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Ray McGovern Discusses Brutal Arrest at Secretary Clinton's Internet Freedom Speech

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On Tuesday, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on issues of free speech at George Washington University, 71-year-old former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was assaulted, dragged from the room and double handcuffed causing profuse bleeding.

What had he done to elicit this treatment? He stood in "silent witness."

This was not the first time this former Army intelligence officer employed this form of peaceful, civil resistance. In 1992, McGovern who is a Roman Catholic, expressed his dissent of the church's position on women as priests by standing during Sunday Mass in what became a years' long protest. This civil protest ultimately resulted in media attention and a conversation with James Cardinal Hickey.

Ray explained that it was in this spirit that he chose to protest Clinton's policies and track record.
"Hillary is the driving force, together with a few others, behind the wars in Afghanistan. She's one of the big hawks in Iran. When I look at her and her husband that they don't know the first thing about war. I do and so do my fellow Veterans for Peace. I have to make clear that we Veterans for Peace think that her policies are an abomination to the nation, that they are at cross purposes to the country and not everybody should applaud and give her the idea that she's doing the right thing."
"I knew that Hillary knew, at the beginning of the war, that Hillary knew how things would go. There was a young lady who was working as Hillary Clinton's personal staff chief, when she was a senator in 2002 and 2003, was in a class I taught in DC and I'd ask her to give her boss articles I wrote. And she did give them to her. So I know that. She made a political calculation that she needed to be strong because she was a woman even though she knew from us that the unintended consequences would be catastrophic. She knew all that and made that calculation."
"The height of irony, of course, is that was her tragic flaw that let Obama beat her. She supported the war and Obama didn't. She is the height of hypocrisy. When people die because we have hypocrites at the top of our government, that compels me to make a statement in whatever way I can. It was not the theme of her speech that I was protesting. It was her war policies and support of Mubarak."

When Secretary Clinton walked into the room, the audience rose and applauded before sitting back down. All but Ray McGovern, just as he had done hundreds of times before in the Catholic church without incident. McGovern described what happened next.

"It was my symbolic way of saying not everybody agrees with her. 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."

This time things were very different. Ray commented, "I didn't think that would get me roughed up and arrested for disorderly conduct."

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Screen grab from the under one minute video below which shows Ray as he is grabbed as Secretary Clinton continued speaking, undaunted, as an assault was taking place.

Ray explained that when he would stand in silent witness at the church, his daughter would be with him keeping an eye on things. This time there was no one to warn him that two large men were approaching him. Nor was there any warning issued by the men, according to McGovern, as they grabbed him and dragged him out of the room.
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"They grabbed me and the shock wore off. There was a real struggle. I shouted, 'This is America.' Then I said, 'Who are you?' This is a mystery to me. Who were they? The guy in the suit was the one who did the damage. He was brutal."
"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."
Image from JusticeOnLine

Four years ago, McGovern attended another speech and made national news. The speaker was Donald Rumsfeld and the talk was being broadcast live on CNN. During the Q&A, McGovern took his turn at the mic and asked the former Secretary of Defense why he had lied about weapons of mass destruction. 

Security immediately approached McGovern, but Rumsfeld stopped them choosing instead to attempt to outwit the seasoned analyst. The exchange that ensued led to what Keith Olbermann would later call the "vivisection of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."  

Comparing the two experiences, Ray remarked:

"When Clinton started talking about how people beat up and arrested people in Iran, it gave some poetic justice, a great irony, to my standing there and what happened to me then, when she's talking about what happened in other countries and there I am being handled in a vicious way...God knows what would happen next. Maybe some senior would ask her questions [she doesn't take questions]. As bad as Donald Rumsfeld was, he let me speak. He let me speak and engaged me in dialog."
"At the same [Rumsfeld] speech, there was a courageous guy who stood with his back to Rumsfeld the entire speech. They left him completely alone and he walked out at the end, unbothered. Four years later, things have changed.

In response to the charges of disorderly conduct filed against him, he said, "There was a lot of disorderly conduct, but I wasn't responsible for it." 

McGovern says he is not worried about the charges, commenting that "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 concluded, "I'm sore, but I'm glad I did it." writer Cheryl Biren contributed to this report.


Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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God bless you Ray. I have friends here in St. Lou... by Jeanine Molloff on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 9:22:43 AM
CNN shamefully characterized Ray McGovern as a hec... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 10:42:46 AM
Rob, so far your coverage of this revealing outbur... by Alan MacDonald on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 10:53:47 AM
Mrs Clinton has no shame. dissent is no longer tol... by robert braunstein on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 1:31:25 PM
Why has TRUTH become something evil and something ... by Anita Stewart on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 1:43:25 PM
Hilary. See her continue speaking while another hu... by mikel paul on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 2:07:15 PM
I'm relieved to see these comments and that this a... by Sheila Samples on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 3:45:08 PM
You can almost see Hillary's thought bubble: "Wh... by iamjmb on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 4:05:53 PM
and for the people with liberty and justice for al... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 5:01:51 PM
Very good comments so far on this article. I am wo... by manifesto 2000 on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 6:19:15 PM
this says that he knows why these scumbags get awa... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 7:01:56 PM
and I don't think for the better: click here... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 5:54:50 PM
Interesting that those in power in our country con... by Cliff Carson on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 8:52:09 PM
No! So, the votes are counted in secret, just like... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 12:09:32 AM
Egypt: the young inspiring the old, US: the old wi... by Adnan Al-Daini on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 3:47:51 AM
Please take care, Ray. I fear our government is s... by Perry Logan on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 6:07:52 AM
For those of you who think it is foolish to call A... by liberalsrock on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 9:46:13 AM
Hillary is a Nazi, lying for the corporate/financi... by Alan MacDonald on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 10:36:36 AM
This will certainly not make network news. If it d... by Dean on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 5:31:53 PM
shows up the gross hypocrisy that government portr... by Archie on Friday, Feb 18, 2011 at 10:38:55 PM
is the pain they feel. The more extreme their meas... by Peter Duveen on Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 at 7:27:54 PM
I'm not a big fan of Hillary Clinton either, and I... by shelly thomas on Monday, Feb 21, 2011 at 1:44:23 AM
Hilary is a strong supporter of the war. Her job ... by Richard Pietrasz on Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011 at 10:46:00 AM
By refusing to comment on, or have others in the S... by Terry Adcock on Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011 at 4:43:33 PM