Sign up here for the Occupy Supply webinar with Lt. Dan Choi, Jason Leopold and Kevin Baron on filing Freedom of Information Act requests, starting tomorrow night at 8pm ET.
The recent wave of crack-downs on occupations across the country should have journalists asking serious questions: Why are these cities using such similar tactics? Where is all the money coming from? Why are defense contractors infiltrating and monitoring occupations, and who is paying their bills? And how is all this quicky legislation being passed across the country by bodies that heretofore seemed paralyzed?
Instead, what we get for the most part is sneering derision from a journalistic class that sees its interests aligned with those of elites. So if anyone is going to get to the bottom of coordinated efforts to destroy the Occupy movement, it’s going to take the efforts of engaged local supporters who won’t take “no” for an answer.
A few journalists, such as Jason Leopold, have filed FOIA requests at the federal level seeking to obtain information on the violent and repressive measures being used against occupy groups across the country. And some papers have been able to take advantage of local public information laws to get information, such as the letters obtained by the Baltimore Sun from T. Rowe Price Chairman Brian Rogers to the Mayor of Baltimore urging Occupy Baltimore’s eviction. But for the most part, inquiries have been met with Orwellian responses by government officials at all levels.
Kevin Baron is a FOIA wizard whose work exposing government contracting through Freedom of Information Act requests earned the James Madison Award from the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter for the American Small Business League. He is currently a Graduate Assistant at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida, and for the past two months he has been advising Lt. Dan Choi on filing FOIA requests about the government’s attempts to vindictively prosecute him for his DADT activism. With Kevin’s help Dan has already managed to force numerous federal agencies into turning over documents, including emails from the White House.
Kevin has generously agreed to give a webinar presentation tomorrow night for Occupy Supply on how to submit FOIA requests regarding the government’s actions against occupations across the country — and more importantly, what to do when the government won’t comply.
Because we feel that this kind of inquiry is so important to the defense of the Occupy movement, as well as to an open and democratic society, we are inviting anyone to participate who wants to volunteer to file inquiries regarding their local occupation. We especially encourage occupiers to attend so that they can carry the information back to others at their occupations.
Also joining us on the webinar will be Lt. Dan Choi and Jason Leopold, who will discuss their experiences filing Freedom of Information Act requests.
We hope that by sharing the collective experience and expertise of Kevin, Dan and Jason it will help both occupiers and their supporters to penetrate the veil of secrecy that has kept coordinating efforts from view, and force public accountability through transparency.
If you would like to attend the Occupy Supply webinar tomorrow night starting at 8pm ET with Dan Choi, Jason Leopold and Kevin Baron on filing Freedom of Information Act requests, you can sign up here.
Can’t make the webinar? Sign up here to receive information on how to file Freedom of Information Act requests.