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Truthdigger of the Week: Ray McGovern

This week we throw our support behind former CIA analyst, Army veteran and peace activist Ray McGovern, whose arrest while protesting as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid tribute to the wave of demonstrations in the Middle East made a troubling statement about the state of our own freedoms.

The irony of this situation did not appear to register with Clinton as she stood at a podium emblazoned with the words “Internet Freedom” at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, talking up the international community’s technologically enabled solidarity with rallying citizens in Egypt and putting down the former regime’s clampdown on communication and free speech. Meanwhile, the 71-year-old McGovern, standing in the audience in a Veterans for Peace T-shirt, turned his back on the Secretary of State in silent defiance of her message.

Just after Clinton relayed how “citizens of all stripes shared their hopes and fears about this pivotal moment in the history of their country,” and how “millions worldwide answered in real time, ‘You are not alone and we are with you,'” it was made clear to McGovern that he was not standing in a free speech zone. “Then the government pulled the plug,” Clinton intoned. “Cell phone service was cut off, TV satellite signals were jammed and Internet access was blocked…. ” The video posted below shows McGovern being grabbed during this timely description of jammed signals and escorted out of the building, exclaiming, “This is America?”

According to several accounts of the Clinton-McGovern run-in — see AlterNet’s here, BradBlog’s here and Common Dreams’ here — McGovern was then beaten and arrested for disorderly conduct. No thanks to Clinton for failing to safeguard Americans’ freedom to express their dissent in that encounter, but thanks are due to McGovern for his ongoing efforts to exercise that right peacefully in the face of resistance.

Editor’s note: And thanks to Larry Gross for nominating this week’s winner.

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