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DEBATING OCCUPY’S IMPACT, Several Views, Spying on Occupy, Osama’s Testament

May 4th, 2012 - by:

LATEST: “Great Recession” Still With US.”More bad news on the job front. Latest report out today shows only 100,1500 plus jobs “created.” Official rate now 8.1%. Rates for minorities, youth could be double. Figures always downplay realities.

BBC: The US says prominent Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has been offered a fellowship by a US university.

The US state department said it would move quickly to provide a visa for Mr Chen and his family, and it expected China to allow them to leave soon.

Earlier Beijing has said the blind activist could apply to study abroad – paving the way for a resolution to a tense diplomatic stand-off with the US.

Never Forget: It’s May 4th, the anniversary of the killings on the Campus of Kent State University. 4 Dead in Ohio.

Happy Birthday Pete: May 3 was the great American folksinger’s 93d birthday

May Day has Come and May Day Has Gone,and the debate about the future of Occupy has not abated. I will be discussing the latest with David Degraw of Amped Status.com, and former Assistant Housing Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts on News Dissector Radio on Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm) today, Friday at 1PM, EST.

*******

Quote Of the Day: Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winning Economist: “There are times in history when people all over the world seem to rise up, to say that something is wrong and to ask for change.”

HP: The Latest: Arrests

St. Petersburg, FL — With the May Day arrests of at least 116 people at Occupy protests around the country, there have now been a minimum of 7,106 Occupy arrests in 114 cities across the United States since the Occupy movement began in New York on September 17, 2011.

Though the frequency of arrests has slowed in 2012, there have been at least 1,200 people arrested for being involved in Occupy-related events since the start of the year. Large cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. are where the highest concentration of the arrests have taken place, but arrests are occurring all around the country, as evidenced by occupiers being arrested in 22 different cities in the past two months.

“The piling on of Occupy arrests can be seen as a barometer of this government’s intolerance for the First Amendment. Aggressive policing tactics, including frequent gratuitous assaults on protesters and bystanders, are making our parks and streets hostile to the Constitution,” says Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of the forthcoming book, “Spying on Democracy, Protest and Dissent in the New Era of Government Surveillance.” The National Lawyers Guild monitors Occupy protests and has offered pro-bono legal assistance to thousands of ordinary Americans who have been swept up in arrests.

Coverage on RT Better than on Most US Outlets

My Latest Contribution to the Discussion

I weighed in with an opinion that I wrote before May Day for AlJazeera. It went up yesterday. Please read it all on AlJazeera.com.

The ideas and vision behind Occupy activism

A new startup may have a promising future as a supplement to the disorganized Occupy movement.

I wrote about Michael Albert of ZNET and the the new IOPS.org group.

I asked Albert about IOPS and he explained that “part of what will occur in IOPS is members enlarging their own awareness of options, developing their insights, etc… and communicating all this to others. But, mainly, the aim is to grow and to develop programmes of activism that are national and international, uniting and helping provide overarching aims for activists in enlarging the numbers of people who are seriously and capably involved in conceiving and seeking a new world – not just verbally, or in thought, but by projects for change as well as construction of programmes and relations among people that embody the seeds of the future in the present”.

I wondered if Albert thought global political elites would pay attention? He replied, “If you mean would existing elites see IOPS as some kind of worthy ally in enacting policies, no – not at all. IOPS will be seen as an enemy by existing elites in societies around the world because IOPS is about eliminating the conditions that make them elites.”

As I read their defining documents at the IOPS site, it was clear that it is about redefining economic, political, and social relations so that all people have control over their own lives, as well as equitable means to live them well and fully.

I wondered about IOPS programmes, and in reply, Albert suggested that “Creating a programme, in general terms, is not really all that complex. The difficulties arise in particular contexts. So, what does one want in the long term? What does one want that can sustain sufficient desire and support to be attainable in the shorter run? How do we demand and seek those short run gains in ways that add to the long run prospects?”

And he elaborated, “for example, in the fight – for peace now, for a shorter work week, for immediate economic redistribution, for different investment policies, for affirmative action, for daycare and medical care more generally, for immigrant rights, for an end to drones, for new energy policies, and on and on – how do we act so as to yield enlarged and enriched consciousness in society broadly and in activists, so that people want still more and understand the parameters of seeking it, and how do we act in ways that yield new organisation, new commitments, and new mechanisms so we do not just celebrate immediate victories and go home?”

When I asked if IOPS was modeled on other past efforts, Albert replied that IOPS arose “from a long line of activism stretching back to the new left movements of the sixties, and further still”.

Since it emerged online, I asked if it is going to only be digital or will morph into a transnational and face-to-face movement. Albert responded that “there is, now, a website – digital – making it easy to learn about IOPS, and, if interested, to join it.”

But. Albert emphasised, that “the aim is that IOPS will have face-to-face chapters in cities, and when it gets big enough, even multiple chapters in cities, which will in turn be federated into city and then national chapters, and then in turn federated into the international organisation”.

You can read more on their website, but agree or not, this is certainly an ambitious building block for what may become a new and far more focused, and, perhaps, better organised, movement that could incorporate, even go beyond Occupy Wall Street. IOPS seeks to answer that big question we have seen so many times in the media: “what do these people want?”

It is significant that the 80+ year-old Noam Chomsky, a Z contributor, has “rock star” status in the movement and on many campuses. Chomsky, along with veteran journalist John Pilger and others, are on the IOPS consultative committee.

I asked Albert about IOPS and he explained that “part of what will occur in IOPS is members enlarging their own awareness of options, developing their insights, etc… and communicating all this to others. But, mainly, the aim is to grow and to develop programmes of activism that are national and international, uniting and helping provide overarching aims for activists in enlarging the numbers of people who are seriously and capably involved in conceiving and seeking a new world – not just verbally, or in thought, but by projects for change as well as construction of programmes and relations among people that embody the seeds of the future in the present”.

Since it emerged online, I asked if it is going to only be digital or will morph into a transnational and face-to-face movement. Albert responded that “there is, now, a website – digital – making it easy to learn about IOPS, and, if interested, to join it.”

But. Albert emphasised, that “the aim is that IOPS will have face-to-face chapters in cities, and when it gets big enough, even multiple chapters in cities, which will in turn be federated into city and then national chapters, and then in turn federated into the international organisation”.

You can read more on their website, but agree or not, this is certainly an ambitious building block for what may become a new and far more focused, and, perhaps, better organised, movement that could incorporate, even go beyond Occupy Wall Street. IOPS seeks to answer that big question we have seen so many times in the media: “what do these people want?”.. (See AlJaeera.com for more)

Adbusters: Still Harping on Threats: “Block the co-optation of our movement”

“Last September, the old left (?)didn’t want to touch us. Then Occupy captured the world’s imagination and now they are jumping in to channel our energy into electoral politics and symbolic actions. Founding Zuccotti Marisa Holmes warns that the co-opters are a deep threat to our movement

“This is an election year. Everything is at stake. There will be many more attempts like The 99% Spring to come. The 1% … seek to manage social movements via foundations thru resource allocation, top-down structures, and co-opting language. In the past this strategy has proven effective at dividing, conquering, and integrating movements into respectable forms of activism, and it’s starting to take hold… We must not be pacified!” Read more in the Occupy! Gazette #4.

Portside.com: Other Views:


Hannah Appel:
‘May Day felt like a celebration of renewed
possibilities’

May Day started with 99 pickets headed out into the
Manhattan drizzle. In front of Citigroup’s world
headquarters, protesters chanted their critiques through the
now-famous people’s microphone: $10bn profit in 2010 alone,
zero dollars federal taxes for five years running.
Elsewhere, an Immigrant Worker Justice Tour led protesters
from Wells Fargo to Chipotle, to the Capital Grille, setting
up a picket at each to highlight the forms of workplace
discrimination particular to immigrant workers. In each of
the picket lines, one could see signs of Occupy Wall Street
- puppets, the use of the people’s microphone – side by side
with community organizations (New York Communities for
Change, the Immokalee Workers), and unions including the
Teamsters Local 814 and the UFCW Local 1500.

In short, May Day 2012 indexed a time of surprising
political possibility.

Tom Hayden: ‘We need a new generation of Robin Hoods’

The measure of a genuine uprising, as distinct from a
political campaign or mobilization, is the degree of its
“newness”, in the phrase of the New England
Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau. By that
standard, the broad Occupy movement is a genuinely new force
in the world, one which has unhinged “the predictable”.

Tuesday, there were hundreds of spirited protests as
Occupiers ended their winter. There were protests against
Iraq a decade ago, but these are defined by their youthful
leadership, courage, and geographic breadth. The tactics in
some places deserves discussion. But instead of being
critical spectators on the sideline, we all can demand that
our leaders not mechanically defend the status quo with
police and empty promises.

The Occupy movement, and kindred spirits from the Middle
East to China, is driven by young people who feel
unrepresented by the institutions, disenfranchised
economically, and threatened by an environmental
catastrophe.

•Spying on Occupy: Homeland Security Documents Show Massive Nationwide Monitoring of Occupy Movement

Documents just obtained by the PCJF from its FOIA request show massive nationwide monitoring, surveillance and information sharing between the Department of Homeland Security and local authorities in response to Occupy. The PCJF, also on behalf of author/filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee, has made a series of FOIA demands regarding law enforcement involvement in the Occupy Crackdown.

“These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF. “These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement,” Verheyden-Hilliard stated.

This set of released materials reveals intense involvement by the DHS’ National Operations Center (NOC) in these activities. The DHS describes the NOC as, “the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management. The NOC is the primary conduit for the White House Situation Room and DHS Leadership for domestic situational awareness and facilitates information sharing and operational coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation centers and the private sector.”

•Market Watch: JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jaime Dimon: Occupy Has “Legitimate Complaints”

Jamie Dimon, the outspoken head of one of America’s biggest banks, said Thursday that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have some “legitimate complaints,” but that investment banking has a bright future and will remain a highly paid industry.

The chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. made the comments after receiving the Executive of the Year award presented to him by the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business at a hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan. Dimon stuck around to answer a few questions.

Asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement against financial greed and economic inequality, Dimon acknowledged that the protesters have some “legitimate complaints.” He argued, however, that it’s unfair to paint all institutions with one brush: “It was everyone guilty. That’s another form of discrimination.”

More News

New Washington Post poll shows 7-point lead in Va. for Obama

The president appears to be maintaining his winning 2008 coalition, the poll shows, but voters are evenly divided on the president’s major policies, including health care, and remain negative about the country’s direction.

On Afghanistan: Friends Committee on National Legislation:Our biggest concern with the president’s proposal is the lack of political and economic transition strategies. Based on the president’s speech in Afghanistan, the U.S. remains focused on building a 352,000 person Afghan military force for stability, which will likely require extended use of military personnel and contractors. More guns won’t bring more peace to Afghanistan. After decades of conflict, Afghans are tired of war and are seeking a path to peace

Ray McGovern, ICH: Not Explaining the Why of Terrorism

John Brennan, President Obama’s chief adviser on counterterrorism, has again put on public display two unfortunate facts: (1) that the White House has no clue as to how to counter terrorism; and (2) (in Brennan’s words) “the unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives.”

•Via Yahoo: Sept. 11 case returns to Guantanamo tribunal

Five men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, including the self-proclaimed mastermind, are headed back to a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay on Saturday.

•National Journal: Bin Laden Documents Contradict Official Claims

U.S. officials have long argued that Osama bin Laden was actively plotting new attacks inside the United States right up to the end, including ambitious plans for strikes timed to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or designed to derail passenger trains and cause large numbers of civilian deaths.
But that’s not the picture of the leader which emerges from Thursday’s release of nearly 200 pages of materials recovered from the bin Laden compound after his killing at the hands of American commandos one year ago. The 17 sets of papers include five written by bin Laden and two others that were sent to the terrorist leader by other senior Qaida leaders.

The documents instead portray a bin Laden whose primary focus when it came to the Sept. 11th anniversary was to find sympathetic media outlets that could be trusted to disseminate his message to a worldwide audience.
“We need to benefit from this event and get our message to the Muslims and celebrate the victory that was achieved,” bin Laden wrote in an October 2010 letter to a top aide. “This is a chance to explain our motives for continuing the war.”

LBN: Another version of what OBL is Said to Have Said:

Several of the documents seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden were posted online by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point on Thursday, which show that the al Qaeda leader still hoped to pull off one big attack. The report, titled Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined, includes letters, which total 175 pages in their original Arabic and 197 pages in English, range from Sept. 2006 until April 2011. In one letter from 2010, bin Laden wrote that he plans to release a statement [announcing] that we are starting a new phase to correct [the mistakes] we made; in doing so, we shall reclaim God willing, the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in jihadists.

Gareth Porter, ICH: Finding Bin Laden: The Truth Behind the Official Story

It is now clear that CIA officials were blatantly misrepresenting both bin Laden’s role in al-Qaeda when he was killed and how the agency came to focus on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

• Frank Rich NY Mag…”Even Arianna Huffington has joined Republicans in attacking Obama’s bin Laden ad (starring Bill Clinton). She called it “despicable.”
…

Will this week’s mash-up of 21st century American foreign-policy icons — Ground Zero, Rudy, Firemen, Osama, Afghanistan — even matter by Election Day? 
Not likely unless all hell breaks loose. Here’s what Americans think about our longest war: They want out, period. Obama claims to be getting us out on a timetable. The Republican alternative as elucidated by Romney, McCain, and the usual gang of neocons, seems to be to stay in Afghanistan longer and start a new war with Iran. They turn this into an election-year issue at their own political peril, as well as the country’s.

Was Obama’s handover speech to Karzai anything other than two parties who have zero trust in each other trying to put the best face on an ugly divorce?
It was a political speech, designed to assuage the fears of those listening both in Afghanistan and America. The actual fate of the Karzai government and America’s shotgun marriage to it is an unpredictable and possibly treacherous story yet to unfold.

•Daily Beast: Former Chair Accuses ALEC of Anti-Democrat Bias

•Military Industrial Complex: I’m reading about ‘Final F-22 Fighter Delivered, McCain Says $79B Jets Still Have No Mission’ on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/27663261

•RT: Russia ‘Retains Right’ to Pre-emptive Strike on U.S. “Missile Shield”

Russia has concerns that the ultimate aim of America’s global ABM shield in the works is the gradual depreciation of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Consider The Source Launched

The Center for Responsive Politics and the Center for Public Integrity have teamed up to form Consider the Source, a new project aimed at helping citizens track the source of hundreds of millions of dollars expected to be spent by outside groups in the 2012 election. And it’s a social effort: We recently launched a new, co-curated Tumblr blog, where the Center and CPI will highlight graphics and information visualizations that are telling the story about the post-Citizens United political landscape.

Must read: Michael Wolff Strikes Again

Via Flipboard: Photo of the Day: WTC – From The Top

Happy May 4. Share your comments at dissector@mediachannel.org