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August 26, 2008

The First Casualty of War is the Truth

By Kevin Gosztola

IVAW's action and more from outside the DNC in Denver


The atmosphere here is energizing. I do not know how one could be in Denver right now and not get caught up in the action. Yet, today while riding on a Denver bus, I spoke to seniors in high school who told me that they can’t wait for this all to be over.

You see, they explained that they were not political. When I prodded at them hoping they would explain their position, they spoke about all the things I hate about this system.

The two didn’t like it because this is a two-party system, politicians don’t do anything when they are elected, they aren’t going to end the war because they can’t since so much is going on in the Middle East, and the police like to instigate riots so they are going nowhere near downtown Denver in the night time when all the crazy shit has been happening.

When I got on the bus, I had just finished helping Iraq Veterans Against the War carry out their Operation First Casualty guerrilla theater event. They moved through downtown Denver bringing the war home to the people of Denver and America so they could see why the Iraq War must come to an end.

What was most revealing about the event was that I overheard a member of IVAW talking about how the people seemed to be desensitized because all the police were around regulating IVAW’s action. The police did, in fact, have an effect that led many people to think, “Oh, this is just another one of those protest events people have been having.”

The effect that people may have seen on crowds in YouTube videos just wasn’t happening.

This was a well-planned action and I was part of the civilian training. I ended up handing out fliers so that they could have a legal buffer. If fliers are not handed out, they could be accused of violating anti-terrorism laws. They have to notify the people that this is not really happening.

Right now, it could, however, because the military is stationed at Johnson & Wales right now ready to deploy at any moment. Things could become like Iraq if the authorities felt they needed to come down hard on protesters. “Gitmo on the Platte” is ready to welcome protesters with open arms.

Hillary supporters are doing everything they can to get Hillary more attention. Or, maybe they just want attention. Several marches have taken place where Hillary supporters march down Denver’s busiest area for foot traffic, 16th St. Mall, condemning Howard Dean for asking Hillary’s delegates to be released to Obama. And, Hillary Supporters for McCain have marched too.

Yet, they aren’t nearly as bad as the Christofascists. And again, I have another story. While I was on my way to the bus, I came across a group of them trying to take on Sunsara Taylor. Taylor was explaining why women should have the right to choose and why this whole issue of being against abortion goes deeper than that---It’s really about this whole theocratic program Americans wish to impose on other Americans and that should not be allowed to happen.

The police created a buffer zone between the two main groups. The anti-abortion extremists, who have been interrupting caucuses and delegate events here in Denver, were on one side of the street while those opposed to the Bush Program stood on the other side.

The police have been infiltrating protests. My friend Ashley was a part of a protest in Civic Center Park in Denver last night. She saw a few police with Nikes on who were throwing up peace signs and not talking very much. Everybody knows everybody at these protests (so I’m told) and so the fact that nobody knew who these people were blew their cover.

A First Amendment lawyer, Larry Hildes, who was among the protesters told the Denver Daily News that the police mishandled the entire situation.

“I think they created the entire mess out of nothing,” said Hildes. And he went on to explain that the “cops are trained in fear-based techniques, which aren’t appropriate for “peaceful protests.” “This was not a crowd-control situation, they made it into one.”

So, for all you who updated yourself on protest news through Google this morning, what happened last night was instigated. And it’s much like what Paul Joseph Watson over at predicted.

The Denver Post ticker that runs across the Denver Post building in downtown reads like this: “Guerrilla theater shuts down traffic on 19th St.”, “Huge protest sign is taken down”, “Protesters disrupt traffic flow on Colfax”, etc. These headlines are intentionally vague.

The Rage Against the Machine Concert at the Denver Coliseum is tomorrow followed by the Open the Debates Nader Super Rally.

What’s happening inside the DNC? Politicians are giving speeches filled with empty rhetoric.

What’s happening outside? Leaders from the antiwar movement and other social movements are mobilizing people to insert some moral clarity into the atmosphere in Denver while the Democrats are in town.

Submitters Bio:
Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for