Sunday 27 September 2009


Graffiti by the incomparable Banksey


~ Alexander Haig, Reagan Administration

Here are some photos and clips from the G20 summit last week. There were about 500 activists and easily 9 times as many enforcement agents. Let this serve as a reminder of a SMALL portion what we are up against and why rioting is NOT a good idea.

However, I am a little confused. Judging by the heavy hand of the military... er police, Are we looking at Gaza? Or perhaps Honduras? AMERIKKA!!! Well by gosh, by golly!

On Thurs, Sept. 24 and Fri., Sept. 25, government sweeps by the Pittsburgh police and more than 4,000 additional cops, state troopers and national guard, gave rise to videos and eyewitness reports starkly reminiscent of the repression by U.S. trained military dictatorships in Latin America i.e. youth wrestled into unmarked cars by police dressed in military fatigue uniforms and repressive forces posing for photos with kneeling captives. I can only think if they are comfortable behaving this way before media, how are they behind closed doors?

Hightailing it.

During weeks leading up to the Group of 20 economic summit of world leaders in Pittsburgh September 24 and 25, the mainstream media saturated the city with alarming stories of “violent” and “unruly” protesters.

But these stories also reassured residents that a slew of law enforcement agencies ~ local and state police, SWAT teams, the National Guard and the Secret Service ~ would ensure public order and protect private and public property throughout the city.

An obviously experienced activist wears a gas mask in Bloomfield.

One question, however,

didn’t receive much attention:

who would protect the right to free speech?

Several people have reported that the bald cop with the taser just turned it randomly on anyone he got near enough to shock. Several activists were pulled from the group of marchers and, although they did not protest with violence, were tazered many times. Then they were arrested. Their crime? Walking and chanting.

Ahead of his arrival in Pittsburgh for the summit, President Barack Obama made it clear that he didn’t value the opinions of protesters, anyway. “I was always a big believer that focusing on concrete, local, immediate issues that have an impact on people’s lives is what really makes a difference, and that having protests about abstractions [such] as global capitalism or something, generally, is not really going to make much of a difference,” Obama said.

(How do we spell ELITIST hypocrite? "b-a-r-a-c-k-o-b-a-m-a)

But if Obama thinks the demonstrations are irrelevant, his administration is going to great lengths to harass and intimidate them. The projected cost of the police presence ~ to include some 2,000 National Guard troops, 1,000 state troopers, 900 Pittsburgh police and perhaps thousands more police from nearby municipalities ~ is upward of $20 million. ~ Eric Ruder

Several activists were pulled from the group of marchers and, although they did not protest with violence, were tazered many times. Then they were arrested. Their crime? Walking and chanting.

Try as Obama may to stop the crowds who will take the streets in the coming days, he’ll have a hard time. Folks in Pittsburgh and from around the country are pissed. They are pissed about Obama’s two ~ possibly three ~ wars, they are pissed about impending climate chaos, they are pissed at not being able to put food on the table, and they are pissed about being unable to afford a visit to the doctor. We won’t be stopped by Obama’s attempts at squashing dissent in this country. ~ Matt Wilkerson

Protesters flee after police fired smoke grenades near the University of Pittsburgh.

The authorities have helicopters, Humvees, prototypes of a new generation of top-of-the-line police cruisers ~ and specially outfitted police bicycles. “It ties in nicely with the whole green effort,” said Chris Andrews, general manager of the military equipment contractor that donated the bikes.

HAHAHA, what a joker that Andrews is!
Green indeed!
Where to begin on THAT comment!

A City of Pittsburgh police officer retreats to his car as protesters make their way toward his car.

Several buildings and sports fields belonging to the Pittsburgh public schools were made available to law enforcement and military agencies to house personnel and provide landing pads for the helicopters.

But activists, on the other hand, have had to file numerous lawsuits to get city and state agencies to issue permits for peaceful protests and other activities. The city also put pressure on universities and other institutions to distance themselves from planned demonstrations, according to activists.

A protester dressed as US President Abraham Lincoln is arrested by police officers in riot gear.

“I think that the city has been collaborating with the G20 to set up this summit, and I think they want to frustrate the efforts of those of us who want to voice our dissent,” said Pete Shell, an activist with the Thomas Merton Center, a local peace group. “I’ve been an activist in Pittsburgh since the 1980s, and I’ve never seen the city locked down like this.

