Journalists arrested at RNC include Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman

We all expected the cops to use excessive force and utilize the tactic of questionable mass arrests in St. Paul. That’s no surprise, that has been a tactic for squelching public dissent since time immemorial. What is perhaps even more alarming about the tactics used in St. Paul is the arrest of several journalists who stepped outside “official” bounds to cover not just the staged convention proceedings or to follow the party line on the “violent” demonstrators (the vast majority of whom have been peaceful, and the only “violence” reported so far has been property damage, which is only questionably defined as “violence”).

Among those arrested include Democracy Now! host and producer Amy Goodman, who left the convention floor in the middle of an interview with delegates from Minnesota and Alaska to respond to the news that her producers were being arrested (Goodman grills St. Paul Police Chief about the Arrests). Not only were they arrested, but it is possible that producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar may be charged with felony rioting.

Not only that, but the convention hq for I-Witness Video was apparently raided. The police surrounded the house before a warrant was obtained, informed people they would be detained if they left the house, and then got their warrant (with one problem – it was for the WRONG ADDRESS) and raided the house, taking would-be police watchdogs into custody and confiscating equipment. I-Witness was extremely effective in exposing police violence during the 2004 RNC in New York, and it appears the St. Paul authorities did not want this to happen to them. Glenn Greenwald writes on the arrests, with substantial comment on the I-Witness raid. Eileen Clancy of I-Witness, wrote an emergency press release from inside the house while it was surrounded on the I-Witness blog.

Apparently if reporters aren’t “embedded” within the police corps or only covering subjects the authorities want them to see, they’re subject to arrest. So much for freedom of the press and the neutrality of journalists, and the supposedly basic assumption that journalists should be shielded from harm in conflict zones, or at least that every attempt should be made to do so. The same seems to be the case for other independent observers – in other words, if you’re not with the powers-that-be, you’re subject to arrest, to classification as a “criminal”.

In addition, student journalists from the University of Kentucky were also arrested. The cynical part of me wants to say at least they’re getting a true look at what they will be in for if they seek to pursue their chosen vocations with integrity and the desire to report more than just the “official story”.

Cynicism aside, the sad truth is that if the integrity and independence of journalism is not respected and actively supported, there can be no meaningful public discourse. Officials have said again and again that people are welcome to voice their opinions, that demonstrators have the right to air their griefs publicly, but the actions of those in power mitigate against the possibility of any real public dialogue that could lead to an actual accounting on the part of the leaders who are supposedly the servants of the people. There is no space for the vox populi to be heard, unless, apparently, the voice of the people comes through particular channels, in triplicate, bound and tied in red tape. Amy Goodman wrote an op-ed piece about how government crackdowns on journalists threaten democracy. I suggest you read it.

The voice of the people in colonial America took the form of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, though the lead-up to the Party was of course the Boston Massacre of 1770. Will people realize the things they’ve given up and seek to take back for themselves the power that is rightfully theirs? Or will we meekly accept our position as consumers, passively “choosing” between those products that are shown to us in storefront windows, on television screens, on our computer monitors? Will we take a stand and fight for the ability to truly govern ourselves and manage our own affairs, or will we continue to march to the beat of flags and pledges and patriotic songs, allowing our own identities to be submerged within the totality of the 21st century United Jingoistic Police State of American Empire?

In other news, eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee have officially been charged under terrorism laws. I have more to say about this, but it will wait until tomorrow when I’ve had more time to reflect and process.

Video of Nicole Salazar’s arrest:

Video of Amy Goodman’s arrest:

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Orwell Rolls in His Grave

A documentary exploration into how the Media is anti-democratic.

The obligatory 9/11 post

I wasn’t going to do this, I was just going to let the post about Stirling Bridge stand as my statement about 9/11, but I just wrote this for my Livejournal and thought it was worth sharing here.

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” – From the Project for a New American Century’s document Rebuilding America’s Defenses

Looks like they got it.

The document quoted above is a detailed summary of a strategy to project American military power across the globe and fits in nicely with the prospect of increasing American economic domination of essentially the whole world. Indeed throughout this and other PNAC documents, as well as other writings from neoconservative thinkers throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s the intersection of military and economic interests was argued for as an essential good or simply taken for granted. Preemptive war was touted as a strategy, and despite propaganda stating the alternative it was so clear to those in power that neoliberal (so-called “free trade”) economic policies lead to devastating economic inequalities that are likely to increase social unrest AND increase breeding grounds for potential “terrorists” that this was argued in later-declassified CIA and Defense Department documents going back to the 1990s. The neocons consistently argued that a force in Iraq would ensure stability of oil production and prices to help the US economic growth that would be necessary to sustain the project of empire (though they stopped short, so far as I am aware, of using that term).

