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2011 October 27 | Activist News
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Daily Archives: October 27, 2011

Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes

Guardian
Oct. 26, 2011
By

An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a “critical condition” in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening. More than 15 people were arrested after a crowd gathered to demonstrate against the police operation to clear two Occupy Oakland camps in the early hours of Tuesday morning.


Jay Finneburgh, a photographer who was covering the protest, published pictures of Olsen lying on the ground.

“This poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. He went down hard and did not get up,” Finneburgh wrote.

Olsen was taken to Highland by fellow protesters.

The Guardian spoke to people with Olsen at the hospital. Adele Carpenter, who knows Olsen through his involvement with anti-war groups, said she arrived at the hospital at 11pm on Tuesday night.

Carpenter said she was told by a doctor at the hospital that Olsen had a skull fracture and was in a “serious but stable” condition. She said he had been sedated and was unconscious.

“I’m just absolutely devastated that someone who did two tours of Iraq and came home safely is now lying in a US hospital because of the domestic police force,” Carpenter said.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/26/occupy-oakland-veteran-critical-condition 

US diplomat suspended for book, blog with WikiLeaks link

AFP
Oct. 27, 2011
By Jim Mannion

WASHINGTON — The State Department has suspended a veteran diplomat for a book critical of US policy in Iraq and irreverent blog posts that included a link to a WikiLeaks cable, he said Wednesday.

Peter Van Buren, a 23 year foreign service officer who worked in human relations, said he was escorted out of the State Department on Monday and barred from returning for two days while officials there decide what to do next with him.

They had stripped him of his top secret security clearance a few days earlier, he said.

“We are unable to discuss individual personnel matters, and therefore have no comment about Mr Van Buren?s situation,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.


But in a phone interview with AFP, Van Buren said his irreverent account of his experiences in Iraq, in a book entitled “We Meant Well – How I Helped Lose the Battle for Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,” appeared to have precipitated the action.

There were also articles he wrote for the Huffington Post and Salon.com, and blogs on his website, “WeMeantWell.com,” which he freely admits were published without prior State Department permission.

“The State Department said they need 30 working days in order to clear or approve any submission, and unfortunately that is out of the zone of reality for blogging and tweeting and Facebook updating,” he said.

“I submit it is nothing but a prior restraint on my free speech. I choose not to follow it, and I expect to be punished,” he said.

One blog post linked to a WikiLeaks cable describing a 2009 meeting Senator John McCain had with Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli.

Van Buren said he wanted to make the point “how quickly enemies became friends, and friends became enemies again, and wondering what that meant about US foreign policy.”

“This was not the nuclear launch codes, or Hillary’s Victoria Secret catalog or anything like that. It was pretty mild stuff. I believe it was listed as ‘confidential,’ which is the lowest form of classification.”

Van Buren said he had submitted the book for pre-publication review more than a year ago, with no response, and began blogging in April of this year.

It wasn’t until June that he was told he shouldn’t be blogging, and not until September 1 that they raised the WikiLeaks link.

“That was followed by two interrogation sessions with our security people,” he said. Then on September 20, they demanded redactions to his book, and followed that by suspending his security clearance.

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ili0jzntgu4J0_SLdKc_Pra4nVzw?docId=CNG.64f335a63a0a239e61cf0891c65a0c44.c71