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A22 PORTLAND BUSH PROTEST 22.08.2002 12:22
Breaking news from the streets of Portland...
8:30PM: More pepper spray as police try to force crowds out of downtown.

8PM: Sun sets and Protesters party in the streets.

7:20PM: Huge crowds on streets as sun starts to come down. Children pepper sprayed. Bush mocks the dead to elicit laugh from crowd during speech. And Japan's Foreign Minister calls Bush, "Totally An Asshole." Portlanders rock as they post video to IMC Site! Keep it coming - more pictures, audio, and video!!! And Alan Graf calls for citizen's meeting tomorrow morning.

6:30PM: Police Open Fire on Protesters. Pepper Spray, Batons, Rubber Bullets used on crowd including babies, people in wheelchairs, citizens.

6:20PM: Bush Speaking as Police Order "Big Pepper Spray" from newswire article.

5:15PM: 2 to 4 thousand People Protest shrub! Police say size of crowds too big.

4:55PM: State of Emergency Announced

4:35 PM: News coming in that at least one protestor maced and riot cops ready to go here.

3:40 PM update: Great $#@%ing Day in Portland! - 2 to 3 thousand people on the streets!

3PM update on Shrub's visit here. According to news radio he has landed and is on his way downtown where the protesters have started their march.

Live webcam
of downtown Portland near the Hilton, refreshed every 30 seconds.

[ original annoucement feature | pdx indy "protest bush" organizing page ]

ANIMAL RIGHTS 04.08.2002 18:52
Citizens blow the whistle on animal cruelty at OHSU
On Saturday, August 3, about three dozen citizens gathered outside the Oregon Regional Primate Resarch Center (ORPRC) at the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) west campus in Beaverton to protest the brutal treatment of animals at the facilities there. The ORPRC claims that the animals are "treated with concern for their psychological well-being [and] are kept in good health, except for illness or death induced for experimental reasons, [when] every attempt is made to make them comfortable." However, a number of whistleblowers have stepped foward and exposed these claims as lies. The most recent of these is Tom Larimer, a former primate technician at ORPRC, who described the conditions there as being the "most insensitive" he has ever seen: "In one case involving primate restraint during blood collection, I was told by one of the technicians 'training' me to: 'just pull the shit out of that leg'... 'you ain't gonna hurt that monkey'."

Animal-testing -- like the cutting of old growth trees, the mistreatment of workers, the cutting of social services, and war -- is another form of oppression wrought by the corporate powers-that-be in the pursuit of profit. Chemical companies test toxic substances on animals to prove their safety with humans, even though such comparisons are junk science. Tax money intended for basic human needs is hijacked for this testing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is charged with overseeing the conditions in labs (and which also runs the U.S. Forest SerVice), doesn't do its job. The result is tragic.

Armed with whistles, signs, and passion, the people outside the OHSU entrance on Saturday made their outrage with ORPRC and animal testing loud and clear. The protest was organized by In Defense of Animals. [ Full story & Photos ]

[ portland indymedia animal rights page | In Defense of Animals | Boycott OHSU | Coalition to Abolish Animal Testing ]

FOREST ACTIVISM 04.08.2002 15:05
Update from the battle in Bitterroot: Activists facing harrassment, starvation
From a Wild Rockies Earth First! report posted on the open publishing newswire: "As we enter the dry and hot months of August the Bitterroot Campaign continues with the dedicated work of a few folks. On Monday, July 29, Lupine ( Joel), after one week with very little water and food, descended from his ponderosa pine located on a helicopter pad for the Big Bull timber sale. He was arrested immediately and charged with maintaining an unauthorized structure, violating the 14 day camping limit, interfering with a federal officer, and creating a hazard.

"Joel was arraigned in federal court and has been released pending trial although he is banned from the entire Bitterroot National Forest. Fireweed continues her resistance and still occupying a tree and preventing the helicopter pad from being constructed. Police officers have continued their 24 hour siege of the tree sit. They will not allow Fireweed any water or food."

