Guantanamo on the Hudson

Police hold 1,000 at 'Guantanamo on the Hudson'

DEMONSTRATORS rallied at a makeshift detention centre dubbed “Guantanamo on the Hudson” yesterday after a night of skirmishes outside the Republican Convention in New York led to almost 1,000 arrests. The former bus garage on Pier 57 on the Hudson River in Manhattan has been converted into a holding pen and is now crowded with protesters picked up during street battles with police during a day of “direct action”. “In that building, there are pens 10-12ft wide ringed by concertina wire and they are putting 30 to 40 people into the pen at a time,” Katya Komisaruk, a lawyer from the National Lawyers’ Guild, said. She added that she had been barred from meeting detainees. “The people in that building have been chanting: ‘We want to see our lawyers. We want to see our lawyers’,” she said. “Their cellphones have been taken from them.” United for Peace and Justice, the group which called the demonstration, said that the building contained asbestos and spilt oil from its former use. One woman who had to sleep on the ground, the group said, was taken to hospital because of reaction to a chemical beneath the concrete floor.

The arrests came as protesters converged on police barricades surrounding the Republican convention at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night...


First pictures from inside Pier 57

Making Protest Painful: Detained RNC Protesters Held in Crowded, Oil-Contaminated Conditions

Hundreds of detained protesters remain in a holding facility in New York despite a judge's order to release them.

Protests against the Republican convention continued yesterday throughout New York City. The police arrested 19 people in separate incidents, bringing the total of those detained so far during seven days of relentless convention-related protests to more than 1,760 - a record for a political convention. Hundreds of people protested the conditions under which those arrested are being held before going to court saying the site was contaminated with oil and asbestos. Pier 57 is a three-story, block-long pier that has been converted to a holding pen. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has denied the city was operating what some called "Guantanamo-on-the-Hudson." And defended the use of the of the pier garage saying "It's not supposed to be Club Med."

Last night, a judge ordered protesters who had been held for 24-hours released with desk appearance tickets if they were not charged with serious crimes. Before midnight, some protesters started emerging from 100 Centre St. around the block from our firehouse studio. Some 200 supporters greeted them with cheers and offered food and medical treatment. Despite the judge's orders, a large number of protesters remain imprisoned...


NYPD Cracks Down On RNC Protestors

A day of organized protests at the Republican National Convention resulted in more than 1,000 arrests all over New York on Tuesday. As police sirens squealed through the evening twilight across Manhattan — with confrontations occurring from the Ground Zero site downtown to the New York Public Library on 42nd Street — many observers were left questioning what led to so many arrests, and how the arrested parties were chosen. As had been openly discussed by activists for weeks before the convention, August 31 was earmarked as the day when licensed marches would give way to covert, non-violent direct actions. Yet their plans were so thoroughly publicized on the Internet that a Tuesday-morning edition of The New York Times printed a map correctly forecasting many of the locations where such events were going to take place. And, as members of the New York Police Department are perfectly capable of opening a daily newspaper, an overwhelming presence of officers was prepared at every site.

Despite the fact that most actions remained non-violent as advertised, and contrary to negotiations with protesters at numerous locations that may have allowed those actions to continue, the NYPD ended up using a strategy of arrests, rather than containment. Spokespeople for the NYPD did not return MTV News' calls for comment at press time.


Thousands arrested in battle for New York

There have been complaints and plaudits for the New York police this week as they toiled to contain myriad protests that erupted in Manhattan, arresting almost 2,000 people over four days, but mostly managing to keep activists away from the Republican Convention. Once again yesterday, the streets of the city were coloured dark blue with the uniforms of thousands of police officers, and the skies vibrated with helicopters and a large NYPD airship as commanders braced for more noisy demonstrations on the last night of the convention, attended by President George Bush.

While many more people have been arrested than at the famously anguished Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968, there has been little serious violence, barring any ugly turn of events later last night. Most arrests have come when protesters marched without permits or blocked roads or pavements.


Police arrest more than 900

A massive wave of civil disobedience hit New York City yesterday as thousands of activists sat in the streets, screamed "Shut up!" to Fox News and attempted a march on Madison Square Garden to protest President Bush's administration and the Republican National Convention. More than 900 people were arrested during the planned day of "direct action" that began with protests at a GOP breakfast sponsored by Halliburton and culminated in the evening with a surreal scene at Herald Square where barricaded demonstrators yelled anti-Bush slogans as helicopters circled above and police loaded patrol wagons. While all this was going on around him, MSNBC's Chris Matthews broadcast his show, "Hardball," from the center of the square. Throughout the day, scores of police on motor scooters, bicycles and horseback rode from one demonstration to another, in some cases rounding up protesters, and even some bystanders, with orange netting.

Although police reported a few assaults on officers by protesters, and witnesses said some protesters were treated roughly, the chaotic day was largely peaceful. The activity was consistent with that of previous days, with peaceful demonstrations on a scale never recorded at a political convention.


A Federal Protective Service officer wears a riot helmet equipped with a in-helmet camera during a demonstration of security technologies at Police headquarters in New York City, August 25, 2004. Security agencies were showing their latest technologies to members of the media as they prepared for the Republican National Convention which begins in New York on August 30. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Robocop Now in Beta

Police at this summer's US political conventions are being outfitted with unblinking digital eyes connected to a wireless optic nerve. If you're in New York City when the Republican National Conventions kicks off next week, watch for police officers watching you with extra sets of megapixel peepers. The Federal Protective Service has outfitted patrol officers with helmets embedded with wireless video cameras. The images from the helmet-cams and traditional surveillance cameras mounted in federal buildings are streamed to a headquarters-on-wheels where deployment decisions can be made. "This is an added bonus," the service's regional director, Ronald Libby, told New York Newsday. "I want to know what he [a patrol officer] sees to make a decision. ... This takes the guess work out of it." According to the Newsday article, the signals are then encrypted and beamed to the Net via satellite for other officers to view via wirelessly enabled mobile PCs. The system is part of a larger digital video-surveillance system accessible via traditional Internet protocols. LiveWave Inc. provided the network capabilities through their FirstView product, a combination video encoder, camera controller and server that supports thousands of cameras, sensors, and users.

LiveWave was contracted to deploy the same technology in Boston for last month's Democratic National Convention.


New York Police Tighten Security as Terror Alert Names Targets

New York ``Hercules'' police teams wearing body armor and toting submachine guns surrounded the New York Stock Exchange today, one of five buildings in New York, Washington and New Jersey cited by U.S. officials as likely targets of an al-Qaeda bomb plot. Amid the clampdown, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and NYSE Chief Executive John Thain stood for about 20 minutes at the Broad and Wall streets entrance of the exchange, greeting employees as they passed with their green identification cards. ``The security has been unbelievable,'' said Brian Teague, 21, a University of Connecticut student working as a summer intern for the exchange. ``The police are everywhere.'' Thain repeatedly told reporters that today was ``business as usual'' at the 212-year-old institution, which closed for four trading days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Schumer said he and Thain were ``there to show solidarity with the people of the New York Stock Exchange and the people of New York City. New Yorkers are a plucky group.'' U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced the alert and identified the potential targets yesterday after intelligence authorities discovered al-Qaeda plans that Ridge described as unusually specific. The plot aims at major attacks on financial institutions symbolic of U.S. influence in the global economy, according to Ridge.


Tools of Crowd Control: Scooters and Mesh Netting

With no permit but an agreement with police commanders to keep sidewalks clear and not block traffic, antiwar marchers on Tuesday afternoon stepped off the curb near ground zero for a march to Madison Square Garden. But in less than 10 minutes, hundreds of the protesters were corralled behind orange mesh netting, folding their arms behind their backs to be handcuffed and crying out to police officers, "Why are we being arrested?" "What are the charges?" The arrests of roughly 200 people engaged in a peaceful rally emerged as a flashpoint yesterday, with civil libertarians complaining that the efforts to keep streets and sidewalks clear and not allow demonstrations near the Garden without a permit have come at the cost of First Amendment rights.

The police, on the other hand, argued that they have bent over backward to accommodate peaceful protesters even when they lack permits, and are forced to act when certain rules are broken.


Close-Range Video: Deployment of Orange "Freedom Netting"

Man Held for Coming Within Feet of Cheney

A 21-year-old Yale student, posing as a volunteer at the Republican National Convention, got within 10 feet of Vice President Dick Cheney and shouted anti-war statements before being dragged away, authorities said Tuesday. Secret Service Agent Shannon Zeigler said Cheney "was never in any harm or danger" during the incident Monday night in Madison Square Garden. The suspect, Thomas Frampton, was charged with assaulting federal officers and impeding the operation of the Secret Service.

Frampton was released on $50,000 bail and told to stay 100 feet from Cheney and President Bush. He also was ordered to give back a red convention volunteer's shirt he used to get into the arena, along with any convention passes.


Third-grader arrested for disorderly conduct

An Espanola third-grader was handcuffed and arrested by police after hitting another student with a basketball, the child's mother and her lawyer say. "The Legislature never envisioned that the law would be used to lock an 8-year-old in any jail, especially an adult jail," attorney Sheri Raphaelson said. "This is the most egregious example of poor judgment by police that I've ever seen in my 15 years of practicing law," she said. According to a juvenile citation for disorderly conduct, Jerry Trujillo was arrested Thursday and booked into the Espanola jail after he "got out of control and refused to go back to class."

Police Chief Richard Guillen, who was not at work Thursday, said he had few details but that officers "couldn't deal with" the boy before taking him into custody.


This image was taken from a training videotape, 'The People's Right to Know,' produced by the Defense Department to teach its employees how to respond to public requests for government information available under federal law. In the tape a narrator, made to resemble Sam Spade, Humphrey Bogart's character in the 1941 film 'The Maltese Falcon,' explains the government's rules about the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. (AP Photo/Department of Defense (news - web sites)

Protesters Allege 9/11 Terror Attacks Were Government Conspiracy

On the final day of the Republican National Convention, protesters gathered where the World Trade Center once stood to allege a massive government conspiracy and cover-up regarding the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The protest, which was part of the official "counter convention calendar" of events, alleged that the U.S. government needed an excuse to seize power in America, and it either allowed the terror attacks to happen or was actively involved in them. The afternoon event, sponsored by 911truth.org, was called "Vigil For Truth at Ground Zero." "[9/11] was an inside job, a fraud, a scam, equivalent of the [burning] of the Reichstag that led to a reign of terror across Nazi Europe. And it seems like that's what is happening now," protestor David Hylander told CNSNews.com. The burning of the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, in 1931 gave Adolph Hitler the opportunity to consolidate his power and suppress civil liberties. Hylander, from Vermont, carried a sign that featured a photo likeness of President George W. Bush as Osama bin Laden. The sign read, "Wanted for terror, murder: Osama 'Bush' Laden." The government has served as "the conspirators in this in order to unleash a reign of terror on the planet," Hylander said.

"We have seen stolen elections, the abrogation of international treaties, the escalation of the destruction of the planet" since 9/11, he added.


Zogby Poll: Half of New Yorkers Believe Government Complicity in 9/11

Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders Had Foreknowledge of Impending 9-11 Attacks and “Consciously Failed” To Act; 66% Call For New Probe of Unanswered Questions by Congress or New York's Attorney General, New Zogby International Poll Reveals On the eve of a Republican National Convention invoking 9/11 symbols, sound bytes and imagery, half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act," according to the poll conducted by Zogby International.

The poll of New York residents was conducted from Tuesday August 24 through Thursday August 26, 2004. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5. The poll is the first of its kind conducted in America that surveys attitudes regarding US government complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the acute legal and political implications of this accusation, nearly 30% of registered Republicans and over 38% of those who described themselves as "very conservative" supported the claim. The charge found very high support among adults under 30 (62.8%), African-Americans (62.5%), Hispanics (60.1%), Asians (59.4%), and "Born Again" Evangelical Christians (47.9%).


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