Monday, September 26, 2011

Taking Wall Street by Twitter: Netpower Rising

Demonstration - A Video for OccupyWallStreet
dedicated to Kelly Schomburg, Chelsea Elliot, Jeanne Mansfield and the other brave ones.

Since word seems to be getting out after 8 days (in some major lamestream media) and the power of the networked communications model of culture has made its initial strength known, I'd like to switch focus from documenting to analysis tonight in keeping with this blog's study.

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Watching the Watchmen

First there were confirmed reports from released arrestees that they were being iris-scanned. Read the linked article for a summary of how an iPhone app is being used by police to scan and record irises as an identification. If you've kept up on the tech, you'll know that this kind of identity print is far harder to falsify than fingerprints (at least for now).

Also expected and taken for granted, as well as being evidenced on crowd videos uploaded to You Tube, the police are using their own camera crews to film protesters as well as being able to access the surveillance cameras all around the square.

Furthermore, take into account all the recent cases of police getting video thrown out of court and arresting mere bystanders/civilian reporters for filming police actions (in no way interfering with those actions) by claiming their "privacy rights," which is absurd on the face of it and a Machiavellian twisting to civil rights legislation.

A cop is a civil servant, performing in a public place, paid by my tax dollars and ostensibly on my side as an upholder of the laws to which I adhere in the civil contract, not a free-range thug who can do what he wants behind a badge.

I may argue with the law or the reason for it; I may peaceably object to the law verbally and intellectually, but I understand a cop has a job to do. I do claim the right to the same sort of surveillance and overview that police claim on me.

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Crowdsourcing Ascendant

It comes as no surprise that, as we are surveilled, we have the same tools to watch back; in fact, for most of the technical generations, we made the tools in the first place. We understand how to use them far better than bureaucratic types.

So today, less than 12 hours after the needlessly brutal pepper-spraying of chanting but peaceful female protesters, videos and photographs have crowdsourced out the acting policeman's name and badge number:

Badge Photo Closeup
David's Camera Craft

Captain Anthony Bologna
1st Precinct, NY

Here's the tweet that's racing around tonight:

Crowdsourced identification of abusive NYPD police officer Anthony Bologna:…

A phone number is also making the Twitter rounds, that of the NYPD's 1st Precinct:

Call Mr. Bologna and ask him why he
pepper sprayed innocent people?
(212) 334-0611

Police Department chief spokesman Paul J. Browne asserts in this NY times article that the video was "edited" and pepper spray was used "appropriately." Watch it yourself. I don't think so -_-

UPDATE 09.26.11 - the officer has also been DOX'ed, but I will not provide that link here. Call the station, call his job out; fair game. Family, relatives? No, I don't support that. That's their ways and means; I won't make it mine; that's part of what I want to see changed.

UPDATE 09.27.11 - Bologna has also been identified as being accused of civil rights violations involving the misuse of pepper spray at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

crowdsourcing ftw :)

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Irony being appreciated among this crowd, it's also a small giggle that his bio states he "previously owned a deli " and of course his name does "Tony Baloney" -

She don't like salami, she don't want pastrami
She don't want a chicken, she don't want a roast
She just wants her double dose of my

Beef, beef, beef, beef bologna

Fear, Beef Bologna

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Controlling the Channels

Twenty-one years ago, the effects of Operation Sundevil served to politicize the nascent net community, ultimately resulting in John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor forming the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

After this milestone of civil rights discussion and litigation, the political net seemed to simmer down for the next 20 years as the business-builders arrived to get a foot in the door and some monetary income from the new technology.

[although a friend just reminded me of my participation in the Cult of the Dead Cow's information warfare with Scientology back in 1995]

This is an echo of television, which was first conceived as a community medium; a way for people to exchange information with each other in neighborhoods, schools and personal life. It was taken over by the sellers of soap and its revolutionary potential was co-opted by mercantilism.

These sellers of soaps, of lifestyles and of politics have had control of the most-immediate and most-widely-distributed means of communications for over 3 generations. They have said, in the famous words of the visionary TV show 'The Outer Limits' -

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can change the focus to a soft blur... or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly, and we will control all that you see and hear."

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Taking back the platform

Lately, the collusion between Big Money Media and government to use the parallel streams of copyright and security to limit or control the structure and information-exchange of the net have been widely-noted. The Gatekeepers present all sorts of rationales for this control, but at its heart is fear: the fear of losing old models of control.

Charted, channeled and controlled, monetized and suborned to moneyed interests and propagandist messages, this generation (and the past one, those of us who did not passively accept our world but studied it) has moved away from the one-way broadcast medium's content and message.

Creating content and messages of our own, we have watched them be taken up by the Lamestream Media in its urge to "be part of what's happening" and to monetize those common social and cultural creativities [all your base are belong to us]. In further insult, some of these shared cultural riches have then been locked up by copyright and stolen from us to use in our remixes, our dialogues with the world presented to us (and this includes the media ocean, which we cannot readily escape).

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Netpower rising

The net is rising to an awareness of its own political power and potential. Maybe most of my generation couldn't see the potential in this medium or were intimidated by the technology. Perhaps they couldn't think outside the box that they had been coerced into by years of television propaganda; perhaps they were lazy and preferred their entertainment to be given to them rather than produce it as a participatory thing. I never had this trouble, being an artist, musician and generally-curious sort of person.

We have watched the rise of the surveillance state, in which the tools of our livelihood and our passion are used against us for the purposes of control. We have watched Gatekeeper Media attempt to limit, destroy and subvert the net in their quest for Ultimate Monetization Of Everything and artificial scarcity as a means of economic control. We've seen "privacy laws" twisted to protect brutal thug-police and then denied to citizen-witnesses.

The latest actions in Egypt, England, Syria, Spain and countless other places will show you why They are afraid of messages outside their propaganda machine. The bypassing of Big Media cartels in the creation and distribution of emergently-high quality music and video entertainment will also tell you why those corporatocracys are afraid.

Their control over the channels of information is slipping.

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Tonight's crowdsourcing of the abusive police officer's badge, name, links to his precinct's telephone number and the rest of it are only the first small ripple in the use of the same tools that these control-freaks are using against us to fight back. You want transparency, police, governments? I want transparency too: I want to be able to lawfully videotape an officer's actions. I want cameras in the "secret sessions" of Congress and the Senate and I want to be informed, in a timely manner and with full disclosure, when laws are being passed in quick midnight sessions with no oversight; I want transparency on the lobbyist sponsors of those bills and donations paid to politicians to sponsor those bills.

Now we've seen a taste of what the net and the crowd, the body politic, can do when it takes back the tools that it created and starts using them. We are not just "endusers" and "consumers" - we make up the network, using technology to do it. Viva la Information Revolution.

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We now return you to our irregularly-scheduled revolution in keeping with this blog's mission of transmission of information.

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Of course the big story today is the video of the female protesters being maced, which has finally caught the attention of Lamestream Media. Kudos to The Atlantic for including it:

The Atlantic: An Important Video to Watch: Pepper-Spray by a Cruel and Cowardly NYC Cop

... and the crowdsourced identification and location of Captain Bologna.

Al-Jazeera continues its coverage.

Wall St protests: Police harsh, media silent? [Russian News From Russia]

Occupy Wall Street Rediscovers the Radical Imagination [Guardian]

ABC broadcast news Sept. 25 [you tube]
again with the 'protest turns violent' propaganda message: no one was violent but police, as shown on many, many videos on You Tube.

NYT: Whatever Happened to the American Left?
a good analysis and suggestions

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Independent Media

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Words & Pix [tweets in italic]

This being tweeted repeatedly: NL9 National Lawyer's Guild - 212-679-6018 - write on arm with Sharpie

SEND A CARE PACKAGE TO:The UPS Store Re: Occupy Wall Street 118A Fulton St. #205 New York, NY 10038

According to this NYCLU post, you have the right to stand or march on sidewalks without a permit.

List of places that will deliver food to Liberty Plaza

A Message from Occupied Wall Street (Day 9)

An email exchange with Professor Noam Chomsky regarding OccupyWallStreet

Buzzfeed: 32 Pictures Of Police Brutality From Occupy Wall Street Protests

Post: Hyper-objectivity and a Failure of American Journalism

Another iconic photo from Giles Clarke

NEVER rub your eyes if maced or pepper sprayed!

this tweet: I'd rather slave away for a good cause than to slave away for a tyrannous organization. and my response: I won't slave for beggar's pay, likewise gold and jewels But I would slave to learn the way to sink your ship of fools. Dead :)

#occupywallstreet has made me realize a horrifying truth: that in today's North America, I am afraid to take part in peaceful protest.

Now occupying Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose solidarity w/ #OccupyWallStreet

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- reporting from the Global Revolution live feed at 6:10amEDT says there are at least 8 lamestream media news trucks now at Liberty Square.

This video is purported to be from Anonymous and is very good:
Nobody Can Predict The Moment Of Revolution ( Occupy Wall Street )

Occupy Wall Street/Backtraced Security [ an anon video]

September 24 - police riot [you tube asks for age verification on this one]

Video from OccupyLosAngeles

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