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Seattle police use less than lethal
weapons on peaceful protesters
Legal observer shot and hospitalized
Compiled by Shawn Gaynor
June, 9 (AGR) At least twelve people have been arrested, and
dozens assaulted following a June 2 demonstrations against the Law Enforcement
Intelligence Unit (LEIU) conference in downtown Seattle.
LEIU, a private intelligence company, builds databases for police to
keep records of troublemakers or anyone they consider involved in organized
Several eyewitnesses, including national Lawyers Guild legal observer
Larry Hildes, report that trouble began after two plainclothes officers
assaulted a young man they suspected of burning a flag at the peaceful
and legally permitted rally.
In the ensuing confrontation between Seattle police and demonstraters,
Hildes was hospitalized after being shot in the back with non-lethal
The protest had been called by a local coalition of social justice groups
who demand: An end to police spying, harassment, and intimidation; disbandment
of the LEIU; repeal of the PATRIOT Act I, and an end to plans for PATRIOT
Act II; civil liberties for immigrant communities and communities of
color; and defense of free speech and the right to assemble.
Over 600 protesters gathered in Westlake Park for a rally before the
permitted march. They voiced concerns that as a private entity the LEIU
is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
So its kind of like the credit report agencies, only you
cant get your report from the LEIU, and whose business is it anyway?
Why should they have a right to keep a file on whomever they want?,
said a LEIU protester. Some example records (with names removed)
from the 60s and 70s were posted at the teach-in on Sunday. One person
had a file because he was a known practicing Muslim. Thats it.
Following the early evening rally in Westlake Park, several hundred
demonstrators began a nonviolent, permitted march toward the LEIU conference
site, the Red Lion Hotel, where cordons of police waited in riot gear.
When the march began, people aggressively banged pots and pans, and
shouted slogans such as, LEIU go away / Our civil rights are here
The crowd continued to rally there with music from the Anti-Fascist
Marching Band and the Infernal Noise Brigade; some burned and tore US
According to Indymedia, and several eyewitness accounts, one protester
climbed atop a nearby awning and attempted to burn a flag there; as
he descended, other demonstrators huddled around him to protect him
against identification and arrest.
However, according to witnesses, one or more of the people in this huddle
turned out to be undercover police, and disorder broke out when one
undercover officer reportedly provoked a fistfight while attempting
to subdue the protester. The police then moved against the already dispersing
crowd, using pepper spray, concussion grenades, plastic clubs, and guns
loaded with rubber bullets.
A witness who spoke on Free Radio Olympia said, The action of
forcing down the flag desecrating, trespassing criminal knocked a paralyzed
wheelchair-bound co-terrorist to the ground, resulting in a blood-soaked
face. Once they had gotten dude over the barricade, the protectors of
these United States proceeded to beat him with kicks and billy clubs.
Another witness said, They were so fast that unfortunately they
didnt look where they were going and they knocked over a man in
a motorized wheelchair. This action, of course, inflamed the crowd
the first of several provocative maneuvers by the cops.
A Seattle [University] law student who was observing for the ACLU
and is also part of the Guild came running by, blood pouring from her
face from a lip split by a bike. Then pepper spray filled the air, and
concussion grenades exploded, recalled Hildes.
Medics [were] pulling me from victim to victim. I took statements,
names, and numbers [and] made sure pictures were taken. Then behind
us, the air filled with explosions and the smell of spray, and we ran
faster. Projectiles started flying around me. I got hit hard, right
between the shoulder blades with a rubber bullet, or pepper pellet;
[it] stung like hell and knocked me down.
Several people were seriously hurt after receiving pepper spray in the
face or being shot with less than lethal weapons. After
being taken to the hospital, Hildes reportedly described the encounter
as the worst he had ever seen.
Ive defended and sued for a whole lot of folks attacked
like that. Ive been arrested as a legal observer three times [and]
was shot once with a rubber bullet back in 1991 during the Peoples
Park Uprising, said Hildes after being released from a local hospital.
But Ive never seen any thing as calculated and militaristic
as this, since I missed the WTO.
Daniel Aukerman, who identified himself as a member of the Christian
Peacemaker Teams, said, This antagonism from police was something
I had not observed in past marches. Under the circumstances, the chant
of No Police State resonated for us all.
[Before the trouble started] a colonnade of bicycle police came
from behind, weaving in and out between the marchers. This was asking
for trouble. Why were they so close? Why did they weave through the
Despite eyewitness reports of police-provoked violence, Police Capt.
Mike Sanford defended his officers actions.
What we saw yesterday was really a different group of protesters,
Sanford said. These are people who came to riot. It was not, if
a confrontation occurs, it was when a confrontation occurs.
Those of us exercising our civil liberties are made to look like
criminals, said Luma Nichol, a participant in the protest, in
response to the police statement.
Sanford said police have identified others, from videotapes of the demonstration,
who they intend to arrest.
Apparently embarrassed by media attention to the incident, in which
legal observers and both mainstream and independent journalists were
injured by police attacks, SPD officers claimed that protesters were
hurling glass jars, ball bearings, and other objects at them. However,
the SPD refused to back up this claim when questioned by a Post-Intelligencer
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which published a story about the incident,
wrote, police did not respond to a request from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
to display the materials officers said protesters threw at them and
the items that police seized.
