Economics

Massive Minnesota Tar Sands Enbridge Line 67 called out by Rep. Hornstein for invalid Certificate of Need at MN Public Utilities Commission; Utah make total win; Felix & Michigan Cats win vs Enbridge Line 6B today!

Set yr hashtags for #fearlessSummer #summerheat cause it's on! Enbridge is a Canadian corporation trying to nail down a disastrous and indeed genocidal tar sands pipeline from Alberta Canada. This would be bigger than the infamous Keystone XL.

Great starting article based on latest events: Climate activists to fossil fuel industry: ‘If you build it, we will come’ by Camila Ibanez.

On the Minnesota front first: It's a bit of a complicated regulatory story - for a rundown and action items start here: http://tc.indymedia.org/2013/jul/dont-keystone-take-action-stop-enbridge...

Posted just now on OccupyMN.org about this with more detailz, plz check it out - http://www.occupymn.org/as-the-enbridgeresistance-grows-a-minnesota-repr...

See earlier: http://www.ienearth.org/oil-in-your-backyard/ (July 18)

Related lines (but not Line 67) are blockaded outside Leonard MN and the camp is awesome. Follow on fedbook: https://www.facebook.com/EnbridgeBlockade - Background story: http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/red-lake-encampment-battl...

http://www.startribune.com/business/215881221.html

http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/state-oks-pipeline-change-over-protests

Fortunately just found out today, State Rep. Frank Hornstein has at least gone on record that the Certificate of Need is total BS. He's a pretty good guy.

enbridge-line-67-hornstein.jpg

Here is a backgrounder on the tar sands world market mechanisms from Al Monaco CEO of Enbridge: http://www.northerngateway.ca/news-and-media/northern-gateway-blogs/trad... indicating Hornstein is indeed correct and Enbridge is lying in the MN Certificate of Need.

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In related developments in Utah: Efforts to scatter investors from the potential first US tar sands mine have gotten tons of traction and lots of nifty direct action! http://canyoncountryactioncamp.org/ and on twitter @Peace_Up_ and https://twitter.com/CCRisingTide also https://twitter.com/tarsandsRESIST . Here is the full reportback from @uneditedcamera http://uneditedmedia.com/utah-canyon-country-action-camp/ - please read it!

Just a fantastic video from our dear colleagues! Please pass it on, best direct action in Utah video evar?!

Lol direct action zaps already almost worthless 'penny stock' - take that Capitalist herd navigating betwixt fears & greeds! http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/tar-sands-stock-tanks-after-direct-action-in-utah/ .

TICKER: http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q?s=USO.V and great headline: http://www.kcsg.com/view/full_story/23284210/article-US-Oil-Sands-stock-drops-13--day-nonviolent-direct-action-shuts-down-mine?instance=eeo_report1 "US Oil Sands stock drops 13% day nonviolent direct action shuts down mine".

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In Michigan today something's been going on all day with Michigan Cats! These Lolcats just got the goods with Non Violent Direct Action! On FedBook: https://www.facebook.com/michigancats

main post / live blog: http://www.michigancats.org/daring-aerial-blockade/. on tweeter: https://twitter.com/MichiganCat

This morning, MICATS is taking direct action in the Crane Pond State Game Area to halt expansion of Canadian corporation Enbridge Energy’s tar sands pipeline 6B with an aerial blockade.

LIKE and SHARE if you stand in solidarity with impacted communities, ‪#‎MICATS‬, and all those resisting tar sands infrastructure.

Check out our LIVE updates on our blog! http://www.michigancats.org/

michigancats2.jpg michigancats1.jpg

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California Wut? Also via @revfredsmall "Fantastic 7-min interview w/ my 90yr-old mom arrested at #SummerHeat Richmond Chevron @KALW #CrossCurrents (:59-8:00) http://bit.ly/174YUo9 " - San Fran Chronicle Ecuador communities speak out : http://t.co/99cyAfqdPS . via @carriem213: sit in to get arrested vs fossil fuels . DNow snippet about 200 arrested: http://m.democracynow.org/headlines/2013/8/5/35340

Well it is just great to see things firing on so many cylinders on this issue. Good luck everyone!!!

UPDATE: left out a few things. Oglala Lakota president Brewer arrested in human blockade at White Clay Nebraska - http://youtu.be/08qOoZNohSw .

IDAHO: About 100 in Nez Perce Tribe maintain 2.5 hour rolling roadblock despite 40-50 police officers. Moar here: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2013/08/photos-nez-perce-rolling-roadblock... . some more updates here: https://www.facebook.com/bigcountrynewsconnection?hc_location=stream

Trans Pacific Partnership discussion & community QA with Keith Ellison, IATP & MN Fair Trade Coalition. Malaysia Round starts July 15

I was glad to help publish live video from a panel and community discussion about the controversial and incredibly dangerous Trans Pacific Partnership secret treaty now being developed by corporate weasels and a trade representative unit of the White House, with almost all of Congress barred from reviewing the document.

tpp_0.jpg

US Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN5) spoke out against the TPP as a secret process saying it should be occurring in public. Josh Wise from MN Fair Trade Coalition did a great job emceeing the panel and covering a lot of detailed ground including the intellectual property leaked provisions of the draft treaty of doom. (FB MN Fair Trade)

One of them, Jim Harkness, was from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which has achieved a lot of laudable changes in trade for small communities around the world, and non-gazillionaires in general. Unedited Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Nmry3Hm_0

Full video unedited. Sorry about the bad sound sync. This video is licensed: CREATIVE COMMONS WITH ATTRIBUTION. Please Remix!! :)

Also I was able to get in the last question on the QA, proposing Rep. Ellison should post a bill to US Congress that would make it illegal for the trade representative to hold any secret documents longer than one month, which would neatly solve the authoritarian secret treaty problem, and enable all Americans to participate in US diplomatic policy processes on a far more equal basis than the current situation :)TPP_WhySoSecret.jpg

Mon., July 1, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

312 Central Avenue

2nd Floor

Minneapolis, Minnesota

FB: Keith Ellison explains the TPP: The largest corporate power grab you've never heard of!

LINX:U.S. Senator calls for more transparency around the Trans-Pacific Partnership | OpenMedia.ca

Home | Our Fair Deal

Senator Warren Presses White House to Release Pacific Trade Text - Businessweek

Time for transparency - why don’t Canadian representatives have same access to crucial TPP drafts as their U.S. counterparts? | OpenMedia.ca

Canada’s two-tier approach to trade talks: Geist | Toronto Star

Digital Rights Groups Shut Out of Secret TPP Negotiations | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Take Action - petition

Reassess Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Columnist - New Straits Times

The BRAD BLOG : Rep. Grayson Warns About Details of Classified 'Trans-Pacific Partnership' Agreement

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): 18th Round of TPP Negotiations Set for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia -- July 15-24, 2013 | Office of the United States Trade Representative - OFFICIAL SITE

Warren on Trans-Pacific Partnership: If people knew what was going on, they would stop it | The Raw Story

LEAKED DOCS FROM LAST JUNE: U.S. trade proposal would let corporations overrule laws | The Raw Story

Alan Grayson On Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Secrecy Hides 'Assault On Democratic Government' - way to go Alan! Glad he's throwing some punches on this crap.

Obama-Backed Trans-Pacific Partnership Expands Corporate Lawsuits Against Nations for Lost Profits | Democracy Now! - JUNE 6 2013

The Obama administration is facing increasing scrutiny for the extreme secrecy surrounding negotiations around a sweeping new trade deal that could rewrite the nation’s laws on everything from healthcare and Internet freedom to food safety and the financial markets. The latest negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were recently held behind closed doors in Lima, Peru, but the Obama administration has rejected calls to release the current text. Even members of Congress have complained about being shut out of the negotiation process. Last year, a leaked chapter from the draft agreement outlined how the TPP would allow foreign corporations operating in the United States to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its rulings.

We discuss the TPP with two guests: Celeste Drake, a trade policy specialist with the AFL-CIO, and Jim Shultz, executive director of the Democracy Center, which has just released a new report on how corporations use trade rules to seize resources and undermine democracy. "What is the biggest threat to the ability of corporations to go into a country and suck out the natural resources without any regard for the environment or labor standards? The threat is democracy," Shultz says. "The threat is that citizens will be annoying and get in the way and demand that their governments take action. So what corporations need is to become more powerful than sovereign states. And the way they become more powerful is by tangling sovereign states in a web of these trade agreements."

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement & copyright. "Many of the same special interests that pushed for legislation like SOPA and PIPA have special access to this forum—including privileged access to the text as well as US negotiators."


newTPP map cropped.jpg

Lots more info:: Trans-Pacific Partnership

Anyway leave it there for now. BIG DEAL, PEOPLE!! This is from the "secret government" if anything is, and will supersede whole swaths of the Constitution and assorted natural rights of people around much of the world Shock doctrine par excellence.

World Bank whistleblower flags laundering money & impending gold backwardation "whole system come to screeching halt"

Another interesting whistleblower item. Very quick post. Karen Hudes from World Bank notes major crises including something related to the major disruption of gold markets. I suspect this is the COMEX paper gold situation.... This is a pretty big deal. Starts around 6 minutes. Also covers Brazil. Google around for "COMEX" and "backwardation", allocated vs registered gold etc. ie. Why Is Gold Draining Out of COMEX Warehouses? | Keith Weiner | FINANCIAL SENSE && Risk of continuing gold backwardation.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to BTS producer, Ameera David, about the mounting death toll stemming from increased violence in Iraq, as well as the rules the NSA is using to spy on Americans. Abby then talks to Karen Hudes, former senior executive at the World Bank, about her experience blowing the whistle on the high level corruption within the international financial system and how her story was censored. Abby then breaks down the grievances behind the Brazilian protests that have resulted in over one million people taking to the streets in over 100 cities. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with Michelle Cornette, Subject Matter Expert: Military Suicide at the Center for Deployment Psychology, about the factors contributing to the drastic rise of military suicides.

The disgusting world of nuclear power: Pandora's Promise

There is some movie called Pandora's Promise which is more-or-less nuclear industry cheerleading in town with a full blown event going on. People will be nibbling on delicious cesium tainted tea leaves straight from Fukushima Prefecture I would assume. [ https://twitter.com/PandorasPromise ]

Someone posted, Come to the Republic in Calhoun Square to meet, eat, and discuss the film after the 4:50pm showing on Fathers' Day, June 16. http://www.republicmn.com/ And some UN panel said that everything is fine, the accident is over, no real risk of disease or doom from this thing. etc. See: http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2013/unisinf475.html

Okay let's check out whats the latest in the happy world of Nuclear News. This whole UN report is based on a false premise: Unlike Chernobyl which popped, burned and was contained relatively quickly, Fukushima is not even done leaking yet, and radiation has turned up in fish, fallout across Pacific Northwest. etc.

See ENEnews.com for US, world & Japanese energy & contamination news: http://enenews.com/

http://enenews.com/japanese-diplomat-we-are-facing-global-catastrophe-ov...

Akio Matsumura, Diplomat: "Let me clarify. We are facing global disaster — catastrophe — occurring. From that perspective, over 40 years, 50 years, or maybe 100 years. We cannot escape from this fact. …. This radioactive material, or contaminated water, any cases, reach out to your west coast as well. If you are counting on Japan, I can assure you now they do not take serious action."

"Pandora's Promise: "actually an infomercial… the film is dishonest to its core" http://enenews.com/cnns-nuclear-propaganda-film-is-dishonest-to-its-core...

See Fukushima Diary for tons of high frequency detailed, sourced local info: http://fukushima-diary.com/

Let's see how their nationwide nightmare goes in last few DAYS:

Most recently http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/260-bqm3-of-sr-90-measured-in-30m-nor... 260 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 measured in 30m north of reactor5, 6 discharge channel and the UN panel fails to mention Strontium at all.

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/average-tumor-size-of-fukushima-child...

12 Fukushima children diagnosed to have thyroid cancer, 15 more suspected to have cancer, “300% up since February” [URL]

According to Fukushima prefectural government, the average tumor size was bigger by 28% in 2012 than 2011.

In 2011, 12 malignant or possibly malignant cases were found (One of them turned out to be benign nodule from surgery.). The average diameter of the tumor was approximately 14.1 mm.

In 2012, 16 malignant or possibly malignant cases were found. The average diameter of the tumor was approximately 18.1 mm, which is bigger than 2011 by 28%.

27,000 Bq/Kg from the soil in front of the swings for children of Fukushima city. Atmospheric dose : 1.17 μSv/h (1m above the ground), 2.35 μSv/h (on the ground) http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/27000-bqkg-from-the-soil-in-front-of-...

PLUTONIUM one of the world's most carcinogenic substances : 0.0084 Bq/m3 of Pu-239/240 measured from 15km offshore Fukushima plant,

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/0-0084-bqm3-of-pu-239240-measured-fro...

54 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 measured from Shiitake mushroom in Osaka http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/54-bqkg-of-cs-134137-measured-from-sh...

Radiation level spiked from 57.1 μSv/h to 90 μSv/h within 3 months in an elementary school of Fukushima city

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/radiation-level-spiked-from-57-1-%CE%...

222,495 Bq/Kg from street gutter mud of public hall in Fukushima city, 66km from Fukushima nuclear plant http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/222495-bqkg-from-street-gutter-mud-of...

40,000 Bq/Kg from farm soil in Fukushima city http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/40000-bqkg-from-farm-soil-in-fukushim...

Radiation level increasing in leakage detector hole of “nearly empty” reservoir No.1

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/radiation-level-increasing-in-leakage...

Xe-133/135 detected from gas sample of reactor1,2,3, amount not announced, Tepco “Spontaneous fission” Xenon another element leaking actively NOW http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/xe-133135-detected-from-gas-sample-of...

Medical expert, “Thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is obviously too high, related to the distance from the plant”

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/medical-expert-thyroid-cancer-rate-in...

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/radioactive-density-in-seawater-spike...

Radioactive density in seawater spiked 20 times much after opening the silt fence for only 40 mins

Cs-137 jumped up to be 42,000 Bq/m3 and Cs-134 spiked up to be 20,000 Bq/m3.

Radioactive Silver! Ag-110m detected from gas sample of reactor1 and 3,

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/ag-110m-detected-from-gas-sample-of-r...

Flowchart showing all these various radioactive water pools spilling all over the place: Tepco still transferring contaminated water to the spare tank even after the leakage of 6/5/2013 http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/tepco-still-transferring-contaminated...

102.5 Bq/Kg of Cs-134/137 from Sayama green tea leaves for sale http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/102-5-bqkg-of-cs-134137-from-sayama-g...

shadiness: English version of Fukushima plant survey map shows atmospheric dose lower than Japanese version by 90% http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/english-version-of-fukushima-plant-su...

18,756 Bq/kg of Cs-134/137 measured from the mud in street gutter in Setagaya Tokyo http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/18756-bqkg-of-cs-134137-measured-from...

[Survey] 20% of over 18y.o in Fukushima feel unhealthy or very unhealthy in 2012 http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/survey-20-of-over-18y-o-in-fukushima-...

Spare tank for leaking reservoirs started leaking too, Tepco didn’t weld it http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/spare-tank-for-leaking-reservoirs-sta... 400 tones of ground water flow into the plant on the daily basis. In order to manage the shortage of contaminated water storage, they built 7 reservoirs. However, 3 of them leaked highly contaminated water.

These are merely some headlines going back to June 5th. This monster is still oozing all over the place and contaminating tons of food and water.

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Overall we need to quit building fission related technology, it is a mess on many levels, particularly if any of them are hit by disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes etc.

Probably a release of energy technology from the military industrial complex, along with winding down energy consumption as much as possible, [aka downshifting civilization before it implodes] would be a good place to start looking at this.

