Over the past several weeks, information has been coming out of Denver–the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC)–indicating that police in the city are planning to engage in widespread suppression of dissent.
Most recently, a reporter with a CBS news affiliate in Denver uncovered a warehouse in northeast Denver that police are planning to use as a holding cell for the 1,200 protestors that it plans to arrest during the DNC. The warehouse–quickly dubbed “Gitmo on the Platte” in a reference to the United States’ prisoner at Guantanamo Bay–features chain link cages topped with barbed wire along with signs stating “Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility.” The Denver police department has said that they will explain more about the facility next week. However, photos from inside the warehouse make it pretty clear that the goal is to suppress dissent:
However, while the holding cells for protestors are starting to receive attention in the mainstream media, they are only the latest revelation in a long line of repressive measures adopted by the Denver police department to control protests. Media reports have detailed numerous security measures aimed monitoring and controlling protests including spy planes operated by the Secret Service, draconian restrictions on what protestors can carry, protest zones that are out of sight of delegates, and the presence of the National Guard. A map showing the distance from the “protest zone”–which will be surrounded by chain link fence and riot police–is reprinted here:
All of these repressive activities are going to be coordinated through a combination of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Much of that activity is going to be directed through a so-called “fusion center” where analysts from a variety of agencies will be mining databases and other sources for information on “suspicious activities.” Fusion centers–of which there are now 40 across the country–typically have little oversight and engage in a wide variety of surveillance under the guise of protecting against terrorism.