Christopher Crow

InvestigateWest Copenhagen climate-treaty coverage points up need for independent journalism

Whew! Fifty-one posts -- all but three in just the last two weeks. Dateline Earth readers got to hear from an Arctic tribal elder, an Indian-turned-American nature photographer, Ethiopian political activists, native-rights campaigners from the Amazon and the grassy plains of Ecuador – as well as the European and American officials who dominate this country’s news diet.
rm iwest mugWe stretched. The InvestigateWest team’s coverage of the global climate treaty negotiations that just wrapped up in Copenhagen was a mammoth undertaking for our small start-up news agency – but one that amply demonstrated the need for independent journalism. It was an effort worth every bleary-eyed late-night hour, every marathon Skype session, every up-before-December’s-dawn morning.

It’s unlikely InvestigateWest will be dashing off to a lot of international meetings. We were fortunate in this case to have the assistance of four able young journalists who raised the funds to get themselves to Denmark. Then they went on to deliver journalism that wasn’t available from many – and in a few cases, any – of the thousands of other journalists who covered the talks.

They did this despite being denied access to the conference center where international delegates were meeting until the last day of the two-week conference.  

[caption id="attachment_7653" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow is arrested for the second time. He was held for 10 hours.

Climate "deal" reached in Copenhagen; see great pics, dramatic video of the final hours here

rm-iwest-mug-150x150Well, the delegates to the international climate talks in Copenhagen for the most part are headed for the airport or already winging their way home. Presumably you've seen the coverage; we won't try to duplicate that here, although I'll be back Monday with some reflections. We have some great photos that have been rotating through InvestigateWest's billboard slideshow that I'm going to feature below, plus Blair Kelly's video of the last major protest, which includes dramatic scenes of police beating demonstrators -- some with their hands in the air -- with batons. Activists (perhaps ironically, considering they were shut down by the Copenhagen cops) dubbed that protest "Reclaim the Power."

If you're interested in a few tidbits you may have missed in the way of denouement on the negotiations, check out:

  • The notes covering the final United Nations plenary in Copenhagen, courtesy of Andrew Revkin's Dot.Earth blog at the NYT (we'll miss him -- he's taking a buyout, but I hear he may keep doing the blog), and 
  • Bill McKibben's critique of an NYT story on the Group of 77, defending them of course. I have to say that the most remarkable aspect of the talks for me was the way the poor nations made it known they are not going to be pushed around any more.

Finally! See arrested InvestigateWester's photos of protesters' charge toward Copenhagen climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow had barely started shooting today, capturing the sprint of demonstrators who tried to break through police lines and storm the United Nations climate treaty talks, before he was arrested. Here are a few images he shot in those brief and chaotic moments:

[caption id="attachment_7430" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="A Danish police officer looks up after using his baton to drop a young woman demonstrator as she and others tried to break through police lines to enter the United Nations climate treaty negotiations. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow. "]A Danish police officer looks up after using his baton to drop a  young woman demonstrator as she and others tried to break through police lines to enter the United Nations climate treaty negotiations.  InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow. [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7429" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="Although police were using force, sometimes so were the demonstrators -- as in this shot, where a police officer is knocked to the ground by the protesters trying to rush the United Nations climate treaty meeting. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Although police were using force, sometimes so were the demonstrators -- as in this shot, where a police officer is knocked to the ground by the protesters trying to rush the United Nations climate treaty meeting.</p />
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InvestigateWest photographer released after arrest covering climate protests in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN -- InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was released from custody by Danish authorities who held him for 10 1/2 hours after arresting him for covering protests outside the United Nations climate summit.

Mark Malijan, an InvestigateWest photographer who was himself pepper-sprayed and hit with a police baton, confirmed Crow's release. Below is a picture shot by Malijan of Crow in custody.

