World Trade Organization Protests

12/1/99 When I saw the first footage of the goings on in Seattle on the evening news, my first thought was I should be there. Strange thinking, for someone watching his peaceful brothers and sisters, practicing their first amendment rights, being assaulted with pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets? Not really, as an activist I have been extremely lucky, no arrests, no beatings. Hell I have never even been dispersed. But surely I stray from the purpose of this correspondence.
I went to the Newsstand this morning all the papers except for our local paper featured pictures of the "Seattle riot". The local news print still suffering flashbacks from our own little riot choose to feature a picture of the on going investigation in Mexico, but I'll get back to that a little further on...

The headlines were varied themes of "protesters run amuck", the Associated Press report began with " Stunned by violent street protests". Yet in all the pictures whose images were etched into my mind, there was not a single one showing any person other than officers of the law committing acts of violence. The stories focused on a small group of persons dressed head to toe in black and wearing ski masks who smashed out some windows, (didn't we see them at Waco?) All the while, the gathered protesters crying out, "shame on you." So I must wonder which government agency, these black clad trouble makers belong to? The local police? CIA, FBI or perhaps some other covert agency run amuck? or perhaps even the mob or the AFL-CIO? One thing is clear these hidden faces did not belong to any of the many groups peacefully assembled to have their grievances addressed. It is equally clear that the trouble makers only purpose was to give the police a reason to crack down on the peaceful protesters. The stories said no protesters were injured, (it is my understanding that pepper spray in the eyes hurts like hell) but one paper showed a picture of a women protester whose face was covered in blood. By the way how do the police tell the difference between radical protesters and citizens out for a walk, while mass spraying with tear gas and rubber bullets? So just exactly what did the "officials" expect would happen when they sent hoards of armed police into the streets wearing riot gear? Remember the adage be careful what you ask for... With downtown trashed officials sought to restore order with an overnight curfew and more officers in riot gear. Then, city officials declared a no-protest zone for the city's downtown. So just when were city officials given the power to over-ride first amendment rights? Most of the protesters were nonviolent, going limp as police tried to pick them up. Police chief Norm Stamper told a news conference: ``The downtown area needs to be and will in fact be made safe today for everyone.'' Safe for everyone except the citizens who wish to voice their outrage at the world being created for them with out their input. Isn't about time for the police and the governing bodies to realize that they don't work for the aristocrats and multi-national corporations, who are currently gathered in Seattle to promote their new world economy, but for the people who are worried about the environment and the human condition? Shame upon all of them.

So what about that other "Big News" story? For a couple of days now T.V. and Newspapers have been carrying the story of mass grave site in Mexico. Hundreds of dead killed off by evil drug lords the stories read. Of course the story broke the day before the first body was found, and now after several days of digging by the multinational investigation being lead by the FBI (When and how did the FBI get jurisdiction over Mexican crimes?) another body has been uncovered. The source of the information? a confidential informant who else? This story is obviously another scare tactic to justify the continuance of the War on Drugs.

So what is the connecting thread here?
Beware the spin doctors and the press as well, as they are obviously just reporting on the propaganda being fed to them by government officials...

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