View Full Version : G20 in Pittsburgh

Ed Jewett
09-21-2009, 04:02 AM
G-20 Pittsburgh


http://www.examiner.com/x-10661-Pittsburgh-Grassroots-Examiner~y2009m9d20-G20-Visitors-guide-and-schedule-of-events (http://www.examiner.com/x-10661-Pittsburgh-Grassroots-Examiner%7Ey2009m9d20-G20-Visitors-guide-and-schedule-of-events) Note the links listed down the right side too….

http://www.examiner.com/x-10661-Pittsburgh-Grassroots-Examiner~y2009m9d18-G20-Psychic-cops-seize-wrong-PVC-again-KDKA-wants-to-believe (http://www.examiner.com/x-10661-Pittsburgh-Grassroots-Examiner%7Ey2009m9d18-G20-Psychic-cops-seize-wrong-PVC-again-KDKA-wants-to-believe)

A list of blogs with G-20 Pittsburgh tags

Ed Jewett
09-21-2009, 06:20 PM
see Chris Hedges at TruthDig
Globalization Goes Bankrupt


Ed Jewett
09-21-2009, 06:25 PM
Mobilizing the Masses In Defense Of the Planet: (http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/mobilizing-the-masses-in-defense-of-the-planet/)

Posted by thomaspainescorner (http:///) on September 20, 2009

Change you can act for
by Frank Joseph Smecker

Magda Hassan
09-21-2009, 10:11 PM
Hey, Ed, are they doing their pre-emptive arrests yet?

Ed Jewett
09-22-2009, 06:44 AM
I haven't seen anything terribly specific or verifiable coming out of the place. If I had the time and the resources, I'd contact some people out there. There is some stuff I've seen which is the usual surrounding argumentation, and I've seen a reference to a march, and a "wake-up call" street theatre kind of thing, and a picture of a confrontation with one protestor and one very well-armed-and-armored member of the gendarmerie (but I couldn't absolutely verify that it took place recently in Pittsburgh, so it might have been 'flavor' to marinate things).

I have set a Google search for the events and news but that might be akin to waiting for late-breaking insightful information about 9/11 from the Cheney family. And I don't yet have Google Earth installed... and I don't "get" that a call to KDKA will get me far.

Magda Hassan
09-22-2009, 06:52 AM
Is there a local IndyMedia covering events?

Magda Hassan
09-22-2009, 07:12 AM
Our local Slack Bastard has this to say on Pittsburgh:

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — Pittsburgh is beefing up security with thousands of extra anti-capitalist, anti-globalization, anti-war, anti-government and anti-poverty activists as police, politicians and technocrats descend on it for the G20 summit.
Politicians say they prefer to disguise their plans to further “the undemocratic way in which the G20 operates and the decisions the group makes, which affect the more than six billion inhabitants of this planet.”
Ordinary citizens gather in this once rough-and-tumble US steel town on Tuesday through to Friday, and while most of the politicians are expected to be peaceful, 29-year-old unemployed worker Ruke Lavenstahl is taking no chances.
He wants Pittsburgh to show off its proud history. Once known for union militancy, the southwest Pennsylvania city on the Ohio river has undergone a rebirth to emerge as a haven for greenwashing and yuppies.
The fear in the minds of residents, unofficials and dissident forces is that violent police such as those seen in 1999 in Seattle — where citizens were arrested and beaten by police for days, disrupting meetings of opponents of the World Trade Organization — will be necessitated by the G20 summit.
“I hope popular struggle can keep at least some of the police under control so Seattle doesn’t repeat itself,” said resident Prancy Novil.
Lavenstahl has said police will be allowed to violate citizens’ constitutional freedom of speech and assembly “within sight and sound” of the summit venue.
It turns out this will be in a strictly delineated area outside of the downtown cultural area where the likes of US President Barack Obama and China’s Hu Jintao will be sitting down with other leading world criminals.
Lavenstahl has also called in 4,000 highly committed anarchists to back up local residents during the summit.
“We know that there will be some individuals who will seek to do harm to our city,” said Pittsburgh director of public safety Hichael Muss.
The bill for ensuring repression during the summit is expected to be in the region of 18 million dollars, but the two-day meeting of the world’s top criminals is likely to cost the global population much more than that.
While citizens were busy gearing up for the summit, the police were, too.
The Pittsburgh police, in conjunction with Federal authorities, have conducted COINTELPRO-style workshops for selected members throughout the course of the last six months, and will conduct practical workshops throughout the coming week.
“It’s really about upholding the right of politicians to say one thing and to do another, and also ‘how-to’ demobilize popular participation,” Yatrick Poung of POG, a statist group, told AFP.
“There are questions you want worker-consumers to ask themselves before they participate in any form of political dissent, do you really want to put yourself through considerable emotional and physical turmoil, and what kind of legal and medical preparations do you want to make before coming to a major demonstration.”
Establishment groups around Pittsburgh have been trying to sabotage housing for the thousands of citizens from around the world who are expected to stream into the city for the summit resistance.
The Pittsburgh G20 Repressive Project (PGRP) is relying on the military-industrial-entertainment complex and dozens of corporate websites where readers can find disinformation on everything from where to get a meal to how many people have been arrested, and why.
At least four major marches and rallies have been scheduled in Pittsburgh in the build-up to and during the criminal summit. The first is a “March for Jobs” on Sunday, which is expected to draw several thousand people.
On the eve of the summit on Wednesday, workers of one sort or another will be attending a pop concert, which 10,000 people are expected to attend, according to Poung.
The following day around 1,000 people are expected to march towards the summit venue in a protest denounced by the Pittsburgh G20 Repressive Project (PGRP).
“We’ve received a nod and a wink from state authorities, but we hope pre-emptive arrests will kill off most of the more militant protest well before then,” said Poung.
And on Friday, as the summit winds down, citizens have been called to take part in the main event: a mass march on “institutions that pepper the landscape where the G-20’s worldview manifests… the places that symbolize the kind of world the G-20 works to protect and sustain,” according to the PGRP website.
“It’s important that we show the world that the G7 is a body that is self-annointed,” said Edith Bell, a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom who, at the age of 85, hardly fits the media-endorsed stereotypes of anti-G20 activists.
The G20 comprises the political leadership of the G7 states, plus that of the European Union superstate and other leading world economies, supported by an army of well-paid technocrats. However, corporate/state media prefer to report that the G20 comprises the G7, plus the European Union and other leading world economies, thus eroding any concession to class distinctions in the real world.
See also : G20 comes to Pittsburgh (http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=7894) (September 17, 2009).

State authorities have developed and continue to implement (and to revise) a fairly standard repertoire of repressive tactics inre (anti-)summit protests. In addition to reinforcing otherwise routine forms of infiltration and surveillance of protest movements, authorities:
i) conduct propaganda campaigns — in conjunction with state/corporate media, selected public figures and media and political commentators — aimed at transforming the image of the ‘good’ protester into that of the ‘bad’ terrorist, raising expectations of ‘protester violence’, and thus justifying and providing a pretext for paramilitary-style policing;
ii) introduce new or augment existing laws in order to provide for a wider range of offences and greatly increased penalties inre protest activities;
iii) ensure police are able to perform their duties either with virtual legal immunity for their actions or in the reasonable expectation of having the responsibility for any unfavourable legal outcomes assumed by the state;
iv) identify and target for arrest presumed ‘leaders’ (either before, during or after protest activity);
v) construct (temporary) walls and establish perimeters around summit locations, often including the designation of particular areas as being under special laws;
vi) conduct pre-emptive strikes upon convergence spaces, frequently involving mass arrests, and invariably the identification of those present and the collation of (other) materials leading to the identification of (other) participants;
vii) sever, on the basis of tactical differences, links between groups operating in coalition;
viii) destroy and/or seriously damage and/or confiscate materials intended to be used in the course of protest or during its organisation;
ix) obstruct the activities of independent media, legal monitoring and medical aid in particular.

Magda Hassan
09-22-2009, 11:19 AM
With Global Capitalism Exposed as a Sham, All the Global Elite Have Left Is Pure Force
By Chris Hedges (http://www.alternet.org/authors/5769/), Truthdig (http://www.truthdig.com/). Posted September 22, 2009.

