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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ray McGovern bloodied in oppressor USA

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a major address calling for Internet freedom around the world. As Clinton condemned the Egyptian and Iranian governments for arresting and beating protesters, former U.S. Army and CIA officer Ray McGovern was violently ejected from the audience and arrested after he stood up and turned his back in a silent protest of America's foreign policy. Ray McGovern joins us from Washington, D.C.  


JUAN GONZALEZ: On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton gave a major address calling for Internet freedom around the world. Speaking at George-–Washington University, Clinton condemned the Egyptian and Iranian governments for arresting and beating protesters.

HILARY CLINTON: What happened in Egypt and what happened in Iran, which this week is once again using violence against protesters seeking basic freedoms, was about a great deal more than the Internet. In each case, people protested because of the frustration with the political and economic conditions of their lives. They stood and marched and chanted and the authorities tracked and blocked and arrested them.

AMY GOODMAN: Just moments before Hillary Clinton spoke those words, a 71-year-old man was violently ejected from Clinton's own event and arrested for turning his back on the Secretary of State. TV cameras caught part of what happened.

HILARY CLINTON: Than the government pulled the plug. So phone service was cut off. A TV satellite signals were jammed. Internet access was blocked for nearly the entire—

RAY McGOVERN: [Screaming]This is America! This is America! Who are you? Who are you?

JUAN GONZALEZ: The voice you heard screaming was that of Ray McGovern as he was dragged away by security guard that left him bruised and bloodied. He was then arrested. McGovern is a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA. He was one of the daily briefers for President George H.W. Bush. He has since become a vocal critic of US foreign policy. He joins us in Washington, D.C. Ray, you were seriously hurt. Tell us what happened.

RAY McGOVERN: I was pounced upon. I was blindsided, really. I was looking straight to the back, minding my own business. The only offense was standing up when everyone else was sitting down. Without any warning, I was pounced upon by and, what I call large manhandled by a fellow that looked like an NFL football player in plain dress. I don't know who he was, that is why you hear me screaming, "Who are you? Who are you?" And I never did get the answer to that. So it was quite abrupt, quite violent. And the supreme irony, of course, sounds like something right out of Franz Kafka, four paragraphs later, Hillary Clinton is saying what you just quoted her as saying. You know, one has to keep one's sense of humor in all of this, especially when one bears these kinds of bruises. I cannot show you the ones down below. I was listening on the way in, I tuned in a little late to your show. And when I heard Clinton say, that little clip, "We strongly oppose the use of violence," this is yesterday. We have deep concern over the actions of security forces. And I'm saying, yes! She is going to apologize. Like my Veterans for Peace colleagues asked her to do. Then I realized, she is talking about Bahrain. Straight out of Kafka.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you were seriously hurt. What parts of your body? What did they do to you?

RAY McGOVERN: Well, they put two sets of handcuffs on me roughly. They were the iron or steel handcuffs. They dug into my wrists. You can see some of the stuff right here. They put them behind my back of course and I started—bleeding profusely over my pants. We have the pants, they are full of blood. When somebody said, "Is that his blood?" One of the cops said, "No, no I pricked my finger". Right. The whole back seat of the pants is surfused with blood. They throw me-–well they didn't throw me, they placed me in a patrol car—I try not to exagerate here—and I was taken up to one of the police headquarters in D.C. Mugshotted, fingerprinted to a fair thee well, and put in a cell of the size of Bradley Manning now occupies in Quantico.

AMY GOODMAN: Ray we only have a minute but why were you there? Why did-–were you standing up?

RAY McGOVERN: I was standing up in silent witness to the fact that Hillary Clinton is responsible or partly responsible for the countless thousands of Iraqis, Americans, Afghans, and God help was, Iranians—I hope not—and that she should not get the idea that everyone is going to sit down and applauded politely when there are so many of us that are usually excluded from these sessions who are feeling very, very sad and very angry at the foreign policy of our government. Very seldom do have a chance to express that. I thought that I expressed that in a most nonviolent way by simply quietly with my back to her with a T-shirt that said "Veterans for Peace."

AMY GOODMAN: Well Ray McGovern, we want to thank you for being with us, former top briefer of Vice President George H.W. Bush. Ray worked for the CIA for more than a quarter of a century.

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

By Rachel Quigley  Last updated at 2:14 PM on 22nd February 2011

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.

Ray McGovern shows off his injuries

'Bruised and bloodied':  Ray McGovern, who was a CIA analyst for 27 years, claimed he was violently dragged out of a speech by Hilary Clinton after staging a silent protest

Is This America?: This is what Ray McGovern shouted at Hilary Clinton as he was forced out of her 'Freedom of Speech' talk at George Washington University

Is This America?: This is what Ray McGovern shouted at Hilary Clinton as he was forced out of her 'Freedom of Speech' talk at George Washington University

Bruised and bloodied: Ray McGovern was manhandled by police at a Hilary Clinton speech

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.'

Protest: As Secretary of State Hilary Clinton talks about a person's right to speak and protest, Ray McGovern is seen being dragged out of the room by officers (right)

Protest: As Secretary of State Hilary Clinton talks about a person's right to speak and protest, Ray McGovern is seen being dragged out of the room by officers (right)

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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