Monday, September 1, 2008

Has US become a police-state? Pre-emptive raids on RNC protesters

On Sunday I blogged about the recent police raid against RNC Welcoming Committee, a group of activists planning to protest the RNC convention in Minneapolis. I noted that one citizen-journalist recorded the presence of federal Homeland Security vehicles in the incident.

Glenn Greenwald blogs about this incident, and describes other pre-emptive raids by law-enforcement agencies against RNC protesters. He raises important questions:

So here 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. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it's not difficult to see why. As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they've done is remotely illegal. [...]

Any rational person planning to protest the GOP Convention would, in light of this Government spying and these police raids, think twice -- at least -- about whether to do so. That is the point of the raids . . .
He's absolutely right. And it's all about keeping fear alive.


  1. Reader A. was unable to post a comment, so forwarded this via email:

    I wanted to add in regard to your posts about RNC arrests the following,
    which I think is relevant and I see is not yet reflected on your blog :

    Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC
    September 01, 2008

    Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! released after RNC arrest

    Democracy Now! Host and Producers Arrested at Republican Convention
    When journalists are the story
    'Democracy Now!' host back at work day after arrest

    ABC News reporter arrested in Denver during the Democratic National Convention

    Hundreds to be charged in court after RNC protests

  2. And, so its okay to throw 90# bags of concrete over interstate overpasses at busses?

    The city gave them permits to assemble and protest, and they broke windows in stores, attacked police cars, attacked police officers and more.

    How can one say the they have the right to legally protest, and then cry foul when they break the law and are arrested.

    Do I have the right to come into your driveway at night and slash your tires and break your windows because I disagree with you. What's the difference.

  3. Fred,

    You keep writing they, they, they.

    "They" are not one person or even one group. Under American law, everyone is an individual. Just because a few people break the law does not give the state (that is, the police) the right to round-up and detain other people who may share political views similar to those of the law-breakers, but have not actually broken any laws.

    The "rule of law" is what makes the US different from countries like China or Egypt.


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