Hillary Clinton Talks Freedom as Protester Ray McGovern Is Bloodied

Are you as shocked as I am that even Donald Rumsfeld turns out to be a better supporter of free speech than Hillary Clinton? At least the lying SOB former Secretary of Defense didn’t stand by and do nothing as his critics were beaten, arrested and taken away in chains!

But that’s what our current Secretary of State did when peace activist, veteran Army officer and onetime C.I.A. analyst Ray McGovern protested silently while she lectured the rest of the world about freedom this week at George Washington University.

Clinton’s talk, which emphasized the need to protect basic freedoms, included her observation that “The rights of individuals to express their views freely… are universal.” But even as she condemned other governments for arresting protesters and inhibiting free expression, Clinton demonstrated her own hypocrisy and profound disregard for those rights by saying and doing nothing while the 71 year old protester was grabbed by campus police, pulled to the ground, and dragged out of the auditorium. McGovern remained silent until just before he was pulled through the auditorium doors; then, bloodied, bruised & arrested, he screamed, “This is America?”

McGovern had been standing silently facing the back of the auditorium where all the news cameras were. His supposed crime? “Disorderly conduct” – i.e. wearing a shirt that blocked the view of guests and the media, and therefore “disrupted” the speech by the Secretary of State.

McGovern discussed his protest and subsequent arrest at Secretary Clinton’s “Freedom Speech” in an interview with blogger Rob Kall.

“I turned my back to her and stood [silently]. When she came in I not only remained standing but I turned my back to her… I didn’t think that would get me roughed up and arrested for disorderly conduct.”

But it did — as Clinton stood by just as silently. Here’s what happened next, according to McGovern:

“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.”

Speaking of humor, take a look at this Jon Stewart video contrasting Clinton’s reaction with that of Donald Rumsfeld to a McGovern protest at a speech four years ago – this one broadcast live on CNN. McGovern asked the former Secretary of Defense why he had “lied about weapons of mass destruction.”

Comparing the two experiences, McGovern told Kall, “As bad as Donald Rumsfeld was, he let me speak. He let me speak and engaged me in dialog.”

Although he faces charges of disorderly conduct, McGovern says he isn’t worried. “With all those cameras and photos there has to be someone who will come forward with pictures of me and what happened to me to prove I was attacked, I wasn’t warned,” he said.

McGovern is being represented legally by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard summed things up well: “It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government’s supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech.”

Despite his bruises, Ray McGovern says he will continue to bear witness. “I’m sore,” he concluded, “But I’m glad I did it.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.