Occupy LA Day 2: Dudes Abide in Peace

Well, things are going pretty smoothly at Occupy LA. A mini-tent city which now holds about 300 people most in their 20s and 30s, though there some in their 40s and upwards, and an array of Anonymous. Drum circles, a massage table, dogs and a crystal healing area make it a mini-fest, while the bacon wrapped hotdogs lend a truly Angeleno flavor (they are a revolution in food!).

There were groups doing signing making and others holding meetings about media training, outreach and other matters.Names are placed in a “stack” (the list/queue), you state your point and people wave “spirit fingers” (peace symbol) for yes, wave hands for applause/enough, cross arms if they disagree. During a hot button issue,  it can look like a St Vitus dance in time to the  “Hokey-Pokey.” But it works.

A table  for volunteers is up. American Sign Language interpreters are needed, and they would also like fluent Spanish speakers, as well as those fluent in Armenian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, etc.

It’s pretty funny to see signs saying

The revolution will not be televised

since Occupy LA has been covered since it started, due in part to the major media noticing what was going on in NY. It doesn’t hurt that this a mega-media savvy city (the porta-potties were rented from Sir Reel, which supplies film shoots; I passed a slew of them parked for a shoot on Sunset Blvd as I was driving to downtown). The media tent is up and running, there are cameras and citizen journalists everywhere and Occupy LA has been in the Los Angeles Times, and on local news channels, though the KTLA story was a little histrionic. The trial of Dr. Conrad Murry in the death of Michael Jackson, just two blocks away with worldwide coverage and lots of satellite TV cameras, resumes Monday.

It has been almost 90 degrees this weekend, and rain is expected Wednesday, with cooler temperatures all week.

They have lots of food donations. One guy on his cellphone excited exclaimed

I have a tent now!

A man and woman dropped off half a dozen brand new blankets (no smallpox!) which were taken to the first aid tent. The couple happily said:

These are made in America!

A group of occupiers staged an action today where they went to the Metro and rode LA’s subways wearing bandanas decoracted with

99%

gagging their mouths. Difficulty arose when a portion of the group expressed their dislike of the policeto the police’s face and attempted to instigate a conflict. I was the the campground while there was a meeting and listened while people expressed upset over

police brutality

though the LAPD have been pretty much ignoring the City Hall campers, even when a few overstayed on the lawn pass the deadline of 10:30pm. LAPD headquarters is across the street (as is the LA Times).

There have been no arrests, so police brutality is not an issue for Occupy LA  yet, as more than one speaker pointed out. And it be an issue won’t be unless agitators try to provoke things. Granted there are people at Occupy LA who have experienced police brutality in other communities and in other circumstance, but trying to provoke the police to get that specific point across is simply short-sighted and selfish. It puts the entire Occupy LA at risk, and creates fissures in the group’s cohesive ideals and integrity. Seriously, please find an “affinity group” elsewhere.

“Hey, the cops are being cool!”                                  This man discussed the French Revolution

Monday night at  5pm, Occupy LA, or at least those so inclined, will march in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street to protest the mass arrests this weekend and last weekend’s macings and arrests. Hopefully the those dislike the LAPD will find it in their consciences to look at the bigger picture, stay on the sidewalks and cross on the green lights.

Looks like the City Council is behind the occupation, at least in the short term. Blogger/filmmaker Clay Claiborne shared this letter with me from LA City Councilman Richard Alarcon which kinda spells out how it’s gonna be, unless people start making trouble.:

A lone, and empty police car is parked at LAPD’s headquarters, Parker Center, across from City Hall.

The dudes abide. In peace!

Occupy Los Angeles: Totally Awesome!

 

Los Angeles knows how to throw a demonstration: Prop 8′s demos were great, Chanology was epic, and May Day 2007 made world news and changed the LAPD riot repsonse. So I was expecting some goodness re: OccupyLA, even though, from their Facebook page, things seemed a little disorganized –like camping at City Hall despite sprinklers going off at 8pm, no porta-potties, fear mongering that we’d all get pepper-sprayed, questions about access for the disabled, and worries about what to wear (sunblock goes with everything!).

Well, kudos to the General Assembly for pulling it off. We gathered at 10am at Pershing Square, and the National Lawyers Guild was there to let us know our rights to have a legal march and rally. Then the General Assembly convened to explain the march route. One person spoke and the crowd repeated it back. Works wonderfully. There were about 1,000 people at Pershing Square with great signage, plus a few of the usual fringe-types expressing their complaints that the United Nations was on U.S. soil taking away our sovereignty. Um, okay…Plus there was an Oath Keeper. The Green Party, ILGWU, AnswerLA, RCP, Dems, prison reformers, moms, dads, straights, gays, young, old, families, single people, anti-war vets, Anonymous–and so many more that make up the City of Angels.

As we marched the 7 blocks to City Hall, I noticed no one in my clot of protesters (except me) gave change to panhandlers, which I thought was weird. We got lots of horn honks as we walked, and the Los Angeles police were out in force stopping traffic. Many people thanked them and the cops smiled.

At City Hall we were pleasantly surprised to see porta-potties, plus a first aid tent and a welcome booth with a printed schedule of events. By now our numbers had doubled. No food trucks, but the bacon wrapped hot dog vendor was doing big business. Yes there was a drum circle, but also a group of girls pogoing to punk rock on a boom box.

-

Recycling trash cans are needed, and really, people should not litter, nor simply drop the fliers they don’t want on to the ground!

Lots of honking from cars driving by the City Hall lawn, which had hours of operation posted clearly on copier paper stapled to trees. The park closes at 10:30pm, but sprinklers go off at 8pm. The big announcement: OccupyLA had secured a contract with Transit TV — which is broadcast on all the city buses– to provide a daily news minute! Huge.

A G4 wireless set-up is being arranged and a video team is getting set up, plus there are plenty of cameras from bloggers, as well as a Channel 9 (CBS local) van and Channel 34 (Spanish language). I did not see any signers for the deaf, but that may change. Please get those!

One sign that caused chuckles (and for some, confusion):

John Galt Can Go to Hell!

So far so good. Food Not Bombs is serving dinner at 5:30, Billionaires perform at 7:30. I am cruising by tonight to see the sleepers, and then tomorrow I am spending more time there, and will continue to do so.

DMCA Abuse on YouTube, Punk Bands Targeted

 

In recent months there has been a slew of DMCA takedowns on YouTube affecting numerous punk bands.

Apparently SST Records, owned by Greg Ginn, has been utilizing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to claim copyright infringement on a vast number of videos that utilize brief clips of music from Black Flag, including skateboard videos made by fans. Well, gosh, that’s what copyright holders can do, though it does seem sort of mean.

SST has also claimed multiple copyright takedowns on bands that have nothing to do with SST, including X, Fear, Sin 34, Lower Class Brats, Puzzled Panthers, and the Adolescents. Also affected, videos made by fans under Fair Use, utilizing snippets of  songs.

YouTube user Creamy GoodnessX writes that SST:

have since admitted that they never even viewed the allegedly offending videos before issuing the strikes! Rather, they used automated software in their campaign, in many cases resulting in false DMCA takedowns of videos that were legitimately using copyrighted material under the fair use doctrine. Several users permanently lost their channels (i.e., termination), and others permanently lost special privileges like being able to upload videos longer than 15 minutes.

YouTube provides copyright holders with a Content ID program. YouTube account holders who use the software must submit title lists and audio files, as well as proof of copyright. The program can be used to:

  • Identify user-uploaded videos comprised entirely OR partially of their content, and
  • Choose, in advance, what they want to happen when those videos are found. Make money from them. Get stats on them. Or block them from YouTube altogether.>
  • Reduce Infringement. Educate your fans about your copyright preferences and prevent your content from being distributed on YouTube without your permission.
  • Fully Automated. Once you’re set up, Content ID will identify, claim, and apply policies to YouTube videos for you.

The DMCA takedown of “Democracy” by the Adolescents on Frontier Records, which also handles their publishing via Bug Music, indicated that a company called Love Cat Music had also claimed DMCA rights, along with SST. I wrote to Love Cat, which has only one punk band, Reagan Youth, in its catalog. Owner Randy Frisch replied:

i do not know why LoveCat Music is mentioned here.   Could be a mistake.

we have sent takedown notices with respect to other songs in our
catalog that we do in fact control.

But not this one

Is it possible that YouTube’s Content ID program is faulty and can’t tell punk songs apart? If so, major fail.

So I wrote to SST Record’s owner Greg Ginn and asked him about YouTube. At first he said

I don’t know much about YouTube.

Then I asked about fan videos being posted on YouTube. His response:

I then asked if he enforced copyright. He replied:

At times.

Then:

Greg did not write back, and blocked me on Facebook, making it impossible to contact him further. Ginn has been a brutal enforcer of SST’s copyrights, though oddly he showed disdain for U2′s when SST released Negativland’s single U2 (Full disclosure, I worked for a branch of SST Records in the mid-1980s. In 1991 I wrote an analysis of the U2/Negativland controversy for U2′s magazine Propaganda; when that piece was repurposed as a press release, I was paid. I know many former SST Records artists, as well as people affiliated with U2).

When a video is falsely DMCA’ed on YouTube, it is the responsibility of the real copyright owner to prove they are the rightful copyright holder. It can take up to 10 days for the DMCAed video to be restored.  Alerted to the Adolescents’ video takedown, Frontier Records’ owner and founder Lisa Fancher worked with YouTube, sending in the correct forms to restore the video.  Often bands do not know their videos have been taken down, or why, as in the case of Lower Class Brats:

How could they get our videos taken down off of YouTube and why would they do something like this? I am completely baffled…
I look forward to your reply, thanks….

Since it can take over a week to restore a video, DMCA-ing  a video is an effective means of harassment or of silencing speech, as seen during Anonymous’ Project Chanology when videos shot at protests and/or using Fair Use clips of Scientology videos, or the organization’s logos, were DMCA-ed.

If YouTube’s content identifying software is at fault for false DMCAs, then those using it should definitely alert YouTube about the glitches since it looks pretty creepy and bad to take down videos for which you do not own the copyrights. However, if  people are purposefully DMCAing  videos out of spite, and have a long record of false claims, perhaps YouTube should treat them with the same vigorous enforcement they show to copyright abusers.

YouTube’s PR department did not respond to my questions about the accuracy of its Content ID software, however they did say:

Unfortunately, in some cases, individuals abuse our notification process by submitting fraudulent claims.  When we become aware of this, we take action by reinstating the videos and/or accounts affected, and taking appropriate action against the individual responsible.

The PR person followed up to my questions about Content ID being possibly faulty with this:

You can read more about both of these things are our Copyright Center. Thanks!

Which is where I started in the first place.

OpBART 6: Peaceful, No Arrests

While some in the media may report that Anonymous wasn’t at OpBART since none of the protesters–except for a pair of Anons at Powell Street Station–were  wearing masks, the merry band of shadowy internet hacktivists were very much present, paying for tickets and riding BART trains back and forth under the San Francisco Bay, passing out fliers to fellow commuters and tweeting their locations.

Anonymous is an idea; the masks are not necessary. Sometimes the best anonymity is in plain site.

Unlike previous protests, there were no arrests and BART did not close any stations. Instead, protesters posed for photos with BART police and quietly spoke with other riders. The Department of Homeland Security was there, since that’s what they do.  BART police told protesters not to block train doors and to stand behind the yellow line while waiting for trains. Quite a difference form the previous weeks, which saw journalists and students arrested.  Hundreds of fliers were distributed, though as one Tweeter remarked:

#opbart trivia: fliering on bart was named by mehserle defense as reason to move murder trial out of oakland www.indybay.org/oscargrant

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Vivian Ho tweeted:

Commuter arguing with Krystof: “There are some crazy people out there that deserve to be shot.”

Krystof is the driving force behind No Justice No BART.

Anonymous has vowed the OpBART protests will continue. BART’s new General Manager, Grace Curnican says she’s willing to talk to protesters about BART. Today’s non-action by BART police may be in response to Curnican’s openness. Sadly BART’s website doesn’t have a way to contact the new GM directly, but you can email BART here.

Anonymous would like to visit Ms. Curnican. As always:

Expect us

 

 

OpBART 6: Anonymous Protesters Will Take to the Trains, New GM Willing to Talk

OpBART 6 is gearing up to start in under an hour, with protesters saying they’ll pay the fee and board the trains. Meanwhile, BART’s new General Manager Grace Crunican, told SFGate:

I am open to meeting with anybody who wants to meet with me – protesters included.

While No Justice No BART has a spokesperson, Krystoph, Anonymous is far more difficult. A leaderless group–that’s why one of their logos is a suit with question mark in place of head–they don’t have a spokesperson. Granted, individuals who act a/Anonymously during protests could schedule a meeting with Grace Crunican and give their opinion about what should be done, but even within NAonymous there is not a unified plan.
The Anonymous demands, compiled through internet communication and posted on YourAnonNews are:

1. We want the BART PD DISBANDED completely.  BART has no reason to have a police “force” at all, HIRE flashlight security if you please.

2. We still WANT a public apology for the shutting down of the Cell Service.

3. Reopen the investigation to the killing of Charles Hill.

4. Fire Linton Johnson and BART Chief Kenton Rainey.

These are our new demands, and we will protest every MONDAY at 5Pm until our demands are met.  We will not be scared into ceasing our protest.  We will expose everything ion our power to expose everything you do wrong WE are watching.

But there are some Anons who have slightly variant opinions. Some would like the police retrained and armed only with tasers and batons. And retrained. Did we mentioned retrained? So maybe “reorganized” works better than “disband,” since frankly I like feeling safe on public transport, and don’t trust my fellow passengers to do the right thing. But every negotiation needs to start somewhere.

Apologize: Yes, for gods’ sakes, for the Bay Area’s sakes, please apologize. Then act to make changes.

An investigation into the the shooting of Charles Hill is needed.

Firing Linton Johnson is a given. He embarrassed the agency  by shutting off cell phone service which is what created these ongoing protests and drew global attention to BART’s behavior–including the shooting death of Charles Hill which had stayed a fairly local matter until cellphones went dead; by misrepresenting the Constitution; by trying to stage a fake press conference with shills; and by saying he’d shut off cellphone service again if need be.

Were I to sit down down with Ms. Crunican, firing Linton Johnson is a definite must-be-done. Buh-bye, Linton, you’re a moran.

Firing the BART’s chief of police: See above.

I am hardly anonymous. My name is easy to see. But like every concerned citizen, I’m willing to drop Ms. Curnican an email.

 

 

 

Late Night FDL: OpBART-5, The Evolving Aerobic Version

I came to San Francisco for OpBART-5 which, given the detention of journalists and students on Thursday, could have gone one of two ways: Very Badly or Okay. It was the latter, except for San Francisco Police Department Officer A. Mora striking a journalist’s camera. Twice. But But San Fransisco State University student Eri Verducoza, who is with the campus publication Golden Gate X-Press, kept his camera rolling and didn’t back down.

Guess Officer Mora missed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that it’s perfectly okey-dokey to videotape the police.

There must be someone at the SFPD with a sense of humor or at least knows a good photo-op in the making: Officers were staged in front of a donut shop.

There were about thirty protesters tops, only three Anons were present; the rest of the group was No Justice No BART, plus as many media–and at least three SFPD officers for every demonstrator and plenty of BART police in the stations.

Welcome to Anonymous workout program

joked one protester with a bullhorn as we marched from Civic Center Station to the Powell Street Station and back again, repeatedly parading through the free speech areas outside the turnstiles, crossing streets, and weaving around Market and Mission Street. BART police and the SFPD stood back. Everyone is learning:

The protesters stayed off the platforms and the police didn’t arrest them. BART didn’t close the stations and there was no disruption to commuter services.

I do have to say chanting

Fuck the police! Bad cop, no donut! Police! Murders! Killers! Fuckin’ pigs!

while flipping off law enforcement is childish. It accomplishes nothing. However the BART passengers I spoke with all stated that the BART police should not have guns.

The police I spoke with were very nice, and one asked me what I thought of the situation and what could make things better.

The only time it got a little intense was when protesters ended up in front of City Hall with a line of police on the stairs blocking them. After a brief round of yelling at the police, the march turned and strolled down the roadway as an officer pulled up on a golf cart with a megaphone and announced we were an un-permitted protest and to get off the roadway and onto the sidewalk. A very gentlemanly Anon in a suit guided me to safely and kept me out of the police officers’ line. So chivalrous! As we marched back towards the BART station we were were flanked by police, with more rolling up on their minibikes.

There’s another protest scheduled for next week, and Tall Anon told me that they’d be keeping it up until there is change.

What can be done? BART could take side arms off their police, train them in Krav Maga and give them tasers, batons and Mace. BART should also apologize for killing people. And shutting off cellphones.

 

BART Police Arrest Journalists, Cite KGO, KTVU at BART Protest. Homeland Security Present

Thursday’s No Justice No BART protest–which shut down Powell Street Station in San Francisco–turned into an ugly attack on free speech and freedom of the press when BART police arrested between 25 and 30 people, a third of whom are reported to be journalists, including seven student journalists from San Francisco State University and the Chronicle’s Vivian Ho. Ho, and others were cited for interfering with transit; the student journalists were not cited. Also arrested: No Justice No BART organizer Krystoff.

During the event protesters and the press stayed outside the platform areas of the station. No Justice No BART had called for the demonstration to take place in front of the fare gates in an effort to force BART to open the emergency exits, allowing passengers walk out for free. The portion of BART stations before the turnstiles is considered to be, has been stated by BART to be, a free speech area.

Also on hand, the Department of Homeland Security.

 

BART police cited the local ABC and CBS news crews reporting on the protests, and some journalists had their San Francisco Police Department-issued credentials confiscated by the SFPD, who aided the BART cops.


The student journalists’ adviser/instructor Justin Becker–whose Twitter feed was instrumental in our reporting of the BART Board of Directors meeting last month–Tweeted

in response to:

Reporter Joshua Wolf–who spent 226 days in prison for protecting his sources, longer than any other journalist in U.S. history–was also detained, but was released and posted great photos. One student journalist tweeted that another was jabbed in the stomach with a baton when she tried to take a photo.

Police surrounded protesters then told them to leave or they would be arrested, a point one reporter brought up doing the press conference above. (During an earlier #OpBART protest, some protesters claimed SFPD arrested them for blocking traffic after ordering them off the sidewalk.)

Arresting journalists for doing their jobs? Arresting students for doing their homework? WTF, BART Police? Anonymous #OpBART said it best:

BART caused the ongoing BART protests and drew Anonymous’s wrath when they shut off cellphone service August 11 to prevent a potential demonstration by No Justice No BART–the organizer’s of Thursday’s event, supported by Anonymous–protesting the shooting death of Charles Hill at the hands of a BART police officer.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that most of the arrestees were cited for:

violation of Penal Code Section 369i, which makes it a crime to disrupt rail service, outlawing activities that “would interfere with, interrupt, or hinder the safe and efficient operation of any locomotive, railway car, or train.”…

The professional journalists in the group have been released after being detained for about 30 minutes, and they’ve been shepherded into an area where they can no longer see the group of arrestees. But a group of three to five San Francisco State University journalism students who don’t have press credentials remain in custody, despite repeated appeals to the police by their faculty advisor Justin Beck.

The Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) unit

an anti-terror unit charged with protecting transportation infrastructure from potential acts of terrorism run by the Transportation Security Administration.

were also present at Thursday’s protest, as they were on August 30. The Department of Justice was present at all #OpBART protests, KALW also reports:

The United States Department of Justice also had personnel on hand for the recent protests by the hacktivist group Anonymous. Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, confirmed that DoJ sent a member of its Community Relations Service to all three OpBART demonstrations this month. CRS, formed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is DoJ’s “peacemaker” for conflicts and tensions stemming from racial or ethnic tensions or civil disorder. Hinojosa also confirmed that CRS staff were present at July and November demonstrations in Oakland over the conviction and sentencing of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant.

VinceintheBay snapped this shot tonight, a perfect expression of San Francisco. But with BART Police behaving as they did Thursday and on August 11, not to mention shooting people at BART stations–free speech is getting squelched, and with it the heart and spirit of San Francisco.

Vince also has raw footage of the protest on his YouTube. Here’s part 1

photo 1:  estimarlqk, via OpBART Twitter (estimarlq was also cited by BART Police)

photo 2: VinceintheBay, via OpBART Twitter

“Someone” Leaked Lots of Good Hollywood Stuff: Celeb Phone Numbers, Photos, “Rock of Ages” Script


Someone/s  with a Twitter account @HWLeaks and using the Anonymous motto

We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect Us

has leaked a heap load of  stuff  onto various sites, servers and pastebins. The booty includes the script for Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise

Not as good as the play

sniffed a source who had downloaded the script from one site.

Also leaked, names and numbers of agents, celebs and more. But get ‘em while they’re hot. As one #HWLeaks follower tweeted:

@HWLeaks we need more # leaks. Old #s are dropping quick. Needing the lulz!

Celebrities whose phone numbers have been posted include Ashley Tisdale and David Spade, who have stopped answering their phone and/or changed their numbers quickly.

UPDATE: Keep in mind that Anonymous is an idea, a self-described label. Anyone can do an action and bring back the spoils of hacking under the flag/handle Anonymous. The Anonymous responsible for #OpBART is/are not necessarily composed of the same people who pulled off #OpPayback and/or Chanology.

With enough tinfoil it  is possible to speculate that  @HWLeaks is a false flag designed to discredit the work of some Anonymous in #OpBART and other areas. One video posted on YouTube with an HWLeak tag used the phrase

Jew-controlled media

something incongruous with the WikiLeaks/Chanology/OpBART rhetoric. The voices and graphics on the @HWLeaks videos do not correspond with other Anonymous videos, but then again, anyone can be Anonymous.

However, it is illegal to creepy-crawl into someone’s computer or phone, and to post copyrighted material on line.

 

 

#OpBART 3: SFPD Says “It Will Be Different” Anonymous Sez “Expect Us”

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr promises regarding #OpBART 3 on Monday August 29:

It will be different.

Hopefully he means “different,” as the San Francisco  police will not hit people with batons as seen in this video below. Or maybe that San Francisco police officers will not order people off the sidewalks then arrest them for being on the streets, something reported repeatedly on the #OpBART Twitter feed after the Auguest 22nd protest.

Or maybe “different” in that the SFPD will pay more attention to their arrest lists: The name of a 17-year old–date of birth 9-15-1993, arrested at the #OpBART2 protest, then booked and held in San Francisco County Jail under section 601 (missing person/runaway)–was released to the media, against SFPD media guidelines, followed by another email from the SFPD asking reporters to delete the previous list and use the updated one attached, whihc omitted the juvenile.

Oh wait, this is how San Francisco Police Chief Suhr means “different”:

I don’t want this to be construed as delivering a threat, but enough is enough. They made their point, and they are now losing in the court of public opinion. We don’t feel that we took appropriate action at the appropriate pace (on Monday). The next response will be quicker.

Anonymous responded to Chief Suhr’s words thusly:

Now you have our attention.  We do not appreciate threats nor do we take well to them, especially from a chief of police who has a very interesting background himself. May we remind you of 2003?  Allegedly conspiring to obstruct the investigation into the infamous Fajitagate affair, in which three off-duty cops allegedly beat up two men for their Mexican takeout.  Or maybe we should ask Chief Heather Fong why she had to reprimanded you in 2009.

Oh and in 2005, Chief Fong demoted Suhr to the backwater, literally–making him chief of security for SF’s water supply.

The police department replied to Anonymous, issuing a written statement:

As Chief Suhr has stated this is NOT a threat. We as a department will continue to facilitate first amendment rights to protest. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for everyone. While the demonstrators have the right to protest, we will continue to facilitate it to an extent where it does not infringe the rights of others. We as a law enforcement agency had a duty to protect the constitutional rights of all.

BART has stated that

expressive activities

are not permitted on the paid area of BART stations, meaning any area beyond the turnstiles, and expressive activity in the station requires a permit. Is standing on a platform in a tee shirt reading

I <3 Free Speech. Please Don’t Shoot Me!

a violation of BART’s rules and regulations? Is standing in the station area with duct tape over your mouth? Do these actions require a permit on BART property?

Police ienforced BART rules, making arrests of people chanting and passing out fliers on the platforms during the first two #OpBART protests; none of the arrestees were Anonymous, who confined their protests to outside the station, (though one Anon was  photographed tweeting behind a post on the BART Civic Center platform).

It’s important to remember that there are two groups which are uniting to protest BART (along with random unaffiliated citizens). No Justice No BART is demonstrating against the transportation agency’s police department and policies; BART police officers have shot two men in two years. No Justice No BART has successfully disrupted train service in the past during their demonstrations, most recently on July 11 in response to the shooting of Charles Hill, BART service was suspended when protesters climbed on trains.

Anonymous–which for the most part rallies for freedom of information and communication–was drawn into the fray when BART shut off cellphone service on BART platforms and in trains on August 11 to prevent a planned protest by No Justice No BART which BART Chief of police Rainey said was discovered on a

blog webpage.

In the past two and a half weeks, Anons have swiftly educated themselves on the background of BART and the shooting deaths of Oscar Grant and Charles Hill, much they did in 2008 when the removal of a Tom Cruise video on YouTube led to the development of  Anonymous’ Project Chanology, a year long series of real life  protests–the first time Anonymous moved off the interwebz –that embarrassed Scientology, and aided a number of high ranking members to leave what ex-members describe as an abusive cult.

During the #OpBART protests, it has been members of No Justice No BART who have been on the train platforms chanting and shouting, holding signs, while Anonymous and others have marched up top.

How will Anonymous make #OpBART3 different for the SFPD and the BART police? Civil disobedience tactics like chains, padlocks and “blackbear” lockboxes seem a bit old school for Anonymous who have shown their displeasure for BART spokesperson Linton Johnson’s high-handed tactics by scouring the internet for information about the  former anchorman and then providing a treasure trove of  photos featuring Linton Johnson frolicking topless in the Land Down Under. And wearing really stupid tee shirts. All from Linton Johnson’s publicly available blogs (since shuttered).  Anonymous also redecorated MyBART.org; and someone claiming Anonymity easily hacked into both the MyBART.org and the BART police databases, then released names and other information from both sites.

