Stop the Surveillance

r-INTERNET-DEFENSE-LEAGUE-hugeHere at Occupy Trinity Wall Street Church we have been under more surveillance than the ordinary citizen, probably under more surveillance than anybody including those in Guantanamo. Don’t think so? Since Occupy Trinity started 8 cameras were placed around the scaffolding that is above the Occupiers, as well as three banks of halogen lights that light up the night brighter than day. There is a 9th camera across the street that is facial recognition capable and is linked directly “downtown” — i.e. the secret anti-terrorism HQ. All nine cameras target the occupation at Trinity Church. There are many other security cameras in the immediate area covering other patches of ground, some also including the Trinity occupation, so every person that traverses the area is followed every step of the way by the NYPD and other security forces. In addition, being at the head of Wall Street means being across the street from a Federal Security Zone with full-time police & corporate security on guard as well as dozens of surveillance cameras concentrated on every square foot of ground.

Can you say, “Police State”?

The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments). It is a protection for US citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. The U.S.A. government at all levels is guilty of flagrant and systemic violations of the 4th Amendment.

Text of the 4th Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

restorethe4th4th

Trinity Church & NYPD Attack Occupiers

I am posting this for Rain OWS. Rain wrote this on FaceBook, I edited it for the blog.

trinity-1

Our day at Occupy Wall street was eventful. We woke up to the cops clapping in our ears telling us to wake up right before they hosed us off the sidewalk. Trinity security assaulted one of our protesters. We went to Zuccotti  Park and we were told we were not allowed to have book bags or sleeping bags in the park.

Trinity-3Spent a good part of the day doing outreach at the Federal Hall steps and when we returned to Trinity we found two cops we recognize, out of uniform, harassing a female Occupier and tearing up signs. We asked them nicely to stop and they shoved an Occupier and dared us to do something. What could we do as a peaceful movement on police surveillance cameras as they threw the Peoples Library, Info and people’s personal stuff in the street?

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We need the live-streamers. We need the support of the people to come and stand up with us. Remember we are physically occupying public space and bringing enlightenment to the rest of the 99%. So if you call yourself Occupy, join us before one of us end up in jail over defending ourselves or someone gets hurt. Remember, I have a broken toe and foot yet I still occupy even though I have a place to live and an opportunity to go back to work. So come out if you support those doing physical protest.

RAINOWS

Rain OWS

Good Riddance CEO Cooper!

CEO Cooper has handed in his letter of resignation! That is a success for everybody who participated in occupying Trinity Wall Street Church. Congratulations everyone — we have ousted a corrupt CEO!

Now, CEO Cooper being the greedy bastard that he is, won’t actually resign for two more years — at least, that’s his plan. However, we’ll be back in the Spring to occupy his front steps again, and push him into leaving sooner than he wants. He doesn’t deserve two more years of a million dollar salary. What does he actually do for that money anyway? With less than 50 parishoners his leadership is worse than the smallest and poorest parish of his born-in-woman’s-blood Church of England 1%’er religion. Seems to me he is a total failure. It is the height of stupidity to let him stay on for two more years simply so he can milk the church for more millions.

It has come out recently that the vestry’s voting procedures are a total sham, and the financial reporting is hidden from everyone’s view except those who are stealing it. Only CEO Cooper, the vestry and the church wardens are now allowed to see the financial records. All of them should be fired, arrested, tried and jailed — not only for the financial crimes they are engaged in, but also for the crimes of humanity they have perpetrated against Occupiers and the people of New York City.

We will be back, Trinity. Expect us. A two year delay in Cooper’s resignation is not acceptable.

