Salt Lake City is competing to be the host of the Republican National Committee convention for 2012. If chosen, advocates say it will bring millions of dollars to the local community (which is debatable). What they don't tell you about, however, is the Joint Terrorism Task Force that protesters complain tried to cleanse St. Paul, Minnesota, of rabble rousers in advance of the 2008 RNC convention and during it.
Many citations were issued against protesters--surely some of them for legitimate crimes--but some were patently bogus. If you recall, renowned journalist Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now!, was arrested while covering a protest there. She was arrested after two Democracy Now! producers were themselves arrested (the citations were later dismissed).
While researching an upcoming story, I came across the following citation from an official court document, more precisely an affidavit of probable cause for a search warrant, authored by a different Joint Terrorism Task Force, or JTTF.
On 3/5/2007 the United State Department of Homeland Security pursuant to Federal Statue designated the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) as a National Security Special Event (NSSE). A group called the Republican Convention Welcoming Commitee (RNCWC) were identified as an organized criminal enterprise that conspired with affinity groups throughout the United States to travel to St. Paul, Minnesota during the RNC and utilize criminal activities to disrupt and stop the RNC. (italics mine)
Sit back, just think about that. This group and its "affinity groups throughout the United States" was "identified as" a "an organized criminal enterprise." That identification was in no small part, no doubt, that the RNC-WC was associated with anarchists. Advocating anarchy, in case you're not aware, is protected under the 1st Amendment.
It's not at all clear what other evidence law enforcement had to conclude in March 2007, 19 months in advance of the Republican convention, that the RNC-WC was "an organized criminal enterprise."
HOWEVER, draw from the following whatever you like: This same FBI affidavit quoted above then references a YouTube video, which is clearly a parody of stereotypes about anarchists, as further evidence that that the RNC-WC was criminal in nature. The people in the video are wearing "black bloc" attire, the affidavit states, one girl is seen "throwing a Molotov cocktail," and that two individuals pass off a set of wire cutters. There is no mention that the video is clearly a joke. The judge never saw the video first hand. No surprise, the judge signed the FBI's search warrant.
I conclude from this the following: where the RNC goes, so go anarchists, and so go special-event JTTFs. All those alleged dollars our city will reap from this mass event (pdf, hat tip to Tribune's Out of Context blog) may come at the cost of our peace and civil liberties.
Goodman reacts to her arrest:
Goodman getting arrested:
One more: Not a fun party.