January 2013 Archives
In addition to a massive outpouring of grief, the suicide of Reddit co-founder, programmer, and Internet activist Aaron Swartz has prompted a great deal of anger among members of the online and tech communities who knew him best. Swartz was awaiting trial for using MIT's wireless network to download 4.8 million academic documents from JSTOR (he had legal access to the online library as Harvard researcher at the time) with the apparent intention of distributing them for free. Many seem to believe that the strain of the case, which the Swartz family called "the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach," pushed the already depressed 26-year-old over the edge...
At noon on Sunday about two dozen protesters gathered at either end of the Golden Gate Bridge, some wearing orange jumpsuits to evoke images of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, to mark the eleventh anniversary of the notorious American prison camp.
Recently returned from a peace delegation into war-torn areas of Pakistan, Code Pink member Toby Blomé added: "Obama promised to close Guantánamo in his first year. Yet he just signed the National Defense Authorization Act which adds even further restrictions on the ability to obtain transfers for Guantánamo prisoners! Secret Black sites and extraordinary rendition continue. SHAME!".
World Can't Wait and other activists (including Amnesty International and Code Pink) were there, flyering and agitating around a statue-still man in Guantanamo jumpsuit, hood and chains. His signboard read: "Torture is ALWAYS illegal, immoral and unacceptable - Don't Buy CIA Lies!"
We talked to scores of moviegoers and many reporters, and gave out about 1000 flyers. The audience going into the theater was receptive in the main - many people of all ages knew something about the controversy over this film and torture, most took a flyer, a few stopped to talk. One guy had heard of the controversy last month when Debra Sweet was interviewed about it on KPFA Flashpoints, and came now to support us.
Coming out after the film, people's response was a lot more sharply opinionated. A lot of people told us in various ways that yes, they recognized the movie is glorifying the CIA and justifying torture as necessary to defeat terrorism. Many were also sympathetic to our fuller denunciation of torture as a war crime and crime against humanity, and our demand that war crimes and war criminals be brought to justice. But some - not nearly as many, but loud - told us off: they'd say torture is necessary, they approved because it's protected "us," and why didn't we shut up and/or go protest the terrorists who want to kill us, etc.
photo by Sean Havey, SF Chronicle
This movie, somewhat of a societal controversy, is an important opportunity to seize on because it's put these questions on the table as millions of Americans see it.
It was good to encounter so many people who weren't that sucked in by this (very slick yet somehow very old-fashioned "white hat cowboys/violent dark savages") film, including the woman interviewed In the news video posted by the SF Chronicle. Where, by the way, a large color photo of the "Guantanamo prisoner" is on today's front page with a major article (and more photos of our protest) about the ongoing commotion over the CIA's role in the making of this film, now that Senator Feinstein is ordering the CIA to 'fess up about what that entailed. Good!
Short video from SF Chronicle:
ABC -KGO Channel 7 TV news
Join the discussion of Zero Dark Thirty and these protests on Facebook:
World Can't Wait is calling on people around the
country to be at theaters, to say NO TORTURE IN OUR NAMES! CLOSE
GUANTANAMO and STOP ALL TORTURE NOW! People have to protest -- in direct,
creative, and public ways -- to expose and challenge the core message of this
film: that torture "works."
Download and print our flier and take it with you to the film's opening near you
Get palm cards for distribution
Go to showings with a stack of these fliers, posters and some friends donning orange jumpsuits
Take photos and send them to email@example.com.
Post your protest to our event page and we will help connect you with others in your area who put humanity and the planet first.