Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Sunday, 30 September 2007
An Iraq War Veteran reflects on the Sept. 15 march in DC
Now Playing: Sept 15 2007 - War protesting In Washington DC
An Iraq war veteran
reflects on the Sept. 15 march
‘The first time I put on that uniform I hoped I would wear it with honor. On Sept. 15, I finally did.’
By Michael Prysner
The writer is an Iraq war veteran.
The writer was arrested at the Capitol on Sept. 15 along with 195 others.
Photo: Stanley Rogouski
On the morning of Sept. 15, I held in my hands a uniform that was issued to me nearly five years ago.
I remembered the first time I held it, wondering if I would ever wear it home, wondering if it would be stained by blood or shredded by bullets. It looks much different now than the first time I put it on—it is faded from 12 months of desert sand and sun. The elbows and knees are worn from lying in the street. The boots are tattered from kicking down doors and walking over cities of rubble. As I put it on for the first time since I returned from Iraq, I finally felt as if I was putting it on for a purpose.
For so many years, that uniform has not stood for justice and freedom. It is the uniform that the Iraqi people saw stomp through their towns. It is the uniform that drove humvees and manned machine guns. It is the uniform that dragged people from their homes and interrogated them in prison camps. But on the streets of Washington, D.C., the uniform took on new meaning.
It was no longer worn with the intention of fighting for the government, but fighting against it. For me, and for my brothers and sisters in Iraq Veterans Against the War, the uniform that once symbolized fear and destruction would now be worn in the spirit of justice and resistance.
Photo: Bill Hackwell
Photo: Sharat G. Lin
In March of 2003, our government ordered us to put on that uniform, march into a foreign land and take it from those who lived there. On Sept. 15, we put on that same uniform to march to the Capitol and face those who sent us to war.
A significant factor in ending the war in Vietnam was the ability of protesters and GIs to strike fear in the heart of the government. Countless citizens and soldiers threw their bodies into the gears of the war machine, and made the ruling class realize that instead of fighting their war, we would fight them.
This war will end when the government begins to fear the masses—when the army they sent to spread imperialism becomes the army that marches to their offices and charges through the police barricades.
The first time I put on that uniform, I hoped I would wear it with honor. On Sept. 15, I finally did. I could finally do something right while wearing it. The nearly 200 people arrested on that day—many of whom were Iraq war veterans—showed the government that we will do more than just march.
We will defy them at every turn; we will not fade away, but only grow in numbers and intensity. The longer this war rages on, the more we will resist and the more we will sacrifice.
Wearing that uniform at the steps of the Capitol, I knew that the most important action that I could do was to advance towards the barricade, and help light the spark that will empower people to stop this government.
For the first time, that uniform was worn fighting a just war. When I emerged from jail that night, I saw hundreds of cheering supporters outside. Then, I knew that sooner or later we will win this war against imperialism. And I have never felt prouder wearing that uniform.
Get involved with ANSWER!
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:46 PM PDT
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Blackwater, Killings, and Coverups - "CNN Report"
Now Playing: Contractors & Corruption - Welcome to Bush World
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
OUT OF CONTROL - CORRUPT MERCERNARIES
Family members of the slain Blackwater employees listen during a congressional hearing earlier this year.
Blackwater 'impeded' probe into contractor deaths
WASHINGTON (CNN) 9/26/07-- Private military contractor Blackwater USA "delayed and impeded" a congressional probe into the 2004 killings of four of its employees in Falluja, Iraq, according to the House oversight committee said Thursday in a report.
Blackwater contractors Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, Mike Teague and Wesley Batalona were ambushed, dragged from their vehicles and killed on March 31, 2004.
The burned and mutilated remains of two of the men were hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River, an image that fueled American outrage and triggered the first of two attempts to retake the city from Sunni Arab insurgents.
The company stalled the committee's investigation into the incident by "erroneously claiming" documents related to the incident were classified, trying to get the Defense Department to make previously unclassified documents classified and "asserting questionable legal privileges," according to a report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Democratic staff.
According to Blackwater's reports on the killings, the men killed in Falluja had been sent into the area without proper crew, equipment or even maps.
One company document found a "complete lack of support" for its Baghdad office from executives at the company's headquarters in North Carolina, the committee report states.
"According to these documents, Blackwater took on the Falluja mission before its contract officially began, and after being warned by its predecessor that it was too dangerous. It sent its team on the mission without properly armored vehicles and machine guns. And it cut the standard mission team by two members, thus depriving them of rear gunners," the report states.
In a written response to the report, Blackwater called it "a one-sided version of this tragic incident."
"What the report fails to acknowledge is that the terrorists determined what happened that fateful day in 2004," the company said. "The terrorists were intent on killing Americans and desecrating their bodies. Documents that the committee has in its possession point out that the Blackwater team was betrayed and directed into a well-planned ambush."
The report notes that members of the now-defunct Iraqi Civil Defense Corps "led the team into the ambush, facilitated blocking positions to prevent the team's escape, and then disappeared."
Blackwater did not discuss details of the report's findings, noting the incident is still the subject of a lawsuit by the slain contractors' families.
The committee's chairman, California Democrat Henry Waxman, has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on Blackwater's operations in Iraq. The company's chairman, Erik Prince, is scheduled to testify at that hearing.
The committee previously disclosed that the day before the fatal mission, the manager of Blackwater's Baghdad office warned his bosses he lacked armored vehicles, radio gear and ammunition.
During February's hearing and in a subsequent written response, Blackwater general counsel Andrew Howell told the committee that documents on the attack had been classified by the U.S. government. But the Pentagon later told the committee the documents had not been classified.
In addition, Blackwater made "multiple attempts" to get the Defense Department to declare company and Coalition Provisional Authority reports on the incident classified, the report states. The Pentagon refused.
The families of the slain men have sued Blackwater Security Consulting, one of the most familiar of hundreds of private military contractors operating in Iraq. The families allege the company failed to provide their relatives with adequate gear and weaponry. Blackwater has denied the allegations and argued the men agreed to assume the risks of working in a war zone.
Thursday's report adds to the intense scrutiny the company has faced since it was involved in shootings September 16 in western Baghdad. Iraqi authorities said Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. Embassy convoy opened fire indiscriminately, killing as many as 20 civilians.
Blackwater said its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack on the convoy.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on Thursday told a Senate committee that "something went tragically wrong" in the Baghdad incident, and that the State Department and Iraqi authorities are conducting a thorough investigation. He said Blackwater guards had fired their weapons on 56 of the 1,873 escort missions they have conducted in Iraq in 2007, "And each such incident is reviewed by management officials to ensure that procedures were followed."
"I personally was grateful for the presence of my Blackwater security detail, largely comprised of ex-Special Forces and other military, when I served as ambassador to Iraq," Negroponte told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday in response to questions. "Their alert and controlled posture kept me safe -- to get my job done."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:29 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 27 September 2007 4:31 PM PDT
Monday, 24 September 2007
America's Shame -
Now Playing: Fucking over Iraqi children - America The Proud And Rightous
The Statue of Liberty
|When children fainted in school, the reason was usually: 'It's not my turn to eat today' - courtesy USA and Britain. |
|New York based Judith Karpova risks losing everything she has, or going to jail for a long time. Her crime? She went to Iraq in February 2003 as a Human Shield. She was prepared to risk her life to attempt to avert an illegal war, invasion and illegal occupation. |
'The charges (are) that I violated the travel ban against Iraq' states Ms Karpova: 'No hearing was ever held. The strangest part of the decision involves the fact that the Director of OFAC changed between 2004 and 2005. Most oddly, the court resolves the issue of whether OFAC violated impartiality, by both bringing the charges and finding me guilty.'
The charge was not alone violation of the travel ban, but boosting the Iraqi economy. It is shocking to read of the plight of Ms Karpova at the hands of the U.S. 'Justice' system. I was in Iraq and Baghdad at the same time as the Human Shields. Did they break the US/UK driven UN embargo (which was to force Saddam to give up the weapons of mass destruction they knew he did not have) did they aid Iraq financially?
Well if you call going to the local soukh to buy local produce, aiding Iraq, yes. If you call giving a few Dinars to children as young as five, forced out of school to sell cigarettes, clean shoes, as a result of the embargo (in a country which valued education above all and with Palestine had the highest PhD's per capita on earth) yes, they put a little extra food on a family table, a miniscule amount more money circulated in the soukh, in a country where many families often ate in rota, one giving up food for a day, to give a little more for the others.
When children fainted in school, the reason was usually: 'It's not my turn to eat today' - courtesy USA and Britain.
When they visited the hospitals and held grief stricken parents, watching their children die, for want of often the simplest medications, vetoted by the US and UK and gave them another few Dinars to try and find that life saver, on the blck market, did they re-charge the Iraqi ecomomy?
With the equivalent of usually about $5? No they re-charged, a small life, if they were in time. Don't forget, all Iraq's bank accounts were frozen, state and private.Did they aid Iraq by the few dollars a night, they paid the family owned hotels, they stayed at near Firdos Square, where Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled?
If you count giving a small living to a family, who had somehow kept the hotels going, from love and pride, through the thirteen grinding embargo years, in an outward looking country, which welcomed visitors with open arms, who now barely ever came, yes. And they gave them their pride back.
Did they aid Iraq by buying the occasional meal in the small hotel restaraunts? Yes, as above and they gave the Chef his pride back. Inventive meals were produced again, when even hotels could afford only most basic ingredients.
Imagination was challenged and wonders were produced from little, in gratitude also to those who came in solidarity, in a country where 'embargo related causes' (U.N.) were estimated to have killed one and a half million people (majority the under fives, the sick and the elderly) in thirteen years.
Did they aid Iraq by their presence? Yes. The people, the children (broadly, half the population is under fifteen) had known nothing but thirteen years of deprivation (Iraq imported seventy percent of almost everything prior to the embargo) and thirteen years of illegal US and UK bombings. Iraq's children were diagnosed by child psychiatrists from the West as 'the most traumatised child population on earth', as a result.