"We continue to have problems with the Missoula county sheriffs department who have taken to visiting our house on a regular basis. They are looking for Molly who had briefly stopped by the tree sit and was identified by federal law enforcement officers. She is out on bond and has no specific conditions regarding where she can be. None the less their is now an arrest warrant for her stemming from a five minute visit to the tree sit." [ Full story ]

[ Earth First! Activists Occupy Two Trees (July 8) | portland indymedia's forest activism feature ]

Starbucks brings its sleazy tactics to bear against local coffee shop in Astoria
Think you own your name? That you can use it wherever you want? Maybe not.

Nearly two years ago, in October 2000, Samantha Buck of Astoria, Oregon bought a small coffee shop in downtown Astoria and named it Sam Buck's -- after herself.

One year later, Starbucks Coffee? opened a Starbucks store inside Fred Meyers, five miles away. Starbucks? lawyers then served Samantha Buck with a cease and desist order: she must stop using her own name on her store, because they claimed it was causing confusion for Starbucks customers who might be led to believe they were patronizing a Starbucks? store when in fact, they were going into Sam Bucks. They offered her $500 for the expense of removing her name from her store.

Sam said no thank you, and soon thereafter, Starbucks filed a lawsuit. She must rename her store or an injunction will be filed, and assuming a properly corporate-friendly judge, will likely be issued and enforced. If Sam Buck continues to use her name on her store, she can be found in contempt of court, and can be jailed. [ Full story ]

[ ihatestarbucks.com ]

Blowing the Whistle on Lab Coat Welfare
Tom Larimer is now working on a field study of baboons in rural Africa, but he spent six weeks working inside the labs at the OHSU-operated Oregon Regional Primate Research Center (ORPRC) late in 2001. In the past month, his work with baboons in the wild convinced him to step forth and speak for the primates he worked with at the primate center.

He's atypical for a whistleblower, considers animal rights activists wackos, but was prodded by his conscience after seeing things inside the primate center that made his blood boil.

On the same day Matt Rossell of In Defense of Animals, also a whistleblower, held a press conference to present Larimer's findings on primate care at ORPRC, Oregonians were having to fight more OHP cutbacks. The ongoing budget saga just highlights the iniquities that run rampant when there is so little transparency and accountability for public funds, as is the case with our state government and OHSU. Please read the history of [The Heist] for more details.

There are many issues involved in the fight against animal research and for human health. Omit any one of them and miss the big picture.

Saturday, August 3rd, 11am - 2pm, In Defense of Animals is holding a protest at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center in Beaverton (505 NW 185th Ave.). Come blow your own whistle.

[Highlights of Tom Larimer's report on the ORPRC]
[The Unraveling Social Safety Net] * [The Heist]
[Animal Experimentation - Hidden Cause Of Environmental Pollution]
[BoycottOHSU.com - IDA's campaign to end OHSU's animal research]

U.S IMPERIALISM 20.07.2002 15:36
Committee for a New Colombia educates Portlanders at IWW hall
From Committee for a New Colombia, Ram?n Acevedo and Nathalie Alsop spoke at the IWW hall this past Thursday, to educate and inspire folks to work to end the violence in Colombia by recognizing that U.S. funding is what is perpetuating this bloody civil war, more than any other factor.

The messages we are being asked to understand, are manyfold. It was emphasized that we need to fully look at the complexity of issues that face this resource-rich, but dirt-poor country; And that this war on drugs in Colombia is in actuality (as it is here) a war on the people. Studies show that fumigation abroad will not decrease drug use in the US. It was stated that there is now more coca growing in Colombia than ever before, mainly due to fumigation policies designed to destroy subsistence and market crops, forcing people to move to the cities. This cheap and desperate labor base serves to undermine formation and organization of labor unions, because there is an endless resource base of scab labor moving into the cities as life in the country becomes unbearable. There is evidence that corporations in the cities are using paramilitaries to crush unions. A story was relayed about a Coca Cola plant murder of a union organizer, by paramilitaries who were allowed onto the property by that corporation. DynCorp has been asked to leave Ecuador because of the human rights abuses they are responsible for.