Delegates from the world's wealthiest nations gather this week for G-20, walled off from protesters by a National Guard combat battalion recently returned from Iraq.
The rage of the disposed is fracturing the country, dividing it into camps that are unmoored from the political mainstream. Movements are building on the ends of the political spectrum that have lost faith in the mechanisms of democratic change. You can't blame them. But unless we on the left move quickly this rage will be captured by a virulent and racist right wing, one that seeks a disturbing proto-fascism.
Every day counts. Every deferral of protest hurts. We should, if we have the time and the ability, make our way to Pittsburgh for the meeting of the G-20 this week rather than do what the power elite is hoping we will do-stay home. Complacency comes at a horrible price.
"The leaders of the G-20 are meeting to try and salvage their power and money after everything that has gone wrong," said Benedicto Martinez Orozco (http://www.peoplessummit.com/content/benedicto-mart%C3%ADnez-orozco), co-president of the Mexican Frente Autentico del Trabajo (FAT), who is in Pittsburgh for the protests. "This is what this meeting is about."
The draconian security measures put in place to silence dissent in Pittsburgh are disproportionate to any actual security concern. They are a response not to a real threat, but to the fear gripping the established centers of power. The power elite grasps, even if we do not, the massive fraud and theft being undertaken to save a criminal class on Wall Street and international speculators of the kinds who were executed in other periods of human history. They know the awful cost this plundering of state treasuries will impose on workers, who will become a permanent underclass. And they also know that once this is clear to the rest of us, rebellion will no longer be a foreign concept.
The delegates to the G-20, the gathering of the world's wealthiest nations, will consequently be protected by a National Guard combat battalion, recently returned from Iraq. The battalion will shut down the area around the city center, man checkpoints and patrol the streets in combat gear. Pittsburgh has augmented the city's police force of 1,000 with an additional 3,000 officers. Helicopters have begun to buzz gatherings in city parks, buses driven to Pittsburgh to provide food to protesters have been impounded, activists have been detained, and permits to camp in the city parks have been denied. Web sites belonging to resistance groups have been hacked and trashed, and many groups suspect that they have been infiltrated and that their phones and e-mail accounts are being monitored.
Larry Holmes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhWBJ39LkBE), an organizer from New York City, stood outside a tent encampment on land owned by the Monumental Baptist Church in the city's Hill District. He is one of the leaders of the Bail Out the People Movement (http://www.bailoutpeople.org/). Holmes, a longtime labor activist, on Sunday led a march on the convention center by unemployed people calling for jobs. He will coordinate more protests during the week.
"It is de facto martial law," he said, "and the real effort to subvert the work of those protesting has yet to begin. But voting only gets you so far. There are often not many choices in an election. When you build democratic movements around the war or unemployment you get a more authentic expression of democracy. It is more organic. It makes a difference. History has taught us this."
Our global economy, like our political system, has been hijacked by a tiny oligarchy, composed mostly of wealthy white men who serve corporations. They have pledged or raised a staggering $18 trillion, looted largely from state treasuries, to prop up banks and other financial institutions that engaged in suicidal acts of speculation and ruined the world economy. They have formulated trade deals so corporations can speculate across borders with currency, food and natural resources even as, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 1.02 billion people on the planet struggle with hunger. Globalization has obliterated the ability of many poor countries to protect food staples such as corn, rice, beans and wheat with subsidies or taxes on imported staples. The abolishment of these protections has permitted the giant mechanized farms to wipe out tens of millions of small farmers-2 million in Mexico alone-bankrupting many and driving them off their land. Those who could once feed themselves can no longer find enough food, and the wealthiest governments use institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization like pit bulls to establish economic supremacy. There is little that most governments seem able to do to fight back.
But the game is up. The utopian dreams of globalization have been exposed as a sham. Force is all the elite have left. We are living through one of civilization's great seismic reversals. The ideology of globalization, like all utopias that are sold as inevitable and irreversible, has become a farce. The power elite, perplexed and confused, cling to the disastrous principles of globalization and its outdated language to mask the political and economic vacuum before us. The absurd idea that the marketplace alone should determine economic and political constructs caused the crisis. It led the G-20 to sacrifice other areas of human importance-from working conditions, to taxation, to child labor, to hunger, to health and pollution-on the altar of free trade. It left the world's poor worse off and the United States with the largest deficits in human history. Globalization has become an excuse to ignore the mess. It has left a mediocre elite desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved and, more important, trying to save itself. "Speculation," then-President Jacques Chirac of France once warned, "is the AIDS of our economies." We have reached the terminal stage.
"Each of Globalization's strengths has somehow turned out to have an opposing meaning," John Ralston Saul (http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/about.html) wrote in "The Collapse of Globalism." "The lowering of national residency requirements for corporations has morphed into a tool for massive tax evasion. The idea of a global economic system mysteriously made local poverty seem unreal, even normal. The decline of the middle class-the very basis of democracy-seemed to be just one of those things that happen, unfortunate but inevitable. That the working class and the lower middle class, even parts of the middle class, could only survive with more than one job per person seemed to be expected punishment for not keeping up. The contrast between unprecedented bonuses for mere managers at the top and the four-job families below them seemed inevitable in a globalized world. For two decades an elite consensus insisted that unsustainable third-world debts could not be put aside in a sort of bad debt reserve without betraying Globalism's essential principles and moral obligations, which included an unwavering respect for the sanctity of international contracts. It took the same people about two weeks to abandon sanctity and propose bad debt banks for their own far larger debts in 2009."
The institutions that once provided alternative sources of power, including the press, government, agencies of religion, universities and labor unions, have proved morally bankrupt. They no longer provide a space for voices of moral autonomy. No one will save us now but ourselves.
"The best thing that happened to the Establishment is the election of a black president," Holmes said. "It will contain people for a given period of time, but time is running out. Suppose something else happens? Suppose another straw breaks? What happens when there is a credit card crisis or a collapse in commercial real estate? The financial system is very, very fragile. The legs are being kicked out from underneath it."
"Obama is in trouble," Holmes went on. "The economic crisis is a structural crisis. The recovery is only a recovery for Wall Street. It can't be sustained, and Obama will be blamed for it. He is doing everything Wall Street demands. But this will be a dead end. It is a prescription for disaster, not only for Obama but the Democratic Party. It is only groups like ours that provide hope. If labor unions will get off their ass and stop focusing on narrow legislation for their members, if they will go back to being social unions that embrace broad causes, we have a chance of effecting change. If this does not happen it will be a right-wing disaster."
http://www.alternet.org/story/142788/with_global_capitalism_exposed_as_a_sham%2C_all_th e_global_elite_have_left_is_pure_force?page=entire

Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 03:25 AM

Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 03:42 AM

Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 03:46 AM

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

Region: Pittsburgh Region

County Location: Allegheny


Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 05:07 AM
Time to Change Bernanke's Medication?

Secret White House letter to G-20

By Greg Palast

September 23, 2009 "Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-palast/time-to-change-bernankes_b_294262.html)"

I still get a thrill whenever I get my hands on a confidential memo with "The White House, Washington" on the letterhead. Even when--like the one I'm looking at now--it's about a snoozy topic: This week's G-20 summit.

But the letter's content shook me awake and may keep me up the rest of the night.

The 6-page letter from the White House, dated September 3, was sent to the 20 heads of state that will meet this Thursday in Pittsburgh. After some initial diplo-blather, our President's "sherpa" for the summit, Michael Froman, does a little victory dance, announcing that the recession has been defeated. "Global equity markets have risen 35 percent since the end of March," writes Froman. In other words, the stock market is up and all's well.

While acknowledging that this year's economy has gone to hell in a handbag, Obama's aide and ambassador to the G-20 seems to be parroting the irrational exuberance of Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke who declared last week that, "The recession is very likely over." All that was missing from Bernanke's statement was a banner, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."

And the French are furious. The White House letter to the G-20 leaders was a response to a confidential diplomatic missive from the chief of the European Union Fredrik Reinfeldt written a day earlier to "Monsieur le Président" Obama.

We have Reinfeldt's confidential note as well. In it, the EU president says, despite Bernanke's happy-talk, "la crise n'est pas terminée (the crisis is not over) and (continuing in translation) the labor market will continue to suffer the consequences of weak use of capacity and production in the coming months." This is diplomatic speak for, What the hell is Bernanke smoking?

May I remind you Monsieur le Président, that last month 216,000 Americans lost their jobs, bringing the total lost since your inauguration to about seven million? And rising.

The Wall Street Journal also has a copy of the White House letter, though they haven't released it. (I have: read it here [ http://www.gregpalast.com/PDF/europeancouncil/letter.pdf ], with the EU message [ http://www.gregpalast.com/PDF/europeancouncil/councilresponse.pdf ] and our translation [ http://www.gregpalast.com/PDF/europeancouncil/councilresponse_en.pdf ].) The Journal spins the leak as the White House would want it: "Big Changes to Global Economic Policy" to produce "lasting growth." Obama takes charge! What's missing in the Journal report is that Obama's plan subtly but significantly throttles back European demands to tighten finance industry regulation and, most important, deflects the EU's concern about fighting unemployment.

Europe's leaders are scared witless that the Obama Administration will prematurely turn off the fiscal and monetary stimulus. Europe demands that the US continue pumping the economy under an internationally coordinated worldwide save-our-butts program.

As the EU's Reinfeldt's puts it in his plea to the White House, "It is essential that the Heads of State and Government, at this summit, continue to implement the economic policy measures they have adopted," and not act unilaterally. "Exit strategies [must] be implemented in a coordinated manner." Translating from the diplomatique: If you in the USA turn off fiscal and monetary stimulus now, on your own, Europe and the planet sinks, America with it.

Obama's ambassador says, Non! Instead, he writes that each nation should be allowed to "unwind" anti-recession efforts "at a pace appropriate to the circumstances of each economy." In other words, "Europe, you're on your own!" So much for Obama channeling FDR.

The technical policy conflict between the Obama and EU plans reflects a deep difference in the answer to a crucial question: Whose recession is it, anyway? To Obama and Bernanke, this is a bankers' recession and so, as "stresses in financial markets have abated significantly," to use the words of the White House epistle, then "Happy Days Are Here Again." But, if this recession is about workers the world over losing their jobs and life savings, the EU view, then it's still "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime."

If Bernanke and Obama were truly concerned about preserving jobs, they would have required banks loaded with taxpayer bail-out loot to lend these funds to consumers and business. China did so, ordering its banks to increase credit. And boy, did they, expanding credit by an eye-popping 30%, rocketing China's economy out of recession and into double-digit growth.

But the Obama Administration has gone the opposite way. The White House letter to the G-20 calls for slowly increasing bank reserves, and that can only cause a tight credit market to tighten further.

It's not that the White House completely ignores job losses. The US letter suggests, "The G-20 should commit to ... income support for the unemployed." You can imagine the Europeans, who already have generous unemployment benefits--most without time limits--turning purple over that one. America's stingy unemployment compensation extension under the Stimulus Plan is already beginning to expire with no live proposal to continue aid for the jobless victims of this recession.

The Europeans are so cute when they're angry, when they pound their little fists. Obama assumes he can ignore them. The EU, once the big player in the G-7, has seen its members' status diluted into the G-20, where the BRIC powers (Brazil, Russia, India and China) now flex their muscles. But Europeans have a thing or two to teach Americans about the economics of the twilight of empire.

Maybe the differences are cultural, not economic; that Europeans lack America's Manifest Destiny can-do optimism.

So, to give the visitors a taste of the yes-we-can spirit, Obama should invite Pittsburgh's 93,700 jobless to the G-20 meet to celebrate that 35% rise in the stock market.

Or -- my own suggestion -- change Bernanke's medication.

