Tag Archives: Occupy

Unresolved 2015 protest case reveals Denver police have been concealing evidence from all activist trials

Eric Brandt on the hoof
DENVER, COLORADO- A seemingly ordinary protester-in-the-roadway case has exploded in the face of Denver city lawyers from the prosecutor’s office to the department of civil liabilities. The case against activist Eric Brandt, for chasing a police motorcade which had falsely arrested a fellow demonstrator, today revealed that in arrests made at political protests, Denver police have been withholding key reports from the evidence disclosed to those defendants.

Denver police file what’s called an “After Action Report” for public protests that prompt a mobilized law enforcement response. But the department doesn’t release the report to arrestees who face charges stemming from those actions. Ostensibly the reports are kept secret to avoid public scrutiny of crowd control strategies, but the reports also document the attendance of officers who witness the purported crimes. Those –otherwise undocumented– personnel write reports which are then not included in the discovery evidence. That is what defense lawyers call “Brady Material”, witnesses who are not consulted about what they saw, possibly exculpatory evidence which is being denied to the accused. What role those officers might play in the circumstances leading to the arrests is also kept a mystery.

Last week just before Eric Brandt’s trial, a DPD After Action Report for the protest arrests of August 28, 2015 was accidentally brought to the court’s attention the morning of trial. DPD Commander Tony Lopez brought the AAR report with him as a crib sheet to help his officers corroborate their witness testimonies. The prosecuting attorney coaching the witnesses was offered the report as an aid and as a consequence she was obligated to reveal it to the defense. At first Judge Frederick Rogers gave the defense one hour to study the new document. An hour later, after everyone had pondered the implications, the jury pool was excused for good and Rogers conceded that more time was needed for further subpoenas.

At a pretrial conference today Judge Rogers tried to limit the extent of additional evidence needed before the case could proceed. He rejected a subpoena which he deemed too broad, and limited requests for further AARs to those filed August 26 and 28th. While a prosecuting attorney described such reports as so rare she’s never encountered one before, another city attorney sheepishly admitted that a paralegal in his office had unearthed three AARs that may meet the criteria. So much for rare, that’s three in as many days. Another city attorney insisted that she needed to vet those beforehand, but a peeved Judge Rogers volunteered to assess their applicability himself. If they weren’t in his in-box by 4pm, he’d assume they were forwarded to the defense as ordered.

In question in this particular case was a mention that the head of Denver’s Dept of Public Works had ordered the police action on August 28. This is at odds with all previous police testimony which denied communication with Public Works. It goes toward impeachment of those officers as well as establishing whether Denver police have been abusing the city’s “encumbrance” ordinance. The encumbrance code is what Denver has used to squash sustained protests beginning with the original 2011 Occupy Denver encampments.

This is not the first time After Action Reports have come to light. A lieutenant testifying against an activist last November mentioned in his testimony that the reason he was fully confident in answering how many officers had responded to the protest in question was that he’s just reviewed the AAR. Unfortunately the lawyer defending that case didn’t bite.

And the public learned about AARs when one was accidentally included in the discovery evidence of an Anonymous protester arrested at MMM2015. That report famously revealed that the police outnumbered the protesters, 27% of whom were undercover “Shadow Teams”. Unfortunately the furthest defense attorneys got to more evidence were reports sent for in-camera review by the judge, in that case municipal Judge Espinosa, who ruled there was nothing relevant to the case. The case by the way is under appeal.

Now it remains for someone to file a CORA Colorado Open Records Act request for the missing AARs. There’s one for every public protest countered by police. Anyone who has been convicted of an infraction at a protest, or was coerced into taking a plea deal on the face of one-sided evidence, was denied the full story they needed to defend themselves.

For Eric Brandt’s current case, his being the last of charges filed against activists who occupied the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse plaza in Fall months of 2015, the defense is seeking the AARs for the 26 police raids made against the protest, from its start on August 26 to its terminal extraction on October 22. Were the police acting within their authority? Were their orders legal? Did Denver abuse an ordinance to curtail free speech in the plaza? Ultimately authorities curbed the protest by imposing a curfew. Was that a flagrant work-around to circumvent a federal injunction meant to prevent their harassment of protected activity in not only a traditional free speech area but a designated free speech zone. That battle is already scheduled in April 2017 in federal court.

NOTES:
Those dates, if you’re interested, were Aug 26, 10am & 11pm; Aug 28, 6pm & 7:30pm; Sep 2, 6pm; Sep 8, 4:30pm; Sep 12, 1am; Sep 13, 3am & 11pm; Sep 14, 11am & 1:30pm; Sep 15, 3am; Sep 16, 12am; Sep 17, 1:20am; Sep 18, 1:20am & 5pm; Sep 19, 2:40am; Sep 22, 12:30am; Sep 24, 3am; Sep 25, 8:30pm & 9:30pm; Sep 26, 2:15am; Oct 9, 1pm; Oct 10, 10:20am; Oct 21, 2pm; and Oct 22, 10am. There may have been more.

#NuitDebout occupies Paris. March 51 marks 20th day of mass protest siege.


NUIT DEBOUT started as a protest against the weakening of labor protections. It’s grown since March 31 into a pan European movement driven by students who resume daily protests every night at six. What’s being lauded as a Paris Spring is also being likened to Occupy Wall Street because the assemblies have no leaders nor do they make any demands. They do present an ultimatum. The month of April will not begin until economic policies are reformulated. Until then the Nuitdeboutistes are counting successive days against March, not April, so today is March 51. If you think mainstream media is ignoring #DemocracySpring it’s unanimously mum about this spontaneous uprising spreading across French cities and European capitols.

Occupy Your Liberal Tendencies


“OCCUPY YOUR LIBERAL TENDENCIES”. Yeah, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Dems love the slogan because they read it as “embrace liberalism”. Iliterate radicals fall for the same misconception. Occupy activists know the concept means to DISRUPT or BLOCK you liberal inclination. This slogan separates those who understood the Occupy Wall Street encampment from hipsters who always look for excuses not to participate when a movement is catching on.

To “occupy” a space meant more than inhabiting it, or conquering it. Occupy Wall Street introduced a new definition which meant to inhibit the satus quo’s regular function. Interrupt it. We still see “occupy” conjugated as an attachment: “Occupy Homes” or Occupy Sandy Relief, for example. Hopefully the reborn “Occupy Democrats” means to be a thorn in electoral politics, not just a herding mechanism.

About the megaphone, I decided to retire it. Confiscated and returned multiple times, it still bore a zip-tie from its last PD property tag, but it only barely survived the last arrest. I considered keeping this bullhorn, or “blowhorn” as Caryn called it- as a momento, but it was more valuable as a trade-in. What good are warrantees when we usually lose bullhorns to the police before they have a chance break? Maybe we’re using them wrong. No doubt we’re using them short of their full potential.

Happy birthday to Occupy Wall Street. 4yrs old & still drawing party crashers (who took everything but the cake).


DENVER, COLORADO- Our #S17 bash for the fourth anniversary of #OWS was interrupted by an eviction, actually the second sweep of the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza that day, where Denver police and SWAT took everything, our inverter, sewing machine, banners, posters, flags, fliers, file cabinet (administration tower #1), even our kitchen sink. Everything but our CAKE!

