On the 7th anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, eight people were arrested in front of the White House protesting the continuing crimes—you know that place! It’s a big White House—as a matter of fact it’s a HUGE White House in the middle of a park-like estate where heavily armed thugs protecting war criminals roam. It’s okay to stop and gawk and take pictures if you are decked out in Hawaiian shirts or sundresses, but exercising fundamental rights to free speech or to peaceably assemble is not.
On March 20th, about 8000 people attended a permitted and almost lethargically tame protest in Lafayette Park, which is next to the HUGE White House. Then there was a march around in circles that landed the protest right back in front of the White House. Four people decided to lie down on the sidewalk in protest (four out of 8000), and four of us decided to cross the police line (a metal barrier on the sidewalk between the street and the high iron-barred, sniper guarded fence that surrounds the HUGE White House), to try and join the measly four that were lying there begging people to join them.
I was one of the ones arrested for crossing the police line. I did not push the barrier down, but when it fell, I crossed—I was immediately body slammed and arrested. That was at approximately 2:44pm. An amended police report misleadingly lied and said that I was given three warnings to leave—I was not and subsequent evidence shows that the warnings to disperse over the bullhorn didn’t even begin until after I had been arrested. Once anyone in authority is caught in a lie—from president to the police—everything that is claimed from thereafter is immediately open for suspicion.
So, after our arrests for infractions, we were processed at the Park Police Station in Anacostia, and six of us were transferred to lock-up where we spent the next approximately 45 hours (we already spent about eight hours at Anacostia). Why were six of us held and two released? The police said because the two that were released “lived in DC” and us out-of-towners couldn’t leave until we saw a judge.
WE WERE ARRESTED FOR INFRACTIONS! Why isn’t the DC lockup constantly filled to bursting with out-of-towners who commit infractions: jaywalking, running a stop sign, speeding, littering, etc? Because as one officer "kindly" pointed out to me a few years back when I was protesting in front of the Lincoln Memorial one night: I am not "normal" because I am a "protester." It's a sad commentary that "protesters" are not considered "normal" in a society that was built on the foundation of a Bill of Rights.
We “Peace Criminals” were to be back in DC tomorrow, June 10th (two from Pennsylvania; one from DC; three from NY State, and me from California), at great inconvenience, and sometimes at great expense, for our trial. When we were arraigned on Monday, March 22nd, the prosecution gave all of my co-defendants the opportunity to “pay and forfeit” with “time served.” Except me—I was forced to return to DC for trial, even though one of the other detainees, Elaine Brower, has far more arrests in DC than I do. All of the other defendants rejected that offer in order to stand up for our rights and for what IS right.
All together with the judge, defendants, prosecutor, and defense lawyer, we picked the date of June 10th. We didn't just pull that rabbit out of a hat--EVERYONE agreed on that date. We arranged a legal team; and I raised money for my travel expenses and legal fees for the Peace of the Action defendants (three of us). As of Monday of this week, our lawyer had been in touch with the judge and everything was hunky-dory and the trial was on.
I had an early flight out of Sacramento this morning and on my way to the airport at 6am, I got a message from one of our lawyers that the trial was going to be continued because a judge couldn’t be found due to some “judge’s conference.” So, from Monday to Wednesday, a Judge Convention (golf games?) arose which necessitated the postponement of our trial? I would like to believe that’s true, but with all of the other harassment and outright lies put together, I logically doubt the integrity of the court system. Not to mention, the officer at the Park Police station who practically admitted that I was being singled out for harassment when he said, "If you would stop protesting this stuff would stop happening to you."
Not only all of the above, but I am calling for more protests in DC from July 4th to July 17th and I have a “stay away order” from the perimeter of the White House which includes the sidewalk in Lafayette Park that borders Pennsylvania Avenue. The order is in place until our trial—whenever that is going to be. This stay away order will seriously hamper and limit my right to free speech.
I call “Shenanigans” on the entire episode—the system knows that we are correct about the wars and they know that our civil rights have been violated. The system should be on trial—not we anti-war activists.
A nation built on lies seldom, if ever, wants to hear the truth.
UPDATE: THE "LEGAL" SYSTEM IN DC IS SAYING THAT WE PROBABLY CAN'T RESCHEDULE THE TRIAL (FOR AN INFRACTION) UNTIL AUGUST, SEPTEMBER OR OCTOBER. THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE FINANCIALLY AND CONSTITUTIONALLY. SINCE I HAVE ALREADY LOST HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON AIR-FARE AND DAYS OUT OF MY LIFE THAT I WILL NEVER GET BACK, ETC FOR THIS TRIAL, I AM DEMANDING MY SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL TO BE HELD WHEN I AM IN DC FOR SIZZLIN' SUMMER PROTESTS IN JULY.
THEY WANT TO BREAK ME, BUT I WASN'T BROKEN WHEN THEY KILLED MY SON--WHAT DO THEY THINK THEY CAN DO TO ME NOW?