The violence in Colombia continues mainly because the paramilitary and government-backed military are all being subsidized by U.S. dollars to perpetuate the violence. 20% of the U.S. money going to Colombia is used for actual aid. The rest is used for arms. This money will be used by the incoming president, who will be inaugurated August 7th, to combine the U.C-trained armed forces, and the National Police to work more closely in the civil war.

The internal conflicts that have put this country in a constant state of war would be more likely to deescalate were the U.S. not training the paramilitary and providing them with arms. Our government's interest is in promoting the interests of multinational investment, at the expense of the cultural and economic integrity of Colombians, and at the expense of their environment. Stopping U.S. involvement in Colombia is the first obvious step toward achieving peace in Colombia.

To listen to the audio of these two speakers, go to: www.philosopherseed.org/audio.htm

For more info on the training of paramilitaries in Colombia and Honduras, go to: www.soawatch.org

To contact Committee for a New Colombia:
website: www.nuevacolombia.org.
The touring group, Committee for a New Columbia is based in SF at: 2489 Mission St, SF, CA 94110, (415) 821-6545.

Local sponsors here in Portland were: (PICAG)Peace In Colombia Action Group, (PCASC)Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, (CBLOC) Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition.

Report from the Walk for Farmworker Justice
On Saturday, July 13th, over 200 people participated in the Walk for Farmworker Justice in Woodburn, Oregon. The event was intended to call attention to the plight of migrant farmworkers in the state, the majority of whom are Latino, mostly Mexican. The day was put together by the Farmworker Justice Coalition, which includes many churches, some labor organizations. The most prominent group was Pi?eros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), the Treeplanters and Farmworkers Union of the Northwest, which represents over 4,500 farmworkers in Oregon. This was the second year the Walk was held and organizers are planning for it to be an annual event. Last year's walk was a week-long event focused on "bringing NORPAC to the table" to negotiate with PCUN, a struggle that evolved in favor of the farmworkers.

Participants in Saturday's Walk met at Legion Park in Woodburn and the day started with food, speeches and songs. Eric Nicholson, a long-time PCUN organizer, explained that the day would focus on two issues: amnesty for migrant workers, and the right of those workers to bargain collectively. The morning was spent visiting fields where farmerworkers were picking fruit and vegetables under the hot sun. At each location, a hundred people lined the side of the road with a proliferation of signs and chanted supportive slogans in Spanish.

The early afternoon brought an unscheduled stop at the Smucker's Plant in Woodburn. On Tuesday, July 9th, the workers at the plant--who are members of Teamsters Local #670--went on strike to protest forced 12-hour days and steep hikes in their monthly health care insurance costs. Picketing outside the plant gates, they were joined by Walk participants, who took up the Teamsters' signs among their own and stood with them in a gesture of solidarity. Smuckers buys some of the berries that the farmworkers pick. (The company has also been taking part in predatory business practices buying up organic juice companies and diluting the products by decreasing the juice content and increasing the sugar.)

Many of the Teamsters joined the Walk that afternoon when around 200 people marched through downtown Woodburn and the residential neighborhoods around it. The crowd also grew more diverse for this event, and was roughly 40/60 Latino/Caucasian. Reactions from Woodburn residents ranged from surprise to support, with only a small number of negative responses. The chants here were the loudest of the day, and the spirit was lively.

A first-hand account from the open publishing newswire reads: "Yesterday's March for Farmworker Justice in and around Woodburn will have to go down as a smashing success!!!! The crowds increased as the day went on and as workers came off the fields... The energy was really high and we stood along the side of the road, maybe 100 people including all adult ages, from teenagers to those with heads of white hair and the eyes and experience of many previous Protests.... I heard conversations of folks, for example, who remembered voting for Roosevelt, etc. I am always proud and cognizant of the elderly at these events, and hope that some of you will remind ME in 20 years, when I am in my late 70's, to get up out of my recliner and hit the streets with a voice made more powerful than ever before, by my years and experience!" [ Read more... ]

