A Land Where the Law Protects the Powerful
The People v. Goldman Sachs, a personal account (photo by Adam Lempel):
What a day. It started with a hearing at Liberty Square—the people vs. Goldman Sachs. Victims came to tell of the suffering they have endured at the hands of this criminal firm. And after the verdict was reached, the victims were arrested while the guilty were protected by the police. Hours later, I found that the New York Post is calling for further arrests and an end to free speech, part of a broader misinformation blitz launched by the mass media intended to set the stage for the state to break up Occupy Wall Street.
One woman came to the mock trial at Liberty Square to express her grievances over how Goldman Sachs has ruined her life. The organization she works for had invested money in Goldman, and most of it got wiped out by the sub-prime mortgage bubble. She has seen her paycheck, which had already been paltry, cut in half, and it will likely evaporate entirely in a few months because of Goldman’s fraud—the firm played both sides of the game by packaging worthless mortgages as collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and selling them to pension funds, banks and other institutions under the guise that they were secure all the while betting against these very securities through credit default swaps (CDS). As Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibi reports, they knew they were selling shit, and “Goldman’s mortgage department accounted for 54 percent of the bank’s risk.” The object was to maximize profits at everyone else’s expense. And they wiped out millions of people, from small investors to pensioners to ordinary workers.
Then when insurers such as AIG couldn’t pay Goldman back, they raided the Treasury, stealing tens of billions of your tax dollars. And they were able to do this because they control the government. Nearly every key player in Washington has deep ties to Goldman Sachs, from former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to Tim Geithner to Bush to Obama. It makes no difference which political party or which administration is in power. They are all in bed with Goldman Sachs. Their fangs are deep inside your neck, even if you don’t realize it. This is why all of Goldman’s top executives can lie before a Senate committee and not go to jail.
Nobody in power has a problem with Goldman because they stole from poor people, over six million of whom will be evicted from their homes and won’t receive any bailouts. Bernie Madoff, on the other hand, gets all the attention and jail time because he stole from the rich. As they said on 60 Minutes earlier this week, he’s “the biggest financial criminal in history.” But the truth is, he’s small fish. He just scammed a bunch of greedy fat cats. The real criminals are still in power. Corporations like Goldman Sachs and AIG and Bank of America continue to speculate with your money. They continue to subvert the political process with their lobbying and campaign contributions. And they have already begun to march us towards the next boom-bust cycle, which will likely be even worse than the last one.
After all these facts were brought to light at The People’s Court, we marched on Goldman Sachs. We came to demand justice. We came to collect the money Goldman stole from us. We came to arrest Blankfein and all the other top executives.
But instead, we faced arrests. The police, who as usual had followed our every step with a battalion of motorcycles and foot soldiers, quickly ordered us to leave. But we stayed. Over a dozen bravely sat down in front of Goldman’s headquarters and refused to move. They were all arrested while the rest of us, who had chosen to step back rather than face certain incarceration, watched. We cheered the squatters on and condemned the cops, shouting “shame,” and “who do you protect, who do you serve,” and “the real criminals are inside.”
It was a tough scene. It was heartbreaking to watch. I saw the police violently subdue a young, pretty girl, who courageously sacrificed her body for truth and justice. It took a whole gang of officers to arrest another squatter. Where I stood two black cops were on guard, preventing us from joining the sit-in. One of the protestors, a black guy in his twenties, spoke for us all by shaming the officers, telling them to go fuck themselves and shouting, “any black man who serves the man is betraying his brothers” and “you’re shaming your children.” The officers tried to ignore us, as they have been trained to do, but I could tell from their facial expressions that they felt bad about what they were doing. They couldn’t look us in the eye. They were often staring at the ground. But they are slaves who don’t deserve our sympathy.
It was hard for me to control my emotions. Here we were, at the epicenter of fraud and corruption, and the victims were the ones who were being arrested. One cannot imagine a more blatant perversion of justice—the police exist to serve the corporate state. I couldn’t afford to get arrested on this day for personal reasons, but I had trouble just standing on the sidelines while others heroically went to jail. A part of me wanted to burst through the cops and link arms with everyone on the floor. I still feel some regret at not having joined.
Fittingly, a few hours later I saw the front page of the New York Post, which featured an article called “Enough: Time to Throw the Bums Out,” about how Bloomberg has got to get tough on Occupy Wall Street and kick out those “crazies and criminals” who have “trashed lower Manhattan,” as if Bloomberg hasn’t already tried to throw us out, sent riot police on us when we attempted to take Washington Square Park and routinely unleashed mass arrests. The Post conveniently omits these facts because they must convince their readers that Bloomberg, one of the billionaire oligarchs, is some kind of bleeding heart liberal. The paper falsely charges that the mayor has “essentially been hiding behind the fact that Zuccotti Park is not city property,” cravenly “passing the buck to City Hall.”
I thought last week we were “eating like kings,” dining on “gourmet food?” Pretty rapid transformation to degeneracy. In any event, the “party is over,” and it’s time to establish law and order.
Of course, Rupert Murdoch, their boss, isn’t a criminal deserving retribution. He only orders his henchmen to hack into the phones of kidnapped children and then lies about it, and he only commands his army of propagandists to promulgate disinformation every day in support of criminal wars of aggression and speculation. But that’s fine. We’re the real criminals because of “the lewdness, the incessant noise, filth and downright dangerous conditions” we “have foisted upon lower Manhattan,” apparently an allusion to Bloomberg’s false accusation that we failed to report a sexual assault incident to the police.
In fact, “OWS security personnel forcibly removed the individual and handed him directly to the NYPD,” according to Andrew Smith, a member of OWS’s overnight Community Watch, and Ryan, an eyewitness and member of the OWS press group, says our security team had to notify the NYPD multiple times before they bothered to take matters into their own hands and arrest the rapist. Meanwhile the police, at Bloomberg’s behest, have allegedly been busy injecting violent drunks and drug addicts into Zuccotti Park to agitate and create a pretext for eviction, which the authorities will likely attempt soon. Nobody cares that, according to a source of mine on the inside, a friend whose name I cannot reveal, Goldman employees typically snort cocaine before leaving for work every morning. Drug use at Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, is a serious public safety crisis.
Though it styles itself as independent of government and ensconced in the free market, The Post is actually acting on behalf of Bloomberg by planting the seeds for the state to storm Liberty Square. It’s a vicious twist of irony that they are pretending to criticize him for lacking toughness while orchestrating a propaganda campaign in support of his fascist agenda of evicting Occupy Wall Street.
But they’re all playing for the same team, which includes The New York Times—they’ve played their part in painting OWS as dangerous as well, setting the stage for a government/Wall Street crackdown by focusing on the dangerous presence of homeless people and writing a piece that reads like government propaganda on behalf of Bloomberg, amazingly stating that “the city has generally tried to avoid confrontation” with Occupy Wall Street and characterizing “Mr. Bloomberg’s evolving response to the protest” as embodying “a central tension in his third term, between his celebration of free, and at times cacophonous, speech as a hallmark of New York, and his emphasis on bolstering the city’s economy by improving its appeal to residents, employers and tourists,” implying that the occupation itself, rather than the state’s unlawfully erecting metal barricades throughout the Financial District, is harmful to the economy and local residents.
The Times’ recent coverage illustrates very clearly how disingenuous they are when at times they have sympathized with or even praised Occupy Wall Street. They, together with The Post, serve the real owners of this country. There’s no need for a formal conspiracy among the power elite. They attend the same clubs, schools, golf courses, etc, and they know what’s in their best interest. Bloomberg and the rest of the elites have friends at all the major media outlets eager to do their bidding.
As always, The Post refuses to mention the crimes Wall Street has unleashed on not only lower Manhattan, but the world. As their buddy Bloomberg recently said, it’s the liberals in Congress (as if there were such a thing) who are responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis, not the big banks. The object is to distract readers from “the dangerous conditions” Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs have created in Greece, Iraq and, of course, America. In truth, as the Post sees it, we are criminals because we are exercising our right to free speech and protest. Then again, as the Post conceitedly claims, “no one has greater respect for the First Amendment than this paper.” Not even Orwell’s Ministry of Truth could have topped that one.
It’s fitting that the right wing propaganda machine, itself backed by Wall Street, would call for arresting and, if need be, brutally doing away with Occupy Wall Street. Like their corporate masters, they have nothing but contempt for truth and justice. Indeed, the ethic that guides Goldman Sachs pervades the Post, Murdoch’s empire, and ultimately the mass media. The law must protect powerful criminals and imprison those who stand up for what’s right.
Wearechange footage of arrests at Goldman Sachs
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Tagged with: arrests • Bloomberg • boom-bust cycle • drugs • fascist • homeless • Liberty Square • mass media • metal barricades • New York Post • New York Times • NYPD • Occupy Wall Street • power elite • right wing propaganda machine • sub-prime mortgage crisis • the people v. goldman sachs
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