Nick Egnatz, of Munster, Indiana, is a Vietnam vet, an articulate non-stop Veterans for Peace activist, and a formative member of the NW Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War. His group marched in the Chicago Rally and was part of the group appearing and speaking at Federal Plaza.
At any rate, I just received the following Press Release from him and read it in near disbelief. The Press Release speaks for itself.
Press Advisory: October 31, 2007
Three Calumet Region peace activists barred from CIA Director Hayden speech in Chicago
Three Hoosiers set out from Northwest Indiana yesterday evening to hear a speech by CIA Director, General Michael V. Hayden sponsored by the Illinois Council on Foreign Relations. The three, Nina Klooster of Lake Village , Kathryn Sturm of Merrillville and Nick Egnatz of Munster had purchased tickets online and were looking forward to hearing Director Hayden talk about national security. They planned to pose some questions weighing heavily on their minds during the question and answer period.
When the three arrived at the event they were stopped at the door and told that their names were on a security list they would not be admitted to the speech. According to Brad Blokell, director of Security and Safety at the Intercontinental Chicago, the speaker, CIA Director Hayden had placed the three on the list.
“I wanted to ask Director Hayden to explain how Extraordinary Rendition of foreign nationals and torture of prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and secret CIA prisons around the world is helping to improve the security of the United States,” said Nina Klooster, of Northwest Indiana CodePink. “It is my personal conviction that these kinds of actions are making us less safe, as they have gained us many new enemies. The fact that we torture has caused us to lose the moral high ground that we had gained after 9/11.”
The three went to the Intercontinental Hotel at 505 N Michigan in good faith as citizens and tax payers to ask the CIA Director about actions that they believe are causing harm to United States security and eroding the United States Constitution. Kathryn Sturm, also of Northwest Indiana CodePink, had planned to ask the Director of the CIA about his statement several months ago that the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution does not mandate probable cause for a warrant to be issued to search and seize the personal property of United States Citizens. ” I wanted to ask Director Hayden if he still believes that Americans can be spied on simply on the basis of suspicion rather than on the clearly delineated provision of probable cause in the fourth amendment,” said Ms. Sturm. “It is clear on reading of the fourth amendment that probable cause is mandated. I wondered if the CIA Director had taken the time to read the Constitution since his unfortunate statement on television.”
“As a veteran who served my country during the Vietnam War,” said Nick Egnatz, of Veterans for Peace, “I am appalled at the thought of America resorting to torture. Torture does not produce reliable intelligence; rather it terrorizes all who witness it, making citizens afraid to speak out against the government and destroying democracy. All military family members should in particular be very concerned about our government using torture, since it sets the precedent for those we are fighting to use torture against their loved ones. Placing the names of people on lists is another form of terror that totalitarian governments use to control citizens. I can’t believe that our government has sunk to this level.”
The Press Release has been sent to the NWI Times and the NWI Post-Tribune and to their Senators and Congressmen. Nick said he is hoping there will be coverage, but it is not yet known.
This, to me, is an indicator of just how far the surveillance of peaceful individuals has gone — it is incredulous!
Just in! I thought you would be interested in seeing this article in the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune
One slight correction to the NWI Post-Tribune article, Nick Egnatz has never been arrested although he has participated in three specific civil disobedience actions, authorities have not chosen to arrest him.
While the Post Tribune article ran on page 3 with a picture of Kathy and Nina meeting with Congressman Visclosky and two other local activists, Lorri and Janice, it also ran as a subheadline under the paper’s banner on the front page “CIA spooked by NWI peaceniks” ‘Group of three–grandma, retiree, veteran–barred from speech by spy agency director’s order.’
Individual picture of Nina, Kathy and Nick with the caption ‘Don’t let these people in’
Vietnam veteran and peace activist of Munster
62-year-old retiree of Lake Village
53-year-old grandmother from Merrillville
The original Press Advisory, of October 31, 2007 (shown above) has been submitted to AfterDowning Street.org!