“We think that the people’s voices need to be heard ~ the voices in opposition to the G20’s policies that have caused economic and environmental crisis around the world. That’s why we’re organizing a peaceful, permitted people’s march on September 25 that we’re expecting thousands to attend from literally all around the world.” ~ Eric Ruder

Eat the rich? Indigestion or death by poison anyone?

What is important to recognize is that this is not just a rogue Pittsburgh police force. Because the G20 has been declared a “National Security Event” the Secret Service is in charge of all police operations in relation to the G20. The Secret Service are Obama’s people. They answer to him. The preemptive repression on the streets of Pittsburgh is being done on Obama’s watch. Don’t forget that.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post, Obama said that protests are ineffective and that globalization is inevitable. So much for all his fiery campaign rhetoric about renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals that have screwed workers and destroyed the environment.

A police officer aims a sound canon from atop a riot control vehicle at protesters.

Experiments with such high-tech sound weaponry also used in Honduras, gases and other “less-lethal” crowd control became the order of the day when police surrounded and arrested people gathered in Schenley Plaza near the University of Pittsburgh in the Oakland neighborhood. Arrestees reported that after the order to disperse, all exit routes were blocked and more than 100 people were arrested.

US security forces turned the piercing sound on their own citizens yesterday to widespread outrage. Pittsburgh officials told the New York Times that it was the first time "sound cannon" had been used publicly. It is feared the sounds emitted are loud enough to damage eardrums and even cause fatal aneurysms.

Protester Stephon Boatwright lectures a row of police officers in riot gear.

As true as it is, this is NOT an expression the Elite wish to hear.

Police officers in riot gear block a street in the Strip District as a protester draws a peace sign on the street with chalk.

“Forbes St. was blocked off by hundreds of riot cops while surrounding contingents of cops moved in on the other areas of the campus to corral people inside the area. Police brutality had been witnessed with folks being thrown to the ground and shot with rubber bullets, media being pepper sprayed and gassed. Protesters and students alike are being held in the dorm towers unable to leave in fear of arrest. Other students cannot cross Fifth Ave. to get to their residences without being thrown to the ground.”

There is a good reason for covering the face in this day and age. Only the terminally naive would consider this proof that these people are up to no good.

Individuals who have been stepping forward to the lines of injustice have been doing great work. The legality of these American wars with Iraq, Afghanistan and now they discuss peaceful Iran, is beyond questionable. There are many motives when you make an action, right?

Why was there a 911 to give an excuse to tell inexcusable lies in order to orchestrate a war where more civilians would be lured into a national service training program, such as the army? To kill other cultures? To kill our country's pride and integrity?

Pittsburgh resident Alyssa Postance watches from her car's sunroof as protesters surround her car as they march from Arsenal Park towards the David L. Lawrence Convention.

What is really at stake in this century? What are they not telling us? Commendations to these courageous citizens for elucidating questions like these. Among so many others. I especially tip the hat to those who practice non-violent civil disobedience and conscientious objection. Might I also ask, are the common people of America not being forced into a domestic form of warfare just to keep alive?

HINT: Read up on the Project for the New American Century for answers to the above questions.

A protester swings in Arsenal Park before joining other protesters as they begin to march.

On the scene, Dante Strobino from FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) wrote: “The police began to occupy the park and forcefully removed everyone. As students began to gather around to check it out, the riot police got more hyped up. There were no chants, no signs, no banners, no folks dressed in black and no provocation. The police threw several tear gas and smoke bombs at the crowd again and pushed them further back down commercial streets toward bars and restaurants. They also chased people into the huge dormitory towers and attacked students as they left their residences. Students were hanging out the windows, taking pictures in awe.”

Police move to arrest a protester blocking a vehicle in the roadway as they move towards protesters.

Pittsburgh resident Jane Blank sits and watches as protesters surround her car as they march from Arsenal Park in the direction of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

“Forbes St. was blocked off by hundreds of riot cops while surrounding contingents of cops moved in on the other areas of the campus to corral people inside the area.

Police brutality had been witnessed with folks being thrown to the ground and shot with rubber bullets, media being pepper sprayed and gassed. Protesters and students alike are being held in the dorm towers unable to leave in fear of arrest. Other students cannot cross Fifth Ave. to get to their residences without being thrown to the ground.”

Riot police fire tear gas at protesters as they begin to march.

A group of protesters march from Arsenal Park in an attempt to reach the Center

Sean O’Sullivan, senior at University of Pittsburgh, who was not taking part in the protests earlier in the day, stated “It was the police who started the violence and ended up finishing the violence. It felt like a war zone…the police kept becoming more and more violent, taking over more and more of the street. I couldn’t get to my house even until 3 a.m. on Thursday.”

Looking down the road at the mass of Activists

Already the police have been going out of there way to create a state of fear before the summit starts. Seeds of Peace, a group that provides free food for activists, has been repeatedly harassed, their bus impounded, and a member arrested without reason. The Landslide Community Farm has also been raided and illegally searched by over 20 cops. No warrant was provided, the only reason given is that it was a matter of “national security.” Meanwhile the police raided several activist homes overnight, drawing guns on people, and towing cars. And after being told that the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence could leave tents setup overnight, low and behold, they have all disappeared by morning. ~ Matt Wilkerson

Not ALL activists are young and behind masks!
True activism is a lifetime pursuit for the truly dedicated.

Demonstrators protest in front of a bank building near the site of the upcoming G20 Pittsburgh Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania September 22, 2009. They were calling for a moratorium on foreclosures.

Members of the International Burmese Monks organization march past police officers during a demonstration near the Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

More than 100 HIV/AIDS activists rallied under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where the summit will be held, calling for universal access to anti-retroviral medication.

The Rev. Jeffrey Jordan of ACT UP Philadelphia left the city at 7 a.m. yesterday to arrive in time for the 2 p.m. HIV/AIDS march.

“It’s very important,” said Rev. Jordan, who is HIV positive.

“With the help of God and my medicine, I have a sustained life,” he said. “I feel like the same privileges I have, people all over the world should have.”

The HIV/AIDS march was sponsored by a coalition of groups, including ACT UP Philadelphia, New Voices Pittsburgh, the New York City AIDS Housing Network and more.

It was modeled after a funeral procession, symbolizing the deaths organizers said will be caused by a shortfall of funds to fight HIV/AIDS.

Bearing a black cardboard coffin and dressed in black, protesters carried black and white signs shaped like tombstones. On stickers and in chants, they demanded that President Barack Obama deliver the $50 billion in HIV/AIDS funding he promised while campaigning for the presidency.

Mary Adams, an HIV/AIDS nurse from Rochester, N.Y., said she has watched even the sickest of her patients grow healthier and continue their lives with proper care and access to medication.

“And at the same time,” she said, “people around the world have access to no medicines, not even antibiotics.”

“How powerful the pharmaceutical lobbies are that they have basically blocked the production of AIDS medications in Africa,” said Khafre Abif, an activist from North Versailles. ~ Vivian Nereim

Anarchist protesters foolishly smash windows at a FedEx Kinko's.

Riot police arrest a demonstrator in Pittsburgh. Police fired tear gas at a group of protesters marching toward the venue of the summit Thursday afternoon.

“What is most striking about being here is seeing the incredible police repression both Thursday and Friday night in Oakland, near U of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, two universities with mostly white, mostly class-privileged students. As Larry Holmes commented during the BOPM Tent City, at any given normal day the police usually target and harass the Black community, but these two days not only are those under normal occupation, but the police are targeting young white folks, too.”

Protesters scatter after setting a dumpster on fire in the middle of a street.

Free Tibet protesters face off with police officers in riot gear near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Police officers guard an area near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center as a Free Tibet protest nears in Pittsburgh.

Jillian Dowis, sophomore at Ohio University from Students for a Democratic Society who came to Pittsburgh to protest the G-20’s policies, speaking of her experience on the night of Sept. 25, said “After a reporter got maced in face and we brought him to steps of chapel. The cops swarmed around us and arrested guy that was injured, he could barely breath, trying to get him away from crowd. As kids tried to run away they picked us off one by one. My friend called her dad. Then a cop said to us, ‘Shut the f_ck up and get off the goddamn phone’. My friend was was trying to say bye and the cop grabbed her by head and slammed her head into the ground. They were being way forceful and too aggressive and intentionally put on handcuffs way too tight.

Pennsylvania State Troopers patrol on a street in Pittsburgh.

Sitting here on the hill in Schenley Park I watch no less than 4 military helicopters constantly buzz the Pittsburgh Skyline. Police vans from Philadelphia and beyond patrol the streets of downtown creating a state of fear, a state of occupation. Over 4000 police, including 2000 national guard troops, some fresh from Iraq, are on call to ensure that Obama’s G20 party goes without a hitch.

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