In an interview during his recent visit to Minnesota, former Chicago Eight defendant Tom Hayden talked about the current practice of designating national conventions and other meetings as “national special security events.” Hayden, who served in the California legislature from 1982-2000, criticized massive federal funding of local police departments for such events, and called the arrests of the RNC Eight in Minnesota “a by-product of the perceived necessity of the war on terrorism.”
“To justify all the funding,” Hayden explained, “you have to snap up someone, some time to avoid having it exposed as a payoff to the local police.” Hayden went on to describe grants of $50 million to police departments in Seattle, Miami, Boston, New York and Denver for similar “national special security events.” The $50 million, Hayden said, was just the “upfront money, not counting the secret money.”
In each city, a similar script plays out, with the feds warning the local police and the local police and city government relaying the warnings to the media and people, Hayden said.
“The script usually goes — there is an anarchist menace who will show up to destroy your town. Also a domestic terrorist menace. The only thing that can protect you is the FBI and the feds and a massive police build-up, stripping away authority from the mayor and the city council.”
“In Denver [at the 2008 Democratic National Convention], I talked to the police chief,” Hayden said. “[He] told me that during the night, near the 16th street mall through Denver, they were confiscating weapons off side streets that had been stockpiled in alleys nearby.”
According to Hayden, the reports of “stockpiled” weapons are part of the script used to justify security measures. Police in St. Paul also reported caches of bricks and stones near demonstration sites during the RNC.
“[From city to city], the script doesn’t change,” Hayden said. “If there is no violence, they say, ‘we prevented it.’ … They pursue this script and nobody calls them on it.”
Hayden predicted that, if protesters are non-threatening, “they’re going to learn and send agents out to plant weapons or throw Molotov cocktails.
“As long as the pubic is dumb and the politicians cowardly, they won’t have to send out agents. But I don’t see how this pulling the wool over the eyes of people can go on forever.
“The war on terrorism is out of control.”