After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT:Breaking: Another coal mine disaster in KY; 200 arrested protesting Chevron's toxic 100-year old San Francisco refinery; Why are drillers wasting 1/3 of natural gas?; South Korea's growing nuclear industry scandal; Extreme heat naturally poaching Alaska's salmon; PLUS: The world's first test-tube burger ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "Fatberg" ahead!; Will global warming lead to more war? It’s not that simple; NM farmers draining aquifer for fracking; Climate changing faster that in past 65m years; IG to probe State Dept conflict of interest; Fukushima: radioactive water 'emergency'; Gag order for 2 kids over fracking; Starved polar bear perished due to record sea-ice melt; Wind energy fastest-growing energy source in US ... PLUS: Screw Your Salmon And Your Virgin Wilderness, Alaska, America Hungers For Molybdenum! ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Despite reporting to the contrary from both Los Angeles' NBC affiliate and the Los Angeles Police Department, Trayvon Martin protesters in Hollywood on Sunday night neither "stormed" nor caused "about $15,000 worth of damage" at a local hotel.
For the most part, protests in the wake of the "not guilty" verdict for George Zimmerman in Florida, have been peaceful here in L.A., though, at times, it seems as if NBC's local affiliate, NBC4 hoped they might not be.
The BRAD BLOG has confirmed with a spokesman at the W Hotel in Hollywood that "no protestors ever entered" the facility, even as NBC4's NewsChopper4 reporter Megan Reyes told both the studio and viewers watching their live web stream of protests on Sunday night that protesters were "getting very rowdy" and had "broken glass" at the hotel. She cited no source for her reporting, and NBC4 did not respond to The BRAD BLOG's request last night via Twitter for details on Reyes' sourcing.
By Monday on NBC4, false reports of "broken glass" had turned into false reports of "$15,000 worth of damage" at the hotel, after reporter Tony Guinyard informed viewers that protesters "stormed" the hotel and, as an LAPD Commander, on camera, confirmed that report.
All of that, however, was completely disputed by two W Hotel officials we contacted on Monday...
The fully-militarized, post-9/11 Big Government Police State in these United States continues unabated, even as we've had to turn our attention here, of late, away from the Occupy Movement to cover the pretend democracy known as the 2012 Presidential Race.
This time, the OPD upped the ante by arresting some six journalists --- in violation of both Quan's previous (apparently pretend) directives, as well as the Department's own supposed procedures --- even as each of the journos claim to have clearly identified themselves as members of the media prior to being detained nonetheless. (At least the OPD didn't shoot at them this time.)
Among those six journalists attempting to do their jobs, was Mother Jones' Gavin Aronsen, who has been covering the Occupy movement on the ground in Oakland and San Francisco for months. He is a superb journalist who I had the privilege of working closely with last year in the course of my "Secret Koch Tapes" exclusives that I ran at MoJo in September.
Here's Aronsen's appalling account of what happened before and after his arrest on Saturday in Oakland. It includes this passage near the end for additional context (and for those who pretend to care about the Constitution, who I will get to in a minute):
"The Bay Area Occupy movement has got to stop using Oakland as their playground," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement during last night's arrests that made no mention of her police department's lack of regard for journalists' First Amendment protections. Last week, the United States dropped 27 spots in Reporters Without Borders' annual press freedom index due to police treatment of journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street movement. By Josh Stearns's count, more than three dozen reporters have been arrested since the movement began last year in Manhattan.
Oakland isn't the only Occupy hot-spot where police appear to be continuing to abuse their Big Government powers to violently strip private citizens of their Constitutional rights. In Washington D.C., one of the few cities where Occupy encampments, until now, have been allowed to remain in place, police have announced that will be coming to an end as of a Monday deadline. Today.
To prepare for their big day, over the weekend the D.C. Police distributed "eviction notices" and warmed up their Tasers, as seen in this outrageous video shot on Sunday in our nation's capitol...
Had that ever happened to one --- just one --- so-called "Tea Partier", this nation would likely have descended into an all-out shooting civil war by now. Yet similar police abuses have been seen against Occupiers in state after state.
Such that what is seen in the video above, and the other acts mentioned, were done to fellow citizens whose Constitutional Rights the "Tea Party" doesn't give two shits about, their fake "grass roots" "movement", apparently, couldn't care less about any of these clear cases of the very "Big Government Tyranny" and stripping of Constitutional rights that they have long been allowed to pretend they give a damn about. They don't. They care about nothing more than electing Republicans to office. Period. The Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with any of it.
Many of the individuals who were swept up by last week's LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment at Los Angeles City Hall were arrested even as they attempted to disperse in accordance with police directives, according to testimonials from some who were detained in the early morning hours of November 30th and held on misdemeanor charges for days after.
Their videotaped testimonials [some of which are posted below] both corroborate and reinforce the excessive force and post-arrest abuse charges detailed in our previous article on the Occupy LA raid, in which detainees charged that they were hand-cuffed behind their backs and left to languish inside L.A. County Sheriff's Department (LASD) buses for eight to nine hours without access to food, water, medicine, or toilets as they were left to urinate on themselves in their seats.
The details also suggest that these conditions were imposed upon innocent demonstrators who were the victims of indiscriminate, false arrests by law enforcement officials. Worse, one written account suggests the LAPD's misconduct included not only pillaging the encampment and police brutality, but even torture...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman
[Article now UPDATED at bottom with new information on the LAPD release of detainees.]
Much of the good will and plaudits earned by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck for their "minimal use of force" tactics employed to clear OccupyLA demonstrators from City Hall Park earlier this week has been quickly squandered in the hours and days since. The BRAD BLOG has learned that hundreds of peaceful arrestees were kept in often deplorable conditions in the hours following their apprehension.
According to new interviews with some of the arrestees following their release, men and women alike were held without charges for hours on end, forced to urinate in their seats on a holding bus while handcuffed, cut off from attorneys, medical supplies, and drinking water, and locked away with punitively high bails while being deprived of both humane and Constitutional rights.
At this hour, almost three full days after their arrest at the OccupyLA encampment in front of Los Angeles City Hall, more than 200 of the peaceful demonstrators detained by LAPD in the evening on Tuesday and early morning hours on Wednesday --- many of them who were not even participating in the Occupation --- are still being held in jail pending $5,000 bail for their misdemeanor detentions, as detailed by radio station KPCC. Approximately fifty people have been released, some after posting bail, others for medical reasons.
KPCC went on to report that on Thursday, only 19 of those people had yet to be charged. The City Attorney's office said that, depending on the charge, some would face bail as high as $20,000.
This morning, Los Angeles Times reported that most of the 19 who were allowed to appear in L.A. County Superior Court Thursday were released without bail, but on the "condition that they not return to the City Hall area, where the protesters had camped." The Times went on to note that most of those still held without being charged have no criminal record...
I was honored to have both the infamous "OccupyFreedomLA" (aka Freedom) and the notorious "OakFoSho" (aka Spencer Mills), citizen journalists both, join me live in-studio today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show after they spent the entire night live video-streaming the LAPD's de-occupation of OccupyLA at City Hall for the entire world.
So it was awesome to meet them in person to discuss the art of live-stream citizen journalism, get the scoop on how they do it, how you too can also be the media as a live-streamer with little more than a smartphone, and to get some inside skinny on what happened last night as they tried to help counter the spin by corporate media and the 1,400 strong LAPD contingent, to ensure that "the whole world was watching."
It was a fun and, hopefully, informative interview/discussion. Give it a listen!
P.S. Naturally, both of 'em live streamed the interview from the studio as it happened! So, while the sound quality isn't nearly as good, and you won't get to hear the sound clips or music from their inside-the-studio cameras, the archived video versions of each of their live streams follow below, if you prefer...
Returning for the first time to Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, where the eviction of peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators on October 25th eventually resulted in his critical injury at the hands of a member of the Oakland Police Department's multi-agency task force, Scott Olsen gave his first interview this week since his recent release from the hospital. [Video posted at bottom of article.]
The 24-year old, two-tour Iraq vet and former U.S. Marine was struck by a projectile, believed to have been a CS gas canister fired by a law enforcement official, as he stood with other peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators just before police opened fire on them.
Contrary to a statement given by the OPD's Interim Chief Howard Jordan on the night of the confrontation with demonstrators in Oakland, so far no evidence has emerged to support Jordan's claim that police "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks." In fact, a November 2nd analysis by The BRAD BLOG of video tape and eye-witness statements from that night suggests quite the opposite, that the police planned to fire on demonstrators before there was any sign of violence by protesters.
The action which resulted in Olsen's injury, as we reported, would be in apparent violation of both state law and a federal consent decree signed by the OPD after similar violence against anti-war protesters in 2003. Following our report, the OPD somewhat walked back Jordan's so far evidence-free remarks to the media following the assault.
In the video interview, Olsen displays a remarkable memory of the events of the night --- particularly given the bloodied, apparent state of shock he was seen in as he was carried off by fellow demonstrators shouting "Medic! Medic!" in video tapes of the incident.
