Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Four Peace and Justice Activists Win in Court!

June 23, 2009
Contact: Pete Perry, 202-631-0974

Pete Perry (National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance), Laurie Arbiter (Activist Response Team), Robert Diesu (Our Spring Break and Campus Progress), and Michelle Grise (National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance) won their case Monday, stemming from the March of the Dead protest January 6, 2009 inside the Hart Senate Office Building. They were honoring the dead killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza on the first day of the 111th Congress, and calling on our elected representatives to do more to stop the senseless killing and costly occupations.

In the trial, three of them defended themselves pro se and one was represented by an attorney. They won largely by virtue of government incompetence, including the destruction of the police video of the action, and lost notes--the testifying officer said they "went away"--taken by the arresting officer who was testifying. It is a necessity to ask for *all* discovery, including notes taken by police witnesses. Under Jenks, they are absolutely compelled to produce such notes.

It became apparent that Judge Rufus King was less than a minute from dismissing the case or acquitting the group (he quoted Jenks to the packed court room), when the prosecutor, Elizabeth Myers, said she was nullifying the cases of Disorderly Conduct and Unlawful Assembly against us. They were prepared to put on a vigorous defense, including bringing in a star witness, Iraq Vet Against the War, Geoff Millard, but the trial did not get that far. Judge King made it clear that he was dismissing the charges with prejudice so it could not be retried under threat of jeopardy.

Afterward, Laurie and Robby read their powerful sentencing statements to many of the supporters. The defendants want to thank all for the ongoing support. Pete Perry believes the strength of the peace and justice movement comes from the solidarity of the community.

On June 25, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance will lead a delegation to the Dept. of Justice shortly after 12 noon, demanding prosecution of war criminals, starting at the top with Bush and Cheney. On October 4 and 5, the 8th "anniversary" of the war and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan, NCNR will organize resistance at the White House, demanding that Obama cease his war of choice.

Pete Perry likes to make it clear to the peace and justice community that our actions are not civil disobedience, but civil resistance. Our intention is not to "get arrested," but to highlight and call for the cessation of the crimes committed by our own government. He sees the actions as an upholding of the Law. He believes that together we can bring about peace with justice in our time.
 Go to

Citizens Face Prosecution for Speaking Against Wars

Contact: Laurie Arbeiter 917-915-6115, Carole Ashley 917-881-1554, Pete Perry  202-631-0974, David Swanson 202-329-7847

WHAT: Four of the people featured in this report by Bill Moyers' Journal in January ( http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01092009/watch3.html )  face prosecution for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly.

WHEN: Monday, June 22, 2009, 9:00 a.m. ET.

WHERE: Before Judge Richard H. Ringell in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Criminal Division, Courtroom 120.

BACKGROUND: On January 6, 2009, the first day of the 111th Congress, seventy people came to Washington D.C. from all over the United States to participate in the MARCH OF THE DEAD.   Their goal was to stage a peaceful protest displaying the ever-increasing death toll due to the AUDACITY OF WAR CRIMES committed by our government.  Their right to assemble and petition our government for redress of grievances was disrupted when the Capitol Police stopped the reading of the names of the dead from the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine.  Seventeen of them were arrested.
The question must be asked, especially, in light of the release of "torture memos" and all the other mounting evidence of crimes committed by the Bush administration: Why are people being prosecuted for speaking against crimes committed by government officials who remain free from prosecution themselves?


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