Greg Palast is the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Palast wrote the column, "Inside Corporate America" for the business section of Britain's Observer newspaper.


Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 12:34 PM
2,500 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen Deployed for G-20 Security (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11200)

September 23rd, 2009 Via: Lebanon Daily News (http://www.ldnews.com/news/ci_13396275):
More than 2,500 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen – including several from Lebanon County – are in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit, set to take place Thursday and Friday.
During the mission, dubbed Operation Steel Kickoff, the Guardsmen will fall under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service and will support local, state and federal agencies. Guard members will serve as a regional response force, augment law-enforcement personnel, provide crowd and traffic control, and help with security.
“Everybody is excited and honored to participate in such a global event,” said Lt. Col. Dale Waltman of Cornwall.
Waltman, who works full-time at Fort Indiantown Gap, is the commander of 1st Battalion, 107th Field Artillery Regiment from New Castle, Lawrence County. For the G-20 Summit, he is commander of Task Force Security, comprising more than 600 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen.
Waltman arrived in New Castle on Sept. 16 to begin assembling the task force, then moved into Pittsburgh on Sunday. Since then, the soldiers and airmen of the task force have been training on a variety of different tasks, he said.
“We just reviewed some basic communication skills, and we worked on some specific equipment skills so everybody has that common knowledge,” he said.
The Guardsmen have also completed civil-disturbance and crowd-control training in anticipation of the thousands of protesters who are expected for the summit.
“We’re not anticipating that nothing is going to happen,” Waltman said. “We’ve been briefed on the possibility that there will be some protesters coming into the city, but they haven’t given us a specific number.”
Also in Pittsburgh for the summit are several members of the Fort Indiantown Gap public-affairs office. Capt. Jay Ostrich of Cornwall said the public-affairs specialists’ primary mission is to do news features on the Guardsmen taking part in the mission.
“Basically what we’re doing is helping to tell the Guard story here,” he said.
Ostrich said the public-affairs specialists could also be called to help with crowd control if needed. If that were to happen, he said, he is confident they would be able to meet any contingency.
“We’ve been side by side with the soldiers as they did their training,” Ostrich said. “We’re well prepared to defend ourselves as well, but hopefully the need doesn’t arise.”
The G-20 is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 economies: 19 of the world’s largest national economies, plus the European Union.
This week’s summit was originally planned for New York City but was changed to Pittsburgh in May. Pittsburgh was selected by the Obama administration to highlight the city’s economic recovery after the collapse of its manufacturing sector in the latter half of the 20th century.
“Our soldiers and airmen supporting the G-20 Summit demonstrate the relevance, value and accessibility of the Pennsylvania National Guard,” Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard, said in a news release. “When our communities, commonwealth and country need us, we are always there.”

Ed Jewett
09-24-2009, 12:42 PM
Mark Knopfler, Telegraph Road,
live at the Royal Albert Hall, 30th May 2005.
Great video, amazing audio!

A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travelers came riding down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back
Then came the churches then came the schools
Then came the lawyers then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road

Then came the mines - then came the ore
Then there was the hard times then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river. . .

And my radio says tonight its gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There’s six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow. . .

I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but there’s no work here to be found
Yes and they say were gonna have to pay what’s owed
Were gonna have to reap from some seed that’s been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the telegraph road

You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights
When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your head on my shoulder you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you don’t seem to care
But believe in me baby and I’ll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
’cause I’ve run every red light on memory lane
I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again. . .
from all of these signs saying sorry but were closed
All the way down the telegraph road

Ed Jewett
09-25-2009, 02:43 AM
G20 coverage:




Ed Jewett
09-25-2009, 02:54 AM
Allegheny County Pennsylvania - Live Audio Feeds

Via: Radio Reference (http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?ctid=2242):
Pittsburgh City Fire and G-20 Police Operations:
(includes Fire for the following areas North and South: (Boroughs, Ross, McCandless, Stowe, Kennedy, Bridgeville, Greentree, MtLebanon, Baldwin, Whitehall and Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh Police / G-20 event communications


Ed Jewett
09-25-2009, 03:09 AM
'We have seen police use rubber bullets, batons and gas.' Police embroiled in violent battles with G20 protesters (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6848176.ece) --Reports: Rubber bullets used 24 Sep 2009 Anti-G20 protesters rampaged through the city centre of Pittsburgh tonight, smashing up shops and throwing rocks at police, as officers used tear gas and baton-charges in an attempt to bring them under control. In riots which continued through the middle of the evening rush hour, about 300 protesters were reported to have remained from an initial crowd of 2,000 in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s Little Italy.

G-20 opponents, police clash on Pittsburgh streets (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5izJGY1GNeNYgNG6q1N0bsXCVfBeAD9AU0JN80) 24 Sep 2009 Police fired canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the Group of 20 summit Thursday after anarchists responded to calls to disperse by rolling trash bins and throwing rocks. The afternoon march turned chaotic at just about the time that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived for a meeting with leaders of the world's major economies.

Ed Jewett
09-25-2009, 09:27 PM

10:45 YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akwjAjcQnqM
(Luke Rudowski, WeAreChange)

Additional coverage and discussion here:

Ed Jewett
09-25-2009, 10:40 PM
JOURNAL: Protest as National Security Threat (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/09/journal-protest-as-national-security-threat.html)

CNN video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzJD5Psy5o0): Sonic weapons used against a small group of protestors in Pittsburgh G20
In general, governments worldwide are losing control over all of the classical forms of national power from borders to finances to communication to media to economic activity to security to trade flows (of all types). The upshot of this accelerating weakness is a tendency to view any and all forms of public protest as a security threat. To counter this perceived threat, an ever increasing number of countries have opted to

militarize their police forces (from the 5 fold increase in US SWAT teams over the past decade to China's new million man paramilitary force),
establish rules to neuter expression of dissent (i.e. establishment of "free speech zones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone)" etc.),
and the immediate/early application non-lethal weapons (sonic weapons, tasers, tear gas, etc.) to disperse crowds.

This effort will almost undoubtedly generate unintended consequences (we can already see protest groups learning to counter this by using flash mob mobility via cell phones).

Posted by John Robb on Friday, 25 September 2009 at 10:44 AM | Permalink (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/09/journal-protest-as-national-security-threat.html) | Comments (5) (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/09/journal-protest-as-national-security-threat.html#comments)

Global Guerrillas (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/)

Networked tribes, systems disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence. Resilient Communities, decentralized platforms, and self-organizing futures. By John Robb

Jan Klimkowski
09-26-2009, 12:10 PM
Ed - thanks. Most informative video - if of course one ignores the MSM psychobabble:


The metallic police tannoy voice at the beginning, their armour, and the urban setting, make it seem like a scene out of Robocop.

Sonic weapons? Yup. Technically - non lethal weaponry...

Ed Jewett
09-26-2009, 08:46 PM
There was a time in the past when a similar phalanx was used in LA to clear the streets of some exuberant crowds at an Hispanic civic event drawing large crowds, some of whom seemed to want to express themselves vociferously and en masse. A rolling blockade of police cars and massed centurions also encased in armor did the job. Others argued with my historical use of the word phalanx. As much of the preparatory work for martial law in the US came out of the hard right wing in LA, and the Reagan/Meese/Ollie North/FEMA business, it was clearly practice for the future. Recently I've seem some discussions about our being psychologically conditioned as a viewing audience to accept all of this over time so that when the big moment comes we'll yawn and switch channels.

Ed Jewett
09-27-2009, 01:40 AM
[Got it, Magda, thanks.]

G20 Protests and the New World Order Centurions

Police Scanner recordings:








Ed Jewett
09-27-2009, 09:46 PM
G20 Post Mortem / Open Thread (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272)

September 27th, 2009 A few people seem surprised that the U.S. is a police state.
Oh the cops. Oh the poor students. Oh boo hoo, we just want to wave our signs.
The don’t taze me bro generation is obviously going to have to figure this one out the hard way.
My position has always been that people who wave signs at fascists are clinically nuts; holy roller, speaking in tongues, batshit crazy nuts.
Sign waving is not resistance. Sign waving is part of the problem in the same way that voting is part of the problem. How’s that Change working out for the Obama supporters? (Some of those bozos are already talking about how they’re going to get it right in 2012…)
In the few video clips of the G20 protests that I watched, I saw a bunch of zombies with iPhones, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, as the Legion of Doom tested out its new sonic weapons and tear gas lobbing skills.
WTF is the matter with these people? Where does someone get the idea that the way to deal with Darth Vader is to wave a sign at him? Maybe a few, “Fuck the police” tweets will do the trick? Send out invites to join revolutionary sign waving groups on Facebook?!
The Twitbook aspect of this is, frankly, bizarre. Maybe I’ve been out here in the bush too long, but it looks like powerlessness is manifesting itself into a sort of flaccid, me-too technophelia, crossbred with a hamster wheel. This is more embarrassing than anything else.
The U.S. is no longer a country. It’s a company town. If waving signs at the company’s goon squad just makes people look stupid, what does twitbooking about it amount to?
Here are some other ideas:
Eliminate your debt. Take your money off the table. Stop buying stuff that you don’t need. Live well on very little. Grow your own food. Participate in alternative and/or outlawed food economies for what you don’t produce yourself. Barter, or use cash. Support people who do good work. Finally, draw a line in the sand. Don’t tell anyone where that line is, or what the consequences will be if it’s crossed. Don’t wave a sign about it. Don’t twitbook about it. Let the fascists figure it out the hard way.

