Friday, October 24, 2008


Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski at



Contact: Max Obuszewski [410] 366-1637 or mobuszewski at



WHO: The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore was formed for individuals willing to engage in nonviolent civil resistance to first prevent and later to protest the war in Iraq. It is affiliated with several national peace groups, including the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] and United For Peace & Justice. 

NCNR organized a theatrical event on March 12 inside the gallery of the U.S. Senate.  Three members of the Baltimore Pledge, Maria Allwine, Ellen Barfield and Max Obuszewski, joined with Tim Chadwick, Joy First, Judith Kelly, Art Landis, Linda LeTendre, Manijeh Saba and Eve Tetaz as the Ghosts of the Iraq War. 

Each of the ten stood up individually, while wearing a We Will Not Be Silent tee shirt and gauze over the head, and stated "I am a ghost from the Iraq War.  While I died needlessly, I am here to demand an end to the funding of the war so that others do not have to die."  All were removed, arrested and charged with Unlawful conduct, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Nine of the defendants are pro se with Ann Wilcox acting as an attorney advisor.  Tetaz is represented by Jack Baringer.  Judge Robert Morin is presiding in the trial, and on October 22, the defense rested its case,


WHAT:  Jury deliberations began at 9:30 AM on October 23.  The defendants and their attorneys stayed around the courtroom until the jury retired at 4:45 PM.  During the first day of deliberations, the jury sent out three notes.  The first was a request for magic markers.  This was understandable as the jury must decide on a verdict for ten defendants.  The second request was for a transcript of the testimony of defendant Allwine.  The judge informed the jury that all they can rely on would be their notes and memories.  


The last question went to the fourth element of the charge: “That the defendant did so with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of the Senate”  The jury wanted to know if intent was mitigated after the gavel was struck, which meant that the proceedings in the chamber had stopped.


Both the prosecutor and the defendants weighed in on this matter.  For example, the prosecutor argued that session referred to the time when members of the Senate are in Washington and not on vacation.  Obuszewski argued the “session” in the charge was some sort of actual hearing, deliberation, vote or discussion with senators performing their various duties.  In other words, one cannot be charged with Unlawful conduct when the senators are not performing any of their normal functions.  The response to the note from the judge was quite technical, but in essence urged the jury to consider all evidence, even that inferred.


It is presumed that the jury is taking this case very seriously, having already spent a day in deliberations.  Obviously, the jury did not quickly come to an agreement to convict the ten defendants.  So jury deliberations will continue.


WHEN:  Friday, October 24, 2008 at 9:30 AM


WHERE:  Courtroom 312 in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001


WHY:  One can only speculate as to what is going on in the jury room.  It is possible some or all of the defendants will be acquitted.  Or convicted.  The longer the jury deliberates without announcing any verdicts would seem to suggest there is a possibility of a hung jury.  This could mean there is not consensus on some or all ten verdicts.


If the jury convicts most of the defendants including Obuszewski, he would revisit and argue his motion for dismissal.  Since the government failed to produce all discovery at the beginning of the trial, the defense will seek a reversal of any guilty verdicts.  It will also be argued that Terry Gainer, Sargeant-at-Arms, should have been required to testify to discover if there was more information that was withheld.


All ten defendants, long-time peace activists, have been working for years to try to convince their legislators that the Iraq War is an unqualified mess, a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars and an unmitigated disaster for the people of Iraq and the soldiers sent to fight.  Their plea, on March 12, was entered in the Congressional Record, heard on C-Span and reported in the media.  They hoped their message would reverberate around the country through media coverage and that others would also take the risks of peace and speak out to their legislators. It remains unclear what effect the Ghosts of the Iraq War might have had.  Nevertheless, the defendants will continue their efforts to call for an end to the war.


See the action at




"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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