Radio news host among protesters arrested at RNC for "conspiracy to riot", National Guard headed in?

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165 Responses to “Radio news host among protesters arrested at RNC for "conspiracy to riot", National Guard headed in?”

  1. stevemullis says:

    @NICHEPLAYER

    You’re completely correct.

    Yesterday at a press conference Amy Goodman seemed more concerned with her own arrest, and asking questions about it, than being concerned with the rest of the situation. She’s very self-serving and it’s sad to see her go from being a great journalist to being a sub-par gonzo journalist.

  2. IshmaeLeaver says:

    It’s mightly telling that, while protests at the RNC are making frontpage news at CNN.com today, their journalists make no mention of Amy Goodman’s arrest. I bet Democracy Now would cover the arrests of CNN journalists!

    (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/02/rnc.security/index.html)

  3. Phikus says:

    KYLE@96: Just because Xeni said you were behaving like a douche doesn’t mean that she called you a douche. Are we supposed to empathize with you now for blaming the victim? Why don’t you go get some footage of your own, since no one can seem to meet your standards. As Takuan said eloquently above @13: “when you’re shivering in the dark you don’t spit on the few embers present.”

    JOHNATHAN V@~: No matter how many times you state your opinion like a broken record, it doesn’t make it so. Get a new script please.

    CHRIS GRISWOLD@45: Maybe it is your login that should be omitted. As Xeni has said many times before: “There’s this thing called a spacebar…”

    KIERAN O’NEILL@72 and elsewhere: Thanks for trying to keep us on thread and objective.

    It is a shame that these protests turned violent, but I don’t see Amy Goodman shoving anyone. She merely doesn’t immediately let herself be shoved after they have already started to arrest her. She tries to look to someone in charge to appeal to, but this is not shoving. The cop interposes himself. Her account of what happened seems accurate enough to me. (@82)

    Let us pause to think for a moment as to why this is happening, shall we? I deplore all of the violence or destruction of property engaged in by protesters, but for those of you who believe they should not be disrupting a “vital part of our democratic process” let us consider the events that have led to this.

    The last two presidential elections in this country were stolen outright, removing the most vital part of our democratic process: the vote. Laws like the Patriot Act and others have stripped away our constitutional rights one by one, mostly behind closed doors. Corporate special interests and lobbyists have shown time and time again that they own the government, and have continued to strip away the things we used to love about this country, often against overwhelming opposition and uprising by the American people. We are being spied upon by are own government and the corporations that illegally perpetrated this (starting well before 9-11) are now immune from prosecution. Crimes committed by senior officials in the bush administration (Enron, Valerie Plame, etc.) continue to go unpunished, and those responsible cannot even be held accountable by congress for failing to even show up and testify. This administration has bullied and broken every check and balance that once made this country a beacon of liberty and democracy, while “enforced democracy” has been exported to the benefit of war profiteers, and to the detriment of the citizens of these lands so their resources can continue to be exploited. Thousands of Americans have died, and over a million Iraqis have been killed, maimed, and tortured in our name, and in the name of “Freedom.” Jails and utilities have been privatized so that they are now providing inescapable incentives to deny service and create more criminals, all in the name of big business. The environment has been systematically raped, while they continue to negligently disregard global warming and shackle us Big Oil, ignoring real energy alternatives in order to line their pockets. There are many many more examples of greed and corruption becoming the rule here now, while ethics and liberties, rights and laws are simply tossed aside when inconvenient in the mad grab for power for the few at the expense of the rest of us, as well as unborn generations to come.

    Is it any wonder why many people feel desperate enough to try to seek any means of making their voices heard, especially with a news media that is either outright bought or completely cowed into submission? In this context, what can possibly justify your defense of those willing to be the front lines of crushing the only voice left to the people?

    Both conventions are being protested because the two-horse system is ensuring that many of the real issues are not even being discussed. The Democrats have either been to weak to stand up for the people, or outright complicit in some of this administration’s crimes. It is quite telling that someone felt the need to preemptively detain journalists and others peacefully and innocently assembling before the convention of the party in power.

    I just did another check of the mainstream media: Still crickets in regards to the protests, except we’re hearing a lot about those Thai protesters. What does this say about the state of our country?

  4. jbang says:

    59 FLAKCATCHER: I don’t know what level of events you were reporting on, or what situation of “conflict” that involved.. but journalists did use to have a certain ability to clear lines much more elaborate than shown in this video. There is a wealth of such reporting from riots and protests for decades – and that’s camera, reporter. The lot.

    In our Terror-threat filled world it seems that the default response from police is to riot themselves, often putting protesters in a “don’t retaliate, get really hurt” or “defend self, get superficially injured, arrested” situation. I’ve seen in for the G12 conference in Melbourne a few years ago.

    The sad thing is organised anarchists (yeah yeah, contradiction) really fuck it up for other people when they go out to randomly disrupt with violent and aggressive actions. Police, media, talking heads all latch onto the footage of those few people and label tar other descenters with the same brush – depends on your media outlet of choice, though.

    Kyle: I never tire of douches holding blogs to these crazy standards and… god knows. It’s a blog. And the fact that boingboing are drawing attention to this means a LOT more eyeballs and brains will be evaluating it. Incidental heroes, but heroes none-the-less. It’s a very crappy thing to come here and dismiss these individual’s efforts simply because there’s not enough of what you specifically want to see.

  5. gnubunny says:

    Cp sys mv wy thn t s tm t mv wy. thr thn tht, wh s ths my Gdwn. nd wht mks hr rrst dffrnt frm vryn ls t wrrnt t s nws.

    • Antinous says:

      gnubunny,

      I’ve disemvoweled you for commenting without bothering to read the thread. Your question has been answered many times over.

  6. Baldhead says:

    Most anarchists don’t get that anarchy is an elementary school playground with no teachers present. The bullies always win. I think sometimes they need to be oppressed to fulfill something inside. If a cop doesn’t co- operate, shove him. if that doesn’t work, throw a brick.

    And I’m sorry but she didn’t do her job very well. For one, she did keep trying to push past the line. For two, riot cops aren’t in the right frame of mind to merely talk about anything. It maybe could have been handled better on the cops end. it definitely could have been handled better from her end.

    And finally, the fact that BB posted about this and other things at all is something to be grateful for. We don’t pay for this site. We just read it, and frankly, this hardly fits under the “wonderful things” banner at the top of the page.

  7. hohum says:

    @139 Gnubunny, She’s a journalist which is what makes her arrest different. People fear for the freedom of the press.

  8. Raj77 says:

    Y’know guys, cops on the ground aren’t evil. Most of them are pretty dumb, most of them are authoritarian (the two are connected) but they’re not what’s wrong with your country. The sort of fatalism that suggests that nothing can or will change with a new administration is a self-fulfilling prophecy- you all have the right to demand that it does. Begin at the grass-roots- your police, judges, etc are political appointees even if they aren’t directly elected. You get to wield the new broom in ’09: do something about it, don’t whine about how similar it looks to the old broom.

    Apathy and passive cynicism are the only things that can destroy you.

  9. Enochrewt says:

    #67: I think your link might be broken, but I found the video anyway. It’s pretty apparent that those protester/marchers were intent on causing a disruption by not following the agreed upon marching route and instead just pushing into the police. Also I’d like to point out that when the pepper spray got sprayed, all of the photagraphers and journalists that were pressing into the crowd got sprayed. You know who didn’t? The person taking the video that we watched in the link. That person got a better angle and covered the situation without interfering. Amy Goodman might want to take note.

    When things get bad in a situation that was pictured, it isn’t the journalist’s job to make things worse. As I mentioned above, the story can still be captured and reported on, but it’s also people’s civic duty (that I would contend is more important from a safety or standpoint) to confuse the situation and get in the way of police trying to defuse a dangerous situation.

    I live and work in downtown Denver, and dealt the the DNC last week, so I’ve the pressures going on here. I have to say though, I’m not aware of a single broken window here in Denver during the DNC, so the Twin Cities already have a much worse situation on their hands.

  10. Phikus says:

    There are groups trying to pierce the silence of the media in publicizing the arrest of Amy Goodman. You can sign petitions here and here. Thanks! =D

  11. Enochrewt says:

    #127 Antinous: Were they protesting the war and loss of constitutional rights? I couldn’t tell, and they never let their grievance be known The only thing that I saw in that video was them carrying signs with their group name(s) on it. All I saw them do was damage a trash can, break some windows, and push into a police line. Maybe they were protesting America’s poor education system that didn’t teach them how to make a right turn on a clearly defined route? Again, when it happened, everyone know what the Boston Tea Party was about. These vandalisms in the Twin Cities are so non-specific that they can’t even be called protests.

  12. ill lich says:

    #103 HOHUM

    Today everyone has camera phones and digital cameras with video capability, I’m assuming someone nearby who wasn’t arrested has some footage that details more than the Amy Goodman footage here. Maybe I’m assuming too much (like the footage might be as damning as the Rodney King footage), but even footage of an army of thugs in black armor rounding up peaceful civilians en masse looks bad.

  13. Baldhead says:

    I’m sure there’s a ton of these, but: http://www.slate.com/id/2199060/

  14. Takuan says:

    @138
    you are saying she was stupid for expecting the rights of a citizen and the prerogatives of a reporter in her own country.

  15. zikzak says:

    I’m a real live anarchist who participates in disruptive, militant protests like this. Does anyone have anything they’d like to understand better?

    I ask because it seems that there are a lot of basic misunderstandings about some concepts like “anarchists”, “anarchism”, “peaceful protesters”, and “free speech”. For example: Anarchists are not necessarily people who participate in riots, and people who participate in riots are not necessarily anarchists. Anarchists are people who feel that any form of oppression is wrong, and that hierarchical governments are inherently oppressive.

    Also, “anarchism” does not mean “no rules” or “chaos”, it simply means no leaders or rulers. Most anarchists value organization and cooperation very highly, they just feel we need to arrive at decisions as a group, rather than having decisions made by some and forced on everyone else.

    Criticism of “violence” versus “peaceful protesters” is also confusing. Is smashing a window violent? Is smashing a protester’s face into the pavement violent? Is sitting quietly at home while your government kills people all over the world violent? Is refusing to do whatever is most effective to stop your government violent? Anyone who contemplates these issues seriously realizes that violence is a continuum, not a black and white thing. There is no such thing as non-violence in first world, because our entire “peaceful” existence is predicated on violence against others.

    “Free speech” is also a noble ideal, but it remains little more than an ideal in our society, since information flow is controlled for the most part by a rapidly dwindling number of mega-corps. I’m sure that activists would love to not have to stage a massive, aggressive demonstration aimed at disrupting a major event and instead simply get the opportunity to publicize their perspectives and analysis of the two-party system alongside the GOP big-wigs. Unfortunately they can’t. Unfortunately the only way they seem to be able to get any attention at all is by causing huge disruptions. These disruptions sometimes limit other people’s freedoms, which is also unfortunate. But the GOP isn’t going to be silenced by some demonstrators – they have practically unlimited access to freedom of speech. And the urgency of the criticisms the protesters have and the repression their message otherwise faces is such that their right to free speech clearly takes precedence.

  16. jimh says:

    It was the exclamation point that did it. “Democracy Now!” is threatening, and hints at armed insurrection. They should consider “Democracy Now?”, or “Democracy Please Sir, If You Don’t Mind”.

