Friday, November 09, 2007


KGMB does public service by publicizing attorney's letter to Superferry protestors

by Larry Geller

KGMB aired a spot in yesterday's news (click here to view it on their web page) that has helped publicize an article of advice to potential Superferry protestors. Thanks to their coverage, the article reached a magnitude  larger audience than it would otherwise have had.

The KGMB news anchor, in a lapse of good journalism standards, described the article as a "radical message" and later as an "inflammatory letter." Maybe their writers were on strike or something. I'm sure, though, that their inflammatory description led many more people to look up the article (on the Surfer's Path website) than would have known about it otherwise. So I guess thanks are due to KGMB for spreading the word.

The article, by Jim Albertini and attorney Lanny Sinkin, while specific to the Superferry controversy, is not the only advice to protestors that one can find on the Web. Perhaps the best known example is the ACLU's "Know Your Rights Bust Card"

The article includes information on probable reaction to protests and discusses various aspects of non-violent resistance. For those who may naively jump into the water in front of the Superferry or who may be tempted to challenge authority, getting advice in advance from this or other sources may help avoid injuries or possible death.

I don't think that the possibility of severe consequences should be taken lightly. We have seen increased militarization of law enforcement around the country. Here in Hawaii, Governor Lingle threw down the gauntlet by forming and publicizing her "unified command" and even threatening to sic Child Protective Services on families if children should protest.

It appears that the state backed up her verbal threats by ordering up protective body equipment and other stuff for the harbor police that I'm sure our troops in Iraq would be glad to have. See the State Procurement Office website for the  procurement request

The posted document specifically mentions that the equipment is to be used for harbor protests. And no, you can't get a list of the purchased equipment as a public document. I tried. The Coast Guard has put it under seal. I didn't know they could do that, but that's how it was explained to me.

In view of the militarization of the harbor police and the Coast Guard's stashing of equipment around the harbor area, anyone would be well advised to consult their own attorney, to read the posted letter, or to otherwise equip themselves with knowledge about what might happen to them under Lingle's "unified command."

Just the facts

Mark Twain said, “If you find an adjective, kill it,” in a letter to a 12-year-old boy. He seems to have had flowery language in mind. The same advice applies to news writing, whether in print or on TV. The KGMB story is just an example of sloppy journalism.

Just as conflict sells newspapers, it attracts the eyeballs coveted by TV advertisers. Objective journalism doesn't draw attention as well as, for example, calling something a "radical message" does.  By radicalizing one side, they've created conflict even before any protests have taken place.

Fact-based reporting is an ideal that TV may not want to achieve.

But thanks, anyway, KGMB, for drawing attention to the letter. And thanks also to Joan Conrow's article covering this and more, which alerted me to the KGMB video.


I think those two individuals did a huge disservice by writing this article. The situation is already hostile. This article takes up a notch.

These people are supposedly advocates
of peace. But in the case, they are simply promoting more violent protests against the HSF.

I didn't see anything in the letters promoting violent protest. Quite the opposite.

I'm open to your arguments -- if you like, please quote the parts that you hold are incitements to violence.

I don't know either of the writers, but I admire their effort to put out the facts that demonstrators ought to have if they are thinking of any kind of protest.

I am amazed that anyone would consider the letter "inflamatory" or "radical". All it says basically is that what you do is up to you but be prepared for the consequences. Is that a new concept?

That article is indeed inflammatory and radical.To me, it is totally unnecessary that they write statements like this :

"In that sense you have to be prepared at the level of the Native American who decided when it was “a good day to die.”

Come on lets get real here. Dying to stop the Hawaii Superferry. Life is far more precious than that.

To the anonymous commenter,yes there is consequences to everything
we do in life. But the way these two people describe those consequences make it sound like some terrorist training manual.

I'm sorry if you guys can't see that. But thats at least the way I interpreted that article.

Larry, just to add, word has leaked out that the "unified command" plans to use water cannons and jet skis/waverunners. In particular I think the water cannons would be very dangerous, and whoever came up with that idea has very bad judgement.

Yikes! Water cannons have not been used for riot control in this country for some time because they are dangerous. They can break bones or rupture spleens or other internal organs.

If you have any way to get further information on this, it's worth pursuing (and could save lives!).

There are probably water cannons around because they are used for fire control both on land and from boats in the water.

One of the authors is distancing himself from the article, according to Charlie Memminger

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