Archive for the ‘event reporting & media’ Category

Bangor demonstration video

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

March 18 peace symbol event in context of four years of area actions against the Iraq war

Please go to You Tube and comment on it or favorite it. Especially, please pick up the code and send it to other sites. It is also posted at From Every Village Green.

Bangor demonstration makes impression

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Extraordinary coverage of March 17–18 peace events

Bangor Daily News 3-19-07

Local newspaper cares now, this war must end

Years ago, the Bangor Daily News was among the very most reactionary newspapers around–much like the Union Leader in New Hampshire. As recently as 2002 they all but ignored several of our peace rallies at the Federal Building in Bangor. They’re making up for it. What you see above truly is amazing coverage. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Here are two of the most important stories from about a dozen published since last week:

From Every Village Green, Monday March 19; Details on our big peace-symbol event near the Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor…

And this,

Iraq veteran home, now protesting war
By Toni-Lynn Robbins
Saturday, March 17, 2007 – Bangor Daily News

OLD TOWN – The boots. The helmet. The rifle. The dog tags.

A tribute to a fallen soldier. A faceless memorial, unless it belongs to a friend.

“It’s not a good story,” Spc. Brian Clement began.

“As the armorer, I had to take care of his weapon, which he had been carrying when he was killed,” Clement continued, his speech slowed as he sought the words to describe his friend’s death….

Brian may be forced back into the military from inactive reserve.

Slushball storm postpones anti-war events

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Bangor Daily News leads today with a stellar anti-war editorial!

A Maine slushball
15 cm of snow followed by 5 cm of rain with ice in between postpones Saturday protests

Today was going to be a day of over 100 anti-war demonstrations throughout the state of Maine, some large some small. The big storm pushed events in most places to Sunday. The Bangor event (one of the large ones) now will occur Sunday at 1pm next to the Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street. Full details at the Every Village Green website HERE.

Some places did hold their events today. Reports HERE.

Meanwhile, the Bangor Daily News has a positively smashing lead editorial today!

Bring the peace
By BDN Staff
Saturday, March 17, 2007 – Bangor Daily News

If all goes well today [and now Sunday], thousands of Mainers will gather on village greens to protest the war in Iraq, just as protesters are gathering in Washington to recreate the 1967 march on the Pentagon that marked the turning of public opinion on Vietnam. We hope their voices are strong and their message is heard. But “Stop the war” can’t be the only message. “Bring the peace” deserves even more support because with it comes the victory of lives saved in Iraq.

Four years into the Iraq war, the Bush administration’s original justifications for fighting have drifted away, with the falsity of the weapons of mass destruction claim exposed and the reality of Saddam Hussein dead, and been replaced with a grinding fight it didn’t properly anticipate. The public frustration and anger are understandable…

[READ THE REST HERE.]

The editorial concludes that Congress “must make peace as vigorously as it was willing to let the president make war.” Bravo, BDN!

This editorial follows excellent news coverage the last few days. THIS STORY on the Every Village Green project was great:

[Ron] Greenberg was drawn to active protest of the Iraq war by what he said was the lack of responsiveness from Maine’s two U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Letters expressing his concerns about the war drew no response from the two legislators, he said.

“I got no response at all. I was just ignored. That’s what got me so upset,” he said. “I got the sense that they were just rolling their eyes. I felt insulted as a citizen.”

Frustration led him to Snowe’s office in Bangor last summer where he and 10 others were arrested, which, in turn, led to a Bangor protest that drew several thousand people from all over Maine.

“They were frustrated and angry, and happy to have an outlet,” he said.

It was during that protest that Greenberg thought about people unable to make the trip to Bangor.

He came up with the Every Village Green concept.

Momentum. Let’s hope this hopeful thrust to stop this war continues to grow.

12 arrested in Bangor: Occupation Project coverage

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Banner hung from Susan Collins's window

Banner hung Wednesday from the Bangor office window of US Senator Susan Collins

Besides the video that has appeared here at Deep Blade Journal and two posts at the Every Village Green blog, news coverage of the March 7 Occupation Project protest at all the Congressional offices in Bangor has been sparse. It looks like one TV channel eventually came, a buried story appeared in the Bangor Daily News print edition (but not on the net), and WERU community radio faithfully covered the story.

