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The Oakland Police Department went on another massive tear this weekend. On Saturday, they used rubber bullets, pepper flash-bang grenades, tear gas and batons to violently crush an attempt by Occupy activists to take over a vacant convention center in downtown Oakland and turn it into a community center/local Occupy HQ. Scores of people were injured, including a 19-year-old woman rushed to the hospital and treated for internal bleeding after a cop thrashed her kidneys with his truncheon. Yesterday, I got second-hand info that a man was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and had his tooth/teeth knocked out. Using the same sort of kettling techniques extensively employed by the NYPD to trap and net protesters like fish, the OPD arrested over 400 people.

The sheer number of arrests, the brutal overreaction, only shows just how paranoid the 1%ers are getting. The Occupy protesters must be something right if they’re provoking such a heavy-handed disproportionate response merely for hanging out. Someone should remind them that the 1st Amendment explicitly guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble“…

That number—400 arrests in Oakland—is about double the number of people detained by the LAPD (myself included) in their raid on the Occupy LA encampment on November 30. Just like in LA, Oakland police targeted journalists for harassment and arrest.

According to Free PressJosh Stearns—who has been doing the important work of keeping a tally of all the journalists arrested while covering the Occupy Movement—at least 6 reporters were rounded up and jailed in Oakland. That’s despite the fact that many of those arrested were accredited with the city of Oakland.

This kind of brutal intimidation of the press–something we usually associate with tinpot Third World dictatorships– is a major reason why Journalists Without Borders recently ranked America #47 in press freedom.

I’m going to write more about America’s growing war on press freedoms; but for now I want to share some amazing and scary video clips from the January 28 attack on Occupy Oakland in case you haven’t seen these—some of this looks like a remake of the archival footage we’ve all seen of California Governor Ronald Reagan’s 1969 mobilization of the National Guard to stomp student protesters on the UC Berkeley campus, which happens to be located just five miles from last weekend’s police crackdown in downtown Oakland…

What’s worse, among some people, it’s becoming increasingly respectable to call for more police-state crackdowns and violations of the First Amendment. Like this rightwing columnist for the Chronicle who’s already calling on Governor Jerry Brown to mobilize the National Guard for an assault on Occupy Oakland—and I’m sure there are plenty more wine-sniffing fascists just itching to see these protests get crushed with real, leaden firepower.

 

***

Want to know more? Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters…His other Occupy LA coverage…And LA Weekly’s writeup of his arrest.

Yasha Levine is an editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.

 

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28 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Cum  |  February 1st, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Last night I caught the end of a livestream where the Miami PD was done evicting the local Occupiers and got to work slashing apart a red white and blue flag. Miami PD and Oakland PD – Brothers in Shame!

  • 2. Ilona  |  February 1st, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    …”only shows just how paranoid the 1%ers are getting…”

    No Yasha. Not paranoid.

    This shows that the 99%ers are getting into something. So, the 1%ers are getting a little unease.

  • 3. John  |  February 1st, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I would like to read some Ward Nerd analysis of this occupy movement. It looks to me a lot like asymetrical warfare palestinians are into for last many years.

    “Peaceful” protestors that throw stuff on police to provocate them, with media taping everything, then when first protestor is down in blood, they take lots of pictures and retreat. (first video)

    Just saying this scenario gonna make a lot of people really pissed at cops and 1%, and more blood they spill more people will go out at streets. Same as killing “insurgents” in Iraq.

    We will see…

  • 4. G.A.  |  February 1st, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    It doesn’t seem quite right to occupy someone else’s private property for the purposes of organising your class struggle, the cops seem just retaliating (although in force) against at times aggressive demonstrators trying to prevent them from protecting the property. The video 1 was pretty intriguing – cops just stood in a line, then fired a gas canister, that didn’t look brutal at all. Later on the demonstrators advanced with some sort of makeshift cover, which in turn didn’t look particularly peaceful.

