The Suppression Of Dissent At The Democratic And Republican Conventions

George Orwell, Stop Spinning and Call Your Office

George Orwell, Stop Spinning and Call Your Office

From the United States Constitution, Amendment One, retrieved on 8/30/2008;

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

From a journalist friend in Denver comes a story about the Democratic National Convention that you probably haven’t quite heard;

This is a belated post after a night in the free-speech pen (“Gitmo on the Platte”), but on Wednesday at noon, Rage Against the Machine and Flobots held a free benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War at the Denver Coliseum.

Performances were incredible, RATM brought out Wayne Kramer of MC5 to play guitar with them, and at the end of the concert, the bands and 60 uniformed vets led about half the audience (7000 people) on an unauthorized march through downtown Denver to the Pepsi Center, for IVAW to deliver a letter to Obama.

The cops shit their pants, they were going to use tear gas about four times on the route, then the DNC and Denver officials decided tear-gassing veterans would not be such a good idea, so they conducted negotiations and “held” people temporarily, then everyone went home.

From today’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune;

Executing search warrants on Friday night and Saturday morning, Ramsey County authorities raided a building in St. Paul and at least three homes in Minneapolis in an effort to head off disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

In a statement, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher described the Friday night raid at 627 Smith Avenue South in St. Paul as targeting the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.”

“These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers,” the statement continued. Fletcher’s statement said no one was arrested. “Numerous items were recovered,” the statement said.
In response to the raids, the RNC Welcoming Committee issued a statement denying any criminal intent and described the officers’ actions as “violence” that was a sign of more extreme police measures to come.

On Saturday morning, three people were arrested and detained for probable cause conspiracy to commit a riot following a raid at 3240 17th Ave. S. in Minneapolis after authorities executed the search warrant. Ten other people in the house were processed and released after about 90 minutes, said Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyers Guild.

Nestor said he has not seen documents that support a reason for searching any of the locations, but that the warrant, signed by a judge on Friday, seeks multiple items, including electronics and mp3 players, rags, jars, Molotov cocktails, communication between RNC Welcoming Committee members, urine and feces (emphasis mine.)

Utter, complete, transparent bullshit. Rough them up, intimidate them, confiscate all their materials, photograph them so they will have ‘prior’ arrests, by the time you get a hearing the moment is over, the RNC is over, freedom is over. “Oh, sorry, our bad, here’s your shit back, HAHAHAHAHAHA.”

The three arrested, two 23-year-old women and a 25-year-old man, could be held through the weekend, Nestor said. A judge will review their case within 48 hours.  Nestor said the conspiracy to commit a riot charges are vague.

“This is a charge that police use for preventive detention,” he said. “It requires that no actual criminal act be committed and borders on criminalizing political advocacy.”

BORDERS ON? Nestor is being far too kind, BORDERING on aiding and abetting this thuggery.

Via Infoshop Newsvideo of massive police assaults, including threats, intimidation, and confiscation of computers and papers, on alleged “potentially disruptive” protestors, charging them with “conspiracy”;

Glenn Greenwald documents this, he and a colleague were at two of the houses;

There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in 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. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. 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…

As much as I hate to write this, I must agree with professor Michael Rozeff, who writes in an article about the E-Gold prosecution on lewrockwell.com today, the government of the United States of America has descended into a police state. Here’s hoping the Rally For The Republic fares better.

Like the opponents of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, we have arrived at the realization that, as vigilant as we think we have been about preventing the emergence of such a state, we have found ourselves, as Garet Garett wrote, with that revolution already behind us.

We’re sorry. We tried, we really tried.

(photo from thorough Denver Post article via the lewrockwell.com blog)


1 Response to “The Suppression Of Dissent At The Democratic And Republican Conventions”

  1. 1 Joe Pulcinella
    August 31, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah, I was reading that. I can’t imagine a more disgusting example of our own police state. The paramilitary police in Minneapolis also just broke up a huge free-speech ring planning to incite a crowd to rediscover the First Amendment at the Republican National Convention.

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