any last thoughts?

GUEST: Well, just, information is power. Whether it’s in the hands of the power players or in the hands of the rest of us. So the more information we have, the better equipped we’re going to be to wage this fight for our freedom. Everyone should be doing this work, this is work that everyone could be doing. Just keep an eye out cos they certainly are.

HOST: Michael, thanks for standing. To our audience: thank you for standing. And if we don’t get blown out of the air again, we’ll be back in another week with another story.

To view the original podcast blogpost including more than a dozen source links please click here.

Listen to the podcast here

[Transcribed by Suzie Dawson [@endarken]. This transcript was live-blogged. Thank you for watching!]

#GCSB FAN FICTION: “Meagan’s First Story” by Kiwi Occupier Lyn Ny

The following is a piece of fan fiction by Kiwi Occupier Lyn Ny. Any resemblance to persons or organisations living or dead, or events, is merely coincidental. Allow your imaginations to run free!

Meagan’s First Story

By Lyn Ny

The room was generic, corporation-style meeting room. A large, fake timber table held sway over a flotilla of small, uncomfortable chairs; a water cooler stood in one corner; windows looked over an ordinary city view. On the small, uncomfortable chairs were an eclectic group of people. There were some in very businesslike suits and ties and others in jeans and t-shirts.

An outsider, Bill thought, wouldn’t instantly know the purpose of this group. They were clearly not physical labourers although Sarah and Joe were starting to show the benefit of their gym sessions. A discreet hiccough brought Bill back to business.

“Right then, that about covers everything except this latest GCSB leak. Another leaked email has surfaced calling them out on the actual number of people being surveilled. It includes a list of 1243 people under active investigation – not the 88 they ‘fessed up to earlier. Now I don’t care one way or another how many people our government agencies are looking at – that’s their job for fuck’s sake. Somebody has to protect us from cyber attacks, industrial espionage and terrorist bomb plots but we’d better print something for the punters. Our official angle should reassure the public that security is paramount for us to compete in the current global financial climate. You wanna make an omelet you gotta break some eggs. Even those in the lens would agree, I’m sure, that the threats to our country, our government and our economy are worth some loss of privacy. Any takers?”

He looked up at his bunch of journalists and was met with a wall of apathy. This was not going to be a rewarding mission. The story and that paper’s stand were a foregone conclusion. One of the effects of mainstream media was to kill any investigative spirit, especially with potentially career damaging investigations into the activities of the government or its agencies.

Tentatively Meagan raised her eyebrows and met Bill’s gaze. “Can I have a crack at it?” she asked. Meagan, who was naturally on the shy side, had only just started working for the paper which was the most read daily in the country. Meagan’s appearance; small, young and pretty, often lead to her being overlooked. Her quiet nature added to her non-threatening appearance and allowed her to get close to people and gain their confidence and trust quickly.

“Sure, why not! I’ll send you the email for background and you can get started. I want to print the story on Thursday so have it ready for editing on Wednesday. It’s a human interest story – the political issues are far too complex for us to cover in any depth and we want to reduce people’s concerns. There are over 4 million people in this country and 1243 is a paltry number in reality. The vast majority of our readers are NOT under surveillance and are unaffected by this information – those that are must have done something to attract attention! Come and see me if you have any problems and keep me posted. And that’s it for today. Let’s get on with it!”

Meagan followed everyone from the room and started planning the first story of her new journalist life. How to begin? The computer on her desk advised her of two new emails – one from her sister and the other from Bill with the leaked list of GCSB targets. Today was Tuesday and she’d have to work fast to get anything juicy to print by the deadline.

The list wasn’t in any apparent order. It looked like any database with name, address, date of birth, phone numbers and email addresses. There was nothing to differentiate one entry from any other. She spent some time on Facebook searching for matches. An hour of that found more than half of those on the list. Trawling through their friend lists netted three who shared mutual friends with Meagan. Another half hour of Facebooking left Meagan in no doubt about why these people had attracted attention. Posts about fluoride, Palestine, Five Eyes, global financial schemes, derivatives, fracking, deep sea oil drilling, HAARP, environmental destruction and political corruption featured large on all three profiles. All three re-posted numerous articles from Al-Jazeera, RT News and Occupy with news from Egypt, Spain, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Syria, US, England, Canada and Australia – extensive coverage of national and international topics, protests, rumours, fact, speculation, opinion and comment.

All three seemed to be a cross between new age hippies and anarchists. Their threads included fruity talk of rising awareness, the masses awakening as if from coma, vibrations, energy, the cosmos, self-sufficiency, unfucking the system.

Meagan picked up her phone and dialled.

Redstar answered almost instantly “Yo!”.

“Hey, Redstar. How well do you know Terry Daniels?” Meagan asked without preamble.

“Well enough – why?” Redstar’s response was tinged with suspicion.

Meagan ignored his question. “Can you get him to lunch today do you reckon?” Redstar demurred and Meagan hastily added “My shout – anywhere you want.”

While Meagan waited for Redstar to get back to her she filled in time by searching the internet for anything related to GCSB. There were dozens of entries. Apparently the more secret a thing is the more it gets talked about. When Redstar phoned back 45 minutes later Meagan had read many articles on the GCSB and had learned surprisingly little.

By chance, Terry Daniels was in the city for a few days and was keen to meet up for lunch at 1:30ish “and bring pot” was Redstar’s stipulation “lubricate his vocal chords – lol!”

Meagan packed up her laptop and got organised for her first real interview. She left the office and stepped into a beautiful afternoon – sunny with a breath of breeze – perfect for walking the few blocks to Father Ted’s.

Redstar and Terry were sitting at a footpath table sipping beer and chatting. Meagan stifled a pang of disappointment on seeing Terry. He was pretty ordinary – 40-ish, average height, a little on the cuddly side, long greying brown hair and blue eyes, in blue jeans and white t-shirt. He didn’t look like a terrorist that’s for sure.

“Hi there, thanks for meeting with me Terry. What’s Redstar told you?” asked Meagan as she pulled out a seat and got comfortable.

“That you’ve just embarked on a career as a mainstream propaganda merchant with the Herald is all” Redstar quipped. “We’re both busting to know what you want with him.”

Meagan had her, almost true, story ready. “The editor wants a story about activists in New Zealand. Nothing meaty but plenty of scope to highlight some issues that get people off the couch and into the streets.”

Terry grinned broadly. “Cool! I love to talk. What do you want to know?”

Before Meagan could answer a slim, smiling young man, David according to his tag, came to take their lunch order. Redstar ordered big – lamb shanks and kumara mash, garlic pizza bread, stick date pudding and a jug of lager. Meagan and Terry ordered less extravagantly and all three reached for cigarettes and settled in to talk. “Are you all good with me recording? It’s more efficient than taking notes.”

“Sure, why not. I’m quite sure you’re not the only one recording us.” He laughed cheerfully as he spoke.