The frequently cited St Paul Principles had their time and place: ST PAUL


In my circle they’re called “Saint Paul’s Principles” because my colleagues think the edicts are Catholic I guess. The St Paul Principles came from St Paul Minnesota, circa 2008, and were formally adopted by the varied groups organizing to disrupt the Republican National Convention of 2008. They’ve lived on as guiding principles for activists of all ilk. In 2011 many Occupy encampments ratified the StPP as their own code of conduct, indifferent to whether they were applicable or even beneficial. Let’s examine the well intended dogma. Do they apply universally? Are they constructive? And how did they work out for St Paul? The last one is easy. As you may remember, disruption of the 2008 RNC failed spectacularly.

The St. Paul Principles

1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.

2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.

3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.

4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

It’s hard to argue against this elegant expression of solidarity. With the SPPs, the protest organizers aimed at preempting COINTELPRO style disruption from generating conflict within the movement. The implicit condemnation of violence was of state sponsored violence, not authentic barricade defense. And no snitching. The SPPs addressed the problems which were already scuttling Denver’s 2008 DNC protests. In Denver, “Recreate ’68” planners let the press infer they meant to revive the Chicago riots of 1968, prompting almost every traditional social justice group to circulate a contract which everyone was expected to sign. It was a vow of nonviolence. Organizations who refused to sign were ostracized and could expect the violent police clobbering they invited.

Essentially the SPPs aimed to unite the nonviolent and non-nonviolent activists, to ensure neither denounced the other, and that physically neither wound up caught in each other’s fights or sit-ins. Probably the chief concession was being asked of the nonviolent crowd: Please, as long as we promise not to shroud your family atmosphere and your baby strollers in tear gas, please let the Black Blocs do their thing without your repudiation. Please. We share the same goals.

Can you begin to see where such a strategy might fail to lead?

But the St Paul organizers did share the same goals. Their aim was to disrupt the RNC via a strategy they called “3S” actions. SWARM, SEIZE. STAY. It’s easy to see why three years later Occupy Wall Street was attracted to these directives. “3S” defines Occupy and another three years on, OWS activist followed the 2014 Climate March with an action called “Flood Wall Street” the instructions for which rephrased 3S aquatically.

The “movement” to which the SPPs refer shared a goal, to disrupt the RNC, by means of swarming, seizing, and staying, by whatever tactic each member group wanted. They shared a further agreement, that the city of St Paul was to be partitioned in sectors allowing groups to conduct their actions in isolation, united in time, but separated geographically so that red zone, yellow zone and green zone participants needn’t mix and find themselves out of their respective confort zones.

The groups organizing against the 2008 RNC shared one more thing in common, bound as they were to the St Paul Principles, they were all signatories to the principles.

Do the St Paul Principles apply universally?
It’s easy to see that the 2011 OWS occupations in major cities across the country shared a similar goal. It was, if perhaps more vague than to prevent a party convention, to disrupt the wheels of commerce by means of encampments; the “3S” tactic now reduced to a single verb “Occupy”. Allies such as unions and antiwar organizations, while sympathetic, cannot be said to have shared the same determinaton to disrupt. Even MoveOn with their “99% Spring”, FireDogLake with their merchandizing, and Adbusters had to relent with the revolutionary rhetoric. Eventually OWS spinoffs like Occupy Sandy Relief began to serve functions diametrically opposed to disruption. Did they expand the “movement”? Of course. But did the more inclusive “movement” outgrown the capacity for St Paul Principles to maintain its unity? Are activists bent on disruption expected to respect and support activists determined to prevent disruption?

I know it’s lovely to imagine every social justice effort as anti-authoritarian, and whether nonviolent or indulgent, each comprises a unique wing of a broad anti-government movement. If you are prepared to pretend that everyone’s aims are progressive, we share similar enough goals and we are reformists. But if some aims are revolutionary, explicitely anti-Capitalist for example like Occupy Wall Street, then reformists are counterrevolutionary. If you think reformists aren’t Capitalism’s first line of defense, even as they consider themselves activists, then you don’t know your adversaries from your allies. To imagine that activists shouldn’t address such chasms of understanding in favor of upholding popular delusion is going to get a movement nowhere.

At last year’s Climate March in NYC, the prevailing sentiment was against Capitalism. The organizers didn’t want to mouth it, but a vast number of marchers began to grasp instinctively that Capitalism has no solution for Climate Change. The anti-Capitalist movement can become “the movement” but reformists will have to understand they are obstructionists before they as individuals can be said to share the common goal.

The St Paul RNC Welcoming Committee aimed to disrupt the Republican National Convention for a WEEK. Can activist groups as they grow and transform over years and compete for membership and community resources expect that they shouldn’t be critical of one another’s missteps or aggressions even as their goals diverge?

How scalable are the St Paul Principles? Do they apply to no matter who considers themselves part of a greater “movement”. Do they apply to signatories and non-signatories alike?

Are the St Paul Principles constructive?
I would argue: Hardly. While it seems safer to segregate the Black Bloc from the civil disobedients from the family picnic crowd, you’re not going to reach critical mass with each on its own. With public dischord still in its infancy and while we have nowhere near the numbers to defend against or deter violent repression, perhaps it is only reasonable to program our street protests according to color zones, as if marches were amusement rides for protest tourism.

If you’re satisfied to lead combatants to jail and probation for mere symbolic shows of defiance, and you’re prepared to let nonviolent activists subject themselves to brutality which even when filmed will not awaken the conscience of the sociopathic oligarchs, and you’re resigned to let the masses burn themselves out with boredom given nothing to challenge their apathy, then the St Paul Principles are for you.

Get a job you dirty hippie! Unhelpful advice which activists take personally.

Occupy Wall Street composed a chant to rebut the ageless heckle hurled at protesters: GET A JOB YOU DIRTY HIPPIE! After Zuccotti Park was razed and Occupiers regrouped, they offerd this rejoinder. Remember it?
    “Got a JOB. Took a SHOWER.
    We’re still occupying, speaking truth to power!”

Of course it wasn’t true, or at least whether we did or not was as irrelevant as the original misconception. But street activists come up against misguided advice much more pernicious than the crudely insulting. Consider the constructive advice from journeymen activists who’ve been at this for a long time and know how it’s done. You know the ones, who preach nonviolence or you’ll never get anywhere, as if they have a record of success or fount of experience more illustrative than the old grindstone. False history has even robbed them of the authentic lessons to glean from Gandhi and MLK. Yet even the best-intentioned of our peers caution that movements will never take hold without blablabla. This sacred cow, for instance: community outreach.

A colleague of mine recently asked about my ideas to better reach out to the African American community vis-a-vis the protests which Occupy Denver has been spearheading to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter uprisings in Baltimore and Ferguson. At face value it’s a reasonable question as Occupy franchizes across the country have been predominantly white. At base however, the distinction is academic and the implication insulting.

In Denver, as probably in many multicultural urban centers since Ferguson, authorities have succeeded in working with community leaders to redirect street protest into the usual back channels. In Denver the spiritual leaders have kept their flocks locked in their churches. When Denver high schoolers began to stage walk-outs, school administrators put the schools on lockdown. Traditional social justice groups fell victim to academics and their identity politics diatribes. White priviledge must “make space”, in effect, step back, whether or not alternative leaders were knocking. In Denver the most significant protest entity impervious to scholatisc impotence or the wiles of religious submission was Occupy Denver. Since 2011 this ad hoc collection of protest-hardened activists could mobilize at the flick of a switch, usually through social media. By definition, Occupy refused to bind themselves to everybody else’s longstanding arrangements of detente.

