G20 in Pittsburgh: Police State Ghost Town

By  Rob Kall

This is a slightly edited version of an article originally posted on OpEd news.
 
Pittsburgh is a ghost-town, emptied of workers and the usual pedestrians, but filled to overflowing with over 12,000 swat cops from all over the US.

Anti-war activist Bill Perry, a Viet Nam war veteran, has posted an incredible collection of images to flickr.

I spoke to veteran civil defense attorney Paul Hetznecker about how the police try to block photos from being taken at events-- one way, by segregating protesters to specified, distant areas. My take-away from that conversation: Take pictures. The police use photos and videos to craft false scenarios and lies. The best defense for protesters is to take still images and videos of police-- thousands of them. Get their faces, their shifting positions. This is one of the most powerful defenses when protesters are charged. The police will, otherwise, use photos to place you on the scene, to support charges of criminal conspiracy.

Bill writes, “G-20 Finance Ministers have robbed Pension Plans, Looted 401 k's, Foreclosed Mortgages, Smashed Dreams, and Ruined Lives, yet they get this sort of Police Protection:I know 3 Strike Shop Lifters doing "Life", while these Grand Master Thieves party on OUR dime.”

WHO ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS?

Take pictures. The police use photos and videos to craft false scenarios and lies. The best defense for protesters is to take still images and videos of police-- thousands of them. Get their faces, their shifting positions. This is one of the most powerful defenses when protesters are charged.

I spoke to a friend whose son lives in Pittsburgh. The city is locked down tight. He has been instructed to work at home. Stores are closed. One report says that over 12,000 police have been brought in and they are working 12 hour shifts.

Protesters have been given two remote locations to "protest at." I spoke with noted Philadelphia civil defense attorney Paul Hetznecker, on this and he observed that the idea of protest is to be where the people who need to hear the message are. He said that this nation was founded by protesters, that this new approach of blocking and hiding dissent and protest has been continued by the Obama administration.
 

The protesters in Pittsburgh are heroes, standing up to a government that has thrown out the constitution and embraced a police state. They are the scraggly line that keeps the US from leading the world to become a locked down, massively policed, safe place for corporatists to do as they please.

Every protester who marches without permission, facing arrest is a soldier, without armor, without tear-gas mask, without kevlar vest and knee and elbow pads, like these automaton-like robo-cops who travel from all over the US, probably as volunteers, getting a thrill, playing macho-cop so they can take pictures and Tivo themselves being tough. These out of state cops are neo fascists pissing on the constitution, erasing the freedoms the founders died for. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.