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White House Manual Details How to Deal With Protesters

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    LINK

    By Peter Baker
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, August 22, 2007; Page A02

    Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.

    A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country.

    Among other things, any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations. And if that does not work, they should be thrown out.

    But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."

    The "Presidential Advance Manual," dated October 2002 with the stamp "Sensitive -- Do Not Copy," was released under subpoena to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of two people arrested for refusing to cover their anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July speech at the West Virginia State Capitol in 2004. The techniques described have become familiar over the 6 1/2 years of Bush's presidency, but the manual makes it clear how organized the anti-protest policy really is.

    The lawsuit was filed by Jeffery and Nicole Rank, who attended the Charleston event wearing shirts with the word "Bush" crossed out on the front; the back of his shirt said "Regime Change Starts at Home," while hers said "Love America, Hate Bush." Members of the White House event staff told them to cover their shirts or leave, according to the lawsuit. They refused and were arrested, handcuffed and briefly jailed before local authorities dropped the charges and apologized. The federal government settled the First Amendment case last week for $80,000, but with no admission of wrongdoing.

    The manual demonstrates "that the White House has a policy of excluding and/or attempting to squelch dissenting viewpoints from presidential events," said ACLU lawyer Jonathan Miller. "Individuals should have the right to express their opinion to the president, even if it's not a favorable one."

    White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that he could not discuss the manual because it is an issue in two other lawsuits.

    The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. While the Secret Service screens audiences only for possible threats, the manual says, volunteers should examine people before they reach security checkpoints and look out for signs. Make sure to look for "folded cloth signs," it advises.

    To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says.

    "These squads should be instructed always to look for demonstrators," it says. "The rally squad's task is to use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform. If the demonstrators are yelling, rally squads can begin and lead supportive chants to drown out the protestors (USA!, USA!, USA!). As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event site."

    Advance teams are advised not to worry if protesters are not visible to the president or cameras: "If it is determined that the media will not see or hear them and that they pose no potential disruption to the event, they can be ignored. On the other hand, if the group is carrying signs, trying to shout down the President, or has the potential to cause some greater disruption to the event, action needs to be taken immediately to minimize the demonstrator's effect."

    The manual adds in bold type: "Remember -- avoid physical contact with demonstrators! Most often, the demonstrators want a physical confrontation. Do not fall into their trap!" And it suggests that advance staff should "decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone."

    The staff at the West Virginia event may have missed that line
  2. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Nothing here that others have not done. The Clintons were pretty good at the same thing.
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Yes the Clintons did it as well.

    I just find it crazy that they say...you can have a dissenting voice, as long as the president can not see it or hear it.

    One of the reasons I brought this up because of the thing that happened in WV.

    I was in one of the towns when he was going to speak.

    Had to take the wife to a Doctors Appointment and since I don't pay attention to local news I did not know that he was going to be in town that day.

    So the traffic is slow, their are police everywhere and then I see the protestors and supporters.

    There were a handful of supporters and a large group of protesters. Which says something in WV because the state usually votes Republican in presidential races.

    Anyways I was driving by with the window down and one of the protesters yells...BUSH HATES YOU!.:laugh1:

    I just started laughing and thought...Bush does not care about either one of us, we are too poor to care about.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Of course there are going to be more protesters- they are organized to make a show. Who cares what 50 or so or even 100 or so people with signs and such say or do? They probably are the same people who show up at a dozen different events- PROFESSIONAL protesters if you will.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    SO brain do you think any of the politicans REALLY care about the average Joe?
  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    ANY?

    Maybe 1 out of a 500 and that is probably being generous.:D
  7. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    I think the politicians should let these guys protest. Some of the signs are so ridiculous and most of the protestors are so stupid and uninformed, I think it actually helps the politician they are protesting against.

    I used to love it when people would go out there and interview people. War protestors were the worst. Most couldn't tell you what continent Iraq was located. A lot of them couldn't name Saddam Hussein as the leader of Iraq. :confused: Almost all of the people interviewed didn't know anything about the UN resolutions requiring weapons inspections in Iraq. A lot of them thought Colin Powell was the V.P. Most couldn't tell you which countries Saddam Hussein invaded, and some even accused the interviewer of lying when this question was asked.
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    When you think about it its not suprising. Most protesters have either low end jobs or none at all. Who else can take the time off to waste it like they do? Ignorant and ill informed is being generous.
  9. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    This stuff has always happened. You can only allow an angry mob to get so close to your Commander and Chief ..... whether you like him or not.
  10. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Hey, I protested against the war in 2003 before it began!!! For a bunch of ignorant folk, it seems like we were spot on about its pointlessness and potentially disastrous consequences. :p:

    But, I agree, please interview these people. We need to disseminate this brand of stupidity more rapidly when the next president tries something similar.
  11. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    I think they should be allowed to be within visual and hearing distance.

    There is plenty of security in place at these events.
  12. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    I don't care how stupid you are. These people still should have enough brain capacity to learn something about what they are protesting. I have a difficult time respecting someone who believes so strongly about an issue that they know so little about. I can't understand why someone who will spend hours marching around with a ridiculous sign cannot take an hour or two to jump on the internet and learn something.

    I always get frustrated with my environmentalist buddies. It's frustrating when you ask them environmental questions and their answer is, "I don't know" or "I just know it is that way." At least I can get a good debate on this site. :D
  13. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    You would love the episode of Penn and Tellers show on showtime.

    They went out among a bunch of tree hugger type protesters. It was very funny.

    They had a person go about with a petition to get people to sign it. It was a petition against water but they worded it to fool people.

    Some of the systems that this product caused was excessive urination.:laugh2:

    They got quite a few signatures.

    It was pretty funny.

    On a serious note, I hate seeing protesters out there in the hot sun with their children in tow. Do you really need to bring children who have no clue what is going on to sit out in the hot sun just because of your strong beliefs about a politician?
  14. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    For how long do you allow it to go on? Let them protest ..... but I would only allow a certain amount of people to continue it for so long in insecure groups within a mile of the President. I would feel the same way if it was Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, or George Bush.
  15. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    We can agree to disagree.

    I just think the american people should be able to protest within reason.

    I am not talking about those nutbag Phelps people. I am not talking about protesting funeral and such.

    I am not talking about being a few feet away from the President.

    But a decent distance away while still being in visual and or audio range would be ok to me.

    That applies to ALL candidates no matter their party for me.
  16. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I agree- let them continue to make fools of themselves. What ticks me off is the dishonesty of the media- quite often they cover very TINY protests because they agree with the protestors. And of course they never interview many because of how stupid they are.
  17. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    I don't know where you live, but here in the PacNW there were thousands of people at the anti-war rally I participated in, but the media gave as much time and more favorable coverage to the 20 or so pro-troop (i.e. pro sending them to start a civil conflagration) protesters heckling us as traitors, etc. Most of the coverage for us focused on the few idiots that use any large gathering as an excuse to run amok and behave like, well, behave like you know what, as if that somehow discredited everyone else.
  18. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Well I don't know what you are talking about- the Anti War protestors always gets a lot of coverage at the national level.
  19. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Here is something to consider.

    If the people are dumb, if they don't know the topics well, if they are mindless zombies that are part of a group of professional protesters.

    Does that still make it right to not let them protest? I am not saying that they are not allowed to protest but it seems to be the consensus here that we hate some of the protesters.

    It seems that some people are ok with putting these people off in the distance where nobody can see or here them as being ok because they think the people are dumb.

    What would happen if one of us had some serious issues we wanted to voice. Not legal issues but just serious issues we felt should be heard. Should we not be able to use our rights of people being able peaceably to assemble and be heard?

    What if you had something you wanted to protest that was important to you and they said...sure you can protest, but you have to do it way the heck over there behind those groups of trees where nobody can see or hear you?

    I think if we were honest with ourselves we would all admit that we probably would feel pretty mad and feel we might be getting are rights stepped on.

    Just something to think about. Even stupid people or people you don't agree with have rights.

    Just not the Phelps (don't care if you call me a hypocrite in that case or not).

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