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September 28, 2007


A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

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September 28 , 2007

Censoring The Majority

A massive antiwar protest is kept secret while the bodies pile up

Did you hear that 100,000 American patriots participated in a peaceful protest of the War Against Iraq last Saturday, September 15 in Washington DC? No?

Well, it’s not your fault if you missed it. And if you did hear passing mention, the little information that was allowed into the corporate media was... well, let’s not mince words. They lied. A lot. As usual.

Washington DC, September 15, 2007

The Wife was one of the patriots who went down to DC that day, and she said it was the best protest she had ever attended. She’s been going to quite a few lately, in DC and New York City. She likes to bring along as many of her female friends as she can convince to come and make an outing of it.

She’s decided that “It’s the women who are going to end this war. It’s like the women of Chiapas in Mexico, who hide the men of their villages and block the road, daring the soldiers to hurt them. It’s our job to protect the men.” Indeed, I usually hide back at home when she goes. That’s my job.

The Wife And Annie Sombor In DC
The Wife And Annie In DC

This time her sole companion on this trip was 15 year old friend Annie . Annie is already a veteran of Iraq protests. This innocent waif has become corrupted by The Wife, publicly displaying common sense instead of mindlessly taking orders from the corporate media and other “authorities.” Poor young Annie is ruined, she’ll never get anywhere in life by thinking for herself.

Corrupted by common sense or not, these two are reliable eyewitnesses. Neither of them work for a corporation, so neither of them have an incentive to lie.

Both agreed that there were a lot of people down in Washington. Annie thought there were more than 100,000 people, while The Wife pointed out that the whole length of Pennsylvania Avenue was filled with marchers. “They kept coming and coming, there were so many people,” she said.

TV Reporters From Russia

Actually, 100,000 patriots protesting is one of the smaller antiwar marches we’ve been having lately. For example, I tagged along with The Wife for a protest in NYC back in March of 2003 that drew three quarters of a million people. But this smaller protest in 2007 was important in itself.

Now, let’s stop a minute and compare the actual facts to the corporate media lies. The slanted monopoly Associated Press (AP) did indeed file a report on the march. Here’s the lead paragraph, written by a corporate apparachik named Matthew Barrakat:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several thousand antiwar demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where at least 160 protesters were arrested.

“Several” thousand. That, of course, is a deliberate lie. Corporate media content providers like this guy Barrakat are perfectly capable of counting. Indeed there are standard statistical methods for accurately estimating the size of crowds or any other large number of things. This is not rocket science, it’s college freshman statistics.

And nobody, and I mean nobody, “clashed with police.” That is another deliberate lie. What happened is that 197 people (not 160) carried out a planned and announced ahead of time peaceful act of civil disobedience. These folks, including several veterans of the War Against Iraq, attempted to deliver a petition to our cowardly worthless Congress. The petitions were refused, the patriots refused to leave, and the police arrested them. Peacefully.

(For another account which is absolutely fictional from beginning to end, here is the Washington Post article that appeared in the Daily Gazette. This one says “thousands of protesters” showed up. And here is a rebuttal to the WaPo garbage.)

Around 5000 people lay down on the grass in front of the White House in solidarity with the patriots about to be arrested.

Now, please understand that The Wife is under strict orders from her husband to avoid getting arrested. “If the cops look like they’re about to start trouble,” I always tell her, “walk in the opposite direction.” In addition, she was under orders from Annie’s Mommy to bring her back in one piece.

The Wife and Annie were standing on the lawn as everyone around them spontaneously began to lie down. A discussion began, should they risk lying down and getting arrested? Annie wanted to pull out her phone and “call Mommy and ask if I can get arrested.”

Eventually the two of them succumbed to the moment and lay down, without calling Mommy for permission. The Wife said that after all that time on their feet it was great to lie down in the grass, the weather was perfect. And they didn’t “clash with the police” even a tiny little bit.

Much of their day was spent listening to what The Wife reported were some really excellent speeches. “All of them were great,” she said. The folks who speak at these events appear to be reviving the art of public speaking, the ability to captivate and hold a large outdoor audience. That’s one skill the creeps peering out the White House windows will never learn.

Gold Star Families Speak Of Their Pain
Gold Star Families Speak Of Their Pain

To be fair, the content provider who wrote the AP article mentioned above did indeed include a minimal number of actual facts inside the article. This is known as “CYA” which is an acronym for “Cover Your Butt:”

Organizers estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the rally and march. That number could not be confirmed; police did not give their own estimate. But there appeared to be tens of thousands of people in attendance.

This paragraph appears sixth from the bottom of the article. As any college kid studying journalism can tell you, this is the part of an article the the reader is least likely to catch. Most people read the lead paragraph and quickly scan the rest of the article, settling on the last few paragraphs.

And here’s what got put at the end of the AP article:

About 13 blocks away, nearly 1,000 counter protesters gathered near the Washington Monument, frequently erupting in chants of "U-S-A" and waving American flags.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandanas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.

"Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you," he said. "And to our troops, we're here for you, and we support you."

Okay let’s see. A few thousand protesters, and nearly a thousand war supporters. Why, they were almost evenly matched! Gee, that sounds like a lot of people still support endless war.

Let's ask ourselves, "Why exactly does the corporate media lie to us like this?" The answer to this question is very scary, I'll leave the reader to ponder that one in stunned silence.

Annie told me there were not much more than five hundred pro-war dingalings. According to The Wife, they were all stretched out in tight formation along a city block about two bodies deep. Clearly we are talking about expensive management of these dingalings, not only to find and transport these persons but to organize them for maximum effect for the corporate cameras.

This freaky collection of chicken hawks and Republican Party apparatchiks referred to themselves as “A Gathering of Eagles.” Or was it “Beagles?” In sharp contrast, a powerful contingent of Iraq veterans opposed to the war marched past these layabouts. Not one of those pro-war posers is worthy enough to kiss the feet of those brave vets.

Iraq Vets Marching September 15
Iraq Vets Marching September 15

And by the way, if you read these slanted corporate media accounts of antiwar protests, you might notice that The Police now routinely withhold estimates of crowd size from the public. This helps the corporate content providers tell lies about crowd size in their accounts. Funny how these persons all work together for the common cause, eh?

Annie and The Wife made it to DC by catching a bus chartered by the ANSWER coalition in some godawful parking lot in East Greenbush at 2 AM, prepared to snooze through the eight hour trip. Before they boarded the bus, the volunteer “bus captain” asked for a show of hands, “How many here are attending their first protest?” Up went almost half the hands.

This is a whole new group of Americans who are fed up, and want to display their patriotism in public and flex their political muscles. A lot of these new people were young. “It’s good to see a lot of heads that aren’t gray,” said The Wife.

The Wife attributes this surge of activism to the work of a new group, The World Can’t Wait. She got involved with them during a NYC protest last spring, and was very impressed with their seriousness and with their anger, their demand that action be taken to end The War NOW. In a very short time The World Can’t Wait has developed local organizations around the country.

Does protesting the endless war do any good? Is it just a big waste of time, a day in the sunshine, particularly if the corporate media is under strict orders to suppress news of these events, and even lie about them?

Certainly, the fecal material inside the White House will not magically transform into responsible human beings because of patriots protesting outside their windows, even a hundred million of us. They work for the international corporations, not for us. They consider the American people to be their enemy.

These massive protests serve two functions. First, they serve as an end run around corporate media suppression, allowing decent responsible human beings an opportunity to see each other. Trapped in our homes, stupidly watching television, each of us begins to think that we are all alone, and that everyone else in America is a neocon traitor.

To go to a protest and see one hundred thousand people who have also figured out that America’s enemies have captured our nation and are systematically destroying it reinforces patriotism, not merely for the participants, but for all the folks back home who couldn’t get down to DC.

Faces Of Evil Meet A Hot Young Patriot
Faces Of Evil Meet A Hot Young Patriot

And second, don’t think for one second that the fecal heads inside the White House aren’t getting the message. When they see and hear those crowds outside, they know their time is running out.

We are the peaceful ones, and we have completely withdrawn our support. If you continue to ignore us. the violent ones are right behind us. That’s the pattern of history.

We are not the ones who will grab Dick Cheney and hang him by a rope. But when the violent ones come to wrap that rope around his neck, and make his eyes and tongue pop out, we will not object. We will sit back and smile and nod.

When that day happens, Cheney and company will have only themselves to blame. After all, we warned them with our protests.

Click Here To See More of The Wife's Pictures Of The September 15 protest in Washington DC.

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