Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fwd: The Ants Go Marching Dollar By Dollar

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "The Daily GOOD" <>
Date: Jan 4, 2012 4:56 PM
Subject: The Ants Go Marching Dollar By Dollar
To: "GOOD Readers" <>

Your good thing today.
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New Startup Gives Local Businesses the Kickstarter Treatment

10% bug metaphors 10% perks 80% local investment

There's now a better way than the tip jar to show appreciation for your favorite local businesses. Lucky Ant, the latest startup to enter the crowdfunding space, hopes to do for neighborhood merchants what Kickstarter does for artists: provide a convenient, social way for small-scale entrepreneurs to tap their communities for help funding special projects.

Every week, Lucky Ant will post a new call for funding from a business in your neighborhood—when the service arrives there, that is. (It's just in New York for now.) Supporters of the business can chip in funds in exchange for special perks—and, of course, the good feeling of helping a local company grow. As cofounder Jonathan Moyal told Street Fight, "what [the businesses are] really selling is a participation in their story—it's being able to invest in your neighborhood; being able to see the benefits of investing in your neighborhood." If the business meets its funding goal after a week, it gets to keep the funding. If it not, the contributors aren't charged. 

The idea behind Lucky Ant is that small businesses often lack access to additional capital even when business is booming. Projects that could give the company an edge in the marketplace—like expanding, renovating, or investing in new services—may be beyond the reach of many local entrepreneurs' modest cash reserves. Take Bari, for example, a fitness studio in Manhattan that's currently Lucky Ant's featured project of the week. According to its Lucky Ant listing, the business wants to trademark its brand to protect its unique approach to working out but didn't have the cash on hand to do so. Now Bari staff are asking supporters to help out with $5,000 toward the trademark application.

As Lucky Ant says in its promotional video, "Your favorite local spots aren't just businesses. They're part of your life." Time will tell whether people will be willing to invest cash in these parts of their lives. 

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Fwd: [MCM] If you video farm animal abuse, you're guilty of "domestic terrorism," according to the FBI

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mark Crispin Miller" <>
Date: Jan 3, 2012 4:25 PM
Subject: [MCM] If you video farm animal abuse, you&apos;re guilty of "domestic terrorism," according to the FBI
To: <>

FBI tracking videotapers as terrorists?

Video provided by the United States Humane Society shows a Chino, Calif., slaughterhouse worker prodding a downer cow with a forklift, an act that helped spur an overhaul of the state's animal welfare laws. Animal rights groups are under attack for using such images as part of their investigations into alleged animal abuse. New documents suggest that some such investigations may violate animal enterprise terrorism laws. (AP/Humane Society of the United States),0,5919114.story


By Dean Kuipers

December 29, 2011, 2:12 p.m.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has recommended for many years that animal activists who carry out undercover investigations on farms could be prosecuted as domestic terrorists.

New documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by activist Ryan Shapiro show the FBI advising that activists – including Shapiro – who walked onto a farm, videotaped animals there and "rescued" an animal had violated terrorism statutes.

The documents, which were first published on Will Potter's website, Green Is the New Red, were issued by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2003 in response to an article in an animal rights publication in which Shapiro and two other activists (whose names were redacted from the document), openly claimed responsibility for shooting video and taking animals from a farm.

The FBI notes discuss the videotaping, illegal entry and the removal of animals, then concludes with "there is a reasonable indication that [Subject 1] and other members of the [redacted] have violated the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 18 USC Section 43 (a)."

Curiously, the name of the act seems to be an error; the act was called the Animal Enterprise Protection Act until 2006, when it was largely superseded by an act called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The crime named in the original 1992 act, however, was always called terrorism. The penalties for such a conviction can include terrorism enhancements which can add decades to a sentence.

Later, in 2004, Shapiro and a colleague, Sarahjane Blum, working as a group called Gourmet Cruelty, were prosecuted for a different but similar act in which they walked onto a fois gras farm, videotaped the operation and took a few ducks. They were prosecuted for felony burglary and pleaded to misdemeanor trespassing.

"Sarahjane and I and everyone with Gourmet Cruelty – the undercover investigation and especially the open rescue were acts of civil disobedience," said Shapiro by phone. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at MIT. "We openly took credit for the things that we were doing in order to expose the horrific cruelty on factory farms and to educate the public about it. So a trespassing charge seemed like a perfectly reasonable price to pay."