  17. jonathan_v says:

    @69

    “””Secondly, when she approached that police line, the officer very quickly started shoving her, and the whole group obviously realised she was press, as they called out “get rid of the journalist”.”””

    He didn’t shove her until she ignored ‘go to the sidewalk’ 3 times.

    He didn’t know she was a journalist, didn’t care. just because the crowd says so, doesn’t mean anything. did he look over her credentials? no. would he have if she went to the sidewalk as she was asked? maybe. he wasn’t in press mode, he was in riot mode.

    “””Anyway, I don’t think anyone is attacking the action taken by the police against the anarchists (who were breaking the law). What we are expressing concern over are:

    1. The targeting by the police of journalists.
    2. The pre-emptive raids on protest groups and journalists before the convention.
    3. The possibility that the actions of the anarchists were taken by or instigated by police/FBI agent provocateurs.
    “””

    See, I haven’t heard of any journalists being targeted for being journalists. I’ve seen crossfire, and i’ve seen journalists-turned-activists — but i haven’t see someone being targeted for reporting itself.

    I’m 100% outraged by the pre-emptive raids on the groups before the convention. That was uncalled for, ridiculous, and possibly illegal ( they did have warrants – which means they likely are legal. granting the warrants seems like a huge abuse of power though, as was targeting these groups ).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if cops / fbi instigated people to break the law in front of them, so they had grounds to arrest them…. but here’s a rhetorical question:

    if the cops are arresting people for no good reason, and abusing the warrants system — why would they instigate a riot, when they are already likely to arrest people for no reason whatsoever?

  18. Takuan says:

    if Youtube won’t post it there is always here
    http://wikileaks.org/

  19. jonathan_v says:

    I’m glad this video is circulating – I was outraged when I heard about the situation, but did a 180 after seeing this.

    Honestly, what was she thinking?

    The cop said “go to the sidewalk” THREE TIMES and started escorting her away, she clearly kept trying to resist, and they didn’t try to arrest her until she pushed back.

    There was a TON of awful police activity and wrongful arrests at the RNC. I fail to see how this was close.

    If the cops tell you to move out of the way, do it. You can question them verbally – but if they escort you out of an area and you physically push back on them — you’re asking for trouble.

  20. Kyle Burris says:

    Amy, and about 300 other people. Honestly, I’m disapointed you guys haven’t been covering today’s action more.

    The protester’s legal HQ has been running an informative twitter thingy, if anyone needs to get caught up.

    http://twitter.com/coldsnaplegal

  21. Lewis Haidt says:

    Damm, this last two weeks, between MSNBC using Sorkin as the Presidential analyst — hello, what about “real” analysts w/ real knowledge about imploding criminal, educational, infrastructure, health care systems, we’ve lost the news with is essential to any democracy which a public, not managed, faux-vegas-public-square, good.

    So the only question is how will the Am. project get re-built and will the veterans of Seattle not adjusting tactics to fit our new, hyper-insecure, police state.

    Amy and friends need to realize that frontal attacks in a network world only serve to re-informce the reactionary opposite side, raising the heat on each side, but ultimately undermining their own project by saying stuck in this dialetic.

    We need to be much more creative, and I was struck by the New Yorker article on Burma where an activist after 12 years in jail for standing up 4 human rights, decided that frontal attempts to change politics were doomed and little things like teaching children how to make theatre are far more substantive, meaningful and effective, at least in his exp.

    Quite a different perspective and I wonder how progressives can learn going forwrard in our protests against the Rep. this fall.

    Do we know if Amy’s been let out yet?

  22. Takuan says:

    we should be flattered, Rush Limbaugh actually felt it necessary to post here. He’ll be back though. In all his various incarnations.

  23. Xeni Jardin says:

    Kyle, spare me the attitude, just share the information instead, which i thank you for btw. Today was intended to be a day off for all of us, I broke the vacation silence to post a few items, but we’re not CNN here with dozens of producers all over the place. We’re four bloggers who were basically taking the day off for time with our families.

  24. cycle23 says:

    Stupid Kyle.

  25. Antinous says:

    Once upon a time, by which I mean up until a couple of years ago, police treated media personnel very differently. The rights of the free press were considered so important, that the cops simply allowed them to do their jobs. Any journalist with even five years’ experience remembers that the press were generally considered exempt from police orders to move back or move out, except in imminently life-threatening situations. Now it’s SOP to rough up or arrest journalists, or if they’re on foreign soil, shoot them.

    The free press is a de facto independent arm of the US government, a vital part of our system of checks and balances. That fact outweighs the police expectation that citizens should obey their every command.

  26. Takuan says:

    will the judges stop the police?

  27. Nelson.C says:

    Somebody up-thread commented that this is a blog of wonderful things, so this post has no place in it. This is becoming a bit of a cliché in the comments sections on BB. Pay attention, oh literal-minded ones, I’m about to write something profound:

    Freedom is a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing beside which almost everything else is dross. It’s worth a post or two to point out when it’s being eroded.

  28. jccalhoun says:

    “amy goodman stepped out of line. the arrest was more than justified.”

    Step out of line. get arrested. God bless America…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Amy Goodman is a radio *and* television news host whose show appears on hundreds of stations across the country.

    I hope that the mayor’s office is starting to appreciate just how badly these “detainments” and arrests motivated by nothing more than political bullies are tarnishing the image of St. Paul.

  30. jccalhoun says:

    “The cop said “go to the sidewalk” THREE TIMES and started escorting her away, she clearly kept trying to resist, and they didn’t try to arrest her until she pushed back.

    There was a TON of awful police activity and wrongful arrests at the RNC. I fail to see how this was close. ”

    So “trying to resist” is grounds for being charged with “conspiracy to riot?”

    As far as “they didn’t try to arrest her until she pushed back,” well that’s not how I saw it. I saw them pushing her away and totally ignoring her questions and when she wouldn’t shut up they arrested her.

  31. Enochrewt says:

    #155 Takuan:Ok, I probably completely deserved that.

    #158 Stevemullis: You might want to look at what posts get disemvowelled before you think you have complete freedom of speech here.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping we see some serious media backlash here, seeing as how the media itself is now under fire. Democracy Now! (while not being one of the radio shows I listen to on a regular basis) has an unusually motivated and active listener base.

    I’m embarrassed for my city, but I don’t think local law enforcement are the ones really in control right now. You can take the party out of Washington, but you can’t take the Washington out of the party.

    Thanks to Xeni and everyone else working overtime to publicize this.

  33. Kyle Burris says:

    I’m not sure if expressing my own personal emotions counts as attitude, but I’m sorry if any part of my post offended you.

    If it’s any consolation, I’m equally disapointed with every news source and blog I read. I have yet to see anyone outside of Salon give a crap about the protests (my own radio station even cut the news today for a labor special), and I consider this to be one of the more complete failures of the modern US media.

    But hey, it’s a Holiday, so whatever.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Kyle, you are behaving like a douche, and it seems you’re also not keeping up with our posts on the topic. But it’s a holiday, so whatever. I blogged the Salon item early yesterday (http://www.boingboing.net/2008/08/30/report-massive-warra.html). There was a long and robust comment thread with that extensive post, and the thread included lots of other good information submitted by our community (135+ comments/contributions on that post, and counting).

      Here’s what’s lame: You’re complaining about the fact that we’re not meeting your expectations, in the body of a post about a topic you say we’re not posting enough of. I think your attitude sucks, and I find it personally offensive. Also, instead of arguing with me, you could be sharing some of the facts you apparently believe we’re ignoring or silencing.

      If you don’t like what we’re doing here, I encourage you to create your own blog, and cover what you feel is lacking here. Actually, even if you dig what we’re doing, I encourage you to do that. But please be respectful in this thread, and let’s keep the discussion on topic.

  34. Takuan says:

    when you’re shivering in the dark you don’t spit on the few embers present.

  35. Phikus says:

    Next new punk band name: Conspiracy To Riot!

  36. jonathan_v says:

    @77 she was released after a few hours

    here’s her on video, with a fun retelling of the events

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THMVJQUGJLM

    in her version “when i asked to speak to the commanding officer, they arrested me”.

    she seems to completely gloss over the fact that she was told multiple times to move to the sidewalk and was physically pushing up against the riot officer.

    journalism my ass, she’s providing a curated and biased/opinionated telling of events.

  37. Enochrewt says:

    #112: Here’s something I’d like to understand, how does pushing over a trashcan equal a disruption for the better? Seems pretty penny ante to me.

  38. trueblue2 says:

    Xeni, thanks for your coverage of this and all your hard work.

  39. Takuan says:

    steve’s just here to puff his career

  40. Doctor Popular says:

    I’m so heartbroken at what’s going on in a city I care so much for.

    According to Democracy Now!’s site, all three DN journalists have been released. http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2008/9/1/update_democracy_now_s_amy_goodman_sharif_abdel_kouddous_and_nicole_salazar_released_after_illegal_arrest_at_rnc

  41. Anonymous says:

    Police all over the country have been pulling this stuff for years now. Feb 15, 2003 in NYC was brutal (pre-Iraq invasion protest), as was the RNC in NYC in 2004. Tons of police intimidation and loads of arrests for a peaceful march. It just makes no sense.

    Freedom to assemble and freedom of speech is guaranteed in the first amendment. It is not threatening. There simply is no reason—other than willful intimidation—to try to put a stop to it.

    Anyone who has been part of marches or protests prior to the Bush admin. knows that things have changed in a really scary way. The mainstream media continue to refuse to deal with it honestly.

  42. Anonymous says:

    To jonathan v and anyone else who thinks her arrest was justified.

    You speak out like you are the police yourself. Its so easy to spot a cop in a blog, for one he will misspell things, for two he will always have a very warped view on altercations….. Sir you said you saw them ask her to move 3 times, then they supposedly were going to escort her away, but only arrested her after she “shoved” them? Maybe you are unaware of police procedure but he was in fact already arresting her when you assume he was escorting her. The FACT is, she was clearly not conspiring to riot as the charge states. Therefore any actions by the police are unlawful. As usual they trumped up some charges just to make their claim sound believable. If there wasnt cameras it would have simply been resisting arrest, which can be anything from asking “please dont arrest me” to actual assault. Oh and I just love it when a stupid cop tazer someone and at the same time ask them to put their hands behind their back, or the great “stop resisting” as they are flopping around on the floor being electrocuted.
    Yeah there is truly nothing like the “force” they may need to change their name to “excessive force” oh and change that protect and serve into, protect our own asses, and serve our agenda. The problem with this country is the police do whatever they want and rarely have oversight. The other problem is, what you are told and what actually happens to you are very different. You are told- Innocent until proven guilty. The reality of it is you are treated like a criminal until you prove your innocence. You dont tackle an innocent person, tie their hands behind their back, stick them in a car, drive them away, book them, put them in a cell. Well they do but they shouldnt. Many crimes dont even deserve a trip to jail but you will get one none the less. The time has long since past where a man could avoid jail simply by doing the right thing.

  43. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Wow. Balanced and in-depth news coverage of the event.

    Nice, balanced coverage of the peaceful side of the march, the anarchists challenging the police, the police reacting appropriately, the police reacting inappropriately (tazing a guy when he was down; pepper spraying innocent bystanders), comments from the mayor, comments from an anarchist “leader?” (lol).

    Why can’t all press coverage be like this?

  44. Trvth says:

    Why r y tryng t ntrrpt th RNC? f y dn’t by th rls nfrcd by th plc, thn y shld b rrstd. ‘m sr tht th rpblcns wnt by th rls st by th plc. dd, y nvr s rpblcns bng “pprssd” by plc ffcrs n ths typ f sttns.

  45. Jack says:

    @#6 POSTED BY ANTINOUS , SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 8:40 PM

    Once upon a time, by which I mean up until a couple of years ago, police treated media personnel very differently. The rights of the free press were considered so important, that the cops simply allowed them to do their jobs. Any journalist with even five years’ experience remembers that the press were generally considered exempt from police orders to move back or move out, except in imminently life-threatening situations. Now it’s SOP to rough up or arrest journalists, or if they’re on foreign soil, shoot them.

    Exactly. I’m sick of people saying this is how it “always was”. If that were the case, Woodward & Bernstein would have been arrested, harassed and physically beaten within days of breaking the Watergate story.

    Please folks, history is documented for a reason. And the reason some of us older folks are truly nauseated by this stuff is things were really great at one time.

    Also, Kyle your criticism of Xeni is ridiculous. I have been critical of comments made by BB staff in the past, but honestly this is a holiday weekend but also a weekend where a hurricane almost hit Louisiana again and the RNC is causing some serious breaches in rights of assembly of protestors. I think Boing Boing is doing a great job of pointing people in the right direction and I truly admire the work they are doing here.

    Please, if you can do better do so. Post more details in the comments here with links and facts. Until then, please step off.

  46. jdg says:

    There has also been plenty of thuggish behavior by protesters that fully justifies a National Guard response. See:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/09/streets_turn_nasty_in_st_paul.html

    It’s just too bad the police didn’t have the brains to arrest the right people.

  47. moofrank says:

    During the raids yesterday, there was a report of being asked a question on the order….Do you have Terminator ready?

    What if this insane behavior is in response to a “credible” terrorist threat?

    Terminator could be a code name of a bomb of some sort.

  48. monstruoso says:

    y nvr s rpblcns bng “pprssd” by plc ffcrs n ths typ f sttns.

    Funny that.

  49. ill lich says:

    How does one define “conspiracy to riot”? Or better, how does one prove “conspiracy to riot”? Amy Goodman was “conspiring to riot”, by asking questions? Remember how the violence at the 1968 DNC was essentially defined as a “police riot”? That footage of the flower girl being pepper sprayed (link in comments above) certainly implies the cops were causing at least as much violence than they were preventing (Hell– they sprayed her a 2nd time as she was walking away, and for what? Certainly not to subdue a violent individual.)

  50. Takuan says:

    sorry JDG, but it’s very hard to parody The Onion

  51. Takuan says:

    will the judges stop the police?

  52. Kytsune says:

    If the DA’s office decides to pursue charges against her they will probably simply drop the “conspiracy to riot” and replace it with “resisting arrest/disobeying lawful order.” Mostly because the former is flimsy and difficult to prove and the latter is broad and difficult to defend against.

    I’ve seen too many instances where the stated charges at time of arrest had nothing to do with the eventual charges. I guess because the arresting officer needs to articulate a reason for the arrest but that reason doesn’t need to have bearing on the final charges?

    I really don’t like how this played out in the video. Only the most passive personality reacts favorably to assault – I will let my friends grab me and move me, but such a hostile act by someone I don’t know will be met with surprise and resistance. I want to accept that there is a balance between doing the job as a police officer – i.e. standing there and guarding a area/people – and providing a professional front to calm upset people so that nobody feels the need to grab them and drag them around.

  53. ehour now says:

    Thanks for the mention(s); very useful, informative and comprehensive.

  54. ill lich says:

    #112 ZIKZAK

    Part of the problem is using the word “Anarchist”– it just rubs people the wrong way. If you are truly an anarchist, fine, but if you want to advance your cause find a way around the word. Most people hear the word and don’t think about the political philosophy of Anarchism, they think “trouble-maker, bomb-thrower, hooligan” whether that’s justified or not. The fact is that most people don’t know squat about the political philosophy, any more than a fundamentalist Christian knows anything about Wicca (but if you tell them “I’m a witch” they jump to all sorts of conclusions).

    Also, violence is violence, doesn’t matter who does it. Gandhi got the Brits out of India with non-violence faster than the Irish got them out of Ireland with violence. Sure, violence feels really satisfying, but most of the time it’s not as efficient as non-violent protest when it comes to political change (unless you’re talking about a coup de’etat, in which case you’ve opened up a whole new can of worms– show me a coup where the new leaders were less violent or corrupt than the old ones, it’s pretty rare).

  55. E0157H7 says:

    This is phenomenal. The government has never been shy about dolling out spankings when it feels threatened, but rarely in such an obvious and unabashed way. This sort of blatant behavior should set off a lot of warning bells, regardless of the perception of the protester and press behavior. They don’t even feel the need to be subtle about suppression tactics anymore. Never mind the implications about the freedom of speech and assembly, people need to keep in mind that when the guns come out things like the Kent State shootings happen. It’s easy for a situation like this to escalate.

  56. Takuan says:

    hurting people is fun.

  57. QuidiVidi says:

    I’m really disappointed with that disemvowelment.

    That’s pretty much all I have to say.

  58. steauengeglase says:

    I remember reading a few months ago that inciting a riot is a federal felony. What is the punishment for conspiring to riot?

  59. QuidiVidi says:

    ZikZak,

    I just know that I wouldn’t want you smashing my window.

    Do these “disruptions” actually accomplish anything?

    To my recall, I’ve never seen any effective results from stuff like this. (But, I don’t follow stuff like this closely.) Other then making it easy for the mainstream media to marginalize the protesters as nut-jobs.

    It seems to me that while you might get some national attention, but it undercuts any message given.

    Please, set me straight if I’m wrong on this.

  60. Phikus says:

    XENI: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for filling in for the lack of professional journalism on the part of our mainstream media. All of you here at BB are going way out of your way to cover what is expressly being omitted, and what you never really signed up for in creating what seems to have been originally designed as a spotlight on cool culture in the form of a zine / blog. These times have made you into incidental heroes of the info wars. I hope you continue to do these things, which are indeed wonderful, for as long as such is demanded by the lack of a true 4th house of government, silenced by the machine that is devouring our rights and liberties.

    KYLE: I have re-watched it several times. She tries to talk to the cop who tells her, quietly, TWICE to get on the sidewalk, and having “accredited journalist” status, she would normally have every expectation of being allowed into areas normally roped off, so she tries to inform him of her status and gain his consent. The cop looks like he is about to address that, but instead, someone off to the side very quickly shouts out” ARREST THE ACCREDITED JOURNALIST! and away she is dragged, still relatively calmly requesting not to be arrested. This and the fact that it was only one instance of over 300 today, lends credence to the idea that excessive force is being used with no reason to it. If you are down there, that’s good enough for them. It’s much like what happened to the folks that dared to wear anti-war and anti-bush t-shirts to a 4th of July parade where bush took part. The cops had no constitutional ground to stand on, and yet their orders seem to be to arrest first and let the courts decide what will stick later. I fear for all of those present not lucky enough to have been caught on film as they were arrested for what is essentially being on the street while not Republican. I think your geometry may be off. I think you meant to say you did a 360.

    ANON@17: Well said! Why do you not have an account here and post often (that we know of)?

  61. grimc says:

    “The cop said “go to the sidewalk” THREE TIMES and started escorting her away, she clearly kept trying to resist, and they didn’t try to arrest her until she pushed back.”

    Sorry, but saying that she deserved it is ridiculous. She had her press pass, identified herself as a member of the press, and the cop wasn’t interested in a word she said from the get-go. Her only error was assuming that being an accredited journalist means something anymore.

    This is disgusting. And what’ll be even more vile is that the mainstream press–the same one who treated Judith Miller as some sort of martyr for the 1st Amendment instead of the war criminal she is–won’t say shit about this. Watch. Maybe there’ll be some indignant little editoral here and there, but no real reporting.

    Disgusting.

  62. W. James Au says:

    Xeni, check out the Chron article you linked to:

    “Earlier today, several groups of demonstrators – many with bandanas covering their faces who identified themselves as anarchists – broke from the main march. They set a fire in a garbage Dumpster, damaged five police squad cars and smashed three giant display windows at a Macy’s department store, police said.”

    Any excessive non-Constitutional use of police force should absolutely be investigated and punished, but I think there’s way more to the story than the activists are giving out. Radicals among the protesters get violent, either because they’re nihilist douchebags or they’re trying to provoke an official overreaction, on cue the cops overreact and start widening their dragnet way too wide, the activists claim they’re being suppressed while ignoring the radicals’ behavior that’s totally taken the moral high ground from them.

  63. certron says:

    This is the same Amy Goodman who was in Seattle covering the WTO protests in 1999. It just so happens that she dialed into the WBAI radio station and got a live account of being tear-gassed onto the radio and into the archives of Off The Hook.

    http://www.2600.com/offthehook/1999/1199.html

    (That link thanks to http://everything2.com/title/Pacifica although it hasn’t been touched in years.)

  64. Takuan says:

    Do these “disruptions” actually accomplish anything?

    http://amoslanka.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/french-revolution-2.jpg

  65. Takuan says:

    not nearly as I am disappointed with police who think they are jailers and citizens who think they are “good” inmates.

  66. Nixar says:

    “The cop said “go to the sidewalk” THREE TIMES and started escorting her away, she clearly kept trying to resist, and they didn’t try to arrest her until she pushed back. ”

    Oh yeah, she was clearly threatening them, the skinny little lady against the big pigs with their big armor and their big guns. Give me a break.

    Amy is a hero. She was in East Timor, years ago, when there was nobody else reporting. She was reporting with bullets flying above her head. Yet somehow this scene looks even more dangerous.

    Damn PIGS. SS.

  67. Phikus says:

    E0157H7@26: “keep in mind that when the guns come out things like the Kent State shootings happen. It’s easy for a situation like this to escalate.

    Unfortunately, what they learned from Kent St. was to A) Buy, consolidate, and effectively control the media, and B) Develop an arsenal of non-lethal weapons (tasers, rubber bullets, heat rays) so they can disrupt any gathering without creating the bloodshed that would mean a huge backlash and fuel people getting more serious about organizing against them. We have to somehow create the crystallization of vision and unity that Kent St. did, without bloodshed, because they are trying very hard not to be seen doing this out in the open, while in the shadows they are doing far worse to innocent people the world over.

  68. Phikus says:

    W JAMES@31: “Radicals among the protesters get violent, either because they’re nihilist douchebags or they’re trying to provoke an official overreaction, on cue the cops overreact and start widening their dragnet way too wide, the activists claim they’re being suppressed while ignoring the radicals’ behavior that’s totally taken the moral high ground from them.

    Consider that the cops have already testified they they have infiltrated many protest groups and are doing what they can to incite violence to discredit them, as linked previously by J9C on the aforementioned related thread.

  69. zikzak says:

    #114: I guess the short response would be: “It got you to pay attention, didn’t it?”. The long answer would be:

    There is increasing evidence that our government not only disagrees with those it governs, it doesn’t care how we feel about it at all. There is increasing evidence that even getting literally a million people to participate in a calm, dignified protest march does nothing to influence the behavior of the politicians who rule us. If our rulers give us more freedom or stop their wars, it will be for strictly practical, cynical reasons.

