Occupy Santa Cruz Shows Chilling Effects Of N.D.A.A. With Street Theatre
By Ricardo Flores Magón
This past Thursday March 1st, 2012, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) went into effect. The NDAA essentially suspends the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, these being our rights against warrantless seizures of person or property of US citizens, against depriving US citizens of life, liberty or property without due process of the law, and against the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. The NDAA makes indefinite detention without charge or trial the law of the land for any person deemed by the government to have committed a ‘belligerent act’, without limitations and allows military detention of people captured far from any battlefield. (1)
While President Obama issued a signing statement and a policy directive promising that he wouldn’t use these provisions against US citizens and permanent resident aliens, such signing statements or policy directives do not carry the force of law, and are meaningless “protections” that can be revoked at any point. They do not change that the NDAA is the law of the land.
Occupy Santa Cruz protested the NDAA this Saturday in order to raise awareness on this issue that has not received a lot of press. Protesters gathered at the Court House steps and took the streets in a march to the Clock Tower.As the protest continued a number of protesters peeled off to prepare for a guerilla street theatre action to drive home the chilling effects of the NDAA. A mock snatch&grab team of driver, a sinister FBI/NSA/3-letter-agency official and police support, dressed appropriately threatening and intimidating, prepared themselves in a black sedan with tinted windows. They timed their action well. Waiting till the traffic light turned green, they pulled up unexpectedly to the protest, identified their intended target, threw open the passenger doors, placed a dark hood over the protester’s head and forced her head first into the vehicle, as protesters and bystanders were shocked and even tried to fight back. The “arrest” took just seconds, and the dark vehicle sped off around the corner, out of sight of the protest. Beautifully executed.
After parking just around the corner and laughing it up over a successful guerilla theatre and on our way back to the protest, two SCPD cruisers pulled up to the 4 protesters involved in the action. Seeing that we were all four together, including the “victim”, quickly resolved any possible tension, and the officers who were courteous and professional explained that they had received a 911 call reporting a kidnapping. They had received a similar call earlier in the day at the other side of town that was serious. They realized and recognized that this was part of a protest action, and were sympathetic, but that in this day and age such an action was not a good idea. When we offered to call for such actions in advance to give a heads up, we were advised that they’d rather we didn’t do this again at all, and especially not to wear any “uniforms”, even if they came from a costume party shop.
The team returned to the protest, and we found that the action had had a clear effect. Some knew in advance what was going to happen, and more were aware that something was going to happen, but few knew the details and the exact time. The speed of execution only enhanced the effect (so fast it wasn’t captured on film), and one protester who had witnessed real snatch&grab arrests of Occupiers in Oakland was convinced it was real and attempted to stop the vehicle from taking off. Another protester moved in on the “police officer” but was too late, and also couldn’t stop the kidnapping.
We can take heart from the reaction of our brothers and sisters that were ready to fight back. At the same time, though, we were just some amateurs who practiced jumping out of a car a couple of times, and we should have no illusions that a trained team would be far more effective and would likely bring more resources to bear. This snatch&grab team also wasn’t armed, which a real team would have been. It looked real enough for someone to call 911, but in a real snatch&grab, someone calling 911 is not going to save you.
And let us not forget that this is real. Occupiers with and without stay-away orders have been snatched at Occupy Oakland. Snatch and grab operations took place at Zucotti Park at Occupy Wall Street. The same thing has happened in Portland where police targeted specific people to pull off the sidewalk and be placed under arrest., as well as Philadelphia and elsewhere. (2)
We have repeatedly heard of individuals captured in FBI stings for terrorism where there was no threat until the FBI provided all the tactical and operational encouragement, guidance, support and even fake bombs. (3) Guantanamo is still open, and non-citizens have lived under provisions similar to NDAA for a decade already under the Patriot Act.
NDAA represents further erosion of civil liberties in this country. If you stand for freedom, stand up and fight back.
(1) http://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/ndaa http://belligerentact.org/
(2) http://occupyoakland.org/2012/01/account-of-opds-attacks-on-occupy-oakland-in-the-last-two-weeks-and-what-you-can-do/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDbpNcGdPi4 http://hellaoccupyoakland.org/opd-then-and-now-seriously-fuck-the-pigs/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthis-chiroux/occupy-wall-street-nypd_b_1100209.html http://occupyamerica.crooksandliars.com/diane-sweet/livestream-snatch-and-grab-policing-co http://occupyphillymedia.org/content/peoples-plaza-now-under-police-occupation
(3) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/17/fbi-foils-terrorism-bomb-plot-capitol http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/fbi-terrorist-informants