2013: Boston, paper gold, Obama signs Stock Act reversal, Homeland Security and food stamps

UPDATE 4.19.2013: MOAR about domestic military operations policy shifts w doc & video: http://www.hongpong.com/archives/2013/04/19/pentagon-domestic-operations-switches-pull-push-24-48hr-timelines-defense-suppor

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Hang tight folks, it looks like we are on the cusp of another 'burst of change' on a few fronts. You should probably double the watts going to your news radar for at least 10-14 days, if you possibly can. And all those cheesy "financial systems" are getting Extra Discontinuous as they usually do when Collapse starts happening in various segments. I decided to cork out a very rough post on these topics, Your Mileage May Vary thx::

While the Boston situation loaded with symbolism like international flags & the JFK library fire attracts most attention, the reality is that bombings at events are pretty rare and unlikely to happen; once it does the media loops the same traumatizing video clips for web hits. The editorial style: giving viewers agog consciousness that spells ratings. I saw Good Morning America a few mornings ago, it was a massive blitz of domestic violence and a patina of Victoria's Secret models.

With that spectacle set aside for a moment, other trends hitting key points this week include a shady new Stock Act law being signed by Obama and dramatic corrections in several markets including particularly gold. Gotta give some space to the Hill, this is ridiculous:

President Obama quietly signed legislation Monday that rolled back a provision of the STOCK Act that required high-ranking federal employees to disclose their financial information online.

The White House announced Monday that the president had signed S. 716, which repealed a requirement of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requiring the disclosure, which had previously been delayed several times by Congress.

That provision, added to the bipartisan bill aimed at halting insider trading by members of Congress, would have required roughly 28,000 senior government officials to post their financial information online, and had come under harsh criticism from federal government employee unions.
Both chambers of Congress quickly — and near silently — approved the repeal legislation at the end of last week by unanimous consent, just before heading home to their districts.

The STOCK Act was signed by the president a little over one year ago in a highly visible signing ceremony, where he said the legislation would tackle the "deficit of trust" that exists between Washington and the rest of the nation.

The new law scraps a provision that had been hotly contested by federal employees, as well as found to be problematic and even dangerous for high-ranking government workers. Congress twice had passed legislation to delay its implementation. Under that provision, high-ranking government workers would have been required to post their financial information on a publicly available online database.

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PAPER GOLD BIG MOVES: The gold market is a peculiar misunderstood beast - it's like a bunch of stuff in vaults with IOU's attached to numbered bars. The IOUs underwrite the financial products like Exchange Traded Fund GLD "gold" - it is operated in reference to the underlying gold's supposed value, but it's not actually a contract providing recourse to the gold.

I flagged for some people a few days ago that the COMEX or commodities exchange gold market, as well as JP Morgan, has had large declines in physical gold reserves in the warehouses recently.

See just recently: 30% of CNT Silver Inventories Withdrawn from COMEX Vaults in 2 Days! | SilverDoctors.com // Why Is JPMorgan's Gold Vault, The Largest In The World, Located Next To The New York Fed's? | Zero Hedge // Especially: Comex Gold Inventories Collapse By Largest Amount Ever On Record

Now today a whopping 122 tons of 'paper gold' got flipped around & tons of margin hikes are getting called on gold traders in different markets around the world, forcing people to keep dumping gold in bursts.

Gold Crush Started With 400 Ton Friday Forced Sale On COMEX | Zero Hedge - tactical deals of the Mega short sale to break through the 'important' price of $1540. Aha... Via Ross Norman of Sharps Pixley,

"Futures trading is performed on a margined basis.. One fund in particular, based in Stamford Connecticut, was identified as the previous shorter of gold and has a history of being caught on the wrong side of the law on a few occasions. As baddies go - they fit the bill nicely.

......The value of the 400 tonnes of gold sold is approximately $20 billion but because it is margined, this short bet would require them to stump up just $1b. The modest short selling in Jan 2013 had prompted little response from the longs - raising questions about their real commitment. By forcing the market lower the Fund sought to prompt a cascade or avalanche of additional selling, proving the lie ; predictably some newswires were premature in announcing the death of the gold bull run doing, in effect, the dirty work of the shorters in driving the market lower still."

These charts are nuts. In recent years, gold drops coincided with bubbles in the S&P type prices, that then crashed. What Happened The Last Time We Saw Gold Drop Like This? | Zero Hedge see 2008 and 2011. Gold Drops Most In 30 Years | Zero Hedge

In recent weeks due to Japan's new hyper-loose monetary policy, crazy things have been happening around the Yen's value. (Australia is spiking moar than anything else it seems) Europe also has a new wave of trust destabilizing the banking system with various deals being attempted in Cyprus & Greece.

(see Which Country's Gold Will Be Sold Next? | Zero Hedge). Also the creditor fascist complex has angled to get at the Greek government's remaining stash of gold so that they can be sacrificed on the altar of the billionaires once and for all.

See also, All Eyes On The Gold Rout, Most Oversold In 14 Years | Zero Hedge . Gold Plummets By Most In 30 Years, Stocks Have Biggest Drop Of 2013 | Zero Hedge - this cuts across a lot of sectors. The CFTC needs to be looked at as well, as some of this material indicates.

The DJIA has been flying high above all of this, though even the corporate news points out that this whole phase of asset value inflation is at least partially due to the Fed's loose monetary policy. Housing prices are "up" they say, what could possibly go wrong?

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It's pretty sick meanwhile that an incredibly high level of food stamps are the formal basis for America's food security, at around 23,000,000 households and rising. When Obama entered office this was less than 15,000,000 households -- and the benefits per household are slowly being cut along with much of the social safety net programs both in Minnesota and nationwide. US Households On Foodstamps Hit Record High | Zero Hedge. USDA data.

FoodstampHousholds.jpg

This is a consequence of bailing out banks with trillions of dollars, collateralizing the American people and introducing tons of sovereign credit risk into the US Dollar, the Euro & beyond. It has altered the "biopolitics" of the US to the point that this many people cannot handle generating economic activity in this system to keep themselves alive - and clearly the amount parceled out is declining fast.

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CSA's [relatively cheap & nutritious food share subscriptions] and local barter-based currencies are among the more resilient network ideas that ought to get looked at right now. I think there is a pretty severe risk to the stability of the whole country (let alone world) when food stamp debit card systems keep that many millions of families from starving. If nothing else there needs to be fallback systems from the US Dollar & conventional banking system may abruptly halt or radically shift in value or stability. This is something people need to start getting their heads around - so that if the debit cards stop working, different ones operating on some other basis (ie local currencies) can be handed out & millions aren't put in such imminent danger. (see DepressionScrip.com for 1930s substitute local credit instruments - key!)

The food stamp debit cards are usually administered by big banks - giving them yet another lever of functions to 'terrorize' elected officials and bureaucrats into further handing over all the nation's "commons" through fraud & socially constructed economic schemes. The banks have probably the biggest, quickest "kill switch" on social stability. A trivial switch for them to hit compared to most!!

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Bitcoin had a big run-up for several days and now has retreated somewhere into the $50-100 range - for a good time keep an eye on Bitcoin Charts. Still, it seems like there's more than enough demand to keep it above $40. However the Bitcoin economy suffers from overly concentrated exchanges.

The biggest exchange, MtGox, has such a large market share - and can't keep up once really huge, shady order floods come in, that the whole Bitcoin economy tends to get "goxxed" and bog down, panic selling and various cats stepping in to buy all the way down.

I am doing a lot of research on Bitcoin right now including the various exchanges (LIST) - in the long run, Bitcoin and other alternative cryptocurrencies share certain features like peer-to-peer encryption/hashing based universal linear transaction registers called "blockchains", and ways of verifying those blockchains with CPU or GPU intensive cryptographic calculations to award more 'coins' and slowly expand the money supply while shoring up trust in the global account ledger.

A new website as well as local Facebook & Twitter accts are getting rolling :) Brand new: follow http://twitter.com/bitcoinmn and http://facebook.com/bitcoinmn for Minnesota Bitcoin goodies!

Bitcoin OTC order book is a chat network approach to decentralized exchange design with trust ranking (like eBay rankings in a way).

Good news for people interesting in making exchanges or intercambios in the form of Ripple, in the early stages an open source project with VC backing to build multi-currency exchanges and trust networks among peers. (chart) Some open source software is available on GitHub for Ripple and its "XRP" intermediary currency, which could then be a proxy to regular fiats or Bitcoin etc.

See also: wow Six reasons why Chinese people will drive the next bull market in bitcoin – Quartz

Mining Bitcoins takes power, but is it an “environmental disaster?” | Ars Technica - wattage will improve - and compared to the phenomenal amount of energy blown on fractional reserve banking derived parasitic functions, Bitcoin is nothing! Also: “Taming the bubble”: investors bet on Bitcoin via derivatives markets | Ars Technica

Paul Krugman Goes on the Attack: Calls Bitcoin “Antisocial” // The Antisocial Network of Bitcoins - NYTimes.com by Krugman! "We have huge economic problems, but green pieces of paper are doing fine — and we should let them alone." LOL that food stamp chart is definitely not keeping the great Keynesian up at night.

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A moment for weird Boston links: What did Peter Griffin know about Boston and when did he know it? Watch! Family Guy boston bombing - YouTube Yeah this petition is picking up steam - Petition | Demand that Seth MacFarlane make a public accounting for his foreknowledge of the Boston Bombing | Change.org

This is a popular item now: Boston to Deploy Mass-Casualty Tablet Device During Marathon

Excellent videography: Boston.com viral video page - Boston.com. Also: Israel honors war dead with somber Memorial Day - News - Boston.com

Oh also in that viral video above you can see the military incongruously popping up within about 1 minute 44 secs in Boston as Cryptogon and other news have noted. You'll want to check out TC Indymedia Exclusive: Secret 'Trigger' & blueprint for emergency domestic military crackdown plan revealed | HongPong.com about USNORTHCOM CONPLAN 3502 if you haven't already.

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SEE previously Meet the new Boss in Town: ICE spawns... HSI Homeland Security Investigations, for great justice & cocaine cowboys | HongPong.com

Homeland Security's New $3.9 Billion Headquarters - Businessweek. Money quote:

In February, one of the DHS’s more persistent naysayers, U.S. Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, boasted about how he and his fellow party members had curtailed the project. He said he would also like to dismantle much of the DHS.

He’d better act swiftly. If the White House ever gets all the DHS’s divisions on one campus, nobody will want to move them again.

Homeland Security bloat and the great Unemployed: Word went around that ICE was serving a federal warrant pertaining to Boston. ICE is a unit of Department Homeland Security which spawned the little known HSI, or Homeland Security Investigations, division, a new kind of (literal) black helicopter FBI-style agency

The dip in metals and the odd security situation brought Cryptogon.com to recall a post from late 2012 from HomelandSecurityUs.com, the Northeast Intelligence Network site edited by Doug Hagmann & his son. They are pretty conservative and have a fair bit of alarming material about Homeland Security. See Flashback: Warning: "Watch The Metals, When They Dip. It Will Be A Good Indication That Things Are About To Happen."

I'm not even going to get into the stuff coming up about the bomb sniffing dogs and weird "training exercise" angles right now because this other stuff seems more pertinent right now. People that have been at this a long time frequently bump into "exercises" that happen to overlap with 'live events', the argument being many times that exercises created the opportunity for staged events at many previous key points -- though of course governments do run a *lot* of exercises with all their security bloatware anyway.

This is the late 2012 Hagmann interview with a purported Homeland Security "insider" which stated that a dip in precious metals, after the fiscal cliff sets the stage, would presage further economic chaos and an escalation of repression against the American people, along with a major collapse in standard of living. DHS Insider Report: Coming This Spring: "Life for the Average American is Going to Change Significantly". It is kind of "classic stuff" for those of us that keep an eye on these things. The earlier predictions of source "Rosebud" didn't really pan out much in 2012, as these things often don't. But timelines are hard to nail down even for "deep weird" sources with good faith. Take a little while to glance over this, even if it's not your usual fare.

"Rosebud": Stop thinking about a normal situation. The country is divided, which is exactly where Obama wants us to be. We are as ideologically divided as we were during the Civil War and that rift is growing every day. Add in a crisis – and economic crisis – where ATM and EBT cards will stop working. Where bank accounts will contain nothing but air. They are anticipating a revolution and a civil war rolled into one (emphasis added by this author).

We all saw what happened with the Feds & Occupy camps. The American Occupy-style organizing eased off as the US economy was in a kind of stasis during 2012, but if things tense up in 2013 we are looking at a different political situation. In Europe things have been moving at a much different tempo, along with a great deal of confusion, snaky liberal operations, and a rising neofascist & quasi-fascist network is taking root in many nations.

See also The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic

On a decidedly anti-alarmist tack, Bruce Schneier: The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On - Bruce Schneier - The Atlantic

See TC Indymedia Exclusive: Secret 'Trigger' & blueprint for emergency domestic military crackdown plan revealed | HongPong.com

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MOAR LINX: A bunch of stuff sitting around you may find interesting.

Just weird - part of a scifi based GE marketing campaign: 'The Matrix' is back (in your hospital) | Technically Incorrect - CNET News

Is Facebook's Secretbook Secure? CRYPTOME Colin Powell & Malcolm McDowell at Bohemian Grove 2013-0347.pdf // Hacktivists as Gadflies - Socrates to Jeremy Hammond // DoD Communications Systems Breach in 9/11 Trials

A little grumpycat may be worth reading - Guest Post: Are Individuals The Property Of The Collective? | Zero Hedge amirite Minneapolis?!

In Control at Layer 2: a Tectonic Shift in Network Security| Whitepapers | TechRepublic - hacking optic networks.

Wells Fargo 401(k) Loans Jump 28% as Older Workers Borrow - Bloomberg

CNBC! USD/Bitcoin - MTGOXUSD - Stock Quotes

The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports | The Internet Offends Me

DARKWEBSEARCH: Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet - Apr. 8, 2013

Australian FiberFail with a last mile of copper, you idiots: FTTN a huge “mistake”, says ex-BT CTO | Delimiter

Peak Recovery? | Zero Hedge

11 Economic Crashes That Are Happening RIGHT NOW

Wordpress Mess going on: This plugin should help: WordPress › Limit Login Attempts « WordPress Plugins

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Anyway this is just a few trends happening now... I feel like the overall tone of this post is pretty conservative, as a lot of the research is coming out of places with that editorial slant. Nonetheless these are sources of information and lines of analysis that anyone is welcome to look at and come to their own conclusions.

I think that we urgently need to get real and start considering lots of alternate solutions, hopefully to avoid more authoritarian and crisis driven, panicky policies, like those fostered in the climate of the Fear of Terrorism which they are going to tediously lay on with a trowel for weeks, alongside major economic instability.

Batten All the Hatches.

FinCEN floats new Bitcoin related currency regulation advisory as criminal bankster operations sack depositors in Cyprus

UPDATE 3.28 - BITCOIN SURGES TO $92 - see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmatonis/2013/03/24/cyprus-goes-cashless-t...
for notes on Bitcoin's surge in popularity as a refuge from the Looting, and more context to the FinCEN stuff as well.

The FinCEN structure is one of those good at gracefully failing to say much about the huge volumes of drug money circulating in the Federal Reserve System. They are now setting their eyes on extending the Ontology of Fail into Bitcoin.

Since the Cyprus looting political situation has slid forward, Bitcoin apps have been going viral in Europe - particularly in the small Spanish iOS market. For some unclear reason Bitcoin's value has been going parabolic since the start of 2013.

