“I Always Feel like Sombody’s Watching Me” – Secret FBI Documents prove Occupy Infiltration and Surveilance

It really isn’t a surprise to any of us who participate in the Occupy Movement, that the many Occupy groups across the nation and the world, would be infiltrated by the powers that be at some point.  It was expected, and in many cases prepared for.  What is a surprise is the collective of agencies both public and private in the United States and abroad, that feared the Occupy Movement, and worked together in an effort to conduct surveillance of  it’s operations and in some cases, attempted to thwart and/or subvert their plans.

Once secret documents reveal the FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street from its earliest days and treated the nonviolent movement as a potential terrorist threat. Internal government records show Occupy was treated as a potential threat when organizing first began in August of 2011.

Counterterrorism agents were used to track Occupy activities, despite the internal acknowledgment that the movement opposed violent tactics. The monitoring expanded across the country as Occupy grew into a national movement, with FBI agents sharing information with businesses, local police agencies and universities. We’re joined by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which obtained the FBI documents through Occupy LSX Take Over Unused Courthouse, Planning Mock Trial for 1%the Freedom of Information Act. “We can see decade after decade with each social justice movement that the FBI conducts itself in the same role over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people,” Verheyden-Hilliard says.

A full transcript of the discussion after the jump.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin with a look at newly revealed documents that show the FBI monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement from its earliest days last year. Internal government records show Occupy was treated as a potential terrorism threat when organizing first began in August of 2011. Counterterrorism agents were used to track Occupy activities despite the internal acknowledgment that the movement opposed violent tactics. The monitoring expanded across the country as Occupy grew into a national movement, with FBI agents sharing information with businesses, local police agencies and universities. One FBI memo warned that Occupy could prove to be an “outlet” through which activists could exploit “general government dissatisfaction.” Although the documents provide no clear evidence of government infiltration, they do suggest the FBI used information from local law enforcement agencies gathered by someone observing Occupy activists on the ground.

AMY GOODMAN: The heavily redacted FBI records were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund through a Freedom of Information Act request. We invited the FBI to join us on the program to discuss the latest revelations, but they declined. Instead, spokesperson Paul Bresson issued a written statement saying, quote, “The FBI cautions against drawing conclusions from redacted FOIA documents.” He also said, quote, “It is law enforcement’s duty to use all lawful tools to protect their communities.”

Well, for more, we’re joined by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. She’s executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which obtained the documents showing how the FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street, joining us now from Washington, D.C.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Mara. Tell us what you found. We’ve got time. Tell us what you found in these documents.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, the documents, as you stated, show that the FBI and American intelligence agencies were monitoring and reporting on Occupy Wall Street before the first tent even went up in Zuccotti Park. The documents that we have been able to obtain show the FBI communicating with the New York Stock Exchange in August of 2011 about the upcoming Occupy demonstrations, about plans for the protests. It shows them meeting with or communicating with private businesses. And throughout the materials, there is repeated evidence of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, American intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arm for corporations, for Wall Street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.

AMY GOODMAN: Interesting that they came out on Friday before Christmas?

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, we certainly thought so. We have been trying to get these documents for more than a year. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed original FOIA demands with federal agencies as well as municipalities and police departments all around the United States, and we did so in the fall of 2011, when there was evidence of a coordinated crackdown on Occupy all around the country. And we wanted to get the documents out to be able to show what the government was doing. And the FBI has stonewalled for a year, and we were finally able to get these documents. They came to us, you know, as you said, the Friday before the holiday weekend. And we wanted to get them out to people right away. We assumed the FBI was expecting that, you know, it would just get buried. And instead, I have to say, it was, you know, great to be able to get these up and have people around the United States be able to see what the FBI is doing.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And Mara, what about the issue of actual infiltrators, either paid or sent in by law enforcement or the FBI into the Occupy groups?

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, the documents are heavily redacted. There is a lot of material that, on the pages themselves, we cannot see. And the documents also, in terms of the breadth and scope of the production, we believe that there is a lot more that’s being withheld. Even when you go through the text of the documents, you can see that there’s a lot more in terms of meetings and memos that must exist. And we are filing an appeal to demand and fight for more material to be released.

But even in these heavily redacted documents, you can see the FBI using at least private entities as a proxy force for what appears to be infiltration. There is—there are documents that show the Federal Reserve in Richmond was reporting to the FBI, working with the Capitol Police in Virginia, and reporting and giving updates on planning meetings and discussions within the Occupy movement. That would appear, minimally, that they were sending undercovers, if not infiltrators, into those meetings.