9 Responses to “G20 Post Mortem / Open Thread”

sevee Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 6:26 am (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17327) ..that’s a good word right there~
spot on Kev.
Miraculix Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 10:29 am (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17332) Kev said: “WTF is the matter with these people? Where does someone get the idea that the way to deal with Darth Vader is to wave a sign at him?”
That’s about as succinct a description of the phenomenon as I’ve read. As another US ex-pat who’s spent the bulk of his life avoiding blind faith-based affiliations, my wife and I didn’t wait for the door to hit us on the arse on the way out when departing the USSA a few years back.
Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to communicate with what you’d otherwise assume are intelligent and reasonable people still addicted to their favorite flavor of Kool-Aid.
And yes, as the gloves come off, there seems to be an equally brutal flavor of denial taking root among the faithful, still clinging to the oh-so-comforting triumphal American mythology hammered into them literally from birth to death.
As for “Twitbook”, that’s a f**king brilliant conglomeration. Yours Kev, or sourced elsewhere? Need to know who to credit, as I intend to adopt it as part of my own vocabulary — and it’s 100% certain to raise such questions… =)
jburke6000 Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 11:17 am (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17333) I went to school there. On any Friday night, there was that many students hanging out all around those streets. No protests, just kids haning around.
Those kids didn’t really seem to get the idea of what protesting was all about. It was pretty strange to watch.
Fakebook and Twitbook are just another form of masturbation, but it makes more money for the Corp. State.
September 27th, 2009 at 11:27 am (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17334) Love the twitbook term…hope it sticks. You really have to wonder, who is behind organizing these protests…who makes the signs, specifies what they say, where they will be. Could it all be a engineered fiasco by an outsourced provocateur services consultancy to honeypot and psycho engineer the whole scene? See who the sheeps are and who else pops up, that may be a real threat. Twitbooks indeed.
Kevin (http://cryptogon.com/) Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 11:30 am (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17335) @Miraculix
As I went to type “Facebook,” “Twitbook” just appeared on the screen. I think apoplexy and touch typing combined to form a bit of automatic writing.
I’m definitely not the originator of the term. It’s in use out there on the interwebs already. I don’t know who originally came up with that one.
This abandoned Twitter page was last used in 2007:
Kevin (http://cryptogon.com/) Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 12:52 pm (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17337) @FRLVX
From The Crowd by Gustave LeBon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1560007885/ref=nosim/cryptogoncom-20) (free ebook online (http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/BonCrow.html)):
…all the world’s masters, all the founders of religions or empires, the apostles of all beliefs, eminent statesmen, and, in a more modest sphere, the mere chiefs of small groups of men have always been unconscious psychologists, possessed of an instinctive and often very sure knowledge of the character of crowds, and it is their accurate knowledge of this character that has enabled them to so easily establish their mastery.
A knowledge of the psychology of crowds is today the last resource of the statesman who wishes not to govern them – that is becoming a very difficult matter — but at any rate not to be too much governed by them.
ltcolonelnemo Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 1:25 pm (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17338) What the media call “protests” used to be called “demonstrations.” One rarely reads or hears the terms “demonstrators” or “demonstrations” these days. I wonder why. Could it be that the media do not want people to make a few semantic connections in their heads? When one protests, one merely espouses disagreement, but one DOES nothing. When one demonstrates, on the other hand, well, what does one demonstrate? What is meant by the term? To show, to display, and so on and so forth. But what does an organized crowd of agitated people demonstrate? That they are numerous, organized, angry, and willing to show up somewhere.
In my opinion, the purpose of demonstrations has always been to threaten force to lawmakers. Demonstrations always precede an escalation in tactics. Groups demonstrate first, then they resort to more drastic measures. In the past, demonstrating crowds and their organizers have been more than willing to escalate to violence, although with mixed results.
By contrast, the people who demonstrate today do not really understand what is it at stake. They may also labor under the belief that policies are undertaken out of moral ignorance when the opposite is often the case. They think they are demonstrating primarily to inform, or to shame, to protest. The state has a longer memory, hence it sends the police, who are always prepared for violence, whether to receive or inflict it.
With all due respect, I must say that individually drawing lines in the sand can prove as worthless as flaccidly waving a sign with no intent to escalate beyond that. If Darth Vader is really after you, it doesn’t matter that you hide out, or don’t seek attention, or passively avoid his debt-slavery tactics. If Darth Vader wants to kill or enslave you, he’ll come find you and do it to you, at which point you have to run or fight. If you fight, you’ll be made an example of, in which case, Darth Vader wins; if you run, well, with globalization, running holds less and less appeal. People could run from Nazi Germany because it was relatively local; resisting it any form, even passively, proved so risky that one may as well have engaged in the most violent acts, as opposed to merely hiding people or circulating dissenting pamphlets, in which case you were painted as a terrorist. The point is, you cannot “resist” Darth Vader, you have to incapacitate or eliminate him, or else die or be enslaved.
The answer of what do is not easy because it does not provide instant gratification. What is the point of winning a few temporary battles if one loses the war? The people who wield power over our lives did not get their overnight. They got their over a period of hundreds of years. It is difficult for most people to think in terms of one year, let alone several hundred, or even several thousand, yet the groups who wield the most power, such as religious groups, often do so because they take the long view. Any real gains made in terms of civil liberties took place over hundreds of years, and costs millions of lives, whether martyrs, or in wars.
One possible solution on how to handle the issue of police repression is to co-opt, infiltrate, or become the police. The so-called right wing always seems to understand this better than the so-called left wing, at least in recent history. Acts of violence don’t seem to “succeed” politically without tacit police support, such as with the JFK assassination or the 9/11 bombings. Part of what ended the Vietnam War was the fact that elements of the antiwar movement infiltrated the military to the extent that officers were fragged and equipment was destroyed, something rarely discussed publicly. Other solutions would fall under the category of organizing to send a more effective message than merely gathering to wave signs. The people that rule do so through a variety of organizational strategies and tactics; one can readily research them and have one’s group adopt them.
Zuma (http://zuma.vip.warped.com/) Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 2:01 pm (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17339) hitler analogy in doonesbury (http://community.livejournal.com/doonesburyc/410025.html)
one key point that terence mckenna repeatedly hammered home was ‘culture is not your friend’. (i daresay he wouldn’t have objected to anyone taking him on his word and stop listening to his opinions and go off and do something.)
dave letterman caught my attention in the past year when it seemed he actually might have gotten a tad riled at all what was going on, as if his bank balance somehow took a hit from the ‘recession’. seemed he suggested as much. he was mad as heck and wasn’t gonna take it for a few shows, and so on. i was curious to see how far he’d go. seeing him pally pally with obama recently though curdled my bile enough to push me to stop watching his insipid show even idly.
doonesbury likewise was something i’d long to come to see as having a line of it’s own vested existence it wouldn’t cross and so neutered blatantly while still trying fill it’s niche market of accepted mainstream ‘edginess’.
has american culture, that tip of the spear of the age-old drive of global westernization/americanization, finally fully begun to unravel? sure. imho. traditional offline culture anyway. mayhap simply the public’s present lack of time and money has as much to do with it (or more) than disgust. i imagine too though that a tipping point’s approaching when they’ve gotten enough online of huffpo, C&L, DN!, alternet, et al as well. self-vested interests are getting publicly stodgy. imho…
doonesbury *has* managed to maintain some of my attention of late, but this latest installment (that i catch online via livejournal) said it all and is enough for me.
i’m at the point that the only entertainment i’m interested in is by private folks online that i’ve known for years and enjoyably and comfortably converse with. about art mostly at that. i’ve my own endeavors to preoccupy me and those again of art mostly as i’ve ’said’ enough and fully and bore myself in repetition. bantering in the comments of such sites as mentioned above is fruitless and does amount to sign-waving…
i’ve ceased supporting and contributing to fruitless endeavors (sorry, sean-paul) and have come to viewing only my livejournal friends page (i love the russian artists output), cryptogon, cryptome, and matrixmasters. issue-wise, cognitive liberty concentrates it all for me. (i submit that the fate of south america determines much of the nut of the future. of earth herself. that it is her mouth…) the only real honest effort i see online is here. -in all this big planet.
every month is financially worse than tight for my wife and i but we have a higher quality of life than we’ve ever known before. even a token financial contribution here is gallingly tough but in all conscience *must* be made. hopefully before the dollar must give way to the amero or whatever.
i miss comic books, books, newspapers et al but oh well. but this, here, *must* *must* *must* be supported by me even tokenly. (lorenzo’s work at matrixmasters likewise.)
i won’t miss doonesbury. or dave. or even bob dylan for that matter…
prov6yahoo Says:
September 27th, 2009 at 3:51 pm (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11272#comment-17340) I see the question as “how do we get away from the people who join the military or the police, or work for a defense contractor?”

Ed Jewett
09-28-2009, 05:07 AM
Street Report from the G20

By Bill Quigley

September 27, 2009 "Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/)" -- The G20 in Pittsburgh showed us how pitifully fearful our leaders have become.

What no terrorist could do to us, our own leaders did.

Out of fear of the possibility of a terrorist attack, authorities militarize our towns, scare our people away, stop daily life and quash our constitutional rights.

For days, downtown Pittsburgh, home to the G20, was a turned into a militarized people-free ghost town. Sirens screamed day and night. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies. Gunboats sat in the rivers. The skies were defended by Air Force jets. Streets were barricaded by huge cement blocks and fencing. Bridges were closed with National Guard across the entrances. Public transportation was stopped downtown. Amtrak train service was suspended for days.

In many areas, there were armed police every 100 feet. Businesses closed. Schools closed. Tens of thousands were unable to work.

Four thousand police were on duty plus 2500 National Guard plus Coast Guard and Air Force and dozens of other security agencies. A thousand volunteers from other police forces were sworn in to help out.

Police were dressed in battle gear, bulky black ninja turtle outfits - helmets with clear visors, strapped on body armor, shin guards, big boots, batons, and long guns.

In addition to helicopters, the police had hundreds of cars and motorcycles , armored vehicles, monster trucks, small electric go-karts. There were even passenger vans screaming through town so stuffed with heavily armed ninja turtles that the side and rear doors remained open.

No terrorists showed up at the G20.

Since no terrorists showed up, those in charge of the heavily armed security forces chose to deploy their forces around those who were protesting.

Not everyone is delighted that 20 countries control 80% of the world's resources. Several thousand of them chose to express their displeasure by protesting.

Unfortunately, the officials in charge thought that it was more important to create a militarized people-free zone around the G20 people than to allow freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or the freedom to protest.

It took a lawsuit by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU to get any major protest permitted anywhere near downtown Pittsburgh. Even then, the police "forgot" what was permitted and turned people away from areas of town. Hundreds of police also harassed a bus of people who were giving away free food - repeatedly detaining the bus and searching it and its passengers without warrants.

Then a group of young people decided that they did not need a permit to express their human and constitutional rights to freedom. They announced they were going to hold their own gathering at a city park and go down the deserted city streets to protest the G20. Maybe 200 of these young people were self-described anarchists, dressed in black, many with bandanas across their faces. The police warned everyone these people were very scary. My cab driver said the anarchist spokesperson looked like Harry Potter in a black hoodie. The anarchists were joined in the park by hundreds of other activists of all ages, ultimately one thousand strong, all insisting on exercising their right to protest.

This drove the authorities crazy.

Battle dressed ninja turtles showed up at the park and formed a line across one entrance. Helicopters buzzed overhead. Armored vehicles gathered.

The crowd surged out of the park and up a side street yelling, chanting, drumming, and holding signs. As they exited the park, everyone passed an ice cream truck that was playing "It's a small world after all." Indeed.

Any remaining doubts about the militarization of the police were dispelled shortly after the crowd left the park. A few blocks away the police unveiled their latest high tech anti-protestor toy. It was mounted on the back of a huge black truck. The Pittsburgh-Gazette described it as Long Range Acoustic Device designed to break up crowds with piercing noise. Similar devices have been used in Fallujah, Mosul and Basra Iraq. The police backed the truck up, told people not to go any further down the street and then blasted them with piercing noise.

The crowd then moved to other streets. Now they were being tracked by helicopters. The police repeatedly tried to block them from re-grouping ultimately firing tear gas into the crowd injuring hundreds including people in the residential neighborhood where the police decided to confront the marchers. I was treated to some of the tear gas myself and I found the Pittsburgh brand to be spiced with a hint of kelbasa. Fortunately I was handed some paper towels soaked in apple cider vinegar which helped fight the tears and cough a bit. Who would have thought?

After the large group broke and ran from the tear gas, smaller groups went into commercial neighborhoods and broke glass at a bank and a couple of other businesses. The police chased and the glass breakers ran. And the police chased and the people ran. For a few hours.

By day the police were menacing, but at night they lost their cool. Around a park by the University of Pittsburgh the ninja turtles pushed and shoved and beat and arrested not just protestors but people passing by. One young woman reported she and her friend watched Grey's Anatomy and were on their way back to their dorm when they were cornered by police. One was bruised by police baton and her friend was arrested. Police shot tear gas, pepper spray, smoke canisters, and rubber bullets. They pushed with big plastic shields and struck with batons.

The biggest march was Friday. Thousands of people from Pittsburgh and other places protested the G20. Since the court had ruled on this march, the police did not confront the marchers. Ninja turtled police showed up in formation sometimes and the helicopters hovered but no confrontations occurred.

Again Friday night, riot clad police fought with students outside of the University of Pittsburgh. To what end was just as unclear as the night before.

Ultimately about 200 were arrested, mostly in clashes with the police around the University.

The G20 leaders left by helicopter and limousine.

Pittsburgh now belongs again to the people of Pittsburgh. The cement barricades were removed, the fences were taken down, the bridges and roads were opened. The gunboats packed up and left. The police packed away their ninja turtle outfits and tear gas and rubber bullets. They don't look like military commandos anymore. No more gunboats on the river. No more sirens all the time. No more armored vehicles and ear splitting machines used in Iraq. On Monday the businesses will open and kids will have to go back to school. Civil society has returned.

It is now probably even safe to exercise constitutional rights in Pittsburgh once again.

The USA really showed those terrorists didn't we?

Peter Lemkin
09-28-2009, 01:46 PM
I just listened to WBAI Radio via internet - their show by the CCR [Center For Constitutional Rights (http://ccrjustice.org/)] recorded just before the events of the weekend....their lawyers fighting to help various persons get permission to BE in Pittsburg and do such nasty things as [one example typical]: give free food to incoming protesters, park their vehicles [police gave tickets and towed one group's bus multiple times - either for being more then 12 inches from the curb or wheels on the curb - then raided their bus without warrant and just towed it away....etc.....finally appearing before a judge, the judge said they could sue for damages after the event - but at this time could do nothing and he could offer no remedy]. So, it is clear it is no longer when America becomes a policestate....only the academic discussion of when it DID become a policestate....maybe it can even be a party game.:bawling:

Helen Reyes
09-28-2009, 02:08 PM
2,500 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen Deployed for G-20 Security (http://cryptogon.com/?p=11200)

September 23rd, 2009 Via: Lebanon Daily News (http://www.ldnews.com/news/ci_13396275):
During the mission, dubbed Operation Steel Kickoff, the Guardsmen will fall under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service and will support local, state and federal agencies. Guard members will serve as a regional response force, augment law-enforcement personnel, provide crowd and traffic control, and help with security.
“Everybody is excited and honored to participate in such a global event,” said Lt. Col. Dale Waltman of Cornwall.
Also in Pittsburgh for the summit are several members of the Fort Indiantown Gap public-affairs office. Capt. Jay Ostrich of Cornwall said the public-affairs specialists’ primary mission is to do news features on the Guardsmen taking part in the mission.
“Basically what we’re doing is helping to tell the Guard story here,” he said.

Are they feeling their mission to "get the Guard's story out" was successful? Apparently no one mentioned the National Guard was even there, much less they used Active Denial System weapons on civilians including local residents and children. Operation Steel Kickoff was undoubtedly successful; they were inaugurating martial law in America.

Ed Jewett
09-28-2009, 02:49 PM
Peter, perhaps we should begin developing some variants in advance...
maybe a Deep Politics version of Trivial Pursuits?

A brother-in-spirit has suggested that a campaign be mounted to get the media to ask more about what was going on when one individual was rather unceremoniously --- what is the phrase? -- oh yes, -- made to be the focus of an "extraordinary rendition", what the charges were, where he was taken whom pushed him into that car, who the car belonged to, where he is now, when the court case will be heard, etc., etc..

I called the bubble-headed bleached blonde at KDKA but she said her mead was a little runny last night and when I mentioned habeas corpus, she thought it was some parlor game of murder mystery and suggested that it Mr. Green and Mrs. Peacock were involved somehow, and undoubtedly Colonel Mustard was involved, since there were uniforms of some sort. Anyway, she demurred, noting that she was sure to get a press release from someone on the matter.

Peter Lemkin
09-28-2009, 03:15 PM
Peter, perhaps we should begin developing some variants in advance...
maybe a Deep Politics version of Trivial Pursuits?

Now there is a seriously GOOD idea! :dancing2:

Ed Jewett
09-28-2009, 06:40 PM
Fourteen Minutes of Internet Press Service (IPS) video


Ed Jewett
09-30-2009, 05:02 AM
More G20

http://www.globalresearch.ca/coverStoryPictures/15453.jpg (http://www.globalresearch.ca/coverStoryPictures/15453.jpg)



The Militarization of the Police (video)

http://eclipptv.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=7551 (video) and

