On Tuesday, February 15th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a lecture at George Washington University on the importance of free speech in the digital age. At that very same lecture, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was violently arrested by campus police for silently standing in protest.
71-year-old Ray McGovern was dragged from the hall and handcuffed while Clinton spoke to the crowd about basic freedoms, including “the rights of individuals to express their views freely.” Yet she did nothing as McGovern was dragged from the room in plain view of her, and then left bruised and bleeding in jail. In fact, Hillary didn't even pause her speech, continuing to criticize other governments for arresting protesters.
Meanwhile, Pfc. Bradley Manning is still being held at Quantico, after nearly 8 months of solitary confinement, accused of exposing the truth about the ongoing U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conditions under which he is being held are so deplorable that they have sparked an investigation on torture by the UN as well as letters of concern to Defense secretary Robert Gates from both Amnesty international and Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Please sign this petition to tell Hillary to cut the hypocrisy -- if she really cares about free speech, she ought to be looking closer to home.
In fact, during the talk you gave at George Washington University, Ray McGovern, a 71 year old veteran who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, was arrested for standing up and silently turning his back to you. He was dragged from the room, handcuffed, and eventually found himself in jail, bruised and bleeding. It alarms us that you didn't even pause your speech as this unfolded in front of your eyes.
If, by chance, you truly didn't see this happening, you might be asking: “Why was he peacefully and silently 'expressing his views' during my speech?”
Maybe it was in part because Pfc Bradley Manning is still being held in solitary confinement for allegedly telling the truth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars that have cost us all so much. Maybe it was also because the conditions under which Manning is being held are akin to torture, and have sparked investigation by the UN -- another very heavy burden on our conscience.
Maybe it was because, while you were trumpeting new technologies like Twitter for enabling free speech in Iran and Egypt, some of these same social media companies have been served secret subpoenas by the U.S. Department of Justice -- in an attempt to finally gain some concrete evidence with which to persecute Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. It seems you want them punished for releasing the very same cables that helped spark the democratic uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Maybe Mr. McGovern stood up because you weren't talking about these things in your speech, and like Pfc. Bradley Manning, he felt responsible for telling the truth, because you weren't going to.
We hope this isn't true. McGovern's attorney, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, summed things up this way:
“It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government’s supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech.”
Please prove her wrong. Please stand up for free speech at home, Mrs. Clinton. These are important times, and we need you to be a leader, not a hypocrite.