SAGE FRANCIS: Conspiracy To Riot

SAGE FRANCIS: On Sept 1, 2008 I received a voicemail informing me that my longtime friend, Jared Paul, was sitting in a Minnesota jail cell. This was the first day of the National Republican Convention, a 5 day event that Jared was covering for a Providence publication. I thought to myself “Well…that was quick.” Jared Paul is currently in a legal battle with the St. Paul, MN court system, along with hundreds of others who face trumped up charges thanks to the overzealous riot police at the Republican National Convention. Jared is one of many who does not have the appropriate funds to hire proper legal representation and the ACLU of Minnesota is so martiallaw_1.jpgoverwhelmed by the sheer volume of RNC arrest cases that they are unable to provide assistance.

I’ve agreed to front the remainder of Jared’s legal fees while creating as a way to raise awareness about his situation and accept donations for our cause. Attorneys working with the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU are identifying this year’s RNC as one of the most extreme examples of strategic, premeditated attacks on the First Amendment in U.S. history. The convention’s planning committee facilitated $50 million in Federal funds to the Ramsey County authorities, basically hiring out all local law enforcement available as the RNC’s own private military contract force. An additional $10 million was then spent on an insurance package to cover legal fees specifically resulting from police misconduct. Authorities used extreme force and mass arbitrary arrests to target, intimidate, and jail dozens of major and independent journalists all week long. MORE

WIKIPEDIA:  During the convention’s first three days, more than 300 individuals were arrested by police, including journalists (AP photographer Matt Rourke was one), health-care workers and lawyer observers. Some were released, but nearly half received felony charges. Of these felony arrests, many cases were dropped or reviewed, some times for lesser charges, and about 21 were found to be prosecutable. About 102 persons were arrested for unlawful assembly at a Rage Against the Machine concert in downtown Minneapolis. Over the four policestate23_1.jpgdays of the convention, more than 30 journalists were arrested while reporting on the protests. The arrests included journalists from national organizations such as AP and Democracy Now!, journalists from local radio and TV stations, as well as university journalism students and advisors.  […] Between 300 and 400 persons were arrested or held including 19 journalists, among them AP reporters Amy Forliti and Jon Krawczynski, reporters from Twin Cities Daily Planet and The Uptake, and Paul Demko of The Minnesota Independent. Total arrests of convention protesters numbered about 800.

RON KALL: There’s something coming down in Minneapolis-St. Paul that looks very menacing — real “Can’t Happen Here” fascist, gestapo tactics that look they are coordinated from on high — with FBI and Homeland Security participation. Preventive strike forces by police have invaded homes of people planning protests, or even planning to protect protesters by video-taping police. The victims of these raids have been forced to lie face down on the floor, have been handcuffed, and then their computers, records and some money has been taken from them. This frightening abuse of constitutional rights has been done using vague claims that the police are preventing riots. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: ST. PAUL, Minn. — On the weekend before the Republican National Convention, law kafka.jpgenforcement agencies detained dozens of people and issued a series of search warrants aimed at groups believed to be organizing demonstrations while delegates and Republican officials are in town. Attorneys for the National Lawyers Guild said the people who were detained and photographed included local residents as well as visitors in town to demonstrate at the convention. Bruce Nestor, a lawyer at one house, said three people there were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit a riot. “In my mind it’s a classic preventive detention charge,” Mr. Nestor said. He said the authorities were permitted to hold those they arrested without charging them for up to 36 hours — excluding weekends or holidays — in essence detaining them for the length of the convention. MORE

KAFKAESQUE: Describes an intentional distortion of reality by powerful but anonymous bureaucrats. “Lack of evidence is treated as a pesky inconvenience, to be circumvented by such Kafkaesque means as depositing unproven allegations into sealed files …” Another definition would be an existentialist state of ever-elusive freedom while existing under unmitigatable control. MORE

DOT COMMON SENSE: A Denver Police spokesman says in the report linked immediately above that no ‘felony riot’ charges were filed in Denver.  We know from Democracy Now’s September 2nd show that felony riot charges were passed out like kleenex [in Minneapolis]. MORE

LIVE & DIRECT: This Is What A Police State Looks Like

HUFFPO: Here we have every indication of an orchestrated assault by federal and local law enforcement agencies to stifle independent sources of information. As shocking as this conduct is, more disturbing is the fact that the mayor’s office and the local daily seem so unconcerned. It’s not difficult to understand why. With local leaders making every effort to roll out the welcome mat for mainstream media and the GOP, they’d rather sweep beneath the carpet those pesky independents who are showing us a side of the spectacle that is less scripted for prime time. MORE

revolution_fist_1.jpgTRUTH DIG:  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. MORE

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