Oaktown Pirate
Raw Video: DEA, IRS, & Federal Marshals raid Oaksterdam University/Richard Lee w/aid from OPD - 4/2/2012


We’ll be posting clips to highlight incidents (interviews, arrests, etc.) as soon as our excruciatingly slow net connection and correspondingly creaky computer hardware allow. In the meantime, here’s the raw video.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


Guerrilla camping is a tactic du jour for some in Occupy Oakland.

After a night and a day of occupying Mosswood Park (renamed Huey P. Newton Park by the occupiers), the expectation was that if the park remained occupied at 10pm Thursday night, the OPD would clear the park per the posted closing times.

By the time I got home from the jobby-job and got my gear rolling, it was closing in on 10pm. I tweeted that Team Oaktown Live would be going Live & Direct.

But there would be no livestream that night.

While pedaling up Broadway I heard an Occupier holler at me from in front of Luka’s. I pulled over quickly and was told that the park had been abandoned… BUT, there was a super-secret replacement camp being set up at a different location.

Then came the kicker: the occupiers setting up the camp were requesting a total media blackout: no tweeting about the secret camp, communication via trusted word of mouth only, and no livestreaming. The rationale given was that the occupiers wanted to avoid police harassment at least until dawn when the park opened, and that livestreaming would likely give away their position.

I learned the location of the park through non-public channels. Its existence wasn’t even being tweeted about, that I was aware of. But I knew where it was.

I thought about TOL’s position re: Sunshine Bloc and what that means and came to the following decision: In my role as citizen journalist I would go to the camp, camera off. If the cops showed up, I would go live. I decided to respect the request for media blackout (discussion of this choice below) in exchange for being able to go in person to take some notes and pix.

When I got to the new camp, it was about 11pm. Tucked off in a grassy corner without a direct view from the street were 3 small and 1 large tents, with more laid out on the ground awaiting poles. A large easy-up canopy with a broken, jagged metal spar was being jury-rigged into service and hung with an “Oakland Commune” banner. Around a tree were several smaller occu-signs, as well as the now notorious red Occupy Oakland sign.

My estimate is that there were around 15-20 occupiers, but it was dark and some of the tents were already occupied. Several unfortunate souls were puppy-piled together on top of a tarp without benefit of tent. Others were sitting around smoking cigs, toking on/passing the pipe, and generally cccu-chatting in the dark.

Some folks hadn’t heard that marchers in the Million Hoodie March broke past the fencing and stood on the Wall Street Bull, and we talked about that. We talked about how other Occupies have had to avoid smoking pot because of hassles from the cops. Not Oakland.

Then someone checking Twitter mentioned that people were tweeting about the existence of a secret camp, and wasn’t that something they should have thought better of? The location wasn’t mentioned, but the fact that there was a camp was brought up. Hello, media blackout?

Around 11:30, some guy walking through the area started laughing quite enthusiastically. People speculated as to whether or not seeing all the tents with Occupy Oakland signage was the cause of his mirth.

A little before midnight, with most of the camp bedding down for the night, I bid them farewell and mounted my bike for home thinking about what I’d seen.

On the one hand, the “War On Tents” has been most vigorously prosecuted here in Oakland. An out-of-town livestreamer planning on coming to town asked where the Occupy camp was, where he could pitch a tent. I told him don’t try it in Oakland.

Most of the anti-camping laws are actually anti-homelessness-in-public laws. Human necessities like warmth, food, a place to sleep, somewhere to shit/piss, these are things one has to pay for or GTFO. The fact that these are available to those who afford them makes the act of simply being HUMAN IN PUBLIC WITHOUT MONEY a crime.

That being the case, the ability to set up an encampment, even for one night, is almost an act of counting coup against the city and the OPD for Occupy Oakland activists. With so many Occupy camps torn down by so many police departments, any time we hear of a camp that still has tents… MASSIVE UPTWINKLES! Oakland ain’t never gonna forget October 25, 2011.

Saturday, March 17, 2012, the 6-month anniversary of the founding of Occupy Wall Street saw massive police repression by the NYPD. Some might even call it abusive behavior under the color of authority. Sunday night in Oakland saw (among other things) an epic dance party on the doorstep of OPD in solidarity/OWS. YES, in Oakland dancing at the police is a sincere act of revolutionary solidarity. And the “secret” camps were set up as solidarity as well, to say “Oakland still camps, if only this much!”

Counting coup, but a small private one. A night full of secret tents somewhere in the East Bay is not gonna affect the Oakland City Manager or the OPD or the 1%. In many ways, it’s a tiny, possibly insignificant gesture. [Transparency note: half of TOL thinks the gesture is pointless and insignificant but still worth paying attention to.]

But Winter is ending here in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s hard to maintain a camp during the cold, wet, dark season, even with permission. A lot of people have been talking about Occupy having gone into hibernation.

And yet the American Spring is on its way.

The May 1st General Strike is on its way.

And on the cold, dark streets of Northern California, there is a tent-shaped spark being kept alive.

Those who are betting against Occupy once the warm season arrives… I suggest you look at the cards and reconsider.

[Pic enhanced w/ Photo Toaster to try to fix low light levels]


[NOTE: The location of SSC2 is no longer secret, and has been called “Elaine Brown Park” after the former Black Panther leader. DOn’t go looking for them, the camp has moved on. Next location? Secret.]



[T]here’s no such thing as a neutral story. But there is such a thing as an honest story. An honest story is one that makes a good-faith effort to be forthright about the circumstances of its own creation.

The following is a joint section by both members of Team Oaktown Live. The super-secret second camp episode has raised the question, “Given that Team Oaktown Live espouse Sunshine Bloc, was it right for Pirate to participate in the media blackout around Secret Solidarity Camp 2? Would it have been better for Pirate not to have gone at all, rather than accede to the ‘No livestreaming except in an emergency’ request of the occupiers?”

What do we mean by Sunshine Bloc and embracing transparency as a value?

Believing in the values of Sunshine Bloc does not mean living in a glass hothouse. As Lexi’s mother used to say, “Some things are nobody’s business.” Both members of TOL appreciate being able to pick our noses in private, for example. Sunshine Bloc also doesn’t meant trying to force everybody around one to live in public 24/7. There are places and times when people have reasonable expectations of privacy. Because it’s not an on/off, all-or-nothing thing, some of the places and times when a greater expectation of privacy is reasonable do happen in public; for example, you’re unlikely to find Pirate busting the privacy of somebody smoking a joint in the alley behind a club.

Sunshine Bloc doesn’t mean everything that happens is equally newsworthy. The first time a flag gets burned on an FTP march, it’s worth showing. The seventh time… less so. Sunshine Bloc does not mean being a passive transmitter of recorded images with no judgment or decisions. Where the person holding the camera chooses to point it makes a difference; it affects what’s being shown and what conclusions viewers are likely to draw from what they see.

Sunshine Bloc doesn’t mean “if it’s not live, it has no value”. And it doesn’t mean “choosing not to go live means you’re trying to hide something.”

What TOL feels Sunshine Block is about is being as honest as we can be about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and doing our best to do so in “Fairness to the Truth”. Not all sides are equally valid, spin is not on equal footing with more honest interpreting of events, and true objectivity may be humanly impossible to achieve.

There are absolutely times when secrecy and confidentiality are warranted. Sunshine Bloc is not at odds with that idea.

When Pirate learned about the Super Secret Second Camp, its location and even existence were something of a secret, which went into his decision-making process. If the situation had been different — if the existence and location were being discussed on Twitter at the time and OO groups were openly having meetings — that would have been a much more public situation, with a correspondingly lower expectation of privacy, and Pirate probably would have refused to participate in a media blackout.

Pirate made the decision to go along with the media blackout because giving away the position of the secret camp did not (to his analysis) seem newsworthy or of public interest. Streaming live would probably alert the police, something the occupiers were attempting actively to stave off.

Pirate made the decision not to tweet or mention the new camp. When people queried about where his announced livestream was, Pirate mentioned the changed circumstances at #HPNP, but not the new camp. Pirate was up front with the Occupiers he spoke to that he would not be going live at the time but was planning to write about it after the fact.

Since then (or since waking up the next morning, to be precise), Pirate and Lexi have been discussing whether or not it would have been better for Pirate (on behalf of TOL) to choose not go to the camp rather than take part in the requested media blackout. (As we have said before, TOL are not members of OO and therefore do not consider ourselves bound by the “Vow of OOmerta”.)

(For what it’s worth, Lexi’s feeling is not that going somehow violated Sunshine Bloc principles, it’s that it wasn’t a good use of time. It was too late at night to be able to interview the people there to find out what they thought and why they were doing what they were doing, it was too dark to get any good pictures, and nothing happened to give Pirate any new or different ideas about the importance (or not) of camping. Given that, Lexi feels like Pirate did a rapid late-night ride to UnspecifiedLocationSeveralMilesFromHome and back and wasted several hours in the process just to be on hand “in case OPD does something”, without gaining much/anything in the way of new ideas, perspectives, images, sounds, or video.)

So to those who think transparency and Sunshine Bloc principles matter: What do you think? Did Pirate make the right call this time? Are media blackouts something Sunshine Bloc should participate in?

Disqus is enabled on this tumblr, or you can email us at TeamOaktownLive@gmail.com. We may post some of the more thoughtful responses to a future “Viewer/Reader Feedback” page, so if you don’t want your name/userid mentioned, or if you want us to paraphrase you rather than quoting directly, please let us know.

Pirate & Lexica
Team Oaktown Live


#OO #InterfaithTent #Sanctuary for #StayawayOrders #OccupyFaith #OWS

As part of the Occupy Faith conference being held by the Occupy Oakland Interfaith Tent, Conference members erected a sacred space in the form of a canopy, then walked the canopy into Oscar Grant Plaza for a multi-faith service.

This canopy was a form of religious “Sanctuary” for Occupy activists who have been given stay-away orders from the plaza. Supporters were encouraged to wear masks and bandanas to cover their identities.

Underneath the canopy were several masked people who may or may not have had stay-away orders

Taking part in the service were clergy from many faiths, 14 states, and two representatives of Occupy Wall Street’s faith community.

Recorded live on my iPhone on 3/21/12 at 17:35 PDT

Previously: Live & Direct from Occupy Oakland: Interfaith Sactuary For the Stay-Away Cr3w


@IVAWSF #EyesWideOpen #Veterans #Suicide #Iraq

On March 19th, 2012, Iraq Veterans Against the War SF commemorated the 9th anniversary of the Iraq War by displaying the American Friends Service Committee exhibit “Eyes Wide Shut” across from San Francisco City Hall.

Part 1: The reading of the names on the boots, as well as the names (and often nameless details) of a small fraction of the Iraqi dead due to the war.

00-~32:00: Reading the names of the California Iraq War dead. Apologies if I missed a name or two off the front end.

~33:15: Farah, an Iraqi Native, reads some of the names of the Iraqi civilian war dead.

55:00: Melanie Yates(sp?) (IVAW), a public affairs specialist in Iraq. “My job was to make the war look good.”

58:50: Ryan Holloran (IVAW), active duty soldier from Ft. Hood

1:02:00: Michael Blecker(sp?), Vietnam Vet, from Swords to Plowshares

1:05:45: Scott Olsen (IVAW), the Marine veteran of 2 tours in Iraq who was shot w/ a beanbag round by riot police in Oakland

1:11:00 - Farah M. of the Iraqi Student Project, speaking as a member of the Iraqi community in the Bay Area

1:17:50 - Jason M. (IVAW) reads a staemenmt from Graham Klumpner (sp?) (IVAW) who lives in Denver, re: Afghanistan

1:23:00 - Marilyn Saner, mother of an injured Iraq Veteran, speaks about toll of multiple deployments

1:28:00 - Dottie Guy (IVAW), member of the SF Veterans Affairs Commission

1:30:15 - Paula Santos, along with her husband Ruben. Their son Ruben jr, an Iraq vet, lost his battle with PTSD and committed suicide. They read a poem he wrote on why he couldn’t come see the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit when he had the chance, choosing instead to play video games.

1:35:30 - IVAW announces they will observe 1 second of silence for every military suicide since the beginning of the Iraq War, while blocking the intersection across Polk st in front of the City Hall steps. This will take 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 30s

Recorded live on my iPhone on 3/19/12 at 12:04 PDT


TOL will be #LiveAndDirect from tonight’s #OccupyOakland’s #FTP march ~8:15pm PST #OCAM #OO #SunshineBloc http://www.ustream.tv/channel/oaktownlive

The epic rain of the last few days seems to be backing off. Unfortunately, the stabilizer Pirate ordered arrived without an essential part, and the…


Live video feeds have been a critical part of Occupy — but now, some activists argue that they’re a threat to the movement.

Team Oaktown Live  and OakFoSho were interviewed for this piece. Disqus is enabled if anyone wants to click through and leave a comment. Or you can email us at TeamOaktownLive@gmail.com

Live & Direct from Oakland, CA: “Fuck The Police” march… #9?


Team Oaktown Live will be #LiveAndDirect from tonight’s #OccupyOakland FTP march. Team coverage goes live ~8:15pm PST, march slated to start 9pm. Tonight’s theme (aside from fuck the police) is “Superheros”.


The world is watching.


Taking street photographs in New York City? The New York Times reports that photographers are facing more obstacles when shooting in public. 
“Ever since Sept. 11, a photographer’s lot in the most photographed city in America has been one of increasing frustration. Police officers, security agents and private guards try to stop journalists and members of the public who are standing in the public way from taking pictures of public events and publicly visible scenes. Almost every time they do so, they are wrong.”
Read the full article:  A Reporter With a Camera Is Confronted on Second Avenue - NYTimes.com


Taking street photographs in New York City? The New York Times reports that photographers are facing more obstacles when shooting in public. 

“Ever since Sept. 11, a photographer’s lot in the most photographed city in America has been one of increasing frustration. Police officers, security agents and private guards try to stop journalists and members of the public who are standing in the public way from taking pictures of public events and publicly visible scenes. Almost every time they do so, they are wrong.”

Read the full article:  A Reporter With a Camera Is Confronted on Second Avenue - NYTimes.com

Calling someone a “SNITCH” in Oakland is just shy of an outright threat of violence. And the threats are coming not only from adherents to BlackBloc tactics, but from green-hatted legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild

Oakland Lawyer seeks to Censor Livestreamers to 
Facilitate Crime at Occupy Protests
by Sue Basko

(February 7, 2012) This past weekend, an Oakland lawyer named Michael Siegel, (who appears to have been admitted to the bar in 2010, to distinguish him from other lawyers with the same name), advocated on Twitter his stance that livestreamers shooting video at Occupy Oakland protests were “snitches” and “informants” if they did not avert their cameras to avoid filming crime that was taking place in front of them.  Mr. Siegel proposed that Occupy Oakland should issue its own press passes given only to livestreamers who agree to distort truth and facilitate crime in the manner he has proposed.  Mr. Siegel, who uses the twitter handle @OaktownMike, was apparently supported in this outrageous proposal by a man apparently named Marcus using the twitter handle @MCompost.

The reaction by the prominent Oakland livestreamers was one of disgust and shock.

However, one streamer supported Mr. Siegel’s proposal:  A woman apparently named Eiko Huh, who uses the Twitter handle of @BellaEiko, who also videos some of the protests, joined in calling other livestreamers “snitches.”  She claims she is only videotaping police brutality.  She then used her blog to allow Michael Siegel a forum to post his anti-First Amendment, pro-crime proposal.  It can be seen HERE .

I am shocked on so many levels.  I am shocked that a lawyer, of all people, would think destructive criminals acting against the community and against the peaceful Occupy protest itself, should rule the day.  I was doubly shocked that Michael Siegel thinks Citizen Journalists should be forced to agree not to use First Amendment rights and journalistic honesty — so that what?  So that some jerkwads can run around breaking windows and starting fires?   Journalists are going to give up their First Amendment rights and their journalistic duties to tell the truth so that petty criminals who call themselves “radicals” can throw bottles at the police?     I was even more shocked that a lawyer would try to coerce livestreamers into an agreement that is very likely criminal conspiracy to aid and abet.  You don’t agree in advance to facilitate crime; if you do, you are conspiring to aid that crime.   I am also shocked that a lawyer could be licensed and yet be so unaware of the laws and Constitution and his duties with regard to them.

I wrote a reply Comment and posted it onto Bella Eiko’s blogsite.  It was removed.  This is what it said:

Hello, My name is Sue Basko.  I am a lawyer in California and Illinois.  I have a JD magna cum laude. I have a B.A. in Film and Video.  I also completed all coursework for a M.A. in Mass Communication Media Arts in the Journalism Department with an emphasis on digital production, media law, and First Amendment rights.   I also have Continuing Legal Education in Music Law, Media Law, Internet law,  etc.  I am proficient in web design, Garage Band music producing, ProTools, Final Cut Pro, and some HTML.  
 I HAVE APPROXIMATELY  35 years of work in the media fields.    I have produced and directed literally hundreds of low budget videos and TV shows. I was one of the first media activists, most notably beginning with the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Tianamen Square, and much more.
Now, I am a lawyer and I work with people in music, film, websites, writers, etc.  I write two very popular blogs - one on  Music and Film law: http://suebasko.blogspot.com and one on how to conduct legal peaceful protest: http://occupypeace.blogspot.com 

I helped get many of the Occupy sites up and running and provide legal information for Occupy protests both nationwide and worldwide.
The streets are free places in California, where anyone and everyone can have a camera or video camera.   In a protest of 1,000 people, quite likely 700 of them have a camera.  If there is a protester who wants to cause property or personal damage during that protest,  he or she will surely be on camera.  If there is a police officer who wants to beat a protester, he or she will surely be on camera. 
It is NOT RADICAL to condone violence.  In fact, it is the opposite of radical: It is oppressive.  It is NOT RADICAL to try to censor cameras.  In fact, it is the opposite of radical; it is oppressive.  
Anyone livestreaming should read two things and know them - the REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, which is at http://www.rcfp.org/   This will be your best help in the whole world to know your rights as a person with a camera.
and then read the SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS CODE OF ETHICS: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp  This will give you REAL guidelines on how to conduct yourself.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - We as good people should strive to assist what is good and what is just and right.   As a lawyer, I am REQUIRED and sworn on oath to uphold the law and not to condone criminal acts.  As a person respecting society and the rights of others — I know it is wrong to break windows,  light fires, or conduct protest in ways that are not peaceful or orderly.  It is wrong to hurt your own community or someone else’s community.  It is wrong to be disrespectful to the property and businesses that are trying to serve the community.
PLEASE BE AWARE -   Do NOT be involved with ANY agreement that says you, with a camera, will agree in advance to refrain from filming crime that is taking place near you on the street.  IF YOU DO, you may be CONSPIRING to aid and abet.  If you are considering agreeing to any such thing, PLEASE consult in advance with a lawyer whose main work is criminal law.  If you cannot find one, call the State’s Attorneys office and speak with a prosecutor and ask if this is legal.  Or ask both.
Legal Observers in Oakland calling Livestreamers “Snitches”

Green-hatted legal observers in from the National Lawyers Guild in Oakland are calling Livestreamers “SNITCHES” if we stream protesters committing petty vandalism/sabotage at an Occupy Oakland events like the weekly “Fuck The Police March”. Fuck Transparency and accountability, we’re only supposed to film police misconduct.

I am nobody’ propaganda arm. I occupy transparency and accountability.

And calling someone a “SNITCH” in Oakland is JUST SHORT OF AN OUTRIGHT THREAT OF VIOLENCE! “Snitches get stitches” is the phrase.


Timcast was threatened in NYC. SacMediaTV was called a snitch by another protester WHILE THEY WERE BOTH UNDER ARREST IN OPD CUSTODY



Please reshare if you think this is a problem. NLGSF has declined to get back to me on the subject on Twitter.