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Why We Were Falsely Arrested

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Posted on Sep 3, 2008

By Amy Goodman

  ST. PAUL, Minn.—Government crackdowns on journalists are a true threat to democracy. As the Republican National Convention meets in St. Paul, Minn., this week, police are systematically targeting journalists. I was arrested with my two colleagues, “Democracy Now!” producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, while reporting on the first day of the RNC. I have been wrongly charged with a misdemeanor. My co-workers, who were simply reporting, may be charged with felony riot.

  The Democratic and Republican national conventions have become very expensive and protracted acts of political theater, essentially four-day-long advertisements for the major presidential candidates. Outside the fences, they have become major gatherings for grass-roots movements—for people to come, amidst the banners, bunting, flags and confetti, to express the rights enumerated in the Constitution’s First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  Behind all the patriotic hyperbole that accompanies the conventions, and the thousands of journalists and media workers who arrive to cover the staged events, there are serious violations of the basic right of freedom of the press. Here on the streets of St. Paul, the press is free to report on the official proceedings of the RNC, but not to report on the police violence and mass arrests directed at those who have come to petition their government, to protest.

  It was Labor Day, and there was an anti-war march, with a huge turnout, with local families, students, veterans and people from around the country gathered to oppose the war. The protesters greatly outnumbered the Republican delegates.

  There was a positive, festive feeling, coupled with a growing anxiety about the course that Hurricane Gustav was taking, and whether New Orleans would be devastated anew. Later in the day, there was a splinter march. The police—clad in full body armor, with helmets, face shields, batons and canisters of pepper spray—charged. They forced marchers, onlookers and working journalists into a nearby parking lot, then surrounded the people and began handcuffing them.

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  Nicole was videotaping. Her tape of her own violent arrest is chilling. Police in riot gear charged her, yelling, “Get down on your face.” You hear her voice, clearly and repeatedly announcing “Press! Press! Where are we supposed to go?” She was trapped between parked cars. The camera drops to the pavement amidst Nicole’s screams of pain. Her face was smashed into the pavement, and she was bleeding from the nose, with the heavy officer with a boot or knee on her back. Another officer was pulling on her leg. Sharif was thrown up against the wall and kicked in the chest, and he was bleeding from his arm.

  I was at the Xcel Center on the convention floor, interviewing delegates. I had just made it to the Minnesota delegation when I got a call on my cell phone with news that Sharif and Nicole were being bloody arrested, in every sense. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films and I raced on foot to the scene. Out of breath, we arrived at the parking lot. I went up to the line of riot police and asked to speak to a commanding officer, saying that they had arrested accredited journalists.

  Within seconds, they grabbed me, pulled me behind the police line and forcibly twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me, the rigid plastic cuffs digging into my wrists. I saw Sharif, his arm bloody, his credentials hanging from his neck. I repeated we were accredited journalists, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck. I was taken to the St. Paul police garage where cages were set up for protesters. I was charged with obstruction of a peace officer. Nicole and Sharif were taken to jail, facing riot charges.

  The attack on and arrest of me and the “Democracy Now!” producers was not an isolated event. A video group called I-Witness Video was raided two days earlier. Another video documentary group, the Glass Bead Collective, was detained, with its computers and video cameras confiscated. On Wednesday, I-Witness Video was again raided, forced out of its office location. When I asked St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington how reporters are to operate in this atmosphere, he suggested, “By embedding reporters in our mobile field force.”

  On Monday night, hours after we were arrested, after much public outcry, Nicole, Sharif and I were released. That was our Labor Day. It’s all in a day’s work.

  Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America.

  © 2008 Amy Goodman

  Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 4, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi: Depends on who you think a “prominent liberal “ is—or, I guess, who you think is “correct” ot who you agree with. ...

I’m saying I don’t know of a prominent liberal—someone in the news or the history books who is customarily described as a liberal—who has advocated interfering with private ownership of the means of production.  Since that is the dominant economic model of our times, I have to assume they have noticed it and come to some conclusion about it—one of acceptance or even enthusiasm. If you know of someone, by all means let me know.  However, I think you’ll find that someone who wants to discourage or prohibit private ownership of the means of production (that is, capitalism) is usually called a socialist or a communist, not a liberal.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Arent you going to correct everyone’s spelling and grammer? Why would Ms. Goodman think she “needed to seek assistance”, before she saw for herself what was going on? There is a newer thread, if you wish to addres Amy—I realy doubt whether she is going to sit her and read your posts.                      Has anyone mentioned to you that the neo-con (vict) “revolution” is over? Well, you guys lost. Yeah, the Am people hate you guys.We do have opne thing to thank yo guys for—openieng the eys of so many citizens, throughout these 8 yrs. as to how bad it can get if we take our civil liberties for granted. The Hell we are living in now (most of the country) is a direct result of these neo-cons’ policies: Proj. for New Am.Century , Friedmanesque capitalism (although, off a bit, as Friedman would never have advocated subsidizing the rich guys thee way you guys like to)and teh constant, overblown, flag waving , so-called “capitalism”. As Lewis put it, “When fascism comes to Am. it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.” You gonna be the color-bearer?
+

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By Austin Duggan, September 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What does Amy mean by a “Splinter March?”

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By Chris Horton, September 4, 2008 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were violently manhandled and arrested in St.Paul while covering the events around the RNC.  Goodman was charged with a misdemeanor, which charge has not been dropped, and the two producers may be charged with felonies.  (See truthdig.com 9/4/08). 

A search on “Goodman arrest” in Yahoo News produced 400 hits; but when the search was restricted to the national TV and radio networks, the largest ISP news services and the national newspapers it returned no hits!  Zero! None!  Outrageous and hard to believe as it may be, the media barons may be cooperating in an effort to imprison and silence America’s most prominent progressive news director - by maintaining absolute silence about it!

I urge you all to pass this news on to all of your contacts!  Then, post it to newspaper website comment sections, write to your papers and representatives, and call your local editors and news directors and any journalists you know, to demand that they cover this story!

........................

Update: After 3 1/2 months, the House and Senate resolutions (including HCR 362) that effectively demand a war on Iran are still sitting in committee, with over half the House members and 48 Senators as co-sponsors, presumably waiting for some real or concocted crisis to shake them loose.  The corporate media is still maintaining absolute silence on this story.  A search on “362 Iran” of the networks and national newspapers for the past month turned up two false hits, one of which was a telephone number!  (If anything is needed to illustrate why we need to defend Democracy Now, this should do it!)

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By yours trulyj, September 4, 2008 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Agent Provacateurs + Infiltrators + Informants Are Gestapo/KGB Tactics

“Whose interests do such tactics serve?”

“A totalitarian America.”

“Based on?”

“What’s happening to war resisters and other dessenters right now in Minneapolis/St. Paul.”

“Will the police/FBI/Secret Service get away with it?”

“Depends.”

“On what”

“Whether or not we value freedom and democracy.”

“If we do?”

“We see to it that Gestapo/KGB tactics are never used on us again.”

“If we don’t?”

“The abyss.”

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By rowman, September 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Amy,
The videos I have seen paint a slightly different version of events.

The “festive” activities you refer to show several people out of control, destroying property and attacking an officer that is not in protective gear. Many in the press referred to these videoed events as a riot.

In any event, the police were on guard for those who had planned to infringe on the free speech of the delegates. When the “riots” broke out, they activated crowd control so as to reinstate order that was clearly lost. Unfortunately, two of your reporters were in the middle of this.

Do you think that the “protesters” who posted plans on the internet to cause this mêlée and obtain “false press credentials”, played any role in your reporters being caught up in this?

Secondly, you tell us that you were in the convention center when you were informed of the arrests. Why did you not seek assistance from someone there? Surely there was someone of authority and influence that could have assisted you. I ask because I am confused as to why you would take this issue to the lowest ranking individuals who were trying to restore order amid the chaos and interfere.

Which brings me to my third question. Standing protocol during a riot is to establish a secure perimeter and this is very clear in the video of your arrest. No press pass gives you any authority to enter any area of your choosing especially given the safety concerns being dealt with. You entered this perimeter and were instructed several times to back out. You resisted their efforts to help you leave and you were arrested. Why didn’t you back up behind the line when you were asked first and then instructed?

It seems to me that you were not acting in a reporters capacity at the time of your arrest, you disregarded a lawful order and were further inciting the situation. Your arrest appears to be deserved and there is no evidence to support your claim that the police targeted you. You sought them.

References:
Crash the Convention 2008 http://www.nornc.org/2007/09/30/crash-the-convention-2 008-call-to-action/
Obtaining press passes, attacking the transportation system etc. http://www.nornc.org/156/
Attack coordinators http://www.unconventionalaction.org/
Police officer being attacked http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-73510

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By D. Pendelton, September 4, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The advise by KISS is not only practial but realistic.  With out a heavyweight lawyer in your corner you are just spitting into the wind.

The more exposure of the police tactics that can get passed around, AND followed by a Federal Law suit the better you will be taken for a serious journalist by future events. ( and less harassment also)

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Did people get that latest email from Dem Now!? Gawd, it looks like we will have our first US citizen (un)Patriot Act felony convictions, if womsone cannot stop it. This is so fricking ridiculous. GAWD, I hate Dubya!!!!!!! I guess I’ll go contact al these Govetrnors, etc. , what good it will do…if you dont get the emaisl check th eDemocracy Now website. Thers “felony riot”, “terrorism”, allkinds of ctrap!! I’ll finish reading it. FUKC!

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Depends on who you think a “prominent liberal ” is—or, I guess, who you think is “correct” ot who you agree with. The prominent people are often wrong, as in evidence. I am not speaknig of property rights, exactly. (Youprob would not want my views on that) I was speaknig more of a “common wealth” , where there wasnt so much private ownership (aka Friedman) that you couldnt leave the house without spending money> That is about where we are today, with neo-cons advocating charging for admission to parks (they already do here in OHio), letting oil cos, people on snowmobiles, hunters to ruin our parks , that we pay for. And, I believe leaving life or death endeavors like health care, war, public works, etc, all to private enterprise. The “putting shareholdrs first” of capitalism makes it certain that life and limb wil not tbe the primary concerns. If you want “competition” for say, “designer shoes”—have at it. For matters o flife and death—it is immoral.

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By samosamo, September 4, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

By KDelphi, September 4 at 8:46 am

Yep, neoliberalism is not captialism. Capitalism probably works just fine but that is not the objective here. What is most important is the grand plan of grand theft and that is what miltie fuckman came up with, grand theft and the re-creation of the feudal system of the rich and the poor.
And the biggest wrench in the gears is the human factor. Just take the 7 deadly sins and you have the reasons why a decent, fair and good life is becoming more and more impossible for the many considering the human population explosion that combined with the 7 deadly sins, the economic, political and religious systems which cannot cope with massive issues of everybody trying to make a living at the least. With 6.7 billion people there is not much chance with the environmental degradation that is increasing at ever faster paces for an equatible world, at all.
So, you have the current ‘elites’ schemming and planning for their futures in their fancy little exclusive clubs such as the bilderberg group, council of foreign relations and the trilaterial commission(there are others)discussing things like miltie fuckman’s unfettered market economics which just ensures the ‘elites’ of their wealth and screws the rest and they have even had discussions on how to depopulate the human race.
One thing is for sure, no open discussions on long term planning of controlling the human population will continue the misery in this world.

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By Anarcissie, September 4, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

KDelphi: ’.... Capitalism is NOT “liberalism”—the twain should never meet! I believe that you are thinking of hte Chicago School NEO-LIBERAKLS….’

I’m thinking of John Locke, who enunciated the cardinal principles of liberalism as life, liberty and property, and of his numerous intellectual progeny.  I don’t know of a single prominent liberal who has ever seriously advocated interfering with the private ownership of the means of production, which was the definition of capitalism last time I looked.

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By Folktruther, September 4, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

I regret that Rwody’s comment was erased. The tenor was that he was old and going to die and wanted the whole human race to die with him.  So he was in favor of nuclear holocaust.

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By Folktruther, September 4, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

I wonder, Rowdy, how many political leaders feel the same way you do.  Should this be a common feeling abmong the powerful, who are often old, this would explain a lot.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Capitalism is NOT “liberalism”—the twain should never meet! I believe that you are thinking of hte Chicago School NEO-LIBERAKLS that dessimated so much of South America, in their quest to advance Friedman’s “perfect capitalist societies”. The US power structure, being terrified of the “pink revolutions” happening there, began to solicit student to attend the Chicago School to learn to prech COMPLETE free market values—they resulted in disasters, as they always do, but, most especially , in countries where poverty is rampant—and, if it isnt, they wil make it so. When that fialed they tried/are stil trying force, throught the use of mercenaries, trained at the School of the Am. and, now, prob. Blackwater compounds. They tried to assassinate Chavez many times—which is why we have such poor realtions with Venezuela, and , possibly (in addition to perm war and the complete free rein given big oil cos.) one reason oil prices are so astronomical.We need to move away from oil completely, but, “clean” coal (ever lived in a coal heatd house??) is certainly not the answer.

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By Anarcissie, September 4, 2008 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher: ’... It’s not true at all that the Left is basically opposed to power. The Left is trying to kick out the Right and TAKE power. Without power you can’t have any sort of society at all. The question is how it is used, whether abusively or for the benefit of the people. That’s what democracy is all about. As an anarchist, you don’t understand that.’

Of course, I’m describing my particular view of things.  In that view, the central themes of the Left are peace, freedom and equality.  I don’t think there is any objective reason why moderately intelligent beings can’t organize themselves without exerting power (coercion) over one another.  (It is true that this may be impossible for humans because, like some other primates, they are naturally too aggressive and violent (and perhaps slavish) to live in peace with one another.  But we don’t know that and we must hope otherwise.)

Indeed, some nominally leftist activists and parties have thought just a little more coercion, or maybe a lot more coercion, would do the trick, after which good times would begin.  This seems to have been the theory of such as Lenin and Stalin.  Whatever their ultimate goals, I don’t think their actual track record was very good.

Sometimes liberals, classical and modern, are assigned to the Left.  (I don’t agree with this analysis but I’ll go with it for the sake of the argument.)  It can be argued that liberalism has been a big success.  Its economic system, capitalism, has probably been the most revolutionary social force ever unleashed on the world, at least since the invention of slavery.  But when I look at history, I see liberal republics constantly being drawn into the same war, imperialism and repression which they are supposed to be proof against.  The recent histories of the U.S., Great Britain, France, and so on are cases in point.

If it were not for the constant advances in the technologies of war, destruction, repression and surveillance, maybe we could wait and see if liberalism - capitalism could evolve into something better by its own logic and internal processes.  But it seems unlikely to me that we (the human race) are going to be given the time.  So I favor different strategies.

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By Paracelsus, September 4, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

@Tony Wicher

“There are genuine infantile leftist crazies too, some of whom post here.”

Please don’t be infantile, you crazies.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

I heard it was Blackwater , or, some other mercinary group—cant seem to ifnd out the truth on this one.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2008 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

I dont WANT a frickin’ “democracy”—can I get $$ to be deported? They spend so much on everything else. Seriously, there is NO reason why power has to be so concentrated, evn in a capitalist society (a “democray”? Really?)The parliamentary system distribrutes power much more evenly and allows for many parties. This would break up the 50/50 (half the pop. unhappy every 4 yrs.) power oligarchy, which, to run campaigns , necessarily emdears our politicians to corp. We are NOT going to get anyone not enraptured of corporatism (and the free mkt—its NOT free—unless your are rich)elected in the system we currently have. There are plenty of voices calling for a big change (maybe a constitutional convention?? Hell, even PDA oare calling for impeachment hearings now!), but he big media (who benefits from the system, with appointees to the FCC)) and bloody capitalists , who are still comfortable, always predict disasgrous results if we dont tow one party’s line.(They usuaslly neglect o tell us what great things wil happen if we DO—and continue to—because they wont happens) Some of us feel we are in disaster, RIGHT NOW and that calling for half measures wil only prolong the agony. I dont have a right to make a decison for anyone else’s life, and I know many are at astake, That is why I waver back and forth, under the false illusion that my single , prob uncounted , vote , here in Oh-hell-hole (OHIIO) makes any f-ing diff,.

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By Tony Wicher, September 4, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

By mrogi, September 4 at 1:33 am #


I love Amy Goodman but she has got to get a grip. How can a bright woman like Amy think she has the right to confront police officers in a Q&A;session when they are busy working to quell a potential riot? Protester were infiltrated by a group of violent crazies hellbent on destruction.
——————————————————————————
If there were such “crazies”  it is most likely that they were police provacateurs. There are genuine infantile leftist crazies too, some of whom post here. Objectively, there’s no difference between them and provacateurs.

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By samosamo, September 4, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Actually amy, the independent non-conservative jounalists are being targeted. This is the nonverbal way of letting the ‘other side’ know that they are on the endangered list. And probably a provocation to increase the protestations so maybe even some good ole martial law can be instituted, why else the blantant show of the NATIONAL GUARD at the rnc. And the perfect timing for w & dick to play the directive 51 card or whatever that dictator card number it is. One of the worst things to do is actually demonstrate at the rnc because it damn sure gives them the so called right to claim that they are being ‘unjustly’ attacked.
Or maybe it is a good thing the national guard is out there and not BLACKWATER. There is too much probability for most of this - the demontrations, the arrests, the overt display of force - for this not to be neocon ploys to provoke some event that will lead to some very 3rd world banana republic reactions.
Times like these are very pivotal; like the shock doctrine and the changes that could quickly be put in place to ‘protect’ our country from ourselves.

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By Folktruther, September 4, 2008 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

The police attack on suspected protesters was planned at the federal level, as a truthpiece at Global Exchange pointed out, since the FBI was involved in the initial planning. 

As Anarcissie suspected, it appears that they targeted jounalists, since when one showed her credentials around her neck, it was torn off by the cop confronting her and she was manhandled.

The most significant aspect of the attack was the press conference afterward, when the mayor of St. Paul posed with the police chief and praised the “restraint” of the police.  This after the manhandling of journalists and suspected protesters was already known.

What was significant about it was that the mayor of St Paul, Chris Coleman, is a DEMOCRAT. The prevention of protest against the Republican Convention by police state methods, was not a Republican, but an up and comming Democrat who is widely mentioned as a prospect for Governor of Minnasota.

This is significant when combined with the facts that the police in riot gear that hassled protesters at the Dem convention were mobilized by the DEMOCRATIC leaders.  And with the enormous silence on the part of the Democratic national leaders in failing to protest these highly visible police state tactics.

The Democratic party, along with the Gops, historically have endorsed police state tactics.  In 1917, under Wilson, the Palmer raids targeted radicals and Foreigners, illegally according to the paper laws, in a systematic sweep of those against world war 1.

During the second world war, Roosevelt, by decree, imprisioned in concentration camps all citizens and Foreigners of Japanese descent.

At the end of WW2, Truman iniated Loyalty Oaths, and began the process, led by Hoover’s FBI, of firing suspected radicals in the films, government, universities, press and other truth industries.

Under Johnson, during the Vietnam War, operation Cointelpro targeted manority militants who were imprisoned, tortured and murdered for organizing against the war.  Many are still in prison on trumpeed up charges. 

This was all done while Dem leaders were giving really nice addresses about Freedom and Democracy.  What is proclaimed publically in politics is often different than what is done.  The proclaimed values are often dimentrically opposed to the operative values.  The proclaimed truth the inverse of the reality based truth.

The US is now in a state of Permanent War. This is used as a pretext for instituting a police state by BOTH PARTIES, made necessary by the enormous class inequality and the power inequality that it generates.

No matter who is elected next time, the war, police state and class inequality that drives them will continue.  As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, the Dem Convention did not discuss publically the enormous change in the US power system during the last eight years.  For the simple reason that the Dems are going to continue them.  War abroad and a impoverished police state at home.

Therefore it is necessary to develop a political movement that opposes the leaders of BOTH PARTIES.  This does not mean that one can’t use the Dem party for tactic reasons or even vote for Omamba under certain circumstances.  But it must be done without illusions.  The Dems have been complicit enablers of the Gops.

The US power system is now effectively a new form of police state, a Democratic police state where liberal institutions, such as Congress and the legal system function, are perverted and shorn of people power. It is therefore necessary to mobilize the Amerian population against the the Amereican power system.  This cannot be done within the Dem party.

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By Paracelsus, September 4, 2008 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

When the police act like criminals, is it only a matter of time before people treat them like criminals? I would really like to see police read their Bill of Rights, and understand the danger they put themselves in when they violate their own Constitution. I do not wish to see peace officers hurt as it would only escalate the martial law now in effect. I do not recommend revolt against officers of the law. I do worry that those stupid enough to violate the law will put others in danger as well as themselves.

I have to wonder how long will it be before these “no knock” search and seizure warrants will result in fire fights between those who justly think they have been burgled, and those who think they will seize some pot before it is flushed down the toilet. Is it really worth your life to violate the Constitution just to pin someone down on a few grams of marijuana?

Additionally it is normal human instinct to defend someone helpless and overwhelmed by a bully boy force of gangsters. When police beat up on say a small woman at a protest exercising her right to speech, they won’t be seen as police, they’ll be seen as the bad guys. Someone might take in his mind that he needs to use deadly force against the gang in blue or black to save that woman’s life. It seems that cops are looking to provoke such a response.

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By alwaysshariff, September 4, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Can I be a patriot of my mother country if I go against the will of the government in existance? Do I become a terrorist, just because I study the way and attitude of the terrorist? If yes in both counts, do you think that this violates the human rights of my life in my own country?

I felt the reality in US when I saw your producers and your, arrests. We in UK do not have that extreme yet, but as the financial problems increase , there will be local riots and minority-bashing in the very near future.

http://alwaysshariff.blogspot.com/2008/09/democracy-now.html

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By Tony Wicher, September 4, 2008 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 4 at 4:23 am #


cyrena: ‘… Ya know, this of course sounds completely horrific to Amy and most other purists. HOWEVER, *this* is what I keep talking about, that today’s activists don’t understand. The *real* radicals have EMBEDDED themselves in our government, in order to highjack it, and us at the same time. How do we expect to accomplish anything unless we can get ourselves ‘embedded’ into their operations? ....


The problem with this strategy is that the Left is basically opposed to power, authority, control and manipulation, whereas the neo- and other cons are not.  So leftists, if they are real leftists, are not going to be very good at soldiering for the authoritarian state.
——————————————————————————
Anarcisse,
It’s not true at all that the Left is basically opposed to power. The Left is trying to kick out the Right and TAKE power. Without power you can’t have any sort of society at all. The question is how it is used, whether abusively or for the benefit of the people. That’s what democracy is all about. As an anarchist, you don’t understand that.

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By mike112769, September 4, 2008 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Mrogi: Just because this is a post 9-11 world does not mean riot police, or any other kind, should have that much authority over us. “Follow instructions and you won’t get arrested.” What kind of crap is that? This country was founded by people who questioned the established authority. Are you suggesting that we now, in the most important era of our country’s life, turn our backs on the very principles which founed this country? Why? I for one am NOT willing to let thugs like this remain in power. We are at a critical stage of our country’s growth. Will we remain a “democracy” or will we, like most older nations, try our hand at totalatarianism? It is up to the People, NOT the government, to decide this issue. If it IS true that the cops were following orders, they should remember that that defence didn’t work at Nuremberg. Some orders are meant to be disobeyed.

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By TS Gordon, September 4, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Classic Amy, functionally she’s only an apologist for the fascists. The entire tone of this piece is, as usual, patronizing, but we can at least be glad that Amy was there to explain WHY we need put up with the real creeps who designed the fencing to form a box-canyon to entrap these filthy dissenters. ..Bush IS God, and Israel is our Capitol don’t you get it?

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By linda selvia, September 4, 2008 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real point here is that “dissent is patriotic”
according to Jefferson. When we become afraid to speak out about our governments activities and are silenced, then we have tyranny of the government over its people.
Infiltrating might sound great but how do people with liberal written all over them pass the “Bushie” security test? We are not one of them, we believe in freedom of the press.
I hope Goodman’s case goes to the top of the legal system.It doesn’t need to be buried in the back pages where the American people will not see it.

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By dale Headley, September 4, 2008 at 7:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After having gutted the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the Republicans have set their sights on the First Amendment.  What does “...freedom of speech, assembly, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances” mean?  Nothing, to Republicans.

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By Daddy Burr, September 4, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why was none of this reported on CNN or MSNBC?
Also why aren’t Bush and Cheny locked awaiting trial for starting an unnessary war leading to the death of thousands, just as Milosivich was?

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By KISS, September 4, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

I am so sorry that the brutality of the police has caused harm to you and fellow journalists.
This may be the beginning of a constitutional law-suit that might make it to national headlines. It is obvious this was a planned and staged event to discredit and breach the 1st amendment. For christ sakes don’t drop the ball, you must know the best constitutional lawyers, use them. What is needed now is the message about the police brutality getting out. The big news agencies will do no such thing unless it becomes big news, and a court victory could do it.
In 1968 Mike Wallace and his broken nose was the world wide news because of his influence on CBS’s 60 minutes program..you have not that clout, with out a court victory.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 4, 2008 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

re: myrogi

For your information, Amy Goodman turned 13 in 1970. So her longing for the 1960’s that you opine, would be her longing for her life as a young girl.

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By Michael, September 4, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In Nixon’s Watergate tapes he talks about sending people to stir up trouble at peace rallies (like Kent State). You don’t think the repubs have stopped that practice do you? Not with Rove around.

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By Anarcissie, September 4, 2008 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

cyrena: ’... Ya know, this of course sounds completely horrific to Amy and most other purists. HOWEVER, *this* is what I keep talking about, that today’s activists don’t understand. The *real* radicals have EMBEDDED themselves in our government, in order to highjack it, and us at the same time. How do we expect to accomplish anything unless we can get ourselves ‘embedded’ into their operations? ....

The problem with this strategy is that the Left is basically opposed to power, authority, control and manipulation, whereas the neo- and other cons are not.  So leftists, if they are real leftists, are not going to be very good at soldiering for the authoritarian state.

It’s not just an abstract game between two competing teams.  There are real issues involved.  Right now, people are being killed, locked up, tortured, terrorized, and impoverished by authoritarian states (including the U.S.) because that’s how you keep them going.  Oppose it, as in St. Paul just now or in Chicago (or Prague) in 1968, and you’ll get your skull cracked or worse.  The purpose of the state is to institutionalize domination and subjugation; that’s what it does.  And it’s like the Mafia: you can’t join it without doing what it does.

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By mrogi, September 4, 2008 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

I get the impression Amy Goodman longs for the glory days of her youth in the 1960s when protest marches were festive events. It must have been fun screaming the word “PIG” at police officers back in those days. This is the 21st Century. This a post 9-11 America. Violent anti-establishment anarchists and their apologists no longer get sympathy from the American public. The vast overwhelming majority of Americans will not support Amy Goodman in this instance. Follow riot police instructions and you won’t get arrested.

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By Muscleboy, September 4, 2008 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

No, quite to the contrary, the police, Secret Service, FBI and Homeland Security of Minneapolis St Paul were clearly engaged in a massive effort to terrorize peaceful protesters.  There was never, not once, anything approaching a riot.  Police who are in capable of conversing calmly under any circumstances with citizens should be fired promptly.

Clearly, by all accounts, this was a massive coordinated effort to crush free speech and the press.

Amy Goodman was acting properly and legally as was everyone else.  It was the cops and Federal agents who were the terroristic criminals.

Strange thing is the big goal was to avoid what? A few broken windows?  Now Minneapolis St. Paul is left with a broken image of itself by many fine Americans.  People who gather together to protest are among the very best of us and they along with the press should be regarded with the utmost respect.

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By mrogi, September 4, 2008 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

I love Amy Goodman but she has got to get a grip. How can a bright woman like Amy think she has the right to confront police officers in a Q&A;session when they are busy working to quell a potential riot? Protester were infiltrated by a group of violent crazies hellbent on destruction. The cops were doing their jobs sorting out the mess when Amy decided to subject them to street level interrogation. Amy chose the wrong place and the wrong time. Press credentials don’t mean a damn thing in that kind of chaotic situation. When riot police tell you to move, you move. End of story.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 4, 2008 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

People on this site who seek to demean Amy Goodman, know very little about her. Her experience in East Timor years ago taught her what a fascist boot looks like.
In a world strewn with makeup checked, media-news celebrities, Amy Goodman is the stark, honorable contrast to compromised news.

