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Anti-War Activists Confront Foreign Relations Committee, Demand No More Taxpayer 'Blood Money'
Activists scatter blood money in Senate hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan
WASHINGTON - May 21 - A group of anti-war protesters challenged U.S. senators Thursday during a foreign relations committee meeting chaired by Senator John Kerry (D Mass.) held at the Dirksen Building. Four were arrested as the committee discussed future U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
Among those arrested, were DC resident Eve Tetaz, 77, Ellen Barfield, 52 of Baltimore, Md., and Stephen Mihalis, 52 from Elmyria, Ohio who interrupted the hearing by throwing money stained with the blood of Tetaz and Barfield in the room.
"Stop pouring blood money into warfare," Tetaz shouted as she and the two other activists were quickly taken from the hearing and arrested.
DC resident, Pete Perry, 39, repeated Senator Kerry's own words spoken at the height of the Vietnam War: "How do you ask someone to be the last American soldier to die for a mistake?"
"We are here to tell the Senate they must stop automatically approving more blood money for these disastrous occupations," said Barfield, a US Army veteran. "Bring all the troops home now!"
Barfield, Mihalis, and Perry are all members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, which has as its mission the ending of aggressive and immoral wars and holding those in government, responsible for such policies, accountable to law. This group is dedicated to the teachings of nonviolence of Gandhi, King and Dorothy Day.
This week the Senate is expected to pass its version of the war funding supplemental, totaling approximately $91 billion. Last week the House passed a $96.7 billion version of the supplemental, with only 51 anti-war Democrats voting against it.
Other anti-war activists speaking out during the hearing included members of Code Pink Women for Peace and Peace Action, member groups of the United for Peace and Justice coalition. Among this national coalition's demands regarding Afghanistan are the fact that most Afghans want the US troops out, the realization that the presence of US troops is the cause of violence for ordinary Afghans, not the solution, and that an occupation by US military forces will not resolve the crisis.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.