by William Norman Grigg
Its enforcers, fully panoplied in the military regalia that is rapidly becoming standard police attire, could be seen either strutting through the streets hungry to conduct a beat-down or marching to military cadences. Armored vehicles prowled the streets, while military helicopters rattled overhead. Several journalists, including Amy Goodman and two associates from the independent Democracy Now! media enterprise, were arrested and assaulted by police while covering protest marches.
Large sections of Minneapolis/St. Paul, a placid Midwestern American community, were made to resemble Baghdad under military occupation. As in Baghdad, homes in the Twin Cities were subjected to “pre-emptive” military raids on the eve of the Republican Convention. Beginning the night of Friday, August 29, multi-jurisdictional paramilitary police units armed with automatic weapons stormed residences where left-wing activists were billeted in anticipation of protest demonstrations.
More than one hundred people were handcuffed and questioned during those raids, many of them forced to lie face-down on the ground while officers searched for evidence of various purported plots to disrupt and “terrorize” the convention. According to Glenn Greenwald, a civil libertarian commentator who was on-site immediately after the raids, at least some of the police who conducted the raids couldn’t resist tormenting helpless detainees with jocular talk about summary executions.