Progressive Calendar 09.09.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 03:28:29 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    09.09.08
                            POLICE RAIDS X

1 Swope
2 Gagnon
3 Owings
4 Kahn
5 Slade
6 Slade
7 Ashley
8 Moore
9 Engelsen
10 Berglund
11 Kelly
12 Kushner
13 Driscoll
14 Wilkinson
15 Starhawk
16 Angell
17 RNC
18 Lisnoff (CounterPunch)
19 Hedges (Common Dreams)
20 Kolstad
21 McGovern (Consortiumnews)
22 Owings

23 ed    Excerpt from Ognar of Bootlebarb


Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 10:10:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: M Charles Swope <mcswope [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] Sheriff Bob Fletcher must go

I would agree that Fletcher and the rest of the law enforcement types did
a good job of protecting the RNC, its facilities, delegates and others
connected with it. And for that, I'm sure Fletcher and the police in
general will be given high marks from the general public. If a poll were
taken, their favorable ratings would be quite high, no doubt.

However, people connected to the RNC are not the only ones with rights. It
appears to me that law enforcement did a far less admirable job protecting
the civil rights of ordinary citizens. A good part of the problem was not
the actions of individual officers. It was the result of the security
arrangements themselves. Allowing protesters to peacefully march around
the Xcel Center so long as they were funneled through an eight foot tall
metal cage is NOT protecting the rights of free speech and assembly.
Establishing a no-go security zone preventing protesters from peacefully
assembling anywhere near the site which was the object of their protest is
not protecting these rights either. Establishing "free speech zones"
means, does it not, that free speech is not allowed outside those zones.
How is that compatible with a free and open society?

Now, it will be argued that the small amount of damage and disruption
perpetrated by a few people bent on mayhem proves that the security
measures were necessary. It does not. Those people could have been
controlled even better, I believe, if the vast bulk of the police were not
employed in restricting the freedoms of ordinary citizens. If the police
had focused on the people causing the trouble (they were easily
identifiable) and had used a much friendlier approach less trouble would
have occurred. Most of the demonstrators would have been only too happy to
help the police control the trouble makers. The mayhem that did occur
certainly points up the need for some security measures but doesn't
justify the particular security measures that were used.


From: globalnet [at]
Subject: Coordinator Trip Report - Minnesota
Bruce Gagnon
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 11:30:48 -0400

Coordinator Trip Report - Minnesota  by Bruce Gagnon

This report covers the period of Aug 30 - Sept 3 as I traveled to St.
Paul, Minnesota to participate in protests outside the Republican National
Convention (RNC) and speak at an alternative conference called Peace

On August 31 the national Veterans for Peace (VfP) held a protest that
began with speeches at the state capitol in St. Paul and then took the 500
participants downtown to the RNC center.  VfP had just held its annual
national conference nearby and the protest was the finale of that event.
There was a pretty strong police presence along the march route and at the
end almost a dozen people were arrested for climbing under a tall black
steel fence that had been constructed to "protect" the RNC from protests.
All the arrests, and police response, that day went without any problems.

Immediately upon my arrival in St. Paul I began hearing about local police
"preemptive" raids on private homes where protestors and alternative media
activists were staying.  The police trashed some of the places and
arrested some of the people.  Search warrants had been obtained to look
for guns and other possible weapons but none were ever found.  But just
reporting the search warrant descriptions of "possible weapons" in the
local papers had a chilling effect on the local population I am sure.

We also began to hear about people who were driving into the St. Paul area
in cars that "looked suspicious".  Some of these people were stopped and
searched and handcuffed with faces buried on the ground by the side of the
road.  One green bus, an ecological teaching program was on its way to St.
Paul for the events, was stopped and the mother, father, 17 year-old
daughter, and three chickens were detained by the cops.  The three people
and chickens were eventually released but the bus was impounded for the
entire time of the RNC convention.  Environmental sustainability is now a
"radical" message one has to guess.

On September 1 an even larger protest was held - again first gathering at
the state capitol with a march of over 20,000 people (my estimate)right to
the RNC center.  The march had a wonderful spirit and went without hitch.
Many students were there doing creative things like marching bands,
dancing and singing as we walked through the city.  Thousands of people
stood all along the march route, many of them holding signs and cheering
the festive parade along.  I walked near the front with the large Iraq
Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace delegations.  I saw friend
Ray McGovern who used to work for the CIA. He's come to Maine twice for
events I organized and I was glad to see him out on the streets. He's been
getting treatment for cancer and was very happy to be in the march.

The march worked its way back to the state capitol and it took almost two
hours for the tail end of the parade to return.  Local media reported that
a "disappointing" 10,000 were in the march while organizers reported
40,000 from the stage.

Upon returning back to the home where I was staying we watched the evening
news to see reports about the wonderfully positive protest.  Virtually
nothing was reported.  Not one picture was shown of the huge crowd snaking
its way through the downtown of St. Paul (known by the way as a liberal
Democratic city).  Instead what we saw shocked us.  The media was having a
field day reporting on a very small number of young anarchists who, after
the large march had finished, began to break some windows and burn some
trash cans in the streets.  The riot equipped police, who had silently
lined the march route just hours before, now swung into action with batons
flying, horses stomping, and tear gas canisters screaming back and forth.
For the next couple of days this was virtually all the news that came out
of St. Paul about the protests - "Protesters turn violent."

On September 2 I spoke at a conference in St. Paul called Peace Island:
Hope in a Time of Crisis - A Solutions-Driven Conference.  This event was
organized as a positive alternative to the RNC and had many notable
speakers.  It was an honor to have been invited to attend and I must thank
John & Marie Braun for arranging for me to speak.  They had hosted me on a
speaking trip some four years ago in St. Paul and felt that it was
important to include the space issue in the Peace Island event.

At this conference I spoke as part of a plenary session panel and then did
a well-attended breakout session after the plenary.  I was asked to speak
about "Weapons in Space: Environmental Consequences and Solutions."  In my
talk I brought back many of the themes that I used in my recent talk at
the Global Greens conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil - we can't dream of
dealing with the coming reality of climate change unless we immediately
begin to convert the military industrial complex to sustainable technology
development.  Recognizing that many people are focused on the current
election process I used the example of Obama's proposed energy plan to
spend $150 billion during the next 10 years on creating "green
technology."  Very commendable, but just one minor problem.  When you do
the math you discover that Obama proposes to spend $15 billion per year on
green tech development while the U.S. is now spending $14 billion per
month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I hope the point is obvious.

While at the event I did a one-hour taping of a public access TV program
that plays on eight Minnesota stations and also was interviewed by a
California Pacifica radio program.

As I headed back to Maine on Sept 3 the progressive community was still
shocked by the arrest of Amy Goodman and two of her Democracy Now
reporters.  How could the police in St. Paul think for a moment that they
had the right to arrest media people in addition to the many other
questionable arrests they were making?

The whole RNC crackdown on democracy was alarming and raises many
questions about the next couple of years.  Will we continue to see the
diminution of our freedoms and liberties?  Will the Democrats stand up and
protest against these assaults on our civil liberties?  Will there be real
change after the November elections?

But as I reflect on the recent events in St. Paul another troubling
question arises.  How does the non-violent community deal with the fact
that violent protests can erupt in our presence that end up clouding and
virtually wiping out our message?  Are these "anarchists" really on some
level government agents provocateurs implanted in our midst to stir things
up and redirect the message?  While in St. Paul I asked other activists
the question, "What do we do about this violence?" and over and over again
the response to my query was "I don't know."

One organizer I spoke to said he had given up on the idea of protests as
an effective way to speak out and to offer our own messages to the public.
But then, with the media under corporate control, what vehicles are we
left with to communicate with the public?

When I arrived home on Sept 3 I immediately had to refocus on the Sept 6
protest planned here against the Navy's Blue Angels airshow and our Maine
Veterans for Peace protest that I was helping to organize.  Over 200,000
spectators were expected at the event.  So on Sept 6 we gathered at a park
in nearby Brunswick and walked the two-miles to the Navy base where we
held a vigil and rally at the front gate as the hundreds and hundreds of
cars streamed into the base for the "show" which we called a military
recruiting gimmick.  During this time I reflected on the importance of
this protest and the understanding that our presence at this base created
much discussion and some level of reflection amongst those going into the

Does protest still have a place?  No doubt in my mind.  Do we still have
much work to do in communicating with those who wish to bring violence to
these events.  Absolutely.

I remember years ago reading Player Piano, author Kurt Vonnegut's first
novel, which was published in 1952. Wikipedia reports that "the
dystopian[1] story takes place in a near-future society that is almost
totally mechanized, eliminating the need for human laborers. This
widespread mechanization creates conflict between the wealthy upper class
- the engineers and managers who keep society running - and the lower
class, whose skills and purpose in society have been replaced by

In the book the young people, who had no role or stake in society, rebel
and violently destroy the machines as a way to dramatically reject the
social order and attempt to recreate a new society.

As the limited and over-hyped violence in St. Paul played out I flashed
back to Vonnegut's book.  Are these the seeds that our present society has
planted?  We now have few jobs, other than joining the military, for
working class youth in America.  We've taught them that violence is the
way conflict is settled.  Is it any wonder that some number of disaffected
youth turn their simmering rage and loss of purpose into street violence?
These are questions that the peace community should be raising in our
local discussions.

My next trip takes me to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark from Sept 18-29.  I
will be speaking at the European Social Forum in Sweden and then touring
the three countries to learn and speak about their growing role in space

Bruce K. Gagnon Coordinator Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power
in Space PO Box 652 Brunswick, ME 04011 (207) 443-9502 globalnet [at] (Blog)


Date: Mon,  8 Sep 2008 06:54:03 +1200 (NZST)
From: Martin Owings <owings1064 [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

"I would have been killed inside the X on Wednesday night as would have
been many of our mutual friends if the police had lost focus for 1 second
and a riot ensued."

This is the same sort of FEAR MONGERING that some people have used to
justify a continued infringement on American Civil Liberties.

These are Republican talking points. I heard some similarly thinking
Delegates in Rice Park aka MSNBC Freedom Square say in response to several
CODE PINK Protesters that "Our Freedoms Have Gone Too Far"

There were enough POLICE, National Guard, Secret Service, BCA, DOJ, SWAT,
Ramsey County Sheriffs and out of state Police to invade a small
country....I think they (Our Government) has shown just what it thinks
about FREEDOM...of speech, assembly and press....again...Bush

Thank you Dave Thune for giving your time and energy to the People of our
City and our NATION.


Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 13:58:51 -0500
From: Bill Kahn <wjkahn [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

You know, if we're going to require so much security for what is
essentially a private function, perhaps it makes more sense for the venue,
especially for the RNC, to be someplace like this:
[a jail - then throw away the key... ed]

or someplace else that could be used exclusively and secured without
disrupting the lives and fortunes of residents and business.


Date: Mon,  8 Sep 2008 12:15:07 +1200 (NZST)
From: John Slade <jslade [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] Police riot, my foot.

Not a police riot, more a counterinsurgency campaign. They meant to have
people beat up.


Date: Mon,  8 Sep 2008 12:18:16 +1200 (NZST)
From: John Slade <jslade [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] Sheriff Bob Fletcher must go

In the city of Saint Paul, the issue is - a week of police state for more
Google hits. Was it worth it or not? If you fall on the 'yes' side, you've
just failed my newest litmus test.

It's tough, as politicans like to get along with the cops, but they were
used to brutalize people, and that's just not right.

Mayor Coleman could, possibly, salvage his reputation if he immediately
disavowed Fletcher and started calling for serious review.


Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 17:44:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bas Hley <bashleyold [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] Sheriff Bob Fletcher must go

Why just Fletcher? Harrington was using Republican talking points in his
official capacity as police chief. Remember him saying that he hoped the
protesters (most of whom were quite peaceful despite his implications to
the contrary) would tone it down out of respect for thos on the gulf
coast? That was the Republican theme for the day. He used the Republican
play book in his official capacity as police chief in an attempt to stifle
lawful free speech.

I suspect that most of us would face firing if we went to work and spouted
political party nonsense in order to make our fellow citizens shut up and
sit down. It's not within his province to act in a political manner when
on duty. He's not an elected official and his private views shouldn't
affect his performance on the job.

Brian Ashley
Macalester, St. Paul
Info about Brian Ashley:


Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 23:07:30 -0500
From: Ty Moore

Hello YAWR supporters,
Below is an article I wrote up about how the student strike went. Thanks
to everyone who supported this effort and past YAWR efforts!
 -Ty, YAWR-Youth Against War & Racism

Defying Police Threats, Students Walk Out Against the Republican National
By Ty Moore

Despite police attempts to intimidate students from participating,
hundreds of Twin Cities youth walked out of high schools on Thursday,
September 4th, to protest the war on the final day of the Republican
National Convention. Over 400 joined an energetic rally and march from the
State Capitol, featuring a theatrical mock trial of giant puppet
caricatures of Dick Cheney and other "War Criminals" who run Washington.

"While the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul roll out the red carpet for
the convention, we say no to business as usual while the people
responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqis,
Afghans, and U.S. soldiers come to our city to plot their next steps,"
said Desarae Walker, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota and an
activist with Youth Against War & Racism and Socialist Alternative. "We
are tired of paying for a war with no end in sight."

The walkout also received substantial media coverage, including on TV
news, in both local and national outlets (several links are included at
the end of this article).

Most organizers of the event had anticipated a substantially higher
turnout, but this was cut across by thinly veiled threats by police of
violence against students who walked out - threats echoed by school
officials. With the student strike called for just the third day of
classes, there was little time for organizers to counter this fear

Police intimidation

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington told the press, "The one untoward
event that we are hoping that most well-thought out students in the city
will not take part in is ... a call for students to walk out of school
today. We think that's a bad idea on almost every possible basis. The
place for students today is to stay in school" (Pioneer Press, 9/4/08).

The police told St. Paul and Minneapolis school district officials that
the streets of downtown St. Paul would not be safe for students
participating in the student strike. This message was clearly conveyed to
students and many parents, in some cases through automated phone calls to
students' homes warning of the alleged dangers and potential extra
disciplinary action from the schools themselves

However, with walkout organizers publicly projecting a peaceful and
permitted march, the only threat to students' safety was from the heavily
armed police themselves! As promised by organizers, the walkout rally and
march was a spirited, family -friendly event that proceeded without any
confrontations with police. Hundreds of students peacefully left school in
an act of collective civil disobedience, many participating in their first
ever protest, demanding an end to the war in Iraq, an end to military
recruiters in their schools, and money for education, not war.

Police Chief Harrington deceitfully told the media that students should
skip the walkout since "there will be opportunities [Thursday] evening" to
protest. Yet that evening, over 1000 people gathered at the State Capitol
for a rally and march to the Xcel, where McCain was to give his acceptance
speech. However, the police refused to grant organizers a permit to march
after 5pm, effectively turning the streets around the Xcel into a "No
protest zone" in the hours before McCain's speech (rendering the First
Amendment null and void on Thursday night).

Of those who turned out to the evening protest, nearly 400 were arrested
after cops blocked them from crossing bridges to get anywhere near the
convention site. About 20 members of the media, including 2 Associated
Press reporters, were caught in this indiscriminate police round-up! This
was the culmination of a week of police repression against mostly peaceful
protests, which created an extremely anxious climate in the city -
difficult conditions under which to mobilize fresh layers of youth into

Counter-Recruitment Campaign Grows

While the turnout on the September 4th student strike was smaller than
past walkouts organized by Youth Against War & Racism, which have brought
up to 2000 youth out, the local campaign YAWR has led against military
recruitment in schools is stronger than ever.

Earlier this year, YAWR successfully pushed the Minneapolis school board
to pass a resolution substantially restricting military recruiters' access
to schools, and opening the door to a more institutional presence for the
counter-recruitment movement in schools. This fall, YAWR intends to build
on this success and expand our presence and base in Minneapolis high

Just as important, over the last year the core activist base of YAWR has
continued to expand. This in part came out of a highly successful activist
training camp YAWR organized in August in partnership with the Ruckus
Society, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Socialist Alternative, and
Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Out of this camp, and in the run-up to
the RNC, a whole new group of youth leaders developed, solidified as a
team, and politically educated each other. In many respects, this will
likely prove the most important lasting success of YAWR's student strike,
because it lays the foundation for future youth movements to develop and
flourish in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Further, a walkout by 400 students on the third day of school in the face
of a hostile climate of police repression shows there is a substantial
base of serious youth activists. Our key task now is to build off this
success to organize more youth to take action to end the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and counter the presence of military recruiters in our

Pictures: [at] N08/page2/

"Students Skip School to Stage Peaceful Protest", Star Tribune:

Video and news story on the student strike from KSAX:

Minnesota Public Radio report on Day 4 RNC protests, including the

Video from Democracy Now! (3 minutes in):

"Police Urge Students to Stay in School During the RNC":


Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 01:27:30 -0500
From: Karen Engelsen <siribear [at]>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Link to Firedoglake First Person Witness Accounts of RNC Police

For any interested in documentation of police violence at the RNC, this
link is to a fiercely impassioned article containing eyewitness accounts
of police brutality at the RNC.  Some are by medics.

The article contains many links leading to video, photography, or other

Karen Engelsen, Writing Consultant
Mighty Oak Media Services


Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 01:54:24 -0500
From: Gena Berglund <gena [at]>
Subject: Re: [GPSP] [Fwd: 2008 Republican National Convention Round-Up]

The police have exceeded any legal authority for their actions. Nothing
the city councils could have legally done in the short term would have
changed in any way the result. After 8 years of an unlawful presidential
administration, law enforcement is free to act with impunity. The die has
been cast. It will take years / decades to turn back this post 2001 fear
grip. We are in another "red scare" type era. Abuses of power must be
pushed back and those of us doing the pushing must stand in solidarity
against divide and conquer strategies.


Date: Tue,  9 Sep 2008 02:24:02 +1200 (NZST)
From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <saintcurmudgeon [at]>
Subject: [SPIF] Where is the evidence? Where is the street film?

All of this money was spent on putting video all over the streets of St
Paul, and we are seeing no film of what was claimed to happen. What good
did all that expense do, if we as the public cannot see the film? Is the
film only available to police to lose or chose as they see fit? Is there a
way right now where the public can review the film? Where is the evidence
of what was wrong? So far I have heard of turned over trash cans, a couple
of broken windows, a couple of slashed tires and a dropped sandbag. For
those in my neighborhood who live near St Thomas, these incidents happen
all of the time and squads of police do not show up. Was the amount of
crime actually lower than normal downtown? Why is the evidence for the
felony arrests?

Most of the mainstream news sources agreed to "imbed" journalists with the
police with the agreement that they only report on the 4th day. That meant
three days of reporting silence, which is shameful reporting. An imbedded
reporter is easily kept from the action. An imbedded reporter cannot hear
the pleas asking for a safe exit, while police mace anyone who gets close
enough for the police to hear the question. A imbedded police officer does
not see that tear gas and flash bombs cause ALL people to run for safety,
right into another group of police officers who arrest them because they
have blocked off the street and these people are running.

OK, so now the police have lots of new toys and got away with lots of
actions, that only years of litigation will sort out. What will happen at
the next labor strike? What will happen at the next Grand Old Days parade?
Hmmm. I have watched children in a classroom setting, where if one kid
gets away with something one day, by the end of the week it spreads
throughout the whole classroom. How does tear gas, mace and flash bombs
fit with everyday policing?

Grace Kelly nicknamed Kelly
Curmudgeon from Merriam Park


From: "Jordan S. Kushner" <kushn002 [at]>
Sent: Sep 8, 2008 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: [RNC_legal] Re: [GPSP] [Fwd: 2008 Republican National Convention 

The question raised was not the political likelihood that our local
governments were going to restrict police - that question has already been
answered.  The issue is whether they have power and responsibility for the
police actions.  Since they clearly do, it makes political sense to try to
hold then politically accountable to the extent of our ability - both for
substantive and organizing purposes.  JSK

Jordan S. Kushner Attorney 431 South 7th Street, Suite 2446 Minneapolis,
MN 55415 (612) 288-0545


Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 12:00:31 -0500
From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Re: [GPSP] [Fwd: 2008 Republican National Convention Round-Up]

Gena is absolutely correct about the role City Councils - even Mayors ­
could really have played in this. What it is left for them to do now is
condemn all overreaching and violence by police under the tutelage and
authority of Homeland Security and the Secret Service. This was
essentially a city under martial law and the mayors and councils were
sucked into its vortex.

We were - and likely some councilmembers were as well - led down a
primrose path littered with fear-mongering that the rights of dissenters
would be respected and preserved even as our small businesses would see a
boom in receipts.

