The War on Dissent

"It's popular to say that corporate globalization is war by other means, but what went down in Miami during the FTAA skipped the part about other means," Rebecca Solnit writes for "And though it was most directly ... an assault on the bodies of protestors, it was first an assault against the right of the people peaceably to assemble and other first amendment rights, a dramatic example of how hallowed American rights are being dismantled in the name of the war on terrorism. For months beforehand, Police Chief John Timoney ... had portrayed protestors as terrorists and the gathering in Miami as a siege of the city." Not only were the public and media frightened by Timoney's depiction of the planned protests, "[t]here's little doubt that the police themselves buy the propaganda," Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman write. Having been thoroughly indoctrinated on threat posed by protestors and emboldened with new quasi-military equipment, "the police were, to say the least, overeager to lunge at protesters," Mokhiber and Weissman write. "After last week, no one should call what Timoney runs in Miami a police force," Democracy Now! producer Jeremy Scahill writes. It's a paramilitary group. ... The forces fired indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed protesters. Scores of people were hit with skin-piercing rubber bullets; thousands were gassed with an array of chemicals. On several occasions, police fired loud concussion grenades into the crowds. Police shocked people with electric tazers. Demonstrators were shot in the back as they retreated."