October 31, 2006

NYT: Mexican Protesters Keep Their Message Alive, and on the Air

OAXACA, Mexico, Oct. 30

Eros Hoagland for The New York Times
Protesters at a radio station in Oaxaca, Mexico, that has served as a central means of communication for those challenging the local government. One of them concealed his features because of fear of reprisals by the police. Stations like this have been used to alert protesters to moves against them by the police. More Photos >

As the federal riot police hunkered down in Oaxaca’s main square on Monday, protesters sought to protect their not-so-secret weapon in their five-month siege of the city: the pilfered radio transmitter they use to mobilize the population.
Eros Hoagland for The New York Times

The barricaded radio station at Oaxaca University where protesters have broadcast messages to their supporters. More Photos »

“We are in a red alert, a red alert!” a nervous-sounding announcer said over and over from inside the bullet-scarred university station, which was ringed by sandbags and protected by masked supporters on the roof equipped with handmade mortars. “The police are moving in!”

The cry was premature, but it drew hundreds of supporters from across this city in southern Mexico. They prepared Molotov cocktails and reinforced the barriers around the gates of Oaxaca University in anticipation of a raid.

“We will transmit until the last minute,” an announcer who described himself as a law professor, but declined to provide his name, said in an interview. “We will not run. We are like the captains of the ship, and we’ll go down with the ship.”

Oaxaca State’s beleaguered governor, Ulises Ruiz, was also hunkered down, on his own turf. The federal police remained in control of the central square on Monday, but protesters marched through the rest of downtown, denouncing Mr. Ruiz and occasionally setting fire to vehicles.

Although the governor insisted in a television interview on Monday that he would not resign, his support appeared thin as both houses of the Congress passed nonbinding resolutions urging him to cede power for the good of the state and the nation.

In the Chamber of Deputies, only Mr. Ruiz’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI, and another small allied party stuck by the governor, and even that backing seemed lukewarm.

In the Senate, even the PRI joined in a statement urging Mr. Ruiz to “reconsider separating himself from charge, in order to contribute to the re-establishment of governability, normality and peace.”

But the governor said he was not budging. “I am governing Oaxaca,” he declared in a late-night news conference, dismissing the protesters as a relatively small group that did not represent the masses. “The questions of Oaxaca will be decided by Oaxacans.”

Mr. Ruiz said the arrival of federal troops had not resolved the crisis but might establish an environment where the opposing parties could resolve their differences at the negotiating table. As for the graffiti painted around town accusing the governor of being an assassin, he declared, “I don’t accept their views. I respect human rights.”

Members of the Oaxaca People’s Popular Assembly, which has been coordinating the protests, clearly disagree, as their frequent anti-Ruiz messages over the radio make clear.

If the diffuse movement that has laid siege to Oaxaca has a nerve center, it is the trash-strewn conference room where the group broadcasts regular updates to their comrades.

On Monday, the radio called people into the streets for three protest marches that drew thousands. Announcers also mourned three people who the protesters said had died in a raid on Sunday. The government said it had no information of any deaths at the hands of the police.

Even after the federal police raid managed to take back the symbolic Zócalo, or central square, the station kept the movement alive.

The protest began as a teachers’ strike, but a deal was reached to raise their salaries. Some teachers returned to classes on Monday, although it appeared that many were not sure it was safe to do so.

While the protest coalition consists of leftists, local residents have said that the issue is more a struggle to wrest control of the state from the PRI, the political party that once controlled all of Mexico, but whose national power has greatly diminished.

“It’s strange, but I’m not afraid,” Alejandra Canseco Martínez, 22, a student who frequently sends out updates over the airwaves, said from inside the radio station. “Maybe I should be afraid, because we don’t know what will happen and the police are only a few blocks away.”

It is not the first time that the station has been under siege.

The current standoff began June 14, when the police broke up a teachers’ protest and smashed the transmitter that the teachers had been using to broadcast their messages from the main square. The following day, as supporters joined forces with the teachers, university students took over the campus station.

On July 22, gunmen opened fire on the station, sending workers ducking for cover and eventually knocking the signal off the air. But listeners heard the attack and converged on the station in support.

On Aug. 8, someone sneaked into the station and poured acid onto the transmitter, again killing the signal. But by that time, protesters had taken over another station. Within weeks, a dozen public and private stations around Oaxaca were controlled by protesters.

However, the university station, with its transmitter repaired, remains the chief source of information for the protesters. Its messages are dismissed as revolutionary propaganda by critics, but supporters relish the hard-edge words that fly across the colonial city.

“The other stations only say things in support of Ulises,” said Sal Lozano, 43, a farmer, speaking of Mr. Ruiz, the governor. “We’re going to defend this station with everything we have.”

Antonio Betancourt contributed reporting from Oaxaca, and Elisabeth Malkin from Mexico City.

Arrested for Remembering Brad Will

As I walked to the consulate from the train I stopped to have a conversation with two “Punk” kids walking downtown. The male-bodied person had a giant Mohawk, and a studded jean jacket with a drawn on peace sign on their lapel and a Circle-A on their back. The female-bodied person had scene-ish hair with a “Rough” twist and a riot girl fashion line up. I approached them and explained the current situation in Oaxaca and what had happened to , “My friend Brad.” I also told them about the vigil and celebration that was going to happen in about an hour or so, and invited them to join. The male-bodied person looked at me and said, “Dude we don’t protest, we are not into politics.” “What?! What the fuck do you think that Circle-A on your back means?” I responded, in what I have to admit was a rather hostile tone. “It means punk!” I have heard this answer before. Without responding I just turned and walked away. It was at that very moment that I concluded that Punk was dead.

There were already a few people at the consulate when I arrived, mostly ANSWER folks. As the minutes ticked by, some fellow anarchists and Indymedia journalists also began showing up. I started holding up my sign with Brad’s picture and the years of his birth and death on it. People were making their signs, and altars, arranging flowers and candles, and holding placards to inform the people driving by about the horrible atrocities that are being committed in Oaxaca. It was at this time that “Officer Friendly” (His name is not officer friendly, but it sounds nicer than “Lieutenant Jack Ass” or just plain “Douche Wad” while still maintaining that great sarcastic Chicago “fuck you” attitude) approached the grieving crowd and began to hassle many people creating a memorial for Brad.

Maybe I should have stayed off to the side where I was. Maybe I should have just kept holding my sign up to the road. But I did not. I walked over to officer friendly and Chris, the person he was eventually to arrest, to see what was going on. My emotions have been really insane since I had found out Brad died, and that surely played into the events of Monday afternoon. I am not going to detail the next few events leading up to my arrest because I feel that is unnecessary but what I do want to say is that , other than the immediate moments after I had found out Brad was murdered, I have never felt such intense rage, hatred, and sadness before in my entire life. I feel that if I had wanted to, in the heat of the moment, I could have really hurt someone. My adrenalin was pumping like it never had before and “Officer Friendly” was just not helping the situation. So I ended up in the slammer but not before “Officer Friendly” admitted to being a Fascist.

Jail was absolutely ridiculous. For about six hours Chris and a I sat in this room, that was more of a club house for lazy police officers than a holding facility for supposed “criminals.” We got to hear officers make racist, queer-phobic, and sexist slurs non-stop. We also had the pleasure of hearing officers cheer when the news reported that 3 civilians had been killed but only one officer had been shot in the hand at Augusta and Kedzie. This is how sick these people are. They celebrate when civilians or “bad guys” are murdered in their own neighborhood. After hours of jerking us around and upon arrival of “Officer Friendly” we found we were being charged with “disorderly conduct… maybe.” More jerking around, and more jerking around. Until finally we are told that one of us (me) was being taken to 111th and State and the other (Chris) was being taken to Grand and Central. When one of the officers transporting Chris asked, “Why are we taking them all the way out there?” Officer Friendly replied, “Special Orders” Cleary they were trying to break us. It wasn’t working, we continued to snicker at how childish they were.

At around 9:15 or 9:30 my transport to 111th and State began. The two officers continuously spewed out racist comments as if they were trying to provoke me. “Look at all those Nigger Monkeys on that front porch” they said referring to a group of black kids sitting outside of their house, “Hey why don’t you throw that banana your wife gave you at them and see how they jump all over it,” one officer said to the other. “My banana is worth more than that,” the other responded. I bit my tongue, knowing that if I responded It would just be another 12 hours before I was out.

Despite being on the very outskirts of the city, 111th and State was actually pretty cool . The guards were nice and agreed that it was bullshit that Officer Friendly had sent me all the way from Ashland and Adams to 111th and State. They treated me very well and had me out of there in about 4 hours or so.

Now, I am not sure what I believe in terms of after life theory but I do know that through this whole ordeal I was not alone. Even if none of us have spirits and Brad didn’t have a spirit, to me he was there. The whole time he was in my mind and in my heart because had he been alive, he would have been in jail with me. No doubt about it, that is just the person Brad was. He did not let them take a friend without a fight. He did not let them trample on his rights without a fight. And that is how Brad should be remembered. That is the legacy of Brad Will. We must step it up. We must stop simply chanting, “let them go” when they are dragging away a friend, or a non friend for that matter. If everyone there had said, “No! You are not arresting Chris. No! You are not arresting Tristyn!” We would have shown solidarity and more so our strength. I know that is a very privileged thing to say, and a very risky thing to do. However, if there is one thing we can learn from the death of Brad, and the people of Oaxaca is, without freedom we have nothing, so there is nothing to lose. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their help and offerings.

Brad Will! Presente!
Viva APPO!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Rwanda probes French role in genocide

An independent national commission entrusted with probing the alleged French involvement in the Rwandan genocide began hearing on Tuesday in the Rwandan capital Kigali. The country's President, Paul Kagame, accused France-trained Hutu paramilitary forces of having supported the genocide.

French authorities have denied any charges. It is estimated that nearly one million Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 100 days in the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

The commission, which includes historians and professors, is led by general prosecutor Jean de Dieu Mucyo. It appears to be certain that there was some sort of French involvement. Commissioners are expected to hear testimonies from 25 genocide survivors.

At the end of the hearings, the commission is to determine whether it is necessary for Rwanda to issue a motion at the International Court of Justice in the Hague against Paris for its assumed role in the genocide.

In Tuesday's sittings, four witnesses testified, including the ambassador to France in the period following the mass murders and a high official of the Rwandan security services.

Residents of the country's south-western area who were involved in the "Operation Torquoise" by the French under UN mandate to open a secure corridor between June and August 1994, accused French troops for allowing the militias that perpetrated the massacres to flee into neighbouring Zaire (now Congo Kinshasa, DRC).

A former ambassador of Rwanda in Paris, Jacques Bihozagara, informed the commission that France had an active role in the genocide, which according to him, was mitigated by its fears to lose influence in Africa.

He blamed the French government for its failure to withhold genocide suspects. "France did not express repentance," the French news agency AFP quoted Mr Bihozagara as saying in his evidence.

The former diplomat said Operation Turquoise aimed to protect only those responsible for the genocide.

The International Criminal Court had already judged some of the most important cases of the Rwandan genocide in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. The court had convicted twenty-five leaders but the Rwandan government is said to have been slow in effecting the legal process.

A genocide survivor, Rupert Bazambanza, said at the start of the war no one knew what genocide was.

"Overnight, our friends and neighbours became our enemy and wanted to kill us," he said, adding that it was difficult for them to smile through tears at the end of the genocide.

"It was like the Titanic. Everyone wanted to leave the boat, but had no way of doing so," Mr Bazambanza told 'Africa Comic'.

At this point, he had realised that he could not go home because everything was burnt down and that people were being murdered around him and bodies surrounded and covered the roads. Feeling very alone, Mr Bazambanza went into hiding.

"I felt like no one cared about what was going on," he said. But Mr Bazambanza wanted to make sure that people didn't just let this tragedy fade from memory. He started travelling and sharing his story with the world. "Every time I have the chance to talk to people, I realise why I survived," he said.

October 30, 2006

Camp Falcon etc...

Las Vegas appealing judge's ruling on feeding homeless at parks


The city is appealing a local judge's ruling that a law against providing food to homeless people at city parks is unconstitutional.

A city prosecutor was not given a chance to oppose dismissal of a misdemeanor charge against a California man who was cited under an ordinance the City Council approved in July, Ben Little, an assistant Las Vegas city attorney, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Friday report.

Little declined further comment, saying the case remained pending following Thursday's appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada hailed Municipal Court Judge George Assad's decision to dismiss the case. Assad said the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and denied equal protection of the law.

Patrick Band, the California activist who had been issued a summons Aug. 10 for feeding people at a park east of downtown Las Vegas, said he was surprised by the ruling.

