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News :: DNC : International
Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
As Teresa Heinz Kerry gave her prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK: Women for Peace attempted to bring an anti-war message onto the convention floor. She unfurled a pink banner that read “End the Occupation of Iraq” a sentiment that is shared by the majority of Americans and vast majority of Democrats and was promptly dragged out of the Fleet Center by the police.
dncmedea1.jpg
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: July 28, 2004
Medea Benjamin (415) 235-6517
Gael Murphy (202) 412-6700

Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs

Behind veneer of unity, Democratic leadership works to squelch anti-war
sentiment

Boston As Teresa Heinz Kerry gave her prime-time address at the Democratic
National Convention on Tuesday night, Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK: Women for
Peace attempted to bring an anti-war message onto the convention floor. She
unfurled a pink banner that read “End the Occupation of Iraq” a sentiment
that is shared by the majority of Americans and vast majority of Democrats
and was promptly dragged out of the Fleet Center by the police.

”The Democratic leadership is trying to stifle people’s opinions about the
most important issue facing this nation: the war on Iraq. A huge majority of
the delegates believe the Iraq war was a mistake, and many are convinced
that the U.S. military occupation isn¹t benefiting Americans or Iraqis. But
the Democratic platform doesn’t reflect that sentiment, and it’s been so
difficult for people at the DNC to get that message out,” said Benjamin, who
is a co-founder of CODEPINK as well as the human rights organization Global
Exchange.

Inside the convention, the DNC has banned anything but “officially printed”
banners and signs from the convention floor, and several anti-war delegates
from the Kucinich campaign have been told to take off scarves that say
”delegate for peace.” Outside the convention, those who oppose the
Democratic Party position on Iraq are relegated to a “protest pen”, which is
actually a cage surrounded by fencing and barbed wire. On Saturday, CODEPINK
objected to the protest pen by having some of its activists dress as pink
statues of liberty with tape over their mouths.

“We are supposed to have free speech all over the United States, not just
inside a pen that looks like a Guantanamo Bay detention camp,” Benjamin
said.

[Editor's note: Photo originally posted anonymously at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24660/index.php ]

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
Medea Benjamin! Does this woman ever do anything besides being a professional protester? She is a well known annoyance here in San Francisco. Everyone ignores her. You should, too.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
Whats wrong with being a full time protester? Most people in this country just sit on their ass and do nothing politically. Why should I or anyone else "just ignore" the one person who took a stand to criticize the Democratic Party at their convention? Gadflys are a necessary element in a healthy democracy. Question is, is the Democratic Party healthy for democracy?
Thanks scott
28 Jul 2004
i wasn't sure what to think of this article, but now i do.

get that everybody? saying no to war is off message, please ignore these loud-mouthed trouble-makers.

i for one am glad that kerry will be 'taking the fight to the enemy on every continent'

bring it on- yeehaaw!


(they promised me a few hours on a remote control drone in baghdad next week- with camera, mic and assorted weapons-- sweeeet!)
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
i just watched Democracy Now's video of Medea getting thrown out of the convention by two beefy cops, right after Teresa Heinz Kerry talked about how people need to speak truth to power even if it might be unpopular(Heinz-Kerry was brought up in South Africa, a white woman with a lot of money, probably of a family who supported appartheid, though I could be wrong).

Good for Medea for having the courage to ba "professional protester", a harpy for these thugs who run the world.
Scott well known for whining in SFO
28 Jul 2004
Ignore Scott. He's a drug addict and well known for being a cry baby.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
hey, please ask the boston police to lock up medea, we don't want her back here in San Francisco. what an oppurtunist, maybe this is going to be campiagn footage for whatever position she runs for next on the Green Party ticket. lock her up, hey medea still hate anarchists don't you.

sorry i'm just being sarcastic
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
28 Jul 2004
Well-known troublemaker or anon, pro war or pro peace, don't we live in a country where dissent and demonstration is critical? While bickering over this protesters merits, and message, we are almost ignoring the fact that they are preventing any of us from displaying any criticism.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Let us all honor FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!!!!!!!
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
i just watched Democracy Now's video of Medea getting thrown out of the convention by two beefy cops, right after Teresa Heinz Kerry talked about how people need to speak truth to power even if it might be unpopular(Heinz-Kerry was brought up in South Africa, a white woman with a lot of money, probably of a family who supported appartheid, though I could be wrong).

Good for Medea for having the courage to ba "professional protester", a harpy for these thugs who run the world.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
That's nice of Medea, but she is trying to "work with" the Democrats thinking that they are going to give the people what they want, "work with" the same people who voted for the war in Iraq, voted for the Patriot Act, agree with Bush on his middle east policies, denied Florida voters, and want to 'stay the course'. Why waste your time with them? lead a REAL revolution!
INFILTRATION OR JUST A WAST OF TIME?
29 Jul 2004
so, in reading all the threads on these message boards, it seems really clear that either 1) the fbi has introduced a new program of clogging message boards where there could otherwise be useful conversation with bullshit, or 2) we dont know how to have useful conversations ourselves...
INFILTRATION OR JUST A WAST OF TIME?
29 Jul 2004
what should we do?
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Voting for Ralph Nader is one way to send a clear message to them. He's the only 'high-profile' candidate in the race that says NO! to the war and occupation. Voting for Green Cobb is another way but not as much a threat to them. Meanwhile...The Occupation at 114 Degrees: Baghdad is Swamped in the Smell of the Dead
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
1. Interesting that Global Exchange diva Medea Benjamin got access to the Convention floor, dressed in pink, past all that vaunted security. Helps to have friends.

2. Also interesting that after her big moment on camera, she was escorted out by Convention security, but not arrested. ( apparently it also helps if you are the co-author of a widely publicized open letter directed toward progessives to vote for Kerry in 'battleground' states. )

See: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0723-09.htm

Give it a rest, Medea. When all is said and done, you'll walk into that voting booth and vote for a pro-war candidate.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Lots of respect for that woman regardless. Way to go Medea! Glad to see someone did it.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Fuck that shiite
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Someone actually posted above, "What should we do?" It seems everyone ignored his/her post in favor of dumb little quips and sarcastic come-backs.

Here's a novel idea: begin voting for independents and third parties! How hard is that, people?!?!? STOP VOTING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT AND THEN WHINING THAT THEY'VE STABBED US IN THE BACK AGAIN!

It's time to realize that both the Republicans AND the Democrats are part of the problem, not the solution. They are - together - "the establishment".

They've been the only ones in office for decades now, trading the Presidency back and forth every four years. And what has it gotten the American people? Higher taxes...bigger government...less freedom...greater anti-American sentiment around the world...corporations swelling while the little guy (and the middle class) continues to shrink...rising federal deficit...a "defense budget" of over half a TRILLION dollars...GATT... the Patriot Act I & II...NAFTA...a stronger WTO...The list goes on!

Isn't it time to stop selling out ourselves by voting for their show ponies and vote for someone else for a change? Can't we gather behind another party (like the Libertarians, as one example)?

Ask yourself honestly...could anyone do worse than the Republicans and Democrats have already done????
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Finally a protester.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
I have always said that voting for the lesser of two evils isn't the way to go.

Anybody but Bushvis and Kerr-head.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean that you have the right to interrupt anyone else at will. Otherwise, we'd all end up shouting past each other. (Oops, maybe we're too late.) If you want people to respect your message, you have to respect theirs.

Mrs. Benjamin is in the wrong on this one. If she has a message to get across, she can set up her own web site, pass out material, buy advertisements, or book her own venue.

Incidentally, someone did ask a good question. Does she have a profession? Last I heard, "protester" didn't pay well enough to afford San Francisco rents.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Working for peace is difficult work. The mass media is in a mutigenerational grip on the thoughts and mind. Those who resist vocally will be silenced, those who resist with action will be destroyed. Strengthen your groups and understand what that means. If you aren't prepared to become a group then don't pretend. Never give in, never give up. 30 year prisoner still seeking one single friend in this gulag.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
The story is even better! Medea Benjamin was on KPFA radio in Berkeley last night and told the story.

