Daily Archives: September 5, 2007

Protesting Bush Outlawed At APEC

Authorities turn Sydney into a prison camp and refuse “permission” for main organizations to march, characterizing protest as “an unlawful act”

Prison Planet | Sep 4, 2007

by Paul Joseph Watson

Authorities have effectively outlawed protest at the APEC summit in Sydney Australia by refusing to grant “permission” for groups to march anywhere in the city, while quarantining part of the central business district within a 3-mile wide security fence.

Around 100 protesters were able to stage a demonstration outside Sydney’s main railway station today, but they were heavily outnumbered by police and media.

New South Wales (NSW) state Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione characterized the protests as “an unlawful act” during a press conference and urged others not to get involved.

The Stop Bush Coalition, which promises to bring around 20,000 protesters to the summit, have repeatedly been rebuffed by the authorities in their attempts to get “permission” to stage a march on their planned route, which is still several city blocks away from where the summit leaders will be meeting.

This what happens when laws are changed that mandate government “permission” to be able to protest the government, which is mirrored in Britain under the Serious Organized Crimes Act , the very inalienable right to free speech and protest itself is effectively outlawed or sidelined into obscurity by means of “free speech zones”.

“Police took court action on Tuesday to stop the march. The court adjourned the case until Wednesday, saying protesters had insufficient time to prepare for the case,” reports Reuters .

“We cannot sit on the sidelines while a warmonger like George Bush comes to our country,” protest organiser Alex Bainbridge told the “Stop Bush 2007” rally.

?We have put several route options to the police for the march and they have rejected all of them.?
“We are not going to be intimidated, we cannot stop defending our democratic rights, defending our civil liberties,” Bainbridge said.

Protesters and the public have been cautioned to stay away as Prime Minister John Howard took the unprecedented step of warning demonstrators against violence via You Tube video , while loyalists from the Murdoch-controlled Aussie media empire referred to protesters as “urban terrorists”.

However, it seems the only people gearing up for a fight are the police themselves.

Over 5,000 have been drafted in to patrol the city, including military troops as well as secret service personnel. Accredited photo journalists have been threatened for simply taking pictures of the security fence and residents are being harassed and asked to show their ID at checkpoints throughout the city. Armed jet fighter and helicopter gun ship patrols are whizzing around the skies as Australians get a chance to experience the kind of hellish measures that the would-be dictators attending APEC would like to impose on a permanent basis.

“Naturally, the Australian media, virtually across the spectrum, have repeatedly stated Howard’s hallucinatory claim that the presence of President Bush is not the reason why Sydneysiders and tourists are being asked for their ID, searched, detained for questioning, forced to move through the city via security checkpoints and have a massive ‘steel wall’ dividing their city in half,” reports the Orstrahyun blog .

No, don’t blame Bush, says Howard, on a daily basis, blame instead the threat posed by “violent protesters.”
Howard doesn’t seem to understand that the vast majority of the public know he is speaking absolute twaddle, and are all too aware that he is actively participating in a massive anti-protest psychological operation. A psy-op aimed solely at scaring away the tens of thousands of people who wish to publicly march in Sydney’s streets against the corpse-strewn foreign policies, and soon to be Australia-centric policies, of President George W. Bush.

Though no information on any credible threat of “violence” has been revealed, the government brazenly played up the imaginary menace in order to turn the city into a quasi-concentration camp.

Police revealed a most wanted list of just 25 names that they warned to stay away from Sydney, hardly an army of violent anarchists hell-bent on destruction.

Though if there is to be any trouble, we would be loathe to forget that the “black bloc” anarchist group has been completely infiltrated by the authorities and is routinely used as a front within which agent provocateurs instigate violence to give riot police the excuse to crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Last month, police in Canada were outed as they posed as violent anarchists during the SPP summit in Montebello. A You Tube video caught the undercover cops disguised as masked protesters wielding rocks and authorities were later forced to admit that they had infiltrated agents as a means of gathering intelligence on the protest groups.

