The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NYPD Republican Convention Papers Shown

NYPD Republican Convention Papers Shown

TOM HAYS | AP | May 16, 2007 08:19 PM EST

NEW YORK — They were among the more colorful protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention _ a tuxedo-wearing performance art troupe called Billionaires for Bush.

The New York Police Department wasn't amused.

Once-confidential documents prepared as the NYPD readied for the convention cautioned the group was "forged as a mockery of the current presidency and political policies," and they noted that "preliminary intelligence indicates that this group is raising funds for expansion and support of anti-RNC organizations."

A federal judge ordered the documents unsealed amid protracted litigation challenging the legitimacy of many of the more than 1,800 arrests made at the four-day convention at Madison Square Garden, where President Bush accepted his party's nomination for a second term in office.

As many as 10,000 police officers from the 36,500-member department were deployed during the convention to protect the city from terrorism threats and to cope with tens of thousands of demonstrators, whose protests were largely peaceful.

City lawyers had argued that the arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct, were justified in part because of intelligence showing certain protesters were threats to the public. But civil rights activists argue the internal documents, many marked "secret," show the nation's largest police department spent tremendous time and resources to conduct surveillance on people who were merely practicing free speech and displaying no sign of criminal intent.

The papers "vindicate the sanity of those people who thought they were being followed," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said Wednesday at a news conference.

One dispatch detailed plans by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network to hold a rally featuring Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z and other rap stars. It concluded that their presence "will likely inflate the total number of participants."

The documents show that the NYPD sought to monitor activists as far away as California and Europe, Lieberman said. They also suggest the department infiltrated protest groups by having undercover officers enter their Internet chat rooms and attend organizing meetings, she added.

At an unrelated news conference, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said no one should be alarmed by the documents.

"I think a close examination of those documents will show the NYPD did an outstanding job of protecting the city during the convention," Kelly said.

The commissioner claimed most of the information came from "open sources" such as the Internet. On numerous Web sites, protesters "were bragging about what they were going to do," he said. "It wasn't difficult to get the vast majority of this information."

The NYCLU provided hundreds of pages of intelligence documents to reporters after the city lost a fight to keep them sealed. The documents consist mostly of cryptic, heavily redacted reports analyzing various protest groups and their potential to cause trouble.

One report warned that protesters were poised to import a "multiple hoax bomb" tactic once used in Montreal; to fire Super Soaker water guns filled with urine or homemade pepper spray; and to spread marbles and oil on the streets "to cause responding foot, motorcycle and mounted units to loose footing and fall."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070516/convention-arrests

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