Judge Dismisses Cases Against Military Veterans and Antiwar Activists Following December 16 Washington, D.C., Arrests

Washington, D.C., January 4, 2011–Antiwar military veterans and other activists celebrated a breakthrough victory today in DC Superior Court, when charges were dropped, following arrests in front of the White House, on December 16, 2010. Over 130 people were arrested in a major veteran-led protest while participating in non-violent civil resistance in a driving snowstorm. U.S. Park Police charged all 131 protesters with “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” when they refused to move from the White House fence. The protesters were demanding an end to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further U.S. aggression in the region.

Among those arrested were members of the leadership of the national organization Veterans For Peace, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and, Dr. Margaret Flowers, an advocate for single-payer health care.

Forty-two of those arrested opted to appear in court and go to trial with the first group appearing in DC Superior Court on January 4, 2011. Prosecutors from the DC Attorney General’s office stated that the government “declined to file charges due to missing or incomplete police paperwork.” Presiding Magistrate Judge Richard Ringell confirmed that the cases were dropped and defendants were free to leave.

Those who participated in this action make this statement:

“This is clearly a victory for opposition to undeclared wars, which are illegal under international law, have led to the destruction of societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, bled the U.S. Treasury in a time of recession, and caused human rights violations against civilians and combatants. Many of us will return to Washington, D.C., to support an action on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, to protest the continued use of Guantanamo detention facility, including torture of detainees in violation of international law.”

The defendants were represented by co-counsels Ann Wilcox, Esq., and Mark Goldstone, Esq. Ms. Wilcox stated: “Clearly the government and police felt that these veterans and their supporters acted with the courage of their convictions and did not wish to spend the time and funds necessary for a trial proceeding. This is a major victory for the peace movement.”

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2 Responses to Judge Dismisses Cases Against Military Veterans and Antiwar Activists Following December 16 Washington, D.C., Arrests

  1. Markin says:

    We will take our victories, small legal victories as here or otherwise, whenever we can get them. Note also that this victory was really won in the streets, by the fact of taking the anti-war action to the streets, by the veterans and their supporters. These after all were winter soldiers. The task started on the 16th, however, is still ahead- Obama- Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Iraq and Afghanistan!

  2. Dave Ross - Vets for Peace says:

    The “Veteran Led” Demonstration on 12/16 did not happen according to the official historic record of the national media in America. It appeared on no major network or in any high circulation newspaper. Future historians will not find it recorded in the usual places. History was expunged before it was even recorded. That is how thorough the government / corporate news blackout was. Its thoroughness was worthy of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.
    I believe we were not tried by the government because they did not wish a forum in which the story might yet see the light of day and secondly which could cause the public to wonder why they never heard about it in the first place. The government decided to quit while they were ahead.
    Freedom of the press, at least in the traditional sense, is dead. This fact in theory makes free speach, assembly and petition for redress of grievences irrelivant. I’ll skip the rest for now but basically the Bill of Rights is dead and with it the Constitution. There is no social contract – we now live in a corporate ologarchy.
    Fortunately, my son and daughter cheered me up. “Dad, T.V. and newspapers are so yesterday – nobody looks at that garbage anymore – we get everything online.” And so they / we do. Alternitve online press, Facebook, Youtube, Tweet – it’s all there, we are in transition. More people I know heard about the demo than I would have expected and most commented that it wasn’t covered in the regular media and that’s how the government wants to keep things, as little coverage as possible, so no trials.

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