Meagan fought a pang of guilt that she had fudged her real purpose which she covered by pulling a joint from her pocket. Using marijuana is illegal and smoking it in public was risky but fun. Meagan reasoned that if anyone called the Police the evidence would be long gone before (or if) anyone came to enforce the law. She lit up and passed the joint as she set up her Ipad. “So who else is recording and why?” she asked innocently.

“I think it’s more like who isn’t?! I reckon Auckland Transport is a front for the Men in Black for a start. They’ve got surveillance cameras everywhere – intersections, motorways, streets, buildings – fucken everywhere! No need to follow anyone once they’ve hit the auckland motorway system – it’s all on film and they’ve probably got long range microphones and all the whizz bang spy gear. I’d love to know how much of ratepayers money goes to surveillance… or on anything else for that matter. Polly Black may be crazy or a spook but I agree with her that Council should tell us where our money is being spent before we hand it over. The CEO’s $800,000 salary doesn’t appear on their little pie chart! And then there’s the CGSB and the cops and the guys watching the watchers. I reckon that’s real job creation. We gotta pretend we can keep this collapsing financial system running somehow.”

Conversation stopped for a moment as David arrived with their meals and took an order for drinks. If there was a single word to describe Redstar it was gusto. He took to his meal with it and was obviously enjoying this afternoon treat. There’s nothing a conspiracy theorist likes more than the company of another conspiracy theorist it seemed.

“Bloody Polly Black! Merlin was right from the start – she’s a cunt! But she does have that one point – why should we pay rates to a Council when we don’t know what it’s spent on? he added, resuming the conversation.

“Damn straight! And while we’re on Auckland Council – guess who the contractors are for the rubbish, poison water supply and public transport? Redstar – you know this one.

“Yup – Veolia” put in Redstar obligingly.

“And guess who does water and refuse and transport for Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton? Or Paris? London? Washington? Sydney? Tel Aviv? I’m making some of those up” Terry admitted “because I can’t remember how far the tentacles of that particular wheke (octopus) reach – nor do I know if its head is in Israel or France. It’s a bugger having no internet but must make it harder for the heebie jeebies to keep tabs on us.”

This gave Meagan opportunity to get to the heart of the interview. “You sound like you think you are being watched. Why would you think so?” she asked casually.

“Do you want the long story or the short one?” Terry responded.

“I’ve got all day – the long one please.” Meagan was happy that Terry was so keen to talk. And with that Terry spilled forth on the many reasons he could be a target of particular attention. Redstar chugged on through his sticky date pudding with a bourbon on the side. He knew the story and enjoyed hearing it again.

As Terry talked Meagan became more and more amazed at how wrong her first impression had been. Terry was far less ordinary than he seemed.

“I was interwebbing one Saturday when I saw a Herald photo of thousands of people marching up Queen St under an “Occupy Auckland” banner. I was inspired and soon discovered what turned out to be a life-changing movement. I trolled YouTube, hungry for knowledge of the amazing people holding vigil in Zucotti Park at Occupy Wall St. Like mushrooms, Occupy sprung up everywhere. Their message resonated with millions of people globally. The world is being run by and for the 1% who hold the majority of the world’s financial wealth.

I visited Occupy Auckland in Aotea Square that Monday and was in awe of what they had achieved over a weekend. The normally empty, too-perfect lawn was alive with colour and movement. Tents, flags and placards lent a carnival air. People were everywhere and had come from everywhere – Unite, Mana, Socialist Aotearoa, the Nurse’s Union were all there with banners and tents and rosettes and slogans. Notice boards displayed meetings and meals and support groups and tutorials. Movies and music played, throngs of people were queuing for food and working groups were forming to deal with issues peculiar to this unusual form of protest. I was drawn in by the enthusiasm and optimism of this disparate group. I brought food and helped with meals and meetings. Occupy and occupiers became my life.”

Terry stopped talking and all three turned at the sound of a shouted chant from the nearby street corner. “O-C-C-U-P-Y what do we do? OCCUPY!” the disturbance was walking towards them in the form of a man in a black hoody, black jeans and boots, with a backpack. As he drew near Terry gave the man some tobacco and he went on his way. “Sir Occupy Auckland – awesome dude!” he said by way of explanation and he picked up his story.

“Governments and their agents and enforcers couldn’t ignore the Occupy movement and came down with enormous force all over the world to crush it. We lasted about 3 months before the Council got serious about moving us on. I got a call for help early one morning when police and security guards were forcefully evicting Occupiers. The 15 minute trip to town seemed to take forever and the scene that met us was devastating. Fences, security guards and police surrounded the Occupiers while tents and other belongings were being wrestled into trucks. A minister in black robes stood sentinel over the chaos with tears rolling down his face.

A French tourist begged me to help. I fought my way onto the arena, ducking under outstretched arms like a rugby player. By now mainstream media had arrived and the audience bristled with cameras and phones and megaphones. I was taken swiftly by police and locked in a cell for the first time in my life.”

“We filmed everything! Including four cops with the same badge number – Z557. Cunts!” Redstar interjected with passion.

Young David arrived at this point with fresh drinks. “Have you still got the video? Can I see it?” Meagan was skeptical that such a serious breach actually occurred but Redstar flicked open his phone and sent the footage to Meagan.

“There you go. Put that in the piece!” he dared and Terry resumed his story.

“As soon as I was released I went back to the Square. The situation was still horrendous and I did what I could to support Occupiers and frustrate the officials. In the end the CEO of the Council read from his official document that if I didn’t stop camping in the Square I would be arrested for trespass. When I told him I couldn’t stop doing what I’d never done he was unphased. He had the dogs arrest me and I was one of a dozen or so named as a defendant in the Council vs Occupy case and was subsequently found guilty. Of a thought crime! I was a member of the public, a fucking ratepayer, in a public place sharing the same views as the Occupy ‘campers'”. There was a momentary pause as Terry thought broodingly of these events.

“But that was three years ago.” Meagan broke the silence, “Do you still think you’re under surveillance?” Although she knew that Terry was still being watched the Occupy involvement didn’t seem to justify continuing surveillance. There must be more to it.

Terry smiled. “Maybe. New Zealand’s population is small and there are relatively few real targets. The cops and media did a great job of giving me an unjustifiably high profile. apparently my detainment was shown all over the world. One of my friends watched it on TV in Japan! Fuck’s sake! Of course, once Occupy was dismantled in the Square that left me at a loose end. I couldn’t get work in my field because the Council would have been my best employment prospect and they’d never hire me after Occupy. I was too old and over-qualified for most jobs. I became involved with the education protests and the housing bullshit in Glen Innes. I became a target for local police in Auckland Central and Counties Manakau. The cunts began calling me by name when I was out and about. I don’t remember now how many times I was locked up. My favourite arrest involved some real activists from the Springbok days. There were always MP’s floating around putting their faces out there for photo ops in the safer protests but only one willing to take any real risk. Hone Harawira stood up for the Glen Innes community. I was so proud to be arrested with him at G.I.”

