Amy Goodman Goes To Jail

As an inmate, not a Journalist and it’s really not for sure yet as she is merely surrendering herself for charges related to her coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline but, since one of those charges might be Participating In or Inciting a Riot, there’s a possibility she could spend a long time in stir.

How long?

Filmmaker Faces 45 Years in Prison for Reporting on Dakota Access Protests
by Nika Knight, Common Dreams
Saturday, October 15, 2016

In an ominous sign for press freedom, documentary filmmaker and journalist Deia Schlosberg was arrested and charged with felonies carrying a whopping maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison—simply for reporting on the ongoing Indigenous protests against fossil fuel infrastructure.

Schlosberg was arrested in Walhalla, North Dakota on Tuesday for filming activists shutting down a tar sands pipeline, part of a nationwide solidarity action organized on behalf of those battling the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Schlosberg was then charged Friday with three felonies, the Huffington Post reported: “conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service. Together, the charges carry 45 years in maximum prison sentences.”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden observed that Schlosberg faces more years in prison than he does for leaking secret documents about the NSA’s mass surveillance program in 2013.

“Deia isn’t alone,” observed Fox in an op-ed in the Nation. “The arrest of journalists, filmmakers, and others witnessing and reporting on citizen protests against fossil-fuel infrastructure amid climate change is part of a worrisome and growing pattern.”

Indeed, the news of Schlosberg’s arrest followed Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman announcement earlier this week that she will return to North Dakota to combat charges she faces as a result of reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline protest last month.

“Goodman, whose camera crew filmed a private security team attacking peaceful Native American protesters with dogs and pepper spray, faces charges of criminal trespassing—which many have said amounts to an assault on press freedom,” as Common Dreams reported.

It also emerged late Saturday that a North Dakota state prosecutor has dropped the trespassing charge and is seeking instead to charge Goodman with participating in a “riot,” Democracy Now reported.

“I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting,” said Goodman. “I wasn’t trespassing, I wasn’t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters.”

Meanwhile, actor Shailene Woodley was arrested Monday while live-streaming a prayer action at a Dakota Access construction site. “She was singled out, the police told her, because she was well-known and had 40,000 people watching live on her Facebook page,” Fox wrote. “Other filmmakers shooting protest actions along the pipeline have also been arrested.”

“Journalism is not a crime; it is a responsibility,” Fox said in a press statement about this pattern of arrests. “The actions of the North Dakota Police force are not just a violation of the climate, but a violation of the constitution.”

Oh, did I mention Ms. Schlosberg won an Emmy in 2014?

It amazes me that so-called Libertarians outraged by Kelo (that case in New London, Connecticut where they siezed private property to build a Shopping Mall) can so easily acquiesce in exactly the same ‘Big Government Tyranny’ provided it’s on behalf of $ Billion Extraction Industries that cause a heck of a lot more damage than a Mall.

Anyway our Whistleblowing friend at The Intercept, Barrett Brown, has some tips on amusing yourself should you suddenly find yourself a Political Prisoner. Three words- Dungeons & Dragons.

I Am Fully Capable of Entertaining Myself in Prison for Decades If Need Be
by Barrett Brown, The Intercept
October 16 2016, 7:00 a.m.

I never really got a chance to play any pen-and-paper role-playing games growing up, so being thrown into a prison system in which such things as Dungeons and Dragons are relatively common constituted one of the silver linings of my 2012 arrest, along with not having to deal with an infestation of those little German roaches that had colonized my kitchen or having to see “World War Z.”

(A)fter that first FBI raid I started reading those little guides on life in prison that one finds online and noticed several references to role-playing games. When I got to the jail unit at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Worth shortly after my arrest, then, I immediately started agitating in favor of a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons or whatever was available, to begin ASAP, with the wooden table in the little corner library to be requisitioned for our use. A huge black guy awaiting trial on complicated fraud charges happened to have the basic mechanics memorized; I drafted him to be the dungeon master. Soon enough I’d also managed to recruit a white meth dealer who was familiar enough with the game to help the rest of us create our characters, a large and bovine Hispanic gangland enforcer who wanted to try the game and was at any rate influential enough to help us secure control over the table, and a fey Southern white guy for atmosphere.

With unlimited paper and pencils provided by the federal government, we had everything we needed except for a set of variously sided dice. It turned out that this was generally handled by making a spinner out of cardboard, a paperclip, and the empty internal plastic tube from an ink pen. This latter item is impaled loosely on the paperclip, itself positioned in the center of the cardboard, on which has been drawn a diminishing series of concentric circles divided into 20, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 equal segments, respectively.

I’ve never been one for the fantasy genre, but then there exist all sorts of role playing games covering every imaginable setting. For instance, the one time I’d actually gotten to play, when I was 13, a friend’s older brother had led us in a campaign set in the original, gritty comic book version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe, except some decades hence after a global nuclear war had mutated many of the world’s animals, who themselves were now organized into an array of polities with names like Dolphin Free State and Prairie Dog Imperium. I played as a mutant roadrunner who wore a bandolier and dual-wielded a pair of cheap, inaccurate submachine guns. When a school full of children was seized and held for ransom by warthog motorcycle bandits, the Sacramento-based Americorp government wisely called upon our team to respond. At one point I ran into the gymnasium at 60 mph, firing wildly and otherwise creating a distraction while one of my friends, a porcupine with a great ax, snuck in through the other door and decapitated the pig chieftain. Afterward, when we received our reward money and sold off all the salvaged weapons, it turned out that we had enough to buy an old bus and install a roof-mounted minigun turret with 360-degree rotation, and I knew then what life could be. Later, recruiting players at various jails and prisons, I’d use this story as a means of generating excitement, spreading out my arms and trotting in a circle while making machine gun noises with my mouth so as to better convey the scene.

