In my previous post I described the suspicious activities of our government that seem to point to them preparing to detain thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American citizens at the presidents behest should a “national emergency” be declared by Mr. Bush.

It is not beyond my comprehension that some people might think this is preposterous so I thought it pertinent to give a gleaming example of how they would not hesitate to do so. The story I am about to tell you happened about 4 years ago at the Republican National Convention and had received very little, if any, attention by the mainstream media. Almost two thousands American citizens were held without charge at at Pier 57 which is described as a three-story, block-long pier that had been converted to a holding pen for at least 24 hours with barely any food or water. Some of them were released early due to a court order instructing the police to release those not accused of a serious crime and give them a desk appearance ticket, very few of them were. Some described the conditions they had to endure during their stay to which the Mayor of New York at the time explained, “It’s not like it’s supposed to be club med”.

During the convention there were mass protest by varying organizations. At some point the New York police decided to start rounding up as my people as they could. They gave no warning to passers by to vacate the premises which they had cordoned off. There was no apparent reason as to why they decided to start arresting people. The marches and demonstrations did not escalate to violence. Several by-standers who weren’t even part of the protests were handcuffed and thrown in the holding center without being read their rights and without being allowed a phone call to let their loved ones know where they were.

One person managed to smuggle in a cell phone and they called Democracy Now!. The phone was passed around as several of those being detained told of the horrible conditions they were in. Some had already been there for 12 hours with no blanket and only a glass of water and a sandwich for nourishment. They had to sit on the concrete floor covered in dirt and oil. One detainee told of how there were several chemical warning signs instructing the use of face masks and goggles and some people were starting to break out into itchy rashes. Some seemed to be developing chemical burns. Those who were either hurt during the round up or were developing some sort of chemical reaction were denied medical attention for hours on end.

Here are pieces of the transcript from that phone call. You can read the entire thing here.

EMILY: My name is Emily. I was arrested yesterday off of Union Square East, on East 15th Street in between Union Square East and Irvine. [sic] I was on the sidewalk, and I was never told that I would be arrested. I was just on the sidewalk. And no one ever read me my rights. They just took us all away. They trapped us and put us all into buses. We’ve been in jail for over 13 hours right now. In our first nine hours, the only food we received was an apple. In our first four hours here we weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom or get water. So none of us were read our rights; we haven’t been able to talk to any lawyers. A lot of people here that were arrested without even protesting, they were—just happened to be on the sidewalk where everyone was on that block—was arrested. And there are chemical warning signs all over this place that we’re being held. A lot of people are forming rashes on their skin from the floor—from whatever it is that is on it. And I’m going to pass this on to someone else who has another story.

VOICE SHOUTING IN THE BACKGROUND: I need medical attention!

ALTHEA: My name is Althea and I was—am a New York City public school teacher. I was out on Union Square on 16th Street between Irving and Union Square just walking, trying to enjoy the day, and I got swept up in a demonstration. I wasn’t a part of the demonstration and I was arrested. I was arrested about 8:00 p.m., handcuffed and we’ve been sitting in the Chelsea piers in very crowded conditions. Right now some people are experiencing toxic reaction to the environment, itching in their skin, and we’re very crowded. We have been given water and a sandwich, but they have not been giving us any information, and we’ve just been sitting here really penned in.

MIKE BURKE: Have you been able to communicate to any of your family or friends about your situation?

ALTHEA: No, I haven’t. I have been asking my arresting officer when can I make a phone call? And no one knows where I am. Basically I feel like I’ve been ‘disappeared.’ Nobody knows in my family that I have been arrested. And I was out by myself shopping; so, you know, there’s no one to—they haven’t allowed me to contact anyone.

VEEPA MAJAMUTAR: Hi. This is Veepa Majamutar. I’m calling also from the arresting facility. Basically I was just a stand-by and I was walking on the sidewalk and there was a march going on. They cordoned off the whole street and just arrested all of us. When I tried to explain that I was just walking by—I had a receipt from a store that I had bought something from on that street. They did not pay any attention. And here we are sitting in this almost a human-rights abuse conditions. So many of us are cold. We are freezing. Some of us need medical attention; but nobody’s telling us what to do. Nobody’s listening to us. Nobody’s giving us any timeline, any idea of when we might get out. They’ve always been saying ‘Next two hours. Two hours.’ It’s been more than 12 hours now.

MIKE BURKE: Could you describe what you were doing just before you were arrested?

