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2003-08-27

Protesters Greet Cheney On His Trip to Rumsfeld’s Home In Taos, New Mexico

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Scores protest the meeting of the Vice President and Defense Secretary at Rumsfeld’s vacation home in Taos. Meanwhile the Seattle Post Intelligencer calls for Rumsfeld’s firing. [Includes transcript]

Click here to read to full transcript "It’s time to fire Rumsfeld"

That was the headline to an editorial by the Seattle Post Intelligencer that appeared in the paper on Sunday.

The paper’s editorial board wrote:

“The United States has more serious problems in Iraq than President Bush could have imagined when he declared major combat at an end. Before he faces more surprises, the nation’s first MBA president should take management action.

“Relieve Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

The editorial went on to say:

"The president needs a Defense Department in which professional views about what military force levels hold sway, change can occur without perpetual turmoil and military planning avoids undermining diplomacy. None of that is likely under the domineering Rumsfeld."

The Post Intelligencer may have become the first major paper in the country to call for Rumsfeld’s ouster.

Well yesterday in Taos, New Mexico a group of protesters with a similar message. gathered outside Rumsfeld’s house where the Defense Secretary was meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney. We talked to one of the organizers yesterday.

  • Mariel Nanasi, organizer with Action Coalition of Taos; Outside Donald Rumsfeld Home

TRANSCRIPT

MARIEL NANASI: Hi, my name is Marial Nanasi. I am with the Action Coalition of Taos. That stands for 'ACT.' We have been protesting for the last nine months against—we started—we came together against the war in Iraq. On October 26, when the rest of the world was protesting, we were protesting as well. We had the largest demonstration in northern New Mexico’s history.

We have been demonstrating because Donald Rumsfeld, the 'Secretary of Offense', has six properties here. And right now we are protesting because Rumsfeld is here and Cheney came to—Dick Cheney came to join him. And about half an hour ago, Dick Cheney landed at the Taos municipal airport and we had a big banner there. A couple of us were at the airport with a big banner that said, "act against war and empire, act now for peace."And then at the same time there was a number of people in front of the local hotel here where a number of Cheney’s security is staying. Then we moved to where his motorcade is proceeded to which is one of the main houses of Rumsfeld, which is in the middle of a little town called El Prado, which is part of Taos county. There’s about 50 of us here.

We have signs that say "Cheney equals corporate greed." "People over profit." "Second Taos welcomes the second war criminal." "Butcher of the environment, no Cheney." We have one that says "Prosecute Cheney in the world court." "No Cheney, no Rumsfeld." "No evil empire." "Yes to democracy and justice." There is [sic] a couple of people wearing Cheney masks. One of them is wearing a red, white, and blue shirt and a Cheney mask that says "Cheney Bush lied; our soldiers died."

We’ve been coming here and protesting Rumsfeld for a long time and now we have Cheney joining him. It’s basically that we are protesting the corporate greed that Cheney represents in our government. Because it’s like a revolving door between business and government with Cheney being the sort of epitome of that. And that’s why we’re out here, especially today we know that he is still refusing to have open government and allow us to find out who he met with the Energy Task Force. We think that the reason is because he is racking up millions, billions of dollars with no corporate accountability.

We know that he met with Ken Lay of Enron, but who else did he meet with. And it seems to me—that seems to us, excuse me, that the corporations are really running our country right now.

People are driving by and beeping and waving and giving us the peace sign. And so it’s us and the people who are driving by and then a bunch of police.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re not so far away from Los Alamos and New Mexico, where people say if it were to secede from the United States it would be the third largest nuclear power in the world. What about that proximity to the really heart of nuclear America?

MARIEL NANASI: Well, I don’t know if you all know this but Rumsfeld was actually given an award, a Keeper of the Flame award during the Clinton administration because he promoted so heavily the keeping of the possibility of nuclear weapons in space. I think Cheney was just here in Albuquerque trying to raise money with Heather Wilson.

This is the nuclear capital of the world. This is what they both stand for. Using the money that we have or the government has taken from us really I should say to promote all kinds of militarism and the nuclear aspect is one element of it, but it is certainly the scariest element. And it’s so scary because when they’re talking about warring, if something, quote, unquote, goes wrong then we could have devastation that is not only immediate but that is long lasting for generations to come. I’m a mother, and it scares me personally and that’s why we’re out here.

AMY GOODMAN: Mariel Nanasi, with the Action Coalition of Taos. A group of people protesting outside one of the homes of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday as he was meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney. You are listening to Democracy Now!. We’ll be back in a minute.


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