FREE SPEECH ZONE | The “RNC 8” “criminalizing dissent” conspiracy: A blatant case of ends-justify-the-means anarchy

“Certainly, lawsuits should be filed against law enforcement and other officials to determine if they unlawfully suppressed dissent. But they didn’t conspire to “‘crash the convention’ and foment a ‘train wreck.'”[1]Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Indeed, if the sociopathic logic of using “force and violence” to “shut down and disrupt” the Constitutionally protected 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) were to prevail, then Karl Rove and his cohorts could concoct a “criminalizing dissent” defense to justify Molotov cocktails, fireworks throwings, human waste dousings, freeway overpass droppings, slingshot hurlings, store and bank window smashings, squad car and media van disablings, delegate bus tire slashings, street and bridge blockings, marching permit violations, security perimeter penetrations, assaults on delegates and bystanders, assaults on police, arrestee escapes, and other “direct actions” to “shut down and disrupt” the Constitutionally protected conventions of the Democratic Party, Green Party US, Socialist Party USA, Communist Party USA or any other party.[1,2]This is a revised and updated version of my 8/28/10 “The ‘RNC 8’. . Continue Reading

RNC revisited: Amy Goodman sues our cities; RNC8 pretrials!; Peter Erlinder in Rwanda

Labor Day week – September, 2008 – marked a shameful chapter in Minnesota and Twin Cities history. First, before the first gavel fell on the Republican National Convention at St. Paul’s Xcel Center – a political cocoon for visiting conventioneers and national media, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher sought and received warrants from Ramsey District judges to launch raids on suspected disrupters of the RNC, arresting eight young self-described anti-authoritarian anarchists, members of the RNC Welcoming Committee. They had committed no crimes outright, but were accused of conspiracy to do so, based on the testimony of Fletcher’s hired undercover agents provocateur. As the eight sat stewing behind bars, St. Continue Reading

RNC8: The saga continues

Wearing the uniform of the Ramsey County Sheriff ‘s Department, Chris Dugger looks every inch a deputy, close-cropped hair, jaw cop square. A cord runs from an earpiece to the walkie-talkie he has clipped to his left epaulette. If an important call comes while he is on the witness stand, he looks ready to go. It’s Friday, May 14 in Courtroom 1080 of the Ramsey County courthouse in downtown St. Paul. Continue Reading

RNC 8 will be tried together

Fifteen months after their arrests, the eight activists accused of plotting to violently disrupt the 2008 Republican National Convention finally have an idea of how their pending trial will take shape. In line with the hopes of the RNC 8, it will be a single trial – not eight separate proceedings, as the state had initially planned. 
Each of the RNC 8 defendants faces two felony charges: conspiracy to damage property in the first degree and conspiracy to riot in the second degree. Previously, prosecutors added terrorism enhancements to the charges under the controversial PATRIOT Act. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has since dropped those charges. The defendants have advocated for a joint trial since the beginning, despite the state’s warnings that it could be cumbersome and logistically problematic. Continue Reading

Top 9 RNC Myths Busted

TOP 9 RNC MYTHS: as compiled in advance of the Heffelfinger/Luger report by Friends of the RNC 8The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. MYTH #9: Although most protesters had peaceful intentions, a few violent radicals ruined it for everyone. This is law enforcement’s favorite myth to perpetuate. On the other hand, you hear very little of this from protesters who were in the streets, let alone from protest organizers. Continue Reading