Saturday, September 13, 2008
Explosive News: Democrats' Collaboration at Republican National Convention Exposed. Secret meetings authorized excessive use of force. We know the stories of police abuse, mass arrests, targeting journalists, street medics, use of rubber bullets, plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, mace, tear gas, tasering and other differently lethal methods of crowd control in St Paul and Minneapolis this week. What is not known is how the local Democratic Party and other so called progressive elected officials collaborated with authorities in the past weeks and months before the RNC Convention in St Paul, giving them legal authority for their excesses and abuses of power. This is your Independent Journalista's on-the-ground account of what happened and how local elected officials collaborated with the authorities and again abandoned their Oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution from All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. This is the news that you will not hear from the corporate media, Air America, the Nation magazine or other so called progressive, alternative media outlets. This is true, muckraking journalism that honestly speaks truth to power, no matter how uncomfortable it makes some folks. Now, before we get to the facts surrounding how our elected officials betrayed us and the Bill of Rights, a truth must be stated. No matter what the local City Councils of St Paul and Minneapolis did, the authorities would have done what they did. This story is not about that. It is instead about how the local government knowingly collaborated with them, with no input from citizens and finally passed a Resolution granting them legal authority to use rubber and plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, tasers and chemical weapons that were deployed against peaceful protesters, journalists and street medics treating the victims of their brutality in a secret meeting with no public allowed. In the months before the Republicans came to town, there had been a flurry of activity. Local activists were keeping a close eye on their local elected officials. Initially, there had been a so called Free Speech Committee set up, supposedly to look at how authorities could allow free speech during the RNC and keep order. However, local activists immediately developed some serious concerns. We found out that the Free Speech Committee did not allow any members of the public to add our input. Only City Council members on the committee and lawyers were allowed to speak. There was no free speech allowed at the misnamed Free Speech Committee. Nonetheless, activists followed the Committee's actions closely and were present during each meeting. The City Council of Minneapolis is almost 100% Democratic. In fact the only real opposition in Minneapolis is the Green Party which currently has one Green on the City Council, Cam Gordon, who was a small light in a very dark room. But, we were to discover, even that light was to be extinguished. The so called Free Speech Committee would change the time and locations of its meetings, in an obvious attempt of loosing the local activists who were closely following their intents and actions. During this time, Councilman Gordon kept the local activist community appraised of when and where these meetings were being held, including last minute changes. There was much talk of using the Washington Model of crowd control versus other Models. The Washington Model was touted as being a little less restrictive. There was also discussion on protest groups being required to register themselves and even their members, to be "allowed" to protest. At these times, Cam Gordon spoke eloquently on behalf of the community and in opposition to these repressive measures. When he spoke, he drew cheers from the activists present. We also waved our protest signs in agreement each time. We would also boo when the head of the Committee, Paul Ostrow, would make an especially egregious remark. That was the extent of public participation and free speech at the so called Free Speech Committee meetings. This went on for moths at a time. Then suddenly we found out that the Free Speech Committee had their last meeting, July 16th. The meeting itself was unannounced, unlike the other meetings which at least had a pretense of openness and public inclusion. At the next Minneapolis City Council meeting July 25th, the recommendation of the misnamed Free Speech Committee was announced. The Free Speech Committee Resolution passed unanimously, even by our one small light, Councilman Cam Gordon. The Minneapolis Police were given "legal" authority to shut down any protest or group of 25 people or greater. They were also authorized to use rubber bullets, mace and the other array of non-lethal weapons on innocent, peaceful demonstrators, practicing our First Amendment Rights. Also violated repeatedly was the Fourth Amendment Right protecting us citizens against illegal search and seizure. Police violated the laws of assault and battery and destruction of evidence of their crimes, as evidenced by their targeting journalists. All talk of the Washington Model was removed. As this Resolution was passed by the large Democratic majority Minneapolis City Council july 25th, another protest broke out. Local activists presented each member of the Minneapolis City Council, including Mayor RT Ryback with a Statement of Reprobation, condemning them for this betrayal of our most precious right to Free Speech, Assembly and Peaceful Petition of Our Government. One of the main organizers, Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality, presented the Statement of Reprobation to both Councilman Cam Gordon and the head of the Free Speech Committee, Councilman Paul Ostrow. Another was handed to Mayor RT Ryback. During this presentation, a young man, Jude Ortiz with Coldsnap Legal Collective, read aloud the charges against the Minneapolis City Council. When he did so, he was bundled off the podium by Minneapolis Police and brought to the Hennepin County Jail. He was later released uncharged. All Minneapolis City Councils are taped and shown on local Public Access TV - all except for this one, which has never seen the light of day. Clearly, the "progressive" City Council had something to hide. Since then, Michelle Gross was arrested twice, during peaceful protests that were targeted by police. Many of the examples of excess and police brutality and thuggery were practiced by Minneapolis Police. But, all of these actions and betrayals were mirrored by the 100% Democratic City Council of St Paul. Both Mayor RT Ryback and Mayor Chris Coleman, who laud themselves as "progressive" held a Press Conference, calling the RNC Convention a "success." Ironically, we now have a number of the very City Councilpersons who gave our rights away, without a fight, now engaging in tough talk and rhetoric. This includes my own Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden and Councilman Gary Schiff. Covering Your A** with tough talk will not make up for your betrayal of the citizens of our country, Council members and Mayors. Not even close. I ask the question again. What do we do about it? I leave the answer up to you.
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