Sunday, December 03, 2006

Police Brutalize Nonviolent Protesters at University of Michigan

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
BY DAVE GERSHMAN

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 advocates war but 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. According to Vanity Fair (March 2007), in a 2005 speech at the National Press Club:

Tanter went as far as to suggest that the U.S. consider using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. "One military option is the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, which may have the capability to destroy hardened deeply buried targets. That is, bunker-busting bombs could destroy tunnels and other underground facilities."

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 of 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 of 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 weapons?"
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.

Last revised: 12/04/2006, 11/09/2007

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Comments:
Good, this will make up for some of the heckling from the islamofascists. People should be able to speak without heckling from either side.
 
AWWWW! Powiddle pwotesta dot hit on da head. At least he still HAS a head.
What do you think would happen to a "Zionist" who protested in a Muslim country?
 
Please watch your analogies- in your attempt, I assume, to point out the lack of freedom of speech in Muslim countries, and perhaps a less civil police, you've also just basically said the US is a Zionist country. (Inverse of your statement, referring to these events, would be "a Muslim who protester in a Zionist country") thats not really helping your case! in fact its pretty much negating it. I support Israel but by no means do I want the US to be a Zionist country by the same nature that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country.
 
I can only hope that the inevitable knuckle-dragging, sharia-loving, jew-hating hecklers of Brigitte Gabriel will get the same treatment. Allahu Snackbar!
 
As a student, of neutral opinion on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, in attendance at Professor Tanter's speaking engagement I was not impressed with the incessant disruption of his presentation. I was eager to learn what the professor had to say, yet I found the feeble attempts to convince those in attendance to adopt the opposing opinion were not only immature and juvenile, but additionally rude, inconsiderate and inadequate. As an Officer Candidate in the United States Navy I am happy to fight in defense of the freedoms we hold in this country, including the freedom to assemble peacefully and the freedom of speech. The actions of those in protest were counter to these freedoms and inhibited those rights protected in the 1st amendment. The actions were in no way consistent with the University's guidelines, which you quote to read "so long as such activities are consistent with the continuation of a speech or performance and the communication of its content to the audience." It is undeniable that the speaker was consistently interrupted to the point were continuing his speech was all but impossible. Nonetheless, I hope they can appreciate that my work is to protect their right to choose to act in the way tey did, as well as the officers' rights to act appropriately given the situation.
 
LOL...the video doesnt prove squat there muhammed

Try again, you cant see shit in it
 
Maybe you should disable anonymous comments to block sayanim provocateurs.
 
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