Saturday, 09 April 2011, Joy First
PENTAGON, WASHINGTON, DC – On April 8, 2011 at approximately noon, 25 civilian activists organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance arrived at the Pentagon to deliver a letter asking for a meeting with Secretary of War Robert Gates in order to discuss bringing an end to U.S. wars and the destruction of the environment resulting from military policies.
Within less than three minutes, with the activists peacefully requesting that the Secretary’s office receive their letter, Pentagon police officers swarmed the scene, violently moving the activists from the area. They were violently pushed and shoved, the activists said. Several activists reported that the police almost knocked them over. A number of individuals had their arms forcefully and painfully wrenched behind their backs. Eve Tetaz, 80, was pushed to the ground. As the officers pushed the citizens towards the police vans, they did not ever announce to any individuals that they were being arrested.
The protesters were taken to the Navy Annex for processing where they were given a warning for failure to obey a lawful order. Once the Pentagon Police had the names of all the activists, they searched their system and found that eight of the 25 had been arrested at the Pentagon in the past. Those eight individuals were then given a citation for “disorderly conduct”.
The eight activists, David Barrows, Joy First, Alice Gerard, Malachy Kilbride, Max Obuszewski, Ned Smith, Eve Tetaz, and Paki Weiland will take their case to the courts on June 3, 2011.
This action by the Pentagon Police was a blatant violation of their First Amendment rights. The activists were there within their legal rights, fulfilling their Nuremberg obligations, standing in a public access area. There was no disorderly conduct on the part of the activists. Rather, the police acted in a violent and unlawful manner towards the activists.
The citizen activists were attempting to bring to the attention of the Pentagon information on how the U.S. military uses more petroleum than any other single entity in the world, and it is responsible for releasing immeasurable amounts of lethal toxic chemicals into the air, soil and water in the course of maintaining military bases in the U.S. and around the world.
The Pentagon engages in rampant death and destruction in such countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen and other parts of the world. Besides the toxic chemicals, the military uses depleted uranium ammunition, with disastrous, long-term harmful health effects on all who inhale it and their offspring in the form of genetic defects. Most recently this illegal weapon is suspected to have been used in Libya. Thus, the activists were seeking a meeting with the Secretary of Defense to discuss both the excessive warmongering and the ecocide being committed against Mother Earth by the Pentagon.
This action was endorsed by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Climate SOS, Code Pink, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Jonah House, National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), Nukewatch, Peace Action, SOA Watch, Soulforce, United National Anti-war Committee, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Is A Crime.org, War Resisters League, Washington Peace Center, Witness Against Torture, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
-thanks to Joy First, one of the activists arrested