Journalists, Protesters, Anarchists on the Streets of St. Paul

Freedom wrestles with authority. 


In journalism, in religion, there was a tension between the known and the unknown.  As a student I was taught the need to measure to know if something is real.  I measured the news.  I measured the reporter. 


KARE11’s Rick Kupchella in his on-air report tonight called demonstrators Tuesday “anarchists.”  He never explained the rationale as to why.  He clearly was not an impartial observer and overnight, according to his blog, he had not gained insight that he had crossed the divide, based on fear, to become partial in his reporting. 


“I ran into some people who were unhappy we were showing some degree of bias by helping the Michigan senator-elect and four delegates out of the protest.”  It was not his offering assistance but the use of language.  And it was not the offering of assistance but a guy running from an ongoing story, where he choose to offer help to a delegate rather than report on the demonstration.  Was this a guy who one day might help his career?  And the identified senator was not a “senator-elect” which he claims in his blog, but only the nominated candidate for the United States Senate from Michigan, Jack Hoogendyk.  It shows how little Kupchella knows about the Senate where Carl Levin is in his fifth term.  For his bias, the guy should be fired.        


By Thursday, suddenly protesters no longer were “anarchists.”  Kupchella wrote, “The crowd consists of people from across the metro area who are against the war and upset they cannot get closer to the Xcel Arena.  They want to be heard, they want John McCain to hear them.”    


 The media every day designates the people in Iraq fighting the U.S. Armed Forces as insurgents.  The Rick Kupchellas of the world on radio, on television, never go about explaining where the insurgents get their funding or training to carry on the civil war, or why they are actually “insurgents” if this was their own country and not ours.  Especially when there would be no United States in the first place without “insurgents.” 




In the the wake and aftermath of the Republican National Convention, a court case last week should have some judicial affect on Sheriff Bob Fletcher and the pending cases. 


On August 30th, “the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department and St. Paul police—working under the direction of federal agencies, including the FBI—began raiding homes of protesters throughout the metro. Before the weekend was through, authorities had arrested six people and detain dozens more in a preemptive strike against would-be RNC rabble-rousers,”  according to City Pages


Last week Timothy Conrad Rehak, and Mark Paul Naylon, who had been indicted after they failed an FBI “integrity test” in November 2004, were each convicted on one charge.


The Background:  According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “the FBI stuck $13,500 in a bag in a St. Paul hotel room and then had Shawn Phillip Arvin Sr., call Rehak and tell him a drug dealer named ‘Vinnie’ from Chicago had left drugs and money in the room and was looking for someone to retrieve it. Arvin Sr., was facing a long prison stretch in 36 days after being charged with trafficking more than 10 pounds of methamphetamine. Hoping to reduce his time, he told FBI agents he could provide information on a longtime St. Paul street cop.  Rehak, temporarily assigned to the sheriff’s elite Special Investigations Unit, asked Naylon to accompany him on the search.  After the hotel desk clerk refused to let them in the room without a warrant, Naylon asked sheriff’s Sgt. Rolland Martinez, supervisor of the investigations unit, to ask a judge for a search warrant for the room.


The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported,  “Sgt. Rolland Martinez, supervisor of the investigations unit, said a confidential reliable informant had told him drugs and money could be in the room. Martinez asked a judge for a search warrant for the room. In his affidavit, Martinez testified at trial that Naylon was the informant he was referring to, and there is no indication that Martinez knew meth dealer named Arvin Sr., was the original source of the information or that he even knew Arvin. The affidavit was written as though Martinez had spoken directly to the original source.  Ramsey County District Judge J. Thomas Mott swore in Martinez, read the affidavit, agreed it amounted to probable cause, and signed the warrant.” 


“While he doesn’t recall signing the warrant — as a judge, he’s signed scores, if not hundreds, of warrants since then — Judge Thomas Mott said that he is concerned about trial testimony indicating that the Bob Fletcher’s Sheriff’s Department sometimes used one of its civilian employees as an informant for search warrant applications.  ‘I think I will share that with some of my colleagues,’” he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter.


