Rally for Justice, Privacy, Peace Nov. 5

Protesters convened Nov. 5 for The Million Mask March, a world event with over 470 reported locations. The goal was to support peace, justice, privacy, democracy, transparency and freedom. 

I attended and spoke about how revelations in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, can help us achieve widely shared goals of reform.

Million Mask MarchKEY: “

” is my theme to curtail abuses by CIA/NSA surveillance as well as Wall Street efforts to impose harsh and needless austerity on the public.

One protester was reported arrested at the sidewalk in front of the White House.

Such protests present challenges for reporters and protesters alike, as I told an interviewer for the Voice of America for a news segment to be posted here after the U.S. government-funded network posts the feature story. I said that I was present as an author/reporter ready to share my findings. One of them, I said, was the difficulty reporters face in Washington and around the world in asking tough questions to officials without losing access

A challenge for protesters is to obtain news coverage with aggressive actions without triggering more surveillance, police reprisals, and a negative public image. 

Puppetry documents this history, including how the CIA funded the 1960s Communist Daily Worker as well as some important leaders of the “radical” group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The goal was to influence events and at least some leaders on all parts of the political spectrum.

Masks of the kind shown above right also underscore the close relationship between protest and turncoats.


The masks are sometimes called "Guy Fawkes" masks in reference to a plotter against the English crown whose confederates turned him in to authorities on Nov. 5, 1605 to face charges of trying to blow up Parliament in "The Gunpowder Plot." More recently and more importantly, a mask shown in the film "V for Vendetta" was the most readily available in costume shops worldwide. So, they are widely used in demonstrations.

The masks are sometimes associated with Anonymous, a shadowy group that advocates transparency. Anonymous itself remains unidentified. Videos occasionally appear stating the group has no leaders. The videos often state that no one is in charge of Million Mask March because "it is a movement, not an organization."

A faction advocating confrontations Nov. 5 falsely accused some who disagree with their tactics of being CIA or FBI assets.
The smear, shown
on a YouTube video, shows how critics sometimes attack with minimal evidence those with track records of seeking justice and transparency.

I have seen such disruptions many times. I covered the 1968 Democratic National Convention as a student journalist for the Cornell Daily Sun, for example. I earned my first professional newspaper dollars (very few!) covering the 1969 creation of the violent SDS Weatherman faction as a stringer for the Chicago Tribune and its rival Chicago Daily News. To be clear, I support only peaceful, non-confrontational protests.

Another main target has been Christine Ann Sands, who obtained the permit for the event and owns the Million Mask March domain names, as well as the Facebook site: http://Facebook.com/MillionMaskMarch. Sometimes calling herself “WikiPoet,” she is one of the few visible faces advocating for Anonymous: a leaderless anti-political corruption movement. Media interviewers, therefore, are seeking her out. Sands calls for the peaceful pursuit of justice. She opposes the so-called citizen arrests.

“Corruption is lawlessness, and laws created against the spirit of love are also a form of lawlessness,” she says -- while also insisting “You don’t fight lawlessness with more lawlessness and chaos. You defend humanity with truth.”

Editor's Note: The column above was updated to reflect events during the day.
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Related News Coverage

FireDogLake, Remember, Remember the 5th of November: Anonymous Gets Things Done, Lisa Derrick, Nov. 5, 2013. When Anonymous erupted on the streets some five and half years ago to protest Scientology, their branding is what caught everyone’s eyes: The majority of protestors wore the Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta, in part because of the movie’s message and in part from EFG, Epic Fail Guy, a meme on 4Chan, the board where members can post images anonymously.

Voice of Russia, 'NSA spying and persecuting hackers does not prevent terrorism:' Anonymous, Interview of Anonymous member by John Robles, Nov. 3, 3013. Their message is that, to purge the system in the United States, corporate money must be taken out of the political process. Exposing that corruption is a goal for whistle blowers and Hacktivists alike, on the 5th of November the Hacktivist group Anonymous, the Occupy Movement, supporters of WikiLeaks, the Pirate Party and other activists will join forces to make their voices heard as they meet to protest against US Government corruption and fight for a better world. A member of the Hactivist group Anonymous spoke to the Voice of Russia on these issues and more. The contributor does not speak for the entire collective as that would entail polling thousands of members to get a consensus, nor is he/she claiming to be a leader. The voice has been digitized to protect the speaker's identity.

Conspiracy Queries with Alan Park, Interview of WikiPoet on Million Mask March, Alan Park, Oct. 31, 2013. WikiPoet, Christine Ann Sands, is one of the only exposed faces involved with the movement known as, Anonymous. We speak with her about the Million Mask March taking place in Washington DC, and in multiple locations around the world.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Michael CheroffWashington Post, What the NSA and social media have in common, Michael Chertoff, Oct. 31, 2013. Michael Chertoff, left, was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009. He is co-founder and chairman of the Chertoff Group, a global security and risk-management advisory firm. There has been exaggerated talk about whether the government intelligence community could create a police state. But the true horror of the East German Stasi or the Maoist Red Guard was the encouragement of informants — private citizens reporting on other private citizens and even family members. No police agency could be omniscient. The oppressiveness of those police states came from the fear every citizen had that another citizen would disclose deviations from the party line. The relevant question here is: Are we creating an informant society, in which every overheard conversation, cellphone photograph or other record of personal behavior is transmitted not to police but to the world at large? Do we want to chill behavior and speech with the fear that an unpopular comment or embarrassing slip will call forth vituperative criticism and perhaps even adversely affect careers or reputations? Do we need to constantly monitor what we say or do in restaurants, at sporting events, on public sidewalks or even private parties?

OpEd News, Is NSA spying really about blackmail? Dave Lindorff, Oct. 31, 2013. A revealing page-one article in today's New York Times ("Tap on Merkel Provides Peek a Vast Spy Net") reports on how the NSA's global spying program, dating back at least to early in the Bush/Cheney administration, was vacuuming up the phone conversations (and no doubt later the internet communications) of not just leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but opposition leader Merkel before her party took power in Germany.   What the Times does not ask in its entire report on this spying program on leaders and potential leaders is whether there could be another motive for this extraordinary spying campaign on leaders: blackmail. How else to explain the remarkably tepid response from the leaders who are the victims of this spying by the NSA on their private communications?

OpEd News, How the Koch Brothers Did the Shutdown, Eric Zuesse, Nov. 1, 2013. I covered previously the decades-long Koch-operation that got us to where we are (see those earlier posts  here , and  here , and  here , and  here ). I shall now describe the money-trail from there to Senator Ted Cruz, who directly headed the shutdown-effort in the U.S. Congress. The two chief contributors to Cruz's political career donated over a million dollars to it (and no other entity donated as much as $100,000 to it). As one of my earlier posts had noted, opensecrets.org  shows that the top sources of contributions to Mr. Cruz's political career were Club For Growth, and Senate Conservatives Fund, which together donated over a million dollars to it. Moreover, the #17 contributor to Cruz, Berkshire Hathaway (headed by a "Democrat," Warren Buffett, who prominently mouths against Republican policies), hired Baker Botts as their law firm, and BB was the #8 Cruz donor. So, as this example (BH) shows, Cruz actually had bipartisan support among the aristocracy.

Washington Post, Tech leaders demand curbs on NSA programs, Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima, Oct. 31, 2013. Mounting revelations are driving a renewed push for significant legislative action from an industry that has long tried to stay above the fray in Washington.

Washington Post, NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say, Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani, Oct. 30, 2013. The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials. By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot. 

Washington Post, NSA chief: NATO allies shared records, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung, Oct. 29, 2013. NSA Director Keith Alexander strongly denies reports that his agency swept up millions of phone records of European citizens. The director of the National Security Agency on Tuesday dismissed as “completely false” reports that his agency swept up millions of phone records of European citizens, and he revealed that data collected by NATO allies were shared with the United States. Gen. Keith Alexander said foreign intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and provided them to the spy agency — an operation that was misunderstood by French and Spanish newspapers that reported that the NSA was conducting surveillance in their countries. “This is not information that we collected on European citizens,” Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee. “It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations.”

Oliver StoneWashington Post, 'JFK,’ Oliver Stone and the fate of cinematic paranoia, Ann Hornaday, Oct. 31, 2013. With Oliver Stone discussing ‘JFK’ at the Newseum, what’s become of American paranoid style? There’s something oddly vindicating about “JFK” — Oliver Stone’s audaciously speculative meditation on the assassination of John F. Kennedy — being shown, even in part, at the Newseum. Not only are clips from Stone’s film, which was equally praised and castigated when it was released in 1991, being screened as part of the 50th anniversary of the events it depicted (and, in some views, unforgivably distorted). But they’re being presented in an institution dedicated to celebrating all that is reported, verifiable and objectively true. ¶ When those “JFK” clips unspool Friday afternoon — with Stone present for a discussion afterward — they may feel to many viewers like artifacts being beamed from a distant, vaguely familiar time. Not only is “JFK” a great period piece — Stone is working at the top of his game with cinematographer Robert Richardson to create a masterful evocation of the 1960s — but it represents a bygone era of cinema itself.

