Amory Starr

 

Free trade in the Americas:

the very best in extrajudicial operations

In November 2004, US unions and activists planned a large presence at the FTAA/ALCA/ZLEA negotiations in Miami, Florida. The city of Miami bragged that the law enforcement for the events would be a "model" for

Homeland Security -- the draconian post-911 federal legislation which created a new agency for anti-terrorism and justified broadbased violation of rights during investigation and prosecution.

Activists of all stripes bravely prepared educational events, marches, political art, and direct action to disrupt the legalization and codification of hemispheric corporate plunder. No less than 40 law enforcement agencies, 7 of which were federal, violated protesters' rights. Even elders and those attending educational events were targeted. The police plan was to "limit" protest in order to "prevent violence". In practice, unidentified agents did not only "prevent, limit, and disrupt" constitutionally protected speech and assembly, but also created a "deliberate and pervasive pattern of intimidation" including hunting activists violently and indiscriminately for over 30 blocks from the actual meeting site. This police operation seemed intended to terrorize citizens (both participants and observers) from future acts of dissent.


"Hunted in Miami" (.
doc or html) is my report on the week. "Killmon vs. City of Miami" (.pdf) is the broadest of the lawsuits filed against the agencies.