Thursday, April 14, 2005

Planespotting: Airport Police Try to Seize Camera Containing Evidence of Same At Shannon

Airport Police Try To Seize Camera Containing Evidence Of Same At Shannon
While planespotting OUTSIDE Shannon Warport in broad daylight last Sunday, some planespotters found themselves on the receiving end of a fit of madness from one of the APOs who decided somehow that he had jurisdiction outside his patch.
[. . .]
Following the EYFA Anti-War Conference in Co Clare last week, some of the participating peaceniks held a vigil in Ennis, where they distributed leaflets and food to the fine people of the banner county.
We informed the locals that there has been a huge increase in troop movements through Shannon. (95,584 in the first three months of 2005 alone. There has also been more frequent sightings of C-130s and US Navy logistic flights at Ireland's de facto warport.)
Over a hundred leaflets were handed out to the public, who also appreciated the free food.
Afterwards, 7 of us went to Shannon to check up on our local US military airstrip. As usual we went to the industrial estate bordering the airport, rather than into the airport itself.
[. . .]
I told him that he had no jurisdiction outside the airport as he was not a Garda.
"How do you know I'm not a garda?!" he snapped back at me.
"You're wearing an airport police inspectors uniform" I replied.
At that point I warned him that it was a serious offence to impersonate a Garda and that he should not pass himself off as a member of An Garda Siochana.
(We have this on tape, and he knew we were taping it, that’s probably why he was engaged in a tug of war with the camerawoman – so the tape would be admissible in evidence should the DPP choose to prosecute this man)
Rather than admit that he was not a Garda, this man kept up the pretence. "I am an authorised officer" he said.
"Yes, under the Air Transport and Navigation Acts" I replied, "that gives you jurisdiction inside the airport. We are not IN the airport."

The above is from Tim Hourigan's "'Good German' and Shannon Airport 'Police' Inspector Impersonates A Garda Siochana" over at IE Indymedia (Ireland). What? You thought it was just in Colorado that Bully Boys pose as something they're not and attempt to evict lawful citizens?

Yes, we're in the Indy Media Review. (And my apologies for no evening posts last Thursday due to problems with Blogger. We did miss the Indy Media Review as a result.)

Bolton and Negroponte aren't the only people causing concerns. Patrick steers us to Boston Indy Media where you'll find a heads up via Massachusetts Global Action's "Deval Patrick: 'Too much baggage...' say activists:"

Current Coca-Cola employee, Deval Patrick, has "too much baggage" to represent the Commonwealth says, Kim Foltz, Campaign Director of Massachusetts Global Action (MGA). "With his recent $2.1 million cash infusion from Coca-Cola and confidentiality agreement, we're worried that he cannot have anything but serious conflicts of interests when it comes to water issues, labor rights, and the health of our kids."
A growing network of organizations, including MGA, the India Resource Center, and Corporate Campaign, has grave concerns about Coca-Cola's practices.
Activists are challenging Coke's depletion and contamination of water resources in India, while trade unionists are exposing the corporation's complicity in paramilitary intimidation and suppression of labor unions in Colombia.
"Meanwhile," Foltz adds, "Deval Patrick is that he is being paid to be silent about Coca-Cola!"
Amit Srivastava, director, India Resource Center, notes that Patrick has "never spoken out against Coca-Cola's practices in India. These include selling soft drinks with high pesticide levels and depleting of water resources in at least four communities."
In addition, Foltz notes, "Coca-Cola's systematic targeting of children and young people in the United States have profoundly negative health impacts."
A candidate "needs to tell me that my child's health is front and center of their campaign.
No Coke hack can tell me that," complains Suren Moodliar, parent and local labor rights activist.
Foltz notes that her organization "will be monitoring the upcoming campaign for evidence of corporate influence."

Lloyd e-mails to note Anna Thompson's "Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney Urges Reform of Voting Process at Historic Conference" (Tennesse IMC):

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney adressed the closing of the National Election Reform Conference Saturday, April 9th in Nashville. Congresswoman McKinney is the first black female elected to Congress from the state of Georgia. Elected in 1992, she served five consecutive terms. In 2002 she was the subject of an intense campaign by the Republicans to run her out of office for questions she asked about Bush Administration knowledge of events surrounding September 11th. After a two year hiatus she returned to the public arena and successfully regained her seat. She addressed the National Conference on Election Reform regarding the historical suppression of the black vote and modern attempts at gerrymandering and voter suppression.
"Thank you for coming together and doing this in the South. Most issues that move Americans to act are not happening in the South. When did the Bush administration know about September 11th? I suffered mightily for asking that question. Like you I feel victimized by a system that is slipping away from the grips of the American people. In 1992 I was the first black woman elected to Congress. Soon afterwards, my district was redistricted into a new district that was only 30% black. I was supposed to lose but I didn't, then came September 11th. Republicans came out of the woodwork.""Now here in the South African Americans have had to grapple with their right to vote in every election. Now African Americans are still angry about what happened in Florida in 2000, but it didn't stop there. In Florida I watched what happened. The same kind of crass effort to stop the vote has happened in Georgia. It happened in my district and across the South."
[. . .]
"Before I was ushered out of Washington DC I had met with an African American accountant. He had devised a voting method entitled 'TruVote.' His machine was the kind of machine that you are asking for. It gave you a paper receipt, it generated a randomly generated number and if you called a 1-800 number then a computer would tell you what race you voted in and it gave you the numbers of votes cast in that district and would tell you what offices you voted for. TruVote had the solution. I called Mr Gibbs and I wanted him to go with me to California and demonstrate his machine. Two nights later I heard he had been in an accident in which he perished. He was supposed to go to Ohio to testify and so Avon Gibbs loss is our loss, is America's loss. I hope part of this election reform activism recalls his memory."

