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Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011, 8:05 am

Occupiers Arrested Protesting NDAA, Denver Camp Burns

By Allison Kilkenny

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Eight Occupy Iowa protesters were arrested Monday at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines where they protested what the Washington Post vaguely terms "defense spending." 

Specifically, the group demanded President Obama veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA,) which gives the president the authority to indefinitely detain persons (including U.S. citizens) without trial and to expand the scope of the War on Terror.

Unlike the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which implies the president has the power to indefinitely detain individuals, NDAA explicitly expresses the president has the power of indefinite detention. 

President Obama had threatened early on to veto the entire NDAA, but subsequently, and entirely predictably, reversed that decision.

In their early coverage, the Washington Post and the Des Moines Register only make passing reference to defense spending and NDAA without explaining the specific nefarious aspects of the act, though the Register does burn some column space emphasizing the Democratic headquarters is private property and then listing the full names, ages, and hometowns of protesters at the end of the article.

The omission radically shifts the focus of the story away from President Obama's decision to indefinitely detain individuals, and instead emphasizes the illegality of the protest and presense of activists, who could have been protesting anything, according to the Post and Register.

Maybe they wanted less military spending. Maybe they're dirty hippies who don't want a military at all. We'll never know because the establishment media won't tell us why they were there.

To be entirely fair, the Post does make a single, sad attempt to get to the bottom of the matter. 

Protester Julie Brown says the goal wasn’t to get arrested but to bring attention to defense spending, plans for an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas and other matters.

"And other matters," indeed.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post has an article, complete with some crazy photos, about last night's violent raid on Occupy Denver. 

The clash had been intense and swift, with police shoving protestors and journalists alike with their batons, but it appeared only one protestor was taken into custody.

Afterwards, White said officers had hoped to ask the protestors a final time to remove their belongings, but when two prostestors [sic] began setting the shelters aflame, officers and firefighters had to move it.

A firetruck moved in to douse the flames as a battery of police closed ranks shouting, "Move back!" to allow firefighters access.

Police said two protestors were arrested on arson charges and two were arrested on charges of failing to obey a lawful order.

KWGN has some video of the raid and Latest Word has more photos.

In Texas, at least five people were arrested at Occupy San Antonio on Monday. Police announced the familiar death knell "unsanitary conditions" before advancing on the camp.

The occupiers, who were handed notices of violation of the city's no-camping ordinance a week ago, were given 15 minutes to remove their belongings and then got a 10-minute grace period before Park Police officers surrounded the building with yellow caution tape, Commander Steven Baum said.

Occupiers were charged with the grave crime of "camping," and a protester by the name Lambert Campbell was cited for "disorderly conduct with language," meaning he was yelling obscenities.

Allison Kilkenny is an In These Times Staff Writer and the co-host of the critically acclaimed radio show Citizen Radio. Her blog for In These Times, Uprising, focuses on efforts around the world to address the global economic crisis.

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