Is Sedition = Free Speech?!?
John A. Quayle
blueoval at SGI.NET
Thu May 1 05:18:09 MDT 2003
When Anti-War Speech Turns Seditious
April 9, 2003
They've trashed 9-11 memorials. Blocked streets. Burned flags. Shut down
bridges. Marched on Broadway. And trampled across the National Mall.
They've thrown stones at a uniformed female member of the Vermont National
Guard, and hurled pie at a Bay Area television reporter deemed too pro-war.
They've carried signs that read "We support our troops when they shoot
their own officers" and "Don't impeach Bush . . . execute him."
They've publicly wished for "a million Mogadishus" and privately hoped for
100 new bin Ladens.
They've issued manifestos calling for sabotage of military establishments
in the name of peace. They've organized "die-ins" in the name of justice.
And they've conducted "vomit-fests" to uphold their warped view of the
The antiwar mobsters have gotten away with all this and more. But on
Monday, one city finally drew the line.
In Oakland, Calif., local police arrested dozens of antiwar activists who
flouted their free-speech rights in a treacherous attempt to shut down a
port involved in shipping military supplies to soldiers during wartime.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, several others were cited for crossing a police
line outside the Concord Naval Weapons Station; seven more face felony
charges for stopping traffic nearby on Interstate 280.
Oakland officials say that the self-proclaimed pacifists, who still fancy
themselves the righteous heirs of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., hurled
concrete, wood, and iron bolts at cops. In self-defense, the outnumbered
police fired appropriately named "dummy" bullets, sting balls, and bean
bags at the unruly crowds.
Sporting grapefruit-sized welts and bruises -- their very own red badges of
incorrigibility! -- the Oakland rabble-rousers wheedled that the cops were
"I've never seen this level of violence in response to a community picket,"
complained David Solnit, a "veteran of two decades of civil disobedience"
who helped coordinate Monday's blockade through an outfit called Direct
Action to Stop the War.
But this was not your organic garden-variety "community picket."
The antiwar obstructionists did not set out simply to exercise their own
free speech. They set out deliberately and specifically to prevent private
businesses from fulfilling their federal contracts with the Department of
Defense and U.S. Agency for International Development related to the war
and post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
Cyprus Gonzalez, 19, of Oakland, who was struck during the port melee, made
his and his antiwar collaborators' intentions clear: "It's direct. Here,
we're actually trying to shut the place down for a day, to take a strike
straight at the actual machine of the war."
The antiwar mob's primary target at the Port of Oakland was American
President Lines, a longtime carrier of military cargo. According to the
firm, all but two of the company's ships went into military service during
World War I. In World War II, the company controlled hundreds of Liberty
and Victory ships that carried troops and ammunition through enemy waters.
APL provided converted commercial ships for the first Gulf War. And for
Operation Iraqi Freedom, the carrier has made nine of its vessels available
to the DOD in order to move ammunition and sustainment cargo to support
U.S. military forces.
The Oakland punks weren't simply standing on the sidewalks outside APL
chanting their mindless antiwar slogans. They were blocking its trucks,
employees, entryways, and streets in order to stop the shipment of things
like bullets, rations, lubricants, medical supplies, repair parts and
chemical defense equipment to our troops.
These bolt-throwing peaceniks also targeted Stevedoring Services of
America, which recently won a contract for assessment and a year's
operation of the Port of Umm Qasr in Iraq. The firm will also handle 3
million tons of humanitarian aid.
So in addition to trying to block ammo and gas masks for our soldiers, the
antiwar extremists also took a bold stand against sending food and medicine
to Iraqi civilians.
Nice going, do-gooders.
Make no mistake: This continued campaign of "direct action" against private
businesses and military establishments is not antiwar speech. It's
anti-soldier, anti-cop, anti-American sedition. The Oakland police deserve
medals of honor for appreciating the difference.
©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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