    In short, it’s becoming apparent that there’s no way to convince our rulers to change their minds. The only path left for us is to make it as difficult as possible to carry out their plans. This means causing trouble. This means raising hell. If your opponent will not reason, then reason is no longer a useful tactic.

    Creating civil disorder is an excellent way to disrupt the efforts of the government, because it fundamentally undermines their control without harming people, or even scaring them too bad. Having some barricades of trash cans and newspaper boxes built downtown and a few chain store windows smashed may be unsettling, but it doesn’t really upset ordinary people the way that terrorism or other unethical forms of political resistance do. It does, however provide a useful tool for negotiating with power. “End the war, or we’ll make sure that every major event you try to have is plagued with disorder, and nobody can go shopping.” It’s not a /persuasive/ argument, but it’s a threat that anti-war activists can actually follow through on.

    So yeah, one trash can isn’t a huge deal, but it helps. And if enough people kick trash cans into their local downtown, it absolutely can convince those in power that continuing the war simply isn’t worth the trouble any more. It sounds silly, but your government depends on you to not kick over trashcans in order for it to continue war and oppression. You have a choice whether to cooperate with them or not.

  70. Anonymous says:

    @29 Thanks for the mention, many times I wonder what people think of my comments. I try my hardest to see some truth through all the lies and confusion. I dont know why I never started an account, I post anonymously constantly and about half make it up here. On blogs that dont allow anonymous comments I simply bite my tongue. Usually I call myself Einstein on posts where you can put a name. I somewhat worry that my inflammatory, albeit truthful, remarks could get me harassed by big brother and his gang of thugs. I suppose Im not positive that BB could protect my limited provided information, and I want to be able to freely speak my mind without fear of punishment. Its a constitutional thing, the government wouldnt understand, hehe. Have a good one…..

  71. W. James Au says:

    Xeni, Mashable < http://mashable.com/2008/09/01/when-bloggers-arent-bloggers/> has a link to one of the anti-RNC sites whose owners got raided. In anarchist parlance, note that “self-defense” actually means “forcefully resisting the cops”. Does this look like the plans for a peaceful protest to you?

    http://www.nornc.org/156/

    THE STRATEGY
    On the penultimate day of the “pReNC,” a national planning consulta a year in advance of the Republican National Convention, over a hundred anti-authoritarians from around the country gathered to distill a formal strategy for disrupting the convention…

    Those plugging into this strategy will be free to shape their actions as they see fit, using the tactics they consider appropriate. As the specific blockade sites are established, there may be a system of delegating some sites as “red zones” (prepared for self-defense), “yellow zones” (peaceful but assertive), and “green zones” (aiming to avoid any risk of arrest) so as to accommodate a wide variety of creative tactics and involve individuals with differing needs and talents…

    We have one year to prepare for the most extravagant theatre in this war on exploitation. That means one year to study maps, prepare blockades, run our sprints, climb fences, craft disguises, find press credentials, procure bolt-cutters, and most importantly, gather those close to us and devise our own plans.

  72. poagao says:

    I’m more curious about how public reaction to these events is changing over the years than the events themselves, actually. A few years ago, it would have been mostly outrage; today it is muted disgust with quite a few people defending the authorities. What will things be like in a few more years?

  73. Takuan says:

    surfing the “mainstream” (moneyed) American media, it’s apparent that they’ve shifted fom ignoring this to lying about it outright. You’re in trouble America. Bad, bad trouble.

  74. Anonymous says:

    #34: Regarding your second point, about non-lethal weapons.

    Victoria Snelgrove was killed when shot with non- or less-lethal projectile.

    Many deaths have been directly linked to use of tasers.

    So I guess it is back to the lab, right? Right.

  75. stevemullis says:

    @TAKUAN

    I never called police heroes. And,that happened in Denver not St. Paul, which is the situation I was talking about and was at.

    Your *gotcha* video holds no merit.

  76. error says:

    The video documentary organisation i-witness was responsible for overturning over 400 of 1800 arrests at the 2004 NY RNC. They were able to demonstrate that the testimonies of the police were false.

    Not surprisingly, before the 2008 RNC, they were all preemptively arrested, as well as a number of other journalists, videographers, and lawyers.

    It’s sickening. What allows it to happen are the people who back the police up, and go “oh, they must have had a good reason to arrest that journalist”. The passive/compliant/authoritarian section of the population.

    The military style of policing also scares off the families and ‘ordinary folks’ – would you take your kids to a rally when stormtroopers are heavying you? And all that are left are the “rabble”, who the police can target and arrest safely knowing that they’ll get away with it.

  77. Thebes says:

    I presume this is but a fore-taste of the New Amerikkka if McCain / Palin end up in the White House?

    thnk ts rlly mprtnt tht ll mrcns, spclly pcbl dssdnts, wn rfl cpbl f dfndng thmslvs nd thr cmmnty frm nms f th S Cnstttn.

  78. zikzak says:

    #117, You raise a good point about whether militant tactics accomplish anything. Sometimes, doing the most aggressive thing isn’t the best choice, and can actually make things worse. I’m sure there were a few examples of this at the RNC.

    However, to conclude that militant tactics are /never/ effective is a little simplistic. You can look at the disruptive tactics of the Boston Tea Party, the civil rights movement, the labor movement, and the ELF for examples of effective resistance that involved creating disorder and sometimes destroying property. It’s arguable that the gains made by these people would never have been made if they’d remained calm and “reasonable” throughout their struggle, even though some people might have respected their ideological purity more.

  79. Anonymous says:

    Cop at :28 – :30 draws his club and licks his lips? I wonder what he was thinking at that moment?

  80. Takuan says:

    yes, there is absolutely no merit in the police clubbing that woman to the ground. I know! Let’s all search Youtube for video of police meritoriously clubbing women!

  81. frankiez says:

    One more step into Post freedom USA…

    Few years ago USA created the notion of embedded Journalists: in 3-4 years this type of Journalism will be the only one accepted in the Land of Freedom because “if you critic the government you help the terrorists”!

  82. Phikus says:

    THEBES@39: Please see my comment in the previous related thread regarding your 2nd paragraph. In regards to your 1st: Only 8 years of bush could have taken us here in the first place. It’s not a “fore-taste” as much as a bitter after-taste. (I agree, however, that we should try to avoid 4 more.)

  83. Takuan says:

    cop apologists: think for a moment about just what it is you are defending. Are cops mindless chimps with orders,clubs and guns? Is that it?

  84. Kyle Burris says:

    @stevemullis: The Anarchists at St. Paul were trying to recreate Seattle by shutting down the convention and showing that people could organize and stand up the the repressive system that the RNC represents. And their plan’s been up on their website for about a year now.

    As to the functionality of an Anarchistic society, your question about how a country of 300 million could work is horribly miss-framed, and leads me to think that you haven’t actually done any reading on the subject. If you are interested, I can recommend you some links.

  85. Jupiter12 says:

    @61 “The simple fact that a half century has elapsed since the Kent State murders and that the events of today fail to stir mass uprising bears me out.”

    Half a century? Are you living in the year 2020?

    ====

    @67 Great info. It’s nice to get some perspective from someone who was actually there.

  86. stevemullis says:

    “Dsmvwlld” s nt wrd. blv y’r lkng fr “DSVW”.

    nd t s chsy, hgh-schl vldctrn spch clch, th dfntn f < hrf="http://dctnry.rfrnc.cm/srch?q=nrchy" rl="nfllw">nrchy:

    1. stt f scty wtht gvrnmnt r lw.

    f th lbl r nm s nccrt f yr blfs, y shld prbbly rnm yr phlsphy.

    n rgrd t th thr pnts y md, y dd mk sm-lcd rgmnt nd cmmnd y fr tht. Thgh ‘m sr y nthr wnt nr cr fr my cmmndtn. stll dsgr, nd tht’s th grt thng bt lvng n rltvly fr cntry. Nthng y’v sd jstfs th ctns tkn n Mndy by th slf-dscrbd nrchsts.

    @TKN, y’r tl. Y’v yt t sy n thng tht hs ny rlvnc. ls, dn’t nd t cmmnt n BngBng thrd t dvnc my crr, t’s dvncng wll ngh n ts wn.

  87. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #31, #36: Yes, even AP’s (fairly balanced?) coverage mentions that there were anarchist elements operating, deliberately breaking laws to provoke the police.

    #35: Thanks. I had also forgotten that. I do wonder how many of the anarchists were actually stirred up by the police themselves.

    Irregardless, the situation in this video is ridiculous, particularly the cry of “Get rid of the journalist!”

    And anyway, the police need to be able to distinguish between people breaking the law and people just walking around.

    I’m a little chilled by the pre-emptive raids and detentions.

    #13: Tak-kun, as usual your imagery is vivid, intense, and to the point.

    I wonder, with the i-witness idea, whether you couldn’t just get everyone in the crowd armed with a cellphone with a decent camera and a GB or so of memory, recording police actions. You could set up a big website for it all (with tagging/tag-based searching so detainees can find footage of their arrest), and even throw together a little Java cellphone app to stream it straight from the phone over 3G as it’s recorded so that even if the cops illegally tamper with or destroy the recording it’s already out. Web 2.0 comes to protests. Live.

    Hmmm…

  88. zikzak says:

    #116: Labels are labels – maybe you’re right that anarchism has become a “dirty word”, but if it has, it’s because of a persistent disinformation campaign by the government and business, not because of the actions of anarchists. True there have been some “crazy bomb-throwing anarchists”, but those few were publicized widely and used to discredit the myriad anarchists working hard and peacefully on issues like labor and anti-war (who never got any attention).

    Therefore, if we were to pick a new term for “people who believe we can do better than oppressive governments”, that term too would be dragged through the mud until it’s synonymous with “raving homocidal satanist”. So we just stick with the most appropriate term, and work hard to educate people about what we really believe in and what we really do, rather than playing word games.

    Re: violence, I agree for the most part. Violence is unacceptable and unethical unless defending yourself against a serious threat to your immediate safety. However, I do not think that destroying the property of multinational corporations should be considered violence. Perhaps it is wrong, perhaps we should not do it, but there is something pathological about equating it with beating a human being into submission.

  89. Takuan says:

    “Spray that bitch, we can club her later!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npn-aCkYUn0

  90. johnnyuber says:

    I am having Seattle WTO flashbacks (feel the burn)… America a free country? … No it is just an illusion …

    I hope you are all OK …. and pissed off …

  91. Chris Griswold says:

    This is more of what happened at the last RNC in NYC. It was awful, really awful, and it was like there was a media blackout on the stuff the cops and the city were doing to protesters, illegally arresting and detaining them for days in makeshift jails on the docks, grabbing and attacking people who weren’t even protesters, and generally just declaring martial law. It was classic NYPD, before we had to call them heroes, back when they were better known for shooting immigrants.

  92. Anonymous says:

    MY LAST POST ON THIS SUBJECT.

    To the people who say she deserved it.

    I want to make something perfectly clear-
    Just because you understand that a certain cause can have a certain effect doesnt make it right.

    For instance, I know my neighbors pitbull is dangerous, if it got out and attacked my dog I would have to come to help and I would be bitten. Just because I know the dog will likely bite me doesnt make his actions right or my actions stupid. The violent dog is still the problem.

