Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paradise Valley: Town victim to 11 tags; Police offer $250 reward for information

Police documented last week 11 graffiti drawings, all including anarchy or peace signs, and believe the vandalism is related.

Residents in the northern part of town began calling police the morning of Sept. 10 to report red "tagged" walls and power boxes, said Crime Prevention Officer Rick Cookemboo.

Police are offering up to a $250 reward for information on the graffiti that occurred Sept. 10.

All reports were north of Mockingbird Lane and most were near the intersection of Doubletree Ranch and Invergordon roads.

"I don't think there was any rhyme or reason to where they hit," Officer Cookemboo said.

Police officers believe the tags were not gang-related and possibly just one or more juveniles with paint cans, Officer Cookemboo.

"We think it is kids because true anarchists would not put a heart next to it (an anarchy symbol)," he said, who added the department plans to put up posters around schools to urge students to report information anonymously.

Officer Cookemboo works in Paradise Valley classrooms encouraging youth to make good decisions and said he has seen the anarchist symbol sketched on some students' notebooks..

"Many are using it to show protest to the war," he said.

Paradise Police Chief John Wintersteen said residents report information to the graffiti hotline, run by the Northwest Phoenix Block Watch Coalition, a group that Paradise Valley donates $500 a year to assist with incidents such as this one.

Graffiti reports in Paradise Valley are not common, Officer Cookemboo said.

"Every now and then, we'll get one or two reports a month," he said. "It's not a huge problem."

For the three years he has worked at the Paradise Valley crime prevention officer, Officer Cookemboo said this is the first suspected string of graffiti reports.

Phoenix, however, sees thousands of graffiti reports a month.

William Hogan, neighborhood program coordinator in Phoenix, said the Graffiti Busters team responded to 4,730 reports in Phoenix in July, up from 3,093 the same time last year.

Mr. Hogan said increased reports in Phoenix were due to both increased graffiti in the area and more residents reporting tagged sites.

An spike in the Phoenix-are population could also be a contributing factor.

"We're seeing residents move here from all over the world," Mr. Hogan said. "Unfortunately, some people from other areas think it's OK to graffiti."

The 11 reported tagged walls and power boxes did not contain any vulgar pictures or language, which are also rare in Paradise Valley, Officer Cookemboo said.

Mr. Hogan said in Phoenix, graffiti reports range from complex drawings to simple one dimensional.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Immigrant who survived murder attempt by nazi, and was then deported, is back in Arizona

Phoenix anarchists supported Martinez and his illegal return across the border.  No to all borders and controls on movement.

Illegal immigrant demonstrates ease of re-entering U.S.
 May 8, 2006 09:04 AM EDT Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version

An illegal immigrant who was jailed in Arizona and deported to Mexico has since returned to the state.

It took Efrain Martinez, who spent 42 days in jail for lying to police, less than a week in late April to be convicted, deported and return to the country.

Border officials and immigration experts said such rapid border recrossings aren't uncommon.

In March, Martinez was accused of shooting at former Mesa council candidate JT Ready. Ready, a concealed weapons instructor and member of several civilian border patrol groups, said Martinez fired at him first.

Martinez has said he never fired a gun at Ready and was misidentified. He was charged with assault and threatening and intimidation, but those charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of giving false information. Authorities say Martinez gave a false name.

While immigration officials don't keep statistics on illegal re-entries, most people know that returning immigrants back to the border can sometimes be like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.

"Every day there are hundreds crossing, and some of those hundreds were removed a matter of hours before," said Russell Ahr, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Once they go right back out into Mexico, they are out of (this) country's control, so a lot of them turn right around and try to get back in."

There is a logical reason for the problem, said Nadia Flores, Texas A&M University professor and a researcher for Princeton University's Mexican Migration Project.

"If the person is deported to the border town, and the person has nothing, they have no money or they have nowhere to go, the only thing they can do is to come back," Flores said.

Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors limiting immigration, said some immigrants accept voluntary repatriation because they know they can sneak back into the country again quickly.

"If you weren't just across the border it would be more of a problem to get back," Mehlman said.

Ahr said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents typically take deportees as far as the Nogales checkpoint and watch them walk into Mexico to make sure they are fully repatriated. Not much stops them from simply turning around and coming right back, he said.

As for Martinez, the 33-year-old is unapologetic for being an illegal immigrant.

All he cares about is moving up the social ladder: Finding a good-paying job, meeting the right woman, having children. He said he wants to go to Florida soon.

"They cannot impede me from trying to have a better life," he said 

Monday, April 24, 2006

Phoenix Anarchists confront "Americans First"

Mon, 2006-04-24 09:17 — worker by Collin Sick
Phoenix Anarchist Coalition

30 Phoenix area anarchists, many from the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition (PAC) along with members of the Phoenix branch of the IWW, the Boom Box Crew, and Phoenix Insurgent, attended a counter-demonstration, organized by PAC, against the racist "Americans First" demonstration. Marchers met up a half mile down the road, and walked down to the rally site, where over 150 anti-immigrant protesters were already holding their rally at the Mexican Consulate. As anarchists approached nearly a dozen police cars appeared, and the Americans First rally was quickly disrupted by the anarchists shouting and shit-talking, which enraged the anti-immigrant crowd, much to the anarchists' pleasure. The media reached anarchists first, followed by the American Firsters, and finally the police. The groups were quickly separated by 30 Phoenix PD officers, who remained there for the arguing and shouting matches that went on for nearly two hours. No one was arrested, but one participant of the anti-immigrant rally was detained after police learned he was carrying a concealed firearm in his belt. [If we ignore them will they go away?]

The April 22 demonstration took place at the Mexican Consulate in west Phoenix, on the heels of 200,000 Latinos and working people marching against the criminalization of their class by racist politicians. The protest on the 22nd was organized by JT Ready (photo of JT Ready at the border), a member of the Minuteman CDC, a white vigilante organization that patrols the American border with Mexico aiding the border patrol in apprehending migrants. Ready recently ran for a failed bid for a city council position in Mesa (A city in the Phoenix-metro area), but his candidacy was overshadowed after he opened fire on Efrain Martinez, an undocumented immigrant, who Ready accused of casing his car (For more info on the Martinez shooting, check out this post on Phoenix Insurgent). Ready is one of the most dangerous of the anti-immigrant set, valley anarchists wanted to make sure he felt the heat this time around, many of the signs carried reflected a strong anti-Ready sentiment, with one sign saying "Vote JT Ready: Imperial Grand Wizard 2006!", another sign was in support of Efrain Martinez. Anarchists made sure to catch Ready's attention to heckle him a number of times.

The Americans First rally followed the typical Minuteman rhetoric, "we don't hate Mexicans, just the twelve million illegal immigrants," "We're not racists, but I'm just tired of no one speaking English anymore." This was an expected aspect of the rally, as valley anarchists have confronted the Minutemen, and related white vigilantes a number of times, what was truly unsettling was the escalation in their rhetoric and their anger this time around. It was such an ugly scene that even reporters and police were shaking their heads. One anarchist overheard a few police officers talking about the anti-immigrant demonstrators, one officer was heard saying "these people are crazy", another responded "I know, it gets worse everytime, more flags this time too." Much of this has to do with the mainstreaming of the Minuteman movement, recently new groups have emerged in Phoenix, such as Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, and JT Ready's Americans First, both groups are busy expanding the anti-immigrant sentiment amongst white working class and lower-middle class whites in the Phoenix area. The border may be where the battles are taking place, but their base of power is in the cities, Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona, San Diego and the Los Angeles area in California.

Anarchists and "American First"ers were in a variety of heated arguments, some turned into good ol' shit talking and insults (anarchists were great at this) as the American Firsters could not listen. Everytime an anarchist spoke, they were interrupted by "Oh yeah, well what do you know about...(such and such)." It was impossible to have a dialog, and equally impossible to up the level of confrontation due to their much larger numbers, and police protection.

Phoenix anarchists have been very active over the last few years working with Latino advocacy groups, unions, and grassroots organizations to fight against a number of ballot initiatives, racist politicians, and militia organizations in Arizona. We will continue to advocate for no borders and to confront white vigilantism.

Read the PAC call to action here:

Below is an article on the rally from the East Valley Tribune:

Protesters state views, trade insults near Mexican Consulate
By Shanna Hogan, Tribune

About 100 illegal immigration protesters gathered Saturday outside the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix in an event organized by former Mesa City Council candidate JT Ready. "The Mexican people have to realize the government of Mexico is a threat," Ready said. "They are corrupt against their own people."

Ready said the protest was not in response to the immigration rights demonstration earlier this month, where more than 100,000 mostly Hispanic protesters marched to the state Capitol. But some of the protesters who showed up Saturday spoke out against that event. "I look at that demonstration as an attack on our government and an attack on the American people," said Glendale resident Iva Underwood.

The American government needs to focus on Americans, she said. "I believe charity begins at home," Underwood said. "We've got too many problems within our own country."

Demonstrators carried signs that read: "Mexico Please Respect Our Laws and Our Border," "Build the Wall," and "Seal the Borders."

"We hate the illegals, our border should be closed," said Louise Lonsdale of Phoenix. "People need to realize we're being taken over."

Debates flared between the protesters and about 30 proimmigration activists who showed up to counterprotest.

One pro-immigration activist, Phoenix resident Eric Malatesta, 32, wore a black handkerchief across his face and waved a sign that read: "JT Ready is a Racist and Trigger Happy."

"I am here to show solidarity with the immigrants and the poor people," he said. "They insist they are not racists despite the fact that they are a very angry group of white people protesting the Mexican Consulate."