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November 30, 2011

Baghdad, California: LAPD Evicts OccupyLA with Embedded Media. (X’s Indy Cams, Too)

Apparently the revolution wasn’t televised.

Well, it actually it was — but, in the same way the Iraq and Afghan wars have been, which in this case involved a few hand-picked embedded reporters and photographers escorted around by the men and women in blue. (See LA Weekly’s: Occupy L.A. Eviction: Is LAPD Restricting Coverage With Last-Minute ‘Pool Media’?)

So, do we know what really happened inside the park surrounding City Hall? I ask because it sure looked quite meditated around the perimeter where most of the TV cameras were confined — that is, at least until 2pm, when KNBC and Fox 11, with their ground crews and their helicopters, went off the air and even these distant eyes went dark.

Given this was the best view available — most of the scenes from the news choppers, by the way, capturing action on the periphery of the park — can you tell what’s going on?

And then, it’s telling when many of the scenes the media was relegated to was from the back of the line — and that’s after the reporter asked permission to video from there!

All was not lost, however, as the embedded media, wearing the bright yellow vests with media stencilled on them, got to get cozy with the uniforms (just like in foreign combat zones nowadays).  And how many approved photographers were listed in the LA Weekly post? Oh yeah, three.

So, did the LAPD shoot the Occupiers out of the tree with those damaging bean bag guns? Beats me. These images were captured before the throng media, except for the embeds, were tossed out of the park.

UPDATE: I want to thank AC Missias for the important question: “what about the obligatory 500 smart phones and uplink feeds??”  Perhaps the most insidious aspect of the action last night was the clever way the LAPD was able to slowly move all but the most determined further and further away from the park.  If the extremely slow and deliberate strategy was also a good thing — at least with so many media and indy, motion and still cameras everywhere (the police documenting every move using their own cameras and cops with notebooks to avoid, and have the ability to counter, any charge of impropriety), over the hours, they used a tightening cordon around the park, increasingly stern warnings of arrest and increasingly harder and unqualified demands to clear out one pocket or another to drive those with the indy cams (I was following three of them on-line) further and further away from the park proper.  As for cell phone images, as I wrote below, I’m sure there were some, but the protesters still hunkering down after 1 am had the police on top of them, biding their time until forcing the issue (and maybe issuing the force).  Most interesting was the comment of one very eloquent protester who briefly talked to Channel 11 while he was waiting to be loaded on police bus to go to jail. I don’t have the direct quote, but what he said was close to: “yeah, closer to city hall, the police were using rubber bullets, but who was going to know.”

To the extent that this embedding strategy, along with the tactic of very slooowly choking off the park made the LAPD officers look like little Gandhis, or certainly, at least, the opposite of Oakland PD, last night’s action seems to have also offered something even more important to the corporate state, which was a model for effectively weeding out most of the social media.

UPDATE 2: Ha! Just read the NYT story on the Occupy LA action. Surprising or not, here’s how it starts off:

Around 12:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, scores of police officers raided the Occupy camp that had been set up in a park around City Hall, leading most of the protesters to scramble out of their tents and gather in large groups in the surrounding streets.

When the raid ended several hours later, the police said they had arrested about 200 people. But as dawn approached, officers fired bean bag rounds to try to coax down some protesters who had climbed trees. It was not immediately clear if their actions caused injuries.

Like I said last night regarding the tree sitters — in spite of the the few embeds on hand — who’s gonna know?

  • AC Missias

    what about the obligatory 500 smart phones and uplink feeds??

    • Michael Shaw

      Good question, as I was also following at least three of the indy live feeds — not to mention, all the stills posted to the twitpics and yfrogs. The beginning of the action happened like lightening, then the noose was tightened very slowly over many hours. After the third, or so, eviction notice, the people doing live feeds had been isolated to the periphery of the action and kept out there. As for smart phone images, I’m sure there were some, but those protesters still hunkering down after 1 am had the police on top of them, biding their time until forcing the issue (and maybe issuing the force).

  • psychohistorian

    As someone who was called a DFH in the 60’s I am smiling just a bit.  Not from the sickness of it all but from the education that this is giving the Millenials that are the majority of the folks there and behind the Occupy energy.

    If the global inherited rich that hire, fire and direct the government and corporate puppets think they have put down the emerging energy from this movement they are going to find out which side of history they end up on.  We may have the end of act 1, scene 1 of this play but the energy is growing exponentially and the 1400 police in LA are going to be irrelevant to the masses that will come together in subsequent scenes and acts of this play.  
    Are the economies of the world improving?
    Is global warming a thing of the past?
    Is the damage from Fukushima contained?

    More and more folks are being put in positions where they have little or nothing left to lose in our sick society structured by the global inherited rich.  Are they going to kill us all?  Fear will only take you so far and it is only a matter of time now for the scales to tip.  The brain washing of TV has its limits as we are about to find out and is shown clearly in other non-US countries.

    I am ready to go out of this life as a martyr for the cause of bringing down the sick class system that “Western Democracies” live under the and the global inherited rich that control it.  

    I know now I am not alone and I smile a bit.

  • Anonymous

    On KPCC this morning, Larry Mantle said people were moved very quickly once the action got serious, and some people were told to leave their possessions because they would be allowed in this morning to pick their stuff up. This morning, they were told they couldn’t enter the fenced-off area. Mantle (that tool…) repeated a tale told by a police officer who claimed that the stuff left inside the fence was all contaminated with human excrement, so they were throwing it out. Another reporter was on the line with Mantle when he made this charge, and she said she hadn’t seen any contamination at all. Mantle didn’t retract his stupid story, though. (And just for the record, he’s one of the reasons I stopped supporting KPCC. He’s a reliable jerk.)

  • Geoff King
  • Thomas Gokey

    I watched some of the live feeds until early in the morning. The images were straight out of a sci-fi dystopian movie.

    The LAPD smooth functioning competency at enforcing a police state was, in many ways, even more frightening than the recklessness of the OPD.

    Last night I felt like I was catching a glimpse of the heart of darkness and that I know understood, in a way that I never could from history books, how genocide and torture is possible. I’m not saying that a violent police state raid on a non-violent protest is on par with genocide or torture, but it involves the same weak willed obedience to authority, the unquestioning and uncritical blind following of orders, the same glory in violence.

    Last night I watched LA’s finest vs. the LAPD and the anti-democracy forces won.

  • LanceThruster

    Controlling the coverage by its prevention, can also serve to cover a multitude of sins. It is reminiscent to me of when the police are about to move in one a car chase suspect, the spotlight of the police pursuit helicopter is turned off, and the news choppers pull back with their cameras so that a discernible image is virtually non-existent.

    Law enforcement PR is not enhanced when said enforcers act in the manner of street thugs and the only thing they “protect and serve” is the practice of covering their own butts. It helps that they now act in the role of Praetorian Guard for another band of rogues who so brazenly cover their own butts time and again when caught with their hands in the cookie jar, that they require the special protection that invoking the power of the state provides them, lest they be subject to those same statutes they’re so willing to subject anyone else to, legality be damned.

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