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Anti-War Protesters Arrested Outside White House

Daniel Ellsberg and more than a hundred war protesters arrested as they oppose US wars

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Story Transcript

MALAK BEHROUZNAMI: This is Malak Behrouznami for The Real News Network. In Washington, DC, on March 19, individual, veterans, and members from organizations including Black Is Back, Answer Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against War, amongst other organizations, gathered in front of the White House in an act of resistance, to mark the anniversary of the Iraq War. Demonstrators were demanding today an end to the war, the exposure of all lies, and the release of Private Bradley Manning.

NICOLE NORMILE: I’m here because we need to stop not the war, fund our future, not the war. We are taking out funds from all sorts of public services–libraries, schools. And we will go nowhere if the education system keeps going the way it is.

LESLIE HARRIS: Well, we’re here to stop these wars and expose the lies about what’s going on in our government.

KEVIN ZEESE: And so we’re out here risking arrest today to send a message to the administration that it’s time to end these wars and stop the killing.

BEHROUZNAMI: Some participants at the rally identified what they considered disturbing similarities between the Bush and Obama administrations’ policies of military intervention in the Middle East.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: I do not believe the indication’s from the White House, here across the way, that President Obama is determined to get us out of Afghanistan or Iraq ever in this term, his next term, or any foreseeable time. I think that the US is embarked there on keeping our permanent bases–or as they call them "enduring bases"–in Afghanistan and Iraq indefinitely. And that means killing and dying there indefinitely. So we’re [inaudible] the war’s also expanding into Pakistan and Yemen and elsewhere. So I want those ended. The lies that support them, including in this administration, I would like to see exposed, as Bradley Manning, assuming he’s the source, did help expose.

EUGENE PURYEAR: So I’m here today on March 19 primarily because after eight years of war in Iraq, occupation in Iraq, years of occupation and war Afghanistan, even though the president has changed, the policies have not changed. And it lets me know that what’s really going on as at the root of this, it’s not about a president, it’s not about a party; it’s about the imperial interests of this country. I mean, if you look at what’s going on right now in Libya, they’re calling for intervention in Libya. But why aren’t they calling for intervention in Bahrain or in Yemen? It’s because those countries support what the United States wants to do inside of the Middle East. They support US hegemony, US control over the Middle East.

BEHROUZNAMI: As the demonstrators protested the eighth-year anniversary of the Iraq War, Obama unofficially announced the launch of military actions against Libya by the US, France, Italy, Britain, and Canada. Protesters, like investigative reporter Gareth Porter, expressed concern over the participating countries’ motivations for military interventions.

GARETH PORTER: There are some reverberations, some echoes here of Iraq in Libya, from the simple fact that you have former colonial powers who are seeing this as a moment of glory, I mean, obviously completely without any notion of what they’re getting into. They have no notion of what it’s like to really get into a war under current conditions. I think that there’s no planning whatsoever, there’s no forethought about what they’re getting into. Just as the United States had no forethought about Iraq, I think the British and French have no forethought about Libya either.

BEHROUZNAMI: Following the rally, individuals marched to the White House in an act of civil disobedience, where over 100 activists were arrested, including whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

ELLSBERG: We’re peaceably assembling here in front of the White House, standing our ground. And that can be illegal, and trying to get to the president our message what he should do, could be arrested for that. And if I’m not in jail tonight, I will be at Quantico tomorrow, again perhaps risking arrest to support Bradley Manning there.

BEHROUZNAMI: The demonstration to demand the release of Bradley Manning will take place March 20 in Quantico, Virginia, at the Marine Corps base where the private is being held.

End of Transcript

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