WHO:The Baltimore Emergency Response Network and Baltimore's Jonah House have been organizing demonstrations at the National Security Agency since 1996.See James Bamford's book BODY OF SECRETS, which details the spy agency's response to these nonviolent protests.
On October 12, 2001, BERNmembers Ellen Barfield and Max Obuszewskiand Jonah House activists Sister Carol Gilbert, O.P. and Sister Ardeth Platte, O.P. went to the National Security Agency [9800 Savage Road, Fort Meade, Maryland], despite the fact the area was on highest alert. At , they walked through an open gate to try to deliver a letter to Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, head of the National Security
Agency, demanding a meeting. BERNhas tried to obtain a meeting with the director of the NSA each year since 1996.
breach alert was sounded, and at least nine vehicles, soldiers with drawn weapons and dogs soon arrived. The NSA officials would not permit a meeting with Gen. Hayden,
so Gilbert and Plattepoured their own blood on the asphalt to represent all victims of the NSA's work. Obuszewski held a sign "Unmask the Body
of Secrets...No Star Wars...Nonviolence Now...International Day of Protest - Oct. 12-13, 2001," while Barfield's banner read "No WarOn Afghanistan, Iraq, Whomever; No Spying, No Star Wars, Work for Peace, Please!"
Each demonstrator was arrested and charged with trespass [six months/$2500
fine], destruction of government property [one year] and conspiracy [1 to 5 years]. The protesters were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Baltimoreon March 22, 2002but the government never scheduled a trial.So today, one year after the arrest, it
can be stated that the case is officially dismissed
WHEN:Saturday, October 12, 2002
WHERE:It can only be speculated as to who made the decision not to prosecute.
WHY:The best guess would be that the National Security Agency recognized that the activists relished the
chance to go to court in order to highlight the immoral and illegal activities of the agency.Of course, the NSA failed
miserably in preventing the September 11 terror attack.So why give the activists a forum from which to speak out?
activists are continuing to risk arrest to protest the so-called "war on terror" and the upcoming invasion of Iraq. Obuszewski and Barfield, for example, were arrested on
October 1, 2002
at the Fallon Federal building in
as they attempted to meet with Louis Crocetti, the director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, to seek information about the treatment of the 9-11 detainees.However, after being incarcerated for about nine hours, they were released without charge.
Gilbert and Plattewere arrested on
October 6, 2002
after entering the N-8 missile silo in northern
as members of THE SACRED EARTH AND SPACE PLOWSHARES II.They are currently incarcerated in a county jail in
, charged with state felonies for trespass and criminal mischief, but are expecting additional federal felony charges.
Barfield was arrested with eleven others, including Susan
Crane of the Jonah House, on October 9 at the U.S. Capitol to protest the House & Senate votes for war.As it seems an
is inevitable, the Baltimore Emergency Response Network is organizing civil resistance actions.
Over 400 Marylanders have signed an Iraq Peace Pledge,
organized by the American Friends Service Committee and others, to take action to prevent an invasion of
.Many of the signers are from
.So local peace activists are gearing up to engage in risk-arrest direct action to speak out against a
bloody invasion of Iraq.