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News :: Education : Environment : Human Rights : Organizing : Race : Social Welfare
BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
A dozen Boston University (BU) students and other concerned citizens gathered outside of BU President Robert Brown's $4.5 million house in Brookline protesting the proposed BU Biolab in Roxbury / South End. The Biolab, which has recently gained federal approval for construction, could break ground as soon as this month, against the community's wishes.
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A dozen Boston University (BU) students and other concerned citizens gathered outside of BU President Robert Brown's $4.5 million house in Brookline protesting the proposed BU Biolab in Roxbury / South End. The Biolab, which has recently gained federal approval for construction, could break ground as soon as this month, against the community's wishes.

BU has received a $1.6 billion grant from the Department of Homeland Security to build this Biolab, which will include a Bio-Safety Level 4 research facility. BU has refused to address community concerns regarding the lab, including that the facility will be located in a densely-populated, residential, low-income neighborhood. BU has also failed to address safety risks, and some people are worried that it will gentrify the area. “Since it’s a federal lab, classified research will be conducted without the community's, the city's, or even BU's knowledge. This could include offensive military biological research,” said Boston University senior Alice Gordon.

Activists, who were working with the nonviolent direct action anti-war campaign Operation: Over, arrived at Brown's house at 10:00pm on Wednesday night after placing anti-Biolab fliers at the door of every house in the neighborhood. Chanting slogans such as “Robert Brown, it’s our town! Biolab, shut it down!” and “BU is for education, not bioweapons proliferation!”, they shined flashlights into his windows, banged on pots and pans, and held anti-environmental racism banners, urging Brown to cancel the project before construction starts. “We want to make sure that Robert Brown can't ignore us, that he can't keep pretending that the people in Roxbury, or in the Boston area, want this lab. Operation: Over is concerned about the blatant racism inherent in placing a biological weapons lab in a largely Black and Latino neighborhood. As an anti-war campaign, we want to make sure huge universities and the federal government can’t militarize our communities,” said Micah Lee, an organizer for Operation: Over.

Within minutes, four squad cars showed up. One officer addressed the crowd, but no arrests were made. After half an hour of demonstrating, the activists left, chanting, “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

This was the first in a series of direct actions that Operation: Over plans to carry out this spring.
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See also:
http://operationover.freeyouth.net

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
awesome!
thank you!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Ouch, 2200 and they were disturbing the peace?
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
good job, guys. thank you!!!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
keep it up, i just hope more operation over actions keep happening.
solidarity
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
I'm curious--what is "Operation Over"'s position on the WTC demolition?
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Hold on, they are coming up with one! :)
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Bravo!! Keeping the heat on the BU Administration!!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
operation: over doesn't really have positions on most things. we're just a group of individuals who are against the war.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Good lord! An honest answer! That was beautiful!

I would have to agree with Mr./Mrs. Micah. I also am against war!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Keep the pressure on!
We will win if we never back down.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Great action. Next time, i urge you to get people from outside Big and Ugly involved. Get hundreds there: students, working people, etc... . It can be done. I'll be there too and will bring others. I had no notice of this action. Thanks for reporting on it.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
FYI
Local PD will probably not allow the general public being disturbed at 2200 for to many nights.

Plan your protest wisely so that you don't get yourselves arrested or disturb the entire area. You already stated that you put flyers up all over the community. They already know so let them get their rest.

PS - If you are dumb enough to get yourself a cell for the night - don't whine about it!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
It's great that some people got the message out to the president of BU that the community will not stand for this blantant example of exploiting a primarily working class / community of color neighborhood.

However, it would be nice if others (like myself) who live in the area knew about such actions so that we could participate. Anyway, good job.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Trying to look out for the best interests of all parties involved.

Foul language is unbecoming that of an adult. Profanity is not socially acceptable anywhere. PLEASE try and clean it up----and stop being so negative and angry. Smile and enjoy your day! :)
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Sheesh! The cencorship on here is brutal!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Wes, BU grad, and anyone else who wanted to be involved: we told as many of our friends as we could about it, but it's important to keep things like this on the DL until after we do them. if word had gone out over too many public listserves or on indymedia, robert brown might have chosen not to be home that night, or the cops might have been waiting for us when we arrived.

there are tons of actions, just like last night's, that people all over the place can do all the time. just so you know, this action took about 6 people sitting around talking about logistics, making fliers and writing the press release, for maybe 2 or 3 hours. we used recycled signs and banners from a previous action. we didn't even start talking about it until a couple days ago. it's that easy. you and your 3 friends can do it too.

it can definitely be intimidating to spearhead something like that if you've never had experience though, so come on over to the operation: over meeting tonight and try to meet and get involved with people who want to be doing this sort of thing every couple days for the rest of the spring, if we can pull it off.

the meeting tonight is at the lucy parsons center at 549 columbus ave in the south end at 7pm. we have meetings every thursday night, and the next two weeks after this will also be at the lucy parsons center. then we'll start having meetings at 45 mt auburn st again.

also, on february 18th we'll be holding an operation: over action camp. it'll be a day of direct action workshops with nonviolence trainings, direct action 101, roxbury community struggle history, legal stuff, security culture, and everything else you might need to know. details will be released soon.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Sweet action. Where was this? What's his address?
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Micah, I definitely can see your point about keeping things quiet, and from what i can see from the pictures, the turnout was good. Everyone should be aware of security culture, but not let it get out of hand. Obviously, if an affinity group is planning to do a direct action, they should keep it among the people in that group and NO ONE else. In my past thoughs, I've personally had a bad experience with a few people who were a little over zealous with the whole security culture. People that I had been invoIved with for a number of years. I felt betrayed and I got so frustrated that I put my activism aside and concentrated on school and now my carreer....Anyway, I'm not going to into my whole story, I just would like to get involved at some point.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
lookin' pretty sexy, bill
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
his house is equal to 4.5 million dollars.

thats a lot.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Calling it a "bioweapons lab" is pure propaganda.

There are BSL-4 labs around the country. All are near urban areas and university campuses and conduct a wide variety of research.

For example, the Plum Island facility near Long Island researchs animal disease.

These morons would spin that as a "bioweapons" lab too, because, my god, they have anthrax there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosafety_Level_4#Level_4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_Island_Animal_Disease_Center
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
$4.5 million dollar home?
And he works for a non-profit.
That's wonderful.
Hope he feels good about himself.

I hope they don't put a Biolab in either Brookline or Boston.

I know that the issue polarizes people along racial and socio-economic lines. The real story isn't that it is being put in a low-income neighborhood it is that the lab will be placed in place where a lot of people live.

A lab like that should be located away from people's homes.

Where would that be in Boston? I can't think of anywhere. If you look on a map and study where there aren't any people you have to go out to Western Mass or places way out in Maine.
I know that there are also woods around some reservoirs that are very low density, like out at the Clinton Dam, but would there then be a problem with the water?

Maybe on an Island out at the Quabbin Reservoir. But then I am sure there will opposition from most everyone in the Pioneer Valley. And all those BU folks would have a real long commute.

A lab like that should be far away and surrounded by forests at least a 100 yards deep all around.

Where is there a place like that? No where in greater Boston that isn't already a park.

People in Milton will hate me for saying this, but what about somewhere in the Blue Hills?

I say no to that because that should remain a conservation area.

I guess I just don't want this lab anywhere in New England.

You know, I did a little reading on the Internet after reading through some of the social-agenda trolls above, and it seems to me that a lab like this ought to be within the gates of a secure government facility like Hanscom Air Force Base or down at the old Weymouth Air Base, or even out in the woods down at Camp Edwards or Otis. At least that way we know that there won't be people breaking in and causing problems.

This link:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/detrick_qa.htm
is to a Fort Detrick AFB report that explains about Lvl 4 labs.

Doesn't it seem smarter to have a lab like this on a secure base? If there is adequate land in Boston to build such a lab, in stead let's make a park or new housing.

Put the Lab somewhere else.

For all you BU people who are trolling here:
Do you think that the ill will that you spawn by acting like pigs at the troth sucking up the federal money is worth it? You're living in a 4.5 million dollar house, how much more do you need?