Accounts from the open publishing newswire: [ Report on National Walk for Farm Worker Justice | Teamsters striking at Smuckers plant in Woodburn; Farmworkers show solidarity | An account of the Walk for Farmworker Justice | Songs for Farmworkers | PHOTOS: 1 | 2 ]

Background from portland indymedia: [ About the 2002 Walk | The Campesinos - Farmworkers in Oregon: History and Politics | Smuckers: from Cider to Corporate Empire | Multimedia coverage of the 2001 Walk ]

[ Farmworker Justice Coalition | Pi?eros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) ]

THE ROCKETS' RED GLARE 04.07.2002 14:38
Patriotic incendiary devices: Toxic for health, manufactured in sweatshops
Thinking about going down to the River to watch the fireworks tonight? Think again. Turns out those beautiful showers of colorful sparks can be carrying any of the following chemicals: potassium nitrate, barium chlorate, arsenic, strontium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, copper oxide, sodium bicarbonate, carbon, sulphur, perchlorate, aluminium powder. Exposure to these chemicals can cause hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells), acute renal failure, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, shallow breathing, convulsions, coma and death from respiratory or cardiac failure, benign pneumoconiosis (a lung disease caused by inhaling dust), muscular paralysis, arterial hypertension and profound hypokalaemia, and corrosion of the skin and other tissues from topical contact and acute pulmonary oedema or chronic obstructive lung disease.

As if all that weren't enough, dioxins, which are known cancer-causing agents, are also produced by firework displays. So stay home and watch from your roof. If you can smell the gunpowder, you're too close.

Thinking about buying a load of aerials, spinners, fountains, roman candles, and lady fingers and setting them off in your driveway? Think again. The number one manufacturer of firecrackers in the world is China; incendiary devices are produced in dangerous sweatshops there, often by children. The BBC reports that between February 1998 and December 2001 at least 171 people were killed -- 48 of them children -- and 25 injured in explosions while making fireworks in China. During the same period, deaths also occured at fireworks factories in Portugal, Pakistan, Spain, the Netherlands, Peru, and Brasil.

One of these incidents, in March 2001, happened in a primary school in the Jiangzi province of China, where students were making fireworks in their classrooms. According to the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation, "the children were not paid, and if they refused to work their families were fined". The neo-liberal "modernization" of China has forced people off their land and into factories. Whether it's shoes, electronics or firecrackers, the story remains the same and it's not about freedom or independence, the values ostensibly being celebrated this July 4th. [ Read more... ]

Billionaires for Bush: 'Wyden the gap between rich and poor!'
This just in, from the open publishing newswire: "In a clever ploy to show himself a man of the people, Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon's Democratic Senator, held sidewalk office hours on SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland. He posed casually, sporting a blue baseball cap with the word 'Oregon' emblazoned in bright colors on the front.

"Sen. Wyden seemed strangely discomfited by the arrival of three charter members of the Billionaires for Bush. This chilly reception left Philippa Casterquoits, Sir Reginald Beefnostril, and Cordelia Hasteharvest in something of a snit, as they wished to cheer him on for his recent servile support of their pet projects.

"'Wyden the gap between rich and poor!' called out Cordelia, waving politely to the passing flow of Saturday shoppers on the Boulevard. Sir Reggie unfurled the corporate flag, smiling and showing Sen. Wyden the true colors of America. Philippa Casterquoits sniped, 'The Senator seems not to wish to associate with us in public, and yes, we ARE offended!'" [ Read more! ]

This is the third surprise appearance by the Billionaires for Bush in Portland since June 18, when they crashed the Greg Palast lecture. On June 24, the Billionaires hob-nobbed with wealthy supporters of Vice pResident Cheney and Senator Gordon Smith during Cheney's visit to town. When and where will they strike next? What dastardly billionaire deeds will they commit? No one knows, and fear is rising in the heart of the people. Stay tuned to portland indymedia for further reports of this unfolding crisis.

