Progressive Calendar 01.10.13 /b
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:46:29 -0800 (PST)
*P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   1.10.13*

1. LRT impact             1.10 6/8pm
2. Jim Fetzer 9/11       1.10 6:30pm
3. Midstream Reading 1.10 7:30pm

4. Protest Gitmo         1.11 1pm
5. Palestine vigil         1.11 4:15pm
6. Vs torture film         1.11 6pm

7. Karen Greenberg - How 'Zero Dark Thirty' reminds Americans how much they
love torture
8. Chris Hedges      - State of fear

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LRT impact 1.10 6/8pm

Two public hearings will be held Jan. 10, 2013, to take testimony
on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) reviewing construction-related potential impacts on
business revenues along the Central Corridor LRT.

The meetings are scheduled for 8 a.m. at Model Cities, 849 University
Ave. W., in St. Paul and at 6 p.m. at Goodwill/Easter Seals, 553
Fairview Ave. N., in St. Paul. Met Council members, Central Corridor
LRT Project office staff and Federal Transit Administration staff will
attend. Individuals’ comments will be recorded so their testimony can
become part of the record.

The Supplemental Draft EIS will be available for 45 days for public
review and comment. The Metropolitan Council and the Federal Transit
Administration will respond to all comments as part of the
Supplemental Final EIS, which will be published in the spring.

People with special needs should contact community outreach
coordinator Shoua Lee for reasonable accommodations at the hearings.
Her contact information is shoua.lee [at] or 651-602-1014.

The Supplemental Draft EIS addresses the potential loss of business
revenue as an adverse impact of LRT construction, including mitigation
activities. The supplemental environmental review was conducted in
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
requirements for environmental review and pursuant to the U.S.
District Court’s Jan. 23, 2012 ruling on the NAACP’s lawsuit against
the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Supplemental Draft EIS is posted on the Central Corridor LRT
Project website. The direct link to the Supplemental Draft EIS page

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From:Lydia Howell
Jim Fetzer 9/11  1.10 6:30pm

With hosts Chuck Gregory in Fort Lauderdale
& Mike Palecek in Duluth
Thursday, January 10th — 6:30 p.m. Central Time

This Week on NAD:
JIM FETZER, former Marine Corps officer, has published widely on the
theoretical foundations of scientific knowledge, computer science,
artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and evolution and mentality.
McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he has
also conducted extensive research into the assassination of JFK, the events
of 9/11, and the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone.
The founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, his latest books include The
Evolution of Intelligence (2005), The 9/11 Conspiracy (2007), Render Unto
Darwin (2007), and The Place of Probability in Science (2010).

THURSDAY, January 10th — 6:30 p.m. Central Time
Go here to listen:

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Midstream Reading 1.10 7:30pm

Midstream Reading Series
When: Thursday January 10, 7:30–8:30pm.
Where: Blue Moon building,  corner of 39th and (3820) East Lake.  Upstairs.
 Entrance just west of the Blue Moon coffee house; up the stairs and to the
left. Not wheel-chair accessible. Plentiful street parking.
  Best to arrive 10-20 minutes early to get coffee and food/dessert from
the Blue Moon, and to be seated by 7:30 so we can begin on time. And, the
venue will easily hold about 30; after that, standing or floor-sitting room
only. The early bird gets the seat.

Original poems and stories read/performed by their creators:
Janet Jerve
Scott King
John Krumberger
Kathy Weihe

Janet Jerve has taught poetry in Minnesota public schools. She has also
worked as a writer for nonprofits. Stories she wrote for a collaborative
project funded by Pew Charitable Trusts helped raise awareness of the need
for foster care reform and captured the attention of Congress. In 2008, the
House and the Senate worked together to pass the largest piece of child
welfare legislation in the past 25 years, improving the lives of thousands
of children and families.
  Janet’s poems have appeared in a number of journals including Poetry
East, Water~Stone Review, Lake Effect, Great River Review, and Emprise
Review. Her poetry was also included in A Ghost at Heart’s Edge, an
anthology of stories and poems on adoption published by North Atlantic
Books and Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude published
by Holy Cow! Press. She has completed a book of poems entitled Excavation
that she has recently sent out to publishers in search of a home.

Scott King, who lives in Northfield, is author of two books of poems,
Leftover Ordinary and All Graced in Green, and has published two of a
projected five volumes of field notes entitled Rice County Odonata Journal.
In addition he has translated several books by the Greek poet Yannis
Ritsos. King is also the editor and publisher of Red Dragonfly Press.

John Krumberger received an MFA from New England College in 2006. He lives
with his wife Cris Higgin, in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he works as a
psychologist. A volume of his poetry entitled THE LANGUAGE OF RAIN AND WIND
was published by Backwaters Press in 2008.

Kathleen Weihe lives with her husband and two rescue birds in Minneapolis.
She teaches composition at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and has taught
classes at The Loft. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals,
including Water-Stone Review, MARGIE, Spoon River Poetry Review, and
Emprize Review. She is the recipient of an artist’s assistance fellowship
from the Minnesota State Arts Board, A Loft-McKnight Award for poetry, and
has participated in the Loft’s Mentor Program. Kathleen received an M.F.A.
from Hamline University. Unless You Count Birds is her first book of

Before and after: The Blue Moon, downstairs, has coffee, sandwiches,
desserts. Merlin’s Rest, a bar/restaurant 3 blocks west, has a full bar,
good food, a late hours kitchen, some outside seating

For further information: David Shove shove001 [at]     651-636-5672

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Protest Gitmo  1.11 1pm

Protest and Walk on Guantanamo’s 11th Anniversary
Friday, January 11, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Hennepin County Government Center,
300 6th Street South, Minneapolis. (Meet at the doors leading to the Plaza
facing the light rail on 5th Avenue across from the Minneapolis City Hall.)
Join others as they protest Guantanamo’s 11th anniversary with a silent
slow walk through the skyway system. Orange jumpsuits and black hoods are
available to borrow or to purchase if you wish to wear them. T3 will also
have new postcards created for this occasion, addressed ready to be signed
and sent to our elected officials requesting the closing of Guantanamo.
Please join us, and let our government know that we will not rest until
Guantanamo is closed and the innocent released from their indefinite
detention without charge or trial. Organized by: the WAMM Tackling Torture
at the Top (T3) Committee. FFI: Call WAMM at 612-827-5364.

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 1.11 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

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Vs torture film 1.11 6pm

Pre-Film Discussion Outside the Torture Propaganda Film at Southdale Mall
Friday, January 11, 6:00 p.m. AMC Theater at Southdale Mall, 400 Southdale
Center, Edina. (Meet outside the mall near the 69th Street entrance closest
to the theaters showing the film at 6:00 p.m.) The film Zero Dark Thirty
depicts the world simplistically through the CIA's eyes and falsely depicts
torture as necessary to find Osama Bin Laden. We as a people are further
brutalized and degraded by the celebration and justification of torture in
this film. Torture produced no useful intelligence in the pursuit of Bin
Laden. Even the government has admitted this. Yet this film claims the
TORTURE NOW! Postcards will be signed and sent to political leaders as well
as to the film producers and to the Academy Awards. Organized by: the WAMM
Tackling Torture at the Top (T3) Committee. FFI: Call WAMM at 612-827-5364.

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Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 by
How 'Zero Dark Thirty' Reminds Americans How Much They Love Torture
Seven Easy, Onscreen Steps to Making US Torture and Detention Policies Once
Again Palatable
by Karen Greenberg

The film's director Kathyrn Bigelow. (Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)On January
11th, 11 years to the day after the Bush administration opened its
notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn
Bigelow’s deeply flawed movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, opens
nationwide. The filmmakers and distributors are evidently ignorant of the
significance of the date -- a perfect indication of the carelessness and
thoughtlessness of the film, which will unfortunately substitute for actual
history in the minds of many Americans.