VEEPA MAJAMUTAR: What was I doing?

MIKE BURKE: Yes.

VEEPA MAJAMUTAR: Basically I was just—I was walking on the sidewalk. I didn’t even know that there were police and the march was going on. And all of a sudden the street basically just gets cordoned off and we cannot move. So before I was arrested I was just standing still because that’s all we could really do. And then they just started putting handcuffs on people. They didn’t tell us, please leave otherwise we’ll arrest you. They gave us no warning. They gave us no chance to leave. They just basically closed off the street, put handcuffs, and took us. They did not listen to anybody. They did not listen to even pure reason. They just put us off. We thought we would basically get out in a couple of hours if we had done nothing. But here we are 12 hours later and, basically, almost ridicule us. They ridicule us if we start to complain. And the condition here are atrocious. You have to see them to believe it. It’s dirty. It’s smelly. It’s filthy. We don’t have a blanket. We don’t have something to sit on. We are sitting on the floor. There’s dirt on the floor. There’s oil on the floor. There’s chemicals around us. It’s smelling bad. I could go on and on. It’s atrocious.

MIKE BURKE: Could you describe what kind of room you are in? It sounds like there are many, many people in the same room.

VEEPA MAJAMUTAR: We are like a hundred—a hundred people in a very small room. It’s surrounded by fence and we are like—it’s almost like rats in a hole. I mean, there’s nothing, there is just a floor which is very dirty, which is a lot of oil and all dust in it, I mean, all our clothes are dirty our hands are ditty. We had to eat an apple with our extremely dirty hands because we have no tissue paper, nothing to clean our hands with. We are just basically packed. Nobody can sit down. They don’t even give us a plastic bag to sit on. They don’t even give anything to lie down on. We just have to lie on the hard floor, basically. And there is not enough space for everybody to lie down because we have to sit so close together. It’s cramped. And we were freezing before and people were actually coughing, they were getting cold and nobody paid any attention, nobody gave them even a blanket nobody gave them even a plastic bag to cover themselves with.

In discussing the virtual media blackout on the story, the REAL story we were told by Juan Gonzalas (contained in the transcript from Democracy Now!):

One Daily News reporter told me the story yesterday that on Tuesday, he attended a protest at the Hummer dealership on 11th avenue on the west side. 15 reporters showed up, 40 police, and only one protester showed up at this rally. One young woman who was by herself picketing in front of the Hummer dealership. The police supervisor approached her and said, “you are blocking traffic”. I am giving you a warning or you are going to be arrested. She was stunned, the reporters were stunned because she was the only protester in front of the dealership. She said what do you mean? I am not blocking anybody’s traffic. The police supervisor said “that’s it. You had your time. Cuff her.” And they carted her away. And the reporter wrote a story which didn’t make our paper and in fact, I think there was only a mention in Newsday of it. So there’s a problem here in terms of this preemptive-strike policy by the police department and also in terms of how the media are covering it.

Even when the judge ordered the release of several hundred protesters who had been detained for anywhere between 36 and 66 hours the New York City Police department failed to comply with the order and were fined $1,000 for each protester not release as reported, amazingly, by CBS News.

A judge ordered the immediate release of nearly 500 protesters Thursday – just hours before President Bush’s speech at the Republican National Convention – and then fined the city for refusing to comply with his order.

State Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo fined the city $1,000 for every protester held past a 5 p.m. deadline that he had set for their release. It was unclear how many detainees were still in custody, but Cataldo had ordered the release of 470 people.

“These people have already been the victims of a process,” state Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo told the city’s top lawyer. “I can no longer accept your statement that you are trying to comply.”

The detainees had been in custody for anywhere from 36 to 66 hours. The decision was immediately hailed by attorneys for the demonstrators.

While I can understand the extreme inconvenience these mass protests may have caused and that some arrests were warranted, I cannot, by any imagination, understand the exorbitant lack of discretion given when arresting people. It seemed that anybody they came across they arrested. I’m sure not everyone was acting peacefully, but that doesn’t excuse arresting everyone because of the actions of some.

Then to throw them all in horrendous conditions like wild dogs and refused medical treatment, phone calls, and adequate food and water is deplorable.

No doubt that almost all of these people that were held have been put on “the list” of Americans deemed to be enemies of the state whether or not they were there to protest. These people will undoubtedly be rounded up again should a “national emergency” arise.

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