Another eyewitness report from Seattle
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 99 17:35:26 -0800
Subject: Another eyewitness report from Seattle
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
[He's got the name of the complex where the meeting took place wrong,
but the rest seems to jibe with my information... -psl]
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Susan Howell)
Forwarded-by: Frank Howard <email@example.com>
COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN SEATTLE
by Portland student/reporter Jim Desyllas
Called-in from a pay phone outside Seattle. Wed., 7:30 pm Pacific time.
(Posted at http://www.emperors-clothes.com 12-2-99. Feel free to
distribute in full including this note.)
I just spent 4 days in Seattle. The "information" people are getting
from the mass media is false. This was not, as Pres. Clinton claims, a
peaceful protest marred by the actions of violent protesters. This was a
massive, strong but peaceful demonstration which was attacked repeatedly by
the police with the express purpose of provoking a violent response to
provide photo opportunities for the Western media. I know because I watched
it happening. I'll tell you how they did it.
As Michel Chossudovsky says in his "Disarming the New World Order" (See
Note # 1 at end for link to that article) - the government put a lot of
effort into making sure the protesters in Seattle were a "loyal opposition"
who wanted to reform the WTO, not get rid of it. But the people in Seattle
- American steel workers, Canadian postal workers, college kids from all
over, environmentalists from Australia - you name it - were not for
reforming the WTO. They were for getting rid of it.
And this wasn't just true of the protesters. I interviewed delegates.
None of them had anything favorable to say about the WTO. Two delegates
from the Caribbean were angry about job loss. One delegate from Peru took
a bullhorn and got up on a car and spoke to the protestors against the World
Trade Organization. He said it hurts the workers and farmers. I interviewed
a Norwegian guy from Greenpeace. Totally against it. Even a delegate from
Holland said it had hurt the farmers there. He said though it is supposedly
democratic, that's actually a lie: the US, England and Canada and a few
others get together and decide what they want to do. Then they ask the rest
of the countries to vote and if they vote wrong they threaten,"You won't
get loans," or whatever. They get them to do what they want by blackmailing
them. The Italians we interviewed were upset too. I couldn't find any
delegates who were in favor.
So the government instigated a "riot" to discredit the movement against
the WTO because they couldn't dilute it. I am not guessing about this. I
was there. I saw it happening. And I will tell you I am frankly shocked to
see, close up, just how little our leaders care what happens to ordinary
people. Clinton can pose and speak a lot of flowery stuff but the truth is
- we are nothing to them. I saw this with my own eyes.
Sunday and Monday, there was no violence. None. The people were
aggressively non-violent; they were self-policing. Up until Tuesday at 4pm
there was one window broken in the whole city - a McDonalds window. This
compares favorably to the typical rock concert, let alone a demonstration
of people who were non-violently barring entry to the World Trade Center!
At this point, a new group of police - tactical police - moved in and
started gassing people and shooting rubber bullets. Is it any surprise that
people got mad? Of course, the young kids hit back by breaking some windows
in retaliation for being gassed, sprayed with very painful pepper gas, and
shot with dangerous "rubber" bullets. The police instigated these kids,
plain and simple.
Sunday and Monday they had young cops, using them to block the streets.
These were trainees. But Tuesday they had the real cops; none of them were
young. They were trained to attack people. A small group, maybe 100 people
total, struck back. Then these cops herded that group around the city,
making sure there were plenty of photo ops of "violent protesters."
A number of times they had these 100 or so protesters caught between
buildings and walls of police. They could easily have arrested and detained
this small number of people and gotten it over with. Instead they would
gas them and let them go. Then trap them again, gas them again, and again
let them go. The cops made no arrests that I know of until late Tuesday
night though the skirmishing was going on from three till 9:30. The cops
would blockade three or five blocks of an area, give the angry kids room to
operate, keep gassing them - when you gas a person, let me tell you, it gets
them fighting mad.
Tuesday night the police gassed all of downtown. This was going on from
3 PM, till 6 PM.. Gas everywhere. The kids broke a few windows - McD's,
Starbucks - small stuff - burned a few garbage cans. The police were using
these people as extras. It was staged. I believe also the police had their
own people in there, encouraging people to break stuff - if people think I
may be exaggerating, I saw supposed protesters - they were screaming and so
on - and then later, when everything was over, the same people tackled other
protestors and put handcuffs on them.
At 6pm they issued a State of Emergency. At that point they had pushed
the 100 people outside the city limits, so the police went outside the
limits too, and they started gassing that area too, gassing the
neighborhoods where the regular people live. I am not exaggerating. The
police were relentless.
This was in an area from the city limits for about 10 blocks to the
Seattle Central Community College. If you were alive, the police gassed you.
People coming back from work, kids, women, everyone. People would go out
of their houses to see what was happening because these tear gas guns sound
like a cannon - and they would get gassed. A block away there was a Texaco
gas station - they threw tear gas at gas pumps, believe it or not - they
were like vandals. They gassed a bus. I saw it with my own eyes. A bus.
The driver, the riders, the people just abandoned it .
I was sitting in a little coffee shop called Rauhaus, [the spelling
may be wrong.] They were shooting "rubber" bullets at the glass. I picked
up a dozen of the things in a few square feet. They were also shooting this
paint that you can only see with a florescent light. They would paint anyone
and everyone and then go hunting them.
Anyway, because they were gassing everybody, the local people got mad
too and they joined the 100 who had been herded out of the city. So soon
there were 500 including the neighborhood people and all very angry.
