Denver's 'Gitmo on the Platte' meant to intimidate protestors
How ironic that this big event celebrating the coronation of a candidate for our next President, is also exposing a first amendment threat to free speech. by Dave Stancliff
Friday, August 22, 2008
By Dave Stancliff Make no mistake, the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver is loaded with hypocrisy and suspense.
For starters, Denver officials weren't planning on sharing a dirty little secret until they got caught by CBS 4News reporter Rick Sallinger.
He managed to get good video footage of what is now being called, "Gitmo on the Platte," a reference to that special jail for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Sallinger discovered a warehouse - now being called a Temporary Arrestee Processing Center - that was converted into a mass jail for protesters.
How ironic that this big event celebrating the coronation of a candidate for our next President is also exposing a first amendment threat to free speech. Can anyone remember the Nazi's and the USSR?
What's the difference here when people are going to be sent to a 18-by-18-foot holding cell made from chain-link fencing in groups of twenty for speaking out?
Those who dare to protest too loudly will find themselves in cages staring at signs that say, "Warning, electric stun devices used in this facility." At first, officials had planned on running razor wire across the top of the cells, but public outcry since the outing of their secret little plans, has made them reconsider.
The first female division chief in Denver's Sheriff's Department, Marie Kielar, admitted that there were no plans to release information about where protestors would be held at, according to the Colorado Independent. Why the secret?
What are the officials worried about? Are they reacting to the planned protest by Sen. Hillary Clinton's die-heart supporters?
This jail for protestor's is supposed to process 60 people an hour, and hold up to four hundred prisoners. Do the officials know something we, the public, don't? Has there been terrorist threats? Threats against our first African-American candidate for president?
This idea, to have a temporary prison for protestors, seems to be catching on. In 2004, New York City had a temporary jail during the Republican Convention. It housed 1,800 protestors. That same year when the Democratic Convention was held in Boston, only six arrests were made at convention events, according to The Washington Post.
Despite that minor arrest record in the Democrats last convention, local officials in Denver this year have their hackles up over something to react with such a draconian measure. It would be nice to know what prompted this massive security and why they plan on arresting 1200 people.
So here we are in the land of liberty preparing to lock up people who have something to say.
To add to this hypocritical display of police state is the fact that we're talking about our supposedly free and open political process that endorses free speech. One more thing to think about is whose paying for the Democratic Party to party?
You are my friend. If you pay federal income taxes then you've probably noticed that there's a place on the bottom right-hand side that allows you to make a $3 political donation. That money is earmarked by both parties and split up to pay for their Big Party Convention.
You are sending balloons up and paying for straw hats with party slogans for just the two political parties. Forget the Libertarians or the rest of the minor parties. So the next time you flip out $3 be aware that your money is going to throw a massive party with one of the two ruling parties today.
If this idea of building miniature "Gitmo's" keeps happening during Democratic and Republican conventions, what's next?
New rules for protesting anywhere with draconian results if you don't? Will protestors go on a national list along with terrorists? I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case already. I can still remember Hoover's FBI's list that was secretly drawn up to watch and harass American citizens who were suspected of being "un-American."
Big Brother is slowly getting a death grip on our free speech. At what point should we stop exposing lies that the government tells us? At what point do we stop protesting issues for fear of our lives?
The assumption that there will be massive protests that will involve the need to arrest large groups of people is a leap, and over-reaction. Unless, of course officials know something we don't know.
Or, unless there is a movement to stifle protestors in this country through intimidation and use of power.
As It Stands, shows of power - as in we're ready to lock you up in cages for exercising your right to free speech - have no place in a free country.
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One thing people who like to march around spouting their displeasure at the top of thier lungs seem to forget...while you have the right to say what you want and assemble, others have the right to not want to hear you or have thier existence disrupted by your antics. You can go and mouth off about anything you want but you don't have the right to get in my face and scream it. We should simply go back to the old speakers corner technique where every city has a designated spot where you can gather and scream whatever you want...if someone wants to hear you they know where to find you...if they don't want to hear you they know where not to go.