This week has been an exciting one for peace and justice activism. (As usual, one would not know this from watching the corporate media.)
First, there was the annual protest at Ft. Benning against US military training of Latin American terrorists at the WHISC (formerly known as the School of Americas). According to SOA Watch there were 51 arrests. Those arrested included nuns, priests, and my own personal hero Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness (an organization that smuggled in humanitarian aid to Iraq during the time when such aid was illegal to be brought into the country under the US/UN sanctions that were in place between Gulf Wars I & II. — Photos of those protestors who “crossed the line” can be seen by clicking here.More information on the SOA protests can also be found via the Atlanta IMC. What is the most crazy thing to me is that this year the military decided to use Psyops tactics against the protestors (blasting loud military music in an attempt to drown out the protestors)
The second big story of the week was the giant protests of the FTAA (Free Trade Assocation of the Americas) meeting in Miami. Full coverage of these protests and the brutal police crackdown can be read at FTAAimc.org. — Reading these accounts is both an encouraging and disheartening thing. It is thrilling to see so many stand up for what is right and be willing to face physical violence against them, but it also very discouraging to see other human beings willing to act in such violent ways against those who are not in any way violent to them.Here is one bit of information on what I speak of…
The Miami Activist Defense (M.A.D.) committee and National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers have observed numerous illegal practices that Miami City leadership has referred to as a ?blueprint for Homeland Security,? including:- Indiscriminate, excessive force against hundreds of nonviolent protesters with weapons including pepper spray, tear gas, concussion grenades and various types of rubber bullets.
– Police stopping and snatching protesters at random and taking them away in unmarked vehicles.
– Protesters being shot with rubber bullets and trapped by police lines, resulting in major injuries. Medics were not allowed into these areas.
– Violation of agreements made with organizers and M.A.D. prior to protests.
– Harassment and abuse after demonstrators have been taken into custody, including denial of medical treatment and water, physical abuse, isolation, lack of access to lawyers, and being lied to and verbally harassed.
– Specific targeting and harassment of queers, transgendereds, people of color, internationals, medics, and legal observers by the police and the jails.