NLG and Protesters Force The Oakland Police To Follow The Rules and Alfred McCoy Explains The Making of The Surveillance State

NLG Obtains $1.17M, OPD Reforms for Occupy Oakland Protesters and Journalists

In recent weeks, attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild achieved two significant victories for the rights of protesters faced with police brutality and unlawful repression. The first came when the city of Oakland settled a class action lawsuit for more than 1 million dollars. The second victory occurred in early July when Oakland City Council approved a settlement for 1.17 million in another lawsuit arising from police actions at protests. As part of these settlements, the Oakland Police Department is now legally obligated to follow a crowd control policy. This policy which already existed but lacked enforcement outlines limits on police department officer’s use of force and the ability to make mass arrests in protest situations.

Attorney Rachel Lederman:

The first case has to do with the demonstration that had occurred on the day Johannes Mesterly was sentenced for the death of Oscar Grant. That’s the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant in the back as he was restrained facedown on the subway platform.
There’s a movie out about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant called Fruitvale Station that I would highly recommend seeing it’s playing all over the country now.
The death of Oscar Grant sparked a large number of demonstrations. November 5, 2010 was the date that Mesterly was sentenced and he was given a very minimal sentence of involuntary man slaughter of 2 years, 11 months with time served.
There was a demonstration planned for that evening it was actually a very small demonstration. OPD had planned to not allow a march after dark.
There was a rally that was permitted in downtown Oakland and then about 200 people started marching in the direction of Fruitvale Bart where the shooting had occurred. As soon as the march started the police began to set up for mass arrest.
When a police line would be erected in front of the march people would naturally turn another direction. This went on for a while, where the march was re-routed.
Eventually the OPD herded people to a residential area where they didn’t intend to go. The police announced it was a crime scene and began arresting everyone.
The Oakland City Police have been under consent decree since January 2003 mandating reform process.
We’ve had this crowd control policy in place but basically every single provision of the crowd control policy was violated in the Occupy Oakland incident and the Oscar Grant incident.
We brought those cases to try to enforce the crowd control policy. A lot has changed in the last six months.
There’s also been a new shake up of command (OCP) there’s a new acting chief.

Guest – Rachel Lederman, a California based National Lawyers Guild attorney who worked on both cases. Rachel first got involved in police misconduct civil rights cases as a result of her criminal defense work with political demonstrators. In 1989, Dennis Cunningham and Rachel Lederman successfully sued the San Francisco Police to obtain justice for AIDS activists who had been brutalized and unlawfully detained in what became known as the “Castro Sweep”.

Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020

What is the history and context of surveillance in the United States? Last week Scott Horton explained how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court devolved into a panel of judges making decisions in secret that influence federal law. Returning guest Alfred McCoy traces the US surveillance apparatus back to the late 1800s and brings us up to understanding the context of leaked NSA documents by whistle-blower Ed Snowden. In his latest article titled Surveillance Blowback: the Making of the U.S. Surveillance State 1898-2020, Al McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison details the surveillance timeline beginning with the US occupation of the Philipines and makes the connection to US imperialism abroad and apathy at home.

Professor Alfred McCoy:

Four years ago I published a book called Policing America’s Empire which started in the Philipines and started the history of US domestic surveillance through what I call surveillance blowback.
It’s the trajectory of history that allows you to see this.
In the late 19th century America had what I call our first information regime which was really a brilliant synergy of discoveries.
Thomas Edison’s quadruplex telegraph, Remington’s typewriter allowed the transmission around the world, across the nation, absolutely accurately at 40 words a minute.
The Gamewell Corporation for a half century during the 19th century was the world leader in the development of police telegraph and telephone communication – those police boxes that used to be on the streets of every American city.
The Gamewell Corporation had 900 of these boxes in operation and collectively they sent 41 million messages in the year 1900.
When we intervened in the Philippines we were suddenly faced with this massive insurgency, this guerrilla underground. We smashed the regular military formations but we couldn’t break the insurgency.
The US military in order to pacify that country created the first field intelligence unit in its 100 year history.
They appointed an obscure medical doctor Captain Ralph Van Deman to be the head of the division of military information.
He decided he would map the entire Filipino political elite.
William Howard Taft passed very draconian sedition and libel legislation and created a powerful colonial secret police called the Philipines constabulary. It took about 10 years to accomplish. 1898-1907
We had to track down the politicians (Philipines) we had to manipulate them.
10 years after that process, the US joined WWI. April 1917.
The United States was the only army on either side of the battlefield that didn’t have an intelligence service with any description.
We turn now to Colonel Van Deman who applied his Philippines experience to developing a very elaborate counter-intelligence apparatus inside the United States.
Mr and Mrs Van Deman ran a private intelligence service that had Army file clerks and regular FBI liason officers dropping by.
And from their home they compiled files on 250 thousand suspected subversives.
They divided the world. Basically, North America, Latin America became the purview of the FBI for counter-intelligence the rest of the world became purview of US military intelligence and of course the CIA and then NSA.
That division of the word remain in effect until December 2011.
3 million Afghani iris scans and fingerprints are housed in a main frame computer in West Virginia.
So, we developed then, this very efficient system of surveillance and digital monitoring overseas.
During the war on terror we now know the Bush Administration beginning October 2001 authorized the NSA to start massive capping of all digital communications.
In March of this year, it was 97 billion emails that were tapped by the NSA.
This began migrating home very very quickly.
When Obama came even though he criticized this illegal wiretapping, when he came in, instead of cutting it back like the Republicans did in the 1920s, he decided to build upon it.
What he’s building upon it for is to build an architecture for the exercise of global power through a significant edge or advantage for information control and information warfare.
Obama wants to cut back on the appropriations for the big behemoths, the heavy tanks, the big ships and he wants to shift us into an agile form of information warfare and global information control.
The NSA is spending 1. 6 Billion dollars for the world’s biggest data farm in Bluffdale, Utah.
The National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency has a nearly 2 billion dollar headquarters with 16 thousand employees in DC.
The Obama Administration has launched a new generation of light low cost, very agile satellites that can be remotely controlled from the ground, serving ground force commanders.
The Obama Administration is also building an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones with 24 hour flight capacity. These are surveillance drones with a 100 mile ambit for sucking audio communications.
With the combination of drones sucking up the local two way radio – cell phone communication with the tapping of the fiber optic cables within the US by the NSA, and internationally by the Five Eyes Coalition, Canad Australia, New Zealand and Britain, means that the NSA will have a total global surveillance system for the first time in human history.

Guest – Alfred McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His recent book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (2009), draws together these two strands in his research–covert operations and Philippine political history–to explore the role of police, information, and scandal in the shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus. In 2011, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Policing America’s Empire the George McT. Kahin Prize, describing the work as “a passionate, elegantly written book.” He’s also the author of “Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation.” Al is also the author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” and “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. The first edition of his book, published in 1972 as The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, sparked controversy, but is now regarded as the “classic work” about Asian drug trafficking.


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