[caption id="attachment_7412" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Christopher Crow shortly after his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Christopher Crow shortly after his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

Protesters knocked back in effort to penetrate already-crowded meeting hall for UN climate talks

By Alexander Kelly

COPENHAGEN – As protesters tried but failed to penetrate the conference center where negotiators are hashing out an international climate treaty, the United Nations today barred about 1,000 environmentalists who had previously been granted credentials.

[caption id="attachment_7374" align="alignleft" width="226" caption="Police used pepper spray, police dogs and their batons to keep demonstrators from getting inside the climate talks. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Police used pepper spray, police dogs and their batons to keep demonstrators from getting inside the climate talks. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

Meanwhile, InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was arrested for the second time this week, this time as he tried to photograph the protesters attempting to break into the Bella Center amid barking police dogs and clouds of tear gas. About 230 demonstrators were arrested, police said.

The UN cited security concerns to justify ejecting whole delegations sent to the talks by environmental groups. But officials at the same time said they expected to expel increasingly large numbers of environmental delegates as the talks in the overcrowded center wend their way toward a Friday conclusion, and 119 heads of state arrive with their entourages.

The conference center's maximum capacity is 20,000, according to the facility’s website. The UN, however, accredited up to 45,000 for the conference.

Journalists have had trouble getting into the meeting hall.

InvestigateWest photographer again arrested at United Nations climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- For the second time in a week, an InvestigateWest photographer trying to cover protests against the United Nations climate treaty negotiations here has been arrested.

Christopher Crow was taken into custody along with a number of protesters attempting to get inside the Bella Center, where the international summit is being held, InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly reports.

Kelly will have a more detailed dispatch forthcoming.

Crow was also arrested on Sunday while covering demonstrators who were on their way to shut down Copenhagen harbor in protest of the "cap  and trade" policies international negotiators are haggling over.

Those policies, critics say, are misguided because they allow corporations to buy and sell the right to emit planet-warming gases such as carbon dioxide.  Proponents of the system point to the way it has helped ratchet down sulfur dioxide levels in the United States, lessening the impact of acid rain.

-- Robert McClure

Why did Copenhagen cops arrest InvestigateWest photographer covering climate protest?

Try not to get arrested.

That was my advice to the young journalists traveling thousands of miles to cover the United Nations climate-treaty negotiations going on in Copenhagen this month. I said it because it's a truism: a journalist in jail can't file. He or she is not able to do what he or she is there to do -- send back information for the world to see. And we knew there were likely to be some massive arrests as young activists sought in Copenhagen to spur real commitments to tackling climate change.

Fortunately, InvestigateWest Editor and Executive Director Rita Hibbard was part of the discussion. She quickly followed up my admonition with something like: "But make sure you're close enough to capture the action." She emphasized that we can't very well cover a protest march without being pretty close to the marchers, and that we had a right to be there.

 

InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow found himself yesterday trying to balance those two pieces of advice in the blur of a fast-moving demonstration. He was in a group of about 275 demonstrators arrested when Copenhagen cops cracked down on a protest that, to that point at least, had been peaceful. (It should be said, though, that the protesters had been pretty open about the fact that they were trying to shut down Copenhagen's harbor.)

Now, Chris probably could have gotten away. InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly, photograph Mark Malijan and videographer Blair Kelly were there and managed to scoot. But should Chris have been arrested? Absolutely not! It really honks me off that the police not only detained him at the scene -- it's possible to make a mistake in the heat of the moment -- but insisted on taking him to one of the makeshift holding areas that are serving as jails for the climate protesters.

Byline: 

Protesters: We were peaceful before arrests started

Editor's note: Near the site of the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, a spokesman for Climate Justice Action acknowledges that the protesters arrested yesterday intended to shut down the city's harbor. Instead police moved in on what was up to that point a peaceful protest, stopping the marchers far from the harbor. InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was arrested along with about 275 protesters.

In this interview with InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly and videographer Blair Kelly, Ed Thompson of Climate Justice Action explains the demonstrators' reasoning, and says more big protests are planned later this week: