Sunday, 25 September 2011

Wall Street

I watched live footage, yesterday and last night, of what appeared to be a considerably large gathering on the streets of Manhattan… New York, New York… across the ocean in the New Worlde of the Americas; the self-styled cradle of democracy.

I would have guesstimated that there were at least a couple of thousand people marching on Wall Street, protesting against ‘bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis and the US state of Georgia's execution of Troy Davis’.

From what I saw – and it was a live feed from within the crowd itself – there was a jovial, carnival atmosphere to the march. They obviously had a serious message to send out, but they were having fun with it, too… singing and dancing and being youthful and excitable.

The closest thing to any criminality I saw was people standing in the path of traffic.

Then, before I knew it (possibly after an episode of Doctor Who), the New York Police Department seemed to be arresting anyone for anything, from talking in a reasonable, non-threatening tone to taking photographs of police officers using heavy-handed tactics to handcuff scrawny students who put up no resistance whatsoever.

Here’s a video of a group of women – who had already been ‘kettled’ behind a barrier – being sprayed in the face with mace/pepper spray for absolutely no valid reason whatsoever:

These marchers surely have a right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest? Yet the NYPD’s over-zealous and, at times, pretty brutal response was the sort of thing you’d more expect to hear about from the forces of a dictatorial regime. Short of actually opening fire on the protesters, they seemed to be using all other options available.

The actions of those NYPD officers was shameful. It was the sort of thing that, if it had been filmed on the streets of Tehran or Damascus, the US president and UK prime minister would have been straight up on their high horses to condemn, demanding that people be allowed to protest peacefully and without fear of harm or molestation, and that the ruling regime had obviously lost all legitimacy and should go.

As disturbing as this ‘on the ground’ suppression of freedom was, the most chilling aspect of the day’s events was the almost absolute media silence.

And there was really nothing from any of the established international news organisations.

The New York Times linked a story on Twitter, during the protests, with the headline: ‘Bahrain Protesters and Police Clash During Election’ – yet they had NOT A WORD to say about what was happening literally on their own doorstep.

Astonishingly, the BBC still haven’t written a thing about yesterday’s drama. Not a peep from them, and you can be absolutely sure that if a crowd half the size of the one that walked through Manhattan had been walking through London, there would have been much hoo-ha and lots of video footage and commentary in the news studio.

Even if these media outfits had anticipated a non-event and that was the reason there were no news cameras on the street initially, the live, independent video feed and the way Twitter was lighting up should have been enough to get a crew or two rolling to the scene.

I don’t believe for one moment that the major news agencies didn’t know what was happening – and how many of them have bases in New York?

It’s inconceivable that they didn’t know… which means that either they chose to deliberately ignore the protests (which is a completely bizarre scenario – they normally jump on events such as these), or they were told to ignore them; and when you’ve got all of the major news agencies in the world silenced and turning a blind eye to those events - yet there’s footage streaming in from people in the crowd - what could otherwise be regarded as a conspiracy theory starts to show itself as actual fact.

We know from the ongoing phone-tapping scandal in the UK that our governments and the media giants have a very suspect relationship… essentially, these leviathan news organisations have the power to win or lose an election, but I’m sure that goes both ways and governments call in their own favours, too.

Did they do that yesterday, in trying to silence the protestors?

Were they doing similar in London last month, and in December last year, character assassinating anyone who went up before the courts before they could even be tried of the alleged crimes they were charged with?

The government and media, police and judiciary have conspired together to deal out some pretty harsh punishments for the two events in London, with jail sentences inflated way beyond the ordinary or acceptable – and this is fact.

This is creepy.

Paraphrasing a quote I read earlier in the week: “It’s okay to execute people and supress peaceful protest as long as it’s not in China or a Muslim country.”

If this treatment is unacceptable in Tehran, Tripoli, Cairo or Damascus… then it’s unacceptable in London, Paris and New York.

The Western leaders should be mindful of the Arab Spring uprisings as an example of what happens when you try to silence people with dirty tactics and violence – and these protests are just beginning. We’re on the precipice of a double-dip recession. People are going to be a heck of a lot more frustrated and they’ll be out in much higher number.

All it would take is some angry, frightened cop to open fire on a couple of protestors and there would be hundreds of thousands out on the streets in every major city in the US… and that’s a can of worms that shouldn’t be opened.

The United States and United Kingdom are as immune to revolution as the Titanic was to sinking.

The government and law enforcement communities have to start making smarter choices, and work for the people who vote for them, or this is going to get out of hand on both sides of the pond.

“The more you refuse to hear my voice, the louder I will sing.” – Labi Siffre


  1. Hello Les:

    What is most upsetting to me that how controlled the media is. I have many links connected to New York and it just started in Chicago yesterday.

    Here is Sweden there is a total news blackout. Some sites that I have listed have already been censored.

    This movement is deeper than many know and this longing or yearning goes back for countless centuries.

    You are spot on in your final sententence.

    Take care and keep the Faith,

  2. This is really sad. You wouldn't expect something like this from a country like USA. There were protests in India as well few days back and the arrest of one man lead to people criticizing the government in every possible way.

    Yet here so many have been arrested and no one knows. And this is stranger as I just watched Changeling. Police is always more concerned with its reputation than justice, it seems.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Maybe Syria sent some of their Hamas agents to infiltrate NYPD.

  4. Just the tip of the iceberg. Trouble in the USA been simmering since the '60's. Couldn't agree with you more. We will have to wait and see if the citizens complacency has been bought of if "they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore." Apparently, the rest of the world has been bought off. I am a US citizen,living outside.Sad state of affairs, but the best way I can cope and work and take care of my family.

  5. The Canadian national paper covered it in pictures for the first time last week , but there's been nothing since, and as far as I knew, it was a peaceful demonstration until I learned more about it here.

    It's definitely been underplayed in the media, perhaps overshadowed by the UN protests in NYC, but we know that media can be swayed. I am quite shocked though by the BBC as I consider them a reputable source of international and unbiased coverage.

    The scenes of violence are shameful and not foreign to me. Toronto is still reeling from the G20 of last summer. It was a horrible stain on the city and its treatment of peaceful protest.

    When are we going to learn?


  6. Agree wholeheartedly. My family member was one of those arrested (for no reason) prior to the big arrest on Saturday (and brutalized and physically bruised by the NYPD). I've been in touch with some major networks and they admit they know about the protest. This is on their radar screen but for some unspoken reason, they are doing zilch to acknowledge it.

    Could it be that Chase, Citibank, BOA, etc pay plenty of money to advertise in the NY Times, on CNN, and other major news networks? Could it be that fair journalism is dead and only advertising dollars rule the airwaves in America? Sadly, I think that is the case. There is no doubt that this is an organized media blackout.

  7. Thank you SO much for helping spread the word. As a U.S. citizen it is appalling to see peaceful protesters being treated so criminally.

    Even worse? The main stream media simple ignoring a public outcry for accountability from our leaders - because (as rumor has it) many companies have threatened to pull advertisements from any channels covering the protest.

    The only place it seems that the harsh treatment of these peaceful protesters is being covered is online - twitter, facebook and youtube.

    Every other main stream news organization that *is covering it - is trying to paint the protesters as "crazies".

    Our "government" bailed out the banks while letting hard working citizens lose their homes and jobs . . . maybe "We the People" should have known this was coming when they repealed the Glass-Steagall act (more info : )

  8. I keep reading how shocking this is in a country like the US when it is nothing new. Just the last decade has given us a plethora of examples of self-censorship, shading the debate or out and out lies from 9/11 to Iraq through to Wikileaks and Bradley Manning.

  9. I have been posting loads of stuff over the last 9 days, on Facebook and Twitter, trying to get people over here in the UK to take notice, still no-one seems to have heard of it or they will say "but that's in the U.S." like it has nothing to do with us here! Grrrr! I'm spreading the word and suggest everyone do the same, by mouth, media and whatever other means you have, what happens in the U.S. affects the UK, no question that police violence can, does and will happen here when (not if) our people mobilize.

