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I know that this diary may not get much attention but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't make the effort to remind people that this situation is still taking place. If I got you to look, I am pretty sure that I can speak for many people sitting in prison right now, "Thank you". Some of them have been suffering from untreated 1st degree burns resulting from the use of pepper spray.

Update: Please check out this great diary by doctorscience!

Many of you have been following the story of the arrests in St. Paul, some with disbelief, some applauding the actions of the police on the assumption that everyone arrested was a marauding anarchist breaking windows.

The police have been using something called the Miami Method and those of us who have experienced it in the past are not at all surprised by what is happening in St. Paul today.

Five years ago this November, the Miami Police Department, with the assistance of Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal government agencies, unleashed a violent para-military occupation of the city in order to quash protests against the now defunct proposal to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Police officers, some of whom had no visible identification, fired rubber bullets, tear gas, concussion grenades, and stun guns indiscriminately at the estimated 25,000 protesters, which included 20 busloads of senior citizens retired from the AFL-CIO.

One of the many low points for police occurred when Elizabeth Ritter, a local lawyer weilding a sign that read 'Fear Totalitarianism', was shot repeatedly by police aiming for her head.

A local videographer captured Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Kallman addressing a group of officers afterwards congratulating them for their sharp-shooting. "The good news about watching you guys live on TV was the lady in the red dress. I don't know who got her, but it went through the sign and hit her smack dab in the head," said a "pumped up" Kallman, to applause and cheers.

Later, another unidentified officer referred to protesters as "scurrying cockroaches," further revealing a culture of violence and contempt towards not only the citizens the police are responsible to protect, but to the U.S. Constitution.

A month later, State Circuit Court Judge Richard Margolius, while presiding over the cases of free trade protesters, said in court that he saw "no less than 20 felonies committed by police officers." Margolis went to the protests and commented that it was "pretty disgraceful what I saw with my own eyes."

But Miami Mayor Manny Diaz saw it differently. Diaz, echoing a sentiment surely shared by many in the Bush Administration, declared the security operation "a model for homeland defense." And what has become infamously known as the "Miami Model" offers a preview of what protesters can expect at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this September.

Yesterday morning, Daily Kos blogger Arielle posted about her son's arrest.

He was arrested while sitting in a park waiting for a concert to begin. The organizers of the concert had a permit. As of yesterday morning, he had not been charged. If he were charged, he would probably be charged with Felony Conspiracy to Riot.

According to Coldsnap Legal:

Over a hundred people were charged with felonies on Monday. Most of these folks were charged with Felony Conspiracy to Riot. Well, the "good" news is that cops give people felony charges all the time - when they beat you up. That way, the cops can say they acted in self-defense. It also makes it more likely you’ll plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for getting the felony dropped. This is good for the state, because if you plead guilty it makes it harder to sue the cops later for assaulting you.

So, if you have friends in jail who are charged with felonies, know that their bail may be higher in the short term, and they may be kept in jail longer. But many, many people with this charge ultimately get it dropped. And we’re working to help everyone who got arrested during the RNC fight their charges—no matter what they are.

Keep an eye on this space for information on Court Solidarity—an effective tactic for group legal defense. Also, there are two meetings set up for arrestees: One on Saturday, September 6th, at 11am at the RNC Convergence Center (627 Smith Ave. in St. Paul), and another on Sunday, September 14th, at 4pm at Walker Church (3104 16th Ave. S in Minneapolis).

Amy Goodman, who attempted to speak with the officers arresting her co-workers was arrested. I urge you to listen or watch the first half hour of this show, her story, and to that of her co-workers on yesterday's Democracy Now. This should frighten you. The implications of what happened to Goodman and to other journalists on Monday should terrify you.

Here is a link to a video of two individuals being arrested for riding their bikes near a protest.

This is not the first time that this has happened. It will not be the last. If you were in New York in 2004, we had massive arrests even without the presence or the excuse of anarchist violence (two exceptions were provoked by the police). Almost every single charge was dropped.

At least we KNEW who was arresting us. Nobody knows who these "officers" are. Are they Secret Service? Are they Blackwater? How did the fine folks of Minnesota, who value their civil rights so dearly, allow this to happen?

Hold them accountable for their actions. The only way to combat evil is by shining a light on it. The Civil Rights movement was helped in the 60's because of the mainstream media. There is something that you can do. Two individuals (here and here) wrote diaries yesterday asking us to contact CNN and MSNBC. Tonight there are stories on both of these networks that more accurately reflect what is happening in St. Paul. They still don't tell the whole story.

Here are the contact numbers again from joyesse:

Call the number for CNN in Atlanta: 404-827-2600

Call MSNBC. Here is the number -
212-664-4444

You can also contact CNN online:
http://www.cnn.com/...
You can contact MSNBC online:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...
FAIR keeps an excellent list of media contacts:
http://www.fair.org/...

Originally posted to nomadnewyork.com on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:20 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I heard CNN actually reported (16+ / 0-)

    on what they were doing to the protesters.

    I also heard Donna Brazille got spray peppered.

    This is madness.

    I saw one video where people were just walking, and the police started throwing something at them that was exploding. Republicans won't protect the Constitution, they clearly don't even respect it.

    If John McCain thinks we're on the right track, that's not a train I want to be on!
    ~ Joe Biden
    Obama/Biden '08!

    by Muzikal203 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:25:09 AM PDT

  •  It is time for Minnesota's Judges to step up (13+ / 0-)

    We have 3 Branches of government for a good reason. Our founders didn't like the smell of fascism. Now is the time for Article 3 Judges in the twin cities to place limits on this unbridled excessive force.

  •  I wasn't going to log in (7+ / 0-)

    this morning -- just browse. But I logged in just to rec your diary.

    "Your silence will not protect you" -Audre Lorde

    by LaKathie on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:25:37 AM PDT

  •  Educate Yourselves (9+ / 0-)

    About some who are creating the disturbances and those behind them, like the ones back in the 60's and 70's that were on the Nixon FBI payroll etc., it only takes a few to instigate others to cause disruption, all the time looking like you're a part of those protesting!

    There were many from SDS, back than, on the payroll. Some were shadowing VVAW members thus watching and reporting on Kerry, others weren't even with SDS.

    I've been Really Surprised these past years that there was extremely little disruption in the many rallies in DC and across the country, with crowds of Pro-Peace up to a half a miilion. But you see the types that would do it on the sidelines yelling obscenities, extreme loud name calling, the wording of the signs, and the waving of the flag!

    There already have been reports, before this convention, about infiltration which led to the raids on the homes etc. that the Pro-Peace marchers were staying. And notice how little disruption took place at the Dem convention but with the eyes on the repub convention We Get Extreme Problems, that looks good for their We Love Country Message! when you have a few who can get a few others to join them, not on anybodies payroll, than others get caught up in the sweep even though they haven't done anything or are doing minor Civil Disobedience actions, Everyone Is Caught In The Net!!  

    Do We Need Change, You're Damn Right We Do, And The World Needs Us To Change, Now!!

    by jimstaro on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:27:57 AM PDT

    •  There was no distruption from what I hear (8+ / 0-)

      the Obama campaign even MET with some of the protesters so they could express their concerns.

      It's the same thing at McCain's "townhalls" he was having people arrested for actually questioning/heckling him. Meanwhile, Obama gets heckled, stops his speech and promises to answer their question, finishes his speech, then answers the question.

      Someone brought it up last night, but Republicans don't allow for disagreement. You are either "with them" or "against them." It's quite terrifying really.

      If John McCain thinks we're on the right track, that's not a train I want to be on!
      ~ Joe Biden
      Obama/Biden '08!

      by Muzikal203 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 06:30:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They showed this on CNN last night, however (9+ / 0-)

    they made it look like Amy was part of a group they say was destructing property in the City.  They didn't show anything about her two co-workers that were arrested, they all had press passes, two kinds of press passes, if I am not mistaken.

    You right everyone should see it.  I watched it yesterday.  This is what Republicans want, you didn't see this at the Democratic Convention.

  •  Why on earth don't we see (5+ / 0-)

    more countersuits, and people demanding that these so-called 'officers' be arrested for felony charges of their own?  Assault and battery, and conspiracy to commit same, given much of the video evidence, should be easy enough to prove, no?

    Anyone who deliberately fires shots at the head of someone merely carrying a sign should be behind bars, not behind a badge.

    Got a problem with my posts? Quit reading them. They're usually opinions, and I don't come here to get in arguments.

    by drbloodaxe on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:02:02 AM PDT

    •  You do see countersuits in some cases (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aaa T Tudeattack

      and the people who do this always lose. They don't care.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 07:57:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And what's with the lack of badges & ID? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      djshiva, resa, Simplify

      Anyone who deliberately fires shots at the head of someone merely carrying a sign should be behind bars, not behind a badge.

      The part that freaked me out was the anonymity of these "peace officers". No badge. No name. No ID whatsoever and a refusal to identify themselves when asked.

      What is THAT all about?

      "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

      by annan on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:15:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no accountability (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        resa, annan, EthrDemon

        Unaccountable power corrupts unaccountably

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:52:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          resa, Simplify

          But I thought that was the POINT of badges/ID.

          How did we get here? We've returned to a time when the "authorities" can define where and when they are accountable for their actions against "we the people".

          Back in the day the KKK ran the sheriff's department and there was no accountability for hate crimes.

          Accountiblity appears to have been a very short-lived reform.

          "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

          by annan on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 05:57:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So much for Mid-West hospitality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djshiva, resa

    Boy has my opinion of MN changed with the goings on at this convention city.

     

  •  Excellent diary, Resa. (6+ / 0-)

    The Democracy Now video is chilling.

    Watching the video I had a surreal thought: what I was watching in St. Paul looked like elaborate Kabuki theater with hoards of black-clad thugs marching through St. Paul (and I'm not talking about the black bloc anarchists), a kind-of morality play designed for the RNC delegates to make them more fearful and solidify their support for the war on whatever.

    Can't quite get my finger on the right words. I am convinced that the excessive display of force was very intentional but I'm not sure "we" were the intended audience, just supporting players.

    We have to get a handle on this somehow. Violence always breeds more violence. What's not to get about that?

    Please post links to this diary in the Open Threads on the front page. More people need to see this. Palin in a distraction.

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 02:48:26 PM PDT

  •  Why are there so few recommends on this and the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    resa, annan, BentLiberal, lamzdotes

    other diaries on this subject?  Look at the crap making the rec list!  I'm a noob, ok, I'm not supposed to criticize, I guess, but I don't understand this. Help me out here. somebody?

    cg

    •  Thinking the very same thing and I'm not a noob. (4+ / 0-)

      So I'm thrilled that this was rescued tonight.

      I really feel like this is THE big overlooked RNC story and it's been depressing to see these excellent diaries eclipsed by distractions.

      If you want to find more, go to the search function and type in "RNC protest". There have been quite a few very well researched diaries over the past few days.

      "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

      by annan on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:10:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know! (0+ / 0-)

      I wish I did.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 06:57:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for posting this! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    resa, BentLiberal
  •  Thanks for reminding us what this election is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    resa, BentLiberal, lamzdotes

    all about.  

    No wonder Bush could live with himself in the audience at the Olympics while the Chinese government used milder tactics on its own people.  This election is about jobs and healthcare and the planet and all, but it is also about the very existence of this 200+ year experiment where the people are sovereign.  It is about taking back the government in the name of the people.  Nothing less.

    Obama/Biden '08 - I see a landslide in our future. Give here!

    by nsfbr on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:30:23 PM PDT

  •  Arrestees charged with "furtherance of terrorism" (4+ / 0-)

    under the Minnesota state Patriot Act:

       

    In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

       Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provacateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence.

       "These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the Defendants on trial," said Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. "The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience, he said."

       The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. The complaints list all of alleged violations of law during the last few days of the RNC -- other than violations of human rights carried out by law enforcement -- and seeks to hold the 8 defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals. None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Searches conducted in connection with the raids failed to turn up any physical evidence to support the allegations of organized attacks on law enforcement. Although claiming probable cause to believe that gunpowder, acids, and assembled incendiary devices would be found, no such items were seized by police. As a result, police sought to claim that the seizure of common household items such as glass bottles, charcoal lighter, nails, a rusty machete, and two hatchets, supported the allegations of the confidential informants. "Police found what they claim was a single plastic shield, a rusty machete, and two hatchets used in Minnesota to split wood. This doesn't amount to evidence of an organized insurrection, particularly when over 3,500 police are present in the Twin Cities, armed with assault rifles, concussion grenades, chemical weapons and full riot gear," said Nestor. In addition, the National Lawyers Guild has previously pointed out how law enforcement has fabricated evidence such as the claims that urine was seized which demonstrators intended to throw at police.

       The last time such charges were brought under Minnesota law was in 1918, when Matt Moilen and others organizing labor unions for the Industrial Workers of the World on the Iron Range were charged with "criminal syndicalism."* The convictions, based on allegations that workers had advocated or taught acts of violence, including acts only damaging to property, were upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In the light of history, these convictions are widely seen as unjust and a product of political trials. The National Lawyers Guild condemns the charges filed in this case against the above 8 defendants and urges the Ramsey County Attorney to drop all charges of conspiracy in this matter.

       Source:
       Bruce Nestor, President
       Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild

    A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. ~Edward R. Murrow

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:32:14 PM PDT

    •  I believe (0+ / 0-)

      that these charges were only brought against some of the original people arrested in the initial raid, not the protest arrests. I don't think that these charges will stick.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 06:57:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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