“I think the government and cops were getting pretty stressed. They had their hands full of Occupy and Anonymous and Kim Dotcom. They were stomping hard on anyone with a rebellious bent. Still are I think but I’ve been out of the loop for a while. It got too hot for me in the city – became dangerous. The local cops started targeting us. My daughter’s life was endangered after a serious car accident. She was arrested for obstruction after hitting the windscreen of a car that she was a passenger in – denied medical treatment for a potentially life-threatening head injury. Council used a pretext to take our old dog and tried to kill her. I had to take that to the High Court.”

Meagan was finding this story unbelievable. Cops, council and government working together to harass a protester seemed a bit dramatic. She made a mental note to follow up some of these side stories. She encouraged Terry to continue by asking “So you’re not living in Auckland anymore?”

“No. And that’s another story that may or may not have caught the GCSB, or more likely JK’s personal attention, given that it was his mortgage scheme that lost me my house.”

“How does that work – he’s the Prime Minister. What does he have to do with mortgage schemes?” Meagan was genuinely curious.

“He wasn’t always the PM. His background is world finance – Merrill Lynch, Wall St. He devised a system that ensures banks’ continued profit if their customers default. The mortgage documents are all sold so that the banks effectively double dip. It’s known as derivatives or hedge funding or sub-prime lending. Lend money to poor people who can’t service the debt, sell the document and foreclose – win/win for the bank.”

Meagan was even more cynical. Surely that would be fraud. Another lead to follow up. “So you lost your house? How? Because you couldn’t pay?”

“Kind of. I got very stubborn and refused to make payment once the ASB told me that they did not hold my original mortgage document. I told them I wouldn’t pay unless they could produce it… so they began foreclosure proceedings and I had to sell up in a hurry. My wife and I now live over an hour away from the city – and our family and friends. It’s been a very difficult time for us. She’s been diagnosed with PTSD but we’re slowly recovering. Having non-fluoride water helps. We are now in a remote location with no income, no internet and poor phone reception. Can’t pay power or phone or rates so it’s like sitting on a bomb.”

“That begs the question then – why are you still being watched?” Meagan couldn’t help herself from interjecting.

“I don’t know that I am but odd things happen that make me wonder. Cars parked for no reason within sight of the house. Doors open when we come home that were shut and locked when we left. “They” don’t like dogs and I think they try to get rid of them. I have three now – that should piss them off!” This thought obviously gave Terry some grim pleasure.

Redstar looked up suddenly with a strange expression on his face. “Why did you want to meet Terry? I mean – why Terry?!”

It was clearly time to come clean. Meagan found the email from Bill and, without a word, showed Terry the attachment. His face moved through confusion and understanding to…what? Satisfaction? Relief? “I fucken knew it!” He almost shouted. “Bastards! Look Redstar – how many names do you recognise? It looks like our Facebook friend list! I fucken knew it! I’m not surprised by this – it’s no secret how I feel about the Crown, the Government and its enforcers.”

With that outburst Terry picked up his glass and drained it. He looked ready for action. “You want to know what I really think. How I’m a real threat to society? Or Government more likely!” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Somewhere along the way I met up with a freeman and, like Occupy, it seems to fit me like it was made for me. I didn’t sign up to this system. I was registered with the New Zealand Government before I was old enough to object, before I understood the implications of belonging to a corporation registered as The New Zealand Government. ‘We’, the people, are not New Zealand – it only exists as a legal entity. Money is wrong. Jesus died because he was against the use of money and wage slavery. Government didn’t like it then and still don’t. We are born free and have the right to live free. That means without the need to generate money and not as a possession of the Government or anyone else!” Terry’s passion was almost scary and other patrons were beginning to glance in his direction.

“Two questions: are you Christian and how can we live without money. We need to work to earn money to live.” Meagan
was genuinely interested.

“That’s the big lie, right there! We are taught to believe we need money to live but we know it’s not true. We need air, water, food, shelter and companionship – not money, which is nothing. A bit of paper or a number on a screen. It’s not even money – it’s debt. We need to work to live but the money is there so that “they” – the 1% – don’t have to work. Here look at this.”

With that Terry drew a quick doodle on a napkin:

“You see it’s like a tree. The tree lives because it takes nutrient from the soil. We’re the worms making the food (money) for the tree to live. If we stop doing it the tree dies!”

“So how do we live?” Meagan asked the obvious question.

“We live as we should.” He said simply. “We are born with two jobs – feeding ourselves and caring for others. Give what you can and take what you need.”

“How about education, health, law and order. Who does that if the current system fails?”

“Lol! ‘If’! It does and has failed. We take care of it ourselves or we die. It’s time to man up for fuck’s sake. Stop relying on other people. We’re all grown up now. Legislation doesn’t stop bad things or bad people. It just keeps the slaves in line and creates a revenue stream. There’s a lot of money to be made from the ‘justice’ system.” Terry gave a wry smile that contained no humour. “I don’t have the answers but I refuse to support a system that has the world’s human population prostituting itself, working for money to pay tax for governments to buy guns to kill people to steal their resources and sell them to us. Every time I buy petrol I can feel the dead Palestinian babies under my wheels.”

“Well that’s an interesting way of looking at things. I’m not sure why that makes you a threat though. It sounds like you’d rather opt out and get on with your life. I don’t see how that would make you a threat that needs to be under GCSB’s eye.” The conversation was making Meagan feel uncomfortable.

Terry was quick to respond, “You only have to imagine what would happen to the system and the 1% who benefit from it, if more people thought like me.”

“Or if more people thought at all” grumbled Redstar.

“Yeah, well, most people are so indoctrinated in government schools, brainwashed by TV and fluoridated into compliance. Poor stupid sheeple can’t wake up. You won’t leave the prison if you won’t see the bars. They live in willful ignorance. It’s more comfortable that way.” Terry’s tone was almost forgiving.

The afternoon was cooling off. The “interview” had covered a lot of ground and Meagan wasn’t sure she was any closer to knowing why Terry was on the list but she wasn’t sure how to proceed either. The Town Hall clock struck four and Terry glanced up at it. “I’d better get going while I’ve still got some day left.”

Meagan and Redstar said their goodbyes and thanked Terry for meeting with them, promising to send a copy of the leaked email to Terry and telling him to watch out for the story in Thursday’s paper. They walked together for a while mulling over Terry’s story which was new to Meagan and familiar to Redstar, before going their separate ways.

There wasn’t much point in going back to the office. Meagan could research and write at home more easily and comfortably. She sent a text to Bill as she walked, letting him know that she was on target and would have a story on his desk tomorrow and walked the rest of the way home in heavy contemplation. Every now and then she glanced around half expecting to catch a glimpse of a furtive follower. The afternoon conversation had filled her with unease. She hardly noticed the walk until she found herself in front of her inner city flat. It was an old cottage at the back of the red light district and had a small patch of lawn and white, wooden filigree on the front porch. She glanced at the camera mounted above the streetlights as she walked through the front gate, onto the porch and into the house. As she shut the door behind her she felt a prickle of tension but everything was as she had left it and the feeling soon dissipated.

The night would be a long one – Meagan played the recording of the interview as she prepared a sandwich and poured a glass of win. She made notes on paper as she listened and mentally planned her story. After a quick shower and changing into her favourite sloppy pants and t-shirt Meagan set up her computer at the kitchen table and got down to work. The hours slipped by almost unnoticed sorting what was fact and what hearsay from Terry’s story, writing and re-writing, occasionally returning to the kitchen for coffee and smoking countless cigarettes while she worked. She didn’t notice how tired she had become until she had finally finished the article to her satisfaction and looked up at the dark and silent room. It was just after 4am and time to get some sleep. Pleased with her work and a little nervous at the prospect of submitting it to Bill she decided to call it a night and get some sleep before reading it one last time. Her last thoughts before drifting off were vague and disturbing and her dreams were haunted by kraken-like creatures, enfolding the house and reaching impossibly thin tentacles through the cracks and crevices of the old building, prying and searching and sneaking.

Despite her strange dreams Meagan woke up refreshed and excited about presenting her article. She re-read it, made some corrections here and there, saved the final draft and emailed it to Bill. As she was getting ready to return to the office her phone chirped that she had a text. “Awesome thanks Meagan. I’ve had a prelim read and you’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll tweak it a bit and we’ll publish tomorrow. Check out the Grey Lynn festival this afternoon and take some pics for Sunday’s edition. Good work.”

With a great sense of pride and satisfaction Meagan began to organise herself for today’s mission. Her day passed quickly. She had a blast at the festival, took photos, talked to people and soaked up the sights and sounds and smell. It was late when she returned home. She went to bed brimming with well-being from her first 2 days on the job and her last thought before sleep took her was of seeing her story in print the next morning.

She was awakened early by a dull thump; the sound of the Herald landing on the front veranda having been thrown expertly by the courier as he rode by.

Meagan leapt out of bed and was soon sitting at the table with coffee and a cigarette leafing through the pages of the morning paper for her story. She suppressed some disappointment when she discovered the article on page 17 and proceeded to read the finished product.

GCSB WATCHLIST

The GCSB has come under attack again following the release of another ‘leaked’ email which includes a list of around a thousand New Zealand residents under active investigation. The government agency has an obligation to investigate persons who may be involved with such illegal activities as industrial espionage, cyber-attacks and terrorism. In the current global financial climate these connections have potential to do severe damage to the New Zealand economy. The small number of persons under surveillance are known to have links with radical, international groups worldwide including places of high unrest such as Egypt, Palestine and Syria, regularly express anti-government sentiments and participate in activities detrimental to New Zealand’s interests. these individuals could potentially have severe repercussions on New Zealand’s trade, economic and public safety. One of the recently revealed targets, an unemployed, disenchanted Aucklander, was unsurprised to learn that he was on the list. He openly told our Herald reporter of his involvement with various anti-government groups and activities that would have brought him under suspicion and dismissed this information with a laugh. “I’m not surprised by this – it’s no secret how I feel about the Crown, the Government and its enforcers.”

Meagan finished reading and sat, stunned, while she processed what she had just read. Shame, disappointment and anger made a cocktail of emotions but her rational mind warned her that there was a lesson to be learned from this experience – it would take some time to process just exactly what that message was.

Kiwis As Far As The Eye Can See Say #TPPANoWay

Once again, #TPPANoWay has taken the world by storm with a series of protest marches in more than a dozen New Zealand cities, in coordination with other anti-TPP groups worldwide

Trending #1 on Twitter in Auckland, #1 in New Zealand and #2 worldwide, citizens across the globe helped ensure the mainstream media’s virtual black-out of the event was rendered utterly impotent.

Topsy

It is very clear from our above live, unedited video footage of the Auckland event, that the turnout was significant and newsworthy. (To say the least!) Yet, other than misleading and disparaging articles down-playing actions in fringe locations, the mainstream media was mostly silent.

Their usual press of cameras were entirely missing in action, despite the iconic photo opportunities as Auckland, for a day at least, transformed itself into a mass of civil protest on a scale only previously seen in the likes of Lisbon, Rome, Madrid, Vancouver or Mexico City.

Indeed, from the below bird’s eye view posted by The Daily Blog editor Martyn Bradbury it is clear that the media’s reports of “1000” and “2000” attendees at the Auckland action, is laughable.

Meanwhile, the media resources pastebin that we sent to international media contacts got over 1,700 hits and this Greenpeace NZ initiative facilitated over 25,000 anti-TPP submissions to New Zealand politicians.

The #TPPANoWay Thunderclap reached 174% of the required support and a PledgeMe project to fly a banner over the event was also successful.

The OccupyNZ You Tube channel has more than a half dozen videos of the Auckland event and there are hundreds of pictures on the hashtag: #TPPANoWay and on the official event accounts: @ItsOurFutureNZ & @TPPANoWay

All in all we proved several things –

1. The World IS Watching
2. Misrepresentations and omissions by corporate media will not stop groundswell support building, and
3. Together we are unstoppable. Another world IS possible.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Sweeping The Globe: #MillionMaskMarch Impossible To Ignore

Over 400 cities worldwide demonstrated what a REAL “Wave of Action” looks like, celebrating Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) by congregating in major city centres the world over, to spread messages of awakening to their fellow citizens and commemorate the growth of the Anonymous movement.

Becoming ever larger with each passing year, the Million Mask March (known as MMM) 2014 marks the first major penetration of the event in mainstream media, who had tried so desperately hard to black-out MMM in previous years.

With this year’s event covered by Reuters and The Guardian, and not just RT, it does seem that the MSM worm is turning.

And as the BBC have now learned the hard way – if you refuse to cover thousands of protesters converging on a major city centre, they may well just bring their grievances to your front doorstep, leaving you little choice but to acknowledge their presence.

Even the alleged (and very familiar) reports of post-event manipulation of Google results could not suppress the massive onslaught of citizen and independent media, as participants have long since learned to become the media, replacing the inauthentic  filtered echo chambers of the past, with their own authentic and untrained voices.

As usual, ex-CIA agent Ray McGovern discussing events on RT, is a total must-watch:

As is this extremely powerful video from London, where the crowds of protesters swelled into the tens of thousands, marching on a half-dozen locations simultaneously, and vastly outnumbering the police present:

Also check out this awesome picture montage video already up on Vimeo. Lovely stuff.

A collection of the best of the event media we have seen so far is below, for your viewing pleasure.

