31 August 2008

VIDEO & LEGAL COMMENTARY Martial Law. Minneapolis Raid Of Peace Protesters, Bruce Nestor (~10 min.)

Just like at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), truth seekers are protesting at the Republican National Convention (RNC), and the police are cracking down, in this case with what appears to be random "pre-emptive" searches of citizens' homes and the seizing of their property. Video, and transcript of a portion of video with legal commentary by an attorney representing one of the arrestees, below...

Minneapolis Raid Of Peace Protesters, Bruce Nestor (~10 min.)

Protesters Arrested in the Twin Cities (30 Aug 2008)
By: Jane Hamsher Saturday August 30, 2008 3:23 pm
Original post location: CliffSchecter.FireDogLake.com

We're now hearing that "snatch squads" are picking up random people off the streets in the Twin Cities, and someone from Democracy Now has been detained. We interviewed Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyer's Guild when we were at th 17th Street Raid. He lives in the neighborhood and is representing one of the people who was arrested there. I'm including part of the transcript of the video because I think he contextualizes well what is happening:

Glenn Greenwald: So what were they charged with?

Bruce Nestor: They were charged with conspiracy to commit riot, which is about as bullshit a charge -- about as thin a charge -- as you could possibly come up with. And I say that as a lawyer.

Glenn Greenwald: How do you distinguish between that and a protest?

Bruce: You can't. It basically criminalizes political advocacy. I mean, the essence of conspiracy law is if a single individual takes an overt act towards accomplishing an illegal goal such as purchasing a brick, and the police then claim that someone else in his group has an intent to throw that brick, then everyone who advocates that you attend that demonstration...

Glenn: Even if you're not intending to commit that crime...

Bruce: ...even though you're not intending to commit the crime, could all be charged with conspiracy.

Glenn: Is that a very rarely used statute in Minnesota?

Bruce: In Minnesota it is hardly ever is used in state court. Conspiracy is a popular charge of federal prosecutors, because it expands the realm of evidence.

Glenn: But this specific conspiracy...

Nestor: I've never seen it before.

Glen: And you're a lawyer in Minnesota.

Nestor: I'm a lawyer in Minnesota.

Glenn: And you've never this seen it until this convention.

Nestor: That's right. I will say that in 1968 the Chicago 8 were charged with conspiracy to riot. Roundly criticized, in the however many years since now, thirty forty years, as a politically motivated prosecution -- as the type of charge that really is criminalizing free speech activity, and putting people on trial..

Glenn: I mean it clearly seems like it's clearly intending to intimidate. You break into a house with 25 officers with submachine guns drawn and put them all on the floor and handcuff them, it's clearly sending a message that they might want to think twice about participating.

Nestor: I do think....We're not in this country yet where we're having mass detentions of people like this, so it really is about sending a message. I think what it really is designed to do is to send a message to people who agree with some of the viewpoints of people organizing activity and to say - you know what? You can write an email, it's okay to write a letter, to vote, but don't go out in the street, don't organize public activity, because do you want us bursting into your house? Do you want to be associated with people who are getting arrested? It's designed to somehow say these aren't citizens engaged in the exercise of political freedom, but that they're kooks, they're freaks, they're dangerous, stay away from them, don't get involved.

Glenn: And there's been no evidence that any actual violence or illegality has been committed, this is all preventative right, it's all anticipatory?

Bruce: That's right.

Time To Wake Up! No Fear--Just Truth.
Human Beings Are Free.

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