Archive - Feb 2005


Zetas on the Loose

A Washington Post story tells of a former elite force of anti-drug commandos in Mexico, called the Zetas, are now working for the drug cartels. In their periodic news and analysis mailing, the Mexico Solidarity Network adds that the leaders of the Zetas were trained at the School of the Americas in the U.S.

The Post article mentions again the State Departments warnings to U.S. citizens about Northern Mexico and the various abductions, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago. In my interview with Bill Conroy while I was in Austin, he stressed further the idea that the drug cartels don't do anything if it doesn't earn them money, and kidnapping gringos is not a big money-maker.

I just had a great idea. What if Mexico simply disbanded all of its law enforcement agencies? No one trusts or relies on police anyway, there, it seems. Why not just make an announcement that there is now no such thing as a Mexican cop? No more corruption, since you can't corrupt something that doesn't exist. No more drug thugs impersonating cops. If you're dressed as a cop, that would prove you're a criminal. Unrealistic, I guess, but an interesting thought experiment.

Examining Intellectual Property at the University of Iowa

Perhaps of general interest is an entry to the other blog I write for over at, in which I detail what I was doing last Friday and some related events concerning intellectual property issues.

Venezuela Videos

Lots of videos available from this Venezuelan public television organization. They contacted the Portland indymedia video group with a request for some of our stuff, including about 4 pieces that I worked on. I love the idea of working with them - trading videos and increasing connections. I especially am excited about their offer of translating en espa

Indy Conference Photos and Thoughts

Today I uploaded a bunch of media related to the Indymedia Conference: photos, audio documentation, and even a little video clip.

I'm in Iowa now, having arrived a few days ago at my mom and stepfather's place in Bettendorf. They have only dialup access to the Net, so I haven't been getting online much. It's just too frustrating trying to deal with such low bandwidth. Wow I am spoiled. But today I rode a bike down to the public library, which is pretty close. There's free wireless access there, so I'm uploading stuff and giving some long-overdue attention to my blog.

I've been thinking about the Indyconference on the train ride up here and in the last few days as I captured a bunch of the audio recordings I made. I think the conference was an amazing and wonderful thing...

Indy Conference: quick first summary wrap-up

It's absolutely beautiful weather today here in Austin, which is perfect because I'm now done with sitting in conference rooms all day. All during the Indy Conference is was overcast and even a little rainy, but that was fine. If it was as nice as today, I would have been tempted to skip out on some of the conference and go outside.

here's a photo i just took of my friends' pack porch where I'm sitting.
I'm exhiliarated by the weekend and now the weather. The conference wrapped up last night rather late because of an extended closing discussion that turned very heavy. Then there was much eating and drinking, till I got tired at about 2:30. I'm sure the partying went on till the early hours because some people had to be at the airport at 6 or something, so they were planning on just staying up.

Anyway, I can't write more, its too nice, but i'll blog more about the conference and stuff later.

10 Seconds

This is a nice little flash slideshow thing that give statstics for various things that happen around the world every 10 seconds. Deaths, births, money, food, etc. You probably know it, in general, already but it's a poignant reminder.

Indy Conference part 2

I'm sitting in Mojo's cafe as other IMCistas hang a sheet to prepare for screening indymedia videos. This is a wonderful environment. I like Austin a lot. The only problem is that the weather has been pretty much exactly like Portland for the last 3 days. Only a little warmer. Anyway, before I babble on I should refer you to the other blogger who has been writing about the conference, the very smart and knowledgable Chris Anderson of New York City's IMC.
He's written a few very thoughtful entries about the conference on the Indypendent blog.

Chris was actually supposed to be facilitator for one of the workshops at 10 am this morning, but he was late because his ride slept in... It turns out that many conference attendees stayed up till 5 or 7 this morning. (I myself decided to catch up on sleep, since sleeping on a stone floor for 2 weeks in Tucson has reduced my immune system.)

Anyway, the session Chris was supposed to lead was about Blogging and Indymedia. I recorded audio of it, but I have yet to encode it. The discussion was extremely interesting and we batted around several URLs and ideas.

Over lunch I met with Bill Conroy, who writes for Narco News Bulletin. In fact, he just wrote a new article about the 'House of Death' in Juarez. Anyway, he drove up from San Antonio, partially to visit his daughter who is attending UT-Austin, but also to give me an interview for my Juarez documentary. He offered some great insights on the Drug War and corruption, and I'm really happy that I got to talk to him, and I'm very happy with how the documentary now is shaping up. I look forward to hunkering down for the next month and getting most of it edited.

Umm, anyway, the IndyConference is really great. I don't know how to really meaningfully write about it write now as it's still happening, other than to simply list the events. So anyway, after the interview with Bill, we went to get coffee and ran into the New Mexico IMC folks, who I met in Albuquerque back in November. They were with some Talahassee IMC guys. We chatted for a bit and then went over to the auditorium to see Amy Goodman from Democracy Now give her keynote speech.

It was great and moving seeing her speak, but I felt a bit like how I often feel, and that is that there was a lot of preaching to the choir going on. Her talk was not really focused on Indymedia in any way, it seemed to be her standard talk about how important independent media is. Which is great, but like, hey, we already know how important it is. I didn't know her Sally Jesse story, or her story about almost being killed in East Timor in the 70s. But although all that stuff was great, what I really wanted to hear was her specific thoughts about the Indpendent Media Center. How does it complement what Democracy Now is doing? What strengths and weaknesses does she see in it? Where should it go? These are the kinds of questions that her presence at an Indymedia Conference should address, not her schpiel she gives to middle american moderate liberals.

Anyway, next were more workshops. I went to a 2-hour session about IMC Video that was very useful. I took lots of notes and I plan to post those on the wiki soon, which is on the site. Then I went to a little of the "how to do a mobilization," and then a little of the "underserved communities" workshop, but then I had to play hookie again and go see my friend's band Brekekekoaxkoax, a sort of free improv experimental quartet that was playing across town.

And now I'm here, watching IMC videos. Fun!

More later...

Indy Conference in Austin, Texas

It's the second day of the Indy Conference here in Austin Texas. Indymedia people from all over the U.S., and even a few from abroad, have gathered here to learn from each other and discuss the many concerns related to this amazing thing we call the Independent Media Centers.

Here's a photo of John Downing giving a keynote speech last night to a room of about 150 imcistas and other interested folks. Downing is the author of "Radical Media" and had a lot of interesting things to say. He's obviously someone who, though an academic, is familiar with how Indymedia really works and what it is. In fact, he made an allusion to a discussion that's been going on in the global video list, so he must be paying pretty close attention.

I rode with 3 Tucson compa

On the way to Austin

Getting on the road to go the Indy Conference soon.

To get in the mood, here's nice photo from the streets of Tucson:

Polysics or Die!!!

I've gone to 4 musical events here in Tucson in the last 8 days, and 3 of them have been at the same club, Club Congress. Sunday I saw an awesome show featuring the Tokyo band Polysics (sort of like a japanese Devo), and 4 amazing opening bands. I took lots of photos, and even a few video clips.

In other news, I'm going to leave Tucson and head for Austin tommorrow for the Indy Conference there. I'm riding with focus, also from Portland IMC, and 2 Tucson IMC people, Walt and Jessica. I'm looking forward to the conference, seeing a bunch of indymedia people from all over, and seeing Austin again. Out of the many places I've lived I think Austin is the only place I felt like I didn't want to leave when I moved away, and that I could envision living there again.