[ Billionaires for Bush, Portland Chapter ]

PEACE / ANTI-WAR 28.06.2002 11:51
9.11 family member speaks in Astoria
From the open publishing newsire: "Of the many possible responses to the atrocity of bombing the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, bombing Afghanistan is not likely to be the most effective or appropriate. Family members of victims of the attack have joined together to seek peaceful alternatives that will more effectively identify and punish the perpetrators and prevent future attacks.

"Speaking at the River Theater in Astoria, Oregon on her way to Chicago to an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Campbell, representing the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows said that the present violent response appears to have had the perverse effect of failing to identify the attacker, while simultaneously decreasing world security and increasing the sense of frustration with and even hatred of the U.S. that may have motivated the attacks in the first place.

"Campbell said it is evident from the public response to September Eleventh Families that many, if not most, Americans question the effectiveness, not to mention the humanity of the present U.S. 'war on terrorism'. The present emphasis of her organization is to provide immediate relief to the men, women, and children who are innocent victims of the American bombing campaign ('war') in Afghanistan. They are pressing for Congressional action as well as raising funds privately through the Afghan Sister Families Fund to provide compensation for those hurt unintentionally by our bombs.

"September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is a group of family members, now numbering over 40, who have joined together to plead with the world to stop the violence being done in their names and in the names of their loved ones who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They took their name from Martin Luther King Jr.'s assertion that 'The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.'

"Kelly Campbell's presentation, 'The Power of Non-violence: Exploring Alternatives' was the second in a planned series of programs produced by the North Coast Peace Coalition and the Clatsop Community College Arts & Ideas Program to bring an awareness of the logic and utility of a non-violent approach to conflict resolution to the residents of the North Coast." [ Full story... ]

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER 25.06.2002 23:32
Vice pResident Cheney protested, welcomed, in Portland
Vice pResident Dick Cheney's visit to Portland this weekend and was greeted by protesters and hailed by billionaires, on Sunday and Monday, downtown. Monday morning's event was a fundraising breakfast for Senator Gordon Smith that raised over $500,000.

A participant in Sunday's action described his experience: "My teenage son and I had us some fun Sunday afternoon. We protested Invisible Dick.... Not knowing in advance where Uncle Dick would be, the Coalition and other outsiders like us (more than you might think, by the way) showed up at the North Park Blocks around 3:00 p.m. It was a beautiful, warm afternoon. Lucas (my son) had made up his sign: A picture of a sneering Cheney with the caption, 'Where Is The Invisible Dick?' on one side; the other, a picture (PhotoShopped) of W burning the Constitution with Cheney sneering in the background looking on." [ Read more... ]

Some people were quite thrilled that Cheney was in town, most prominently the Billionaires For Bush, who shared instruction with the arriving guests. "Sir Reginald Beefnostril and Cordelia Hasteharvest, rapidly registering that the assembled right wing supporters might have aspirations beyond their fiscal station, admonished them roundly. 'Those holding the $250 tickets to the fundraiser must use the service entrance!' he cried. Cordelia waved her white glove, laden with a 5 carat diamond, and asserted, 'All $250. ticket holders will be asked to don a rubber apron at the conclusion of the breakfast, and will step into the hotel kitchen to assist with the dishwashing. Those who have paid $10,000 or more will proceed to a private salon for photographs with the Vice President. REMEMBER, you only get the access to government that you've paid for!'" [ Read more... ]

A participant pronounced Monday's demonstration as "pathetic", saying " If we would have stuck to the plan , instead of blindly following a few wanna be leaders, we could have done more than just become the laughing stock of the rich republican scum.... And as for all those who are upset because some folks burned your precious american flag, and the media did not applaude you..... i will have you know the media will never EVER have anything to do with changing this corrupt system . They are not on our side." [ Read more... ]

Plans for the protests came together in part on the indymedia newswire, where in-depth discussions of tactics and details took place: [ "Plans for Cheney visit!" ]

Corporate media accounts: [ Associated Press | KATU | Oregonian | Portland Tribune (with notes) ]

WAR CRIMES 21.06.2002 10:11
Mass grave discovered in Afghanistan - U.S. involvement alleged
Human rights groups are urging that mass gravesites in northern Afghanistan be immediately secured and investigated for evidence of possible war crimes involving United States military personnel. An Irish documentary maker has secretly filmed mass graves near the northern city of Mazar-e-sharif and interviewed witnesses who claim that container loads of prisoners were dumped in the desert. It's alleged that most suffocated in the sealed containers, but those left alive were shot on the spot. Key aspects of his claims are backed up by a detailed report from the group Physicians for Human Rights.