"For a judge on that level to throw out a case and to claim it's unconstitutional, that's rare and exciting and interesting," Band told the Review-Journal. "Personally, it's a great thing. I'm glad that's taken care of."

Band was one of five people issued summonses under an ordinance making it illegal to provide food or meals to the indigent "for free or for a nominal fee" in parks.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a vocal supporter of cracking down on the homeless, has said handouts discourage indigent people from seeking help from social service providers set up to handle mental health and substance abuse problems.

An ACLU lawyer said the city should stop enforcing the ordinance - at least until a federal court rules on the ACLU lawsuit.

"There is absolutely no justification and no basis for marshals, police or anyone else to be arresting or citing people based on this law that a Las Vegas judge has ruled unconstitutional," said Allen Lichtenstein, ACLU general counsel in Las Vegas.

October 29, 2006

Actions in Los Angeles to support the Struggle --Stand with Oaxaca!

Actions in the Week of October 29th

Action at the Mexican Consulate Today Sunday -at 6pm -- Mexican consulate is on 6th St. and Park View -- support the liberation struggle in Oaxaca being waged by the APPO (Asemblea Popular de Pueblos de Oaxaca / Popular Assembly of the People in Oaxaca) and Seccion 22 Teacher's Union -- Stop the Repression!

Monday 12 pm -- Press Conference -- APPO LA in front of the Mexican Consulate -- 6th St and Park View - Pico Union

Wednesday at 6pm - Action at the Mexican Consulate - Stop the Repression - Support the Liberation of Oaxaca -- Ulises ya Cayo - Ulises out of Oaxaca
6th and Park View

Thursday Nov 1st
Planton - Encampment/Sit In in front of the Mexican Consulate - Dia De Los Muertos -- Stop the Repression in Oaxaca - Ulises Fuera de Oaxaca/ Ulises Out of Oaxaca
6th and Park View

Noam Chomsky Tells the Truth

A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data

By Tom Zeller Jr., The New York Times

Thursday 26 October 2006

If things go as planned for liberal bloggers in the next few weeks, searching Google for "Jon Kyl," the Republican senator from Arizona now running for re-election, will produce high among the returns a link to an April 13 article from The Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly.

Mr. Kyl "has spent his time in Washington kowtowing to the Bush administration and the radical right," the article suggests, "very often to the detriment of Arizonans."

Searching Google for "Peter King," the Republican congressman from Long Island, would bring up a link to a Newsday article headlined "King Endorses Ethnic Profiling."

Fifty or so other Republican candidates have also been made targets in a sophisticated "Google bombing" campaign intended to game the search engine's ranking algorithms. By flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, it is possible to take advantage of Google's formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.

The project was originally aimed at 70 Republican candidates but was scaled back to roughly 50 because Chris Bowers, who conceived it, thought some of the negative articles too partisan.

The articles to be used "had to come from news sources that would be widely trusted in the given district," said Mr. Bowers, a contributor at MyDD.com (Direct Democracy), a liberal group blog. "We wanted actual news reports so it would be clear that we weren't making anything up."

Each name is associated with one article. Those articles are embedded in hyperlinks that are now being distributed widely among the left-leaning blogosphere. In an entry at MyDD.com this week, Mr. Bowers said: "When you discuss any of these races in the future, please, use the same embedded hyperlink when reprinting the Republican's name. Then, I suppose, we will see what happens."

An accompanying part of the project is intended to buy up Google Adwords, so that searches for the candidates' names will bring up advertisements that point to the articles as well. But Mr. Bowers said his hopes for this were fading, because he was very busy.

The ability to manipulate the search engine's results has been demonstrated in the past. Searching for "miserable failure," for example, produces the official Web site of President Bush.

But it is far from clear whether this particular campaign will be successful. Much depends on the extent of political discussion already tied to a particular candidate's name.

It will be harder to manipulate results for searches of the name of a candidate who has already been widely covered in the news and widely discussed in the blogosphere, because so many links and so many pages already refer to that particular name. Search results on lesser-known candidates, with a smaller body of references and links, may be easier to change.

"We don't condone the practice of Google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results," said Ricardo Reyes, a Google spokesman. "A site's ranking in Google's search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query."

The company's faith in its system has produced a hands-off policy when it comes to correcting for the effects of Google bombs in the past. Over all, Google says, the integrity of the search product remains intact.

Writing in the company's blog last year, Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer Web products, suggested that pranks might be "distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission."

Still, some conservative blogs have condemned Mr. Bowers's tactic. These include Outside the Beltway, which has called him "unscrupulous," and Hot Air, which declared the effort "fascinatingly evil."

But Mr. Bowers suggested that he was acting with complete transparency and said he hoped political campaigns would take up the tactic, which he called "search engine optimization," as a standard part of their arsenal.

"I did this out in the open using my real name, using my own Web site," he said. "There's no hidden agenda. One of the reasons for this is to show that campaigns should be doing this on their own."

Indeed, if all campaigns were doing it, the playing field might well be leveled.

Mr. Bowers said he did not believe the practice would actually deceive most Internet users.

"I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google bomb is," he said, "and they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit."

Go to Original

Free Speech Online "Under Threat"
BBC News

Friday 27 October 2006

Bloggers are being asked to show their support for freedom of expression by Amnesty International.

The human rights group also wants web log writers to highlight the plight of fellow bloggers jailed for what they wrote in their online journals.

The organisation said fundamental rights such as free speech faced graver threats than ever before.

The campaign coincides with the start of a week-long UN-organised conference that will debate the future of the net.

Watching Words

"Freedom of expression online is a right, not a privilege - but it's a right that needs defending," said Steve Ballinger of Amnesty International. "We're asking bloggers worldwide to show their solidarity with web users in countries where they can face jail just for criticising the government."

Mr Ballinger said the case of Iranian blogger Kianoosh Sanjari was just one example of the dangers that some online writers can face. Mr Sanjari was arrested in early October following his blogging about conflicts between the Iranian police and the supporters of Shia cleric Ayatollah Boroujerdi.

Amnesty wanted bloggers to publicise cases such as this, said Mr Ballinger, and to declare their backing for the right to free speech online.

The human rights group is also taking its campaign to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) - a group set up by the UN to act as a debating body for national net policies. The first big meeting of the IGF takes place in Athens from 30 October to 2 November.

"The Internet Governance Forum needs to know that the online community is concerned about free expression online and willing to stand up for it," said Mr Ballinger.

Many governments were using technology to suppress the free flow of information among their citizens, said Mr Ballinger.

"People have been locked up just for expressing their views in an email or a website," he said. "Sites and blogs have been shut down and firewalls built to prevent access to information."

Hi-tech firms such as Yahoo and Google have been criticised for the help they have given to nations such as China which works hard to monitor online discussion.

In May 2006, Amnesty International started a campaign that aimed to expose the ways that governments use the net to quash dissent. Co-ordinated via the Irrepressible.info website, the campaign asks websites to use an icon displaying text from censored sites.

Pledges gathered from those backing this campaign will be presented at the IGF.

IWW Starbucks Baristas Crash Book Promo Event

New York, NY

Holding picket signs and handing out Howard Schultz “Most Wanted” flyers, union baristas and supporters protested the visit of the Starbucks Chairman to promote the coffee chain's first bookselling venture. Two campaign supporters entered the Park Avenue store where one of 25 promotional events around the country took place and unfurled a "Stop Union-Busting" banner. The two campaigners were forcibly removed by a Starbucks Regional Director. The baristas crashed the event to demand an end to the relentless anti-union campaign overseen by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz who opted not to attend.

“Four IWW members are currently out of a job because of Howard Schultz’s animosity towards unions,” said Isis Saenz, a New York barista and IWW member. “Schultz is a billionaire and just made the list of the world’s richest people. What more does he want?”

While Starbucks is set to profit handsomely from its expansion into bookselling, baristas continue to languish in poverty with fluctuating work hours each week. Starbucks has fallen far short of the socially responsible image it seeks to create. Despite referring to itself as a leader in employee health care, the coffee giant insures a lower percentage of its workforce than Wal-Mart.

Starbucks has waged a fierce anti-union campaign against baristas joining the Industrial Workers of the World to gain an independent voice at work. The company agreed to refrain from spying, bribing, threatening, and terminating workers in a March settlement with the U.S. government triggered by charges from the IWW Starbucks Workers Union [www.StarbucksUnion.org]. However, Starbucks has continued union-busting with impunity including terminating workers for exercising their right to join the union.

Despite the unlawful anti-union campaign, baristas have won wage increases, more secure scheduling, and safety improvements through direct action on the job and in the community. The union currently has an organized presence at seven Starbucks locations in New York City and Chicago.



October 28, 2006

Activists fear they've become FBI targets


The FBI has released more documents connected to Maine peace groups, leading local activists to say they have been targeted for surveillance for opposing the government. Last January, a single e-mail from a Canadian anarchist group that had been circulated by Maine peace activists was released by the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Maine Civil Liberties Union

Full Story

Brad Will, New York Documentary Filmmaker and Indymedia Reporter, Assassinated by Pro-Government Gunshot in Oaxaca While Reporting the Story

Photographer Oswaldo Ramirez of the Daily Milenio Wounded in Attack by Shooters for Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in Santa Lucia El Camino
By Al Giordano

The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Chihuahua

October 27, 2006

Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia in New York, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia El Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.

Brad Will in Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Photo: D.R. 2006 Narco News
Brad went to Oaxaca in early October to document the story that Commercial Media simulators like Rebecca Romero of Associated Press distort instead of report: the story of a people sick and tired of repression and injustice, who take back the government that rightfully is theirs. In that context, his assassination is also a consequence of what happens when independent media must do the work that Big Media fails to do: to tell the truth. My friend and colleague since 1996 when we labored together at 88.7 FM Steal This Radio on New York’s Lower East Side, I bumped into him again in Bolivia in 2004 during a public reception held by the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and again on the Yucatán peninsula last January where he came to cover the beginnings of the Zapatista Other Campaign – Brad died to bring the authentic story to the world.

Brad went to Oaxaca in early October knowing, assuming and sharing the risks of reporting the story. His final published article, on October 17, titled “Death in Oaxaca,” reported the assassination of Alejandro García Hernández on the barricades set up by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO, in its Spanish initials). Brad wrote:

“…went walking back from alejandros barricade with a group of supporters who came from an outlying district a half hour away—went walking with angry folk on their way to the morgue—went inside and saw him—havent seen too many bodies in my life—eats you up—a stack of nameless corpes in the corner—about the number who had died—no refrigeration—the smell—they had to open his skull to pull the bullet out—walked back with him and his people

“…and now alejandro waits in the zocalo—like the others at their plantones—hes waiting for an impasse, a change, an exit, a way forward, a way out, a solution—waiting for the earth to shift and open—waiting for november when he can sit with his loved ones on the day of the dead and share food and drink and a song—waiting for the plaza to turn itself over to him and burst—he will only wait until morning but tonight he is waiting for the governor and his lot to never come back—one more death—one more martyr in a dirty war—one more time to cry and hurt—one more time to know power and its ugly head—one more bullet cracks the night—one more night at the barricades—some keep the fires—others curl up and sleep—but all of them are with him as he rests one last night at his watch…”

Brad Will’s Assassins
Photo: D.R. 2006 El Universal
Last September 26, Brad, on his way to Mexico, wrote me:

“hey al
it brad from nyc—it would be great to get yr narco contacts in oaxaca—i am headed there and want to connect with as many folks as posible—are you in df?—i should be stopping though there and it would be great
to go out for a drink

Knowing of Brad’s hard luck covering other stories (he had been beaten by police in New York and in Brazil doing this important but dangerous work), his difficulty with the Spanish language, and of the greater risk for independent reporters who haven’t been embedded over time (and thus known by the people) in Oaxaca, I pleaded with him not to go, to instead go to Atenco and report on the story there of the arrival of Zapatista comandantes:

“Our Oaxaca team is firmly embedded. There are a chingo of other internacionales roaming around there looking for the big story, but the situation is very delicate, the APPO doesn’t trust anyone it hasn’t known for years, and they keep telling me not to send newcomers, because the situation is so fucking tense… If you are coming to Mexico, I would much more recommend your hanging around DF-Atenco and reporting that story which is about to begin. The APPO is (understandably) very distrustful of people it doesn’t already know. And we have enough hands on deck there to continue breaking the story. But what is about to happen in Atenco-DF needs more hands on deck.”

