Oh look, the RNC has unveiled their welcoming committee: MnIndy RNC reporter Jeff Severns Guntzel is at the Minneapolis Food Not Bombs house, which
August 29, 2008

Oh look, the RNC has unveiled their welcoming committee:

MnIndy RNC reporter Jeff Severns Guntzel is at the Minneapolis Food Not Bombs house, which was raided by police this morning. Facts are still coming in, but Guntzel says that at 8 a.m. neighbors near the home, located at 2301 23rd Avenue South, reported hearing a loud bang followed by yelling. A single police squad car was parked out front. When Guntzel arrived he saw eight or nine officers enter the house in what he says is a joint operation between officers of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department, the Minneapolis Police Depatment, and the FBI. According to one witness who was in the house at the time of the raid, the action is related to last night's raid on the RNC Welcoming Committee's "convergence space." Several other spaces have been raided this morning.

Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are in Minneapolis for the RNC and went to two of the raided houses. Glenn:

Each of the raided houses is known by neighbors as a "hippie house," where 5-10 college-aged individuals live in a communal setting, and everyone we spoke with said that there had never been any problems of any kind in those houses, that they were filled with "peaceful kids" who are politically active but entirely unthreatening and friendly. [..]

There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with machine-gun-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.

Jane took a video:

Glenn Greenwald and I arrived at one of the houses shortly after it was raided this morning. It was a hippie house full of people in their late teens and early twenties who said they were here to "watch history." They were forced on the floor by roughly twenty cops carrying assault rifles, who initially refused to show them search warrants and joked about the "Terminator" and the "Executioner."

We spoke with the people who were staying at the house about the raid in the video above, and they were really sweet and inspirational, interested in "food not bombs." Coming off the Denver DNC where most young people were blackberry-wielding Young Democrats hustling tickets to bigger and better parties, they were extremely refreshing and a much needed part of our political landscape. The idea that they were a serious threat to security is rendered rather ludicrous by watching the video above.

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