SEE UPDATE AT END (late-night July 3)
For background, see previous articles on this issue, here, here, here and elsewhere on this blog.
And for the next sordid chapter in this story, see: CCP&J Publishes Another Hate-Filled Appeal For Disruption Of Monticello Ceremony
On the evening of July 1, this blog received an email from a board member of the Charlottesville Center for Peace & Justice (CCP&J) which said, in part, that its members are:
"dismayed to read your blog accusing CCPJ of planning various protests to Bush's visit on July 4. CCPJ is not affiliated with or sponsoring these actions."The reply email this blog sent to the CCP&J said, in part:
"(T)o the neutral outside observer, the appearance and the facts speak far louder than what you say.Further, the CCP&J email said:
"The fact is, when one goes to the CCP&J's website, the first thing they are hit with is a truckload of incendiary rage, vitriol, and anarchist/fascist-type rantings, all from David Swanson. Post after post after post.
"I would refer you back to my blog, in which I documented his calls for people (implied within and beyond the CCP&J) to protest at the ceremony, to let President Bush know he is 'not welcome' at Monticello or in Charlottesville, he is a 'war criminal,' a 'blood-soaked fascist,' etc. He says that people should "dress Republican" but make sure they can scream loud. He urges as many of his fellow travelers to get to the Visitor Center early, to get as many tickets as they can. He claimed another CvilleNews.com user's suggestion to 'shut down Route 53' (ed.: the road leading to Monticello) would be a 'good idea.' And to anyone who dares to disagree with him, he calls them a 'Nazi' or 'a fascist,' while referring others back to the CCP&J blog."
"David Swanson, while a friend and active participant of CCPJ events, is not a board member and does not speak for the group."
Yet the screen captures of the CCP&J's own website ("About" page), shown below - taken the evening of July 2 - say otherwise; it says that Mr. Swanson is indeed a member of the CCP&J's Board of Directors:
"CCPJ is simply not involved in this. I received a link to the official poster and you can follow that to find the sponsors. I only ask for accuracy. If you wish to condemn CCPJ for allowing an outside voice to say these things, I could understand... (B)ut to continually refer to this as a CCPJ-sponsored event is just false... (I would hope) that you'd seek complete truth in your statements."In response, this blog offered the CCP&J that it would consider posting a notice stating exactly what it (the CCP&J) said, that it isn't sponsoring any protests, or disruptions of the Monticello ceremony - provided the CCP&J would post an identical notice at its own site.
There was no response to this offer.
Furthermore, this blog posited the following to the CCP&J, in response to its disavowal of supporting or fomenting protests or disruptions:
"The CCP&J is the owner of the CCP&J site. The CCP&J has allowed Mr. Swanson to essentially commandeer it for his own purposes, which in this email, you imply the CCP&J neither is involved in nor endorses.The following is, in part, the response issued by the CCP&J board member (after engaging in a mild personal insult):
"Yet as of this minute, to any newcomer who visits the CCP&J's site, it would appear - as I said - that Mr. Swanson *is* the CCP&J, and vice-versa.
"Given that, I feel compelled to ask you: If the reverse situation were the case, would you honor the request you've made? Let's pretend that at some future date, President Obama (shudder) were to plan to visit Monticello for the Independence Day naturalization ceremony. Let's say you and your fellow activists found out that an organization here in Cville supposedly dedicated to "peace" and "justice" had allowed its site to be taken over by the equivalent of a Mr. Swanson (let's say, anarchist, racist, KKK, Nazi materials, unhinged hatred towards anyone who disagrees with him, as well as against President Obama [shudder]), and you received the emails you sent to me, how would you respond?
Would you accept that the site owners disavow any responsibility?"
"It appears you have already made up your mind on this matter and nothing I say will convince you otherwise. I have stated what is factually true (i.e. CCPJ is not sponsoring this protest, despite what you post on your blog) but you refuse to correct this. As I mentioned, our site is accessible to the public. Anyone can register and post articles if they honestly pertain to peace and justice issues. It is a matter of free speech. Do we agree with everything posted there? No, but we believe in the forum of ideas. We definitely need to distinguish our thoughts and sponsored events from those of others better. This has illustrated that fact."Follow-up emails further affirmed that the CCP&J recognizes the need to change its website, and create distinct sections for news and opinion. No mention, however, was made as to whether the CCP&J was willing to publicly disavow any involvement in or sponsorship of any protests or disruptions of the ceremony at Monticello.
As to the CCP&J board member's accusation that this blog is unwilling to correct "inaccuracies," the following is, in part, what was sent in reply:
"After being notified of what was consuming the front page of the CCP&J website, the CCP&J opted to let it all stand. After being notified of what Mr. Swanson was saying outside that venue, in regards to the same matters, the CCP&J opted to let all his posts stand. After your acknowledment that to a newcomer to the CCP&J's site, and this controversy, that it would be very hard to distinguish between Mr. Swanson and the CCP&J, the CCP&J itself failed to put up any kind of notice to publicly clarify this distinction. In short, the CCP&J, through its posting policies and lack of desire to maintain an accurate image, has created a sort of Frankenstein monster, and instead of dealing with that, lashed out at the one who pointed all this out.
"As for your admonishing me for what you say are inaccuracies on the Welcome to Cville blog, and saying that the CCP&J doesn't sponsor hate, this is laughable. A short analysis of what has been posted on your site:
'He has claimed the power to ignore laws, to rewrite laws, to adhere to secret laws, to discard habeas corpus, to spy without warrant, to detain without charge, to torture, to murder, and to lie the nation into wars of conquest.' 'Numerous immigrants will become citizens in an event besmirched by the presence of a war criminal, and held in the district of Congressman Virgil Goode, whose entire reelection campaign platform consists of hatred for immigrants.'
How about validating all those claims?
Furthermore, the CCP&J has not taken the step to say that it is not sponsoring the protests that are splashed all over its front page - why should the Welcome to Cville blog? A sponsors B, and gives B webspace for his rants, and B advocates disrupting a public event, staging protests (whether or not he first obtains a permit to use a public park), etc. It doesn't take a degree in advanced logic to see that A is indeed supporting the outgrowth of B."
In short, the official policy of the WelcomeToCvillePresidentBush blog is that there have been no inaccuracies published here. And with this Update item, we have clarified both our position, and the CCP&J's.
It should also be kept in mind that when you review Mr. Swanson's newest rant, contained below, had been posted for several hours by the time the first email from this CCP&J board member arrived. And as of the morning of July 3, 15 of the 17 threads on the CCP&J's main page were posted by (drumroll) Mr. Swanson. (all is verifiable via PDFs, available to anyone who emails, here.
As for verification and accuracy, assuming it is OK with the CCP&J, anyone who emails here will receive a forward of the actual email exchange thread, so the reader can judge for himself/herself what the facts are concerning this matter.
And speaking of "accuracy...," and claims that neither the CCP&J nor its (apparent) board members are (directly) sponsoring hatred, or protests, or disruption of the Monticello ceremony...
...let's move along to the next item in our Update: CCP&J Publishes Another Hate-Filled Appeal For Disruption Of Monticello Ceremony
UPDATE (late-night July 3)
File this under: "It's not nice to try to fool the WelcomeToCvillePresidentBush blog."
After all the CCP&J's denials and obfuscations, its accusations that this blog is not acting responsibly, its fury that we would not remove all references to the CCP&J, claiming it has no involvement whatsoever in any protests, its denial that David Swanson is on its board or speaks for them (whoops! - see above)... yada yada yada...
... the following email - FROM the CCP&J, was sent to this blog's official email address (firstname.lastname@example.org - which was fortuitously added to the CCP&J's official mailing list, on or about June 29)...
(Click to enlarge)
Here is the unedited copy of the email(portions highlighted for emphasis by editor), sent by CCP&J:
(Header) [CCPJ Update] CCPJ Special Notice July 3, 2008Although the CCP&J is not listed as a "participating organization," it is clearly using its organizational resources (its email lists) to advertise and foment attendance at this protest - an action which, in this blog's opinion, indeed makes it a "participant."
(Title) Bush is Speaking at Monticello July 4 - Join the Protests!
A growing coalition of groups and individuals plans to protest President George W. Bush's Fourth of July visit to Charlottesville on Friday.
Participating organizations include the Augusta Center for Peace and Justice, CODE PINK Women for Peace both National and Charlottesville, AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, and Charlottesville MoveOn.org.
Many other people expected to participate are not members of any of these groups.The protest will take place at Route 20, outside and a ways removed from the grounds of Monticello. To protest outside meet at 6 a.m. (or come as early as you can - we'll be there for hours) on Friday at Quarry Park, the entrance to which is on the west side of Rt. 20 just north of Interstate 64. Please bring posters, signs, costumes, banners, props.Here's a map that includes Monticello, the visitors center, and Quarry Park: http://afterdowningstreet.org/sites/afterdowningstreet.org/files/images/parkmap.jpgHere's a new flyer: http://afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/bushflyerjuly4new.pdf
Note that the problem here is not that the CCP&J is "participating" in a protest. The act of protesting against politicians and government is as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. The CCP&J has every right to organize and participate in whatever protests it wants to, so long as they're being done lawfully.
The problem is that it's not nice to try to fool this blog, or to accuse it of acting irresponsibly, when it is merely analyzing and accurately publicizing the reality of the CCP&J's actions, and its contradictory statements.
And sadly, this episode - along with the entire, misleading dialogue regarding the CCP&J's enabling of Mr. Swanson's rants and actions - brings every single thing the CCP&J says and does into question.
I just received a reader tip that the CCP&J has allowed David Swanson to post still another diatribe on the front page of its site, in which he:
(1) Replied to Congressman Goode's official response to his first rant (see Update #6, here) - and...
(2) Obliquely attacked this blog, and anyone who thinks that the July 4 ceremonies at Monticello should be protest- and disruption-free. (Oh, the horror of those who believe in peace and civility at Thomas Jefferson's home...)
Oh, and he also urges people to attend the protest. (which the CCP&J is definitely, absolutely, positively not involved in, enabling or supporting in any way - just as he is not on its board, and does not speak for it in any official capacity... yada, yada, yada...)