She managed to get a pass to be in the convention halll during the Theresa Heinze Kerry Speech. At the point when Mrs. Kerry said, "true patriots speak truth to power", Media unfurled a banner that read "End the Occupation of Iraq." Police imediately descended upon her. Mrs. Kerry was then saying something to the effect of, "John Kerry would never send US troops..." Media cried out, "But will he bring them home? Bring home the troops, bring home the troops..." Perfect timing. She was dragged off the floor in cuffs by police and interrogated for 30 minutes before being let go (outside the convention hall). Who knows how she got the banner in. Delegates wearing 'delegate for peace' scarves have been getting their scarves confiscated at the door. Bet you didn't hear this on CNNFOXABCMSNBCFBICBS.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
I used to respect Medea, but she's become a standing joke. Come election day, no matter what, she'll be leashed and on her knees, happily drinking from the muddy puddle at the feet of the pro-war, pro-occupation, pro-Patriot Act Democractic Party, all the while encouraging other "progressives" to do the same. The mere fact that she was allowed access to the Fleet Center and the convention floor speaks volumes about how Democrat-friendly her politics have become.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
I'm not a big medea fan either, but you have to admit, this is good timing.
This is what America is becoming, educate yourselves.
29 Jul 2004
Here are two articles by Frank Morales which discuss the trend toward the militarization of the police, and the increasing involvement of the military in domestic police operations.
The first is from Covert Action Quarterly, Spring-Summer 1999, " The Militarization of the Police." [*] The second is a longer version of an article that appeared in CAQ's Spring-Summer 2000 issue. It is titled "U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War At Home." [**] Among other topics, this article discusses the increasing circumvention of the Posse Comitatus Act. From the second article:

As this and numerous other documents reveal, U.S. military training in civil disturbance "suppression", which targets the American public, is in full operation today. The formulation of legitimizing doctrine, the training in the "tactics and techniques" of "civil disturbance suppression", and the use of "abusable", "non-lethal" weaponry, are ongoing, financed by tax dollars. According to the Pentagon, "US forces deployed to assist federal and local authorities during times if civil disturbance...will follow use-of-force policy found in Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan-Garden Plot."
(Joint Chiefs of Staff, Standing Rules of Engagement, Appendix A, 1 October 1994.)

http://www.datafilter.com/mc/rma.html
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
to (person not even choosing a fake name?)
""Freedom of speech" doesn't mean that you have the right to interrupt anyone else at will. Otherwise, we'd all end up shouting past each other. (Oops, maybe we're too late.) If you want people to respect your message, you have to respect theirs."
What a profound and true statemenr from someone who obviously not PAYING ATTENTION.
When all "official decent" (ie free speech) is relegated to a cage under a railroad track out of the way, all messages of decent are removed from delegates, debate on the party platform not allowed, and calls to end the war in Iraq officially sidelined (even tough most delegates support this call in some way) somebody deserves to be "interrupted". If I one of many people in a cage with my mouth duct taped shut, striped of my shirt (it contained the message I would have spoken), and the "people in power" have earmuffs and blindfolds on I will start yelling as soon as I get the tape off my mouth (regardless of which of the elite are speaking), put my shirt back on (in the most disruptive way I can), strip them of their blindflods and earmuffs... and yes call them out even if it is undignified. And you would probably call me wrong... which side were you on in the civil rights movement?
You said:
"If you want people to respect your message, you have to respect theirs."
Interresting retoric
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
> When all "official decent" (ie free speech) is
> relegated to a cage under a railroad track out
> of the way, all messages of decent are removed
> from delegates, debate on the party platform not
> allowed, and calls to end the war in Iraq
> officially sidelined (even tough most delegates

First of all, the word is "dissent". Secondly, if you want to affect the platform of the Democratic party, do you really think that screaming out slogans in their convention is going to accomplish anything?

Is it educating? Is it raising awareness? Is it even coherent? For example, who does Medea Benjamin propose we turn Iraq over to? "The Iraqi people"? Which ones? The Shia or the Sunni fundamentalists?

If Medea Benjamin gets up to make a speech, can I arbitrarily interrupt her? Would it be fair if I shouted her down if I disagreed with her?

People need show some savvy if they want to be heard and accomplish anything. Lame 1960's tactics will continue going nowhere.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Those "lame 1960's tactics" got us out of a similar war called Viet Nam. And that war was similarly trumped up (look up Gulf of Tonkin, kiddies). And not until we wake up and see history repeating itself will we all demand the US out of Iraq. And what is the problem with Shia or Sunni controlling THEIR OWN COUNTRY? Facism is dead. Get over it.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
"Voting for Ralph Nader is one way to send a clear message to them. He's the only 'high-profile' candidate in the race that says NO! to the war and occupation."