Gary e-mails to draw our attention to this by imc "News: Civil & Human Rights Amherst Takes Strong Stands Against U.S. Use of Torture." It's from Western Masachussettes Indy Media and details the efforts by the local Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Amherst:

On Monday evening, the Town of Amherst’s Select Board voted unanimously to sign on to a letter rejecting U.S. use of torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners, drafted by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. That same evening, by a vote of 7-1, Eugene’s City Council approved a resolution based on the letter. Many more communities are expected to join Eugene and Amherst in the coming weeks, as the BORDC’s grassroots coalition seeks to challenge the Bush Administration’s tacit approval of torture and rendition post 9/11.The letter asks the United States government to affirm that it will not through its own actions, or through others acting on its behalf, engage in any acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment anywhere in the world. The BORDC asks local government bodies, veterans groups, retired military officers, and national organizations to sign on to its letter because U.S. use of torture places U.S. and allied military forces at greater risk of similar treatment if they are captured. The BORDC plans to deliver the letter to President Bush and all members of Congress in early May.Nancy Foster, Amherst community member and longtime civil liberties supporter, introduced the letter to the Amherst Select Board. The five-member Board praised Foster and offered their unanimous support for the letter. They plan to send their own copies of the letter to Amherst's Congressional representatives, in addition to endorsing BORDC's letter.

Again, for disclosure reasons, I volunteered with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in my area. I'm really glad (and proud of you) that so many community members are seeking out their local committees and seeing how they can make a difference.

Lily visited Portland Indy Media and found "NPR ¿'news'?" by Progressive Democrat. What is about Portland IMC that makes them turn out such strong media criticism. (The Third Estate Sunday Review highlighted Jen Amos' "Commercialized Progressive Talk Radio Shows Its True Colors" this past Sunday.) This week Progressive Democrat tackles the issue of NPR:

Sometimes NPR isn't so bad, maybe almost pretty good . . . sometimes. But other times, like today, NPR covered two stories with a definite pro-Bush slant, just to make sure that no one would doubt that its reporting is "balanced"! Especially wouldn't want to step on the toes of any of its corporate or "non-profit" foundation supporters!
1. "Politics of the Weak Dollar" (first in a three-part series). The falling dollar was covered from the point of view, in a quote repeated twice and told as though from a neutral expert, that the Bush administration's responsibility for the fast-approaching dollar crisis is limited to a policy of "benign neglect." No mention of the role played by the egregious deficits under Bush, propelled primarily by the Iraq war and Bush's insistence upon cutting taxes for the rich. Compare NPR's coverage with a more balanced report by the Christian Science Monitor -- not a Democratic, and far less leftist, news source. Here are excerpts from a report as of late last November:
The dollar is now down 50 percent against the euro since October 2000, and hit a its lowest level since 1995 against a basket of foreign currencies last week. Up to now, the White House has let the Treasury deal with the dipping dollar. In comments to the press in London, Treasury Secretary John Snow threw cold water on any move to join the Europeans in managing the dollar's fall. "The history of efforts to impose nonmarket valuations on currencies is at best unrewarding and checkered," he said. Decades ago, such an attitude was labeled "benign neglect."

We'll take this moment to get a report from community member Ruth who is following NPR for us.

Ruth: The thing that stood out the most on Moring Edition this morning was this:

April 14, 2005 - After confirming plea deals in Georgia and Alabama Wednesday, confessed bomber Eric Rudolph will serve life in prison. Afterward, he said his 1996 attack at the Atlanta Olympics was meant to embarrass the federal government. In reference to a fatal 1998 bombing at an Alabama women's clinic, he said "abortion is murder."

The intro into the segment contained no mention of any bombing other than the Olympics. And when the issue of his bombing of a gay dance club was mentioned, the reporter quickly rushed into how Rudolph's own brother was gay. The report played out to me like an excuse as opposed to a factual accounting. (The introduction to the segment was much worse.) It was as though his actions were being minimized. And what is terrorism but the actions of Rudolph?
NPR listeners had to make that connection themselves because the report played out like poor misunderstood Rudolph.

