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Hawai'i resident jailed in protest
By Karen Blakeman
Retired Army officer and former career diplomat Ann Wright recently added a new experience to her varied background.
The Honolulu resident was arrested Sept. 26 in front of the White House while protesting with Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mom who has become a rallying point for the anti-war movement.
"It was my first time in the clink," Wright said.
Wright was held for eight hours and released from the Anacostia Processing Center at 4 a.m. She was ticketed for $50 and charged $25 in processing fees.
Among her observations: Flexicuffs, those plastic replacements for traditional handcuffs, "hurt like hell."
Wright, Sheehan and 371 other people were arrested outside the White House lawn for demonstrating without a permit.
"It won't be the last time," Wright said.
She said she was given a plastic identity bracelet — similar to those given to hospital patients — when she was processed to enter jail, and she plans to start collecting them.
"This war has got to stop, and nonviolent civil disobedience is the only way to get even a little bit of publicity," she said.
Wright served 29 years in the Army, 16 as a reservist, before retiring as a colonel.
She served 16 years as a U.S. diplomat.
Her assignments as a foreign service officer included re-opening the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
She was serving as chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia when the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. She resigned from the State Department in protest.
In June, a Washington hearing was held on the "Downing Street Memo" — British notes from eight months before the Iraqi invasion, in which Richard Dearlove, then head of the British foreign intelligence service, was quoted as saying that the United States was determined to depose Saddam Hussein through military action and that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Wright testified during the hearing, saying President Bush should be impeached.
Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, has called for an end to the war. Wright accompanied her to Crawford, Texas, for a sit-in near Bush's ranch, which Wright refers to as "26 days in the ditch, waiting to talk to the president."
Twelve thousand people participated.
After Crawford, Wright and other activists broke off into three groups and toured the country in buses, then went to Washington to join nearly 200,000 people for a war protest on Sept. 24.
The arrests took place the following Monday.
Reach Karen Blakeman at email@example.com.