Don’t Turn Your Back on Hillary Clinton or How Ray McGovern Evoked Hypocrisy in Real Time
71-year old peace advocate Ray McGovern, wearing a Veterans for Peace T-shirt, stood in the audience with his back toward Hillary Clinton as she gave a speech at Washington University on February 15th. McGovern’s stance, what he calls “silent witness”, was a protest of Mrs. Clinton’s support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was not long before McGovern was assaulted and dragged out of the audience by two security men. “So this is America!” McGovern declared. “This is America!”
Mrs. Clinton may not have missed a beat in her speech but apparently missed the enormous irony of the moment. She was speaking in praise of the nobility and effectiveness of peaceful protest and the wrongness of aggressive governmental repression in the Middle East, all while Mr. McGovern was being roughed up before her and the audience’s eyes.
Mr. McGovern as quoted by Rob Kall:
"When Clinton started talking about how people beat up and arrested people in Iran, it gave some poetic justice, a great irony, to my standing there and what happened to me then, when she's talking about what happened in other countries and there I am being handled in a vicious way...God knows what would happen next. ..."
"They grabbed me and the shock wore off. There was a real struggle. I shouted, 'This is America.' Then I said, 'Who are you?' This is a mystery to me. Who were they? The guy in the suit was the one who did the damage. He was brutal."
"They took me outside, put two sets of iron handcuffs that pierced my wrists. The bleeding went all over my pants. One guy said, "I pricked my finger" like it was his blood."
"I was bleeding in the car so I said 'I think you need to put some gauze on me.' They handed me to the DC police and they told I was being charged with disorderly conduct. I was booked, fingerprinted, mug shot taken. They put me in a little cell -- must be the same size as Bradley Manning's-- about six by four feet."
"It was about three hours that they held me until they let me out. I had to take a cab to the hospital where they x-rayed me, treated me and dressed my wounds. Then the doctors told me that since this was an assault on me, I had to inform the police about who had assaulted me. A little humor helped then."
Ray McGovern is a person of conscience who clearly has been walking the walk as well as talking the talk for peace for a long time. His 27-year experience in the CIA gives him a special savvy to the scope of horror of our military industrial security complex.
Ray McGovern’s issues with Clinton as quoted by Robert Parry:
"Hillary is the driving force, together with a few others, behind the war in Afghanistan. She's one of the big hawks in Iran. When I look at her and her husband that they don't know the first thing about war. I do and so do my fellow Veterans for Peace.
“I have to make clear that we Veterans for Peace think that her policies are an abomination to the nation, that they are at cross purposes to the country and not everybody should applaud and give her the idea that she's doing the right thing."
"When people die because we have hypocrites at the top of our government, that compels me to make a statement in whatever way I can. It was not the theme of her speech that I was protesting. It was her war policies.”
The United States has trampled on the legitimate civil rights of its citizens of conscience protesting these wars (including with its high-tech spying) by justifying itself under the “the war on terror” cause Robert Parry asserts. That handy dandy catch-all for institutionalized evil, for the erosion of the bill of rights.
But US hypocritical, repressive behavior didn’t start there. Parry:
Over prior decades – indeed centuries – the U.S. government routinely has trampled on the rights of people in America and around the world, often crushing popular uprisings with the most brutal force.
Just last week, the United States wallowed in maudlin celebrations of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, which included sending weapons and money to help slaughter peasants, students and workers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
[See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities.”]
Yet, Clinton whitewashed this bloody history as if the U.S. government has always been the great defender of people power resisting injustice.
“It is our values that cause these actions [in places like Egypt and Iran] to inspire or outrage us, our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it, and the principles that ground it,” Clinton said, without a word about America’s mixed record on these “values.”
Just minutes after McGovern had been dragged from the room and handcuffed, Clinton hailed the need for respecting different points of view and giving them space for their expression.
America’s people of conscience and ripening people of conscience need to fasten their seatbelts. The hypocrites at the top, slick-talking Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, et al., talk the talk of freedom to polite applause while at the same time authorizing gratuitous, corporate-profiteering violence. They deserve all our backs in protest. These power players seem determined to provide those willing and ready to walk the walk of peace advocacy a brutal and bumpy, anti-free speech, anti-democracy ride.
I would like to see how McGovern's case evolves. What happens if you press charges against an assault by a security detail of Secretary of State Clinton when they have, at the same time, pressed charges against you? Do we have Ray McGovern's back, so to speak, on this? There is a letter/petition now circulating asking Secretary Clinton to offer Mr. McGovern an apology and a release from the charges against him, as well as to revoke her anti-whistleblower stances against Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.
Worth a signoff!
It includes these statements:
“Please put actions to your words by providing Ray McGovern, a 27 year veteran of the CIA who conducted daily security briefings of Presidents Reagan and H.W.Bush , with an apology. Also, please take action to have his charges dropped, as he should not be criminally prosecuted for exercising his freedom of speech.
In addition, please take the following actions to show you are serious about freedom of speech:
1. Contact Secretary of State Gates and ask that Pfc Bradley Manning be released from his pre-trial punishment – 8 months in solitary confinement – for allegedly providing the media with information about war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other crimes committed in U.S. foreign policy. Ask that the charges be dropped for this patriotic act which if true were an effort to improve U.S. foreign policy by making us live within the law and become a law-abiding nation.
2. Contact Attorney General Holder and ask that the investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks be stopped. Assange, the editor in chief of WikiLeaks, is a journalist who has published many important documents in the last four years that have highlighted the abuse of nations and transnational corporations. The U.S. should not be stretching laws in order to punish a journalist exercising freedom of press and allowing Americans to know the truth of U.S. foreign policy.”