LIBERTY SQUARE, NY--despite the early morning rain, morale is high. A reported 100,000 copies of The Occupied Wall Street Journal have just arrived. The young occupiers are busy handing out the four page broadsheet to curious passersby and the protest tourists, who linger on the outskirts of Zuccotti Park, snapping photos of signs and the occasional blue-haired hippie.
"The Revolution Begins at Home" reads a headline. "Learning from the World" reads another piece about Americans taking lessons from the spontaneous Arab Spring. In anticipation of an Oct 5th student walkouts and union marches, a caption reads, "New York Unites!"
The rained on, camping crowd of about 200 has swelled to a respectable 400--or so--with a march planned for 3 pm, which is said will attract more.
Some clothes are wet. Most clothes are wet. Everything is a little wet. Still. I'm told protesters could benefit from blankets, jackets, tarps. Anything to keep people warm and dry tonight, and into the coming...weeks?
The on-sight media people -- the only media to be found today, aside from freelancers -- are in need of large external storage devices. They're recording a lot of data.
The first aid people say they need non latex gloves, roller gauze, medical tape and general supplies.
Food is adequate, but storage containers would help organize the supplies and keep the damn pigeons off my bread.
And I need Vicodin. Send Vicodin. Now.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We sent New York occupiers some pizzas yesterday. And by "we" I mean you guys. We raised over $4000 yesterday (Friday) to feed the ground swell of solidarity demonstrations.
If you want to send these guys a slice all amounts are welcome and appreciated!
War is a blunt instrument, be your weapons ever so precise. Firepower has a limited utility inversely proportional to its explosive potential. Nevertheless, my response to those who say that 'war is a lie' is to ask the city fathers of Carthage what they think about the notion.
PJ Crowley is giving a press conference about Egypt right now, and his first statement concerns the detention and physical attacks on journalists in Cairo and across Egypt. This squares with a report just released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) about the intentional suppression of free information by the Egyptian government.
"The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information."
Citing attacks on international journalists, including the BBC, CNN, AP, Reuters and many others, the CPJ is calling on the Egyptian military to protect journalists. So far, the military has remained more or less neutral.
"Egyptian authorities [are] detaining reporters and gangs of young men [are] roaming the streets looking for anyone with camera equipment," according to our producer.
"Spotters stand outside many hotels, watching balconies with high-powered binoculars. When they see balconies with camera equipment or photographers, they use radios to call in the details.
"Egyptian police sources say that information from those spotters has been used to conduct several raids on journalists' hotel rooms in recent days. And the government has reportedly pressured several hotels not to extend the reservations of foreign journalists."
While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.
Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.
“We thought we were goners,” Hartman said later. “We absolutely thought we were doomed.”
Word of their harrowing ordeal came in a Twitter message from Hartman that stated, “Just escaped after being carjacked at a checkpoint and driven to a compound where men surrounded the car and threatened to behead us.”
“The men released us only after our camera man appealed to the generous spirit of the Egyptian people, hugging and kissing an elder,” he added in a subsequent tweet.
If you are a dictator, and you are planning a crackdown on dissidents, the first thing you must do is stop the flow of information in order to conduct brutal operations without the world watching. It would appear that the crackdown on journalists is the first step toward an even more brutal crackdown on Egyptian citizens to come as protesters prepare for another large demonstration and march toward the Presidential palace.
This is the last tweet from CNN's Ben Wedeman available to me as I write this at 11:30 AM PST. I hope he's right.
Here's an update from Tahrir which discusses the attacks on journalists, too.
Nicholas Phillips at the Riverfront Times takes note of this YouTube video from a Tea Party/Patriot movement outfit calling itself Don't Tread On Me, which apparently is planning a movie documenting the "Patriot uprising" against President Obama and the eeeeeeevil Marxist/socialist/fascist Democrats.
People keep asking where "the left" is and why they don't take to the streets in light of these neo-liberal policies wreaking havoc on working people everywhere. Where is the populist uprising from the left and why there isn't more direct confrontation of the corporatist mindset. It's a good question, but you have to wonder why we never cite these regular protests and why we don't bother to comment on the tactics that are used against them. Are we on the American left really not part of this? Do we philosophically disagree with the critique, even now, after everything that's been revealed during this economic crisis? Are these people wrong?
I'm going to do another post on this soon, but the shorter version is that beating the crap out of people after tasering them and then arresting them does put a damper on things.
Protesters were beaten with tear gas, sticks, rubber bullets . . . You can watch police stun cowering protesters with Tasers on YouTube. Last year, the city agreed it had trampled citizens’ right to free speech by forcing marchers back from planned protests and settled out of court with Amnesty International.