Since 9/11 the rhetoric of terrorism and the war on terror has justified government-perpetrated atrocities, suspension of civil liberties, suppression of dissenting speech, and two stupid wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), situations where the reality and the rhetoric about why we should attack them did not often line up side-to-side. We have also seen increasing privatization of the military and its support functions. It is now estimated that, of combat personnel (that is, people who actually carry guns and shoot people), 1/3 of the “troops” in Iraq are contracted mercenaries, often referred to as “security personnel”. If you figure in the number of privatized support staff the number rises to over 1/2. These “troops” are accountable only to their corporate masters, and often they are there as a result of no-bid contracts and other shady business mechanisms. I’m sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with the Halliburton scheme in which Dick Cheney’s former company was awarded billions in no-bid contracts, that is only one example. Rumors of graft, corruption, and human rights violations on a mass scale abound, directly linked to these corporate soldiers.

And one of the worst parts about it is the pain and suffering of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks is still being exploited to justify these atrocities. Support our troops? Yeah, support them… support them by encouraging them to apply for conscientious objector status. Support them by bringing them home, and never again sending them into harm’s way for the profit of a few fat cats and their multitude of minions. Support them by teaching them, from a young age, that the one and only purpose of a military is to steal, kill, and destroy (cf. John 10:10), and there are other options outside the military by which they might have life, and help others to have it also.

Now, with another potential war on the near horizon, this time with Iran, have we really learned anything, 6 years later? The media leads us right down the same path they did en route to Iraq, and “support the troops” is still a verbal mechanism used to squelch dissent, or at least it is in my part of the country.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis, dona nobis pacem.

Kyrie eleison.

Iran and Nuclear Energy

Given the connections we hear on the official news and in the government’s pronunciations literally every day, probably multiple times per day, between Iran and terrorism, one cannot help but get the strong impression that the only (or at least primary) motives Iran would have for wanting nuclear power would be military. We have been so influenced by this dominant dialogue that other possibilities are not likely to come to mind; however, a very strong and reasonable voice does exist in the media and in academic and diplomatic enquiry to suggest that Iran perhaps actually perceives an actual need for nuclear energy for domestic use – and furthermore, it appears this need may actually exist.

While the technology to generate electricity by nuclear means is closely related to the technology to make bombs, a relation that cannot be discounted, we tend to be so quick to jump to judgment of Iran based on what we hear from our government and media masters and therefore discount other possibilities (this aside from the fact that, if I were Mahmoud Ahmadinejad I would sure as heck want anything I could get to protect my country from perceived American imperialism, but that’s beside the point). These are some articles from the past few years that discuss the possible need for domestic energy production in Iran, that they see nuclear as the best solution to that problem, and that they (understandably) want to control the process themselves without interference from the international lobby (which they see, not without some justification, as being essentially an extension of US interests), and discussion of other related questions.

The articles come from an array of sources and offer different arguments and perspectives so you can be more informed without feeling like I’m trying to ram a point down your throat – I don’t necessarily think nuclear power is a good option for anyone for any reason, but I think people ought to understand that there is far more at play here than a simple issue of “terrorism” and nuclear weapons.

Energy: Iran needs nuclear power – analysis from the International Herald-Tribune, 2003

Iran needs nuclear energy, not weapons – from Le Monde diplomatique, 2005

Iran needs nuclear energy for for its economic survival – from Payvand News, July 9, 2007.

Q & A on Iran and the nuclear issue – from BBC News, September 3, 2007

Pentagon draws up plans for air strikes against Iran

I wish I was surprised by this. From Democracy Now.

Report: U.S. Military Planning Massive Air Strikes Against Iran

The Sunday Times in London is reporting the Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive air strikes against twelve hundred targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days. Alexis Debat of the Nixon Center told the paper that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Instead, he said, military planners are talking about trying to take out the entire Iranian military. President Bush has recently intensified the rhetoric against Iran. Last week he accused Tehran of putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran “before it is too late”.

It’s only a matter of time, but then again who didn’t see this coming after we designated a major unit of their official national military a “terrorist organization”? As if it wasn’t already transparently clear that the so-called “War on Terror” is a fiction designed as a cover for the military-backed expansion of American interests.

Didn’t the Romans already try this whole military-economic imperial expansion thing? As I recall it didn’t work out too well for them in the long run…

Then there’s this very interesting video from FOX Attacks.

This isn’t even manufacturing consent… more like bludgeoning, figuratively speaking.

a brief musing about FOX media

Absolution Revolution has moved! You can read this article at http://absolutionrevolution.com/blog/2007/02/23/a-brief-musing-about-fox-media/

A little more on Terrell Owens, peace protesting, and the media

Absolution Revolution has moved! You can read this article at http://absolutionrevolution.com/blog/2006/10/02/a-little-more-on-terrell-owens-peace-protesting-and-the-media/