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by NYC-Ya Basta! & NYC-DAN
Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2001 at 7:30 AM
Concerning the attack on the Independent Media Center and Fascist/police coordination during the G8 Summit
errorThe Independent Media Center in Genoa City and a nearby schoolhouse "safe area" was attacked at midnight last night by police, aided, it appears, by mysterious elements disguised as anarchists who committed savage and bloody attacks on activists and independent journalists. This is the culmination of a systematic campaign of state violence against enormous and overwhelmingly peaceful protests against the G8 summit here.
We were in the Carlini stadium which was where Ya Basta! was camped out when the attack occured - most of the major tutti bianci and other contingents were already gone, there were only about three or four hundred people left there at 1 AM when we got news of the IMC attack. We were told to get our things and walk up to a different camp about twenty minutes walk away while Ya Basta! assembled journalists and parlaimentarians whose presence would protect us, as our camp was definitely next. Apparently the cops did show up an hour after we took off, and completely trashed the place; after searching everything, they opened the camp to a bunch of junkies who then went through all the remaining bags and tents and made off with or destroyed everything of value.
The cops have been working with a lot of low-life elements: the big story today is of a group of about fifty "Black Bloc" types who none of the other anarchists knew who always showed up and started acting extremely violently right before the cops arrived to gas and attack peaceful protestors. In some cases this reportedly caused actual fistfights with other Black Blockers who were trying to stop them from attacking small shops or other illegitimate targets. The main question people are asking is whether they were cops or fascists working with the cops - the question may be moot if reports are to be believed that the top story of the local carabinieri HQ here is covered with swastikas and fascist symbols.
The story with the IMC: a couple minutes before midnight according to an eyewitness account from someone from RTS New York, a band of 50 "anarchists" in suspiciously uniform black clothes, bandanas and halmets appeared on a corner near the IMC, coming from the direction of a police position, started overturning dumpsters, and vanished again. At exactly midnight a major police convoy appeared and bashed down the gate of the IMC with a van; people on the street who tried to form a line were beaten bloody with truncheons; at the IMC itself they had to produce a warrant and behave in a fairly civilized fashion, simply ripping tapes out of cameras, appropriating files and smashing computers - largely because the IMC was given the space by the city government and at least one minister of parlaiment was present - but across the street, in a "safe space" in which many activists were sleeping or eating in a schoolhouse, they simply came in swinging and attacked everyone they could get their hands on. Most of the most savage beatings were again not done by uniformed police but by characters dressed in jeans and bandanas and helmets with 'police' written on their T-shirts, which had presumably been under the black sweatshirts all along. There was blood and broken glass everywhere inside; dozens were arrested, many carried off to the station in stretchers with broken limbs; today every third person you see in the IMC is wounded in some way - black eyes, arms in casts, gashes and cuts all over. Most are afraid to go to the hospital because the police have been removing people with unexplained wounds from hospital beds and throwing them in jail.
There were unconfirmed reports in the corporate media that three people were killed in the assault; most people today think this was mistaken (corporate media is hobbled in covering stories like this because most of them have a policy not to use independent media as a source. Apparently the BBC refused to run live footage of the police assault the IMC offered to supply them while it was happening because they claimed the event was "unconfirmed"!) A French journalist is looking into the matter of the "warrant" and believes that it was a fraud - no such warrant was actually issued. There are rumors that Amnesty International is going to take up the matter at the World Court at the Hague and specifically accuse the Italian government of fascism.
Considering the fact that the Berlusconi regime is already working in coalition with overtly fascist parties (ie,led by Mussolini's grand-daughter) the press is already beginning to talk of a fascist government. Many of the techniques employed here: the use of fake bomb threats, rightists posing as leftist terrorists to justify brutal oppression, were those employed in the '70s to repress Autonomia. However, what is happening here is obviously not just an Italian phenomena: techniques of repression are clearly being developed systematically, with new elements being added with every major action. For instance, the Italian police here used what were for them entirely new techniques here, such as the wall around the "red zone" and the systematic use of extremely powerful tear-gas, which were spearheaded in Quebec City in April; the use of agents provacateurs disguised as anarchists right before police attacks on peaceful protestors was used at least since Barcelona in June, where it was fully documented on film and acknowledged even by the corporate media; the use of live ammunition of course goes back to Gothenburg. It is important to note that after Gothenburg, Ya Basta! appealed to the government, saying that they were going to promise that no one associated with them engaged in any aggressive acts against either persons or property, and they were asking the police in return to agree not to bring live ammunition but rubber bullets and other relatively non-lethal arms. The police refused, and even publically announced a week before the summit that they were ordering body bags for dead protestors. The shootings and killings were not accidental: this was an intentional policy which goes back at least to the top of the Italian government but most likely to agencies like the US secret service which were ultimately coordinating the defense of the summit.