Section 1: Citizen Media (by city)

Auckland, New Zealand:

(There is also 7 short video solidarity statements from Kiwi Anons published in @endarken‘s article about covering #MMMAKL found here: “We Must Never Sanitise Or Homogenise Our Messages Or Our Pain)

Glasgow, Scotland:

Peru:

Belgrade, Serbia:

Halifax, Canada:

Ferguson, Missouri:

Japan:

Detroit, Michigan:

Section 2: Established Media

The Independent: ‘Thousands Gather For Anti-Capitalist Protest In London’

The Dallas Observer: ‘Dallas’ Anonymous Million Masks March’

TruthDig: Million Mask March – The New Face of Protest

The Daily Dot: Inside Anonymous’ Million Mask March

Section 3: Complaints of Media Silence/Bias

Section 4: Other Significant Videos

A section of the Washington DC march splintered off to the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building – causing some police there to have a complete meltdown before the crowd all put their hands in the air and chanted “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” Ferguson-style.

Elsewhere in DC, protesters made a stop at the Monsanto HQ. Monsanto is of course the pro-GMO corporation widely believed to be responsible for the decline of the global bee population.

And the icing on the cake: a video shot from inside the BBC headquarters in London, with swathes of British protesters massing outside in anger at the BBC’s frequent and famous suppression of anti-government protest events. Not this time, though!

We also love this amazing photo but have been unable as yet to establish where it is from; if you know, please leave a comment and tell us!

Thank you and solidarity to all who participated in the #MillionMaskMarch, around the globe.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

 

High Court Denounces Evictions; Vindicates Occupy Auckland

They say the wheels of justice turn slowly but indeed they are turning.

At long last, some measure of vindication for the countless legitimate protesters victimised by Auckland Council.

At the close of business today March 6th 2013 the corporate media began reporting that the High Court in Auckland has finally found in favour of Occupy Auckland.

The extremely sparse media reports (no more than a few short paragraphs and almost uniform wording across a slew of mainstream news sources) don’t tell you much other than that the violent evictions imposed by the Council despite our pending court appeal “went too far“.

Indeed, lawyer Ron Mansfield suspected as much, when he warned us that the conduct of the Council surrounding the evictions may have breached the terms of their own by-laws. That stealing and storing our belongings in a supposedly “vacant” hangar at the same airforce base the FBI were flying in and out of that very week; miles out of town; may be onerous.

That their demanding private information about anyone who did manage to get out to the airbase to “claim” their belongings; may not be legal.

The human cost of the evictions is impossible to calculate and goes far beyond the dozens of arrests on January 23rd & 26th, 2012.

The evictions crippled the physical presence and daily functioning of the four simultaneous and autonomous occupations in Auckland Central – (Occupy Aotea Square; Occupy Te Herenga Waka at Victoria Park; Occupy Albert Park and Occupy Queen Street)

The occupations created organising hubs for the public to engage in political activism that should be encouraged in any healthy democracy and indeed is enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

From the homeless protester in his 80s who suffered multiple heart attacks and was hospitalised after his heart medication was unlawfully seized by “security”, and the Occupy liaisons who frantically tried to negotiate with the Council for the return of the medication, only to wait 48 hours for a response…

…to the middle-aged grandmother who had never been arrested in her entire life until Occupy, never had a tent or stayed overnight at an occupation, but was named in litigation by Auckland Council and hauled relentlessly through Court, unjustly…

…to the intelligent and sincere young man, of whom images were plastered all over the national media after he was lifted off the ground by his neck by police alongside mercenary corporate private security companies hired by Auckland Council at ratepayers’ expense…

…to his petite girlfriend, trapped outside the temporary fencing Auckland Council erects on a whim at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, screaming with raw fright and fear as she witnessed what was happening to her partner before her very eyes…

…to a little 5 year old boy, who the police and Auckland Council staff alike, left in the middle of Aotea Square; after they arrested his father in front of him, without even noticing the child…

…to the woman who scooped up the child onto her hip, marched into the congregation of police officers outside the paddy-wagon-filled Auckland Council carpark and publicly scolded the Inspector in charge for the display of utter negligence…

…to the uni student, who was one of the first to feel the cold touch of publicly-funded Council-ordered surveillance, so early on in Occupy that he was not believed; surveillance that, although later confirmed by the Council to have been undertaken, escalated until his entire life fell apart around him. Despite being so young, he was forcefully institutionalised and temporarily drugged into apathy… all on our tax dollars… his persecution paid for by our rates…

…those who suffered profound loss because of Auckland Council are too many to be counted on all our fingers and toes. Thousands of people per week became active in their communities at grassroots level because of Occupy and collectively housed, fed, educated and cared for hundreds residing in the occupations.

…to every person who ever learned something because of Occupy; taught someone because of Occupy; fed someone because of Occupy, was fed by Occupy – to everyone who for the first time in their lives saw that we CAN provide for each other and we CAN provide for ourselves…

…to those who were slandered, libelled, suppressed, oppressed, victimised by many of the mechanisms of the state, most visibly, Auckland Council.

The very body that is supposed to represent our interests.

Whether there can ever now be reparation remains to be seen. So much was lost that cannot be returned. Many occupiers may now not even be alive. Many have had such financial pressure and mental stress applied to them that they have lost or are losing what assets and opportunities they had.

Many have been served with questionably legal trespass notices; intimidated out of returning to the CBD or outright threatened in various forms.

Last October 15th, 2012, the 1 year anniversary of Occupy Auckland, protesters performed flash occupations at the original sites and at other places of significance to our movement.

But of course, Auckland Council got a visit.

Occupy Auckland Council As did TVNZ, the national broadcaster who had participated in the corporate media blackout, and then smear campaign against Occupy.

TVNZ, who utterly failed to fairly represent the voices of the people, or to sufficiently educate the public as to the global and viral nature of the movement, found their staff entrance temporarily occupied.

Occupy The MediaBut also on the flash occupation list was the High Court in Auckland.

High Court
Yet this recent ruling begins a process of restoring the faith instilled in us by the human rights lawyers at Occupy Auckland, so long ago.

We DO have the right to the basic necessities of human life even though Auckland Council denied us water, power and the tools of communication.

For we do and should have the right to peacefully assemble. The right to free association.

The right to dissent and the right to seek redress from our systems of Government.

We have the legal right not to be discriminated against on the basis of our political opinion.

We have the right to participate in our democracy. All of us.

And we must. For the viability of the continued existence of our entire planet, depends upon what we do now.

E tu Aotearoa. Stand up and fight back. Don’t let them sell what scraps they have not already stolen. This is our country. It is priceless.

Rise like lions and roar.

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

One Demand: FREE SCHAPELLE CORBY! #F28

If you remember Schapelle Corby being plastered all over the media but you haven’t seen the Expendable.tv website archives or viewed the “Expendable: The Political Sacrifice of Schapelle Corby” free documentary, please bookmark this page & watch it ASAP.

You will be astounded at the injustice & at the vast cover-up that has maintained it.

There is an International Day of Solidarity for Schapelle Corby on February 28th.

Please make contact with the wonderful admins at the CIAbook group “People For Schapelle Corby” if you can help with organising an action in your area.

Our F28 event: “ONE DEMAND: FREE SCHAPELLE CORBY” will be held at Aotea Square, Auckland, February 28th, 6.30pm

PRESS RELEASE: Monday 18 February 2013

For immediate release:

New Zealanders In Solidarity With Schapelle Corby are hosting a candlelight vigil at Aotea Square, 6.30pm on February 28th, 2013.

