You may not have read this - because no UK MSM is covering it, including the Guardian (typical coverage by the Times) - but protesters at the Republican convention are being preemptively raided with automatic weapons shoved in their and their children's faces. Just like Genoa with a bit less physical violence
Here's a guest post from my good mate from New Jersey Toby Grace.
Other ThoughtsVideo interview with Michelle Gross, President of Communities united against police brutality (a community organisation in the twin cities) describing the raids:
If there was any doubt that the United States is fast becoming as restrictive a police state as many in the Third World, the policies and behavior of law enforcement surrounding both political conventions should put it to rest. Though the Denver police were restrictive, the police in St Paul [twin cities with Minneapolis], acting in concert with state and federal agencies, can only be described as thugs.
Un-remarked by corporate media, the police staged preemptive raids targeting every form of alternative media such as (no surprise here) IWitness, which video documents police behavior, particularly at such large events as rallies and Conventions. Staff members were handcuffed and arrested, held in detention for days without charges, equipment mysteriously disappeared and all of this took place with guns drawn.
Police informants were inserted undercover in every counter-cultural group that was possible to infiltrate from Vegans to Veterans against the war. Protestors were supposed to be confined to a “Free Speech” zone fenced off a long way out of the sight of convention goers.
We had been under the perhaps erroneous impression that the entire United States was a free speech zone. That, at least was what Miss Blau, our Sixth Grade teacher at Matawan Grammar School impressed on us. Miss Blau took free speech and the rest of The Bill of Rights very seriously indeed. She made us memorize the whole thing and recite it standing up at attention. She had good reason. As a little girl in Poland, she had watched her entire family machine-gunned by the NAZIS as they tried to flee from their village. She never mentioned that fact in class but Matawan in those days was a small town and Miss Blau was a well-known and greatly respected teacher. We knew the story.
Bush, Cheney, McCain, Fox News, innumerable police authorities and the mind-numbing, dumbed down machine of the corporate media have been doing their best to convince us we must surrender much of our basic liberty to win this endless, amorphous “war on terror,” but you know what? We believe Miss Blau. You don’t defend liberty by surrendering it.
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! (a news show online and also on public broadcasting in the US) arrested for disagreeing with a cop.
This clip shows best the difference between them and us. A obviously harmless, peaceful woman perceived as some sort of threat by a policeman enforcing orders from above. She is a journalist and TV host, not a Anarchist Black Cross organiser.
Good summary from the local paper.
Daily Show: A Lovely Afternoon Stroll Through the Police State of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Firedoglake has more on the Sheriff giving the orders, a Republican being investigated for corruption.
Here's one possible reason for the arrests, from a live blog post made during the raids by an iwitness and TV producer:
We are suffering a preemptive video arrest. For those that don't know, I-Witness Video was remarkably successful in exposing police misconduct and outright perjury by police during the 2004 RNC [Republican Convention in New York]. Out of 1800 arrests, at least 400 were overturned based solely on video evidence which contradicted sworn statements which were fabricated by police officers. It seems that the house arrest we are now under and the possible threat of the seizure of our computers and video cameras is a result of the 2004 success.Postscript: Just made the point back to Toby that this isn't like Genoa (the G8 summit where police beat peaceful protesters within an inch of their life and killed one) - that really was fascism in action. Being able to see, live, what's happening in St Paul is the difference the web's making in real life. The police know full well they are being watched and that's precisely why the ones being targeted are those recording and reporting what's actually happening (they can control the MSM).
Postscript: pictures and video now emerging of beatings of protesters. Note the boot print, and this is on a 17yo.