Martial Law in Seattle?
Rubber bullets can kill!
by Max Sinclair (posted 12-1-99)

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Seeing the harsh response to a fairly small number of demonstrators in Seattle got me thinking. Thinking about Yugoslavia and the US government's (currently) favorite evil dictator, Slobodan Milosevich.

During 1996, hundreds of thousands of anti-Milosevich demonstrators shut down sections of Yugoslavia for months, performing the usual anti-government activities familiar the world over since 1968. In the last few months, there have been numerous anti-government demonstrations in Belgrade. All these demonstrations occurred with few arrests and minor police violence. Milosevich's party governs through a coalition; it has only 46% of the seats in Parliament. The opposition could take over if it could create its own coalition. The massive demonstrations in '96, and smaller ones today have had the avowed intent of bringing down the government. And yet police response has been restrained though we are told Milosevich is a tyrant whose existence threatens democracy in Europe.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, we are continually told we've got the most free, democratic society ever. I wish to believe this is true.

However, the images from Seattle tell me otherwise. A few thousand demonstrators get rowdy and the government uses pepper spray and rubber bullets? (I put "bullets" in italics to call attention to the fact that these are very dangerous weapons, shot from real guns, with tremendous force; they can do great harm to human flesh and bone.) And then martial law is declared to occupy and cleanse downtown Seattle? [Emperors-clothes note: Max wrote this before we received a first-hand report from Jim Desyllas which indicates a few thousand demonstrators did NOT get rowdy. See note # 1 at end for the link to "Collateral Damage in Seattle .]

The worst damage TV crews could come up with was a few youth pushing over some newspaper racks and a post office box getting thrown through a shop window. Shucks, folks, in Paris or Berlin, this demonstration would be called "Peaceful." In the "freest country in the world", it brings martial law down on the populace.

Comparing the response to the Belgrade and Seattle demonstrations should get anyone thinking. Which government allows greater freedom of expression? In Seattle, Washington comes up short.

Should an international fund be established, complete with NGOs, to teach conflict management techniques and create a well-funded independent movement to facilitate a transition to democracy in the US?



Note # 1 - For a first-hand report on the police-instigated violence (and media disinformation) in Seattle click on "Collateral Damage in Seattle" or go to For a first hand report indicating

Note # 2 - For Michel Chossudovsky's in-depth look at the WTO please click on SEATTLE AND BEYOND: DISARMING THE NEW WORLD ORDER or go to

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