These children who had known nothing but fear and deprivation from the West, suddenly learned, either first hand, or from the media, that not all westerners were George W. Bush and Tony Blair, but there were those who were prepared to risk their lives, with them, as they waited again for the bombs to fall. They learned of the 'greater love that no man (or woman) has' than to be prepared to suffer, even die, for another.
Lastly, Ms Karpova and those who travelled to Iraq, acted explicitly in the true spirit of that which the United Nations was meant to stand, declared in San Franciso on the 26th June 1945, betrayed by the U.S. and U.K. from Hiroshima Day 1990 (the date of the imposition of the embargo) to now (there was no U.N, mandate for the invasion of Iraq) :
'We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save successive generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind - and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small - and to establish conditions under which justice and respect arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.'
Further: 'And to these ends, to practice tolerance and live together as good neighbours and unite our strength to maintain international peace a security and to ensure, but the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used .....' And to: ' ... take effective, collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace and to bring about by peaceful means ... justice and international law, adjustment or settlement or settlement of international disputes or situtuations which might lead to a breach of the peace'.
Ms Karpova and those prepared to risk so much in travelling to Iraq on the eve of war, uniquely embody the wonderous aspiration of the San Franciso declaration, so shamefully trashed, broken and ignored by Washington and Whitehall.
It is the architects of the Iraq disaster in the latter who should be in Court. Ms Karpova and those prepared to stand for right in a far away place, should be honoured by their countries, the United Nations and be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Should the Court do anything but laud and aquit her, even the Statue of Liberty should weep - or topple.
Ms Karpova can be reached at: email@example.com
Her lawyer, Michael Sussman at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also check out the case of Doctor Dhafir, who was born in Iraq and and has been a US citizen for over 30 years. On February 26, 2003 the US government arrested Doctor Dhafir and charged him with violating the economic sanctions against Iraq.
More information check out http://www.dhafirtrial.net/
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:53 PM PDT
Friday, 21 September 2007
Neocons - Think Tanks - and the White House
Now Playing: The NeoCons and their think tanking hands in the White House
Thinkers target White HouseBy Edward Lucein Washington,By Edward Luce in Washington
When two Democratic analysts at a centrist think-tank voiced positive thoughts recently about the effects "on the ground" of General David Petraeus's Iraq troop surge, they unleashed a storm in a very Washington-ian teacup.
The pair in question – Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution – were accused of aiding the George W. Bush propaganda machine and, sure enough, the White House lost no time e-mailing their views far and wide.
But their real crime might have been to damage their own prospects of securing coveted postings in the next Democratic-controlled White House. Most other Democratic analysts in Washington are working assiduously in the opposite direction.
Each administration has about 3,000 political appointments in its gift.
All of the Democratic 2008 campaigns, including that of Hillary Clinton, have branded the surge a failure and want an immediate drawdown of US troops. Equally, all are calling for higher taxes on private equity groups and all now question the merits of 1990s-style free trade agreements.
There are few contradictory voices from the centrist or left-leaning think-tanks.
"If you are an ambitious Democrat at a think-tank, now is not the time to say things that will be displeasing to the campaigns," said Steve Clemons, a foreign policy analyst at the non-partisan New America Foundation.
Nor does the self-censorship necessarily have a left-leaning bias. The Democratic campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, are maintaining a studious silenceon the Israel-Palestine dispute, in spite of the Bush administration's question-able record.
"If you want a White House job in January 2009 and you have entrepreneurial views on solving the Israel-Palestine question, then the best advice is to keep your mouth shut," said Mr Clemons.
Washington's constantly expanding plethora of think-tanks occupy a unique category. Unlike universities, they include many people who lack strict scholarly credentials. But, in contrast to think-tanks in other western democracies, they are choc-a-bloc with former and future government officials.
Some describe Washington's think-tanks as holding-pens – or incubators – for future administrations. Given the widespread expectations of a Democratic victory next year, many see the liberal Center for American Progress, which is headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to the Clinton administration, in that light.
But think-tanks can also resemble retirement homes. Many believe that the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute's best days are behind it after it was seen as a virtual proxy for the White House.
The AEI's long list of fellows include Paul Wolfowitz, the former president of the World Bank and architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq; John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations; and Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.
But after generating so many of the ideas and people that have driven the Bush administration, the AEI – and other conservative think-tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – are no longer perceived to be writing the political narrative of the future.
"If you look at all the campaigns, the most glaring contrast is that none of the Republican candidates is coming out with detailed or original policy proposals," said Norm Ornstein, a non-partisan fellow at the AEI."
As a result, perhaps unfairly because AEI continues to generate a lot of ideas, the liberal think-tanks are in the ascendant. They are now seen as the relevant ideas factories for the first time in a generation."
