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Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Bride of RNC Protests

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo [Once again, a mixed bag of stories.--DC] ***** Ex-student arrested at RNC By
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2004
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      [Once again, a mixed bag of stories.--DC]

      *****

      Ex-student arrested at RNC
      By Mitra Taj
      mailto:city@...
      Arizona Daily Wildcat
      Wednesday, September 1, 2004

      Charges 'most serious' yet levied against any convention
      protester

      A former UA student is being held on $200,000 bail in New
      York City following a fight that erupted Sunday between
      police and protesters near the site of the Republican
      National Convention.

      Yusuke Banno, 21, is charged with assault in the first
      degree, assault on a police officer, reckless endangerment,
      riot in the first degree, resisting arrest, and hindering
      riot resistance and obstruction.

      Banno completed the spring 2004 semester at the UA as a
      political science junior before transferring to Prescott
      Community College. Banno was also a member of the Daily
      Wildcat staff during his freshman and sophomore years.

      An estimated 250,000 protesters were in the streets of New
      York on Sunday, the day before the RNC started.

      Of all the charges leveled against the approximately 500 RNC
      protesters arrested, those against Banno are "the most
      serious," said Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the
      Manhattan District Attorney's office.

      Though Banno isn't charged with arson, Thompson said Banno
      and others set fire to a giant papier-mâché dragon she said
      they were marching with on Sunday. When police officers
      threw smoke grenades and tried to arrest the arsonists, she
      said the group blocked police officers.

      Thompson said Banno fought with the police officer who
      attempted to arrest him and the officer's hand got caught in
      the burning float, resulting in third-degree burns and
      possible nerve damage.

      After his arraignment Monday, Banno's bail was set at
      $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash.

      Newsday reported that the two others arrested with Banno,
      Nicholas Klinovski and Nathan Eberts, are being held on
      $20,000 and $10,000 bond, respectively.

      But those who know Banno, who also goes by Josh, and were
      with him at the protest said he's being unfairly accused for
      his political beliefs.

      "Basically, it's a case of the cops criminalizing political
      dissent," said Patrick Bigger, a geography junior and
      longtime friend of Banno. "Josh is a good guy and he does
      really good things for communities; he fights to make
      communities better, not set them on fire."

      Banno's friend, Eric Richardson, 32, said he was with Banno
      when he was arrested.

      Far from fighting with police near the fire, Richardson said
      Banno raised his hands when an officer told him he was under
      arrest.

      Richardson said he, Banno, and other Tucsonans teamed up in
      small groups with people they knew to keep safe and had been
      following the papier-mâché dragon as a reference point so
      that they wouldn't get lost in the crowd of a quarter
      million people.

      Richardson said he and Banno were at the end of the dragon's
      tail when the fire started at the head.

      "As we started to run around it, it had a burst," he said.
      "I could feel the heat."

      Richardson said the two went through an opening in the
      street barricade to avoid getting burned.

      After they reached the sidewalk, a police officer grabbed
      Banno by his backpack straps and told him he was under
      arrest. "Josh never struggled," he said. "He just stood there."

      Banno's friends said they didn't expect the police to levy
      such serious charges against him and hold him on such high bail.

      "We didn't think anything of it," Richardson said. "Josh was
      very calm, it seemed to be one of those situations of
      'they're going to take him in and charge him with unlawful
      assembly.'"

      Walt Staton, a UA alumnus, former Wildcat reporter and a
      friend of Banno, said he was at Banno's arraignment Monday.

      He said the attorney "made things up" and tried to paint
      Banno as an anarchist from Arizona and chief orchestrator of
      the fire.

      But Staton said police picked Banno randomly.

      "They didn't know who did it and just grabbed people running
      away because they had no one to pin it on," he said.

      Chad Wellins, a political science senior, Wildcat delivery
      driver and friend of Banno's since high school said police
      might be trying to blame Banno for the fire because he's
      been politically active in the past.

      Wellins, who was in New York on Sunday said Banno was
      arrested three to five times before, but always for minor
      offenses like failure to obey or disturbance of the peace.

      In March 2003, Banno and two other students were arrested at
      the UA when they locked themselves to the railing of the
      Administration building to protest the news of a $1,000
      tuition hike.

