Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Update: Members of the long-time peace group - Food Not Bombs - have now been charged with drummed-up allegations of terrorism (and see this).
Food Not Bombs has been peacefully participating in nonviolent protests for 20 years. They served meals to rescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and to nearly 20 communities in the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina (see this). To think that they planned violence is almost like saying that Gandhi secretly advocated violence.
Federal and local law enforcement officers are literally terrorizing people in Minneapolis for their thought crimes.
Police have essentially been waging preemptive war by infiltrating, tracking and disrupting every-day Americans who disagree with the current administration's policies.
As former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald wrote on August 31st:
"We have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do."As Greenwald and others note, those targeted were little old ladies and grandfathers, vegetarians, and other people who are not a threat to anyone.
And as law school professor and President of the well-respected legal group National Lawyers Guild, Marjorie Cohn, writes:
"Local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by 'teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.' Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.Cohn notes that "preventive detention violates the Fourth Amendment" (you're supposed to have a justification for imprisonment, not just thought crimes).
'I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns,' said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. 'The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint.'"
Then today, the police set out to publicly intimidate Americans before any protests had even begun outside the Republican National Convention:
"The brigades of police officers would periodically chant military terms and march around in formation ('Double Time!'), while helicopters hovered overhead and Humvees drove by frequently.Once the protests started, the police fired rubber bullets, teargas, pepper spray and concussion grenades at protesters, then arrested them en masse.
Clearly, and particularly in the wake of this weekend's thuggish raids, the intent was to create a highly intimidating, militarized and high-tension climate."
They also specifically targeted established journalists (and see this) simply for trying to cover the protests.