10/30/2008 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Terrorizing Dissent: New Documentary Exposes Cop Conduct at RNC '08
  • 2,4,6,8 Dance Against the Police State
  • Information as Weapon: Using the MN Data Practices Act to Advance Your Work
  • Junk for Justice: Rummage Sale for the RNC 8
  • Note to Supporters by the RNC 8
  • Efforts to (Literally) Crush Dissent Continue After RNC
  • Twitter: Communication Method of Choice for Terrorists???
  • Are you Living in the Constitution Free Zone?
  • Chicago Cop Burge Arrested on Charges Related to Torture

TERRORIZING DISSENT: New Documentary Exposes Cop Conduct at RNC '08

A group of independent media activists including Glass Bead Collective and Twin Cities Indymedia just released a new film, "Terrorizing Dissent: Election Cut," an exposé of events at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. CUAPB is proud to have been a part of this very important project.

Featuring first-person accounts and footage from more than forty cameras on the streets, "Terrorizing Dissent" focuses on the story of how police and government officials acted in concert to suppress dissent. People charged with "conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism" speak out against the government's campaign to manipulate media coverage and label civil disobedience and community organizing as terrorism. "Terrorizing Dissent" shows the results of the $50 million dollars the Department of Homeland Security gave to local authorities for security -- a large chunk of which went to weaponize the police -- and the $10 million insurance policy contract between the RNC Host Committee and the City of St. Paul, which shattered Minnesota's civil compact between protesters and police.

Free screenings of the film will be offered in all over the Twin Cities as well as cities all over the country, starting this weekend. Be among the first to see this amazing, powerful film.

A special 'Early Bird Premiere' will be held this Saturday, November 1st, 10:40 AM at Riverview Theater (3800 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN). Doors open at 10:15 AM. Don't miss your chance to see this exciting film on the big screen!

Other free showings around the twin cities:

Sunday, November 2nd:
* Book House (in Dinkytown, 429 SE 14th Ave., Minneapolis, MN) at 4:30 pm.
* Arise! Bookstore (2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN) at 7 pm.
* Black Dog Cafe (308 Prince St., St. Paul, MN) at 7 pm.

Monday, November 3rd:
* Arise! Bookstore (2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN) at 7 pm.

Sunday, November 9th:
* 2 PM - Maplewood Community Library - 3025 Southlawn Drive - Maplewood, MN

The list continues to grow. For other showings, see http://www.terrorizingdissent.org

Cut from hundreds of hours of donated footage, "Terrorizing Dissent: Election Cut" has been released for free on the Internet in HD, FLV and Quicktime formats, under the Creative Commons/CopyLeft license, and its producers encourage everyone to share this important film.  A burnable DVD image will be released soon.

Visit http://www.terrorizingdissent.org to view the trailer, watch the full-length production, and sign up for updates on the project. Local information about the film can be found at http://twincities.indymedia.org. For an amazing archive of documents related to the RNC go to http://rnc08report.org/.


OTHER GREAT UPCOMING EVENTS

2,4,6,8 Dance Against the Police State
Saturday, November 1st, 9:00 pm
10k (basement of Dupre) Macalester College
Summit Ave (just west of Snelling Ave), St. Paul

Donations on a sliding scale, no one will be turned away for lack of funds
Fundraiser for the RNC8, Project to Stop the War Industry (PSWI), Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), and Coldsnap Legal Collective. Games, Music, Candy, and Drinks. All ages. Sponsored by Students for a Dancocratic Society and the Industrial Workers
of the World.

Information as Weapon: Using the MN Data Practices Act to Advance Your Work
Saturday, November 1, 4:00 pm
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Ever wondered how to get access to government info? Activists with CUAPB who have made great use of the Minnesota Data Practices Act will present information on how to make data requests from the government that will really get their attention, how to follow up on your requests, and what to do if you don't get the data you request.

JUNK FOR JUSTICE: RUMMAGE SALE for the RNC 8!
Saturday, November 15, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Walker Community Church
3100 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Clean Out Your Closets for the RNC 8 DEFENSE FUND! Then, come shop for justice!
Books--Music & Movies--Clothes--Household goods--Posters/ART--CHILDREN'S STUFF: from toys to clothes

DROP OFF ITEMS THE DAY OF THE SALE, starting at 8:30 am. We have limited ability to pick up your stuff the day before the sale. Please only call for pick up if you really need it: (612)874-7867.

Sponsored by CUAPB for the benefit of the RNC 8. Stand with the RNC 8! Dissent is not a crime!


NOTE TO SUPPORTERS BY THE RNC 8

Note from Editor: These folks are facing years tied up in the court system, not to mention what the system is trying to do to them if they are convicted. They remind us to stay brave? Wow--these are truly amazing, inspiring people. Please add your name to the petition and get other people on board, too.

Friends,

As many of you know, we are facing some serious charges related to organizing around the 2008 Republican National Convention. The state of Minnesota is charging us with "Conspiracy to riot in the Furtherance of Terrorism". Beyond the effects on our freedom if convicted, the affect on the future of dissent in this country is frightening.

As part of the pressure campaign to get the charges dropped, all tactics are useful. We need to demonstrate widespread support. Please sign the official petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/defendthernc8, and then forward it to your friends and family. For more information on our case visit http://www.rnc8.org

Stay Brave,
RNC 8


EFFORTS TO (LITERALLY) CRUSH DISSENT CONTINUE AFTER RNC

Iraq Vet Crushed by Police Horse at Presidential Debate Protest: Video Captures Shocking Image
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2008
by Eileen Clancy and Emily Forman

Last Wednesday, while presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain debated domestic policy issues in front of a live television audience at the Long Island campus of Hofstra University, Nassau county police faced off with a few hundred spirited but peaceful demonstrators. And using excessive force, police -- on horses and in full riot gear -- trampled several people including Iraq vet Nick Morgan. I-Witness Video member Emily Forman captured the ensuing bedlam, police violence, and injuries on tape.

Earlier that night, a group of protesters from Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) had, in accordance with a pre-announced plan, assembled on the streets outside the Hofstra University venue where the debate was being held. IVAW had informed the police in advance that several of their members would be participating in a symbolic, non-violent, civil-disobedience action: attempting to deliver two questions for the candidates. The group has engaged in similar actions before, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Last week, at the presidential debate, the veterans hoped to ask Barack Obama if he would support soldiers who do not want to be deployed to an illegally occupied Iraq, and to ask McCain why he has voted against funding for the Veterans Administration since the beginning of the war in Iraq.

But the veterans' efforts to stage a peaceful protest last week were countered by violent police actions. After a small group of veterans was calmly taken into custody in a choreographed arrest, the police became very aggressive. The police commander on the scene ordered the horses and lines of riot police to push the crowd from the street onto the sidewalk. Mounted police officers charged into the assembled vets and other protesters, pushing the frightened people backwards and up onto the sidewalk. Riot police then forced some demonstrators to the ground, where police horses rode over them.

Former Army Reserve Sergeant Nick Morgan was caught under the hooves of a horse ridden by Nassau County police officer Quagliano. The horse stepped on Morgan's face, breaking his lower orbital (cheekbone) in three places. Bleeding heavily from his face, Morgan drifted in and out of consciousness until another police officer appeared and dragged him away from the scene. After a delay in which Nassau County police refused to take Morgan to the hospital, he was finally taken to Nassau County Medical Center, handcuffed to a gurney, given Motrin and a prescription for antibiotics, and sent on to jail.

Besides Morgan, several others were injured in the crush of horses and police, including Nadine Lubka, whose nose was broken. Fifteen people in total were arrested; they all received disorderly conduct charges.

Except for a brief Associated Press story and some video and photos uploaded to CNN's iReport website by citizen journalists, there has been almost no corporate media coverage of this story.


TWITTER: COMMUNICATION METHOD OF CHOICE FOR TERRORISTS???

People who organized protests and various support services such as street medic and cop watch relied heavily on Twitter during the RNC. It's pretty open and public so it is hard to imagine the army could be this paranoid over a social networking service like Twitter. They must be nearly apoplectic over MySpace.

Terrorist 'tweets'? US Army warns of Twitter dangers
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jGd91R-NdcJLa8N6OBU76hbrVFyg

WASHINGTON (AFP) ­ A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Global Positioning System maps and voice-changing software as potential terrorist tools.

The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), examines a number of mobile and web technologies and their potential uses by militants.

The posting of the report on the FAS site was reported Friday by Wired magazine contributing editor Noah Shachtman on his national security blog "Danger Room" at wired.com.

The report is not based on clandestine reporting but drawn from open source intelligence known as OSINT.

A chapter on "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter" notes that Twitter members sent out messages, known as "Tweets," reporting the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.

"Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences," the report said.

Hacktivists refers to politically motivated computer hackers.

"Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives," the report said.

"Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance," it said. "This could theoretically be combined with targeting."

The report outlined scenarios in which militants could make use of Twitter, combined with such programs as Google Maps or cell phone pictures or video, to carry out an ambush or detonate explosives.

"Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operation tool," it said. "However, it is unclear whether that same theoretical tool would be available to terrorists in other countries and to what extent."

Besides Twitter, the report examined the potential use by militants of Global Positioning Systems and other technologies.

"GPS cell phone service could be used by our adversaries for travel plans, surveillance and targeting," it said, noting that just such uses have been discussed in pro-Al-Qaeda forums along with the use of voice-changing software.

"Terrorists may or may not be using voice-changing software but it should be of open source interest that online terrorist and/or terrorist enthusiasts are discussing it," the report said.


ARE YOU LIVING IN THE CONSTITUTION FREE ZONE?

Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders. The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This " Constitution-Free Zone" includes most of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.

To find out if you live in one of these zones, go to http://www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/areyoulivinginaconstitutionfreezone.html and click on the map.

Here's the story on this chilling new development:

Homeland Security Assuming Broad Powers, Turning Swaths of U.S. into "Constitution-Free Zone"

Wed Oct 22, 2008
By Barry Steinhardt, Director, ACLU Technology & Liberty Program

You’re driving along a remote, dusty road, when suddenly you come upon a border patrol checkpoint. There, agents demand to see your identity papers, and search your car. You are taken by surprise, because you know you haven’t wandered across the Texas-Mexico border. In fact, you’re quite sure of that, because you’re driving through rural Wisconsin countryside west of Green Bay. Even the Canadian border is more than 90 miles away.

This scene is not as far-fetched as you might want to believe. The government is turning vast swaths of our country into a "Constitution-Free Zone" in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is allowed to exercise extraordinary authority that would not normally be permitted under the Constitution. The government says that "the border" ­ where there is a longstanding view that the Constitution does not fully apply ­ actually stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s "external boundary." And increasingly, we are seeing DHS vigorously utilize that authority.

Today we held a press conference at the National Press Club here in D.C. to try to draw attention to this problem ­ and the fact that, as we showed, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population live within this "Constitution-Free Zone." That’s 197.4 million people.

We calculated this using the most recent, 2007 numbers from the U.S. Census, and released a map showing the cities and states that are enveloped by this zone. It includes some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country: New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. States that are completely within this Constitution-Free Zone include Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. When you say "border," they think "all of New England."

CBP has been setting up checkpoints far inland­ on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminalsin Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. People are also reporting that even after they provide passports or state driver’s licenses, CBP continues to interrogate them and try to pressure them into permitting a search.

At our press conference today in the National Press Club here in DC, two U.S. citizens described their experiences with CBP.

Vince Peppard, a retired social worker, told of being stopped and harassed by the border authorities at least 15 miles from the Mexico border with his wife, Berlant.

Craig Johnson, a music professor at a San Diego college, told how he participated in a peaceful demonstration near the border to protest against the destruction of a state park so that a fence could be constructed along the U.S. border. CBP agents monitored the protest and collected the license plate information of those who participated. Since this protest, Mr. Johnson has twice crossed the U.S.-Mexico border and, each time, he has been pulled aside for additional screening. He was taken to another room, handcuffed and questioned. On his first crossing, he was also partially stripped and subjected to a body cavity search. A CBP agent also told Mr. Johnson that he was on an "armed and dangerous" list. Before the protest, Mr. Johnson crossed the U.S.-Mexico border numerous times without incident. It is difficult to believe that his subsequent harassment at the border is unrelated to his protest activity. If it is related, that would constitute a significant abuse.

Congress needs to hold hearings to investigate these egregious violations of Americans’ civil liberties, and then pass new laws protecting Americans’ rights.

I guarantee you that if these powers are not challenged, if the American people do not push back, sooner or later a factory worker in southern New Hampshire, a farmer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, or yes, some guy driving across rural Wisconsin, will wake up to find that they have lost their right to go about their business, and travel around inside their own country, without interference from the authorities.


FINALLY, A BIT OF GOOD NEWS

News of this important development came to us just before our October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality demonstration. Thanks to all who attended that demonstration, despite the rotten weather. Unbeknown to us, an important police brutality case was being heard in the federal court in St. Paul while we were demonstrating and reportedly the St. Paul city attorney was going wiggy about our action. Got to love it!

FORMER CHICAGO POLICE COMMANDER JON BURGE ARRESTED ON CHARGES RELATING TO TORTURE
OF OVER 100 AFRICAN AMERICANS

Federal Government heeds call of U.N. Committee Against Torture to investigate and prosecute Chicago Police Torture cases

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (CHICAGO) -- Victims, attorneys and activists who have been calling for justice in the now infamous Chicago Police Torture cases for decades claimed victory today when former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was finally indicted by the U.S. Attorney General's Office and arrested on charges relating to the torture of over 100 African American men over a 20 year period.

Until today, despite mountains of evidence, countless internal and external investigations, and repeated judicial findings that Burge and officers under his command "systematically" and "methodically" tortured African Americans at Chicago police headquarters, not a single officer or official involved has been prosecuted for their crimes and violations of their victims' Constitutional and human rights. The torture, committed to elicit false confessions, included electric shocks to genitals, anal rape with a cattle prod, suffocation with plastic bags, and physical beatings, along with sleep deprivation and denial of food, water and bathroom facilities. The victims were not only subjected to grueling physical pain but were also tormented with racist epithets and slurs throughout their interrogations: they were called "nigger;" threatened with the electric shock box described by the detectives as the "nigger box"; and threatened with hanging "like they had other niggers," an obvious reference to lynching. Often the officers involved would taunt the victims by stating "who are people going to believe, a 'nigger' like you or a cop like me?"

Frustrated by the lack of prosecutions and absence of systemic remedies for the victims of Burge's torture, activists and attorneys took the cases to the world stage. In May of 2006, following hearings concerning the U.S. government's compliance with the Convention Against Torture, the U.N. Committee that monitors the Convention called on the U.S. government to "promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate all allegations" of abuse by law enforcement officials and specifically noted "the limited investigation and lack of prosecution in respect of the allegations of torture perpetrated in areas 2 and 3 of the Chicago Police Department" as evidence of the U.S. government's failure to uphold the human rights guaranteed by the Convention. Also in 2006, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture questioned the U.S. government's handling of the cases and the continued imprisonment of 24 victims based on confessions elicited through torture.

"We are heartened that the federal government has heeded the call of the U.N. to step in and prosecute where local and state officials have failed to do so," said Joey Mogul, an attorney at the People's Law Office who presented the Burge cases to the U.N. Committee Against Torture. "We are gratified that Jon Burge will finally be brought to justice for his heinous violations of human rights. However, justice will not be entirely done until the officers under Burge's command who participated in the torture and its cover-up are prosecuted and convicted, new hearings are called the for guys still behind bars based on confessions elicited through torture in violation of Article 15 of the UN Convention Against Torture, and financial reparations are paid to Burge's victims as required by Article 14 of the Convention."


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