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.

RNC – More journalists arrested

September 5th, 2008

Yesterday at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, a KARE 11 photographer was arrested.  Here’s their story including that tidbit:

KARE photog among nearly 400 arrested on last day of RNC

There was also a WCCO photojournalist arrested, here’s the video:

Arrest of WCCO’s Tom Aviles (with obnoxious advertising)

Paul Demko, Minnesota Independent, was arrested:

If you’re on this bridge, you’re under arrest

… and he had this report:

After about fifteen minutes, the officers began searching and handcuffing everyone on the bridge. “Hands on your head,” they repeatedly barked, cans of mace at the ready. A gentleman a few feet away from me — who I believe was a journalist — informed the officers that he was carrying a gun as they began to arrest him. They pulled him away from the crowd and a team of cops searched him and presumably removed the weapon.

Not long afterwards I was restrained in plasticuffs, thoroughly searched and seated on a sidewalk with other people who were being detained. My status as a journalist meant that I did not spend much time in cuffs. They segregated reporters and legal observers from the rest of the detainees. Our handcuffs were removed and we were seated on a grass median. Metro Transit buses were waiting to transport the not-so-fortunate others, presumably to the Ramsey County Jail.

Eventually I was placed in a van with eight others. We were driven across the Sears parking lot, given a citation for unlawful assembly and released. I got to keep my pair of plasticuffs as a souvenir. But the cops still have two of my pens.

… and then there’s FOX9…

FOX9 crew gets gassed

… and 2 more for AP.  In this article, AP puts YESTERDAY’S arrest count for journalists, JOURNALISTS, to 19:

Police Arrest 200 in March on GOP Convention, including journalists

Caught up in the clash were several reporters assigned to cover the event, including Amy Forliti and Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. Officers ordered them to sit on the pavement on a bridge over Interstate 94 and to keep their hands over their heads as they were led away two at a time.

The arrests came three days after AP photographer Matt Rourke, also on assignment covering the protests, was arrested. He was released without being charged Monday after being held for several hours. Forliti and Krawczynski, who were among at least 19 members of the media detained, were issued citations for unlawful assembly and released.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul police department and its police chief decided that members of the media would be issued citations and released.

I’d forgotten that former Speaker of the House, Phil Carruthers, is now in charge of prosecution at the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney. Most of the arrests are in Ramsey County, and in their jurisdiction, so much of how it goes from this point on is in his hands. I’ve seen some quotes from him about releasing some detainees without charges (heard a report that only about 1/3 of those who’ve been jailed are being charged, that says a lot about the grounds for arrest):

Phil Carruthers, director of the prosecution division of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, said Monday night that no charges against Rourke were anticipated. Rourke, held on a gross misdemeanor riot charge, was released early Tuesday. Goodman also was released without charges being filed against her.

And he’s also on the Clean Water Action board. Clean Water Action just issued this Press Release, the first of this sort I’ve seen. Instantly, I got on the horn to Ken Bradley to thank him for sending this around, THIS IS WHAT EVERY ORGANIZATION NEEDS TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW — THANK YOU CLEAN WATER:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Information:
Ken Bradley 612-623-3666 or 651-238-5376
David Holtz 313-300-4454 (cell)

Clean Water Action Statement On Police Actions At Republican National Convention

Minnesota Organization Calls on Leaders To Protect Core Democratic Principles

Clean Water Action is deeply concerned by the systematic suppression of free speech and the right to assembly which emerged in response to this week’s Republican National Convention held in St. Paul. Clean Water Action is Minnesota’s largest grassroots environmental organization representing 90,000 members statewide.

We have watched civil liberties rapidly erode after the tragedy of September 11. That erosion continues to spread to the heart of the Twin Cities. Minnesota prides itself in being well informed, educated and optimistic. But intimidating arrests of reporters on felony riot charges, the profiling of citizens and forced entry into homes is pushing Minnesotans towards pessimism and cynicism. These actions dishonor the founding principles of our Constitution and the residents or our state and nation.

Wednesday, David Brauer of MinnPost reported on the arrest of Matt Rourke, an Associated Press photo journalist. Rourke, forced to the ground and flexi-cuffed says he has never experienced anything like Monday’s assault. “I’ve been detained before, but never forcibly. Katrina was as bad as it got up until Monday. They’d just kind of temporarily detain you, post-9/11 stuff, asking you why you were photographing an oil refinery, taking your license and letting you go back to work quickly.”


Kathlyn Stone of the TC Daily Planet reported Tuesday that before the start of the Poor People’s March, that she witnessed the profiling of a youth on a bike who had been pulled to the curb by a group of police officers on bikes. The biker was forced to the ground, placed in white plastic handcuffs, while police riffled through his backpack even though he said, “I do not consent.” He was quickly released after 20-30 photographers and videographers were alerted to the arrest taking place.


Award-winning journalist and host of “Democracy Now” Amy Goodman and her two colleagues Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were arrested by St. Paul Police on Monday while reportedly covering a protest outside the Republican National Convention. Though clearly identified as a member of the press, Goodman was charged with “obstruction of a legal process and interference with a ‘peace officer.'” Two of her producers were arrested for alleged “suspicion of felony riot.”

St. Paul resident Mike Whalen’s house was raided on Saturday in an apparent and serious attempt to suppress free speech. A film crew from Eyewitness was staying in the duplex he owned and reported witnessing the raid where 30 police with rifles flooded Mr. Whalen’s yard, entered the house, handcuffed him and his roommates for an hour and went through the whole duplex with a questionable warrant.

Free speech, journalistic access and the right to assemble are basic constitutional rights at the heart of our democracy. A vibrant free press is essential for maintaining the transparency necessary to curb tyranny and preserve democracy.

Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Physically harassing citizens engaged in peaceful assembly is uncalled for anywhere, but more unconscionable in country that considers itself to the leader of the free world.

We urge and expect our state leaders to conduct a thorough investigation and to take appropriate action in response to violations of constitutionally protected individual civil rights including the dismissal of unlawful or inappropriate charges.. Our leaders need to re-examine the laws and policies that have lead to this disturbing infringement of our most basic, constitutionally protected rights. We must ensure this does not happen again in the future. We cannot be a hopeful people, when our constitution and basic rights have been violated and our leaders stand silent!

Clean Water Action (www. cleanwateraction.org) has been empowering people for more than 36 years to take action to protect America’s waters, the health of our families and to make democracy work.


Doug Pierce
Board Chair
Clean Water Action Alliance

Ken Bradley
Minnesota State Director
Clean Water Action

308 E. Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

John McCain picking Sarah Palin as VP candidate? Whatever is he thinking…

A picture’s worth a thousand words…

(photoshopped, schmotoschopped, what the hell…)

Whatever was he thinking… Uh-huh… right…

But hey, if you want words, CLICK HERE AND SCROLL DOWN TO THE VIDEO.

Amazing coverage by folks on the ground. Here’s a link to the audio from Indybay of the arrest (there’s some dead air in the middle, be patient) and a producer describing the arrest:

Audio of Amy Goodman arrest and producer describing arrest

And now we’ve got the video:

The video of Amy Goodman arrest

Keep up on what’s going on down there from afar by going here: Twin Cities Indymedia.

Here’s the press release on Goodman’s arrest:

September 1, 2008

Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen [above].

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force.   Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.