Brad replied that same night, undeterred:

thanks for the quick get back—i have a hd professional camera—i have heard reports about the level of distrust in oax and it is disconcerting—i think i will still go—i wont tell them you sent me and i am open to other suggestions on how to spend my time—i dont know what is happening in atenco in the coming days—i may connect with la otra capitulo dos somewhere along the way—great to hear from you—do you have a cell / phone number?
b rad”

I was not surprised that he decided to go to Oaxaca anyway. Brad had always taken risks: whether riding freight train box cars across the North American plain, or bunkering in his Fifth Street squat in 1996 when police and the wrecking ball invaded, his life had been one of courage. I gave him my cell phone number in case of emergency. He wrote back on October 7, three weeks ago:

“hey al
brad here—thanks for the contacts and info—i landed in df feeling
pretty ill and then came straight to oax and am plugged in—if you want to share your contacts down here it would be very helpful—i think I will stay down here for a month—nancy said you had a contact with a human rights lawyer who might help journalists not get deported – please help me with that information as well—i know you are busy and look forward to seeing more of your work
b rad”

In those emails are the words of a valiant compañero who, knowing full well that this story could be his last, decided to share the risks with the people whose cause he reported.

Also sharing the risks today in Santa Lucia El Camino, Oaxaca was photographer Oswaldo Ramírez of the daily Milenio, wounded by gunfire. It was Milenio reporter Diego Osorio who confirmed the news of Brad’s death at 4:30 this afternoon. He also said that in another corner of the city, outside the state prosecutor’s office, gunmen fired at other APPO members, that three were wounded, and that one schoolteacher is reported dead, but was unable so far to confirm that report.

Photo: D.R. 2006 El Universal
Brad Will was known and liked throughout the hemisphere, and in its media centers from New York to Sao Paulo to Mexico City. Tonight his body lies in the same Oaxaca morgue he visited and wrote about last week. He will not go silently into the long night of repression that the illegitimate governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, President Vicente Fox and his illegitimate successor Felipe Calderon have created in Oaxaca, and, indeed, in so much of Mexico. It was inevitable that soon an international reporter would join the growing list of the assassinated under the repressive regimes of Mexico (others had already been raped and beaten in Atenco, only to be deported from the country last May). Tonight it was Brad, doing the responsible and urgent work, video camera in hand, of breaking the Commercial Media blockade.

Speaking at a public meeting of the Other Campaign in Buaiscobe, Sonora, when the news came in about Brad’s death, Zapatista Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, upon receiving a briefing of the day’s events in Oaxaca, told the public and the press:

“We know that they killed at least one person. This person that they killed was from the alternative media that are here with us. He didn’t work for the big television news companies and didn’t receive pay. He is like the people who came here with us on the bus, who are carrying the voices of the people from below so that they would be known. Because we already know that the television news companies and newspapers only concern themselves with governmental affairs. And this person was a compañero of the Other Campaign. He also traveled various parts of the country with us, and he was with us when we were in Yucatán, taking photos and video of what was happening there. And they shot him and he died. It appears that there is another person dead. The government doesn’t want to take responsibility for what happened. Now they tell us that all of the people of Oaxaca are mobilizing. They aren’t afraid. They are mobilizing to take to the streets and protest this injustice. We are issuing a call to all of the Other Campaign at the national level and to compañeros and compañeras in other countries to unite and to demand justice for this dead compañero. We are making this call especially to all of the alternative media, and free media here in Mexico and in all the world.”

Tonight, from the Oaxaca City Morgue, Brad Will shouts “Ya Basta!” – Enough Already! – to the death and suffering imposed (as Brad, a thoughtful and serious anarchist, understood) by an economic system, the capitalist system. His death will be avenged when that system is destroyed. And Brad Will’s ultimate sacrifice exposes the Mexican regime for the brutal authoritarian violence that the Commercial Media hides from the world, and thus speeds the day that justice will come from below and sweep out the regimes of pain and repression that system requires. Brad gave his life tonight so that you and I could know the truth. We owe him to act upon it, and to share the risks that he took. Goodbye, old friend. Your sacrifice will not be in vain.

Update, 10:30 p.m. Oaxaca: The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) has confirmed that schoolteacher Emilio Alfonso Fabián has died from three bullet wounds after an attack by shooters for Ulises Ruiz Ortiz outside the state government palace.

Kristin Bricker reported for this story from Sonora

"Death in Oaxaca" - Last Published Communique from Anarchist Companero Brad Will

Mexico, Oaxaca, New, York City Indymedia journalist Bradley Will killed by statwe forces

Federal Police and Paramilitaries Enter Oaxaca City: NYC Indymedia Journalist Killed

Mexico City reports that from Will's recovered videiotapes, they have identified his killer
as a paramilitary named Pedro Carmona, ex-president of Felipe Carrillo
Puerto de Santa Lucia del Camino, a colonia in Oaxaca.

October 27, 2006

An Open Letter to Demian Bulwa at the Chronicle

by Insurgent

On October 16th, Demian Bulwa at the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about my case. He wrote to me in prison and asked me what my impressions of his article were. What follows is the letter I sent him.

Dear Demian,

Thank you for sending me the article clipping and requesting my feedback. My only real complaint is the secondary headline, but I do realize that you likely had no say in that. By stating “Anarchist says he did not film attack on police officer,” I feel that the Chronicle does a disservice to its readers in two ways. For one, by shifting the subject to the injured officer, the headline neglects the fact that the subject of the grand jury investigation is the alleged attempted arson of an SFPD patrol vehicle and not the alleged assault.

This shift of focus to an injured member of the SFPD coupled with the term “anarchist” creates the impression that I am likely lying — which your own reportage describes as “an assertion that appears to be consistent with the police reports”. Furthermore, as I mentioned in our interview, we offered to screen the footage in-camera for Judge Alsop in an effort to verify, without a doubt, that I neither filmed the alleged assault nor the incident that is the subject of the Federal investigation.

Instead, the chosen headline evokes the assassination of William McKinley and other violent acts perpetuated by people who identified as anarchists. It sensationalizes the issue and suggests distrust where a more balanced headline would not.

Beyond the wording of the headline, I have few issues with the article you wrote. I feel that your choice of leads, “Blogger and anarchist…” is an attempt to sensationalize the issue, like the headline, and would be no more appropriate than pointing out that a journalist covering Palestine happens to identify as Muslim. This is especially true given that the word “anarchist” carries a diversity of meanings; it’s the sort of word I feel shouldn’t be used without a definition attached. To me, your syntax here demonstrates my thesis that there is an effort to demonize and discredit anarchism in much the same way as the campaign against communism throughout the Cold War.

