Ann Arbor Police Savage Anti-War Protester
- 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,
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'
BY DAVE GERSHMAN
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,
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
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
"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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