Anarchists now have another reason for being anarchists
Hennepin and Ramsey County Sheriff’s departments, along with Minneapolis and St. Paul Police, and the FBI, whew, raided at least six homes this weekend in the lead-up to the Republican National Convention. They busted down doors in full riot gear with semi-automatic weapons in hand, placed folks in handcuffs and seized “protest equipment.” It was show of force that a St. Paul City Council member described as excessive.
The Strib reported this morning that:
At least five suspected leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee, a self-described anarchist group, were taken to the Hennepin County jail, and another was being sought, said Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
On Saturday afternoon, he displayed a number of the confiscated items: a gun, throwing knives, a bow and arrows, flammable liquids, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine.
"We know these things were going to be used as weapons," Fletcher said, a charge protesters and their advocates vigorously disputed.
Fletcher however, stressed that he and other agencies had informants planted inside this and other groups for "a long period of time."
Informants, eh? We know all about informants. Matt Snyders broke the story last May about FBI officials actively recruiting moles to join up and report on protest groups.
What they were looking for… was an informant—someone to show up at “vegan potlucks” throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to “investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."
But the scope of the actions is a tad disconcerting, even for the most ardent supporter of force
Salon's Glen Greenwald has a take from the National Lawyers’ Guild:
Several of those who were arrested are being represented by Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild. Nestor said that last night's raid involved a meeting of a group calling itself the "RNC Welcoming Committee", and that this morning's raids appeared to target members of "Food Not Bombs," which he described as an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group. There was not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place, Nestor said. Instead, the raids were purely anticipatory in nature, and clearly designed to frighten people contemplating taking part in any unauthorized protests.
Meanwhile, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman spun it as a way to “keep other protestors safe.”
The mayor said police seized dangerous items in the raids, including Molotov cocktails, a book called "Recipe for Disaster" and tools aimed at disabling busses. “I think we have done absolutely everything we can to accommodate First Amendment rights. But the weapons recovered as a result of these operations make it very clear that there are people here planning to engage in criminal behavior," Coleman said.
Is he positive on this? Most everyone has paint, paint thinner, rags and bottles in their homes. And ealier reports concerning the buckets of urine collected for use in pee balloons, were actually full of grey water, a common way to save H20 that’s synonymous with any co-op or earth friendly home across the states.
Here’s one video from a home:
Dang. I thought this was the Twin Cities. And not some dystopian place dreamed up by Alan Moore. Somebody needs to bake a Hotdish, fast. Things are getting weird.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.