It is important to stress that the initiative for personal violence in just about every case we have looked into came from the police and not the protestors. On the 19th, there was a completely peaceful march of 50-60,000 people calling for international freedom of movement; since the police did not attack, there was no violence or property destruction of any kind. The next day there were to be four or five separate columns descending on the walled "red zone" ranging from the Tuti Bianci in whimsical foam rubber armor and giant plexiglass shields, reformist groups like ATTAC who had no intention of doing direct action of any kind, radical syndicalists, a theatrical "pink bloc" with wigs and feather dusters, and a pagan bloc teamed with Gandhian pacifists who performed a spiral dance ceremony. Every single one was attacked by the police, and always following the same pattern: first massive gassing similar to Quebec City, then baton charges meant to break bones and heads. The only group which was not attacked was the small "splinter group" within the Black Bloc which somehow mysteriously appeared in the middle of whatever group the police were about to attack next, destroying property randomly, and in some cases physically attacking people (including other anarchists) who tried to stop them, then somehow vanishing right before the cops began gassing. This group was never itself assaulted by the police, it seems, but every other one was at one point or another. If the police were intending to provoke mayhem, they succeeded: enraged protestors and many local citizens banded together to smash store windows and set fire to banks; in some places they even turned police violence back on the police, throwing rocks and bottles: there were several street battles, and in one of them, nearby where the Ya Basta! march was blocked by a police assault, local people, (real) anarchists and others combined forces to drive the police back and at certain points the police were definitely getting the worst of it; this is where a police officer shot one protestor through the eye and drove his van over him, killing him. Whatever the circumstances of the actual shooting (and it was not the only occasion in which police used live ammunition, others were, apparently, wounded by live bullets), the decision to incite violence and then arm police with live ammunition was made beforehand with full knowledge of the likely results, and in open defiance of desperate pleas from the protestors not to take that course. It is the Berlusconi regime and the international police networks who have been coordinating the repression of the movement who are responsible for the violence and death in Genoa, not any particular policeman, carabinieri, or even fascist. These men knew exactly what they were doing.
We have to coordinate an immediate response. We always knew that the hammer of the state would come down eventually. The movement has been growing too fast, and has been far too effective, to be allowed to advance further. Now it is happening. At this point it appears we have no choice: we must appeal, in every way possible, to civil society; to spread the word about what is happening, and to hold those responsible to account. It is already starting to happen in Europe and it is much harder in the United States where the press is so much more systematically biased against us, but this is a time to start playing every card we have - every connection or access to the power structure, time to start making phone calls, to start daily protests and even, if necessary, scrupulously non-violent direct actions against the media itself if it refuses to reveal what is actually happening here. We have to jam their email and phone banks, not to let them get away with lying about us any more. These things can be done. We can turn it around. We can stop the engine of repression in its tracks if our pressure is massive and overwhelming. Every time we read a story saying "police raid headquarters of violent protestors" we need to have a hundred letters sent demanding that they print the truth. We need to start calling the journalists responsible and demanding to know why they use the language they did and will not publish key information. To ask them: if you admit (as they often do in private) that police attacked overwhelmingly peaceful protestors, why is it they never say so? Be creative. Be disruptive. Absolutely refuse to go away.
Did you see any of this?
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Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2001 at 7:48 AM
Sunday, 22 July, 2001, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK
Analysis: G8 defensive as summit ends
By diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason
This year's G8 summit will unfortunately be remembered for the death of a demonstrator shot by police, and two days of the kind of violent protests which have come to mark international meetings of this kind.
The leaders of seven major industrialised countries, plus Russia, met behind steel barricades that sealed off a large area of the old centre around the port.
The unprecedented security reinforced the image of powerful politicians cut off from their own people and the world.
At the end of their meeting, the G8 leaders deplored the violence, loss of life and mindless vandalism.
