Archive for August, 2008

AP Covers a March at RNC, San Francisco Chronicle Covers Raids

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Patrice sent this link to a story of a march by veterans and Code Pink that led to several arrests. It appears that the raids on protest groups are not stopping the demonstrations.

I just saw on TruthOut an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the raids, too.  Maybe the protests will get some traditional media coverage.  Where are the New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post?  Where is the network news?

Reports of Raids in Twin Cities in Advance of RNC

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

There are a number of reports of raids on groups who might protest the RNC. The repression is not waiting on events here. Thanks to Bonnie for some of these.

This story orginally on the Twin Cities Daily Planet about a night raid was reproduced on TruthOut. The Daily Planet continuing coverage of numerous raids by fully armed swat teams on private houses where protestors are guests is impossible to update fast enough. Please check that site and go back as things develop.
I was really glad to see their article covering the fearless reporting by Amy Goodman and her team from Democracy Now. I look forward to Goodman’s reporting of the targeting of journalists including some from her organization.

goodman_twincities.jpg Amy Goodman at work in the twin cities.

The hypocrisy of the US dictator rebuking China for police detention of activists ahead of the Olympic games is unspeakable. These raids are clearly meant to stifle freedom of speech and assembly. On one of the videos on FireDogLake, Bruce Nestor, a legal observer and past president of the National Lawyers Guild, states eloquently what these raids are about.

nestor_pastpresNLG.jpg Bruce Nestor, past president of National Lawyers Guild and Legal Observer

I plan to continue to check both the Twin Cities Daily Planet and the FireDogLake sites as things continue.

September 1, 2008

Bruce Nestor and other members of National Lawyers Guild are hard at work to stop the harassment of protest, having filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.  They are hard at work to retrieve material confiscated from journalists and others.  Read more here…

What I don’t know how to do is stop this repression of our rights and freedoms and the continuing abrogation of our Constitution.

Failure of Corporate Media to Report on Repression in Denver

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Here is a link to the Democracy Now coverage of what observers say was an illegal mass arrest of protesters in Denver.  They report serious violations of police procedure.  As someone who has participated in demonstrations, I am grateful to the legal observers who often attend with cameras and video equipment to record events.  It is chilling to me that most Americans are unaware of these things.  I have the greatest appreciation of Democracy Now, which, unlike the corporate media,  works tirelessly to let the public know the truth.

goodman_gonzales.jpg  Democracy Now: Juan Gonzales and Amy Goodman

If one only saw the traditional media coverage of the DNC, one would have no idea that the police state now emerging in this country was operating to suppress Constitutional rights at the time.

When will we Americans see that repression of dissent is only the first step?  Already many steps toward a totalitarian state have been taken here.

Click here if you missed the link above.

News from the “Freedom Cage” in Denver

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Hey everybody, this is Jonathan Williams, I’m the Student Peace Action Network coordinator writing to you from Denver.  I’m here with SPAN activists, war veterans, grandmothers, teachers, and union workers gathered outside the Pepsi Center.  I wanted to reach out to you to tell you the stories you won’t hear on CNN about the Democratic National Convention – the stories of activists.  They are trying to contain us in a “freedom cage,” harassing activists while we sleep, and trying to suppress our power.  But we’re fighting their military state with the highest form of patriotism – dissent.

The thousands of protestors at the DNC are here for many reasons.  There are activists performing water boarding demonstrations, some others are focused on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. More still are fed-up with elected leaders who cater to corporate interests while ignoring citizens’ demands.

The number one issue on the minds of protestors is Iraq.  Regardless of party affiliation (or lack of it), the American people are sick of this war.  I spoke with a mother who took all her vacation time to come out to both conventions in protest.  She blamed Republicans and Democrats alike for our failing economy, the quagmire in Iraq, and high gas prices.

Yesterday, I joined the Iraq Veteran’s Against the War (IVAW) for Operation First Causality.  Watch the video of them in action in DC.  In a flurry of activity these former and current GI’s show what kind of work they did in Iraq – securing the area, interrogating civilians, forcefully detaining bystanders.  This is the real deal – and it’s the picture of Iraq the American people never see.

Today, we’ll march from the convergence space to the Pepsi center to deliver a letter to the presumptive nominee, Barack Obama, demanding we end the occupation in Iraq, take care of vets when they return, and provide reparations to Iraqis for the damage we’ve inflicted on their country.

The next stop is the Republican National Convention.  I’ll be meeting up with Peace Action affiliate groups there from Maine, Wisconsin, and California – we’ll send an update to you when we get there.  If the reaction to the Democrats is any indication the Republicans will meet serious resistance in St. Paul – and it’s about time.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Williams

SPAN Coordinator
Peace Action 

At the Convention

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

100_0768.jpg Betsy Rose with guitar, Medea in white pants, Paula between them.

Some readers of this blog might remember entries I made in September 2007 when I went to the DC march against the war and sang with Betsy Rose and Code pink.  Well, Betsy has taken her guitar and songs to Denver and she and the Code Pink folks are demonstrating near the convention hall in hopes of getting more action on ending the war.  On Tuesday 8-26-08,   Betsy is clearly shown several times during a Code Pink demonstration on Democracy Now! It immediately follows coverage of Nancy Pelosi’s speech and a follow-up interview. You can watch or listen to the program at the Democracy Now! website. The show is on for two hours during the conventions and this segment begins around 1 hour and 7 minutes into the broadcast and ends about 5 minutes later. Songs you’ll hear
include: When we make peace instead of war, I sing for the mothers, and We shall not be moved. There’s also a cool discussion between Medea Benjamin and a police officer. Enjoy!               Paula

If you missed the link, click here to go to the Democracy Now site.

Cages Prepared for Citizens As Corporations Prepare Fetes for Congess and Candidates

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Here’s a link to an article by Michael Winship that lists corporations holding parties for elected officials at the two major party conventions.  He says:

“There will be more than 400 parties and other events at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Corporations and other special interests will contribute more than $100 million. That can buy a lot of influence. Just a few of the others involved: the Nuclear Energy Institute, Allstate, Wachovia, Union Pacific, ConocoPhillips, Molson-Coors, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Qwest, Target, Staples, SEIU, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Nancy Watzman, director of the Sunshine Foundation’s interactive Party Time Project, which is monitoring convention activity, noted, ‘These are all the same people who have a big lobbying presence in DC, and they all have major issues before Congress and the executive branch.’”

Read the rest of the article here

Is it any wonder that our Congressional representatives and senators do not respond to us when they are so beholden to the corporations whose interests, not the citizens’, are served by the US government?

There are cages prepared for persons who want to demonstrate at the Denver convention of the Democratic Party.   (Click on cages to go to an article in the Colorado Independent about them.)  Does this remind you of Guantanamo and the US gulag?   Citizens will be spied on, reported to state, local, and federal police, listed on secret data bases, and generally deprived of Constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, the right to demand redress of grievances, etc.

But our “elected” officials will be wined and fed by corporations with “major issues before Congress and the Executive Branch.”

Money in Iraq linked to deaths

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

waxman.jpg  Congressman Waxman, Chair of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Thanks to Barbara for sending this link. We all know that it’s the money and the oil that keep Congress voting to fund the occupation, but the BBC has uncovered lots of evidence. Read about it here.

How The Media in the US Is “Rubbish”

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Many of us lament the lack of news coverage, or indeed, any real news, in the media in this country. Ward alerted us to this article in the Guardian that describes just how bad it is.

Click here to go to the article.

Who Is Responsible?

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

A gripping French film from my youth showed images of the Nazi concentration camps and asked over and over “à qui est la responsabilité?” “Who is responsible?” Here is the beginning of an article that looks at that question now:

One of the common refrains I heard from progressive people in Pakistan and India during my month there this summer was, “We love the American people — it’s the policies of your government we don’t like.”

That sentiment is not unusual in the developing world, and such statements can reduce the tension with some Americans when people criticize U.S. policy, which is more common than ever after the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

I used to smile and nod when I heard it, but this summer I stopped agreeing.

“You shouldn’t love the American people,” I started saying. “You should hate us — we’re the enemy.”

By that I don’t mean that most Americans are trying to come up with new ways to attack people in the Global South. Instead, I want to challenge the notion that in a relatively open society such as the United States — where most people can claim extensive guarantees of freedom of expression and political association — that the problem is leaders and not ordinary citizens. Whatever the reason people in other countries repeat this statement, the stakes today are too high for those of us in the United States to accept these kinds of reassuring platitudes about hating-the-policy but loving-the-people of an imperial state. It is long past time that we the people of the United States started holding ourselves responsible for the crimes our government perpetrates around the world. read more

The spirit of this statement reminds me of what Zachery said at Camp Casey which you can read again here.