"However, it's simply outrageous to consider civil disobedience as terrorism," Shapiro adds. "Civil disobedience is not terrorism. It has a long and proud place in our nation's history, from Martin Luther King to Occupy Wall Street, and the AETA takes that kind of advocacy that we celebrate from the civil rights movement and turns it into a terrorist event."

The FBI declined to comment on the documents, though a public information officer did point out that "the FBI cannot collect or retain information on pure 1st Amendment activities unless the collection is pertinent to a legitimate law enforcement activity." Which would indicate that it is the trespassing and theft of animals that would cause the bureau to open a file. But activists and their attorneys are unsure of this interpretation.

Undercover investigations have been a mainstay of activist work, whistleblower activity and even journalism since before the days of Upton Sinclair and his landmark 1906 work about the meatpacking industry, "The Jungle."

"Some of these investigations don't even break state laws," says Rachel Meerpol, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights who is representing Shapiro in a constitutional challenge of the AETA. "It's possible to gain undercover footage lawfully. The way the FBI is interpreting this law would allow for prosecution of completely lawful, valuable advocacy efforts as an act of terrorism. It's an issue of public safety as well as animal cruelty. It's such a waste of time and resources for the FBI to be spending money investigating folks involved in this work."

State legislatures, however, are also getting into the act. Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and New York all tried to pass bills specifically outlawing photographing and videotaping animal enterprises in 2011, but failed. Florida state Sen. Jim Norman has already reintroduced his bill, SB1184, for 2012, which is more of an omnibus bill but still contains the prohibitions against recording farm operations.

Potter, who has looked into these state laws in more detail, points out, "There's no shortage of laws that could be used to prosecute someone who is trespassing or someone who is vandalizing property in the process of an investigation. But these new laws are specifically aimed at mainstream animal rights and environmental groups who investigate abuse, such as the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals and PETA."



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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fwd: [P2P-F] "The Future of Occupy" is published!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "George Por" <>
Date: Jan 3, 2012 1:12 PM
Subject: [P2P-F] "The Future of Occupy" is published!
To: <>
Cc: "Michel Bauwens" <>, "Michel Bauwens" <>, "Sheri Madrone" <>


For several months, during the unfolding events of the Occupy movement, supporters, media and world observers have been wondering, where is this movement heading?'

To help provide both a signpost and a compass for that question, The Future of Occupy collective, an international initiative supporting the movement's self-reflection, is announcing the opening of its website. It is a virtual library of actionable movement documents, blogposts, and a platform for conversations that matter. It provides the media, activists, academics, and an engaged public with one-stop access to information and insights about the future of the movement, as it emerges.

The Future of Occupy Collective is an open and expanding group of individuals from different parts of the world, inspired to bring their talents to serve the global Occupy movement by curating an online platform that mirrors its best thinking and most innovative practices. It brings into focus the news and views related to the movement's identity, future, and strategy, scattered in various print and electronic media, including bloggers and websites sympathizing with Occupy.

On January 3rd, 2012, The Future of Occupy Collective has announced the publication of the first issue of its newsletter, dedicated to the Future of Assemblies.  As we enter the new year and the movement enters a new phase of its development, many sites are evicted or facing eviction. Continuing to hold General Assemblies, in one way or another, seems more important than ever, since they are one of the movement's potent life-giving forces. That's why we focus the first issue of the newsletter on them. You can find it here:

The FoO Collective recognized the movement's need to learn fast from its experience in order to remain a vibrant, living laboratory for overcoming the democracy deficiency of present social systems. There's a section of the website focused on Movement Sense-Making, which says "Collaborative sensing and thinking is a crucial part of the movement and essential for boosting capabilities to the scale of transformation it seeks... Our aim is not to produce a uniform perspective on the future of the movement, but to present the diversity of existing views."

The originator of the FoO site is the School of Commoning, an international group of commons educators, partnering with the
University of Notre Dame in the US, and other organizations. The FoO Collective is now an autonomous project and has members with no connection to the School of Commoning.