Reuters via Huffingtgon Post, British Accuse David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's Partner, Of 'Terrorism,' Mark Hosenball, Nov. 1, 2013. British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in "terrorism" when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents. Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained and questioned for nine hours by British authorities at Heathrow on Aug. 18, when he landed there from Berlin to change planes for a flight to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. At a London court hearing this week for Miranda's lawsuit, a document called a "Ports Circulation Sheet" was read into the record. A key hearing on Miranda's legal challenge is scheduled for next week. The new details of how and why British authorities decided to act against him, including extracts from police and MI5 documents, were made public during a preparatory hearing earlier this week. British authorities have said in court that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). In an email to Reuters, Greenwald condemned the British government for labeling his partner's actions "terrorism." "For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none...They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism," he said.

Washington Post, Food stamp cuts will take bite out of many D.C. area families’ budgets, Food stamp cuts will take bite out of many D.C. area families’ budgets, Robert Samuels,  Oct. 31, 2013. The program will lose $5B today, impacting more than 144,000 people here who rely on stamps.

Associated Press via Washington Post, Israel strikes Russian weapons shipment in Syria, Zeina Karam, Oct. 31, 2013. Israeli warplanes attacked a shipment of Russian missiles inside a Syrian government stronghold, officials said Thursday, a development that threatened to add another volatile layer to regional tensions from the Syrian civil war. The revelation came as the government of President Bashar Assad met a key deadline in an ambitious plan to eliminate Syria's entire chemical weapons stockpile by mid-2014 and avoid international military action.

WhoWhatWhy, Grassley on Boston Bombing, David J. Krajicek, Oct. 25, 2013. In case you missed it (as did most of the national media), here’s a link to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s letter taking the FBI to task for its troubling lack of transparency in the Boston Bombing investigation. Grassley, a senior Republican from Iowa and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is peeved because the Bureau and Director James Comey have stonewalled him on a series of questions he asked in June about the bombing. In his letter, Grassley hints that Cambridge, Mass., police believe the FBI had identified the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects and had a large team of agents on stakeout for them at Cambridge’s Central Square without sharing the information with local authorities.

Guardian, Pakistani family of drone strike victim gives harrowing testimony to Congress, Karen McVeigh, Oct. 29, 2013. Translator brought to tears by family's plea as Congress hears from civilian victims of alleged US drone strike for the first time, The family of a 67-year-old midwife from a remote village in North Waziristan told lawmakers on Tuesday about her death and the "CIA drone" they say was responsible. Their harrowing accounts marked the first time Congress had ever heard from civilian victims of an alleged US drone strike. Rafiq ur Rehman, a Pakistani primary school teacher who appeared on Capitol Hill with his children, Zubair, 13, and Nabila, 9, described his mother, Momina Bibi, as the "string that held our family together." His two children, who were gathering okra with their grandmother the day she was killed, on 24 October 2012, were injured in the attack. "Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted that day," Rehman said, through a translator. "Some media outlets reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother’s house." Instead, he said, only one person was killed that day: "Not a militant but my mother."

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at Tom Foley Funeral, Oct. 29, 2013.At left, President Obama and former President Clinton meet Oct. 29 at a funeral service for former House Speaker Tom Foley, who formerly represented a district in Washington State (White House Photo).

Washington Post, Billboard advocating jury nullification concerns local prosecutors, Keith L. Alexander, Oct. 29, 2013. The illuminated billboard in the Judiciary Square Metro station near the F Street entrance was strategically placed. Prospective jurors who take the subway to D.C. Superior Court and exit near the National Building Museum see these words: “Good jurors nullify bad laws” and “You have the right to ‘hang’ the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors.”Since the billboard went up this month, District prosecutors have been worried that the message could sway their cases.

Washington Post, DHS workers routinely boost pay with unearned overtime, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Oct. 31, 2013. Report: The “entrenched” practice costs the agency millions of dollars every year.

Reuters via Huffington Post, Edward Snowden Has A New Job, Russian Lawyer Says, Steve Gutterman, Oct. 31, 2013. Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has found a job working for a website in Russia, where he was granted asylum after fleeing the United States, a Russian lawyer who is helping him said on Thursday. "Edward starts work in November," lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to state-run news agency RIA. "He will provide support for a large Russian site," he said, adding that he would not name the site "for security reasons." Snowden, 30, a former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed secret U.S. internet telephone surveillance program, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia in June.