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CRACKDOWN BEGINS: Food Not Bombs homes and offices raided. Volunteers arrested.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2008


CONTACT:
Keith McHenry - co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement
P.O. Box 424, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
575-776-3880 cell 575-770-3377
 menu@foodnotbombs.net
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2008


CONTACT:
Keith McHenry - co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement
P.O. Box 424, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
575-776-3880 cell 575-770-3377
 menu@foodnotbombs.net

Schedule a Food Not Bombs Presentation at your school
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/speaker.html



CRACKDOWN BEGINS: Food Not Bombs homes and offices raided. Volunteers
arrested.
Help Food Not Bombs feed the survivors of Gustav.
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/gustav.html

Crackdown Begins: Food Not Bombs House Among Saturday Raids Ahead of
RNC. Food Not Bombs volunteer arrested in Denver and Berkeley office
raided on Wednesday.

As the all volunteer movement Food Not Bombs prepares to respond to
Hurricane Gustav the police and FBI raid several Food Not Bombs houses
in Minneapolis and a office in Berkeley where police seized 13
computers.

DENVER
While attending the protests at the DNC Zachary Patrick Grey, a
University of Massachusetts student from Marion, Mass., was arrested at
1:40 p.m. Monday. Police claimed he had a jar of feces. According to
CBS 3 of Springfield, Mass., Grey belongs to a group called Pioneer
Valley Food Not Bombs. The alleged feces was glass jar of coffee with
soy milk. About a dozen large Denver police dressed as "anarchists" in
new black bandanas and black t-shirts provoked an attack by riot police
in Civic Center Park. The plain clothes officers were seen returning to
white police vans after their provocation. One officer had a back page
of rocks. Zachary is out on bail waiting trial.

MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL
Several of those who were arrested are being represented by Bruce
Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers'
Guild. Nestor said that last night's raid involved a meeting of a group
calling itself the "RNC Welcoming Committee", and that this morning's
raids appeared to target members of "Food Not Bombs," which he
described as an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group. There was
not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place, Nestor
said. Instead, the raids were purely anticipatory in nature, and
clearly designed to frighten people contemplating taking part in any
unauthorized protests. Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50
individuals who were handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were
actually arrested and charged with a crime, and the crime they were
charged with is "conspiracy to commit riot." Four of those under arrest
include Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Garrett Fitzgerald,Nathanael
Secor. Emails asking the public to call St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
651-266-8510 and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak (612) 673-2100 have been
sent out to call for their freedom.

BERKELEY
On August 27th at around 10:30am, 5-6 police officers from three
agencies made their way into the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, broke
down every door, and confiscated all computers on the property.
Computers taken included those used by the Slingshot Collective and
East Bay Prisoner Support. Police also broke into cabinets, cut locks,
and went through mail. Food Not Bombs and the Slingshot Magazine are
among the groups that use Long Haul as their office. Efforts to get
have the 13 computers returned in Berkeley are also underway. Email
U.C Berkeley President Mark G. Yudof at  president@ucop.edu. Request
they return the computers and all their data and soft ware.


Food Not Bombs provides free vegetarian meals every week in hundreds of
cities all over the world. Food Not Bombs volunteers provided free
meals to the rescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11, to
the protesters at the Orange Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine and fed
survivors in nearly 20 communities in the gulf region of the United
States in the months after Katrina. From Iceland to Chile, Nigeria, New
Zealand, Israel and beyond thousands of Food Not Bombs volunteers will
be sharing vegetarian meals, working for peace, planting gardens,
fixing up bikes for poor children and responding to hurricanes and
earthquakes. Please forward this to your local media and community
groups.

###
Food Not Bombs organizes food relief effort for the survivors of
Hurricane Gustav. We fed the survivors of Katrina now we will help the
survivors of Gustav.
You can help.  http://www.foodnotbombs.net/gustav.html

Police: Protester arrested for dropping bottle of feces
By Kirk Mitchell - The Denver Post
 http://www.denverpost.com/previous2/home/ci_10317143
Zachary Patrick Grey, a University of Massachusetts student from
Marion, Mass., was arrested at 1:40 p.m. Monday after a foot chase,
according to a Denver County Court complaint. According to CBS 3 of
Springfield, Mass., Grey belongs to a group called Pioneer Valley Food
Not Bombs.
The alleged feces was coffee with soy milk.

Basis for UCPD Raid Remains Unclear
By Ashley Trott - Daily Cal Staff Writer
 http://www.dailycal.org/article/102390/
basis_for_ucpd_raid_remains_unclear

UC Berkeley police, guns drawn, raided an empty Long Haul Infoshop
Wednesday morning, seizing 13 computers and other gear in a search for
the source of threatening e-mails.

Crackdown Begins: Food Not Bombs House Among Saturday Raids Ahead of RNC

By Paul Schmelzer, Minnesota Independent. Posted August 30, 2008.

