Ray McGovern Jailed and Beaten: First Amendment Fails to Protect Anti-war CIA Vet
November 5, 2014
The World Can't Wait & Manila Chan / RT News & Kevin Gosztola / FireDogLake
When Ray McGovern, 74, an outspoken anti-war activist and former CIA analyst attempted to attend a public meeting where former General David Petraeus would be speaking, he was refused admission, even though he had a ticket to the event. New York police were called to arrest him. He was painfully attacked and held in jail overnight.
Why Is General Petraeus Afraid of Being Questioned?
The World Can't Wait
NEW YORK (November 4, 2014) -- Last Thursday evening, at the 92nd Street YMCA in Manhattan -- which has a reputation for being a center of culture and freedom of expression -- Ray McGovern (the outspoken anti-war activist and former CIA analyst) was confronted by name and denied entry to an event where General David Petraeus was speaking.
Very quickly after being blocked by 92nd Street Y security, Ray was injured by the NYPD, arrested, held overnight in Central Booking (formerly known as The Tombs), and charged with "criminal trespass" in the third degree, and "resisting arrest."
Ray had a ticket for the event, as part of an action organized by War Criminals Watch, which has protested Petraeus many times since 2009. Ray was at the buildling entrance, when he was told by security, "Ray, you can't go in."
Ray protested that he had a ticket, and expected to go in as other members of the public were. Quickly, he was grabbed by security, and then handed over to the NYPD, who roughly arrested him. His previously injured shoulder was re-injured, requiring a trip to the hospital.
Ray is the former CIA analyst who thoroughly embarassed Donald Rumsfeld in 2006 when he questioned him on how the Iraq war was going. He was beaten up by event security in Washington D.C. just for turning his back on then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton during a speech. Recently, legal proceedings got him officially removed from the "BOLO" (Be On the Look-Out) list of federal authorities. See more on Ray's website.
But what are these authorities so afraid of that Ray couldn't even be allowed in the room when Petraeus was speaking? They couldn't take even one question on the continued illegitimate, immoral, unjust war on Iraq & Syria.
World Can't Wait, 305 W. Broadway #185, New York, NY 10013
Ray McGovern Describes Brutal Arrest at Petraeus Event
Manila Chan / RT News
(October 31, 2014) -- The New York City Police Department arrested former CIA officer Ray McGovern on Thursday night, preventing him from attending a given by former CIA director David Petraeus. Although he had purchased a ticket to the event, officers stopped the outspoken peace activist and proceeded to arrest him before he even entered the building.
Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern
Arrested While Trying to Attend
David Petraeus Event in New York
Kevin Gosztola / Dissenter: FireDogLake
NEW YORK (October 31, 2014) -- Former CIA analyst and activist Ray McGovern was arrested as he attempted to attend an event in New York City featuring former CIA director and retired military general, David Petraeus. He was charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
At 92nd Street Y, which describes itself as a "world-class cultural and community center," Petraeus was to appear with John Nagl, who recently wrote a book, Knife Fights about being an army tank commander in the Gulf War of 1991. Neoconservative commentator Max Boot was to join them as well.
Activists from World Can't Wait, the Granny Peace Brigade, Brooklyn for Peace and a chapter of Veterans for Peace called on people to protest. Some tickets, which cost $45 each, were bought so people could attend the event and potentially participate in a question and answer portion of the event.
World Can't Wait activist Stephanie Rugoff said a guard stopped McGovern. "Ray, you're not going in," the guard said.
McGovern, who is 74-years-old, told the guards something to the effect that the Bill of Rights gave him the right to go into the event. McGovern had a ticket too. But the guards would not let him pass and soon New York police officers surrounded him.
Richard Marini, also an activist with World Can't Wait, approached the entrance to the 92nd Street Y Center and saw McGovern, who is 74-years-old, being apprehended.
According to Marini, his arms were twisted tightly behind his back and he was in immense pain while they were dragging him to the police car. He was squeezed into the back of a patrol car and taken to the 67th Street station.
Rugoff heard him screaming. He was shouting about how they were hurting his shoulder. He asked the officers to stop twisting it so they did not aggravate his shoulder and possibly re-injure it.
"I had a ticket as well," Marini explained. "They recognized me as well and called me by my name, my first name. They seemed to know who people were."
All of this happened just before 7:30 pm, when the event had been scheduled to start. Although Marini had stood up in a previous event and interrupted conversation, he said he planned to wait until the question and answer session to engage in any kind of protest. That was McGovern's plan too.
Marini recalled a previous occasion at the 92nd Street Y Center where security came and ejected everyone before the event started. So, authorities have managed to figure out who is coming to protest.
The world-class community center has had multiple events featuring Petraeus. It brings in security and the NYPD to effectively protect him from dissent.
After McGovern was arrested, Rugoff explained that people did not think the center would let anyone in. They also wanted to go to the precinct and check on McGovern instead of staying for the event.
"We got to the police station, and they were still dragging Ray around. His watch strap was broken and there was some blood on his wrist," Rugoff stated.
McGovern was transferred to the 100 Centre Street police station and put in central booking. He is expected to be arraigned in the late morning or early afternoon.
Previously, McGovern was placed on the State Department's Diplomatic Security "Be On the Look Out" (BOLO) list. He turned his back on Hillary Clinton at event at George Washington University in 2011.
"University cops grabbed McGovern in a headlock and by his arms and dragged him out of the auditorium by force, their actions directed from the side by a man whose name is redacted from public records," according to Peter Van Buren.
"Photos of the then-71-year-old McGovern taken at the time of his arrest show the multiple bruises and contusions he suffered while being arrested. He was secured to a metal chair with two sets of handcuffs. McGovern was at first refused medical care for the bleeding caused by the handcuffs."
The disorderly conduct charges he faced were eventually dropped, as it was found he committed no crime. McGovern obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that showed he had been investigated by the State Department, which was interested in his "political beliefs, activities, statements and associations."
He sued the State Department for violating his First Amendment rights and won an injunction against the State Department in September to halt the "Be On the Look Out" alerts for McGovern.
How security or the NYPD knew McGovern and the other activists by name and that they would be at the event is unknown at the moment. Whether an alert system like the alerts used by the State Department was involved to tip off security to their presence is also unknown as well.
What matters is individuals bought $45 tickets to an event and were effectively denied entry to protect Petraeus and Nagl from having to face possible questions that might challenge their military backgrounds and defense or involvement in war crimes previously committed by US military forces.
Update – 12:00 pm EST
McGovern has been released. He appears to have a black eye in the photo of him leaving 100 Centre Street police station. However, on Monday, he fell and hurt his shoulder. That's from the fall. His injury is why he was screaming when police were aggressively handling him as he was dragged to the police car.
Ray Released After Being Roughed,
Cuffed and Night in NYC Jail
RT News (October 31, 2014)
Petraeus Spared Ray McGovern's
Questions In New York City
Bob Parry / Consortium News (October 31, 2014)
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