      Charges against the three were later dropped.

      Wellins said he and Banno were arrested for stepping off the
      sidewalk at an anti-capitalist march at Freedom Plaza in
      Washington, D.C., in 2002.

      Wellins said the RNC protest was "insane."

      "I'd never been in a crowd so big in my life," he said.

      The dragon, Wellins said, was a good idea in theory. He said
      it was painted with words like "Iraq," "Afghanistan" and
      "women's reproductive rights," before going up in flames.

      "It's an act of political speech," he said. "But it should
      have been done in a way that doesn't put anyone in danger."

      Wellins said he went to protest Republicans'
      "neoconservative plans and the elitist ideologies behind
      them and the lack of accountability and degradation of
      democratic principles of public officials."

      Thompson said Banno will go to court Friday.

      Banno's friends said they've started a Josh Banno Defense
      Fund to help him pay for legal counsel and bail.

      -- Andrea Kelly and Caitlin Hall contributed to this report.

      *****

      Float linked to radical NY group
      By Caitlin Hall
      mailto:city@...
      Arizona Daily Wildcat
      Wednesday, September 1, 2004

      Former UA student Yusuke Banno, 21, was arraigned Monday on
      charges stemming from a confrontation with New York City
      police outside the Republican National Convention on Sunday.
      Though Banno is not being charged with arson, the events
      leading to his arrest occurred shortly after the green
      dragon papier-mâché Banno and others were leading through
      midtown Manhattan was set on fire, prompting protesters to flee.

      The green dragon float was the brainchild of a New York
      City-based activist group, Greene Dragon. According to
      Newsday, the group has come under police scrutiny of late
      for possible connections to violent political protest. It
      was reported by the New York Daily News that the group had
      been infiltrated by undercover detectives from the New York
      Police Department in the months leading up to Sunday's
      incident and that several of its members had been identified
      as making "direct threats of violence against the city."

      In statements to New York's Village Voice, "General" Jonny
      American, one of the founders and organizers of the group,
      described Greene Dragon's purpose as "(taking) democracy
      back from the corporations and (giving) it to the people."
      The group additionally identified itself as "a fun and
      freewheeling independence movement from President-Select
      George II and his corporate monarchy."

      The group is named for the Green Dragon, a pub that once
      stood in Boston. The pub was the meeting place of many
      American revolutionaries, including John and Samuel Adams
      and the Sons of Liberty. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the
      Boston Tea Party was planned on the premises of the Green
      Dragon, and when Paul Revere took his famous midnight ride,
      he started out at the pub. The pub is frequently called the
      "Headquarters of the American Revolution," and its name has
      taken on symbolic significance for modern-day activists who
      vehemently oppose the actions of the federal government.

      *****

      MTV
      Conservative 'Protest Warriors' Take On The Left At RNC March
      09.01.2004 6:03 AM EDT

      NEW YORK -- On Saturday evening, a group of roughly 75
      people gathered on a Manhattan rooftop a few blocks north of
      Madison Square Garden, chatting and helping themselves to a
      generous spread. The next day, hundreds of thousands of
      protesters would march past the Garden, site of the
      Republican National Convention, hurling invectives toward
      the party and its candidate.

      This particular group was in town to take part in those
      protests. They ranged in age from 15 to 55 and had traveled
      from locales as far flung as San Francisco, Kentucky and
      Canada. But the avowed sentiment for the meeting was hardly
      along the lines of the majority of marchers. There were
      members of ProtestWarrior.com, a conservative group
      dedicated to taking on the anti-war left on its own turf: at
      protests.

      "These people want us to fail in Iraq," said Alan Lipton,
      30, one of ProtestWarrior.com's founders.

      Lipton clambered atop a ledge to call the meeting to order:
      "There are 200,000 of them; there's 200 of us -- that's a
      fair fight!" His co-founder, 30-year-old Kfir Alfia, and
      27-year-old Tom Paladino, the group's chapter leader for New
      York, then explained the various tactics for dealing with
      the police and their ideological nemeses.

      "The cops are sympathetic to us," declared Paladino, "but if
      you get into a fight, they don't care who started it. You
      will be arrested. Just accept it."

      "If you are attacked," added Lipton, "by all means defend
      yourself."

      ProtestWarrior.com now counts its membership at around
      7,200, typically college students, recent graduates and high
      school kids. They have staged nearly 80 "missions" around
      the country, involving street theater, head-on debate with
      protesters, and tongue-in-cheek posters like one reading
      "Saddam only kills his own people; It's none of our
      business" and "Except for ending slavery, fascism and
      communism, war has never solved anything."

      Lipton and Alfia have known each other since they were
      kindergartners at a Dallas Hebrew school. The pair founded
      ProtestWarrior.com in March 2003, although both maintain
      that their interest in politics is longstanding. "We've
      always believed that freedom is the way to go," said Lipton,
      a former graduate student in film.

      ProtestWarrior.com supports classic conservative values like
      economic liberty and the rule of law, but the group's focus
      is on supporting the Iraq War and quelling "Islamo-fascism"
      a term coined by the writer Christopher Hitchens to describe
      militant Muslims like al Qaeda.

      "This group," said ProtestWarrior.com member John Paul, a
      22-year-old Canadian student, "is not necessarily for Bush.
      It's for America. When I found out that John Kerry could be
      president, that really scared me. We need somebody with
      balls and who won't pussy-foot around like some European
      country . . . or Canada!"

      The next day, the Protest Warriors met at 26th Street and
      Seventh Avenue, where a permit allowed them to congregate
      alongside the march. People bearing placards reading "Bush
      is responsible for Abu Ghraib" and "Keep that scumbag out of
      my city" passed by, roundly booing the Protest Warriors.
      "It's the same stuff as always," shrugged Paladino. "They
      say we're Nazis and fascists harassing them."

      Michael Vincent, a 41-year-old actor from New York embedded
      with the Protest Warriors, wore a T-shirt reading "F--s for
      Bush." He in particular drew the venom of protestors, one of
      whom raised his middle finger toward Vincent, calling him
      insane. "Marriage is a 5,000-year-old religious covenant
      between men and women," Vincent said.

      Soon, a series of Protest Warrior squadrons joined the
      march. Paladino said the one he led encountered a protester
      who grabbed and smashed his bullhorn; another Warrior
      claimed he was spat upon. Yet another claimed that he had
      been ambushed by four "anarchists" who pummeled his head.

      Eventually the Warriors regrouped at 34th Street and Sixth
      Avenue, this time joined by an affiliate group, Communists
      for Kerry. Each wore a T-shirt with the likeness of Che
      Guevara, and each posed as socialist icons supporting of the
      Kerry-Edwards ticket. One, Julia Shafer, 37, from Fort Lee,
      New Jersey, said she was an insurance defense lawyer who
      "defends this country from the likes of John Edwards," who
      made his fortune on personal injury lawsuits. "I'm not
      willing to die because [the protesters] won't wake up" to
      the dangers of ignoring terrorism, she added.

      Again, the protesters passing by took note of the Protest
      Warriors; when the latter chanted "Four more years!" the
      former responded with "Four more wars!" A man wearing a John
      Ashcroft mask began to debate Alfia, who repeatedly asked
      the man to show his face. The exchange was captured by none
      other than Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

      Finally, as the march wound down, a protester ran up along
      the barrier where the Protest Warriors had encamped and
      ripped a placard out of a Warrior's hands, ripping it to
      shreds. The offender then fled, only to be tackled by
      police, which amused the Protest Warriors greatly.

      -- Rob Kemp

      *****

      Fairfield County Weekly
      Tales from the RNC Protest
      Prepared for the worst, a good time was had by all.
      by Jessica Wakeman
      September 2, 2004

      A little black smoke goes a long way in a culture defined by
      paranoia.

      What's that smell?" I thought. I'm usually adept at
      identifying New York City smells, but this thick, heavy one
      escaped me. Surrounded by thousands of protesters in front
      of Madison Square Garden at the massive demonstration
      against the Republican National Convention, I briefly,
      overtaken by paranoia, wondered if the smell could be some
      kind of mustard gas or pepper spray.

      Suddenly, black smoke billowed before me and all the
      protesters stopped in their tracks. We had been shouting "Go
      home!," "Four more months!" and "Shame!" at the Garden, but
      now we were silent and worried. Who had started it? One of
      them? One of us?

      People started siphoning off onto side streets. As the rest
      of us stood there with our signs and banners, wondering if
      we should get out of the highly congested area, too, flames
      one story tall shot into the air.

      Within minutes, the flames had somehow been extinguished and
      white smoke replaced the black. It was a brief and isolated
      event, not by any means the crescendo of the protest, but
      the end of the protest for me. I might have looked blasé,
      but I felt scared. Again.

      Walking to the 33rd street 6 train, I thought, "Shit, I've
      never seen anything like that before." Then I realized,
      dumbly, of course I had. I had seen far larger a spectacle
      of that little fire, part of the reason I was marching today.

      On September 11th, 2001, I woke up in my New York University
      dormitory to the persistent wail of fire trucks. I kept
      waking up, then falling back asleep. The telephone rang. My
      roommate's father said to turn on the TV. Within minutes, I
      ran outside in my bare feet to 5th Avenue, where I saw the
      Twin Towers, each slashed three quarters of the way across
      and burning.

      The following months, which then became the following years,
      being a liberal during our so-called War on Terror has given
      me an education about American politics, foreign policy and
      human psychology in a way that no university could. I had
      never known how capable I was of being so deeply terrified
      for my safety. Nor did I know how deceitful, yet
      controlling, fear could be.

      On the subway ride to the march, the man sitting across from
      me on the L train was reading one of the New York dailies.
      Per usual, fear- and panic-instilling warnings splashed
      across the cover. An Arab man's mug shot and the declaration
      that the subways are targets, the bridges are targets,
      everything is a target, we are going to be attacked!

      Like everyone else who reads and watches mainstream media, I
      had heard nothing but insinuations that terrorists were
      going to attack during the Republican National Convention.
      And if not terrorists, anarchists! I expected trouble-making
      from one of the parties involved and was wary of
      mayhem-in-the-streets again. I protested reluctantly.
      Already, New York City is being exploited by the Republicans
      as being Ground Zero of the September 11th attacks; now my
      fear is being exploited to keep me anxious and worried, on a
      psychological leash.

      Yet those I spoke to at the protest agreed that it was one
      of the more laid-back protests that we have been at. We
      marched peacefully on the streets and were not confined to
      free-speech zones, stacked in like chickens on a breeding
      farm. The majority of the police that I saw were in their
      regular uniforms, not riot gear. Protesters, contrary to the
      stereotype of havoc-wreaking anarchists, were people who
      looked like my friends, my colleagues, my parents -- people
      who you won't read about in the paper.

      We shouted "FOX News sucks!" at the giant FOX News banner
      hanging across the street from Madison Square Garden. We
      poked into the by-the-time-we-reached-them bone dry
      convenience stores along 7th Avenue, hoping for ice-cold
      water. We carried caskets draped with American flags in
      90-degree heat, our sunglasses slipping off our noses from
      the sweat. We were all together and we were all against the
      same people and angry at the same things. It felt
      immeasurably good to see hundreds of thousands of people
      that feel just like you do and to see that they're not
      throwing pipe-bombs or burning American flags, that they
      just want to practice democracy, peacefully and to-the-point.

      I can't say that I don't know what I was expecting to
      happen, because I know exactly what I expected. Panic.
      Mayhem. Anarchy. Violence. But the protesters at Sunday's
      march were equal parts charged and somber, and nothing if
      not peaceful. We were charged to be around such vibrancy and
      creativity, chuckling at the endless sea of clever signs
      ("What would Jesus do? Vote for Kerry." "Somewhere in Texas,
      a village is missing it's idiot." "Don't blame me. I voted
      for the majority."), but somber to be at another protest.
      Here we are. Again.

      I had nothing to be afraid of on Sunday, not even the small
      fire. The protest reminded me that I am not alone in my
      anger and disgust, that there is solidarity no matter how
      fractious we are told we are and how condescendingly we are
      treated. Who knows how long it will take to train myself not
      to be impressionable or jumpy, and not to Chicken Little
      about every splashy headline that harkens back to that
      morning when I saw the biggest spectacle I've ever seen.