    I can’t make much from the other videos. There’s confrontation with batons, flashbangs and stuff, yeah, what about it? I can’t tell what’s going on there, but I do hope the police exercised restraint and didn’t use the power unnecessarily. As it stands, I can’t tell. Sorry.

    THE AEC RESPONDS:
    Yeah, really hard to tell. So many factors to assess. What is reality, anyway?
    Hope you’re getting paid well, pus-bag.

  • 5. G.A.  |  February 1st, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I’m not being paid anything, I’m an observer from outside the US (which ExileD can surely easily verify), I swear I don’t use a proxy like my buddy Joel Pollack, I don’t have any interest at stake here. Seriously, I’m on the up and up. I’m uploading my AEC-9871 troll disclosure forms right now.

    All I’m saying is I don’t know what preceded the immediate confrontation in the later videos, for all I know it could have been like what happened at the end of the first video, where the protesters charge a line of policemen just standing there looking menacing. *shrug* *double bottom troll shrug*

  • 6. John  |  February 1st, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Geez, as it gets soon everything will be private property of 1%. Including your lives.

    How you gonna do your class struggle then? Obeying laws those 1% wrote in the first place?

  • 7. DeeboCools  |  February 1st, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I’m a supporter and arrestee of the Occupy Movement. I’ve written what I think about these events in a larger context. ( http://kingcobesdecrees.blogspot.com/2012/01/war.html )

    I really appreciate any journalist supporting the movement but facts are facts. “The Occupy protesters must be something right if they’re provoking such a heavy-handed disproportionate response merely for hanging out.”
    They weren’t just hanging out. I support what they did and what they were trying to do, but I do consider their actions to be warfare, and I couldn’t be happier to side with the Occupiers. If you look at my post I feature a photo of a couple of Occupy activists burning a US flag b/c that’s exactly what every Occupier thinks about…burning flags and chanting “Death to Amerikkka!” I support Occupy and clearly that is what everyone who is part of it is all about. Take it away Bill O’Reilly.

  • 8. G.A.  |  February 1st, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    So I support ExileD even whether I’m Jesus. You do need donations.

    You guys obviously believe in occupying me, it’s just raw work here. “I can you.”those pig cops who fire tear gas canisters and flashbangs at those protesters, very brutal. Freedom of assembly Isn’t that just?

    And you like critical comments, why have a comment field at all? Clearly it’s because you like to make an ass out of me, and because I oblige.

  • 9. Anarchy Pony  |  February 1st, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I agree with Ilona, the 1%rs aren’t paranoid, they are afraid, as they should be, people are getting pissed and starting to see the light, and that light casts 1%rs as the malevolent and evil force they really are, and they are moving to crush those that try to challenge them.

  • 10. vortexgods  |  February 1st, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    The thing is, the US has always contain tin-plated third world dictatorships within itself. I mean, Hell, Mississippi springs to mind immediately.

    I think people expect better of California, but I’m not sure why. Didn’t people realize that when push comes to shove, we’re all just little Rodney Kings to the police, no matter what our skin color?

  • 11. vortexgods  |  February 1st, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    It’s Story Problem Time!

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/08/Schreck.jpg

    Ok, for today’s story problem you are a Vampire. Not one of those sparkly vampires like you see in the movies, but a Vampire who looks like Graf (Count) Orlok, just like in real life.

    Through various means too gruesome to go into, you’ve managed to obtain 1 Billion dollars.

    However, being a Vampire, and not wanted to end up like Orlok, you find you need to spend 1 million dollars per year, not just on the proper upkeep on a suitably decrepit castle or mansion, but to keep the cellar well stocked with humans, bribes to get the cops to look the other way (or assist when the populace brings pitchforks and torches) when people start disappearing and all the other things a Vampire needs to have a good “life.”

    1 Million dollars per year.

    So, how long can you keep this up before you have to become a greeter at the local Wal*Mart?

    Now, this is a conceptual story problem. I’ve left out important stuff that you’d need to know in order to get a right answer. For example, normally, if you were an idiot Vampire you’d last about 10 centuries on a Billion dollars. However, I expect you’d be more sensible and make some conservative investments. However, it’s up to you, dear reader, to come up with an interest rate.

    But don’t just make one up! Pick something: Treasuries, A BRIC fund, cattle futures, whatever… probably you should be thinking long term.

    Remember, you can live as long as you want, so long as no pesky Vampire hunters catch up to you and the human race doesn’t go extinct.

  • 12. Dimitri Ratz  |  February 1st, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    The outrage over the vacant property being private is fake. It’s really hard to nail down how many $ there are in existance. Anyway the best sources I could find is that 2% of the US money is in circulation while other is in treasure note deal. Also the regular dollar bill/coin was around $860 billion some months back. So we’re looking at about 50 trillion dollars, or 3 trillion dollars short of everything made in the entire world last year! Roughly $5,000 for every human alive. That means the 16 trillion dollar bailout to the government connected companies took one-third of all our money, in banks, under the lock of our private safe, or just wallet by the bed. By gifting it to the companies with half a percentage annual interest, the increase in it’s magnitude, one-third, made our money worth at least that much less.

  • 13. cripes  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 1:00 am

    What kills me is the incessant whining in the librul blogosphere about the “violence” of the oakland black bloc occupiers, whatever.

    “Ohhhh, lookit those kids throwing ROCKS at the tanks!!!”

    Do these turds not notice the police beating, shooting and flash-banging everyone in sight?

    Do they not notice the complete abrogation of first amendment rights, the kettling, the attacks on journalists?

    It sickens me.

  • 14. Toni M.  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 4:30 am

    The complaint is because violent tactics just make it easier to marginalise the struggle, and characterise the movement as something that it’s not. Remember Dolan’s article on the IRA? Control and discipline, not hot-headed, satisfying violence.

  • 15. Dtd  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I was up there for that shit. . .Happened just down broadway from my old High School.

    Managed to escape when the cops started corralling everyone. They were locking the back exit to the building and started forming a ring around as and tightening it. Then all hell broke loose, people started getting arrested.

    I ain’t no coward but I have spent enough time in Alameda County jails to know when it’s time to bail. Hauled ass out of there, somehow didn’t get popped in the confusion.

    Quite a few of us escaped, actually. I found my girl a little while later and we drove back down to Santa Cruz. Oakland always was a shithole, but at least the people whooping your ass were just doing it to take your wallet. That I can understand.
    This fascist shit though. . .it feels new (but I am young)

    Love and Respect to the AEC!

    Peace

  • 16. cripes  |  February 2nd, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I call BS.

    OPD penned in the peaceful demonstrators, blocking all avenues of escape, issued “disperse’ orders, and came in swinging batons, firing rubber bullets and exploding tear gas and flash bang projectiles.

    People responded the best way they could, throwing back a couple of rocks, knocking down a fence to escape.

    And you guys are worried about OWS “violence.”

    With friends like you…

    Maybe you should stand there and take a beating and rubber bullets without defending yourself, since you’re so big on “non-violence.”

    The video is above.

    and you guys

  • 17. Dtd  |  February 3rd, 2012 at 7:10 am

    @16

    Dead fucking on.

    I caught up with that shit during the march down Telegraph. I guess we were supposed to occupy some building and turn it into a community center or something. I wasn’t there for that, or maybe I was, I don’t know. So goddamn confusing. I DO know that we ended up at the YMCA because a bunch of occupiers said that they invited us there. As soon as we got there the OPD (and whatever other collaborative departments, I spit on all of them) started packing us in hella tight against the entrance. It was fucking crazy! I was hearing so much different shit from everybody else in the crowd that it was impossible to tell what was going on as we got packed in tighter and tighter. OPD started saying shit on the megaphones that was impossible to understand, which only fueled the confusion and accelerating the rumor mill further. I was just trying to tell everybody not to use violence. Trying to remind them that all it does is cheapen our moral authority.

