AMHERST - Amid flags and yellow ribbons, students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst yesterday staged a rally on the steps of the Student Union to urge support of American troops fighting in Iraq.
More than 75 people stood quietly, while speakers urged support for the troops, President Bush and overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The rally came on the same steps where a week ago opponents of the war staged an anti-war vigil.
The latest event was sponsored by the UMass Republican Club and a group called The Silent Majority. Organizer Matthew Progen said the rally was scheduled to coincide with similar events on campuses across the country.
Wearing a flag bandanna, Jeff Krohn of Phoenix, Ariz., a senior legal studies major, said regardless of how people feel about the war, it is important to show support for the soldiers.
"They are there fighting. We need to show our support - now and when they come home," he said.
James Bancroft, a former Marine from Bristol, Conn., who was invited to speak, said invading Iraq was justified, because Hussein has repeatedly violated United Nations sanctions.
Bancroft said he is sickened to hear anti-war demonstrators wish ill upon U.S. soldiers and President Bush. Citing one sign he saw at a recent rally reading "choke on another pretzel," Bancroft said, "Peace protesters calling for the death of the president are not peace protesters - they're traitors."
Standing in the crowd and holding aloft a sign reading "Support our troops - bring them home safe," Ryan Caughlin, 23, a psychology major from Stoughton, said he can support the troops and oppose the war at the same time. Patrick Johnson can be reached at email@example.com
And a Freeper was there, proud to get it out to the masses, of the treason commited by protestors calling for the President to die!
Astonishing, pro-troops rally in the People's Republic of Amherst?? On campus, even?? Whoever was there has big, brass b--ls.
Proof positive the protestors are anti-Bush...
There was only one heckler, saying that the SCUDS Saddam fired were kept for self defense, I quickly countered fromthe podium that SCUDS are an offensive weapon, not defensive weapon, and he was supposed to not have them anyways!
One loser walked around with the phoney support sign: WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS BRING THEM HOME kind of thing
Freeper BIMMER was there! With her IRONMAN husband to boot!
It's against the law to threaten the president. If Clinton were still in office, those b@stards would have been arrested in a heartbeat, First Amendment or no First Amendment.
Keep up the good work Race - and thank you.
Way to go, Race! I'll have to ask my #1 son if he was able to take part. His part time job, driving the Pioneer Valley Transit buses, doesn't give him a LOT of extra time, so I don't know if he was there.
Letters to the Editor
April 04, 2003
Support our troops rally turns into pro-war statement
To the Editor:
On the steps of the Student Union building Wednesday, a rally was meant to be held in support of U.S. troops. According to an article printed in the Daily Collegian on Wednesday, it was to be a "peace rally" in "an attempt at supporting our troops without a political message."
However, the message turned almost immediately political, with a statement from an ex-Marine who read a letter from a soldier which derided peace protesters in the United States, and then the speaker went on to justify the war in Iraq, by speaking about a couple of obscure sources which claimed to link Iraq with not only the World Trade Center attacks, but the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995. The speaker claimed that ？raq has been attacking the United States,？since the 1990s.
Unfortunately, there were two glaring flaws in the arguments the speaker made: first, one source he quoted, Jayna Davis, has formed conspiracy theories which would make Oliver Stone blush. In fact, Ms.Davis has apparently refrained from publicly speaking because she has been sued for libel and defamation of character. These theoretical claims have apparently been repeatedly dismissed by the FBI, and at no point has the Bush administration, even with its zeal for going to war with Iraq, cited any of these claims as linking terrorism to Iraq.
The other glaring problem with using a link between the bombing of the Oklahoma City bombing and Iraq as a justification for war, is that absolutely no one has denied Timothy McVeigh had the primary role in the bombing. If bombing and invading Iraq can be considered a repercussion for links to terrorism, why didn咜 the speaker call for bombing of Oklahoma, where McVeigh came from? It is widely understood that Timothy McVeigh﨎 actions were, at the very least, supported by white supremacist militias in Oklahoma and likely other areas, but the same people who argue for bombing Iraq for terrorism wouldn咜 presume to call for bombing parts of the United States for internal links to terrorism.
This disjointed logic, spread of misinformation, and an underlying jingoistic feeling to the rally Wednesday made it uncomfortable to some who came to it for the purposes of genuinely supporting our troops. I would hope that the pretense of an apolitical rally not even be suggested in the future.
My Response to this young man...
My name is RaceBannon, and my comments made while speaking were referred to directly by a person identifying themselves as Jeffrey Napolitano, a UMASS student.
In his letter, he stretches the truth a little in some places, and also makes some incorrect statements that he should have investigated a little more, for he is dead wrong on one, and in leaving out certain facts, his letter is quite slanted as to be almost labeled a lie.
First, he said our rally, while labeled a PEACE rally, went political almost right away. No one told me it was a PEACE rally, it was a rally to support the troops. The poem I read out loud to the audience is from a Marine serving in Iraq right now. His credentials were proven to me, and his letter concerning the so-called PEACE PROTESTERS, and of his disdain for them, that is not politics, it is a direct statement from someone who is liberating Iraq from a dangerous dictator who uses torture as we would use mustard on hot dogs, and in whose country, as I write this, confirmed news reports have been released that cyanide and mustard gas materials have been found, chemical weapons that Saddam assured us that he did not have and the United Nations determined were illegal for Iraq to possess and whose only use would be as an offensive weapon.
To say that the letter of someone who is there, fighting against this monster is political, that is absurd.
Next, Mr. Napolitano makes claims that the connection between Saddam and previous terrorist attacks has not been proven, shows Mr. Napolitano needs to read more.
For the purpose of the rally, all comments had to be kept short, but in this letter, I am going to take the time to place footnotes to show the connection and the sources:
Ramzi Youssef, the First Link Between Bin Laden and Saddam
Ramzi Youssef, the terrorist leader who planned the 1993 truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center in New York, was trained in Iraq. After the 1993 bombing failed to bring down the twin towers, he fled to Manila, where he lived in secret with Mohamed Jamal Khalifia, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Khalifia transferred money from Osama bin Laden to Ramzi Youssef, who in turn taught bomb making to the Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebel group, a group bin Laden still trys to support financially. (9, 13, 14)
Youssef planned two major operations while in Manila. One was to assassinate the pope during his visit to the Philippines in 1995. The second was to simultaneously blow up 12 American passenger jets at the turn of the millennium. A routine investigation of an accidental fire at his apartment led to the discovery of these plans by Philippine security forces. Youssef fled to Pakistan, where he was later arrested and extradited to stand trial in the United States. Khalifia simply disappeared and is believed to have found refuge with his brother-in-law in Afghanistan. (13, 14)
Sources: 9. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, 9/19/01 (Iraq Kurdish Opposition Site on Bin-Ladens Plan to Target Iraqi Kurdistan)
10. Al-Hawadith (London) 1/26/01 (Report Views Bin-Ladens Operations, Counter-Terrorism Efforts)
11. Wall Street Journal (New York) 10/29/01 (Anthrax: The Elephant in the Room)
12. Daily Telegraph (London) 10/28/01 (Every day, the case mounts against Saddam)
13. Far Eastern Economic Review, 9/27/01 (The Coming War: Danger Within)
14. Far Eastern Economic Review, 9/27/01 (The Coming War: Thwarted Plots)
In addition to this, there are additional sources that connect Ramzi Yusef and his connections to Saddam and the first WTC bombings. Jayna Davis is not the only Female investigative reporter to have done her homework on Saddam, Osama, and Ramzi Yuseff, the mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing. Here is an excerpt from an article by Laurie Mylroie, an author and investigator who is often cited and published in the Wall Street Journal. Here is a short BIO on her:
Laurie Mylroie, formerly of Harvard University and the U.S. Naval War College. is currently with the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia. She was co-author of the bestseller, Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf (Random House 1990), and has just completed a sequel, 'Study of Revenge': Saddam's Terror Against America, January 1993-??
The following excerpt is located here: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/iraq/956-tni.htm
ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1992, Ramzi Yousef arrived at JFK airport. He presented an Iraqi passport without a U.S. visa, was briefly detained (and fingerprinted) for illegal entry, and granted asylum pending a hearing. Yousef went to stay at the apartment of Musab Yasin, an Iraqi living in Jersey City. So too did Abdul Rahman Yasin, Musab's younger brother, who arrived in America from Iraq soon after Yousef. (Musab had an unlisted telephone number under an Israeli-sounding alias, Josie Hadas.)
Musab lived in the same building as Mohammad Salameh. Many young Arab men used their two apartments, praying and eating together; relations were so close that the apartments were connected by an intercom. Once established within this group, Ramzi Yousef befriended Salameh, and the two left to share an apartment elsewhere in Jersey City. From then on, the impressionable Salameh was under Yousef s wing.
Although the principal conspirators had been in place since September, it was not until after the U.S. elections on November 3 that Yousef began to prepare the World Trade Center bomb. In mid-November the first of many calls to chemical companies appears on his phone bills. At the same time, Yousef also began calling surgical supply companies for the gloves, masks, and rubber tubing he needed to make the bomb. In the meantime, two other local fundamentalists were recruited into the plot, Nidal Ayyad and Mahmud Abu Halima. Ayyad, a Palestinian, was the same age as Salameh and Salameh's friend. Abu Halima, a thirty-four year old Egyptian cab driver, was a friend of Nosair. Abu Halima was older and generally savvier than the two Palestinians.
In January 1993, Yousef and Salameh moved into another Jersey City apartment where the bomb was actually built. Set well back from the street, the building provided seclusion. On February 21 a twenty-one year old Palestinian named Eyyad Ismail arrived from Dallas. Ismail is charged with having driven the bomb-laden van. On February 23, Salameh went to a Ryder rental agency to rent the van to carry the bomb. On the morning of February 26, the conspirators gathered at a local Shell gas station where they topped up the tank--one last explosive touch--before driving to Manhattan. Shortly after noon, the bomb went off, on--let it be well noted--the second anniversary of the ending of the Gulf War.
Additional statements by Mr. Napolitano attack the credibility of Jayna Davis, who WAS sued by one person she alluded to in her investigations, however, Mr. Napolitano spoke too soon, for the very day he seems to have written his letter, the lawsuit against her was dismissed, and here are some excerpts exonerating her from the false claims of defamation: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31847
OKC BOMBING FALLOUT
Reporter's Oklahoma City coverage vindicated
Appeals court dismisses defamation suit filed by Iraqi soldier By Jon Dougherty
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a former Oklahoma City television reporter after finding that "defendants did not recklessly disregard the truth" in reporting on an Iraqi soldier's alleged involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
According to court documents, al-Hussaini alleged that the defendants KFOR-TV, Jayna Davis, Brad Edwards and Melissa Klinzing defamed him, invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him through news reports in June of 1995 accusing him of "complicity" in the April 19 attack on the Murrah building. But the appeals court disagreed.
"The news reports contained various comments about the potential bombers and displayed a photograph of an Iraqi man, who had been living in Oklahoma City since November of 1994, who might be the John Doe #2 sought by authorities in relation to the bombing," said the U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg, in writing for the appeals court last week. "The name of the man was never revealed by KFOR, and the face of the man was digitally concealed in all of the news reports. The reports generally related information gathered by KFOR's reporters tending to connect the unidentified man to the bombing."
"The plaintiff was unquestionably the unidentified man discussed in KFOR's news reports," the ruling continued. "Following KFOR's first four broadcasts, Hussain contacted other media outlets, voluntarily allowing his name and face to be broadcast on two other television stations and then also voluntarily identifying himself as the person in KFOR's news reports. Ultimately, it was determined that no John Doe No. 2 existed."
Davis said al-Husseini also admitted in court depositions filed with his lawsuit that he did serve in the Iraqi army. She has said she believes al-Husseini could be the mysterious John Doe No. 2 once sought by the FBI in connection with the Murrah attack that left 167 people including 15 children dead.
"After eight years of oppressive litigation, the courts have vindicated my work ethic as a dedicated journalist," Davis told WorldNetDaily. "The lawsuit was obviously designed to silence a legitimate investigation into Middle Eastern complicity in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing."
Davis continued, "In light of [the Justice Department's] recent disclosure of so-called Islamic charities posing as fronts to fund terrorist organizations, I would sincerely like to know who bankrolled this frivolous, but costly lawsuit against me and my former employer."
U.S. government officials have said they have discovered links between at least nine such charities and al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden since the 9-11 attacks.
"After two separate lawsuits, both state and federal, this man was unable to produce even one witness affidavit establishing his whereabouts for the critical hours of April 19, 1995," Davis said. "The testimonies of several eyewitnesses who place him in the company of executed bomber Timothy McVeigh and fleeing the scene of the worst act of terrorism in 20th century America stand undisputed."
So, the courts have examined the lawsuit and found that Jayna Davis did not defame former Iraqi soldier Hussain al-Hussaini, in fact, the evidence proves he lied to previous investigaters of the case, saying he was NOT a former Iraqi Army soldier, when it was proven he was.
It seems Mr. Napolitano should have waited a day, for his main argument against Jayne Davis was found in her favor.
Foreign newspapers have also taken her claims seriously, as this article in the EVENING STANDARD from London shows: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/1678779
It is not a theory so readily dismissed in U.S. Government circles, either, for a U.S. Senator has called for further investigations.
Specter Wants OKC Bombing-Iraqi Connection Probe - By Jeff Johnson http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPentagon.asp?Page=/Pentagon/archive/200210/PEN20021011a.html
October 11, 2002 - CNSNews.com Congressional Bureau Chief
Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - The senior senator from Pennsylvania said Thursday that he will seek an investigation into alleged ties between the two Americans convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing, members of Islamist terrorist groups, and the Iraqi military.
Here is a link to an audio interview that Jayna Davis has done, spelling out her case before the radio audience: http://www.glennbeck.com/okc/index.htm
Funny how he says she has been silent, when that show is a nationally syndicated show on about 350 stations, Clear Channel Broadcasting
Mr. Napolitano also makes the claim that the FBI has refused to consider the idea of foreign nationals being involved with the case, he is partly right, except, FBI and CIA agents are now and have been in the past trying to get their superiors to take the evidence seriously:
March 22, 2003 - The IndyStar.com - James Patterson
Let FBI and CIA agents talk about links to terrorism http://www.indystar.com/print/articles/2/030600-4642-021.html
Johnson, Woolsey and Vogel have tried to get the FBI and Congress to consider stark evidence that a former Iraqi soldier, who emigrated to the U.S. after the first Gulf War, was tied to a terrorist cell in Oklahoma City that was involved in the 1995 bombing there, but the FBI keeps telling them they are crazy.
Vogel is prepared to swear before Congress that he met with an Oklahoma City TV reporter, her husband and her lawyer on Jan. 28, 1999, at that city's FBI office and received documents implicating the Iraqi's involvement in the bombing, and that Vogel turned them over to his superiors, only to have those documents disappear. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=29513
In an Oct. 4 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller III and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, the senior Pennsylvania senator asked why the Justice Department had yet to address allegations that Iraq may have had a hand in the OKC bombing as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
"It is my understanding that my staff has contacted both the FBI and Justice Department requesting a briefing on the issues raised by these allegations, and these requests have been rebuffed," wrote Specter. "It is also my understanding that such a briefing was offered to former CIA Director Robert J. Woolsey Jr., but that he declined the FBI's offer."
"I would appreciate your comments on whether these allegations warrant further investigation," he said.
Additionally, Mr. Napolitano makes a strange allusion that since it was someone from Oklahoma City who did the bombing, we should bomb Oklahoma City? What kind of twisted logic is that? No one doubts the connection of Timothy McViegh and Terry Nichols, it is experienced adults who doubt that two loners could gain the expertise to build such a bomb without outside assistance. Normal thinking Americans would want to find out who taught Nichols and McVeigh to build the bomb, and according to some sources, Ramzi Yuseff himself did. The following source is from Judicial Watch, a civil rights Law Firm, in their class action suit against Iraq, and their suit is based partially on information revealed in the trial that convicted McVeigh and Nichols:
15. After masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Iraqi agent Ramzi Youssef was on the run. Youssef eventually returned to the Philippines, where he first visited in the summer of 1991. After setting up a base of operations in Manila during August 1994, Ramzi Youssef, Wali Khan Amin Shah and Abdul Hakim Murad (a foreign pilot licensed in the United States since 1992) began conceiving plans for conducting elaborate terrorist attacks-code named Project Bojinka.
In the Philippines as part of Project Bojinka, Ramzi Youssef, on behalf of Iraq, recruited conspirators to attempt to simultaneously bomb five or more U.S. 747 aircraft over the Pacific, using delayed timer tactics with many similarities to Barboutis 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103. Youssef also conceived of plans to highjack planes bound for the United States in order to dive them, in suicide attacks, into U.S. targets like CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, a tactic later adopted by Osama bin Laden. Youssef flew frequently from Manila to Cebu City in the Philippines in order to recruit potential terrorists at Southwest College in Cebu City. Plaintiffs assert that at some point in time Ramzi Youssef recruited a willing convert in the person of Terry Nichols who witnesses say went to the Philippines seeking technical help in learning to build a bomb. Meetings between Terry Nichols and Ramzi Youssef were witnessed by a Filipino government informant.
16. Terry Nichols took a number of trips to Cebu City in the Philippines between 1990 when he married a Filipino and 1994. Sometimes Nichols went with his Filipino wife and sometimes he went alone. On November 22, 1994 Nichols made his last trip to the Philippines. However, prior to that trip, for the first and only time, Nichols worried that he might not return. Indeed, Terry Nichols left a letter with his ex-wife for Timothy McVeigh to be delivered to McVeigh in case of Nichols death in the Philippines. The letter contained instructions addressing several things including the ammonium nitrate that Nichols had accumulated in a storage locker in Kansas. Said letter was introduced into evidence in McVeighs criminal case. After putting his affairs in order, Nichols flew to Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines, arriving on November 23, 1994. Nichols Filipino wife was already attending classes there at Southwest College.
17. Soon after Terry Nichols arrived in Cebu City, Ramzi Youssef also bought a one-way ticket to Cebu City, on December 9th, for travel aboard a December 11 flight from Manila on Philippine Airlines flight 434. Once on board, on December 11th, Youssef planted a bomb rigged with a Casio timer under his seat. The bomb was set to explode after Youssef disembarked in Cebu City. Two hours after Youssef got off the Boeing 747 in Cebu City his bomb exploded as the plane was on its way to Tokyo. The bomb killed one person and severely injured several others while blowing a hole in the floor of the plane and severing the aileron cables that controlled the planes flaps. The 747 successfully made an emergency landing in Okinawa. Intelligence sources in the Philippines believe that Youssef hid out for the next several weeks in a boarding house near Southwest College in Cebu City. Marife Nichols later moved into that same boarding house after Terry Nichols returned to the United States.
18. By January 6, 1995, Youssef was back in his apartment in Manila. At about 10:40 p.m. on the evening of January 6, Youssef and Abdul Hakim Murad were building one of the bombs to be used in the impending attacks on American 747 aircraft, when a small fire broke out in their apartment. The fire caused them to flee the apartment due to poisonous smoke. Firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze but the bomb making equipment was obvious. Abdul Hakim Murad was arrested that same night when he returned to attempt to retrieve Ramzi Youssefs laptop computer. The computer contained the Project Bojinka plans to simultaneously blow up five or more American 747 aircraft over the Pacific on the same day. The coordinated bombing was planned for January 21, 1995. Youssefs computer also revealed that at least five people (identified by code names only) would participate with him in executing the attack. The identities of all of the prospective Bojinka bombing participants has never been definitively established but the evidence suggests that Terry Nichols planned to be one of them.
19. However, once Murad was arrested on January 6, 1995 and the bombing plot was discovered, both Ramzi Youssef and Terry Nichols quickly left the Philippines. Youssef flew to Hong Kong on January 7th and Nichols left Cebu City on January 16, 1995, seven days earlier than originally planned, for the United States. During the next several months, from January 31 until March 14, 1995, Nichols made numerous phone calls back to the Philippines, including 13 calls to untraceable Philippine numbers after his wife had already returned to the United States. In some of these instances Nichols called the boarding house near Southwest College. In some instances he called pay phones in the Philippines. He sometimes called from outdoor phone booths, in Kansas, during the dead of winter. Most tellingly, Nichols made repeated calls to the Philippines using a prepaid long distance debit card account under a fictitious name, Daryl Bridges, which federal prosecutors say was set up for the Murrah Building bombing conspiracy.
20. Three months later, when the Murrah Building was bombed, Abdul Hakim Murad, in a prison cell in New York City awaiting trial for his part in the plot to bomb five American 747 aircraft, admitted verbally on April 19, 1995 and in writing that Ramzi Youssefs liberation army was responsible for the Murrah Building bombing! Murads conspiratorial admission of foreign involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing was revealed by an FBI 302 Report that was referenced in Timothy McVeighs March 1997 Petition for Writ of Mandamus, Case No. 97-1109 (10th Cir.). The 302 Report was sealed. Said conspiratorial admission, however, was never reported by the government to the bombing victims.
21. Due primarily to Ramzi Youssefs involvement in planning both attacks, the bombing of the Murrah Building in April 1995 had dramatic similarities to the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In each instance, the bomb was a massive fertilizer bomb. The World Trade Center bomb was primarily composed of urea nitrate, although it did utilize a more sophisticated triggering device, i.e., nitroglycerin, and the Oklahoma City bomb was primarily composed of ammonium nitrate. Both bombs were delivered to their targets in rented Ryder trucks which had been rented in adjoining states. Both attacks were timed in order to inflict substantial casualties and to bring down the targeted buildings.
22. Tellingly, according to the sworn testimony of Michael Fortier, McVeigh and Nichols attempted in October 1994 to blow up a metal milk jug with a small ammonium nitrate device. That attempt merely fizzled. Six months later, and only three months after Nichols returned from the Philippines, the same two individuals (supposedly) were able to devastate the Murrah Building with approximately 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and Nitromethane. Plaintiffs assert that this quantum leap in technical expertise occurred during Nichols last trip to the Philippines.
Lets remember that this information came from government sources in the Philippines and the United States VS McVeigh and United States VS Nichols trials, and can be confirmed as fact, not theory.
As for the collusion of White Supremacist groups in that bombing, how come no one heard of any arrests in those groups, but we have had the arrest of a terrorist, Ramzi Yusef, for terrorist acts in the US?
With the daily discoveries by our Soldiers and Marines of camps run by the Al-Queda that were chemical weapons factories, making the poison ricin, stores of gas masks and atropine injectors, a nerve gas antidote, todays discovery of the Cyanide gas, and the mustard agent, we should no longer be hearing from people I call PEACE NAZIS. The US has been proven right, and the revelation of the torture chambers in the Iraqi Police stations as seen by both US and British troops, the torturing of an American Female Soldier, only prove this regime had to go.
If Mr. Jeffrey Napolitanos letter to the editor was a class assignment, he would get an F for failure to do background research.