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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
DC Million Worker March 2004
washdcoct1704_08.gifMonday, October 18th marked the date for an anti-war workers' mobilization in Washington DC. In the spirit of Minister Louis Farrakhan's Black Nationalist rally 10 years ago, the Million Worker March predicted a crowd of as many as 100,000 but was able to gather only tens of thousands.
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19 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
Offensive Biology: Is Bio-"Defense" a Bust?
A biodefense lab may soon be coming to a campus or community near you, if one hasn't already. These labs are the most noticeable evidence of the government's rapidly expanding biotechnology complex. Although the labs do some indispensable work in the medical realm, their rapid expansion is also tied directly to "fighting terrorism." The rationale behind the expansion of biodefense labs is that terrorists or "rogue states" could use biological or chemical weapons against the US. To be prepared for and effectively deal with such an attack, researchers at biodefense labs must research and experiment with potential biological agents in order to devise antidotes and develop counter-terror measures.
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19 Oct 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / 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
Anti-Corporate Victory in Lee; Water Privatization Defeated!
mga_banner.jpgWater and anti-privatization activists recently stopped a bid from the European Multi-National Veolia Environment (working with former local Democratic Party State Rep.) to privatize the water system.

The issue of water privatization in Lee actually arrived through the backdoor. Originally the discussion on the table was about the need in Lee for an upgrade of the town’s sewer system. But pushed by former Democratic Party State Rep. Christopher Hogkins, the town moved towards a proposal that included the design, build, and operation (DBO) of a new Water Plant.

With relatively no public discussion about the ramifications associated with privatizing out the services to a multi-national corporation, and with almost absurd levels of conflict of interests (or at the very least revolving door politics), the town received only one bid, from Veloia Water. Quite a coincidence since Christopher Hogkins the former State Rep from Lee is now a Vice-President and General Manager for the company. (The parent company of this entity is Veolia Environment based in Paris, France.)
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13 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Organizing
Indymedia to U.S., U.K., Swiss and Italian Authorities: "Hands Off Our Websites!"
imclogo2.gifEvidence is beginning to mount that the authorities of at least four countries (Switzerland, Italy, U.K. and U.S.A.) are involved in last week's seizure of two of Indymedia's servers that brought down more than 20 of the Indymedia network's web sites and several internet radio streams. Indymedia has yet to receive any official statement or information about what the order entailed or why it was issued.

An FBI spokesperson, Joe Parris, confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the FBI issued a subpoena to the provider who hosted the Indymedia servers in the U.K., but that it was "on behalf of a third country." (1) Daniel Zapelli, senior federal prosecutor for Geneva (Switzerland), confirmed that he has opened a criminal investigation into Indymedia coverage of the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian. (2) Zapelli will provide details of that investigation at a press conference on Tuesday.
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11 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / International : Media : Technology
FBI Seizes IMC Servers in the UK, Including the Host for Western Mass
imclogo2.gifUS authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace's office in the US ordering them to provide Indymedia's hardware located in London to the requesting agency. Rackspace is one of Indymedia's web hosting providers with offices in the US and London. Rackspace complied, without first notifying Indymedia, and turned over Indymedia's server in the UK. This affects some 20+ Indymedia sites worldwide including Western Massachusetts.
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12 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / International : Media : Technology
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