Social networking media such as Twitter are being used for all kinds of things. The recent phenomenon of flash mobs is now being utilized to organize protests, robbing and looting in neighborhoods and to foment chaos. Activists in the San Francisco Bay Area spent much of the summer organizing flash mob protests at BART Tunnels.
The activists claim that these are First Amendment activities designed to protest an officer involved shooting but the strategy seemed to be to disrupt BART operations during rush hours. The next phase in the leftist strategy to spread chaos in America is to “occupy Wall Street”, an ongoing operation to protest against bankers and other symbols of America’s corporate financial power.
The Days of Rage, planned for September 17, seemed to fizzle with very little of the publicity that the protestors sought in the national media. There is no visible leadership because the events are directed in social cyberspace. Seattle was targeted by a small group of protestors that marched through the city streets.
The flash mobs in Seattle took place at the same time as protests planned for Wall Street, Los Angeles and San Francisco! BART transit authorities have been dealing with flash mob protesters in the Bay Area all summer long. Every time the police arrive at one BART station, the flash mobs are already on their way to a new location to disrupt rush hour commuters at another station. The protestors’ stated objective- protesting an officer involved shooting by BART transit police- is identical to the events that sparked riots in London.
The Leaderless Resistance Model
The protestors are consciously trying to emulate what has occurred in Egypt and the process of looking for inspiration to revolutions in other parts of the world is not a coincidence. September 17th was planned by the “leaderless” resistance as a worldwide protest against banks, corporations and capitalism.
The protestors in New York City are now being arrested and in some cases law enforcement is deploying use of force. Despite their claims to be nonviolent followers of Martin Luther and Gandhi, police “violence” is exactly what the activists have been eagerly anticipating.
Mainstream Media Spin or Police Misconduct?
After weeks of a virtual media blackout on nationwide efforts by the Days of Rage activists to obtain coverage, Occupy Wall Street is finally getting traction with the Mainstream Media. The New York Times featured an article on September 27, 2011 that raises issues as to whether the police overreacted by using pepper spray to restrain and arrest some of the demonstrators. According to the Times article, the NYPD and federal government have been anticipating that the protests in New York City might lead to the kind of violence, arsons and looting that broke out in England.
The fact that social media can be used to foment anarchy raises the issue of whether it can also be used by law enforcement and communities to prevent the violence and looting that recently occurred in London and other cities in England.
The pattern by which such protests become opportunities for violence and looting- remember London and the WTO riots in Seattle- has law enforcement trying to understand how to utilize social media to prevent violence. Back in the good old days of the Sixties, when radical protests were planned and executed from bars and college dormitories- and not in cyberspace- the police would speak to the activists or use informants to understand what was happening. The transit authorities turned off cell service in Bay Area BART tunnels but drew the wrath of the ACLU and other civil libertarians. Listening to the activists via social media is probably a better alternative than simply turning off the technology that enables social networking.
An online hacking group called Anonymous is promoting the attacks against the BART system and also promotes Days of Rage-Occupy Wall Street protests. Another group behind the protests, called Adbusters, allegedlly receives funding from Soros-backed organizations.
Along with Constitutional issues, turning off cell service hampers the rest of us from dealing with emergencies that may potentially occur in the midst of a chaotic situation. One way to prevent flash mob political protests is to use social media as a means for law enforcement and the public to communicate before, during and after a crisis- but our cell phones need to work during the crises!
Stephen Lerner, one of the organizers of the Days of Rage “leaderless resistance” allegedly started his career as a leftist organizer with SDS back in the days when the City of Chicago experienced pitched battles between Chicago cops and supposedly peaceful SDS Weathermen in the streets. That was 1969. Now we see SEIU and the offspring of groups like ACORN, along with Michael Moore, Code Pink people and the usual gaggle of entertainment personalities.
They are all calling for a real Tahrir Square revolution in the streets of America. It seems relevant to note that 24 Coptic Christians were killed in October when they protested against fundamentalists burning thier churches with impunity in Egypt.
Another group active in organizing and guiding Occupy Wall Street, along with the Tides Foundation also Soros-funded, is the Working Family Party.
There is now reason to believe that these new darlings of the mainstream media plan to “occupy” the homes of greedy capitalists. But apparently they will only protest in front of the homes of certain bankers that are associated with the Republican side of things. The Occupiers claim to be opposed to the right-left paradigm, so we will see whether they ever say anything about George Soros!
He got his start in offshore banking, hedge funds, etc. Now he allegedly makes billions by selling currency short after he manipulates national governments into degarding their national currencies. Hmmmm….
In Oakland, the “peaceful protesters” have vandalized businesses, invaded banks and held up traffic at the Port of Oakland, bringing the nation’s fifth largest port to a standstill!
Meanwhile, right here in Washington State, we saw Longshoremen claiming police brutality at the Port of Longview despite Union members who violated court orders, destroyed property and allegedly imprisoned security guards at the Port.
Almost the next week, the Tacoma Teachers Association called an illegal strike, violated court orders and got most of what they asked for, including an agreement that both Tacoma schools and the teachers’ union talk nicely about each other:
“All sides “will refrain from publicly criticizing the leadership of the other party with respect to the parties, the negotiation of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) or any event materially related to the negotiation of the CBA.”
The Nation is now suggesting that one way for unemployed, desperate young adults to rid society of unjust student loan debt (as well as other forms of “predatory” government sponsored lending) is to get engaged by manning the barricades in New York City and occupying Wall Street!
In Seattle and other areas they are occupying foreclosed homes that sit empty and during the evening of November 29th over 500 LAPD officers swept through the Occupy encampment outside the LA City Hall.
The same day in Olympia, Washington, protestors shouted down legislators in the Capitol Building, attacking and injuring several officers that tried to manage the situation.
Police Used Social Media During London’s Days of Rage
During the London riots that spread to other English towns and cities, the police utilized Twitter and other social media to follow up on rumors and prevent the rampant speculation that occurs when whole neighborhoods are being burned to the ground and homes and shops are invaded by gangs of thugs.
Those that followed certain LEOs received accurate assessments of what was occurring. Social media reassured people and dispelled rumors, according to Mark Payne, a Superintendent with the West Midlands Police. National TV channels were publishing banner headlines right from his tweets. The Superintendant states that he gained 5000 extra followers within 24 hours after the riots started. Payne provided the following advice that might be helpful to FWPD:
1) Use Social Media – Adopt much wider use of social media in police work and become adept at using it. Thinking about social media the day before an event doesn’t work. You need to understand what you are doing and develop a follower base so people start to trust your voice on a daily basis and turn to you for information in a crisis.
2) Be brave – you will make mistakes when you use social media, and once they are out there you can’t retract them easily. Nevertheless, the benefits of using social media outweigh the potential pitfalls.
3) Reach out to current users – one of the benefits of social media is that there are already lots of networks in Federal Way just waiting to talk to law enforcement.
4) Be an individual –monitor twitter feeds and answer questions in order to interact with the public in a manner that is consistent with established principles of community policing. Encourage individual officers to engage through social media. This allows local folks to follow a local cop, asking questions and talking to him or her about neighborhood issues. Twitter and other social media can add a personal dimension to a local officer that used to be more common when officers always walked their daily beats in the same part of town.
See Social Media, Police & Riots.
One Federal Way officer that patrols my neighborhood also lives nearby. He has not yet engaged me on Twitter but he stops and chats with me while I am getting my mail and I stop and converse with him when I see him. That kind of interaction is not always possible but knowing each other and being known in your community could become a critical factor in maintaining order when natural- or social forces- interrupt our normal world.