So, here is some additional coverage along with a few photos from those shot by Kelly Bellis during the protest. First, read this story at Every Village Green:

Occupation Project Results in 12 Arrests

Twelve Maine peace activists were arrested just after 5:00 PM Wednesday for refusing to leave the Margaret Chase Federal Building and the offices of Senator Susan Collins. As part of the Declaration of Peace events planned calling on Congress to defund the war and end the occupation of Iraq, the protesters were in the vanguard of acts of nonviolent civil disobedience scheduled nationwide to coincide with the marking of the end of the fourth year that America has been mercilessly terrorizing Iraq, and sadly the beginning of the fifth horrific year.

[Read the rest HERE.]

In Collins's office
In Senator Collins’s office on Wednesday

Robert Shetterly honors the fallen
Robert Shetterly draws Beau Beaulieu, fallen soldier in Iraq

Walking to Snowe's office on Wednesday (yours truly w/camera)
Walking to Snowe’s office on Wednesday (yours truly w/camera)

Below is the full text of the Bangor Daily News story, page B5 of print edition Thursday March 8. As of the end of the day March 8, this was not posted on the net.

Protesters in Bangor want troops home
By CHELSEY LEDUE and AARON SMITH of the News staff

BANGOR — Bring US. combat troops home from Iraq by the end of the year; a group of activists and ministers urged Wednesday morning, offering a veteran of the war as their featured speaker at a downtown news conference. Later in the day 12 anti-war protesters who occupied US. Sen. Susan Collins’ office were arrested for criminal trespassing after refusing to leave.

The focus of the rally and protest was President Bush’s proposal to increase the US. combat presence in Iraq by some 21,000 troops, an escalation known as the surge.

“We want to be much dearer about what we want,” said Sara Stalman of Brooksville during the press conference at the Bangor Public Library in the morning. Representing the Maine People’s Alliance, a self-described grass-roots organization that claims 28,000 members, Stalman said, “We want all combat troops home by the end of the year. President Bush has shown a total disregard for the views of the Iraq, Study Group and the American people.”

Led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, the Iraq Study Group’s mandate was to conduct an independent assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq, its impact, on the surrounding region, and consequences for US. interests, according to its Web site.

Brian Clement of Gardiner, an Army veteran who was deployed days after he graduated from high school, was at the news conference to signal his opposition to a widening war Clement served as a specialist with the Army’s 1st Cavalry in Taji, a city five miles from Baghdad.

“I thought, at the time, that we could make a difference,” he said. “But my mentality started to change while I was in Iraq. We were doing more damage and destruction and not being a positive influence,” he said.

Now a student at the University of Maine and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War Clement said he encouraged Maine’s two Republican US senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, to help stop the Iraq war and prevent further loss of life in Iraq.

“I support the troops in Iraq. They are my brothers and sisters,” Clement said.

The Maine People’s Alliance and other protesters said they were joining Americans Against Escalation In Iraq, a national bipartisan group made up of veterans, union members, civic activists and others.

“We believe in our congressmen and senators because of the people they are and the people we are,” said Stalman. “We want to give the power to our government -to fix this. That’s.the way democracy works.”

Other speakers at the morning event Included Sarah Bigney of the Progressive Student Alliance; the Rev Brad Mitchell, Interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor; the Rev. Elaine Hewes, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church of Bangor; and the Rev Gary Vencill of the United Methodist Church of Brooksville.

“Only Americans can save and preserve America,” Mitchell said.

Shortly after the press conference, more than two dozen protesters made their way down the street to Collins’ office at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building. Six protesters sat in her office on the second floor, while another 20 or so stood with anti-war signs in the lobby of the building until it closed at 5pm.

After being warned to exit the federal building, 12 of the protesters who refused to leave either the office or the federal building were arrested, according to Bangor police. Everyone who was arrested was’ cooperative when taken into custody said Bangor police Sgt. Ed Potter The six protesters in Collins’ office, said they were with the Civil Disobedience and Occupation Project and expected to be arrested.

“We intend to stay here until we get what we want,” said protester Patricia Wheeler of Deer Isle.

“We’re here today essentially to present our grievances to the war that will hopefully fall on the ears of Susan Collins,” said Judy Robbins of Sedgwick.

At least one of the people arrested Wednesday, Nancy Hill, 54, of Stonington, had been among 11 activists arrested for criminal trespass at Snowe’s Bangor office in September last year.

