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Veteran's account called into question (Joshua Sparling)
Fayetteville Observer Online ^ | Thursday, February 08, 2007 | Myron Pitts

Posted on 02/08/2007 5:30:55 PM PST by cf_river_rat

The peaceniks strike back.

Last week, I wrote about Joshua Sparling, a disabled 82nd Airborne Division veteran who says he was mistreated by anti-war protestors at a Jan. 29 rally in Washington, D.C..

Sparling and a few dozen others went to the National Mall to stage a counterprotest amid the tens of thousands of people denouncing U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Sparling says he was cursed at, called names and threatened with physical harm.

Since then, calls and letters have come in from the other side. A number of blogs and Internet sites have detailed Sparling’s activities, too.

All together, they paint a different picture of Sparling: It is a picture of a seasoned political activist, maybe even a conservative plant, who went out of his way to provoke anti-war protestors.

Jonathan Starling drove to D.C. from Fayetteville that Friday night. By 11 a.m. Saturday, he was watching speeches in a “pre-rally” sponsored by peace group Code Pink.

“Of the other 20-30 counter-protestors, Sparling was different,” writes Starling in a letter he sent via e-mail. “Others were across the street trying to drown us out with bullhorns.

“He (and one or two friends) came across the street to the front row yelling at the speakers within 20 feet of them. I spotted him quickly among the crowd as he was yelling and screaming and making the people around him very uncomfortable.”

Nevertheless, Sparling was allowed by the Code Pink group to speak and present his side of the issue, Starling says, and one of the peace activists even hugged him between speeches.

Debbie Liebers says she saw Sparling’s group later Saturday, when she was taking a break from rallying. She had come up on a bus that morning from Fayetteville with about 50 other people, including her 10-year-old son, Jacob.

“He’s a veteran of the peace movement,” she says.

Of her encounter with Sparling’s group, she says: “As soon as you walked up you saw this sign that said, ‘Hippies smell’ and it had a gas mask on the sign.”

She said the counter-protestors were disruptive and provocative. Spit or no spit?

When I first talked to Sparling, he mentioned that he was a friend of conservative radio and TV commentator Sean Hannity. That was by way of explaining how he wound up on Fox News, where he gave his side of the protest and also proposed to his girlfriend.

He is not exaggerating his connections. He has been linked not only to Hannity but to conservative figures Ann Coulter and Oliver North, and has participated in rallies with both. A steady stream of stories has detailed his alleged run-ins with liberal activists.

Sparling told me and several other media outlets, including The New York Times, that a protestor in D.C. had spit on the ground near him. The Times reported that Sparling spit back, which he denied when I spoke to him.

The whole account has now come very much into question, and reporters and bloggers who have looked into the incident can find no one to verify it beyond Sparling himself.

Liebers says circulating such stories is unproductive.

“We don’t need that,” she says. “We’re just ordinary people. All we want to do is end this war. We want to bring our soldiers home.”

Columnist Myron B. Pitts can be reached at pittsm@fayobsever.com or 486-3559.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: North Carolina; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: counterprotest; joshuasparling; kayak; scchapter
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To: Doctor Raoul
This guy has so much wrong, I don't know where to start.

Yeah! There was no pic of a gas mask on that sign, was there?

21 posted on 02/08/2007 10:12:11 PM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA)
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To: cf_river_rat

Thanks for posting this, cf! I hope Josh has not washed his shirt and submits it for DNA testing!


22 posted on 02/08/2007 10:13:51 PM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA)
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To: Txsleuth

Thank YOU for the ping, sleuth!


23 posted on 02/08/2007 10:14:28 PM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA)
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To: cf_river_rat

Jonathan Starling

Active Member
Professional Photographers - North Carolina


24 posted on 02/08/2007 10:25:15 PM PST by kcvl
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To: Just A Nobody

I was wearing a gas mask.


25 posted on 02/08/2007 10:34:28 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (What's the difference between the CIA and the Free Clinic? The Free Clinic knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: Doctor Raoul
;*) I know.....

Hey, you coming tonight? I have the best corned beef in the world for the guys, but I will save some for you. LOL!

26 posted on 02/09/2007 12:07:03 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA)
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To: Just A Nobody

Looks doubtful.


27 posted on 02/09/2007 5:01:47 AM PST by Doctor Raoul (What's the difference between the CIA and the Free Clinic? The Free Clinic knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: cf_river_rat
I'm going to add this link for anyone not familiar with Joshua Sparling's story :)

Joshua Sparling - 8,000 cards and counting!

28 posted on 02/09/2007 5:07:06 AM PST by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: cf_river_rat; tgslTakoma; Txsleuth

For anyone reading this thread, here are some phone numbers and email addresses I found on the paper's website. I'm not completely sure what the author's position is with the paper so I'm not certain who his boss is. He seems to have written 3 recent articles on one local topic, along with 2 pieces marked 'opinion'. NOTE--this article was printed under "local/state" NOT opinion!

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 849
Fayetteville, NC 28302

Our front desk is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and holidays
Main Switchboard: (910) 323-4848 or (800) 682-3476
To report an error in any of our news stories, call 486-3500 or e-mail newsroom representative Marci Huggins at hugginsm@fayobserver.com.
If you have a story idea, news tip or have a general question, call (910) 486-3500, e-mail news@fayobserver.com or fax (910) 486-3545.
Letters to the Editor, eletters@fayobserver.com
Military, military@fayobserver.comOnline

Area code for all numbers: (910)
Online general manager, Jon Bius, 486-3575, biusj@fayobserver.com
Publisher, Charles Broadwell, 486-3501, cbwell@fayobserver.com
Executive editor, Brian Tolley, 486-3503, tolleyb@fayobserver.com
Editorial page editor, Tim White, 486-3504, whitet@fayobserver.com


29 posted on 02/09/2007 7:01:01 AM PST by JoyjoyfromNJ (Psalm 121)
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To: JoyjoyfromNJ

Thank you very much..


30 posted on 02/09/2007 7:43:03 AM PST by Txsleuth
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