Anonymous’ effort have proven them to be a force with which to be reckoned: The international uproar over the suspension of cellphone service, made hugely public by the MyBART.org hack and the ensuing protests, has prompted an FCC investigation and forced BART to develop a policy limiting cellphone shutoffs. The majority of BART’s Board of Directors expressed emotions ranging from dismay and outrage over the suspension of cellphone service.

Anonymous has proven themselves to be rapidly mutable, highly adaptable organism with fluid intelligence and Trickster‘s sense of humor which can, to some at times, appear cruel or insensitive. At the core, Anonymous is doing it for the lulz. And like Trickster, Anonymous does not forgive, nor forget. Expect them. And expect them to do it differently, too.

Oh and the SFPD has opened its doors for new recruits. Preferably ones fluent in meme-speak and lolcats.

photo: OpBARTsf

 

Anonymous Exposes BART Exec Linton Johnson Over Cellphone Shutdown

Linton Johnson, BART's man with a big, bad idea

Sexytime goes public for BART spokeshole Linton Johnson! Anonymous claims they were sent photos of the dapper talking head whose words have enraged free speech activists. Some photos were available on Linton Johnson’s open to the public Facebook page, since made private, while others were on his me.com page. Anonymous are circulating them on Twitter. One Anon tweeted:

Im exactly as worried about Lintons privacy as he was about everyones civil rights. In other words not at all.

I’ve seen 14 pictures and some are pretty embarrassing: Linton Johnson in a tee shirt reading STIFF pulling down his red  shorts to reveal his manhood (actually, most men would be proud to have that chunk of flesh, but like, he was dropping drawers in a large group); Linton Johnson mugging and dancing for the camera while in a bar on vacation in Australia; and the most embarrassing of all, Linton Johnson making a cute face wearing a STUD tee shirt and an ugly pink, plastic beaded veil. Seriously, wtf on that fashion choice?

Anonymous has singled out Linton Johnson for his high-handed actions in the August 11 suspension of cellphone service, the first time a government agency in the United States blocked telecommunications service in an attempt to hamper a protest. Anonymous is  demanding Linton Johnson’s resignation, along with that of BART’s chief of police Kenton Rainey.

Linton Johnson claims responsibility for coming up with the epic fail idea to shutdown BART’s platform and train car cellphone service on August 11 to prevent protests. Wired reports:

“It came to me in the middle of the morning,” Johnson said, referring to the idea hours before BART authorities unplugged underground antennas at its four downtown stations during the rush-hour commute. “I sent it to the police department and they said they liked it. They started vetting it.”

Then Linton Johnson went on vacation, returning three days early to deal with the first #opBART Anonymous organized protest.

Linton Johnson has few things to learn about the Internet, like anything you email out can be sent to someone else; and your photos aren’t private if you post them to Facebook and don’t click “friends-only”. (UPDATE Linton Johnson made his FB account private after this post was published).

And Linton Johnson definitely needs to study up on the Constitution. Here are  Linton Johnson’s choice comments on our Constitutional rights:

They made us choose between people’s ability to use their mobile phones (and) their constitutional right to get from point A to point B

a Constitutional right to safety.

No, Linton Johnson, there is no clause in the Constitution that states there is a “right to get from point A to point B” or a “right to safety.”

And, Linton Johnson, it looks like the FCC thinks your idea was a bad one. FCC Commissioner said that BART’s critics have

a valid point.

BART board president Bob Franklin said at today’s special meeting the cell phone service suspension

wasn’t about silencing protesters

which appears to be a contradiction of  Linton Johnson’s brilliant idea and comments from BART police lieutenant Andy Alkire who said, shutting off cellphone service in anticipation of a protest was :

a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose

If the purpose of shutting off cell service was not to silence protesters who might use cellphones to coordinate, then why was service shut down? For their safety? How does not having phone service make you safer?
Linton Johnson, the architect of this mess, should step down: He is an embarrassment to BART. And not because he dresses stupidly on vacation.

photo from Anonymous, via Twitter

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