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Alleged Bomb Threat Blocks IndyMedia Satellite Transmission

by Rob Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2000 at 10:12 PM

The Los Angeles Police Department has informed the Independent Media Center, Shadow Convention, and other occupants of the Patriotic Building in downtown LA of an alleged bomb threat. The IMC, which occupies the 6th floor of the building, was informed of the threat around 5pm on Monday afternoon. The police have cordoned off the building's parking lot, which is preventing the IMC from broadcasting the satellite transmission of its daily live TV show, Crashing the Party. LAPD have also mentioned a possible evacuation of the building.

Alleged Bomb Threat ...
vwbomb.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x275

The Los Angeles Police Department has informed the Independent Media Center, Shadow Convention, and other occupants of the Patriotic Building in downtown LA of an alleged bomb threat. The IMC, which occupies the 6th floor of the building, was informed of the threat around 5pm on Monday afternoon. The police have cordoned off the building's parking lot, which is preventing the IMC from broadcasting the satellite transmission of its daily live TV show, Crashing the Party. LAPD have also mentioned a possible evacuation of the building.

The LAPD received the tip, a description of a vehicle that police said matched the IMC's VW van, from an unknown source at their command post. A member of the National Lawyer's Guild reported that police told her they received the tip this morning, but did not arrive at the Patriotic Building until late afternoon, moments before the live broadcast of the IMC's Crashing the Party. Their presence blocked Indy Media from accessing its satellite transmission equipment, necessary to relay the program to television networks.

The county police, responding to orders from the LAPD, cordoned off the parking lot and detained 3 activists involved with radio operations of the Independent Media Center. According to Ben Rosenfeld of the National Lawyer's Guild, who witnessed police activities, the county police searched the van without waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. He said the police found no evidence and announced that they would release the detained activists.

Soon after, they reneged on that statement, saying that the activists would be detained until the bomb squad arrived. For a time, the bomb squad refused to come to the scene, citing insufficient evidence. It is unknown what finally convinced them to come. Once initiated, county police claim that the bomb squad could not be turned back because of issues of "hierarchy." Another member of the National Lawyer's Guild expressed concern that protesters' First Amendment rights were being roundly violated by the police occupation.

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Same as 1996

by Tommy the Terrorist Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2000 at 10:29 PM

This is NOT the first time that police agencies have seized the media van to prevent independent coverage of protests regarding a Democratic National Convention. I give you these reports from 1996.

Date: Sun, 1 Sep 1996 23:29:56 -0500 (CDT) From: Dharma (dharma@suba01)

Subject: the brouhaha in Chicago

Subject: Re: Post to LTD as: A matter of conscience

Dave, the following isn't directly pertinent to LuckyTown, but I would appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few things about Counter Media and about what happened out in the streets of Chicago this week, if you don't mind posting to all you sent your intitial message to. The CounterMedia office was not raided Thursday but if you read on, you'll see why we fully expected it to be.

Counter Media is a group of media makers and individuals who got together about four months ago to gather and disseminate information about protests and actions taking place here in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. We planned five projects for the last two weeks of August: First we had a fundraising Unconventional Film & Video Festival, a two week shin dig showing flicks by and about activists such as "The Murder of Fred Hampton", "Gringo in Manana Land", "AIDSCREAM", and (Ms.)treating Prisoners. In all, we showed 26 films with discussions afterwards mostly led by the film makers' themselves. We also opened an office available to all national alternative media to use during the democratic convention to find the locations and directions of the many protests, etc. But mainly we were interested in facilitating the coverage of as many protests and acts of civil disobedience as we could find. Towards those ends, we worked with the national radio show "Making Contact" plus did both radio and TV broadcast of our own show "Off the Record." The last of which was uplinked through Deep Dish television to over 150 TV stations around the country. Not satisfied with that, we also developed a web site were we could give immediate updates on events as they occurred complete with pictures of scanned- in photos and stills from video.

Are you confused? Does this sound like a MEDIA project to you?

Apparently the Chicago police and whatever other law enforcement agencies that descended upon Chicago this week were unable to distinguish a camera from a bomb. Though we were doing nothing illegal and running a completely open office no law enforcement agency, to my knowledge, contacted us directly and asked us what we were doing. According to yesterday's Chicago Tribune, police claim activists were "posing" as journalists - and that "confused" them.

