Dec 1, 2003
When Bush was asked, after the November London demonstration, why so many people demonstrated against him, he said, "I fully understand people don't agree with war, but I hope that they agree with peace and freedom and liberty." He then declared he was happy to be in a country where demonstrations were freely allowed and that such a policy was what the U.S. had in mind for Iraq.
Demonstrations freely allowed? Not in Iraq, where demonstrators are regularly fired on. "Peace and freedom and liberty" for the Iraqi population? That's hardly what prompted the orders to search, destroy, arrest and shoot throughout Iraq, leading to the deaths of thousands of civilians, including children.
Meanwhile, back in the "peace and freedom and liberty" of the United States, the FBI issued orders to local police – just 10 days before the big anti-war rallies in October – to collect information on "suspicious activity" at protests. Which suspicious activities were being investigated throughout the "land of the free"? Such activities as denouncing the war or trying to raise funds on the Internet to sponsor anti-war demonstrations. The memorandum which was sent to law enforcement officials all over the country talked about such threats as "the formation of human chains," which means demonstrators linking arms and walking together, or videotaping arrests of demonstrators – which supposedly "intimidates" police.
The attorney general instructed the FBI to attend political rallies, as well as mosque services and other public events. The use of cameras and videos to film demonstrators was publicly announced by the government. In addition, some anti-war critics have found their names were placed on a "no-fly" list of those not allowed to board airplane flights.
Are these restrictions going to ferret out terrorists? Of course not. They are designed to shut up all protests of Bush's wars and policies. They have not succeeded – and should not.