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In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From Salon.com: "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
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In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors

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  • Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:51PM (#24823651)


    • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Informative)

      by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:57PM (#24823707) Homepage Journal

      If only it were the police; it looks like the FBI may be involved as well http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/31/raids/index.html [salon.com]

      For the sake of the country, the people responsible for these raids must be fired (and very possibly sent to prison) for this. This is utterly unacceptable.

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:06PM (#24823775) Journal

        For the sake of the country, the people responsible for these raids must be fired (and very possibly sent to prison) for this

        If you think that will actually happen, can I have some of what you are smoking?

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 24-bit Voxel ( 672674 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:06PM (#24823781) Journal
        We've almost hit rock bottom. It feels like the last 8 years were just a litmus test to see how much corruption we as a nation would turn our heads to. The answer appears to be all of it.
        • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:33PM (#24824081)

          It's especially bad when you realize that this story is just more Republican bashing. Why? Because this is Standard Operating Procedure for police.

          Boston police arrest dozens before annual festival [boston.com] - in an effort to prevent disorder before some local festival, the Boston police arrested dozens of suspected trouble makers for the explicit purpose of keeping them in jail for the duration of the festival.

          Needless to say, the same type of thing happened before the DNC [tampabay.com], too.

          So this is just more Republican bashing, in that the only reason it's news isn't that it happens, because it's routine, it's because it's happening for a Republican event.

          Note I'm not saying that it's OK because Democrats do it too - I'm saying that this type of thing happens all the time and almost no one bothers reporting it. It's wrong, no matter who does it, Republican or Democrat.

          • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by EriDay ( 679359 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:12PM (#24824985)
            Your citation does not mention the feds being involved.

            Denver police went to a house that had been rented by the protest group Unconventional Denver as a convergence center, and despite seeing no illegal activity, two protesters were arrested, with one reportedly slammed on his head during the arrest.

            Sorry no comparison.
          • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:46PM (#24825281) Homepage

            I really hate to break it to you but yes the state or your nation is generally bound to the competence or incompetence of your current administration. When crap like this occurs and they say nothing, then they are complicit. Of course not to throw all the blame upon the republican administration, although as the 'Administration' it is largely their responsibility but a share would also have to go to the US congress and Senate for failure to investigate these and similar abuses of justice.

            The catch with it all in the US system, is most of the egregious behaviour falls to the State Governor to ensure the principles of law and justice are adhered to within the state excluding of course the political involvement of the FBI which is of course a federal abuse.

            Of course your post has a clear political bias which manages to equate questionable arrests at public venues when people are attempting to express the political opinions, to pre-emptive raids in suburban neighbourhoods, complete with the blatant theft of computers and personal property (when the warrant is so clearly bull shit it is theft) added, to that the extreme danger of no knock, guns drawn warrants with trigger happy law enforcement with emphasis on force, represents to those communities and especially the victims of those raids (in this case they were definitely the victims and the police where clearly displaying criminal behaviour).

            So if Republican administrations says nothing about it and gives it the tacit approval, then, yes, they are quite content for the authorities to stomp all over the people's rights. By the same token if the Democrats say nothing or fail to initiate an investigation of these abusive in the proper venue, then they can be painted with the same brush and, to bring it all home, if the typical US citizens fails to do something about it, then you can bloody well expect at lot worse to happen, good luck.

          • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Al Al Cool J ( 234559 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:48PM (#24825313)

            Right. Instead of blaming the Republicans, these widespread police state tactics should be blamed on whatever fuckwit party is currently running the oountry.

          • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:01PM (#24825407)
            How in the hell can you say it's "Republican bashing"?? This is illegal activity by the authorities! No matter whose "side" it is on!

            What the hell is wrong with you?
            • by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:55PM (#24825765) Homepage

              You're a dumbass. The OP clearly said he thought it was wrong regardless of who was doing it.

              He was merely pointing out that somebody is pushing an agenda. The story submitter could have just as easily linked to *both* stories about illegal arrests before both conventions. Instead, they linked to the single story and spun it as "look what Republicans are doing."

              • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tmsNO@SPAMinfamous.net> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:17PM (#24825931) Homepage

                The story submitter could have just as easily linked to *both* stories about illegal arrests before both conventions.

                Anyone who RTFA would see the author's observation that "...Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether."

                So if the submitter had an agenda to conceal that abuses happened in Denver, he did a crappy job of it.

                However, the Denver abuses seem to have been mostly garden-variety police thuggery; these Minnesota raids involved the FBI [salon.com] and included months-long espionage and infiltration. One of the groups specifically targeted is "I-Witness Video", a group that did a great job capturing exposing thuggery and perjury by police during the 2004 Republican convention.

          • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Informative)

            by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:24PM (#24825999) Homepage Journal

            For the record, when I submitted this I hadn't gone more than a few paragraphs into the articles, and hadn't realized it was for a Republican event. This wasn't submitted for any sort of bashing, more of an "oh my god people need to know about this" submission.

        • Re:Rock bottom (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:36PM (#24824113)

          Your comment made me laugh, it really did. Go look at the civil liberties raped over and over by both sides during the American Civil War or during the First World War in the US, then compare/contrast to the current "erosion" of civil liberties.

          What has gone on for the last eight years is nothing compared to what happened in the past. How many languages have been outlawed in the last 8 years? None, go back to the teens, the government did the equivalent of making Spanish outlawed when the German language was all but criminalized.

          In 1918, these 'anarchists' would be getting deportation hearings right now, even if US citizens or born here.

          • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:51PM (#24824213) Homepage

            Well they DID ban French fries for a while.

          • Re:Rock bottom (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:52PM (#24824227) Homepage

            Right, so what you're saying is that because it's not as bad as a century ago, it's OK? There was also a point where not actively following the state's religion would get you killed. That doesn't make today's religious hysteria acceptable, even if it's not as bad relatively speaking (though it seems we're headed back in that direction).

            Please get out of the country now, for everyone's sake.

          • Re:Rock bottom (Score:4, Insightful)

            by NFN_NLN ( 633283 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:27PM (#24824521)

            Your comment made me laugh, it really did. Go look at the civil liberties raped over and over by both sides during the American Civil War or during the First World War in the US, then compare/contrast to the current "erosion" of civil liberties.

            You're a tool in every sense of the word. It's 'enablers' like you that try to justify every wrongful action. Who cares if it was worse a century ago, who cares if Mexico is worse. The only reason we're better NOW is because we iterated towards a better society.

            How exactly is defending this going to make the world a better place? Indifference is the enemy of progress and you're worse. You're a piece of garbage weighted around the ankle of positive change.

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:07PM (#24824331)

        This is the best part of the Greenwald story:

        Here is the extraordinary blog item [iwitnessvideo.info] I linked to yesterday from Eileen Clancy, one of the founders of I-Witness Video -- a NYC-based video collective which is in St. Paul to document the policing of the protests around this week's Republican National Convention, just as they did at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York. Clancy wrote this as a plea for help, as the Police surrounded her house and (before they had a search warrant) told everyone inside that they'd be arrested if they exited the home:

        This is Eileen Clancy . . . The house where I-Witness Video is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.
                We are suffering a preemptive video arrest. For those that don't know, I-Witness Video was remarkably successful in exposing police misconduct and outright perjury by police during the 2004 RNC. Out of 1800 arrests, at least 400 were overturned based solely on video evidence which contradicted sworn statements which were fabricated by police officers. It seems that the house arrest we are now under and the possible threat of the seizure of our computers and video cameras is a result of the 2004 success.
                We are asking the public to contact the office of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at 651-266-8510 to stop this house arrest, this gross intimidation by police officers, and the detention of media activists and reporters.

        That sounds like what it was: a cry for help from a hostage. Hours later, the Police finally obtained a search warrant -- for the wrong house, one adjacent to the house where they were being detained -- and nonetheless broke in, pointing guns, forced them to lay on the floor and handcuffed everyone inside (and handcuffed a National Lawyers Guild attorney outside). They searched the house, arrested nobody, and then left.

        Once Gustav gets here, I'm sure all of this will blow over.

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Informative)

        by conlaw ( 983784 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:03PM (#24824879)

        This is utterly unacceptable.

        I agree and I've written to Obama/Biden headquarters (again) to let them know that we citizens are expecting them to give us back the Bill of Rights. Writing here http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/contact/ [barackobama.com] to express our concerns should be more effective than all of us bemoaning the situation on /.

        If anyone knows of a site where the GOP candidates are also asking for comments (and having someone read them), please post it also.

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Teilo ( 91279 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @12:15AM (#24826371) Homepage

        Tonight, I was coming home from a sign painting party for the Campaign for Liberty, here in the Twin Cities. I stopped at Walgreens and saw a police car in the parking lot. It said, "Federal Protective Services" "POLICE" "Department of Homeland Security". I had never heard of this organization before now. There is an article on them here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Federal_Protective_Service [wikipedia.org]

        What I find chilling is the words "Federal" and "POLICE" put together. And this was not any typical FBI-style black unmarked job. It was a police car in every way. Lights and all.

        Yes. In eight short years, we have been transitioned into a police state. Mind you, there have been many attempts over the last several decades to in one way or another federalize the local police. These efforts have been resisted by grass roots organizations. Through the Patriot Act, this has now been accomplished. All local police are now arms of the Federal government. And we have bona-fide Federal Police running around.

        It Will Only Get Worse. And it does not matter one whit who wins in November. Either candidate will work to extend and consolidate federal power, and further restrict liberty.

    • also (Score:5, Insightful)

      by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:08PM (#24823797) Journal


      And the sheriff's office, and the FBI, and DHS, and ICE, and the mainstream media, and us...

      Yep, us too. Every US citizen bears some responsibility. We should demand media coverage of these obvious civil rights violations, these people aren't violent anarchists, they are citizens protesting the government. We should demand a police force that upholds the law instead of subverting it. We should elect the leaders who will do the most to protect our civil rights.

      We've been tolerating this kind of behavior since 9/11 out of fear. It's time to admit to ourselves that we overreacted to the events of 9/11 and allowed our government to trash our civil rights in the name of protecting us.

      We let fascists take our country from us in the name of making a 'war on terror.'

      Vote. Email or write your local, state and federal representatives. Email local and national news. Protest.

      • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:21PM (#24823935)

        We've been tolerating this kind of behavior since 9/11 out of fear. It's time to admit to ourselves that we overreacted to the events of 9/11 and allowed our government to trash our civil rights in the name of protecting us.

        Get a tiny bit of perspective - things have been like this before the Conventions since the '68 DNC Riots. Or did you not notice the guy who was arrested in Denver for checking into a hotel just before the DNC with a couple rifles? No reason to believe he was doing anything wrong, other than having a rifle near a Democrat, but that's the way it goes.

        Admittedly, the Secret Service types have to be especially sensitive to the possibility of someone trying to do in Obama. I don't think it'll happen, but that opinion changes from day to day....

      • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:38PM (#24824137)
        Who said anarchists are violent? They are amongst the protesters, and they did not plan any sort of violence. Your stereotypical statement about them sounds like an attempt to legitimatize what the FBI did, not argue against it. It's ignorance like this that allows them to carry out raids like this.
      • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:54PM (#24824241)

        We should demand media coverage of these obvious civil rights violations, these people aren't violent anarchists, they are citizens protesting the government.

        What? First, the RNC isn't "the government." Second, yes they are anarchists. From their website [nornc.org]:

        The RNC Welcoming Committee is an anarchist / anti-authoritarian organizing body preparing for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

        They intend to block the bridges into and out of the city. The blockades are going to be categorized as "red zones" (prepared for "self-defense"), "yellow zones" (peaceful but assertive), and "green zones" (aiming to avoid risk of arrest.) I don't see how holding public property by force is at all non-violent.

        I agree however, people should protest. They should protest these hooligans who don't believe in the core basis of the USoA: that ideas will not be propagated by violence. Differing opinions will be discussed and if your opinion isn't the most popular you don't get to enact your ideas. Perpetrating acts of violence, intimidation and seizing property for long term use (a goal described on their website) aren't something any civilized country should be getting behind.

        • Re:also (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:09PM (#24824361)

          let me point out that "non violent" doesn't mean you do everything you're told, that's called "complicity" or at best "complacency". Having 50k people arrive at a location and sit down and refuse to leave may not be convenient, and might even put some people at risk (say, you were in the middle of hte crowd and had a heart attack), but that is not "violence".

          "violence" involves destruction, pain, intimidation and real risk of bodily injury. *some* anarchists are into that sort of thing. But "Anarchist" covers a wide variety of people, just like "republican" does. Some "Republicans" don't think it's ok to kill anyone arab just because some arabs hate us. Some think we should "turn the middle east into a parking lot".

          it's not fair to judge all republicans by the violent assholes within any more than it is to judge all anarchists by the same measure.

          I also don't think that seizing property that is not being put to use when there are people who need shelter in the streets is so radical that "no civilized country" should get behind it.

          further, I wouldn't demonize anyone who looks at the current state of our country and thinks that maybe we're getting close to the point where words alone is not sufficient response to the ongoing mismanagement, misinterpretation and appropriation of our government to anyone with suitable ambition and a large enough checkbook.

          I'm not at that point myself, but I can't say that it would be impossible to get there in my lifetime and sometimes I do wonder if I'm just playing the game laid before me by "the house", and the house always wins.. witness RealID and the basic conception among most people that you "can't challenge the federal government", constitutional or not.

        • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ablair ( 318858 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:45PM (#24825707)

          They should protest these hooligans who don't believe in the core basis of the USoA: that ideas will not be propagated by violence.

          What?!? I must have completely misunderstood the modern US history of the last 8 years or so. I had no idea that the CORE BASIS of the USA was that ideas wouldn't be propagated by violence. Speaking as someone living outside the USA, your foreign policy hasn't led me to believe that either.

          Come to think of it, maybe the violent rebels of 1776 should have rembered it too.

    • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:14PM (#24823861) Journal

      No joke. When did South Central police tactics become apros po for college kids and uppity hippies pushing 60? Easy must be having a laugh right now.

      Something important to remember here is that the some of the groups being raided are the same ones who, in 2006, helped overturn over 400 bogus arrests where video directly conradicted sworn police testimony.

      It's the cameras, and the citizen journalists, and the people on the Internet who the police are afraid of. I don't presume to judge every John Law out there but this is really bad what they are doing in MN.

      Of course the networks pay it no heed :)


  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:52PM (#24823661)
    ... this is how you START them. This coming from someone from Seattle who lived on Capitol Hill during the WTO riots and had police overreact and create a situation when none existed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 )

      ... this is how you START them. This coming from someone from Seattle who lived on Capitol Hill during the WTO riots and had police overreact and create a situation when none existed.

      Yes, indeed. The "anarchist" morons from all over the country came to Seattle looking for a riot , the the equally brain-dead cops gave them a reason.

      "Anarchists" and Repugnitans, a match made in heaven.

    • textbook example (Score:4, Interesting)

      by aleph42 ( 1082389 ) * on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:18PM (#24823911)

      At least this gives us a textbook example for the good old "nothing to hide" misconception.

      You can bet that a lot of illegal wiretaping was involved here to find the ringleaders, exactly like during the anit-vietnam protests. Also, note how they went straight for the computers: welcome to the world of "little brother"!

      "- I've got nothing to hide!"
      "- Then you agree with everything the government thinks. Oh, and the Church of Scientology, too."
      (alternate: "- Then you don't have a political life")

    • by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:14PM (#24824391)

      ... this is how you START them. This coming from someone from Seattle who lived on Capitol Hill during the WTO riots and had police overreact and create a situation when none existed.

      Exactly. You may have heard about similar unrest at the APEC summit in Vancouver in 1997, where I was living at the time. The overreaction to protests by police is a distraction tactic.

      In Vancouver when Prime Minister Cretien first visited after APEC, again there were protests that turned violent. The police formed a "bike line" about 150' from the entrance to the hotel where Cretien was, meaning police with bicycles stood about 25' apart and ordered everyone not to pass them. Since it was not even remotely intimidating everyone marched right past them. But having done so, they can then be arrested and charged with disobeying a legal police order.

      So they had uninhibited access to the hotel front doors, which were recessed from the sidewalk and therefore private property. Once they were on private property, asked to leave, and they did not, they were then trespassing as well. As luck would have it, there just happened to be a legion of police with full riot gear in the hotel lobby to engage the protesters with batons and pepper spray.

      Either they were giving out gourmet donuts, or it was a deliberate tactic to entrap the protesters into committing crimes. They report to the press that the protesters had access to areas within vocal range of the Prime Minister, but forced their way through the "barricade" with the intent of engaging the Prime Minister violently, so reciprocal violence was justified.

      In the end, the violence upstages the protest, and nothing gets done about the human rights violations they were trying to bring to the public's attention. It's been a popular tactic in North America since the 1960's. Now it appears they're taking preemptive actions to make sure the protesters are going to put on a good show. Makes sense, given the level of apathy these days.

      I advise anyone involved in a protest to enlist the aid of people trained in conflict resolution (i.e. bar security staff) to quell any troublemakers among the protesters, and have a lawyer on site to act as a liaison with the police. You're probably going to need one eventually, and you know you'll have to deal with the police. Who deals with the police without a lawyer? Criminals, idiots, or both.

  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:53PM (#24823665) Homepage Journal

    In Soviet Russia, you didn't have the right to peaceful assembly or to travel without showing your papers.

    I wish there was a joke I could make here.

  • by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:55PM (#24823685) Homepage
    Isn't that what they blamed stuff on pre-WW I? What kill the kaiser think? God help us if Ferdinand is shot!
  • Not suprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:56PM (#24823695)

    seeing as all the same senior politicians in the WH today are the very same ones that where there in Nixons goverment, they just slinked into the background in the 60's hoping you would forget their names and misdeeds
    and it worked ! except they are back with more vigor
    torture, wiretaps, harrasing political groups, removing civil liberties, wiretapping
    the list is endless and so it seems the Americans patience as they dont want to do a damm thing about it

    a single clip could sort out a lot of troubles in this world

  • by Nasajin ( 967925 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:57PM (#24823705)

    On Saturday afternoon, he displayed a number of the confiscated items: a gun, throwing knives, a bow and arrows, flammable liquids, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine.

    Personally I'm surprised that, upon finding "buckets of urine" that the police decided to take it with them.

    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:20PM (#24823929)

      They took along *anything* and *everything* that might be related to possible riots. When they raided a home that wasn't actually the correct home, they still detained people for over and hour while they obtained the correct warrant. When I read that I posted that I was concerned that when I arrived at home that I too would find cops on my doorstep [twitter.com] because after all, that was the point of all of this horseshit.

      When you finally hear from the other side you learn that the "buckets of urine" was actually gray water used to flush the toilet [blogspot.com] (my father developed a tank system in the 1980s that used shower/tub water to flush the toilet which saved us so much money that the water company came out 3 or 4 different times to replace the meter because they thought it was defective).

      I have been ashamed to be an American for a long ass time but between the Ramsey County Sheriff's response to this event, the confiscation of camera equipment in the name of Homeland Security for the RNC [twincities.com], and using Blackwater mercenaries in New Orleans in preparation for Gustav [wired.com] I am not quite sure I am actually living in the United States of America anymore.

      I am disgusted to be a Minnesota and United States resident. This is fucking shameful and horrifying. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of free speech violation. This is a stupid political rally, not a fucking war on our soil. Personally I'd love to join the protests but I seriously fear for my freedom and my life. I am not against the RNC but I am definitely against the manner in which protesting is being handled.


      For live footage of raids and other First Amendment violations, check out The UpTake [qik.com] on Qik.com.

  • sad day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:00PM (#24823731) Homepage

    Stuff like this really makes me sad. Just 20 or 30 years ago, demonstrations could get out of hand, but I think that is part of free speech. Now, any speech off script by either party is squashed as if it was soviet russia. Maybe mrs mccain should rethink the trip to georgia she just took. Maybe instead of taking democracy around the world, we could start by re-invigorating freedom here at home. I'm afraid to predict the next 20 or 30 years. I'm sure it will include many cameras, microphones, drone planes and fear.

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:07PM (#24823787)

    Could the fact that we didn't see such an article about last weeks DNC be because there wasn't anybody bothering to protest? HBO's Real Time had footage from the "Free Speech Zone" in Denver which had more kids on bikes than protesters.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:52PM (#24824221) Homepage Journal
      There were protests at the convention. One involved a bunch of veterans pulling a publicity stunt by blocking access to the convention. One of the spokespeople said they were hoping they could incite a response and prove that democrats did not care about veterans. In the end, the ringleader was allowed in to talk to an Obama staff member. You see that is what civilized people do. Talk out their grievances. When you over react and begin to violate civil rights, you simply prove that the corruption and greed they are protesting against is real. This is why the KKK is allowed to wander around aimlessly and harmlessly on city streets. They just want to start something [wikipedia.org], and blame the other guy. The protestors, like the terrorist, have won. The republican party has proven itself a bunch of whiners, unable to cope with the real world.
  • by John3 ( 85454 ) <john3@cornells . c om> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:17PM (#24823891) Homepage Journal

    This happened in NY City in 2004 [usatoday.com] during the Republican Convention although the police waited until the convention had started. My brother was one of the thousands swept up in the sweeps the police did to clear protesters from the street. His lawsuit is still pending, most likely he will wind up with a nice settlement, but the goal was to get these "troublemakers" off the street and that was accomplished. The same marching orders are likely in effect for the Republican Convention this year, and by the time the lawsuits are settled in four years the next election will be on the horizon. Kind of depressing that the police can get away with this bs.

  • by Britz ( 170620 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:18PM (#24823905)

    I mean I don't want to barge ahead. We only read the accounts of one side, but if it is even remotly true the US of A is far from being a free country. Why would the police even want to intimidate people that way? Only if there was a political reason. Semi-random police brutality is one thing, but the report looks like those were fairly large scale orchestrated moves by the police to influence politics. When the police stops working as law enforcment and starts working for a political party how far is that from a banana republic?

    And then the W guy comes up and talks about spreading democracy in the middle east? How about spreading it in Minneapolis?

    • by shma ( 863063 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:28PM (#24824535)

      And then the W guy comes up and talks about spreading democracy in the middle east? How about spreading it in Minneapolis?

      I want to quote something directly from one of Greenwald's updates to the piece here, which directly addresses this point:

      During the Olympics just weeks ago, there was endless hand-wringing over the efforts by the Chinese Government to squelch dissent and incarcerate protesters. On August 21, The Washington Post fretted:

      Six Americans detained by police this week could be held for 10 days, according to Chinese authorities, who appear to be intensifying their efforts to shut down any public demonstrations during the final days of the Olympic Games. . . . Chinese Olympic officials announced last month that Beijing would set up zones where people could protest during the Games, as long as they had received permission. None of the 77 applications submitted was approved, however, and several other would-be protesters were stopped from even applying.

