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Does (did) the First Amendment apply to ALL of Us? Apparently, Not Iraq War Veterans… IVAW Member Attacked by Police

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 16, 2008 CONTACT: Jason Lemieux, jasonlemieux@ivaw.org, 760-409-9403 or Kristofer Goldsmith, kgoldy1985@gmail.com, 516-457-1260

Iraq War Veterans Arrested While Attempting to Deliver Questions to Obama and McCain

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions to the candidates. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate, but received no response.

The contingent of veterans in dress and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to be held in order to ask questions about poor veterans’ healthcare and supporting war resisters of the candidates, but were turned back by police. IVAW members at the front of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses before being arrested.

“Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans. We came here to try and have serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war have a right to ask, but instead we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end this war and bring our troops home, and we will be pushing for that no matter what happens in this election.” said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.

A total of ten veterans were arrested during the action, including Matthis Chiroux (Army Sergeant), Kristofer Goldsmith (Army Sergeant), Adam Kokesh (Marine Sergeant), Mike Spinato, Geoff Millard (Army Sergeant), Marlisa Grogan (Marine Captain), Nathan Peld (Navy, 1998-2004), Nick Morgan (Army Sergeant), James Gilligan (Marine Corps, 6 years) and Jose Vasquez (Army & Army Reserves, 1992-2007).
 

Show Editor’s Note »

In addition to this press release, EXTREMELY good coverage of this is available at BeTheMedia.org 

 


 

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded in July of 2004 to allow servicemen and women from all branches of the military a chance to come together and speak out against an illegal, unjust and unwinnable occupation. IVAW currently has over 1,300 members in 49 states, Canada and on military bases in the United States and overseas. To learn more about IVAW you can visit our website at www.ivaw.org.

Francesca Lo Basso National Media Coordinator Iraq Veterans Against the War media@ivaw.org (267) 519-4596

See Also, at IVAW.org :

IVAW members arrested while attempting to present questions to Obama and McCain

One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of IVAW marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions for the candidates. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate but got no response.The contingent of veterans in dress uniforms and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to be held in order to ask their questions but were turned back by police. The IVAW members at the front of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses before being arrested.Watch Democracy Now’s coverage of the action.Indy media NYC article: http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/10/100761.html

RELATED:

2008 Republican National Convention Round-Up Violence and cruel treatment directed at protesters by police; Journalists targeted for arrest, harassment, intimidation and surveillance

Sunday, 7 Sep 2008 by Eileen Clancy

Police Violence in the Streets

The members of I-Witness Video have been appalled to see a high level of violence directed against peaceful demonstrators, medics, legal observers and journalists at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Concussion grenades, smoke bombs, CS gas (tear gas), rubber bullets and pepper spray were used to attack and herd demonstrators.

In particular, pepper spray was used excessively and indiscriminately to torment and punish demonstrators in a manner that violates widely accepted law enforcement standards. In one instance a man was pepper-sprayed while handcuffed and then punched in the kidneys. Peaceful demonstrators have been restrained and forced to kneel on pavement for hours after being pepper sprayed without being given medical attention. In another instance where pepper spray was used to preemptively punish a person who was perceived by police to be a protester, a lone street medic was entering her car when police drove up, sprayed a small fire extinguisher sized canister of pepper spray into her car, completely soaking her head to toe before driving away, leaving her gasping for air and collapsing. The medic was neither arrested nor charged.

Here is a clip showing police use of pepper spray .

Abuses in the Jails

The treatment of arrestees in the jails has been shockingly bad, even grisly. Medical care has been withheld from many arrestees. In one instance a hemophiliac was offered gauze as treatment for a wound. Elliot Hughes, a 19-year old arrested while bicycling, was forced to wear a bag over his head while being gagged and beaten. Hughes tells his story at a press conference. The full clip is also available.

The punishment of arrestees did not end at the jailhouse door. In almost every instance, the Sheriff’s Department did not return any personal belongings to arrestees upon their release. Many, including under-age women and girls, were put out in the cold in the middle of the night wearing thin prison-grade shorts and a white t-shirt. Some were dropped off as far as five miles away from the jail without their house keys, car keys, cell phones, identification, or money. In some instances this meant that they were not able to access critically needed medication.

Targeting of Journalists

Many journalists working during the period of the RNC experienced obstruction, harassment and arrests. Thirty journalists were arrested including reporters from ABC News, Fox News, and Indymedia. On September 1, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, two producers from Democracy Now!, were slammed on the pavement and against the wall, arrested and charged with a felony riot. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was also arrested and charged with interfering with a police officer. On September 4 Kouddous was arrested again, along with Democracy Now! producer Rick Rowley.

Harassment of I-Witness Video

Members of I-Witness Video were visited by the FBI and a Wisconsin sheriff, were falsely arrested without charges being filed, underwent a search under an invalid warrant, were threatened on the street by police officers, extensively surveiled by police officers with video cameras and followed by undercover officers.

Two days before the convention opened, St. Paul police surrounded the house we were staying in, effectively placing us under arrest for two hours. When a search warrant was finally produced, it was for the wrong house.

When we declined to allow them to search our house under an invalid warrant, they broke in and held us at gunpoint. We were handcuffed behind our backs and held in the backyard while the house and our belongings were searched.

During the same period three other member of the collective were detained while leaving the area on bicycles and two others in a car were pulled over and detained for four hours.

An excerpt of a video by the Glass Bead Collective shows the St. Paul police breaking into our house and pointing guns at us.

In a sinister progression of events, police officers arrived at our office building four days later with batons at the ready, carrying a battering ram and alleging that we were holding people hostage in the I-Witness Video office. A prompt response by National Lawyer’s Guild attorneys thwarted further police action. The unfounded and absurd allegation by police that hostages were barricaded in our office could have allowed them to enter our office without a warrant and possibly even shoot us.

Please check our website for updates–we will continue to let you know more about the 2008 RNC and DNC as we investigate further.

PERMANENT LINK http://iwitnessvideo.info/blog/110.html


ALSO RELATED:

POLICE RAID FOOD NOT BOMBS HOUSES AND OFFICE Volunteers with the global nonviolent movement Food Not Bombs and RNC Welcoming Committee charged under the Patriot Act alleging acts of terrorism.

The FBI and other security forces are waging a national campaign against Food Not Bombs. Even though Food Not Bombs is dedicated to nonviolent social change our movement has been listed as a terrorist group by U.S. federal authorities. Volunteers arrested during raid of the Minnesota Food Not Bombs houses in the Twin Cities have been charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism.” In California the East Bay Food Not Bombs office at Long Haul was raided and 13 computers were taken. Elle Magazine reports that the Sacremento California office of the FBI paid a college student $75,000 to disrupt Food Not Bombs. The FBI provided her with blasting caps, plans to build a bombs and a car and house wired to record audio and video. As many as 20 volunteers are in U.S. prison accused of terrorism. The FBI claims they have infiltrated our movement disrupting our work to feed the hungry and work for peace. Consider contacting the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees and request an investigation into the U.S. government’s national campaign to stop Food Not Bombs.

Please contact the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security by calling (202) 226-2616 and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee member Barack Obama at (202) 224-2854 or (312) 886-3506 Also please call St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman 651-266-8510 and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak (612) 673-2100.

Hi Keith and all,

I thought you all would be interested to know that Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War conducted a Solemn Funeral March in Minneapolis on Sunday from about 11:30 to 1:30 or so. When we completed the march at the foot of the state capitol, there was the local Food Not Bombs team with a most welcome table of sandwiches and fruit salad set up for us.

Ken

Kenneth E. Mayers Veterans for Peace – Santa Fe Sow justice, reap peace!

The FBI and local police made preemptive arrests of peace activists, raiding Food Not Bombs homes before the Republican National Convention. The eight volunteers being charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism” have participated in a number of nonviolent actions to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where the U.S. military has killed tens of thousands of civilians. They also volunteer with groups like Food Not Bombs providing food and relief for hungry. People that know the prisoners charged with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism” are dedicated to nonviolence and have never been involved in violence. Law enforcement officials have not provided the names of any one that has been a victim of violence by anyone from the RNC Welcoming Committee or Food Not Bombs.

According several news reports including ABCs KAAL TV News in Minnesota authorities told reporters that U.S. intelligence units had infiltrated the RNC Welcoming Committee and Food Not Bombs for months “to see how they (the protesters) think.” Police infiltrators have failed in their attempts to encourage violence by protesters at the Republican National Convention.

In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee and Food Not Bombs with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of the FBI. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants.

“These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the Defendants on trial,” said Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. ‘The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience, he said.”

Five Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested in Minneapolis in early morning raids on Saturday August 30th and are facing charges of conspiracy to riot, conspiracy to commit civil disorder and conspiracy to damage property. The five, who are being held in the Hennepin County Jail, are Nathanael Secor, Garrett Fitzgerald, Eryn Trimmer, Monica Bicking, and Erik Oseland. Officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin and Ramsey county sheriff’s departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, armed with search warrants, executed the raids. The FBI and county sheriff’s departments held the cooks face down at gun point for several hours as they video taped and photographed their cooking equipment and other belongings. Later that evening Monica Bicking, owner of the Food Not Bombs house at 2301 23rd Ave. South in Minneapolis was interrogated in her cell by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher. She refused to talk. Eryn Trimmer reported this morning in a phone call to his mother that 50 new prisoners joined him in the county jail last night. Monica Bicking was released yesterday.

FBI claims that Food Not Bombs had weapons stored at their homes are false. Fortunately the FBI and Ramsey county sheriff’s department did clean out all the old belongings left behind in the garage by the past owners saving Food Not Bombs a great deal of work. Volunteers held at gun point reported that “we aren’t even painting banners here. All we have is food and cooking equipment.”

The FBI, Pentagon and other agencies have been investigating and disrupting the Food Not Bombs movement since at least 1988 when volunteers were first arrested for feeding the hungry in San Francisco. That same year the San Francisco Police wiretapped Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry’s home phone. By 1997 the San Francisco Police had made over 1,000 arrests for sharing vegetarian meals. Mr. McHenry faced 25 years to life in prison even though he had written many articles and a book on nonviolent social change and has never participated in any violence and promotes vegan and vegetarian diets, animal rights and peace.

This past year Eric McDavid and Lauren Weiner were framed by the Sacramento California office of the FBI after they paid a college student $75,000 to join Food Not Bombs. Wren is starting a five year prison sentence and Eric has been sentenced to 19 years. The FBI provided their informant “Anna” with a special wired car and home. They also gave her blasting caps, a book on how to build bombs and instructed her to try and convince Eric and Wren to bomb a dam in California. Eric and Wren refused but because they failed to stop “Anna” from her plans they were convicted.

“This investigation pertains to actions of the RNC Welcoming Committee,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said in a statement at midday Saturday. “The Welcoming Committee is a criminal enterprise made up of 35 anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.

Food Not Bombs has spent the last year organizing to provide free meals to protesters attending the demonstrations outside the Republican National Convention in Minnesota and the Democratic National Convention in Colorado in the United States.

Food Not Bombs is an all volunteer movement dedicated to nonviolent social change. Food Not Bombs provides free vegetarian meals every week in over 1,000 cities all over the world. Food Not Bombs volunteers provided free meals to the rescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11, to the protesters at the Orange Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine and fed survivors in nearly 20 communities in the gulf region of the United States in the months after Katrina. From Iceland to Chile, Nigeria, New Zealand, Israel and beyond, thousands of Food Not Bombs volunteers will be sharing vegetarian meals, working for peace, planting gardens, fixing up bikes for poor children and responding to hurricanes and earthquakes. Please forward this to your local media and community groups.

Read more here: http://www.foodnotbombs.net/raids.html