Having found Dungeons and Dragons too thematically constraining, I learned of another gaming system that could potentially accommodate my fast-expanding metaphysical ambitions (I was now facing decades’ worth of trumped-up charges, the prosecution was trying to seize money being raised for my defense, and the press still hadn’t figured out that there was something wrong here, so it seemed like a good idea to come up with about 20 years’ worth of activities). GURPS, the Generic Universal Roleplaying System designed back in the 1980s, provides game mechanics for use in any conceivable setting. You could create a bunch of characters based on the Nixon administration, for instance, assigning them stats in accordance with estimates of the abilities of their real-world counterparts — Kissinger gets high Intelligence and Charisma, Colson gets nothing — plus basic skills included in the GURPS book like Acrobatics and Thrown Weapons, which takes care of Howard Hunt right there. You can also create custom skills appropriate for your particular campaign (Textile Tariff Negotiations; Remembering That Everything You’re Saying Right Now Is Being Recorded on the Taping System That You Yourself Installed, Yes, Even the Anti-Semitic Stuff). Give the characters some basic equipment (crowbars, Cuban people) and you’re set; each player picks their favorite staffer, while as always the gamemaster takes on the roles of the hero’s ally characters like Pinochet as well as villains like Daniel Ellsberg.

My problem, as usual, was knowing where to stop. GURPS included rules for RPG staples like magic and psionic powers. Why not make Nixon a necromancer, or more of one, and maybe give G. Gordon Liddy the power to start fires with his mind whenever he thinks fondly of Hitler? And too many comparably awesome ideas were presenting themselves to me each day, such that I never was really able to decide whether to start designing my increasingly elaborate Nixon game or instead do something simpler where Teddy Roosevelt is hunting you for sport. Nor was it 100 percent certain I’d be able to find people willing to play a Nixon administration-based tabletop RPG at that particular federal detention center, even if I were willing to relax the rule about always speaking in your character’s voice, which I wasn’t. Then one day I was shipped to another jail in Mansfield, Texas, and wasn’t allowed to bring my GURPS book or anything else, and so I spent the next year reading history for 10 hours a day in an overcrowded and windowless room.

Eventually I made it back to a prison where I could depend on keeping books and papers for an extended period of time and was able to resume my experiments, which have lately culminated in a highly complex new hybrid medium in which I oversee some 70 fully realized characters as they pursue their blood-soaked vendettas against one another in accordance with the several handwritten pages of primitive, dice-based behavioral heuristics I have devised for them. Their entire world is limited to a map I’ve drawn on graph paper and taped to my wall, their stage confined to my cell’s steel wall-mounted desk on which I have created an elaborate city consisting of dozens and dozens of buildings, vehicles, vending machines, trees, dogs, rats, surveillance drones, and dwarves — a small world, yes, but one of extraordinary depth and intrigue. I make the pieces out of cardboard tea boxes, drawing and then coloring them with very sharp pencils, and I don’t mind saying that I’ve become very good at making itty-bitty tea box people over the last year or so. Indeed, I tend to spend the late evenings hunched over a metal locker, drinking tea and creating new and more elaborate and ever more delightful little city dwellers; it’s a civilized pastime.

Or you can raise birds. Actually it sounds like my dorm room days, where do I sign up? Oh and catch the stinger about Trump supporter Peter Thiel at the end.

Amy Goodman appears in Court tomorrow so I’ll leave you with some of the Democracy Now pre-coverage before it is overtaken by events.

Journalist Amy Goodman to Turn Herself in to North Dakota Authorities
October 13, 2016

ND Prosecutor Seeks “Riot” Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest
October 15, 2016

A North Dakota state prosecutor has sought to charge award-winning journalist Amy Goodman with participating in a “riot” for filming an attack on Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters. The new charge comes after the prosecutor dropped criminal trespassing charges.

State’s Attorney Ladd R Erickson filed the new charges on Friday before District Judge John Grinsteiner who will decide on Monday (October 17) whether probable cause exists for the riot charge.

Goodman has travelled to North Dakota to face the charges and will appear at Morton County court on Monday at 1:30 pm local time (CDT) if the charges are approved.

In an e-mail to Goodman’s attorney Tom Dickson on October 12, State’s Attorney Erickson admitted that there were “legal issues with proving the notice of trespassing requirements in the statute.” In an earlier email on October 12, Erickson wrote that Goodman “was not acting as a journalist,” despite that fact that the state’s criminal complaint recognized that, “Amy Goodman can be seen on the video …interviewing protesters.” In that email Erikson justified his quote in the Bismarck Tribune in which he had said that “She’s [Amy Goodman] a protester, basically. Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions.” The First Amendment, of course, applies irrespective of the content of a reporter’s story.

The charge in State of North Dakota v. Amy Goodman, stems from Democracy Now!’s coverage of the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the pipeline company attacking protesters. The report showed guards unleashing dogs and using pepper spray and featured people with bite injuries and a dog with blood dripping from its mouth and nose.

Democracy Now!’s report went viral online and was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC,NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post.

On September 8th, a criminal complaint and warrant was issued for Goodman’s arrest on the trespassing charge.

And this from Real News Network

Journalist Amy Goodman to Turn Herself in to Defend Freedom of the Press
October 14, 2016


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