Indymedia On Air features voices from the global Indymedia.org network.
On the show for March 26th, Chris Burnett of the Los Angeles Independent Media Center and co-host of Indymedia On Air, interviews Santa Cruz Indymedia photojournalist Bradley Stuart Allen, who’s facing two felonies and two misdemeanors, including a felony conspiracy, for publishing photos of an Occupy demonstration.
Indymedia On Air, for March 26, 2012
Chris Burnett Interviews Bradley Stuart Allen on KPFK’s Indymedia On Air
CHRIS BURNETT: Alright, moving on, we are going to speak with Bradley Stuart Allen.
Bradley Stuart Allen is a photographer, Indymedia volunteer and website developer living in Santa Cruz, California.
Since 2001, Bradley has been contributing coverage to Indymedia websites. Most of that coverage has been of events that took place in the city of Santa Cruz or at the university, University of California at Santa Cruz.
Bradley has also published reports from many other locations such as Miami during the demonstrations against the FTAA, Houston and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the barricaded streets of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Bradley’s website, which everybody should check out, is called BradleyStuart.net. That’s spelled Bradley, B-R-A-D-L-E-Y. And Stuart is spelled S-T-U-A-R-T .net. So that’s BradleyStuart.net
His website began in June 2005 and serves as an archive of his Indymedia coverage since that time. He also created the site El Enemigo Común, or The Common Enemy. That’s elenemigocomun.net. You can find this information on his website, which I just gave.
His photos have been published around the world; first through the Indymedia network, and then in printed books, newspapers, magazines, posters and flyers.
I’m very happy to have Bradley on the show. We’ve talked before, on Indymedia on Air. And Bradley has been one of, in my opinion, a shining example of what it means to be an independent media producer. And taking advantage of an independent decentralized global network.
Bradley, welcome to Indymedia on Air.
BRADLEY ALLEN: Thanks for having me, Chris.
CHRIS: It’s a pleasure. So let’s just jump into this story. You are being charged with, and I have to bring this up here real quick, but you are being charged with felonies.
CHRIS: And you’re being charged with, felonies, a conspiracy, and then a felony to trespass. And as a media activist, you were covering an event. And we’ll get into that event. But ultimately what is going to be happening here, on Thursday, March 29th. That’s in this coming Thursday.
You are going to be in front of a judge. And there is going to be a callout for people to participate in calling the Santa Cruz District Attorney by the name of Bob Lee, for the next two days. That’s tomorrow and Wednesday we’re encouraging our listeners to get their pens and papers out, because we’re going to give phone numbers and email addresses out. That you can participate in helping Bradley get off these ridiculous charges, in my opinion, and I think I’m sure in Bradley’s.
So Bradley, why don’t you tell us the story of what happened.
BRADLEY: Sure. As you mentioned, I have a long history, as an Indymedia volunteer, over ten years in Santa Cruz covering all kinds of events, ranging from, you know, art events, environmental events, to, you know, actions that involve police, and their responses to demonstrations.
So, I’ve been covering the Occupy Santa Cruz movement since it began, shortly after the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York began. And, you know, I covered maybe five different Occupy Santa Cruz events, but I’m not a member of Occupy Santa Cruz.
And there was a demonstration on November 30th, 2011. And this was an announced demonstration. It was announced that it was going to be a picket in front of banks. And this is something that had happened previously in Santa Cruz, and so I went down there to cover this demonstration.
People met at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse, and then marched to a Chase bank. And then after a short rally at that Chase bank, people marched towards a Bank of America and a Wells Fargo bank, which is where the majority of people, the large majority of people on the march, you know, believed that people were headed to one of those banks.
But to, you know, most peoples’ surprise, a vacant building, which used to be a bank building, was entered, and the people that were on the march, decided to occupy that building. And so I covered that occupation as a breaking news event.
CHRIS: And as a result of that coverage, you published a number of, I assume published a number of stories and photographs. You are being charged by the District Attorney of Santa Cruz with four counts. One was a felony, a conspiracy to commit a crime. One, which has been dismissed [and subsequently refiled], it’s a felony vandalism charge. And you were charged with two misdemeanors; a trespass by entering and occupying, and a trespass and refusing leave private property.
Now, as a journalist, you’re not the only one involved in this coverage, actually there’s a photojournalist as well. But you. Both of you are being charged. But in this case, you’re still being charged with a felony, a conspiracy to commit a crime. Is that correct?
BRADLEY: That’s correct.
CHRIS: So really what’s happening here is that the DA from Santa Cruz and the court system is charging a media producer, an independent media activist, or independent media creator, with a felony.
BRADLEY: Yeah, that’s correct. Just based on my publishing of photographs onto my personal website, and onto Indybay.org, which is the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center. Like the sister to the Los Angeles Independent Media Center, where readers can go, where listeners can go to find out more information, la.indymedia.org.
CHRIS: Which I should mention that you are actually from LA originally, and now you are in Santa Cruz.
BRADLEY: Yeah, that’s right. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. And I moved to Santa Cruz in the summer of 2000. And the Santa Cruz Independent Media Center got going, in 2001. I wasn’t the founder of that organization, but I’ve been a part of it for a very long time.
CHRIS: So what is your strategy? And so tell us a little bit about what’s coming up on Thursday, and what you would like listeners to do.
BRADLEY: Well, some of the things I want listeners to understand, is that we’re looking at a case of selective prosecution, viewpoint discrimination, and I;m being charged with a conspiracy to make media. But what I talk about selective prosecution, for example, there was a staff photographer for the local newspaper who also shot photographs inside the occupied bank building, yet District Attorney Bob Lee is not pressing charges against that photographer.
So we’re also talking about viewpoint discrimination, because they are trying to say that, I wasn’t a journalist because, for example, my posting on Indymedia didn’t make reference to an interview with a police officer. As if publishing photos and not interviewing a police officer means that it doesn’t as journalism or something.
CHRIS: Sorry, go ahead.
BRADLEY: Quickly. What I want listeners to do, is to call Bob Lee, tomorrow and Thursday, to ask Bob Lee to dismiss the charges. His phone number is area code 831-454-2400. Once again, that phone number is 831-454-2400. And just call up Bob Lee and say please drop the charges against Bradley Allen.
CHRIS: Well, you know, and I want to emphasize, I mean, you have a website up describing this situation. So that’s tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday.
If you want to take action in defense of independent media, independent journalists, and Indymedia in general, that exposes, not only…. Bradley’s… the context of this, as someone who is covering the Occupy movement… and they’re being attacked.
So I encourage everybody who’s listening to please write that number down, 831-454-2400. That’s 831-454-2400. You can also email the District Attorney, which is [email protected] That’s [email protected]
This show will be archived by the way, if you want to go back and get that information, or share it with other people.
This is not the first time that independent media activists have been attacked, in fact killed. It’s a job that we all need, and we should be supporting.
Bradley, what’s your sense, in terms of maybe a couple.. We only have about three minutes left, but I want to get your reaction to the police brutality issues in New York. Do you think that this kind of charges being brought against media activists, and the covering of OWS, is related to a strategy of a crackdown on OWS? How do you see that?
BRADLEY: It does seem like there’s parallels. I know that there’s been over 70 journalists that have been arrested covering the Occupy movement, and it definitely seems like, they do not want stories. That they are working to decided, who gets to be a journalists, how a story gets to be covered, and who gets to cover that story.
So I think it’s very much that, you know, we’re seeing public relations at work, and, you know, that’s why they’re coming after myself as an independent journalist. That’s how I feel. I feel there is connection to what’s happening all around the country.
CHRIS: What the name of the other person who’s been charged as well?
BRADLEY: Well, there’s a total of 11 people that all received the same charges. There’s four regular contributors to the independent news website Indybay.org. The other collective member, of Indybay, besides myself, his name is Alex Darocy.
CHRIS: I want to remind listeners that the website is BradleyAllen.net. That’s Bradley, BRADLEYStuart.net. And Stuart is spelled S-T-U-A-R-T .net, so BradleyAllen.net. Check it out. There’s information there directly related to Bradley’s case.
I encourage listeners who care about independent media, who care about when the state, and District Attorney of Santa Cruz targets journalists for covering these issues, I urge you tomorrow and Wednesday to call that phone number, and just say something simple, which you have an example of by the way.
There’s a, I quote, “Hello my name is _________ and I am a resident of _________ County. Please drop all charges against Bradley Allen on March 29th at his next hearing. Thank you.â€
It’s very simple, and the number is 831-454-2400. Bradley, any last words before we have to end the show?
BRADLEY: Just wanted to thank you so much for having me. That this is really a case that is important to stand up for, because this is an attack not only against myself, but like you said, independent media, alternative media, and you know, the free press. Information must be free. So it’s important to stand up, and speak out.
CHRIS: Right on. Bradley, thank you for all your work. I wish you the best on Thursday. I will be making that phone call tomorrow myself. And keep in touch, and let us know what happens.
BRADLEY: Will do. Thank you so much.
CHRIS: Alright Bradley, take care, and thank you for joining us tonight on Indymedia on Air.
BRADLEY: I’d love to do it again. Thanks Chris.
CHRIS: Alright, thanks. Alright, that’s the end of the show. My name’s Chris Burnett. If you want to email me, it’s [email protected], I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A .org
Thanks for listening.
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