Seasons of Discontent–A Presidential Occupation Project
On November 9, Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Des Moines-based Catholic Peace Ministry began a new campaign, a Presidential Occupation Project (SODaPOP), to place the the Iraq war in the center of Iowa’s presidential caucus, and to call for an immediate end to all war funding and the occupation. Targetting the campaigns of front-runners Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani, ten activists were arrested for a sit-in at Giuliani’s campaign headquarters and nine were arrested at Clinton’s campaign office. From December 31st until January 3rd, activists occupied four offices of leading presidential candidates in Iowa. Members of the campaign visited former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (Dec 31), Governor Mitt Romney and Sen. Barack Obama (Jan 2), and Sen. Hillary Clinton (Jan 3). In total, 15 members of SODaPOP were arrested. The demands of the campaign to the presidential candidates are a complete withdrawal of
the U.S. military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan within 100 days of assuming the office of President and a halt to any and all military actions against Iraq and Iran. (see complete set of demands: For more info: http://vcnv.org/sodapop-demands)
Holy Innocent Faith and Resistance Retreat
From December 27-30, between 70 and 100 people gathered in D.C. for the Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance Retreat sponsored by Jonah House and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. On Dec. 28, the anniversary of the slaughter of the holy innocent by King Herod, a witness was held at the Pentagon to remember the war refugees– every bit the victims of Empire of today as the Christ child was of the Roman empire.
A large horse and donkey puppet reminded us that all creation is endangered by the Pentagon and its wars. Several people participated in a die-in. Sr. Margaret McKenna, Aaron Weiss, Tom Lewis, Marcus Melder, and Liz McAlister were arrested. On March 21, 2008 at their hearing at the Alexandria Federal Court, Tom, Aaron and Marcus were dismissed. Liz and Margaret were found guilty and fined $100.
On December 30, the Jonah House donkey joined Mary, Joseph and the Jesus, as we walked through Lafayette Park to the White House. Continuing the theme of the retreat, we were accompanied by many war refugees to the “Refugee Camp” tent set up in front of the White House. The donkey was given a ban and bar from the District of Columbia, and Patrick O’Neill and Eve Tetaz were arrested at the White House. Their charges were dismissed. For more info: http://jonahhouse.org.
Ghosts of War Activists to be Tried
On March 12, Maria Allwine, Ellen Barfield, Tim Chadwick, Joy First, Judith Kelly, Art Landis, Linda Letendre, Max Obuszewski, Manijeh Saba and Eve Tetaz, were arrested in the gallery of the U.S. Senate. They acted as the “Ghosts of the Iraq War” and stood up individually to announce “I am a ghost from the Iraq War. While I died needlessly, I am here to demand an end to the funding of the war so that others do not have to die.” The defendants are facing a charge of disorderly conduct/disruptive conduct, which carries a possible sentence of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. They will have a status hearing on July 16 and be tired sometime in the Fall.