Friday, March 11, 2011

War Vet assaulted by police and dragged away for staging silent protest at Hillary Clinton speech..'supporting freedom of speech and right to protest'

During a speech on February 16, 2011, at George Washington University by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ex-CIA and war veteran Ray McGovern is violently hauled out of the room by police after merely standing silently with an anti-war T-shirt on.

He was directly in front of Hillary about 10 yards away in plain sight. Not a peep from Hillary...just continues right on with her speech about "the importance of freedom of speech", citing the right of the Egyptian people to protest their government.

McGovern was handcuffed, taken to the police station and put in a cell for three and a half hours, and charged with "disorderly conduct."

War veteran, 71, dragged out for staging silent protest during Hilary Clinton address... on freedom of speech

By Rachel Quigley
22nd February 2011
Daily Mail

A 71-year-old war veteran today claimed he was left 'bruised and bloodied' after being violently dragged out of a Hilary Clinton speech.

Ray McGovern, who was a CIA analyst for 27 years, staged a 'silent protest' during the Secretary of State's talk on the importance of freedom of speech in the internet age yesterday.

In it she referred to the uprising in Egypt and commented on how people should be allowed to protest in peace without fear of threat or violence. She also condemned governments who arrest protesters and do not allow free expression.

But during the speech at George Washington university, Mr McGovern claims his silent protest was met with just that - threats and violence.

Wearing a 'Veterans for Peace' t-shirt, the 71-year-old stood up and turned around to face the back of the room, when two men grabbed him and dragged him out.

He said he was 'roughed up' by police for his actions and needed medical attention.
Speaking to MailOnline he said: 'It was a pretty brutal attack. They left me lacerated and bruised. I have marks all over my body and some of my wounds are still oozing.

'But Hilary Clinton - who watched me be physically violated and grabbed - was condemning violence against protesters.

'I was 12 yards in front of her, she knew exactly what was happening but did not even miss a beat.'

Mr McGovern was put in two sets of handcuffs and taken to the police station where he remained in the cell for three and a half hours. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

Speaking about the charges he said: 'Standing motionless and wordless looking towards the back of the room when the Secretary of State is speaking is not what I would call disorderly conduct.

'The only disorderly conduct in that room was at the hands of the plain-clothed officer and the police man.'

Despite comparing the attack to 'being jumped in the Bronx', he said he does not regret it.

'I'm in good spirits and I'm hoping that some good will come out of this. It still hurts but it was worth it.'

The veteran said he was protesting the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fact that 'these people are pursuing policies which make people suffer and die, particularly in the Middle East'.

As well as a former CIA analyst, Mr McGovern also carried out the daily intelligence briefing for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

He also briefed the National Security Advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Cabinet on security matters.

He has been an outspoken commentator on intelligence-related issues since the late 1990s and in during a state speech in 2006, the veteran accused the then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld of lying about Iraq pre-war intelligence.

The internet is awash with comments of how hypocritical the Secretary of State's actions - or lack of - were and an online petition has even been started to 'urge Hilary Clinton to put her words into actions'.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer Partnership for Civil Justice Fund who are representing Mr McGovern, said: 'For this peaceful expression of dissent, he ended up bruised, bloodied, arrested, and jailed.

'Secretary Clinton never paused, continuing her speech lecturing other countries about the need to allow freedom of expression and dissent, while Mr McGovern was hauled out in front of her.'

The Department of State told MailOnline it was an administration issue that was being handled by George Washington University who 'enforce their own policies on their campus'.

The university had the following statement: 'The George Washington University is committed to the protection of free speech, freedom of assembly and the right of lawful protest on campus.

'When an invited speaker is the object of protest, demonstrations may occur outside the university building, facility or space where the lecture takes place, subject to additional requirements found in the university’s demonstration policy.

'A man, who is not affiliated with the George Washington University, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by the George Washington University Police Department (GWPD) and was charged with disorderly conduct after violating the university’s demonstration policy during a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on campus.

'Shortly after the Secretary began speaking, the man stood up from his seat blocking the view of guests and media.

'When asked twice by a GWPD officer to leave, the man refused. As a result, he was escorted by GWPD out of the building and was placed in the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department.'

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