CONTACT in the US: Mary Beth Steisslinger, Contributing Editor
 1-412-916-8716 marybeth.steisslinger(at)                
skype: marybeth.steisslinger

CONTACT in the UK: George Pór, Founding Editor
+44 7780 181 865 team(at)                
skype: georgepor

Notes to the Editor:
1.    George Pór can be available for an interview by phone, skype or email, if need be.

2.   To subscribe to the monthly The Future Occupy newsletter, click on the "Get Our Newsletter" button on the right margin of the FoO homepage: <>

3.    To follow new blog posts on the FoO site as they appear, click on the "Follow Blog Via Email" link on the right margin of the FoO homepage: <>

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Fwd: [MCM] UK's undercover cops allowed (i.e., encouraged) "to have sex with activists"

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mark Crispin Miller" <>
Date: Jan 3, 2012 11:35 AM
Subject: [MCM] UK&apos;s undercover cops allowed (i.e., encouraged) "to have sex with activists"
To: <>

Undercover police cleared 'to have sex with activists'

Promiscuity 'regularly used as tactic', says former officer, contradicting claims from Acpo

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy had sexual relationships with several women while serving as an undercover policeman and infiltrating a ring of environmental activists

Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.

The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.

Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.

The one stipulation, according to the officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, was that falling in love was considered highly unprofessional because it might compromise an investigation. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job".

"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to theObserver last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."

The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.

However Jon Murphy, Acpo's spokesman on serious and organised crime, said last week that undercover officers were not permitted "under any circumstances" to sleep with protesters.

He added: "It is grossly unprofessional. It is a diversion from what they are there to do."

Mounting anger among women protesters will see female activists converge on Scotland Yard tomorrow to demand that the Met disclose the true extent of undercover policing. The demonstration is also, according to organisers, designed to express "solidarity with all the women who have been exploited by men they thought they could trust".

Climate campaigner Sophie Stephens, 27, who knew Kennedy, said there was fury among women who felt violated by the state: "We know women have been abused by men posing as policemen and it's becoming clear this was state-sanctioned. These women did not know they were forming a relationship with policemen. It's appalling – and now we want the full details of the undercover officers to be made public."

The protest will be followed on Tuesday by the appearance before the Commons home affairs select committee of the acting Met commissioner, Tim Godwin, and Commander Bob Broadhurst, who is responsible for public order in the capital. Both will be asked to explain why Scotland Yard gave false information over the use of covert operatives during the London G20 protests in 2009. The issue of sexual activity by operatives is also likely to be brought up.

The former SDS officer claims a lack of guidelines meant sex was an ideal way to maintain cover. He admitted sleeping with at least two of his female targets as a way of obtaining intelligence.

"When you are on an undercover unit you were not given a set of instructions saying you could or couldn't do the following. They didn't say to you that you couldn't go out and drink because technically you're a police officer, that you shouldn't go out and get involved in violent confrontations, you shouldn't take recreational drugs.

"As regards being with women in very, very, very promiscuous groups such as the eco-wing, environmental movement, leftwing, or the Animal Liberation Front – it's an extremely promiscuous lifestyle and you cannot not be promiscuous in there.

"Among fellow undercover officers, there is not really any kudos in the fact that you are shagging other people while deployed. Basically it's just regarded as part of the job. It'd be highly unlikely that you were not [having sex].

"When you are using the tool of sex to maintain your cover or maybe to glean more intelligence – because they certainly talk a lot more, pillow talk – you would be ready to move on if you felt an attachment growing.

"The best way of stopping any liaison getting too heavy was to shag somebody else. It's amazing how women don't like you going to bed with someone else," said the officer, whose undercover deployment infiltrating anti-racist groups lasted from 1993 to 1997. Two years later the SDS became the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, the secretive organisation that employed Kennedy and whose activities are the subject of three investigations.

The officer added that undercover police were strictly encouraged not to form a bond with women they were sleeping with and said that he knew Jim Boyling, the undercover officer who married an activist he was supposed to be spying upon.

Boyling, a specialist operations detective constable with the Met, was suspended on Friday pending an investigation into his professional conduct.

The former SDS officer, who has now left the Met, said one stipulation by senior commanders was that undercover officers should be married, so that they had something to return to. He said the move was introduced when a spy never returned after five years undercover.

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