The quotation you used from my blog is essentially accurate but may be taken somewhat out of context in that the “actions” referenced are the petty vandalism that occured and not the alleged assault of Officer Peter Shields. It is also important to keep in mind that the statement was made over a year ago, shortly after the demonstration occured.

Additionally, it seems worth mentioning that although FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler’s suggestion that there is “a huge difference [in finding potential witnesses] from a fishing expedition for anarchists” may be true; the one does not preclude the other. Nothing in the article attributed to the FBI suggests that the FBI is not using this excuse as an opportunity to simultaneously gather broad intelligence on those participating in civil dissent and those who identify as anarchists.

The only other matter that I feel needs to be clarified is that of my project, which will help facilitate prisoners to blog. I do not want to “create a blog for prisoners” but am instead working to develop an organization that will allow those incarcerated to create and maintain their own blogs; the difference is subtle but significant.

Although this letter may seem quite critical of your coverage, I’m actually quite impressed with the depth of your report and appreciate your efforts to utilize a broad spectrum of sources to establish a comprehensive picture of the issues involved.

I look forward to your furture coverage of this case and encourage you to respond to this correspondence. I have decided to post this letter to my blog alongside a link to your article. If you do have an opportunity to respond, please let me know what, if anything, I can post on my site and I will gladly respect what you request.

Thanks again for the coverage,


An Interview with Cindy Sheehan 10/24

We all know that the Vietnam War ended when Congress cut its funding. There is a bill that has been sponsored by Rep. Jim McGovern, (D-Ma) HR4232 that cuts funding to leave our troops in Iraq, but he has very little support and even a smaller chance of getting it to the floor for a vote. I believe that most representatives don't support the bill because they will be accused of "not supporting the troops." I believe that it is not supporting the troops to leave them in that nightmare.

-The Antiwar Movement and Independent Politics: An Interview with Cindy Sheehan

Sheehan: Yes, well the group is called Progressive Democrats of America. They have had no problem with me endorsing third party candidates. I completely support a viable third party. I don't know if PDA's position is holding up an independent antiwar party as much as the mainstream Republican and Democrats are.

Peace and Freedom favorite 3rd party of student voters

October 26, 2006

Results of a statewide mock student election released today show Peace and Freedom Party leading all other third party candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate.

Marsha Feinland, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for U.S. Senate, has 17.51% of the vote. Her Republican and Democratic rivals have 21.76% and 38.46%, respectively. The nearest third party candidate, Todd Chretien of the Green Party, has 11.62%.

Janice Jordan, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Governor, has 15.72% of the vote. Her Republican and Democratic rivals have 32.41% and 34.61%, respectively. The nearest third party candidate, Peter Camejo of the Green Party, has 8.95%.

The mock student election is conducted by the California Secretary of State. For more information about the mock election, you can visit http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/studentmockelection_06_results.htm.

For more information about the Peace and Freedom Party's Campaign 2006, visit http://www.peaceandfreedom2006.org.

The Worst Congress Ever, by MATT TAIBBI

There is very little that sums up the record of the U.S. Congress in the Bush years better than a half-mad boy-addict put in charge of a federal commission on child exploitation. After all, if a hairy-necked, raincoat-clad freak like Rep. Mark Foley can get himself named co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, one can only wonder: What the hell else is going on in the corridors of Capitol Hill these days?

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

To be sure, Congress has always been a kind of muddy ideological cemetery, a place where good ideas go to die in a maelstrom of bureaucratic hedging and rank favor-trading. Its whole history is one long love letter to sleaze, idiocy and pigheaded, glacial conservatism. That Congress exists mainly to misspend our money and snore its way through even the direst political crises is something we Americans understand instinctively. "There is no native criminal class except Congress," Mark Twain said -- a joke that still provokes a laugh of recognition a hundred years later.

But the 109th Congress is no mild departure from the norm, no slight deviation in an already-underwhelming history. No, this is nothing less than a historic shift in how our democracy is run. The Republicans who control this Congress are revolutionaries, and they have brought their revolutionary vision for the House and Senate quite unpleasantly to fruition. In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."

The end result is a Congress that has hijacked the national treasury, frantically ceded power to the executive, and sold off the federal government in a private auction. It all happened before our very eyes. In case you missed it, here's how they did it -- in five easy steps:
Continued here

NBC's Jay Leno Seen Breaking the Law with the Governor?

While LAist hasn't really made up our mind yet who we're voting for in the Governor's race, it looks like Jay Leno has.

In an bizarre move, the Tonight Show invited Governor Schwarzenegger on the air yesterday as a guest on the show -- in the middle of a close race. But for some reason they didn't invite the Democratic candidate Phil Angelides, which has prompted Angelides' team to begin an online protest, demanding equal time.

Not only does LAist agree that the late night NBC talk show, based in LA, owes it to Mr. Angelides, but we believe that the other candidates running for the top seat also deserve just as much time as Arnold got. And in the same fashion: alone with Jay during the same part of the show. It's only fair.

Peter Camejo, who was nominated by the California Green Party, Art Olivier of the California Libertarian Party, Janice Jordan from the Peace and Freedom Party, and Edward Noonan from the American Independent Party, all deserve equal treatment by Jay and equal time.

Not only that, but since the following Californians filed a statement of intent with the Secretary of State to be allowed as write-in candidates, we believe that they should also get the exact same treatment as the Governator got: Mary Carey (Independent), George Fellows (Independent), James Harris (Socialist Workers), Eric "Moose" Mahoney (Independent), Aaron Proctor (Independent), Daniel Sage (Independent), Elisha Shapiro (Nihilist Party).

If the "Tonight Show" does not allow all of these official candidates on the show in exactly the same manner that the incumbent was allowed on the air, aired to all California voters on free broadcast network television, LAist believes that Jay Leno, "The Tonight Show", and NBC have a bias towards Mr. Schwarzenegger, and are willing to give him, and only him, valuable and free tv time on the most popular late night show on television.

We also believe that if they don't give all of these candidates the same air time and equal treatment that NBC is in violation of the law. Equal treatment should include announcing that each of these candidates will appear on the show the same way that NBC announced Arnold's appearance -- through tv spots that occured nationwide during other NBC shows.

If NBC tries to group each of these candidates together in some stupid comedy bit, and doesn't allow each of them to have just as much time as the Governor got -- with each of them sitting alone in the prime seat right next to Jay -- we will believe that NBC and Jay Leno have an agenda against those other candidates, and we will also believe that NBC and Jay Leno don't believe in the basic American standard that each candidate is just as important as the next, and all deserve to be treated with the same respect.

As it stands right now, it appears that Jay Leno and NBC only believe that the Republican candidate deserves to be seen on tv. We look forward to seeing this corrected.

Posted by Tony Pierce


Wake Up And Save Your Country is proud to present "Cheated!", a graphic novel of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, drawn from documentary films and photographs and designed to inform, infuriate and activate anyone who cares about the state of democracy in America.


by Danny Schecter, Media Channel

1. Both wars were illegal acts of pre-emptive aggression unsanctioned by international law or world opinion.

2. Both wars were launched with deception. In Iraq it was the now proven phony WMD threat and contrived Saddam-Osama connection. In Vietnam, it was the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident and the elections mandated by the Geneva agreement that were canceled by Washington in l956 when the U.S. feared Ho Chi Minh would win

3. The government lied regularly in both wars. Back then, the lies were pronounced a "credibility gap." Today, they are considered acceptable "information warfare." In Saigon military briefers conducted discredited "5 O'Clock Follies" press conferences. In this war, the Pentagon spoon-fed info at a Hollywood style briefing center in Doha.

4. The U.S. press was initially an enthusiastic cheerleader in both wars. When Vietnam protest grew and the war seen as a lost cause, the media frame changed. In Iraq today most of the media is trapped in hotel rooms. Only one side is covered now whereas in Vietnam, there was more reporting occasionally from the other. In Vietnam, the accent was on progress and "turned corners." The same is true in Iraq.

5. In both wars, prisoners were abused. . .

6. Illegal weapons were "deployed" in both wars. The U.S. dropped napalm, used cluster bombs against civilians and sprayed toxic Agent Orange in Vietnam. Cluster bombs and updated Mark 77 napalm-like firebombs were dropped on Iraqis. Depleted uranium was added to the arsenal of prohibited weapons in Iraq.

7. Both wars claimed to be about promoting democracy. Vietnam staged elections and saw a succession of governments controlled by the U.S. come and go. Iraq has had one election so far in which most voters say they were casting ballots primarily to get the U.S. to leave. The U.S. has stage-managed Iraq's interim government. Exiles were brought back and put in power. Vietnam's Diem came from New Jersey, Iraq's Allawi from Britain.

8. Both wars claimed to be about noble international goals. Vietnam was pictured as a crusade against aggressive communism and falling dominos. Iraq was sold as a front in a global war on terrorism. Neither claim proved true.

9. An imperial drive for resource control and markets helped drive both interventions. Vietnam had rubber and manganese and rare minerals. Iraq has oil. In both wars, any economic agenda was officially denied and ignored by most media outlets.

10. Both wars took place in countries with cultures we never understood or spoke the language. Both involved "insurgents" whose military prowess was underestimated and misrepresented. In Vietnam, we called the "enemy" communists; in Iraq we call them foreign terrorists. (Soldiers had their own terms, "gooks" in Vietnam, "ragheads" in Iraq) In both counties, they was in fact an indigenous resistance that enjoyed popular support. (Both targeted and brutalized people they considered collaborators with the invaders just as our own Revolution went after Americans who backed the British.) In both wars, as in all wars, innocent civilians died in droves.

11. In both countries the U.S. promised to help rebuild the damages caused by U.S. bombing. In Vietnam, a $2 Billion presidential reconstruction pledge was not honored. In Iraq, the electricity and other services are still out in many areas. In both wars U.S. companies and suppliers have profited handsomely; Brown &Root in Vietnam; Halliburton in Iraq, to cite but two.

12. In Vietnam, the Pentagon's counter-insurgency effort failed to "pacify" the countryside even with a half a million U.S. soldiers "in country." The insurgency in Iraq is growing despite the best efforts of U.S. soldiers. More have died since President Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" than during the invasion. The insurgency in Iraq is growing despite the best efforts of U.S. soldiers. More have died since President Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" than during the invasion.

The Vietnamese forced the U.S. into negotiations for the Paris Peace Agreement. When the agreement was continually violated, they brilliantly staged a final offensive that surprised and routed a superior million-man Saigon Army.

Can the Iraqi resistance do the same?

October 26, 2006

Nicaragua set to outlaw abortion

Nicaragua is expected to approve a law that outlaws all forms of abortion today.

Leaders from the Roman Catholic church have helped to draft legislation outlawing abortion in all cases, including cases of rape and abortion to save the pregnant woman's life.

The legislation has been supported by all parties, who want to attract votes from the majority Catholic population. El Salvador and Chile have had similar laws in place since the 1980s. Most Latin American countries allow abortion only in cases of rape and medical emergency. This law will add Nicaragua to the 34 other countries across the world who have an absolute ban on abortion.

The new law will carry a prison sentence of 6 to 30 weeks for any women who abort their pregnancies, as well as any medical staff who perform the procedure.

Haitian death squad leader ordered to pay $19 million to torture survivors

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2006


Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, the former leader of Haiti's notorious death squad known as FRAPH, has been ordered to pay $15 million in punitive and $4 million in compensatory damages to three women who survived rape, other torture and attempted killing committed by paramilitary forces under his command. U.S. District Court Judge Sidney H. Stein, of the Southern District of New York, awarded the survivors a total of $19 million in damages after hearing testimony from the women and expert witnesses. The damages award was entered late yesterday.

The Court previously found Constant liable for torture, including rape, attempted extrajudicial killing, and crimes against humanity carried out as part of FRAPH's reign of terror during the period of military rule in Haiti from 1991 to 1994. The judgment, entered August 16, 2006, marks the first judgment where someone has been held accountable for the state-sponsored campaign of rape in Haiti. In yesterday's order, Judge Stein stated, "Though no price tag can be placed on the atrocities visited upon these plaintiffs and other innocent civilians by FRAPH, plaintiffs are indeed entitled to monetary compensation and the Court will therefore
grant it..."

Constant fled to the United States in December 1994. Despite the outcry from the Haitian community and human rights organizations, he lived and worked freely in New York until he was arrested in July 2006 in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in Suffolk County, NY. He remains in jail awaiting a criminal trial on charges of grand larceny, forgery and
falsifying business records.

The U.S. government moved to deport Constant in 1995. However, after he disclosed on 60 Minutes that he had been on the CIA payroll during the period when FRAPH was formed, he was released from detention [by Bill Clinton] and has been allowed to remain in the U.S.

