Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bipartisan Repression

In Sunday's post I noticed that some Korean dissenters had been released after a court refused to issue warrants for their arrest. So why were they freed if they hadn't been arrested? Turns out they'd been "detained," which amounted to pretty much the same thing: they were still in police custody.

This morning I saw the same distinction expressed by a policeman who arrested -- oops, I mean detained -- some undesirable elements during the Republican lockdown of Minneapolis:
VLAD TEICHBERG: Right in front of the house where we’re staying, we got surrounded by two police cars. Like one came from one side. We thought it was just a regular car passing, but it was—suddenly the lights went on, and another car came. And they—you know, first they said they were investigating people breaking into cars, and they wanted to search us. We said no. They put us up against the car and started searching us. It was two officers, a male and female, and I was with two women, so the woman searched the women, and the male officer searched me. And—

AMY GOODMAN: When you say “searched,” how did they search you?

VLAD TEICHBERG: Patted me down, in the beginning, and then they told us to go sit inside the car. We said, “Are we being arrested?” And they said, “No, you’re being detained.”

The Democrats shut down Denver too (via), but the Republicans, as usual, had to push the envelope (so the Democrats can go farther next time, while pointing out proudly that they're not as bad as the 'Rethugs'). The Twin Cities cops also arrested (not "detained", it seems) Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! when she came to find out why two of her producers had been arrested (via).

She's interviewed about the arrests here.

Goodman has been through worse: she and her colleague Allen Nairns were badly beaten by Indonesian troops in East Timor in 1991, during a massacre in which at least 271 people were killed. And of course, police violence is far from unknown in the US, celebrated by Democrats and Republicans alike. It's the sort of thing that supposedly doesn't happen here in the Land of the Free, but it always has. Will the Democrats denounce this escalation of their own repression of dissent, or will they choose to ignore it?