The hit free documentary “Expendable” (www.expendable.tv) compiles countless official government documents to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Schapelle Corby is NOT guilty.

Despicably, the powers that be went to great lengths to blind the public to that fact.

Even despite it emerging that her suitcase (which was discovered 5kg overweight) was actually underweight when she checked it in, she has so far served 8 years of an outrageous 20 year sentence, in appalling conditions in a Balinese jail.

As if that wasn’t enough to topple the balance of resaonable doubt; as recently as December 2012 an drug-trafficking ring was arrested, for operating customs-side at Sydney Airport. Corrupt airport employees were using the baggage of unsuspecting passengers to ferry drugs around Australasia.

As the “Expendable” documentary spreads around the world, exponential numbers of people are discovering the truth about what really happened to Schapelle Corby.

An international day of solidarity will be occurring worldwide. With only one demand.

Free Schapelle Corby immediately. Let her out now, and the international events will be cancelled!

Julia Gillard: Act in good faith and give Schapelle back her life. She has lost so much of it already.

Event also endorsed by: the 14,000-strong Facebook page “People For Schapelle Corby” & Occupy Auckland, New Zealand.

LEAK: NZ Cops Brag About Bashing TPP Protesters – U.S. Embassy “Happy”

This week the NZ corporate media, in concert with the NZ police, put forward a young female protester as a scapegoat for the repeated violence demonstrated by officers & security guards at the December 8 TPPA Shutdown protest at Sky City, in Auckland.

The combined protest movements of It’s Our Future, Occupy New Zealand, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale and Socialist Aotearoa, among others, were depicted as violent, framed as volatile and dangerous and falsely accused of wanton assaults on police officers.

Despite this Occupy NZ flooded the alternative media sphere with THE TRUTH:

* multiple sets of unedited live coverage thanks to Occupy Eye & Redstar309z

* comprehensive info-filled blogpost

resources / viewing guides/analysis

But never did we dream that the protesters written about so libelously in the national media would now be suddenly exonerated in so spectacular a fashion as has unfolded!

Global Peace & Justice Aotearoa has published a press release containing a leaked tape.

The tape is of internal police conversations regarding the approval of the U.S. Embassy of the police actions that day, a tape of which GPJA says;

In the recording the officer acknowledges Saturday’s melee was sparked when an officer “broke ranks” and ran into the crowd.

The admins on Occupy Auckland & Occupy New Zealand have had a hell of a week. Not only have they had to deal with constant paid trolls on You Tube videos posting false “witness testimony” (sure they were there! With a uniform on…) we have also had to deal with many of our own loyal supporters who weren’t present, and who took the corporate media/police line at face value.

It seems the entire country forgot our track record of a year straight of non-violent protest actions.

As with the violence displayed at the Occupy Auckland evictions and the constant bashings dished out by police at Glen Innes Housing protests, there was already a mountain of evidence that the blame for the TPPA unrest lay at the feet of authorities.

For an organisation that has promised to change its culture surrounding the handling of crimes committed by its employees, it needs to take a serious look at why it is expending its resources targeting normal legislative democratic dissent and not dealing to the abysmal social issues that continue in Auckland seemingly unabated.

When the police make the general public the enemy, who is left for them to protect and serve?

It is difficult for someone not involved to realise the full significance of this now-famous photo of Motorbike Cop – NZ’s own version of Pepper Spray Cop.

"What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls." says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

“What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls.” says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

The member of the public in the above photo is wearing a Power Shift t-shirt. Power Shift had an event at the university on the morning of the TPPA protest, and are a very straight-laced coalition of climate change protesters, many of whom then attended the TPPA shutdown on a whim.

While to corporate eyes the young man’s skin colour may condemn him, as with the other victims of Motorbike Cop he was quite obviously undeserving of the ill-treatment so publicly meted out to him.

Likewise some police may have been fooled into thinking it is an accomplishment to hit John Minto. To us, it is the utmost shame to beat a man of his age. Those who physically abuse someone they can’t outmatch intellectually are the definition of thugs.

The city cops that policed Occupy Auckland for the first four months of our occupations, were the opposite of the thuggery displayed at the TPPA negotiations.

It seems whenever police are imported from other locations there is brutality, but the regular city cops especially under the guidance of Inspector Danny Meade, have been constantly affable, supportive and generated goodwill amongst activists.

To have those efforts so callously destroyed for the sake of testosterone and blatant political discrimination, let alone on the world stage where it is being played out, is pure embarrassment.

This month we have worked so hard to move the world to analyse and reject the TPPA, with great success. Even going so far as to host foreign citizen journalists, to spend money filming and documenting the momentous events here, creating a pure historical record.

Occupier Kereru of Occupy Auckland said: this is the year of instant karma. All actions will be held immediately accountable.

It seems this is precisely what has played out here. Despite the police and corporate media machines being set firmly against us – the truth has slipped through the cracks and the perpetrators have revealed themselves and their intentions, to the world.

Mana Party: “Feed The Kids” – Glen Innes Branch AGM

We were pleased to be invited to attend the Mana Movement Glen Innes Branch AGM last Thursday 15th November at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Puau Te Moananui-a-kiwa in Glen Innes, Auckland.

Having attended and covered many of the Glen Innes Housing Defense protests in G.I. (as Aucklanders call it) it was important to us to have a chance to hear the korero (talk, messages) from the speakers present, many of whom have openly supported Occupy in New Zealand, since our inception.

As with such events, it is the finishing touches that really count, and we were extremely impressed by the organisation and generosity of the members, many of whom were familiar faces from protest actions.

Despite being “outsiders” we have been embraced by the G.I. community, with Mana granting us spontaneous filming, photographing and reporting rights, even allowing us to livetweet the event.

It is, to our knowledge, unprecedented for a political party, to be so open and transparent at an annual General Meeting. We certainly weren’t extended the same privileges at the recent (ruling) National Party Convention!!

What impressed us the most is how down-to-earth the proceedings were. Informal yet intimate setting, combined with grassroots marketing ingenuity; instead of glossy brochures and expensive advertising, hosts furnished the attendees with bags of kai (food) and asked us to make sure it went to people who needed it, if we ourselves didn’t.

That finishing touch reflected the drawing in Parliament of Mana Movement’s “Feed The Kids” bill – a piece of legislation that aims to bring New Zealand in line with other foreign countries by having our public education system be responsible for providing basic nourishment to children within school hours.

Web search “Child Poverty In New Zealand” to read about our appalling track record, with 100s of 1000s of children living below the breadline. Congratulations to Mana for seeking to address this and as they say, truly “Walking The Talk”.

Highlights from the livetweet:

Here is the video interview with John Minto – highly suggest viewing it from mobile phone!! Because for unknown reasons when we “rotated” it to the correct appearance in the video editor it cut the video in half! The conversation is great though and well worth listening to. Kia ora everyone involved in the AGM. You did a great job.