Of course this persistence is not static and there are ceaseless internal pressures to conform and play for crumbs. Table scraps are sustenance after all, and all mature decisions are compromises. Adults choose lesser evils, safety nets, the bird in the hand, wisdom over altruism. Can dreamers even be sure the burning stove isn’t an adage meant to waylay us from our childish intuition about freedom? From the frying pan into the fire is more probably the forbidden roadmap to revolution.

You want to know the sage advice that burns me up the most? Comrades telling me the struggle will be a long haul. A marathon. Are you kidding me? Revolution is a sprint! We’ve got to light a fire under your ass!

In any case. Community outreach. What’s the problem? My first thought was of the criticism protesters still face everyday: “GET A JOB!” Everyone seems to have their own idea about what other activists are supposed to be doing.

On the subject of Occupy and “outreach” I offer six points:

1. Did Occupy Wall Street reach out to the community of brokers and bankers on Wall Street? It did not. Occupy was about disruption, gathering on the street and uniting activists. Community organizing was another sort of activism. Occupy was not voting, or going around trying to get out the vote, or lobbying legislators, or gathering petition signatures, or fundraising, or taking in cats, or walking in people’s shoes. All of these are perfectly constructive things, but they’re fundamental to what Occupy was not. I know it sounds mature to talk about building community and helping out and being less disruptive but those are tasks that keep conventional social justice groups too busy to occupy.

2. I am reminded of a lesson learned as occupiers coordinated their efforts. If you feel there is a task going undone, you probably should step up to do it. Others have their hands full with what they are doing. If you feel there is a deficiency and it’s important to you, fill it.

3. That said, there is an imperative not to dillute the fundamental mission. If tangential efforts drain the human resources needed for the goal that brought everyone together, then somebody is winning and it’s not Occupy.

4. Denver’s African American community already has their leaders, most of them undisposed to street activism. Occupy Denver’s community is with activists of all colors. We reach them through the message, our actions, and our unending persistance. None of these are based on color lines.

5. Occupy has many black activist allies. On the street we support them EVERY TIME regardless of whether they support us. Even if it’s “their” issue. If they are not able to rally as frequently as we can, it’s not their fault. (That is White middle class privilege.)

6. If you think the African American community is central to addressing the probem of racism, that’s a problem. It should be up to the WHITE AMERICAN COMMUNITY to shout “BLACK LIVES MATTER” the loudest of all.

Occupy Denver activist is arrested for filming cops brutalizing homeless man

Video still from camera footage
DENVER, COLORADO- On the subject of filming cops, Denver activist Caryn Sodaro is in trouble again. Caryn was attending a community meeting on Colfax Avenue when attention was drawn to an arrest happening at an adjacent liquor store parking lot. Several people converged on the scene, Caryn ahead of everyone, her videocamera aimed at an officer grinding his knee into the face of a prone man, likely homeless. Another cop looked on, warning his partner that they were being filmed, while an Argonaut security guard prevented the witnesses from getting close. Unlike onlookers who only dare to record an abusive arrest, Caryn tried to prevent further brutality and so raised her voice to caution the officers that their acts were not going unnoticed. Soon enough the witnesses were being ordered to leave Argonaut’s private property. Though deep within the departing group –everyone was complying– Caryn was picked out for arrest anyway. Fortunately she passed her camera to a colleague who was able to prevent the footage from being confiscated by the DPD. It’s all on tape: the details described here and the reinforcements piling on Caryn. She spent the afternoon in jail. Her next court date is April 27.

NYPD loses pissing-in-the-wind contest with FloodWallStreet pepper spray op


NEW YORK, NEW YORK- Alright, just for laughs, here are two photos of the pepper spray escalation at Flood Wall Street, taken Sept 22. Both are cropped for emphasis but below you can see the full images which show the poor NYPD faces wincing after being hit by their own pepper spray. We’ve all heard about IQ-caps in the popo recruiting process, evidently these cops pass/failed the pissing-in-the-wind test. Hong Kong Occupiers are wielding umbrellas against chemical attacks, if pro-democracy pNGOs really want to help, send them leaf blowers.


This image actually preceded the other: the moment the pepper spray was discharged, aimed with the precision of Fabreze.


This photograph shows how many NYPD officers were struck, some yet too stoic to react, while Officer Pepper Spray threatens the crowd with MORE OF THE SAME!

Continued arrest of Denver Occupiers confirms homeless protest is battle line where people’s rights offend Capitalism

Occupy Denver arrests at LoDo Tattered Cover boycott
DENVER, COLORADO- The weekly demonstration in front of the Tattered Cover bookstore ended once again in arrests yesterday. Three Occupiers were arrested, led away in handcuffs, detained at length in the back of police cruisers, and given citations for “disturbing the peace”. Four bucket drums were confiscated, presumably one was beating itself. This marks the fifth arrest at the Tattered Cover action. Arrestees at earlier homeless ban actions had been cited for jaywalking, some required to post bond before being released from jail. Many more Friday night actions have been interrupted and truncated by a DPD show of force or DPD warning that a complaint gave officers license to restrict “time, place and manner” of what the activists decry as their free speech. Although a bullhorn was initially taken last night and declared to be evidence, it was returned to the Occupiers, probably for fear the act would too literally represent their voices being silenced.

The Tattered Cover disturbers of the peace are scheduled for arraignment on June 16 and June 30. These cases are not unrelated to other Denver protest arrestees who have court dates on June 10 for obstructing traffic and other technicalities contrived to intimidate political demonstrations. Until defendants are able to confront their charges, the DPD appears determined to arrest protesters at will.

Occupy Denver: not as badass as they pretend to be

DPD interrupt Occupy Denver protest at the Tattered Cover Bookstore
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy activists were making their usual cacophony on Friday night when Denver police cruisers began converging into a familiar disproportionate show of force. Experienced skirmishers though Occupiers are, we couldn’t help whispering to each other as we watched more DPD officers accumulate on foot from vehicles yet unseen. The unintended effect of course was that our chanting diminished as the tension rose and Denver onlookers were treated to a literal illustration of the chilling effect of police intimidation. To make matters more embarassing, Occupy was shouting that we would not be silenced! By the time police were trooping upon us there was no sound but DPD boot steps and our “cameras on, everybody, cameras on.”

Our Friday night boycott of the Tattered Cover Bookstore is part of an OD operation to pressure downtown businesses to withdraw their support for the city’s urban camping ban, an ordinance which in effect criminalizes the homeless. The Tattered Cover claims to have asserted neutrality on the city’s decision to forbid sleeping and sheltering in public, but OD stands with Howard Zinn when he claimed “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.” Silence is consent. Injustice prevails when good people say nothing, yada yada. So it’s the Tattered Cover’s turn to step up to what is everyone’s responsibility. OD invited the Tattered Cover to sign a letter rescinding their support for the inhumane ordinance, but the Tattered Cover’s owner held to her obstinence. She was confident that her customers would have sympathy for her business’s precarious balancing act with the community’s unchristian conservatives. If the Tattered Cover wants to put business over doing the right thing, OD concluded that a boycott could provide the commensurate incentive.

A boycott strategy has worked twice before on this campaign. Actually, boycotts and pickets seldom fail. The global have-nots owe everything to street protest. Grown prosperous, middle America has been shorn of this wisdom. Most Americans do not know what protest is about, thus Friday nights in downtown Denver are also a teaching moment for Occupy. Pardon the inconvenience people of Denver, you’re welcome.

To be fair, for the uninitiated, protests are a messy, noisy thing.

As this Friday evening progressed, occupiers suspected the police were going to make an issue of the serenading, it was self-evidently less melodious than the previous weeks. Earlier we noticed officers dispatched in pairs into multiple directions seeking interviewees from among our audience. But we did not expect a DPD delegation to descend upon us at troop strengh. We began shouting down the DPD as their commander shouted “Can everybody hear me?” What authority had officers to interrupt our constitutional right to assemble? It is amply documented that when activists attempt to interrupt the meetings of others, with Occupy’s “mic check” for example, we are escorted from the room with rough haste.

In Occupy’s defense Friday night, we didn’t submit ourselves to being lectured about “what you are free to do etc, etc.” We knew our rights. We also suspected a noise complaint before the hour of 10pm was of dubious legitimacy. We did however accept an abridgement of our free speech, for the sake of, let’s call it, detente. Because it was dark and we were outnumbered.

A few Occupiers were not happy about being made to relinquish megaphones and drums on the trumped-up premise of signed noise complaints. The officers had obviously solicited the complaints; they had not been dispatched in response to any. Some Occupy wild cannons threatened to upset our disarmament truce. Our hushed reproaches become the next inadvertent impediment to regaining a chant momentum.

In debriefing it was agreed that the more impertinent among us are precious resources Occupy should not make a habit of quashing. When demonstrator numbers are enough to effect unarrests, we’ll have occasion to reject civil liberty infringing ultimatums and encourage the pushing of limits beyond the habitual collective consensus comfort level. This security culture indiscretion about protest strategy is tendered here as an encoded call to action.

BUT SERIOUSLY, what do you make of the Denver Police Department’s exagerated show of numbers at the Friday night action? It was the usual DPD MO in the heydays of Occupy, and it’s what they are throwing now at the Anonymous “Every 5th” resurgence, but what about OD’s campaign -to repeal the Urban Camping Ban- could have provoked a law enforcement surge aimed at its decisive truncation?

WHO KNEW a picket of such limited scope could draw such ire. We aren’t threatening Capitalism or banks or energy infrastructure, or DPD’s favorite, FTP.

However hypocritical and exceptionalist the Tattered Cover is behaving, I don’t believe they requested DPD’s move. But I don’t doubt the Downtown Business Partnership is fearful that the famed independent bookstore might cave to protester demands at which point the DBP’s mandate will lose its liberal cover. They know the inevitability of boycott victories, they’re business people.

Gazette not only blocks story of local fracking protest, but assigns goon to disrupt it

City Hall, December 11, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- This past Tuesday saw the largest demonstration yet against oil and gas drilling in Colorado Springs and the ugly practice of hydraulic fracturing. Several dozen fractivists allied with Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights (CSCCR) and Occupy were joined on the steps of City Hall by Colorado College students who’d marched from their campus with banners and posters denouncing fracking. You didn’t hear about it did you? After the rally everyone filled the council chamber to give 3-minute personal testimonials that ran for two hours. That too went unreported, in particular by the Gazette, who had two reporters in the room, one who’d conducted interviews, and both who took notes during the presentations. But neither produced a story — an odd dereliction of responsibility you might say. Even more odd was the role played by Gazette editorial page writer Wayne Laugesen who ultimately opined on the city council’s decision to postpone their vote, as “caving to anti-energy activists”, offering no details. Laugesen actually interjected himself into the rally outside as a lone counter-protester, interrupting interviews being filmed for TV stations KRDO and KKTV. When they asked Laugesen to let them do their job, the goon replied that he was doing his. So the Gazette was not satisfied to blackout reports of the community rally, but aimed to sabotage it as well.

Whose job was Wayne Laugesen doing exactly? Was he confusing his publisher for the overseers who hold his tether: the pro-industry PR mill Americans For Prosperity? It could be. But the Gazette is now hardly distinguishable from contract stink-tank corporate profiteering advocacy. When conservative mummies Freedom Communications supervised the Gazette, the pretense was tax-cutting, tax-dodging libertarianism. The Gazette’s new owner made his billions in corrupt oil, real estate and privatization schemes, so prospects are looking dim for the region’s daily paper to offer authentic news. Having their editorial hit-man on the ground as a pretend grass root weed killer is a disturbing development that must not go unchallenged.

Contrast the Gazette blackout and the relatively tepid coverage by the weekly Independent, with the monthly African American Voice which gave the previous anti-fracking rally a front-page, full color, two-page article, whose theme accurately accused the city council of being “out of touch with the community.” AAV publisher James Tucker has participated in several of the rallies and understands whose interest he represents.

On the other hand, Tuesday was the umpteenth time the Gazette has ignored the rising community effort to oppose the oil and gas lobby. For many months of city council meetings, Gazette correspondent Daniel Chacon has dutifully sat at his stenographer’s seat and witnessed testimony after testimony from community voices without reporting a single one. On one particularly contentious council meeting in November, Chacon summarized the council’s decision without mentioning the overwhelming community presence.

This Tueday’s voices were joined by EPA-whistleblower Wes Wilson and environmental activist Phil Doe, who’d come from Denver to testify before the Colorado Springs council. Phil Doe made an earnest plea for council to support the people of Longmont, who had just succeeded in voting in a ban against facking. It seemed an improbable request, to ask the Springs city council to back the people of Longmont, while council opposed supporting their own. But Doe’s request highlighted the incongruity of our council’s stand. Would they take the side of the oil industry against the electorally established will of the people of Longmont? How utterly undemocratically corrupt of them if they do not.

But that’s council, and there is still time for their constituents to pin their ears if they continue to pretend their only masters are the oil players. With his gentle logic, Phil Doe offered city council a redemption it can’t refuse. Unless of course, his act and their response goes unreported.

It’s time the Gazette is called out for what it is, not just a propaganda arm for regional kleptocrats, but a corporate mercenary spoiler, willing to stoop to unprecedented lows to fowl public well-being.

Letter to Michael Moore, indelible hero, retrograde Occupy Obama supporter

Dear Michael,
I write you as a longtime, enthusiastic fan, and please pardon me if the deference and affection I’d like to convey have been overcome by my shock at your recent emails. My question may sound rhetorical, but I would really like to know: what the hell compels you to shill once again for Barack Obama? Beside the campaign pablum.

When you visited Occupys across the country, including ours in Denver, I defended you to friends who dismissed you as the usual shepherd’s crook for the Democratic Party. No no no I assured them, he gets it. But did you? We weren’t protesting eight years of Bush followed by an ineffectual Obama, we were protesting Obama and the economic system under his watch. We weren’t protesting the Democratic Party being insufficiently adversarial to the Republicans, we were protesting the corporate party system, the Democrat face being the more two-faced.

Most significantly, while our anger was vented at Wall Street, the repression we were dealt, and which dissenters continue to suffer, came directly from the agencies of President Obama.

Yet now you presume to accuse the same audience of cynicism about the election, and urge us to support Democrat Obama, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, out of fear of the Big Bad Wolf, as usual Republican.

Maybe as the election draws to a climax you’ve become privy to an unseen power struggle you need to tell us about. Because it’s at odds with your earlier giddiness with Occupy. Then your enthusiasm was unclouded by your pragmatism today.

Please do tell, because Mitt Romney seems more a sheep in wolf’s clothing to me. He’s a cartoonish straw man villain spouting wedge-issue threats to scare us crows from lighting upon the real corporate agenda. The banking kleptocracy doesn’t care about gay/women’s rights except to restrict all rights, the easier to pursue its grand thefts. If the GOP had wanted to pick a winner, I’m certain the average doctor or teacher you come across everyday would have made a more suited contender.

