....LMB: "Miami Vice Grip"....

November 27, 2003

At the FTAA protests in Miami, we saw a familiar pattern played out yet again.

1) Influential organization announces meeting in City X. Activists vow to protest meeting.

2) City X police begin solemnly warning local media about the potential threat of "violent protesters", "outside agitators", "anarchists", and "terrorists".

3) Local media begins running breathless stories like "Could City X Become Another Seattle?!", with pictures of masked anarchists or masked riot cops or both.

4) City X police create elaborate, militarized plan to protect the city. This usually involves inviting "experts" from other police departments, hundreds of cops in SWAT team gear, importing officers from surrounding towns, shifting prisoners from local jails to neighboring facilities to make room for protesters, procuring buses with which to transport huge numbers of arrested activists, and cordoning off large swaths of the city

5) Local protesters and the ACLU file a lawsuit against these measures. City responds by pointing out that they have set up a "free speech zone" (aka a "protest pen"-- an area far from the site of the contested meeting, bounded by steel fences, which activists are told is the only place where they are "allowed" to protest). If the city relents and cedes civil rights to the protesters, it does so at the last minute, and apparently does not notify the local police that they've done so.

6) Day of protest arrives. Massive throngs of law-abiding citizens march around the city with earnest slogan signs, listen to speakers at rallies, etc. The are constantly surrounded by a scary-looking paramilitary force.

7) A large group of protesters is cornered by cops, surrounded, ordered to disperse, not allowed to disperse, and is then arrested for failing to disperse. Beatings, rubber bullets and tear gas are sometimes involved. This sort of mass arrest is often done early in protest, to serve as a warning. Media shows no interest.

8) Cops get aggro on groups of protesters, hitting people with nightsticks, shoving people around, ordering them to move for no reason, shooting them with rubber bullets, spraying them with pepper spray, scaring them with concussion grenades, etc. They will justify these actions by claiming that the activists attacked them first, usually by throwing a plastic water bottle or rock at their armored bodies. Media shows no interest.

9) Protest ends, straggling protesters are harassed and/or arrested. Most arrestees are released within hours or days, after paying a fine or are let out with no charges. Activists sue city for violation of civil rights, but nothing happens. Media shows no interest.

10) Police hold press conference declaring victory. The fact that the fantasy violence that they predicted did not take place is proof that the city's repressive tactics saved the city. The police and city take credit for shit they had nothing to do with.

Much of this is based upon a lie told and retold since the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. The lie says that violent anarchists at the protests caused chaos, forcing the police to respond and quell the rioting. Since this came without warning, all cities must take even sterner measures to make sure it doesn't happen to them.

First of all, the time frame is wrong, and it pisses me off to no end. I have read, listened to, and watched videotapes of over 100 testimonials of personal experiences at the WTO protests. I was glued to the TV, radio, and internet during the course of the entire thing. I know a number of people who were there. And the truth of the matter is that Seattle police began tear-gassing and shooting rubber bullets at non-violent protesters the morning of the first day of the protests, and the infamous "Black Bloc" anarchists did not arrive on the scene until early that afternoon.

In other words, the cops began using violence against protesters before any protester "violence" took place.

Second, the protesters were not violent. The Black Blockers went on a rampage of vandalism against franchises of multinational corporations like Starbucks and Niketown. Vandalism is not violence.

Third, the cops didn't even try to stop the Bloc. At the time of the protests, there was white-hot debate on activist websites about how the Bloc had managed to vanadalize downtown Seattle and not get caught by the cops. A number of folks argued fervently that the way that the cops left the Black Bloc alone was proof that the Blockers were undercover police officers trying to stir up trouble. I don't bring that up to suggest that it is the truth, but to dredge up a historical memory of mine that again refutes the idea that the violence of Seattle was due to a rational police response.

The continued repressive reaction to protests in the U.S. is based upon this lie. I'm really sick and tired of it. And it's probably just going to get worse.

Posted by Jake at 12:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

I've seen the "Black Bloc" during the coronation of the Smirking Chimp In A Man Suit in January
2001. The more I think about this small group of vandals the more it reeks of counterintelligence
in the name of the state.

First off there were tens of thousands of protesters and concerned citizens in the streets that day. There was a lot of chanting and sloganeering to be experienced. The streets were literally PACKED with this noisy yet violence-free sea of humanity. It was very hard to see where it began and where it ended when I climbed on top of a newspaper vending machine to attempt to gauge a better view of the surroundings. It was that large.

Then comes this small group of vandals, masked and clad in black, posing as "anarchists" who
broke through the barricades. We don't know who they were. I certainly didn't agree with their

Finally, when I arrived back home, the reportage of the massive demonstrations were effectively
BLACKED OUT with only occasional footage of the black-clad "anarchists" being beaten down. Thank
goodness I had two VCR's taping CNN and Faux News while I was on DC just to see what those at
home were led to believe.

It's an interesting pattern which corporate conglomorates can capitalize upon to keep the sheeple in fear and those who feed off of that fear in power.

In the case of the vandalism of business franchises, to the aristocracy it's a win-win-win deal:

1) Learn where the next big-time demonstration is going to be held.

2) Propagate the assertion time and time again that ALL demonstrations will lead to violence.

3) Find those in corporate power willing to "take one for the team" (Starbucks, et. al.).

4) Find those willing to vandalize property, specifically franchised storefronts owned by some
high-profile corporate entity (Starbucks can afford to let one unit get vandalized by the
blackshirts for the sake of the task at hand).

5) The local media will gleefully ignore the much larger non-violent demonstrations (much less
any analysis of the issues presented) and focus upon the vandalism because "if it bleeds it

6) The "violent" footage gets sold to corporate-owned/corporate-subsidized mass media and is
broadcast nationwide to the sheeple.

7) The sheeple believe that all demonstrations lead to violence, "as proven time and time again
by the trustworthy corporate-owned/corporate-subsidized mass media".

8) Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The valdalism of corporate-owned storefronts works great on two points in the eyes of the
fearmongerers: 1) The corporations can AFFORD to let one storefront go for the sake of the
greater "good" of the propaganda-mongering at hand and 2) They get to pervert an anti-corporate
stance made by millions of activists into one of a violent anarchic uprising. The overall message
in the miniscule brains of the herds of sheeple out there, whome beleve anything labeled as NEWS
as being REALITY, is that something must be done against these demonstrators because THEY
THREATEN OUR WAY OF LIFE! The above just reinforces that overall message again and again and again, ad naseum.

So the sheeple bitch to their law enforcement agencies about how RADICAL these protesters are
(nevermind that I find that the so-called "pro-life" movement demonstrations advocate, through
their actions, the murder of doctors for the sake of the notion that abortion is "murder", is
light-years more RADICAL than what's to be found elsewhere, but that's my personal opinion) and are afraid of their community turning into the aftermath of the Watts riots. Soon the idea that fenced-in concentration camps...err, pens, designated as "First Amendment Zones" seems to be a good idea in the mislead brainwashed eyes of the masses.

And we wonder how we've come to this? Shit, I'm so old that I remember when the only First
Amendment zone that I was aware of was the United States of America. Lately, with all of the
corporate shenigans occurring to benefit the fascistic aristocracy it's looking more like, as
Joe Mantegna stated in David Mamet's "House Of Games", "The United States of Kiss My Ass".

The sad part is that the corporate-owned/corporate-subsidized mass media couldn't care less about performing its democratic duty in actually attempting to expose the machinations at work here.

It's so much easier to make the cash off of promoting fear and the destruction of our civil
liberties so that the fascistic aristocracy gets richer. The same with the local media: Ratings
rule and context? "Fuck that shit! We can make more money by selling the footage to Faux News and getting hometown exposure too!"

I've seen and experienced much more than the sheeple. Nevermind that I have the photographs I've personally taken of the demonstrations I've attended. Nevermind that I know the truth and the
local media simply rejects the evidence at hand outright in pursuit of those pieces of silver.

How does one break this to the sheeple that they are being lied to? How does one go about getting
them outraged to the point that they're finally provoked into beneficial democratic action
against the aristocracy rather than being misdirected against us while the aristocracy laughs its way to the bank?

I just wish that more concerned citizens learned of authentic journalism through the likes of
NarcoNews and the Independent Media Center rather than the sensationalistic corporate-
owned/corporate-subsidized mass media tabloid propaganda which masquerades as "News".


Posted by: at November 30, 2003 09:57 AM

i'm wondering if they're not perfecting this
anti-protest scenario in order to deal with
spontaneous discontent after the stealing of
the '04 election...

Posted by: graywyvern at December 13, 2003 06:50 PM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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