The sad fact is that Zero Dark Thirty could have been written by the tight
circle of national security advisors who counseled President George W. Bush
to create the post-9/11 policies that led to Guantanamo, the global network
of borrowed “black sites” that added up to an offshore universe of
injustice, and the grim torture practices -- euphemistically known as
“enhanced interrogation techniques” -- that went with them.  It’s also a
film that those in the Obama administration who have championed
non-accountability for such shameful policies could and (evidently did) get
behind. It might as well be called Back to the Future, Part IV, for the
film, like the country it speaks to, seems stuck forever in that time warp
moment of revenge and hubris that swept the country just after 9/11.

As its core, Bigelow’s film makes the bald-faced assertion that torture did
help the United States track down the perpetrator of 9/11. Zero Dark Thirty
-- for anyone who doesn’t know by now -- is the story of Maya (Jessica
Chastain), a young CIA agent who believes that information from a detainee
named Ammar will lead to bin Laden. After weeks, maybe months of torture,
he does indeed provide a key bit of information that leads to another piece
of information that leads… well, you get the idea. Eventually, the name of
bin Laden’s courier is revealed. From the first mention of his name, Maya
dedicates herself to finding him, and he finally leads the CIA to the
compound where bin Laden is hiding.  Of course, you know how it all ends.

However compelling the heroine’s determination to find bin Laden may be,
the fact is that Bigelow has bought in, hook, line, and sinker, to the
ethos of the Bush administration and its apologists. It’s as if she had
followed an old government memo and decided to offer in fictional form
step-by-step instructions for the creation, implementation, and selling of
Bush-era torture and detention policies.

It’s as if [film director Kathryn Bigelow] had followed an old government
memo and decided to offer in fictional form step-by-step instructions for
the creation, implementation, and selling of Bush-era torture and detention

Here, then, are the seven steps that bring back the Bush administration and
should help Americans learn how to love torture, Bigelow-style.

First, Rouse Fear. From its opening scene, Zero Dark Thirty equates our
post-9/11 fears with the need for torture. The movie begins in darkness
with the actual heartbreaking cries and screams for help of people trapped
inside the towers of the World Trade Center: “I’m going to die, aren’t
I?... It’s so hot. I’m burning up...” a female voice cries out. As those
voices fade, the black screen yields to a full view of Ammar being roughed
up by men in black ski masks and then strung up, arms wide apart.

The sounds of torture replace the desperate pleas of the victims. “Is he
ever getting out?” Maya asks. “Never,” her close CIA associate Dan (Jason
Clarke) answers.  These are meant to be words of reassurance in response to
the horrors of 9/11. Bigelow’s first step, then, is to echo former
Vice-President Dick Cheney’s mantra from that now-distant moment in which
he claimed the nation needed to go to “the dark side.”  That was part of
his impassioned demand that, given the immense threat posed by al-Qaeda,
going beyond the law was the only way to seek retribution and security.

Bigelow also follows Cheney’s lead into a world of fear.  The Bush
administration understood that, for their global dreams, including a future
invasion of Iraq, to become reality, fear was their best ally. From Terre
Haute to El Paso, Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, Americans were to
be regularly reminded that they were deeply and eternally endangered by

Bigelow similarly keeps the fear monitor bleeping whenever she can.
Interspersed with the narrative of the bin Laden chase, she provides often
blood-filled footage from terrorist attacks around the globe in the decade
after 9/11: the 2004 bombings of oil installations in Khobar, Saudi Arabia,
that killed 22; the 2005 suicide bombings in London that killed 56; the
2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad that killed 54 people; and the
thwarted Times Square bombing of May, 2010. We are in constant jeopardy,
she wants us to remember, and uses Maya to remind us of this throughout.

Second, Undermine the Law. Torture is illegal under both American and
international law.  It was only pronounced “legal” in a series of secret
memorandums produced by the Bush Justice Department and approved at the
highest levels of the administration. (Top officials, including Cheney and
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, evidently even had torture
techniques demonstrated for them in the White House before green-lighting
them.)  Maintaining that there was no way Americans could be kept safe via
purely legal methods, they asked for and were given secret legal authority
to make torture the go-to option in their Global War on Terror. Yet Bigelow
never even nods toward this striking rethinking of the law. She assumes the
legality of the acts she portrays up close and personal, only hedging her
bets toward the movie’s end when she indicates in passing that the legal
system was a potential impediment to getting bin Laden. “Who the hell am I
supposed to ask [for confirmation about the courier], some guy at Gitmo
who’s all lawyered up?” asks Obama’s national security advisor in the
filmic run-up to the raid.

Just as new policies were put in place to legalize torture, so the
detention of terror suspects without charges or trials (including people
who, we now know, were treated horrifically despite being innocent of
anything) became a foundational act of the administration. Specifically,
government lawyers were employed to create particularly tortured (if you’ll
excuse the word) legal documents exempting detainees from the Geneva
Conventions, thus enabling their interrogation under conditions that
blatantly violated domestic and international laws.

Zero Dark Thirty accepts without hesitation or question the importance of
this unconstitutional detention policy as crucial to the torture program.
>From the very first days of the war on terror, the U.S. government rounded
up individuals globally and began to question them brutally. Whether they
actually had information to reveal, whether the government had any concrete
evidence against them, they held hundreds -- in the end, thousands -- of
detainees in U.S. custody at secret CIA black sites worldwide, in the
prisons of allied states known for their own torture policies, at Bagram
Detention Center in Afghanistan, and of course at Guantanamo, which was the
crown jewel of the Bush administration’s offshore detention system.

Dan and Maya themselves not only travel to secret black sites to obtain
valuable information from detainees, but to the cages and interrogation
booths at Bagram where men in those now-familiar orange jumpsuits are shown
awaiting a nightmare experience.  Bigelow's film repeatedly suggests that
it was crucially important for national security to keep a pool of
potential information sources -- those detainees -- available just in case
they might one day turn out to have information.

Third, Indulge in the Horror: Torture is displayed onscreen in what can
only be called pornographic detail for nearly the film’s first hour. In
this way, Zero Dark Thirty eerily mimics the obsessive, essentially
fetishistic approach of Bush’s top officials to the subject.  Cheney,
former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney's former Chief of Staff
David Addington, and John Yoo from the Office of Legal Counsel, among
others, plunged into the minutiae of “enhanced interrogation” tactics,
micro-managing just what levels of abuse should and should not apply, would
and would not constitute torture after 9/11.

In black site after black site, on victim after victim, the movie shows
acts of torture in exquisite detail, Bigelow’s camera seeming to relish its
gruesomeness: waterboarding, stress positions, beatings, sleep deprivation
resulting in memory loss and severe disorientation, sexual humiliation,
containment in a small box, and more. Whenever she gets the chance, Bigelow
seems to take the opportunity to suggest that this mangling of human flesh
and immersion in brutality on the part of Americans is at least
understandable and probably worthwhile.  The film’s almost subliminal
message on the subject of torture should remind us of the way in which a
form of sadism-as-patriotic-duty filtered down to the troops on the ground,
as evidenced by the now infamous 2004 photos from Abu Ghraib of smiling
American soldiers offering thumbs-up responses to their ability to
humiliate and hurt captives in dog collars.

