Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alicia Forrest of Quartzsite, Arizona Charged with Criminal Interference Following a Confrontation with the Denver Police

The district attorney's office will not file charges against a Denver police officer who was videotaped shoving an activist to the ground at a protest during the Democratic National Convention last month...."A thorough review of all the evidence compels the conclusion that a woman failed to comply with repeated lawful police orders to move back," said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver DA's office.
"She then grabbed an officer's baton, pushing it away. The officer pushed back, using the baton, and the woman fell to the ground. She was not injured. It was these facts that were considered in the decision."---Rocky Mountain News (9-24-08)
[See also Zombie’s Anatomy of a Video: Fabricating Police Brutality]

Code Pink's fairy princess Alicia Forrest (age 22 or 24) was arrested during the Democratic National Convention in Denver's Civic Center Park and charged with criminal interference with the police. According to the Rocky Mountain News (9-27-08), Forrest splits her time between Courtside, Arizona and Los Angeles.

Actually, I think Forrest probably hails from Quartzsite, Arizona, although rumors have reached me that the fashion designer-turned-activist shops for all her Code Pink raiment needs at our very own Broomfield Mall's exclusive Halloween Express.

Quartzsite is at the junction of Interstate 10 and U.S. 95, in the Sonoran Desert between Phoenix and Los Angeles or San Diego. Quartzsite is a pit stop in the desert where travellers can use the facilities and buy gas, coolant, a Big Gulp, and a Big Mac; but the town also has a colorful history.

Quartzsite was founded in 1867 on the former site of old Fort Tyson, a private fort built in 1856 by Charles Tyson for protection against Indian raids.

In town, the Hi Jolly Monument, a tombstone in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid, is the final resting place of Quartzsite's favorite son, a Syrian camel driver named Hadji Ali who took part in an unsuccessful 1850’s U.S. War Department attempt to use camels as beasts of burden in the desert.

Roadside America explains:

In 1856, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later President of the Confederacy) had a novel idea: transporting freight and people across the desert Southwest on camels. He eventually imported over 70 of the beasts. Along with the first batch came a Syrian caretaker, Hadji Ali. His American masters called him Hi Jolly.

A plaque on Hi Jolly's tomb says of the camel experiment: "A fair trial might have resulted in complete success." But the Civil War intervened, Jefferson Davis changed jobs, and without his support the project was abandoned. The camels were set free to fend for themselves in the desert near Quartzsite.

Hi Jolly remained, living into his seventies and dying in 1902. Such was the locals' fondness for him that they built Hi Jolly a special pyramid tomb, made of multicolored petrified wood and quartz, in the Quartzsite cemetery.

Today the camels have vanished, but Quartzsite has grown into a flea market oasis for caravans of tourists crossing the the Sonoran in their cars and campers. Quartzsite is a huge fairgrounds with gem and mineral shows, car shows, RV shows, flea markets, trailer parks, and its very own fairy princess, Alicia Forrest.

Quartztown's official site explains:

Tourism is the major contributor to Quartzsite's economy. The retail trade and services sectors benefit from the visitors who reside at the numerous (more than 70) mobile home parks in the vicinity between October and March. Nine major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap-meeting shows are popular tourist attractions, attracting approximately 1.5 million people annually.

But I digress...we were speaking not of Quartzsite's famous camel jockey Hi Jolly but of Code Pink's fairy princess Alicia Forrest and how she gets her jollies.

An investigation found that Forrest refused to move back as protesters surrounded the Denver police during the arrest of another protester on Aug. 26, 2008.

The Denver Post (9-23-08) reports:

An investigation found that Alicia Forrest, 24, refused to back away as protesters crowded police during the arrest of a protester Aug. 26. A Rocky Mountain News video captured Officer Scott Stewart shoving the woman with his baton and saying, "Back up, (expletive)," as Forrest collapsed. Before the camera panned to the shove, police can be heard telling people to "Back it up," and Forrest can be heard saying, "Do it again."

"(Forrest) failed to comply with repeated lawful police orders to move back," said the DA's office. "She then grabbed an officer's baton, pushing it away. The officer pushed back, using the baton, and the woman fell to the ground."

Forrest is facing up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. On October 15, 2008, she must appear at a disposition hearing to discuss the charges against her.

Pajamas Media (8-31-08) has a story about Forrest's 15 minutes of fame that includes pictures and video.

15 minutes is all she rates.

Hi Jolly, on the other hand, rode to fame in Quartzsite on his camel and is buried beneath a pyramid. Quartzsite's favorite son didn't dress as a fairy princess.

The Hi Jolly Exhibit and Human Leg Bone site notes:

Hi Jolly passed through this stretch of the Mojave Desert on his travels, which is reason enough to include an exhibit about him at Fort Irwin's National Training Center and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Museum.

The exhibit features a real stuffed camel (although not one of Hi Jolly's), and notes that the camel driver once saved the lives of five Americans under attack by Indians. "Hi-Jolly drew his Scimitar and charged them yelling 'Bismiallah' (God is Great) with his great cape flapping in the wind. The Indians had never seen a camel or such a rider and fled in a state of terror."

...In addition to the Hi Jolly exhibit, the museum contains "many unusual pieces" according to director Neil Morrison, all of it relating to the history of the Fort or of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has seen combat all over the world. One exhibit from the Philippines is a "poking device" made from a human leg bone. "You'd poke the enemy and try to kill him," Neil explained. Also on display are two primitive combs, again from the Philippines, dipped in poison. "There was no cure for it," Neil said. "They would scratch you, and you died a horrible death."

"One fellow made a necklace out of fingers," Neil added, "but we didn't get it."

Fort Irwin is the "opposing force" training center of the U.S. military. This means that it uses real people against U.S. troops. With over 1000 square miles of land, the Fort once regularly hosted tank battles against fake Russians. Now, according to Neil, "we employ over 280 Iraqis who live out there," in over a dozen fake villages, to season soldiers in middle eastern urban combat. Tourists aren't allowed onto the training sites, but they can visit the museum, which displays some of the fake Russian stuff and has a dummy of an Arab with an RPG and an explosive vest. One bad guy Arab, one good guy Arab -- it's a stalemate here.

Roadside America explains:

In those long-ago days the cemetery [where Hi Jolly is buried] was remote, just bare ground and a few scrubby sagebrush at the edge of an obscure desert outpost. Now you have to drive through the very busy Quartzsite flea market to get to Hi Jolly. Still, his tomb is the biggest thing back in its tiny patch of desert solitude.

The camels, by the way, outlived Jefferson Davis, Hi Jolly, and even the cementing of the plaque. Their last reported sighting was in 1942.

...Neil Morrison, director of the 11th Armored Calvary Museum at Fort Irwin, California, said that Hi Jolly had two wives simultaneously, and that there was a second middle-eastern camel trainer as well, "Greek George" (There were originally ten, but the other eight quit when the Army refused to pay them up-front). Greek George eventually settled in southern California. One day he innocently helped a Mexican bandit who had been injured in a fight, was later tried and found guilty of aiding a criminal (even though he spoke no English or Spanish), and was hanged -- so no monument for George.

Probably no monument for Alicia Forrest, either.

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