Another 19 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave Collins’ office in December 2005.

Bangor police provided a list of those arrested Wednesday evening, which in addition to Wheeler, Robbins and Hill, included Maureen Block, Robert Shetterly, Jonathan Kreps, James Freeman, Dudley Hendrick, Douglas Rawlings, Peter Robbins, Henry Braun, and Diane Fitzgerald. No hometowns were provided.

A downloadable mp3 recording of Iraq war veteran Brian Clement of Gardiner, Maine speaking during a University of Maine teach-in last October is available at peacecast.us HERE.

Occupation Project Mar. 7 Action in Bangor

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

On March 7, peace activists from Maine acting in concert with the national Occupation Project delivered a strong message to our representatives in Congress. This 3-1/2-minute clip records visits to the Bangor, Maine offices of Congressman Mike Michaud and Senator Olympia Snowe with the demand they STOP FUNDING WAR. Two additional clips below contain statements from Robert Shetterly and Doug Rawlings prior to entering the office of Senator Susan Collins with the same demand.

Update: Twelve were arrested at Susan Collins’s office in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in downtown Bangor. No news story appears to be available on the Internet by the end of the day on March 8. The only media covering this protest (besides Deep Blade) appears to have been WERU community radio and the print edition of the Bangor Daily News (not the Internet edition) for Thursday.

Occupation Project Mar. 7 Action: Robert Shetterly

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

President Bush has asked for an extra $93 billion on top of the $439 billion military budget appropriated by Congress in the fall. Congress is poised to vote for more war, and indeed to increase the expenditure beyond the president’s request. It’s time to demand that they STOP FUNDING WAR.

Below is video of the statement given prior to the March 7 visit to US Senator Susan Collins’s office by Brooksville, Maine artist Robert Shetterly.

Occupation Project Mar. 7 Action: Doug Rawlings

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

President Bush has asked for an extra $93 billion on top of the $439 billion military budget appropriated by Congress in the fall. Congress is poised to vote for more war, and indeed to increase the expenditure beyond the president’s request. It’s time to demand that they STOP FUNDING WAR.

Below is video of the statement given prior to the March 7 visit to US Senator Susan Collins’s office by Doug Rawlings of Veterans for Peace, Maine Chapter.

Maine anti-war history

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

We will soon be in the fifth year of the US war of aggression to take and occupy Iraq. By all accounts now (except perhaps in those of the unreconstructed running dog Richard Bruce Cheney), the adventure is a complete disaster and utter failure for the people of Iraq. It is an indelible stain on America. For the entire period beginning in the second half of 2002 to the present, the anti-war movement has been 100% correct in warning of this disaster. These pages attest to that fact. Most of the photos in the collections below were taken and posted contemporaneously by your host at Deep Blade Journal. The 1982 New York City disarmament rally page was created for the 20th anniversary of the event (photos also by your host).

Edwards in Maine

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Democratic candidate for vice president rallies 6800 in Orono

Wednesday’s 5pm rally around the Fogler Library steps and University of Maine mall drew an excellent crowd. We required nearly 20 minutes to snake around in the very long line to the entrance gate. After we got in, we were sort of in the middle of the sea, but we could see just enough over all of the heads.

Author and beloved Bangor Democrat Stephen King warmed up the crowd with Governor John Baldacci by his side, railing on the “most dangerous and unpleasant bunch” to occupy the Whitehouse since the Nixon administration.

King: “I want you to go back and find one uncommitted voter. And I want you to sit down with that man or that woman. And talk to them about John Kerry and John Edwards….”

mpeg video clip of Stephen King (1/2 megabit broadband required to stream)

With the crowd pumped, the senator from North Carolina came out directly.

John Edwards got a big cheer for taking off the jacket on a cloudy, muggy, slightly tropical afternoon.

Senator Edwards made a bit of news right off, as he had been chosen to rebut Vice President Cheney’s Terror War provocation issued Tuesday in Iowa (see previous post).

Edwards: “George Bush and Dick Cheney [said] to the American people [that] if America is hit by another terrorist attack, it’s the fault of the American people. This statement was calculated to divide us about an issue of the safety and security of the American people…it’s un-American, is what it is….George Bush came into office saying he was going to unite this country, not divide it – saying he was going to restore honor and dignity to the Whitehouse. So he was asked today by a reporter about what Dick Cheney had said. His response was to stare back at the reporter and say nothing”.

An excellent quote, to be sure, though few news organizations picked up much of it, usually only the “calculated to divide” part. Well, good response nonetheless.

I am now a bit happier with the way Kerry and Edwards have increased criticism of the cost in lives, cost in treasure, and Bush mismanagement of the war in Iraq. Pointing out how far $200 billion of war funds would go towards fixing the health care mess and other domestic security priorities is right on in my estimation. Why did it take so long?

Edwards: “The problem is $200 billion and counting….At the same time, so many things that are important in the lives of the American people are not taking place. But $200 billion and counting in Iraq. These things are completely connected”.

Still, I’d like to know what he means by “committed to success in Iraq”. What, we take down all opposition, run a sham election, put in a puppet government, control the oil, and place military bases in the manner the current Pentagon envisions “success”? Well, I guess I have to support for the moment the “fresh start” idea, though I see many, many reasons the months after the election will be very painful for everyone invloved because of the war crimes on which the conquest of Iraq is based, not least the Iraqi people.

mpeg video clip of John Edwards (1/2 megabit broadband required to stream)

After staying overnight in Bangor, Edwards surprised working class diners at Dysarts, a truck stop along I-95 just south of town.

A Win for the Penobscot River

Friday, June 25th, 2004

Good environmental news broke today in Veazie, Maine. A final Penobscot River Restoration Agreement was signed by Maine Governor John Baldacci, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Chief Barry Dana of the Penobscot Nation, a coalition of state and national conservation groups, and PPL Corporation. The ceremony took place at the Veazie Salmon Club Park, located just 1/10 mile from the offices of Deep Blade Journal.

Baldacci speaks at ceremony with Norton and other dignitaries looking on. The Veazie dam is seen in the background.

The agreement will lead within ten years to the removal of dams in Veazie and at Great Works. These structures now cripple the ability of Atlantic salmon to reach natural spawning areas. There also will be a major reconfiguration of a third dam so that both water impoundment and fish passage will be possible above Howland, Maine. The plan is now filed officially with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The tragedy that befell the fish after the construction in 1834 of a dam at Eddington bend, and later a hydroelectric structure known as the Veazie Dam, is heartbreaking. Maine’s first Fisheries Commissioners described the impact of this dam in 1869:

The latter [Veazie Dam] was closed in the winter. When the fish came in the spring they found an impassable barrier across their way; they gathered in multitudes below the dam and strove in vain to surmount it; many returned down the river, and after the usual time for spawning of shad was past they were taken in weirs in the town of Bucksport, loaded with ripe spawn they could no longer contain; a phenomenon which Mr. John C. Homer who has fished with weirs at that point for forty-three years had never observed at any other time. These were doubtless shad whose natural spawning grounds lay far up the river, and who had after long contention given up the attempt to pass the Veazie Dam. A great many shad and alewives lingered about the dam and died there, until the air was loaded with the stench.

This agreement represents a major reversal in public policy trajectory concerning the Penobscot River. Less than ten years ago, the hot topic around here was a gigantic proposal for new dam construction at Basin Mills, just upriver in Orono. And going back to 1985, large corporate interests were hot to install a massive dam at Big Ambejackmockamus Falls on the West Branch. Following defeat of those projects on environmental grounds, a consensus began to build that restoration the Penobscot fishery was a project far more worthy, both economically and environmentally, than megaconstruction of destructive dams. People are sick and tired of repeated fights over these monster proposals.

It is interesting that Secretary Norton took a break from her usual busy day of advocacy for mining and oil drilling interests, owners of motorized trail vehicles, removal of protection for endangered species, and other like-minded pursuits. The press release for today’s event from the Department of the Interior may be read here.

It appears that President Bush, after using Maine as his Earth Day backdrop, intends to use this state as a showcase for his environmental concern. No one should be fooled. Though Interior has not been a roadblock in the Penobscot project, this must be considered a rare exception for the Bush administration. It is only through decades of hard work by dedicated people of all political stripes that official Washington in an anti-green administration has been forced to be on board.

For additional background, please see this November 2003 story in Northern Sky News, and the Penobscot Partners website.

Gale Norton, John Baldacci, and Barry Dana chum around at the Penobscot River Restoration signing ceremony in Veazie today.