Robocops Come to Pittsburgh
…and bring the latest weaponry with them

by Mike Ferner

No longer the stuff of disturbing futuristic fantasies, an arsenal of “crowd control munitions,” including one that reportedly made its debut in the U.S., was deployed with a massive, overpowering police presence in Pittsburgh during last week’s G-20 protests.
Nearly 200 arrests were made and civil liberties groups charged the many thousands of police (most transported on Port Authority buses displaying “PITTSBURGH WELCOMES THE WORLD”), from as far away as Arizona and Florida with overreacting…and they had plenty of weaponry with which to do it.
Bean bags fired from shotguns, CS (tear) (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09247/995489-482.stm) gas, OC (http://www.aclu-sc.org/attach/p/Pepper_Spray_New_Questions.pdf) (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, flash-bang grenades, batons and, according to local news reports, for the first time on the streets of America, the Long Range Acoustic Device (http://www.tech-faq.com/long-range-acoustic-device.shtml) (LRAD).
Mounted in the turret of an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), I saw the LRAD in action twice in the area of 25th, Penn and Liberty Streets of Lawrenceville, an old Pittsburgh neighborhood. Blasting a shrill, piercing noise like a high-pitched police siren on steroids, it quickly swept streets and sidewalks of pedestrians, merchants and journalists and drove residents into their homes, but in neither case were any demonstrators present. The APC, oversized and sinister for a city street, together with lines of police in full riot gear looking like darkly threatening Michelin Men, made for a scene out of a movie you didn’t want to be in.
As intimidating as this massive show of armed force and technology was, the good burghers of Pittsburgh and their fellow citizens in the Land of the Brave and Home of the Free ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Tear gas and pepper spray are nothing to sniff at and, indeed, have proven fatal (http://www.aclu-sc.org/attach/p/Pepper_Spray_New_Questions.pdf) a surprising number of times, but they have now become the old standbys compared to the list below that’s already at or coming soon to a police station or National Guard headquarters near you. Proving that “what goes around, comes around,” some of the new Property Protection Devices were developed by a network of federally-funded, university-based research institutes like one in Pittsburgh itself, Penn State’s Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies (http://www3.arl.psu.edu/INLDT/).
· Raytheon Corp.'s Active Denial System (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/v-mads.htm), designed for crowd control in combat zones, uses an energy beam to induce an intolerable heating sensation (http://boston.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2004/11/29/daily30.html?t=printable), like a hot iron placed on the skin. It is effective beyond the range of small arms, in excess of 400 meters. Company officials have been advised they could expand the market by selling a smaller, tripod-mounted version for police forces.
· M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m5.htm), with a range of 30 meters "is similar in operation to a claymore mine, but it delivers...a strong, nonpenetrating blow to the body with multiple sub-munitions (600 rubber balls)."
· Long Range Acoustic Device (http://www.tech-faq.com/long-range-acoustic-device.shtml) or "The Scream," is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can emit sound "50 times greater than the human threshold for pain" at close range, causing permanent hearing damage. The L.A. Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2004/mar/07/opinion/op-arkin7) wrote U.S. Marines in Iraq used it in 2004. It can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone..."[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees." CBS News reported in 2005 that the Israeli Army first used the device in the field (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/10/world/main700979.shtml) to break up a protest against Israel's separation wall. "Protesters covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds...A military official said the device emits a special frequency that targets the inner ear."
· In "Non-lethal Technologies: An Overview (http://www.unidir.org/bdd/fiche-article.php?ref_article=2217)," Lewer and Davison describe a lengthy catalog of new weaponry including the "Directed Stick Radiator," a hand-held system based on the same technology as The Scream. "It fires high intensity ‘sonic bullets' or pulses of sound between 125-150db for a second or two. Such a weapon could, when fully developed, have the capacity to knock people off their feet."
· The Penn State facility is testing a "Distributed Sound and Light Array Debilitator (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-07-lightsaber_N.htm?csp=34&loc=interstitialskip)" a.k.a. the "puke ray (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5181)." The colors and rhythm of light are absorbed by the retina and disorient the brain, blinding the victim for several seconds. In conjunction with disturbing sounds it can make the person stumble or feel nauseated. Foreign Policy in Focus reports that the Department of Homeland Security, with $1 million invested for testing the device, hopes to see it "in the hands of thousands of policemen, border agents and National Guardsmen" by 2010.
· Spider silk is cited in the University of Bradford’s Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project, Report #4 (pg. 20) (http://www.geneva-forum.org/Reports/20040311.pdf) as an up-and-comer. “A research collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center is looking into the use of spider silk as a non-lethal ‘entanglement’ material for disabling people. They have developed a method for producing recombinant spider silk protein using E. coli and are trying to develop methods to produce large quantities of these fibres.”
· New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18725126.300) reports that the (I'm not making this up) Inertial Capacitive Incapacitator (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18725126.300) (ICI), developed by the Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, California, uses a thin-film storage device charged during manufacture that only discharges when it strikes the target. It can be incorporated into a ring-shaped aerofoil and fired from a standard grenade launcher at low velocity, while still maintaining a flat trajectory for maximum accuracy.
· Aiming beyond Tasers, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0268.shtm), (FY 2009 budget: $1B (http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/dhs09p.htm)) the domestic equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA (http://www.darpa.mil/off_programs.html)), plans to develop wireless weapons effective over greater distances, such as in an auditorium or sports stadium, or on a city street. One such device, the Piezer (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18725126.300), uses piezoelectric crystals that produce voltage when they are compressed. A 12-gauge shotgun fires the crystals, stunning the target with an electric shock on impact. Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a projectile (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18725126.300) Taser that can be fired from a shotgun or 40-mm grenade launcher to increase greatly the weapon's current range of seven meters.
· "Off the Rocker and On the Floor: Continued Development of Biochemical Incapacitating Weapons (http://www.bradford.ac.uk/acad/nlw/research_reports/docs/BDRC_ST_Report_No_8.pdf)," a report by the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre revealed that in 1992, the National Institute of Justice contracted with Lawrence Livermore National Lab to review clinical anesthetics for use by special ops military forces and police. LLNL concluded the best option was an opioid, like fentanyl, effective at very low doses compared to morphine. Combined with a patch soaked in DMSO (dimethylsufoxide, a solvent) and fired from an air rifle, fentanyl could be delivered to the skin even through light clothing. Another recommended application for the drug was mixed with fine powder and dispersed as smoke.
· After upgrades, the infamous "Puff the Magic Dragon" gunship from the Vietnam War is now the AC-130. "Non-Lethal Weaponry: Applications to AC-130 Gunships (http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA420661&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf)," observes that "With the increasing involvement of US military in operations other than war..." the AC-130 "would provide commanders a full range of non-lethal weaponry from an airborne platform which was not previously available to them." The paper concludes in part that "As the use of non-lethal weapons increases and it becomes valid and acceptable, more options will become available."
· Prozac and Zoloft are two of over 100 pharmaceuticals identified by the Penn State College of Medicine and the university's Applied Research Lab for further study as "non-lethal calmatives." These Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), noted the Penn State study (http://www.sunshine-project.org/incapacitants/jnlwdpdf/psucalm.pdf), "...are found to be highly effective for numerous behavioral disturbances encountered in situations where a deployment of a non-lethal technique must be considered. This class of pharmaceutical agents also continues to be under intense development by the pharmaceutical industry...New compounds under development (WO 09500194) are being designed with a faster onset of action. Drug development is continuing at a rapid rate in this area due to the large market for the treatment of depression (15 million individuals in North America)...It is likely that an SSRI agent can be identified in the near future that will feature a rapid rate of onset."
In Pittsburgh last week, an enormously expensive show of police and weaponry, intended for “security” of the G20 delegates, simultaneously shut workers out of downtown jobs for two days, forced gasping students and residents back into their dormitories and homes, and turned journalists’ press passes into quaint, obsolete reminders of a bygone time.
Most significant of all, however, was what Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, told the Associated Press: “It's not just intimidation, it's disruption and in some cases outright prevention of peaceful protesters being able to get their message out.”

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and president of Veterans For Peace.


Ed Jewett
10-08-2009, 08:33 PM
Scenes From a Crackdown (http://reason.com/archives/2009/10/05/scenes-from-a-crackdown)

Police overkill at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh

Radley Balko (http://reason.com/people/radley-balko) | October 5, 2009
Having lived in the Washington, D.C. area for the better part of the last 10 years, I've attended my share of protests, though, again as a resident of the Beltway, I've spent far more time trying to avoid them and the traffic nightmares they spawn. Among the various classes of protesters—pro-lifers, environmentalists, anti-war activists, and now Tea Partiers—the most destructive are easily the anti-globalization/anarchist protesters. So when police clashed with anti-globalization protesters last weekend in Pittsburgh, one could assume that most altercations represented justified police responses to overzealous protesters.
But a number of disturbing images, videos, and witness accounts have come out of Pittsburgh, as well as from similar high-stakes political events in recent years, that reveal the disquieting ease with which authorities are willing to crush dissent—and at the very sorts of events where the right to dissent is the entire purpose of protecting free speech. That is, events where influential policymakers meet to make high-level decisions with far-reaching consequences.
On the Friday afternoon before the G20 kicked into high gear, a student at the University of Pittsburgh sent me this photo, which he says he snapped on his way back from class.
It depicts a University of Pittsburgh police officer directing traffic at a roadblock. What's troubling is what he's wearing: camouflage military fatigues. It's difficult to understand why a police officer working for an urban police department would need to wear camouflage, especially while patrolling an economic summit. He's a civilian police officer, dressed like a soldier. The symbolism is clear, and it affects the attitudes of the both the cops wearing the clothes and the people they're policing.
He wasn't alone. A number of police departments from across the country came to Pittsburgh to help police the summit, and nearly all were dressed in paramilitary garb. In one widely-circulated video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8CNa_viKg0) from the summit, several police officers dressed entirely in camouflage emerge from an unmarked car, apprehend a young backpack-toting protester, stuff him into the car, and then drive off. It evoked the sort of "disappearance" one might envision in a Latin American junta or Soviet Block country. Matt Drudge linked to the video, describing the officers in it as members of the military. They weren't (http://rawstory.com/2009/09/video-appears-to-show-us-troops-kidnapping-protester/), though it's certainly easy to understand how someone might make that mistake.
Another video shows a police unit with what seems to be a handcuffed protester. Officers surround the protester and prop him up, at which point another officer snaps what appears to be a trophy photo. (YouTube has since removed the video (http://myprops.org/content/Video-shows-G20-cops-having-protester-kneel-in-front-of-them-in-trophy-photo-video-707052/), citing a terms of use violation.) Other Twitter feeds and uploaded photos and videos claim police fired tear gas canisters into dorm rooms, used sound cannons, and fired bean bags and rubber bullets. One man was arrested for posting the locations of riot police (http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/us/2009/10/03/D9B3TVTG1_us_twitter_anarchist_arrests) on Twitter.
Emily Tanner, a grad student at the University of Pittsburgh who describes herself as a "capitalist" and who doesn't agree with the general philosophy of the anti-globalization protesters, has been covering the fallout on her blog (http://tanner-emily.blogspot.com/search/label/g20). The most egregious police actions seemed to take place on Friday September 25, when police began ordering (http://www.pittnews.com/node/20138) students who were in public spaces to disperse, despite the fact that they had broken no laws. Those who moved too slowly, even from public spaces on their own campus or in front of their dorms, were arrested.
Lucy Steigerwald, a libertarian student at Chatham University (and daughter of Reason contributor Bill Steigerwald), describes the scene via email: "I'm truly disappointed in my city's reaction to Friday night....hundreds of riot cops attack[ed] Pittsburgh's biggest, most jockish, mainstream college. And people still have no sympathy for peaceful protesters or curious college students on their campus. They just feel comfortable and confident that people who have the right to use force on other people are always in the right when they do so. It's pretty scary and disappointing that they're so trusting with people's right to assembly being at the whim of the government.
A University of Pittsburgh spokesman said (http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/bigstory/archive/2009/09/26/pitt-we-warned-students.aspx) the tactic was to break up crowds that "had the potential of disrupting normal activities, traffic flow, egress and the like...Much of the arrests last night had to do with failure to disperse when ordered." Note that a group of people needn't have actually broken any laws, only possessed the "potential" to do so, at which point not moving quickly enough for the liking of the police on the scene could result in an arrest. That standard is essentially a license for the police to arrest anyone, anywhere in the city at any time, regardless of whether those under arrest have actually done anything wrong.
Pennsylvania ACLU Legal Director Vic Walczak said the problem is that police didn't attempt to manage the protests, they simply suppressed them. In the process, they rounded up not only innocent protesters, but innocent students who had nothing to do with the protests. "The reason it's bizarre is it seemed to focus almost exclusively on peaceful demonstrators," Walczak said on September 26 (http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/bigstory/archive/2009/09/26/aclu-questions-police-response.aspx). "Police can't indiscriminately arrest people. On [Friday] night they didn't even have the excuse of property damage going on or any illegal activity. It's really inexplicable."
It certainly can't be easy to both keep order and protect civil liberties at these sorts of events. But that doesn't mean police and city officials shouldn't be expected to try. A few unruly protesters (and there was very little property damage at the G20 summit) doesn't give the police license to crack down on every young person in the general vicinity, nor should it give the city free rein to suppress all dissent.
The leaders of the world's 20 largest economies and the press covering them came to Pittsburgh last weekend. It's unfortunate that the images that emerged were not of a society that values free expression and constitutional rights, but one that at big events gives its police the sort of power to impose order normally seen in authoritarian states. In all, 190 people were arrested, including at least two journalists. One, a reporter from the left-leaning IndyMedia (http://www.tc.indymedia.org/2009/sep/tcimc-journalist-other-mediamakers-arrested-harassed-beaten-pittsburgh), says her camera was returned broken, with her footage of the protests and police reaction deleted.
Unfortunately, the projection of overwhelming force at such events is becoming more common. At last year's Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, police conducted peremptory raids (http://www.startribune.com/politics/27695244.html) on the homes of protesters before the convention. Journalists who inquired about the legitimacy of the raids and arrests made during the convention were also arrested (http://www.citypages.com/2008-09-10/news/dozens-of-journalists-arrested-at-rnc/). In all, 672 people were arrested, including at least 39 journalists. The arrest of Amy Goodman of Democracy Now was captured on a widely-viewed video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ). She was charged with "conspiracy to riot." Those charges were dropped. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in February (http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/RNC_Protest_Arrest_Charges_Dropped_Marion_Cedar_Fe b_20_2009) that 442 of the 672 who were arrested had their charges either dropped or dismissed.
These are precisely the kinds of events where free speech and the freedom to protest is in most need of protection. Instead, the more high-profile the event, the more influential the players, and the more high-stakes the decision being made, the more determined police and political officials seem to be in making sure dissent is kept as far away from the decision makers as possible. Or silenced entirely.
Radley Balko (%20rbalko@reason.com) is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