Occupy Oakland: A Phoenix Will Rise From The Ashes #O25 #OO

48 hours out from #O25 Occupy Oakland is in turmoil. It needs our help.

We, who have eye-witnessed on their behalf. As they in turn did for us, during the evictions of Occupy Auckland, here in NZ.

How can we help? By speaking the truth. Fearlessly.

By regurgitating the sum of our knowledge gathered over this past year and trusting in each other’s mutual sincerity enough to ALWAYS keep an open mind.

We who have now, finally, become adept at picking out the true of heart and conscience, from the wolves in sheep’s clothing. For by their actions, they are known.

———————————————————————————————————–

The geographic difference between Oakland, CA & New Zealand belies the closeness of the socio-economic circumstances and the pop culture. Listening to the Port Shutdown II soundtruck on Oakfosho’s livestream, we knew (and raucously sung along to) every song played.

Whether it is the ‘Pac connection (revered as a deity in the NZ hip-hop/rap scene) or the fact that I, a white Kiwi woman, can rap the entire of Luniz “I Got 5 On It”; at street level we feel Oakland, like a distant older sibling. “Up in the O-A-K the town; homies don’t play around, we down to blaze a pound…” “Holla if ya hear me!”

Activists and musicians from Oakland have been naming all of our social ills and nailing the root causes of them for decades before Occupy spawned. They, and the newer generations of activists who collectively founded Occupy Oakland do have so much to be proud of.

Proud that people were fed, that people were housed, that people were roused from their slumber and reunited in community. Proud that because of the sheer determination of citizen media; the whole world IS watching.

We will never forget the night the chopper’s cut & ran.

We were screaming obscenities at the @ABC7newsBayArea “refuelling” lies, while watching both the CBS and ABC7 helicopters cut & run SIMULTANEOUSLY… from the livestreams on the ground.

We don’t need to retell that story… it was already done beautifully in this absolute must-read blog post, authored by an Oakland resident who witnessed the same sequence of events as us.

The writer talks of leaping out of their chair and running out of their house to join their community on #O25 ’11, explicitly because of what they witnessed through the livestreams. Yet another testament to the invaluable ability of People’s Media to reach an audience otherwise literally CUT OFF from participation, by the complicity and corruption of the mainstream media.

Witnessing the chopper cut-and-run & the events that followed, instantly turned us into by-proxy Occupy Oakland activists. As with activists the world over, we amplified & collated the media response and from sheer outrage at the injustices, absolutely hammered the public interfacing (read: P.R.) channels of the officials responsible for the debacle.

Mayor Jean Quan’s Facebook page was receiving 14,000 – 20,000 comments per post on her page, lambasting her (to put it politely). ABC7 was forced to pull their twitter feed off their website after it erupted into abuse at their obvious lies and omissions, bailing right as everyone was gassed.

The following are some of the tweets that transpired from our end, within the first 24 hours. (Note: 26th in NZ was 25th for OO)

The reference to “OPD lies” in one of the tweets above is due to the OPD holding a press-conference on #O25 itself stating to the corporate media that they had not used flash-bang grenades against the demonstrators. Once the deluge of citizen media came out proving them liars, the footage of their press conference was removed from the web.

The fall-out was immediate and swift. Mayor Jean Quan’s inner circle soon began to crumble.

Petitions sprang up; including a recall petition. A “Recall Mayor Jean Quan” Facebook page got thousands of likes almost instantaneously. Even, of all people, the police union, got on her case.

Mayor Jean Quan In Big Trouble After Riot” claimed SFGate.com, as the resignations of Quan’s inner circle continued.

Astonishingly, Quan’s response (other than to shirk an appearance at a General Assembly for not being given priority in the speaking order) was to spill the beans about PERF‘s “18-city” eviction co-ordination.

This Oakland Tribune live-blog of O25 tells of the beginnings of the idea to shut down the Port of Oakland as part of a General Strike.

“Protesters are calling for a general strike in the city of Oakland on Thursday and are telling people to gather at 5 p.m. in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. They say their hope is to shut down the city. They’re telling businesses to close their shops and will be going into businesses to promote the idea. Protesters say they are trying to mobilize unions and turn this into a strike movement.”

“An estimated 2,000 protesters are on hand, and they’re discussing the mechanics for a strike on the city next Wednesday. Protest leaders are trying to galvanize unions, students and businesses into taking part. Ideally, protesters want students to skip school, businesses to shut down and hundreds of thousands of citizens to mobilize at the City Center.”

One week later, on the day of the Strike:

You can tell when the 99% backs an action. Because it looks like this.

You can also tell who really backs the 99% and not just their own agenda, by their level of tolerance.

True Occupy Media amplify for all issues and for EVERY faction in a spirit of inclusion.

We cover the religious organisations that support the 99%; even though we do not personally ascribe to any of them. We cover the student movement, although we are not all students. We cover Rainbow Youth & LGBT issues, regardless of our own sexuality. We advocate for the elderly, the young, no matter what our own age.

We cover indigenous issues, because the mainstream media deliberately distort both history and the present, and above all we seek to give voice to those who often go unheard.

We cover the entire 99% to the best of our ability, and strive to strengthen the movement, to decentralise and grow the chorus of testimony horizontally across our society.

But the true mark of Occupy Media is that we never fucking quit sharing movement information. No matter what is thrown our way.

The drive to share the information and grow the awakening outstrips any personal discomforts we are forced to endure. Be it financial through deprivation, or through being targeted for bullying and derision by others.

Those who truly believe – who truly love Occupy – act to grow the movement. Not to pigeon-hole it into one fixed method or ideology.

Thus it was with shock and dismay that we witnessed the beheading of the Occupy Oakland Media team.

Proposals to disband entire media teams were surprisingly common across the movement. There was an asserted drive, especially in Oakland, to:

a) alienate livestreamers – even going so far as to accuse them of being “narks”, while outright ignoring/turning a blind eye to the vastly superior surveillance capabilities of the state

b) control the key infrastructure of the Occupy

c) usurp the resources of the Occupy

d) discredit the Occupiers and alienate the public from them

We suffered the same thing at Occupy Auckland, though by good fortune managed to mass block the destructive proposals to fire our media team and they never passed. Although it poisoned our G.A. process & succeeded to some extent in alienating people from the movement, those who pushed for it have since proven their colours many times over in the wider activist community, and we are now rightfully acknowledged for having, through fierce loyalty and dogged determination, kept Occupy Auckland alive, despite their constant claims that “Occupy is dead!”

To go through that experience immediately prior to witnessing the same proposal actually PASS at Occupy Oakland, was horrifying. On live chat on Oakfosho’s stream, the day of that fateful General Assembly, no less than a half dozen cities were screaming warnings that the same proposal had been made at their occupies. We were all begging Oak to warn the G.A. not to do it. No proposal should EVER be passed which undoes the work of dozens of people who have given so much of themselves and their lives to the movement. Sadly due to the absence of much of the already beleaguered media team and the first-in-history successful use of the word ‘terrorist’ as a deterrent to further investigation… it was all over.

