Police State Makes Preparations for Party Conventions

The grotesque pomp and circumstance of the Republican and Democrat national political conventions are only weeks away, but already the police state is making preparations for suppressing dissenting voices who refused to let the corporatocracy speak for them. As the New York Times reports, the Tampa Bay City Council passed ordinances restricting protest and speech near the Republican national convention:

In an effort to control demonstrations and prevent disturbances, officials in Tampa are taking unusual steps that they say will help ensure public safety but that many demonstrators and civil liberties advocates say will place unacceptable limits on public dissent.

In May the city adopted a temporary ordinance that will clamp down on protests in dozens of blocks near the Tampa Convention Center. Among other things, the ordinance requires a permit for groups of 50 or more to gather in parks; sets a limit of 90 minutes on parades; and bans an array of items, including glass bottles, aerosol cans and pieces of rope longer than six feet. It also provided for an official parade route for protesters along with viewing areas.

During public debates, some Tampa residents and City Council members opposed the rules, calling them excessive. Others complained that while the ordinance outlawed water pistols, actual pistols were allowed for those with permits to carry a concealed weapon. Although Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, had asked the state’s governor, Rick Scott, to ban firearms during the convention, the governor has refused.

The US military is also making plans for the conventions, and not just providing the color guard and acting as props for politicians to use to claim their superior patriotism. According to Stars & Stripes, the military has plans in place that they have based off the infamous 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago. While Operation Garden Plot has evolved since it was first utilized over 40 years ago, it’s purpose remains the same:

Over the past 44 years, Operation Garden Plot has evolved and been superseded by U.S. Northern Command plans created specifically for major public events — including the 2012 political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte.

The details of what Garden Plot evolved into are classified.But the original operation provides an indication of how the government in recent years planned for events in which the military would be called upon to support civilian security forces.

A 1968 copy of the Army’s Garden Plot originally classified as confidential categorized Tampa/St. Petersburg as an “intermediate priority” for Army planning.

A section on “specifics during disturbances” cited “fire, looting, arson and numbers and types of people involved (i.e. juveniles, Negroes, Puerto Ricans).”

Indicators of potential violence included “high unemployment and increased crime rates among minority groups” and “protests by minority groups to such conditions as slum conditions, segregation in housing and schools, lack of jobs, lack of recreational facilities, police brutality and local overpricing practices.”

Equipment and weapons to be issued to military involved in Operation Garden Plot included rifles, pistols, shotguns, M60 machine guns and grenade launchers.

Subsequent documents show Garden Plot was revised over the years and changed the way intelligence was to be gathered.

Northern Command’s creation resulted in Garden Plot successors, called concept of operations plans, for “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” and “Civil Disturbance Operations.”

Among case studies in a National Guard handbook is a synopsis of planning for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. It said Northern Command provided sophisticated communications equipment to provide a common operational picture of the convention.


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