Could the GOP have chosen a greedier more callous thug, who didn’t pay his taxes, tainted by so much scandal that a new one emerged every day to titillate and offend? Obama had to sluff the first presidential debate because they’d chosen such an unbelievable, lame duck opponent that the ratings threatened to tank.

When the Neocon Washington Post endorsed President Obama, I knew the stooge from the ringer. The empire would be screwed without Obama to placate its victims. As Glen Ford argues, Obama may appear the lesser evil, but he’s the more effective evil. He’ll sell what arrogantly-white Romney never could: more war, austerity, privatization, fossil fuel. Without Obama, the global populace would push back.

I don’t favor a Romney win, but for another reason than you. A Romney presidency would mean another cycle of voter outrage, with MoveOn once again rallying Democrats, as if they were any different, and you probably among them.

But the election is not even going to be close. The six billion spent on this election was six billion earned by the media by pretending the polling was tied, to extort more spending by both sides. Meanwhile horseless statistician Nate Silver is vilified by television pundits because he’s calculated that surprise, Obama has a comfortable lead over his bogeyman idiot challenger.

Yes I know multitudes who support Mitt Romney. Four years ago they got nowhere with John McCain, because the juggernaut of empire was already up to full steam with Obama. I confess I didn’t know it then, and fretted a GOP win like everybody else, but it didn’t keep me from voting for Cynthia McKinney against war and climate change.

You began your letter by saying “I get it” but then assume we non-voters are motivated by apathy or weariness. You’re the one who sounds worn down. Bummer.

Yours,
Eric

We all hate bad teachers, and so do teachers. Chicago Teachers Strike is about improving education

No one hates bad teachers more than fellow teachers. What a vile media construct to assert the Chicago Teachers Strike wants to force bad teachers on the public school system. The strike is a bid to strengthen the union and public education. Who better to fight privatization, standardized testing and the deliberate mis-education of common students than teachers?

Unions are regularly maligned as parasites bent on destroying their host, but it’s an obvious falsehood which ironically depends on an audience being unschooled in critical thinking, or being unemployed. If you have a job, you know that wishing against the interest of your communal enterprise is not human nature, and also that your job is made more difficult and unpleasant by workers who don’t pull their weight.

A strong union fights for the interests of its members, and what do teachers, the most altruist among us, want? Not just a better work environment, a better education system.

Steve Bass found guilty of camping not occupying, but could jury have ruled otherwise without hearing his defense?


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– You may have underestimated the importance of today’s Camping Ban trial. The local media, social justice community and rights watchdogs missed it. But judging from the police force on hand and the elaborate lock-downs placed on the jury pools, it was evident the City of Colorado Springs thought a lot was at stake. I’ve written already about the draconian motions to prevent defendant Steve Bass from explaining his motives, including a ban of the word “Occupy.” Today the court made audience members remove their “Occupy Colorado Springs” t-shirts, but let the cat out of the bag by the palpable gravitas with which the court officials and police handled jury selection. Except for the absence of TV crews outside, you’d have thought Steve Bass was Hannibal Lector tripped up by an urban camping ordinance at “what happened last year in October at a park downtown.”

Yeah, even mention of “Acacia Park” was giving away too much, the prosecuting attorney preferred to call it “115 W. Platte Ave.” Every so often a prospective juror would stand up and say “I presume you’re referring to OCCUPY WALL STREET?” like he was solving a riddle, but instead of the door prize that volunteer would be dismissed from the pool for knowing too much.

After a trial that lasted one third the length of the jury selection, Steve Bass was found guilty. He offered no testimony, his lawyer, the very capable Patty Perelo, made no closing statement, because what defense could be made? Steve and his council elected not to have him testify, because to begin with, he’d have to swear to tell the whole truth, and if he explained he could only tell part of the truth, he’d be slapped with Contempt of Court.

We thought the jurors might have been curious, after seeing the city’s 8×10 glossy pictures with the circles and arrows telling what each one was and hearing not a peep from Bass, but they didn’t express it, and left after giving their verdict. This is Colorado Springs.

One of the prosecution’s witnesses, the arresting officer, nearly spilled the beans when he identified the defendant as someone he couldn’t have confused for someone else, because he’d said he’d encountered Bass many times in the park and shared many conversations.

“Oh?” the defense attorney Perelo perked her ears and asked, “and WHAT did you talk about?”

“Um… homeless policy, mostly.” That’s all HE could say. He couldn’t explain why he’d encountered the defendant so many times, or what the defendant was doing. Attorney Perelo couldn’t push it, because that would be leading him into forbidden territory. His testimony for the prosecutor was delivered straight from his notes.

There were two police witnesses, a map and several photographs, showing the tent and another showing just the poles. Was this necessary for a conviction? Because it necessitated explaining to the jury that said poles were in their “unerected state”. Not to be confused with the tent which was “fully erected”, which the judge pronounced like expressions which tripped off the tongue in cases of serious crime.

A photo of two sleeping bags required the officer to say he found the defendant sleeping “in the bags in the tent in the park” to prove all the elements of a violation of the camping ban.

The prosecuting attorney summarized it thus: “there was a tent, there was a sleeping bag, looks like camping to me.”

Not according to a dictionary definition of course. But that too had been motioned inadmissible. If you look it up, camping is variously defined as to “Live for a time in a camp, tent, or camper, as when on vacation.” Or as when destitute? Dictionaries don’t go there. That’s more like sheltering.

A couple of other examples: Soldiers sleep in tents. They’re not camping. Mountaineers overnighting on the side of a mountain aren’t camping. Refugees of war and natural disasters stay in refuge camps, but aren’t said to be camping. Anyway.

Steve Bass didn’t get his day in court. Everything he wanted to say he couldn’t. His attorney’s strategy today was to prepare for an appeal, on the grounds that the judge deprived Bass of the ability to defend himself.

Did Bass violate the camping ban as the jury decided? The prosecutor explained that nobody, not the judge, nor police officers or herself or the jury was in the position to decide the law. So Steve Bass has to take his case to someone who can.

Jury Selection
Over four hours were spent on choosing a jury, by far the most interesting part of the day. It took three sets of 25 potential jurors to pick six and one alternate. As the process approached lunch hour, the court was eager to buy pizza for seven instead of twenty five, but they didn’t make it.

As I mentioned, usually a juror familiar with “Occupy Wall Street” was dismissed, whether their opinions were favorable or unfavorable. I saw one juror dismissed because delving further would have meant discussing Occupy too much and would expose the other jurors to more occupy talk than the judge or prosecutor wanted.

On the other hand, many jurors had direct relatives in law enforcement, one juror considered a CSPD officer her “knight in shining armor,” so that was another cause for eliminations.

During the second batch, another juror stood up to say he was a former corrections officer, who wasn’t sure if he might have met Steve Bass “in the course of his duties” which poisoned the entire group by suggesting Steve had spent time in prison. That batch was dismissed. In actuality, Steve recognized him, because they both frequented the Dulcimer Shop.

Though Judge Williams maintained a convivial air of impartiality, he betrayed an awful prejudice. Whenever a juror expressed knowing something of what was in the news in October 2011, the judge would asked them if they could refrain from judging Bass based on the misbehavior of others. If jurors who knew about the protests were let to remain in the running, the assumption the judge offered was that “Occupy” was a taint that the defendant hoped they would overcome.

I don’t doubt that this slant extends well beyond Occupy, because municipal courts are notorious for being rubber stamps of a city’s citation process.

For example, in Judge Williams’ instructions to the jury, he read the sample guilty verdict first, in all its solemnity. When he read the not-guilty sample, he broke character to explain that he was not going to repeat the redundant stuff, etc, etc, and then he told the jury they shouldn’t be swayed by the order in which the two samples were read. The dramatic guilty versus the blah blah not-guilty.

Occupy harassment
Knowing about the prohibition against Steve mentioning Occupy, we thought we’d exercise our right not to be gagged. Could it matter? Should it? How preposterous that Steve was being tried and not permitted to say what he was doing. As if some precedent would be set that a defendant might convince a jury that forbidding a person shelter was a bad law.

So we came to court with t-shirts that read OCCUPY COLORADO SPRINGS. Immediately when we sat down, the judge called the lawyers up and decided we’d have to remove our shirts. We were given a chance to explain who we were, but the choice was invert the shirts, put on new ones, or leave. So we walked out.

I had an extra shirt outside with a peace symbol on it. Admittedly a politically-charged shirt, somewhat iconic locally, because it recalled an event in 2007 when peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from a city parade, one of them dragged across the pavement, an elderly woman who subsequently died of complications. So I knew I might be pushing it.

The point being to give Defendant Bass some context. He’s an activist. Alone without a voice he was a perp. With an audience of protestors he becomes a man of mystery. Every accused person in court is sized up in part based on his relations sitting behind him. Why shouldn’t Steve be allowed to show who his friends are?

As I reemerged from my car, already a police supervisor was yelling across the street to tell me I wouldn’t be allowed to wear that shirt. “Are you kidding?” I asked. I had a bag full of them, prepared for this eventuality if other spectators wanted to show solidarity. He was crossing the street to preempt my bringing the confrontation to the steps of the courthouse.

“Eric, you know the judge won’t let you wear that shirt.”

“I know no such thing. He only forbid things that say Occupy.” I knew this to be true, technically.

But they weren’t budging, they claimed a jury pool was already in the courtroom and they didn’t want to take any chances. Oddly, the officer blocking my way, beside the supervisor, was Good Old Officer Paladino who’d brutalized my friends and me in 2007. So he knew the t-shirt too well. Actually Officer Irwin Paladino’s history of abusing protesters goes back to 2003. I decided to dispense with plan B and invert my black t-shirt so I could go back in.

Did the CSPD make the smart call forbidding my t-shirt? I’ll be the first to admit the CSPD have outwitted the local social justice movement at every turn in Colorado Springs. They’re clever and competent, but they’re in the wrong. The CSPD are stepping on our rights, and overstepping their authority to do it. While it may have been superior gamesmanship, it was wrong.

Have I mentioned that they followed us everywhere? As if we were the accused in need of escort. On the officers’ radios we could hear them narrating our movements throughout the building. When Patrick went to the bathroom, an officer followed him inside and made small talk as Patrick peed. Did they think we were going to Mike Check the men’s room?

At one point we were able to see from a window on the second floor hall that CSPD were conferring with a parking enforcement officer around our cars. She was examining the license plates, getting on her phone, standing by the cars, as if waiting for something. The cars were legally parked, the meters fed, and well within the four hour limit. But who wants to argue with an impound lot? I assure you this intimidation tactic worked very well to send us out of the courthouse to rescue our vehicles.

Meanwhile, another friend came into the courthouse and overheard officers discussing whether to deny us entry again, and by what pretext, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

While watching the jury selection, it was the batch that was being dismissed in full, the court bailiff suddenly bolted from behind where we were sitting and told the judge she’d overheard us whispering about inappropriate subjects, specifically using profanity. This accusation was based on a dear Occupier’s habit of muttering colorful asides. Okay this was true, but in his defense, it was after the jury being spoiled, about the jury being spoiled, but inappropriate none-the-less and he apologized. But to tie all together in the misbehavior was a fabrication. The prosecutor tried to have us evicted, and Officer Paladino chimed in about the confrontation I instigated at the door. That’s when my friend told the judge she’d overheard CSPD officers discussing plans to keep us out, so the bailiff’s actions began to appear a little contrived.

This complaint was finally settled with the judge’s warning that one peep out of us would get us 90 days in jail for Contempt of Court. At this point we knew the pieces of duct tape we’d brought in to use to protest Steve’s gagging were definitely OUT.

Just before lunch recess I was able to clarify with Judge Williams whether the peace t-shirt I had wanted to wear was acceptable to the court. Receiving no objection from the prosecutor, the judge told me it would be okay, and then assured me he’d inform CSPD.

Returning from lunch, once again with the peace shirt, the security screeners nearly didn’t let me pass, but I barreled past with the confidence of someone who knows his rights. This time Officer Paladino came upon me at the courtroom door, swaggering right into my face assuring me he was not going to let me pass. FORTUNATELY before he could wrestle my arms behind my back, another supervisor arrived who’d heard the judge, and I was allowed to proceed. Boring story I know. But the pattern was unsettling.

Then Steve was found guilty, you could feel the city’s giddiness as they discussed sentencing. We’re only talking community service, but Colorado Springs has only one contractor for that, the odious Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, whose hi profile task is to clean up after the CSPD Homeless Outreach Team scoops up the homeless and puts them in shelters very much in the model of correctional facilities. Steve was able to negotiate a less anti-homeless agency, and that’s the story so far.

Steve Bass to get his day in court, but he can’t say what he was doing or why, & above all he can’t mention “Occupy”


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Municipal Court Judge Spottswood W. F. Williams heard a final motion today before the AUGUST 10 trial of Occupier Steve Bass, charged with violating the city’s camping ban. The prosecution motioned to forbid from trial, “discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts”, and even “arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected”, and in true Colorado Springs fashion, the judge GRANTED the city’s motion! YES THAT’S RIGHT, now if Bass wanted to say he wasn’t “camping,” he can’t say what else you would call it! In effect, Defendant Bass is prevented from explaining WHY he was occupying, or even THAT he was occupying, because saying “OCCUPY” is expressly forbidden. The judge will play it by ear whether to make an exception for himself during “voir dire” if selecting impartial jurors might require asking their opinion of “Occupy”. That’s IF BASS GETS A JURY AT ALL, because next, Judge Williams prompted the city prosecutor to research whether Bass was entitled to a jury of his peers for the infraction of camping…

The issue had already been resolved in an earlier hearing. Unable to find definitive wording on whether a camping ban violation invoked the right to a jury trial, the court ruled to proceed as if it did. But at today’s hearing Judge Williams related that in the interim over a casual dinner conversation, another judge informed him that the law read otherwise. So he put the question again to the prosecution. And again the citations came up inconclusive. This time however, with the clerk advised to continue the search, the decision stands at “pending”.

If Judge Williams opts to eliminate the jury, the forbidding of political or constitutional discussion is a moot point, actually two. There won’t be a jury to confuse, nor a judge either, because Judge Williams decided, by allowing the city’s motion, that the defendant has no arguments to make. Case closed. If the judge gets his way.

The point of today’s hearing was to hear not a judge’s motion but the city’s, a “motion in limine” used to reach agreement about what arguments can be excluded from the trial, often a defendant’s prior convictions which might prejudice a jury.