  10. Great post and comments. The media blackout of the Wall Street Protest shows who controls America: Not "We the People" but corporations instead -- where greed and corruption are so commonplace it's become "business as usual."
    The U.S. is fast becoming a feudal society. Average folks haven't noticed the impending extinction of the Middle Class because they are too worried about how to pay the mortgage or too busy watching "Dancing with the Stars."
    When I was growing up, we were indoctrinated that America was the "home of the free" and "land of opportunity." No so any more. I also recall another saying as a little kid: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
    I am semi-hopeful America can reverse course before it completely falls apart -- because the ramifications are beyond creepy!
    What will it take? A non-self-centered mindset from everyone and way better industry leaders, politicians, and an enlightened citizenry.
    Thank God for the Internet because an unbiased mainstream media and the so-called "4th rail" of journalism has miserably failed us as a nation.

  11. Thank you for taking a look we can't see from inside. Many here in the US don't even know what's happening in NY right now.

    Just today it's being covered, but it's hard to hide over 800 people arrested. And, the brutality the police are using is shameful. Criminal.

    Thank you, for your voice. And, for your candor.

    Joanne Miller

  12. I think you are correct that the same standards we hold others to should be held here. From the video you provide, it looked like the police were trying to get them to move back and they were not - and so they hastily whipped out their pepper spray. I don't excuse the police - but I also know that they probably have a tough job too.

    In any event, the silence of the press on this is chilling. There are so many silences of the press. I think there are larger issues at play that do control the message.

  13. The effects of pepper spray last for several days that is after the blinding effect that is intense to start with. I don't recommend trying it.

    My comments are a little late as mainstream media have now started reporting the story - so I will say no more except that I'm with anybody who is calling for 'limits to greed' of the world's ruling classes.

  14. Basically no news here is covering it, in Australia. It makes me sick to see the rags full of celebrities and petty local issues ("Nail-clipper attack puts boss in hospital" - and this is the GOOD newspaper!) when this is going on. The Arab Spring wasn't very well covered, either.

    Just last night, Naomi Wolfe was arrested for standing on the sidewalk without obstruction. Ayee.

  15. HI Les.
    as someone who grew up in northern ireland and only left there 4 months ago, what happened in the US isnt unusual. trouble continues in NI on a daily basis the press choose to ignore it. whether under government direction or not, who knows but trust me. its very commonplace for a major incident to occur and receive zero media coverage
    too many people in glass houses enjoy throwing stones

  16. I appreciate your blog posting about this awful issue of media censorship. It truly disappoints me that these corporate sponsored "news" outlets are trying to spoon feed us mindless garbage. I hope that through the use of more social media (such as your blog) that more people will speak out and share the truth about these events across the globe. I have to say that even with some of its faults - Twitter can be a great resource for at least discovering other sources of information regarding events that are occurring worldwide. Thanks again for this blog posting!

  17. If any of you haven't read Noam Chomsky's 'Manufacturing Consent' then I implore you to do so. He writes in depth about the relationship between news outlets and their corporate partners (or advertisers, sponsors - whatever you want to call them) and exposes the subtly constructed propaganda machine for what it is

  18. there is no censorship, the story has just run its course no one gives a crap when people who dont even know what it is they are protesting wade into the streets demanding acknowledgement.

    the evil faceless corporations really are just businesses trying to make it like everyone else. Yes there is greed and stupidity and life isnt fair but until the protestors move beyond whining and have a legitimate solution to a legitimate problem no one is going to pay any attention to them.

  19. Same thing has been happening in Australia. It seems when people speak from their heart about things that matter, they need to be silenced. Spiritually this movement is bigger than any government can quieten.

  20. ''Do not think, your opinion is irrelevant, submit and you will survive. Command and control of you is everything. Defy us and we will make an example of you to reinforce fear of us, possibly by ending your life.'

    This basically is what most authorities say when a lot of people get together saying the same thing, and the authorities take this action regardless of the law, because it them who enforce the law. It is the main reason why I want to never visit America. I have seen this a few times, a similar thing was filmed in Pennsylvania, I think, and put on YouTube.