Author Archives: xo99percent

Legal Experts File Complaints about Widespread Rights Violations in Policing of ‘Occupy’ Movement

Embargoed to Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 10.00am EST.
Contact: Professor Sarah Knuckey (NYU) +1.212.992.8873; Emi MacLean, Human Rights Lawyer, +1.212.998.6714

Legal Experts File Complaints about Widespread Rights Violations in Policing of ‘Occupy’ Movement 

Call on NYC, U.S. Justice Department, UN to Protect Protesters’ Rights 

(New York, NY, July 25, 2012) – The City of New York must take immediate action to correct the clear pattern of abusive policing of Occupy Wall Street protests, said legal experts in a complaint filed today with New York City authorities, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United Nations. The complaint is based on a report providing in-depth documentation and legal analysis of widespread human rights violations in New York City’s treatment of Occupy protests over the past ten months.

“Recently, officers repeatedly yanked the broken collarbone of a protester as he begged them to stop hurting him. And just two weeks ago, a phalanx of officers removed a grandmother from a park for the ‘crime’ of knitting in a folding chair, arrested a man trying to help her leave, and then arrested another man filming the incident,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey, one of the report’s principal authors, who also witnessed these incidents. “These are just two of hundreds of examples we document in our report, demonstrating a pattern of abusive and unaccountable protest policing by the NYPD.”

This report is the first in a series by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, a national consortium of law school clinics addressing the United States response to Occupy Wall Street.

In their 132-page report—Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street—the experts catalog 130 specific alleged incidents of excessive police force, and hundreds of additional violations, including unjustified arrests, abuse of journalists, unlawful closure of sidewalks and parks to protesters, and pervasive surveillance of peaceful activists. Yet, to date, only one police officer is known to have been disciplined for misconduct in the context of Occupy Wall Street policing.

“The excessive and unpredictable policing of Occupy Wall Street is one more example of the dire need for widespread reform of NYPD practices. These violations are occurring against a backdrop of police infiltration of activist groups, massive stop-and-frisk activity in communities of color, and the surveillance of Muslims,” said Emi MacLean, a human rights lawyer and primary author of the report. “This report is a call to action.”

The report calls for urgent state action, including:
• The creation of an independent Inspector General for the NYPD;
• A full and impartial review of the city’s response to OWS;
• Investigations and prosecutions of responsible officers; and
• The creation of new NYPD protest policing guidelines to protect against rights violations.

If New York authorities fail to respond, the report calls for federal intervention.

“The U.S. response to the Occupy movement – which itself emerged as part of a wave of global social justice
protests—is being closely watched by other governments,” said Professor Katherine Glenn, one of the
report’s principal authors. “In the face of this international attention, this report shows that New York
City’s response actually violates international law and, as such, sets a bad example to the rest of the world.

The city now has an opportunity to set this right through reforms that reflect just and accountable policing
practices.”

This report is the first in a series by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project. This report focuses on New York City, and was authored by the Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law) and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic (Fordham Law School). Subsequent reports will address the responses in Boston, Charlotte, Oakland, and San Francisco. Participating law clinics are at NYU, Fordham, Harvard,  Stanford, Rutgers-Newark, Charlotte, and Loyola-New Orleans.

The report (PDF) is available from the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

– xx

Joanne


Occupy Tulsa Trials: “The first Amendment doesn’t need a curfew.”

Occupy Tulsa protesters who were arrested in early November 2011 will begin their trials today, July 23rd at 9:30 AM. The first Occupy protester set for trial is Ms. Lindsey Scotney, mother of five, who was arrested while pregnant last fall. Mrs. Scotney and others feel good about the opportunity to present their cases at trial by jury.

Pam Huey, an Occupy Tulsa member and supporter, had this to say:

I was infuriated when I saw the way that the police pepper sprayed the protesters. Certainly it’s in our tradition as Americans to stand up and say something when we feel wronged. The Occupy Tulsa people were engaging in this time honored tradition when the city police came at them in force and pepper-sprayed them for doing nothing but engaging their rights. What we see is that Citizens United has turned money into speech in such a way that anyone who wants to have a voice has to buy one, or a politician.

Ms. Scotney, in addition to being a mother of five, has volunteered with the Tulsa Police Department, a registered Republican and has no priors.