On June 2, the New York Times ran a picture of the flag burning that
had allegedly provoked the police response; however, the photo caption
and accompanying story did not mention the police reaction, only that
the sensitive issue of flag burning had been take up by the Republican
congress, which hopes to make the act illegal by constitutional amendment.
Previous attempts to ban flag burning have not passed, and the act remains
a constitutionally protected right.
Sources: Free Radio Olympia, Indymedia,
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US threatens expulsion of 13,000 Arabs
Compiled by Nicholas Holt
June 11 (AGR) More than 13,000 Arab and Muslim men in the US
are facing deportation after cooperating with post-Sept. 11, 2001 anti-terror
measures, it has been revealed.
They are among 82,000 adult males who obeyed a government demand to
register with the immigration service earlier this year, on the grounds
they come from 25 mainly Muslim countries said to harbor terror groups.
Many had hoped to win leniency by demonstrating their willingness to
cooperate with the campaign against terror.
Officials believe that most will be expelled in what is likely to be
the largest wave of deportations after the attacks in Washington, DC,
New York, and Pennsylvania.
The government has initiated deportation proceedings, and in immigrant
communities across the country, an exodus has already begun.
Quietly, the fabric of neighborhoods is thinning. Families are packing
up; some are splitting up. Rather than come forward and risk deportation,
an unknowable number of immigrants have burrowed deeper underground.
Others have simply left for Canada or for their homeland.
Theres been a major shift in our priorities, said
Jim Chaparro, acting director for interior enforcement at the Department
of Homeland Security which has now absorbed the old immigration
We need to focus our enforcement efforts on the biggest threats.
If a loophole can be exploited by an immigrant, it can also be exploited
by a terrorist, he said.
Critics say the latest crackdown on immigrants is unfair and racist.
People did register out of their good conscience, because they
wanted to follow the rules, respect the law, said Fayiz Rahman
of the American Muslim Council.
He says the policy is targeted only toward Muslims.
This is a major concern. They are planning to reduce the number
of Muslims on American soil... discourage Muslim immigration, make our
What the government is doing is very aggressively targeting particular
nationalities for enforcement of immigration law, said Lucas Guttentag,
director of the immigrants rights project at the American Civil
Liberties Union. The identical violation committed by, say, a
Mexican immigrant is not enforced in the same way.
Some of those facing deportation have waited months or years for officials
to process applications to legalize their status. Immigration lawyers
say that a substantial number of these men are only illegal because
of the governments inefficiency.
Officials say more than 600 Arab and Muslim illegal immigrants were
deported during the first wave of expulsions after the 2001 attacks.
But the Justice Department stopped releasing figures after the number
of arrested immigrants surged to 1,200, and officials have declined
to give complete statistics for that period.
Another wave of deportations began last year after officials said they
planned to find and arrest illegal immigrants who pose security threats
and already have deportation orders. Of that group, more than 3,000
people have been arrested. Officials say they cannot say how many of
those Arab and Muslim men have been deported.
But it is the special registration program which required noncitizens
from 25 Arab and Muslim countries to register from December through
April that seems likely to produce the largest number of expulsions.
In the last two months, officials have released a succession of tallies
of immigrants facing deportation; the 13,000 figure represents the most
Officials acknowledged that most Arab and Muslim immigrants swept up
in counter-terrorism sweeps have no ties to terrorist groups. Of the
82,000 men who showed up at immigration offices, and tens of thousands
more screened at airports and border crossings in the past six months,
11 have had links to terrorism.
In all, deportations of illegal immigrants from Asian and African countries
have surged by nearly 27 percent in the last two years. The number of
Pakistani, Jordanians, Lebanese and Moroccans deported during that time
has doubled, the statistics show; the number of Egyptians deported has
Sources: BBC, New York Times
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Bodies pile up on Bushs roadmap
for Israel, Palestine
Compiled by Séan Marquis
June 11 Three Palestinian militant groups joined forces on June
9 to launch a gun attack in which seven people died, in a move designed
to send a clear message to the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas,
that no peace deal could be made with Israel without them.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for
the Liberation of Palestine, and Fatah.
Three gunmen one each from Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigade infiltrated an Israeli army outpost at Erez,
the main crossing point between Israel and Gaza, and shot dead three
reservists and a career soldier before being killed in a 20-minute gun
Dressed in army uniforms, they were able to move freely towards an Israeli
army post, carrying assault rifles and grenades. They shot dead a soldier
working on a tank, then killed two soldiers guarding an entrance. In
the ensuing firefight a fourth soldier was killed and four others wounded,
before the three gunmen were shot dead.
While there had been some cooperation between the groups before, this
was the first time a joint attack had been ordered by the leaders of
In a leaflet claiming responsibility, the groups said: This joint
operation was committed to confirm our peoples united choice of
holy war and resistance until the end of occupation over our land and
The leaflet said that the three men had set off from Beit Hanoun, a
northern Gaza town under Israeli control. This meant the Palestinian
Authority could not be directly blamed for security lapses which led
to the attack.