Voting for a candidate funded by and petitioned by the GOP, now THERE'S a solution...
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Again, the way to get out of the situation we're in as a country is to vote out BOTH the Democrats and Republicans. Nothing...NOTHING...of any major importance will change until that happens. The two major parties are simply two sides to the same coin. They fight over the minutia that keeps the media and the uneducated busy squabbling with one another while the big picture completely escapes the masses that support them.

Since WWII, the national debt has steadily been climbing and government has grown by leaps and bounds while our freedoms have simultaneously dropped by an equal measure. And guess what? Only Republicans and Democrats have been in office that whole time! So when is it that one of these parties is going to make some earth-shattering change to government-as-usual that will hand this country back over to the states and the will of the people??? Which party will finally begin cutting the size and scope of government, granting significant tax cuts, and returning power to the states? Which party will put the well-being of the American people above big business and foreign interests?

IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN UNDER EITHER PARTY! They've had 151 years to "rule" (the last non-Republican or Democrat was Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), who was a Whig). Franklin Pierce (1853) was the first Democrat and Abraham Lincoln (1861) was the first Republican. It's more than high time to vote for independents and third parties. Will they win? Maybe not this election or even the one after it, but every vote cast AGAINST the two major parties helps to unite similarly thinking people into realizing that they are not alone in their opinion...and they, too, will begin to vote their conscience rather than the lesser of two evils.

The change has to start somewhere...but many of you crying the loudest will suck it up and vote for your "boy" (Republican or Democrat) just because you hate the other guy. I'm sorry, but that's just dumb. I voted for Bush because I was afraid of what would happen if Gore got in ...and we're no better off since Bush got in instead.

To hell with both parties, I say!
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
29 Jul 2004
Democrat. Republican. No difference. All contribute to a new and kinder definition of assh**lism!
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
30 Jul 2004
You go Medea! Thank you for being there and doing what you did. I appreciate you alot. I hope I see you in NYC at the RNC. Code Pink rocks! Greenbloc Rocks! Pagan Cluster Rocks!
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
30 Jul 2004
PS
I do agree with comments about the Dems. Republican and Democrats= One party with 2 right wings. We will still have to be in the streets if Kerry is elected...they are all war mongers.
Re: Anti-War Activist Dragged off DNC Floor in Handcuffs
30 Jul 2004
One who is sent to war and then returns to protest it to the highest level he is able does not seem to me like a war monger. I believe Kerry will end the occupation of Iraq, as soon as it becomes clear that we have...

A. ..done all we could to help clean up the mess the neo-cons made...

or...

B. ...had it made clear to us, the US people, by the Iraqis that our presence is doing more harm than good.


Yes, I think like you that we are doing more harm than good. But it will take a carefuly planned, meticulous strategy to convince a frightened, shell shocked and for the most part brainwashed populace that it's OK to get rid of the person that they looked to to give them hope after September 11th. Bush gave them fear.

I think the problem that I have with Medea is that she and some of you have missed the point - Kerry is the only choice we have that has a legitimate chance of beating bush and starting to get us out of this mess. Regardless of whether we end up occupying Iraq for a litle bit longer, at least we won't be invading Iran and Syria, which the neo-cons WOULD BE BRAZEN ENOUGH TO DO if Bush won.

I would have liked to see her allowed to protest, but at what point does her speech infringe on the rights of Teresa Heinz Kerry's right to speak? Medea was a guest of the Democratic Party, so I feel they had every right to stop Medea from interrupting and stealing the attention from their speaker. In this case, the attention she would have garnered from the press would have infringed on the message that THK was expressing, and would have infringed on THK's right to free speech through the "force multiplier" effect of the press focusing on the interuption. It wasn't that her speech was less important than THK's, but that the interruption itself would have infringed on THK's rights.

A complex issue, to be sure, but her message was not suppressed - it was amplified when she was able to make it to the floor and not removed until after her sign had been unfurled. Keep in mind we all know what her placard said. Do you think that would be true if this were the RNC? I don't.... I don't think she would have ever made it into the hall, and if she had, she would have never gotten close enough to the podium, and if she had, the SS would have gotten her before she ever opened the sign, and if she did, by some miracle, manage to open her sign......



The corporate media would have never covered it.


If she's such a professional protester, let's see her make news at the RNC... the real enemy.
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