The core of the city’s motion was this:

…that the Defendant be ordered to refrain from raising the following issues at the Jury Trial…

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury;

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct;

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum;

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial;

The city is guessing that because defendant Bass has passed on all opportunities to dismiss his case on technicalities, or plead for a deferred sentence, that he’s hanging on to get “his day in court.” Whatever that’s going to look like, the city doesn’t like it.

Points three and four were conceded by the defendant. No proselytizing was intended, and of course plea deals are confidential. But the discussion of #3 was amusing, because the city expanded it to mean absolutely NO MENTION of “Occupy.” Even though the defendant was cited in ACACIA PARK, in OCTOBER, under 24/7 media coverage, the prosecutor argued that mentioning OCCUPY “would be unfairly prejudicial to the City.” Further:

To admit evidence related to any political, economic, and religious debate concerning the “Occupy Movement” at trial in this matter would result in prejudice, confusion, and a waste of Court time. By allowing such testimony, the jury would be misled as to the elements of the charged offense which would result in confusion during jury deliberations. Furthermore, the prosecution would suffer unfair prejudice if the jury were allowed to consider the defendant’s private ideology…

Not only did the city fear it would lose a popularity contest with “Occupy”, it worried that the courtroom would be abused by public debate. The point was ceded by the defense because the “primary purpose” would always have been to present defending arguments, not proselytize.

The City’s request is that the Court be treated as a forum for resolving criminal disputes and not as a public forum for debate. Political, economic and religious debate should be restricted to appropriate public forums.

The prosecutor raises an incongruous irony: Steve Bass is on trial because the city doesn’t consider Acacia Park to be an appropriate forum either.

Naturally the defense objected to points one and two, though on the three particular defense strategies the city wanted to preempt, “Choice of Evils Defense”, “Defense of Others”, and “Duress”, the defense ceded as irrelevant. Judge Williams then granted points one and two with the proviso that Steve Bass be permitted to draft his own defense argument, to be presented to the court no later than the Wednesday before trial. Did you know that a defendant must have his arguments approved by his accusers before he’s allowed to make them in court?

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that Steve Bass is going to get his day in court if he’s going to spend it gagged.

Was Steve Bass arrested for “camping” or was the city trying to curtail “Occupy”? Let’s remember that Jack Semple and Amber Hagan were arrested for taping themselves to a tent, and Nic Galetka was arrested for setting his things on the ground.

But Steve Bass won’t be allowed to mention those details.

———-
FOR REFERENCE: The city’s full motion is reprinted below:

MUNICIPAL COURT, CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, Plaintiff
v.
Steven Bass, Defendant

Case Number: 11M32022

MOTION IN LIMINE

COMES NOW the Office of the City Attorney, by and through Jamie V. Smith, Prosecuting Attorney, and submits this “Motion in Limine,” moving that the Defendant be ordered to refrain from raising the following issues at the Jury Trial in the above-captioned matter:

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury;

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct;

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum;

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial;

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury.

The Defendant is charges with violating Section 9.6.110 of the Code of the City of Colorado Springs, 2001, as amended (“the City Code”), entitled “Camping on Public Property.” Political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology are not relevant to any of the elements of an alleged violation of City Code Section 9.6.110, nor are they relevant to any potential defense to that City Code Section.

City Code Section 9.6.110 makes it “unlawful for any person to camp on public property, except as may be specifically authorized by the appropriate governmental authority.” Testimony or arguments irrelevant to the elements contained in that language should be exclude from trial. C.R.E. Rule 401 defines relevant evidence as “evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probably than it would be without the evidence.” Evidence and argument regarding political, economic or religious beliefs of ideology have no bearing on the offense charged and do not meet the definition of relevant evidence.

Even if some discussion of these issues could be found to be of limited relevance, such discussion would only serve to confuse the issues and waste the court’s and jurors’ time, and would be unfairly prejudicial to the City. C.R.E. Rule 403 allows relevant evidence to be excluded when its admission would cause prejudice, confusion, or waste of time. To admit evidence related to any political, economic, and religious debate concerning the “Occupy Movement” at trial in this matter would result in prejudice, confusion, and a waste of Court time. By allowing such testimony, the jury would be misled as to the elements of the charged offense which would result in confusion during jury deliberations. Furthermore, the prosecution would suffer unfair prejudice if the jury were allowed to consider the defendant’s private ideology, as it is not an element that the prosecution must prove. Time and resources of the Court would also be wasted by allowing such testimony.

Furthermore, this Court denied the defendant’s “Motion to Dismiss-First Amendment,” on June 7, 2012, holding that City Code Section 9.6.110 is content-neutral, and that the defendant did not have a Constitutionally protected right to express his views in the manner that he chose on the date of the violation. Therefore, the sole issue before the jury is whether or not Mr. bass was camping on public property without appropriate governmental authority. Any evidence concerning political, economic or religious views that he was attempting to express through his conduct has no relevance whatsoever to any of the elements of the offense.

Discussion of the “Occupy Movement” as a political, economic or religious issue is also irrelevant to any potential defense which could be raised in this matter. Economic, political and religious beliefs or ideology are irrelevant to the following defenses that the Defendant might attempt to raise:

a. Choice of Evils Defense. C.R.S. Section 18-1-702(1) provides, in pertinent part, that “conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal when it is necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent public or private injury which is about to occur… .” The statute goes on the state in subsection (2) that “the necessity and justifiability of conduct under subsection (1) of this section shall not rest upon considerations pertaining only to the morality and advisability of the statute, either in its general application or with respect to its application to a particular class of cases arising thereunder.” (Emphasis added.) Subsection (2) also states that:

[w]hen evidence relating to the defense of justification under this section is offered by the defendant, before it is submitted for the consideration of the jury, the court shall first rule as a matter of law whether the claimed facts and circumstances would, if established, constitute a justification.

The choose of evils defense “does not arise from a ‘choice’ of several courses of action, but rather is based on a real emergency involving specific and imminent grave injury that presents the defendant with no alternatives other that the one take.” People v. Strock, 623 P.2d 42, 44 (Colo.1981). in order to invoke the “choice of evils” defense, the Defendant must show that his conduct was necessitated by a specific and imminent threat of public or private injury under circumstances which left him no reasonable and viable alternative other than the violation of law for which he stand charged. Andrews v. People, 800 P.2d 607 (Colo. 1990).

There has been no allegation by the defense, and no facts in the police reports previously submitted to this Court, that allege a specific and imminent public or private injury would occur if Mr. Bass had not erected a tent on public property. Furthermore, reasonable and potentially viable alternatives were available to Mr. Bass to achieve his goal, such as picketing and handing out literature, on the date of violation. This was accepted as true and ruled upon by this Court at the motions hearing on June 7, 2012. it should also be noted that no state “has enacted legislation that makes the choice of evils defense available as a justification for behavior that attempts to bring about social and political change outside the democratic governmental process.” Id. at 609; see also United States v. Dorrell, 758 F.2d 427, 431 (9th Cir. 1985) (mere impatience with the political process does not constitute necessity).

b. Defense of Others. C.R.S. Section 18-1-704 describes the circumstance under which the use of physical force in defense of a person constitutes a justification for a criminal offense. Subsection (1) of that statute states, in part, that “a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person…”. The defense does not apply considering the allegation in this case. There is no allegation that the Defendant was using physical force to protect himself from unlawful force by another at any time during the violation. Furthermore, no unlawful force was used or imminently threatened against any third party that would allow the Defendant to raise the defense.

c. Duress. C.R.S. Section 18-1-708 defines duress as conduct in which a defendant engages in at the direction of another person because use or threatened use of unlawful force upon him or another person. Duress does not apply in this case. There is no evidence that anyone was using or threatening to use unlawful force against Defendant or any third party to cause the Defendant to commit a violation.

