Rumsfeld has been replaced by Robert Gates, former CIA director. The timing could not be better! Below is the press release I wrote late Thursday afternoon.
Defendants Receive Mistrial in Rumsfeld Protest
WASHINGTON – Three peace and justice protestors tasted victory yesterday when a District of Columbia jury of 12 men and women failed to reach a verdict in their trial stemming from a nonviolent action on May 18 th at the residence of Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense.
The defendants were surprised by the deadlocked jury. After more than four hours of deliberation the six men, six women jury informed Associate Judge Harold Cushenberry Jr. of the D.C. Superior Court that they held strong opinions and could not reach a unanimous verdict. The charge leveled against David Barrows, Pete Perry and Mari Blome is a misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $100 fine.
The nonviolent protestors were arrested in the front yard of Rumsfeld's Northwest Washington , D.C. mansion by the Secret Service. Perry and Barrows, affiliated with the D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN), defended themselves. Blome, affiliated with Code Pink, was represented by Washington attorney Ann Wilcox.
The defendants won a stunning Thursday afternoon victory against prosecution, reinforcing the importance of First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and the right to petition a redress of grievances to the government.
"When the very courts of our nation, our Department of Justice, the president, and our own Congress lack the courage, ethics and principles to support the basic human rights for which this country was founded," Barrows said. "Then the responsibility falls on us, the people, to defend the Bill of Rights, and the Geneva Convention."
Blome, a peace and anti-torture activist from California, came to Washington in May, July and September to participate in many anti-war protests and nonviolent actions. Among these actions was a personal 19-day hunger strike done in conjunction with Code Pink's Troops Home Fast.
"We live in very serious times when there are no longer traditional avenues to redress our grievances, because of an unresponsive government," Blome said. "This includes a Congress who last month passed a law allowing the practice of torture."
The three activists are scheduled to appear at a status hearing on December 13th to determine if the government wishes to refile the charges against them.
The resignation of Rumsfeld is being recognized as an acknowledgement of failed international policies.