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Oregon Indymedia activist arrested in Ashland

Southern Oregon Indymedia activist, Wes Brain was arrested in Ashland this last week after covering the recent "Books not Bombs" protest which drew hundreds of southern Oregon citizens to Ashland. Below is a communication from Wes and a link to the new Southern Oregon Indymedia website.
Oregon Indymedia activist arrested in Ashland
Oregon Indymedia activist arrested in Ashland

A member of the new Southern Oregon Independent Media (Rogue Indymedia) was arrested in Ashland, Oregon this last week. He was arrested after photographing activists being beaten by Southern Oregon police and sherriff's office. Below is a communication from Wes. Wes Brain is a long-time labor activist and community organizer. He is well known in Ashland and Southern Oregon as well as the Pacific Northwest. Wes has been active in posting Southern Oregon and Northern California stories and information to the Portland Indymedia website. As the truth starts breaking through the corporate media wall of propaganda in Oregon, we will see more harrassment of media activists. It is time or us to work in solidarity before we all lose our rights to speak our truth!

The corporate media in many towns and cities of Oregon are owned by one corporation, who until Indymedia, had total control of what would be reported. When hundreds of students and towns people took to the streets during a recent "Books not bombs" protest, the corporate media said little about the action. Nor did they show local police shoving and beating protestors. Rogue IMC media activists including Wes, were there to document police brutality and harrassment. Below is a link to the immerging Southern Oregon IMC (Rogue IMC) and Wes's communication about his arrest.

http://rogueimc.org/2003/03/179.shtml

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Friends and Activists:

LAST FRIDAY I WAS ARRESTED WHILE IN MY OFFICE DOING MY JOB FOR THE STATE OF OREGON.

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on 3/7/03 while at work for the Safety Department at Southern Oregon University I was sitting at my desk when an Ashland Police Department Officer stuck her head in the door and asked if I could talk to her for a few minutes. Since the Safety Dept. (occupational health and safety services for university employees) shares the same building with the SOU Security Dept. it was not strange at all seeing Ashland Police in our building. In fact I know many of the officers and although there are a few bad cops on the local force most of them do a good job, I have always thought.

I walked out back to the small porch attached to our building and noticed there were three officers in attendance. Since no one said anything I started the conversation, "What's Up?" The reply was most surprising: "Mr. Brain, put your hands behind your back. You are under arrest for disorderly conduct." They failed to reveal it, but later I found out that the charges for disorderly conduct are twofold with an additional impeeding a police officer charge. Two days later as I write this I am still in utter shock and disbelief...

Since anything I say can be used against me, and since I have not talked to my lawyer yet, and since I am paranoid that the FBI monitors my electronic messages, and since I believe our system of justice is fundamentaly corrupt... I will only give you the short and sweet version right now...

On 3/5/03 in Ashland Oregon there was a very successful and well attended peace march and rally called "Books Not Bombs", and ours was part of a national day of action against the impending Iraq war by students all across the U.S.. Our new Rogue Valley Independent Media Center had the best local media coverage of this event:

http://indymedia.truffula.net/2003/03/143.shtml

So on the day in question I took 4.5 hours of vacation time to be a journalist and video tape this event (activists never take real vacations, they use such time for peace and justice). Here in Southern Oregon we broadcast regular programming on Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV), that's our access televison station and the shows highlight progressive issues about Labor, Human Rights, and the Environment (M & W, 6PM, Ch.#31)...

That day I shot 1 hour and 41 minutes of raw footage which shows the colorful march and rally with 500 or 600 (some say more) students demonstrating that money for war needs spent instead on education (books not bombs). This footage shows some of the things not reported by the local mainstream media like the SWAT team that was called in from a neighboring county to square off against our peacefully protesting students. This footage looks like it is taken from another planet, I mean can you imagine riot cops squaring off agains young kids? Blanked from coverage in the local press, it happened. My footage also shows the tail-end of a scuffle in the street which shows the Ashland Police throwing people to the ground. I did not capture the beginning of this incident but do have an interview of someone who says she saw it from the start and that the police instigated the scuffle.

Well, two days later on March 7th they came and arrested me, I told you that part... I have no idea why. But am fearful that the war on terrorism is more a war against anybody who speaks out against the war mongering and foolish, corporate bought and paid for leadership of this country. Period.

Stay tuned. Arrainment is 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 11 in Municipal Court here in Ashland. More vacation time required, damnn it, so that I can prove myself innocent and stand proud for protecting our First Ammendment rights here in little ol' Ashland, Oregon. It is an important fight and I am ready for the cause.

homepage: homepage: http://indymedia.truffula.net/2003/03/143.shtml

. 10.Mar.2003 13:25

.

I wish the best for our friend here in lockup. I am sure i am not alone in my prayers for his release.

keep it up, the more they come out of the shadows to arrest and abust us the more they are revealed to the general public as they are: corrupt!

LIBERTY SPEAKS 10.Mar.2003 18:08

RCP

xx
LIBERTY SPEAKS
LIBERTY SPEAKS

Solidarity from the North 10.Mar.2003 20:30

CatWoman

There's a long history of those who benefit from this system attempting to silence the alternative media. Susan B Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Ida B Wells, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, and Daniel Ellsberg are only a few of the many people who were jailed, harrassed, and/or exiled by the United States Government for daring to tell the truth.

During the Vietnam war, as in other times, the FBI and the CIA were involved in harassment and vandalism of anti-war media activists. During the last persian gulf crisis, corporate journalists were herded from site to side with blinders on. Shamefully, they scarcely questioned it. And they let pentagon "officials" shape the story of what was happening in the gulf, as if they had any motive to tell the truth. The few rogue corporate reporters who tried to tell us about that real people were really being murdered in Iraq by US forces were summarily fired. But the alternative presses fought to bring the stories out.

Recently, the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Bill have (yet again) made free speech a crime in America.

Why? Because they know that those who control the story control reality. It doesn't matter what's "really" happening. It only matters what people think is happening. Mind control through media control.

At this time, all corporate media outlets, from ABC, NBC, and CBS to ClearChannel are controlled by a very few, very wealthy corporations with similar interests. Their interests are not the same as our interests, but they do their best to convince us otherwise. They come into our living rooms and admonish us not to worry ourselves about anything, the "president" (whom they have told us we support) will handle everything. Maybe it doesn't look like he is justified in ordering an invasion of Iraq, but don't worry, he has his reasons. Maybe he got out of serving his country by going AWOL for two years and never suffered any consequences. But he's...he's changed since then. Maybe he can't put two words together without a speechwriter. They don't question him. That would be unamerican.

THIS is why we need independent media activists, like the person who was arrested in Ashland. Because we need to know what's really happening in the world. We need to base our actions on an understanding of the real world, not a controlled approximation that will keep us sedate. And, this is why indymedia reporters are being harassed and detained, and having their cameras and equipment stolen by the fascist state. They can't afford to lose control of the story, of our minds.

If history is any guide, this is only the beginning.


Get a camera, get out there, and tell your story. I gotcher back.