There is another document that shows the FBI meeting with private port security officers in Anchorage, Alaska, in advance of the West Coast port actions. And that document has that private port security person saying that they are going to go attend a planning meeting of the demonstrators, and they’re reporting back to the FBI. They coordinate with the FBI. The FBI says that they will put them in touch with someone from the Anchorage Police Department, that that person should take the police department officer with him, as well.

And so these documents also show the intense coordination both with private businesses, with Wall Street, with the banks, and with state police departments and local police departments around the country.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break and then go specifically to several of the documents you got under the Freedom of Information Act. We’re talking to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who is the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which got the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, has been trying to get them over the past few years. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We go back right now to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which released documents showing how the FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street. I want to turn right now to one of the documents. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. I want to turn to part of a memo dated October 19, 2011, from the FBI’s field office in Jacksonville, Florida. The document is titled, quote, “Domain Program Management Domestic Terrorism.” It shows the FBI was concerned the Occupy movement, quote, “may provide an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.” In particular, the document cites certain areas of concern in Central Florida where, quote, “some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.” Mara, can you talk about this idea of a lone offender threat?

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: I think that that is very much a measure of box checking by the FBI. I don’t believe—and their documents show that they did not believe—that this was a movement that posed a threat of violence. Now, throughout the documents, they’re using their counterterrorism resources and counterterrorism authorities, they are defining the movement as domestic terrorism and potentially criminal in nature. But the fact is, they also throughout the documents say that they know that this is a peaceful movement, that it is organized on a basis of nonviolence. And by that logic, of course, you can investigate everyone in every activity in the United States on the grounds that someone might do something sometime. And, in fact, think about the tea party rallies. The tea party was having rallies all around the United States where their members come carrying weapons—they’re open carrying—including at events where the president of the United States was speaking. But the FBI is turning its attention to this movement.

And when they reference the locations in Florida, I think that’s actually a political analysis, a recognition that this is a movement whose time has come. And whether it’s in hibernation right now, it is based on an organic reality of the economic situation in the United States. And the FBI is referencing the high level of unemployment, the needs that people have, and it’s a recognition, too, of the dynamism and the dynamic nature of the people of the United States, the people all over the world, when they organize and come together. That’s the threat that we believe the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are truly focused on, not a threat of violence.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Mara, I’d like to turn to another document from the FBI’s New York field office that shows FBI personnel met with representatives of the New York Stock Exchange on August 19th, 2011, to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that were set for the following month. The memo describes the meeting, saying, quote, “Discussed was the planned anarchist protest titled ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ scheduled for September 17, 2011. The protest appears on anarchist websites and social network pages on the internet.” The memo goes on to say, quote, “Numerous incidents have occurred in the past which show attempts by anarchist groups to disrupt, influence, and or shut down normal business operations of financial districts.” Talk about these meetings between law enforcement and the parties targeted by Occupy Wall Street, Mara.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, again, the documents throughout show that they know that the movement is nonviolent. And the FBI routinely uses reference to anarchists and demonizing anarchists or a political ideology as if it’s an—identical with criminal behavior. And so, they often reference anarchists in these materials and other materials that we’ve gotten over the years in our litigation, even where they know there are not acts of violence. And we also know how frequently the police themselves, you know, mask up and infiltrate demonstrate demonstrations, posing themselves as the anarchists that they’re always saying that they’re worried about.

But those documents again show the FBI working with private industry, with the banks. They’re not bringing evidence of real threats of violence. They’re talking about political uprising. And I think we can be sure that if they had evidence of criminal activity, they wouldn’t have redacted it. They would have been happy to produce that. But they don’t have it. And over and over again, you have the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security basically conducting themselves in a form of police statism in the United States against the people of the United States.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about the historical precedent here, the history of the FBI’s involvement in monitoring, surveiling and sometimes disrupting peaceful, dissident activity in the United States?

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, exactly. This is just part and parcel of the long history of the FBI. And this is not the first incident, it is not going to be the last, and it’s not the worst, to be honest. We all know that. It’s not—you know, the FBI has a long history — ’50s, ’60s, ’70s — of mass surveillance, of targeting of people based on political ideology, of efforts to disrupt the movements for social justice, for efforts to shut down black liberation movement, the antiwar movement. And in the ’70s, of course, there were these great revelations about the abuses of the FBI, of the CIA, of other security agencies. And there were the Church Committee hearings. There were supposedly protections put in place. But we can see, you know, decade after decade, with each social justice movement, that the FBI conducts itself in the same role over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people.

