Monday, September 1

Elite "Dictatorship" Sought Via 2000 Bush-Cheney Ticket a Fiat Accompli at 2008 GOP Convention in Minnesota

"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." -- Edward Dowling, Editor and Priest, Chicago Daily News, 28 July, 1941

2 September update: A "preemptive" police raid(translation: "no crime committed") Monday afternoon on St. Paul house of video collective I-Witness Video nets Democracy Now! staffer. Earlier in the day, DN! hot Amy Goodman and two show producers were released after their "illegal" arrests by police, according to the DN! website.

Goodman's arrest is now up at YouTube (49 seconds).

3 September update: A New York City-based video collective, I-Witness Video is offering their version of running commentary on preemptive police raids in targeted houses in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

According to one independent media source on the scene, members of the Sheriff Department participating in the preemptive house raids are into some very kinky hobbies:

"Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher later issued a press release which labeled... those detained [as] “criminal anarchists” and suggested that "materials for bombs" and "hazardous materials" had been found in the building, including “assorted edged weapons”, “wrist rockets”, “large amounts of urine” and many others."

The Uptake, a video upload cite, is obsessively deploying videographers to bring readers the unfolding story at the RNC in Minneapolis, to include footage and commentary on the half-hour featuring protesters and convention participants alike.

This video (10 minutes) shot by two roving Uptake "citizen journalists" demonstrates the police's intent to intimidate and punish legal protesters with loudly exploding tear gas cannisters and cops' insistence the two journalists expose their lungs to the searing, smothering impact of the tear gas. Too many middle-aged Americans who are furious with the Bush White House and its Big Money GOP sugar daddies permit these young people--18 to 22-year- olds--to carry the burden of constitutional-mandated protest. I feel ashamed as I see these young people shoulder my lack of responsibility in not standing on the barricades with them in solidarity. Shame on me and the rest of us who made it too easy to pick on the too few in number dissenting in the name of democracy. columnist Glenn Greenwald show just how incensed he is--in ink, conveniently far afield from the battle lines where braver American constitutionalists are exercising our right to peaceful dissent from eight years of official thuggery, courtesy of White House oil cowboys (and cowgirl Condi). Videos on this Greenwald webpage warrant close scrutiny by any American not yet convinced that fascism has sweep away their rights to assemble and peaceful protest.

Washington chief of AP photographer swept up in mass arrests suggests Matt Rourke's detention unconstitutional, noting
"Covering news is a constitutionally protected activity, and covering a riot is part of that coverage.... Photographers should not be detained for covering breaking news."

7 September update: I overlooked this 3 September jewel nugget posted by Workers Independent News'Doug Cunningham following Amy Goodman's arrest:

"Anticipating that, a special deal was cut that required the Republican Party’s host committee to buy insurance covering police liability up to $10 million. Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality says this special insurance agreement means there’s nothing to hold police back from using excessive force, since they won’t be liable."

If Gross's observation has any merit and Minnesota law enforcement officials new about this insurance wrinkle, then the 2008 RNC convention could have been the most violent US police action of the Bush administration. Did anyone see evidence supporting that view?

Below appear some incendiary news from activists in Minneapolis who appeared early on the constitutional barricades.--The editor


Here's a question you won't hear asked--but should--this week by the legions of lemming "TV journalists" dispatched to Minneapolis for the GOP National Convention:

Will the Department of Homeland Security and its brigades of riot-geared law enforcement officers the super-agency is coordinating find cause to bludgeon or arrest Colleen Rowley, a former FBI general counsel and moderate Republican whose 9/11 whistle blowing garnered her a cover photo on the 22 December 2002 issue of Time magazine as Person of the Year?

Many similar-minded protesters now encircling the St. Paul-Minneapolis twin cities area to oppose eight years of GOP-fascist policies are suffering such fates.

Rowley's former employer George W. Bush decided it wasn't in his best interest to be in town when the sun goes down Labor Day evening to make a scheduled appearance with so many anti-fascism dissidents about.

Or perhaps Bush opted out after being told this year's GOP McCain-Palin White House ticket each were on record saying they believed American troops to be in Iraq to capture the country's oil.

In a front page Labor Day story, the Washington Post reported that "Republican officials" were paring downing an originally scheduled seven-hour opening-evening program to a "bare-bones session" of two hours, which includes axing speeches by Bush and Cheney.

(Just how "bare-bones" can the Greedy Old Party restrict their convention yahooing as Hurricane Gustav shows early signs of reprising Katrina's wreckage on New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast?)

According to the Post, it was the White House--and not McCain campaign staffers, as suggested higher up in the column--who made the last-minute changes in the convention's opening-night agenda.

The White House canceled Monday night's convention speeches by Bush and Vice President Cheney and said the president would be flying to Texas to meet with evacuees and first responders. Bush, who was widely criticized for his initial response to Katrina, visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency's operations center to receive his own hurricane briefing even before Gustav made landfall.

And even further down the first page, Bush suggests it was his idea to nix his appearance at the convention. Why? "... because I do not want my visit to impede in any way the response of our emergency personnel." He said he spoke with governors and New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin (D) over the weekend "to make sure that they're getting everything they need from the federal government to prepare for what all anticipate will be a difficult situation."

Right, George. Do rest very assured that America's buregoning poor believe this lame explanation, even though your administration has gutted all institutionalized recources for them to challenge anything you say or do.

If only we realized during your 2000 presidential run you were serious about becoming "dicatator."

Dissident Reports from Minneapolisis

Earlier today, a UC-Berkeley grad who now makes music in Southern Appalachia's Blue Ridge Mountains emailed me a preliminary ground report from some frontline dissidents taking it on the chin from police in Minneapolisis.

There's contact information for KFAI Civic Radio below, should you care to update this information. Collen Rowley's involvement is red-highlighted.

I've done only minor editing to the following reports:

I have NEVER done this before, but it makes me so incredibly sad. Be careful out there.

Just a note with a few links to illustrate the state of affairs in our beautiful cities this weekend, after being invaded by an onslaught of police and military from miles away. Even in south minneapolis, 10 miles from the green zone that has been prepared for the republican party's convention in St. Paul, there are helicopters overhead and police cars and vans from other cities slowly circling our blocks. Houses have been raided, their owners handcuffed in their own back yards, their computers confiscated.

This afternoon, Liz witnessed a swat team of heavily armed police/ soldiers pull over a van full of young people, on Lake Street in Minneapolis, near the Global Market, apparently for committing the crime of being young and driving through St. Paul with Texas license plates. The swat team approached the van with assault weapons pointed at the terrified passengers, who were ordered to come out with their hands up and to walk backwards on the street while being herded into a group and hancuffed. A woman who was with Liz began taking pictures, which prompted one of the policemen to point his assault weapon at her, and tell her she was too close. Here is a version of the story from twin cities indymedia:

"A van full of activists from Texas was pulled over on Lake st. and 11th ave. in Minneapolis by police with drawn shotguns on Saturday afternoon. Police ordered them out of the van at gunpoint, where they were handcuffed and searched on the busy sidewalk across the street from a dollar store, said Estaban, one of the detained activists. They didn't search the van. They were released after between 15 to 20 minutes, an observer said. The activists had been followed all the way from St. Paul by two unmarked cars, allegedly from the Ramsey County Sheriffs Department, they were also assisted by Minneapolis police, Esteban said. Also present were transit police and K9 units. Esteban said the police didn't give a reason for the stop, or for their tactics of drawn guns. A policeman at the scene said the detainment was due to "bad information."

Later this afternoon, our friend Mike Whalen was handcuffed in his own back yard for a few hours, for the crime of offering his home to a Democracy Now journalist who was covering the convention and needed accommodation.

Here's a few links about that:

And the convention hasn't even started yet! I'm sure any of you currently in St. Paul or Minneapolis have your own stories, I thought it would be helpful to circulate these, as a small attempt to help publicize how these gobscheits have been behaving this weekend. And it is all just a glimpse into what many folks around this country and around the world have to deal with 24/7 from the neanderthals and their lethal toys.

Two questions that have plagued me for years:

Is there no end to the numbers of people who take great pleasure in beating the shit out of other people?

Why does it take 4 years, billions and billions of dollars, and two pointless, grotesque coronations guarded by jackbooted armies to elect a f**king president?

{A]s Andy Irvine sings (Marcus Turner's words):

"You may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention

You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade."

The Boys are definitely on Parade…


Minneapololis Frontline Activism...from the Radio Newsroom

Here's a forwarded letter from Andy Driscoll of KFAI radio with some further info:

------ Forwarded Message
From: Andy Driscoll
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 19:09:42 -0500
Hauling away protesters in advance.

I've just returned from taping an RNC Welcoming Committee news conference outside the same old West Side St. Paul building Fletcher's boys raided last night, kicking in doors, weapons drawn, forcing everyone - including children – facedown to the floor where they were handcuffed with large, sharp-edged, plastic straps,searched, then released, one-by-one. Officers confiscated several computers, maps, programs and some money according to Lisa Fithian, who conducted the news conference. More on the news conference itself later, but...

Several teams of sheriff's deputies and other police have raided three or four private residences in Minneapolis and stopped several bicycle riders at gunpoint around both towns, arresting and jailing several of them on "conspiracy" charges, mostly young men and women connected to the protest community.

Defense attorneys say these cross-jurisdictional raids are authorized and coordinated by Homeland Security and encompass all police and sheriffs' departments, the FBI and the Secret Service. The St. Paul Police were supposed to be "in charge" of any security outside the Secret Service "red zone" around the Xcel Center, but it's quite clear every police department in the Metro is under the coordination and direction of a larger entity.

Gena Berglund, a National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorney coordinating legal observers and recorders calls this Homeland Security operation the Fusion Center, a likely name for granting law enforcement powers across all jurisdictions.

Fithian insisted that, in her 35 years of working in dozens of local and regional venues "for radical change in this country," she had never seen anything the likes of which is occurring this weekend across the Cities.

Apparently, twelve to fifteen people have been detained without charges filed and they can be held for up to 36 hours - not counting weekends and holidays - meaning that they could be held through Tuesday unless their release is forced by a court, according to NLG lawyer Jordan Kushner, who spoke at the news conference.

Among the other speakers were:

Michael McPhearson of US Veterans for Peace, which is holding its annual convention in a Bloomington hotel/motel. Police officers from several jurisdictions appeared at that gathering as well, claiming to be scouting the facility for a their own use when, in fact, the VFP group had reserved the entire space for the same period of time.

McPhearson was certain this was little more than police intimidation in much the same manner as he and his fellow soldiers used their uniforms and weaponry as intimidation of Iraq and Kuwaiti civilians during the Gulf War I and the current Iraq War.

Dave Bicking, Green Party activist and father of one of the arrested people in this morning's Minneapolis raids, Monica Bicking.

Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent and whistleblower and organizer of next Thursday's Peace Island Picnic.

Ann Wright, former US Army colonel who said she has served in nearly every US-led military theater from Grenada to Iraq and has never seen such an operation as this weekend's preemptory police actions.

All the speakers spoke of the profound curtailment of civil, human and Constitutional rights the police raids represent, and that every citizen's right to dissent and petition their government is being illegally quashed.

What came quite clear to me is that law enforcement must knowingly be provoking the violence they warned city officials about in advance of the protest marches to come Monday and Tuesday mornings by the anti-war and anti-poverty group sponsors. What may be aimed at preconvention intimidation and preemptory arrests of protest leaders to quell protesters' announced intentions to disrupt the convention has only fired up the very people police expected to put down.

A cynic might wonder if this is all leading up to justification for a brutal confrontation between well-armed and armored police officers and unarmed and generally harmless marchers and dissenters.

Where the two major city mayors, the city councils and county boards are throughout this extraordinary breach of Constitutional rights is a matter for citizens to challenge - and the disgrace this is bringing to the otherwise reasonable Twin Cities and Minnesota cultural heritage is beyond understanding.

It would seem that, with little resistance, the elected officials of our cities have given governance over to a police state, however temporary, and to the paranoia that accompanies such an inbred culture as law enforcement, itself undeterred by the rule of law in keeping the peace and protecting the Constitution.

The ripple effect in this community will last for years beyond the coming week - and the political and personal lives of citizens and our representatives will have taken a severe turn for the worse. Was it worth all of this grief for the money you all insisted was coming to our fair city's and business coffers to sully the very climate that made us so attractive in the first place?

I think not.

Andy Driscoll, Producer/Host Lynnell Mickelsen, Co-host Truth to Tell & CivicMedia/ Minnesota KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul/ Streamed@; 651- 293-9039 / Fax: (same, call ahead) / Cell: 651-492-2221 email:



TRUTH TO TELL meets the Republicans coming to St. Paul’s Xcel, talks with the groups protesting them, and watching the cops confronting everyone. Listen as TTT and KFAI present special coverage of the events inside and outside the convention arena. Our “reporters” from all walks will provide stories and interviews from marches, counter-conferences, rallies and insiders throughout the week.


* MONDAY, Sept 1- PM Hourly: News and field reports on the anti-war March Against the RNC and others

* TUESDAY, Sept 2 – PM Hourly: News and field reports on the Poor People’s march, Peace Island conference

* WEDNESDAY, Sept 3 – 11AM: TRUTH TO TELL – Live from the Convention Center. GUESTS: TBD; News

* THURSDAY: Sept 4 – 6-10PM: LIVE COVERAGE – Discussion and Analysis from KFAI and Xcel

KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / A CivicMedia/Minnesota production Podcasts are available for all Truth to Tell shows:

From: Pam Ellison Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:36:07 -0500

Andy et al:

We are now living in "Minority Report" the movie Tom Cruise made a few years ago where they arrest people on suspicion they will commit a crime.
I agree wholeheartedly with you Andy, this IS OUTRAGEOUS!! What REAL proof do we have that these people were a threat? Why is the Sheriff of Ramsey County acting in this way in the City of St. Paul? Did Chief Harrington the Sheriff's assistance? Where is the line between City and County law enforcement? Who do we know that does not have paint in their home or gasoline for their lawnmower, or a jar of pickles? Does this mean we are all potential threats? So if we protest do we need to dispose of all potential tools, containers, paint, fertilizer, rags, ........?

More and more people tell me of instances where law enforcement is out of control, this proves it in black and white. Our country and specifically Minnesota in this case is out of control when these supposed criminal searches are sanctioned by those in power.

State Fair goers that I talked with at the Minnesota Independence Party booth had several chilling tales from all over the state of Minnesota of so-called sanctioned, over-zealous actions enacted with chilling effects by law enforcement, no doubt sanctioned and enshrined in the Patriot Act. Many more people contact me on a regular basis and state stories that are similar.

I personally am one of those "crazy people" that would rather take the risk of dying at the hands of an unknown terrorist than lose my freedom and be detained, molested and tortured by my own country's legal system that can heavy-handedly arrest, detain, molest and trample me and my just and thoughtful constitutional rights. I will take Freedom over Terror of the political kind any day of the week.

What you read in today's paper is just the tip of the iceberg.

SEND A STRONG MESSAGE to elected officials NOW by exercising your VOTE accordingly. We need Criminal Justice and Judicial Reform now! How much power does the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office have? The question begs an answer, and certainly after the actions of last night and today, the question probably is even more poignant.

Lets wake up people!!!! At some point we will all find ourselves at the mercy of Sheriff Fletcher or someone else like him if we don't stand on the constitutional standards that built this great nation. Your rights and mine of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and right to privacy are trampled on every time an action of this nature is taken. These tenets of the constitutional supercede partisan issues, they supercede ethnic issues, the SHOULD supercede ALL issues where justice is concerned.

I would hereby call that all the fine citizens of Ramsey County petition the Ramsey County Commission to change the office of Sheriff to an appointed position, rather than an elected one. We need the office of Sheriff to respect the freedom of speech and rights of our citizens to protest within reasons. If the position were appointed, those acting as Sheriff can be fired rather than waiting for an asleep electorate to wake up to these types of actions chronicled in the morning paper, in time to elect the person out!

These detainments and arrests were clearly out of line when those detained and arrested were freed within two hours of their detainments.

This is not the direction we need to go in our state or nation.

I would encourage the media to track anyone who has made a dissenting opinions about this matter, to make certain they are not arrested or disappear for their dissent, and widely report it if they are!!!

Because quite frankly, we ARE at that point in Minnesota and across the nation. Amnesty International stated in a recent mailing to me that they have identified over 50,000 people in American jails that remain imprisoned and tortured without cause. This is our America!!!!! Are you willing to take a stand against these actions or will you ignore it until you are in prison?

Pamela I. Ellison

"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." -- Edward Dowling, Editor and Priest, Chicago Daily News, 28 July, 1941

Related: Minnesota State Police Tow Sustainable Living Bus

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