As seen in the interview, he also now has trouble with his speech, thanks to the damage sustained to the left frontal lobe of his brain, according to David Id, who posted the interview on Monday at the East Bay Indy Media website.
Olsen tells Id that his condition has been improving. We'd say remarkably so, given the injury he sustained just over one month ago, which sent him to the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull and a swelling brain in the early morning hours of October 26th.
His indomitable spirit, evidenced throughout the short interview in which he offers a message to police, politicians, and demonstrators alike, is remarkable as well, as he is seen smiling while responding to each of Id's questions, explaining what he recalls of that night in the moments both before and after he was shot...
Our week guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show continues tonight and tomorrow!
As usual tonight, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi "apologized" for last Friday's pepper spray incident during remarks to thousands of students who had gathered on the campus quad for a General Assembly this afternoon.
Here's Lee Fang's video of Katehi's teary remarks within the past hour, which began with, "I am here to apologize. I feel horrible for what happened on Friday"...
[Note: Fang, now reporting at The Second Alarm will join me on tonight's Mike Malloy Show, which I am guest hosting this week.]...
...What Katehi didn't do, once again, was either resign, as faculty and students alike have called for, or condemn the behavior of her police force for their outrageous behavior in pepper spraying nearly 20 students who had peacefully locked arms while staging an "Occupy" sit-in late last week.
Videos of the shocking incident showing UC Davis Police Department's Lt. John Pike casually torturing the students, went viral over the weekend, sparking outrage and calls for the immediate resignation of the UC Davis Chancellor. She has said she will not resign, telling ABC's Good Morning America this morning that she is "really feel confident at this point the university needs me."
She didn't mention, however, whether the university needs any holes in the head or not...
[Now UPDATED with audio archives from tonight's show below.]
We're back guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show every night through this Wednesday! Hope you can tune in! Promise it'll be some lively radio!
As usual, we're BradCasting this week LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
PLUS! Much more, as the Occupy Wall Street uprising continues, and everything else worth covering today, along with your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: This violence by police against peaceful demonstrators across the country is making me angry. As it turns out, that's a good place to be while guest hosting the Malloy Show. Enjoy tonight's commercial-free audio archives below and see if you agree...
We're back! We're guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show every weeknight tonight through next Wednesday!
As usual, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
DENISE LOCKWOOD, of the Caledonia Patch, on the alleged plans by supporters of WI Gov. Scott Walker to sabotage the recently launched RECALL WALKER effort. We'll discuss her recent reports of a source who claims there are some 1,000 folks working on the effort to game the effort, and some of the journalistic questions surrounding her reporting.
PLUS! Has Occupy Wall Street now revealed this nation to be a full blown Military State? We'll have plenty to say on that, along with your calls, more news on "Occupation Nation" and anything else you might want to use your public airwaves for at 877-520-1150 and with your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Great show tonight, I think. Nice to be back. Very lively, great guests, great callers...just fun (and infuriating) all around! Don't believe me? Listen to the commercial-free audio archives now posted below (along with chat room archives). Enjoy!...
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and the National Lawyers Guild filed a 17-page complaint (Campbell vs. City of Oakland) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking both compensatory damages and the issuance of a temporary restraining order that would enjoin the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and 17 outside law-enforcement agencies from trampling upon the constitutional rights of both bystanders and participants in Occupy Oakland.
The complaint calls for the OPD to cease their vicious, unprovoked and indiscriminate use of chemical agents, flash-bang grenades, nightsticks and direct-impact crowd control weapons --- all in violation of Crowd Control Policies adopted as part of a settlement of two previous federal cases entailing allegations of prior lawless actions by OPD.
The body of the complaint provides graphic details of police misconduct that is so pervasive that the legal filing might aptly be labeled, "an anatomy of an ongoing police riot" or "OPD's campaign of terror"...
Some of the police brutality that has occurred at Occupy demonstrations around the country has been appalling. It's particularly upsetting to watch as those cops seen violating the law and the Constitutional rights of demonstrators are also part of the "99 Percent" themselves.
One of them --- Officer Fred Shavies of the Oakland PD, who was revealed as an undercover infiltrator at Occupy Oakland --- now concedes as much in an extraordinarily moving interview in which he condemns the violence by his fellow cops and says he sees the Occupy movement as a possible "turning point, the tipping point" for our generation.