    What was so fucked up about it is that we all would have fucking disfuckingspersed if we weren’t fucking corralled like fucking cattle. They wedged us in and fucking applied as much pressure as possible, praying for one hormonal idiot (I used to be him, tackled a cop at UCSC back in ’05) to have a violent reaction so that they could justify beating the fuck out of us.

    The real story is that the vast majority had the discipline to NOT throw shit or take swings at ‘em. I had all sorts of sawed-off shotgun/malatov cocktail fantasies (especially on the drive back to Santa Cruz), but the only way you can win and really scare the 1% is by showing your restraint and discipline; by proving that you are in it for the long haul and not just blowing off steam. You are ready to win the public.

    Anyways,
    I lost track of my girlfriend, so I kinda started squeezing through the crowd trying to find her and before I knew it I was spat out on the edge, kinda like a mosh pit. I eventually got a text saying she had made it back to the car.
    The cops. They were lined up like fucking SS storm troopers. As soon as the flash bangs and gunshots started going off I just kinda ran and somehow got through the police line. I wasn’t the only one. I suspect the guys with the same instincts had also been locked up just a few blocks away at Glenn Dyer like I had. Fuck going back there.

    I wish I could say I was braver. I wish I could say that I stuck around and patched up wounds or something. At least that doesn’t give them the moral high ground/something to point to on Fox News.

    I got the fuck out. Fuck it. Sorry for the guys that didn’t. If you are still up for it, I’ll see you at the next rally. Maybe this time, you will get lucky and I won’t.

    Drunktank Dan

  • 18. proletariat  |  February 4th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    War? I’d hardly call a bunch of occupy brats laying down as the jackboots stomp their faces in a war. Especially when elementary school children in Ireland regularly put up more of a fight.

    I’ve recently been engaged in an argument with Sue Basko, one of the founders of Occupy LA, and if the Oakland bunch is anything like her, I have no sympathy for them. The bourgeois scum needs to be skimmed off this movement before it can finally cook down enough to boil the frog.

    Like that triple analogy? Yeah. It’s nice.

    Anyway, the only problem is the bourgeois brats are getting out on bail because mommy and daddy pay the huge fees, while the proles, the potential radicals who could actually (and actually want to) change things stay in jail.

    Until Occupy gets some idea of class struggle, what it is, and how it relates to them (hint: A movement comprised largely of wealthy, white westerners calling themselves the 99% when, globally, they are only the 99% of the 1% will never get this), I’m going to write it off as the most bourgeois movement since Objectivism.

    You know the left is dead when supposed “leftist radicals” won’t even let union leaders speak at their little campouts.

  • 19. Bat-Mite  |  February 4th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Totally, #18! These middle class kids are so much better off than people in Somalia, so what are they complaining about? And fuck the global perspective, what about a historical one? People used to get eaten by dinosaurs and shit, man!

  • 20. LIEXpressway  |  February 4th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    These kids look pathetic. The 1% are not scared of these little shits. It’s very clear the cops are not only getting valuable training they’re also having a good time. Learn lift and train hard then fight.

    This message has been brought to you by Black Bloc Infiltrator Anon Ops Foundation. Helping corporate moles radicalize popular movements for a better tomorrow. Join BBIAOF today!

  • 21. RanDomino  |  February 4th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @18 The “union leaders” play a vital role as the managers of dissent, actively helping channeling it into completely useless activities like voting and protesting instead of alternative economics or revolt. They’re exactly the same class of bourgeoisie scum as middle management at the very corporations they’re supposed to be fighting against; instead, they work hand-in-hand with them to crush real working-class solidarity and organization. The only unions that aren’t part of the problem are small and scarce, like the ILWU and IWW.

    Occupy is not a “leftist” movement, but an Anarchist one, in the tradition of Bakunin, Goldman, and Kropotkin; and spits in the faces of both the obvious bastards (the petty tyrants of capitalism and government) but also the fifth column of union and Marxist-Communist co-optation. Appropriate for a movement inspired by Adbusters, which sees itself as an heir to Situationism, which inspired the May 1968 revolt against capitalism and paleo-leftism and which was crushed only when your vaunted “union leaders” betrayed the workers by openly lying to them (allowing that fascist DeGaulle to threaten civil war). We have learned the lesson: There will be no alliance with unions who are under the control of the same kind of MOTHER FUCKERS.

  • 22. proletariat  |  February 4th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Yeah, I could address your comments one by one, but I think it would be more efficient to point out that the “leader” and OG of Occupy LA, Sue Basko, is a wealthy attorney living in a 1.8 million dollar condo in Hollywood.

    99% my fucking ass.

    Funny thing is, she gets mad at “radicals” for keeping things secret (Yes, she seriously advocates a movement which is followed by police tell everyone everything! Nothing bad could come of that, right?), yet when I asked her where she lives and what she makes, she clammed up.

    Unfortunately for her, the internet is a motherfucker and privacy doesn’t exist anymore.

    Mrs. Basko (or would she prefer Agent Basko?) makes at least 20 times the average US wage and she calls herself a 99%er.

    Yet, she’s led the LA movement since the beginning, and not one person has called her out or tried to find out anything about her, despite her retarded NO SECRETS shit.

    So yeah, talk about fascists and labor bourgeoisie all you want. You’ll never be anything but a fucking hypocrite until you look at your own movement.

  • 23. Abu Zib  |  February 5th, 2012 at 2:28 am

    In Soviet Russia, Cleveland occupies you!

  • 24. vortexgods  |  February 5th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “Let every dirty, lousy tramp arm himself with a revolver or a knife, and lay in wait on the steps of the palaces of the rich and stab or shoot the owners as they come out. Let us kill them without mercy, and let it be a war of extermination.” — Lucy Parsons

  • 25. Miranda  |  February 5th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    @22, you are a shallow idiot. I couldn’t give a shit if she makes millions distributing Mexican donkey show dvds; she is supporting the movement in any way she can and that is all that matters. It doesn’t even phase me that she may well be a pretentious, self-righteous bitch; again, she is supporting the cause.

    By the way, the term 99% does not refer only to the people who fall within a particular income bracket: It refers to those who see the fetid, rotting scam that takes advantage of us all.

    If 14 years in perestroika Russia taught me anything, it’s that boots on the ground and the facilitation of the free flow of information counts for more than your bank balance.

  • 26. proletariat  |  February 5th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    She’s also a mysterious lady. Finding her wasn’t easy, being as the address listed on her CA bar membership is now a copy shop owned by a Hispanic fellow. I’m still not sure if I have the right home address, and I’ve doxed people before.

    I was able to track down a PO box from there, but that was owned by an alias.

    Sounding suspicious to you yet? A lady who says you should tell everyone everything just for the asking, yet if you ask her she clams up? A lady hiding behind aliases and fronts?

    This doesn’t sound just a WEE bit odd to you?

    You kids need to work on your pig senses, because they should be tingling hard enough to break the San Andres fault by now.

    Don’t believe me? Ask her where she lives yourself. She’s on Twitter. She tells you to truthfully answer when someone asks that question, and if you don’t, you’re clearly a radical FBI psy-ops plant.

    So, ask her. She won’t answer.

    Now, ask yourself, why? Is she just a massive fucking hypocrite, or is she hiding something? Who would want you to tell anyone (read: an undercover cop) everything, but wouldn’t say shit themselves?

    Put the glasses on and take a new look at your movement. You might be surprised what you see.

  • 27. RanDomino  |  February 5th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    @22 I don’t know anything about Occupy LA, but if it’s like how it is is most other places, being a “leader” just means you’re good at putting yourself in front of TV cameras. Ideas are proposed and participants carry them out or reject them on merit, at their own discretion. And that’s really what scares you, isn’t it? The idea that things aren’t going according to your Plan- that they’re not going to follow YOUR ‘leadership’. Sorry, but we’ve learned a thing or two in the last fifty or so years.

  • 28. the dude  |  February 6th, 2012 at 9:15 am

    @23 Thanks for lightening things up a bit hah. This arguing is historically why left wing movements always fail.


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