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Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

Military propaganda backed by police repression was clearly visible at the 7th Annual Job and Resource Fair that took place on May 18th at the GHWR Youth Center in Watsonville, CA. I wonder if the military was intentionally left off the flyer for the event which listed 18 agencies and employers.
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I was angry when i got the Youth Center and saw a Watsonville Brown Beret handing out flyers outside of the center. He told me that he was not allowed into the Job Fair.

I took the plunge into the Job Fair with counter-recruitment literature and a camera. Let me tell you, the "job oppertunities" are NOT looking so good today. Some of the fine employers represented at the Job Fair were Starbucks, Applebees, Avon, Manpower Staffing Services, Kelly Services, and the Army.

Each student that spoke to the Army was given a flyer called, "No Child Left UnRecruited?!" by the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. The first paragraphe ended, "Now all high schools must aid the Pentagon in targeting minors to coerce them into entering a dangerous and violent profession."

After one of the several Watsonville Police officers got hold of a flyer, she got some back up from another officer and a lady running the Job Fair and approached me. She wanted to find out who I was and told me to go back to my table. She was motioning to the other end and side of the gym where the Job Fair was taking place. I did not know what she was talking about because I did not have a table at the fair.

The cops made a scene in front of the military table by trying to hassle me and telling me where I could and could not stand. I was not having any of that shit. For at least 15 minutes, the military had nobody to propagandize with their stickers, pens, flyers and tales of heroism.

The most "Give me a fucking break" propaganda came from the women dressed in full camouflage who told stories of how many people she has helped and how SHE IS "NOT EVEN A RECRUITER." ha! She just happend to be dressed in full camouflage and standing next to the Army table at the Job Fair in Watsonville with glowing stories about her time in Iraq.

I was told to not take photos of people who did not want their photos taken. This was fine with me, even though I don't apprecaite hearing it from the police! My point was made and I slowly mingled away from the scene of the attempted intimidation.

As far away as possible from the Army table, I came across a table set up by the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) based in Santa Cruz. The women from the Job Fair was also at the table and seemed to be amazed that I was not with the RCNV.

Then I made my way to the table set up by the Women's Crisis Support (Defensa de Mujures) and polietly asked if it was ok to take a photo. Permission was granted and I took a photo. I then took a photo of a display for Workforce Santa Cruz County. It was then approached by the same to WPD officers and told that I was already instructed to not take any photos. I pointed out that I full consent to take a photo of the people at the table for Women's Crisis Support. The police were just looking for any reason they could come up with to kick me out of the Job Fair. It was time for me to move on anyway, so I left.

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Discussion of Counter Recruitment Victories

Escalations in protest against military recruitment locally and nationally have shown results. Recuiters have been harassed, confronted, sued, kicked out, and engaged in dialogue. And they are worried.
recruitersstanddown.mp3 (2390 k)
May 20th, 2005, all US Army recruiting offices will be CLOSED in order to "reaffirm" their "oaths." This should be seen as a victory to those who have engaged in dialogue with recruiters--who have fallen short of their "goals" for enlistment consistently the past few years. Free Radio call-in and info from the Capitola Recuiting office and the Watsonville "job" faire.

Photographers, Take Note

It is my understanding that events open the public (to say nothing of public spaces) are open to photographers--whatever military thugs, cops, etc. may say. If you use the photographs for commercial purposes, of course, without a release from those photographed, you may be in trouble. For news purposes, however, I believe the First Amendment applies--if there's no expectation of privacy.

However, I haven't researched the law. Does anyone have a different understanding?

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

Get a Life its free speach both ways let the information get out there and let people decide for themselves

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

Brown Beret rejection from the authorized RCNV table is totally unacceptable. Brown Beret member Tomas Alejo is a member of the RCNV Steering Committee (the "Board"). The RCNV Youth Empowerment program supports the Brown Beret Watsonville chapter and the organization of a Brown Beret chapter in Santa Cruz. The city action is an arbitrary and subjective discrimination against a legitimate community organization. The city's policy must end. Further developments will be announced on Indy Media.

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

I agree with Army dude.

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

if you take pictures of people even at public relations events and they decide later they do not like it(you) they can stop you with lawsuits and censorship, this has happened even on here(indiemedia censors), there is no free speech or free news only propadeganda from all sides

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

"if you take pictures of people even at public relations events and they decide later they do not like it(you) they can stop you with lawsuits and censorship..."

"they" can try to do whatever "they" like.

Indymedia is anyone at anytime. We my use our eyes, or maybe our ears, perhaps a camera or an audio recorder... no matter the particular tactic at the time, we will find a way to get the truth out to as many people as possible.

In regards to Army Dude... It was the Army that was intimidated by information being passed out at the Job Faire. Gee, they did not even allow a member of the RCNV to table at the RCNV table on the otherside of the gym!

Right to Photograph

I've still not got a clear citation in the California Penal Code about the right to photograph, but if you google around, you'll generally find in story after story that the right to photograph in public places is pretty clear.

Here's one story about it:


from Reno News and Reviews April 21, 2005

The price of justice
When a Reno man went for his camera, Sparks police went for their ’cuffs

By Dennis Myers

Photo By David Robert

Lin Hale, standing in front of the Sparks municipal parking garage that was the scene of his arrest, holds the camera that was the supposed reason for the arrest.

The city of Sparks had to pony up $36,500 after police arrested a man for legally shooting footage of a public occurrence in a public place.

Lin Hale, a Southwest Airlines employee, was arrested in downtown Sparks for using a video camera to shoot footage of an incident in a city-owned garage.

According to the suit filed by Reno attorney Terri Keyser Cooper, Hale was in Sparks to watch the July 4 fireworks last year and shot some of the event with his new camera. After the event, Hale and a friend, Jaime Sanchez, decided to visit the Southwest Airlines booth on the top of the municipal parking garage attached to the downtown Sparks theaters. The garage was rented by the Sparks Nugget during the fireworks.

On the third floor of the garage, Hale and his friend saw a man being given first aid. Hale raised his camera and started rolling on the scene. Nugget security guard John Tinney showed up and told Hale to stop taping and leave. Hale and his friend left and continued on to the fourth floor. While there, they saw the injured man downstairs being wheeled away on a gurney. Hale again started shooting footage from the fourth floor until, according to the suit, he was accosted and physically attacked by Tinney, who tried to seize the camera.

At that point, Hale said, "You can't do that. That's what this day is all about--personal freedoms." According to the lawsuit, making that statement was the most disorderly thing Hale did during the entire incident.

Tinney summoned police, while Hale turned his camera over to another friend to hold for him.

When Sparks Police Officer Jason Woodard arrived, the lawsuit alleges, he was abusive in word and action, head-butting Sanchez for about 30 feet. Woodard arrested both Hale and Sanchez, handcuffed them and searched Sanchez. Sparks Police Commander Gary Potter showed up, told Woodard the arrest was "ridiculous" and told Woodard to release the two men (Woodard didn't) but also allegedly spoke abusively to the two men.

Hale was particularly troubled when a television camera crew shot footage of the two men while they were seated handcuffed and as they were being put into a police car, making them look like criminals. Hale says he made a point of looking directly at the television camera--"I wasn't hiding because I knew I had nothing to hide about."

The men were charged with "obstructing an officer." Sanchez, who lives in Los Angeles, chose not to incur the costs involved in fighting the case. He pleaded guilty and paid a fine, even though Keyser Cooper (who gives bar association workshops on "Police Conduct/Where the Law Draws the Line") said his case was even stronger than Hale's because he had been merely a bystander. She expressed surprise that Hale was willing to fight the case.

"That's the thing that was unusual with Hale. ... Overwhelmingly, when this kind of thing happens, people just pay a fine, and they just want to forget it ever happened and never deal with the police again. They don't want to hire a criminal lawyer, then hire a civil-rights lawyer, then go through a year and a half of litigation."

Hale says his decision to fight the case had a lot to do with having to explain his arrest to his two stepchildren.

"And I told them, 'If you ever do anything wrong, you have to be accountable. But anybody ever accuses you of doing something wrong, and you're not guilty of it, you'd better stand up for your rights.' "

There was no explanation of why Woodard would make such an arrest on the say-so of a private business's security guard, particularly on an alleged crime against the city rather than a property crime like trespass.

The city reduced the number of city guards (provided by Holman Security under a city contract) in the downtown garages when a $100,000 surveillance camera system was installed in June 2002. Keyser Cooper says she was not aware of the cameras, or she would have subpoenaed the tapes. As it was, she produced five sworn statements from witnesses that Hale was peaceful, law-abiding and sober.

The case against Hale was thrown out of court in September 2003. The lawsuit was filed against the Sparks Police Department, Woodard and Potter. Potter was included, the filing said, because he "made a deliberate choice among other options of continuing with Hale's unlawful arrest."

The suit also charged that such police conduct happens in Sparks because, "by custom and acceptance," city government has given its approval. It also contends that there is a history in the SPD of using the "obstructing" charge to retaliate "against those who criticize police activity" and that the city failed to provide adequate training and supervision for Potter and Woodard.

Keyser Cooper says she has encountered similar problems with the Sparks police before, including a case of an officer breaking a camera.

Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams says the case has resulted in new training for police officers.

"We're very adverse to settle lawsuits, and when we have to settle one for whatever reason, there is a very austere consciousness-raising over there [at SPD]."

No legal action is pending against the Nugget or Tinney, and both Cooper and Nugget spokesperson Frankie Vigil refused to discuss the reason why. This likely means a settlement with a confidentiality clause was reached.

When asked if the Nugget's security staff has been given new instructions and procedures to reflect the outcome of the Hale incident, the Nugget's Vigil said, "When dealing with instances such as this when we are on city property, we really take our lead from the Sparks Police Department, and we will continue to do so."

However, the Hale incident began before the police were on the scene, and when asked about whether procedures used prior to the arrival of police have been changed, Vigil said, "I can't comment on that." She said Tinney is still employed by the Nugget.

The Sparks Tribune reported that the person on the gurney was a Nugget security guard who had been shot by another Nugget security guard. However, Keyser Cooper and Vigil both say that a Nugget security guard was shot by another person, not by another guard.

Dirty Military Recruiter Tricks Exposed

Recruiting Teenagers as War Fodder
Sign Here, Kid
by Mike Ferner

He trolled for teenagers in North Carolina high schools, barked orders at recruits in boot camp, and pulled charred civilian corpses out of cars in Iraq. Now Jimmy Massey is making good on his promise to tell the whole world what he learned as a Marine.

For the first 10 years, Massey loved being in the USMC. With a quick mind and an easy manner, he and his superiors knew he'd make a great recruiter. And by the luck of the draw, he was assigned to the area around Asheville, N.C., not far from where he grew up.

"It was an advantage being a recruiter in this area. I understand the mentality of mountain people. When we'd talk about topics like the economy and industry around here, I knew what people were talking about. And too, people here usually don't open up to strangers."

Contrary to what some believe, Marine Corps recruiters don't get paid commission for going over quota, the 32-year-old former staff sergeant explained. "My monthly quota was three in the summer and two in the winter. You could get five one month but still go from hero to zero next month when you started over again."

Recruiters are, however, "one of only three Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the Marines that get Special Duty Assignment (SDA) pay ­ an extra $475 a month when I was in ­ to offset the higher cost of living when you're a recruiter," he said. "An E-5 recruiter would make about $1,500 every two weeks including SDA pay. But being a recruiter is expensive. There's extra costs. When you're a recruiter, you've got to play the part."

Bling, Promises, and the "Moment of Truth"

"For example, you have to have a nice car ­ you can't go rolling down the street in some old family wagon. You can't be sittin' there talking to a kid about financial stability and driving an old Ford Ranger. That just don't get it!" He said he drove a Mustang for his personal car, and Army recruiters he knew drove "decked-out Expeditions with 20-inch rims. You have to have a little 'bling' [gold, jewelry, etc.] on you that kind of thing. I made sure I always dressed nice when I was off duty. You gotta play the part. Young kids are really materialistic minded."

Then there's the everyday expenses of recruiting, "like taking a guy to Hooters for some wings. The government gives me a credit card, but it's in my name and the bill comes to me. I have to pay it and then get reimbursed."

Often the biggest enticement a recruiter can offer young men and women trying to escape poverty is the promise of job training, even more appealing when it's for a MOS in data systems, aircraft electronics, aircraft crew chief, or other sought-after specialties. But as Massey acknowledged, "The Marine Corps can guarantee you a job all day long, but that doesn't mean you're going to actually get it."

A common way to swindle recruits out of promised jobs is the "Moment of Truth" exercise in boot camp. New recruits are taken to a room where their DI (drill instructor) tells them to "really think about it" and see if they've lied while enlisting or filling out their application.

"They'll ask the recruits if they lied about things like ever having smoked grass, or maybe how many times they've smoked, and ask them to raise their hand if they've lied any time in the recruiting process," Massey said. When the hands go up, the DI looks at them and says, "Listen. This is what's gonna happen now. You lied to us. You can either quit in disgrace now, or since you signed a contract to be a Marine, you can stay in, but we're not going to let you have the job you asked for."

