Just as I had figured would likely happen, the government has dropped the charges against those of us arrested at the White House on December 16 who were planning to go to trial. About 2/3 of the 131 who were arrested that day paid a $100 fine and were facing no further charges. One-third of the group refused to pay the fine and intended to go to trial and it is obvious that Obama did not want a bunch of veterans, and their supporters, to go into the courts and shine more light on the Afghanistan occupation. This way Obama helps to limit the “damage” of the protest. There can be no doubt that the protest got the government’s attention.
Judge Dismisses Cases Against Military Veterans and Anti-war Activists Following December 16th Washington, D.C. Arrests
For more information, contact: Ann Wilcox (202-441-3265) or Tarak Kauff (845-249-9489)
Washington, D.C. – January 4, 2011: Anti-war military veterans and other activists celebrated a breakthrough victory today in DC Superior Court, when charges were dropped, following arrests in front of the White House, on December 16, 2010. Over 131 people were arrested in a major veteran-led protest while participating in non-violent civil resistance in a driving snowstorm. US Park Police charged all 131 protesters with “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” when they refused to move. All remained fixed to the White House fence demanding an end to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further US aggression in the region.
Among those arrested were members of the leadership of the national organization Veterans for Peace , Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dr. Daniel Ellsberg; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges; former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern; and, Dr. Margaret Flowers, advocate for single-payer health care.
Forty-Two arrested opted to appear in court and go to trial with the first group appearing in DC Superior Court on January 4, 2011. Prosecutors from the DC Attorney General’s office stated that the Government “declined to file charges due to missing or incomplete police paperwork.” Presiding Magistrate Judge Richard Ringell confirmed that the cases were dropped and defendants were free to leave.
Those who participated in this action make this statement:
“This is clearly a victory for opposition to undeclared wars which are illegal under international law, have led to the destruction of societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, bled the US Treasury in a time of recession, and caused human rights violations against civilians and combatants. Many of us will return to Washington, DC, to support an action on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 to protest the continued use of Guantanamo detention facility, including torture of detainees in violation of international law.”
The defendants were represented by co-counsels Ann Wilcox, Esq. and Mark Goldstone, Esq. Ms. Wilcox stated: “clearly the Government and Police felt that these veterans and their supporters acted with the courage of their convictions, and did not wish to spend the time and funds necessary for a trial proceeding. This is a major victory for the peace movement.”
For more information visit http://www.stopthesewars.org/ or on Facebook.
- Time Of Lone Wolf Is Over by Bruce Gagnon (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Up Against the Fence: Hedges, Ellsberg, Gagnon and 135 others arrested + Veterans for Peace Take Demand to White House Fence (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Chris Hedges: Hope is an Action (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Chris Hedges: Media exit from the War (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- “The Left Has Nowhere to Go” by Chris Hedges (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)