Fourth, Dehumanize the Victims. Like the national security establishment
that promoted torture policies, Bigelow dehumanizes her victims. Despite
repeated beatings, humiliations, and aggressive torture techniques of
various sorts, Ammar never becomes even a faintly sympathetic character to
anyone in the film. As a result, there is never anyone for the audience to
identify with who becomes emotionally distraught over the abuses.
Dehumanization was a necessary tool in promoting torture; now, it is a
necessary tool in promoting Zero Dark Thirty, which desensitizes its
audience in ways that should be frightening to us and make us wonder who
exactly we have become in the years since 9/11.

Fifth, Never Doubt That Torture Works.  Given all this, it’s a small step
to touting the effectiveness of torture in eliciting the truth. “In the
end, everybody breaks, bro’: it’s biology,” Dan says to his victim.  He
also repeats over and over, “If you lie to me, I hurt you” -- meaning, “If
I hurt you, you won’t lie to me.” Maya concurs, telling Ammar, bruised,
bloodied, and begging for her help, that he can stop his pain by telling
the truth.

How many times does the American public need to be told that torture did
not yield the results the government promised? How many times does it need
to be said that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of
9/11, 183 times obviously didn’t work? How many times does it need to be
pointed out that torture can -- and did -- produce misleading or false
information, notably in the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the Libyan
who ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and who confessed under
torture that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Sixth, Hold No One Accountable. The Obama administration made the
determination that holding Bush administration figures, CIA officials, or
the actual torturers responsible for what they did in a court of law was
far more trouble than it might ever be worth. Instead, the president chose
to move on and officially never look back. Bigelow takes advantage of this
passivity to suggest to her audience that the only downside of torture is
the fear of accountability. As he prepares to leave Pakistan, Dan tells
Maya, “You gotta be real careful with the detainees now. Politics are
changing and you don’t want to be the last one holding the dog collar when
the oversight committee comes…”

The sad truth is that Zero Dark Thirty could not have been produced in its
present form if any of the officials who created and implemented U.S.
torture policy had been held accountable for what happened, or any genuine
sunshine had been thrown upon it. With scant public debate and no public
record of accountability, Bigelow feels free to leave out even a scintilla
of criticism of that torture program. Her film is thus one more example of
the fact that without accountability, the pernicious narrative continues,
possibly gaining traction as it does.

Seventh, Employ the Media. While the Bush administration had the Fox
television series 24 as a weekly reminder that torture keeps us safe, the
current administration, bent on its no-accountability policy, has Bigelow’s
film on its side. It’s the perfect piece of propaganda, with all the appeal
that naked brutality, fear, and revenge can bring.

Hollywood and most of its critics have embraced the film. It has already
been named among the best films of the year, and is considered a shoe-in
for Oscar nominations. Hollywood, that one-time bastion of liberalism, has
provided the final piece in the perfect blueprint for the whitewashing of
torture policy.  If that isn’t a happily-ever-after ending, what is?
© 2012 Karen Greenberg
Karen Greenberg

Karen Greenberg is the Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security
at the New York University School of Law. Her latest book, The Least Worst
Place, Guantanamo's First 100 Days (Oxford University Press), has just been
published. She is also the co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu
Ghraib, among other works.

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Published on Monday, January 7, 2013 by
State of Fear
by Chris Hedges

Shannon McLeish of Florida is a 45-year-old married mother of two young
children. She is a homeowner, a taxpayer and a safe driver. She votes in
every election. She attends a Unitarian Universalist church on Sundays. She
is also, like nearly all who have a relationship with the Occupy movement
in the United States, being monitored by the federal government. She knows
this because when she read FBI documents obtained by the Partnership for
Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) through the Freedom of Information Act, she was
startled to see a redaction that could only be referring to her. McLeish’s
story is the story of hundreds of thousands of people—perhaps more—whose
lives are being invaded by the state. It is the story of a security and
surveillance apparatus—overseen by the executive branch under Barack
Obama—that has empowered the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to
silence the voices and obstruct the activity of citizens who question
corporate power.(Illustration by Mr. Fish)

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, said in a written
statement about the released files: “This production [of information],
which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the
nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on
peaceful protesters organizing with the Occupy movement. These documents
show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating
protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as
potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these
federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street
and Corporate America.”

