Leading up to the Rethuglican National Convention in St. Paul, the federal government is leading local law enforcement in a disturbing number of high profile raids on homes and protesters. Most disturbing is the show of force involved in these raids, and the lack of evidence of any intent to commit any violence (other than protesting the state the Rethuglican have put the country in). Of course, trying to squelch these protests would be a violation of the Constitution. China has no Constitutional Protections, yet all the main stream media here in the U.S. was hand wringing over China’s efforts to quell protests during the Olympics…yet nary a peep from them about what’s going on in St. Paul.
Glenn Greenwald has an excellent article about all this on salon.com. Sadly, he makes the very valid point that we are basically getting what we deserve here, and that the great tradition on which this country was founded seems lost on us today. Notes Greenwald:
So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it’s not difficult to see why. As the recent “overhaul” of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated — preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror — we’ve essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.
Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they’ve done is remotely illegal. We love to proclaim how much we cherish our “freedoms” in the abstract, but we despise those who actually exercise them. The Constitution, right in the very First Amendment, protects free speech and free assembly precisely because those liberties are central to a healthy republic — but we’ve decided that anyone who would actually express truly dissident views or do anything other than sit meekly and quietly in their homes are dirty trouble-makers up to no good, and it’s therefore probably for the best if our Government keeps them in check, spies on them, even gets a little rough with them.
Greenwald links to a number of articles, many with videos, of these displays of force. If you care about America, I suggest you read the article, and contact your Congressional representatives and demand better. If you live in Ramsey County, MN, demand the removal from office of Judge Joanne M. Smith, if, as It appears from the video below, that she may be the person signing at least some of the illegal search warrants. This is what disturbs me the most…that the FBI is able to get these search warrants. Judges are supposed to hold a high standard, but look to be falling right in line, and not requiring any real probable cause.
So, they can hold these people for 36 hours…starting after today’s holiday, and then manage to keep a little longer as they are processed for release, and by then the Rethuglican Convention is over. Then, the local prosecutors will drop all the charges, maybe issue some mild apology about inconveniencing people, and then say they’ll investigate what happened, and that will be the last you hear of it. The Administration knows this is how it will work, and are using the process to prevent protest.