Wednesday, March 21, 2007

D.C. climate shifts from disagreeable to downright hostile

No time for much other than links. The following description of the weekend march and efforts by police and military to keep people from joining the march follows. After that thre are some links about harassment and arrest on Capitol Hill.

Tens of Thousands March on the Pentagon and Call for Impeachment

March on the Pentagon photo
The March on the Pentagon, March 17, 2007

Congratulations to everyone who made it through the snow and freezing rain to get to Washington and join together in the tens of thousands and March on the Pentagon marking the beginning of the fifth year of the war against Iraq. The Impeachment message was broadcast loud and clear and reached a national and worldwide audience!

The Demonstration Stikes A Nerve

Disgraced Tom Delay went on television Sunday morning and complained on Meet the Press that "we shouldn't have had what we had Washington, D.C." with people calling for "impeaching the commander in chief." Much as Tom Delay would probably like to see the First Amendment removed from the Bill of Rights, the stark reality that he and the White House faced was a huge outpouring of people from across the United States calling for the Impeachment of Bush, Cheney and other high officials. Feeling the heat from mass demonstrations around the country, Bush was forced to go on national television Monday and "plead for patience" from the people of the United States.

Led by a contingent of Iraq war veterans, active-duty service-members, Gold Star families, and veterans from other past and present wars, the demonstration received a large amount of media coverage. CNN featured the demonstration, which the report described as a march of tens of thousands, in its rotation Saturday and Sunday. There were hundreds of articles in US newspapers and world wide, and photographs featuring thousands of impeachment signs including, "Guilty of War Crimes," The major French newspaper, Le Monde, ran a significant article under the headline, "More than 50,000 People Protest Against the War in Iraq," about the March on the Pentagon and wrote that the protestors were calling for the impeachment of Bush for war crimes. The rally was broadcast live on C-span and Al-Jazeera. Ramsey Clark; Cindy Sheehan; Cynthia McKinney; Jonathan Hutto and Liam Madden, co-founders of Appeal for Redress; Iraq Veterans Against the War; Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson; constitutional rights attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, and others spoke. You can view the rally by going to and clicking on the March 17 anti-war rally under the video section. Ramsey Clark's speech is available on YouTube by clicking on this link.

The March on the Pentagon was not a solitary action but one of more than 1,000 protests that are taking place in the U.S. between March 17 and March 20. played a major role in co-sponsoring the March on the Pentagon as well as the Los Angeles demonstration that drew 50,000 and the San Francisco demonstration of 40,000 that filled 15 blocks of Market Street, a six-lane avenue. Impeachment supporters have been out at rallies around the country all week.

Ramsey Clark at the March on the Pentagon
Ramsey Clark speaking at the March on the Pentagon
Click to see his speech.

The March on the Pentagon took place the day after a severe winter snow and sleet storm suddenly hit northeastern states that prevented many buses from traveling, 700 fights from taking off, and thousands of cars from reaching the March. Motorists were advised throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region to stay off the road. The large turnout at the demonstration was all the more significant given the hardships people had to endure to participate in the activity. People marched to the Pentagon and stayed as long as they could braving 20 mile-an-hour winds and a windchill factor into the teens.

A great thank you is owed to the committed volunteers who endured a torrential downpour of freezing rain though Friday night to help set up the assembly and rally sites. People stayed overnight with the equipment and then began working again at 5:00 am in complete darkness. The assembly area had become a lake on March 16 and filled with mud by the time the march stepped off. The windchill in the early hours was not far above zero. At the rally site the large tents, including the Impeachment Tent, and canopies blew down. Volunteers continued to work long hours after the rally ended to take-down, pack, clean the entire area and unload trucks. The anti-war movement and impeachment movement are growing both numerically and in their organizational capabilities and the tireless work of volunteers forms the core of this success.

Pentagon Prevents People from Joining the Rally

The Pentagon and Virginia State Police, many clad in riot gear, wearing gas masks and wielding batons, blocked people coming from the subway/metro who wanted to attend the demonstration. They also blocked buses from accessing the Pentagon in contravention of the agreements reached in the permit. This required people to walk nearly two miles to get to their buses following the rally.

Many people who came to the rally after it had begun - some who had seen the huge march at a distance as it crossed over the Memorial Bridge across the roadways and wanted to then join the activity - were blocked by the Pentagon and the police from entering the rally site through a maze of misdirection, road closures and threats of arrest at multiple different locations. March organizers worked to get people in and they and their attorneys went to the site of sudden police confrontations and shutdowns, but many people were still unable to get in including the hip-hop artist Immortal Technique who was scheduled to perform.

Ramsey Clark on Impeachment and the War

As Ramsey Clark stated at the Pentagon rally, the effort to Impeach Bush has immediate and long term consequences. The Bush regime is rotting from within. Growing scandals are an indicator. The public revulsion to the endless lies about Iraq has set the stage even more so. Impeachment can and must become a reality and we can do it with your continued support.

Ramsey Clark challenged all of us when he spoke at the Pentagon: "We¹ve got work to do. If you thought about what will happen in the next 22 months if we don't act now, there will be a big buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq. That's what the surge is about. It's a permanent surge."

end of article by

Capitol Police were doing similarly illegal police actions on the Hill during recent arrests of Ann Wright and Gael Murphy. Conyers needs to censure and fine these guys for way overstepping their bounds. Show your outrage.

And of course we can't forget the secret service thugs who are protecting Hillary from opposing voices. Geesh, no wonder the Hillary/Apple mashup made by non-Obama folks is getting so much play.

More later.

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