The lawsuit was filed in December 2004 by the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the three women, all survivors of torture at the hands of FRAPH. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP acted as pro bono co-counsel in this matter. Due to an on-going fear of reprisals, the plaintiffs had to submit their testimony anonymously. Two of the women testified in open court behind a screen.

During the hearing, Trinity University professor Robert Maguire testified that FRAPH worked closely with the Haitian Armed Forces and did the military's "dirty work" in committing widespread human rights abuses and that FRAPH was "the muscle." Ivor Samson of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP argued in his closing that in addition to compensatory damages, the court should also award punitive damages to punish Constant for his wanton, oppressive and malicious actions. A punitive damages award would send a message from the international community that Constant’s conduct will not be tolerated, and that U.S. courts, through laws such as the Alien Tort Statue and the Torture Victim Protection Act, can play an important role in discouraging and deterring future abuses.

Green Politics: Anti-War Washington Senatorial Candidate Says Dems Tried to Bribe Him Not to Run

The Green Party nominee for Senate in Washington is Aaron Dixon. Last week, Dixon was arrested at a local television station for entering the lobby and demanding that he be included in that station’s televised debates between Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell and Republican Mike McGavick. Aaron Dixon joins us now from a studio in Seattle.

* Aaron Dixon. Green party candidate for Senate in Washington State.

AMY GOODMAN: Aaron Dixon now joins us from a studio in Seattle. We welcome you to Democracy Now!

AARON DIXON: Hello, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Well, describe what happened.

AARON DIXON: Well, on the day of the debate, I and 50 volunteers and supporters from our campaign went down to KING 5 TV studios. While the supporters were outside, I saw an opportunity to go in the door where the debate was taking place, and I went in, and I was confronted by several security personnel. At that point, I requested that I be allowed to participate in the debate, because I am running for U.S. Senate. They refused, and I asked to speak to a supervisor, someone that was in charge, so that I could explain to them why I felt that I should be included in the debate. After being given the runaround for several minutes, they called the police department, and the officer showed up and said that he would have to escort me out. I told him that I refused to leave, and then I was arrested.

AMY GOODMAN: And what were you charged with?

AARON DIXON: Well, I wasn’t really charged with anything. They said that they were arresting me for being on the premises without permission.

AMY GOODMAN: Because it’s private property?



AARON DIXON: It’s owned by a large corporation. It used to be owned by the Bullitt family. I’m not quite -- Belo owns it now. thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: I am looking at the video footage now, and for our radio listeners, you can go on our website and you can watch Aaron Dixon being arrested. But it looks like there were a lot of people outside with signs that say, for example, "Let Dixon debate." Who were the people outside? How many were there?

AARON DIXON: There were about 50 supporters and volunteers of the Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, where does it stand right now? And what were the responses of the Democratic and Republican candidates to you being arrested, trying to participate in the debate?

AARON DIXON: Well, they totally ignored it. They didn’t say anything about the incident whatsoever.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you want to participate in the debate?

AARON DIXON: Well, because I felt that my voice needed to be heard, that there needed to be a different perspective than the perspective of the two parties that we hear from all the time, and that I felt that I should not be excluded merely because my campaign was not able to raise a million dollars.

AMY GOODMAN: A million dollars?


AMY GOODMAN: What were the requirements?

AARON DIXON: That was one of the requirements. That was one of the requirements, that you had to have --

AMY GOODMAN: Set by whom?


AMY GOODMAN: So they are determining who gets heard in this senatorial race?


AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your background, Aaron Dixon. Why did you get involved in Green Party politics? Where do you come from?

AARON DIXON: Well, I was a member of the Black Panther Party for ten years during the late ’60s and ’70s. And over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with at-risk youth and gang-involved youth. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to South America and participate in the World Social Forum in Brazil and Venezuela.

And when I was approached by the Green Party about running for U.S. Senate, you know, running as a political candidate is something that I never wanted to do, never felt that I had any inclination to do, but I felt that it was time in this country that we began to introduce the concept that we have a multi-party system and that we provide the American people with more choices than what we have now, particularly more progressive choices that are delivering a different type of message than the message that we get from the Republican Party and the Democrat Party.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you had any contact with the Democratic candidate, with Maria Cantwell? And what has been their response to your Green Party candidacy?

AARON DIXON: Personally, no. I haven’t had any response from her, but we have had responses from people in her campaign that have offered money for me to drop out of the campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, offered money? Who offered you money?

AARON DIXON: Well, there was a candidate, an antiwar candidate named Mark Wilson, and Mark Wilson and I had crossed paths on many occasions. He was running as a Democrat, and he had said in several instances that after the primary that he would throw his support my way. But about a month ago, Mark Wilson joined the Maria Cantwell camp, and shortly after that, he made a call to me personally and asked that if I would be willing to drop out, that they would raise -- that there were people in Maria's camp that would raise a lot of money for the nonprofit that I founded.

AMY GOODMAN: What is that nonprofit?

AARON DIXON: It’s called Central House. We work with at-risk youth, and we have a transitional housing program.

AMY GOODMAN: So they would throw a fundraiser for you, or they would just raise money for your nonprofit.

AARON DIXON: Yes, they would raise money for my nonprofit.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you consider this?

AARON DIXON: No. No, I didn’t. No, I didn’t consider that at all.

AMY GOODMAN: So, are you saying they tried to bribe you?

AARON DIXON: Yeah. I received at least three or four calls from Mr. Wilson and someone else in Maria Cantwell’s camp on a regular basis about dropping out.

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think they see you as a threat? How close is the race?

AARON DIXON: Well, I think because of what happened with Ted Lamont defeating --

AMY GOODMAN: Ned Lamont.

AARON DIXON: -- Ned Lamont, excuse me, defeating Lieberman, I think that there was some concern that, because of Maria Cantwell’s support on the war, that she would possibly be in trouble and that her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick, seemed to be running a well organized campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are your plans now? Are there any other debates planned? And how are you campaigning for Green Party candidate for Senate in Washington state?

AARON DIXON: Well, there is another debate scheduled for Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick in Spokane. I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do about that. But we have continued to run our campaign. We just finished a statewide tour, talking to a lot of rural communities. For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to concentrate our work in Seattle and outlining areas of Seattle and continue to campaign and work towards getting as many votes as we possibly can.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Aaron Dixon, I want to thank you very much for joining us, Green Party candidate for Senate in Washington state, joining us from a studio in Seattle.