Nor does the AEI see eye-to-eye any longer with the Bush administration. "There is some deep disgruntlement among neo-conservatives who believe that the Bush administration has betrayed them," said Kurt Campbell, head of the Center for a New American Security, a new, centrist think-tank that was launched in June. "However, the neo-cons remain remarkably engaged and on the offensive in Washington's ongoing battle of ideas."
Meanwhile, Washington is playing its customary parlour game of guessing which figures would populate a future administration. Should Hillary Clinton become president, many see Richard Holbrooke, the former UN ambassador, or Strobe Talbott, head of Brookings and former deputy secretary of state, as the next secretary of state.
Susan Rice, who is a former Clinton administration official, now at Brookings and a senior adviser to Mr Obama, and Kurt Campbell are tipped for senior national security positions.
Gene Sperling, Mr Clinton's former economic adviser who is now at the Center for American Progress – also advising Mrs Clinton's campaign – is tipped to take a senior economic position.
As a long-running Clinton loyalist, Mr Podesta could "write his own ticket", said one Democrat.However, the fact is that a Republican could still win in 2008 – or another Democrat."
There are a lot of people assuming that 2008 is a done deal," said John Bolton at the AEI. "People are counting their chickens before they are hatched."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:47 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007 4:54 PM PDT
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Read Chairman Silvestre Reyes' opening statement at FISA Hearing
Now Playing: This "hearing" is opening up the WORM CAN - I am holding my breath for justice
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Reyes' Opening Statement at FISA Hearing
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with witnesses Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for the National SecurityDivision, U.S. Department of Justice.
Here are Chairman Silvestre Reyes'
Today the Committee will receive testimony from the Director of National Intelligence -- Michael McConnell -- and the Assistant Attorney General for National Security -- Kenneth Wainstein -- concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the recently enacted legislation that expanded the Administration’s surveillance powers, the Protect America Act, or the PAA.
We are here today to discuss this legislation and deal with one of the critical issues of our time – the need to balance measures intended to protect the homeland with preserving civil liberties. Getting this right is fundamental to the proper functioning of this great democracy, and I believe that Congress must do everything it can to give the Intelligence Community what it needs to protect America, while ensuring that we do not abandon the fundamental principles of liberty that underpin the Constitution.
For more than 200 years we have managed to have both liberty and security, and I intend to do my part to ensure that we continue to maintain this careful balance for years to come.
This brings me to the recent modifications to FISA Congress passed on the eve of our August recess – legislation that I believe alters the precious balance between liberty and security in an unnecessary and dangerous way.
I want to begin by setting the record straight about the concerns that have been raised over the expansive scope of the new law. There has been a lot of rhetoric from the Administration and some in Congress suggesting that critics of the new Act are placing the rights of foreigners and terrorists abroad before the need to protect America.
Our position shouldn’t be characterized as seeking to protect the rights of foreigners. Our concerns are about protecting the rights of Americans, not foreigners abroad. Thus we are concerned for the privacy rights of Americans who may happen to be communicating with someone abroad.
To be clear, when a doctor living in Los Angeles calls a relative living abroad, I am concerned about her rights.
When a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan emails home to let his family know that he made it back from his latest mission, I am concerned about his rights and the rights of his family.
But, under the new law, we have allowed the government to intercept these calls and these emails without a warrant and without any real supervision from the judicial branch. In doing so, we have unnecessarily put liberty in jeopardy by handing unchecked power to the Executive Branch.
I say unnecessarily, because there was no need to do it this way. There was an alternative, but the Administration torpedoed it.
Let me explain:
In late July, the Director of National Intelligence came to us and identified a specific gap – he described it publicly as a “backlog” – with respect to the FISA process that he claimed had placed the country in a heightened state of danger.
At first, he said he needed two things – (1) a way to conduct surveillance of foreign targets in a block, without individual determinations of probable cause; and (2) a way to compel communications carriers to cooperate. We gave him both.
After we shared our draft legislation with him, he came back to Congress and said that he wanted three more things. We again agreed and tailored our bill to provide each of these three things.
That bill – HR 3356 – was the result of substantial and, I believed at the time, good faith negotiations with Director McConnell. It gave Director McConnell everything he said he needed to protect America. But it also did something else – it protected the Constitution.
Yet, at the final hour and without explanation, after having repeatedly assured me and other Members of Congress that the negotiations had been in good faith, the Administration rejected this proposal. Director McConnell not only rejected it, he issued a statement urging Congress to vote it down, claiming that it would not allow him to carry out his responsibility to protect the nation.
Director McConnell, in your testimony here today, I want to hear your side of this story. I want to hear why it is that--even though we tailored legislation to meet your requirements--you still rejected it.
I want to hear why you believe that HR 3356 would not have allowed you to do your job and why you issued a statement to that effect on the eve of the House vote.
I want to know what, specifically, you believed was lacking in HR 3356.
Most importantly, I want to know what it is about the inclusion of proper checks-and-balances and oversight in our bill that you found so unacceptable.
These are important questions, because Congress intends to enact new legislation as soon as possible as a replacement to the Administration’s bill. In early October, at the Speaker’s request, this Committee will mark-up FISA legislation to address the needs of the Intelligence Community.
The new legislation will deal with the deep flaws in the Administration’s bill – the vague and confusing language that allows for warrantless physical searches of Americans’ homes, offices, and computers; the conversion of the FISA Court into a “rubber stamp;” and the insufficient protections for Americans who are having their phone calls listened to and emails read under this new authority as I speak here today.
Before closing, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate a critically important request for documentation regarding the NSA surveillance program that remains outstanding.
To date, the Administration refuses to share critical information about this program with Congress. More than three months ago, Ranking Member Hoekstra and I sent a letter to the Attorney General and the DNI requesting copies of the President’s Authorizations and the DOJ legal opinions. We have yet to receive this information.
Mr. Wainstein has advised this Committee that DOJ is, in fact, in possession of the material that this Committee is seeking and I would like a clear understanding today of why it has not been provided to this Committee.
Congress cannot and should not be expected to legislate on such important matters in the dark.
I look forward to this hearing, and I now recognize the Ranking Member for any statement he may have
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:39 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007 3:42 PM PDT
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Dont Ask Kerry about Skull And Bones - you might get Tasered
Now Playing: 7 second of being taser used on college kid in Florida
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
On a Florida College Student
Who was asking Senator Kerry
about "election fraud" in 2004 and
Kerry's involvemnet in the
Skull & Bones Fraternity
More INFO On
TASER USED ON UNARMED STUDENTBy KIM WILMATH, Alligator Writer
A UF student was shot with a Taser gun, arrested and charged with a felony Monday because police said he started a riot during Sen. John Kerry's on-campus speech.
Andrew Meyer, a telecommunication senior and former Alligator columnist, was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to a University Police Department report.
A third-degree felony could mean up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, according to a UF Web site.
Meyer attempted to ask Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, about his involvement in Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University, at the end of the speech's question-and-answer session.
But when his microphone was cut off, Meyer began to scream in protest. Members of Accent, Student Government's speakers bureau, cut off the microphone because Meyer used profanity, said Steven Blank, Accent chairman. Accent sponsored the forum, which was held at the University Auditorium.
Several officers attempted to remove Meyer from the microphone when he began "acting in a violent manner" and "pushing the officers," according to the report.
Police said Meyer was told to comply with the officers, but he continued to resist.
"Don't Tase me, bro!" Meyer screamed as officers attempted to drag him outside the University Auditorium. "I didn't do anything."
Steve Orlando, UF's spokesman, said police then shot Meyer with a Taser gun.
Meyer was booked into the Alachua County Jail just after 2 p.m., where he remained until at least 9 p.m. Monday, according to jail records. He could not be reached for comment.
Matthew Howland, a UF history senior who also attended the speech and videotaped the incident on his cell phone, said police held the Taser gun on Meyer for about seven seconds.
Howland said he thought Meyer was behaving inappropriately, but the officers' actions left most of the audience members stunned.
"How can you say a student created a riot when it was clearly the officers who elevated the situation to a level it did not need to go?" Howland said.
He said Meyer's frantic reaction seemed understandable. "How are you supposed to react if you have six officers hopping on you and yelling at you?" he asked.
"I don't want to say it was police brutality because that term should be saved for more obvious events, but it was damn close," he added.
Jeff Holcomb, UPD spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
While Meyer wrestled with officers at the back of the auditorium, Howland said Kerry remained on stage, trying to keep the rest of the crowd calm and answering more questions.
A spokesman for Kerry would not comment.
Asia Johnson, a UF advertising senior who was also at the speech, said Kerry was trying to answer Meyer's question as police started grabbing him.
Johnson said as police pinned Meyer to the ground, she heard him yell, "Just get off of me and I'll walk out of here."
She created a Facebook group later that day about the incident called "John Kerry conference at UF! A fiasco!!! Needs to be known!" and outlined her account of the event.
"If the police are considered to be the 'good' side of this world, I did not see that today," Johnson wrote. "Today I saw fear, confusion and ignorance."
Johnson said she planned to write a letter to UPD administrators, urging them to reprimand the officers at the speech and issue a formal apology to Meyer.
Johnson struggled to catch her breath during a telephone interview that night, explaining that she was still shaken up about the incident.
"His cries of help were absolutely horrifying," she said. "It's going to stick with me for a long time. It's going to stick with him even longer."
A group of UF students will stage a march today from noon to 1 p.m. on the Plaza of the Americas, said Tina Steiger, an international relations junior who helped organize the march.
Steiger said students would demand that UPD drop all charges against Meyer, immediately suspend the officers involved in his arrest and remove all Taser guns from campus.Alligator Staff Writer Andrew Tan contributed to this report.
HERE BELOW IS THE USA TODAY REVIEW OF THIS TASER INCIDENT IN FLORIDA
Sparks flew during a townhall meeting that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., held yesterday at the University of Florida. Journalism student Andrew Meyer interrupted the speech, prompting police to drag him away from the microphone and shoot him with a Taser gun.
