Frank Johnson - Photojournalist
Frank Johnson - Photojournalist
By: Frank Johnson

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Wednesday, 9-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
No G8 - Day One

 
 
 
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Let's get straight to the point. There weren't 50,000 people showing discontent with world leadership. There weren't 5,000 people from all around the world justifying a state of emergency. There weren't 500 people consistently trying to get a coherent message out.

There was maybe 300 maximum between the two cities who marched on Tuesday. It has been reported 600 international news organizations with projections of as many as 2,000 media staff between the two locations. And no less than 10,000 law enforcement. For those that might not be aware. The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared.

From the position of a objective observer I can honestly say that there has been a very slow and barely visible buildup over the last couple of days. But that is considering when I have been to press conferences with 3-5 supporters, a couple organizers and 20-30 media, and maybe 40 law enforcement.

With this entry you find a few random photos from the overall day. No violence. No arrests. Just peaceful demonstrations. I counted two incidents which had the potential to flame up and were properly handled by the demonstrators, so there was no need for shock and awe.


Tuesday, 8-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Engagement in the Arena

 
 
 
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Today I walked the neighborhoods and spoke with the activists as well as law enforcement. Today was a very interesting day.

With all the concern and frankly fear of the police, I decided to walk around and get to
know some of the officers. What I found is most of the officers are pretty friendly. Most
feel as if they are doing a service to the community by showing a strong presence. They
also believe that they are not here to initimidate the activists but to protect the
activists from persons who might not agree.

It is kinda hard to find the right objective position to take in a situation like this.

If there wasn't a large police presence and the "world leaders" came to America and
something happened, then there would be another big congressional investigation on how we
could have improved the situation. On the other hand, since most people here in America
are not accustomed to seeing military vehicles on civilian streets, it creates a certain
level of tension. I believe that we the media are partially to blame for this tension. I
believe that it is our job to educate and inform our audience. With accurate information
people wouldn't be so easily intimidated.

With so many people in Brunswick scared to come out of their homes, I can only imagine
what the military presence is like in Iraq. Speaking to an anonymous resident, I was told
that she wasn't sure if she should be afraid of the government/military or the protestors. She went on to say that there must be something to these protests with the large law enforcement presence.

As a part of the media it is my job to be as objective as possible and not choose sides.

It is very easy to get emotional about the day to day problems that constantly bombard us. It is also very easy to get caught up in conspiracy theories when there are so many connecting facts, ideas and events. But our job as the media is to dig deeper, despite the fact that we live in the microwave generation and everyone is looking for that single quote or soundbite. Those quotes and soundbites should be based on facts and not rumors and 4th tier interpretations.

A little information about the photos that you see here. The primary photos is of
Officer Wisnioski of the Federal Protective Services. I was walking with another person,
who may desire to go unnamed here, past the Federal Building in downtown Brunswick,
Georgia. They have this facility totally fenced off with security checkpoints at each
corner. I found it very interesting that they were doing identification checks of
average citizens before they were allowed to past the fence. I stopped and took a couple
of photos of a senior citizen being asked to produce identification. Anyway, Officer
Wisnioski is shown here recording my passport and identification information onto sometype of contact form. This form probably puts me on some type of watch list.

Officer Wisnioski was a little intimidating but seemed to loosen up after he realized that I wasn't a threat. He maintained his stern position throughout my 15 minute background check and questioning. He didn't ask anything unusual or out of the way.

Also included in this report are photos from two of the press conferences I attended today. The first press conference was held at the Old County Court House in Brunswick, Georgia. There were several speakers representing several different organizations as you can see from some of the photos. There were maybe 25 different media organizations represented at this conference.

The second press conference was against Coca-Cola and the organization killercoke.org held it. For me personally it was a little more interesting, because I live in the city where Coca-Cola is headquartered. That press conference actually took place in front of a Coca-Cola bottling company in Brunswick, Georgia. Another reason this particular conference was interesting is because what appeared to be a military helicopter kept flying overhead and made it difficult for the media to hear what was actually being said.

And finally, I witnessed several National Guard Media persons documenting the conference. Because we have an overall lack of exposure to the military, seeing military journalists was a particular treat for me --but intimidating to most.


Monday, 7-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Frank the Spy

I have arrived in Brunswick, Georgia to document the demonstrations against the G8 summit. I enjoyed the pleasure of riding down with a couple people from killercoke.org. It was a tremendous ride with lively conversation. However, I was warned that several people suspected that I might be some type of spy. Hince the new nickname, Frank the Spy. I am sure the police will have no problem telling where I stand, but it might be difficult for my "peers" to accept my presence.

Stay tuned for this unexpected development.

But back to Brunswick. The Indy Media Center is in a poor black community. I have walked around the neighborhood and introduced myself to several of the neighbors in the community. So far I have seen what might be considered a large police presence to some people but not really for me. I did attend the demonstrations in Miama/FTAA and there was a much larger and more visible police presence there. However this opinion could change on tomorrow once I get to see things during the day. While we were approaching our base of operations I did notice several military humvees in the general neighborhood. My perception that the police presence isn't as large as Miami might be influenced by the fact that the demonstration area is alot larger than Miami. In Miami everyone was within an 8 block radius where Brunswick the activities are fairly spread out.

The community in general believe that the additional police presence in their community is unwanted. There are several typical activities going on in the neighborhood, not to stereotype the community. I witnessed small time prostitution, abandoned homes where drug activities were taking place, no parks or playground area visible within several blocks. An unusual amount of Churches in a 2 block radius. There was even one gentleman who shall remain anonymous that complained about not being able to sell his liquor for fear of the police raiding his home. Apparently, he had no fear of the police before the G8 summit.

In my humble opinion there are a large number of indy media press people on hand, with the facilities to handle more. I can only hope that objective reporting/documenting is done and that people are timely in their information delivery.

If anyone has questions on what the city is like, please contact me and I will try to include answers in my next update. We have good internet access here so I shall be updating several times a day.



Also, if anyone out there gets the opportunity to pick up this book. Protest in the Land of Plenty by Al Crespo. The isbn #097221340-6 Amazon is showing 4 used copies averaging $52 at this time.

For all those curious about how my wife's surgery turned out. She is fine and the surgery went extremely well. She has returned home and is resting with her parents taking care of her. Thanks for your prayers and concern.



Sunday, 6-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Teach-In on the g-8 and Corporate domination!

 
 
 
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Today I attended a series of workshops meant to educate the public about some of the attrocities going on around the world and relating specifically to those leaders attending the G8. It was very informative. I also documented a demonstration at the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta.

If you are interested in using any of these photos or other photos I plan on taking from the G8 summit please contact me in advance.

I am distributing photos via wireimage.com All photos are copyright Frank Johnson/wireimage.com

For those who might wonder what I hope to gain in this effort. I personally want to document the fact that everyone in America is not in agreement with our current administration. All Americans are not terrorists or dictators and we here in America actually do care about Human Rights and believe in using our God given rights and freedom of speech.

There are several organizations that I became aware of today and here are their websites.

http://www.spinproject.org
http://www.eco-act.org
http://www.nchre.org
http://www.jubileeusa.org
http://www.killercoke.org

Please visit the above websites and make contact... Take ACTION.


Friday, 4-Jun-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Stressful Day...

 
 
 
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Today my wife had surgery. She had a lung tumor removed. All is well and so far the tests show that the tumor is benign (sp). A couple photos from that experience as well as my regular photo a day transmission.


Just noticed the date on the server appears to be off. This really is my Thursday entry.


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