"It looks like...police shot tear gas into it, right?" says Shavies, referencing the October 25 violence in Oakland at the intersection of 14th & Broadway that The BRAD BLOG has documented in great detail here (see here, here and here for example). "That could be the photograph or the video for our generation. That’s our Birmingham," he explains, alluding to the police brutality that occurred during the otherwise peaceful fight for voting rights in the South during the 60s.
"So, twenty years from now this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point," Shavies says during the interview, as he identifies with the protesters in the "99 percent" movement, adding that he is one of them. [Video and more excerpts below.]
We're not among the anti-cop folks around here. We have, however, reported in great detail on the lawlessness demonstrated by some of the "law enforcement" officials in Oakland, referenced by Shavies, as well as the serious injuries they've inflicted on peaceful demonstrators and even some who weren't demonstrating at all.
So while we don't oppose the lawful men and women of law enforcement, some of them seem to be working awfully hard to give their brothers and sisters a very bad name. Those who have done so must be held accountable for their actions.
You've seen some of the videos of NYPD officers violently pepper spraying peaceful demonstrators, and the videos from Oakland as seen in the articles linked above. Here are two more recent examples of appalling police behavior as witnessed on video tape.
The first is from Occupy Berkeley on Wednesday, where the actions seen below were reported by AP as little more than police "nudging" demonstrators:
Television news footage from outside the university's main administration building showed officers pulling people from the steps and nudging others with batons as the crowd chanted, "We are the 99 percent!" and "Stop Beating Students!"
New video has emerged (posted below), courtesy of ThinkProgress of an apparently unprovoked Oakland police officer shooting a cameraman during a recent stand-off with Occupy Oakland demonstrators.
In an email to The BRAD BLOG, Sgt. Christopher Bolton, Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, confirmed that the incident involved an "OPD use of force" which took place at 16th Street near San Pablo Ave. in Oakland on the morning of Nov. 3, 2011 and that the matter was "under investigation." (Recall that a general strike took place in Oakland on Nov. 2. This event, per the cameraman, took place shortly after midnight.)
However, Bolton did not directly answer specific follow-up questions designed to pin down details of the incident.
At YouTube, the unidentified cameraman denied that there had been any "violence or confrontation of any kind underway" at the time the OPD officer can be seen aiming and firing (as seen 31 seconds into the 40 second video below.)
Because this potentially involves an unprovoked police assault on a citizen-journalist, the issue at stake entails more than police misconduct. If it was unprovoked battery, the incident reflects nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment, democratic accountability and the public's right to monitor police misconduct.
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning, with Brad Friedman
The Oakland Police Department is walking back widely reported comments offered by its Interim Chief, Howard Jordan, at an Oct. 25 televised press conference (video posted below) that law enforcement "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks."
The press conference had been conducted shortly after a melee which included the deployment of chemical agents on peaceful demonstrators. The police use of force resulted in injuries to, among others, a two-tour Iraq veteran who sustained a fractured skull and was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The violent confrontation raised questions about the legality of the procedures carried out by the OPD and the 15 other law enforcement agencies that cooperated in the multi-agency task force.
In response to questions emailed by The BRAD BLOG to the Oakland PD's Chief of Staff, Sgt. Chris Bolton conceded that the department was unable, at this time, to substantiate claims made by Jordan that gas was deployed in order to protect law enforcement personnel from violent demonstrators, despite the Chief's unqualified claim that evening that "the deployment of gas was necessary to protect our officers and protect property around the area and to protect injuries to others as well."
Instead, Bolton softened Jordan's initial claim. The sergeant described it as "the Chief's preliminary belief."
Jordan failed to qualify his statements as a "preliminary belief" at the time he addressed reporters about the use of CS gas during his televised Oct. 25 press conference. Indeed, the Interim Chief spoke of the necessity to deploy chemical agents "to stop the crowd...from pelting us with bottles and rocks" as if it were an established fact.
We sent our questions to the OPD on the heels of a detailed analysis of video taken during the late night confrontation at 14th and Broadway, as well as interviews with eye witnesses conducted last week by The BRAD BLOG. In our own investigation, to date, we have been unable to unearth evidence to support Jordan's assertion that the police initiated the assault in order to defend against either projectiles or any other threat of imminent violence from demonstrators. In fact, the video evidence included in our report reveals that law enforcement officials had determined to use tear gas on the crowd long before any threat was posed by demonstrators.
Our investigation also concluded that the OPD's actions were likely in violation of both California state law, as well as in direct contravention with an OPD Training Bulletin created as part of a mandate following a federal consent decree signed by the department after a similarly violent confrontation with peaceful demonstrators back in 2003...