    The same can be said for the police, yeah sure we all know if you piss one off you will be beaten, arrested, charged(trumped), etc. But that doesnt not make it right by any means. Just that an average person can see what the likely outcome is. So in affect Im saying these protesting people are protesting to PROTECT themselves, their beliefs and the country they love. They arent there to further destroy America, they are literally taking their lives into their hands to try and save America. The journalists are not only protecting those peoples freedoms but also their own and THAT ALONE many times is the reason they are detained and attacked. So in conclusion to my analogy. The government is doing wrong, the people try to PEACEFULLY say stop, the government doesnt want to hear it, they send out their thugs(police) to trample the rights of the people. The government and police are still wrong even if I know the outcome before hand. Now it would of course be in my best interest to do everything to avoid this outcome, but what if Ive had enough hiding, enough cowering away from ignorance and violence? Well then its time to take a stand against what is wrong, I will still be harassed and beaten for standing against the powers that be, but it doesnt make it right by any means…..It just makes it reality, a very sick and twisted reality.

    Im beyond sick of seeing police act like power hungry thugs. Their intimidation assures that only the most extreme believers show up to rally. A gentler man woman and child do not show up for fear of this type of intimidation or attacks. Its completely absurd that I personally cant attend protests or rallies because I hate the taste of tear gas.

    Seriously what the fuck could the police force do against a mob of people? If the people finally get really sick of the bullshit the police are in for it. I guarantee there will eventually be a “custers last stand” type of situation one day. Where the protesters have had enough of the beatings and EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM ACT OUT AGAINST THE POLICE who are greatly outnumbered at every event. The “force” wouldnt stand a chance. What if the protesters carried guns? I strongly urge future protesters to gain a CCW permit and stand for what you believe in ARMED. I highly doubt they would so easily take to putting their hands on others with bulletproof vests and large caliber pistols. Its one thing to tackle a couple older women, its entirely something else to attack 100 grown men with firearms and bulletproof vests. Personally Im always armed and you wont know(ccw permit), no man will stomp on my freedom or rights, I mean no man! I will surely die for my beliefs that America is yours and mine and I deserve my freedoms and rights. I can tell you that if my mother and I were at a rally and she was physically attacked by ANY MAN, I would instantly bring at least 10 times the pain to him immediately. There is a very damn good reason why we have the RIGHT to PEACEFULLY protest. Because the other option is very dangerous. When I was a child my grandfather told me there are two ways to control people. The right way(respect) and the wrong way(fear). To rule with respect gained from ones actions is a great and powerful thing since most people cannot overlook their respect for a good man. To rule with fear gained by violence is a horrible and pathetic thing because most people eventually overlook their fear and stand strong against a bad man. When will they learn?

  93. Andrew W says:

    Yes, even AP’s (fairly balanced?) coverage

    Not by a long shot. The AP’s DC bureau chief nearly took a job with the McCain campaign. The AP may have been knowingly complicit in puffing up the Tillman and Lynch stories. They’ve also been distorting the content of Obama’s speaches.

    I don’t know if what they’ve reported is true or not, but it looks like if the can promote the right or discredit progressives, they’ll jump at that chance.

  94. Takuan says:

    someone actually there huh? One still frame of what could be anything and a dead video link. You two related maybe? Same turf farm perhaps?

  95. Enochrewt says:

    #122: It got my attention, but then the next step in my thought process was to dismiss those people out of hand along with any “message” that the majority of the people that watched that video had the same reaction as I.

    People love to cite the The Boston Tea Party, but it was protest about a very specific tax that the people were upset about. It may have led to further change of other things in the government, but that wasn’t their plan. They wanted the the Stamp Act repealed. These people in the video are aren’t protesting for any specific cause that I can see, they’re just destroying property.

    Also note that except for the tea dumped into the harbor, there was no other property damaged during the protest that was The Boston Tea Party.

    So please, don’t take a great American historical event and bandy it around as an excuse to wreck stuff “protesting”.

    Also, destroying corporate property (that trashcan was city property by the way as in your tax dollars) is different than beating a human being. One is vandalism, the other is assault/aggrevated assault.

    • Antinous says:

      Enochrewt,

      I’m from Boston, and I will toss the Tea Party around as much as I like. Are you arguing that protesting a single tax is more reasonable than protesting a war and the loss of constitutional rights?

  96. Chris Griswold says:

    “Why r y tryng t ntrrpt th RNC? f y dn’t by th rls nfrcd by th plc, thn y shld b rrstd. ‘m sr tht th rpblcns wnt by th rls st by th plc. dd, y nvr s rpblcns bng “pprssd” by plc ffcrs n ths typ f sttns.”

    I still think this sort of thing only makes Boing Boing look bad. Just delete the post, don’t make me have to work to try to see what was written and whether it was warranted. I barely try anymore and so am left wondering if it was really worth making things more difficult for readers and manipulating someone else’s words to make a point rather than just to eliminate what you consider to be a negative element.

    It’s a bit of a blemish on what I consider otherwise to be one of the best things on the Internet.

  97. buddy66 says:

    provocateur d’agents

    We used to see a lot of them. They were indistinguishable from fools. There were a lot of them too. In 1968 my SF bay area org, Veterans For Peace, decided to pass on Chicago. We felt that an attempt to disrupt the Dem’s big day gave ammunition to the GOP and Nixon. We debated with fools and agents who were committed to disruption. A radical wing of SDS was the worst; they later came to known as the Weathermen (from a Bob Dylan line, “You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”). Some even resurrected the designation of “anarchists,” although few had ever heard of Bukharin or Proudhon; I guess it sounded cool. A handful of fools, provocateurs, and outright lunatics. America was shocked by the resulting disorder of the police riots. Nixon won.

    Of course the mainstream mediaroids are going to focus on the few who smash windows and pee in the bushes. They know who signs their checks. And it couldn’t be nicer for McBush & Co. who may even prevail despite their overwhelming incompetence. Riots? Ah, riots=terrorism. The “anarchists” might as well be full-time agents of Rove & Co. I think some of them are, urging on fools and lunatics. The enemy isn’t cops. They’re just tools. Fools vs. tools.

    Another Dylan line: You have to pay to keep from going through all these things twice.

    I wonder how much?

  98. paulm says:

    #87:

    I turned up the volume but couldn’t hear that awful quote. Is that accurate or did you just make that up?

  99. rrsafety says:

    Report from Minn.:

    “A bus was attacked from above when a group of protesters dropped sand bags on to the top of the bus. If the protesters had succeeded in hitting the windshield, a sand bag would have crashed through and killed the driver. The resulting accident would have killed or injured others on the bus. …

    A little later, a busload of Cub Scouts were en route to the convention, where they were to present the colors to open the convention. A group of protesters blocked the road, surrounded the bus, and attacked it, rocking the bus back and forth, denting and scratching the sides, and generally terrifying the children trapped inside.”

    Now that’s horrible…

  100. Takuan says:

    I can read body language. You?

  101. zikzak says:

    “These people in the video are aren’t protesting for any specific cause that I can see, they’re just destroying property.”

    I would encourage you to look into the coverage of the RNC protests further. Although the major story is police repression of protesters, I can assure you that the protesters are decidedly not just destroying property for the sake of it – just as the cops are not beating protesters just for the sake of it. What we’re seeing is very much a political struggle, and the conflict is not about whether people can commit petty crimes, it’s about who’s allowed to say what and when. The activists have serious and (usually) very intelligent criticisms of the political status quo and their actions are part of an effort to demand change. If it appears to you that they are merely troublemakers on a lark, it is only because of the nature of the news coverage.

  102. QuidiVidi says:

    ZikZak,

    I can’t say you’ve sold me on your argument, but you have given me the best explanation I’ve ever heard.

    (Bonus points for not using the words: “pigs”, SS, or spelling America with a k.)

    I guess I’m just not a “ends justify the means” type of person. I feel that real change happens slowly and that this confrontational attitude that gets seen so easily is the result of a lack of patience and the seductive quality of the “fight”.

    I think it’s (its? I never get that right) easy to fool yourself into thinking that the clash is important and is “striking a blow” for (insert cause here).

    But what the hell do I know? I’m afraid to go south of the border.

  103. gnugeek says:

    To those of you who are saying this is what we have to look forward to if McCain gets elected… this is what we have to look forward to no matter who gets elected:

    Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

    Wake up. Neither “side” is going to protect your civil liberties.

  104. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #48: [citation needed]

  105. Takuan says:

    serendipity

    Heroes Act of 2008: Try to Leave the US & Lose Everything
    Posted August 29th, 2008 by DaddyWarBucks

    http://www.youtube.com/wa

    A lot of people probably can’t understand why someone would voluntarily give up American citizenship — but if someone wanted to do that, they’d now incur financial penalties for it.

    Congress just passed a new law that will stop your capital — or at least a good portion of it — at the border, should you decide not to be a U.S. citizen anymore. Is it, perhaps, in preparation for the possibility that Americans might rebel at the debt and taxes incurred by their government by leaving for lower-tax locales?

    You probably didn’t notice this little provision inserted into the Heroes Act of 2008, passed by Congress on June 17. The headlines in the press release about the law were about the increased benefits for veterans and families of deceased military.

    But Richard Kohan of Price WaterhouseCoopers drew my attention to one section of the act, which states that anyone voluntarily giving up his or her citizenship will be taxed on all of his assets as if he or she had sold them — paying capital gains on assets that have increased in value, even though they have not been sold.

    That’s right. While everyone in the media is focused on keeping aliens out of America, Congress has voted to lock its citizens – or at least a good portion of their assets — into America! Maybe they’re thinking that patriotism won’t be enough to keep the smart money from recognizing the coming increases in the tax burden.”

    worth a thread?

  106. Phikus says:

    Things are starting to tickle out. A number of additional video clips are imbedded here (as well as ones we’ve seen, linked from BB.) The bottom two include local news coverage, the first of which seems quite biased on behalf of the police. They actually say a Judge told them it was ok in the case of the Eyewitness Video raid to go through the wrong house (the one in the warrant) to get to the house where the journalists were being detained. They are the only media outlet I have seen purporting this. If it is true, A) Why go through the wrong house when they were at all of the other doors to the premises already? and B) Why didn’t the judge simply correct the address on the warrant, or issue a new one? Between the news outlet and the cops, somebody seems to be selling a bag of WMDs here.

    ZIKZAK: I think there are more creative ways of grabbing headlines than monkey-wrenching local businesses and trash-bins. Remember the sit-ins, be-ins, and bed-ins in the 60′s that were just as much a part of the movements you cite, if not more? I agree that defacing corporate property is not to be equated with or reacted to with violence toward a person, but already the media are latching onto the weapons of disruption in order to spin the RNC Welcoming Committee as terrorists. Wouldn’t be nice if people marched in the streets and protested peacefully and the cops, if any, were the only ones perpetrating violence of any kind? Wouldn’t that motivate more people to be sympathetic to your cause?

    • Antinous says:

      Wouldn’t be nice if people marched in the streets and protested peacefully and the cops, if any, were the only ones perpetrating violence of any kind? Wouldn’t that motivate more people to be sympathetic to your cause?

      Successful movements often get the police and the military on their side rather than making them the enemy. The US is ripe for a coup d’etat. The Supreme Court would rubber stamp it if it happened. As to what Congress would do, read Tacitus’ Annals of Imperial Rome. I’d like to have the military fighting for the Constitution if that happens.