John Harlien, who will be reporting to court on Tuesday, said:

The first Amendment doesn’t need a curfew, and as an American, it’s my right to peaceable assembly at any time of day. What those officers did in response to people sitting peacefully on the grass is atrocious, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Occupy Tulsa protesters were arrested on their fifth day of encampment in protest against large banks getting corporate bailouts, the
continued expansion of government powers for overseas wars, the marginalization of the middle class and working poor by government interests, bank abuses, and a lack of response by the government to global financial fraud and economic corruption.

Central to their message is the idea that corporate money has robbed the citizens of this country of their voice in government..

The following four Occupiers are ordered back Tuesday, July 24th at 9:30 a.m. in Division 2 of Tulsa’s Municipal Court to hear when their trials will begin. Each of them, including Mrs. Scotney face up to 90 days in jail–if convicted:

1. Thomas G. Miller,
2. Joe Briggs,
3. John VanZant, and
4. John Harlien.

The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

All other Occupy Tulsa trials are expected to begin on October 19, 2012.

– xx

Raw video of the November 2011 arrests:

23 Occupy Tulsa protesters were arrested between November 2 and 3, 2011 for violating a city curfew. At least five were pepper sprayed, reportedly to ensure their compliance. Occupy Tulsa maintains that the pepper spray was excessive given the peaceful nature of their resistance.

– xx

Joanne


WIPO denies Tribune Company’s attempt to seize Occupied Chicago Tribune domain names

MEDIA ALERT: World Intellectual Property Organization denies Tribune Company’s attempt to seize Occupied Chicago Tribune domain names

JULY 18, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On July 18, the Administrative Panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) issued a decision denying the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaint proceeding filed by the Tribune Company regarding the domains occupiedchicagotribune.org and occupychicagotribune.org.

If the UDRP complaint had been successful, the WIPO panel would have ordered the transfer of the Occupied Chicago Tribune’s domain names to the Tribune Company.

The Administrative Panel Decision states:

“Given the circumstances of this case and in particular the heavy and nearly universal coverage of the Occupy Movement within the national and local media, the Panel holds that the Occupy Movement is so well known within the relevant area (both parties being from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States) that the Domain Names are not confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.  The Panel agrees with Respondent’s assertion that no reasonable person in the Chicago area would confuse the Domain Names with Complainant or Complainant’s publication.  …  Here, the added words are not simply generic terms or terms that are likely to be associated with Complainant, but instead are terms that have a very distinctive meaning connected to the activities of the Respondent in this case, and in particular a meaning that connotes disassociation with Complainant.”


The Occupied Chicago Tribune thanks sole panelist Michael A. Albert for his decision (dated July 5), which we hope will have important implications for the rights of other Occupy publications across the country. Our sincere thanks also go to Attorneys Michael Deutsch and Ben Elson of the People’s Law Office, who filed a response on our behalf to the Tribune Company’s complaint.

The Occupied Chicago Tribune is a volunteer-run publication that covers activism and organizing in the city, the local Occupy movement, and issues of public interest. The paper is distributed for free at Occupy Chicago and other activist events and at drop-off locations throughout the city.

For press inquiries, please contact:

Miles Kampf-Lassin
mkampflassin@gmail.com
(773) 914-9141

You can view the full text of the administrative panel decision here and the original press release from the Occupied Chicago Tribune here.


Protected: On the westernization of the Renaissance

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Final response FOIA request 12-OPS-044

Received July 9, 2012

We are still waiting for the response from the U.S. Park Service, with ever-increasing anticipation after the events of June 30 and we plan to file both federal and local FOIA and open government requests with North Carolina and Florida regarding the upcoming Republican and Democratic National Conventions.


Occupy National Gathering

Join us on Independence Mall for a 5-day celebration of Peace, Love and Democracy.

The Occupy National Gathering site has information on the events schedule, resources for travelers, frequently asked questions, and the initial proposal which has now been endorsed by over 105 Occupy General Assemblies internationally.

People with disabilities, medical conditions, or people who do not want to risk arrest can connect with those offering housing by filling out this form.

As always, I’ll be reporting live from the events. You can follow my updates and pictures live on Twitter.

You can follow the Occupy National Gathering on Twitter at @occupyng, and view the Facebook event page and the community page.

– xx

Joanne


FOIA: to the DHS Office of Operations Coordination and Planning

This is a copy of the first FOIA I’ve filed, to the DHS Office of Operations Coordination and Planning, regarding the upcoming Occupy National Gathering. A similar one will be sent to the Department of the Interior National Park Service. For obvious reasons, I have here redacted my address and telephone number.

