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SAVE THIS DATE October 7, 2001 for the FIRST ANNUAL RABBLE-ROUSER ROUNDUP FAT CAT SCHMOOZEFEST to benefit The Texas Observer AT LA ZONA ROSA Austin, TX 7-11 P.M. CO-HOSTED BY FEATURING Molly Ivins Marcia Ball Jim Hightower James McMurtry Kinky Friedman Special Guests TICKETS $15.00 $49.95 TICKET INFORMATION HOT JUMBO BAGEL CAFE ee BAKERY 307 W. 511-t ST. AUSTIN, TX 512.477.1137 Backlash, continued from page 9 Clampdown USA The same safety and security concerns that have been used to justify eco-terrorism laws have also been used to justify crackdowns on activists in the streets at mass demonstrations. This has included massive fences around demonstration sites, confiscation of protest materials like signs and banners, and border closings. Increasingly, it has also included the use of pre-emptive arrests, trumped-up charges, and prohibitive bailpractices in which U.S. courts have been alarmingly complicit. Large protests like the ones in Seattle, D.C., Prague, Melbourne ; Quebec and Genoa are organized by loose networks of individuals and organizations representing a variety of issues, from unions to environmentalists, debt-relief advocates to anarchists. It’s a relatively decentralized process, but some spokespersons have emerged. At the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia last summer, police arrested two of these people, John Sellers and Terrence McGuckin, and accused them of masterminding clashes with police. Lacking any substantial evidence against the two, officers could only report that the men had been observed using cell phones during the time period of the demonstrations. They were deemed a security threat and kept in jail the entire week until the demonstrations endedon misdemeanor charges. Sellers, an organizer of the Ruckus Society, was held on $1 million bail, and McGuckin, a Philadelphia resident, was held on $500,000 bail. All charges were later dropped, but Sellers and McGuckin have filed separate federal lawsuits saying that the arrests and bail were meant to prevent political speech. At last year’s demonstration against the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C., up to 500 demonstratorsalong with several bystanders and tourists were arrested en masse at a peaceful rally held the night before the scheduled demonstrations. Dozens of police surrounded the confused group, systematically applied plastic handcuffs, and bussed them off to several D.C. area jails. Virtually all of those arrested were released the next day with no charges filed, but the massive, unprovoked arrest had the apparently desired effect, causing confusion and disarray on the eve of the major action, and physically removing hundreds of bodies from the first day’s demonstrations. Similar tactics have been used against independent media that report on the crackdown. At the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in Quebec last April, police security plans for the protest were leaked and anonymously posted on the Seattle Independent Media Center website. Citing security concerns, the FBI obtained a court order requiring the Seattle IMC to hand over their computer server logs, which identify everyone who visited the website that weekend. The order also prevented the Seattle 1MC from publishing anything about the FBI’s actions.The FBI withdrew the court order on June 14, 2001long after the protests ended. Silenced Megan Lewis said her 10 days in the Dallas County jail weren’t as bad as she expected.The jail time and hundreds of dollars in fines were the easy part of her sentence, she said. The hard part will be abiding by the “no animal rights protests” clause of her sentence, and staying silent on something that is such a huge part of her life. “I guess this is why I’m going to go to law school,” she said. “I have a feeling this happens more than we know.” Observer intern Will Potter is an activist and writer living in Austin. 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9/14/01