“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Is this quote from:

(a) A Report from the Richmond VA police department describing how to infiltrate protest organizations

(b) A report from Gaddafi’s secret services, just before the uprising started there

(c) A dispatch from Ben Ali’s security forces, just prior to his downfall,

The answer, as always, is “A”  And the report was given to a protestor in answer to a FOIA request, by accident.  It gives insight into the new thinking on the part of the government that equates dissent with terrorism and the exercise of First Amendment rights with criminality.  After the government released it, it then tried to cover up the existence of the report, but too late–here it is.  Covered by Will Potter at the ever-excellent blog Green is the New Red:

Richmond Cops Mistakenly Hand Over Anti-Protest Guides to Anarchist

After filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Richmond Police Department for police training documents, Mo Karn received much more than expected in return: homeland security and crowd control guides that show how the police target protests.

The police filed for an emergency court order yesterday to prohibit Karn from publicizing any of the documents, which should never have been released. The cops’ reasoning? “Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist.”

The documents, however, have already been published online. And buried in the training guides are insights into three trends in law enforcement that have been occurring not just in Virginia, but nationally: the demonization of protest, the militarization of police, and turning local cops into “terrorism” officials.

The Demonization of Protest

The Richmond Police Department’s Emergency Operations Plan
includes a section on “civil disturbances.” While this sounds innocuous, “civil disturbances” are defined so broadly as to include what the police call “dissident gatherings.”

“The City of Richmond is a target rich environment” for antiwar protesters, the document says. And it warns that police and homeland security have reason to be increasingly concerned:

“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Militarization of Local Police

Such a depiction of “assembly” (a First Amendment right) as a “disturbance” and a threat is all the more troubling when put in the context of the other police department guides. Richmond’s Crowd Management Operating Manual is for the police unit assigned to large protests (no experience required). Among the tools that the crowd management team are issued include riot shields, chemical agents, cut tools, helmets, body armor, cameras, video cameras, batons, gas masks, and a “mass arrest kit.”

Deputizing Local Cops as Counter-terrorism Officials

This militarization of local police is accompanied by another trend in law enforcement since September 11th: deputizing local cops to becoming “homeland security” and counter-terrorism officials. According to the Homeland Security Criminal Intelligence Unit Operating Manual, “The Richmond Police Department is under contract with the FBI to provide assistance through staffing, intelligence and equipment.” And one member of the homeland security unit is assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The result? Documents like the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment. The 2009 document was created by the Virginia Fusion Center, of which the Richmond Police Department is part. Fusion centers are ostensibly designed to gather terrorism intelligence from multiple police agencies, and make us safer. In practice, they routinely label activists as “terrorists.” Among the “terrorist threats” identified in Virginia were animal rights activists, environmental activists, and anarchists.

“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Yes, your work matters

Will Potter Interview at The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, covered at the always relevant Green is the New Red

I was interviewed by Dara Greenwald for the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest about the Green Scare, and labeling political activists as domestic terrorists.

One area that was particularly interesting, and has not been discussed much on this site, is the implications of all this for artists. Check out the interview for a bit more on Steve Kurtz, the Boston LED-terrorists and the Graffiti Research Lab.

Here’s an excerpt:

DG: Do you have advice for artists and media makers who might care about these issues?

WP: Your work matters. That may sound silly or simplistic, but I have met so many amazing artists who sometimes look down on their own work as if it is not “real” activism. But you have so much power to educate and inspire, to shake up widely held beliefs and reinforce values that matter.

There have been so many days when I couldn’t feel more down, more hopeless about all of this, and then stumbled across a tiny, spray-painted stencil on the street, or a song, or a video, or a performance, and felt like I had a fire lit under me. So I’ll say it again: Your work matters.

What kind of work is going on? Quite a lot actually, and the complete engagement of artistic and tech communities is really refreshing.  (See: http://graffitiresearchlab.com/)

Doing work like this:

Related Post: Art/Graffiti I like

Yes, your work matters

This is why I have the catagory ‘Corporate Fascism’

Over at against Monopoly Justin Levine notes the story of the man who was arrest, not sued, for alleged copyright violations.  Under U.S. law copyright violations had always been considered a matter for civil courts. No more:

A rather disturbing development –

A man accused of posting nine previously unreleased songs by the rock band Guns N’ Roses on a website where they could be accessed by the public was arrested at his home early today on suspicion of violating federal copyright laws, authorities said.