We'll hop over to Australia to note our friend Luke of wotisitgood4. Natalie draws our attention to his post "lie sin:"

* you know how much i hate all these stupid ricin stories - there's been a bunch of them in the last few years, but there hasnt been a single legitimate one, and this one looks dodgy too - the details are so murky.
* the beeb is playing it up like alqaida wants to destroy the world with a long scary piece headlining their bulletins. the beeb has moved so close to cnni in the last year that its difficult to tell the two apart. the beeb, in print and on teeve helpfully tell us "If they had succeeded officials in the UK believe the impact on our lives would have been as great as 9/11." - but the details seem a whole lot murkier than the headlines...
* " the plan was to smear nicotine poison on the handles of cars and houses" LINK
* "Even a small number of beans was capable of producing a substantial number of fatal doses through inhalation or injection.”" LINK ie. *not* touching doors handles
* "The jury found Bourgass guilty of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance by using poisons and explosives for which he was given a 17 year sentence." LINK
* the cases "cost an estimated £50m" and 8 out of 9 folks werent charged LINK
* the acquitals " also undermines the justification for the Iraq war. Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, used the plot to back his case for the conflict before the UN. Tony Blair also claimed the ricin "find" was evidence of the threat of weapons of mass destruction to Britain." LINK
* "Defense lawyers said that despite one of the biggest police investigations of recent times, there was little proof of a major plot." LINK
* " "no traces of manufactured ricin had been found," despite the initial reports that traces of the toxin had been found" LINK - which reminds me of the ricin 'find' in a parisian train station a while back - the ricin was later downgraded to table salt or some such.

Liang draws our attention to UCSC Students Against War's "UCSC Students Kick Military Recruiters Off Campus." This April 5, 2005 article is from Santa Cruz Indymedia:

Earlier today, about 300 UC Santa Cruz students led by Students Against War (SAW) kicked Army, Navy and Marine Corps recruiters out of the annual Career Center Job Fair, marking yet another success for the nation-wide counter-military recruitment campaign.
Joined by Watsonville's Brown Berets, SAW protesters gathered for a rally at the campus bookstore and occupied the streets in a traffic-stopping procession up to the Stevenson Event Center where the Job Fair was being held.
Students were motivated by fiery speeches about the racist, sexist, classist and heterosexist biases of the military, all of which are in violation of the UC Santa Cruz's non-discrimination policies.
As the march began, a small group of students infiltrated the Job Fair and surrounded recruiter’s tables, chanting and linking arms. This small group was soon joined by more students from the march who pushed their way through front and side doors, chanting, "Whose Campus? Our Campus!" as Job Fair administrations attempted to literally shove them out the door.
Ultimately, 100 students were able to surround recruiters' tables while the remaining 200 marchers stayed outside the Event Center, blocking the entrances and chanting in support of those on the inside.
Student negotiators struck a bargain with the Career Center Administrators after SAW protestors had occupied the Job Fair for about an hour.
Protesters agreed to stop the disruption and leave the Job Fair once recruiters left the site and did not return. After all the military recruiters received a police escort out of the Event Center, protesters were granted a make-shift booth where a few representatives could remain at the Job Fair to educate students about anti-military, pro-peace options for future employment.

You'll find photos at the link above. And others are also doing counter-recruiting. Indybay IMC
has "Counter Recruiting in the Central Valley: Activists Threatened With Arrest:"

Counter recruiting activists handed out fliers, talked to students, and were threatened with arrest at a job fair at Fresno City College. Army recruiters objected to the activists and claimed they were interfering with their job. After complaints were made to the event organizers the counter recruiters were asked to leave. Instead of leaving they were joined by more supporters and continued to hand out fliers and talk to students. Fliers and brochures were distributed throughout the day by FCC students and community supporters.
The counter recruiters were told that the community college had rules prohibiting free speech and that if they wanted to hand out fliers they would have to fill out a form and wait at least ten working days. Campus police were more concerned with a littering problem than the First Amendment. Read the story here Last month the Reedley Peace Center held a vigil for peace and heard a presentation by high school students about their efforts to counter the lies of military recruiters on campus. Additional counter recruiting efforts are being planned in the Central Valley. To find out about upcoming counter recruiting events go to the Peace Fresno web site.

At a time when elected officials and political mouthpieces posture and distance themselves from advocating for peace, thank God the college campuses are alive.

We'll close by noting what Mike e-mailed in from Boston Indy Media, homefries' "The Coup in Nepal: An Interview with a Boston Eye-Witness:"

In the midst of a civil war, Nepal's king recently staged a coup, suddenly shutting down media coverage and arresting hundreds of people. Sage Radachowsky is a Boston-based ally to the struggle for democracy in Nepal. He was there on February 1st, 2005 when the king took over. Listen to this radio interview to learn more about the conflict between Maoists and the king, hear stories of what life is like there, and learn about the U.S. reaction.

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