Terrorizing Dissent – The Election Cut
Bead Collective, Twin Cities Indymedia, and other independent media activists
have released a new film, ‘Terrorizing Dissent’, an exposé of events
at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Featuring first-person accounts and footage from more than forty cameras on
the streets, ‘Terrorizing Dissent’ focuses on the story of dissent suppressed.
People charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism”
speak out against the government’s campaign to manipulate media coverage and
label civil disobedience and community organizing as terrorism.
“If civil disobedience becomes framed as ‘terrorism’ … that’s baloney.
And the reason they’re waving the T-word around, there’s one reason and
one reason only, because they want to squash dissent and they want to justify
what the police do in the effort of squashing that dissent.”
Michelle Gross, Communities United Against Police Brutality
‘Terrorizing Dissent’ shows the results of the $50 million dollars the Department
of Homeland Security gave to local authorities for security — a large
chunk of which went to weaponize the police — and the $10 million insurance
policy contract between the RNC Host Committee and the City of St. Paul, which
shattered Minnesota’s civil compact between protesters and police.
Full Movie Now Available to Watch Online
Check out the Downloads Page for the latest video versions available.
Disk Image for DVD Burning Available Now
Screenings, Screenings, Screenings
Check out our growing Screenings
for show times in the Twin Cities and across the US.
… and check out the Artwork Page for posters for screenings.
Effectively, the Republican National Committee provided financial cover for
the widespread, organized suppression of dissent. The FBI and Secret Service
coordinated with local police to raid homes and work spaces before the RNC even
began. On the streets, the government’s intimidation strategy shut down peaceful
protests through the heavy use of tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades, rubber
bullets, and other projectiles. This excessive use of force followed months
of harassment and surveillance of community activists. At every stage, local
officials have refused to release the documentation behind what they did, from
the origins of dubious search warrants to joint powers agreements.
The Republican Party’s efforts to control the message and crush dissenting
voices were led by one of the top local Republicans, troubled Ramsey County
Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who personally spearheaded the “pre-emptive raid”
strategy and spun the media by claiming captured household items were weapons
(most notably, the buckets of recycled grey water he dubbed “urine”).
At every stage, from fake urine to riot threats, messages of fear were distributed
to chill Minnesotans from exercising their First Amendment rights.
Just days before Fletcher launched high-profile preemptive raids against protesters,
two of his closest aides, Mark Naylon and Timothy Rehak, were found guilty on
federal charges after they attempted to steal $6,000 in an FBI sting. To shore
up his murky political future, Fletcher staged an authoritarian spectacle unparalleled
in Minnesota history.
“We have unlawful search and seizure. We have unlawful arrest without
probably cause…. Mass arrest and detention without probable cause….
Then you have excessive force. Spraying people point blank range with mace
who aren’t resisting and who are peaceful is excessive force. Beating people
in jail is excessive force… Those all should be criminal complaints. They’ll
never be charged as such by any prosecutor.”
Bruce Nestor, National Lawyers Guild
As local Democratic officials cautiously stepped back, Fletcher put himself
in front of a classic “security theater” media campaign to create
a non-existent enemy, equate civil disobedience with terrorism, and move in
to attack peaceful protests. This plan culminated with the blocking and flashbang
bombing of a peaceful march organized by anti-war activists on September 4th
as John McCain delivered his acceptance speech at the Xcel Center.
Within weeks, John McCain’s campaign turned to attacking Barack Obama on the
same grounds as the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group that provided logistical
help such as housing, food and a convergence center for demonstrators.
This rapidly produced “election cut” shows how the government —
even in a liberal state like Minnesota — easily rolled over to domestic
militarization and criminal abandonment of Constitutional freedoms. As the Republican
National Convention paved the way for a fall of terrifying national instability
and financial chaos, Americans need to know about the techniques used to silence
Cut from hundreds of hours of donated footage, “Terrorizing Dissent”
has been released for free on the Internet in HD, FLV and Quicktime formats,
under the Creative Commons / CopyLeft license, and its producers encourage everyone
to share this important film. More video releases are planned; stay tuned to
this website for updates.
Glassbead Collective (glassbeadcollective.org),
based in New York City, brings together individuals from diverse academic and
professional backgrounds including video art, film, theater, architecture, photography,
music, mathematics, fine arts and philosophy to create works which re-contextualize
culture and the world in which we find ourselves today.
Twin Cities Indymedia (twincities.indymedia.org)
is the local chapter of the international Indymedia network, a collective of
independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots,
non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation
of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth. Twin Cities Indymedia
provided up-to-the-minute coverage of the St. Paul’s Republican National Convention
with news and media straight from the streets. As an entirely volunteer-run
organization, the Tech Collective handles the Web platform, and the passionate
observers of the Editorial Collective write stories and fend off spam. TC Indymedia
plans to organize a new video project collective as an extension of the work
behind producing ‘Terrorizing Dissent.’