Sunday, September 18, 2011

Classy… Truthers Constitutional Right to Peaceably Assemble Denied at Ground Zero on 10th Anniversary of 9/11

This past Sunday Jim Hoft of ran the headline "Classy… Truthers Chant “9-11 Was an Inside Job” Outside Ground Zero Memorial." This makes it sound as if we were disrupting the memorial ceremonies taking place. I was there and this is not true. The truth is anyone wearing a 9/11 truth t-shirt or holding a sign who tried to enter the Ground Zero site were escorted to a barricaded area set up by the city away from the memorial site. It was in the vicinity, but not close enough to where we could be heard at the ceremonies.

As Michael J. Hampson of Rutgers School of Law has argued "...the practice of moving political protesters into free speech zones at presidential appearances is an unconstitutional restriction on free expression. Such a procedure violates the protesters' First Amendment rights..."

Also see the May 2003 ACLU report: Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America.

In any event, had truthers been allowed their constitutional right to peaceably assemble instead of being herded into a free speech zone the plan was not to be disruptive.

As The New York Times reported on September 9th in the article "9/11 ‘Truthers’ to Tone Protests Down, for a Day":
“No bullhorning during the memorial.”

That’s always been the rule of thumb among “truther” demonstrators at ground zero on Sept. 11, out of respect for relatives of victims of the terror attack, said Mike Skuthan, 32, a Web designer from Long Island who attends the demonstrations every year.

The demonstrations may be more subdued this year, said Luke Rudkowski, 25, a journalist from Brooklyn...

...When Mr. Rudkowski gathers with other activists at ground zero on Sunday morning near the official, private memorial service, he says, he will be in nonconfrontational mode.

Other activists agreed that Sunday calls for a subdued approach.
And as the site noted:
The early birds will start arriving around 7am, and at this time we usually line up peacefully along the black fences of St. Paul's Chapel on Vesey Street between Church St. & Broadway. The official MTA/Port Authority 9-11 memorial service usually lasts from 8am - 12pm with two moments of silence at 8:45am and 9:03am. During this time it is important to show the utmost respect for those who lost their lives that day and their grieving families so there is usually no bullhorns, shouting, screaming, yelling, etc...

Next we normally gather at the 'Remembrance Fountain' in front of Building 7. This is where we read aloud the names of our 'Forgotten Heroes'. The First Responders who lost their lives after 9/11 and are not acknowledged during the "official" remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero. From here we usually line up and march to other important areas such as Police Plaza, City Hall, Union Square, Times Square, the CFR building, the Federal Reserve, etc.
Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit also noted that someone was holding a sign near Trinity Cathedral reading "Google: Jews control the USA!," but this person was not with the 9/11 protesters.

Hoft may think we were being disrespectful just by being there and expressing our freedom of speech in any capacity that day, well here are some people who disagree, just to name a few.



Here is a related little incident that happened to members of a WeAreChange group I helped start back when I lived in Indianapolis.

Another event that took place that evening in NYC was the premiere of the film, 9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out, (attended by truthers who came all the way from Denmark) which can now be viewed for free online.