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By diamond, September 4, 2008 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

Meanwhile Dick the prick Cheney is in Azerbaijan, assuring the peasants, I mean people, that America stands ready to protect them from the big bad bear. The question is, who will protect America from him and his legacy? The Republicans are thugs and always have been. Not only can they not be allowed to win the 2008 election but they have to be kept out of office as long as possible so that the damage they have done to America, its laws, its economy and its constitution can be repaired. Next time you hear Chainsaw Sarah giving a speech just remember who stands behind her: the religious fanatics and the ultra right. The same people who stood behind Bush and Cheney and the neo cons. A vote for the ‘hockey mom’ is a vote for the same people who have unleashed this violence against their own citizens. Not for the first time.

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By Dirk, September 4, 2008 at 1:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the cops were shown by I-Witness Video crews to have committed perjury by virtue of the bogus charges they’d levied during arrests of others at previous protests, they should’ve been arrested and prosecuted for the felony acts that such perjury represents.

That I know of, no law enforcement officers were arrested -or- prosecuted for such outrageous and felonious violations of the unalienable rights of others; rights which they supposedly swore an oath to uphold.

The courts, the law enforcers, and even the citizenry, have given tacit approval for the ‘gangsters in blue’ to violate the law with impunity. They personify the very real police state we’ve moved toward as a nation. They deserve neither protection, nor respect. And I, personally speaking, offer them none.

They are traitors and aggressors against the American Dream. They are nothing shy of despicable.

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By Muscleboy, September 4, 2008 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

Although I’m greatly saddened by Amy Goodman’s arrest I think there is one good aspect to it and that is the massive worldwide focus on the atrocities of the Minneapolis St. Paul police.  There was one atrocity after the other many caught on film.  They used concussion grenades that will cause some degree of permanent hearing damage and can even make your ears bleed.  There was total disregard for the special role of the press. 

Today we were treated with the presence of the St. Paul police chief John “Dark Lord” Harrington.  He basically spouted some empty headed spin that some set of ends justified any means.  He also prevented many journalists from even entering the press conference.  I really felt the actions of these policing entities to be rather more acts of terrorism designed to crush free speech utterly.

I called and talked to lots of people all over for many hours.  Minneapolis PD told me it was St. Paul PD’s fault, that MPD was just there for back-up and support but St. Paul was running the show.  As it turns the Sheriff Bob Fletcher had been advocating extreme police measures for months prior to the convention.  He participated with the FBI under the connective league of a group called the Joint Terrorism Task Force. They sought local people from Minneapolis to spy on left leaning groups, vegans, freedom loving people etc since back in May 2008. An outcropping of the Joint Terrorism Task Force is a thing called the “fusion center” copies of which are springing up around the nation.  Basically a fusion center is a building with local police, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service and even military.  In short, what we see here is quite literally a monolithic police state program.

We must be strong and fearless and brave beyond anything we have ever been before.  Now is a time to be supercharged with love of country and hate of the idiot morons that are behind this psychopathic turn of events.  In the end we will win, there is no doubt.

I do think major actions should be considered such as boycotting St. Paul; prosecution of police services for legal violations… (confiscation of press equipment such as video cameras is illegal under the Constitution and there is substantial case law to back that up. ) Also civil actions have been successful against individuals of the police services even the FBI for doing things like spying on domestic groups yielding substantial monetary penalties. Much can be done.

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By Paracelsus, September 4, 2008 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

I wish Amy had been more active about the inside job that was 9-11. She seems to think she can ignore it, and seem respectable to the MSM at CNN that she is so eager to interview with. She wanted to be an establishment left journalist, but you cannot negotiate with evil. Eventually it will come after you after it has gone after the most vilifiable targets. It’s at tyrannical machine; 9-11 is the eye that needs stabbing for this cyclops. Stab it, Amy. You have no other choice.

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By Paracelsus, September 4, 2008 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher


“To them I say: you don’t have to stand out there in the rain, miserably throwing rocks. Come on in from the cold! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Democratic party! Socialists, Communists and Anarchists welcome!”

What does the Party have to offer? Nancy Pelosi? Joe Lieberman? Rahm Immannuel? Bill Clinton? NAFTA? The Bipartican War on Terror? H-1B visas to the India Caucus? Biden asking Judge Roberts about mandatory implantable microchips? No option off the table in confronting Iran? But impeachment is off the table? What is so wonderful about the Democrats? You may say that (n-1) evil is better than (n) evil, but as that evil gets very large that n-1 difference becomes so negligible
then that one unit less evil approaches the infinitesimal. What is infinite evil minus 1 compared to
infinite evil? That is where the dialectic is leading us.

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By yours truly, September 3, 2008 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shades of what happened at the beginning of the Iraq War, when our military attacked an Aljazeera TV crew which had been filming the war from a Baghdad hotel, killing one of its reporters.  The military claimed that the bombardment of the Aljazeera office was accidental, but how strange it is that invariably these “accidents” take down real journalists, not the embedded variety.  So was the St. Paul police being facetious when he advised Amy Goodman that her reporters would have been able to operate in such an atmosphere if only they had been embedded within his mobile police force, or was he just telling it the way it is, that the Iraq War has been brought to the streets of America? 

It must be said that a cease and desist request from Barack Obama to the cops/FBI/Secret Service would go a long way towards stopping their assault on our right to free speech and assembly.  Quickly, though, Senator, to prevent any more casualties.

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By Clifton McCarthy, September 3, 2008 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems like Nicole Salazar was the first target and I beleive that is because she had the camera. I think someone should ask police if there were any special orders about collecting camera or stopping people from using cameras.