  107. Pipenta says:

    Are things going to get much better if Obama gets in? I assume they will get much worse if the GOP stay, life under McCain will just get shittier, no doubt about it. But I don’t see the Dems standing up for civil rights, freaking out about the TSA, about the police/spy state that we are becoming. I haven’t seen any politicians with brains, spines and conviction since I can’t remember when.

  108. Kyle Burris says:

    Again, as I said earlier, I’m disappointed with everyone’s coverage of this thing–News, blogs, and even my own radio station. I’m not sure what people find so offensive about that opinion.

    It’s good to know, tho, that I can’t come into a BB topic about protester abuse and offer an opinion without being called names and told that if I don’t like it I can ged out. I hope the irony isn’t lost on people.

    Anyway, more updates from the ground, and more video.

  109. stevemullis says:

    cn tk ny tn wnt, Frdm f Spch rmmbr. r d w s sn frgt wht ths s ll bt?

    dn’t hv cmmnt hstry bcs dn’t fl th nd t cmmnt n vry BngBng pst rd. Ths s th frst tm bcs hd frst-hnd ccnt f wht hppnd.

    Y rlly r pthtc (@TKN t) f tht s yr cntr-rgmnt.

  110. barfy says:

    The real sad part of this is that most of these protesters are from out of state. Being that we minnesotans are generaly considered the “Nice” people in the north (hence the term minnesota nice)and these yahoos come here and give the whole state a black eye is sickening. I neither applade nor condone the actions taken by the local police since I have not walked a mile in their shoes. but given their position on the events I think that they have their hands tied and have to enforce the law regaurdless of public opinion, Yes perhaps some were stepping out of the box so to speak but then again where do you draw the line? these anarcists not only disruped the movement of traffic to and around the convention but also damaged property of people that had nothing to do with the convention. (store windows and such)hampered the routes of other emergancy vehicles that might have been needed for the general public’s safety and cost us the people who live here tax dollars to repair the dammage they caused, quite frankly thats money that could have been directed towards more useful programs that our state has for lower income people and that to me is the real crime. As to the journalist in question she was warned to step away and chose not to, that seems to place the blame on her sholders not the officers in question but I think charging her with conspercy to riot is a bit extreame but since I was not physicaly there I can’t say who was in the right or if the charges are justified, after all cameras only give you the veiwpoint of the person taking the pictures and not the entire situation as a whole.

  111. Enochrewt says:

    we should be flattered, Noam Chomskey actually felt it necessary to post here. He’ll be back though. In all his various incarnations.

  112. Steaming Pile says:

    #50 – Naah, just disemvowel his sorry ass for making stupid shit up.

  113. Takuan says:

    Chomskey,Chomskey…no relation to Chomsky?

  114. Phikus says:

    ANTINOUS: You mean it’s time to re-coup our losses? (Ahem…) =D

    The Military should be the first to oppose this unjust war and those who began it / are running it, much like Buddy did in ’68. (You go Buddy!) To be fair, there are many decent cops out there too. The only way to win them over is to take the pacifist route, imho.

    Yeah the time is right for a bloodless revolution…

  115. Anonymous says:

    I’m concerned about the repeated use of the term “anarchist” in stories about the protesters that were arrested. I don’t doubt they were anarchists, but since when does anarchist == terrorist? It seems like news outlets are using that word just to garner ill will towards the protesters. I’m a free-market capitalist- if I had been among the arrested, do you think they would have mentioned that? It’s almost like them saying that they are anarchists is the reason being given for the arrests in the first place. Just seems…odd.

  116. Antinous says:

    stevemullis,

    You don’t have enough of (by which I mean any) a comment history to justify taking that tone with other commenters.

  117. WITXRIMO says:

    If you do a little homework, you will find that this group of rogue anarchists are a small violent bunch who deserve to be arrested. To put yourself into a frenzied situation in the name of ‘journalism’ is, at least, imprudent, and at worst, a ploy. This is not representative of MN, Democrats, or the USA. For Xeni et al not to call this out explicitely is telling, in my opinion. I have grown to distrust most police in general, but refuse to fault them in this particular case. The times call for change, and this is not the way to highlight it or accomplish it.

  118. FoetusNail says:

    Antinous @6 is right. 25 or thirty years ago you did not even need credentials, except for large events. I once tried breaking in to photography, having more than one camera around my neck put me behind every police line I ever approached. Once there you were never questioned as long as you were courteous. I have even had cops push me back behind them to protect me. This video does not show any cops even inspecting her credentials. The idea she or anyone on her staff would be treated in this manner must have been an extreme shock to her.

    I also second everyone who posted a positive and appreciative comment for the bloggers, especially Phikus who set the tone perfectly. And all those whose comments both entertain and send me running to the book shelf or google, a big thanks to you as well.

  119. zikzak says:

    #129 and 130
    Here it seems appropriate to mention the concept of “diversity of tactics”. Some people don’t like confrontational activism and choose to create change through other means. That’s important and valuable too. If anyone tells you that /everyone/ has to get in the streets and fight the cops right now and that will fix society, they’re full of shit.

    Some people choose to be lawyers, some to be community organizers, some to be guerrilla artists, some to lay their bodies in front of tanks, and some to destroy Air Force jets before they can be flown to Iraq. There are lots of ways to create change, so the most important thing is not that we all agree on exactly what our tactics must be, but that we realize that we’re on the same side, and stop trying to control and put down people who are fighting for the same things as us.

    This works both ways: militant activists need to accept and honor the “boring”, “reformist” work of door-to-door petitioners, vloggers and picketers, but those people who work for change in tame or legal ways need to also accept and honor militant activism.

    The quintessential example of this concept is the MLK/Malcom X dichotomy. At the beginning of his movement, MLK was a radical, way too aggressive even by the standards of many of his sympathizers. He was the fringe, a curiosity to be observed but not taken seriously. As the movement built, a new element emerged, the militant black power movement spearheaded by the likes of Malcom X. These people were /radical/. They advocated self-defense, black seperatism, and communism. They were openly hostile towards the American government, police, and military.

    Of course, everyone thought they were crazy fringe radicals. And lo and behold, MLK began looking like a pretty reasonable guy in comparison. When faced with a scary radical, aggressive movement, the American public became more sympathetic to the now “moderate” message of peace and racial equality that MLK brought to the table. The fascinating thing about this is that even though they disagreed, both movements needed each other in order to create the change they did. The civil rights movement succeeded because of diversity of tactics.

  120. ansel says:

    I can understand Kyle’s frustration. He and other legal observers are witnessing the lawless police state firsthand and the media’s response, aside from boingboing and a few alternative outlets, is virtually nonexistent. I have friends who are in jail up there right now and others who are worried about more police raids. It’s an effed up situation and we should all do what we can to be in solidarity.

  121. Antinous says:

    Well, people got permits to protest on a certain route.

    I grew up in Massachusetts, but somehow never saw the permit for the Boston Tea Party. You don’t think that the Founding Fathers protested without a permit, do you? The horror!

    If you play by the rules all the time, they keep making new rules until you are enslaved.

  122. jonathan_v says:

    1- Having a press pass doesn’t mean you get to ignore the police.
    2- Here is the time indexes of the cop telling her to get out of his way:
    :02 – “sidewalk”
    :03 – “m’am, sidewalk”
    :05 – “sidewa-”
    :08 – “sidewalk”
    :11 – “sidewalk now”
    :12 – she tries to push back behind him saying “sir i want to talk-”
    :12 – he turns around and asks, “Do i arrest her?”

    “””You speak out like you are the police yourself. Its so easy to spot a cop in a blog, for one he will misspell things, for two he will always have a very warped view on altercations….. Sir you said you saw them ask her to move 3 times, then they supposedly were going to escort her away, but only arrested her after she “shoved” them? Maybe you are unaware of police procedure but he was in fact already arresting her when you assume he was escorting her. The FACT is, she was clearly not conspiring to riot as the charge states. Therefore any actions by the police are unlawful. As usual they trumped up some charges just to make their claim sound believable.”””

    That’s right, you got me – I’m clearly a cop as you can see from my boingboing profile which links to my MyCopSpace.com profile where I have a sweet moustache and happily show photos of me beating on hippies.

    Oh no, wait – according to my links on facebook & linkedin, I’m a liberal with tons of friends who are journalists at major news organizations.

    I just try to look at media unbiased – and this is a video where everyone is reading into this situation with a bias of outrage — and interpreting it like that.

    She shoved him and pushed back when he was forcibly escorting her out of the area. He was not trying to arrest her – he was telling her calmly to get to the sidewalk and moving her there. If he wanted to arrest her, he would have pulled her towards that bus like when he did actually arrest her – not move her to the sidewalk.

    She was not conspirng to riot – that charge is BS. But she wasn’t listening to the riot cops – which can get you arrested ( though no one ever actually prosecutes that ).

    The arrest was justified , the charges were not.

    She should have known better. Police don’t care about credentials, and they don’t care about ‘taking away your rights’. They’re wage-slaves who only care about ‘the moment’ and instructions from HQ. Their bosses way up want to take away your rights – they just want to be home safe and sound with their wife and kids. When someone says “they’re not vegan peace activists, they’re new wave hippies with IEDs — watch out!” – they watch out. Because of that, they do have warped view of altercations — and anyone who ever covered a police action knows that. She should have gotten to the sidewalk then spoken at the cops to get permission to walk into their ‘secure’ area. Jumping in there and trying to push into their ‘control’

    She was egregiously stupid. She should have known how her actions would have been interpreted by the cops.

  123. ill lich says:

    Here’s the only way I see to prevent this mess again (at future RNCs or DNCs):

    1. Publicize. Youtube is remarkably good for creating internet hype (duh), so use it. I’m sure someone has some video out there, post it.

    2. Lawyers. Make sure that the police forces pay for this, with hefty fines and punishment.

    3. THIS IS KEY– Prior to the next convention, the police in that city should be served with notices that any/all protest groups have retained lawyers already, who will be on the premises, and have arranged for their headquarters to be filmed by multiple neighbors. Remind them that the last police force to try these shenanigans got hit with hefty fines (let’s hope). This will almost be like kryptonite for cops, they will cross the T’s and dot the I’s when making a warrant, not lock people under house arrest while they try to get one.

    4. Protesters should wear pro-GOP t-shirts. This will confuse the sh!t out of the cops and GOP both.

  124. zikzak says:

    132: If you feel that you can be most effective through pacifism, I encourage you to do that. Many important movements have succeeded using pacifism, and you may too. I have had success using pacifism during campaigns that I have worked on. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate to expect other people to endure violent attacks for the sake of your political strategy.

    Police do attack peaceful activists all the time, and while I agree that it usually creates the best media image to passively endure the beating, the chemical weapons, the electrocution, I would never dream of insisting that people do so. Everyone has a right to not be assaulted. Everyone has a right to defend themselves if they choose.

  125. martha_macarthur says:

    #48 there are also razor blades in the halloween candy…

    only rightwing blogs have this cub scout story. not 1 news outlet

    i call shenanigans!

  126. Flakcatcher says:

    I’m stunned by people here who think that a press pass means you can ignore verbal orders from the police. I worked as a reporter for many years and guarantee that you cannot walk across a police line uninvited without getting arrested. Add in a tense situation like this, and basically you’re asking to be arrested.