Whether anyone’s civil rights to protest government policy, with preemptive raids by authorities this week, have been violated has yet to be proven.  But participants today on the Poor People’s March feel that their organization has been “riddled with undercover cops,” if not provocateurs.     


City Pages today had a piece, referring to their own article in mid-May of “the FBI’s effort to recruit moles to infiltrate and report back on peace activists throughout the Twin Cities,” leading up to the RNC.  According to City Pages, “The idea of the federal government keeping tabs on “vegan potlucks” seemed at the time almost too absurd to be true but any doubts were eliminated Friday night when officers stormed through the Smith Avenue RNC Welcoming Committee St. Paul headquarters, an anarchist/anti-authoritarian group.  ‘We’re 99 percent sure he [the singing captive] was the infiltrator who told the police when to show up,’ says Brian Hokanson, 21. ‘Because right when he started singing, the officers let him up and led him outside. That was the cue. It didn’t feel like an arrest. The police didn’t say anything.’” 


The real concern for every resident of St. Paul is a semblance of order this week.  This most recent trial has shown Bob Fletcher’s department encroaching on issues of credibility to secure search warrants that ended up shooting the best man at his most recent wedding in the foot.   The accounts below by youthful participants tonight conger up images of life in the Eastern Bloc, of books by Ivan Klima, by Vaclav Havel. 

TwinCities IndyMedia reports tonight on their website,, the following.  Readers also have no way of questioning the veracity of these report.  The media was starting to sound a lot like the people attending these conventions.  Convention-goers.  Anarchists.  Polarized.  Journalists were supposed to explain what current events happened, bringing the news and explaining a story.  Journalists as we have known them are all threatened by this current bipolar disorder we call politics, yet without questioning why the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department was so involved in enforcement this week instead of the Saint Paul Police, in this very Democratic-leaning city.

Freedom wrestles with authority. 


In a twelve-month prelude to the 2004 Republican National Convention, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups in Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, while posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, records show. The local sheriff on this side of the river was just following the infiltration techniques used elsewhere. In the tension that developed between the known and the unknown.

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 21:14

Poor Peoples’ March Riddled with Agente Provocateurs, Undercover Cops

cred_rating: Five

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 21:14

Poor Peoples’ March Riddled with Agente , Undercover Cops

cred_rating: Five

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 20:59

tincan: 300 riot cops on capitol lawn

cred_rating: Four

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 20:44

Cops charging into crowd at Saint Peter and Exchange

cred_rating: Four

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 20:36

Vans full of riot cops on St. Peter@12th St.

cred_rating: Five

Protesters trying to leave on St. Peter. 70 cops walking down 12th to cut them off. Traffic stopped.

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 20:27

Tear Gas used on crowd of 100 cut off from Poor Peoples March

cred_rating: Three

Tue, 09/02/2008 – 20:22

Cops flanking protesters on St. Peter N of Exchange. 25 Cops Marching up St. Peter, blocking protesters exit.

UPDATE:  The news this morning would suggest that this was organized chaos and not just pure protest: 


Minneapolis Star Tribune 


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

“Almost a year to the day before the Republican National Convention began, members of a self-described anarchist group gathered to talk about ways to disrupt it, including kidnapping delegates, sabotaging air vents at the Xcel Energy Center, blocking bridges and “capturing federal buildings” in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Unbeknownst to the group, the RNC Welcoming Committee, two police informants and an undercover investigator had infiltrated their ranks, according to an affidavit and search warrant application filed Tuesday. The informants and investigator accessed group e-mails, attended meetings, talked strategies with members and participated in camps and workshops.

“The 17-page document, signed by Ramsey County District Judge Joanne Smith, laid out the evidence that led the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department to raid a St. Paul business and three Minneapolis homes Friday night and Saturday morning.

“The affidavit paints a picture of a group that recruited participants from 67 cities and was intent on creating havoc.”                      – By Pat Pheifer


Soon we will find out if the intent to commit a crime is protected by the constitution. 

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