Now look at it this way. The United States’ military budget is $636,292,979,000. Now, think about the “grave threats to our security” that neoconservatives are always rambling about–and realize that they spend a tiny percentage of this amount on their militaries:
Russia - $39,600,000,000 China - $70,308,600,000 North Korea - $5,500,000,000 Iran - $2,500,000,000 Venezuela - $4,000,000,000
In other words, we could cut military spending in half and we’d still be spending about three times as much as our “major threats” combined.
Since no terrorists showed up, those in charge of the heavily armed security forces chose to deploy their forces around those who were protesting.
Not everyone is delighted that 20 countries control 80 percent of the world’s resources. Several thousand of them chose to express their displeasure by protesting.
Unfortunately, the officials in charge thought that it was more important to create a militarized people-free zone around the G20 people than to allow freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or the freedom to protest.
It took a lawsuit by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU to get any major protest permitted anywhere near downtown Pittsburgh. Even then, the police “forgot” what was permitted and turned people away from areas of town. Hundreds of police also harassed a bus full of people who were giving away free food - repeatedly detaining the bus and searching it and its passengers without warrants.
“People have been saying mostly that the violence and any disruption by the protest were a small fraction, most protesters were peaceful. It was the police who started the violence and ended up finishing the violence. … It felt like a war zone. The police became more and more violent, taking over more and more of the street. I couldn’t get to my house even until 3am on Thursday. I saw multiple people that needed to have pepper spray washed out of their eyes. The police wouldn’t let students cross the street or enter their dorm rooms. I saw violent use of police dogs that were used to intimidate.”—Sean O’Sullivan, senior at University of Pittsburgh, on police violence at G20 summit (via redguard)
split off from the G20 march and built a small garden (framed in 2x4s) in the entrance of a Whole Foods parking lot protesting Whole Food’s corporate practices and cooptation of the green ethic. One woman and three men constructed a small garden in a matter of minutes! Even when security arrived and attempted to stop them, the protesters persisted in the building of the garden. Brilliant!
Police in Pittsburgh are using sound blasters and other non-lethal weaponry to ward off protesters at the G-20 summit. The sonic weapon is the LRAD or Long Range Acoustic Device, a super loud-hailer deployed by U.S. forces and famously used to fight off pirates.
According to the Guardian, LRAD is being used in two ways: as a megaphone to order protesters to disperse, and, when they disobey, as an “ear-splitting siren” to drive them away. This has happened repeatedly, with the crowd assembling again a few streets away. It’s one of a number of controversial tactics being employed in the city; check out this video of a seeming “snatch-and-grab” arrest in the middle of a demonstration.
The sonic weaponry appears to be having a much greater effect thousands of miles from Pittsburgh, in Honduras.
A siege situation has developed in the capital Tegucigalpa, where ousted President Manuel Zelaya is holed up in the Brazilian Embassy. The security forces can’t launch an assault, but they are stepping up the pressure with sound blasters and psychological warfare tactics.
“Paramilitary squads now operating openly in the United States. Keep in mind that in other countries in the not-so-distant past, paramilitary squads did things the police could not do, including torture, murder and ‘disappear’ people.”—
and a protester on a bike outside the Cathedral of Learning (where my wife and I work) gets pushed by a cop and she THROWS her bike at the cop!!! Cops take her down. I am woman hear my bike hitting you bastard!!!