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Ann Arbor Police Savage Anti-War Protester

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    Police Brutalize Nonviolent Protesters at University of Michigan Sunday, December 03, 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2006
      Police Brutalize Nonviolent Protesters at University of Michigan
      Sunday, December 03, 2006

      I will probably write more about this later but for now it will
      suffice to say that I was present at the events reported and described
      below. The video below is very dark but the audio conveys some of what
      happened. Two police officers were pinning a protester face down to
      the floor. Shortly after the man said, "I can't breathe," he lost
      consciousness and when the police turned him over I saw a bloody wound
      on his forehead. He was later transported to a hospital emergency room
      and remained there for about seven hours.

      The heavy-handed attack of the police was in violation of the
      University of Michigan's Standard Practice Guide 601.1, which reads,
      in part:

      5. Within the confines of a hall or physical facility, or in the
      vicinity of the place in which a member of the University community,
      invited speaker, or invited artist is addressing an assembled
      audience, protesters must not interfere unduly with communication
      between a speaker or artist and members of the audience. This
      prohibition against undue interference does not include suppression of
      the usual range of human reactions commonly displayed by an audience
      during heated discussions of controversial topics. Nor does this
      prohibition include various expressions of protest, including heckling
      and the display of signs (without sticks or poles), so long as such
      activities are consistent with the continuation of a speech or
      performance and the communication of its content to the audience.

      6. Protesters have rights, just as do speakers and artists. The
      standard of "undue interference" must not be invoked lightly, merely
      to avoid brief interruptions, or to remove distractions or
      embarrassment. The University has an obligation to provide members of
      the community, and invited speakers and artists, with personal
      security and with reasonable platforms for expression; moreover, it
      has an obligation to insure audience access to public events. The
      University does not, however, have the obligation to insure audience
      passivity. The University cannot accept stipulations by invited
      speakers or artists of terms of appearance that are inconsistent with
      allowing full freedom of expression to the University community.
      Protesters and other members of the University community, for their
      part, have an obligation not to abuse their rights of expression to
      harass or intimidate speakers in ways that unduly interfere with free
      expression or communication (see Guideline 5). It is, of course,
      always within the rights of protesters to express their opposition to
      a speaker in appropriate ways outside of the hall or physical facility
      or area where a lecture, meeting, or performance is being held, or to
      organize alternative forums. ...

      11. Officers of the University's Department of Public Safety will act
      in accordance with the procedures outlined in this document. When
      non-University security forces are summoned, it is understood that
      they are not under the direct control of the University, but they
      should be made aware of University policies set forth in these guidelines.

      Below are a couple of excerpts, with my commentary in bold, from an
      Ann Arbor News article:

      3 protesters jailed after disrupting Iran lecture at U-M
      Hecklers call visiting speaker 'warhawk'

      Saturday, December 02, 2006
      News Staff Reporter

      Three Ann Arbor residents accused of disrupting a lecture on the
      Middle East were arrested at the Michigan League Thursday evening,
      campus police said.

      Raymond Tanter, a professor emeritus at U-M and current faculty member
      at Georgetown University, was scheduled to give a lecture called,
      "Stalled international diplomacy and problematic U.S. military options
      for Iran.'' The event was organized by a student group, the American
      Movement for Israel. ...

      Inside the building, Brown said organizers repeatedly warned a heckler
      over the course of an hour as Tanter gave his talk. Finally,
      organizers asked police to remove the most vocal and abusive
      protester, a 47-year-old woman, Brown said. The woman was arrested
      after she refused to leave.

      I was seated several rows behind the group of protesters and arrived
      well before they were seated. At no time did their behavior exceed
      what is permitted under the University's Standard Practice Guide.

      Police said several other people interfered with officers arresting
      the woman, and two of them were arrested. The names of the people
      arrested were not released, but the other two were a 49-year-old man
      and a 60-year-old man, Brown said. ...

      Police plan to seek several charges against the three protesters,
      Brown said.

      Henry Herskovitz, a frequent protester of Israeli policies in the
      Middle East, told The News that he was one of the people arrested. He
      called Tanter a "warhawk'' and said Tanter implied that Iran should be
      attacked - a claim Tanter denies. ...

      If Ray Tanter is not a war hawk then I don't know who is (actually,
      Tanter is, apparently, a "chicken hawk" who preferred Indiana
      University to the battlefields of Vietnam). It is true that Tanter
      does not favor overt US or Israeli military attacks on Iran but he
      certainly bolsters the case for such attacks. He talks openly of the
      need for regime change and the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapons
      program. Moreover, during his presentation, Tanter advocated reversing
      the US State Department's designation Mujahedeen-e Khalq as a "foreign
      terrorist organization" so that they can receive more financing from
      expatriate Iranians and expand their covert war and terror campaign to
      destabilize Iran. This echoes Tanter's remarks in a recent interview
      for Ha'aretz, an Israeli daily:

      "But attacking will not provide a fundamental solution to the problem.
      It will not eliminate Iran's nuclear program, but will only delay it.
      In order to bring about a halt to the nuclear program, there has to be
      a regime change there. Such a change is possible and can take place
      within a short period of time. From the moment that the
      Mujahideen-e-Khalq is removed from the U.S. State Department's list of
      terror organizations, they will bring about regime change in less time
      than it takes the regime of the ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons."

      How much time are we talking about?

      "I tend to accept the assessment of Israeli intelligence rather than
      that of the CIA, that Iran will have nuclear weapons within one to
      three years."

      In point of fact, the CIA denies there is any "conclusive evidence" of
      a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program, according to a recent
      piece by Seymour Hersh (see Hersh on CIA, Iran & Israel).

      In any event, Tanter's bona fides as a war hawk are well-established
      from his former senior positions on the National Security Council and
      in the US Defense (formerly the "War") Department to his founding of
      the Iran Policy Committee, which is composed primarily of retired
      military officers with an ex-CIA operative as Executive Director.

      Tanter, who teaches a course at Georgetown on terrorism and
      proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, said he had to abandon
      the power point presentation and "wing it'' because of the protesters.
      He said he opposes using military force in Iran, but believes the
      United States needs to keep military options on the table to reinforce
      diplomatic solutions.

      "I had an academic presentation, which I was not allowed to make
      because of the protesters," he said. ...

      It is patently false that he had to abandon his "power point
      presentation." He never really started it due to computer problems not
      because of the protesters. After a lengthy delay he started his
      lecture without the use of the computer and when it finally started
      working he made no use if it, except to point at one slide.

      Below is another interesting excerpt from the Ha'aretz interview.

      But the regime in Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were elected
      in democratic elections.

      "The elections were democratic only de jure. The council for the
      defense of the Islamic regime rejected hundreds of candidates and
      allowed only its own candidates to participate in the elections.
      That's how Ahmadinejad was elected by default when the corrupt
      candidate, former president Rafsanjani, opposed him. It was a choice
      between a killer and a crook. Eighty percent of those eligible to vote
      did not participate in the elections. [In the recent US midterm
      elections 60% of those eligible to vote did not
      participate--PeaceMonger] We believe that the moment the organization
      is able to operate from Iraq it will gain public favor in Iran.

      "People will go into the streets to demonstrate. That happened already
      in 1981, when half a million Mujahideen-e-Khalq supporters did that.
      The regime will order the demonstrators dispersed by force and
      suppressed. Those who will try to carry out the order are the Basaji,
      the armed street militia of the Revolutionary Guards. They will shoot
      at demonstrators, a civil war will break out, and then in the heat of
      the events the army will intervene, stop the bloodshed, remove the
      ayatollahs and take over."

      But even then there will be no guarantee that Iran will stop trying to
      obtain nuclear weapons. We know that this is an Iranian national
      ambition, regardless of ideology and world view.

      "Mujahideen-e-Khalq have already declared that they are not interested
      in manufacturing nuclear weapons. But no one cares if a democratic
      Iran has nuclear weapons. Who cares if Israel or India has nuclear
      So, Tanter clearly envisions that the Mujahideen-e Khalq's attacks
      will lead to "civil war" in Iran, followed by a military takeover
      which he apparently foresees as a "democratic Iran." Tanter doesn't
      mind nuclear proliferation as long as the nukes are held by pro-Israel
      and pro-US regimes.

      Finally, for old times sake here are a couple of quotes from Tanter in
      an October, 2002, article in the Michigan Daily entitled "Hillel rally
      urges campus to take stance":

      "One of the problems is that the military capabilities that America
      has - which are second to none in the world - are largely irrelevant
      to deterring terrorists," Tanter said. "So it is also true that the
      great military capacity of the Israeli defense forces cannot defer
      terrorists. So what do you do? You go after the terrorist
      organizations. And what do you do to the leaders? You destroy them.
      You kill them."

      Regarding the war on Iraq, Tanter said it was "an antidote" and that
      there would be no backlash. "Arab people won't go crazy, Muslim people
      won't go crazy. They'll roll over because they hate Saddam Hussein."
      In his lecture on Thursday, Tanter acknowledged supporting the 2003 US
      invasion of Iraq but claims not to support the US occupation,
      probably, because the Iraqi resistance didn't get the "no backlash"
      memo. He also stated that the Saudi regime is working directly with
      the Israeli government against Iran.

      My thanks to S. for the video and thanks to B. for the Standard
      Practice Guide info.



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