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NYC Convention Trip Final Report
H.L. Does Time. (part 3)

from The Hollywood Liberal.com

Back To H.L. Does Time Part 2.

On August 31, 2004. The Hollywood Liberal got arrested along with 200 others, for obeying the Police.

 The bus finally moved to the front of the line, and we were able to get off. We still had to wait in line behind the people from the previous bus, who were getting more pictures taken. We stood there in the line for about another 20 minutes still handcuffed and holding on to our belongings. After the pictures we were brought to another processing station where they took the bag containing our belongings, and put them into a pile. Then at last, they cut off the handcuffs. They also made me take off my shoes and gave me the closest frisking I ever had, they made me bang my shoes together and turn them upside down to make sure there were no bombs (or drugs?) in there. I was then sent through a metal detector. Then they  took us to the first of many cages that we would wait in during our 8 hour stay at Guantanamo. From what I could see there were 2 rows of cages on either side of the building, with the processing center in the middle. There were probably about 6 cages on each side. All of the cages were full the whole time I was there with people being shuffled in and out, the whole time. There were also cops, lots and lots of cops. Hundreds of cops milling around everywhere, they must have had every cop in the city working that night. If I never see a cop again, it will be too soon.

   As I described each cage had a 10 foot high chain link fence around it with razor wire at the top. The floor was covered with what I have now heard was a mixture of oil, diesel fuel, and asbestos. The cage was approximately 20 feet long by 12 feet wide, and there were about 50 people per cage, with enough room on the bench for about 15 people. Everyone else stood around, or sat, (and some even layed down,) on the filthy floor. I was determined not to get the Zegna (suit) dirty. I wanted to walk out of there as clean as when I walked in. So when I wasn't sitting on the bench. I took out a Hotel receipt that I had in my pocket, put it on the floor and sat so that just my ass cheeks were on the paper as that was all I could fit on the page. At one point I put my hand on the floor just to see how dirty it really was, and just touching the floor, (not even moving my hand around on it) made my hand look a browinsh orange color. They gave each of us a cup when we went in the cage, and there was a water cooler on the outside with a hose that ran in. You could reach between the chain links on the fence, and push the button to get some water. 

     There was plenty of time to get to know my cellmates, and quite a collection they were. At one point I was standing in a circle talking with a Philosophy professor from NYU, a Presbyterian minister in full dress including the collar that they wear to identify themselves. (actually there was 2 guys wearing clergy collars.), there was also a lawyer, and a reporter from, get this: The Weekly Standard, that conservative rag published by William Kristol., I wonder if they will print his story of his experience on the inside. There were also plenty of young pissed off students. 

     The whole time the crowd was sticking together. The whole place would break into wild applause, and "whooooing" every time a new group of people, was led in, or out. They were also singing songs like "Power to the people", with one guy screaming as loud as he could. "POWER TO THE PEOPLE", then the whole place would sing it after him. They were also singing "WE WILL, WE WILL SUE YOU" to Queen's We will Rock You. Other spontaneous chants and songs were going on throughout the night. There was also plenty of abuse of the cops whenever the chance came up. As I was mingling between different groups of people in the cage I commented "If we had a keg of beer, and some better seating, this would almost be a cool party" After that bus ride anything would have seemed like a party. 

     After a few hours I was called back to the processing center where they went through all my belongings for the first time, and gave me a property receipt. Actually they gave me 2, because as I was informed, I would not get my camera back until my case was completely cleared. After that I was led back to a different cage where I got a chance to meet even more patriotic Americans. This time I was in a cage that was right next to a cage full of women. who were plenty crazy themselves. I exchanged email addresses with the professor, since we had no pens on us in there, he found something to scratch his email address on a piece of paper so that I could only see the indent, but I was able to decipher it later on and contact him. Later I met a guy who was all dressed in white, who actually made it to the die in. He told me that they laid on the street blocking traffic for close to an hour until the cops finally took them away. I heard my name called along with someone else at the side of the cage, It was Stolzer. He told me he was going to get me a desk apperance ticket so I didn't have to wait longer to see the judge. I told him if it gets me out of here sooner, I would rather fly all the way back for the hearing then spend more time in here. (Turns out we all got desk appearance tickets, because there were just too many people in there to bring them all to court. I thought to myself when I heard this: "Then why the fuck did you arrest us." They could have given us the D.A.T. as they called it right there at the scene of the arrest and let us go.")

     I found out from one cop that after this we would be taken over to Central Booking (100 Center St.) until we got to see a judge. I asked "Do we have to get cuffed again" "Yup" He replied. Oh shit I thought, not again. Oh well if it has to be done lets get it over with ASAP, It wasn't until after midnight, about 8 hours after I got there that my name was called along with a few others. We were ordered to turn around and face the cage, and put our hands behind our backs and I  felt those zip ties on my wrist again. All the while the guys in the cage are cheering us, as we got ready to make our way to the next bus. 

    This time it was not an air conditioned city bus, but a NYC corrections bus complete with steel mesh covering all the windows, no AC, and a steel cage door that separated the front from the back, up front they had about 7 or 8 girls in there, who were every bit as belligerent as the guys. then behind the steel cage were about 15 or 20 guys. I was in the back row. The guy next to me started saying "Isn't this a fire trap, what if we get into an accident, and the bus rolls over or catches on fire, were sitting here in a locked cage in handcuffs." Great I thought make it a little more pleasant. We sat there waiting to get out of the warehouse, and everyone on the bus was once again abusing the hell out of every cop in sight. This time it was even worse, with the sweating, and itching, starting all over again. We heard someone outside the bus start yelling out "4 more years, 4 more years." The bus exploded in yelling, cursing, and insults at whoever had said this. Suddenly the bus door flew opened and up came a NYC corrections officer who was plenty pissed off. "Listen here you motherfuckers, I ain't no goddamn cop, OK, I am New York City Corrections, and you are on my bus right now, and I don't give a fuck about your goddam little protest. I will fuck your shit up if you mess with me..." He got back off the bus and still the people gave him a steady stream of abuse. Someone mentioned that on February 15, 2003, at the big  worldwide protest, (which I attended in L.A.) that they left some people sitting on a bus handcuffed in 20 degree weather for over 6 hours. It was at this point I began to pray. "God please get this bus started and get us out of here" Less then a minute later I heard the engine kick over, but still we sat for another few agonizing minutes before we headed to the front gate for the ride to central booking.

Go To H.L. Does Time Part 4.