Since the government is pretending the anti-war movement does not exist since Camp Casey was closed, footage of large demonstrations is as embarrassing as the Rodney King video.

Number of the anti-war movement have been underestimated by as much as 90 percent. Even liberal talk hosts who are supporting Obama have discounted anti-war, because it urges voting for Barr, Nader or McKinney.

I have heard both Tom Hartman and Randi Rhodes say that the anti-war movement was small and that the police had “free speech” zones almost empty.

Randi likes being searched by police, and they like searching her. Randi even got an honorary sheriff’s badge in Denver.

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By Outraged, September 3, 2008 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Re: Tony Wicher

Your comment: “The 2008 convention unified the Democratic party again except for some remaining disgruntled holdouts like many of those who post here. To them I say: you don’t have to stand out there in the rain, miserably throwing rocks. Come on in from the cold! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Democratic party! Socialists, Communists and Anarchists welcome!”

The issue with your analysis is that this is NOT 1968, it is 2008.  Much has changed, much has changed indeed.  Now…why not unite behind a candidate who fought in that “war” and many more, I might add.  Take a ANOTHER LOOK at where history has taken us.  Be objective.

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By Tony Wicher, September 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

By JimM, September 3 at 6:28 pm #


Come on guys, come on, Amy.

The Republicans have been paying provacateurs since the 1968 conventions to incite rioting. This excites the cops and causes them to act belligerantly/ It is a tried and true regug strategy to demean the loony left. Write about that issue, why dont you.
——————————————————————————
The 1968 convention destroyed the Democratic party for 40 years, during which time this country has gone rapidly downhill. The 2008 convention unified the Democratic party again except for some remaining disgruntled holdouts like many of those who post here. To them I say: you don’t have to stand out there in the rain, miserably throwing rocks. Come on in from the cold! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Democratic party! Socialists, Communists and Anarchists welcome!

Let us be part of a great progressive coalition of the people. I anticipate a Democratic landslide. Republicans must not be allowed to steal this election by hacking voting machines. If that happens, then it really is street action time. Obama is not Kerry or Gore. I think he has a lot more balls. I think he would call everyone who voted for him to march on Washington.

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By Outraged, September 3, 2008 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

Firstly,

Re: Anarcissie, September 3

> Again, great post.

Re: LibetyWatch

Your comment: “Certainly they did not represent law and order because they are capture breaking the law.”

> This is true.  THEY were breaking the law.  This needs to be addressed, investigated and prosecuted.

Re: cyrena

Your comment: “that’s the point I’ve been making all along. It’s impossible to really do anything to change the system or counteract what has been done to destroy it, until one can actually get inside of it. The neocons have known this all along.”

> Partially true, but only partially.  Do you seriously think they will allow ANYONE opposed to their agenda in…?

Re: Michael, September 3 at 5:03 pm

Your comment: “complaining that your right to free speech in being attcked.  You have an oppurtunity to get out and speak whatever your choose in this space and instead you simply complain about your inability to speak.  Tell me what the people your were with were protesting and what they were trying to say and accomplish with thier protest.  Not about poor you.  Your complaining about you and not reporting anything.”

> It’s odd you should say that Amy Goodman has a right to speak “in this space”.  What do you mean by that…?  That’s certainly a specious argument.  Wouldn’t you say….?

In addition, you claim that it’s “Not about poor you.  Your complaining about you and not reporting anything.”


Actually Michael, I believe you MISSED THE POINT.  The reason Amy is bringing this to the fore is because it most certainly is NOT ABOUT ONLY HER.  However, the fact that it WAS her and her crew, accredited journalists, prize winning…I might add, makes this ALL THE MORE SUSPECT.  These crooks, it seems, ARE SO BRAZEN that this is what they DID.  This IS the story.  But there’s more.

Take this article quote for example, “I repeated we were accredited journalists, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck. I was taken to the St. Paul police garage where cages were set up for protesters.”

First of all, Amy and her crew WERE NOT PROTESTERS.  Secondly, they had credentials.  The RENEGADE officers ignored this.  Amy’s credentials, were of “Secret Service” clearance.  Yet… “Secret Service” according to Amy, “a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck.”  Suspicious….to say the least.  Why would Secret Service have been available at that precise moment in time, that they “came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck”.  Hmmm…is anyone else thinking what I’M thinking?  This is certainly ODD…  What “branch” of the Secret Service engages in this sort of activity..?  I’ll leave that to your imaginations….....

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By antispin, September 3, 2008 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Bloody hell.  This is my true fear.  Not islamofascists invading from across the oceans, but real national socialist (nazi) fascists in the Secret Service and FBI commandeering local sheriffs to comit wanton havoc on communities who dare to express their beliefs peacefully.  That’s where we are.  The Secret Service, in particular is wrankling.  The whole idea of “secret socities” like that are antithetical to our constitution and need to root out.

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By Folktruther, September 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

The *real* radicals have embedded themselves in our goverment, Cyrena? Lie the police mobile force?  Like the journalists embedded in the US military?

Well, not everyone is as radical as you are, Cyrena.  Some people like to operate and think independantly.

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By Tony Wicher, September 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

By cyrena, September 3 at 7:20 pm #

Anyway, this isn’t such a bad idea. But then, that’s the point I’ve been making all along. It’s impossible to really do anything to change the system or counteract what has been done to destroy it, until one can actually get inside of it. The neocons have known this all along.
——————————————————————————
Ya gotta bore from within!

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By Lawrence, September 3, 2008 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, just wow.

A lot of people at that RNC convention would gleefully tell you that the Second Amendment provides teeth to the First. They get it wrong. The First Amendment is its own teeth, and is the foundation of everything in this country.

Freedom of and from religion provides the basis for free thought. Freedom of speech provides the means for men and women to speak those free thoughts, and the right to petition the government, in other words protest, provides the means for a democratic society to control itself from its worst elements and instincts.

When any of those rights are infringed, we aim ourselves down a dark path.

Amy Goodman & Co’s violent and bogus arrests most certainly are news. The RNC convention, just like the DNC convention are just kabuki. The real news happens around the margins, and Ms. Goodman saw violence that is inexcusable.

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By parchiba, September 3, 2008 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article by Amy Goodman is about her own experience being illegally arrested while performing her job as a journalist. She is not crying about it, she is trying to warn you idiots that SOMETHING SINISTER IS HAPPENING! Our government, using its police forces and hired mercenaries, is trying to keep the people as uninformed as possible. They are not doing that so you will sleep better tonight. They are doing to to maximize their control over you and to keep you as stupid as possible.

Yeah, I know this is not entirely new, government oppresses its citizens, yawn. But just because it is the same old same old does not make it acceptable, does it?

Our government is getting more and more repressive. I have stopped thinking of politicians as “leaders” and started thinking of them as “rulers.” It makes current events more understandable. We the people are not part of the equation, except as food for the machine.

Good Night and Good Luck.

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By cyrena, September 3, 2008 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

•  “When I asked St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington how reporters are to operate in this atmosphere, he suggested, “By embedding reporters in our mobile field force.”

Ya know, this of course sounds completely horrific to Amy and most other purists. HOWEVER, *this* is what I keep talking about, that today’s activists don’t understand. The *real* radicals have EMBEDDED themselves in our government, in order to highjack it, and us at the same time. How do we expect to accomplish anything unless we can get ourselves ‘embedded’ into their operations? How did any of the demonstrators expect to accomplish anything by ‘announcing’ their plans in advance?

Maybe our 21st Century activists need to take some lessons from the activists of the old days. Hasn’t anybody ever read that excellent book by James Baldwin, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door?” It was made into a movie as well, way back in the 70’s or earlier. But it ran for less than a month before the ‘establishment’ realized what the message was, and pulled it. If I’m not mistaken, (and I’d have to check) it only recently became available again few years ago.

Anyway, this isn’t such a bad idea. But then, that’s the point I’ve been making all along. It’s impossible to really do anything to change the system or counteract what has been done to destroy it, until one can actually get inside of it. The neocons have known this all along.

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By 911truthdotorg, September 3, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Absolutely outrageous!!

Terrorism charges lodged against protesters at GOP convention

Prosecutors in Ramsey County, Minn., have formally charged eight alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee—one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul—with terrorism-related charges, The Times’ P.J. Huffstutter reports.

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 they could face.

It appears to be the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act.

The RNC Welcoming Committee is a self-described anarchist group that has worked for months planning disruptions at the convention. Police blamed the group for sparking violence during Monday’s antiwar protest in St. Paul. Although most of the estimated 10,000 people at the march were peaceful, police say a splinter group of about 200 people harassed delegates, smashed windows and started at least one fire.

Police have arrested nearly 300 people during the confrontations this week, according to the Associated Press. Huffstutter reported on the protests for the blog Tuesday. And this morning, we told the story of journalist Amy Goodman’s arrest at Monday’s march.—Kate Linthicum

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/ 2008/09/rnc-protesters.html

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By R in Colorado, September 3, 2008 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Isn’t the charge, obstructing a peace officer, or parading without a permit, or incitig to riot, actually the very same type of falsely titled ‘laws’ of old English Crown oppression that the framers of the constitution clearly were banning in their new free country?

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By JimM, September 3, 2008 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Come on guys, come on, Amy.

The Republicans have been paying provacateurs since the 1968 conventions to incite rioting. This excites the cops and causes them to act belligerantly/ It is a tried and true regug strategy to demean the loony left//
Write about that issue, why dont you.

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By LibertyWatch, September 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

If I remember anything from this St.Paul convention it is has to be the footage of Amy and her staff being abused by thugs in black who claimed they are police officers. To me they look like poor unskilled actors from a bad movie about the nazi gestapo or the brown shirts with bats.

Certainly they did not represent law and order because they are capture breaking the law.

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By Anarcissie, September 3, 2008 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Amy—being muscled by the cops is a testament to your virtue and effectiveness.  You know you’re doing something right when the state thugs get after you.

I am curious as to whether the police were directed to attack anyone with cameras or other recording devices, or they were picking out individual persons they had been directed to look for beforehand.  I suppose if a Fox News reporter was arrested it must have been the former.  However, there is a good deal of evidence of Federal and corporate-media complicity in these events and in the silence and misrepresentation which surround them.

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By YIKES, September 3, 2008 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Amy, I am so very saddened by what has happened to you and our country.  These wrong-minded hypocrites without regard for the consequences of their abuse of power are further tearing apart the fabric of America.  I rely on you, Amy, for my daily news as I watch and listen to no other, just as decades ago I relied on Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow.  I shudder at America’s response had either of those journalists been treated as you were when you were arrested.  And I am very concerned at the lack of outrage (even though it is very real in me).
I remember the McCarthy era and can see incremental steps toward it’s replication.  I remember the wickedness and the cowering congress and media.  I also remember it was stopped by just one journalist.
Now is OUR time.  Now is the time for AMY GOODMAN.

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By Michael, September 3, 2008 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here you are after a day in jail posting your point of view on the world wide web, not to mention on I assume also on your tv network, complaining that your right to free speech in being attcked.  You have an oppurtunity to get out and speak whatever your choose in this space and instead you simply complain about your inability to speak.  Tell me what the people your were with were protesting and what they were trying to say and accomplish with thier protest.  Not about poor you.  Your complaining about you and not reporting anything.

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By stillcool47, September 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is Democracy officially dead? Looks like it.

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