–xx

FOIA Officer/Public Liaison: Michael Page

Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528

Phone: 202-357-7626 

Fax: 202-357-7678


June 22, 2012

FOIA REQUEST
Expedited processing requested

Dear FOIA Officer:

Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C.  § 552, I request access to and copies of any and all information you may have related to cooperation, coordination or interoperability for facilitating communication for, arranging travel, housing, logistics, training, and all other relevant communications regarding the June 30-July 4 Occupy National Gathering. This request encompasses any law enforcement involvement, including specifically but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security, the Philadelphia Police Department and interagency efforts that the Department of Homeland Security may participate in such as the Joint Terrorism Task Forces or Fusion Centers. 

This request includes, but is not limited to, information reflecting communications involving law enforcement and state and municipal representatives and/or private consultants, private security companies or agencies or analysts pertaining to the Occupy National Gathering. 

I am requesting information reflecting communications about the Occupy National Gathering, including but not limited to: meetings, electronic communication, phone calls or teleconferences, analysis, deployment of federal law enforcement officers or agents in conjunction with local law enforcement actions and deployment of private security officers in conjunction with local and/or federal law enforcement actions. Your response should include, but is not limited to, files, emails, notes, presentation materials, threat alerts and other bulletins or memoranda. 

I would like to receive the information in electronic format where it is so available. 

As a representative of the news media I am only required to pay for the direct cost of duplication after the first 100 pages. Through this request, I am gathering information on the Department of Homeland Security facilitated inter-jurisdictional operations between federal and state law enforcement of nonviolent domestic dissident groups that is of current interest to the public because of the active monitoring and repression of grassroots Occupy Wall Street protests across the country. . This information is being sought on behalf of for dissemination to the general public. I have been researching extensively as a freelancer on the Occupy movement and am able to reach a large network through self-publication and by cooperating with others to disseminate information to the public through News Junkie Post, the Indypendent and Open Salon. 

Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge, for which I will receive no compensation. This request is made in the process of news gathering for public understanding and not for commercial usage. .

This request is not meant to be exclusive of any other records which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable relationship to the subject matter of this request.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect to be provided with all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents in the public interest. Such statements will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination, and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken and written justification may help avoid unnecessary litigation. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.

As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request.

I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Joanne —- 


All the Occupy-Related Freedom of Information Requests

This is a cross-post of some of Kenneth Lipp’s recent FOIA work at OpAsylum.

–xx

Compiled from 5 pdfs of Department of Homeland Security FOIA logs between Janauary 1 and May 31 2012. The number preceding the request is the DHS designated case number. I’ve included only 2012 records in this list, but the DHS site has individual monthly records as early as October 2011.

DHS Headquarters and Privacy Office Logs

May FY 2012 (PDF, 11 pages - 96 KB)

April FY 2012 (PDF, 15 pages – 120 KB)

March FY 2012 (PDF, 12 pages – 121 KB)

February FY 2012 (PDF, 12 pages – 121 KB)

January FY 2012 (PDF, 11 pages – 99 KB)

December FY 2012 (PDF, 11 pages – 107 KB)

November FY 2012 (PDF, 12 pages – 100 KB)

October FY 2012 (PDF, 9 pages – 100 KB)

I have spoken with two requesters, Dr. Ciccariello-Maher of Drexel University in Philadelphia, as well as with Scott MacFarland of COX media in Washington DC. Dr. Ciccariello-Maher readily agreed to share any information he has received (those he has not received any).

January

  • PRIV 12-0183 On January 13, 2012, George Ciccariello-Maher, an Assistant Professor with Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a search of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indices to PRIV 12-0183 the Central Records System for records related to the participation of federal agencies in the investigation of or nationwide law enforcement activities related to the “Occupy Wall Street” or “Occupy” Movement.

February

  • PRIV 12-0244 On February 7, 2012, David Tonyan, an individual, in Skokie, Illinois, requested from the Department of Homeland Security PRIV 12-0244 (DHS) access to the list of all FOIA requests pertaining to the Occupy Chicago protestors between 9/24/2011 and 1/22/2012.
  • PRIV 12-0255 On February 8, 2012, Scott MacFarlane, a reporter with COX Media in Washington, DC, requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) all DHS records, including videotape, email, memos, reports, threat assessments or transcripts regarding the protest movement “Occupy Oakland” from 2011 and 2012.

March

  • PRIV 12-0312 On March 9, 2012, Will Campbell, an individual in Ottawa, Ontario requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) all documents, including but not limited to incident reports, relating in whole or in part to “Occupy Toronto” protests in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • PRIV 12-0313 On March 9, 2012, Roger Tansey, a deputy public defender in Indio, California requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) any documents, (broadly de?ned), evidencing any contacts between DHS and the City of Palm Desert,California, (including but not limited to its police department, the mayor, city council or employees) from September, 2011 through November 30, 2011 concerning the Occupy Wall Street movement.
  • PRIV 12-0334 On March 22, 2012, Moriah Balingit, a journalist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the March 21, 2012 Occupy Wall Street FOIA request records that were released to Gawker Media and the following records: 1) a Threat Assessment issued by the Pittsburgh O?ce of Emergency Management and Homeland Security regarding an October 15, 2011 Occupy Pittsburgh rally; 2) all e-mails, correspondence and memos concerning the Threat Assessment, especially those from the O?ce for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; 3) all e- mails, correspondence and memoranda regarding Occupy Pittsburgh; 4) all -emails, correspondence and memoranda regarding Occupy Pittsburgh between DHS and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Pittsburgh O?ce of Emergency Management, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Public Safety Director Mike Huss, the Allegheny County Sheri?’s O?ce, Allegheny County Police and Allegheny County Emergency Services, BNY Mellon Security Director Jake Resier and BNY Mellon CEO Vincent Sands.
  • PRIV 12-0340 On March 26, 2012, Jason Leopold, Lead Investigative reporter with Truthout.org in St. Louis, Missouri, requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking all records, which includes but is not limited to, emails, memos, reports, threat assessments, requests for “intelligence products,” budgets, contracts, recordings, photographs, legal opinions, in which Department of Homeland Security senior o?cials and o?cials within the agency’s O?ce of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) as well as o?cials within the O?ce of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) communicated with and/or were contacted or briefed by any o?cials within the New York Police Department and/or the New York Police Department’s intelligence division and/or NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the New York City Fusion Center about the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street, sometimes referred to as “OCCUPY” or “OWS.” Requester also seeks the same type of materials in which Department of Homeland Security o?cials in the O?ce of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and the O?ce of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) as well as senior o?cials at the Department of Homeland Security at agency headquarters were either contacted and/or briefed by New York Police Department (NYPD) and/or the New York Police Department’s intelligence division and/or NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) about surveillance and/or monitoring of the Muslim community or whether any of the o?cials mentioned were the recipients of emails, memos, intelligence reports, threat assessments. The records requested for Occupy Wall Street or OWS or Occupy should cover the time frame of September 1, 2011 through the present. The records requested for the second request regarding the Muslim community should cover the time frame of January 1, 2008 through the present.
  • PRIV 12-0341 On March 26, 2012, Geo?rey King, an Attorney, requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) all records concerning the economic parity movement known as “Occupy” as it pertains to the University of California system campuses, including but not limited to “Occupy UC Berkeley” and “Occupy UC Davis.”

April

  • PRIV 12-0396 On April 18, 2012, Geo?rey King, requested from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), any systems of records a?liated with the agency’s Social Media Monitoring and Situation Awareness Initiative, including, but not limited to, records referenced in EPIC v.DHS and especially in relation to Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco; The Secret Service, which made a video recordings and other reports during civil unrest Oakland, CA following the conviction of BART police o?ce Johannes Mehserle on July 8, 2010 and possibly following his sentencing on November 5, 2010; and Any other DHS systems of records (whether maintained by DHS or its component agencies) that re?ect monitoring of the Mehserle conviction protests, the Mehserle sentencing protests, Occupy San Francisco, the Occupy movement generally, Twitter and/or Facebook.

May

  • PRIV 12-0488 On May 29, 2012, Kevin Zeese, an individual with MuckRock.com in Boston, Massachusetts, requested from the Department PRIV 12-0488 of Homeland Security (DHS) records related to the enforcement against people involved in the Occupy movement or OWS movement.

FOIA All the Things

With the realization that the upcoming Occupy National Gathering (June 30 – July 4 in Philadelphia) will be policed by, among others, officers who traveled to Chicago for the NATO summit, I am happy to announce that I am launching a full-scale Freedom of Information Act project. I will be joining Dustin Slaughter of the David and Goliath Project and Kenneth Lipp of OpAsylum in this endeavor.

The first part of the project will be our filing both federal and municipal FOIA requests for information on interoperability between federal and local law enforcement agencies as well as private security agencies or contractors re: Occupy and the Occupy National Gathering. We will also be seeking to obtain information on interoperability and mutual assistance at selected upcoming National Special Security Events (NSSE) that are likely to have a heavy Occupy presence, including the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Updates to the investigative project will be found here on xo99 and real-time information and updates can be found on our shared Twitter account, @occupyFOIA.

 

– xx

Joanne


Bearing Witness – Bradley Manning motion hearings, June 6

We are in Fort Meade, MD for the latest of PFC Bradley Manning’s motion hearings before his trial begins on September 21.

As unauthorized recording on NSA property is illegal, I unfortunately do not expect to be able to provide pictures or video from on-site.

The overwhelming feeling one may get throughout the course of these hearings is that there are undue burdens being placed on the Defense which deny PFC Bradley Manning the right to due process, therefore endangering his life. Speaking to the Guardian, Manning’s aunt said that he has “tremendous confidence in David Coombs,” his civilian attorney.  On May 10, Coombs filed 5 motions, which Judge Denise Lind is expected to rule on during these hearings.

Detailed by Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network, the Defense motions are as follows:

  1. Defense Motion to Compel Discovery #2 (pdf): on the Government’s handling (read: failure to disclose) key evidence necessary for PFC Manning’s defense. Coombs is requesting access to all 250,000 pages of internal damage assessments, which the Government has had for the last two years.  Coombs argues that access to this evidence is essential and immediately necessary, as its continued withholding is detrimental to the defense and provides the Government with an “unfair tactical advantage.”
  2. Defense Motion to Dismiss Specifications 13 and 14 of Charge II for Failure to State an Offense (pdf): motion to dismiss charges against Manning for exceeding access authorizations. Defense states that the Government has failed to provide evidence that explains how PFC Manning exceeded access, especially as the Government concedes PFC Manning “was authorized to obtain each and every piece of information” allegedly accessed, and the Government is not alleging PFC Manning altered the files in any way. Coombs disagrees with the Government’s reading of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1) and PFC Manning’s accessing the files with “improper intent” does not constitute exceeding authorized access.
  3. Defense Motion for Instructions on Lesser Included Offenses (pdf): requesting Judge Lind instruct the Government on LIO (lesser included charges), specifically that charging PFC Manning with illegally obtaining information multiplies the more severe charge of illegally transmitting information, since the first is already included in the transmission charge.
  4. Defense Motion to Dismiss Specifications 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 15 of Charge II (pdf): a move to dismiss these specifications, which Coombs argues are unconstitutionally vague. Defense argues that the phrases, “relating to the national defense” and “to the Injury of the United States or to the Advantage of Any Foreign Nation” are so broad that the Government cannot detail “exactly what information they include,” which violates PFC Manning’s right to due process.
  5. Defense Motion to Compel Identification of Brady Materials (pdf): requests that the Government “specify which documents constitute Brady disclosures”. The Supreme Court ruled in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) it is a violation of a Defendant’s right to due process for the Prosecution to suppress evidence that may aid the defense, if the Defense has requested such information. In PFC Manning’s case, the Government has provided over 6,500 pages of discovery evidence, but has only disclosed 12 pages of Brady material. Coombs argues that this gives the Government a “tactical advantage,” since the Defense is spread throughout the country and PFC Manning, largely confined to Fort Leavenworth, cannot have reasonable access to the 6,500 pages of discovery evidence, of which the classified evidence can only be viewed in Rhode Island and Maryland. Nathan Fuller explains, “if the prosecution would make its Brady material known, the defense could better prepare for legal arguments to come.”

Per Alexa O’Brien, Judge Lind ruled on Wednesday against Defense Motion to Record R.C.M. 802 conference sessions (pg. II-76). These are off-record, secret sessions where only Judge Lind and lawyers for the prosecution and defense are permitted to attend, . The Government argued against the recording and transcription based on “fairness and efficiency,” while the Defense claimed the Government was using it to “re-litigate rulings by the court because they were not recorded.” Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake notes:

[T]he government has taken positions in 802 sessions, which they do not take in open court proceedings. There is no way for the defense to prove the government is lying or falsely representing what was said because the sessions are not recorded.

Gosztola also reports on two other rulings:

  1. The Government argued that the State Department damage assessment report, which Judge Lind had previously ruled was discoverable, was a draft when submitted in May and therefore speculative. Judge Lind denied the Government’s motion to reconsider her previous ruling.
  2. The Government was ordered to turn over the Defense Intelligence Agency’s IRTF damage assessment report to the Defense.

 

 

 

– xx

Joanne


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