They defended the right of peaceful protesters to be heard, but said a violent minority could not be allowed to disrupt their discussions.
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, responded angrily to the suggestion that the violence meant summits had to change.
It was turning democracy on its head, he said, to conclude that democratically elected leaders should not meet because people came to riot and throw petrol bombs at the police.
Nevertheless, the format of next year's summit in Canada is likely to change.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, said the scale of the meeting in the western province of Alberta would be reduced, with much smaller delegations.
The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said it would be held in a mountain resort in the Rockies, though Mr Chretien would not confirm that.
But this tactic for keeping away violent demonstrators would contradict recent moves to open up the G8 summit to a wide spectrum of civil society.
It might also make the leaders look even more isolated.
This year the G8 leaders went to great lengths to counter the view that they were arrogant rich politicians who did not care about poor countries.
The overall theme was fighting global poverty; as the final communique put it, making globalisation work for everyone, especially the world's poor.
New initiatives were announced. There was a programme to help developing countries develop the use of information technology, an effort to bridge the digital divide.
A plan for Africa set out a partnership between the G8 and a similar number of African countries.
Several African presidents were invited to Genoa to take part in one of the sessions.
The G8 pointed to progress in the number of highly indebted countries qualifying for debt relief - 23 now, compared with only nine a year ago.
The total relief in due course should amount to more than $50bn dollars. Some of it will be directed into basic education and health.
The summit also saw the formal launch of a global fund to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. Promised contributions so far are a little more than $1bn dollars.
The response from campaigners was that the amount was hopelessly inadequate, chicken feed compared with the scale of modern western government spending.
On debt relief, only unconditional cancellation of all debts would satisfy them.
The big powers also set conditions. Aid depends to a greater or lesser degree on respect for democracy in the recipient country - the rule of law, economic reform and efforts to stamp out corruption.
That has to be borne in mind when this year's host, Mr Berlusconi, says the G8 does not want to govern the world or impose its will on other countries.
It may not literally impose, but it certainly believes it knows the way things should be done.
Global warming was the issue on which the countries of the G8 clearly could not resolve a basic disagreement among themselves.
There was no shift in President Bush's rejection of the Kyoto treaty; no shift in the European Union's determination to ratify it.
The G8 leaders said they would nevertheless work together to stabilise emissions of greenhouse gases; the Americans shared this objective.
Mr Bush said they were serious about it and were working out a strategy to do just that.
The fact remains that the United States will not accept internationally binding limits on gas emissions. That is a gaping hole in international action.
The Genoa summit as such can hardly be blamed for failing to bridge the gap. If the G8 were still an informal gathering of leaders exchanging ideas, the original fireside chat at Rambouillet in 1975, it would not matter.
But the clock cannot easily be wound back. The G8 summits have become huge events laden with unrealistic expectations. Inevitably, these are never met.
Even if the politicians could manage without the publicity, a media black-out would bring charges of secrecy and unaccountable behaviour.
The governments are engaged in messy compromises; while campaigners operate on certainty and passionate conviction.
They are never going to see things the same way.
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by Marc de Logeres
Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2001 at 11:51 PM
none 120, Av. Victor Hugo. 92170 Vanves. FRANCE
I am UTTERLY DISGUSTED by the NAZI-LIKE POLICE VIOLENCE used by the Italian "police"(fascists Storm-troopers?)during the equally nazi-like IMC summit! ALL citizens of the entire Planet must stand up and fight this heinous big business world dictatorship! If they go on mercilessly killing innocent people like this, then ANY KIND of action should be justified against them! Keep up the good work! The one, single big fear of those ignoble dictators is to be publicly exposed in all their criminal gory!! Good luck to you all at INDYMEDIA!
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by Reverend Llyr
Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2001 at 11:32 AM
I cannot speak for what we could have done, or what should have been, but there is still tomorrow and what we can still do to ensure freedom for future generations.
Next year the G8 Summit will be in an inaccessible area of Canada. Perhaps we should bring our protests by the thousands to the homes of those in attendance. They are deciding the fate of our children; let us protest at the homes and schools of their children so they know what their parents are doing.
No Justice, No Peace.
To be heard one must first be seen, to be seen one must be noticed, and to be noticed, one must be able to affect the lives, well-being, and environment of those who would listen.
If we cannot affect their lives, then we cannot hope that they will listen.
Let the leaders of industry hear us.
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