Naturally. Because they had been gassed and hit with pepper spray, that
stuff does a number on you. And shot with these damn bullets. Then people
set up barricades at Seattle Central Community College. The cops organized
themselves for about an hour and then moved in and gassed that area.
Today they started mass arrests. That was because Clinton - the Greeks
call him the Planitarchis, Ruler of the World - was coming. Weeping
crocodile tears about how he just LOVES peaceful protest, which of course
you'd have to be two years old to believe he had nothing to do with the
police action. This whole thing, this police attack, this was US foreign
policy, not some action decided by some bureaucrat in Seattle. This was the
State Department. They wanted to discredit the people.
When things started on Sunday, there was a protest rally of solidarity
involving people from different walks of life. Monday it got even bigger.
Tuesday there was a big sort of carnival where people were doing different
things, a band was playing music and people were blocking the World Trade
Center. And about 3 PM the cops started throwing tear gas.
The thing that drove Clinton crazy was that on Tuesday the protesters
had succeeded in making nonviolent human chains and had therefore stopped
everyone from going into the World Trade Center. Only maybe 27 delegates
got through, mostly US and British. There were what seemed like tens of
thousands of protesters involved. So the police did their gassing number
against these nonviolent people to break up the human chains and make the
protesters look violent.
Today (Wednesday) I followed the union protest put together by the
Longshoremen's Union. They went down to the docks and had a rally then
marched to Third Avenue. As soon as they got there the cops started gassing
them. There was an old lady there. She had gone downtown by bus to buy
something. This lady was in her 70's and I saw her trying to run, but she
couldn't breathe. She was in shock. I carried her to a building entryway.
She was gasping, terrified. She had been in Germany, and it was like she
was having flashbacks. The tear gas sounds like gunfire and there were
helicopters overhead, sirens, cops on horses, everything.
They had clearly made a decision to destroy this movement.
So anyway there I was with her in this building and she wanted to go
to the hospital but there was tear gas everywhere and I was afraid if I
tried to move her she'd be gassed again. I went to this line of cops and
begged - I mean begged - these riot police to help her. They ignored me. A
girl told me later that a one year old had been gassed. And I myself saw
a girl no more than 18 - a cop had busted her lip wide open - she was
bleeding - and then they gassed everyone including her. After that she was
kneeling on the ground crying like a baby and praying for 15 minutes, Hail
Mary, Hail Mary. Over and over. She was in a state of shock. They just
gassed these people who were sitting down non-violently and doing nothing.
At one point the Seattle Mayor said his boys were not using rubber
bullets. Miraculously, by then I had ten in my pocket. I could open a little
market, sell the things. They are everywhere. I and other people started
giving them to delegates and stuff. "See what they're doing? They're
shooting "rubber" bullets and lying about it." We showed them to the media.
I guess enough people and the media got the information because the Mayor
made a new statement then that they were using them. As if he hadn't known.
They shot rubber bullets from four feet away into the face of a guy
next to me, broke all his front teeth. When that happened I lost it. I
forgot I was supposed to be getting the news for all of you and I started
yelling at the cops, "What the hell is wrong with you? Are you sick, man?"
So this cop aimed his gun right at me. That was his answer. So I first put
my hands in front of my face because I didn't want to lose my teeth. And
then I thought, to hell with it. I was wearing my target shirt that said
"Collateral Damage", you know? With a bullseye target, like they wore during
the bombing in Yugoslavia. And I told this guy, "Go ahead, shoot! Here!
Here's the target!" He didn't shoot me.
I want to emphasize, these protesters were NOT violent people. They
were the most non-violent people I have ever seen. Even when I was screaming
at the cop, this girl came up to me and said, "Do not scream. This is
non-violent." These people were too much to believe. They must meditate
all the time, Idon't know.
Clinton said he supports nonviolent protest. That is baloney. Today
(Wed.) the protesters were causing absolutely no "trouble". In downtown the
cops had people running who weren't even protesters - like that old lady or
just people going to work or shopping - everyone was getting gassed. The
busses weren't running because of the gas. I was lucky to catch one with a
driver who could still see. I begged him to drive the old lady home - the
driver changed his route especially for her. If you want to find human
decency, stay away from the Planitarchis. Go to the to regular people. They
have some. The Planitarchis lost all his years ago. Now he wouldn't know
human decency if it came up and bit him.
So now I have made personal acquaintance with the people who run this
country, and they are quite simply scum. There were people at work, people
with babies, they were all getting gassed because the government would not
allow an assembly of people speaking their minds. It is the same as what
happened in Athens. Clinton's requirements on the Greek government created
the riot and he did the same thing here. And then he says he supports
nonviolent protest? How? By shooting rubber bullets? And today they outlawed
gas masks. They want to make sure everyone gets his money's worth.
Today, just like yesterday night, the police were in the residential
neighborhoods. People in cafHs were getting gassed and shot at, you could
hear it on the windows, bang, bang, bang. A guy trying to cross the street
to go to his house got gassed. First a drunk guy outside a bar yelled at
the cops "Get out of here!" so they gassed him. And then this other guys
was just crossing the street to go home so the cops figured, might as well
gas him too. People got gassed for coming out of restaruants and bars and
coffeeeshops. I'm amazed that nobody died who had asthma or something.
Or maybe somebody did die and they didn't talk about it. I mean after
all, it's just collateral damage..
© 1999 Peter Langston