Downgraded “Tropical Storm” Hanna is hitting today, flooding is expected, rain has started, some wind — Alan got the generator ready to rock just in case, and I’m glad the roof’s done. Kenya, terrified of storms, is under my feet, lying on the cords and powerstrip (EMF therapy for her bad leg, yeah, that’s it)…

I think all would agree that “it’s been quite a week.”

Placid Lake Wobegon Begets a Nasty Police State

MPR: The View of a Protest

A linked snippet from the Daily Planet ”This is your domestic terrorist”:

Attorneys for Minnesota Nine call criminal charges outrageous

Mordecai Specktor, father of Max (pictured together) and editor of the American Jewish World newspaper, stated that his son was held in solitary confinement for two days before being released on bail. “The criminal complaint here is farfetched, overblown, outrageous,” he said. “I encourage all the journalists here to look into the specifics of this complaint and see where the truth really lies.” Specktor then put his arm around his son. “This is your domestic terrorist,” he said. “Take a good look. I don’t believe it at all. Give me a break.”

The other defendants are Nathanael David Secor, Erik Charles Oseland, Garrett Scott Fitzgerald, Monica Rachel Bicking and Eryn Trimmer. [TC Daily Planet note: A ninth defendant, Carrie Feldman, was arrested on September 3 and was still in custody at the time of the press conference.]

And the STrib:

Massive show of force fits the trend

The Minnesota ACLU quote in here really starts off wrong:

“Attempts by law enforcement to squelch lawful political speech and stifle the press have no place in our democracy and are unacceptable,” Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, said in a statement. “Political conventions should be a showcase for free expression, not a venue for bullying and intimidation.”

ATTEMPTS?!?! It wasn’t “attempts,” Mr. Romero, they really did it! He does better on the ACLU site:

“Arresting journalists to keep them from doing their jobs is a blatant violation of their constitutional rights and the right of the American public to be kept informed,” said Chuck Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota. “The arrest of several journalists during the Republican National Convention is a disturbing practice and a violation of their First Amendment right to gather the news.”

John Lundquist, Fredrickson & Byron, will be representing Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar of Democracy Now! His PowerPoint of advice in a white collar situation:

Lundquist: What to do when the Feds are at the door

Here’s the ACLU Press Release about other journalists (I think it’s Matthew Ludt, not Lute, representing them):

Photojournalists from Kentucky released from jail without charges after unjustified 36 hour detainment

Here’s the statement from Amnesty International:

Use of Force Against RNC Protesters “Disproportionate,” Charges Amnesty International

[London]–Amnesty International is concerned by allegations of excessive use of force and mass arrests by police at demonstrations in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Republican National Convention (RNC) from September 1-4, 2008. The human rights organization is calling on the city and county authorities to ensure that all allegations of ill-treatment and other abuses are impartially investigated, with a review of police tactics and weapons in the policing of demonstrations.

The organization’s concerns arise from media reports, video and photographic images which appear to show police officers deploying unnecessary and disproportionate use of non-lethal weapons on non-violent protestors marching through the streets or congregating outside the arena where the Convention was being held.

Amnesty International urges that an inquiry be carried out promptly, that its findings and recommendations be made public in a timely manner. If the force used is found to have been excessive and to have contravened the principles of necessity and proportionality, then those involved should be disciplined, measures put in place and training given to ensure future policing operations conform to international standards.

Police are reported to have fired rubber bullets and used batons, pepper spray, tear gas canisters and concussion grenades on peaceful demonstrators and journalists. Amnesty International has also received unconfirmed reports that some of those arrested during the demonstrations may have been ill-treated while held at Ramsey county jail.

Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that several journalists who were covering the RNC were arbitrarily arrested while filming and reporting on the demonstrations. They include host of independent news program Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, and two of the program’s producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were both allegedly subjected to violence during their arrest. A photographer for the Associated Press (AP) and other journalists were also arrested while covering the demonstrations.

Kouddous described his arrest to media, “…two or three police officers tackled me. They threw me violently against a wall. Then they threw me to the ground. I was kicked in the chest several times. A police officer ground his knee into my back…I was also, the entire time, telling them, ‘I’m media. I’m press….,’ but…that didn’t seem to matter at all.”

Amnesty International recognizes the challenges involved in policing large scale demonstrations and that some protestors may have been involved in acts of violence or obstruction. However, some of the police actions appear to have breached United Nations (U.N.) standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. These stipulate, among other things, that force should be used only as a last resort, in proportion to the threat posed, and should be designed to minimize damage or injury. Some of the treatment also appears to have contravened U.S. laws and guidelines on the use of force. The U.N. standards also stress that everyone is allowed to participate in lawful and peaceful assemblies, in accordance with the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 x302 or visit our website at www.amnestyusa.org.

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