A few months ago it would have been illegal and embarrassing for the Chicago police to have several officers force their way inside of a media van full of videographers without a warrant while just ten feet from the front of a march of several hundred people, like they did this week to our clearly marked Counter Media van at the front of the Cash the Check march this week. But now a warrant is not needed because the police don't need a warrant when they "suspect" a bomb. Perhaps they thought the bomb was in the 35mm film cameras from which officers ripped the film out, exposing to light the images of them entering the van. They fell upon similar "suspicions" the very next day when they pulled over another Counter Media vehicle for "failure to use a turn signal." The videographer and driver were told that the vehicle which contained several individuals' video equipment and personal belongings was going to the FBI to make sure it didn't have "a bomb". By "bomb" did they mean the video tapes showing the illegal(?!) entry into our van the day before? Or the video of the arrest of yet another of our videographers at an abortion clinic during an Operation Rescue/Clinic Defense action? By "bomb" could they be talking about the video tape of several young black man from Henry Horner Homes, the housing project directly adjacent to the United Center where the DNC was taking place, rapping to us about the harassment by law enforcement prior to the convention: "They told us, there's *always* evidence. Even when there isn't evidence, there's *always* evidence." But what damage we did is done, our footage was edited and uplinked to public access and public TV stations all over the country.

Meantime we're still trying to deal with the damage the police did. The young black men that appeared on our TV show were arrested a few hours after they were interviewed in a sweep that all other media groups will tell you didn't happen -because they weren't there. We still haven't got the minivan or any of it's contents back. Charges are still pending against six of our camera people and as of today, we are still getting reports of individuals identified as involved with Counter Media being harassed and threatened by law enforcement. Many tapes were destroyed and cameras were purposefully broken as they were confiscated.

If all of this sounds deeply disturbing, perhaps you should take a breath before you read on. On the last day of the DNC, members of an anti-nuclear group who had been driving around a truck that has a mock-up cask showing how nuclear waste is transported were also arrested. Organizers of the Festival of Life, a week long free speech event taking place in two of Chicago's lakeside parks, were arrested in arrests that took place away from the crowds. The state's attorney is planning to prosecute them for trumped up federal offenses that carry up to two years in jail.

Just as the President's prime-time brouhaha began Thursday evening, one of the most disturbing events of all took place. Having assured themselves that no cameras were around, several police officers burst forth warrantless into one of the buildings leased for use to the Active Resistance conference. Active Resistance has been host to over 700 activists from throughout North America and Europe who came to Chicago to attend workshops and discussion groups on issues ranging from community organizing to alternative economics. Several participants report that when they demanded a warrant they were told, "We don't need a warrant, we believe you're conspiring against the US. Government." Police then proceeded to another property leased to AR, which was successfully evacuated prior to the officers arrival. Two people were hospitalized for pepper-spray injuries. Without a warrant and without arrests at either location, the police were able to successfully turn people from all over the world, terrified and without their belongings, out into the night streets and still maintain deniability that the raid took place at all. Yesterday's Chicago Tribune reports the police as claiming that the raid was a stunt caballed between Active Resistance organizers and Counter Media volunteers.

Considering that the 23 arrests we know of are spread among such a variety of groups (not including the Horner arrests), easily involving over 1500+ individuals, it remains to be seen how law enforcement intends to maintain deniability of the many violations that have taken place over the past few weeks.

This is the most accurate report I can give at this time. There is still information trickling in from the various individuals and groups involved. But since I worked in the CounterMedia office, where stringers were being dispatched, protestors were calling, faxing, and stopping by, and national alternative journalists were hanging out, I may be as likely a candidate as anyone to have a somewhat complete overview.

Dharma Dailey

CounterMedia Office Coordinator

CounterMedia (312) 243-8342. Fax: (312) 243-8406.

http://www.cs.uchicago.edu/cpsr/countermedia/ xmediax@ripco.com

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 29, 1996

Police Escalate Harassment of Independent Reporters, Activists

Freelancers, organizers charge pattern of intimidation and arrests intensifies

Independent media reporters from CounterMedia convened a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, at CounterMedia's offices in Teamsters' City, 1638 W. Van Buren, to discuss the arrest and police harassment of independent reporters and activists during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

On Wednesday evening, Chicago police stormed a media van occupied by stringers with CounterMedia, and moments later pulled them over again and illegally searched the van, threatening to ticket and arrest the driver and passengers for "not wearing seat belts." At the time, the freelancers were attempting to disembark and shoot tape of the Cash the Check demonstration at Damen and Washington.

Two cameramen, both members of the CounterMedia collective, have been arrested in the last 48 hours in two separate incidents while covering demonstrations around the DNC. One reporter, Edmund Nix, was arrested Tuesday morning while shooting tape at a west side women's health clinic during an Operation Rescue demonstration. Another, Jeff Perlstein, was arrested near the United Center Tuesday evening when he attempted to interview Henry Horner residents about residents' experience with the police.

Police have also repeatedly harassed members of Active Resistance, a progressive group which is holding counter-convention activities in Chicago during the convention. AR members say police have "visited" their activity site at least nine times in the last three days, have posted off-duty police officers near their space who have verbally harassed AR members and made obscene gestures at them, and have pulled over and attempted to intimidate AR conference attendees.

"I suppose we should expect this kind of behavior," says one CounterMedia volunteer. "After all, it's hard to expect these guys not to revert to true form, even though their superiors have mandated them to their `best behavior' during the convention. But this kind of police activity has a chilling affect on first amendment rights, and it needs to stop. We're very concerned about this pattern of harassment and intimidation, especially given the reputation of the department for brutality."

Perlstein, of Seattle, was arrested around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday evening, for disorderly conduct. Police claimed he had "crossed the line" without credentials just outside of the gate at the United Center's Lot E, the city's designated protest pit on Madison Street. Perlstein says the police ordered him off the sidewalk fronting the Lot E gate in an attempt to break up his taped interview of two children who live in the Henry Horner housing complex. Perlstein was on Madison St. awaiting the arrival of marchers from the Not on the Guest List! Coalition protest. When Perlstein stated to the officers that he had a legal, first amendment right to be on the sidewalk and tape local residents, he was put in handcuffs and taken to Precinct 13, at 937 N. Wood. He was released on bond at 1:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Earlier Tuesday morning, police arrested Edmund Nix of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, another CounterMedia video freelancer, at a clinic defense action at the A.C.T. Medical Center at 5714 W. Division. The clinic, which offers an array of health services including gynecological counseling and abortion procedures, was being blockaded by members of Operation Rescue. At about 10 o'clock, shortly after police arrested one pro-choice demonstrator, CounterMedia videographer Eddy Nix attempted to interview OR members after one pro-life demonstrator indicated to police that he should be removed. Police told Nix to leave, and when he produced his press pass, Nix was arrested and police confiscated his video camera. Nix was charged with disorderly conduct and released under his own recognizance forty-five minutes later.

Video tape of the incidents will be available at the press conference, and photos of the police actions are being posted up to the CounterMedia web site.

For further information see the main CounterMedia web site


Or my site's section on the topic


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Poor efforts

by Winston Smith Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 2:26 AM

Celereno Castillo, an ex-DEA agent who has hard evidence, and is himself a witness, of the CIA being directly responsibly for the crack inflamation of the 1980's in Los Angeles, and of LAPD involvement; was planning to release all of the evidence for free at the Shadow Convention. An ex-LAPD narcotics officer is one of the people on Cele's side. The bullshit bombscare is not a suprise at all, they don't want people to see real images of what they do on TV. Also I'll bet they are'nt happy about what Cele is doing at the Shadow Convention, some of them anyway, and they figure they can kill two birds with one stone, all they need is for someone to go and call 911 with a discription of the van and a report of it housing a bomb of some kind. This is the corrupt side of the LAPD, this is the group I did'nt hear on the apbnews.com police scanner all day. They were not looking for any bombs and it is obvious, sometimes I think a little kid comes up with their tactics. The CIA said they bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by mistake, they were using "maps that were four years out of date." Why would the Central "Intelligence" Angency be using maps that are four years out of date to bomb civilian infastrucure, in a part of the world of which things are canstantly being changed, and moved around. It is their business to know at least the fact that things change around in the Yugoslavia more often than here.

They were obviously bombing the Chinese Embassy on purpose, and they did'nt want to admit it on live TV, so they got a ten-year-old kid to come up with an idea for a good lie. Same scenario, this is a pathetically immature, and obvious, attack on Independent Media to silence the TV broadcast on cable, and they once again expect us to believe something that is obviously illogical and cannot be true. The question is, why are they so eagar to stretch the limits of the law? What are they trying to hide or protect?

The LAPD is now engaged in suspicious behavior. We could very well be witnessing a conspiracy in the works. My advice to all is to pay close attention to what happens where why and how in the next week of D2KLA.

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