"He apparently asked several questions — he went on for quite awhile — then he was asked to stop," university spokesman Steve Orlando tells the Associated Press. "He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off, then he became upset."
WTVJ-TV sums up its video in one sentence: "Andrew Meyer, a UF student from Weston, is tasered and taken away by police after asking John Kerry a question during a speech."
There's a video on YouTube, too. The best quality footage is from The Gainesville Sun.
AP says Meyer was charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. He is being held at the local jail.
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: Thanks to bopdieuropa85 for pointing out in the comments section that the event was in the afternoon, not the evening.
The Independent Florida Alligator identifies Meyer as a senior who is majoring in telecommunication and says he used to work as one of the student newspaper's columnists. (A selection of his writings for the paper. Some more material.)
Here's an excerpt from the paper's editorial about the incident: "UPD's actions are inexcusable and out of line. It owes an apology not just to Andrew Meyer, but also to all of UF. We must be able to trust those who are supposed to protect us. We should not have to fear them."
Meyer's fellow students have created a Facebook group devoted to this incident. It's called "John Kerry conference at UF! A fiasco!!! Needs to be known!" They plan to stage a protest later today.
Here's more footage of the arrest:
On Deadline has requested comment from Kerry, the University of Florida Police Department and the student group that hosted the forum. We'll update this posting if they get back to us before the end of the day.
Update at 11:36 a.m. ET: A university spokesman is on CNN right now. "We're well aware about the concerns that the community has about this. You know we have our own concerns about it," Steve Orlando, head of the school's news bureau, says.
Orlando says "a couple of the officers were actually injured in the incident." The police chief asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to review how her officers handled the arrest, he says.
Update at 12:06 p.m. ET: John Kerry's office just sent us this statement from the senator: In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but again I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of answering him when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.
Update at 12:17 p.m. ET: Court records show that Meyer was booked on a felony charge of resisting an officer and a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace. That's not what the officers told Meyer after he was shocked and taken into custody. "You're under arrest for inciting a riot," a female police officer said at the time.
Update at 2:06 p.m. ET: Bernie Machen, the president of the University of Florida, issued a statement earlier this afternoon. Now he's addressing reporters in Gainesville.
"We're absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that the free exchange of ideas can occur. ... The incident that occurred yesterday is regretful for us because civil discourse and dialogue did not occur," he says.
Machen wouldn't comment on the appropriateness of the arrest or the manner in which it was executed, but he said that two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review.
He says the school has asked prosecutors to "act expeditiously" in deciding whether to go forward with charges against the student.
• UCLA officers 'Taser' student, video spreads & questions follow
• Cop shocks naked, greased student
• Texas man dies of burns after dousing himself with gas, being shot with Taser
this Follow up Comment on YouTube
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Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:36 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007 11:45 AM PDT
Monday, 17 September 2007
Sept 15 2007 - Hugh "DIE-IN" on Capital steps/lawn in DC
Now Playing: 160 arrested in Wash DC on 9-15 -07 PROTESTING THIS WAR!
in D.C. War Protest
By Matthew Barakat
WASHINGTON (AP) — Several thousand anti-war demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where at least 160 protesters were arrested.
The group marched from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war. Their numbers stretched for blocks along Pennsylvania Avenue, and they held banners and signs and chanted, "What do we want? Troops out. When do we want it? Now."
Army veteran Justin Cliburn, 25, of Lawton, Okla., was among a contingent of Iraq veterans in attendance.
"We're occupying a people who do not want us there," Cliburn said of Iraq. "We're here to show that it isn't just a bunch of old hippies from the 60s who are against this war."
Counter protesters lined the sidewalks behind metal barricades. There were some heated shouting matches between the two sides.
The arrests came after protesters lay down on the Capitol lawn in what they called a "die in" — with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters started climbing over a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.
Many were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barrier. But some grew angry as police with shields and riot gear attempted to push them back. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: "Shame on you."
The number of arrests by Capitol Police on Saturday was much higher than previous anti-war rallies in Washington this year. Five people were arrested at a protest outside the Pentagon in March when they walked onto a bridge that had been closed off to accommodate the demonstration, then refused to leave. And at a rally in January, about 50 demonstrators blocked a street near the Capitol, but they were dispersed without arrests.
The protesters gathered earlier Saturday near the White House in Lafayette Park with signs saying "End the war now" and calling for President Bush's impeachment. The rally was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and other groups.
Organizers estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the rally and march. That number could not be confirmed; police did not give their own estimate. But there appeared to be tens of thousands of people in attendance.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan told the crowd is was time to be assertive.
"It's time to lay our bodies on the line and say we've had enough," she said. "It's time to shut this city down."
About 13 blocks away, nearly 1,000 counterprotesters gathered near the Washington Monument, frequently erupting in chants of "U-S-A" and waving American flags.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandanas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.
"Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you," he said. "And to our troops, we're here for you, and we support you."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:35 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007 2:38 PM PDT
Thursday, 13 September 2007
SIT-IN @ Convention Center (IMPEACHMENT)
Now Playing: 5 citizens protested Nancy & Earl, who disregard their oaths
When told only the "Corporate Press" was allowed in (sic)
When told "oh we did let KBOO come in"
When told "you were a protester at another action one time, therefore you cant come in"
The 5 dedicated citizens sat in the entrance way to the meeting room, and refused to move
It was inside the convention center
The police were there but stood way off to the side, and up the escalators 50 yards away
The cat n mouse "block the camera" game was played by one officer, as the group was exiting
It is actually hilarious watching him try to block numerous cameras from filming him, (which was caught on camera)
But I digress
The group sat there and read aloud the "constitution" (remember when the Constitution meant something?)
There were suit and ties, security, and some Corporate press" all watching at the entrance the "peace group" groups action
They read statements and spoke up as to why their is no Impeachment dialog from Pelosi "on the table?"
A rep from Earls office ("Willie".... I think is his name?) came out and sat on the floor to engage in some kind of dialog
Informing the group that a Town Hall Meeting was coming on Sept 23 (Sunday)to a North Portland location?
That was news to the group
Earls office rep, tried to patronize the group and tried to seem sincere, but trying and seeming are not good enough for the serious issues that that these Democrats are sidestepping. People are dieing every day that they (Congress) allow this all to continue
All the sincere "we are allowing you to protest" is fine, and I must say "much" politer than Smiths office and is fine n dandy. But now the group and especially the five sitting, all are demand that the office do .....
"as they swore to do and uphold the constitution!"
Their must a been a decision made to "not arrest veterans and grandmothers" for ......"No arrests were made"
The group numerous time said "we refuse to move, we are willing to be arrested"
There were some scuttling and some firm "positioning" by the security at the entrance, even a slight "Get your hands off me" type of jocking by the protest group for positions (once or twice)
One of the "Seriously Pissed Off Grannies" stepped past the line and a slight scuttle ensured as she was briskly stopped and not allowed to go any further
The Impeachment Peace Group gave up after 45 mins of protesting at the meeting room entrance
They were seen by a lot of the people leaving the conference
That said there was no Democrat Leaders that I seen walk past the group.... they were safely away from the free speech zone I guess
The Five Protesters were clear and precise in their demands and questions!
The Lone Vet spoke eloquently about the Iraq war and all the people dying from it
It numerous times asked the guards and staff "how many must die before you care enough to stop this"
Most of the Security staff/group stood and stared at him .... silent and motionless
The Lone Vet ..... was hitting the nail on the head repeatedly
I got all this on film - with any expediency it will be up on Indy Media and on joe-anybody.com by Friday morning at the latest
Hopefully it will be viewable within 24 hours
Thanks to all the five that were sitting there, the ones who stood outside with flags and banners, and thanks to those taking pictures and "just-being-there" in Solidarity with the brave 5 who risked their freedom to make their message heard to Congress
I Joe Anybody heard you loud and clear - Thank you - this city needs more concerned citizens who are not afraid to demand an honest government and a "just and moral one" - The Impeachment group will be back on Thursday at Earls office at high noon ......
.........isn't it about time the Front Lines get some support?
..pictures = outside on sidewalk
..video = inside sit-in action
This was posted on Indy Media at this link here:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:11 PM PDT
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Mother Jones Article On "War Profits"
Now Playing: IRAQ for SALE - a review of Robert Greewald's movie
The War's for Sale, and There are Plenty of Buyers
Arts: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers profiles individuals and families affected by private companies that have acquired huge military contracts in Iraq.
August 15, 2007
Halliburton, Blackwater, no-bid contracts—the privatization of the war in Iraq is hardly news anymore. But Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers, a new documentary on the financial and ethical excesses of private military contractors, still hits home. The film argues that a handful of contractors—Blackwater USA, CACI International , Halliburton, Titan, Parsons, Dyncorp International, and Transatlantic Traders—are over-charging the government for shoddy work, and that they've endangered the lives of American soldiers and private citizens in their pursuit of profit. The documentary also discusses how ex-military and ex-government workers head up these companies and use their connections with key players in the Senate and the House to win contracts without going through the standard bidding process.
The film is the latest release from Robert Greenwald, who previously directed or produced films such as Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, and Uncovered: The War on Iraq.
As with his previous films, Greenwald has continued his grassroots, activist approach to promoting his work. Approximately 3,000 people donated $25 or $50 to help pay for the production of the film through Greenwald's website. Fans are encouraged to take action by writing their representatives, and Greenwald claims that fans have taken the initiative to organize 5,000 screenings of the film in homes and meeting halls worldwide.
The exorbitant amount of private companies operating in Iraq—and the cash our government is spending to hire them—is astonishing. As one interviewee explains, "There are over 100,000 contractors working in Iraq, Kuwait, and the surrounding area." Many of Greenwald’s interview subjects echo this point. "The war in Iraq has been privatized more than any other war in history," a woman says off-camera. Another off-camera interviewee claims, "Forty cents out of every dollar Congress controls now goes to private contractors."
Most stories on contractor corruption have focused on big-ticket items like oil shipments and construction projects. But Iraq for Sale reminds us that many of the military's most mundane functions have been assumed—and mishandled—by private companies. Take, for example, water. Ben Carter, a former water purification specialist for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), unsuccessfully fights back tears as he admits that the vast majority of KBR’s water treatment plants in Iraq may have produced unchlorinated or contaminated water. Soldiers who drank or bathed in the water "might not come home with a bullet wound, but a lot of them will come home with pathogens in their blood because of Halliburton."
Even food and laundry services are cause for suspicion, according to former soldiers interviewed in the film. For example, the outspoken former U.S. Army National Guardsman Sergeant Millard says that KBR, which operated Army mess halls in Iraq during his service there, refused to implement a 24-hour serving schedule, even though it might have deterred mealtime attacks by insurgents. He also criticizes KBR’s handling of soldiers' laundry. "[The contractors] get $99 a bag, for a bag of laundry that I could wash at home for three dollars. And everything still feels grimy," he says, adding, "If you don't know KBR, you've never been to Iraq."
The film illustrates the blatant wastefulness of contractors with testimonies about Halliburton executives ordering any faulty materials—including brand-new trucks and SUVs—to be thrown into a "burn pit" to be destroyed instead of being fixed. And the kicker, according to the film, is that stock for Halliburton has quadrupled in value since the war started. For the record, Halliburton says the film includes "yet another rehash of inaccurate, recycled information."
Greenwald dedicates substantial screen time to Abu Ghraib, by interviewing detainees and former interrogators—both civilian and military—about operations at the prison. CorpWatch executive director Pratap Chatterjee says that at the time of the abuse scandals, up to half of the interrogators at the prison were private contractors. Two former detainees, a small businessman and an electrical engineer, report that they were beaten, urinated upon, and sexually abused by men in civilian clothes. Yet to date, no contractors have been accused of abusing prisoners.
One of the most crucial moments in the film is when a reporter confronts president Bush at a press conference by asking, "In regards to private military contractors, if the code of military justice does not apply to these companies in Iraq, and I asked your secretary of defense this also, what law does govern their actions?" Bush is unable to answer the question, and in true form, he laughs it off and says he'll have to check with his people.
What really drives Greenwald's message are testimonies from parents like Donna Zovko, who talks about how angry she is that her son, Jerry, died in Fallujah during an insurgent attack while driving trucks owned by Blackwater that allegedly were not armored. But as Greenwald's interviewees point out early on in the film, the U.S. Army had no sufficient infrastructure to handle basic troop needs like food, laundry, and housing from the get-go, not to mention things like helicopter and tank maintenance.
So that brings up many questions: How could we have fought this war without private contracts? How can this government afford to pay contractors the padded bills we're currently paying them? When we do finally exit Iraq, how many years will it take to pay off our debt, and will that debt be for sale, too?
Starz Cinema aired the film July 14, and the film is now available on DVD. For additional information about interviewees, a full source list, and a montage of clips showing Greenwald unsuccessfully requesting interviews with company higher-ups, visit Greenwald's website.
Gary Moskowitz is an online editorial fellow at Mother Jones.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:48 PM PDT
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Alex Jones Arrested - Geraldo Rivera flips off 911 truth activists
Now Playing: 911 activist rachet it up in New York City
Topic: 911 TRUTH
Sept 9 2007 NY City
Media activist and 9/11 truther Alex Jones was arrested after he and and a large group of citizens showed up on Fox News' doorstep and disrupted Geraldo Rivera and his "cookie cooking" news analysis with signs and chants that "9/11 was an inside job!"
Presstitute Geraldo Rivera, ruffled and indignant, went into macho mode with "I wish I could..." shaking his fist in the air, implying that he would love to just whack one of the protesters. He also starts calling them everything under the book from "anarchists," "misfits," "nutjobs," "rabble," and the "least attractive group of demonstrators I have ever seen." Ouch! Now that really hurts! (I guess we can't compete with Kyla and the Fox News staff with their little white mini skirts and hooter tops).
Here Geraldo calls the demonstrators everything except what they really are -- citizens who want to get their censored message out.
He even says in one clip that the demonstrators are a "activist radical communist group. I don't know who they are." Geraldo, if you are a real journalist wouldn't it be incumbent for you to bring the microphone out in the crowd and ask them who they are?
Later, after the police come to arrest Alex, Geraldo ask Hooters' waitress Kyla Ebbert (who was escorted off of a Southwest plane for her "provocative" outfit) how she likes New York.
Kyla, "I think I will come back when things calm down in in a few years."
Geraldo "I am not sure of that."
That's right Geraldo, that is the one thing you got right that night. We won't be calm or quiet.
Watch Geraldo flip off the 9-11 Activists in this YouTube video:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:37 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007 6:59 PM PDT
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