Trinity Wall Street

Trinity
The tip of Wall Street.
The doors open to the rich.
Feed the CEOs
close the shelters to the poor
hide the face of hypocrisy
behind the word church.
Pay no taxes
keep it all between themselves.
Spend $5 million
to show a pretty face.
Spend $2 million
in the name of charity.
Make $10 billion
all in the name of realty.
A box lunch
for the poor twice a week
and you get into heaven.
They think in greed
instead of charity
while the homeless activists
sleep outside their gate
asking for sanctuary
being charged with trespassing
on the piece of vacant dead land.
They seek a place
to gather in community
to rise up against a system
which listens to the voice
of $ over people
and now we realize
with shocking truth
it’s not just the system
of government
but the system
of religion
following $ valuing $

Poem by pieceful

Occupy Trinity Wall Street

Occupy Trinity Wall Street

NY-NYC-TrinityChurch

Trinity Wall Street could be the moral gate

between

Wall Street and Main Street.”

Ed Mortimer, street medic, entered Duarte Square on D17 to help injured people–found guilty of trespassing. See the blog occupytrinity.wordpress.com

Ed Mortimer, street medic, entered Duarte Square on D17 to help injured people–found guilty of trespassing. See the blogs occupytrinity.wordpress.com and occupybustour.wordpress.com

OCCUPY TRINITY WALL STREET: OVERVIEW

Since June 8th the sidewalk in front of Trinity Wall Street (TWS) has been location central for prophetic witness. People affiliated with Occupy Wall Street (OWS), calling themselves Occupy Trinity Wall Street (OTWS) are occupying that doorstep 24 hours a day.

WHY?

At least 4 and as many as 60 people are sleeping on the street -an activity completely legal in New York City and protected by the U.S. Constitution. These men and women bear witness to the inequities wrought by the greed of Wall Street calling attention to a deformed capitalism that does not respect the dignity of every human being but looks on all Creation as a source of personal profit and production. For Episcopalians the significance of this sleep-in is sacramental. Yet rather than welcome the presence of these prophets or offer any kindness, TWS has harassed, humiliated, and sent protesters and homeless youth to jail and the hospital. This was done in the name of the Episcopal Church, notably with the tacit acceptance of the Diocese of NY.

HOW IT STARTED: D17

When OWS was violently rousted in November, 2011 from the encampment at Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square, it lost a home. People were fed, educated, and community was being built. A national voice of outrage was embodied. A new vision of democracy was evolving–inclusive and horizontal-it was oriented towards peace, justice, and mutual aid. Without a home, OWS would have a difficult time working on this vision. OWS approached Trinity Wall Street, particularly CEO/Rector James Cooper, in December to discuss the possibility of occupying one of its many Man-hattan real estate assets–a vacant lot on Canal Street and 6th Avenue known as Duarte Square. Like the time when St. Paul’s Chapel was a sanctuary for recovery workers after attacks on the World Trade Towers, Trinity Wall Street, by destiny, was at another a nexus of history.

d17-earl-kReverend Earl Koopercamp crossing the ladder into Duarte Square on D17.

Encouraged by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, retired Bishop George Packard was asked to facilitate dialog between OWS and TWS. With the exception of token gestures, CEO/Rector Cooper would not enter into discussion. OWS was told ground would be bro-ken on a new building in May, 2012. OWS gathered support from the local Community Board and residents surrounding Duarte Square; made plans for a healthy encampment; and promised it would move out when ground was broken in May. Several members of the OWS community went on a hunger strike to call attention to this prophetic moment and a need for sanctuary. TWS and CEO/Rector Cooper only answered with a corporate line about plans for private property.

Hunger strikers Malory Butler (19-year-old ballet student) & Diego Ibanez, with supporter Elliot Figman on Day 15 of the hunger strike. Mr. Ibanez was a critical organizer for Hurricane Sandy relief, spear-heading a volunteer corps that served over 5,000 hot meals a day in addition to other forms of relief.Hunger strikers Malory Butler (19-year-old ballet student) & Diego Ibanez, with supporter Elliot Figman on Day 15 of the hunger strike. Mr. Ibanez was a critical organizer for Hurricane Sandy relief, spear-heading a volunteer corps that served over 5,000 hot meals a day in addition to other forms of relief.

SantaandMissAmerica

On December 17th (D17) OWS gathered near Duarte Square for a celebration. A number of people climbed a ladder and trespassed. It was clearly street theater and civil disobedience – Santa Claus and Miss America were first over the ladder. One bishop, three Episcopal priests, a nun, and two Catholic priests were arrested with others.

Unfortunately some attending clipped wires on the fencing, committing vandalism. Few of the 52 trespassers who were arrested, tried, and prosecuted at the insistence of TWS committed any vandalism. The majority of vandals ran away when the NYPD appeared.

That day the fence was pushed down on the crowd outside the no trespassing zone by the NYPD while other officers kettled the crowd from the street side, thus terrorizing observers.People who were exercising First Amendment rights were beaten up by the NYPD in the name of TWS and by extension the Diocese of NY. was the only defendant who is Muslim, born in Pakistan. Adams joined OWS after his home went into foreclosure.

OTWS began in response to Mark Adams being sentenced to 45 days on Riker’s Island. After rallies, vigils, and teach-ins themed around “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”, Jack Boyle, a D17 defendant, initiated the occupation/sleep-in. The occupation gained momentum when Adams began serving his time in prison on Riker’s Island.

Parishioners at TWS were told Adams’ sentence was related to offenses other than trespassing on the vacant lot. However court records show that Adams went to prison solely at the in-sistence of an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of NY.

Adams served time in the heat of July just as General Convention made resolutions to increase ministry to those in prison and while the 5 Marks of Mission were embraced as a standard to move missionally forward in the 21st century.

An-Occupy-Wall-Street-pro-007

As of this writing no one behind bars because of TWS has been visited by Episcopal clergy to include the primary colluder with the NYPD and DA, CEO/ Rector Cooper. No offer of shelter or of psychological counseling have been proffered despite TWS’s considerable assets.Duarte Square actually is a parcel of land under ownership dispute for over a century. Descendants of the Welsh pirate Robert Edwards claim the land was given to Edwards by Queen Anne as a reward for his service. The family leased Trinity Church the land - it was not returned.

 Duarte Square actually is a parcel of land under ownership dispute for over a century. Descendants of the Welsh pirate Robert Edwards claim the land was given to Edwards by Queen Anne as a reward for his service. The family leased Trinity Church the land – it was not returned.miss-america

Instead of the vibrant community dedicated to teach-ins, democracy, and mutual aid, Duarte remains a vacant lot with food trucks parked during the work week and locked up on weekends. Ground was never broken for construction.

Whose land? Royalty deeded Trinity Church the land for its empire just 75 years after the Lenape were the residents of Manhattan.Whose land? Royalty deeded Trinity Church the land for its empire just 75 years after the Lenape were the residents of Manhattan.

 Collaborating with the District Attorney’s office, TWS and CEO/Rector Cooper began work on prosecuting the trespassers to the full extent of the law. During the course of the most visible trial (held June 10 -21) it became evident that Trinity Real Estate, its CEO Cooper and staff enjoyed a cozy relationship with the NYPD as well as the DA’s office. For example, vans of police in full riot gear were parked at the ready for 5 hours in ad-vance to arrest people for “possible trespass”. Will Gusakov, a master car-penter who designed and built the ladder but did not trespass, was arrested blocks away from Duarte Square and put on trial . One of the ways taxpayer money paid for protection of Trinity Wall Street’s private assets.At the end of the trial, one defendant, Mark Adams, was sent to jail.

 Trial for trespassing, l. to r. Mark Adams, Jack Boyle, Bishop George Packard

Trial for trespassing, l. to r. Mark Adams, Jack Boyle, Bishop George Packard in the courtroom, photo copyright Tracie Williams

Trials continue today – most recently for Charles Meyers and Felix Rivera-Pitre – TWS’s accusations compounding on other “infractions” and generating prison records for young men and women based on in-flated charges. The OWS community has a well – organized, dedicated group who visit those in prison, write them, and pro – vide support. On release, the OWS community finds them shelter mostly in the form of couch surfing and facilitates access to social workers and therapists who donate time.

d17-nypd-wrestle-guy-to-ground

 NYPD protect TWS real estate

otws-why-does-this-occurA core group of people have been occupying for over 6 months. These include Fathema Nusrat Sha’didi, a street medic who found refuge and rest at St. Paul’s Chapel after the traumatic recovery work in the smoking remains of the World Trade Center; Ed Mortimer, a street medic, and Jack Boyle both defendants in the D17 trespassing trial.

otws-nypd-harassment
They are joined by a diverse community which includes people with regular jobs sleeping when they can, traveling activists, and most notably homeless youth seek refuge there. The latter group finds a haven safer than in shelters and get a sense of being part of a greater cause. All who pass by note the irony in Trinity’s slogan—”For a world of good”. Some are there because this church sits at the top of Wall Street, the epicenter of capitalism at its most cancerous stage. Those same passers by know this story, noting the church as complicit by its silence with the toll taken by a culture of greed.

A careless disregard for the young, sensitive population was featured on September 23 when alcohol was served to these minors. CEO/Rector Cooper said casually “I hope everyone’s of age!” Bryan Parsons, TWS staff was observed one night in August, intoxicated, trading alcohol for cigarettes among the youth.

gay-groupRepresentatives from TWS, such as clergy Matt Heyd, straight-faced recites NYC code requiring hosing down of the sidewalk twice a day. However, the second hosing was not initiated until September—three months after the sleep-in began. Heyd will also tell you it is NYC code to drill holes in scaffolding to prevent standing water. Holes were drilled on October 21st, long after the summer heat when standing water would offer a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. At press release, Heyd was not available for further comment. TWS staff defends the practice of maximizing profitsthrough luxury apartment development at the expense of small business and middle and working class families through TWS’s charitable work overseas, inspiring the street chant Trinity Church you look so pretty, but you do nothing for New York City. Throughout the heat of summer, rain and snow, beatings and harassment from the NYPD, no clergy have offered a drink of water, a bathroom to use, or sanctuary in any form. During Hurricane Sandy OTWS found safety among the greater OWS community. After the November snowfall those occupying TWS sent out word that they needed warm clothes. Meanwhile, TWS proudly Tweeted a video of one of its priests delivering clothes to those in the vicinity but not to those huddled in front of the church. TWS will cite Charlotte’s Place as a resource. However OWS can get free internet at dozens of locations. Charlotte’s Place is limited in many ways, to include that it is only open Monday through Friday from Noon to 2PM.

Need doesn’t punch a time clock.

occupy-sleeper

Trinity Wall Street Church has over $10 billion in real estate assets through Trinity Reeal Estate Corporation. Contemporary theologians have presented TWS as an institution in spiritual crisis and a reflective moment for us all. Is the church owner or steward of its assets? What is the Christian interpretation of private property? Since the church enjoys tax-free status what is its responsibility to the greater non-church community? How do the Diocese of New York and Trinity Wall Street Church practically plan to employ their assets to support the Five Marks of Mission? The gospel tells us that people are more important than profits. Is it ethical for TWS and the Diocese of New York to develop their property for luxury apartment rentals in a city where affordable housing is scarce?

JackBoyle6monthsThe Five Marks of Mission – The mission of the church is the Mission of Christ

  1. Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  2. Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  3. Respond to human need by loving service
  4. Seek to transform unjust structures of society
  5. Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
  6. stacy-arjeta-darah-2012-10-22

darah-peoples-libraryoccupy-phototraciesleep-signs

otws-under-surveillance1

Jack Boyle and Occupy Trinity Wall Street

Excerpt from an interview with Jack Boyle:

“I began a peaceful/sleepful protest on the sidewalk at TWS (Trinity Wall St) on 6/8/12 (pre-trial) to make the public aware that TWS was cruel & oppressive for pursuing the trespassing charges from the D17, 2011 event at Duarte Square. Occupy Trinity came to be as a result of the lack of humility & community spirit/service demonstrated by the vestry of this historic parish church. Post trial, the occupation continues demanding that the Rector at TWS & CEO of Trinity Real Estate, James Cooper, step down. Within the Episcopal religion/community & general public there’s a popular resounding voice with asking Cooper to resign finally after failing to building favorable relations with the denizens of NYC.”

jack-boyle

Jack Boyle of Occupy Wall Street, and one of the Duarte 8

Winter at Trinity Wall Street

street-police-officers-nypd

Occupiers from Occupy Trinity Wall Street are reporting that the NYPD is threatening to arrest them for sleeping on the streets in cold weather. Apparently when temperatures reach the freezing mark the Powers that Be think it’s okay for non-political, homeless people to sleep on the sidewalk . . . but if you are protesting in the cold it’s off to The Tombs or the Bellevue psych ward.

Occupiers are once again using 60 Wall Street, an indoor public space, for a gathering place during the evening. However, 60 Wall St. closes at 10pm and Occupiers still need to find a place to sleep on the sidewalks. Our hard-grounders still need mutual aid and solidarity as they continue their daytime actions and try to survive the nights. Please continue to donate food, warm clothes, handwarmers, emergency blankets and rain ponchos. Monetary donations can be made to the Occupy Trinity Wall Street WePay page — the link is on the left in the sidebar.

The NYPD is guilty of criminal action in depriving the hard-grounders of shelter — a basic human right. The NYPD will not allow Occupiers to prepare themselves against the weather, confiscating anything and everything that Occupiers can use to keep themselves safe from the elements. Even cardboard and tarps, bare minimum shelter, is ripped away and trashed by the NYPD — although non-political homeless people are allowed to build rudimentary shelters. This denial of a basic human right is part of the ongoing torture the NYPD inflicts upon hard-grounders everywhere, and especially at Occupy Trinity Wall Street.

Before anyone thinks that non-political homeless people have it easy, remember that the Downtown Alliance is working with the NYPD on illegally persecuting homeless people. The Downtown Alliance security (the White Shirts), paid for and directed by the corporations in Lower Manhattan, takes photographs of every homeless person they encounter. Those photographs go directly to a binder kept by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Selections are made from the binder at various times, and the selected photos are distributed to certain police units. The orders accompanying the photographs are to arrest these individuals on sight. This is pure persecution, harrassment and discrimination. This kind of police action against homeless people is cruel punishment for being alive — for they have commited no crime in being homeless. No, the only crime here is perpetrated by the society, by the people, who value material possessions more than human life.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly needs to be arrested for this crime. Every Downtown Alliance Security Officer needs to be arrested for this crime. Every NYC Police Officer who has arrested a homeless person for no reason must be themselves arrested for that crime. Every CEO of every corporation that funds the Downtown Alliance needs to be arrested for this crime. Every person who knows about this pogram against homeless people and has not spoken out needs to be arrested for complicity in this crime.

It is not a crime to be homeless.

And let us not forget . . . Trinity Wall Street Real Estate Church is one of corporations persecuting homeless people. Arrest CEO James Cooper!

tax-churches

25 December 2012, Tuesday

Yesterday was the 200th day of Occupy Trinity Wall Street. Determination and endurance, strength and stamina, willpower and sustainability — there are not enough words to describe the Occupy Trinity hard-grounders and their Occupy support.

December 24, 2012, Day 200 Occupy Trinity Wall Street

December 24, 2012, Day 200 Occupy Trinity Wall Street

Today, December 25th, is the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s 100th Day. We are still here! This is so not over! Occupy Everywhere!

17 December 2012, Monday

 

Today is the one year anniversary of the action at Duarte Square. When Trinity Wall Street Church denied us the use of one of their vacant lots, we marched there and entered. 49 arrests were made within the vacant lot, and numerous arrests were made all day long outside the lot on different actions and marches. The arrests in the vacant lot led to the occupation of Trinity Wall Street Church.

There is supposed to be a march today from Duarte Square to Liberty Park to commemorate that day one year ago. I wish I was there in Manhattan for the march. My thoughts, and my heart, are with the Occupy Wall Street hard-grounders who are still occupying in New York City — whether that be Occupy Trinity Wall Street, Occupy Goldman-Sachs, Occupy Sandy or elsewhere. I have the utmost respect for all of you. Thank you for your service!

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