Also, the attack was against a military target in the Palestinian territories
and not a civilian one inside Israel, which would have triggered an
Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas spokesman, said the attack was intended
to send a message to the Palestinian leadership that Palestinians will
continue to fight Israel and will not surrender to the pressure
exerted by Israel and the US.
In a statement on Al Jazeera Dr. Rantisi said: This matter is
final unless Mahmoud Abbas retracts his Aqaba speech.
Hamas rejected Abbass speech at a summit held at Aqaba, Jordan,
last week in which he declared the Intifada over.
Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, responded by appealing for a resumption
of ceasefire talks. He said he wanted to avoid armed confrontation with
But following Mondays attack, Abbas postponed a planned trip to
Gaza aimed at pushing for a ceasefire.
The Gaza meeting went ahead without him and brought together Hamas,
Islamic Jihad, the
We decided to pursue the armed Intifada because we reject the conclusions
of the Aqaba summit, where resistance was equated with terrorism,
said Mohammed el-Hindi of the Islamic Jihad.
Indeed, the road map being pushed at the Aqaba summit
by US president George W. Bush that both sides have accepted refers
more than a dozen times to the need to end Palestinian violence and terrorism.
The end of occupation is mentioned twice.
At Aqaba, Abbas committed to halting violence and called on the resistance
groups to give up the use of violence. In return, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon pledged to dismantle illegal Jewish settlements
in the occupied territories and ease the security clampdown that has destroyed
the Palestinian economy and disrupted Palestinians daily lives.
In fact, Sharon promised little, making no commitments over settlements
authorized by the Israeli government all the settlements are illegal
under international law.
Abbas speech, according to Palestinian Culture Minister Dr. Ziad
Abu Amr, was not balanced enough, and that created a lot of disturbance
and concern among Palestinians.
As usual, American pressure was counterproductive. They got the
man to say what they wanted him to say, but they didnt consider
the implications on the ground, Abu Amr, who was assisting Abbas
in the truce talks, said on Al Jazeera television on Saturday.
Missile blows hole in road map
The day after the joint Palestinian strike, Dr. Rantisi was among more
than 20 people injured in a failed assassination attempt when an Israeli
helicopter fired a missile into a car he was traveling in on a crowded
street in Gaza City.
Two bystanders, an eight-year-old girl and a woman in her 40s, were
Dr. Rantissi was taken to a nearby hospital with leg injuries. His son
and two bodyguards were reported to be in a more serious condition.
On Wed., June 11, a suicide bombing in Jerusalem and an Israeli helicopter
raid in Gaza killed at least 24 people, in an explosion of tit-for-tat
violence a day after the assassination attempt on Dr. Rantisi.
Seventeen people were killed and scores wounded when a suicide bomb
ripped through a bus on a busy street in central-west Jerusalem, police
About an hour later, seven Palestinians were killed when Israeli helicopters
fired missiles on a car in Gaza City, Palestinian medical and security
sources told AFP.
Dr. Rantissi vowed from his hospital bed not to leave one Jew
in Palestine as Hamas dropped all talk of a ceasefire.
Security or incitement?
As George Bush presided over a well-choreographed PR summit with the
Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers at Aqaba, Israeli soldiers were
raiding the refugee camp of Balata and the city of Nablus for the third
According to the Red Crescent, some 50 people were treated for bullet
and shrapnel wounds in two days. Many in the West Bank were looking
at their television in astonishment as their prime minister met his
Israeli counterpart and Bush at the Red Sea resort. They felt the rhetoric
was from another planet.
Mohmmad Rada, 35, said: I do not have any trust for this summit
in Aqaba. It was convened at the expense of the Palestinian people and
the expense of our president, Yassir Arafat, who is besieged in Ramallah.
They are trying to provoke us so that they can say that we are
the terrorists. I have just seen them shoot a little girl in the street.
The girl was shot by a rubber-coated bullet as it ricocheted around
the alleyways of the West Banks largest refugee camp.
Samir Abu Zarur, the head of the casualty department at Rafiah hospital
in Nablus, said that his department treated 32 people injured by the
Israeli army on June 3 alone. Around half came from Balata refugee camp.
Twelve of the injured were children. One eight-year-old was shot
in the face with a rubber-coated bullet. A young woman lost her eye
and a young man lost a kidney. There are two or three still in a serious
condition, he said.
According to a report by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM),
a nonviolent peace group, on June 4 the attacks began at 6:30am when
an armored personnel carrier and two jeeps parked at the east side of
the Balata refugee camp at the end of Market Street which is
a heavily populated civilian area. They were randomly beeping their
horns, sounding sirens and shooting live rounds while there was very
little local presence on the streets. This continued for two hours until
it incited responses from stone throwing youths. The armed forces responded
to this with live bullets, rubber bullets, and teargas.
Surely actions like this must raise the question of why the army
is here - for reasons of security/military or reasons of incitement,
the ISM said.
Sources: Agence France Presse, Associated
Press, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, Guardian (UK), Independent (UK),
Inter Press Service, Sydney Morning Herald
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