Good intro, suggests the rideup not just because of Cyprus: Bitcoin bubble or new virtual currency? | | MacroBusiness

Bitcoin interest spikes in Spain as Cyprus financial crisis grows (Wired UK)

Spain turns to Bitcoin, prompting incoherent discussion on Today

Bitcoin analysis: Cyprus crisis increases virtual currency interest | BGR

Bitcoin apps soar in Spain – will the Cyprus shocker boost virtual currencies? - Yahoo! News

BREAKING: In Response To Building Cyprus Panic - BITCOIN HITS NEW ALL-TIME HIGH OF $50....er, $52, $54, $55 - Max Keiser // Bitcoin-Related Apps Spike In Spain Over Weekend, Alongside Cyprus

Bitcoin getting a boost from euro crisis - FRANCE 24

BrianLehrer.tv: Saving the Kimani Grays - YouTube & bookmark'd to an interview Erik Voorhees and Marc Hochstein. Includes the quickie intro video for Bitcoin.

For updates: Bitcoin Watch

The rideup from ~ $47/Bitcoin to a pretty solid $64-72 range, likely due to Cyprus, shows that even if things cool off, Bitcoin demand definitely has reached a new audience.

This chart is from Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange site.

chart.png

Here is the Euro chart, perhaps more relevant.

201303250051.jpg

Needless to say, the market spike has made Bitcoin mining quite a bit more profitable than only a few weeks ago.

Welcome To FinCEN.gov - FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.

FinCen Regulation of BitCoin and Virtual Currency

20 March 2013

A sends:

http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html

http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/pdf/FIN-2013-G001.pdf

Guidance

FIN-2013-G001

Issued:

March 18, 2013

Subject:

Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies

            The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") is issuing this interpretive guidance to clarify the applicability of the regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA") to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.1 Such persons are referred to in this guidance as "users," "administrators," and "exchangers," all as defined below.2 A user of virtual currency is not an MSB under FinCEN's regulations and therefore is not subject to MSB registration, reporting, and recordkeeping regulations. However, an administrator or exchanger is an MSB under FinCEN's regulations, specifically, a money transmitter, unless a limitation to or exemption from the definition applies to the person. An administrator or exchanger is not a provider or seller of prepaid access, or a dealer in foreign exchange, under FinCEN's regulations.

Currency vs. Virtual Currency

            FinCEN's regulations define currency (also referred to as "real" currency) as "the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that [i] is designated as legal tender and that [ii] circulates and [iii] is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance."3 In contrast to real currency, "virtual" currency is a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency. In particular, virtual currency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. This guidance addresses "convertible" virtual currency. This type of virtual currency either has an equivalent value in real currency, or acts as a substitute for real currency.

Background

            On July 21, 2011, FinCEN published a Final Rule amending definitions and other regulations relating to money services businesses ("MSBs").4 Among other things, the MSB Rule amends the definitions of dealers in foreign exchange (formerly referred to as "currency dealers and exchangers") and money transmitters. On July 29, 2011, FinCEN published a Final Rule on Definitions and Other Regulations Relating to Prepaid Access (the "Prepaid Access Rule").5 This guidance explains the regulatory treatment under these definitions of persons engaged in virtual currency transactions.

Definitions of User, Exchanger, and Administrator

            This guidance refers to the participants in generic virtual currency arrangements, using the terms "user," "exchanger," and "administrator."6 A user is a person that obtains virtual currency to purchase goods or services.7 An exchanger is a person engaged as a business in the exchange of virtual currency for real currency, funds, or other virtual currency. An administrator is a person engaged as a business in issuing (putting into circulation) a virtual currency, and who has the authority to redeem (to withdraw from circulation) such virtual currency.

Users of Virtual Currency

            A user who obtains convertible virtual currency and uses it to purchase real or virtual goods or services is not an MSB under FinCEN's regulations.8 Such activity, in and of itself, does not fit within the definition of "money transmission services" and therefore is not subject to FinCEN's registration, reporting, and recordkeeping regulations for MSBs.9

Administrators and Exchangers of Virtual Currency

            An administrator or exchanger that (1) accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or (2) buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN's regulations, unless a limitation to or exemption from the definition applies to the person.10 FinCEN's regulations define the term "money transmitter" as a person that provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term "money transmission services" means "the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means."11

            The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies. Accepting and transmitting anything of value that substitutes for currency makes a person a money transmitter under the regulations implementing the BSA.12 FinCEN has reviewed different activities involving virtual currency and has made determinations regarding the appropriate regulatory treatment of administrators and exchangers under three scenarios: brokers and dealers of e-currencies and e-precious metals; centralized convertible virtual currencies; and de-centralized convertible virtual currencies.

            a. E-Currencies and E-Precious Metals

            The first type of activity involves electronic trading in e-currencies or e-precious metals.13 In 2008, FinCEN issued guidance stating that as long as a broker or dealer in real currency or other commodities accepts and transmits funds solely for the purpose of effecting a bona fide purchase or sale of the real currency or other commodities for or with a customer, such person is not acting as a money transmitter under the regulations.14

            However, if the broker or dealer transfers funds between a customer and a third party that is not part of the currency or commodity transaction, such transmission of funds is no longer a fundamental element of the actual transaction necessary to execute the contract for the purchase or sale of the currency or the other commodity. This scenario is, therefore, money transmission.15 Examples include, in part, (1) the transfer of funds between a customer and a third party by permitting a third party to fund a customer's account; (2) the transfer of value from a customer's currency or commodity position to the account of another customer; or (3) the closing out of a customer's currency or commodity position, with a transfer of proceeds to a third party. Since the definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies, the same rules apply to brokers and dealers of e-currency and e-precious metals.

            b. Centralized Virtual Currencies

            The second type of activity involves a convertible virtual currency that has a centralized repository. The administrator of that repository will be a money transmitter to the extent that it allows transfers of value between persons or from one location to another. This conclusion applies, whether the value is denominated in a real currency or a convertible virtual currency. In addition, any exchanger that uses its access to the convertible virtual currency services provided by the administrator to accept and transmit the convertible virtual currency on behalf of others, including transfers intended to pay a third party for virtual goods and services, is also a money transmitter.

            FinCEN understands that the exchanger's activities may take one of two forms. The first form involves an exchanger (acting as a "seller" of the convertible virtual currency) that accepts real currency or its equivalent from a user (the "purchaser") and transmits the value of that real currency to fund the user's convertible virtual currency account with the administrator. Under FinCEN's regulations, sending "value that substitutes for currency" to another person or to another location constitutes money transmission, unless a limitation to or exemption from the definition applies.16 This circumstance constitutes transmission to another location, namely from the user's account at one location (e.g., a user's real currency account at a bank) to the user's convertible virtual currency account with the administrator. It might be argued that the exchanger is entitled to the exemption from the definition of "money transmitter" for persons involved in the sale of goods or the provision of services. Under such an argument, one might assert that the exchanger is merely providing the service of connecting the user to the administrator and that the transmission of value is integral to this service. However, this exemption does not apply when the only services being provided are money transmission services.17

            The second form involves a de facto sale of convertible virtual currency that is not completely transparent. The exchanger accepts currency or its equivalent from a user and privately credits the user with an appropriate portion of the exchanger's own convertible virtual currency held with the administrator of the repository. The exchanger then transmits that internally credited value to third parties at the user's direction. This constitutes transmission to another person, namely each third party to which transmissions are made at the user's direction. To the extent that the convertible virtual currency is generally understood as a substitute for real currencies, transmitting the convertible virtual currency at the direction and for the benefit of the user constitutes money transmission on the part of the exchanger.

            c. De-Centralized Virtual Currencies

            A final type of convertible virtual currency activity involves a de-centralized convertible virtual currency (1) that has no central repository and no single administrator, and (2) that persons may obtain by their own computing or manufacturing effort.

            A person that creates units of this convertible virtual currency and uses it to purchase real or virtual goods and services is a user of the convertible virtual currency and not subject to regulation as a money transmitter. By contrast, a person that creates units of convertible virtual currency and sells those units to another person for real currency or its equivalent is engaged in transmission to another location and is a money transmitter. In addition, a person is an exchanger and a money transmitter if the person accepts such de-centralized convertible virtual currency from one person and transmits it to another person as part of the acceptance and transfer of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency.

Providers and Sellers of Prepaid Access

            A person's acceptance and/or transmission of convertible virtual currency cannot be characterized as providing or selling prepaid access because prepaid access is limited to real currencies. 18

Dealers in Foreign Exchange

            A person must exchange the currency of two or more countries to be considered a dealer in foreign exchange.19 Virtual currency does not meet the criteria to be considered "currency" under the BSA, because it is not legal tender. Therefore, a person who accepts real currency in exchange for virtual currency, or vice versa, is not a dealer in foreign exchange under FinCEN's regulations.

* * * * *

            Financial institutions with questions about this guidance or other matters related to compliance with the implementing regulations of the BSA may contact FinCEN's Regulatory Helpline at (800) 949-2732.

1 FinCEN is issuing this guidance under its authority to administer the Bank Secrecy Act. See Treasury Order 180-01 (March 24, 2003). This guidance explains only how FinCEN characterizes certain activities involving virtual currencies under the Bank Secrecy Act and FinCEN regulations. It should not be interpreted as a statement by FinCEN about the extent to which those activities comport with other federal or state statutes, rules, regulations, or orders.

2 FinCEN's regulations define "person" as "an individual, a corporation, a partnership, a trust or estate, a joint stock company, an association, a syndicate, joint venture, or other unincorporated organization or group, an Indian Tribe (as that term is defined in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act), and all entities cognizable as legal personalities." 31 CFR § 1010.100(mm).

3 31 CFR § 1010.100(m).

4 Bank Secrecy Act Regulations - Definitions and Other Regulations Relating to Money Services Businesses, 76 FR 43585 (July 21, 2011) (the "MSB Rule"). This defines an MSB as "a person wherever located doing business, whether or not on a regular basis or as an organized or licensed business concern, wholly or in substantial part within the United States, in one or more of the capacities listed in paragraphs (ff)(1) through (ff)(7) of this section. This includes but is not limited to maintenance of any agent, agency, branch, or office within the United States." 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff).

5 Final Rule - Definitions and Other Regulations Relating to Prepaid Access, 76 FR 45403 (July 29, 2011),

6 These terms are used for the exclusive purpose of this regulatory guidance. Depending on the type and combination of a person's activities, one person may be acting in more than one of these capacities.

7 How a person engages in "obtaining" a virtual currency may be described using any number of other terms, such as "earning," "harvesting," "mining," "creating," "auto-generating," "manufacturing," or "purchasing," depending on the details of the specific virtual currency model involved. For purposes of this guidance, the label applied to a particular process of obtaining a virtual currency is not material to the legal characterization under the BSA of the process or of the person engaging in the process.

8 As noted above, this should not be interpreted as a statement about the extent to which the user's activities comport with other federal or state statutes, rules, regulations, or orders. For example, the activity may still be subject to abuse in the form of trade-based money laundering or terrorist financing. The activity may follow the same patterns of behavior observed in the "real" economy with respect to the purchase of "real" goods and services, such as systematic over- or under-invoicing or inflated transaction fees or commissions.

9 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(1-7).

10 FinCEN's regulations provide that whether a person is a money transmitter is a matter of facts and circumstances. The regulations identify six circumstances under which a person is not a money transmitter, despite accepting and transmitting currency, funds, or value that substitutes for currency. 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(5)(ii)(A)-(F).

11 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(5)(i)(A).

12 Ibid.

13 Typically, this involves the broker or dealer electronically distributing digital certificates of ownership of real currencies or precious metals, with the digital certificate being the virtual currency. However, the same conclusions would apply in the case of the broker or dealer issuing paper ownership certificates or manifesting customer ownership or control of real currencies or commodities in an account statement or any other form. These conclusions would also apply in the case of a broker or dealer in commodities other than real currencies or precious metals. A broker or dealer of e-currencies or e-precious metals that engages in money transmission could be either an administrator or exchanger depending on its business model.

14 Application of the Definition of Money Transmitter to Brokers and Dealers in Currency and other Commodities, FIN-2008-G008, Sept. 10, 2008. The guidance also notes that the definition of money transmitter excludes any person, such as a futures commission merchant, that is "registered with, and regulated or examined by…the Commodity Futures Trading Commission."

15 In 2011, FinCEN amended the definition of money transmitter. The 2008 guidance, however, was primarily concerned with the core elements of the definition - accepting and transmitting currency or value - and the exemption for acceptance and transmission integral to another transaction not involving money transmission. The 2011 amendments have not materially changed these aspects of the definition.
16 See footnote 11 and adjacent text.

17 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(5)(ii)(F).

18 This is true even if the person holds the value accepted for a period of time before transmitting some or all of that value at the direction of the person from whom the value was originally accepted. FinCEN's regulations define "prepaid access" as "access to funds or the value of funds that have been paid in advance and can be retrieved or transferred at some point in the future through an electronic device or vehicle, such as a card, code, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or personal identification number." 31 CFR § 1010.100(ww). Thus, "prepaid access" under FinCEN's regulations is limited to "access to funds or the value of funds." If FinCEN had intended prepaid access to cover funds denominated in a virtual currency or something else that substitutes for real currency, it would have used language in the definition of prepaid access like that in the definition of money transmission, which expressly includes the acceptance and transmission of "other value that substitutes for currency." 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(5)(i) .

19 FinCEN defines a "dealer in foreign exchange" as a "person that accepts the currency, or other monetary instruments, funds, or other instruments denominated in the currency, of one or more countries in exchange for the currency, or other monetary instruments, funds, or other instruments denominated in the currency, of one or more other countries in an amount greater than $1,000 for any other person on any day in one or more transactions, whether or not for same-day delivery." 31 CFR § 1010.100(ff)(1).

12 [sic] As our response is not in the form of an administrative ruling, the substance of this letter should not be considered determinative in any state or federal investigation, litigation, grand jury proceeding, or proceeding before any other governmental body.

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I thought this dubious speech was kind of interesting. Moar Fear of Bitcoin!!

ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SPECIALISTS (ACAMS) 18TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL AML AND FINANCIAL CRIME CONFERENCE

REMARKS OF JENNIFER SHASKY CALVERY
DIRECTOR
FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK
ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SPECIALISTS (ACAMS)
18TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL AML AND FINANCIAL CRIME CONFERENCE
MARCH 19, 2013
HOLLYWOOD, FL

          Good morning. I want to start by thanking our hosts, THE ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SPECIALISTS, for the opportunity to join you at this year's conference.

          Some of you may have heard me speak recently about FinCEN's broad mission, and how important it is for us to build strong public-private partnerships for us to achieve success. I cannot emphasize this fact enough. Our nation's financial institutions play a vital role in our efforts to safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering, and promote national security. And we do this through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of our financial authorities.

          FinCEN depends on the information financial institutions provide to us, and today I'd like to focus on what our analysts do with that information. FinCEN is a leader in the analysis of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data and financial intelligence. Our advanced analytic tools and highly skilled analysts play a unique role in analyzing and integrating BSA data and other information to accomplish three ends: (1) map illicit finance networks; (2) identify compromised financial institutions and jurisdictions; and (3) understand the current methods and schemes for illicit finance. These three key pieces of analysis are critical to enable our stakeholders - law enforcement, regulators, foreign partners, and industry - to take action against money laundering and terrorist financing.

          FinCEN's analysis depends primarily on the excellent information you provide - it is the baseline from which our analysts work. During my time at FinCEN, I have been continually impressed by the exceptionally high caliber of FinCEN's analytical team. What our analysts do now - and do very well - is look across that data to find interconnections to support ongoing law enforcement cases, to find trends and patterns within that data, and to understand the overall changes and shifts within it. They will also combine those findings with other information sources, such as law enforcement data or publicly available data, and enhance the picture.

          Where our analysts are going - and we're not there yet, but we are on the cusp of these capabilities - is to take our analysis to a whole new level. Currently, we are capable of dissecting law enforcement and BSA information to identify a specific methodology for illicit finance in a particular segment of the financial industry related to a particular type of crime. We are also capable of using such information to identify entirely new and unknown bad actors engaged in similar activity in other parts of the country. However, right now this is long and arduous work as analysts sift through hundreds and sometimes thousands of reports. Very soon, new capacities made possible by our internal technology modernization, will allow our analysts to deal with such data sets to find leads in a fraction of the time previously necessary. Very soon, we will be able to point law enforcement and other stakeholders precisely to where they should be looking. Our analysts, working hand-in-hand with our superb technology team, are now putting these new capacities into place.

          FinCEN does this analysis well now - and having seen the initial results from our new capabilities, I am excited about where we are headed. I am committed to making this a central role for FinCEN in the 21st Century. So today, I'd like to talk to you about some of the work we are doing and where our cutting-edge analytical efforts are taking us as we seek to remain out in front of emerging payment systems, identify and track third party money launderers, and uncover trends and patterns in the BSA data.

Emerging Payment Systems

          I'd like to begin today by discussing how FinCEN's analysts are working hard to stay ahead of the curve in understanding emerging payment systems and related financial flows and vulnerabilities and to put that information into the hands of those customers who need it most.

          As we all know, during the past decade, the development of new market space and new types of payment systems have emerged as alternatives to traditional mechanisms for conducting financial transactions, allowing developing countries to reach beyond underdeveloped infrastructure and reach those populations who previously had no access to banking services. For consumers and businesses alike, the development and proliferation of these systems are a significant continuing source of positive impact on global commerce.

          These new systems have also expanded the boundaries of "money transmission" as more sophisticated payment systems have become available. And the inherent added complexity of these systems opens them to potential misuse by criminals.

          FinCEN's analysts are continually working to understand the schemes and methods used to exploit emerging payment methods for money laundering and terrorist financing, and to develop related guidance for law enforcement. This guidance provides law enforcement with information on key sectors' operations, recordkeeping practices, and efforts to identify and counter vulnerabilities.

          Partnership is key. As our analysts develop their understanding of these new systems, they are significantly aided by working directly with the financial industry. This partnership enables them to better follow financial trails and realistically understand financial mechanisms.

          For instance, FinCEN's analysts are working to finalize a bulletin that will explore the relatively new payment technology of digital currency systems. FinCEN's bulletin will help "de-mystify" the digital currency realm by explaining to the broader law enforcement community how these systems work. The bulletin will also address the role of traditional financial institutions as intermediaries.

          We're viewing our analytic work in this space as an important part of an ongoing conversation between industry and law enforcement. FinCEN is dedicated to learning more about digital currency systems, along with other emerging mechanisms, to protect those systems from abuse and to aid law enforcement in ensuring that they are getting the leads and information they need to prosecute the criminal actors. As our knowledge base develops, in concert with you, we will look to leverage our new capabilities to identify trends and patterns among the interconnection points of the traditional financial sector and these new payment systems.

          To date, FinCEN's analysts have explored and produced reference products for law enforcement on many traditional and emerging payment systems. These include: cross border funds transfers and correspondent accounts, money transmitters, online payment systems, prepaid cards, and mobile payments. FinCEN's analysts then follow up this work by providing in-person analysis and training to thousands of investigators each year.

          In addition to developing products to help law enforcement follow the financial trails of emerging payments methods, FinCEN also develops guidance for the financial industry to clarify their regulatory responsibilities as they relate to emerging areas.

          In fact, just yesterday, FinCEN issued interpretive guidance to clarify the applicability of BSA regulations to virtual currencies. The guidance responds to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators concerning the regulatory treatment of persons who use virtual currencies or make a business of exchanging, accepting, and transmitting them.

          FinCEN's rules define certain businesses or individuals as money services businesses (MSBs) depending on the nature of their financial activities. MSBs have registration requirements and a range of anti-money laundering, recordkeeping, and reporting responsibilities under FinCEN's regulations. The guidance considers the use of virtual currencies from the perspective of several categories within FinCEN's definition of MSBs.

          The guidance explains how FinCEN's "money transmitter" definition applies to certain exchangers and system administrators of virtual currencies depending on the facts and circumstances of that activity. Those who use virtual currencies exclusively for common personal transactions like receiving payments for services or buying goods online are not affected by this guidance. Those who are intermediaries in the transfer of virtual currencies from one person to another person, or to another location, are money transmitters that must register with FinCEN as MSBs unless an exception applies. Some virtual currency exchangers are already registered with FinCEN as MSBs, though not necessarily as money transmitters. The guidance clarifies definitions and expectations to ensure that businesses engaged in similar activities are aware of their regulatory responsibilities.

Third Party Money Launderers

          Analysts at FinCEN work on the front lines with law enforcement to help address head-on some of the U.S. government's highest investigative priorities. Healthcare fraud and tax fraud (by identity theft) are both serious and growing drains on U.S. government programs, with losses estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

          To combat these serious and growing frauds, FinCEN has partnered with the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and officials within the Department of Health and Human Services to provide targeted analysis of individuals and organizations engaged in fraud. In this effort, FinCEN has to date analyzed more than 270,000 BSA filings in support of more than 300 healthcare fraud investigations.

          FinCEN's mapping of the illicit finance networks used to move such fraud proceeds revealed that check cashers are a key node. They are often used to cash out fraudulent healthcare claims and fraudulent tax returns. While we cannot determine what percentage of the overall illicit proceeds pass through complicit check cashers, we assess that such third-party money launderers comprise a crucial link in the movement of fraudulent proceeds by significant organized criminal actors.

          But here is where FinCEN's analysts have taken their work to the next level. In mapping these networks, FinCEN has also uncovered distinct and unique trends concerning the laundering of fraud proceeds through check cashers. Illegal proceeds from healthcare fraud and tax return fraud by identity theft are moved through the U.S. financial system in identifiable ways, leading FinCEN to identify markers of these transactions.

          FinCEN's review of suspicious activity reports related to these cases reveals several indicators of money laundering in multiple transactional models. Often these transactions involved a third party closely linked to a check casher. FinCEN determined that many of these third parties received ACH credits from Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies.

          FinCEN analysts continue to provide ongoing support to investigations into laundering healthcare and tax fraud proceeds. And we will leverage our analytic findings to better inform industry of key indicators to improve their awareness and enhance BSA filings received on these actors. Our analysts are committed to proactively identifying financial institutions involved in the laundering of proceeds of frauds against the U.S. government. We believe that using this information will be key to furthering both criminal and civil enforcement actions, and preventing such fraudulent activity in the future.

Uncovering Trends and Patterns

          In addition to providing case support, some of you may know that FinCEN has, for many years, carried out trends and pattern analyses of the information contained in the millions of SARs and CTRs that financial institutions send to FinCEN annually. For example, FinCEN studies the BSA records filed on U.S. dollar and foreign currency movement and transactions associated with Mexico and other foreign jurisdictions. These high level analyses aid in detection of illicit financial activity of specific targeted groups, such as Mexican drug trafficking organizations and other transnational criminal organizations operating in the United States and elsewhere.

          For example, our advanced data matching algorithms have allowed us to increase match rates between CMIRs, CTRs, and SARs by over 50 percent in some jurisdictions. This gives us insight into dollar flow from a foreign jurisdiction to the point the dollars are deposited into a U.S. bank, from which we can work to ultimately identify the foreign beneficiary of a wire emanating from the account.

          In another example, analysts have developed a product that allows investigators to review, evaluate, and compare the transactional and aggregate remittance activity of MSB agents using various "red flag" indicators to assist in the identification of agents acting as third party money launderers.

Advanced Analytics

          Naturally, FinCEN's ability to conduct this kind of complex analysis would be impossible without the BSA data financial institutions provide.

          There are also technical challenges to producing timely, cogent, and actionable intelligence products, useful to both our policy leaders and to field personnel. As I noted, filing protocols and the data within FinCEN reports vary from form to form, particularly with respect to those forms not filed strictly by financial institutions, such as the CMIR and Form 8300. Because of these variances, FinCEN analysts are challenged to find innovative solutions to match and fuse data as part of their mapping of illicit finance networks, identification of compromised financial institutions and jurisdictions, and understanding of schemes and methods for illicit finance.

          In the very recent past, our analysts often needed to develop ad hoc tools to help analyze the data because our technical backbone was unable to sufficiently support the layers of tasks required to query, download, integrate, sort, connect, and chart the data.

          Last fall, FinCEN began rolling out a key component in our IT Modernization Program to improve upon our ability to conduct analysis and make the BSA data available to a large number of federal and state agencies, including law enforcement and regulators. FinCEN Query allows users to easily access, query, and analyze 11 years of BSA data; apply filters to narrow search results; and utilize enhanced data capabilities. Our users are now able to look at the information more comprehensively, and we are excited to work with them in making sure that your filings become more valuable than ever before in this new system.

          To give you an idea of the value of the information your institutions provide, in the months since FinCEN Query went live last September, there have been over 1.1 million queries of the BSA data by more than 6,400 users. This past Wednesday alone, there were over 20,000 queries of the BSA data through FinCEN Query.

          With our technology advancements, we are now getting closer to being able to leverage predictive analytics to take our work even further. This will provide us with the ability to work with our law enforcement partners, review their top completed investigations, understand the money laundering indicators present in our data, parse through the existing BSA forms, and then develop automated business rules that will allow us to provide agencies with new leads indicative of similar illicit activity elsewhere.

          For example, FinCEN is working towards developing business rules based on information provided by our law enforcement and regulatory partners. Our goal is to dive deeper into aggregated regional and state level data to extract underlying drivers and trends between and among regions. We are doing this by automating the detection of regions and industries with significant changes, reviewing BSA records, and drilling down to understand which financial institutions are on the front lines of seeing changes in trends and patterns.

          Moving forward, we expect to use the strategic application of business rules on the data industry provides to not only detect, but also to "predict" where certain types of money laundering, such as the placement of dollars in connection with trade-based money laundering activities, might be manifested.

          This type of predictive analysis will significantly improve our intelligence and enforcement efforts by allowing us to focus on those vulnerable regions or financial sectors where money laundering or financial crimes are most prevalent. Furthermore, it will allow us to provide new leads to law enforcement, alert our regulatory partners, and develop "red flags" for industry so we can provide feedback on the kind of information that would be helpful in their SAR reporting.

          We are beginning to touch the very early parts of this capability; we are very excited to be heading in this direction and I greatly look forward to seeing the products when we are able to reach full implementation.

          In another aspect of our modernization, financial institutions will be required to utilize the new FinCEN reports, including CTRs and SARs, starting April 1, 2013. The new FinCEN reports were specifically developed to work with the new FinCEN Query system that we just rolled out, and these new FinCEN reports allow us, law enforcement, and regulators to slice and dice the information submitted in a much more advanced way.

          We're happy that more and more institutions are coming on board with the new formats in advance of the deadline. As of last Friday, approximately 90 percent of the batch-filed SARs and CTRs received from the largest financial institutions, and 60 percent of single SAR or CTR filings received (typically from smaller financial institutions), were submitted using the new formats. We know that industry is working hard to make the changes. One thing I want to point out in particular with respect to the new formats is the guidance that we put out last March with respect to new fields.

          As that guidance clearly explains, the new FinCEN CTR and FinCEN SAR do not create any new obligations or otherwise change existing statutory and regulatory expectations. Financial institutions must provide the most complete and accurate information known to them. They are not under an obligation to collect non-mandatory information simply because there is now a field for it. However, just as has always been the case, if financial institutions have information that is pertinent to a report, they need to be able to include it in the report, so that the CTR, SAR, or other FinCEN report is complete and accurate.

          FinCEN has and will continue to provide additional guidance and training materials in support of the new reports through Webinars, FAQs, and other publications and materials. And to keep this rapidly approaching deadline fresh in everyone's minds, we continue to work with our regulatory and industry partners by issuing our own reminders to industry.

          As a result of all the work that is being done within the industry, at FinCEN, and in partnership with regulatory and law enforcement partners, the adoption of the new reports will prove extremely valuable to our shared fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes.

Conclusion

          My remarks today have focused extensively on the work being done by FinCEN's analytical team - not only their ongoing efforts, but where we are heading in the future. From the time I arrived at FinCEN, I have been continually impressed by the fascinating work our analysts are doing, and even more so, by their dedication each and every day to FinCEN's mission, and their desire to make a real difference as public servants.

          I've been in government long enough to know that FinCEN's analysts can stand toe-to-toe alongside the best analysts in the federal government and around the world. And to be their champion as Director of FinCEN is an honor. It is gratifying to hear how passionately our analysts feel about their work. In their own words, here is what some of them have to say:

"Arriving at FinCEN as an analyst from the banking compliance sector opened up a whole new world for me. I was really excited to join FinCEN because for the first time I would be able to view and analyze all of the SARs associated with a case and gain a better understanding of how my SARs were being used by FinCEN, as well as our Federal, state, and local partners. My first assignment was to analyze the movement "repatriation" of U.S. dollar currency from Mexico and the players engaged in the wholesale banknote industry. This project relied heavily on my banking knowledge, but it also required me to work alongside law enforcement, regulators, and the financial industry in a whole new capacity. I learned how best to review and analyze BSA data, but more importantly, I was having a real-time impact on the fight against Mexican Drug Cartels and their ability to place large amounts of illicit dollars back into the U.S. financial system. It was amazing that as a new analyst I could make such a difference."

"As a career analyst, I truly enjoy coming to work every day here at FinCEN for many reasons, but specifically because I am challenged by analyzing the BSA, adding value to a law enforcement case, developing a methodology for how money is laundered through a specific industry, or identifying a money laundering network. I think the best way to describe my job is to imagine five different 1,000 piece puzzles mixed together in a pile. My job is to try and determine how to put together each puzzle, while not knowing how many actual puzzles are in front of me. It's truly a rewarding and satisfying experience once you've finished a "puzzle" and are confident that you know not only what you're looking at, but that you can explain it to others."

          There is no doubt that we will never run out of puzzles to complete. And as the escalation of transnational criminal threats to the U.S. financial system has increased, so too has the imperative to ensure that FinCEN is fully maximizing its potential to disrupt this activity. I am hopeful that my remarks today have given you new insight into the team at FinCEN working to respond to these threats.

          But we can't do it alone. Your financial institutions are the eyes and ears in the fight against terrorists and other bad guys. The BSA data starts with you. It is the key to our defenses and we are depending on you. I am committed to maximizing our ability to be effective partners and colleagues.

          FinCEN is a critical partner in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Our talented and dedicated team is committed to that mission. We have an incredible opportunity to serve the American public and to contribute to the safety of this country and the world. FinCEN will meet the challenges ahead working together with you, law enforcement, and our regulatory partners.

          Thank you once again for inviting me here to speak with you today.

###

Get back to us when you help get some money laundering banksters in jail!

LOL wow for the House of Cards: Cyprus bank confiscations likely beta test for mass filching of deposits across western world. "Cannot possibly comment"

Admittedly this is a little bit speculative but it looks pretty big.

lol wow I can't believe they are triggering a huge EU bank run in Cyprus by confiscating big slabs of bank accounts to satiate the European Central Bankers - it's blamed on rich Russians who 'deserve' to have their savings jacked en masse.

SEE: Cyprus: The World’s Biggest "Poker Game" | Zero Hedge. It is mind boggling, they could just isolate bad bank debt or "paper" Iceland style, but instead of course it's way more fun to traumatize everyone by stealing their money point-blank as a "stability levy". This is because when you get down to it, fractional reserve banking is a crisis-driven paper scam system, and the scamsters gotta get paid up front regardless of what insane precedent is set...

I just finished watching the old 1990s UK House of Cards series & Cyprus is the finale setting - and lol the gas reserves are the big deal, just like the secret oilfield in the TV show. Similar scam to nuke savers floated in Australia as well. See CASH GRAB: Inactive bank accounts to be seized | News.com.au && After Cyprus, Who Is Next? | Zero Hedge

A still from the pivotal endgame of House of Cards:

7510_4_large.jpg

Says a Cypriot bank employee: "Are we the guinea pigs? There's a feeling they are trying this out on us before they do it elsewhere." Cyprus bailout: 'people are panicking, they're afraid of losing their money' | World news | The Guardian

Are you ready for your Skinner box, ladies & gentlemen? The Big Theft is in Beta Testing! We must pay off all bank bondholders 100%, just eat the deposits!

As the Great British Leader Francis Urquhart put it: You might very well think that, but I cannot possibly comment

7510_1_large.jpg

Cyprus bailout: big implications in a small-scale rescue | World news | guardian.co.uk

Could The "Cyprus Fiasco" Occur In The United States? | Zero Hedge (you think?)

#Cyprus Depositors Vent Fury Through Social Media | Zero Hedge

Europe Scrambling With Last Minute Revision To Cyprus Deposit Confiscation Plan | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile out of control domestic loansharking nukes Detroit - cause BOND HOLDERS GOTTA GET PAID AS SOCIETY CRUMBLES: Wall Street: $474 Million, Detroit: 0 | Zero Hedge

The Rape Of Cyprus By The European Union & The IMF | Zero Hedge

Trololol for Rooskies with Bruce Krasting: Two Sides of Cyprus | Zero Hedge

ART: NEOFEUDALISMUS: Nein Nein Nein! | Zero Hedge

For Everyone Shocked By What Just Happened... And Why This Is Just The Beginning | Zero Hedge

Saxo Bank CEO: "This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can't Believe It Happened" | Zero Hedge

Germany And IMF's Initial Deposit Haircut Demand: 40% Of Total | Zero Hedge - stay classy, International Monetary Fund.

JPMorgan Asks "Has Europe Bazookaed Itself In The Foot", Answers "Yes" | Zero Hedge

ALSO: Let's look at the ol Fascist electoral outlook / unemployment chart: via Guest Post: Why Europe Is Still In Peril, In Two Charts | Zero Hedge

NOW:
euro-unemployment.png

THEN:

chart-german-unemployment-and-nazi-links.jpg

Well champs, what next? I think ruthless Tories running false flags, but who knows?

tumblr_mijrx3qMLF1rtyh7lo1_400.jpg

MPD Tracking OccupyMN Facebook BBQs: Minneapolis "secret" Strategic Information Center / Emergency Operations and Training Facility 25 37th Ave NE in Fridley

Dateline: Pseudo-Secret Minneapolis (aka Fridley): What WCCO called the "secret" "City of Eyes" Strategic Information Center has been located on the Google! Your Federal Stimulus Money & FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations At Work - A Facility for Spying on Facebook Occupy Barbecues

strategic-center-mpls.png

It's nice when data releases tie together a larger system, and we've sure got that here. It's not really "secret" but it's quite shiny & new, not well-known at all, and it is certainly has been used as a site for spying on Occupy activists without criminal predicates by the Minneapolis Police Department. [emails a bit farther down]

///// UPDATE Nov 14 2014: See #Pointergate Pieces: Hodges merged out politically powerful police pensions; KSTP Quadruples Down; Minneapolis gang intel plugs away ///// UPDATE Jan 10 2013: See How to check cops checking your driver's license, Rassmusson lawsuit settlement docs /////

The Minneapolis Police Department files about Occupy Minnesota released by a data request on Monday afternoon are turning up interesting wastes of taxpayer money -- and even the so-called "secret" Strategic Information Center & Emergency Operations and Training Facility at 25 37th Ave Northeast in Fridley, north of the city line by the river & railroad tracks.

Also known as the EOTF/SIC, let's wrangle up everything we can find. Start with architects, via Wold Architects/Engineers: City of Minneapolis EOTF | Wold Architects and Engineers

Wold Architects and Engineers designed a site and facility for the City of Minneapolis Fire Department Training Campus to include a Fire Department’s Training Division; training classrooms multi-used as an Emergency Operations Center for the City’s Emergency Preparedness; a Strategic Information Sensor Monitoring Center for the Minneapolis Police Department; and vehicle storage garages for the Fire Department’s regional asset equipment.

The design exceeds the City of Minneapolis requirement for design to meet LEED Silver.

strategic-4.png

strategic-5.pngThis state-of-the-art federally funded facility allows police to determine... the location of barbecues on Facebook, including even the number of "YES" and "MAYBE" invitees.

This facility also encompasses "Shotspotter" directional microphones all over the city - I wonder if those are ever activated besides the gunshot decibel threshold "trigger" - they are in fact pretty high-fidelity microphones, it has been disclosed (May 28 2012 NYT article) but the manufacturer denies the mics are triggered by conversations.

I for one, am glad that we spent both municipal and borrowed federal tax dollars on training the Minneapolis police to believe a Facebook "YES" invite is real. The simulacrum of today's clicks has become the strategic information of tomorrow!

The old EOC center, used in the 2007 35W bridge collapse, can be seen here via MPR and clearly lacks expensive-enough videoconferencing gear.

Here is the press release from Nov 4 2010: Minneapolis opens Emergency Operations Training Facility - City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis opens Emergency Operations Training Facility

The City of Minneapolis has opened its new Emergency Operations Training Facility, which will help emergency responders and other City staff better prepare for and respond to emergencies. The multi-purpose building helps meet the training and response needs of the Minneapolis Fire Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, and the City's Emergency Management Division, along with other regional partners.

The Emergency Operations Training Facility is a multi-purpose building that includes training classrooms for Minneapolis firefighters and metro emergency managers, a strategic information center for the Minneapolis police, the main training site for the State of Minnesota Structural Collapse Team, and an emergency operations center that will be used during significant emergencies or disasters.

The new facility is built on a 12-acre site in Fridley that the City purchased in 1990, and since that time, the site has been built out as a training facility for Minneapolis Firefighters. Over the years, a fire training tower and propane burn building have been constructed, and special equipment has been purchased to help train emergency responders for incidents involving hazardous materials and collapsed structures. The construction of the new Emergency Operations Training Facility on the site is a major step toward completing this training and response site.

The Emergency Operations Training Facility is built to a LEED Silver Quality Standard for sustainability, and it includes facilities for a wide range of emergency responders from Minneapolis and the region:

Emergency Operations Center

One of the lessons learned from the City's response to the Interstate 35W Bridge collapse in 2007 was that the City's Emergency Operations Center, located in the basement of City Hall, was too small to serve as a center for large-scale emergencies. The new facility fixes that, with 2,800 more square feet of floor space. It will also be used as a back-up Emergency Operations Center for the State, Hennepin County and the City of St. Paul.

Strategic Information Center

The Strategic Information Center is a new space where the Minneapolis Police Department will analyze data to determine long-range trends that pose potential risks to the city. It can provide emergency managers with important information during a major event, incident or disaster.

State of Minnesota Structural Collapse Team

This team serves the entire state with specialized equipment and trained personnel for urban search and rescue and structural collapse incidents. This facility will include apparatus bays for storage of emergency response vehicles and specialty equipment for the Coast Guard, State, City and Metro West region of Homeland Security. In addition, this facility will house training and classroom space, staff offices, support spaces and common spaces.

Coast Guard monitoring.

The U.S. Coast Guard will also use the facility as a monitoring location for cameras placed along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the metro area.

Published Nov. 4, 2010

Moar casual Google Mapping:

google-streetview-mpls.png

Apparently they dropped a cool $50K on the fence in early 2012. here is the bid page "To furnish all labor, materials, equipment and incidentals necessary to accomplish the complete construction of Emergency Operations Training Facility Perimeter Fence Project, located at 25 37th Ave NE, Fridley, MN." SRC: Minneapolis, City of - Projects. [A little more on the fence industrial complex below]

google-streetview-mpls2.png

Of course, once Erin Brockovich samples those weird adjacent holding pond things, I'm sure the infamous Fridley Cancer Cluster case will be solved. Perhaps Sgt. Garcia can go out and take some samples!

google-map-mpls1.png google-map-mpls2.png

I believe at least two of structures are firefighter training buildings - later pics below seem to bear this out.

eoc-marketing-swag1.pngHere is some marketing swag about the video conferencing gear. AVI-SPL Integrates Government Emergency Operation Centers. See the PDF and video too.

eoc-marketing-swag2.pngLet's check out the $330,704 in electronically-created yet borrowed-at-interest-from-private-Fed-cartel recently invested in this barbecue monitoring center. Official less-than-informative stimulus info page: Minneapolis Recovery - City of Minneapolis Minneapolis Police Strategic Information Center.

[Naturally it is funded by the electronically created debt-digits from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the same endless police pork hub that brought us all those "you might be a terrorist if you pay in cash" type intel flyers for everything from hotels to hobby stores - many of those flyers were financed by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, which I included ironically on my own site's banner art. Google it for lulz!] Here's that official page:

The City of Minneapolis is not a primary recipient on this project. No Federal Report XML is submitted for this project.

Dollars Awarded

$330,704

Project Status

Fully completed

Project Description

To establish integrated crime analysis in cooperation with the St. Paul Police Department. Staff will be located in a joint Strategic Information Center (SIC).

Funding Program

MN Department of Public Safety: Byrne Justice Assistance Grant

Responsibility for Implementation

Police Department

Funding Agency

US Department of Justice [BJA/Recovery Act]

Dollars Leveraged

Data not yet available.

Dollars Leveraged Description

Data not yet available.

Dollars Requested

$330,704

Projected Jobs Created

2

Award Type

Grant

Sub-recipient Names

Minneapolis, City of

Vendor Names

No vendors have been contracted to date.

Recovery Funds Spent to Date

$330,704

Perhaps this is even the 'secret' location Tippy spycams are constructed: a while ago prankster MPD Spokester & PIO Jesse Garcia shared pics of a camera construction room & with all the other video rigs this seems a likely spot.

Anyway finally here is the email chain which prompted this line of research. There are surely other gems, we are just barely getting started. Circa page 109 of Part 1:

strategic-center-targets-barbecue.png

The public servant on some of these emails is one Minneapolis Police Department officer Steven Otteson, who has a decidedly low Internet profile.

Poking for traces of intrepid Strategic Facebooker Otteson turns up very little - even though the email is dated June 2012, he has no listed salary on this MPD salary list: My Docstoc. Crossposted the index here: 2011 Minneapolis Police Dept Gross Salary index for Web.

A news story indicated the supervisor of the Strategic Information Center is MPD Lt. Jeff Rugel at 612-673-3428. Page 112:

rugel-bbq.png

"Why are we not getting this stuff from the SIC?" Here is stuff about why they should not have to "spend time looking it up" and it should be run through the SIC... This could kind of be the crux of the whole issue here on Page 114:

sic-track-occupy

Alright, that covers some of the new data on this SIC thing vis-a-vis obsessing on Occupy events, so let's turn to the news coverage of this facility.

Carefully shaped news coverage: Mid-2012 saw a series of mainstream media items intended to shape public perceptions this center is designed to neutralize the threats from the surveilled populace. WCCO went so far as to call it a "secret location". That is some quality Fourth Estate right there.

Coverage for this "City of Eyes" facility on WCCO March 19 2012 (video) City Of Eyes: Your Camera May Help Mpls Police Fight Crime « CBS:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis police are the first in the country to merge two technologies to help officers fight crime.

The Minneapolis Police Department has combined shot spotter technology and a system of cameras to help catch criminals in the act.

Authorities allowed WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman into a secret location in Minneapolis, where a strategic information center is housed.

Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Rob Allen said the room is where police gather intelligence.

“This is the room where we try and fuse the technology we have to monitor video cameras, to monitor the sounds of possible gunshots, and it’s where we have our officers who are trained in intelligence gathering,” he said.

The system in the room is like CBS’ Thursday night show “Person of Interest,” in which cameras are used to help save people from becoming victims of crime.

“If you can anticipate where crimes might happen, you got a far better chance of preventing them from occurring,” Allen said.

According to Allen, when a gunshot goes off, a camera turns toward the source of the sound. Strategic Information Center Commander Lt. Jeff Rugel said the technology helped solve a case where a man was shot, killed and pushed out of a moving car. The sound of the gunfire activated the cameras, which gave police their first clue.

[......]City Of Eyes

The number of cameras connected to the intelligence system is growing and helping police catch more criminals. But not all the cameras are owed by the city.

“The city owns roughly 250 cameras,” Allen said. “We can access right now … an infinite number of cameras.”

According to Allen, any camera that has an IP address, is connected to the Internet, and that police have permission to use can give information to authorities.

So whenever you are in a public space, know that you’re likely on camera. Police are using portable cameras more now than ever. They can put them where they are needed and have one up and running within an hour of the order.

Invasion Of Privacy?

But what about your right to privacy? Police say they are careful not to infringe on anyone’s rights.

“Every time we installed a camera system, we went to the neighborhood and said, ‘You know, this is what we’ve thought about doing? Do you want it or not,’” Allen said.

He says police can’t look into a place where someone has the expectation of privacy. [magic filters eh?] But police still have a wide reach, which gives criminals a greater chance of getting caught on camera.

Crime patterns are currently moving and Minneapolis police hope to add more portable cameras. Police believe if criminals know they are being watched they are more likely not to commit crimes.

Star Tribune writes about this center using Facebook to watch what the state defines as "gang members" (mysteriously, shady rich Caucasian financial operatives never seem to meet this race/age/wealth-biased deviance category schema).

Of course, this week's data release shows this has bloated out to canvassing political movements without even the semblance of illegal activity... there is no "barbecue predicate" but there are of course hourly wages to be paid by Minneapolis taxpayers for monitoring the barbecue Facebook Event. Perhaps even overtime!

Gangs sometimes fire first shots online | StarTribune by Matt McKinney July 14 2012:

Facebook has become a virtual street corner where members trade threats, mourn the dead.

"It's probably no different than any other kids, right?" said Minneapolis police Lt. Jeff Rugel. "They're sharing stuff that they used to do face-to-face or over the phone. But there's criminal stuff." [.....]

Rugel runs the police department's Strategic Information Center, where officers use technology to track crime. One of the jobs in his office amounts to monitoring Facebook full-time. They understand the teen slang and filter through thousands of innocuous and inane comments to look for the few that could solve a crime or stop one before it happens. They try to draw connections out of the Facebook networks to help document the shifting alliances on the street.

Police were aware of Facebook threats between rival gangs weeks before the shooting that killed Nizzel, but the threats weren't specific. When Rugel and his staff sees something that looks like trouble -- a known gang member says he's going to hurt someone -- they pass the information along to officers on the street.

It's a poorly kept secret that the police watch Facebook, said Rugel.

"You see comments every once in a while. 'Don't put that on Facebook. You know who's looking at it,' " he said.

Despite some users' occasional concern, many of the Facebook users monitored by police flaunt their illegal behavior online, showing themselves smoking marijuana, posing with stolen merchandise, the security tags still attached, and making gang signs. [.....]

There was also some bidding information online about the estimated $50,000 fence around the facility. Emergency Operations Training Facility Perimeter Fence Project (eBidDoc #1810882) contact: David Schlueter phone: 612-673-2834 e-mail: david.schlueter@ci.minneapolis.mn.us bid date: 01/25/2012 10:00:00 AM

Try http://io.questcdn.com/questio/projects/planholder/planholder_list.html?jobPK=1810882&userPK=&modifiable=FALSE&isQCPI=TRUE

strategic-center-fence-bidding.png

//////

garcia-yatedo.pngSome other stuff: for what it's worth, this lists PIO Jesse Garcia as being based at the Strategic Information Center.Minneapolis Police Department Employees - Professional Experience,Email,Phone numbers..Everything!: Digging deeper to: Jesse Garcia III - Strategic Information Center, Minneapolis Police Department:

It was scraped off his LinkedIn - no surprise there. But no one put it together... Jesse Garcia III | LinkedIn. I think it would be great if state law were changed so that Garcia could be cross-examined by taxpayers about the flow of drug money through the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and its member banks, let's say once a month on live community access TV. Looks like he ought to be tapped into that gigaflow of data on bankster crime intel!

Strategic Information Center

Minneapolis Police Department

September 2010 – Present (2 years 5 months)

I am a supervisor in our new intel center that focuses on:

-gang intel

-crime intel

-real time officer assist

-safety camera analysis

-Emergency Operations Center readiness

jesse.garcia@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Public Information Officer / Media Relations

Minneapolis Police Department

October 2007 – September 2010 (3 years)

More media: Vehicle data, email access among Minneapolis legislative issues | MinnPost - Karen Boros, Nov 2, 2012. Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) including of course the "secret" camera on nearby Plymouth Ave. N. bridge is controlled from this "Strategic Information unit" according to the article - I would assume this is the same spot it's based, unless it is somehow split:

Currently, the Minneapolis Police Department uses cameras to record the license plates, time and location of vehicles. That data is now public information that can be obtained by anyone requesting the information.

“Our concern is that if it stays public data that people can use it for inappropriate purposes,” said Deputy Chief Robert Allen. The system now doesn’t allow police to inquire how it might be used. “We’re not allowed to make a judgment,” he said.

Access to the data is controlled by about a dozen people working in the department’s Strategic Information unit.

Alright this is taking more than long enough. This thing says it is 22,178 sq ft and it is on parcel 34-30-24-43-0009.

Minneapolis, City of - Projects: An estimated $1.5 million were bid on this beast for just a small chunk of the building, closed Feb 2012.

directions to site: 25 37th Ave NE Fridley, MN 55421

bids close: 02/23/2012, 10:00:00 AM

bids received by: City of Minneapolis Purchasing Department CONSTRUCTION OF THE EOTF APPARAUS BAY ADDITION 330 Second Avenue South Suite 552 Minneapolis, MN 55401

estimated value: $1,500,000.00

project completion date: 08/15/2011

pre-bid meeting information: A Pre-Bid Meeting and site tour will be held on February 15th, at 11:00 AM, Local Time in Room 128 at the Emergency Operations Training Facility located at 25 37th Ave NE, Fridley MN. All interested bidders should attend this meeting.

addenda: 1

project description: Scope of Work Includes: Complete construction of the Apparatus Bay Addition at the City of Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility. This work shall include all labor, equipment, materials, installation, handling, delivery at site, necessary insurance and permits, erection and other required items for general, civil, landscaping, demolition, structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical construction and stability as shown on the plans and specifications.

additional description: This Contract contemplates the complete construction of the Emergency Operations Training Facility Apparatus Bay Addition for the Minneapolis Fire Department located at 25 37th Avenue NE., in Fridley, all in accordance with the Contract Documents. This Project has been designed to comply with the requirements of the State of Minnesota Sustainability Building Guidelines B3 (MSBG B3) Version 2.1 and also the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Design ( USGBC LEED®) Rating System. It is the intent of this Contract that the Project shall become MSBG B3 Version 2.1 Certified and LEED® SILVER level of quality building under the LEED®-NC Rating System. Work to be performed consists of the furnishing of all materials, machinery, equipment, labor, supplies, tools, transportation, and other incidentals necessary or convenient to complete the work as shown in the Contract Documents on file in the Minneapolis Finance Department, Property Services Division and with the Purchasing Agent of the City of Minneapolis.

owner: City of Minneapolis

350 South 5th Street, Room 223

Minneapolis , MN 55415

ph: 612-673-3774

contact: Chris Backes e-mail: chris.backes@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Soliciting Agent: Soliciting agent

Minneapolis, City of

330 2nd Ave. S. Suite 552

Minneapolis, MN 55415

ph: 612-673-2834

fax: 612-673-3565

contact: David Schlueter e-mail: david.schlueter@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

It was used to host a session of the 10,000 Lakes Chapter of the International Code Council. [pdf]

The site's address is place on things like preparedness for your pet: Emergency Preparedness - City of Minneapolis && stuff about exercises (again on the sidebar) City Preparation - City of Minneapolis - the 'meh' front page: Emergency Preparedness - City of Minneapolis. Really need to improve page titles at the city. Perhaps after the election?

Awards - City of Minneapolis:

Minneapolis wins its second Tekne Award

Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility

November 2011: The Minnesota High Tech Association recognized the City of Minneapolis and its Emergency Operations Training Facility with an award at the 2011 Tekne Awards, held Nov. 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Tekne Awards recognize Minnesota companies and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership.

The City of Minneapolis took home the award in the “Technology Excellence in a Nonprofit Organization” category that recognized the City’s Emergency Operations Training Facility/Strategic Information Center (EOTF/SIC) for bringing technology and information together to make Minneapolis a safer place. At the facility, technology, digital data, streaming video and highly interactive interfaces come together in one highly efficient communication center for the city.

The Minneapolis Fire Department, Police Department, and Emergency Management division opened the EOTF/SIC in August 2010 as a place where they and other emergency responders could coordinate more closely than had ever been possible before. The facility recently demonstrated its effectiveness during the response to the May 22 tornado that struck north Minneapolis.The multi-purpose building also provides training space for emergency responders.

Here it was, the first one: Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility wins Tekne award - City of Minneapolis: The City of Minneapolis took home the award in the “Technology Excellence in a Nonprofit Organization” category that recognized the City’s Emergency Operations Training Facility/Strategic Information Center (EOTF/SIC) for bringing technology and information together to make Minneapolis a safer place. At the facility, technology, digital data, streaming video and highly interactive interfaces come together in one highly efficient communication center for the city.... and earlier: Oct 18, 2011: Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility a finalist for Tekne award - City of Minneapolis

Mpls. Unveils New Emergency Operations Center | Crime | Downtown News - Nov 4 2010, KSTP Gail Brown: Congressman Keith Ellison secured $750,000 for the project in a 2010 appropriations bill, and he will be attending a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m. along with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Council President Barb Johnson and other city leaders.

Ellison Secures $750,000 for Minneapolis Emergency Operations Center - Ellison.House.gov Oct 15 2009:

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) secured a $750,000 appropriation for the City of Minneapolis to build a new Emergency Operations Center in a bill approved by the House today. The funds were included in H.R. 2892, the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for FY 2010.

Roughly the same stuff in this Council Prez Barb Johnson doc.

It's on Pinterest - see Government & Military for tons of funny stuff including everything from the avispl swag people above. And also: AV Products We Love / Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility

There is a blog post about training there on the Mpls Dept of Civil Rights by Anthony Johnson - Civil Rights Urban Scholars with a helpful slideshow. Tony’s Voice: Our Day As Fire Fighters! | Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

strategic-center-3.png strategic-center-2.png strategic-center-1.png

I think you can see this fire training structure (or maybe a similar one) on Google Maps though I have not swung by to check out the Facility myself. Another one:

Minneapolis Emergency Services Employ projectiondesign - AVNetwork.com (undated? A couple pix included)

Fredrikstad, Norway--The City of Minneapolis has deployed 12 projectiondesign F32 DLP projectors as the main display source in the Analyst Room and F22 series projectors in the Incident Command Room of its Emergency Operations Training Facility (EOTF).

Located just outside Minneapolis, the EOTF boasts an extensive surveillance, audiovisual and network infrastructure specified and installed by systems integrator AVI-SPL.

“In a facility like this, even the slightest compromise in performance can result in tragic consequences,” said Fred Primoli, regional VP Sales for AVI-SPL. Primoli and his colleagues worked with the city for nearly two years on the concept, planning and final implementation of the EOTF, with the primary challenge being an interesting one: the creation of a state-of-the-art communications facility that may get activated no more than once in a decade.

“We needed systems that were capable of totally robust operation 24 hours per day, seven days per week – but which also were capable of performing at their best after extended periods of inactivity.

“From the outset we were delighted with the performance of the F32 projectors. The Analyst Room has three rear-projection screens, each measuring 160 inches wide by 120 inches tall, with four projectors driving each screen so that four separate windows can be shown on each one.

“The projectors have been superbly colour-matched to ensure consistency across each screen, while their excellent resolution, contrast and brightness mean they are equally at home showing video or data sources – which is important in an installation such as this where the staff need to a view a combination of both.”

Deputy Chief Robert Allen, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, said: “The new display system allows us to look at a video feed and understand a situation almost instantly. Through video, we can get information to our officers much faster – especially when time is critical. We can zoom in with our cameras and really examine a situation and relay it back to our officers, allowing them to be prepared even before they get there. With this new technology, we can see something happen faster than a police offer 50 feet away.”

F22 series projectors from projectiondesign can also be found in the EOTF’s Incident Command Room that’s used for emergency training and an actual declared emergency.

“There is a large number of emergency monitoring projects in the U.S., and we are delighted that our technology has been used to display high-resolution security-camera images in so many of them," said Anders Løkke, marketing director, projectiondesign. "The Minneapolis EOTF already demonstrated its effectiveness during the tornado that swept through the area last May and, although we would prefer it if our systems never had to be used in similar situations again, the reality is that the city is better-protected now that its providers of emergency services have such easy, immediate and accurate access to security-camera imaging from so many locations.”

“The EOTF was conceived as a place where the various Departments responsible for emergency response and management in Minneapolis could co-ordinate their efforts more closely than had previous been possible,” said Primroli.

Same stuff as May 11, 2012: Minneapolis Emergency Services Goes with Projectiondesign - Fire Apparatus

On May 20 2011 CItyPages reported on Rocco Forte, former Minneapolis fire chief, departing, and Forte talked about being pleased to help finish the complex: "After the 35W bridge collapse, the Republican National Convention, and the tornado that went through South Minneapolis, it is clear that we have one of the finest emergency management teams in the country. It was also a long time goal of mine to complete the Emergency Operations Training Facility that includes an Emergency Operations Center, Strategic Information Center as well as a training facility which seats up to 250 people per day."

Reed Construction Data estimates its cost at $3,988,400 (a more accurate cost estimate is available from RSMeans Online), they say.

There are a couple autogenerated links at Facility Management Minneapolis Product From Industrial Manufacturers, Distributers, Suppliers And OEMs.

There is some PR speak about AVI-SPL getting an award. Press Release/ InfoComm, Sound & Video Contractor Honor AVI-SPL with Two PRO AV Spotlight Awards - Audio/Video Equip./Surveillance - AVI-SPL, Inc. | PRZOOM

On March 11, 2009, the overall cost of the project was pegged by House Research as $27,403,000. SRC: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/bs/86/hf0554.pdf

This bill would grant $8,000,000 in bond proceeds to the City of Minneapolis to design, construct, furnish, and equip an emergency operations center housed in the City’s current training center and to make other improvements to the training center.

According to the 2008 budget request, the overall cost of the project is $27,403,000 with the City and Hennepin County funding the non-state funded portions of the project. The Joint Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis will be located at the Minneapolis Fire Training Campus on city owned land. The City contends the current facility is inadequate and limits the effectiveness of the command structure. The City further contends that the Minneapolis Fire Training Campus is an ideal location for the EOC as it would provide a secure operations center with enough room to respond to a major incident affecting the county. Finally, the City believes this request would provide much needed training classrooms at the Minneapolis Training Facility which is the main site for training the State Structural Collapse Team.

HF 554 Status in the House for the 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) - this is the bill number - I suspect it probably got rolled into the omnibus bill but I will leave that to a Deep Wonk to suss out. // H.F. No. 554, as introduced - 86th Legislative Session (2009-2010).

With a pretty severe shortage of funds for both state and municipal operations, is an open-ended SIC mandate to track protest activity on Facebook really the most prudent use of funds? And doesn't this operational configuration create a chilling effect on political expression in Minneapolis? The research continues....

Occupy gets rolling in Sandy disaster relief; Far Rockaway & Staten Island in a messy situation; #hurricanehackers Sandy Crisis Camps this weekend

Via Occupy Sandy Relief NYC 4 hrs ago: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc?fref=ts

379035_381284791951728_2047353211_n.png

>>> #NOT ANOTHER KATRINA <<<
Contrary to what might be inferred by a media and government blackout - Rockaway IS. NOT. RECOVERING.

We can't stress this enough. It looks like parts of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Residents are being told they will receive NO assistance, no food, no medicine, NOTHING if they remain in Rockaway

As of a few hours ago Occupy Sandy Relief has a community hub up and running at Beach 113th Street and Rockaway Blvd. We are distributing lights, clothing, blankets and warm food.
DO NOT ARRIVE AT NIGHT! We will be open and ready for more volunteers and supplies tomorrow morning.
- More photos, need lists and stories to come

The whole situation in the east coast is really rough right now. I'm going to post copies of these pads right now in the hopes of circulating some material. This should prove once and for all that "preppers" have an important role to play in avoiding total disaster -- but of course in these circumstances it takes all of us working together. Where the various levels of government are totally messed up, people are making things happen in a horizontal way, covering emergency basic needs and anchoring anxious communities.

Hope it helps, there are a lot of places to plug in & postal addresses accepting supplies if nothing else....

People looking for something to do might want to check out #HurricaneHackers. Sandy CrisisCamp | CrisisCommons. Also Ushahidi is being used for crowd mapping services . Recovers.org is also being used - subdomains for locales. Tune in @globalrevlive as well for updates. At this time, a hub for distribution of aid in Rockaway has already been set up. Staten Island is definitely out of gas and things are hard to find out there but hopefully more will be known Thursday.

The main hubs going on right now: OccupySandy hub: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/, also email: OccupySandy@interoccupy.net or occupysandy@gmail.com - includes drop off locations for donation items . Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc- users are posting some crazy stuff on here.

//// Obligatory Bonus Paranoia Notes: I'm not feeling the FreakOut Vibe right now -- let's relax and get things done, ok?! -- but some things on the margins ought to be noted anyway. if the US military becomes more activated under semi-federalized powers, expect NORTHCOM CONPLAN 3501 generally, and CONPLAN 3502 to be activated - see my Nov 2010 story for more. At this time seems unlikely - but the double-bonus Word From the Weird Cats is that HAARP-type energy distortions are indicated charging for California quakes (FB) & there are a bunch farther up the Pacific fault in Canada going lately. I don't have a strong opinion about Tactical Weather Modification being the explanation for this kind of thing routinely, however also no one really wants to mention all the weather control tech that is routinely used, and not logged. Who can work out the insurance consequences of, say artificial snowfall in Colorado & downwind drought effects? Let alone the interesting troposphere electromagnetic tech systems - the HAARP patents! .... Once things settle down, we need to really demand inventory and activity logs of all this fancy stuff - reasonable enough?? /////

Here's a copy of the InterOccupy page right now: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

@OccupySandy
Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net. The task of rebuilding communities is a marathon and not a sprint. We thank you for your donations and your support. The hubs we have set up so far are listed below and photos and volunteer updates are available on our facebook: www.facebook.com/occupysandyreliefnyc. To contact us with information that should be included on this hub, please email OccupySandy@interoccupy.net

To get regular updates by text message please text "occupysandy" to 23559.

Enter your email in the form on the left to receive news and updates about how you can help!

Financial Donations can be made to:
https://www.wepay.com/donations/occupy-sandy-cleanup-volunteers


Volunteer to Help Out the Relief Effort:
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/volunteer/


To locate an Emergency Shelter:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html


For anyone who needs assistance with food:

Citymeals www.citymeals.org is delivering shelf-stable meals to seniors. If you come across any senior housing, please contact Citymeals and make them aware. Email Rachel@citymeals.org.

Emergency food stamps: Call 718-557-1339. Many people may qualify for the Disaster-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

To donate goods, here is a list of needs and where you can drop them off:

GENERAL NEEDS - ALL LOCATIONS NEED THESE ITEMS

blankets
candles
flashlights
batteries
water
food
socks
towels
printer paper
baby items: diapers etc.
pet food

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS


Astoria
36-10 Crescent St. 2nd floor.
Contact Pam: 718-208-7205

Chinatown (open Nov 1, 10am-5pm)
CAAAV
46 Hester St Frnt A
(212) 473-6485
justice@caaav.org - email provided, but best to just show up to help or bring supplies!

Specific Requests in Chinatown:
Water bottles
C, D, AA, AAA batteries (and one 9 volt battery)
Food (hot at lunch, non-perishable/bread/cookies)
Some bottles of Ensure (Glucerna shake) for the elderly, vitamins for the elderly
Generator (for shelter at 350 Grand St, Seward Park High School)


Rockaway and Far Rockaway
Location 1:
Firehouse on 59th street
across from the train station.
contact person: Jean Dupont 9179755623

Location 2:
Veggie Island
96th Street and Rockaway Blvd.

Location 3:
Store Front Community Center
B113 and Rockaway Beach Blvd

Specific Requests in Rockaway and Far Rockaway (starred ones are most urgent):
* Propane grille or camping style oven
* Plates, cups, forks, bowls, spoons, etc
* blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, anything to keep folks warm
* cleaning supplies - buckets, squeegies, mops, bleach
* masks, gloves for cleaning
* socks
* water
* tarps
* garbage bags
boots
electric stove
gas stove
satellite phones
big paper, tape, markers
pens, paper, notepads
generators
pumps
camping tables
gasoline
gasoline containers
percolator
fire extinguishers
walkie talkies
i9 tablets
projector/illuminator


Fort Green/Clinton Hill
45 Waverly Avenue
just off of Park Ave in Fort Green/Clinton Hill
(Hours for Nov 1: 10am-6pm)

Park Slope
Park Slope Armory
361 15th St, Brooklyn

Sunset Park
St. Jacobi Church
5406 4th Ave
Contact: Ronnie 646-353-5194

Specific Requests in Sunset Park:
steamtable foil pans full or half size w lids
blankets
cleaning supplies
tin foil
saran wrap


Williamsburg (starting Nov 1, 10am)
Residence
306 Leonard St, apt J1 (btwn Conselyea and Metropolitan)
Contact: Jennifer (917) 586-4153

Bedstuy
Residence
136 Jefferson Ave, apt 2 11216

East Billyburg (Beginning Thursday Nov 1 at 12 noon)
House of Yes
342 Maujer st
Contact: Kae Burke (525)217-7209

Harlem
Location 1:
Residence
47 saint nicholas avenue #4d
btw 112 and 113

Location 2:
Residence
938 st Nicholas ave # 25 at corner of 157th and st Nicholas ave.

Lower East Side
The Bowery Mission
45-51 Ave D
212-777-3424
contact: Claude Nelson or any "operations manager" on duty. they're open 24/7 and in need of prepared foods, a generator and anything else you can offer.

Specific Requests at Lower East Side:
Generator
Prepared Foods


RECOVERS.ORG PAGES


Occupy Wall Street & 350.org have teamed up with Recovers.org - a people-powered disaster relief platform - to help coordinate response to Hurricane Sandy in NYC. At Recovers.org we are launching support pages where people can GIVE help or post a NEED. Here is more information about this coalition.

We have started with the following Recovery pages, and more will be coming soon:

https://lowereastside.recovers.org/ - (646) 580-7473
https://astoria.recovers.org/ - (347) 669-4394
https://redhook.recovers.org - (347) 464-9269
https://statenisland.recovers.org/ - (347) 934-9927 - statenislandrecovers@gmail.com - @SIrecovers

TWITTER HASHTAGS


The following hashtags are being used for tweets related to Sandy:
#sandy
#hurricanesandy
#sandyrecovery
#sandyaid
#sandyvolunteer

| occupysandy@interoccupy.net



*************

#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

************

This is the main Occupy volunteer pad: SandyVolunteer | Etherpad Lite

Welcome to OCCUPY SANDY's Volunteer Network:
  1. POST AN OFFER or NEED to your fellow occupier directly through this document (cross off as needs are met!) or
  1. VOLUNTEER through the many resources provided below
Read Me:
  • Logistics!
  • Welcome! :-) Sign in + choose a name & color in the top right-hand corner, and Chat in the bottom right-hand corner.   
  • Post your OFFER or your NEED of help below, along with location atnd a way for people to contact you! Cross off needs as they are met!
  • Warnings!
  • Don't retweet requests for donations to Occupy Sandy--that is just some dude' s attempt to make money off this.
  • Emergency #s!
  • 911: for emergencies only! / 311 or text to 311692 for non-emergencies; FDNY will be able to charge life essential equiptment every 6 hrs if your area is accessible

OFFERS "I can help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • OFFER @Neiki2u: Upper West Side
  • @joallen17 EMT Certified, available to assist. Located on UpperWestSideNYC.
  • Here in East Harlem (122nd and Lex) but can help. 785.423-5280. Email: debra.whoopdeedoo@gmail.com
  • I am @jhazard I am on Upper Westside of Manhattan. I am a journalist and Web product manager. I can't code, but I want to help any projects trying to coordinate communications and information.
  • @ericaswallow here. On 96th and 2nd. I am a journalist and director of community @contently. Can't code, but able bodied and can help with coordinating communications. @jhazard above is my coworker. :)
  • I am @iamceci located in spanish harlem E 104 & 2nd Ave. Fluent in spanish, able bodied. 508-685-6923; cecilia.d.pineda@gmail.com. #sandyvolunteer let me know how i can help!
  • I am @Ayo_ARo on the Upper West Side. Able bodied, proficient in Spanish, great with people esp. kids, K-12 tutor (all subjects), resume writing and editing. Can walk to wherever I'm needed.
  • I am @shmuta- on the Upper East Side with many young people. Lots of hands! Trying to find a way to help. Have signed up but havent heard anything from anyone!
  • I am @A. I am located in Midtown but can come downtown if you require help in canvassing needs/delivering food and water.
  • BROOKLYN
  • In Central Brooklyn and can help anywhere I can walk to from Eastern Parkway and Franklin. Hit me on Twitter: @mickeysteiner
  • I'm in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights and can help anywhere I can walk to from Nostrand Ave and Prospect Place. Can carry up to 40 lbs, available Wednesday and Thursday. Find me on Twitter: @syntactics
  • I'm in Williamsburg Brooklyn, ready to help however possible! Can carry loads up to 50 lbs, available all day and night Tuesday, Halloween night, and Saturday. Gracegclarke@gmail.com, (314)757-0602
  • Also in Williamsburg. Can help. @scottmbarrett
  • I'm in Crown Heights, Brooklam I am fluent in English and Spanish and am ready to help angiewoody@gmail.com
  • I'm in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, ready to volunteer! I have a car, I'm fluent in English and Spanish, and can help however I'm needed! emmayorra@gmail.com 802 522 8215
  • I am @alexfiorillo and am in Downtown Brooklyn/Gowanus/Park Slope. Can help with whatever and am ready to volunteer!
  • I am @ngawesome in Brooklyn and will find a way to get anywhere, please email nglisko1@aol.com if you are looking for volunteers!
  • I am in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, I am able bodied, and willing to go anywhere, i speak conversational spanish and I've had a lot of experience working with children, please email katiajohnstone@gmail.com
  • I am @itsmefi and in Prospect Heights. Can help however possible and ready.
  • I am @osin located in Bushwick, BK. Willing to go anywhere and help with anything necessary.
  • I am @highlyfe87 located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn can volunteer in Downtown BK, Gowanus, Park slope, Red hook. Can help pretty much anywhere within 2-3 miles. email bkcachaco07@gmail.com
  • In Flatbush, can walk up to 4 miles to help. @kmgrimm or kmgrimm@gmail.com.
  • In downtown Brooklyn, ready and willing to help. I speak English & Russian, call me at (347)-834-6805.
  • I've got a car, bunch of carpentry tools/skills, bike mantainence skills, willing to make/transport food, manual labor, build stuff, tear stuff down, dig stuff out. My wife is registered nurse. live in Clinton Hill BK (patrickfbrosnan@gmail.com)
  • I'm @alyanumbers and am in Crown Heights. I have a bike and can deliver small-ish packages around Brooklyn (or even up to Manhattan). I speak French and Arabic (and some Spanish).
  • @precursor and I have a car, HAM radio equipment (and license of course) and a basic set of tools. Skills involve communications and construction.
  • QUEENS
  • @chuuuckDEE here, based in Jamaica, Qns. able-bodied and down to assist w/ the effort..
  • I'm available to lend a hand in Astoria Queens near Astoria Blvd stop. @helenamusic send me a DM
  • I can also lend a hand in Astoria Queens. pointslou@gmail.com
  • I'm available to help in the East Elmhurst/Astoria area. Ready, willing and able to work at whatever. DM me at @AgentArmando pls with details
  • Hi, Jake here in Woodside, Queens. I'm a carpenter / handyman with tools - ready to offer my labor or just help out in general. Contact me on Twitter: @jm4277k
  • Hi, I'm @misaqui, living in Sunnyside-11104. Count on me to help in the Area.
  • I live in Flushing, have minimal hours and no car, but am nevertheless eager to help. Skills in childcare, senior aid, animal care, and writing @chicathlete424, scfrager@gmail.com
  • Also able-bodied, looking to help. Astoria Ditmars, no car, but if transportation can be arranged, will travel. hairlessOrphan@gmail.com
  • BRONX
  • Need ride to shelter in Bronx? send DM to me @corinne565
  • I have a bag of clothes for woman size L and Men XXL - pants, shirts, shoes....willing to travel to the city tomorrow or rent a zipcar to drive to other affected areas. Can also lift 50+ lbs, donate canned goods, organize and assist. Email Jrrose29@aol.com
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • In Northern NJ and can also be available to travel to shore points above GSP exit 100. Good with elderly and children, shelters, food distro., etc. @joanschulhafer
  • LONG ISLAND
  • Able bodied man in Lindenhurst willing to help in person with efforts on LI. s end me a direct message @greenguy808
  • CONNECTICUT
  • @girmann in Hartford county - willing to help.
  • TRANSLATOR/INTERPRETER OF SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE AVAILABE TO VOLUNTEER-ASSIST IN NEW HAVEN CT and surrounding areas WWW.BALDWINLINGUAS.COM 203-759-8352 << thx!
  • UPSTATE NY
  • If you need help in Albany, NY I'm here! @lego606
  • I am @RixeyBrowning located in the Poughkeepsie area, I am an EMT-B and can speak Spanish, my partner is a street medic. Heading down to NYC today to see what we can do.
  • MISC
  • Anything else I can do from here let me know! @maddiesully
  • Will be stateside in 12 days approx. Hard hit areas with little relief I'll come to with clean water, blankets, canned food. Let me know areas needing assistance @davidlasher or davidlasher.us/contact

NEEDS "I need help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • @CheshireAndrea We need someone in lower Manhattan to take a home bound paraplegic some distilled water & 2 car batteries.
  • BROOKLYN
  • Park slope food coop has 3 boxes of apples to go to red hook initiative. traffic is terrible - anyone with a bike that could carry a box there? @jhollar
  • QUEENS
  • The Rockaways need hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  
  • BRONX
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • 911 is swamped, want people to know that Grant City in Staten Island is completely flooded. I am trapped at 220 Adams Ave on the 2nd floor with about 10 people including elderly and children. The first floor is flooded and all cars are underwater. We are calm, but boats and any kind of help would be good. Power is also out. URENT, POSTING FOR A FRIEND, CAN ANYONE HELP THESE PEOPLE PLEASE << can you give some contact info so I can help? -@justinwedes << this looks tto be same NEED as  https://twitter.com/jopoduimom/status/263120618294226944, going to investigate now <<HAS THIS NEED BEEN MET? Please confirm
  • Urgent per residents interviewed on CNN: emergency shelters are running out of food; dead body count at 14 so far but expected to be higher as many, many homes are collapsed and have not been explored yet.
MISC
  • Manhattan Beach needs hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  

Other Volunteer Opportunities:
  • NATIONAL
  • NEW YORK CITY (General)
  • Shelter volunteers, volunteer 4 hours of your time: Jahmila Joseph, of Public Advocate's officer, seeking volunteers in city shelters. Fill out this form: http://bit.ly/volunteer-sandy or email jjoseph@pubadvocate.nyc.gov
  • MANHATTAN
  • BROOKLYN
  • Brooklyn Bridge Cleanup (Wed October 31, 9am-12pm + 2pm-5pm), rvsp: sward@brooklynbridgepark.org
  • John Jay High School (evac shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • Park Slope Armory (medical/frail shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • QUEENS
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • LONG ISLAND
  • UPSTATE / HUDSON VALLEY
  • (Other cities, Nov 3rd meetings via CrisisCommons)
  • BOSTON
  • DC
  • PORTLAND, OR
  • AUCKLAND ZEALAND
  • GALAWAY, IRELAND
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SEATTLE

Other Places to Seek Assistance:

Donations:

Helpful apps!:

Animal Rescue:

Other Resources:
  • includes drop off locations for donation items
  • Facebook page:
  • Twitter:
  • @OccupySandy
  • @Occuweather << live tweets from a recovery boat near Chelsea Pier
  • @TrickorAid
  • @HC_Sandy (run by allies of @OccupyPolice)
  • @OccupyWallStNYC
  • @350
  • @NYCMayorsOffice
  • @globalrevlive
  • @SIrecovers (Staten Island recovery hashtag)
  • Storify:
  • Maps
  • Maps of incidents / help needed:
  • Map of shelters:

#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

Neighborhood.recovers.org sites (also mentioned above):

*****************
This is the HurricaneHackers link list

Front Page Hurricane Hackers. Github code base HurricaneHackers.

****************

The EFF is fighting for open internets - this is exactly why: the Net access right now is fucked up and bullshit.

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement - OpenWireless.org

EFF believes open networks are crucial in hurricane-affected areas

Update: In response to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, Comcast is opening its XFINITY WiFi hotspots to non-Comcast subscribers in PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, MA, NH and ME until Nov. 7. Users should search for the network "xfinitywifi" and click on "Not a Comcast subscriber?" at the bottom of the sign-in page. Users should select the "Complimentary Trial Session" option from the drop down list. TheOpen Wireless Movement thanks Comcast for helping out!

In troubled times, it's important to help each other out. Right now, we're witnessing an unprecedented hurricane hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and the ensuing damage and power outages are crippling rescue efforts, businesses large and small, and personal communications.

Communication is critical in time of crisis, and the Internet allows for the most effective way of getting information in and out. With readily available networks, government officials could use tools like Twitter to quickly spread information, citizen reports could help focus assistance where it is needed most, and social media updates could help reassure friends and loved ones—keeping mobile phone lines open for emergencies.

To take advantage of the Internet, people should not have to attempt to skirt restrictive Terms of Service to attempt to tether their smartphones. And tethering would not be necessary if there were ubiquitous open wireless, so that anyone with a connection and power can share their network with the neigborhood.

Last year, we wrote a post titled "Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement." Today, EFF is proud to announce the launch of the Open Wireless Movement—located at openwireless.org—a coalition effort put forth in conjunction with nine other organizations: Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.

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Here is the big ol index from HurricaneHackers: Linklist - Google Drive

   

#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC


HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

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#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC

HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System

Wind

Water

Evacuation

Official Data

Forecasts

Models

Images

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap

Streams

Amateur Radio

Images

Social Media

Aggregators

News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs

Important Articles / Posts

Twitter

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination

#HurricaneHackers key links:


Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System


Wind




Water


Evacuation



Power

Needs/Supplies:

  • Red Hook Initiative – Texting Needed Supplies to Collaborative Map (@jrbaldwinn):
    • TEXT Hurricane Needs to: (347)778-0570
    • Format by: Need @ Location i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn"
    • Auto populates map data here for responders: https://rhiwifi.co/hurricane/

Official Data

Forecasts

  • NOAA/NWS Seven Day forecast including hourly output and current watchocation. link
  • WUnderground state-by-state breakdown: http://goo.gl/hDD1N

Models

Images

http://tinyurl.com/hurricaneSandyNRL2


Storm Briefings
NWS Office Philly

Transitioning from hurricane to Post-Tropical Storm
Topics : How, When, Why weather advisories will come from as the storm goes through Frankenstorm mode
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTransition.pdf

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap



Streams

Amateur Radio


  • hurricane Watch Net: 14.325.00 MHz; 7.268 MHz; 3.950 Mhz

Images


Social Media


Aggregators



News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs


Important Articles / Posts


Twitter


  • #Sandy, #ZoneA, #Frankenstorm, any other hashtags popular?
    • Boston: #BoSandy
    • New York: #NYSandy, #NYCSandy
    • New Jersey: #NJSandy
    • Virginia: #VASandy
    • Pennsylvania: #PASandy
    • New Hampshire: #NHSandy
    • Maine: #MESandy
    • Richmond: #SandyRVA
    • Maryland: #SandyMD
    • DC: #SandyDC
  • Matt Noyes, NECN meterologist : https://twitter.com/MattNoyesNECN ; has technical livestreams here: http://goo.gl/0oTf7
  • FEMA Administrator: https://twitter.com/craigatfema
  • NY Scanner: https://twitter.com/NYScanner

Transportation

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination


#HurricaneHackers key links:

  1. Index: http://bit.ly/hh-index
  2. Linklist: http://bit.ly/hh-linklist
  3. Projects: http://bit.ly/hh-projects-read
  4. Lulz: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/sandylulz
  5. Chat: IRC, Freenode, #hurricanehackers: http://irc.lc/freenode/hurricanehackers

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Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery - Google Drive

DRAFT - Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery

Drafting led by Steven Clift, E-Democracy.org
Join our Neighbors Online Webinar on Nov. 14

What can you do with social media and online tools for your neighbors who make up your local community?

As we move from emergency response to long-term recovery, here are some collective tips from the “locals online” community (join your peers for tips and advice).

  1. People matter more than tools. Don’t spend hours searching for the perfect tool, if you are willing to step up for your building, your block, your broader neighborhood or community, etc. it is your leadership that matters. Combining your willingness to digitally organize your neighbors with the best social media tools for you - be it compiling a cc: e-mail group of forty households or creating online groups using the latest social media tool for thousands - what matters most is your energy and dedication to reach out to your neighbors in every way possible. Be an e-leader for your community. You won’t regret it.
  2. Tools do matter. Pick your social media tools carefully and think about what your neighbors will actually use. Even if you are the right person with good communication skills and the ability to quickly establish trust among those neighbors you gather online, picking the wrong tool or relying on a single tool may not work. Just because a tool has great visual design or all the fancy features does not mean it will work with people stuck on smart phones for example who just prefer to use e-mail, Facebook, etc.
  3. Gather email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and other contact information first. Having email addresses and mobile phones numbers in your possession allow you to actively reach people. The ability to “broadcast” to your nearest neighbors with full control over when, who, etc. matters particularly if you want to reach older residents who do not “live on Facebook.” With complete control over the distribution of important information, this allows you to use different tools and approaches without being locked in by a single website. Here is a paper sign-up template you can adapt.
  4. Connect people horizontally by creating an online group for your local building/block/neighborhood/community. Name it by your place generally so it can last over the long-term as a space for neighbor connecting so you are better prepared for the next disaster. Invite people to join - often in-person, on paper flyers, etc. as well as online. Remember that the technology is the easy part. Be as inclusive as possible and don’t forget renters and lower income residents. Here are some tools to review (someone please draft and a add link). Note: Some neighborhoods still have thriving YahooGroups from a decade ago, a local “place blog” with an active web forum, etc. - join forces with them rather than recreating the wheel. Do a quick search (links to come). Some tools:
    • Facebook Groups: If you want to use Facebook, create a Facebook Group not a Facebook Page. Facebook Pages are a terrible tool for sustained group communication. Note that at about 150 members in a group, Facebook switches the default email notification setting to only send you notices when your friends posts. This is a negative, but Facebook is still a good way to quickly gather people online. You can always add the use of other tools later. Facebook Groups are better for smaller areas, but don’t scale well “community participation” wise because of the hidden notification issue. Two more concerns - the public officials you want to respond to your exchanges are often blocked from social media at work and by choosing Facebook at the core you’ve eliminated half the Internet users over 50. If you have older folks on your block that you want to include, this means you need to reach then another way. Therefore do not underestimate the simple power of an effective email list to break through computer firewalls.
    • E-mail lists: YahooGroups, Google Groups, and more. Note that you need to use tools like Mailman or others IF you want to be able to use paper sign-up sheets as the big online hosts no longer allow you to “add” people. Now you may only invite them which means lots will not click on the confirmation link. For a “social media maven,” paper sign-up sheets for e-mail lists may seem old fashioned but this is exactly what the Presidential campaigns do - collect e-mail and Zipcode everywhere and then communication build from there. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. E-Democracy goes door to door with the neighbors online efforts in St. Paul. It works to reach lots of people who aren’t already among the most wired or most socially connected.

    • NextDoor, .St, Others
  5. Pick your scale and openness. You need to decide if you want to organize 30 households or connect an area with hundreds or thousands of residents. At the building or block level you probably want private online spaces while covering full neighborhoods you want to be far more open and inclusive. You want your public exchanges to be easy to find and open to local community organizations, places of worship, local businesses and government. You are all in this together and private resident-only spaces covering population areas over ~1000 residents will absolutely limit your success and potentially lead to greater community conflict. If you are are focusing on your nearest neighbors ovef a few streets or in your building, here is a rough Google Doc template you can copy and adapt or view as a sample form.

  1. Twitter can be useful for spontaneous networking and quick dissolution of group connections. On Twitter use hyper-local hashtags using #place or #placeXX at a level that isn’t too local so you can reach a critical mass and not so large that it is not useful for exchange.

  1. Specialty Tools for Response/Recovery: Recovers.org, Ushahidi

  1. Interaction matters. The government and media will feed you lots of one-way information, but when it comes to very local information your neighbors are both the producers and consumers. No matter the tool, the key is email notification where participants can at least be told about what's new and better yet publish via e-mail as well to the community. If you are going to be that local e-leader, the most important thing to do once you choose your tool is to organize people and spread the word in-person.
  2. Add you own, re-order, etc.



This article is informed by E-Democracy.org 18 years of experience with local online community building including our failed experience with support local “neighbours forums” in Christchurch, New Zealand after there big earthquake. In short, supporting two regional volunteers we skipped our “you must have a local volunteer forum leader and 100 initial members in place to open” requirement. The desperate need for communication to assist community recovery did not generate local volunteers even with 1000 participants recruited but spread out over 25 forums. So, in short the real world lesson is that no block, building, neighborhood or community will successfully connect in a trusted community building manner without at least one person in that area stepping up an an authentically local leader.

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Anyway hope this helps!! Good luck folks.

Plans for closed door Occupy Homes national meeting spurs opposition [VIDEO]

///// 1AM August 7th update: http://hongpong.com/archives/2012/08/07/security-culture-danger-closed-o... /////

///// 1:40PM Sat August 4 update and correction below /////

Many Twin Cities activists working with the Occupy Homes MN group were surprised to hear that a national gathering committee, with two representatives from their group, had decided to restrict open access to most (but not all) of the sessions of that national gathering, scheduled around August 7th-9th so in Minneapolis. (As far as I can tell it's not exactly clear when one of those delegates got delegated - and as seen on the long video, there is disagreement among Occupy Homes MN members about whether the ability to choose to lock the gathering was actually delegated.)

This unusual setup comes in contrast to other decidedly open Occupy related gatherings like the #natgat in Philadelphia, and the Occupy Midwest gathering recently in St. Louis and later in August in Detroit.

While unfortunately these documents lack proper dates, I think: the schedule came first, then the letter of criticism signed by some advocates for openness, then the counter-response and FAQ by the gathering committee.

These are all 'intended as public', not internal emails, and were the main basis for a large & long meeting of the Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting last Wednesday at 4200 Cedar Ave.

AUG 4 CORRECTION: It was not accurate to say that "Everything not marked OPEN is... closed". More correctly, the default state of each session is assumed closed, and one open event, a mixer at Monique White's house, is specified as open. The 'welcome brunch/mixer' is supposed to be open. The 'block/house party' is supposed to be open, and there is another panel over in St Paul at the Wellstone Center on the last day which is supposed to be open.

AUG 4 UPDATE from an open Occupy Minneapolis informal mailing list:

Occupy Homes General Meeting is Sat. 8/4 2-4pm, at the NOC office where the National Convening happens Wed. and Thurs.
Location: New NOC office, 911W Broadway, between Dupont and Bryant. #14 buses stop on Dupont and Broadway, walk east less than a block.
There will be a discussion about whether the National Convening is closed to all but a few from MN. Video of the discussion of this at the All Committees Meeting Wed:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/256067647796440/permalink/366724770064060/
A slate of 6 MN participants and some alternates were chosen Fri. night at a meeting of 12 people.

I was able to get a copy of the FAQ (DOC available here) and a digital version of the same letter as below (DOC here), but not able to get a response to this post on the record. I am adding the FAQ text to the article.

Last night I asked the following set of questions to get answer on the record, as on background I was told by one of the people who locked out the gathering that there will be accommodations for five observers per session, and anyone is welcome to request to be one of the five observers. However the process for this culling of observers has not been specified, or at least I do not have that info available.

Sent via my crude cell phone pickings:

if I'm not on the slate you guys end up sending, is there a open process to let everyone in who is not on the slate? what is that process? is it exhaustively the content of that faq?

i agree with you there are open events that are not marked as such, i will correct that. however the default implies restricted access, aka closed sessions. some open sessions are marked, but none of the closed ones are. i'll clarify that's the default, but I was incorrect initially.

do you think closed access and restricted access are different semantically? the definitions we may disagree on i suspect. i think its either open or closed access, are those true binaries in your view? is it open access?

i doing [typo: don't] understand how anyone is supposed to attend, aka open access, where is any info on this? there is a filter besides open access and what is the replacement process?

how is that process deduced for the observer class of restricted participants? thanks. how is the observer class defined and when was that decision reached?

the various forms of logic are not clear in the restriction operations performed at both the occupyhomes mn level, the creation of restriction process within occupy homes mn & the process of the rationalizing of exclusion on the event committee. (in so many words)

i need to know the lineage of decision by which people, like me, those facing charges from occupy homes mn direct actions etc, get excluded from the sessions as well as your new proposed slate of participants and alternates.

are the alternates the same as observers? i assume not, but when was the decision taken? thanks much! sorry for the lack of caps on cell text,

No response yet to these questions.
//// END AUGUST 4 UPDATE ////


VIDEOS:

1/2 - 46 minutes. Will be uploaded & available Creative Commons at http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/al; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">http://youtu.be/TEehqYYu0yE within an hour or so.

2/2 - 7 minutes. Available Creative Commons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpafGFkVczM

Letter of criticism:

occupyhomes2.jpg

Proposed slate selection rules:

occupyhomes1.jpg

Counter-response by committee:

occupyhomes3.jpg

Proposed gathering schedule/agenda: [see correction above]

occupyhomes4.jpg occupyhomes5.jpg occupyhomes6.jpg

FAQ from committee - dang I failed to photograph but can get it later - maybe someone else has it... UPDATE AUG 4, I was provided a copy of FAQ from one of the people who locked out the sessions. It is added in full text below (with doc-via-textedit hyperlink cruft).

FAQ: The Occupy Homes National Network Convening

What is the Occupy Homes National Network Convening?
The Occupy Homes National Network Convening is bringing organizers from across the US for a 2-day meeting in Minneapolis to build a more cohesive movement to confront the housing crisis, and shape a movement for systemic economic change. Occupy Homes has sharpened the movement’s message and broadened its reach, yet national coordination has been ad hoc and under-nourished. We hope to start a process towards build a network that is vastly more than the sum of its parts.

Who is involved in the National Convening?
The convening is being hosted by the Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee, with local support from Occupy Homes MN. The convening committee is an ad hoc group including individuals from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Homes MN, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, Organizing for Occupation, Home Defenders League, and OccupyOurHomes.org.

Gathering in Minneapolis will be groups that are engaging in home occupations and eviction defense style tactics from around the country. Many are groups that organize under the Occupy Homes banner, but also include community-based organizations who have been engaged in housing justice work prior to the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

How big is the Convening?
The convening will have approximately 40 participants from around the country. 

What was the selection process for participants?
The convening committee reached out to groups who are engaging in home occupations in a similar fashion to what has been done in Minneapolis with people like HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"MoniqueHYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/" HYPERLINK "http://occupyourhomes.org/blog/2012/may/3/monique-white-victory/"White. We also reached out to groups who have organized on housing justice issues within their local occupy group, or explicitly use occupy-style direct action tactics such as occupying foreclosure auctions. We asked the groups to decide internally who they would like to send; the convening committee had no input on how these groups chose their representatives.

The committee also sought to achieve geographic, economic, racial, and political/philosophical diversity to ensure the meeting reflected a range of opinions and groundings in different experiences. The primary benchmark was participation in multiple home occupations, liberations, or eviction defenses.

Why is the number of attendees limited?
The universe of people who we think are leaders in the Occupy Homes movement—and housing justice movement more broadly—extends far beyond the participants of this convening. We wish we could have more people participate, but are limited by a number of primary concerns.

First, we want to create a space where productive conversations produce concrete ideas to move this work forward to larger scale nationally. Based on the large number of relevant topics and short duration of the meeting itself, the convening committee made the decision that more than 40 people would make this outcome unlikely.

Second, we have limited resources to bring people from around the country. For example, while there are many organizers across California who are doing inspiring work for housing justice, we can only afford to fly a couple of them to Minnesota.

Third, we don't want any one city or organization to have a disproportionate voice in this conversation. We are concerned that privileging the participation of some groups over others due to geographical proximity or greater financial resources could overpower the diversity of perspectives that we hope to illuminate.

How is the Convening funded?
The convening committee applied for and received a grant from the Movement Resource Group (you can see the proposal here: HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"httpHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"://HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"movementresourcegroupHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320".HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"orgHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"/?HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"pageHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"_HYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"idHYPERLINK "http://movementresourcegroup.org/?page_id=320"=320). The primary costs of the convening are air travel for participants, as well as food and ground transportation. Occupy Homes MN supporters are lodging most of the participants in private homes and apartments.

July 2012
Occupy Homes National Network Convening Committee

Question board from Wednesday evening Occupy Minneapolis All Committee Meeting (shorthand, not literal)


occupyhomes14.jpg occupyhomes15.jpg

Grant proposal re Movement Resource Group:


occupyhomes7.jpg occupyhomes8.jpg occupyhomes9.jpg occupyhomes10.jpg occupyhomes11.jpg occupyhomes12.jpg occupyhomes13.jpg

******

Many of those in Minneapolis favoring restricting the Minnesota presence to a 'slate' have moved quickly to lock the notion of that slate into reality via a meeting, and a great deal of internal discussion is going on.

At this time, the plan is that no one from Minneapolis except that slate would be able to get in and observe most of the gathering, which will be closed. UPDATE Aug 4: this is disputed by one of the people who locked out the sessions - they say that anyone can apply for 5 limited observer slots but the process is unknown to me at this time.

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