There are estimates of 1000-3000 prisoners unaccounted for and one eyewitness is claiming there were U.S. soldiers present and involved in the tortuous killing of masses of prisoners. [ Read More... ]

INDEPENDENT MEDIA 21.06.2002 08:14
The Greg Palast Experience
Greg Palast, award-winning investigative journalist, spoke Tuesday night in Portland at the First Unitarian Church to about 400 people. The talk was sponsored by KBOO, the PSU Rearguard, the Portland Alliance and Portland Peaceful Response Coalition.

Palast is an American reporter "in exile." He writes for the Guardian and has a regular program on BBC television, two highly respected UK media outlets. But the US media won't touch his stories. Why? Because he ruthlessly exposes corporate and government lies, backing up his reporting with solid documentation.

Palast broke the story of the systematic disenfranchisement of African-American voters in Florida that resulted in Bush's "winning" the state, and therefore the presidency. He tells this story in his new book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and in a series of articles available on his website.

In a brief interview with Palast, he talked about the role of the media during the recent attempted coup in Venezuela. While the US media uniformly parroted State Department propaganda that (legally elected) President Hugo Chavez had resigned, Palast, who traveled to Venezuela to get the real story, reported a US-backed military coup. [ Read more ]

FOREST ACTIVISM 20.06.2002 13:02
Wild Rockies Earth First halts logging truck with banner hang
From the open publishing newswire: Two activists with Wild Rockies Earth First!(WREF!) repelled from the Van Buren St. bridge on ropes anchored to a log truck. The truck was hauling trees cut as part of the Bitterroot salvage scam. Between the two activists a banner declared "Global Capitalism Kills Our Forest" to bring home awareness of the cost of globalization to our local community. About an hour later police removed the two activists. The two are charged with felony criminal endangerment. Four other activists were arrested for stopping the log truck and charged with disorderly conduct and pedestrians in a roadway.

Deforestation worldwide is a result of corporate globalization. The Bitterroot Restoration for-profit deal is yet another sale of our natural resources for corporate gain. The global assault on our environment destroys habitat, ripiarian areas, water quality and soil quality. No place is that more obvious than in the Bitterroot Forest.

[ Wild Rockies EF! stops bitterroot logging truck, goes over bridge with banner | Wild Rockies Earth First halts logging truck with banner hang | activists released with conditions ]

LABOR 19.06.2002 22:57
Global day of action against Footlocker
Thursday, 13 June, was a global day of action against shoe retailer Footlocker and Taiwan-based Tainan, an apparel manufacturer. In April, Tainan began closing a factory in El Salvador, claiming a lack of orders. Workers at the factory, who are organized under the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria Textiles (STIT - the Industrial Union of Textile Workers), however, have evidence that the site was receiving work and sending it to other factories. Under pressure from activists with the Campaign for Labor Rights (CLR) and the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (U.S. LEAP), some U.S. retailers, including the Gap, have helped put the pressure on Tainan to clean up their act. Footlocker is one corporation that has so far refused to act, which is why they were the target of Thursday's global day of action. [ More background ]

Demonstrations and educational efforts took place in El Salvador, at Tainan's headquarters in Taiwan, and in 20 cities across the United States, including Portland: "There were six of us in the mall [Thursday], and we were able to leaflet a lot of people for about a half an hour - standing right in the mall entrance to the Foot Locker - before the security called the police. (And we stayed a bit longer even then, which thoroughly agitated them.) We had a couple big signs and talked to a lot of people. Footlocker heard our message. (Maybe Ann Taylor too -- coincidentally right across the mall aisle from Footlocker.) I'm sure [CLR will] keep us informed of what happens - people were really excited to know that it was happening in so many different places at the same time."

