(APN) ATLANTA Protester Gloria Tatum, 62, was injured at a protest against Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, today, from when she was shouting at Rumsfeld, and has a bruise on her back, Tatum says. The noted local activist gave her first hand account of the heckling of Rummy to Atlanta Progressive News.
I had a bruise and I thought someone hit at me from behind. When I look at the tape, the woman was pulling me down, but I dont know if she was in the crowd or with security. At the time, it felt I had been hit from behind and I do have a bruise on my body. It sure felt like someone hit me. Someone said that they saw a woman hitting me, I think Wendy said that. Maybe I just got injured being drug out, of the auditorium, she said.
She didnt file a police report because she said it all happened very fast and she was worried about getting arrested herself for shouting at Rumsfeld.
About 10 activists from the peace community were inside the auditorium where Rumsfeld had come to speak to an audience of 400, Tatum said, adding that there were an additional 30 outside. The audience consisted of mostly very elderly, White, prosperous people, she said.
The majority of people were Republicans who were supporters of Bush and his policy and supporters of Rumsfeld, Tatum said.
The activists represented the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, World Cant Wait, and the International Action Center, among other groups.
Rumsfeld sounded defensive against someone with authority [Ray McGovern], a CIA person, someone he cant lied to, someone who calls him on it. Someone he couldnt just flippantly lie to. Of course he said hes not lying, but Ive read several places were the Niger uranium that they talked about, they got that from someone named Curveball that the CIA told them that that information wasnt credible and they used it anyway, Tatum told Atlanta Progressive News.
So its not so much they got bad intelligence, the Bush administration, Tatum explained of her protest.
Its that they chose intelligence that fit their policy. The Downing Street Memos state that they were going to do that and they did that. Some of the intelligence came from some rightwing graduate student thesis paper. They came from sources that werent credible that they were told they werent credible but they used it anyway because they fit their policy, Tatum said.
I dont know why the news media didnt talk about this, Tatum said.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern questioned Rumsfeld at length during the unusual public question and answer session. McGovern asked Rumsfeld why he lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction and Rumsfeld said he didnt lie, CNN clips show.
Well, if hes saying that hes a psychopath, that he doesnt know the difference between truth and lies, then I dont know what to think of that. If he tells a lie and he thinks its the truth. Does he not know they difference between a lie and the truth? Tatum remarked.
McGoverns exchange with Rumsfeld was fascinating.
Rumsfeld started talking about how Colin Powell and President Bush said Iraq had WMDs and how the troops believed it. So, implicitly, its not a lie if you believe it?
McGovern asked about Rumsfeld saying he knew where the weapons were. Rumsfeld first denied saying that, but the quote has been confirmed.
McGovern asked about the purported tie between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Rumsfeld replied that Al- Zarqawi had been in Iraq. McGovern stated he had only been in a desolate area in the north and only went to Baghdad once to visit a hospital.
Well, this is the first time to my knowledge in Atlanta that the public has been able to buy tickets and enter one of the events, when Bush or Cheney or someone like that is in town, Tatum told Atlanta Progressive News.
Normally it is by invitation only. So only people who give money to the Republican party and are hardline supporters of Bush, Tatum said.
This is what happened when they opened it up to the public and the people who have been locked out for the past few years get in, Tatum said.
The tickets cost $40.00, Tatum said.
I got mine about 2 weeks in advance, the minute I heard about it. I mean, I couldnt believe they were going to let non-Republicans in, Tatum said.
The Republican crowd, they were very pro-Rumsfeld. They dont want to hear what other people have to say. They kept telling us to shut up. One man told me as I was leaving, he said, you go home and stay at home Tatum recalled.
The media coverage has been unbelievable. I never expected this. I feel like a genie has been let out of the bottle or something. Its taken on a life of its own. Normally, we work so hard to do stuff and we get such limited coverage, Tatum said.
I mean, like the April first march, we worked 4 to 5 months on that, most of the coverage was really good, and the AJC said only a couple hundred people were there and they mostly interviewed this Rightwing woman from Marietta. She didnt do any of the work and she got most of the coverage, Tatum said.
Hopefully, what comes out of this, the media starts talking about, well, what about the prewar intelligence? Are they saying the prewar intelligence wasnt credible? I hope thats where the debate starts going, Tatum said.
I think they all lied, I think they deliberately lied, Tatum said. If we all believe it, it must be true. If we all say it, and we all say it enough, and we all believe it, it must be true, Tatum said of Rumsfelds insistence he didnt lie.
I heard a mother of a soldier who said, Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11. And I feel bad for them [the people who think that]. And I support the soldiers, but I feel heartbroken that they believe this, I want them to get the truth, Tatum told Atlanta Progressive News.
I screamed, You lied to the American public You lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction. You lied about Iraq having a nuclear program. You lied about Iraq having ties to Al-Qaeda. You lied about Iraq oil paying for the war. And the CIA told you that these were not credible stories but you chose to cherry pick intelligence... Tatum recalled.
I was out in the hall at that point. Above the roar of the boos, she said.
They didnt call on us, we stood up and interrupted Rumsfeld, she said.
He was interrupted three times by people. One was accusing him of war crimes and torture. Another person stood there with his back to Rumsfeld and stood there the entire time with his back to him. Every 10 minutes he was interrupted. It was about an hour, Tatum said.
The police told me to leave or they would put me in jail. They allowed me to leave, Tatum said.
I had my toothbrush. I had some socks, so my feet wouldnt get cold. I was planning on going to jail. And I was very happy when they didnt [arrest me], she said.
I hope that the discussion in this country is going to start about prewar intelligence, Tatum said.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the Editor of Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.