Lawsuit reveals Bush Administration attempts to suppress dissent

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Presidential Advance Manual from 2002

A manual from the Bush Administration detailing protest suppression tactics has been revealed.

A new lawsuit has been filed against a former high level staffer in the United States Presidential Administration of George W. Bush. It was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two individuals forcibly removed from a presidential 'Town Hall Meeting', and has brought to light a White House manual detailing tactics aimed at suppressing demonstrations and barring those identifiably opposed to Bush Administration policy access to presidential events.

Leslie Weise, Karen Bauer and Alexander Young, all of Colorado, and often referred to as 'The Denver Three' were ejected from the March 21, 2005 presidential 'Town Hall Meeting' billed as 'A Conversation on Social Security' after it was discovered that their vehicle displayed a bumper sticker reading 'no blood for oil'.

Weise and Young filed an earlier lawsuit against two volunteers at the event for their collaboration with an unidentified man who has been charged with impersonating a US Secret Service agent while ejecting them. This case is now in the hands of the Justice Department.

The 2002 manual titled the 'Presidential Advance Manual' from the 'Office of Presidential Advance' bears the Presidential Seal, and is marked 'sensitive'. Its dissemination was restricted to the Executive Office of the President, White House Military Office and the Secret Service. A heavily redacted version of the once secret manual was released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The non-redacted parts of the manual detail strategies designed to suppress demonstrations and bar those identifiably opposed to Bush Administration policy access to presidential events.

The manual advises local Republicans, who are charged with filling such events, to form 'Rally Squads' from "college/young republican organizations, local athletic teams, and fraternities/sororities". A section titled Preventing Demonstrators (sic) directs: "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 protesters (USA! USA! USA!) As a last resort, security should remove the protesters from the event site." Another part urges: "It is important to have your volunteers at a checkpoint before the [Metal Detectors] in order to stop a demonstrator from getting into the event."

Chris Hansen a senior ACLU attorney and lead counsel for the case remarked "The White House has gone too far in its attempt to make dissent invisible," "When taxpayers foot the bill for a public event, the president does not have the right to use a partisan litmus test to stack the audience with his political supporters."


Presidential Advance Manual ACLU, June 28, 2007