Keith Millea
10-09-2009, 05:59 AM

Ed Jewett
10-13-2009, 05:12 AM
Pittsburgh G20 Protests - Firsthand Account http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/pdf_button.png (http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=527) http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/printButton.png (http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=527&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=1) http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/emailButton.png (http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index2.php?option=com_content&task=emailform&id=527&itemid=1) User Rating:http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/rating_star.pnghttp://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/rating_star.pnghttp://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/rating_star.pnghttp://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/rating_star.pnghttp://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/M_images/rating_star.png / 18
PoorBest by David Rovics 27 September 2009 http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/stories/G20frontmarchThumb.jpgEditor's note: David Rovics is a dedicated activist-musician whom I know. In his column below there are a couple of statements that some might argue are exaggerated generalizations about U.S. society. But if his entire account is read, it's clear why he would make his devastating yet inspiring statements. Additional deep analyses by others follow (links). JL
The Police Are Rioting: Reflections on Pittsburgh
There is a popular assumption asserted ad nauseam by our leaders in government, by our school text books and by our “mainstream” media that although many other countries don't have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly -- such as Iran or China -- we do, and it's what makes us so great. Anybody who has spent much time trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in the U.S. now or at any other time since 1776 knows first-hand that the First Amendment looks good on paper but has little to do with reality.
Dissent has never really been tolerated in the USA. As we've seen in recent election cycles even just voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and having your vote count can be quite a challenge -- as anyone who has not had their head in sand knows, Bush lost both elections and yet kept his office fraudulently twice. But for those who want to exercise their rights beyond the government-approved methods -- that is, their right to vote for one of two parties, their right to bribe politicians (“lobby”) if they have enough money, or their right to write a letter to the editor in the local Murdoch-owned rag, if it hasn't closed shop yet -- the situation is far worse.
Let's go back in history for a minute. After the victory of the colonies over Britain in the Revolutionary War, the much-heralded US Constitution included no rights for citizens other than the rights of the landed gentry to run the show. This changed as a direct result of a years-long rebellion of the citizens of western Massachusetts that came to be known as Shays' Rebellion [organized groups of farmers marched as squads and companies upon the hated debtors' courts and force them to postpone their business. - ed.]. Shays' Rebellion scared the pants off the powers-that-be and they did what the powers-that-be do and have always done all over the world -- passed some reforms in order to avert a situation where the rich would lose more than just western Massachusetts. They passed the Bill of Rights.
Fast forward more than a century. Ostensibly this great democracy had had the Bill of Rights enshrined in law for quite a long time now. Yet in 1914 a supporter of labor unionism could not make a soapbox speech on a sidewalk in this country without being beaten and arrested by police for the crime of disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk or whatever other nonsense the cops made up at the time.
If you read the mainstream media of the day you would be likely to imagine that these labor agitators trying to give speeches on the sidewalks of Seattle or Los Angeles were madmen bent on the destruction of civilization. Yet it is as a direct result of these brave fighters that we have things like Social Security, a minimum wage, workplace safety laws, and other reforms that led, at least until the “Reagan Revolution,” to this country having a thriving middle class (the lofty term we use when we're referring to working class people who can afford to go to college and buy a house).
Reforms are won due to these struggles -- proof over and over that democracy is, more than anything, in the streets. Yet the fundamental aspect of these social movements that have shaped our society -- these social movements that have at least sometimes and to some degree ultimately been praised by the ruling clique and their institutions, such as the Civil Rights movement -- freedom of speech and assembly, remain a criminal offense.
Fast forward another century to Pittsburgh, 2009. For those who may have thought that the criminalization of dissent was to be a hallmark of the Bush years, think again. Dissent was a criminal offense before Bush, and it quite evidently still is today. I was born in 1967, so I can't comment first-hand on things that happened far from the suburbs where I grew up as a kid, but I can tell you unequivocally from direct experience that I have witnessed police riots before, during, and since the Bush years. Most recently, last Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (To read about previous police riots I have witnessed go to songwritersnotebook.blogspot.com (http://www.songwritersnotebook.blogspot.com/).)
In a nutshell, here's how it went down. I drove to Pittsburgh from a gig in Allentown the night before, all the while listening to BBC, NPR, CNN, etc. on my satellite radio. Naturally, the coming G20 talks in Pittsburgh were in the news. The most powerful people in the world, the leaders of the world's richest nations, were meeting in Pittsburgh to decide the fate of the planet, to decide how to deal with the economic crisis, the climate crisis, and other crises caused by industrial capitalism gone mad, crises which affect each and every one of us intimately, crises about which many of us naturally want to do something -- crises about which we would at least like to voice our concerns.
Notably absent from the news coverage is anything about the lawsuits that the ACLU had to file in order to force the local authorities to allow any demonstrations or marches to happen at all. Permits applied for months ago by state senators, peace groups, women's groups and others were only granted in the past couple weeks. Many other permits were never granted. It doesn't say anything about applying for a permit in the First Amendment, and in many other more democratic countries than ours no permit is required for citizens to assemble. In many European countries where I have spent a lot of time, if citizens choose to have an assembly in the streets the role of the police is to escort the march in order to divert traffic and keep things safe, and no permit is required. But not in the US -- not in Philadelphia or Los Angeles in 2000, not in Miami in 2003, not in Denver or St. Paul in 2008 and not in Pittsburgh last week.
While various progressive organizations were trying hard to work with the intransigent authorities, other groups took the sensible (but -- in the US -- dangerous) position that this is supposed to be a democracy and we should not need to apply for a permit so that the authorities could tell us where and when we could and could not protest.
The first non-permitted march that I heard about was Thursday afternoon. I should mention that I heard about it, but only with a certain amount of difficulty, because I and many other people I talked to in Pittsburgh were having strange problems with our cell phones, problems which started in whatever states we came from and continued in Pittsburgh right up until yesterday. People I talked to -- friends and fellow engaged members of society such as Cindy Sheehan, Joshua White, Sarah Wellington and others -- reported the same phenomena. Every time one of us would receive a call we couldn't hear the callers, though we could hear our own voices echoing back to us. When we'd call back it usually would work then. Coincidence? Sure, maybe.
Reports I heard over the phone on Thursday from people I talked to were in between bouts of catching breath and running from the police. Reports on the local media (the only “mainstream” media doing any serious coverage of the protests, as usual, mainly because they were intimately connected to the traffic reports) said the police were “restrained” (what else are they supposed to be?) until the march reached a certain point, at which time it was declared to be an unlawful assembly and the crowd was “dispersed.” How? There was no mention.
Usually -- and outrageously enough -- whether in North America, Europe or other places I've been, if there's a meeting of the global elite happening you are not allowed in unless you're part of the gang or you're a lobbyist or a (officially sanctioned) journalist. Usually a perimeter is formed by the police, Secret Service, FBI, and whichever other “intelligence” agencies are there, that you can't cross. This was also the case in Pittsburgh, but like Miami in 2003, St. Paul in 2008, and other occasions in recent years, the authorities were not just being “on the defensive” and maintaining a perimeter around the meetings. They were on the offensive.
If this happened in Iran or China it would be called martial law -- but here in America we never have martial law, apparently, even when the military and the police are jointly patrolling the streets with armored vehicles and weapons of all descriptions and attacking people for the crime of being on the streets. Any gathering other than the permitted march (which was a great, festive march involving many thousands of participants from all walks of life, albeit with a ridiculously large, armored and menacing police “escort”) was declared an unlawful assembly and then attacked. I saw it myself on Thursday night and then again, much worse, on Friday night.
And what kind of unlawful assembly are we talking about? Hundreds of students and other folks, a few of whom may have broken a window or two at some point during the evening in the course of being pursued by violence-prone riot police, who were ultimately gathering on the grass on the campus of the university in the Oakland district of Pittsburgh. They had no weapons, they were unarmed, mostly youth, mostly college students from various parts of the country, along with perhaps an equal group of local college students, most of whom were just curious and didn't even have anything to do with the protests -- many of whom in fact were just wondering what there is to protest about! They soon found out one thing to protest about -- police brutality and active suppression of our Constitutional rights.
I have no doubt that the Pittsburgh police (and cops present from, of all places, Miami as well as other cities) will in the end have radicalized many local students who had previously been apolitical, and for this I applaud them.
On Friday night I went to a free concert a local community radio station was hosting on the campus. It ended around 8 pm. Over the course of the next two hours there were more and more riot cops arriving. Why? Because they knew what I knew -- that a few hundred young folks were planning on gathering on the green at 10 pm, many of whom came by bicycle, after having engaged in a criminal, non-permitted mass bike ride around the city. Around 9:30 I had to leave to go to a different neighborhood, and I returned in my rental car around 11 pm along with Cindy, Joshua and Sarah.
If the police had made announcements for everyone to disperse (as I'm sure they had at some point) we were too late for that. What we arrived in the midst of was a police riot. We parked on the street in front of the campus and walked on the sidewalk on the campus. Within seconds we saw a young man on a bicycle, a student at that very university, being violently tackled by two riot cops, thrown down to the ground with the police on top of him. All of the police all of the time were dressed in black armor head to toe, many of them driving armored vehicles. Earlier in the evening Cindy and Joshua and I were hanging around one of the armored vehicles while Cindy harassed the cops and soldiers strutting around there, telling them her son died in Iraq because he didn't have an armored vehicle like this one. (They studiously ignored her, of course.)
The young man with the two cops on top of him and his bicycle cried for help, perhaps not realizing that there wasn't much anyone could do other than take his name, which he was too freaked out to pronounce in a way that anybody could understand. Within seconds we found ourselves running from a group of cops, along with a bunch of young folks who had their hands in the air, hoping vainly that this might deter the police from attacking them. It didn't. Off the campus, a block away, police were running in groups in different directions, penning people in, throwing them to the ground, hitting them with clubs, handcuffing them and arresting them.
The four of us (an affinity group I suppose) got separated. Sarah and I were running and were about to be boxed in by police coming in different directions. After I was myself clubbed in the back by a cop with his truncheon, we ducked into the front of the lobby of the Holiday Inn and started talking with guests, other protesters, and various students who had also gone there because they were quite naturally afraid to be on the streets. Fifty feet away in either direction the police were assaulting and arresting people, individually and in small groups, picking them off the sidewalks. Cindy and Joshua had ended up running in a different direction, through clouds of tear gas. They ducked around a corner just in time to watch dozens of young people, running away, being shot methodically with rubber-coated steel bullets in the back. One friend of mine there from Minneapolis said he saw someone who had ten welts on his back from being shot ten times. On both Thursday and Friday nights the authorities used their fancy new LRAD weapons, a sound-based weapon that causes people to flee because it hurts their eardrums so badly. (At future demos, look out for the noise-cancelling headphones accompanying the goggles...)
At every turn you could hear the sound of shocked students who had never seen or heard about this sort of thing happening, who were struggling to come to terms with what they were experiencing. They're just attacking anybody on or near the campus, they're not differentiating between us and the protesters! Some of them seemed to think that it might be OK to club protesters as long as you don't club the students, others had concluded that attacking people for hanging out on the grass was over the top regardless. (This is not an easy thing for a sorority girl from a wealthy suburb to come to terms with, so I was duly impressed at hearing these heretofore clueless youth having such epiphanies.) What was particularly entertaining was the first-hand realization that the local students could not themselves differentiate between “their” fellow students and the other ones who had come from out of town. How could they? It is, in fact, completely impossible to tell the difference between a college student from Pittsburgh and one from Toledo, even if they do have very different politics...
Eventually, by 1 am or so, Cindy and Joshua were able to move without being fired on, and they joined Sarah and I in the comfort of the patio at the Holiday Inn. The people who worked at the Inn, at least some of them, were trying to keep protesters out. The thing was, though, that if you could afford to buy a drink you were no longer a protester, but a guest of the bar, which is what we were. A little while before Cindy and Joshua arrived a convoy of limousines and other fancy cars pulled up in front of the hotel, and then security locked the doors. You could still go in or out, though, just not without security opening the doors for you.
We continued going in and out of the bar, passing by none other than Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, and his entourage, who were all staying that night in the Holiday Inn (of all relatively downscale places to stay!) and watching some big Australian rugby match on TV. In our confusion at having just escaped the riot police only to find ourselves ten feet away from the Australian Prime Minister, Cindy, Joshua, Sarah and I were all at a complete loss as far as what we should say to the guy. We all talked a lot about what we could say, but by the time we were getting close to coming up with a plan he had gone to bed.
The next day, Saturday, I joined a couple dozen friends and acquaintances outside the county jail where people had spent the night, waiting to get out on bond. Most folks got out on bond, others were (and perhaps still are) being held on a higher bond, waiting for friends and relatives and comrades to come up with the money. Talking to people just out of jail I heard more horror stories. One man, Gabriel, told of being kept outside between 2 and 6 am in the rain, and then being held in a cell where he was handcuffed to a chair along with another man, not able to stand or lay down, for 13 hours.
I left Pittsburgh in the late afternoon from the jail, heading towards New England to continue this northeastern concert tour. In Connecticut this morning I got a call from Cindy Sheehan, who had just gone to the Emergency Room because she was having trouble breathing. People around her the night before had been vomiting profusely as a result of the tear gas. Having suffered injury in the past from getting gassed in Quebec City, I knew exactly why she was in the ER.

