War protester subpoenas top Bush officials for upcoming trial Friday, November 7, 2003
A man charged with entering a restricted area during an October 2002 presidential visit has subpoenaed U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Bush political adviser Karl Rove to testify at his trial next week.
Activist Brett Bursey, 55, said Thursday the men's testimony would show that the Bush administration tries to "sanitize" areas of dissent around the president during visits across the country.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Barton, who is handling the case, did not immediately return a telephone call. White House spokesman Taylor Gross said Rove had not been served with the subpoena and declined further comment. The trial is set for Wednesday.
Bursey originally was charged by local authorities with trespassing when he refused to move to a "free-speech zone" at the Columbia airport. That charge was dropped, but the Justice Department decided to prosecute Bursey five months later under a statute that allows the U.S. Secret Service to restrict access to areas during the president's travels. He faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
"We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached," said Lewis Pitts, Bursey's lawyer.
Bursey has said he was arrested because he was carrying a sign that read "No War for Oil" and contends others with pro-Bush placards were allowed to stay in the area.
The U.S. attorney's office has said Bursey was arrested not for what his sign said but for where he was carrying it.
Bursey, who began protesting war and inequities in the 1960s, attached $400 checks to the subpoenas for fees and mileage.
My comment from the other thread was "So I guess the freedoms we as Americans have now only apply in designated free speech zones?"
No, just the opposite. There are certain places where excersising your free speech rights is simply not appropriate. Like a hospital.
I worked for a hospital for 5 years and was even a patient there once, but you'd better believe I excercised my right to free speech both as an employee and a patient, so maybe that's not the best example.
I don't really think it was "appropriate" for Fred Phelps (godhatesfags.com) to picket Matthew Shepherd's funeral, but it was obviously legal for him to do so because that's what he did.
At any rate, this was not one of those places. It was entirely appropriate for this man to be there considering everyday citizens who were Bush supporters were allowed to stay in the area. He was doing the same thing that everyone else was doing. Yelling and waving signs. The difference was the other people were yelling (cheering) good things and waving supportive signs. He wasn't.
In this case he tresspassed into a secured area. There is nothing unusual about secured areas. Secured areas are just that - places that are supposed to be secure in that the VIPs and their security agenets can relax a little bit in order to prepare for the next event (speech, whatever).
That's all well and good, but the secured area he was asked to leave wasn't for VIP's and their agents. It was for anyone -- everyday citizens -- just as long as they were Bush supporters. In other words Bursey didn't trespass - his sign did. This is from another article about the same incident:
Brett Bursey, of South Carolina, attended a speech given by the president at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. He was standing among thousands of other citizens. Bursey held up a sign stating: "No more war for oil."
Bursey did not pose a threat to the president, nor was he located in an area restricted to official personnel. Bursey wasn't blocking a corridor the Secret Service needed to keep clear for security reasons. He was standing among citizens who were enthusiastically greeting Bush. Bursey, however, was the only one holding an anti-Bush sign.
He was ordered to put down his sign or move to a designated protest site more than half a mile away, outside the sight and hearing of the president. Bursey refused. He was then arrested and charged with trespassing by the South Carolina police.
A toilet can also be a secured area. Or do you defend this idiot's "right" to barge in on someone taking a piss?
I don't particulary like someone standing right next to me while I'm taking a leak at the urinal, but If I'm in a PUBLIC airport restroom taking a leak I don't have the right to ask the gentleman at the next urinal to leave until I'm done. If I need privacy that bad I use a stall and lock the door.
In the case of the protester at CAE, I wouldn't have a problem saying ok Bush supporters -- you stand on this side of the street and you Bush opponents stand on the other side of the street. That would have been ok as long as both groups were in the same general area. But to tell this man to go to the designated protest area at least a half mile away is just wrong. It would be like me being in the restroom in Concourse A and telling the gentleman at the next urinal to go to the restrooms in Concourse D.
LoneStarMike, I am sure that there are more example of what you posted, but they are far from the norm. In the arab world they are the norm
True, but things seem to be changing and more and more of these types of things are happening. I'm just afraid that the way things are going that one day soon these incidents will be the norm.