AMY GOODMAN: Mara, a document from October 2011 indicates law enforcement from the Federal Reserve in Richmond, Virginia, was giving the FBI information about Occupy Wall Street. It says the Federal Reserve source contacted the FBI to, quote, “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” Interestingly, the memo also notes that Occupy Wall Street, quote, “has been known to be peaceful but demonstrations across the United States show that other groups have joined in such as Day Of Rage and the October 2011 Movement,” it says. The memo describes repeated communications to, quote, “pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies.” Can you talk about the significance of this document, Mara?

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: That document is one of the ones that would indicate the FBI was minimally using private entities or local police departments as proxy forces for infiltration, for undercover operations, to monitor, surveil, collect information. And that document, too, and the series of documents also showed the breadth of the reporting. So you have individuals on the ground with the Federal Reserve Bank, with the state police agencies, apparently monitoring and collecting information on the planning discussions of protests in Richmond, reporting them into the FBI and also reporting them into state fusion centers and to other intelligence and domestic terrorism data centers.

Now, the data warehousing in the United States, the mass collection of data on the people of the United States, is of great concern. And you can see, through these documents, the FBI is collecting a lot of information on completely lawful activities, on the activities of people who are not alleged to have committed criminal acts, are not planning criminal acts, who actually are engaged in cherished, First Amendment-protected activities. And yet, it’s being collected under the imprimatur of domestic terrorism or criminal activity and being entered into these mass databases, which have a huge level of dissemination and access and which are virtually unregulated.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, for joining us, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which released the documents showing how the FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.

Occupy Oakland: 400 Arrests, Tear Gas & Flag Burning

Mass arrests, chemical weapons, and nationwide solidarity – the Occupy Wall Street movement was the big story over the weekend – and so too was how hundreds of Americans were screwed out of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. More than 400 members of the Occupy movement were arrested Saturday in downtown Oakland as riot police using flash-bang grenades, chemical weapons, and less-lethal rubber-coated steel bullets cracked down on an attempt to occupy a long-abandoned city building. An unknown number of patriots were hospitalized with injuries after the assault by Oakland Police, and at least four journalists were arrested – the most since Mayor Bloomberg‘s midnight raid on Zuccotti Park last November. All-in-all it was an ugly day in Oakland Saturday.

Fascism in Progress – NYPD pulls the plug on #OWS Global Revolution TV

On Tuesday, NYPD arrested six individuals who ran OWS’ Globalrevolution.tv. According to law enforcement, the place where the individuals inhabited was “imminently perilous to life” and was a threat to the inhabitant’s health. Some say health concerns aren’t the real issues and claim NYPD tactics are changing and they are now targeting individuals. Goldie, OWS activist, gives us his take on the website shutdown and why he refuses to use his last name.

American’s Be Fruitful and OCCUPY!!!

and please don’t forget to “Like”

Occupy Cyberspace-American Autumn’s

 blog and Facebook Fan page!

Occupy Facebook: The Occupy Movement is Planning and Launching Their Own Social Network January 2012

Occupy Facebook?  It’s not just a slogan anymore!  Watch out Facebook, the Occupy protest is making its own social network. The Global Square is expected to launch in January 2012, providing a secure space for Occupy protestors to organize, share, and meet fellow protestors, according to its developers. It will also boast a Facebook-like news feed. Unlike Twitter and Facebook however, new Global Square members must be sanctioned by existing ones before being accepted.

This news comes just days after Twitter reports it was subpoenaed by the Massachusetts DA’s office for Occupy Boston account information.

Developers hope to get the site up and running as soon as January, giving protesters somewhere to occupy during wintertime: their computers.

from The “Official Wikileaks forum”

The Global Square: an online platform for our movement

A proposal on how to perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization.

This is a proposal made by a group of concerned global citizens who also act as volunteers for Take the Square, United for Global Change, 15october.net, European Revolution, WL Central and Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR). We do not pretend to represent or speak on behalf of anyone but ourselves.