I had a particular memory of said ‘terrorist’, from months prior. Where I had stumbled across a Kickstarter page that successfully fundraised $3,200 for the creation of a definitive “Oral History of Occupy Oakland“. (The project delivery date was January 2012 yet we cannot find any trace of it.)

The page makes the astonishing claim;

“Especially in the earlier period of the plaza, my reporting has been at times, and for most of this period, the only in-depth narrative work done on the camp, and by any estimate the most accurate.”  -Jamie Omar Yassin

It then lists a bunch of links to the apparently WePay-funded blog Hyphenated-Republic whose last update was August 27th, 2012.

However it does have a very active Twitter feed on it – one which is filled with daily hate messages about OOMedia, courtesy of @Hyphy_Republic.

Despite his account’s “protected” status (another sure sign of someone spreading the awakening!) his twitter feed populating on his dormant blog site means his vitriole is able to be witnessed live.

As of 5 hours ago Yassin says;

2 days ago, this bizarre statement:

Which seems to be a vast departure from the story told here most notably, in the comments section.

Ironically, one thing Occupy Oakland definitely DOES have is great websites. Both OccupyOakland.org & HellaOccupyOakland.org have high usability and polish.

Unfortunately the “official” website appears to have no news updates between August 8th and October 22nd. The official Facebook page, which has a huge reach with over 24,000 likes on it, has been dormant for months. Suggesting the “new” media team that “replaced” OOMedia is all but AWOL.

One of Jaime Omar Yassin’s anti-OOMedia Twitter compadres is @OccupiedOakTrib who appears to control the infrastructure of the media teams print publication. (Or at the very least its social media accounts). From which he has made very clear his public position, while continuing to, still seven months later, be snapping at the heels of OOMedia. Despite having personally announced the “Emergency GA” to present a proposal to depose them.

Watching that OO assembly all we could see was ourselves mirrored in it. The same ringleaders. The same stooge saboteurs. The same cat-calling, negativity-cheering, rent-a-mob. The same slanderous terminology slung about to inflate emotions and utterly DISTRACT everyone present from action-planning, instead making them unwitting participants in devolution.

Now, seven months later, the writing is on the wall. As we would say, “the proof is in the pudding”. HellaOccupyOakland is posting exponential articles from around the globe, to every 1 by the Occupied Oakland Tribune. Meanwhile Jaime Omar Yassin is blaming Occupy Oakland for his not having uploaded an audio file to the G.A. archive in forever, despite having gloated over the historical value of it on the Kickstarter page that apparently netted him $3,200.

For all the cries of “transparency” and “accountability” between the two of them; the online record IS transparent. It shows no uploads of G.A. minutes or audio for the “emergency” G.A. that voted to fire the media team. Nor any in the seven months since.

Twitter is also transparent. If you search “OOMedia” in Twitter, with no # or @ in front, what you will find is @oomedia relentlessly sharing and spreading movement info, while being blasted with constant time-wasting trolling, by the same group of people, over and over again.

It quite frankly sucks, but is no wonder, that those actively spreading the awakening are being hated on. By people whose timelines are filled with narcissistic, vitriolic bullshit by comparison.

While others claim credit for actions of the 99%; yet heap scorn upon the founding principles that brought the 99% together.

Non-Violence. Global Solidarity. Local Governance.

Thus the self-styled “Oakland Commune” appears to be a remanifestation of OO that is an attempt to mask the failure of those behind the firing of the media team, at doing any better.

The “O.C.” is now wearing the Port Shutdowns as a badge of honor while showing little interest in the original agreement to “mobilise the unions and make this a strike movement” as per the statement of the Port Shutdown Committee.

They are instead writing angsty teenage revolutionary would-be manifestos, advocating “smashy smashy” and deriding “pacifists” as lesser beings, completely ignoring the roots of Occupy; of Tahrir and the Battle of Qasr Elnil Bridge that turned the tide of the Egyptian Revolution and brought down Mubarak.

As in other examples of recent successful revolution, it was achieved by large-scale acts of non-violence.

We watched it live, thanks to brave Egyptian livestreamers.

It is not possible to claim to be Occupy, or to lay claim to Occupy’s support base, if you do not believe in using peaceful methods to obtain societal change.

You will never convince the 99% to support the use of violence. The second you do, you EXCLUDE the elderly. The young. The disabled. Those with children. The 99%!

The enemy of the 99% is the banks. Not the police, not the Councils, not the Mayors, not the myriad of distracting middle-layers of the pyramid: but the TOP OF THE PYRAMID!

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No-one knows what is coming this #O25 though it is bound to be historic. We will witness, support & amplify regardless. For as was done for us, so shall be done for you.

Two of the final sources for this article are filled with memories for those who ate, slept and truly lived, at Occupy Oakland.

This gorgeous look at the real camp; as it was. A blogpost to treasure.

This comparison of the “Before” and “After” images, pre & post eviction.

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Bella doesn’t know it, but she made a grown woman on the other side of the world, cry her eyes out. Not just any woman. A woman that had survived years in prison. Who said about it; “they should have just put me in the men’s prison. I would have been better off.”

I showed the woman the video of Bella speaking at #OakMtg. She couldn’t even get through the entire video without breaking down. She got about two thirds the way through then turned it off and made a hasty and teary departure.

And this ain’t no spring chicken; she is a staunch lady. Just like Bella. But the truth rings so true to those of us who have been trying to tell it our whole lives, that to hear your every thought, feeling and wish come out of another person’s mouth, saying all the things you’ve ever wanted to but couldn’t, is a profoundly moving and emotional experience.

The recognition that at our core we all have the same wants and needs, just varying ability to express and achieve them. Within a system weighting itself wholly against our success.

Well that system is formulaic. It isn’t able to apply different methodologies at a micro level, everything must always be centralised and all instruction uniform. That is its inherent weakness.

For it means that with effective communication between the Occupies; we can connect the dots and learn from each others mistakes, with the omniscience of a hive mind.

Knowledge based on experience is our greatest asset, along with each other.

For a year now, OOMedia team have provided us with support and covered issues that were of no direct benefit for them to, other than in pure solidarity for a fellow Occupy.

For that we are so grateful to them.

Solidarity EVERYONE at Occupy Oakland. Wishing you a safe #O25.

Resources For Occupy New Zealand Occupations This Weekend

Please print / share / spread the images & information about TOMORROW’S!! nationwide decentralised Occupations!!

Relying on you to be the voice the corporate media won’t give us! Thanks so much to all involved internationally in #GlobalNOISE #13O #O13

Event Press Release:

Celebrate the 1st birthday of the Occupy movement in New Zealand by re-occupying! High-profile, low-profile or mobile; your choice!

Occupy anywhere! Occupy everywhere! Film it, photograph it, blog about it & submit it to Occupy New Zealand      Pass it on! ❤