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Less-Than-Lethal?
fn_ll_303_r.gifPepperBall guns, Bean Bag Projectiles and Tasers, seem to be a good idea at first. They have been used to take down knife wielding hostage holders and neutralize would be suicide victims all over the country. They give officers a chance to leave their guns in the holster and defuse dangerous situations without killing.

In these situations the risk to life and limb is very real and there is a compelling logic to their use, even a fairly good record to back it up. A certain number of violent criminals have died as a result of bean-bags, pepper spray, and Tasers, but without less than lethal weapons, a gun would be used, and a death would be more likely.

But according to studies of some police departments, more than half of the people who end up on the business end of non-lethal weapons are not criminals, and over 80% are not threatening officers or the public with weapons of their own. That was definitely the case Thursday when a Boston Police Officer fired a FN Herstall model 303 pepper ball gun into a crowd of celebrating Red Sox fans, killing 21 year old Victoria Snelgrove. The Boston Globe reported only that a bottle was smashed near the police, who were wearing full riot gear at the time.

The police are trained to maintain a code of conduct regardless of the conduct of others. One would expect an officer of the law to exercise restraint when wielding a weapon capable of deadly force. Yet, in the case of "less-than lethal" weapons, such a policy simply isn't there.
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23 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Technology
Photo Project Shows the “Aftermath” of War and Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia Years Later
LADYREFLECTEXUME.jpgSara Terry’s photo project, “Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace” is currently on display in the Babst Library at Boston College. Terry, a former staff-writer for the Christian Science Monitor, flew to Bosnia back in 2000 after being discouraged by the Western media’s lack of interest in the re-stabilization of Bosnia as people began to return to their communities and repair what was left of the past. Although there were many memorable pieces of photo documentation taken during the height of the war and atrocities in Bosnia, where it's said the largest mass-killing in Europe since World War 2 occurred, nobody seemed to stick around to show the effects of those atrocities. There wasn’t much interest in the harsh endeavors the people of Bosnia faced, post-war and “ethnic cleansing”. This is what distinguishes "Aftermath" from other collections of photojournalism to emerge out of this conflict, or most other conflicts for that matter.
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17 Oct 2004 | Filed under: Review / Human Rights : International : Media
Indy Media's Hardware is Returned, but Many Questions Remain
imclogo2.gifOn Wednesday, October 13th, Indymedia's seized hardware was mysteriously returned in the same way it disappeared -- without any information provided as to who took it or why, and on whose orders. An employee at Rackspace, the U.S.-based web hosting company that handed over Indymedia's disks to the U.S. government on 7 October, emailed an Indymedia volunteer to say that the disks were returned and that "the court order is being complied with... I will pass along any more information that becomes available and that I am allowed to."
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15 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media : Technology
MBTA Bag Search Policy Still in Effect
tprot.jpgAccording to the Press Secretary for the MBTA, Joe Tesaturo, The Globe article “MBTA HALTS BAGGAGE SCREENING” is in fact not entirely truthful. The MBTA has not officially ended the bag search policy, and although the MBTA will not say when, where, or if bag searches will continue, they may begin again at any time. “Our security screening policy remains in place,” said Mr. Tesaturo, “If you look carefully at the globe article, nowhere in it does it say that the MBTA has officially ended the policy.”
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26 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Maintaining solidarity after the protests: Lessons from 2000
At the last RNC in Philly in 2000, over 400 people were arrested. One was Camilo Viveiros, a Massachusetts housing organizer who faced charges that could have led to 30-40 years in prison. Supporters mounted a strong supuport campaign over the next 3.5 years that led up to his acquittal. This article is not a narrative of that campaign, but an attempt to distill key lessons that may be useful as the RNC in New York approaches.
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20 Aug 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : Organizing
NYC - Police Raid on IndyMedia Fundraising Event
Vcamera.jpgA multi-agency task force shut down a NYC Indymedia video team benefit late Saturday night, sparking complaints that the action was politically motivated. "I don't think every single department showing up here was a coincidence," said Brandon Jourdan, a video team organizer. "But maybe it was or maybe it was not. People will have to decide for themselves." || NYC IMC Video Team
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16 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Media
American “Insane Asylum” History: Giving Names To Numbered Graves
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A nationwide movement to put names on the numbered gravestones in cemeteries at America's mental hospitals and abandoned "insane asylums" is underway. "It has been said that no families have come forward to claim their relatives (buried here)...WE are their family." In Massacusetts, the Danvers State Memorial Committee (DSMC) was formed in 1997, with the goal of restoring and properly memorializing the two Danvers State Hospital cemeteries. One of the first hurdles they faced was determining who was responsible for cleaning up, and then long term maintenance of, the cemeteries. A decision was made to press the state to be accountable for the cemeteries. But there were still problems, such as the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) had the records for the closed hospital, and a private entity was soon to buy the state hospital property, and then the activists would have to get permission to clear the cemeteries from them, etc. The DSMC also reports there was considerable anger present at early meetings. Many were still very angry at past abuses they had suffered at Danvers State. They were adamant that the truth, not the sanitized version, of the hospital’s past be told. Some members of the DSMC felt the group was not the place for that anger. But the group did not shun those who were angry, and instead were able to harness their anger into a powerful force. Due to these discussions, the DSMC decided to ask for a formal apology as part of the return of dignity to those buried with only numbers on the hospital grounds.
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15 Aug 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : Social Welfare
Cyprus Govt. Admits CIA Campaign Against Indymedia
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The scandal is unfolding in gigantic proportions... and we can hardly keep up with the developments. Responding to a publicity and solidarity campaign by Indymedia, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has been forced to admit that they were acting under orders from the US Government to carry out an intelligence investigation of Cyprus Indymedia and of one of its founding members, Petros Evdokas, in order to assess whether he "constitutes a threat to US interests." Police had interrogated the family of Petros Evdokas a few weeks ago and, during the affair, inadvertently blurted out that the source of this investigation was a directive by the CIA. After a series of denials and cover-ups (chronicled below) the Police Headquarters issued an official statement on Friday admitting to everything that Indymedia had accused them of, namely that directives of the CIA and the US Embassy have priority over their own mission which, believe it or not, is to protect the tiny and independent Republic from foreign intervention. This campaigns to intimidate IndyMedia is part of a global trend, including the nation- wide "pre- emptive" raids and interrogations by the FBI of radicals in Boston and across the US in order to thwart preparations to protest at the two Republocrat party conventions.
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12 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media
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