The Global Square: Towards an Online Platform for the Occupy Movement

In its most recent tactical briefing for the Occupy movement, Adbusters correctly pointed out that, “of the many questions swirling around #OCCUPY, the most challenging is how to gel into a global movement without sacrificing the decentralized, leaderless model.” In the wake of the global day of action on October 15, the question now arises how our movement can evolve new organizational structures that will allow the assemblies — and their highly innovative participatory model of decision-making — to survive beyond the occupations and become a permanent fixture of our emerging global society.

How, in other words, can we perpetuate the creative and cooperative spirit of the occupations and transform them into lasting forms of social organization — at the global as well as the local level?

Currently, the organization of the occupations and the collaboration between them rests in part upon the innovative use of social media. However, as a group of volunteers who were directly involved in the coordination of the worldwide protests of October 15, we have found the existing social media to be increasingly restrictive in their functionality. While Facebook and Twitter have been very helpful for disseminating basic information and aiding mass mobilization, they do not provide us with the tools for extending our participatory model of decision-making beyond the direct reach of the assemblies and up to the global level.

What we need, at this point, is a platform that allows us to radically democratize our global organizational efforts. In addition to the local squares, we now need a global square where people of all nations can come together as equals to participate in the coordination of collective actions and the formulation of common goals and aspirations. For this reason, we call upon the revolutionary wizkids of the world to unite and assist in the development of a new online platform – The Global Square – that combines the communicative functions of the existing social networks with the political functions of the assemblies to provide crucial new tools for the development of our global movement.

The aim of the platform, in this respect, should not be to replace the physical assemblies but rather to empower them by providing the online tools for (trans)national organization and collaboration. The ideal would be both to foster individual participation and to structure collective action. The Global Square could be our own virtual Zuccotti Park, serving as a public space where different groups can come together to organize their local assemblies — and where different assemblies can join hands to coordinate their collective projects. In a way, The Global Square could be a groundbreaking experiment in building a global participatory decision-making system from the grassroots up.

To be more precise, the specific tools provided by this online platform could include the following (note that this list is far from exhaustive and will grow organically to include many other functionalities):

An interactive map that lists all ongoing assemblies around the world;
A search option allowing users to find squares, events, working-groups, etc.;
An aggregated news feed that lists the most relevant ‘status updates’ shared by the various assemblies (à la Facebook);
Individual ‘pages’ for each local square/assembly where participants can organize collectively, including the following functionalities:
– A calendar with upcoming events/actions;
– A forum for public debate, with the ability to open different threads;
– A list of all relevant documents/minutes uploaded by the assembly;
– The ability to create and edit new documents collaboratively;
– The ability to vote on specific decisions;
– The ability to submit new proposals.
A public and private messaging system that allows all individual users and assemblies to communicate and exchange information, reinforcing solidarity and mutual collaboration;
The ability to ‘scale-up’ local decisions, actions, and initiatives to the global level through a ‘sharing’ system that allows local assemblies to pose ideas, votes, and proposals to other assemblies in a horizontal, non-hierarchical fashion (i.e., straight from the local to the global level).

Furthermore, The Global Square should be 100% multilingual and open-source, so a community of developers can continue to add languages as well as functions.

Facebook and the other social networks have until now only offered the possibility to share and promote content. The Global Square, by contrast, should encourage the active participation of citizens, the consolidation of online working groups, the collaborative scheduling of events, the establishment of consensus, the process of participatory budgeting, and the exchange of needs, proposals and ideas – in a local and a global context – between individuals and assemblies. Furthermore, to promote the widespread uptake of the platform, the creation of a minimalist, user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing design is of the utmost importance.

We are aware of the existence of social platforms like n-1.cc, used by the Spanish movement, yet we feel that these have a number of shortcomings. They are not very user-friendly and not universally accessible for citizens from different national backgrounds. Also, resulting from a lack of funds and time, these platforms have not been able to develop the level of complexity required to provide all the functionalities listed above. We realize that the project we are proposing is a very ambitious one. But we hope that our movement can seize this opportunity to prove once and for all that creativity, innovation and dynamism can flourish in a collaborative, non-profit framework — and that it is possible to ensure a form of participatory democracy beyond the nation state.

We believe The Global Square could make a significant contribution to the consolidation of the assemblies and the development of our global movement. It is important to note, however, that the project will require significant funding, as well as a team of full-time professional developers. As we know that Occupy Wall Street plays an exemplary role within the movement, we are turning specifically to you for help in further refining this idea and initiating the search for funds and developers for a beta-version of the platform. We would be very interested to hear your ideas, suggestions and criticisms of this proposal. We can be reached at info@theglobalsquare.org.

