In order to avoid having to listen to any views but their own, members of the G-8 have been holding their meetings on islands because of ‘security concerns’. They mean, ‘security from protests and alternate viewpoints.’ This time the summit is on Sea Island off the Georgia coast, and fears of a ‘terrorist attack’ (though none has been threatened) have provoked, shall we say, excessive measures? Is that too strong?
“Georgia Homeland Security Director Bill Hitchens has met with these groups to listen to their concerns and to provide reassurance that measures are being taken to protect the rights of peaceful protesters,” said state Homeland Security spokeswoman Lisa Ray. “Our goal is to provide an environment conducive for the expression of First Amendment rights.”
This is what he means by that:
Between 10,000 and 20,000 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel are expected to protect the summit, which opens Tuesday. Last month, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in six coastal Georgia counties and establishing a central command to coordinate law enforcement operations for the summit.A similar emergency order was signed ahead of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta by then-Gov. Zell Miller. Harold Melton, Perdue’s executive counsel, insisted the order does not mean protesters’ rights will be abridged. He said it’s intended to reduce the time required for state officials to respond if a true emergency occurs.
Protesters will not be allowed on Sea Island, and security on St. Simons Island, which is connected to the exclusive resort community by a road, will be tightened. As a result, Clarke said most demonstrations will be held on the mainland in Brunswick. She said the port city, connected to St. Simons by a causeway, is located in “an incredibly impoverished region,” which has had its air, water and soil polluted by pesticides, paper mills and mercury. (emphasis added)
To protect the G-8 from how many protesters?
“We’re expecting hundreds, not thousands” of demonstrators in Brunswick and on St. Simons Island because of the “incredibly unfriendly environment” created by security measures protecting the summit on nearby Sea Island, said Marie Clarke, national coordinator of Jubilee USA Network, a coalition that wants wealthy nations to cancel the debts of impoverished countries. (emphasis added)
20,000 cops ought to be enough, wouldn’t you say? (What happened to all those ‘tight budgets’?)