      On August 2, The Post gravely warned:

      Behind the gray walls and barbed wire of the prison here, eight Chinese farmers with a grievance against the government have been consigned to Olympic limbo. Their indefinite detainment, relatives and neighbors said, is the price they are paying for stirring up trouble as China prepares to host the Beijing Games. Trouble, the Communist Party has made clear, will not be permitted.

      Would The Washington Post ever use such dark and accusatory tones to describe what the U.S. Government does? Of course it wouldn't. Yet how is our own Government's behavior in Minnesota any different than what the Chinese did to its protesters during the Olympics (other than the fact that we actually have a Constitution that prohibits such behavior)? And where are all the self-righteous Freedom Crusaders in our nation's establishment organs who were so flamboyantly criticizing the actions of a Government on the other side of the globe as our own Government engages in the same tyrannical, protest-squelching conduct with exactly the same motives?

  • COINTELPRO 2.0 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:22PM (#24823957)
    Does anyone get the feeling this has all happened before, then laws were enacted to stop it, then Bush was elected and said laws were repealed?
  • So peaceful!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:26PM (#24823983)
    According to KSTP: "The sheriff's office said it confiscated weapons on Saturday including a machete, hatchet and several throwing knives, empty glass bottles, rags and flammable liquids, homemade devices used to disable buses, metal pipes, axes, bolt cutters, sledge hammers, empty plastic buckets made into shields, an Army helmet, and large amounts of urine." http://kstp.com/article/stories/S561752.shtml?cat=1 [kstp.com]
    • Re:So peaceful!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:08PM (#24824933)

      You'll find those and other items in many houses. A quick glance through my apartment revealed the following suspicious substances and items:

      Very sharp knives longer than 5 inches (I cook)
      Precursors for biological weapons (I cook with very hot spices, good enough for pepper spray)
      Nerve toxins (I smoke and drink coffee)
      Percursors for explosives (aspirin)
      Precursors for drugs (acetone)
      Information and tools to invade computer systems (I work in IT security)
      Dispensers for aerosols (my deodorant bottle)
      Highly aggressive chemicals (toilet cleaner)
      Camoflage kit (shoe polish)
      Rubber gloves (I hate to touch my toilet without, especially with the cleaner involved)
      Equipment to create an electronic bomb timer (welding gun and a few ATMegas)
      Hydrogen peroxide (I wear contact lenses)
      Drug containers (plastic bags and tin foil)
      Equipment to create pamphlets and other propaganda material (I have a printer for my computer)
      Equipment to remotely detonate an exposive device (I fly RC planes)
      Heavy metals (lead, to balance out the planes)

      Need I go on?

      You will find a similar collection of "highly suspicious and potentially dangerous" items and "equipment" in many homes. There mere existance doesn't prove anything.

  • The other side? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:47PM (#24824181)

    In my experience, hearing just one side of a story almost always leaves out important facts.

    Before we go apeshit, shouldn't we maybe get the government's / police's side of the story?

    I'm not saying that nothing bad happened here, just that until we know (or at least give an opportunity to be voiced) both sides of the story, we're really flying blind.

  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:32PM (#24825179)

    In February 2002, the World Economic Forum was held in New York City, and I planned to (and did) protest it. The alter-globalization movement had been protesting these things for years. New York newspaper headlines screamed that "anarchists" had better not come to NYC and cause trouble with the WTC still smoking and all of the claptrap. What made it even more nonsensical is it hadn't been planned for an NYC meeting, Giuliani had convinced them to move the meeting to NYC after 9/11/01, despite knowing the WEF always brought out massive demonstrations since evil types like Bill Gates always hobnobbed at such events. So working to bring a demonstration magnet to NYC after 9/11, and then decrying that there demonstrators would bother New Yorkers still grieving from 9/11 sounded a little hollow.

    Anyhow, a friend of mine suggested we go to a building in New York called ABC No Rio. They are a "progressive community space" type of place they have art shows there, live bands, a progressive/zine library, a feed the poor group Food Not Bombs and that type of thing. Anyhow we went in and they were organizing a demonstration. I should point out I had never been there and my friend had rarely been there, we were just nearby and at the spur of the moment he wanted to see if a friend of his was there.

    I should also point out that of all the progressive demonstrations in the US in the past twenty years, I can't recall an instance of physical violence against someone. There may have been one or more cases, but I can't think of any. A handful of way-out folks smashed windows in Seattle, burned down some new unoccupied houses in a new housing development somewhere out west and the like, and in the case of the latter a massive federal investigation sent some of those people to jail. So one has to question the need for a massive federal "monitoring" of progressive groups is needed for. Especially considering the history of these things - Nixon had a bunch of burglars break into the Democratic Party election headquarters, the FBI used these extraordinary powers granted to it to interfere in the political sphere - stating as a goal the need to stop a "black messiah" from arising, which including bugging Martin Luther King Jr. and leaking tapes they made of him to the press, particularly extra-marital affairs. When Warsaw Pact secret police did such things in their countries, it was decried as tyranny here - when our secret police work to dismantle organization of African-American and progressive people (as the FBI did, Google COINTELPRO), it is soon forgotten and you hear the need for the PATRIOT Act and the like giving power to the same people who abused it for political purposes before.

    Anyhow me and my friend leave ABC No Rio. We hail a taxi and go about half a mile to Greenwich Village. My friend wants to go to a bar he went to a few months before, but can't find it. Anyhow, he realizes we are headed in the exact opposite direction than we should be, so we both do a 180 degree turn and start walking the way we had been coming. A man in his late 40s who looks very out of place for Greenwich Village on a Friday night was about 10 meters behind us. He sees us loop around and then has a look in his eye for a second, and then he also spins around and walks the other way. All things considered, especially his facial reaction when we both did a sudden 180 and began walking towards him, I know as sure as the sky is blue that he was following us, and that he was following us because we had gone into ABC No Rio. ACLU lawsuits and that type of thing after the WEF protests, and after the Republican National Convention talked about the extent of the surveillance, and fortified in my mind what I already instinctively knew was true. What scared me was the extent of the surveillance. I would dislike, but would not be as alarmed by them monitoring who went in and out of that building (where nothing was even happening! Except for planning a legal political demonstration that even the AFL-CIO was protesting in). But to follow two guys across New York City, through cab rides, on foot, who had very little to do with even organizing the demonstration much less doing anything violent during it, spooked me.

  • Fear the Dye! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @01:08AM (#24826773)

    I worked with a group of kids when I was in my teens one Summer. --You know, games and sports and arts & crafts and such. This one day, we made tie-dyed shirts.

    Well the shirt I made turned out pretty good and I wore it for the whole afternoon and kind of forgot it was on me. Then after the kids all went off back home, me and a few of the other 'leaders' decided to head out for a movie and burgers and stuff. At the end of the evening, we all split off and I was on my way back home alone.

    My opinion of humanity then began to plummet.

    Taking public transit, I was getting all these freaked out looks. Everybody was acting as though they were scared of me. --I was used to being totally ignored, but people were really, really nervous. It was baffling. It happened not just with the occupants of one bus, but on another and on a train as well. I didn't work out it was the tie-dye shirt they were all reacting to until this one Stephen Colbert clone actually measured me up and down with an expression of abject, "Small-guy-on-his-first-day-in-prison" and then made a comment about the Grateful Dead being really cool in some kind of weird effort to. . , not get hurt by me? It was utterly unreal. I couldn't believe just how limited a set of lives people must lead in order to react in such a manner. As just a teen-ager, (back when I wasn't aware of politics in the slightest,) even I had worked out that hippies were the last form of political life you needed to back slowly away from.

    I filed the incident away under, "Fear and Ignorance" for later reference and have dusted it off for you today.


"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love." -- Albert Einstein