from the people's front lines
* From: Dan
Midge is a friend who is an active veteran for peace. Here is her latest
Yesterday, I was in yet another Congressional hearing to remind our elected
representatives that they have an obligation to listen to the American
people who voted to end the war in Iraq, bring the troops home and to take
care of those soldiers when they get here. I attended a House Appropriation
Defense sub-committe hearing about the Army's portion of the Iraq War
supplemental funding. I was allowed to stand in the back of the room with a
shirt that said "NO $$$ for WAR". I was silent throught most of the hearing,
but often made hand gestures such as thumbs up, thumbs down, peace signs, or
clapping motions. At end of the hearing, before Rep. Murtha (D - NY) could
say adjourned, I spoke up (as if it were my turn as a U.S. Congresswoman)
and asked a direct question to General Schoomaker, "General, why is the Army
returning soldiers to the battlefield without treament for
post traumatic stress, and how do you think that effects military
readiness..." then I added, "Mr Chairman, I yield back the rest of my time!"
I think that last line caught all the Representatives off guard... while I
was speaking Murtha was shaking his finger at me and saying, "Ma'am, ma'am"
but he never banged his gavel or made a move to remove me from the hearing.
Of course, he quickly adjourned after that. I felt like I was applying my
own priciples of "Direct Democracy" in an entirely new way. I mean, since I
didn't have any representation in that hearing (Roy Blunt wasn't on that
committee), why shouldn't I be allowed to represent myself.?
The neatest part was that I got to see that hearing on C-Span last night and
hear my comments... that's the first time I actually got to see the results
of one of my actions on C-Span although I have seen many of my friends like
Ann Wright, Zool, and Gael interrupting hearings from time to time.
At the same time as that was going on, several members of CodePINK were in
the Senate Armed Services committe hearing on pre-war intelligence. Many of
them wore messages on their shirts as well. Apparently, it was a very
informative hearing. Here is a report from my friend Lori Perdue
The day before that, I took the morning off and did not attend any
hearings... I was saving my energy for the action I had planned to do later
that afternoon at the WAR-Tech Fair. but several members of CodePINK were in
the Senate hearing where Condoleeza Rice was testifying, and Medea Benjamin
was photographed for the cover of The Hill Newspaper holding up a sign that
said "NO IRAN WAR" behind Condi.
In the afternoon on Thursday, I attended the WAR-Tech Fair which was being
held in the Dierksen Senate office building. There were quite a few of us
CodePINK ladies there bearing stickers that said "Arms are for hugging"...
so we sang a little song about it and tried to give everyone in the room
hugs... it was kind of funny. But the event itself was not funny at all...
senate staffers and others appeared to be having fun trying all the
high-tech exhibits which included robotic fighting machines and mock missle
launchers with which you could shoot dummy people in the balcony. There were
also about a dozen video screens where participants could "train" for
missions in Iraq... these were the same kind of "first-person shooter" video
games that the Army sends to 16 year olds everyday in their military
So, I had a plan of my own in order to remind people that these higg-tech
gadgets were not toys, but killing machines. I came prepared with a t-shirt
under my jacket that said, "INNOCENT CIVILLIAN KILLED IN IRAQ" and also had
prepared a packet of "blood" (Corn Syrup and red food coloring). In the
middle of the WAR-Tech show I suddenly popped my blood-packet and fell to
the ground and posed as if I were dead with my eyes wide open and my tongue
hanging out. Lori Perdue was my voice and started announcing to the crownd
that "this is what happens everyday in Iraq... a hundred times over... these
are killing machines." Of course, the Capitol Police reacted pretty
quickly... ran over and told me to get up... they were kind of freaked out
and asked Gael Murphy if I was okay because I looked fucked up with "blood"
soaking my shirt and oozing out onto the floor... I felt somebody take my
pulse. One of the cops said he was going to give me three warnings then I
would be arrested... so, I got up on the second warning hopping to avoid
arrest. The police detained me for about 15 minutes and debated on charging
me with "property destruction" because the "blood was all over the carpet...
they didn't believe me that it was just corn syrup... however, Medea & Sonia
and other CodePINKers acted quick to grab napkins and clean up the mess
despite police orders to leave it be... thanks ladies. Finally, I was
escorted out of the building and released... satisfied that I had made an
impression on those attending the event, I went home to clean myself up... I
was a bloody mess!
A lot has happened this week...
Monday, I got arrested with 9 others including 2 time Nobel Peace Prize
nominnee, Kathy Kelly.
Tuesday, I spent most of the day in DC Superior Court supporting Eve Tatez
and Ellen Barfield who were the only two of us arrested monday that were
made to stay in DC Central Detention Center over night because they both
have other pending civil disobedience cases. They are both going to fight
the charge of Unlawful Assembly, and will be in court for trial March 8th.
The coolest part was when the judged told Eve, age 75, that if she got
arrested again before her court dates that she would have to stay in jail...
Eve replied that she could not promise that because if the U.S. attacks Iran
she will probably commit some act of civil disobedience... the judged tried
not to laugh, and asserting his authority replied that she better take him
seriously, but Eve kept staying that she could not stand idly by while
innocent women & children are killed. She is my hero of the week!!!
Wednesday, 8 of us CodePINK women represented our anti-war views in a House
Armed Services hearing, while at the same time Dave Barrows was single
handedly disrupting that day's Condoleeza Rice testimony with a chant of "N
MORE TORTURE, NO MORE LIES!"
The Washington Post wrote a good story about the CodePINK action inside the
Armed Services hearing:
At Iraq Hearing, Protest Shushed But Not Halted
Thursday, February 8, 2007; Page A19
Pink-clad war protesters applauded, chimed in repeatedly and stood for hours
in the back row holding up peace signs -- but were only mildly chastised
yesterday by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton
> (D-Mo.) at a
hearing with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Continue reading this article...
Well, that's about it... there is actually a lot more that happened of which
I will probably blog more later including a chance encounter with my own
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill in the halls of the Hart Senate office
building. What I have detailed here is just the tip of the iceberg...
besides the direct actions going on insdie Congressional hearings, there
have been many more people wandering the halls of Congress lobbying the
Representatives directly via meetings scheduled and unscheduled.
Stay tuned... next week The Occupation Project will continue, and many of us
hope to keep up this sustained presence in the committee rooms of our
Peace & Freedom,