Other actions took place in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, Madison, St. Paul, Tucson, Ashland, Eugene, Spokane, and Olympia.

[ Full story | previous story: "Local Action in Solidarity with Workers in El Salvador (eugene)" ]

WINK WINK, NUDGE NUDGE 19.06.2002 15:14
'Billionaires for Bush' crash Greg Palast event
Greg Palast, investigative journalist and author of "The Best Democracy That Money Can Buy" -- which exposes the fraud of the 2000 U.S. presidential election -- spoke in Portland last night. Unfortunately the lecture was marred by the rowdy presence of the so-called "Billionaires For Bush", a group of super-rich citizens who show up at various activist events and rain on the parade with ostentatious displays of their wealth and power. The Billionaires claim that their corporate citizen members are the true rulers of the United States and that meaningful democracy does not exist. Items on their "Ten Point Agenda" include more tax cuts for the wealthy, abolishing the labor movement and all social spending, and privatizing "everything".

According to a newswire post: "The Billionairs [sic] for Bush elbowed their way through a crowd of deluded leftists on Tuesday evening to educate the assembled rabble on the new war economy. They informed everyone to bone up on flag etiquette, and reminded them to 'fly your flag and shut your mouth.' The group proclaimed, 'up with plutocracy, down with democracy' to startled attendees. Their banner, proudly displayed, read 'OUR profits trump YOUR freedom.' Inside the event, the Billionaires offended onlookers by hosting a small, exclusive cocktail party at the front of the house, and toasting themselves, with many iterations of 'to US!' They were also heard chanting, 'Justice for JUST US!' and 'Wealth care, not welfare.'"

The Billionaires also crashed the January 5th protest against pResident Bush in Portland this year: [ Article & Photo | VIDEO ]. No one knows when or where they will strike next, or what other dastardly deeds they will commit. Citizens are urged to watch out for fur coats, expensive suits, and tiaras, and report any further sightings to the portland indymedia newswire immediately .

Portland police to be armed with potentially lethal electro-shock devices
Portland Copwatch reports: On Monday, June 17, Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker announced that the Portland Police Bureau is now equipped with tasers, small electro-shock devices which are supposed "less lethal" alternatives to guns or pepper spray. Kroeker seems to have made the decision without seeking community input. It appears Kroeker did not even consult with the highly-touted new civilian police review system, the Independent Police Review Division (IPR). Tasers are at best an unknown danger and at worst, two-time killers, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

A 1998 report on Police Brutality and Prison Abuse in the USA ("United States of America: Rights for All") describes the taser and its cousin the stun gun as devices which "jolt" a suspect with 50,000 volts of electricity. The book reports "In July, 1996, a 29-year-old woman, Kimberly Lashon Watkins, died after being shot by police with a taser in Pomona, California. Just five months later, Andrew Hunt, Jr died when Pomona police reportedly shot him several times with a taser after he had been handcuffed."

Members of local police accountability group Portland Copwatch question whether the taser has been fully and independently tested for safety on people with specific ailments (such as heart conditions or epilepsy). The group also worries that once the new devices are readily available, police may misuse them, as they have with other weapons like pepper spray and "beanbag" guns--each of which have been used against unarmed civilians including peaceful demonstrators.

"We are very concerned that the Chief is adding to the police arsenal with no community input," said Kristian Williams of Copwatch. "He seems to have forgotten his promise to leave L.A.-style policing in L.A." [Full story ]

The M26 Advanced Taser is the weapon the Portland Police will be using. Taser.com has the full specs of the weapon, with video presentations and the Owner's manual, with warnings. Find out more about what they'll be pointing at you.

[ Amnesty International: "Rights for All" report | Taser.com | Portland Copwatch ]

CYCLES OF LIFE 17.06.2002 23:26
'The Movement Loses a Visionary Leader'
In a tribute posted to the open publishing newswire, Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator of the Nicaragua Network, writes: "Trim Bissell, founder and National Co-Coordinator of the Campaign for Labor Rights, succumbed after a 20-month battle with a brain tumor and left the ranks of those who struggle for justice and peace..."

"Trim taught college level creative writing for three years and was becoming a nationally noted poet when, in 1968, his outrage at the US slaughter of Vietnamese peasants caused him to give up his academic life and move with his first wife to Seattle, WA to, as he described it, 'join the armed resistance to the Vietnam War.' ...He and his wife joined the Weathermen, a more radical off-shoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)... His activities in the Weathermen resulted in his arrest on federal charges of attempting to set off a bomb late at night at the University of Washington ROTC building (Reserve Officer Training Corp). With the willing agreement of his parents, who had put up their house as bail, Trim went underground where he remained a fugitive for 17 years. For a time he was on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list."

"He took a new name, Terrance Jackson, went back to college where he earned a B.S. in Biology and a Masters in Physical Therapy and rooted himself deeply in the Eugene, OR community working as a physical therapist and, beginning in 1980, as a painter and sculptor... In 1987 the FBI finally caught up with him... There was widespread support from friends, former patients, the local newspaper, and even the FBI agent who arrested him, for the argument that his 17 years as a productive citizen paid his 'debt to society' and he should not be sentenced to jail. But, a jury in Seattle sentenced him to two years in a minimum security prison."

"In late 1995 we created the Campaign for Labor Rights (CLR) with Trim as its unpaid coordinator. ...CLR grew quickly due to Trim's indefatigable energy and incisive analysis and soon became know as the 'grassroots organizing department of the anti-sweatshop movement.'" [ Read more... ]

PALESTINIAN RIGHTS 17.06.2002 17:55
International Solidarity Activist Speaks in Portland

John Reese, an International Solidarity Movement activist who recently returned from Palestine, spoke in Portland Saturday night at the Forum on Palestine. This was the fifth Forum presented by the Palestine Action Group.

John showed slides from the month he spent in Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah and the Gaza Strip. Some of the photos depicted extensive damage in Jenin. "You don't realize how bad it is until you actually see it," he said. He also showed photos of tanks and bulldozers ripping up water systems and tearing up crops, targeting the Palestinian infrastructure. He spoke of how Israel is destroying "not only the people, but the paperwork that shows there were ever people there."

John is returning to Palestine soon, where he will participate in the ISM Freedom Summer Campaign. He plans to remain in Palestine for at least a year, working for Palestinian water rights (he is an engineer). John has been a Seattle IndyMedia activist since its inception, and will continue reporting for IMC while in Palestine. He is seeking help to fund his trip.

The next Palestine Action Group Forum will be held in July and will feature speakers Emma Franks and Marlene Eid.

Citizens in Eugene protest loss of civil liberties
From the open publishing newswire: Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as having said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". In the United States today, the population seems to be making the dreadful choice of "safety" at the expense of liberty. In the past few weeks, a number of alarming events have occurred with virtually no outcry: draconian expansion of FBI powers ? la COINTELPRO and increased funding to boot; an unprecedented centralization of the U.S. military in North America under one command (an action avoided during World War II to guarantee civilian control over the military); a proposal to create a Department of Homeland Defense and centralize federal snooping efforts; government hearings that could presage forced vaccinations of the public; and, the detaining of a U.S. citizen by the military despite a paucity of evidence indicating any meaningful criminal activity. In Portland, the news broke that the Joint Terrorism Task Force is apparently much larger than previously admitted by the Katz administration. Any of these events alone would be cause for loud protest; together they necessitate rEvolution.

Five of us stood out in front of the Federal Building in downtown Eugene on Friday, 14 June, to express our outrage at these developments and the continuing "war on terror". Positive reception outweighed negative by a 3-1 or so ratio. Those who responded at all were in the minority, though -- perhaps 10% of those who passed. Many more people assiduously turned their heads, fiddled with their radios or checked their make-up. They didn't want to know what our message was one way or another. I started to feel very angry. What debilitating disease has befallen the residents of the United States, that so few are rising up and speaking out against the pall of fascism that is swiftly covering us? [ Read more... ]

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