Fascism in St. Paul
Glenn Greenwald is all over the story at Salon, including video of residents and neighbors. I am particularly interested in the president of the local Lawyers Guild chapter, who is very informative.
In these raids, armed officers from a nearby county sheriff's department (that's right, they were operating outside of their geographic jurisdiction) burst into at least four homes, known in their neighborhoods as "hippie houses", handcuffed the residents and guests in the homes and forced them to lie on the floor for as long as forty-five minutes, and executed warrants authorizing them to seize such common household items as laptop computers, maps of St. Paul, twine, cardboard, spray paint, and paint thinner. A couple of people were arrested on the bogus charge of conspiracy to riot.
In one video one of the lawyers working as a liaison with the police at a home where journalists were being detained is seen speaking to the press in handcuffs.
It's obvious that they're doing this to prevent people from protesting the Republican Convention. It's too early to know if there has been any coordination between county sheriff Bob Fletcher and the RNC, but I assume people will be looking into that. Meanwhile, this is something that we need to follow very closely. As the Bush administration has attacked all forms of constitutional protection, including the right of habeas corpus, this comment from Firedoglake is particularly apt:
Didn’t the Chinese do the same thing to potential protesters (raid their homes, intimidate them, follow them around, force them to leave town, detain them) ahead of the Olympics and we denounced them as the repressive regime that they are.. even called our president to boycott their precious games? I’m so glad that we live in a country that would never do such things to its own citizens….
I'll keep this diary updated as I learn more.