APEC: road show of the ‘new world order’

Scoop | Sep 4, 2007

by David T. Rowlands

Three-metre high security fences, heart-stopping tasers, a bone-smashing water cannon, mobile prison buses and — perhaps most disturbing of all — the threat of automatic incarceration for randomly abducted protesters? Welcome to the growing international phenomenon of “population control”. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is in Sydney, and NSW security chiefs are telling you to follow orders, shut up and stay away. Prison cells are ready and waiting if you fail to heed the warning.

Perhaps Sydneysiders should not be surprised that harsh “crowd control” measures are accompanying the 2007 APEC meeting. APEC has always been the whip-wielding road show of the “new world order”, pushing a neoliberal free trade agenda and ruthlessly crushing dissent along the way. The harbour city’s residents are now getting a taste of what the disenfranchised masses of the colonised developing world regularly encounter — organised mass repression by militarised state security forces at the behest of imperialist masters.

Since 1993, when the first APEC meeting convened in Seattle, APEC has served the interests of major transnational corporations bent on securing unrestricted access to the natural and human resources of the developing world.

APEC purports to be a forum for global problem-solving and it is true that various peripheral, feel-good issues are debated from time to time. Yet, this is superficial gloss to cover the fundamental purpose of APEC meetings, which is to ensure that the poorer nations of the Asia-Pacific region remain de facto colonies of the wealthy.

Of course this is not an openly stated goal. But one need only observe the destructive impact of “free trade” policies to deduce their true intent: peasant farmers and indigenous groups thrown off their land by mining companies, the elimination of affordable generic medicines, and slave labour regimes in de-unionised sweat shops.

The one thing that can never be debated at APEC is the legitimacy of the free trade agenda, which has become a shibboleth in the post-Cold War era of capitalist triumphalism.

Free trade, according to its fundamentalist neoliberal proponents, is character-building medicine for the developing world. A liberalised, deregulated economy will teach the lazy and uneducated general population some fiscal restraint and responsibility. Free trade also fosters the right sort of “democracy”. Once locked into the US-dominated international financial system, it is far less likely that client regimes will entertain the thought of pursuing alternative development strategies.

Successive US governments, all beholden to the unaccountable private tyranny of corporate power, have ensured that the liberalisation of trade and investment remains the staple agenda item of every APEC meeting.

The Bogor goals of 1994 established APEC’s commitment to “free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies”. At subsequent APEC meetings, soothing-sounding euphemisms such as the “Osaka Action Agenda”, the “Manila Action Plan”, “Early Individual Action Plans”, “Voluntary Sectoral Liberalisation” have been employed to legitimise the rising tide of imperialist globalisation.

The Sydney meeting, September 2-9, will undoubtedly produce another contribution to the neoliberal mantra — another detailed plan, another mission statement, another fist in the face for the impoverished of the world.

It is no coincidence that the expensive ($600,000), lumbering, 12,000-litre water cannon aimed at anyone who dares to be on the street during the APEC curfew was manufactured in the US. The Bush administration has funnelled vast amounts of public money into direct subsidies and tax breaks for manufacturers of such “riot control” equipment. As a result, the so-called “security” industry is rapidly becoming one of the most profitable export sectors of the US economy.

Chemical irritants, stun guns, crowd barriers and a water cannon are tools of a foreign policy that cajoles, threatens and bullies governments around the world into getting tough with dissidents who question the morality, legitimacy and sanity of the US-led neoliberal ascendancy.

One of the leading US exporters of riot control vehicles is Security Pro US (SECPRO). SECPRO’s website proudly claims that its vehicles, which “include the latest in water cannon technology” are “helping police forces around the world”. SECPRO vehicles have already been used to crush protests in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. When will Australia be added to the list?

Protesters who dare to point out that free trade is creating massive disparities between rich and poor in the Asia Pacific region will be dealt with. Anyone who suggests that environmental degradation, nuclear proliferation, Indigenous marginalisation and genocidal wars of imperialist conquest are an unacceptable price to pay for “ecomomic growth” will be silenced.

Such talk will not be tolerated by the neoliberal elite, much less if it spills out onto the streets as the limos glide by. With the corporate media enthusiastically blaring on about “violent protesters” taking over the city, dissent has now effectively been criminalised.

Accepted without question by many corporate media outlets is the corresponding militarisation of police, a development that may well have profound consequences for us all long after the slick-suited 21 world leaders have jetted home.