How much of too much is enough.

Put your lab somewhere else and donate the lab land to some other non-profit to build housing for lower income.
PS: If the non-profit is run by someone who lives in a 4.5 million dollar house, then maybe you should find a different charity.

BU: If you keep acting like debauched fuedal lords, drunk with power and heedless, then there will be a movement to remove your privledged tax status.

I won't start the movement, it will start itself. So, don't be pigs, redeem yourselves and put your lab somewhere else. Devens? That was a secure place.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
09 Feb 2006
Hey "." guess what? The Plum Island facility is a BSL 3 lab, not BSL 4. And it's on an island (that means surrounded by water if you didn't know.) No one can step foot on it unless they're employees. Now we're talking about a BSL 4 lab.

Heres a good rule to live by: don't lie. Its a wonder indymedia doesn't just ban jackasses that pathologically do.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
Just trying to look out for the best interests of all.

Wes, language is unbecoming that of an adult. Profanity is not socially acceptable anywhere. Try and clean it up------and stop being so negative and angry. Smile and enjoy your day!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
So........where there any shanigans last night? It was a cold one so I hoped you guys dressed warmly!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
You guys rock Mika et all - THANK YOU for doing this work here. Its important to see white skinned people standing up for brown and black people - and the white gay folks, and the asian and latin@ folk and thiewr children who live in the South End... not to mention the other students from NorthEastern SMFA Mass Art as well as some of BU's own studewnts - hey wait a minute, we ALL stand to lose if anything ever goes wrong there!
again, GOOD WORK.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
someoen asked where President Brown lives:
he lives at 135 Ivy Street in Brookline...

check out the flyer:
http://operationover.freeyouth.net/attachments/feb2006/flier.jpg
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
"Hey "." guess what? The Plum Island facility is a BSL 3 lab, not BSL 4. And it's on an island (that means surrounded by water if you didn't know.) No one can step foot on it unless they're employees. Now we're talking about a BSL 4 lab.

Heres a good rule to live by: don't lie. Its a wonder indymedia doesn't just ban jackasses that pathologically do."

Sorry. Made a mistake. Plum Island is BSL3. I guess I'm a lying jackass.

However, Galveston, Bethesda, and Atlanta all have BSL4 labs. These are in urban areas and are not "bio-weapons" labs.

My point is that it's dishonest and misleading to call all BSL4 labs "bio-weapons" labs. Yes, the research could be applied to offensive bio-weapons. Just like how a physics research could be applied to building better nuclear weapons.

But is that the purpose or goal of this particular lab? No. To imply that is the case is nothing but propaganda and fear-mongering.

If you want to debate about the placement of the lab, do it on the facts and the merits. Don't show up to people's houses to intimidate them, don't call people "racist", and don't paint valid researchers as bio-weapons manufacturers.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
People per square mile (per 2000 census data):

BU proposed lab in Roxbury
Local: 16,721
County: 11,788

Atlanta lab
Local: 3,478
County: 2,484

San Antonio lab
Local: 2,592
County: 1,117

Ft. Detrick lab
Local: 2,036
County: 294

source: http://www.ace-ej.org/BiolabWeb/Biolabdocs/WhichOneDoesNotBelong3-12-04.

the biolab in roxbury will be the only urban BSL-4 lab in the country. the location in roxbury also is where lots of black and latino people live, and according to their community groups, they don't want it there. the people who live there won't be the people working in that lab.

the debate is more that just where it should be. roxbury is a stupid place to put it, yes, but the "bioterror" part isn't just propaganda. why is the department of homeland security funding it? if it's just for legit biological research, why won't BU get to know what kind of research is done in the lab? why has BU been so secretive about it?
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
10 Feb 2006
I am an old man in terms of college students but 'young' or a kid as my parents say. At 44 I recall my youthful days of doing minor protest things, like holding an anti-draft demonstration at the Natick Library in 1979 (5 people). or going to Alabama to be in a march 1980).
But all in all I am not an activist.
In stead I try to be a truth talker.

I know I often can come off as an annoying busy body.

all of that being said, here is what I think BU folks should do (because you people hold the key):
Take over your school in the legal and non-violent way that is allowed by non-violent civil action of just getting all students at BU to demand that the school divest themselves of the lab or they are not going to pay their college tuition, they are not going to allow the president or the people responsible for this level 4 sociological disaster of putting a level 4 biolab in downtown Boston!

BU students YOU are the ones who must act, in a non-violent way. In mass if you refused to pay for your school until the school divests of the biolab you will make a difference.

And make it a big issue on your campass.

BU Power Mongers: Turly Great Leaders often announce that the decisions that they have previously made have been reviewed and determined inadequate. Statements such as 'we looked at the well-presented evidence and determined that the people who opposed us were correct, that placing this lab in the location specified is truely not in the public interest. There fore we have changed our decision and decided to put the lab somewhere else." And you can also add "In the interests of making peace with the community who we have rilled through our previoius poor decision, we are donating the land on which the biolab was to be located to <put worthy public charity here> so that they may <place truely worthy non-profit and charitable cause here>."

It is up the BU to be human beings about this. Stop acting like characture fascists from an paranoid comic strip from the late 50's early 1960's and start being the cool open-minded collegate leaders, best case examples, luminaries. Instead of being really cool mentors like a Gandolf, you BU so-called leaders (not the rank and file) are obviously more like Gollum.
"Meee Precess. Meee Precess level 4 biolab"

Be Gandolf and not Gollum.


If you back down from your stupid-headed pigminded
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
11 Feb 2006
From the post including this link:
"http://www.ace-ej.org/BiolabWeb/Biolabdocs/WhichOneDoesNotBelong3-12-04.;

Again, this information is misleading. Check out the CDC's BSL-4 lab location in Atlanta:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1600+Clifton+Rd,+Atlanta,+GA+303

It's directly adjacent to Emory university and about 3 miles from the heart of Atlanta.

Incidentally, since some people have been playing the "environmental racist" card, please notice that this lab is in the middle of a rich, suburban, lily-white neighborhood.

You suppose that since the DHS is funding the lab, if must be manufacturing or developing offensive biological weapons.

That is complete nonsense and you know very well that a huge amount of beneficial pure research with civilian applications is funded directly or indirectly through departments of defense.

Like, oh, the internet you're on right now.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
11 Feb 2006
Your not making very good points (.). I used your link and it looks like the Ga biolab is at least six miles to downtown Atlanta. Compare that to the BU lab which is about, what a mile maybe. Also you can see from the same map that the area is much less dense than the Roxbury local. It does look like it is right next to a country club though.
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
13 Feb 2006
I applaud organizing against the Biolab and have attended some events about it in the past, so I offer these two comments in the spirit of friendly feedback:

1. personal attacks are unproductive -- calling the BU Pres an "environmental racist" just alienates potential allies and demonizes an individual -- if we are truly serious about building a respectful and compassionate society, we must be respectful and compassionate in ALL our actions, including to (maybe ESPECIALLY) our opponents. Remember also that it is INSTITUTIONS we are fighting, not individuals. If we are serious about our work for change, we must hold true to the premise that ALL people can change -- including those whose actions we oppose. Calling someone an "environmental racist" violates that spirit and frankly just comes off as over the top.

2. I also think that picketing someone's HOME alienates many people who'd be with us on the issue. Many people would consider that kind of tactic to be intimidation and harassment. While there's some appeal to "taking it to where he lives," its outweighed by the negative vibe it creates. There are far more productive places to picket - BU trustee meetings, etc. Frankly, it'd be more productive to stand on Comm Ave and talk to students and BU staff than to stand on a cold residential street with no foot traffic.

Keep organizing against the Biolab, and FOR positive alternatives.

Solidarity!
Re: BU President Brown Confronted at His Home About Proposed Biolab
21 Feb 2006
Once again I'm putting my 2 cents in.I guess I don't have much else to do these days than have fun with you.Seriously, I support what you're doing and hope this terror lab gets shut down.Please keep up the good work and wake up that rich idiot some more,before he gets us all infected with some deadly disease.He doesn't care about the community,only his fat pay check and his power.