Documents from FBI and DOJ on the infiltration of Austin Affinity Group

September 9, 2008

from Indymedia:

2 documents, one a press release from the Department of Justice, and the other an affidavit of FBI special agent Christopher Langert, detailing the use of confidential informants to entrap Crowder and Mckay.

an excerpt:

2. In February 2007, a confidential human source (“CHS 1”) who has been working with the FBI since November 2007, and who has a proven track record of reliability, began providing the FBI in San Antonio, Texas, with information regarding the activities of a group of individuals involved in planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention (“RNC”).
3. The group of Texas individuals on whom the source was reporting has been named by law enforcement officials as the Austin Area Affinity Group (“the Affinity Group”).

Download the Documents here:
http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2008/09/64791.php

Corporate Media Article:
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/09/09/0909affin…

Advertisements

RNC Welcoming Committee Unmasked Press Conference, 9/4/08

September 9, 2008

The RNC Welcoming Committee held a joint press conference with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign regarding the charges announced the day before against eight Welcoming Committee members, the violent tactics of the police to suppress dissent in St. Paul and across America, and the media’s role taking the word of the police without question and largely ignoring those who are denied basic resources in our society. One person who had been arrested testifies about having been tortured in the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Jail.

Part 2 & 3


From Coldsnap Legal: Have any videos, photos, or witness statements from the RNC?

September 9, 2008

If you have any unaltered or unedited original video (copies are okay), photos, or witness statements from the week’s events, PLEASE mail them or deliver them by hand. Follow the instructions below.

NOTE: These items are being collected, processed and catalogued for potential use in court matters. We CANNOT accept altered or edited items.

NOTE: IF YOU ARE A DEFENDANT IN A CRIMINAL CASE, please consult the attorney representing you and discuss the possible ramifications of any submission before doing so.
INSTRUCTIONS:
By mail (highly preferred):

1. Print out and complete the Intake Form.
2. Send the item (notes, video, photos, etc.) and completed intake form by certified mail to:

Berglund & Magnuson, PLLC
1595 Selby Ave. #102
St. Paul, MN 55104.
By hand delivery:

NOTE: We will only have hours for dropping off items from 8am-8pm, Monday through Wednesday, September 8th-10th. After this date, you will need to mail in items.

1. Print out and complete the Intake Form.
2. Bring item (notes, video, photos, etc.) and the completed intake form (if possible) to 1595 Selby Ave. in St. Paul.
3. Before entering the building, call 651.356.8635 to let us know you are here. We will come out to the sidewalk to get you.
4. An intake worker will take you through the steps, which should only take a few minutes. If you cannot bring in the completed intake form, there will be one at the office for you to use.

If these options do not work for you, please call the law office at 651.646.8500 to make other arrangements.


Republicans using Terrorism charges to silence dissent

September 9, 2008

from Indymedia:

Breaking: RNC 8 Charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism”

By Twin Cities

Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provacateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence.

“These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the Defendants on trial,” said Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience, he said.”

The criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally have engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. The complaints list all of alleged violations of law during the last few days of the RNC — other than violations of human rights carried out by law enforcement — and seeks to hold the 8 defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals. None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Searches conducted in connection with the raids failed to turn up any physical evidence to support the allegations of organized attacks on law enforcement. Although claiming probable cause to believe that gunpowder, acids, and assembled incendiary devices would be found, no such items were seized by police. As a result, police sought to claim that the seizure of common household items such as glass bottles, charcoal lighter, nails, a rusty machete, and two hatchets, supported the allegations of the confidential informants. “Police found what they claim was a single plastic shield, a rusty machete, and two hatchets used in Minnesota to split wood. This doesn’t amount to evidence of an organized insurrection, particularly when over 3,500 police are present in the Twin Cities, armed with assault rifles, concussion grenades, chemical weapons and full riot gear,” said Nestor. In addition, the National Lawyers Guild has previously pointed out how law enforcement has fabricated evidence such as the claims that urine was seized which demonstrators intended to throw at police.

The last time such charges were brought under Minnesota law was in 1918, when Matt Moilen and others organizing labor unions for the International Workers of the World on the Iron Range were charged with “criminal syndicalism.” The convictions, based on allegations that workers had advocated or taught acts of violence, including acts only damaging to property, were upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In the light of history, these convictions are widely seen as unjust and a product of political trials. The National Lawyers Guild condemns the charges filed in this case against the above 8 defendants and urges the Ramsey County Attorney to drop all charges of conspiracy in this matter.

Bruce Nestor, President
Minnesota Chapter of National Lawyers Guild
3547 Cedar Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407


Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

September 6, 2008

PRESS RELEASE · September 5, 2008 ·

Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today asked Ramsey County Sheriff Robert Fletcher and St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington to drop the criminal citations given last evening to up to 20 journalists who were covering a demonstration at the Republican National Convention.

The reporters and photographers had followed demonstrators who were marching from the state Capitol area into downtown St. Paul. Law enforcement officers flanked the marchers and corralled them on bridges passing over Interstate 94. Journalists and marchers were detained on the bridges while police processed them.

Volunteer lawyers for the Reporters Committee’s convention hotline and several Twin Cities area editors and news directors appeared to have negotiated the release of the reporters with commanders on the scene but Fletcher and Harrington apparently intervened, they said, and ordered that the journalists be issued criminal citations. Once ticketed, the journalists were released.

“What conceivable purpose is achieved by citing (the journalists) them with criminal charges?” the letter from Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish asks. “Once you knew they were journalists, why did you have to engage silly bureaucratic nonsense?”

The Reporters Committee has sponsored a legal hotline for journalists at every political convention since 1972.

Read the letter here:

http://www.rcfp.org/news/documents/20080905-protestlet.pdf


The Republican version of democracy

September 6, 2008

from Muttering Jam:

Courtesy of Free Press.net:


Anti-war group calls for Fletcher’s resignation

September 6, 2008

rom TwinCities.com:

var requestedWidth = 0;

if(requestedWidth > 0){
document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”;
document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”;
}

Organizers of the anti-war march that ended with nearly 400 arrests Thursday called for the resignation of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher during a press conference outside St. Paul City Hall this afternoon.

The group also demanded an investigation of city officials’ handling of the “raid” on peaceful demonstrators during three and a half hours of marches, sit-ins and, finally, chaotic, tear gas-tainted skirmishes.

“People were arrested and brutalized for standing on bridges and chanting,” said Meredith Aby, an organizer for the anti-war marches on Monday and Thursday.

As in-your-face proof, march participant Mick Kelly lifted his shirt to expose a Frisbee-sized bruise on his left hip. He said he was shot with a rubber bullet as he tried to keep police from taking the group’s banner at Cedar and 12th streets.

Police deny any law enforcement possesses rubber bullets. Pepper balls and some shell casings can look like rubber bullets.

Much of the conflict between march organizers and police came from a misunderstanding about whether or not the group could move from the state Capitol to the Xcel Energy Center.

The group said it might not have had a permit to march after 5 p.m., but it believed that St. Paul police were going to allow them to take to the streets.

As the march began minutes before 5, St. Paul police told the crowd to disperse — it was unlawfully assembled.

Standoffs on the John Ireland and Cedar Street bridges leadinginto downtown ensued.

Anti-War Committee member Jessica Sundin called the move a bait-and-switch.

“It’s a set up,” she said, adding that fall-out from the confrontation should land on St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who allowed his city to be militarized.

“He and the council should take responsibility for the mess they created,” she said.

The group said numerous lawsuits are certain.

“I feel absolutely confident that lawsuits will be filed” at every level of government, said Dianne Mathiowetz with the Troops Out Now coalition.

When asked what police could have done differently Thursday night, Anti-War Committee member Katrina Plotz answered quickly.

“They needed to move out of our way and let us march,” she said. “They blatantly chose to do something else.”

Plotz said the “police repression” of anti-war protesters would backfire.

“The anti-war movement is just going to get bigger exponentially because of what we’ve seen here in the Twin Cities,” she said.

The group also countered claims by St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington that protesters planned to hurl Molotov cocktails once they reached the Xcel.

If there were such items in the march, why haven’t we seen them, the group asked.