While the Christian world focuses on Easter today, a different group of people with spirituality on their minds showed up in Tribeca yesterday afternoon with the aim of casting out some devils from a building that's been reported to be an NSA listening station.
As mentioned earlier this week, a group of demonstrators organized by editors of The Quiet American showed up in front of the AT&T building at 33 Thomas Street to call attention to the purported NSA activity going on at the building and to "exorcise the malevolent energy and information coursing through the AT&T monolith."
Our photographer on the scene, Sai Mokhtari, described the demonstration in which participants wore tin foil hats and held mirrors up to the building to create "a giant surveillance feedback loop" as "creative and colorful, and quite over the top and funny."
Noah Harley, the publisher of The Quiet American, told Gothamist that he estimated about 60 to 70 people showed up overall, after the demonstration began with a crowd of about 20 people. He also said that the exorcism, during which the demonstrators called on "Dale Eckhardt Jr., Amanhoteph, Rabindranath, Tagore, Confucius, Rumi, Malcolm X, Ella Baker, Rosa Luxembourg, Woody Guthrie, Rilke, Ghandi" to "confuse and foil this building’s operation, prevent this building from successfully collecting information from now on, prevent this building from exerting fear from now on," accomplished the goals that organizers had set out to achieve.
It completely worked," Harley told Gothamist. "First on the physical level, because we think the building shrunk by about 40 feet, which corresponds to the space taken up by the two floors of the (alleged) NSA offices in the building," Harley said. In addition to any physical changes it might have caused to the building, Harley said that the demonstration also "helped call attention to the collusion between the NSA and ATT&T."
Harley also said that a police observer on the scene marveled at the whole thing and was heard to say "My god, this is extremely well planned out."
However, at least one observer saw the devious hands of Russia at work:
— John Schindler (@20committee) April 13, 2017
Harley wouldn't confirm that he was an agent of the FSB or other Russian intelligence agency, telling Gothamist that we would have to "talk to his superiors" about any Kremlin sponsorship. He did, however, tell us a new issue of The Quiet American will come out in June and that "we can say that we're happy that George Soros gave us one million dollars for our tin foil costumes."