Saturday, September 5, 2009

G20 likely to lay siege to Pittsburgh

Mike Boda
May 29, 1:00 PM

G20 likely to lay siege to Pittsburgh

It is the people who will deliver us from the men who have been corrupting us, and the people themselves will win their liberty.
-Louise Michel

There are numerous articles gushing over the decision to allow the global elite to gather in Pittsburgh, that speak of a vague "benefit" for the City and its residents. If other recent gatherings of the "masters of the universe" are any indication, unless you are employed by a hotel or an escort service or some other high-end tourism or security industry, all the average Pittsburgher will likely get out it is the inconvenience of closed streets, checkpoints, armored personnel carriers, protests in the streets, and the occasional whiff of stray tear gas.

Before the most recent G20 summit, London residents who were living near the ExCeL center where the summit was held, were required to carry two forms of ID, to get to their homes:

Residents at the western end of the ExCeL estate will have difficulty accessing their homes, whether by vehicle or on foot, because of road closures at the site and also with searching and screening taking place. They will be required to carry two forms of identification/proof of address (one of which must be photographic) to gain entry through security cordons.
Residents in surrounding areas will not be required to carry ID unless they are planning to travel into the ExCeL estate for work.

This should be less of a problem for Pittsburgh since in 2008 only 2,148 people actually lived in the Golden Triangle which was likely a consideration in our City being selected for this event.

The David L Lawrence Convention Center was likely selected for having water on one side, like the London site did. During the period of regular street demonstrations against the crusade in Iraq, the Convention Center was rumored to be used a temporary detention center in the event of mass arrests even larger than the122 protesters taken into custody, but that probably won't work for this one.

Many local business will be closed and boarded up for the duration, and while the federal government will foot most of the bill for turning the City into an armed camp, it has not been determined who will pay for the inevitable lawsuits, should another police riot break out. The Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway is very close to the proposed site for the G20 and transit service will likely be negatively impacted. How is any of this "beneficial"?

Since the G20 is comprised of unaccountable people who are largely responsible for the recent global economic crisis, extreme measures will be taken to ensure that the voices of those affected by it will not be heard. Infiltrators will be used to provoke and entrap dissenters and it's a safe bet to expect preemptive arrests and raids on the homes of local activists, as well as a flurry of sensational media coverage and statements from public officials intended to demonize anyone who happens to oppose closed meetings that have a negative impact on the rest of us.

London's Tory mayor, Boris "The Menace" Johnson, used his column in the Daily Telegraph to demonize and ridicule those opposed to these kinds of undemocratic institutions. Many people await the Boy Mayor's babbling on the subject with baited breath.

This type of coverage ensures that law enforcement will likely be whipped into a frenzy, over equipped and under trained, as the London police allege they were. David Gilbertson, a retired Scotland Yard police official, fears that policing in the UK has "morphed into a faux US-style operation" and:

Officers are trained to be on guard against attack, to regard every situation, no matter how seemingly benign, as a threat situation. The lesson is that the public are your enemy. That mindset appeared to dominate at the G20 protests.

The frightening part is that London, like the rest of Western Europe, enjoys a much higher tolerance for street protests than we do in the US.