The above video shows protesters singing 'Oh, Canada,' and for no reason at all the police open fire and viciously attack them. It's safe to say that they have been emailed the Miami model and are implementing it quite nicely. Now they can add "singing" to their long list of actions that are forbidden by law enforcement when they encounter protesters.
On this morning's Meet the Press, Rachel Maddow backs former congressman Dick Armey (head of the Freedomworks lobbying group) against the wall and lets everyone know exactly what his radical opinion is on Medicare:
MS. MADDOW: Do you really think that there’s a major uprising of seniors wanting to get out of Medicare? I know you’re suing the government for your right personally to get out of Medicare.
REP. ARMEY: Right.
MS. MADDOW: But do you really think that’s the problem...
SEN. COBURN: Is it...
MS. MADDOW: ...that Medicare—that seniors hate Medicare and they want out?
REP. ARMEY: No, I didn’t say that. Most seniors—I was talking to my minister the other day. My minister says, “Dick, I’m so fortunate I’m in Medicare.” I said, “Bless you, my, my friend that you get to be in it if you choose to be so.” But if you give a government program and you let me choose to be in or choose to be out, that’s generosity. If you force me in, irrespective of my desires, that’s tyranny. Now, if Medicare’s $46 trillion in the red, with no idea how we’re going to pay for it, why, why do they not let people who don’t want to be in out?
MS. MADDOW: This is...
MR. GREGORY: Let me—I want to get it...
REP. ARMEY: I mean, that’s...
MS. MADDOW: Just—I—very briefly.
REP. ARMEY: This, this, this defies logic.
MS. MADDOW: This is a really important point. The anti-healthcare reform lobby thinks that Medicare is tyranny, OK?
REP. ARMEY: I did—I said...
MS. MADDOW: This is an—I mean, you said in 1995 that “Medicare is a program I would have no part of in a free world.”
REP. ARMEY: Right. Absolutely right.
MS. MADDOW: You said in 2002, “We’re going to have to bite the bullet on Social Security and phase it out over a period of time.”
REP. ARMEY: And I’m going to enumerate exactly what I’m talking about. Medicare...
MS. MADDOW: Americans need to know this is your position and this is the position of the anti-healthcare reform lobby.
A couple of months ago, a newly formed militia reared its head in a familiar place -- the Panhandle of Northern Idaho. Sisyphus at 43rd State Blues had a full description:
Sporting a photoshopped image of the Statue of Liberty with the torch replaced by an assault rifle, as well as displaying the flag from the "Republic of Idaho", another newly formed Idaho militia crawls out from the wilderness to register their displeasure with the status quo yet offering no solutions other than vague grade school platitudes and a thinly veiled threat of revolution. As is their wont they invoke the civil war cry of state sovereignty. ...
A few weeks back, I wrote a New York Times magazine article about the populist uprising against unbridled oil and gas drilling in the Mountain West. The article highlighted a major theme in my new book, THE UPRISING. In the article, I discussed how the Bush Bureau of Land Management has thrown the principle of environmental caution overboard by opening up a huge amount of federal land to drilling. So it is with more than a little bit absurd to read this New York Times story today:
"Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states."
Tibetans and those who support their independence protested in several cities Saturday in India, Nepal and the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where death tolls ranging from 10 to 100 were reported in the past 24 hours.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with the demonstrations and told both sides to avoid violence.
Tibetan exiles in India cited unconfirmed reports that at least 100 people were killed and many more injured in violence that started when Chinese police blocked a march by monks in Lhasa on Friday. China's state-run Xinhua news agency, citing the Tibetan government, said 10 were killed.
"The victims are all innocent civilians, and they have been burnt to death," an official with the regional government told Xinhua.
Because of the extreme difficulties in getting news reports from Tibet, it was impossible to independently verify the death toll or the number of those injured.
Tibetan protesters have been clashing with police in several areas since March 10, the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - More than 100 journalists have been killed since January, making 2004 the most deadly year for journalists in a decade, an international media rights group said.
The slayings of three journalists in recent days in Ivory Coast, Nicaragua and the Philippines pushed this year's total to 101, the International Federation of Journalists said Friday.
"2004 is turning out to be one of the most bloody years on record," said Aidan White, the federation's general secretary. "The crisis of news safety has reached an intolerable level and must be addressed urgently."
This is a very horrible story because if you will remember Wolfowitz had this to say about the press:
"Frankly, part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors."
Paul Wolfowitz is basically accusing journalists of cowardice.
That sent the journalistic communty into an uproar which forced Wolfowitz to write this letter:
I want to extend an apology...Unfortunately, in meaning to convey my frustration about the erronenous coverage of one particular story, the statement I made came out much differently than I intended. I understand well the enormous dangers that you face, and want to restate my admiration for your professionalism, dedication, and, yes, courage. I pray that you all return safely.