Finally, we have registered a domain (theglobalsquare.org — not active yet) that we would happily share with the movement (other suggestions are, of course, very welcome too). We are looking forward to a public conversation with all of you on how to make this idea work in a way that involves and benefits all. From the local village square to the global village square — it is time for us to unite!

In solidarity,

The volunteers at:

Take the Square
WLCentral.org
United for Global Change
15october.net
European Revolution
Reflections on a Revolution

Although this concept is a great idea, not all great ideas come to fruition.  Some fail during launch, others just never catch on with their intended audience.

Josh Constine of Mashable outlines his comcerns writing….

The Global Square is something Occupy and other protesters need. To scale Occupy’s flat organizational structure, it will require a way for geographically dispersed groups to interact without using representatives. I believe in Occupy’s goal of widespread, grassroots institutional change, and The Global Square will help. However, here’s why it might not work as well as planned:

1. The Global Square Will Be An Echo Chamber

Coordinating different groups is great, but then what? A major distribution mechanism for the movement’s message has been the corporate social networks. That’s because there the message can reach an uninitiated mass audience and grow the movement’s ranks. In contrast, a dedicated protest could devolve into an echo chamber of the converted preaching to the converted

By organizing via these mainstream networks instead of on a dedicated protest network, there would be no loss of momentum from planning to execution. It would also make it significantly easier to onboard new members. If The Global Square and the Occupy movement at large is going to succeed, it will at least need a substantial presence on Facebook and Twitter. It might be better to build there too.

2. There’s Already Diaspora

Pent up discontent with Facebook and Twitter has in part been relieved through Diaspora and other existing open source social networks. Diaspora offers a great deal of flexibility in how individual, decentralized “pods” function. Working within Diaspora rather than parallel to it could be more efficient. A “Global Square pod” could also draw participation from those already familiar with Diaspora — a demographic that likely has a lot of overlap with protesters.

3. Still Subject To Subpoena

Unless data was housed in international waters, The Global Square’s data and messages would still be subject to subpoena by the government of wherever it was hosted. If located in the US where its developers reside, The Global Square could make it more difficult for law enforcement to request data than Facebook, or even Twitter which has historically been less cooperative with authorities. Still, its creators could be punished if they don’t comply with direct court orders for data.

With all the corruption and lack of transparency in today’s governments, changing the system is a noble goal. There are definitely advantages to developing a new, dedicated tool for this purpose. To accomplish its end goal, though, The Global Square will need to harness world’s frustration as efficiently as possible. An isolated network may raise too high a barrier to participation.\

American’s Be Fruitful and OCCUPY!!!

and please don’t forget to “Like”

Occupy Cyberspace-American Autumn’s

 blog and Facebook Fan page!

Is this really America? – Occupy Bishop arrested, wife beaten…

Last weekend – patriots with the movement attempted to set up a new occupation in New York City – near Trinity Church – one of the oldest churches in the city. But that effort was blocked – when the church refused to give sanctuary to the movement – and the NYPD moved in. Bishop Packard and his wife Brook Packard – who were also on hand for last week’s demonstrations, and were arrested and beaten.

Occupy America!!! Help Us Change The Country, or Hide and Watch!

Have the Occupy Wall Street protests that sprung up across the country this fall already passed? Shot in NYC, Oakland, and Cincinnati, this short explores the state of the #OWS protests now that local governments have removed permanent encampments, and asks what the future will be for this still-young nationwide movement.

Sgt. Shamar Thomas Introduces OccupyEducated.org – A New Online Library that Can’t Be Destroyed

This is an emergency response to the destruction of the library at Occupy Wall Street, a clear attempt to destroy the education of passionate people who are tired of living in a deeply flawed system.

Razing libraries and burning books has historically failed every time; thiis will be the most colossal failure to repress education in history, because this time, the education will not be centralized.

Just as the library was a collection of donated books, OccupyEducated.org is a place where you can have your say as to what books are important reading for understanding the occupation.

Current TV’s Vanguard releases Documentary “The 99 Percent” to air tonight!

In “The 99 Percent,” Vanguard correspondent Christof Putzel moves into Zuccotti Park to explore the Occupy Wall Street movement from the inside. Produced by Craig and Brent Renaud.