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct.

Any claim by the Defendant that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is not a proper issue to be raised before the jury in this case. This is a constitutional defense that was already raised by the Defendant in his “motion to Dismiss-First Amendment,” and which was denied by this Court on June 7, 2012. The Court ruled as a matter of law that the Defendant’s alleged conduct was not a constitutionally protected form of expression.

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum.

It is anticipated that the Defendant will attempt to use this trial as a public forum to assert his political, economic, and religious views on the “Occupy Movement.” Courtrooms are not public forums. People v. Aleem, 149 P.3d 765 (Colo. 2007). This Court has the authority to restrict political speech within the courtroom and preserve its purpose as a forum for adjudication of criminal disputes,m so long as the restriction is reasonable and viewpoint neutral. Id. The restriction requested by the City is both reasonable and viewpoint neutral. The purpose of this Motion is to limit the evidence presented in this matter to the offense charged and potential defenses thereto. The Motion is also viewpoint neutral as the City is not taking a stance on political, economic, or religious issues and would not request that the Court do so either. The City’s request is that the Court be treated as a forum for resolving criminal disputes and not as a public forum for debate. Political, economic and religious debate should be restricted to appropriate public forums. To allow Defendant to raise thee issues would be contrary to legal precedent and the rules of evidence.

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial.

C.R.E. 408 excludes from permissible evidence compromise or offers to compromise. Plea negotiations fall under this rule and may not be discussed in the presence of the Judge or Jury.

The Los Angeles Chalk Wars

Has the US Police State ever gotten down to such a base level of Stupid before? The Los Angeles cops and Occupy are now battling it out over the Occupy practice of chalking side walks and walls with political messages. It’s like any level of Free Speech actually practiced is just too much for the Pigs in Blue there! What are the city government managers thinking? Chalk protests at downtown L.A.'s ArtWalk draw a defiant new line Occupy L.A. members clash with police as they use ArtWalk as a canvas for their anti-gentrification theme.

Don’t they have better ways to spend city money in LA than on cops policing people for chalking? Let’s hope that this level of Stupid never ever hits Colorado, though I am absolutely sure that it certainly could happen. The Police State is everywhere these days!

Now is the time of the Biggest Financial Scandal in British History, and nobody can find the Occupy Movement out there. Is it the same here in the US?

Where is British Occupy? Where are they? Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened? by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

This commentary by Cockburn only goes to demonstrate that Occupy’s tactics and operations do need to be discussed out some and not just implemented willy nilly ad lib. If not, the lack of real discussion will soon lead to a movement just being disappeared, as much by itself as by the government working to do the movement in.

I fear it is now well too late for Occupy at this point though. It has already done itself in. The only hope for any reconstitution is perhaps in Orlando, and Charlotte, which the RP and DP conventions coming up. However these conventions are merely possibilities for Occupy to operate in negative manner more so than in doing much positive. What is needed is really some hard goals to be picked by Occupy, and then for Occupy to stick with them and try to achieve them without being distracted.

How much does Occupy not believe in elections? Enough to boycott them?

US Election is election fraudPundits, even friendlies, are infecting the Occupy Movement with direction-waylaying cynicism, so I’ll tell you what I think Occupy should do next. Never mind the usual grievances, leave those to existing advocacy groups, although they do benefit from Occu-proding obviously. No matter what you think Occupy Wall Street’s core issue was, by definition OWS asserted our system of governance was broken, our regime is not responsive, not representative, and immovable by the conventional permitted mechanisms. So right now, which bankrupt democratic mechanism is being paraded before us, taunting a debunking from Occupy? We’ve been paying it lip service already: the fraud of our electoral process. Isn’t it time Occupy said DON’T VOTE? Don’t dignify Election 2012 with your buy-in, undignify it with a vote of no confidence. I don’t mean merely not vote, let’s Get Out The No Vote! Now wouldn’t that separate the men from the Dems!

MoveOn and the 99% Foundation et al, have been co-opting OWS numbers already, herding Occupy’s newly activated citizenry back into the Obama fold. Apparently there’s still hope to be squeezed, that Barack Obama isn’t the people’s nemesis he pretends to be in office.

If we threaten to occupy Obama’s vote, the Dems will roar! They’ll accuse us of ensuring the GOP villain’s win. They’ll be positively shrill, can you imagine? Occupy will go from a nostalgically eulogized Prague Spring, to People’s Enemy Number One, a national threat, inestimably unpatriotic, and suddenly more relevant than anyone’s ever dared admit. Our unoccupied friends will go from politely avoiding talking politics around us to actively begging us to reconsider.

Anyway, how are we going to explain our demonstrations at the RNC and DNC? We protest because the people are given no real choices. We protest because elections are a sham. Do we believe it ourselves? Think of fellow occupiers who’d earlier agreed that elections are mere show. Was all that talk polite patronizing? The inefficacy of voting is in fact a huge contention, and not one of those partisan niceties upon which we can agree to disagree. The illusion of Democracy is WHY WE OCCUPY. Our government is broken, the entire electoral system is election fraud. The presidential race is just a bold Kabuki show-stopper to please the crowd. Maybe Occupy can make it a real show stopper.

Quebec – corporate government there pits itself against the students

Our US students and the English speaking Canadian ones mainly snore away, as the government and banks force them into debt slavery in order to get what has become an increasingly shoddy product, which is just what exactly educational credentialing has become as it has gotten more and more costly to obtain. And in Quebec, the provincial government has essentially moved to outlaw protests against rising credentialing costs! The students are now responding! Quebec’s largest student group vows to defy government’s new emergency law

Why does the US daily press keep us uninformed of this struggle? They don’t want us to know about it, right?

Here is the Quebec student response to corporate greed in short… On Day 100 of Quebec student strikes, red river of protest runs through Montreal

Meanwhile here in the USA, the overwhelming mass of the population acts as if it hasn’t a clue as to why The Occupy Movement has chosen to mobilize against the NATO meeting at headquarters in Chicago? These constant US Pentagon-NATO wars are bankrupting not only us, but the entire world as well, that’s why.

Until we wake up as a population as the Quebec students have done, we will only have less and less to look forward to ahead. The ruling class calls it AUSTERITY…. meaning AUSTERITY FOR OTHERS than they themselves of the 1 %. Wake up America! Don’t let the 2012 corporate selections lull you into total dead sleep.

The Occupy Movement highlights opposing NATO in its coming protest

NATO, like the United Nations itself, has become nothing more than a military appendage to the Pentagon and D.C.’s imperialist foreign policies. As such, it is a wide open gullet where our tax monies are fed to promote continuous warfare around the globe. The Occupy Movement is 100% right to make NATO the central target for its next protest against the 1% Establishment. Occupy Chicago NATO Week of Actions Preview

May Day march was big unpermitted party! Occupez les bons temps rouler!

Occupy Denver activists took to the streets of downtown Denver in an un-permitted march.
OCCUPIED DENVER– If Denver Occupiers accomplished one thing this May Day, in solidarity with global calls for a general strike, and in sync with more aggressive protests in Oakland and elsewhere, Occupy Denver had a great time. THAT WAS ALL IT HAD TO BE. The crowd was largely young, with the energy, idealism and ideology reminiscent of the early days last fall. OCCUPEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER!