Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Heavy Hand: Reno's DEA Redux UPDATED

Gee. Fox News didn't report any of this. But then, neither did CNNABCNBCCBSAP.

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

Yah, it's from Greenwald's site, and I don't think I could spend 10 minutes with him before disagreeing with ....most anything he says.

But there are SOME things on which we can agree, and 'pre-emptive SWAT raids' happens to be one of them.

This is horsehockey (if the report is true--and there are a LOT of them.)

And the National Lawyers' Guild affiliation doesn't help with me, either.

But IF--repeat: IF these stories are true, then there's reason to commence worrying.

Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50 individuals who were handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were actually arrested and charged with a crime, and the crime they were charged with is "conspiracy to commit riot." Nestor, who has practiced law in Minnesota for many years, said that he had never before heard of that statute being used for anything, and that its parameters are so self-evidently vague, designed to allow pre-emeptive arrests of those who are peacefully protesting, that it is almost certainly unconstitutional, though because it had never been invoked (until now), its constitutionality had not been tested.

"Conspiracy to commit riot?" C'mon, guys. My CHILDREN 'conspired to riot' when school started every year. Didn't get them real far, of course, as they were dragged out of the house and into the Commodious Van...

There's a lot at the link to think about.

UPDATE: There's more here:

What I wrote earlier about these conventions being a sort of “war gaming” exercise for federal, state and local law enforcement community seems to have been quite inspired. I spent a good deal of time yesterday in the “calm before the storm” in downtown St. Paul, outside the Excel Center, that is, as close as I could before the 10-foot steel gates that sliced the center’s parking lot in half and wrapped around like menacing fortifications kept me from getting much closer. Cops and apparently military, in all shades of tan and blue and black uniforms, many carrying long sticks, and donning riot helmets, others on horseback, still others packing plastic handcuffs and heavy weaponry, far outnumbered the curious conventioneers, media, and local onlookers wandering around yesterday.

...I wondered what the party faithful would have thought of this spectacle say 50 years ago? What struck me then — and this sounds cliche — was how undemocratic it all felt, and yet the media continues to cover these things like they are a party event. An American event. Truth is, unless you are ticketed, credentialed or one of the event’s Very Important Pols, go away. You are nothing if you don’t belong. In fact, you might be treated as nothing less than a potential threat if you get close enough to the perimeter.

Of course, it was the same in Denver.

All THAT tells us is that the Party-In-Government (PIG Party) is with us to stay.

No comments: