Progressive Calendar 10.09.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 13:23:31 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.09.08

1. Stassen/UN        10.10 10:50am/2pm Northfield MN
2. 1st RNC lawsuit   10.10 3pm
3. Moyers/meltdown   10.10 9pm

4. Harvest/apple/veg 10.11 8am
5. Peace walk        10.11 9am Cambridge MN
6. Hancock campaign  10.11 10am
7. Iran update       10.11 10am
8. NWN4P Mtka        10.11 11am
9. Anti-war rally    10.11 12noon Duluth MN
10. Anti-war demo    10.11 1pm
11. Northtown vigil  10.11 2pm
12. Ralph Nader      10.11 7:30pm Fargo/Moorehead

13. Atheists talk    10.12 9am
14. Stillwater vigil 10.12 1pm

15. 2008 UN rally    10.13 deadline

16. Michael Cavlan     - Wow! New Nader HQ in Minneapolis
17. Dr Michael Andregg - RNC Q's that should linger after the tear gas
18. Dr Michael Andregg - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the RNC

--------1 of 18--------

From: The United Nations Association of MN <info [at] unamn.org>
Subject: Stassen/UN  10.10 10:50am/2pm Northfield MN

Carleton College (along with the United Nations Association of MN and the
Minnesota Secretary of State) is sponsoring two events this Friday.  This
is an opportunity to brush up on what is happening at the UN and in the
world of multi-lateral diplomacy; and learn more about Harold Stassen and
the contributions he made to the UN and Minnesota.

10:50 a.m. Convocation: Joseph Melrose Skinner Chapel: (Note: U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad was originally scheduled
for this lecture but is unable to come due to an unexpected conflict.)
Joseph Melrose, who served three decades in the Foreign Service, is the
former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and Sierra Leone, where he helped
broker a peace treaty. After leaving Sierra Leone in 2001, he was Task
Force Coordinator for the post-September 11 task force with the Department
of State, and later was a Senior Consultant on Counterterrorism for the
Office of the Secretary of State's Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
He has also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the
United Nations General Assembly for the State Department. As the president
of the National Model United Nations board of directors, he oversees
programs for more than 3,400 student delegates. Examining the legacy of
former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, one of the signers of the United
Nations charter, Melrose's presentation is titled "US Role in the UN: From
Stassen to the 21st Century."

2:00 p.m. "Present at the Creation: Governor Stassen and the Founding of
the United Nations" Skinner Chapel: This panel discussion will look at the
role that citizen groups played in shaping the United Nations and the
partnership that these organizations forged with Minnesota Governor Harold
Stassen, one of the eight official U.S. representatives appointed by
President Roosevelt as a signer of the United Nations Charter. Panelists
for the afternoon discussion will include:

 * Dr. Glen Stassen (Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at
Fuller Theological Seminary)
 * Associate Justice Paul Anderson (Minnesota Supreme Court),
 * Dorothy Robins Mowry (author of "Experiment in Democracy: The Story of
U.S. Citizen organizations in Forging the Charter of the United Nations"
and first hand observer of the founding of the U.N.), and
 * Barry Casselman (National Political Columnist for the Washington Times,
and author of "North Star Rising: Minnesota Politicians on the National
Stage").

    The panel discussion will be moderated by Minnesota Secretary of State
Mark Ritchie.
    This event is part of the Harold E. Stassen United Nations Lecture
Series


--------2 of 18--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: 1st RNC lawsuit 10.10 3pm

Press Conference:  Lawsuit seeks $250,000 in damages for police raid
FRI, 10/10 @ 3pm @ Saint Paul City Hall on Kellogg Blvd.

The first lawsuit resulting from the police invasion of a St. Paul home
prior to the Republican National Convention will be announced at a press
conference October 10. Notice will be served on the city of Saint Paul that
lawyers representing Michael Whalen will seek $250,000 in damages. Whalen's
duplex on Iglehart Avenue was cordoned off by St. Paul police working with
the FBI and Homeland Security people. Whalen and his tenants and guests were
held at gunpoint for several hours, not allowed to leave - and no one
allowed to enter.

Whalen's guests included journalists who are part of the growing people's
independent press movement, which documents and web-publishes police abuse
around this land of ours. Some of these folks were raided again elsewhere
and some were arrested as they documented the new face of St. Paul, formerly
the most livable city in America.  Mr. Whalen is represented by attorneys
Ted Dooley and Peter Nickitas, both members of the National Lawyers Guild.


--------3 of 18--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: Moyers/meltdown 10.10 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | George Soros on the Crisis
http://www.truthout.org/100808T
On Bill Moyers Journal Friday: "Bill Moyers talks with one of the world's
most successful investors, George Soros, about the global capital
meltdown, how he saw it coming and what can be done now. And, with the
campaigns heating up, Moyers checks in with Journal contributor and
director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center Kathleen Hall Jamieson on
how dirty politics will play out in this final stretch to the election."


--------4 of 18--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Harvest/apple/veg 10.11 8am

Women's Environmental Institute Fall Harvest Day. Come and help with the
apple and fall vegetable harvest. If the day is warm, we can also spin
some honey. We ask that you be prepared to work with the farm crews on the
orchard and in the fields and take home some apples. Please leave your
pets at home as we cannot accommodate all of their needs. A caring and
attentive adult must accompany all children. 8 AM - 4 PM (drop by any
time) at WEI. Bring heavy gloves and a dish for the Community Potluck.


--------5 of 18--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 10.11 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


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From: Allan Hancock <ahancock.gp [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Hancock campaign 10.11 10am

Green Party for House in Brooklyn Park/Center.
Come anytime between the times noted.  Appreciate an RSVP so we know the
number for lunch or dinner. 763-561-9758 Thanks, Allan Hancock

October
Sat 11 Lit Drop 10AM-6PM lunch included
Sun 12 Lit Drop 1PM-6PM come at 12:15 for lunch
Tue  21 Lit Drop  4PM-7PM
Sat 25 Lit Drop 10AM-6PM lunch included
Sun 26 Lit Drop 1PM-6PM come at 12:15 for lunch
Tue 28  Phone Bank Details Pending
Thur 30 Phone Bank Details Pending
Sun 2 Lit Drop 1PM-6PM come at 12:15 for lunch
Mon 3 Lit Drop 1PM-6PM come at 12:15 for lunch


--------7 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Iran update 10.11 10am

Saturday, 10/11, 10 am to noon, Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom hosts Iranian-American activist M. Jay Shahidi talking about "Iran
Update," Van Cleve Community Center, 901 - 15th Ave SE, Mpls.
http://www.wilpfmn.org or 612-922-79993.


--------8 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 10.11 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.


--------9 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Anti-war rally 10.11 12noon Duluth MN

Saturday, 10/11, noon, Northland Anti-War Coalition holds a march and
rally against the continued war in Iraq, gathering at Leif Erickson Park
on London Road in Duluth, then marching to the MN Power Plaza at Lake Ave
and Superior St, Duluth.  http://www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com/


--------10 of 18--------

From: braun044 <braun044 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Anti-war demo 10.11 1pm

Bring the Troops Home Now! Stop Funding War on, Occupation of Iraq
Saturday, October 11, 1:00 p.m.
Hiawatha and Lake Street, Minneapolis.

Six years ago, on October 11, 2002, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly
passed a Joint Resolution authorizing the Bush Administration to launch
the Iraq war. Since then, Congress has continued to provide billions of
dollars for the war and occupation.

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, six years after Congress gave the green
light for war, demonstrations, vigils and other events will be held in
cities around the country calling for an end to the war and occupation of
Iraq. These events, being held as the election campaign gears up, will
keep the anti-war message in the streets.

In this election year, some politician's talk about "winning the war"
and staying in Iraq for 100 years, other politicians are talking about
"withdrawal timetables," or taking troops out of Iraq only to send them to
Afghanistan instead. But there is no such thing as "winning a war" that
was based on lies and deceptions.  Sami Rasouli also reminds us that this
war can only brings more death and suffering to the people of Iraq. The
Iraqi people want the occupation troops out of their country. The war and
occupation must end now!

Organized by: the Iraq Peace Action Coalition (IPAC).  FFI:  Anti-War
Committee 612-379-3899, Twin Cities Peace Campaign 612-522-1861, or Women
Against Military Madness 612-827-5364.

Peace in the struggle, Marie Braun For Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on
Iraq 612-522-1861 Cell:  612-275-2720

[Folks in the know say a good bit of Iraq would fit up our wannabe
dictator Bush's butt and we should see just how much, especially the good
parts. -ed]


--------11 of 18--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.11 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------12 of 18--------

From: "Case, Austin N. (UMKC-Student)" <ancn69 [at] umkc.edu>
Subject: Ralph Nader 10.11 7:30pm Fargo/Moorehead

RALPH NADER TO HOLD FORUM ON OPENING THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES, AT NORTH
DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY

On Saturday, October 11th at 7:30 pm, Independent Presidential Candidate
Ralph Nader will be speaking at North Dakota State University- Century
Theater,

The theme of the North Dakota Rally, "Open the Debates," reflects the
Nader/Gonzalez Campaign's call for inclusive, democratic Presidential
debates. Right now, they are limited to the candidates from the two
corporate parties. The debates are controlled by the so-called Commission
on Presidential Debates, a private corporation which was created by the
Democratic and Republican Parties in 1987, which Walter Cronkite called an
"unconscionable fraud" because the CPD format "defies meaningful
discourse." In addition, the candidates will speak about the growing,
multifarious crisis California residents confront, starting with a tanking
economy, increasing environmental pollution, offshore drilling and a
health care system broken beyond repair.

Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez
Press Conference and Rally
Saturday, October 11th 7:30 p.m. Press Conference; 7:00 p.m.
NDSU Century Theater, Memorial Student Union

Volunteer: If you or your group would like to table or help promote the
event contact Austin at the number below.

This event is free and open to the public. A suggested contribution of ten
dollars and five for students is appreciated but not required. Professors
are welcome to bring or invite their classes to attend.

About Ralph Nader Attorney, author, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader has
been named by Time Magazine one of the "100 Most Influential Americans in
the 20th Century." For more than four decades he has exposed problems and
organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups
advocating solutions. He led the movement to establish the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and was instrumental
in enacting the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and countless other pieces of important
consumer legislation. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat
healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer
environments. Nader graduated from Princeton University and received an
LL.B from Harvard Law School.

Contact: Austin Case (local) 804-852-6116, ancn69 [at] umkc.edu


--------13 of 18--------

From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Atheists talk 10.12 9am

Minnesota Atheists' "Atheists Talk" radio show.
Sunday, October 12, 2008, 9-10 a.m. Central Time
Hector Avalos will discuss "How to Fight Intelligent Design and Win."
Also, an interview with Scott Lohman, president of the Humanists of
Minnesota.
We welcome questions during the program at (952) 946-6205
or radio [at] MinnesotaAtheists.org.

"Atheists Talk" airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
To stream live, go to http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen.
Podcasts of past shows are available at
http://MinnesotaAtheists.org or through iTunes.
Program Notes are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org.


--------14 of 18--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.12 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------15 of 18--------

From: United Nations Association of MN <info [at] unamn.org>
Subject: 2008 UN rally  10.13 deadline

We are excited to announce the 63rd UN RALLY!  Registration information is
at the bottom of the page. If you would like more informaiton please call
612-280-2325. Thank you. Please sign up today!!!

63rd United Nations Rally & Seminars
HUMAN RIGHTS
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ramp Entrances at 12th Street and 2nd Avenue South

Program:  9:00am - 2:00pm
Cost:  $25 Luncheon and Seminars
Special Parking:  $8.00

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Leslie R. Wolfe
"Women's Human Rights - The Global Revolution"
Dr. Leslie R. Wolfe is President of the Center for Women Policy Studies,
the Nation's first feminist policy institute, founded in 1972.  The
Center's mission is to improve women's lives and ensure women's human
rights through enlightened public policy.  Before joining the Center in
1987, Dr. Wolfe served as Director of the Women's Educational Equity Act
Program in the U.S. Department of Education, Director of the Project on
Equal Education Rights, Deputy Director of the Women's Rights Program at
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Special Assistant to the
Assistant Secretary for Education in the former Department of Health,
Education and Welfare.

Registration:  9:00-9:30am

Seminars:  Two 60-minute sessions at 9:30-10:30am and 10:45-11:45am
Each seminar will be repeated.  Please choose two of the three listed
below to attend

Women and Water Rights - An International Perspective
Presenters:  Marilyn Cuneo, Liz Dodson, Luella Green, Terri Hawthorne from
WILPF:  Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Minnesota
Metro Arts Committee

YPIC:  A New Venture of the United Nations Association of Minnesota
Presenters:  Afa Alizada and Juliana Junqueira, Co-Chairs, UNA-MN Young
Professionals for International Cooperation

Human Sex Trafficking in Minnesota
Presenter:  Cheryl A. Thomas, Director, Women's Human Rights Program, The
Advocates for Human Rights

Reservation Deadline:  Monday, October 13
Ticket Price:  $25.00 each
Please contact Margaret Severe at 612/869-0559
For questions only, please contact Zehra Avsar Keye, UN Rally Chair, 
612/377-0214


--------16 of 18--------

From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Wow- New Nader HQ in Minneapolis

Well I just visited the new Nader HQ yesterday.

All I can say is WOW. It is located at 715 Hennepin Ave in downtown
Minneapolis.

It is beyond impressive. Over 2,000 square feet in the front area alone,
50 feet of window space, right on Hennepin Ave which is PRIME viewing
area. There are literally THOUSANDS of people that pass by every day.

Inside there are thousands of pieces of very high quality lit and hundreds
of lawn signs available. The Nader campaign will be showing movies, having
discussion groups, organizing and even having parties at this spectacular
location.

The corporate duopoly are freaking out about this, I'm sure. I have no
doubt that something very, very good is going to come out of this

For all those Greens and former Greens who had no representation and
perhaps been disenfranchised by your own party, there is a growing,
active, visible and viable campaign and HQ for you. I suggest you give
them a visit. The phone # is (612)338-1494. It should be up and working by
Monday.

Also, I went to visit the Mankato Greens who are doing very very well.
They had ordered 20 lawn signs for Cynthia McKinney and Richard agreed to
send me 7 of them.

There are none left available. they were snatched up very quickly. Sorry
folks.

Michael Cavlan


--------17 of 18--------

RNC in St Paul Questions that should linger after the tear gas clears
Special for Mike Burbach of the Pioneer Press
by Dr. Michael Andregg
September 24, 2008

The RNC has come and gone so it is important to focus now on critical
questions for democracy.

-- Who was responsible for the militarization of law enforcement in a city
known for community policing?

-- Will the Constitution be the greatest casualty of the visit by the RNC?

Full disclosure - I worked over a year as a public liaison between many
peace groups and the St. Paul Police Department (SPPD).  Not for the most
radical protesters; they chose not to trust anyone who talks to cops no
matter how benignly.  I am deeply committed to both preserving peace, and
enabling the fullest possible expression of civil liberties.

Thoughtful people on both sides worked hard to minimize casualties and
maximize freedom of political expression (whether of Republican delegates
or protesters here to point out harsh consequences of national policies).
We were undercut by vast amounts of Federal counter "terrorism" money
looking for targets, aided by a few yahoos in uniform eager for a slice of
that pie.  And, of course, by some alleged "anarchists."

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher put his name out early seeking $4.4
million to jail "3,000 - 5,000" protesters.  He led the feds in preemptive
busts of potential terrorist" houses (violating the 4th Amendment of our
Bill of Rights, since anyone "might" use garden tools to assault
democracy) and preemptive arrests of journalists (violating the 1st
Amendment, since anyone with a camera or pen "might" criticize the
government or Fletchers' tactics).

By one count 36 journalists were arrested trying to cover events of those
five days, along with 6 arrested preemptively.  Preemptive arrest is
standard practice in police states like North Korea and Burma.  Is that
the standard Minnesota aspires to?

Liaisons between polarized groups try to do two things.  We promote
positive dialogue to avoid misunderstandings, and we strive for promises
of responsible conduct to protect the people and values at risk.  The
saddest thing I must report about SPPD is that they promised us ID's would
be prominently displayed on all troops deployed.  A commander on the
scene, an honorable man I know, told me these ID's never made it onto
their tactical gear.  We noticed.

This was not a minor oversight since when things get tense it enables the
less disciplined to abuse the power at their disposal.  Another friend of
mine who is also an honorable man got shot by something as he tried to
obey orders coming from one tactical line telling him to move into another
that was firing chemicals and other weapons at a crowd.

He was not the only one, but his irony was amplified by the fact that he
had come to the "free speech zone" to document the poor people's march on
Sept. 2.  The main message of that group was reminding affluent Americans
that poor people die every day in our country for lack of affordable
health care and housing.  That non-lethal weapon hit the Constitution at
least as hard as it hit him.

The worst scene I saw was on August 31 during marches by Iraq Veterans
Against the War and some Veterans for Peace with their families.  Five
helicopters came in from the west to orbit from the State Capitol to the
Xcel.  They may have been Special Forces or Secret Service.  We could not
know because of the secrecy the feds employ these days.

But everyone could see the men in harness, legs sticking out the doors in
a position used to kill leadership on the ground in war zones.  For
veterans who have literally put their lives on the line to protect our
Constitution, this was an absolutely disgusting tactic.  Perhaps they were
just practicing, but the clear impression left was that they did not like
democracy.

I want to note some positive items also, because I know for a certain fact
that there were people of good will behind many of those armored visors
and black bandannas.

There were no serious, physical casualties despite many opportunities.
There was less property damage than occurs at some European soccer
matches.  And ad hoc groups like the yellow vested Minnesota Peace Teams
did many things to clarify communications, to calm down angry people and
tend to wounded.

Even the "radicals" accomplished some amazingly positive things.  They
provided food and shelter to hundreds, maybe thousands of outsiders who
came to express their views.  They staffed a health clinic across the
street from Regions Hospital at no cost to the public, and provided teams
of health professionals and attorneys to accompany marches.

So calmer heads prevailed most of the time.  Most marches started with
blue-suited St. Paul cops on bicycles who threatened only the tiny number
who came to break windows and block traffic.

Of course Sheriff Fletcher had to be ready to jail them.  And the Secret
Service had to be ready for much less likely but horrible possibilities
like attempts to assassinate political leaders.  It was our Constitution
that was wounded instead.

Every attorney and judge in Minnesota swears to protect and defend the
Constitution.  Now they must decide if their oaths mean anything.

A kind of hysteria has descended on America since 9/11.  Officials fueled
by billions of dollars in counterterror money are hunting for reasons to
keep that money flowing.  9/11 was a great national tragedy; I know people
who lost their closest relatives on that day.  But perspective is still
called for.

We lose about that number (3,000) every six weeks to auto accidents.  We
lose the same to murders.  We lose the same to suicides.  And we lose a
whole lot more to poverty, especially lack of health care and housing. But
nobody loses their mind over these pervasive and lethal problems ignored
in the rush to find a terrorist under every bed.

Sheriff Fletcher was foamy at the mouth about the "anarchists" most of
whom are also teenagers or 20 somethings who are desperately depressed by
the corruption of politics they see, and struggling to survive a ruthless
economy that does not give a fig about them unless they have money.  His
hysteria fit quite well with Federal objectives.

The St. Paul Police are generations ahead of most in concepts of
"Community Policing." That great image also suffered during the RNC.

Many are tempted to put these things behind us.  It was exhausting and
other problems clamor for our energy.  City fathers and mothers should
remember that a good reputation takes decades to create.  But it can also
be destroyed in the blink of eyes mesmerized by the McCarthyism of our
time.

Do not ignore the question of who was responsible for the extreme
militarization of law enforcement during the days of the RNC.  By "who" I
do not mean some committee or faceless bureaucracy, I mean who
specifically by names was responsible.  If those who abused their
temporary power are not held accountable at the next election or in court,
they will almost certainly abuse their power again.

Remember, all that hardware bought with easy money remains in storage,
nearly new.  If preemptive repression of journalists and cruel or unusual
treatment of people practicing democracy goes unaddressed, these tools
will be used again.  They will be used against someone who disagrees with
City Hall some day.  Maybe you.

Michael Andregg is a citizen of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.  He also teaches
in the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota and in Justice and
Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas.


--------18 of 18--------

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the RNC
by Michael Andregg, observer on the scene and participant in many ways
[for mnblue.com, Sept. 24, 2008]

There were no serious casualties over five days of confrontations between
protestors and police from all over America.  That is the best I can say
about the extraordinary events in St. Paul from August 31 through
September 4 of 2008.  That good result was possible because of strenuous
efforts extending over a year among peace people on both sides of the
tactical lines to restrain their more angry or disturbed colleagues.

St. Paul looked, felt, and sometimes acted like a police state during
these days.  That is the worst impression that will linger.  Proactive
arrests of potential protestors including several journalists and beatings
of helpless people in the Ramsey County jail beg attention I will give
them later. One video is especially disturbing, this captured by Fox 9
News, of repeated macing, knocking to the ground and a rough arrest of an
18 year old Wisconsin girl named Leah Lane who was not really very
dangerous.  In fact, she was a model pacifist, forgiving her tormentors.
These were Minneapolis cops, by the way, not St. Paul Police Department.
Judge for yourself:
http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=7430234&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1

Before analysis I want to share observations that will linger in my mind.
Full disclosure - I worked hard as a public liaison between many groups in
the peace community and the St. Paul Police for the year prior.  So I had
a real commitment to preserving peace in my home town which included
protecting persons of any political persuasion and their opportunity to
speak freely about political topics - no matter what their cause or
ideology.  We failed perfection at both objectives, but things could have
been much worse without our efforts.

Day 0:  (Aug. 31, 2008)  During a permitted Vets for Peace march the day
before the RNC began, I saw St. Paul air ringed by five Federal
helicopters orbiting the Capitol to the Xcel Center.  Legs hung out open
doors, in a position used by military units when they intend to wipe out
leadership on the ground.  This tactic was disgusting to veterans who have
risked their lives defending the right of Americans to protest, and the
Constitution which was violated in various ways these five days.

Day 1:  On the day of the biggest march, over 10,000 peaceful protesters
and a couple thousand heavily armed police interacted without serious
incident.  There were a few violent punks who falsely claim the
philosophical label anarchist and broke four windows, (not counting those
on a couple of squad cars also damaged) and a few jackboots in uniform who
came to fight and did.  About 250 people were arrested on Shepard Rd. some
of whom worked hard to block traffic but many of whom did not.  All
appeared caught in a pincer movement that allowed no escape for the
innocent mixed among the guilty.

The memory that will last for me was more humane.  My peculiar mission
that day was hunting agents provocateur, who can easily turn a peaceful
situation into a riot.  Whether they are animated by the right, the left
or by loony tunes means nothing; behavior, everything.  We caught three
Minneapolis cops under cover, assessed them and let them go in peace. One
was searching for his 16 year old daughter, terrified that she was getting
sucked into a danger zone.  His buddies were along because he was afraid
of what might happen to him while surrounded by 10,000 + passionate folks
with excellent reasons to be suspicious about undercover cops.

Day 2:  The Poor People's March highlighted the Orwellian as $50 million
in police resources were devoted to make delivering a piece of paper and a
flag dangerous for Cheri Honkala and a couple of thousand economically
desperate people.  They wanted to deliver a simple message to the rich and
powerful people inside the Xcel.  It was called the "March for our Lives"
because she knew that homeless people are dieing in our streets every day,
that destitute people are dieing every day in America for lack of
healthcare, while the affluent sip champagne and dine on shrimp and filet
mignon.  The police let them be for awhile, actually wore them out leading
them on long detours.  But as happened most days, eventually someone found
reasons to rough some protestors up, tear gas flew, and they ended up
arresting at least one journalist who was trying to document the scene. He
was also shot in the back with a non-lethal weapon as he obeyed one line
of police to move into another that was firing.

One never knew which police, because a promise had been broken.  Chief
Harrington and Assistant Chief Bostrom promised us their police would have
prominent, individual identifiers.  These IDs did not "make it onto the
tactical gear" so that once they went tactical, no one could tell who
among 3,700 officers was beating the wrong person, or spraying mace
directly into the eyes of victims lying on the ground, etc.  One young man
named "Jason" was tasered for a very long time after on the ground in
Mears Park.  Who tasered him, I ask?  And why so long if not for pain
alone?  http://www.kare11.com/video/player.aspx?aid=81605

On Day 3:  I spent some time at a "Peace Island" conference at Concordia
College in St. Paul, arranged to provide a quality academic alternative to
marching in the streets. Since this was wholesome and nonviolent, it was
totally ignored by the mainstream press.  I transported a 29 year veteran
of the US military and CIA (Ray McGovern) from the "free speech zone"
near the Xcel to his panel at Concordia with other career national
security professionals.  They came to talk about problems in our
government and law enforcement institutions.  None of them were arrested.
To get to the "free speech zone" (a small stage with sound gear provided
by the City Parks Department) one had to park a mile away and navigate on
foot past hundreds of police, both soft-shell and heavily armored tactical
units, to a spot hemmed in by 8 foot steel barricades where others had
been arrested the night before.  As you might imagine, the audience at
this lovely space was tiny.

Day 4:  (Sept. 4, 2008, 4 pm)  This was always billed to be the most
confrontational march.  So I left the tranquil peace people gathered on
Harriet Island for music, food and art while the coast guard protected
their river with two boats equipped with .50 caliber machine guns. Other
troops guarded RNC delegates on a river cruise with M-16's.  Not an
average St. Paul day, but little chance of injury here, so I went where I
might do some good.  Within a minute of arrival at the Capitol, a tiny
fight between two whomevers in the crowd sparked a massive presence of a
variety of tactical assets.  When the fight (or other incident) began, a
crowd rushed around (like at any soccer or rugby match) so a squad of
soft-suited bicycle cops rushed in to stop whatever was causing the
ruckus.  They were immediately surrounded by a crowd of hundreds growing
fast, chanting "Let them go" and other advice.  Since this was the angrier
march, with many black bandannas about, anyone with the brains God gave a
goose would be concerned.

Within seconds of their call for help, hundreds of tactical troops poured
in from every direction, squads on foot, squads in vans, about 30 horse
police (very well trained horses equipped with their own tactical visors,
who had shown the days before how efficiently they can clear a path though
people one fifth their size).  As always there were helicopters overhead,
and people watching from rooftops and windows.

Well they rescued their brothers and sisters in blue without beating up
the bystanders, for both of which I am quite thankful. But the tone of
things was different once all those black armored, anonymous troops were
out and about with military equipment, batons, grenade launchers and tear
gas/pepper spray canisters the size of fire extinguishers.

Here came the worst moment I can recall on the protest side.  As 5 pm
approached, the stage kept saying that the march was permitted.  But they
knew the permit expired at 5, they just objected to that, and all along
they had intended to march to the Xcel Center after then to be present
when John McCain spoke. As they were urging everyone to head out, as the
crowd was already moving toward the Cedar Street route previous marches
had followed, they said "Oh, by the way, this march is now NOT permitted
and you may be arrested." Innocents may be jailed by such deceptions;
innocents may get hurt.  Jail and pain may be OK if you choose them, but
not if you are deceived.  By ~ 8 pm the police lost their patience and
arrested more people than any day prior, about half of everyone arrested
during the whole affair (~ 396 of 818).

Analysis:  Total property damage was less than attends some European
soccer matches. There were no serious casualties despite many
opportunities over five days of confrontations between protestors and
police from all over America.  Except for the Constitution of course,
which was gravely wounded.  Whether the Constitution can recover will
depend on the lawyers now.  They must decide individually and en masse
whether they will honor the oath that every, single one of them has
pledged to protect our Constitution and the rule of law instead of Kings.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher played a particularly bad role in this
affair.  He was at odds with St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington from
the beginning.  Harrington is a nationally recognized leader in the
philosophy of "community policing" and St. Paul PD is two generations
ahead of most large police departments.  In fact, it was Fletcher's public
grubbing for millions of dollars ($4.4 million, according to the MN
Independent of April 17, 2007) to jail thousands of citizens expected to
express their views vigorously that led me and former FBI attorney Coleen
Rowley to send a letter to the Chief inviting him to a public program to
discuss unintended consequences of such reckless behavior. That began a
longer dialogue that affected people on many sides of the RNC events, all
trying to minimize casualties and maximize freedom.
http://www.minnesotaindependent.com/1597/sheriff-anticipates-arresting-thousands-during-2008-rnc

Of course, Mr. Fletcher needed to be ready for the rowdies who came to
break windows, block traffic and joust with police.  There were many
legitimate reasons for law enforcement to be extra ready, including the
tactical folks who must consider rare but real odds of horrible things
like assassination of presidents or candidates.  But Fletcher was foamy at
the mouth about "anarchists" whom he forgets are mostly teenagers scared
to death about their future.  And who among the media asked, really,
deeply asked why these kids are so scared?

Pre-emptive arrests of people who MIGHT commit crimes is the mark of
police states.  Fletcher helped the Feds in this endeavor.  Jailing
journalists you don't like while "embedding" those you do was the early
stain of Stalin and Hitler.  Whether the Constitution will recover from
wounds this grave depends on men like Mr. Fletcher losing the power they
have abused.

There are some reports of beatings in his jail late at night.  Elliot
Hughes of St. Paul is the only one I know prepared to testify in public.
Of course, Fletcher's jail is not the first jail where helpless prisoners
have been abused, tortured or even died.  But St. Paul and Ramsey County
are too civilized to tolerate that.  So our city fathers claim.  Will the
attorneys of St. Paul and Minnesota stand for this, or not?

Now, in their defense, police also picked up two men from Texas who
allegedly actually made 8 Molotov cocktails which would be extremely
dangerous to anyone.  They were indicted by a federal grand jury on
September 25, and charged with other weapons offenses.  There were a very
small number of actual guns confiscated from among the 818 people
ultimately arrested during the five days of the RNC.  So there were some
real dangers mixed among the innocents.

It is very hard for passionate people to remember that almost every
"anarchist" is also a teenager or youth who is scared about their future,
depressed by the hypocrisy and corruption of politicians and governments
they see, and finding it very hard to make their way in a ruthless economy
that does not give a fig about them unless they have money.  It is also
hard for passionate people to remember that almost every "cop" is at once
two things: a protector of people and property in her jurisdiction, and an
enforcer of rules that are sometimes unfair.

Finally, what about the "Feds?" In the helicopters orbiting over the
veterans and surveilling every crowd, in the tinted offices where
information was fused and decisions were made, it seemed seldom St. Paul
PD or Sheriff Fletcher who had the final say.  The FBI, the Secret Service
and Homeland Security were here as they should be during a national
security event like a major political convention.  Who were they, exactly,
and what do they answer to?  Why do they hide so compulsively?  Answer
these questions and you will find clues for much of what has gone wrong in
America recently.

One thing Feds are these days is people looking for enemies, with
multi-billion dollar budgets to justify.  A cult of secrecy has crippled
our intelligence agencies, and creates an environment where criminals in
ties can flourish.  I study spies.  Believe me; they vary from saint* to
sinner.  But they are all human beings.  Most of them have human hearts
and actually mean well.  Yet while all power tends to corrupt, secret
power is especially seductive.  The same procedures that protect weapons
designs can easily protect criminals with authority.

A form of hysteria since 9/11 has been cynically exploited by politicians
and proto-fascists attracted to themes like "Homeland Security" and the
billions of dollars attached.  These forces led to concepts like the
"potential terrorist" which includes me, you, journalists and every other
citizen who may have a gripe with City Hall some day.  Be aware.

 --- end ---

 Michael Andregg, first draft September 10, 2008 [edited again on Sept.
25]

 Dr. Andregg is a citizen of St. Paul, MN, USA who teaches in the Graduate
School at the University of Minnesota, and in the Justice and Peace
Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas.


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