What we ­ they ­ weren't prepared for was the military-style training and
paranoid hatred for demonstrators exhibited in the streets by $50 million
worth of training, overtime, and unneeded gadgets and toys to make a
mockery of justice in the streets of the Twin Cities for all of ten days.
And they never guessed that most diners and shoppers from the RNC would do
their dining and shopping elsewhere, especially inside the Xcel.

What is not acceptable has been the spin local officials have put on the
flop this convention created in economics and civil rights for our area -
and not placing the city in a favorable light around the world, but as yet
another Seattle, another Geneva where infiltrating cops start as much
trouble as they prevent, and lie to the media and the public about the
dangers inherent in a bunch of brainstorming kids who have barely climbed
out of adolescence to actually use the "materials" every household
possesses as weapons against society - or the police.

Blame your local elected officials for not filling the potholes and for
filling our heads with their public relations spin on the worth of this
disastrous occupation called the RNC to our pocketbooks and peace of mind,
but not for the acts themselves. It is time to rein in the wild excesses
of armed and armored police and sheriffs by voting them out of office,
when possible, or voting their appointers out of office.

And blame the mainstream media for not digging for the real stories on
those excesses, especially allowing themselves to be embedded with the
cops, then joining in the PR spin in the wake of the melee.

It has been a shameful chapter in our local and national history and a
blow to Minnesota's culture of relative reason.


Date: Mon,  8 Sep 2008 07:51:07 +1200 (NZST)
From: Jay Wilkinson <balthazarw [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

You may have received a campaign contribution solicitation from Mayor
Coleman yesterday.

This is what I am returning:

"No contributions will come from me unless there is a full accounting for
the repressive measures used to trample many people's rights during the

 People who pose an imminent threat of violence should be countered with

 People engaged in civil disobedience should expect to be removed and
perhaps arrested.

 People who protest and move on, who observe and move on, or who are just
bystanders should not be treated as threats, criminals or enemies of the

What we saw was heavy force used against many hundreds of people when
there was threat of violence by only a few dozen.  How many windows were
broken?  Where is the balance?  We saw preventive detention and
intimidation aimed not just at stopping crimes but focused particularly at
dissuading dissent.

The city lost its soul last week behind the barricades and lines of
anonymous riot squads.  You have a good deal of responsibility for this
and I hope you can help to redeem this city."


From: Starhawk <stella [at]>
Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 13:49:16 -0700
Subject: [starhawk] RNC9 The Last March

UPDATE:  All our cluster is out of jail, the bus is back on the street,
and Iım home in my own bed!  But some of the young organizers who put
together food, housing, and meeting spaces for the direct actions are
facing trumped up charges of conspiracy to riot and "terrorism" under
Minnesota's version of the Patriot Act.  This is one of the clearest uses
of this post 911 legislation to target dissent.

The Welcoming Committee members are not accused of actually doing any
rioting - indeed, they were all in jail during the convention, nor was any
physical evidence found to corroborate the fabricated statements of the
paid informants who infiltrated meetings.  It's vitally important for
progressives to stand behind these young people who have been targeted
mostly because they proclaim themselves "anarchists."

If they can be targeted for their beliefs, so can any of us.  If they can
be held responsible for the actions of people over whom they have no
control, so can anyone who organizes a march, a rally, a civil
disobedience, or a protest where a provocateur breaks a window.  The
lawyers are estimating that to fight their charges may take $250,000 over
the next several years.  Hey, that's only 1000 people who can donate $250
each.  Iıll be one of them, will you?  To donate any amount, go to:

And thanks again to all of you who have been so supportive and generous
during this last week.  Hereıs my final post, my previous posts can be
read at:

RNC9:  The Last March
By Starhawk

Thursday, September 4: Thie is the final night of the convention, the
night that John McCaine is scheduled to speak.  Thereıs also an antiwar
march scheduled to begin on the steps of the Capitol - an unpermitted
march.  We make our way there through a city that has become an occupied
zone.  There are rumors that police are blocking the bridges, that the
whole city will be under curfew from 5 pm on.

We gather up our cluster - only about ten of us.  The Capitol is
surrounded by clumps of riot cops and the tension is throbbing as speakers
on the stage rile up the crowd.  Jason and Riyanna are fresh out of jail,
and not eager to go back, so they will stay on a safe edge and not put
themselves into danger.  At least, not if Lisa has anything to say about
it - sheıs snapping at them like a mother dog correcting her pups. She, of
course, will snap equally hard at anyone who suggests that she ought to
stay out of danger.  Juniper and I together can sometimes corral her
enough to let us watch her back - but not always.  Andy and I have been
remarking about how, even though our tactic of choice is to wade into
danger and stolidly obstruct it, nothing seems to happen to us.

This has held true for both of us, separately and together, in situations
much more dangerous than this one.  Is it something we do? Will naming it
jinx it?  How far can we trust it?

A few people in our group are having a moment of panic.  Nothingıs
happened, yet, but all our intuition tells us that something could, at any
moment.  They decide to go back, and be our support if something does.

Iım feeling the fear, but it's a little bit outside of me.  Iım trying to
drop down below it, to the calm place where I can get information, or at
least, a clear hunch.  Is this going to go really badly?  If so, do I want
to be out of it, or in it, to try and make it less bad?

There are two great instincts that war in the human breast; not sex and
death, as Freud maintained, but these:  the urge to stay safe, and the
urge to get into the action or at least, see whatıs going on.

For the moment, the second urge is dominant in all of us who remain.  The
march starts off, and we join it.  But weıre extra alert.  Weıre looking
for the exits and the escape routes, positioning ourselves always so there
is somewhere to go.

The march heads up the street alongside the Capitol lawn, and then tries
to turn across one of the bridges leading into downtown.  The police move
in, and block us.

Thereıs a tense crowd of people on the bridge and filling the
intersection.  Around us are police in full riot gear and gas masks.
Thereıs also a group of bike cops, looking slightly underdressed in shorts
and gas masks.  Theyıve brought in the Minnesota specials - a line of
snowplows across the bridge.  On them are perched black-masked cops in
heavy leathers holding thick-muzzled rifles that shoot rubber bullets.

The energy is unfocused.  Nobody knows quite what to do.  It could all
fall apart, in a moment, with the cops attacking the crowd, or it could
remain a standoff for a long time.  I am softly drumming, not quite sure
what to do, when a young, African American woman with long curls and a
ring in her lip comes up and says, ³Do you know how to sing, "I Aint Gonna
Study War No More?"

I shift the beat, we begin singing, and soon gather a small chorus that
forms around us.  A tiny, round, young black woman in spectacles steps in
front.  She has a large voice, and she takes over as lead singer.  The
chorus grows and a space opens up in the center of the intersection, that
is soon filled with riders on bikes, circling around and around,
counterclockwise.  A young man turns a cartwheel.  A clown on stilts
appears, out of nowhere, and joins the ride. Suddenly, itıs a circus in
the street.  The mood shifts and becomes almost festive.

My own mood has shifted, too.  Iıve been practicing a more Buddhist-style
meditation lately, just watching my breath in odd moments and being
present to whatıs happening.  Iım doing that now, breathing and drumming
with the bikes and the song and the riot cops, and for no rational reason
whatsoever I feel a surge of pure joy.

Two of the cyclists are punk kids covered with patches and graphics that
Iıve seen at spokescouncil. One of them is named Maggot, and Iıve seen him
sitting with his head down, mumbling his comments which always make sense.
Now heıs on a bike, his head up, smiling.

The young woman in front of me turns and taps my elbow.  ³Letıs sing, "We
Shall Overcomeı", she says.

I drum and the others join hands and sing.

³We shall overcome, we shall overcome,

We shall over come, someday

Thereıs some piece of magic at work here.  The circling bikes remind me of
our dragon-clad cyclists from the ritual that began this week.  Now, after
all the pain and the ugliness, the tension and the snatch squads and the
media lies, after all the arguments and conversations about violence and
nonviolence and tactics and accountability, after the splits between Obama
and Hillary and the fruitless arguments about which is more crucial,
gender or race, it seems deeply and oddly wonderful to be asked by two
young black women to sing the old Civil Rights songs of the sixties here
in the face of the riot cops.  As if something is truly welling up from
the earth, some spirit that knows and values rage but persists in
remembering the power in acting out of love.

Itıs a spell. For just one moment, in one place, we sing in spite of our
fear, and the violence abates.

³Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day.²

Itıs been a hard week. Weıve seen the full machinery of the violence of
the state called out to quell any semblance of dissent. Iıve seen friends
arrested, beaten, shoved, nearly trampled by horses, tasered, pepper
sprayed, beaten and literally tortured in jail.  Weıve seen organizers
targeted for "terrorism" and media lies paint a totally warped picture of
what has happened here.  Theyıve tried to make us feel powerless and
afraid, and at times, theyıve succeeded.

But weıre here, at the end, still singing.

This post has been sent to you from Starhawk [at]  This is an
announce-only listserve that allows Starhawk to post her writings
occasionally to those who wish to receive them.

To subscribe to this list, send an email to
Starhawk-subscribe [at]

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Starhawk is a lifelong activist in peace and global justice movements, a
leader in the feminist and earth-based spirituality movements, author or
coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing,
Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, and her latest, The Earth

Starhawk's website is, and more of her writings and
information on her schedule and activities can be found there.


Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 14:58:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
To: "David Shove (Progressive Calendar)" <shove001 [at]>
Subject: St. Paul: are we rape survivors?

(please note: the author of this piece is sensitive to rape survivors and

St. Paul: are we rape survivors?
by eric angell

reflecting on the onslaught of the RNC, i am asking myself: is this
something of what it feels like after an attempted rape?  i am not talking
about my body being sore due to my own attempts to document events on the
street.  i am talking about the real feeling, palpable for a definite and
extended period of time, that we the people of St. Paul had absolutely no
control over anything happening in our city.

with an inside/outside force gushing with testosterone that only armies
and large college football teams possess, St. Paul was penetrated.  at
numerous street corners, squads of unidentifiable armed riot police stood
poised gripping long batons in battle ready stances.  other police were
mounted on horses seemingly bred to trample people, and still more police
were massed in roving bicycle units.  daunting lines of unmarked vans were
packed with riot cops complete with new found war toys and gear, and squad
cars from jurisdictions near and far patrolled the streets ready to stop
people for anything.

it looked like an invasion.  it felt like an invasion.

along with bike and pedestrian routes, our bridges and roads were closed.
our skyways, buildings and parking were made less accessible or
inaccessible. people were stopped for normally permissible moving
violations and searched without probable cause.  people were preemptively
detained.  people were rounded up, trapped and arrested on permitted march

freedom?  democracy?  not today.

in no area of downtown could you feel outside of a militarized zone... and
police extended their overt presence at the capital and many residential
areas too... just ask those on the West-Side.

and there were weapons and gear on all.  rifle and hand held
semi-automatic and automatic weapons.  guns for shooting concussion
grenades, pepper spray, rubber coated bullets, tear gas.  tasers were
there.  when did city police and county sheriff units become a unified
SWAT team on steroids?

apparently, all of that federally funded equipment and testosterone had to
be used.  the stage was set, and the weapons were used... on real people.
people dissenting the obvious lack of ethics in government.

THE MAN infiltrated us, intimidated us, shot us and sprayed us... THE MAN
violated us. period.

what next?  go to the same man and ask that he change?  rapists are
notorious for repeating their behavior.


Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 11:48:30 -0500
From: rnc08 [at]
To: rnc08 [at]
Subject: [rnc08] Have any videos, photos, or witness statements from the RNC?

If you have any unaltered or unedited original video (copies are okay),
photos, or witness statements from the week's events, PLEASE mail them
or deliver them by hand. Follow the instructions below.

NOTE: These items are being collected, processed and catalogued for
potential use in court matters. We CANNOT accept altered or edited items.

attorney representing you and discuss the possible ramifications of any
submission before doing so.

By mail (highly preferred):

1. Print out and complete the Intake Form
2. Send the item (notes, video, photos, etc.) and completed intake
   form by certified mail to:

Berglund & Magnuson, PLLC
1595 Selby Ave. #102
St. Paul, MN 55104.

By hand delivery:

NOTE: We will only have hours for dropping off items from 8am-8pm, Monday
through Wednesday, September 8th-10th. After this date, you will need to
mail in items.

   1. Print out and complete the Intake Form
   2. Bring item (notes, video, photos, etc.) and the completed intake
      form (if possible) to 1595 Selby Ave. in St. Paul.
   3. Before entering the building, call 651.356.8635 to let us know you
      are here. We will come out to the sidewalk to get you.
   4. An intake worker will take you through the steps, which should
      only take a few minutes. If you cannot bring in the completed
      intake form, there will be one at the office for you to use.

If these options do not work for you, please call the law office at
651.646.8500 to make other arrangements.


Lessons From Denver and St. Paul
How Far From a Police State?
September 8, 2008

Just how close is the United States to becoming a police state?  The
events at the Republican National Convention, where 800 arrests took
place, can answer part of that question.  Those arrests dwarfed the 152
arrests at the Democratic National Convention. The history of the U.S.
since its emergence as a superpower in the 20th century addresses the

St. Paul, Minnesota served as a testing ground for "riot" control during
the Republican National Convention.  Both protesters and members of the
media were beaten and jailed without discrimination or consideration of
their First Amendment rights to assemble and for the press to report the
news.  The great majority of protests were peaceful. Police used sticks,
percussion grenades, tear gas, pepper spray and preemptive raids to create
the aura of total control of the area around the convention site.  Merely
by their appearance in the heavy, daunting gear of S.W.A.T. (Special
Weapons And Tactics) teams, that made them seem as figures out of a
science fiction movie, could they create fear among those gathered to
protest the convention. (Historically, the origin of S.W.A.T. units came
from Los Angeles as a response to the black militant organization, the
Black Panthers, in the late 1960s.)  One member of the local police
described the preemptive raids on the headquarters of one protest group as
"awesome".  Some members of the police in St. Paul used restraint.  One
encouraged protesters to "speak your minds".

None of this rose from the ashes, as the mythological Phoenix, but was
developed from policies that have grown up with the emergence of the U.S.
as a superpower and now the only remaining superpower.

When anarchists "threatened" the status quo in the early part of the 20th
century there were the Palmer Raids.  The activists Sacco and Vanzetti are
the most notable symbols of that era, with striking similarities to the
anti-immigrant movement of today.  Many unwanted immigrants who were
political were deported.

During World War II Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed in
internment camps in the West. The next historical epoch produced Senator
Joseph McCarthy and the witch-hunts aimed at those with Leftist beliefs
and politics or affiliations.  Suspected Leftists in the government and
their associates were hounded relentlessly.  Again there had to be
sacrificial lambs, and the federal government found them in Julius and
Ethel Rosenberg, both executed as spies condemned for passing the
so-called secret of the atomic bomb to an ally, Soviet Russia.  The
evidence from the trials of both Sacco and Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs
show gross prosectorial misconduct, and in the case of Ethel Rosenberg, no
evidence of any wrongdoing!

The era of the 60s and early 70s saw the F.B.I.'s program of
counterintelligence named COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program), but
its precursor was the unbridled hostility of the F.B.I. and local law
enforcement agencies in the Deep South toward activists in the civil
rights movement.  Anyone who sided with civil rights activists in
communities was subject to the most violent vigilante acts.

Both Nixon and Agnew were understudies to Ronald Reagan in using the
government's police power against protesters.  Reagan had honed his
anti-activist credentials as a snitch while president of the Screen Actors
Guild.  When assuming the office of governor in California, he immediately
went to work against the Free Speech Movement at the University of
California's Berkley campus, vowing to "clean up the mess in Berkley".

Reagan's hostility to protesters and the right of free speech were refined
when he assumed the presidency.  He gave one of his advisers, Colonel
Oliver North of the infamous Iran-Contra affair, the role of using the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) in developing guidelines
for imposing martial law, suspending the constitution, establishing
internment camps and giving the president and F.E.M.A. the sole
responsibility of running the government in "emergencies".  The Miami
Herald reported on July 5, 1987 that the director of F.E.M.A., Louis
Guiffrida, appointed his deputy, John Brinkerhoff, to deal with the
martial law portion of F.E.M.A..s new policy by initiating a plan to use
interment camps to hold militants during the imposition of martial law.
The planned camps were primarily aimed at jailing black militants.

Not a great deal changed in policy, or was enforced, until the terror
attacks of September 11, 2001.  The Patriot Act and several presidential
orders allowed the government to spy on "dissidents" within the U.S and
collect information on ordinary citizens, all in the name of detecting
foreign terror suspects.  All that was needed was suspicion in order to be
added to the terrorist watch list.  Phone companies were given authority
to eavesdrop on ordinary Americans in addition to suspected terrorist
groups and individuals. These telecommunication giants were given
retroactive immunity in pursuit of these policies of the federal

The wedding of the Department of Homeland Security and F.E.M.A, following
the September 2001 terror attacks raises serious questions as to the
extent a future president could impose extrajudicial policies against
protesters. Watch lists, so prominent historically in societies where
official political extremism is in control of the government, came as no
surprise and have nefarious possibilities in a government that feels
threatened by its opponents.

Anyone taking part in legal demonstrations could see the effects of these
new police powers at street level.  Protesters were harassed at peaceful
demonstrations, arrested, and demonstrations themselves were subjected to
intense scrutiny and official harassment.  At one demonstration I attended
just prior to the beginning of the Iraq War protesters were forced to
march in the streets of New York City behind closely guarded police
barricades.  When an inevitable bottleneck formed stalling thousands of
protesters, the police moved in and arrested anyone attempting to get
around the bottlenecks and barricades.  The routes of protest marches were
carefully controlled by government officials, resulting in one march being
forced to stop several blocks away from its intended objective at the
United Nations.

In a 1995 interview in Z Magazine, Israel Shahak, an Israeli professor of
chemistry and a writer said: "The conclusion is that human society is
composed of a mass of ordinary people who can become exterminators, but
who in their ordinary lives are completely usual people, of a minority
which protests, and a minority which plans murders and enjoys murder".
His conclusions are not much different from those Hannah Arendt reached in
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Arendt focused on the gross
political abuses of Stalinism and Nazism. Which direction the U.S. will
travel on the road to the further erosion of both the First and Fourth
Amendments is perhaps already etched into both official and unofficial
policies of the government.

Howard Lisnoff is an educator and freelance writer.  He can be reached at
howielisnoff [at]


Tyranny on Display at the Republican Convention
by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, September 8, 2008 by
Common Dreams

St. Paul is a window into our future. It is a future where, as one
protester told me by phone, "people have been pepper-gassed, thrown on the
ground by police who had drawn their weapons, had their documents seized
and their tattoos photographed before being taken away to jail." It is a
future where illegal house raids are carried out. It is a future where
vans containing heavily armed paramilitary units circle and film
protesters. It is a future where, as the protester said, "people have been
pulled from cars because their license plates were on a database and
handcuffed, thrown in the back of a squad car and then watched as their
vehicles were ransacked and their personal possessions from computers to
literature seized." It is a future where constitutional rights mean
nothing and where lawful dissent is branded a form of terrorism.

The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state.
The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles,
from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from
professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal
mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and
violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood.

What difference is there between the crowds of flag-waving Republicans and
the apparatchiks I covered as a reporter in the old East German Communist
Party? These Republican delegates, like the fat and compromised party
functionaries in East Berlin, all fawned on cue over an inept and corrupt
party hierarchy. They all purported to champion workers' rights and
freedom while they systematically fleeced, disempowered and impoverished
the workers they lauded. They all celebrated the virtue of a state that
was morally bankrupt. And while they played this con game, one that gave
them special privileges, power and wealth, they unleashed their goons and
thugs on all who dared to challenge them. We are not East Germany, but we
are well on our way. An economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist
attack on American soil, a war with Iran, and we could easily swing into
an authoritarian model that would look very familiar to anyone who lived
in the former communist East bloc.

A few of those arrested in St. Paul, including eight leaders of the RNC
Welcoming Committee - one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP
convention in St. Paul - now face terrorism-related charges. Monica
Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor,
Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector could get up to seven
and a half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which
allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. This is the first
time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of
the federal Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic
opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It
has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails,
meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut
down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished
habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for
our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore
penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power.

The commercial media told us that what was important in St. Paul was
happening inside the convention hall. The vapid interviews, the ridiculous
soap opera sagas about Sarah Palin's daughter and the debate about whether
John McCain or Barack Obama has proprietary rights to "Change" divert us
from the truth of who we have become. You had to search out "Democracy
Now!,", Twin Cities Indymedia, I-Witness, along with a few
other independent outlets, to see, hear or read real journalism from St.

It does not matter that the RNC Welcoming Committee describes itself as an
"anarchist/anti-authoritarian" organization. We don't have to embrace a
political agenda to protect the right to be heard. Shut down free speech
and radicals only burrow deeper underground, splitting ossified political
systems into fractured extremes. We may well end up with the Christian
right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an
ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals
who turn to violence on the other.

St. Paul was not ultimately about selecting a presidential candidate. It
was about the power of the corporate state to carry out pre-emptive
searches, seizures and arrests. It was about squads of police in high-tech
riot gear, many with drawn semiautomatic weapons, bursting into houses. It
was about seized computers, journals and political literature. It was
about shutting down independent journalism, even at gunpoint. It was about
charging protesters with "conspiracy to commit riot," a rarely used
statute that criminalizes legal dissent. It was about 500 people held in
open-air detention centers. It was about the rising Orwellian state that
has hollowed out the insides of America, cast away all that was good and
vital, and donned its skin to shackle us all.

Copyright  2008 Truthdig, L.L.C.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for
nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, is the
author of "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."


Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 17:53:26 -0500
From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at]>
Subject: RE:  Hearing over Police Abuse

Cam Gordon   CM Ward 2
Gary Schiff  CM Ward 9

Sept 8, 2008
Dear Cam and Gary,

I want to thank both of you for asking for hearings and an investigation
into the police abuse and violence surrounding the RNC.

That only two of 13 Council Members have expressed this concern shows that
Minneapolis needs to replace these irresponsible Council Members and elect
Council Members who believe in police obeying the law and the

There is a federal statute that specifically prohibits the taking of
notes, equipment, files, tapes, etc. from a reporter or journalist without
a subpoena from a court.  This means that the police that did this
committed a federal criminal act and should be prosecuted accordingly.
There is extensive professional documentation of the criminal and
unconstitutional acts by the police and authorities.

It is expected that there will be hundreds of lawsuits and if the 2004 RNC
in NYC is any example, this will cost the Cities many millions of dollars.
This is an additional crime.  The police willfully and deliberately
violate the law and people rights, then the public has to pay for their
criminal acts when the victim wins in court.

May I suggest that any money from lawsuits arising from this recent police
abuse come out of the Police Retirement Fund.  If these criminal
activities by police officers costs them their retirement funds, perhaps
they will be more diligent about policing their criminal fellow officers.

Again thank you for the principled and courageous position you have taken.
Please let me ( and the people of the community) know what we can do to

Sincerely, John R Kolstad/President, Mill City Music


Trickle-Down Preemption: Baghdad on the Mississippi
By Ray McGovern
Date: 09-08-2008
Subject: Police State

Ten days ago, as the nation focused attention on the hurricane nearing the
Mississippi delta, another storm was brewing far upstream in St. Paul,
Minnesota - a storm far more dangerous, it turned out, but one by and
large overlooked by the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).

When I flew into St. Paul on Saturday evening, August 30, I encountered a
din in local media about "preemptive strikes" on those already
congregating there to demonstrate against the Iraq war and injustice
against the poor in our country.  St. Paul's Pioneer Press expressed
surprise that "despite preemptive police searches" and arrests, a group
calling itself "the RNC Welcoming Committee" was still intent on
"disrupting the convention".

A headline screamed, "Preemptive Arrests of Protesters in Twin Cities".
But it was the article's lead that hit home:  "Borrowing from the Bush
administration's 'preemptive war' playbook, police agencies in the Twin
Cities have made 'preemptive strikes' against organizations planning to
protest at the Republican National Convention".

In the following days I was to see, up close and personal, a massive and
totally unnecessary display of ruthlessness.

What struck a bell was that this domestic application of the dubious
doctrine of "preemption" was totally predictable - indeed, predicted by
those courageous enough to speak out before the U.S. "preemptive" attack
on Iraq.  Ironically, it was FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley, living in
the St. Paul area, who warned of precisely that in her hard-hitting letter
to FBI Director Robert Mueller three weeks before the attack on Iraq.  [[[
Text of Feb. 26, 2003 Letter, published March 6, 2003 in NY Times  ]]]

Confronting Mueller on a number of key issues (like "What is the FBI's
evidence with respect to the claimed connection between al-Qaeda and
Iraq?"), Rowley warned of the trickle-down effect of "the administration's
new policy of 'preemptive strikes'":

"I believe it would be prudent to be on guard against the possibility that
the looser 'preemptive strike' rationale being applied to situations
abroad could migrate back home, fostering a more permissive attitude on
the part of law enforcement officers in this country".

Rowley called Mueller's attention to the abuses of civil rights that had
already occurred since 9/11, and pointedly warned "particular vigilance
may be required to head off undue pressure (including subtle
encouragement) to detain or 'round up' suspects".

Transforming the Police

While in St. Paul, I got in touch with Rowley, who has been politically
active in the Twin City area, and asked for her reaction to St. Paul's
version of preemption.  This was hardly her first chance to say
I-told-you-so, but she called no attention to her right-on prophesy five
and a half years ago.

Shaking her head, Rowley simply bemoaned how easily the artificial stoking
of fear had succeeded in causing the "otherwise wonderful community police
officers of St. Paul to turn on their own peaceful citizens (the surreal
insanity we witnessed during the RNC)".  She added that, once the Feds,
the fusion centers, the contractors get into the act, "all the rules go up
in smoke".

The "preemption" began on Friday, August 29, well before the RNC began on
Sept. 1.

An academic doing research on social movement organizations, who for
several months has been observing the main protesters - the RNC Welcoming
Committee, the Coalition to March on the RNC and End the War, and the Poor
People's Economic Human Rights Campaign - provided this account:

"On Friday evening the space in St. Paul that was being rented by the
Welcoming Committee was raided by riot police, who knocked in the door
with automatic weapons drawn, forced the 60-70 activists inside onto the
floor, handcuffed them, then proceeded to confiscate all the banner-making
supplies and movement literature.

"Over the course of several hours the cops interrogated, photographed, ran
warrant checks, and eventually, released everyone one by one.  Then they
closed down the space for a code violation.  The next morning a city code
inspector arrived and found no basis for closing the space.

"Saturday morning was one of escalation and terror.  The Ramsey County
Sheriff Department, together with the St. Paul police, Homeland Security,
and the FBI raided four private houses.  At 8:00 AM, dozens of cops in
SWAT gear broke down the door of one house where about a dozen activists
were staying.  They were awakened with rifle barrels in their faces and
forced to lie face down for more than an hour.

"The cops stole all the computers and other electronic devices in the
house, and core members of the Welcoming Committee sleeping there were
arrested.  It being a holiday weekend, those arrested for alleged crimes
could not arrive in court until Wednesday, at the earliest.  Thus, those
trying to organize demonstrations will be in jail for the entire time the
RNC is going on.  Four other houses were raided and dozens of activists
were detained".

The academic who wrote the report appealed to those concerned over "this
enormous police over-kill" to contact the Twin Cities' mayors and demand
an end to the "witch hunt".  He added, "The people who were arrested were
some of the gentlest, most dedicated activists I've ever met".  A far cry
from the "criminal enterprise" described by notorious Ramsey County
Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

Nanette Echols, a resident of St. Paul who had been extending hospitality
to the visiting protesters, insisted they had done nothing wrong.  "In the
place they raided on Friday night they were showing documentary movies to
twenty-somethings in a clean, alcohol-free zone after dinner," she said.