The FBI documents are not only a chilling example of how widespread this
surveillance and obstruction has become, they are an explicit warning by
the security services to all who consider dissent. Anyone who defies
corporate power, even if he or she is nonviolent and acting within
constitutional rights, is a suspect. These documents are part of the plan
to make us fearful, compliant and disempowered. They mark, I suspect, a
government attempt to end peaceful mass protests by responding with
repression to the grievances of Americans. When the corporate-financed
group FreedomWorks bused in goons to disrupt Democratic candidates’ town
hall meetings about the federal health care legislation in August 2009,
Eric Zuesse of the Business Insider notes, “there was no FBI surveillance
of those corporate-organized disruptions of legitimate democratic
processes. There also were no subsequent FreedomWorks applications for
Freedom of Information Act releases of FBI files regarding such
surveillance being used against them—because there was no such FBI campaign
against them.”

The combination of intimidation tactics by right-wing fringe groups, which
speak in the language of violence and hate, with the state’s massive
intrusion into the personal affairs of the citizen is corporate fascism.
And we are much farther down that road than many of us care to admit.

“When activists took up relatively long-term residence in Zuccotti Park in
New York City on Sept. 17 [in 2011], their message of outrage was a mirror
to my own after we bailed out the banks with our tax dollars, then watched
them get off scot-free without even a token attempt to help fix the
wreckage they’d created,” McLeish told me over the phone when I called her
home. “I personally lost considerable income and my retirement with the
economic collapse, as well as more than half the value of my home. I could
see the people around me struggling, too. I have friends, neighbors and
family members that the banks refused to help, who lost their homes or were
forced to pay for costly attorneys to defend themselves against fraudulent
foreclosure attempts. People couldn’t sell their homes, as they were worth
so much less than what they’d paid for them. Homes all over the area,
including in my neighborhood right near the downtown [of Ormond Beach,
Fla.], were abandoned due to the foreclosure crisis—and left to rot by the
banks. Strip malls were emptied as businesses went bankrupt and closed
their doors. More and more homeless people were wandering through the
neighborhood—people you could tell had never been homeless, just by virtue
of what and how much they carried with them. Families were sleeping behind
big-box stores, and my area was featured on national news repeatedly for
the number of homeless families."

"These are some of the things that prompted me to create a Facebook page
for Occupy in my area in solidarity with the courageous activists camping
in Zuccotti—the only group to fully give voice to what I saw as the issue:
the corruption of pretty much everything from the economy to the
environment to our social safety nets to our democratic system of
governance due to corporate greed,” she said. “The message of OWS [Occupy
Wall Street] resonated deeply and moved me to action.”

The FBI documents obtained by the PCJF show that government security
services began to monitor the activities of Occupy activists before the
Zuccotti Park encampment was established. They revealed that when McLeish
met with about 40 other activists in Daytona Beach, Fla., several
undercover law enforcement officers were present.

“None of them identified themselves as law enforcement to meeting
attendees, though a Homeland Security agent approached me afterward,
probably because I facilitated the meeting,” McLeish said. “When the agent
approached me after the meeting, it was pretty unnerving. I decided the
best way to deal with it was head on. I responded with, ‘I’m so glad you’re
here! There’s a group making threats against us. I assume that’s why you’ve
come.’ I think he was surprised. I don’t think he acknowledged knowing
about the threats from an online gun group. He said he wanted to make sure
we weren’t infiltrated by troublemakers. He asked if we’d meet with law
enforcement to find out what we were allowed to do. I said I’d be happy to
do so. He said he would check into the threats. He said he would put me in
touch with someone from the Daytona Beach Police Department.”

“I can’t remember exactly when we met with Daytona Beach Police Department
the first time,” she said. “It could have been the next day or the day
after. There were about six or seven of us, and I think it was three
officers: Deputy Chief Ben Walton, who is now retired, and two other
high-ranking officers. If I remember correctly, I pretty much began the
discussion by stating that we were aware of our right to protest. We would
be glad to coordinate as much as possible to make the Police Department’s
job easier, but not to the point of infringing upon our rights.”

“We agreed upon very low police presence—one to a few officers—on the basis
of the threats made by the online gun group, but not for surveillance on
citizens engaged in peaceful protest,” she said.

The daylong event she and the other activists held on Oct. 15, 2011, was
attended by more than 300 people. The past president of the local NAACP
chapter spoke, as did a leader in the teachers union who was also a member
of the school board, a couple of members of the postal union, the leader of
a homeless coalition who was homeless himself, and a member of the Daytona
State College Environmental Club. A female uniformed officer was present.
McLeish noticed a man with a professional camera taking photographs of
individual protesters in the crowd. She saw him later the same day amid
several police officers. One officer confirmed that the photographer was
with law enforcement but would not give more information, McLeish said.

Daytona-area activists during the fall of 2011 continued to organize
events, including sidewalk marches to banks. In most cases they notified
the police in advance. At one big event, men in plain clothes and standing
with folded arms surrounded a seated group as it held a teach-in.

“It was extremely intimidating, not to mention the effect on people walking
by who might have joined us if it weren’t for these heavy-handed tactics,”
McLeish said.

The local activists set up an Occupy encampment every weekend in December

“There were no incidents of any kind,” McLeish said of the camp in Daytona.
“No one spoke aggressively to an officer at any time. No one drank or used
drugs. We had clearly posted rules to that effect at the camp. There was no
violence whatsoever, verbal or physical—as was the case with any event we
organized, and we had quite a lot of them. Further, we clearly expressed
that while we would act in accordance with our rights, we would not violate
any laws.”

“Given the lengths we went to, you can imagine my dismay as I saw Daytona
repeatedly mentioned in national news as one of the main areas under
surveillance by the FBI, Homeland Security, as well as some unknown
‘private partner’ agency,” she said. “We were being investigated, according
to the released FBI documents, as if we were a ‘terrorist’ group engaged in
‘criminal activity.’ I checked the released pages to see what could only be
references to me—my name, age, and phone number. Though redacted, they
indicate that any search of people connected with domestic terrorist groups
is likely to turn up my name.”

Since the spring of 2012 McLeish has co-hosted a morning radio show called
“Air Occupy” (also streamed online) with Liz Myers and Jerry Bolkcom. They
have interviewed, among others, Alexa O’Brien, the organizer of US Day of
Rage, and Carl Mayer, the lead attorney in the case Hedges v. Obama, a
challenge to the indefinite detention clause of the National Defense
Authorization Act. Immediately after “Air Occupy” posted on YouTube the
interview about the lawsuit against the NDAA, YouTube permanently banned
the radio show on the ground of “violating community standards”—a ban that
usually is imposed for graphic, violent or gory images or pornography.
According to YouTube’s guidelines, a poster is allowed three “strikes”
before an account is terminated. “Air Occupy” had received no notice of
“strikes” or warnings of any kind from YouTube.

McLeish worries about how being a target of FBI attention will affect her
life. “Can the inclusion of my name and information on a federal law
enforcement domestic terrorist watch list impact my ability to make a
living and provide for my children?” she asked. “Can I be subject to
retribution of some kind through the NDAA’s new provisions or to federal
surveillance due to interviewing other activists or in addition to my
involvement in Occupy protests? I can’t afford an attorney to protect

“What does such surveillance and militarized response mean for our
democratic system of governance as more and more people in our country and
abroad struggle to survive and are moved to protest stark economic
inequalities, mass unemployment and unfair working conditions, and
impoverished living conditions?” she asked.
© 2012
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.


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