Saturday, October 23, 2010


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 try to 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].   


In July, members of NCNR sent a letter to Secretary of War Robert Gates asking for a meeting to discuss several matters, including the Pentagon’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.  The most important issue raised, though, was the Pentagon’s role in destroying the planet and contributing to climate chaos.  The activists did not receive a response.


WHAT:  On August 9 [Nagasaki Day], four NCNR members, Malachy Kilbride from Arlington, Virginia, Jay Fanning who traveled from Vermont, Joy First from Monona, Wisconsin and Max Obuszewski from Baltimore went to the Metro entrance to the Pentagon and informed members of the Pentagon Police that they were there seeking a meeting, as no response was received to the letter.  Rather then getting a meeting, the four citizen activists were arrested, charged with “failure to obey a lawful order” and scheduled to appear in court.  Also scheduled to appear were four Catholic Workers, Nancy Gowan, Chrissy Nesbitt, Art Laffin and Bill Frankel-Streit, who were arrested at the Pentagon on August 6 [Nagasaki Day]. 


The government dismissed charges against Fanning, Gowan, Kilbride and Nesbitt.  It is policy to dismiss charges against anyone arrested for the first time doing nonviolent action on the Pentagon Reservation.


First and Obuszewski then appeared before Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan, Pat Buchanan’s sister-in-law.  They were given a continuance until January 7, as the government was still doing research to obtain surveillance documents, intelligence reports, photographs and other material requested by the pro-se defendants as part of the discovery process.


After all other cases were concluded, Frankel-Streit and Laffin went on trial.  Both of the long-time activists were found guilty by Judge Buchanan and fined $30.


WHEN:  Friday, October 22, 2010


WHERE: U.S. District Court, 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, Virginia 22314


WHY:  Frankel-Streit and Laffin testified that the sin and war crimes the U.S. committed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the biblical imperative to repent and disarm brought them to the Pentagon on August 6.  Frankel-Streit indicated there is a legal mandate under international law to carry out nonviolent acts of resistance to prevent war crimes.


Laffin said an encounter with the Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) 32 years ago during the first UN Special Session on Disarmament was a life-changing experience. His meeting the Hibakusha was one on the main reasons why he has dedicated his life to working for disarmament and ending war. He then quoted from two popes: Paul VI said the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a "butchery of untold magnitude;" and John Paul II, upon visiting Hiroshima, declared, "To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war. To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace." The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker then showed the judge a photo of the destroyed city of Hiroshima and asked her to imagine all of Alexandria being incinerated.


This prompted her to speak about the 9/11 tragedy. In response, she was told the defendants pray and oppose all violence and are working to making sure there are no future Hiroshimas or 9/11s.


It was not unusual for Judge Buchanan to expose her bias.  Yet the analogy made no sense—the terror attack on 9/11 versus the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  There were at least twenty supporters in the courtroom, including a class from Aquinas College in Michigan.  So it is possible the number of supporters caused the judge to be relatively mellow. In the past, she has sent Frankel-Streit and other peacemakers to the Alexandria, Virginia Detention Center.


The prosecutors have agreed to do an extensive search to satisfy the Motion for Extended Discovery filed by First and Obuszewski, so the two NCNR activists decided not to go on trial until they obtain all surveillance and intelligence reports.  The Pentagon Police were presumably aware of the activists’ visit on August 9.  If the documents reveal that the Pentagon Police were aware that pacifists would be there to request a meeting, the pro-se defendants will question why then were they so quickly arrested?


Regardless of what happens during their January trial, First and Obuszewski will continue to speak out against the war machine which is brutally assaulting Mother Earth.  They are currently involved in organizing a climate chaos protest at the Pentagon in March 2011.


"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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