How the Bush Administration Celebrates Freedom

Friday, September 09, 2005

How the Bush Administration Celebrates Freedom

Sunday's 9/11 absurdly-named "America Supports You Freedom Walk" is quite possibly the most restricted, least free government-sponsored event I've ever heard of in my entire 29 years, 361 days.
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.
Pettiford said officers would patrol to keep interlopers out because the Pentagon restricted the event in its permit application. "That is what their permit called for, so we have those fences to keep the public out." [ed. Maybe they should just define all "interlopers" as "looters" and shoot them on sight?]

Once the National Park Service approves the permit, it is normal for police to do what they can to adhere to the organizers' requests. "It's a permitted event. That means [organizers] are allowed to say who is in and who's out," said Sgt. Scott Fear, a Park Police spokesman. He declined to say how many officers were in the Park Police, which had a Washington detail of about 400 two years ago.

What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest.
One restricted group [another?] will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.
Yeah! Freedom! Wahoo! With armed police escorts ready to arrest anyone who steps out of line at a government-sponsored, taxpayer-supported march with heavily restricted media access! Thank you America, thank you for being so free!

Seriously, who do they think they're fucking kidding with this shit? This is a totally mockery of freedom, it's practically a big ol' double-middle-finger "fuck you!" to the Bill of Rights. As it's been said before, this kind of pro-government propaganda really does seem soviet-inspired.

Update: Not only are they giving away "free" t-shirts that people will be required to wear, Atrios says they're giving machers their own military DOG TAGS. I am so going tomorrow to get my t-shirt and dog tags to remind myself of this totally Orwellian day.

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