Caving In to the Feds

The St. Paul City Council?  Only one member had the courage to speak
out - Councilman Dave Thune, who was particularly enraged that Sheriff
Fletcher took action within St. Paul city limits:

"This is not the way to start things off. I'm really ticked off - the city
is perfectly capable of taking care of such things. This is all about free
speech. It's what my father fought for in the war. To me this smacks of
preemptive strike against free speech".

Thune objected in particular to Fletcher's deputies using battering rams
to knock down doors, then entering with guns drawn, and forcing people to
the ground, as they did on Friday night.

This was the unsettling backdrop as I flew into St. Paul on Saturday
evening, to speak at the Masses at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church on
Sunday morning.
[[[ ]]]

On Monday, I joined some 10,000 on a peaceful march from the Capitol to
the Berlin wall of fences and the "organs of public safety" arrayed before
the RNC convention hall.  On the fringes there was some property damage
and further arrests.  What violence there was bore the earmarks of
provocation by the likes of Sheriff Fletcher and his Homeland Security,
FBI, and, according to one well-sourced report, Blackwater buddies.

That's right.  Agent provocateurs.

Primary targets of the repression were the alternative media, including
any and all those who might have a camera to record the brutality - as was
successfully done at the RNC in New York four years ago.  The manner in
which Amy Goodman and the two producers of "Democracy Now!" were
deliberately mistreated was clearly aimed to serve as a warning that the
rules had indeed gone up in smoke - the First Amendment be damned.

Tuesday evening, after speaking at the "Free Speech Zone," a fenced-off
area surrounded by the organs of public safety, I joined the Poor People's
march up to the fences before the RNC.  I observed no violence at all;
yet, the police/FBI/national guard/and who-knows-who-else decided they
needed to clear the streets.  My friends and I narrowly escaped being
tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, or worse.  It was an overwhelming show of
force - not to protect, but to intimidate.

Palin Significance

After speaking at a conference at Concordia University in St. Paul on
Wednesday, I was more eager to watch the Republican vice-presidential
candidate, Sarah Palin, deliver her acceptance speech than to risk the
tear gas and pepper spray.

The way she dissed community organizers was hard to take.  But that would
pale in significance, so to speak, compared to the way the governor of
Alaska proceeded to ridicule the notion of reading people their rights.  I
had thought that despite the distance between Alaska and Washington, the
reach of the U.S. Constitution and statutes extended that far.

Friends tell me I should not have been surprised.  But, really!  After the
widespread kidnapping, torture, indefinite imprisonment, and our cowardly
Congress' empowerment of the president to imprison sine die anyone he
might designate an "enemy combatant" - after all that...well, it seems to
me that reading a person his/her rights takes on more, not less,

Not to mention the massive repression then under way right outside the
convention hall.

It was, it is, a scary juxtaposition.  The following day Col. Ann Wright,
other members of Code Pink, and I went to the jail to offer support to the
young people who had been brutalized and then released.  They had not been
read their rights.  Many were camped out on the sidewalk, refusing to
leave until their friends still inside were also released.

Out of the jail came Jason, a well-built young man of about twenty years,
who needed help in walking.  We talked to Jason a while, and he showed us
the seven, yes seven, taser wounds on his body.  One, on his left buttock,
had released considerable blood, creating a large stain on the seat of his


The young protesters had some success in exposing infiltrators in their
ranks.  During confrontations, members of the Welcoming Committee, in
particular, took copious photos of law enforcement officers and then
memorized the faces.  This tactic worked like a charm in one of the St.
Paul parks, when a man who looked like a protester - dark clothes,
backpack, a bit disheveled - walked by.

One of the protesters recognized the man's face and searched through her
camera until she found a photo of the man actually performing the raid on
the Welcoming Committee's headquarters on Friday night.  The young
protesters asked the man, and two associates, to leave the park, at which
point the three hustled into a nearby unmarked sedan.

The license plate, observed by a Pioneer Press reporter, traced back to
the detective unit of the Hennepin County sheriff's office, according to
the county's Central Mobile Equipment Division.

Protesters later drove two other men out of the day's planned march - one
because he was wearing brand-new tennis shoes.  The two left without
indicating whether they were with the organs of public safety.

So there is hope.  Young people are smarter than old ones.  It is a safe
bet that in the coming weeks lots of unwelcome photos will be exposing
various agents provocateurs, including over-the-hill flat-feet in unmarked
cars, as well as young Republicans with unmarked tennis shoes.  If those
are the kind of "sources" upon which the police, FBI, etc. have been
relying - well, that would be like having Shia reporting on Sunni, or vice

The organs of public safety are probably not quite so dumb as to be
unaware that one cannot expect valid "intelligence" from such amateurish
antics.  More likely, the attitude is that any kind of "intelligence" will
do for the purposes of local law enforcement and timid public officials
cowed by the Feds.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the
ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He is also
with Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), as are Coleen
Rowley and Ann Wright.

The original version of this article appeared on


Date: Tue,  9 Sep 2008 16:12:01 +1200 (NZST)
From: Martin Owings <owings1064 [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

Stories from the RNC you didn't get from the "BIG" Media. Here is a sort
of BEST OF with video, audio and recorded LIVE broadcasts.

Interview of two Gentlemen who tackled a Tire Slashing Vandal on DAY ONE.

Audio Interview with Protester who was Pepper Sprayed for offering Police
a Flower:

Interview with Citizen Mario who is Surprised by the show of FORCE by

A heavy show of force for TWO PUPPETS.

POOR PEOPLES MARCH VIDEO: Some incredible footage.

An Chruch Lady Cheers Protesters, Prays For Peace:

AUDIO INTERVIEW Crystal - Very interesting perspectives on Democracy:

Day Three Video Footage:

RIOT POLICE and MOUNTED RIOT POLICE Rushed Into the Crowd, here is a
description of what happened LIVE as it occurred:


Martin Owings
If you have a story call me at 612.599.3030
I will answer the phone.

Martin Owings, Saint Paul
Info about Martin Owings:


Creative Etymology

Once upon a time (when there was much straight talk, a much better time
than now), the word "fletcher" was both 1. a noun with two senses a. a
certain body part, b. a certain body product, and 2. a verb referring to a
certain body process intimately connected with the two predeeding noun
senses. Here is a passage from ThaneGrar, a lesser comtemporary of
Chaucer, translated into modern English:

"After repasting half a small deer, a large dripping gob of smutglub,
three hero-flagons of bramble beer, and anything else his long stout arms
could reach, Ognar of Bootlebarb waddled off deep into the dark bushes,
dropped his sweat-stained leather breeches, and squat him down in the cold
wet pricker weed. He grimaced and grunted mightily, until, finally, his
fletcher fletchered a fletcher. Thank Odin he grunted. He rose up
refreshed. He dressed. He peered down at the large fletcher at his feet.
He thought about his Odini duty to bury it. 'Nuh-uh' he muttered, and
returned to the repast for more."

Of course it loses something in translation (some wish it would lose much
more), but you get the idea.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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