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This is what …


…autocracy looks like:

Transit police blocking egress of Occupy Boston from Rose Kennedy Park while "detainee transport vans' stand by.

Transit police block egress from the south side of  Occupy Boston expansion camp. The main tactical force was on the north side. It was much more intimidating, being Special Operations police in full riot gear. I tried to get pictures, but the north side is much darker.  In planning the operation, they probably had an idea how many cameras would be in the crowd.  Also, they were fairly quick to clear us out of that area.

"Special Ops Cops have just cleared "alternative media" out of the park.

The folks on the sidewalk are, like me, “alternative media”. The Special Ops cops have just pushed us out of the park.  We were all trying to photograph the arrests going on inside. Despite what they say, it is legal to photograph the police in a public place.  Do NOT,  however, make an audio recording with a concealed device. You do not need permission, but you must inform them. The problem is being able to prove that you informed them.

Prisoner tranport vans and garbage trucks used to destroy the camp equipment.

Behind the two prisoner transport vans are two garbage trucks used by the Special Ops cops to make sure the camp equipment was thoroughly destroyed. The total volume was nowhere near enough to require a compacting truck to carry it off.

…democracy looks like:

Linking arms to await the anticipated police raid in the expansion camp at Occupy Boston

The citizens of Occupy Boston Extended await the anticipated police raid.  I could not get the picture I will have in my mind for the rest of my life.  Perhaps that is sad perhaps not. Can silver halide or CMOS be expected to capture communicn of spirit and purpose?

Citizens of Occupy Boston link arms above the sign, "To be radical is in the best and only decent sense of the word, patriotic."

Citzens of Occupy Boston Extended link arms behind a sign of the quote from Michael Harrington, “To be radical is in the best and only decent sense of the word, patriotic.”

Citizens of the original Occupy Boston camp lining the south perimeter in anticipation of a second raid. The original ultimatum said that if the new portion was not evacuated, both portions would be cleared. However, while the Special Ops cops were trying to clear the media from the sidewalks outside the park, they said, "Go to the old camp, you won't be arrested." We were worried about being arrested, but more importantly about photographing arrests.

Citizens of the original Occupy Boston camp lining the south perimeter in anticipation of a second raid. The original ultimatum said that if the new portion was not evacuated, both portions would be cleared. However, while the Special Ops cops were trying to clear the media from the sidewalks outside the park, they said, “Go to the old camp, you won’t be arrested.” We were worried about being arrested, but more importantly about documenting arrests.

Since this blog is hosted on a Berkman Center host and the BC started life as part of the Harvard Law School,  I’d be happy to hear legal scholarship on issues raised here.

The expansion of the camp took place on a day when many Americans honor Christopher Columbus for “discovering America.” This is inaccurate in several ways,  and this is also a significant part of the story, but I’ll have to come back to that.

Many faces of Occupy Boston I


The world holds enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. -Ghandi

Ghandi statue on loan from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn MA. "The world holds enough for everyones NEED, but not enough for everyones GREED.

Ghandi is on loan from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, MA. Thanks folks.

Ghandi is looking out for the workers as well as the occupiers.


There is, as always, a broad range of opinion about just how confrontational to be. There are people for whom nonviolence is a waste of time. Some of those folks wear bandanas much of the time. I can’t show them to you. They don’t want their pictures taken. Of course, the 6 cameras on top of the Greenway headhouse can see them. The two cameras on lamposts in front of the Fed can see them. The three cameras on the Fed can see them. The row of cameras on the north side of Greenway can see them. And the random visitors coming in to camp often get pictures of them. It’s tempting to channel, capitalist Scott McNulty former president of Sun Microsystems, “You have no privacy. Get over it!”

There was an action to the Federal Reserve the first night. 10 o’clock PM. It’s true there were very few police, but I doubt they would have gotten very far inside the Fed. And here’s the thing. Who saw it?  There was no mainstream media. None of the people i.e. none of the cogs of the machine under protest were there. I’m told that somebody shouted into the bullhorn. “Let’s see if anyone is willing to go all the way on the first night!” Followed quickly by, “No.” There was “new media” coverage provided by occupiers. So over time some number of people will see  demonstaters holding siege on an essentially empty building. How much is that worth?

My opinion, “Arrests cost. Make them count, if you can.”

I didn’t see the action when the Northeastern Students arrived. There were no arrests, but had there been, I would call  them ‘worthwhile.’

Northeastern Student demonstrators in Dewey Square. "Our movement is too big to fail."

Photo: Occupy Boston

There is a steady stream of individual and small group efforts.

Occupy Boston demonstrators in Dewey Square. "Our movement is too big to fail."

Representatives of “Occupy Together“, the “too big to fail” movement.

And there is the continuing pursuit of genuine inclusive consensus.


One group came to promote their program, but I don’t know if they will join.

"Acapella singers from the LaRouche PAC"

They are the LaRouche Political Action Committee. The have a two point platform;
1) Reinstate Glass-Steagall
2) Go to mars.
So they’re kind of safely in liberal land and out there at the same time. But boy can they sing!

Come on down!

We’re not old, just not as young as we used to be.


Gary Goldstein and I have been marching our whole adult lives.  Not always at the same time or in the same place, but for the same reason. There’s been a lot of criticism of Occupy Boston for not having a clear, sharp message.  Gary’s Op-Ed included this:

The criticisms that there is not a single guiding message or an identifiable leader are premature and, perhaps, misguided. Successful movements don’t spring up, fully formed out of nowhere. They build gradually, attract more and more attention and gel around central issues. Looking back at popular history can be misleading. Charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela didn’t appear overnight with full−blown movements of thousands. They emerged from long struggles carried forward by hundreds of anonymous supporters of causes and strategies that cohered over time. Workers’ rights, gay rights, women’s rights, social welfare programs, unionism, the ending of the Vietnam War, the reduction of nuclear weapons all resulted from the efforts of thousands of people, now unknown, who were fired up to demand change.

It started in Wall Street. In Boston and Chicago, it’s the Federal Reserve. There may already be a focus.
It has been endorsed by the SEIU 615, H.E.R.E. 26, the Boston Labor Council, and the AFL-CIO. Who knows, we might even hear from HUCTW.

Gary, I’m sorry I missed you. I need a picture not encumbered by copyright.  No rush, we’ll be there for a while.

Occupy Boston: Day 5


Still there!

Had to do some reorg to accomodate the Farmer’s Market. The farmers are part of the 99%.

Some attention from the Commonwealth.  Senator Kenneth Donnelly rests his chin on Paul’s shoulder, while Senator Daniel Wolf shakes hands.

Freedom is on the March


The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear – and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.      – George W. Bush

Absolutely,  but which bunch of fanatics  are the real terrorists? – The guy by the door.

1. Take Back Boston

March and Rally 
Friday, September 30
Boston Common Band Stand
2:00 PM – Music and Gathering – If you’re reading this, you missed the opening strains.
3:00 PM – March & Rally

2. Occupy Boston

It’s Spreading!

Map of US showing cities where Occupy together is active.

I’m sure the Boston dot will be there soon.

Dewey Square in Downtown Boston today Friday,
September 30 at 6 p.m

Local alternative news coverage: Open Media Boston

Disclosure: I am now and have always been a card carrying fan of Jason Pramas and I will be a member of the Special Events Unit of Open Media Boston.


Waiting for SCOTUS: Thomas, Abram, Abel, Billie, and Troy


Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, August 7, 1930
[Wikimedia Foundation]

The execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for 7:00 PM has not occorred. Word has it the Supreme Court of the United States is considering an appeal filed at 6:00 PM this evening.  Clarence Thomas is rumored to have some kind of leadership role, but rumors conflict about how much. One pundit, CNN’s  Jeffrey Toobin thinks that the deliberation is unusually long.  Rumor said SCOTUS would speak by 8:30 PM. It came and went.  Democracy Now! extended it’s live coverage from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Now, at 9:55 PM, they are saying ‘at least 10:30 PM’. I’m sure Amy Goodman would like to stay on the air for as long as it takes, but she doesn’t have deep pocket sponsors. Then again Democracy Now! is the only TV program giving live coverage.

So the question is has anything really changed since Abel Meeropol wrote “Strange Fruit” ? Listen to Billie Holiday while we wait.

SCOTUS has spoken.

Bread and Puppet Theater: Cambridge Common 6PM Fri. Sept. 2. Free.


Be there!

Some of you weren’t there! It’s ok. I have pictures. And they’ll be back. In fact, they’ll be in Lawrence MA at 5 PM today! So after the morning-midday rally in Cambridge…?

Incremental lawlessness: Union busting by inches.


An open letter to Mr. T.J. Gray hired from Security Systems International to orchestrate the replacement of Union labor in the Security subdepartment of the Harvard College Library.  Due to labor activism of a sort, the contract guards are represented by SEIU, but they are still contract workers and can be let go if administration replaces Securitas as a “vendor”.  We could, I suppose, hope that the Wikileaks inspired “Arab Summer” will wash ashore on the Charles. I think it wiser to oppose the multiplicity of incremental attacks on Union labor. Administration has already begun cutting benefits to retirees.


“Are you still beating your wife?”


Hopefully, you will agree that this does not constitute good faith communication and does not deserve an answer. I admit that this question is more hyperbolic than any you or young Mr. Graves has put to me, but it illustrates the point. It is possible to bias a question in a manner which is blatantly unfair. In our case, the questions being put are more subtle, but are still unfair.

“Which of these schedules which blatantly violate your terms of employment do you choose?”

Since the end of the regular session I have received no communication from you or Mr. Graves that included the full hours of my appointment. When I told him that I wanted my full hours and proposed a schedule. He said simply, “I don’t have those hours”. If you hired too many contract workers, that it an issue of your capability as a manager. It does not abrogate your responsibilty to abide by the terms of the Union contract.

Several years ago, when you instituted a timesheet system private to HCL facilities, I had extensive discussions with you and Ms. Diane Cox of HR about the meaning of the “Fixed Schedule”. The resolution was that it represented my hours during the regular term. During intersession I would still get my appointment hours but they would be on a different schedule. You affixed to the timesheets of your own design, the disclaimer that I [or any other employee] would not always work their “fixed schedule”. Ms. Cox represented to me that the “fixed schedule” was in fact an accounting convenience to accomodate the PeopleSoft accounting system.

Now you have unilaterally adopted the policy that union members will work their “fixed schedule”, except when it’s inconvenient for you and the contract workers. The disclaimer has disappeared. Since I do not agree to this unilateral policy and hereby file a past practice grievance, I do not want to sign anything that might jeopardize adjudication on this point.
I point out to all concerned that you have repeatedly instructed me to sign documents with benefit of knowledge or counsel.

Young Mr. Graves has offered me, a schedule for this week of 18.5 hours, 2.75 hours short of my appointment. So it’s unclear whether my forced vacation is over and I can meet with you as requested. However, in the spirit of “jointness”, I will be on campus at 4:00 PM. If you can magically “find” 2.75 hours. Geoff Carens and I will be glad to meet with you. I should advise you however, I find it hard to see, based on my experience of you, that you will make the changes necessary to avoid furtherance in the grievance process.


Philip R. Fenstermacher Ph.D.

Championing Cambridge Climate Change Week


To the Honorable, the City Council of Cambridge in the “New” World,

I come to speak  about Policy Order O17 to publicize Climate Change Week My purpose is threefold.  First, I want to commend you for passing this order.  I know you will. Second, I’d like to point out the heavyness of the governmental machinery that seems to be necessary to get relatively modest changes to the city’s website.  I propose that you empower the City Clerk to include hypertext links in the Policy Order text on the City Council  website –  not as a substitute to the Order but an addition to it.  Cambridge Climate Change Week has a website. Under my proposal, CCCW would already have achieved additional coverage from the City website.  Further, the City webmaster could have a daemon scan the Policy Order list as soon as it is posted.  Mr. Healey’s secretary could print it out and get a decision from him and have the site updated within seconds of passing the order.  Or, he could have it done before the meeting. It would provide him with an opportunity to  appear to take you seriously.  But the idea that hyperlinks on the City website is the sole property of the executive is both needlessly complex and  yet another extension of executive power far beyond the intent of  Plan E.

Finally, I’d like to compare the events included in Cambridge Climate Change Week with the observation of Cambridge Climate Change Conference Of 2009.  “In December 2002, the City Council adopted the Climate Protection Plan. The plan,  …,set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.   … However, as of December 2009,  Cambridge’s greenhouse gas emissions are 27% above 1990 levels. It was observed that the emissions due to City Government operations had remained constant, but they account for only 3% of emissions citywide. The increase is due to institutions like, Harvard, MIT, and Novartis.

¡¡¡ H.E.R.E. them roar – Again !!!


¡ Whatever it takes: For as long as it takes !

Unite Here! Local 26 has been negotiating a new contract with Harvard. They held a rally in February to kick off negotiations. Yesterday they summoned the community to a second rally at First Parish just outside The Yard.

Unite-Here! 26 at 1st Parish Cambridge May 2100

The leadership of UniteHere! Local 35 came up from Yale:

Bob Proto, Pres. Unite-Here! 35 @ Harvard May 2011


At Yale, the service and maintenance staff , the clerical and technical workers, and the Graduate Empoyees and Students are affiliated with Unite Here! [Local 35, Local 34, GESO].  Bob Proto [above],  President of Local 35, described the contract that resulted from 11 strikes. Two of the many features he mentioned -a  no layoffs clause and 100% paid health insurance. He was well received.

Rank and file members of Unite Here! Local 26 at Harvard May 2011


GESO has yet to win recognition from the administration. Their recent report: “Yale Inc: The Corporate Model in Higher Education” describes in detail the conditions that have led them to form a union. It’s a nationwide problem. The trends described had already begun when I was in graduate school at CCNY in the ’70’s. The idea of graduate student unions surfaced from time to time. We didn’t have the cojones. This bunch together with help from Local 35 will prevail.

State Representative Alice Wolf spoke in support.

Brian Lang President Unite-Here 26, State Representative Alice Wolf, Bob Proto President Unite-Here Local 35 [rear]

Brian Lang, President of Unite-Here Local 26 [Harvard] with State Representative Alice Wolf.  Bob Proto, President of Unite-Here Local 35 [Yale] behind them.

There was a very strong showing of student support mobilized by the Student Labor Action Movement.

Students Labor Action Movement at rally for the cooks of Unite-Here 26!

There were mystery musicians waiting …

Mystery musicians at Unite Here rally Harvard May 2011

… to lead us through the Yard…

Unite-Here 26 and supporters marching past Mathews Hall Harvard May 2011

…to the Holyoke Center

Unite Here! rally at Harvard Holyoke Center May 2011

The mystery musicians were the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society.

Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society @ Harvard may 2011

One of my favorite GOAT*’s, Mary Curtin wasn’t there. 🙁

*the Good Ones are All Taken.


Fast Light, Tonight!


Closeup of Balloon like installation on a barge on the Charles River, FAST Art Festival MIT May 7, 2011It’s big and lit up.

Long shot of balloon like installation on a barge on the Charles River MIT May 7, 2011It’s on a barge on the river.

Long shot during a blue white phase of the installation program.It’s programmable. The yellow pods are another installation which should be on tonight.


Last night, walking along the Charles near MIT, I got a preview of the light installation portion of the Festivel of Art + Science + Technology. The main event is tonight and tomorrow night.

Wikileaks and the Law: Will/Should Wikileaks/Assange be Prosecuted?



Jochai Benkler at "WikiLeaks and the Law" New York Law March 21, 2011Jochai Benkler at “WikiLeaks and the Law” New York Law

March 21, 2011

I went to a conference in NYC on Monday; Wikileaks and the Law. The panel is described at;

Benkler’s remarks were based a paper on his website.  I first heard of this via a tweet from Wikileaks which pointed to an article in Forbes.  Benkler’s paper is 66 pages long. If  you’re lazy or busy you’re allowed to rely on my self-serving analysis [to appear]. The short answer to the title No/No, No/No.

Geoffrey Stone made the assessment that the Pentagon Papers, even though 3 years old, nonetheless did harm. Revealing that the US had made secret deals to help with Viet Nam compromised the ability of the Gummint to make secret deals in the future. His remark is at 1:31:53 in this video:

I questioned his assessment at 1:45:55

I’m curious to hear your reaction, but I will present this information in hopefully more managable form in a blog post in the next day or two. Y’all come back now, hear?

Capitalism and its Discontents: This weekend.


1) David Harvey: The Enigma of Capital

Head shot of David Harvey cropped from him speaking at Federal Hill

MIT Anthropology is sponsoring a talk by David Harvey, author of The Condition of Postmodernity and professor in the Program in Anthropology at the City University of New York, examines the latest financial crisis and the complexities of global capital flow from a Marxist perspective.

Date: Friday, March 4, 2011
Time: 3:30pm–5:30pm
Location:  35-225

Open to the public.

My post of his comments on the bank bailout in 2008, “Dung Deal: Déjà Vu All Over Again.”

2) This weekend the Program on the Study of Capitalism is having their annual student conference.

The library is closing now. I’ll elaborate when I get to a new hotspot.

¡¡¡ H.E.R.E. them roar !!!


¡ Whatever it takes: For as long as it takes !

Members of H.E.R.E. Local 26 gathered in front of the Holyoke Center - the central administration building of Harvard. Feb. 24, 2011Harvard’s cooks and supporters gather at the Holyoke Center to shoutout to Administration.

Harvard’s cooks are revving up to negotiate a new contract with Harvard Administration.  The cooks are members of the Hotel, Entertainment, and Restaurant Employees Union – Local 26. The Union gathered to let Harvard Administrators know that despite the years of machination to bust the Unions at Harvard, H.E.R.E. is not cowed. They’re asking, ¿ Where’s the beef ?

But seriously folks, they’re asking, “Where’s the respect that we as all workers deserve?”

The Union gathered first at First Parish across the street from President Drew’s office.

H.E.R.E. Local 26 negotiating team for Harvard. Feb 24, 2011H.E.R.E. Local 26 negotiating team for Harvard. Feb 24, 2011

The Union was joined by community supporters not the least of which is the Harvard Student Labor Action Movement.

Harvard SLAM at H.E.R.E. kickoff. Feb. 24, 2011Harvard SLAM at H.E.R.E. kickoff. Feb. 24, 2011

Live from Eqypt: The Regime Strikes Back.


Anjali Kamat1 of Democracy Now!  joined Sharif Abdel Kouddous in Cairo Tuesday and has been tweeting from there.

Tuesday Feb 2, 2011 [A sampling in chronological order. Anjali’s tweets ‘anjucomet’ are shown with no header. Retweets begin with the original tweeter.]

oh the counterrevolution might get ugly here in #egypt. very sad.

Rpts that pro-Mubarak protesters paid 50 Egyptian pounds ($US 8.50) to show up. Plenty of incentive when people are starving#jan25 #egypt

#Mubarak‘s thugs are destroying the inspiring solidarity and camaraderie at Tahrir square here in #Cairo with violence.

bloodshed escalates as military stands back & watches #Mubarak‘s thugs create absolute chaos. i’m in local newspaper office around corner.

evanchill Evan Hill  retweeted by anjucomet
I can’t believe that yesterday I was watching girls scrawl protest signs with markers in a jubilant Tahrir, and now it’s a war zone. So sad.

3arabawy Hossam عمو حس retweeted by anjucomet
Mubarak’s thugs r now throwing molotov cocktails on the Egyptian museum. Our civilization will b turn to ashes by Obama’s allies#Jan25

last night #tahrir square felt like a carnival, now its
the site of carnage, a possible massacre. ppl r devastated and furious with#Mubarak

Wednesday 2/3/2011

About 9:AM EST; 4 PM Cairo; 5 PM Makkah

Pro-Mubarakites keep throwing some kind of firebombs at anti-Mubarak groups, who respond with rocks and slingshots #jan25

The molotov cocktails keep coming #jan25 #egypt

About 11 AM EST; 6 PM Cairo; 7 PM Makkah

the mood inside tahrir square is getting very tense with the number of pro-govt infiltrators on the rise & growing hostility to journalists

About 5:30 PM EST; 12:30 AM Cairo; 01:30 AM Makkah

staggering compilation of journalists and media people attacked / detained / harassed in #Egypt [5:00 PM EST 2/3/11]

5:50 PM EST

my report from #Egypt in today’s edition of The Hindu:

Rachel Maddow has “The Counterrevolution will be Tweeted.”

1Anjali is from south India, but she has lived in Egypt as well as Jordan.

Live from Egypt: The Rebellion Grows Stronger


Sharif Kouddous returns home; finds Cairo in uproar.


Democracy Now! Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous arrived in his native Cairo this morning at about 9:00 AM.  He was met by his cousin and went directly to Tahrir Square which was full of protestors.  People had gotten up on the tanks, but came down for sunset prayers. You can see it all at!/sharifkouddous

Live From the Eqyptian Revolution

Sharif has published a longer piece on the main Democracy Now! website:

Cairo, Egypt—I grew up in Egypt. I spent half my life here. But Saturday, when my plane from JFK airport touched down in Cairo, I arrived in a different country than the one I had known all my life. This is not Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt anymore and, regardless of what happens, it will never be again.

The piece is cross posted on The Nation.

The Growing Menace of FBI Repression


From Boston UNAC1 via United for Justice with Peace and the Community Church of Boston:

A Forum
STEPHANIE WEINER , Chicago antiwar/solidarity activist subpoenaed for grand jury re: false aiding terrorism charges

CHUCK TURNER, Roxbury community activist & City Councillor targeted by FBI

NANCY MURRAY, Director, Bill of Rights Education Project, American
Civil Liberties Union of Mass.

LAILA MURAD, Tarek Mehanna Support Committee. Mehanna targeted by FBI when he
refused to spy on Muslim community and now in solitary confinement

When:  Friday, December 17, 2010, 7:30 pm
Where:  First Parish Church • 3 Church St, Harvard Square • Cambridge

On September 24, the FBI raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of
well-known anti-war and international solidarity activists. Their ranks included
a number of trade unionists. Also raided was the office of the Minneapolis –
St. Paul based Anti-War Committee.

The FBI took computer hard drives, cell phones, documents, newspapers and
children’s artwork. They took 28 boxes out of one Chicago home, including a
framed photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shaking hands with Malcolm
X. The FBI subpoenaed 14 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan to
testify at a grand jury. According to the FBI, the goal of the raids was to show
material support for terrorism charges. It is outrageous! The U.S. government is
trying to put people in jail for anti-war and international solidarity activism.
These people have done nothing wrong. They have given money to no one. Their
freedom is at stake.

We all need to join together as the government repression continues and
expands.  This is an attack on our movement.  Go to  for
latest information.   These are antiwar and social justice activists and
people who have been involved in international solidarity efforts, around
Colombia and Palestine.

1I’m too old to keep track of all the factions of the left with coalescing,  fissioning, and purging.  Still my heart is on the left.

City Life / Vida Urbana vigil in Cambridge


Vigil to defend the Henry family– from Steve Meacham

Monday, Dec. 13, 6:30 pm

24 Upton St., Cambridge (near Central Sq.)

(runs between Magazine and Pleasant Sts. , about 6 blocks from Central Sq. toward Charles River)

This property has been with the Henry family for over 50 years! It is currently occupied by Nancy Henry (the mom – 76 years old) and Bobby (her son).

The full story on the unofficial CLVU blog.

Hyatt 100 a year+ later.


More than a year after being fired by Boston-area Hyatts, the Hyatt 100 is still going strong. Join them on Dec 13 for a holiday leaflet of the meeting planners annual gala–a group of folks we want to make sure know about the Hyatt Boycott! Dress for winter and/or in your favorite holiday clothes. Join us at 5:00 pm at the Dartmouth entrance of the Boston Public Library

Wikileaks survives multiple network attacks.


Wikileaks logo Wikileaks, which has released a quarter of a million documents embarrasing  U.S. and ally governments, was “partially offline” this morning. At about 1 PM today, Wikileaks tweeted:

WikiLeaks now available at

As of 2:33 PM Eastern Standard Time [USA1] these links are all still alive. On Democracy Now! this morning, Juan Gonzalez announced that Wikileaks was “offline.” He said that Wikileaks was only available through a “string of digits …” The inaccurate part of his statement has been redacted to protect the guilty.

What had happened, Wikileaks tweeted about 1 AM Friday Dec 3, 2010:

WikiLeaks,org domain killed by US after claimed mass attacks KEEP US STRONG

At about 4 AM:

WIKILEAKS: Free speech has a number:

And shortly after:

WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland

This Domain Name also apparently went off line, but as of this writing [4:33 PM EST 12/3/2010] is online.

Domain Name Server translates the words “” into a “string of digits” sometimes called a ‘quad’ because there are actually four groups of digits separated by periods. The formal name for this is an Internet Protocol or IP address.  The IP address is what the routers on the net actually use to direct messages to the right place. Without translation the words don’t do anything. The specific kind of attack was the same as the earlier attack when Wikileaks was on Amazon’s servers:

WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.Wed Dec 01 2010 14:50:43 (Eastern Standard Time) via web

They moved from their Swedish host Bahnhof AB to Amazon because:

We are currently under another DDOS attack.Tue Nov 30 2010 07:04:49 (Eastern Standard Time) via web

DDOS attack now exceeding 10 Gigabits a second.Tue Nov 30 2010 09:06:00 (Eastern Standard Time) via web

DDOS is Distributed Denial of Service an attack where many different computers [Distributed] are used to direct traffic to a single target overloading it [Denial of Service.] Amazon’s Wikileaks Takedown has been reported and analyzed by Berkoblogger Hal Roberts.

The Library of Congress has confirmed to Talking Points Memo, that they are in fact blocking Wikileaks.

1All subsequent times will be Eastern Standard Time [USA] unless otherwise noted.




Chuck Turner with supporter Ed Childs and lawyer Barry Wilson

Chuck Turner after verdict. Supporter Ed Childs [left], H.E.R.E. and Harvard,
looks on. Lawyer Barry Wilson [behind], takes a question from the press.

Near noon of the second day of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict – guilty on all counts. Sentencing is scheduled for January 25. In talking to the press, Chuck Turner was in generally good spirits. His lawyer, Barry Wilson, was sarcastic about the process and outcome, but confident that Chuck is ready for what is coming.  Most visibly concerned, was supporter Ed Childs, Shop Steward of Local 26 Hotel Entertainment and Restaurant Employees and cook for Adams House, Harvard.

His sweatshirt says, “Never Surrender.”

Jury Deliberation Begins


Chuck Turner at Moakley Courthouse after his testimony.Closing arguments were this morning. Judge Woodlock instructed the jury. Among his instructions:

  • Knowing. If Chuck said something untrue, did he know at the time that it was untrue?
  • Deliberation. Judge Woodlock instructed the jurors to only deliberate when all twelve jurors are present. No caucuses.
  • No discussion out of class.

He let them go by noon and admonished them not to deliberate during lunch. Mid afternoon, litigants were called in for a question from the jury. “Please define ‘material’.”

While we were waiting for the jury I asked Chuck to “refresh my recollection” of his discussion of the Bhagavad Gita with the press the previous day. He explained Karma Yoga, the act of doing one’s duty without concern for the results. I asked him how he discovered the Bhagavad Gita. He could not recall. I reassured him that no negative consequences would attach. But as the discussion continued with fellow Community Church of Boston member John, Chuck pulled a well worn copy of the Gita from his inner coat pocket. I’m not a well traveled Unitarian-Universalist, but it seemed like a Universalist moment. I believe Chuck.

At ten minutes to five, litigants were recalled to say goodnight to the jury. Figure four hours of deliberation without a verdict.

Fact, Interpretation, and Motive


Chuck Turner at Moakley Courthouse after his testimony.

In the tenth day of the Federal corruption trial of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, the evidentary phase ended.  In principle, the facts are in. But this trial has shown just how fluid the boundary between fact and interpretation can be – especially in the hands of lawyers. The ambiguity is most pronounced when trying to “prove” motive.

There were lots of small points disputed.  Chuck did or didn’t call somebody, but emailed them instead.  As far as I could see there were only three undisputed facts of any importance.

  1. Chuck affirmed his Oath of Office of Boston City Councilor by signing the City’s Registry.
  2. Chuck wrote an order to schedule a hearing about liquor licenses in his district.
  3. Chuck  canceled the hearing.

1. The Oath: Assistant US Attorney John T. McNeil showed that page of the registry to several witness who took the stand and asked them to identify Chuck’s signature.  I don’t see that there was much question of fact on that point.  My interpretation is that attorney McNeil was engaged in a psychological gambit.  “This is a solemn oath. To violate it is a serious crime. You much convict!”  This emotional logic leaves out one very important step: “Do the facts show that he committed a crime?”

2. The Hearing: Chuck says that he scheduled the hearing to look at the whole question of liquor licenses in his district. McNeil claims that it was for one and only one license  for cooperating witness Ronald Wilburn. This is the single act that is supposed to have been the swag for Wilburn.  Chuck’s lawyer Barry Wilson established that the city government’s licensing board is not the final authority in granting liquor licenses.  Their decisions must be approved by the state ABCC.

3. Cancellation: A number of politicians asked Chuck to cancel the hearing. There was a home rule petition for more liquor licenses at the Statehouse at the time. McNeil claimed that the cancellation proves that the hearing was only about the one license for Wilburn. Chuck says it was about more licenses for the district which might well include Wilburn.

So while it’s highly questionable whether the tape shows  a bribe took place, it’s also highly questionable whether any action was taken that was favorable to Wilburn’s license that is significantly greater than a general interest in promoting commerce in the district.

Chuck Turner trial in critical phase.


Moakley Courthouse on the bay side.

My friends at the Community Church of Boston tell me that the corruption trial of Chuck Turner has entered a critical phase. The “Cooperting Witness” who initially said Chuck had given him a bribe then told the newspapers otherwise, was on the stand again today. The Boston Herald had problems with his previous testimony: “Trial tipping in Chuck Turner’s favor.” I heard the end of his testimony today. It was full of non recollections and inconsistencies.   Chuck Turner insists he will testify. The cours is about guilty vs. not guilty. Chuck says he is innocent. That is not the same as not guilty. His lawyer, Barry Wilson had no comment about putting Chuck on the stand.

Chuck Turner's lawyer Barry Wilson

The trial continues tomorrow.

Moakley Federal Court House: Boston waterfront in the Seaport District on Fan Pier.  Take the Silver Line from South Station one stop. The session starts at 9:00 AM.

Chuck Turner is the 2007 winner of the Community Church of Boston Sacco and Vanzetti Social Justice Award .