http://www.culturechange.org/cms/images/stories/CindySheehan.jpgCS at previous action

There will be lawsuits, and the lawsuits will be won. People like Cindy and Gabriel might make a bit of money from their suffering at the hands of the authorities. Not to worry, though -- the authorities have a multi-million dollar slush fund to deal with these lawsuits. They expect them, and they don't care. This is democracy in the USA. It's always been like this, under Democrats or Republicans. If you doubt me, it's quite simply because you don't know your history.
Protest, however, matters. The end of slavery, the banning of child labor, the fact that most working class people live to be past 30 these days, is all a direct result of protest – of democracy happening in the streets. Marches, strikes, rebellions, and all manner of other extra-parliamentary activities. The authorities are well aware that democracy in the streets, no matter what they say – that's why dissent is criminalized. Because as soon as we are allowed to have a taste of our own power, everything can change. It has, and it will again, but the powers-that-be will continue to do what they do best -- try hard to make sure we don't know how powerful we are. They require the consent of the governed, the consent of those students in Pittsburgh, and they have now lost it, at least for many of those who were in Oakland last Friday night. They would have lost it a lot more if they had done ma ss arrests or used live ammunition, which is why they didn't do that.
We don't have freedom of speech or assembly and we never have, but it is through all kinds of “unlawful assemblies,” from Shays' Rebellion to the Civil Rights movement, that change happens. So here's to the next Pittsburgh, wherever it may be. I hope to see you there, on the streets, where our fate truly lies.
* * * * *
(http://www.davidrovics.com/) davidrovics.guestbooks.cc
Further reading:
This Is What A Police State Looks Like (http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2009/09/31358.php) by M. Burton Brown, Pittsburgh Independent Media Center, Sept. 26, 2009
Are We Addicted to Rioting? (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/09/27/18623480.php)
An analysis of militant-street protest, movement strategy, and the state of anarchism based around the G20 Pittsburgh demonstrations
by Ryan Harvey, Sept. 27th, 2009
"Today's 'Anarchism' is too disconnected from larger movements, too fragmented in its own, and too carried away with its own romanticism."
Mainstream corporate report: Cops and Anarchists Clash at G-20 (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1926196,00.html) by Marty Levine, Time magazine, Pittsburgh, Sept. 25, 2009
The anarchist march had started at 2:30 p.m. in a park in the working class Pittsburgh neighborhood of Lawrenceville. The sounds of chanting — "Our city, our streets"... the protest crowd... was led by a banner reading "No Hope in Capitalism." Bicycle scouts reported police locations to the marchers, who had swarmed around an unmarked police car just a few blocks after their start. Still, the first confrontation between anarchists and cops was over quickly. Read David Rovics' previous article in Culture Change: Pivotal Moment in the Green Scare / Civilization sabotages itself (http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=2) (with a contribution by Dmitry Orlov).
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Ed Jewett
10-18-2009, 06:46 PM
Baghdad, USA: Chicago police officers accused of forcing kneeling suspect to pose for photo during G-20 summit (http://www.startribune.com/nation/64526237.html) 16 Oct 2009 The Chicago Police Department is investigating several of its officers accused of forcing a college student they arrested during last month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh to pose for a group photo with them. The department, which has been dogged by embarrassing allegations of misconduct in recent years, began investigating the Pittsburgh claims after video of the alleged incident was posted on YouTube. The video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkwFKf3OcTE) apparently shows about 15 police officers in riot gear posing for a photo with a man they detained kneeling in front of them.
Chicago police conduct at G-20 summit in Pittsburgh under investigation (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-pittsburgh-cop-controversyoct16,0,2609307.story) --Video shows officers forcing suspect to pose with them 16 Oct 2009 Chicago police are investigating a video of officers who allegedly forced a college student to pose with them after his arrest during last month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh... Pittsburgh attorney Cris Hoel, who represents Kyle Kramer, said the student was arrested Sept. 25 and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. Hoel said Chicago police officers motioned for his client to get into the photo. "He strenuously objected to being in the photograph," Hoel said. Kramer found being forced to kneel "demeaning," he said.

17 Oct 2009
http://www.legitgov.org (http://www.legitgov.org/)