It’s been a while since we’ve reported on our friends at Occupy. Yesterday, while we were lazily letting others do all the lifting for us, the NYPD was busy arresting non-violent demonstrators at Zuccotti Park for doing absolutely nothing illegal:
Eight Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in Lower Manhattan late last night as the NYPD shut down Zuccotti Park in a strong and often baffling show of force. At the height of the confrontation, there were approximately 40 NYPD officers monitoring around 30 protesters, and the arrests, many of which were seemingly arbitrary and incidental, were spurred after several protesters brought backpacks and sleeping bags into the park.
Officer DiPace told us, “The chief wants us to lock everybody up.”
Shortly before midnight, a group of officers began moving through the park, inspecting bags, and shooing away the handful of protesters, some of whom scattered immediately rather than have their bags inspected. When asked what law they were breaking, Officer DiPace replied, “There’s a law against everything. That’s America.”
“There’s a law against everything. That’s America.” Pretty chilling, isn’t it? But the truth is actually much worse: there’s a law against anything, and the government can (and does) make it up as they go along. Thanks to cowardly conservative Democrats including the current President of the United States, the National Defense Authorization Act codified into American law a blatant violation of constitutional principles and a near-total evisceration of Bill of Rights and the rule of law, namely: anyone, anywhere, is subject to arrest by the government and indefinite detention in a military prison, without trial or charge, if the government simply says the magic word. Terrorism.
I know what you’re thinking: that I’ve spent way too much time playing with the Paranoiafier. And while that is undoubtedly true, it is not, however, the reason I am making the argument that “terrorism” can literally mean anything. The day before yesterday, an internal NYPD memo was leaked to Occupy Wall Street (pdf) concerning its planned protest activities for February 29. In it, we learn that:
A non-violent public action was proposed and approved by Occupy Portland, a chapter of the Occupy Movement, in early January. Since then, the event, which is titled Shut Down The Corporations and is described as “a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed,” has been well publicized throughout online Occupy forums and affiliated websites. The event is aimed specifically at corporations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a large [right wing -Ed.] policy organization.
To date, there are solidarity protests planned to coincide with this event in more than 70 cities across the country. Occupy Wall Street supporters based in New York City have actively publicized this day of action through media outlets and have organized a demonstration that will likely use Bryant Park and the New York Public Library as a central staging point for other protests at nearby corporate offices. Three companies with facilities proximate to this area have been specifically identified for targeted actions as part of the Shut Down The Corporations. They include: Bank of America, Pfizer, and Koch Industries.
At this time, there does not appear to be a concrete tactical plan for this demonstration, however the event’s main website recommends a number of non-violent tactics, including: “sit-ins, strikes, blockades, boycotts, banner drops, culture jamming, and performance.”
There have been no specific references to violence in any of the public materials, online comments, or forum posts associated with this upcoming event; nevertheless, the institutions listed are likely locations for upcoming public demonstrations by groups associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which may result in disruptive activity. [Emphasis added.]
I know what you’re thinking now: what the hell is Iris’s point? OF COURSE the NYPD is going to monitor potentially large public events, as they damn well should — for public safety reasons! And I agree. But take a look at the letterhead the leaked memo is printed on:
The letterhead text reads:
COUNTERING TERRORISM through INFORMATION SHARING
Event Assessment February 27, 2012
NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau
Terrorism Threat Analysis Group
Ladies and gentlemen, the Occupiers are now terrorists.
Since 9/11 the United States has constructed a police state, all under the false flag of Keeping Us Safe. We spent untold billions building up a sprawling, illegal and entirely unaccountable domestic surveillance apparatus, while simultaneously tearing down basic civil liberties and completely trampling the core principles of our once great nation.
I was here that terrible day; I saw it, with my own eyes. But my greatest fear then was not that there would be more terrorist attacks — although of course that certainly concerned me — but that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would be in charge of whatever happened next: a conservative cure is always worse than the disease. Always.
As but one in a constellation of thousands of examples I could point to, those motherfuckers used 9/11 as pretext to start an illegal war against a country that could not and did not attack us, resulting in thousands of American military casualties and 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.
It was not hard at all to figure out what would happen — maybe not in all of the details, but certainly the overall arc of where we would soon be headed as a nation. I witnessed the collective pants-pissing and bed-wetting of New York City liberals — liberals! — who became dutiful little authoritarian conservatives literally overnight. They not only stood by but actually defended our government while it was quite openly doing everything possible to ensure that the people of the Middle East (and beyond) would become more and more radicalized and united in their hatred of the United States — thus virtually ensuring that terrorism would remain an ever-present and ever-growing threat. And they stood by and even applauded while the giant surveillance state was constructed right before their eyes. “To Keep Us Safe!” they shrieked, smug in their certainty that well, even if it was maybe just a teeny tiny bit unconstitutional, it was nevertheless absolutely necessary To Keep Us Safe, and in any event it would only ever be used against those Other people. Oh, sure: some of them voiced what appeared to be principled objections back when Bush was in office, but curiously enough all of the criticisms we heard from Democratic Senators and liberal pundits about shredding the Constitution! and illegal wars! were nowhere to be found once Obama was in charge, revealing once again (as if it needed revealing once again) that our media and our political representatives have absolutely no principles whatsoever, other than power and privilege for themselves.
How anyone, liberal or conservative, libertarian or indifferent, could possibly think it would turn out any differently is beyond me.
Important question: if the Occupiers are terrorists, what does that make me? As loyal readers know, the Palace has consistently supported and publicized their aims on this very blog, brought them food, clothing and medical supplies, and shown up to participate in and document events they coordinated. A couple weeks ago, I shipped them 100 hand warmers and 100 mylar emergency blankets (at considerable expense to the Palace treasury).
Answer: I am guilty of providing material support to terrorists. I hear the weather’s nice at Guantanamo. So, you know, that’s good.
Another important question: what does that make you? Yes, you, reading this now, whoever and wherever you are. I hope the answer it that it makes you angry.
Several protesters asked Officer McNamara why the park wasn’t open as it was legally required to be, and he walked away.
Asked why the park was closed, one of the officers standing guard in the east end of the park replied, “Why are you asking stupid questions?” At this point, Officer Rosado began to point out people with backpacks to arrest who weren’t standing inside the park, as if he was picking the remaining apples from a denuded tree. By 12:45 a.m., about 20 protesters remained.
“They arrest us for being here in communion with one another. For sitting and talking and having meaningful discourse,” a young man named Chris O’Donnell observed. Soon after, another protester defiantly walked through the park, and police moved into make an arrest. As the unidentified demonstrator ran down Cedar Street, the police gave chase, and Officer Rosado derisively shouted, “Why are you running? I thought you believed in something!”
By 1 a.m., only police remained, guarding an empty park.
Whew! Terrorist threat averted! I am so relieved.
Please give a warm Palace welcome to all our new readers from the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau, Terrorism Threat Analysis Group.
* * * * *
UPDATE: Coincidentally, as I was writing this the Palace received a missive from the odious Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Israel, Wall Street), in reply to our email last December telling him not to vote for the National Defense Authorization Act. Here is his snivelling, Orwellian response:
Thank you for your contacting me regarding the detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act. Like you, I believe we must balance the needs of law enforcement with the constitutional protections afforded to all Americans, and I worked to find a pragmatic solution to this problem.
Ten years after September 11th, our country has made great strides towards preventing another domestic attack by terrorists. Congress has given both the Bush and Obama administrations the tools necessary to investigate, arrest, and prosecute enemies of the United States domestically and abroad. Along the way, we also have worked hard to balance our core liberties and rights and access to due process. I continue to support this administration’s efforts against al Qaeda, which led to the deaths of multiple high ranking al Qaeda members including Osama bin Laden, and, as a New Yorker who experienced the immense tragedy of 9-11 first-hand, believe we must continue to be vigilant at home and abroad to prevent future terrorism.
As you may know, the original language in National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House of Representatives was unworkable and possibly unconstitutional. As the Senate considered the bill, I voted for some amendments that would have stripped similar language from the Senate bill. Unfortunately, those amendments failed. However, the final compromise contained provisions which clarify many of the issues from the original language and provide a pragmatic solution that will allow the administration to protect this country from acts of terrorism, while preserving constitutional rights. I will continue to conduct vigorous oversight of federal law enforcement agencies and the military to ensure that they respect the constitutional rights of Americans.
Thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can ever be of assistance to you on this, or any other matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
It speaks for itself, really. It is perfectly illustrative of the problem, and how extraordinarily difficult (and absolutely vital) it is to do something about it. I know what I’m doing about it: I’m Paranoifying his letter and sending it back to him.
Strictly for amusement purposes, you understand.