Kevin Cogill, 27, is accused of posting the songs, which were being prepared for commercial release, on the Internet blog Antiquiet in June, according to an arrest affidavit. The site received so much traffic after the songs were posted that it crashed, the affidavit states.

More info here.

The ephemeral line between civil and criminal penalties in copyright is yet another bothersome abuse of the intersection between business interests and state power. Why are some accused of copyright violations merely sued by businesses while others are arrested by the state? What truly distinguishes one case from the other, and how do authorities make such a determination? On the surface, it seems that the only difference is how much political clout a particular business has with authorities.

I am of the belief that IP violations should never be considered as a criminal offense unless there are other criminal activities associated with the use of the IP itself (i.e., selling ‘pirated’ goods or fake knock-offs of trademarked products to help fund terrorist groups, organized crime, etc.)

Emphasis, as always, is by E_F

This is why I have the catagory ‘Corporate Fascism’

Coming Soon to wikileaks

Here’s a story about a government program that, if it existed, would clearly not only violate the Constitution but also break enough of the rules of expect behavior that its disclosure would cause such loss of prestige to those who created it, that it would have to be kept secret. That’s true because the moral implications of the program are so repulsive, that if the program came to light, it would quickly be subject to scrutiny and debate and modification. For that reason, it is not unlikely that it will be leaked soon–all of the reasons to leak are there, and all it takes is exactly one moral person + web 2.0 and the program comes unsprung, probably after being posted at wikileaks So if the program exists, it’s not unreasonable to expect to read about it at wikileaks soon. The story:

From Radar Magazine:

Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?

By Christopher Ketcham

In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.

Coming Soon to wikileaks

The ’09 F9 effect’ strikes (another) clueless corporation…

Well, it took a whole day for wikileaks to be mirrored and redistributed, and now thousands of people are redistributing the wikileaks content. I am happy to say that I am one of them (using peer to peer technology). It would be immoral not to redistribute that content, especially since Julius Baer has tried to suppress the content. the entire site, to get their content taken down.

In any case here is a link to the wikileaks site:

There is a big stink here. There is no reason for the judge to put a lock-down on the whole site. In addition, the DNS attack that has been reported by Wired Magazine seems strange–would a bank pay for a DNS attack? And the fire…?

Continue reading “The ’09 F9 effect’ strikes (another) clueless corporation…”

The ’09 F9 effect’ strikes (another) clueless corporation…

Mad Cow Disease–Web 2.0 to the rescue

A story about someone secretly taking video inside a slaughterhouse, documenting the mistreatment of cattle. Those who shot the video, probably with a very small camera, seem to have been acting mainly from the perspective of reducing cruelty to animals (certainly a good thing to do) but there is also a public health perspective to this as well:

USDA extends meat ban at Calif slaughterhouse

Westland Meat Co. voluntarily suspended operations last week after the release of undercover video taken by the Humane Society of the United States was released. The video showed, among other things, ramming of cattle with forklifts, and workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing “downed” cows – considered too sick or injured to walk – to force them into the federally inspected slaughterhouse.

“Downed Cows” or “downers” are known to be possible carriers of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy aka Mad Cow Disease) and the few documented case of BSE are perhaps the tip of the iceberg. But remember that when one beef producer wanted to test all of their cows for BSE, the Bush administration sued to prevent them from doing that, on the grounds that if one producer did that they would “disparage” the quality of the rest of the beef. So much for market forces and freedom of the press!

This is just another example, as noted here and here, of the advantages that accrue to those NFP players who are seeking to further the public good under Web 2.0. (Note that those NFP’s that are seeking to further special or corporate interests don’t do so well under Web 2.0, as noted here*.) This is, of course, in addition to the other advantages the NFP sector had already been accruing during the 1990’s which I’ve written about here.

The link to the video and more below the fold:

Continue reading “Mad Cow Disease–Web 2.0 to the rescue”

Mad Cow Disease–Web 2.0 to the rescue