"Investigations" and Private Eyes

"There's a whole network within the community to enable recruiters to make their quotas ­ the sheriff's department, police department, schools all the way up to the local congressional office."

Massey recalled that at one point, "There was a congressional investigation brought up against me. I enlisted someone who was handicapped. I should have been in deep sh*t, but the Marine Corps swept it under the rug by stating that the kid had fraudulently enlisted. I got a call from Congressman Charles Taylor congratulating me on the work I had been doing, and he sent me an autographed picture."

"A recruiter is like a private eye," Massey said. "They know everything about the kids they're recruiting."

For example, he learned the names of virtually every graduating high school senior in his seven-county district ­ about 1,000 youngsters annually in that largely rural area.

And high school students weren't the only people he got to know well. "We knew the names of the district attorneys [DAs] in every county and went to them to get certain charges reduced or dismissed on kids we were recruiting. We took flowers to the secretaries in the clerk of courts offices. The clerk of courts can make a lot of things appear and disappear. We got to know people working in hospital medical records so we could check out, say, if a certain kid had asthma or not. We'd ask other kids 'what about Johnny Smith?' to find out if he had problems or if he might be interested."

He explained the Marines' Systematic Recruiting method that includes use of a working file of Prospective Applicant Cards on which information is routinely entered. "I'd put all the information down that I knew maybe Johnny Smith had some problems with the law. That's when I'd go to the DA and ask if Johnny was salvageable. If he was, I'd tell the DA, 'well, I talked with Johnny and he's thinking of going into the Marine Corps.' More likely than not the response I got would be, 'Oh yeah? Well, that's just great!'"

Massey said three years as a recruiter taught him "the power of the English language."

"One way we used it was to identify 'tangible and intangible traits' in applicants. We would use cards with words printed on them, like 'self confidence,' or 'financial security' and ask an applicant to pick ones they were concerned about. That way, if a kid picks 'self confidence,' he's telling you he feels like he's lacking in self confidence and you can work him from that angle."

For potential recruits with a record of criminal convictions, Massey pointed out that, "Anything is pretty much waivable in the Marine Corps ­ even up to one felony."

Potentially life-threatening medical conditions were also waivable, according to Massey. "Johnny might come to see me his senior year and say, 'Sarge, I'm wondering if I might have something that might disqualify me I've got asthma.'"

"I'd ask him if he uses an inhaler. If he answered 'yes,' I'd tell him that if he controlled it with an inhaler then he really didn't have asthma. Then I'd tell him to give me 10 pushups. If he did that with no trouble, I'd say, 'See, you don't have asthma!'"

He described his time as a recruiter as progressively more and more difficult. By his last year at it, 2002, he was "tired of lying. I felt like I was close to a nervous breakdown from the stress. I started seeing a psychiatrist, was diagnosed with major depression and put on medication for it. I wrote a letter to my commanding officer about how Marine Corps recruiting should be changed to be more ethical. The Recruiter Instructor they sent out to monitor my efforts ended up telling me he thought it was one of the best statements anyone had ever written about recruiting practices."

Massey decided to quit being a recruiter but also to reenlist to get back to "the regular Marine Corps duty" he enjoyed. Leaving behind the deceit and stress of recruiting made him feel much better ­ "good enough to get off anti-depressants." But soon he got orders to northern Kuwait and within two months was invading Iraq with 130,000 other U.S. troops.

"We Just Lit 'Em Up"

As he made his way north toward Baghdad, through the towns of Safwan and Basra, "our main job was to set up roadblocks. We had permission to fire on anyone who got through them."

It was this experience, barely an instant compared with his dozen years in the Marines, that showed him a side of the military he'd not seen as an instructor at Parris Island or a recruiter.

"In one 48-hour period, we killed over 30 civilians in vehicles that got past our roadblocks. We just lit 'em up with gunfire. But when we went to pull the charred corpses out of the cars we never found any weapons. They were just civilians. I could start feeling the depression come back. I knew what it was from."

In a meeting one day, his lieutenant asked him if he was feeling OK. Massey replied no, and told the lieutenant that "we're committing genocide and leaving enough depleted uranium around to continue genocidal activity for a long time."

"Do you really believe that?" the lieutenant asked.

"Yes," replied Massey, "or I wouldn't have said it."

"I knew my career in the Marine Corps was over at that point," he added.

Sent back to the States for medical reasons, Massey returned to the Marine base at 29 Palms, Calif., and was told to report to the mental health clinic. There, the first psychiatrist he spoke with told him, "I don't deal with conscientious objectors [COs]."

"I knew right away we were going to have a problem," Massey said, "because my response to her was, 'Well, if you call not wanting to kill innocent civilians being a CO' and she came back with, 'Need I remind you that you are still in the military?'"

Refusing to back down, Massey retorted, "Woman, this isn't my military because the Marine Corps I enlisted in was run by the Geneva Conventions. We didn't kill civilians, and we damn sure didn't cover it up."

Later, in a meeting with a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO), he was asked, "What's wrong?" But when Massey responded, the NCO interrupted him so he could open a desk drawer and turn on a tape recorder. Massey told the NCO he knew he was soon on his way out of the Marines, and told him, "I don't want your money. I don't want your benefits nothin'! Not with what y'all did over there in Iraq killing civilians."

Massey said he knew he would need an attorney before talking with his superiors again, so he located one in a copy of the Marine Corps Times. "Next meeting I had with the psychiatrist, my attorney talked with her on the phone. She was completely different when she got off the phone with him."

Asked what advice he would give to a teenager thinking of visiting a military recruiter, Massey thought a moment and answered, "Take a veteran with you to the recruiter. We're never going to stop that one kid bound and determined to play Rambo, but getting the facts out, educating kids on what really goes on is important. That's why I keep speaking out."

Indeed, Massey put the Marines on notice just before he left. He informed a colonel, "The moment I get out of here I'm going to tell the whole world what I've learned."

Mike Ferner is a member of Veterans for Peace from Toledo, Ohio. He returned from a second trip to Iraq earlier this year. He can be reached at: mike.ferner (at)

Re: Reposting

please do not post entire articles from the corporate media here. And, just put up a link to the counterpunch article.

how about just a link to the article and quote that you think people should see.

SC-IMC allows people to post article from the corporate media in a section called "other press." As a reader of this site, i think this makes sense.

"link to otherpress"

Then, people can people the entire article from the corporate media without having to leave sc-imc or "clutter up" the newswire.

Shorter Posts OK--Sorry For Long Ones

Sorry for the long secondary posts. I'll try and post just essential quotes and then the website.

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

It does not surprise me that all you seem to do in your article is down grade the Army and the people that are trying to do their job. These are people that are ready to give their life for our country, and do what it takes to rebuild Iraq. These people are doing their job so that people like you can have free speech and write hateful things that are not true about them. I am sure you will probably delete this because it is not what you want to hear. That says a lot about you, and what you stand for.

Bob Burfine

poor people make such good cannon fodder

no mistake that recruiters are hitting the po' folks and not the gated estates of millionaire's. almost makes me want to see a draft so that the middle and upper middle class might start caring about what militarism does to our youth killing iraqi youth.

At least get your info straight

Mr. Norse, military thugs? Please. If anything, recruiters are more concerned now than ever before with the appearance of being perceived as offensive, aggressive, etc.

Try it: The Army had absolutely nothing to do with who could be at what table. They were a participant, not an organizer or overseer of the event.

You know: the soldier pictured in desert camoflage above is not an Army recruiter. She is an Army reservist that spent a lot of time in Iraq working with Iraqis to rebuild and better their current situation. Heaven forbid that anyone comes back from Iraq with anything other than bad news!

I'm all for free speech and dissemination of current FACTS. Continue to hand out counter-recruitment info all you like. It's your right. I've read the "5 recruiting myths" paper that gets spread around. It's badly outdated and contains many points that aren't even true any more. If organizations like RCNV don't provide accurate information, aren't they just as guilty of "spin and deception" as the Soldiers they condemn?

Just my opinion, of course. We're all entitled to one, aren't we?

Re: Military Propaganda and Police Repression at the Watsonville Job Fair

No offense, but your journalistic skills suck. I'm not just talking about your wretched writing "ability", but your information doesn't even make sense. If you are going to bash other organizations at least get your information right. The military is a job, which it was at a JOB FAIR, the brown beret's are not a job, which is why they weren't allowed in. Oh, and by the way genious, soldiers can work with recruiters with out actually being recruiters. Most volunteer to do so. If you ask them questions (you know, so that you have accurate information) I'm sure they will tell you the truth, they have no reason to lie to you, they won't try to recruit you, there is no room for anti-patriots in the military.


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