    I’m also stunned by all the hatred for police here and in other threads earlier. Calling cops pigs, SS and wage-slaves really does reflect your narrow world-view. Grow up.

  127. Toddtyrtle says:

    You guys have got it all wrong. That wasn’t police brutality, it was an innovative platform speech by the Republican party. If you’d like to see more of this, be sure to vote McCain in November…

  128. Takuan says:

    even if Obama is permitted to win the election,nothing much will change. The great bush legacy is the extension of corrupt porkbarrelling down the ranks to level of beat cop and Walmart greeter/TSA worker. Used to be a change at the top meant the flushing out of a few top layers of policy makers – then the whole machine would gradually make an aircraft carrier turn and a new course set. Now the Warofterror Industry workers,the Waronsomedrugs Industry workers, the Prison Industry workers and yes, those everyday beat cops-just-trying-to-make-a-living-here-hippie-now-get-in-the-wagon all constitute a huge bloc in the economy and sure as hell prefer jobs to honor, justice and freedom. A whole generation of elementary school kids have now been raised on security theater and suspension of any civil rights. They don’t know any better. College age kids have mostly forgotten. The simple fact that a half century has elapsed since the Kent State murders and that the events of today fail to stir mass uprising bears me out. You are in serious, serious trouble America.

  129. Powell says:

    I think BB’s coverage of the assault on freedom happening in MN is pretty damn good, I am seeing things here I havent elsewhere. I say keep up the good work.

    “Kyle, you are behaving like a douche”
    That sounds like a good name for some kind of prog-rock avant garde band.

    -P

  130. Takuan says:

    oh Kyle! quit the unattractive whining for the godssakes! Thanks for the link.

  131. tonygator says:

    And I’m stunned by people here who think that whatever a cop says, legal or illegal, right or wrong, people, even journalists, should jump to follow their instructions to the letter, and are “egregiously stupid” to stand up for the law if it in any way involves questioning random police orders.

  132. Roschelle says:

    Has anyone seen the video of Cindy McCain explaining Gov. Palin’s National Security Experience. The link is to the clip on my site. You’ve got to see it.

  133. Phikus says:

    ZIKZAK: This is a much more refreshing argument than “The journalist shoved the cop! / No she didn’t!” -don’t you think? I agree that ultimately we are on the same side.

    I wish that the mainstream media, now that they are finally deigning to touch this story, was not latching onto the actions of the more violent protesters and already spinning the unconscionable and unconstitutional detaining and jailing of professional journalists as a search for the RNC Welcoming Committee “anarchists.” Moderates are already switching the channel. Diversity of tactics is all fine and dandy until we are all marching in the same space, and the actions of one group get muddied with the other. This is why those we fight hold most of the cards: They are marching in lock-step unity, and as you said, they hold a near monopoly on freedom of speech.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but we’d better find one soon.

  134. Takuan says:

    so Palin can find Russia on a map. All that proves is she is a sleeper agent, obviously educated in Europe.

  135. QuidiVidi says:

    What exactly is the point of these protests?

    What is the goal?

    I mean, if you’re not happy with the Republicans – isn’t that what the election is for?

    It’s just people shouting and breaking things, for what? What will these protests accomplish other then to get both “sides” angrier at the other?

    Why do people treat these as if it was important? Are you really going to change the mind of someone at one of these conferences by smashing their car window or making a siege on the building? Isn’t that nothing but intimidation?

    Wouldn’t it be better to talk to the people in your community who are undecided or at least not so strong in there party allegiances that they go to the national conferences and try to get them to change their mind?

    I have so many questions about these things. ‘Cause none of it makes any sense.

  136. Anonymous says:

    “Gandhi got the Brits out of India with non-violence faster than the Irish got them out of Ireland with violence.”

    Indian independence was NOT a non-violent process. Gandhi won the propaganda with with his advocacy of non-violent civil-disobedience, and this certainly helped with public opinion in Britain, but parallel to the civil-disobedience there were riots, assassinations and bombings. Conversely non-violent civil disobedience was tried in Ireland but the British got away with a murderous response.

    What was different about the two situations? I think it was three million Indian veterans of the struggle against the Nazis.

  137. SeattlePete says:

    “Alaska is really close to Russia” Brilliant.

    Hey it worked for Bush with Texas and Mexico so why not?

    As for this arrest, we need to stop thinking about the police as people. Think of a police line like this more as a force of nature. You wouldn’t expect an earthquake to not shake you if you have press credentials. Hurricanes don’t stop and listen to you, they just blow through town.

    Cops aren’t interested in hearing your story, that’s what the judge is for. They are there to act, not think. Also, they are there to collect special duty pay. I grew up in a cop family, and this was the vibe I always got from them.

  138. stevemullis says:

    I feel the need to step in here since I was there in St. Paul, on the ground all day.

    First some transparency. I live and work in St. Paul and was on the ground with media credentials. I was at the Capitol at 9 a.m. and followed most of the marches throughout the day taking pictures. Second, I’m not a republican nor a cop, just someone who watched things happen and am a little sick of people using gross speculation, assumption and their own biases about the things that happened.

    Also, let’s not forget the main argument from most of the groups, be they anarchist or other protesters, is their right to free speech, assembly, etc.

    At 1 p.m. members of the Students for a Democratic Society and of the self-avowed “anarchist” groups broke from the main assembly at the Capitol and made their way toward 12th St. At the intersection, which they blocked and crossed while traffic was trying to drive through, a driver who disapproved of their actions let them know so expressing his freedom of speech.

    Not pleased, the group surrounded his car, pounded on his hood and showed how much they respected his freedom of speech. Police had to surround his car and war everyone off so he could drive away. No pepper spray, no gas, just stepping in.

    As the group(s) made their way into the city, many of them splintered off even more, and this is when things started a little wild. The “anarchists” smashed police car windows, smashed store front windows, overturned trash cans and even set one on fire. This is freedom of speech? The police reacted how they needed to. They didn’t do anything until provoked, even while anarchists screamed insults and taunted them right in their faces. All this time I was walking in and out of the crowd and the sidewalk taking pictures.

    Every time I got near a cop I simply asked them if I could step here or step there, they always said yes and went back to keeping tabs on the march. It took about 12 blocks before I saw police make any contact with protesters.

    Why? Because they wanted to go where the police were blocking the street. The Pioneer Press has video of it.

    Before you say: “It’s a free country, we should be able to go wherever we want!” Well, people got permits to protest on a certain route. Police were
    standing along that route not only to keep the protesters on track, but also to keep traffic from interrupting YOUR freedom of speech. If you want to go and play in traffic that’s your business but in this case the police were doing their best to keep some order during the protest. These kids know exactly what they are doing when they bait the police into reacting. They bait them and then cry fowl later on.

    You may have heard the story of Marcus Washington, a documentary filmmaker from Tennessee who was sprayed with pepper spray. If you watch the above video above, you can see Washington at the end. He is right in the middle of the melee trying to take video and gets sprayed with pepper spray. Just because you have
    media credentials doesn’t mean the police are supposed to aim pepper spray around you. You take certain risks as a journalist, Mr. Washington learned that yesterday. I feel bad that he got sprayed, as I’m sure it hurt, but it’s all a part of the risk of covering protest politics.

    And about those credentials. Looking at the pictures it appears Mr. Washington, like many of the journalists that day, had the media credentials from the event, not from a legitimate media company. Those credentials meant nothing. Anyone with a point-and-shoot camera could have walked up to the media tent at the event and got some “credentials.”

    In addition to that, cops aren’t mind readers. When things are getting hairy, protesters are fighting back and adrenaline is flowing, the police have to react and make a quick decision to use their crowd control devices (i.e. pepper spray) or get bowled over by an unruly mob that wants to smash windows and break stuff. They don’t have time to spot out media credentials and look out for journalists. If you are in the mob, you’re essentially part of the mob. The solution, know what you’re doing and get yourself out of harm’s way.

    So many journalists have such a sense of self-importance and ego they expect the police to know exactly who they are and what they are doing there. Sorry, no. The police have a job to do and that doesn’t include massaging your ego.

    Which, brings us to Amy Goodman. I love Amy, she’s done great work in journalism. But, often she incites these sort of things herself. The day
    before she jumped a fence to get right in the middle of a police investigation. Legitimate or not, at the time the house was a crime scene. You wouldn’t just barge into a murder scene or a robbery scene to ask questions. Why would you do it in this case? By doing so she incites the police to react, and yes often overreact, and makes herself the story instead of actually finding the FACTS of the story. And I’m sorry, watching that video Amy clearly could have handled that better.

    The irony in all of this is that before, during and after, all of these groups claim that what they are doing is in the name of free speech. I heard from several different groups that their goal was to disrupt and even stop the RNC from happening altogether, in the name of free speech of course. Think about the absurdity of that. Whether you agree or disagree with their politics and all of the pomp and circumstance of the conventions, they are legitimate parts of our democratic system. Trying to stop it from happening at all, attacking delegates with physical violence for attending and destroying property in the name of free speech is hypocrisy of the highest degree. The freedom of political speech and action is protected by the Constitution, which is why burning the flag is protected. It has a political message. Breaking a Macy’s window or dousing someone from Alabama in bleach for expressing their freedom of speech at a convention is not. It’s violence and a criminal act.

    Now, I couldn’t be everywhere at once so I am sure there are perhaps a few incidences of overreaction by police or police brutality. But those have to be viewed on a case-by-case basis. To drape this blanket of Gestapo, evil police over every police officer there is just inaccurate and dishonest. The majority of police that I saw were doing their jobs, some even smiling and waving at the parade and spectators.

    And the spectators. I saw plenty of people along the sides of the road and watching with rapt attention. None of them got yoked up by police or pepper sprayed. The march was given a wide berth by police and spectators had plenty of room to watch and not be in the thick of things. Anyone inside the policed area knew the risks they were taking and the police recognized and respected those on the outside accordingly.

    Most of the anarchists decry police and say they are speaking out against their authoritarian ways. I beg you to go and create your lawless, no police utopia somewhere. I guarantee you will be watching this utopia come crumbling down around you in smoldering embers. Police are a normal part of a civilized culture, like plumbing and central A/C. If you want your comfy life you’d better be prepared to take the good with the bad. And police don’t go walking around in riot gear on a day-to-day basis. The only reason they were out there is because YOU and the other protest groups applied for permits and wanted to hold protests in the streets. They weren’t there to stop you, they were there to protect other people from you. To protect the infrastructure of the city from you smashing windows, setting fires, etc., which you did anyway.

    And before someone cries: “We’re expressing ourselves through civil disorder!” Please say the phrase ‘civil disorder’ ten times and then get back to me. You might also try ‘jumbo shrimp,’ you’ll have the same feeling afterward.

    Let’s not forget that while all this was going on, about 10,000 other people marched down Cedar St. from the Capitol, up 10th and Wabasha, then up 7th St. toward the Xcel and then back down 7th and made their way back to the Capitol; all without having an incident with the police.

    I think I’ve said what I need to say and welcome discussion. Now proceed with the b.s. “eyewitness” accounts of seeing police beating old ladies and “innocent” anarchists.

  139. zikzak says:

    #145:
    “If you want to change the world you have to create new, innovative solutions, not hang on to the solutions of the past.”

    Good point. But while some things change, others don’t. Your suggestion that every strategy that’s been used in the past is, by definition, not applicable to the political oppression we see today is questionable. I think activists should definitely learn to take what’s useful from past struggles and ditch the rest – for example the emphasis on charismatic leaders and hierarchical organizations during the 1960′s and 70′s was a great weakness in my opinion. We are also learning to use information technology to our advantage, which is a really interesting development.

    “Your words don’t seem to be your own, it appears your parroting some pro-anarchist literature.”

    If there’s something specific you feel I was missing or glossing over, feel free to ask about it. I don’t think I can do anything more to convince anyone of my credibility, but that’s not really the point of the discussion anyway.

    “Oh, if anarchists have a bad reputation it’s because of the media. Oh, if damage was caused by anarchists in St. Paul it’s because of police infiltrators.”

    I too take issue with the blaming of vandalism, etc. on infiltrators alone. It is a documented and consistent strategy of police to infiltrate militant groups and try to provoke crimes and conflict, however it’s also a documented and consistent strategy of militant activists to assert themselves forcefully in the streets and destroy corporate property. Activists sometimes smash shit up, and they often do it for a good reason. It’s not always a cop conspiracy.

    I am sensitive to the failures of militant activists and anarchists. Months ago, a black bloc member threw a rock which, though intended for a chain storefront window, hit a bystander in the head (fortunately she wasn’t seriously hurt). This was terrible on pretty much every level, and can’t be explained or defended. There have been other events like that too. By explaining my perspective, I don’t intend to advocate or apologize for everything anyone calling themselves an anarchist has ever done.

    However, I don’t think it’s useful to write off real, valid criticisms of the media and police as “whining” or an attempt to avoid responsibility. Anarchist movements are far from perfect, but because of the way they’re vilified and manipulated, it’s far more important for me to emphasize the aspects which are ignored or underrepresented by the mainstream. After all, if you want to be told some terrible things about anarchists, you can already get that from Fox News.

    “explain how exactly a society without any governing body or based on no form of law would work”

    You misunderstand – I oppose neither laws nor governing bodies. I do, however, feel that the governing body of a given society should allow full participation by everyone in that society. There should be no forceful division between “the rulers” and “the ruled”. This often means that communities must make more decisions on a smaller scale than we currently do. That’s about as far into that as I’ll go, because there are a lot of people who have already explained the basic principles of a non-coercive society better than I could.

  140. Takuan says:

    quoth Antinous:
    “If you play by the rules all the time, they keep making new rules until you are enslaved.”

  141. hohum says:

    @111, Ill Lich, You’re right… The tech to record the actions of the cops (and the protestors, really) is ubiquitous. My point is simply that this is under threat as well. I can’t help but think that if some shit was going down and a bunch of bystanders started recording it with whatever they had available to them, they’d quickly become part of the “riot” or “conspiracy” or whatever the charge is, and the recording would be cut off short…

    Also, ZikZak, thank you for your intelligent and civil expression of your viewpoint on this thread.

  142. MarcusWashington says:

    You mentioned the facts just as I do, and as I documented in my video. I have to admit my ‘crying’ with pain was tremendous but the story of the abuse from the police and why they did what they did goes a tad deeper. Please refer to my youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/sexpolstudios

    Thanks,
    Marcus Washington
    http://www.sex-pol.com

  143. hohum says:

    @98 Ill Lich, re: #1, “I’m sure someone has some video out there, post it.”

    I’m not sure what sort of video you mean… If you mean posting video beforehand to raise knowledge, then I don’t have much to say about that. But if you mean video of the cops playing bad cop/bad cop, then that’s part of what the problem is with this whole thing… That’s the point of the group called I-Witness Video, to capture interactions with the police for later use as evidence and to get this stuff out onto YouTube and into the public eye. Unfortunately, a big bundle of them were preemptively arrested (detained? I forget) when all this was going down too. So…. there goes that. With nobody trying to hold them accountable, the cops have a lot less to worry about…

  144. stevemullis says:

    I’ve refrained from commenting again not only to see where this conversation went (which was predictable), and also because I actually have a job in covering the RNC and the protests and I’ve been busy.

    This is mostly directed at @TAKUAN and @ZIKZAK, but also anyone that agrees with their point or points.

    Pasting up videos of various police acts, some of which didn’t even happen here, and citing historical references is immaterial in this case. By your logic, since a police officer committed some offense in Denver/New York/Los Angeles that all police are guilty. That somehow all police officers are part of some Borg collective and act robotically to hurt “the plebeians” s nt nly chldsh t’s dtc. Without putting those random videos into any context, they prove nothing.

    I’ve encountered vicious dogs before. Does that mean all dogs are vicious? No. I’ve met some racist white people before, does that mean all white people are racist? No. There are a ton of dishonest politicians out there, does that mean ALL politicians are the same, no. If this is your thinking you’re very small-minded have a very narrow world perspective.

    Citing historical references of past uprisings and comparing the two on a 1:1 ratio is also inaccurate. You know why we learn history? To use the cliche, so we can learn from it, not repeat it. Someone earlier already discounted the Boston Tea Party comparison so there’s no need to go there. But what was effective in the past doesn’t necessarily mean it will effective today. Why? We’ve learned more, we have greater technology, we have a better understanding of the world around us. Trying to solve current problems in the world using past solutions is ineffective because the world has changed.

    Yay for the French Revolution, yay for the Boston Tea Party, yay for the 1967 Vietnam protests and others, but that’s what worked then for that situation. Folding all of these events from hundreds of years ago or even decades ago into a singular showing of “dissent works” again, completely inaccurate.

    We don’t build a bridge, erect a building or cure the sick using antiquated solutions because that’s what worked in the past. We use the techniques and technologies we have today, right now. If you want to change the world you have to create new, innovative solutions, not hang on to the solutions of the past.

    Y knw wht tht snds lk? Rpblcn thnkng.

    @ZIKZAK: While I appreciate you trying to explain your philosophy, it does nothing for the argument. I can tell you’ve read some nihilist and anarchist literature, maybe took a history of protest politics class perhaps.

    Yr wrds dn’t sm t b yr wn, t pprs yr prrtng sm pr-nrchst ltrtr. Nthng y’v sd ppls t th ctl sttn tht hppnd n St. Pl, whch s wht ws tlkng bt bcs ths s wht wtnssd.

    The other way your argument defeats itself is that you resort to the blame game. Oh, if anarchists have a bad reputation it’s because of the media. Oh, if damage was caused by anarchists in St. Paul it’s because of police infiltrators. T m ths jst snds brtty. Tk sm rspnsblty fr yr, r yr grps ctns, nd xpln yrslvs.

    If you want to prove your case, explain how exactly a society without any governing body or based on no form of law would work. I understand the allure of the concept, but in practice it just doesn’t work.

    In college I sat in on sds meetings that tried to have no official president or leader and every decision was based on a show of hands. You know what usually happened? Nothing. A planned hour-long meeting turned into a four-hour meeting where hardly anything got accomplished. Every fringe group comes in with their own agendas and, since having a plan or outline for a meeting is just too orderly (i.e. governmental), everyone just talks over each other or tries to steal the platform. If it’s ineffective in a small group of 50 college kids, something tells me it would be hard to run a country of 300 million using the same philosophy.

    To those calling this a police state, puh-lease. Really live in a police state, this is not even close. All week I’ve been talking to journalists, photographers especially, who have been to the worst places in the world. The Congo, The West Bank and Gaza Strip, Somalia, Darfur; those are police states. They’ve seen shit you kids can’t even imagine, hell I even have a hard time imagining it. If this were a police state we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Crowds of onlookers wouldn’t be taking phonepics and recording YouTube clips of the events. If this were a police state EVERYONE would be rounded up.

    If you watch TheUptake clip of the altercation on Shepard Rd. Monday, the police identify journalists that are recording what is happening and let them walk. Would this happen in a police state? I think not.

    If this were a police state the cops would be out in their ninja turtle outfits all day, every day. As it stands the only reason they are out in force is because, wait for it, YOU (or groups that agree with your philosophy) asked to have a protest and made public statements about trying to stop, disrupt and destroy an event. Are they just supposed to send Barney Fife out to keep the kiddies in line? No, their going to send out an effective amount of police, outfitted for any situation to, again, keep me safe from you. To keep you from smashing my car, workplace or my face.

    I’m not saying cops or the government are 100 percent correct all of the time, in fact far from it. I’m a very far-left liberal, I don’t like the war in Iraq or the current administration; but does that mean the only solution is to flip dumpsters and smash police car windows? And I’m not saying you are 100 percent wrong, but the way you are framing your argument and your solutions does not prove your case.

    I think I’m done here so I’ll curtsy and bow out, but I’m sure the noise will continue.

  145. nicheplayer says:

    “you are saying she was stupid for expecting the rights of a citizen and the prerogatives of a reporter in her own country.”

    Am I? Do I, as a citizen, have the right to forcibly cross a police line, journalist or not? Maybe I do. I haven’t looked. I’m saying she had plenty of opportunity to pursue non-confrontational means to inquire about her colleagues, if that’s truly what she was interested in doing. Does a press pass entitle a person to interfere with the police in a situation like this one, where spirits are already running high? Frankly, it all smells a bit of attention whoring, to me. Her job as a reporter is to REPORT the news, not make it.

  146. jonathan_v says:

    @tonygator

    I’m not saying that people should blindly follow police or not stand up for the law. i’m saying that when you stand up TO the law – as in the police – there can be consequences.

    amy goodman stepped out of line. the arrest was more than justified.

    what sucks is that there are so many cases of unwarranted activity — mass arrests, pre-emptory raids, police harassment. the denver police and federal forces have been way out of line in many cases this past week — this was clearly not one of them.

    @stevemullis

    thank you.

  147. QuidiVidi says:

    Antinous,

    What do you suggest?

  148. nicheplayer says:

    I’ve watched this a couple times now, but you certainly don’t need to labor over it to see that she made a stupid decision. If you have a question about colleagues who may have been injured, stand on the sidewalk and ask to speak to someone in authority. Go to the police station. Call Tom Brokaw. But getting in the face of some riot-clad street cop is a really odd choice for someone who reported from East Timor with bullets flying whizzing over her head.

    Signed,

    Not A Cop

    PS, Xn, shsh, lghtn p. Y’r ll vr Kyl’s sht fr xprssng lttl dsppntmnt? Yikes. “It’s only University Challenge!”

  149. Kieran O'Neill says:

    #67: Thank-you for the first-hand account. It’s sometimes hard to get that in these matters.

    To be fair to Amy Goodman, however:

    Firstly the fence she “jumped” (did she actually jump it?) was not at a crime scene, but at a scene of the execution of a search warrant and the detention of persons for questioning. At no point was anyone arrested or charged, although the journalists in question were “detained”, which included cuffing. I’m not sure how U.S. law works here, but there was no crime or arrest to make it a crime scene. (What are the legalities of that, anyway? Can the police just randomly detain you without charge?)

    Secondly, when she approached that police line, the officer very quickly started shoving her, and the whole group obviously realised she was press, as they called out “get rid of the journalist”.

    Anyway, I don’t think anyone is attacking the action taken by the police against the anarchists (who were breaking the law). What we are expressing concern over are:

    1. The targeting by the police of journalists.
    2. The pre-emptive raids on protest groups and journalists before the convention.
    3. The possibility that the actions of the anarchists were taken by or instigated by police/FBI agent provocateurs.

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