The police assault on civil liberties takes an early start ahead of the
RNC.
Tools


 http://www.alternet.org/rights/97027/crackdown_begins:
_food_not_bombs_house_among_saturday_raids_ahead_of_rnc/


Minnesota Indy 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.

Around 9:20, two Minneapolis Police Property & Evidence trucks pulled
up. Present were a Hennepin County Sheriffs' crime lab truck, a Ramsey
County Sheriffs' squad and an MPD squad, plus at least four unmarked
cars parked facing the wrong direction in traffic. Police tape is
marking off the yard.




Police conduct raids in preparation for RNC
by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio,
Sea Stachura, Minnesota Public Radio
August 30, 2008
 http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/08/30/rnc_raids/

Authorities have searched several homes in Minneapolis and one in St.
Paul Saturday ahead of the opening of the Republican National
Convention.

St. Paul, Minn. - Police said the raids were the result of a long-term
investigation into a group of more than 30 anarchists that call
themselves the RNC Welcoming Committee. They said there were other
groups, including Food Not Bombs, that were affiliated with the group,
but those groups were not targets of the raids.

The searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office. Deputies
coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police
departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"We're not just imagining an attack on the transportation plan. Now we
can see that its real."
- Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher

Authorities said that the RNC Welcoming Committee had been planning and
training to block delegates from getting to the convention in downtown
St. Paul, to attack police lines and even break into the Xcel Energy
Center, where the convention is scheduled to open Monday morning.

Demonstrators have allegedly been gathering from dozens of cities
around the country, preparing to converge on St. Paul for the
convention.

People at the scenes of the raids said police arrived unannounced and
detained dozens of people for identification and questioning.

Most, like Thomas Greiling, were quickly released. Greiling lives at a
home searched on 23rd Ave. in Minneapolis. He said it was the second
time police had questioned him in 24 hours.

He'd been at a gathering in St. Paul raided Friday night, and Greiling
said there was no reason for authorities to come to his home, too.
Larger view
Police show a search warrant to Sarah Coffey

"It's just a pain in the ass, cause there's nothing going on here
that's illegal. I'm not worried about it, it's just, it's just
annoying," said Greiling.

A few blocks away, Dave Bicking says his daughter, Monica, was one of
the five people arrested in the raids. He said he thought police were
trying to discourage people from legitimate expression outside the
convention in St. Paul, rather than fight crime.

"You know they're intimidating people from even coming to the
demonstrations, so they're intimidating everybody, not just, you know,
the anarchists or the whatever," Bicking said. "They're intimidating
everybody when this news gets out from coming downtown to engage in
even legally and permitted marches and the whole thing."
Larger view
A "caltrop" device, meant to puncture tires.

But Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher showed off a wide array of what
he said were makeshift weapons and devices meant to disable buses,
block traffic and provoke violence.

There were piles of high security bike locks, tire spikes made from
bent sheet metal, a bow and arrow, slingshots, ropes, baseball bats,
piles of literature and a giant color-coded relief map of downtown St.
Paul.

Fletcher lifted up one of three plastic pails partially filled with
urine that he said anarchists had planned to pour into bags and
balloons to throw at police in coming days.

"Our job is to take every dangerous item out of their hands, so they
can't utilize them. We have extensive investigative work, complete with
a number of confidential reliable sources that have worked inside this
area, this anarchist area," said Fletcher. "We know these items were
going to be used, because we had sources that were working inside this
organization."
Larger view
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher

The raids, though, sparked widespread legal debate. Geneva Finn, with
the National Lawyer's Guild, was outside a home in Minneapolis cordoned
off by police. She said legal challenges to the raids are already in
the works.

"It looks like the Minneapolis police are going to attempt and shut
down this house on code violations, like they shut down the convergence
space in St. Paul," said Finn. "We are going to attempt to prevent
that. We're going to attempt to reopen the convergence site. You don't
get to just remove people from their houses and board them up, because
the police don't like what you're doing inside there."

But other legal experts called the effort good police work.
Larger view
Raid results

Notre Dame law professor Robert Blakey helped write federal criminal
conspiracy law, and he says police are under no obligation to see if
someone intends to act on plans to commit a crime, including civil
disturbance.

"When you conspire to do that, it's an agreement beforehand to do it,
the agreement itself is criminal. It's often what they get drug dealers
for; it's often what they get organized crime figures for--conspiracy,
a separate and independent crime," explained Blakey.

Authorities said there may be more actions as the Republican National
Convention proceeds.


Glenn Greenwald
Saturday Aug. 30, 2008 12:44 EDT
Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis

[updated below (with video) - Update II - Update III - Update IV]
 http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/30/police_raids/
index.html

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly
intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of
25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn,
entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and
forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers
searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political
pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and
the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and
detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a
demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code
violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent
teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where
suspected protesters were staying.

Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning -- one which
had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided.
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.
Posted below is the video of the scene, including various interviews,
which convey a very clear sense of what is actually going on here.

In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a
team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and
black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them
to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to
move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the
very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were
forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took
away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political
materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house,
an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken as she and others described
how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such
as "Do you have Terminator ready?" as they lay on the floor in
handcuffs. The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though
they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest
against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to
raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.

Several of those who were arrested are being represented by Bruce
Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers'
Guild. Nestor said that last night's raid involved a meeting of a group
calling itself the "RNC Welcoming Committee", and that this morning's
raids appeared to target members of "Food Not Bombs," which he
described as an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group. There was
not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place, Nestor
said. Instead, the raids were purely anticipatory in nature, and
clearly designed to frighten people contemplating taking part in any
unauthorized protests.

Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50 individuals who were
handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were actually arrested and
charged with a crime, and the crime they were charged with is
"conspiracy to commit riot." Nestor, who has practiced law in Minnesota
for many years, said that he had never before heard of that statute
being used for anything, and that its parameters are so self-evidently
vague, designed to allow pre-emeptive arrests of those who are
peacefully protesting, that it is almost certainly unconstitutional,
though because it had never been invoked (until now), its
constitutionality had not been tested.

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 automatic-weapons-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.

UPDATE: Here is the first of the videos, from the house that had just
been raided:



Jane Hamsher has more here, and The Minnesota Independent has a report
on another one of the raided houses, here.

UPDATE II: Here is the video we took from the second house as the raid
was occurring. We were barred from entering but spoke with neighbors
outside as well as with Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota
Lawyer's Guild, regarding these raids:



Over at FDL, Lindsay Beyerstein spoke with the property owner whose
house -- the fourth one we now know of -- was being raided while the
raid was in progress, and Lindsay has details here ("About an hour and
a half ago 20 to 30 heavily armed police officers surrounded the house.
One of my roommates said 'I want to see a warrant' and she was
immediately detained"). Meanwhile, Indy Media of Twin Cities -- an
association of independent journalists in the area -- just told me that
several of their journalists have been detained while trying to cover
these raids. Their site, with ongoing updates, is here.

The Uptake also has several reports of the various raids, including
video of the raid at the property whose owner Bernstein spoke with as
the raid occurred. That video includes an interview with a lawyer from
the National Lawyer's Guild who was detained and put in handcufffs,
explaining that the surrounded house is one where various journalists
are staying. Additionally, a photojournalist with Democracy Now was
detained at that house as well. So, both journalists and lawyers -- in
addition to protesters -- have been detained and arrested even though
not a single violent or criminal act has occurred.

UPDATE III: FDL has the transcript of part of my discussion about these
raids with the National Lawyer Guild's Minnesota President -- here.

The Uptake has this amazing video interview with the Democracy Now
producer who was detained today. As the DN producer explains, she was
present at a meeting of a group called "I-Witness" -- which videotaped
police behavior at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York and helped get
charges dismissed against hundreds of protesters who were arrested. The
police surrounded the St. Paul house where they were meeting even
though they had no warrant, told them that anyone who exited the house
would be arrested, and then -- even though they finally, after several
hours, obtained a warrant only for the house next door -- basically
broke into the house, pointed weapons at everyone inside, handcuffed
them, searched the house, and then left. Here is a blog post from one
of the members of I-Witness asking for help during the time when they
were forced to stay inside the house (see the second post -- it reads
like a note from a hostage crying out for help). This is truly
repugnant, extreme police behavior designed to intimidate protesters,
police critics and others, and it ought to infuriate anyone and
everyone who cares about basic liberties.

UPDATE IV: More here, including on the Federal Government's role in
these raids.
###
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------
Food Not Bombs organizes food relief effort for the survivors of
Hurricane Gustav

You can help Food Not Bombs feed the survivors of Gustav
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/gustav.html

You can help Food Not Bombs feed the survivors of Katrina
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/katrina.html

Food Not Bombs feed the survivors of Katrina (Free Speech TV)
 http://sourcecode.freespeech.org/sc206NewOrleansAN

Contribute to Food Not Bombs' food relief program for the survivors of
Gustav
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/dollar_for_peace.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------
SCHEDULE A FOOD NOT BOMBS PRESENTATION AT YOUR SCHOOL

This is a great way to inspire activisim on your campus. Dates are
still open for the fall semester. To schedule a presentation all us at
575-770-3377.

THE FOOD NOT BOMBS PRESENTATION
 http://www.foodnotbombs.net/speaker.html

Keith McHenry
co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement
P.O. Box 424
Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
505-776-3880
1-800-884-1136
 keith@foodnotbombs.net
www.foodnotbombs.net

homepage: homepage: http://www.foodnotbombs.net/gustav.html