      *****

      New York Daily News
      http://www.nydailynews.com
      Whiners, wusses & wimps
      Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

      Poor little protesters. Here they are, boldly come into the
      very heart of Fascist Insect Amerika to be glamorous
      street-fighting revolutionaries like Fidel and Che and those
      guys, and they end up getting handled like everyday
      garden-variety offenders.

      No hoods, no torture. And they're in and out of the court
      system in 23 hours, give or take, just like the standard
      prostitutes, petty pilferers and pill pushers who get
      processed through Manhattan Criminal Court. Darn hard to get
      treated like an important political prisoner in this town.
      This injustice needs to be protested.

      Meanwhile, your conscience requires you to cry out against
      whatever oppressions you've got to work with. In this case,
      well, these abusive jailhouse conditions are just shocking.
      No vegan sandwiches, just baloney. Nothing but Dixie cups to
      drink from. Small wonder they're all calling the holding
      cell "Guantanamo-on-the-Hudson." Where are the international
      human-rights monitors, Amnesty International and the like,
      when you need them?

      Boo hoo hoo.

      This "Guantanamo" is a Transit Authority bus garage on Pier
      57 where protesters are detained and their property
      collected before they head off to Central Booking. With an
      oil stain or two on the floor, it admittedly is not the
      tidiest place in the world. But the Black Hole of Calcutta
      it isn't. Still, this morning there was scheduled to be a
      seriously indignant demonstration outside the building to
      object to all that unendurable barbarism within.

      Real police-state abuses, mind you, have been not much in
      evidence this week. No skulls were cracked Monday night when
      a detective was pulled from his scooter and pounded
      unconscious outside Madison Square Garden. The men and women
      of the NYPD showed similar restraint and professionalism
      yesterday as self-professed anarchists marched and bellowed
      around and about the town to celebrate their designated Day
      of Civil Disobedience.

      Some of them did get swept up and arrested -- corralled in
      nets, not beaten bloody by billy clubs -- but they'll be out
      of the tank and into court in the next day or so, and
      they'll have access to lawyers and they'll be granted
      appropriate bail according to the charges against them. Los
      desaparecidos these folks are not exactly.

      But, golly. Hours -- hours! -- they have to spend in the
      criminal justice system, forced to drink out of nothing but
      Dixie cups all the while.

      Some protesters these people are. Civil disobedience
      customarily involves a willingness to suffer some measure of
      discomfort. Ask Gandhi. But this is the bunch that demanded
      the city provide them with designer bottled water. Cute,
      aren't they?

      W's win-win

      Anyone with any sense knew perfectly well what President
      Bush meant when he remarked that the war on terror is not a
      war that is going to be won. He meant, obviously, that this
      epically historic clash of cultures and values will surely
      continue all the rest of our lives and beyond and will not
      be conventionally concluded with, for example, a surrender
      ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

      Which is true. We can obliterate the Islamofascist gangsters
      left and right. We can render them ineffective and we can
      drive them into holes. But there will always be more of
      them, somewhere, for a long time to come. Mankind is not
      soon going to "win" the war on rats and roaches, either.

      Thus, it was a sensible and levelheaded thing for Bush to
      say, a rational acknowledgment of the way things are in the
      real world. Ah, but here comes the Kerry-Edwards campaign,
      scenting anything akin to blood and pouncing on such a
      weak-willed commander-in-chief as this who can't even fight
      a good war. Mere days ago, they were blistering Bush as some
      crazed, out-of-control, swaggering macho cowboy, waging
      bloody battle with insufficient "sensitivity." Now,
      suddenly, he's a twinkie, devoid of the warrior's hard
      resolve to take the enemy down to defeat.

      Yawn. Rolling his eyes and sighing, the President yesterday
      assured the American Legion that, yeah, certainly the war on
      terror will be won -- "by spreading liberty," he explained.
      He probably could have expressed himself more clearly the
      first time, he conceded. "It didn't need clearing up," noted
      Sen. John McCain. Exactly.

      You can e-mail the Daily News editors at
      mailto:voicers@... . Please include your
      full name, address and phone number. The Daily News reserves
      the right to edit letters. The shorter the letter, the
      better the chance it will be used.

      *****

      --
      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
      *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
      -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
      _Detective Comics_ #608
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