For more, go to http://current.com/vanguard.

Credits //Senior Executive Producer: Jim Fraenkel
Executive Producer: Adam Yamaguchi
Correspondent: Christof Putzel
Producers: Christof Putzel, Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
Editors: Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud

Occupy Movement in Full Effect today across the US – Police arrest OWS protesters at World Financial Center

Police arrested OWS protester at a peaceful flash mob at World Financial Center and harass journalist who filmed the protest.

(NYT)At least 17 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Monday at the World Financial Center, whose owner, Brookfield Properties, also owns Zuccotti Park, the public space where the protesters maintained an encampment for two months before being cleared by the police in mid-November.

“We thought we would come over and give Brookfield a direct message,” said Bill Dobbs, an Occupy Wall Street organizer.

About 200 protesters milled and chanted inside the center’s winter garden, a public atrium with soaring ceilings. They also stretched yellow adhesive tape marked with the word “Occupy” across the granite floor of the atrium. From a second-floor balcony, a banner was unfurled with the words “solidarity” and “west coast port shutdown,” in support of protests in cities like Oakland, Seattle and San Diego, where activists with the Occupy movement announced plans to blockade ports.

Onlookers peered from other parts of the balcony, or hurried across the main floor of the atrium, where protesters swirled in a circle.

Soon police officers arrived. A man wearing a suit, who would not say who he worked for announced: “If you do not leave, you will be arrested.”

A police commander said the man worked for Brookfield. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

A few minutes later, officers began herding protesters down a wide staircase in the atrium and pushed them toward a door. At one point, several officers pounced on a man on the ground. A moment later, officers chased another man through the atrium, cornering him near glass windows and arresting him.

Most of the protesters and several news reporters and photographers were pushed outside. But about 10 men and 7 women were placed in handcuffs inside the atrium, then removed and placed in police vehicles.

The protests began when a few hundred people assembled on Broadway, opposite Zuccotti Park, and marched to the Goldman Sachs headquarters nearby. Some of those on the march compared Goldman Sachs to a giant squid with tentacles that spread throughout the global financial system.

“We’re demonstrating the links between the excesses in finance and the excesses in industry,” said Aaron Bornstein, 31, a neuroscientist from Fort Greene, Brooklyn. “And the labor-busting power of industry.”

At least a dozen people were arrested.

After rallying outside the Goldman Sachs building on West Street while brandishing placards and papier-mâché replicas of squids, some of the protesters then headed to the World Financial Center.

(via COLIN MOYNIHAN - New York Times)

#Mockupy – #OWS occupies Law and Order:SVU’s Fake Zuccotti Park

This is not only smart, but hilarious as well.  #OWS in New York, came accross a bonanza when it was realized that Law and Order:SVU was filming an episode dealing with the Occupy Movement.  What comes next is the stuff of legends and folklore…..

(Mother Jones) It’s straight out of a Don DeLillo novel: A few hours after television producers set up a replica of Occupy Wall Street for the filming of a new episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the real Occupy Wall Street announced plans to occupy the fake one. At 11:30 p.m. the call to occupy the set went out on Twitter with the hash tag #Mockupy. Located at nearby Foley Square, the fake camp includes a replica of the OWS kitchen and library as well as numerous tarps, tents, and signs. “They’ve delivered us this perfectly wrapped Christmas present with a bow on top: They rebuilt our camp,” OWS organizer Jake DeGroot told me shortly before the announcement went out. “How could we not go and take it?”

Here’s video of the fake Zuccotti Park being occupied by the real occupiers:

As of about 1:00 a.m., the police had begun to push protesters out of the park anddismantle the set. “NYPD does not respect Law and Order,” the crowd chanted cheekily. At one point, an occupier asked an officer, “Are these real barricades, or a set piece?”

Within about an hour police had cleared out the protesters, which was less time than it took clear the real Zuccotti, but probably more than they’d need on a TV show. “You guys just cleared a fake Zuccotti Park,” the tweeter @NewYorkist told a police officer, who countered that they’d done no such thing: “We didn’t clear a fake Zuccotti,” he insisted. “They’re taking the set down.”

A few minutes later, the occupiers regrouped on a nearby set of steps for an impromptu general assembly. “This is beautiful, and this points out to us a more clever way to fight the struggle,” someone said, echoed by the people’s mic.

“Whose park?” another man yelled.

Everyone knew their lines. “Our park!”