Sunday, September 07, 2008

The New Chicago Eight

..."The RNC Eight" Charged as Terrorists

A disturbing story from Information Clearing House explains why the RNC was held in Minnesota, and why the police there acted as if war had been declared on America's population.
In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence.
WHAT?!? Minnesota has its own version of the constitutionally dubious USA PATRIOT Act? What folly is this? It does explain how and why the modern-day version of the 1968 'police riots' at the DNC in Chicago occurred in Minnesota. The sonsabitches want to establish a test case that equates protest, dissent, or simply thinking for yourself as TERRORISM.

They also want to send a message to legitimate political dissidents - STFU!! It's like Bill O'Reilly became the the head of DHS or something (shudder at the thought.) This is the government trying to cut off everyone's microphone at once.

I've already made my comparisons of the violence in 2008 with that in Chicago in 1968 in my recent post Police State 101 - but this development brings them into high relief. This is a nakedly aggressive crackdown designed to suppress people's constitutionally protected rights of assembly and expression. If you still want more background on the DNC riots of 1968, or the Chicago Eight (Later Chicago Seven) trials, consult Wikipedia. There's also a good article here at History and Education blog.

The evidence that the authorities are relying on in these cases seems to be paper-thin, and one wonders if they intend to use the dubious 'rules of evidence' established for the Guantanamo Bay military 'trials' as a precedent. None of this passes either the laugh test or the smell test.
The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. The complaints list all of alleged violations of law during the last few days of the RNC — other than violations of human rights carried out by law enforcement — and seeks to hold the 8 defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals. None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Searches conducted in connection with the raids failed to turn up any physical evidence to support the allegations of organized attacks on law enforcement. Although claiming probable cause to believe that gunpowder, acids, and assembled incendiary devices would be found, no such items were seized by police. As a result, police sought to claim that the seizure of common household items such as glass bottles, charcoal lighter, nails, a rusty machete, and two hatchets, supported the allegations of the confidential informants.
One has to assume that TPTB (the powers that be) really don't care about getting convictions in these cases. It will suffice for them if a pall of fear is cast over any act of political independence, and even if it doesn't they've got at least eight people who might question their 'patriotic' motives locked up at least until after the elections are over.

Anyone with two functioning synapses could have seen this coming from a long way off. The USA PATRIOT Act and its successors clearly were written in such a way that they sound like they are directed against foreign terrorists, but conveniently can be applied against domestic political opponents and critics of the government. "We'll try these draconian methods out on brown people for a while at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. If we get away with that we're clear to bring them home to Peoria, Bakersfield, Des Moines and St. Paul Minnesota." That's how I perceive their thinking.

What worries me the most about this is not what the government is doing, but what I fear the Lamestream Media won't do - report this as a major story, which it surely is. It's after all an indication of a fundamental shift in society, the breaking of a covenant between the government and the people that has endured since the American Revolution. And ultimately I fear that the American people themselves won't respond with the energy required to put a stop to this, and turn back the judicial clock to a time when fairness mattered.

A little voice in the corner of my mind asks, "is it fascism yet?" I don’t know, but as a rule I’d say that if you can actually smell the polish on the stormtrooper’s boot, it’s probably too close to your neck.
UPDATE: Firedoglake has this post, with the video below about how Americans were tortured Guantanamo style after being arrested in Minnesota.
The shocking thing is that it would be very unusual for any of these thugs cops to face discipline over these various crimes of assault and failure to recognize the rights of their fellow citizens.

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