I’m in a band. We make rock music. We occasionally make videos for our songs. This one is for a song called “Echelon.” For those of you who are aware of the ECHELON program, you might find greater resonance in the song and its meaning. As it’s our first real attempt at a ($0 budget) music video we’d love to hear what you think!
Perhaps it’s obvious to say that there are political undercurrents at work in the Iranian Revolution 2009 we’re witnessing, but it goes well beyond the streets of Tehran. This is a global phenomenon and it bodes ill for the Old Ways.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a little more savvy than most, but for those who are new to social media this coup attempt is shining a light on something certain elements within our political structure have tried to keep hidden: Iranians are just like us.
That might not seem like such a radical statement, but when you’re in the business of demonizing people it’s an earth-shattering revelation. Here in America, our government and our media have been in the business of demonizing Iran for the last 30 years. If the revolution succeeds and Ahmadinejad is thrown into the dustbin of history then our government will not have a despotic Iran to kick around any more. Early indications are that the people of Iran and Mousavi’s hypothetical government will favor normalizing relations with America, or at least responding favorably to Obama’s overtures.
The sad truth is that a lot of people are scared of change and they don’t like it when their favorite whipping-horse suddenly grabs the reins with his teeth.
Given the incredible impact that social media has had in this election/coup it should not be surprising if hardline forces –not just in Iran — take a dim view of social media in the future.
The first thing the illegitimate Iranian government did when it saw trouble brewing was to block Facebook and Twitter. Cell phone service was taken down in many areas. Mousavi’s website was taken out by government forces.
It’s obvious why: Social media is an inherently democratizing force.
Allowing people to connect outside of traditional, controlled channels is dangerous for any repressive regime. People can share news instantly, they can plan, they can support each other and they can warn each other of danger. This used to be the province of the authorities with their rigid hierarchies, their walkie-talkies and their chains of command.
Now anybody with a cellphone can change the world with a hashtag.
As night falls things are getting more violent. It’s too early to declare victory, but I think the world is starting to see that the divisions our mainstream media has helped our government create are largely an artifice of ignorance and omission. We are all the same on Facebook. We are one on Twitter.
Social media is the bane of dictators everywhere, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But we have to be ready for the backlash against social media by those hardline forces stuck in the past. They may start to attack social media out of fear. We can’t let those repressive forces have their say anymore. If Iran can stand up for democracy, we can too.
I went downtown to St. Paul in order to get some pictures and observe the situation (I already protested on Monday), but John Ireland Bridge was blocked by the police with dump trucks when I got there. The cops said there was a bomb threat to the Minnesota Historical Society, but that was quite clearly a lie since they were standing so close to it and they’d already closed the other bridges as I found out later.
So I went over to the capitol on foot using the Marion Street Bridge instead. I saw more cops than protesters.
The cops had the city in a headlock. All the other bridges were closed by the police; cops, BCA agents and national guardsman were everywhere. St. Paul was on fucking lockdown.
By the time I found out how totally heavy-handed the police presence was I was getting tired and decided to split. I was trying to get back to my car on the other side of the Marion street bridge when I saw a group about 200 protesters approaching the bridge. That’s why I’m walking against the flow at the beginning of the video. Unfortunately I was too busy trying to get good footage and didn’t notice the cops had surrounded us on all sides.
Soon the police started firing flash grenades, smoke bombs and generally scaring the shit out of me and all these peaceful protesters. We were corraled onto the bridge where they told us we were all under arrest, but not before all of us were shellshocked by the overwhelming police response. Watch the video, but beware that it’s intense, chaotic and there’s swearing and explosions.
Notice how none of the protesters resisted or attacked the cops in any way. This is ironic because we were charged with “resisting a lawful order” along with the 1st amendment-killing crime of “presence at an unlawful assembly.” Whatever happened to the right of people to peaceably assemble?
We are not free; The Bill of Rights is no longer operative.
If you aren’t reading this from jail that simply means the cops haven’t bothered to arrest you on trumped up charges yet. They can clearly do exactly that whenever they want, with no repercussions. I wasn’t even part of the protest and I was charged with being part of an “unlawful assembly.”
The whole arrest process took hours. We were told to sit and put our hands on our heads, which many people had to do for several hours (your arms get sore). I was cuffed after an hour or so and stood around for another hour waiting to get my mug shot (on the bridge; this was all very ad hoc). Since we were on the bridge for so long they eventually hauled at least 3 porta-potties onto the bridge itself, for both police and protester usage (under heavy guard, of course).
Eventually I was led onto a city bus with 40 other arrestees and brought to the Ramsey County jail for booking. They searched me about 5 times, confiscated all my stuff, and gave me a paper bag with a peanutbutter and jelly sandwitch and two apples. See, even oppressive police tactics have a Minnesota Nice aspect. Of course we didn’t get knives so we had to spread the jelly and PB with our fingers.
Hours dragged by as we waded our way through the bureaucracy and were eventually cited and loaded onto a paddywagon and driven out of the jail. They let us out just outside the fences and we were free and on our own far from where we were arrested, but at least the incredibly awesome Coldsnap Legal Collective were there to offer us hugs and access to free legal advice.
People without rides or places to go were able to sleep on the grass outside the jailhouse thanks to sleeping bags the Coldsnap folks brought. Somebody sent the angels last night; they’re doing great work and need your support!
The problem with good things is that the police like to infiltrate and ruin them from the inside. That might’ve been the case with the protest last night. I heard several people talking about police plants agent provocateurs pretending to be protesters, inciting violence and keeping their superiors informed about where they are headed.
Imagine the embarrassment of the police and governments if they held a convention with massive protests and no one was arrested! They’d have spent millions upon millions of dollars for nothing! They’ve got to earn their outrageous security budgets, which is why they were so keen to arrest anybody who happened to be near Marion St. Bridge last night, including media folks and medics (at least 5 were arrested, along with a dozen credentialed photographers).
Of course they also wanted to show who’s boss. Clearly they are, and clearly they are not going to allow us to change the system peacefully or otherwise. We are not free. We are only permitted to do what they let us; truly free expression is verboten. Believe it or not, America used to be a pretty anything-goes society as long as it wasn’t overtly violent (think of the Old West). Nowadays we cling to our police state as if that makes us safer. But what have we lost in the process?
Shit, now I’m pissed off because that fucking cunt left us to fend off all those corporate cocksuckers by ourselves; George was one tough motherfucker but he finally went tits-up.
Carlin had a lot more than seven dirty words to say to us. He was the finest philopsher of our era. Sure, he was funny — wickedly funny at times — but he wasn’t afraid to go ten minutes without a punchline ’cause he was more than a comedian. He was a Stand-up Philosopher.
Gone but not forgotten.
Need a reminder?
I dunno about you, but I almost forgot about twat. Damn!
Real flying squirrels are gonna be pissed when they see this.
I wonder who was the first guy who said, “Hey, let’s make suits that mimic flying squirrels and then jump off a fuckin’ mountain!!” ‘Cause these guys actually did it:
That’s probably just about the most insanely stupid thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not objecting, though. We need space monkeys to do dangerous and stupid shit so the rest of us don’t have to. And these guys are breaking new ground in the field of… uh… um…
There are still many, many unanswered questions about 9/11. One of them revolves around the radios that firemen were using on that day, and a shady no-bid contract between the city of New York and Motorola. Was it just standard corruption, or was there something more? And why isn’t the Media covering this story? Robert Greenwald takes a look: