NSA Director has Five Members of Pledge of Resistance Arrested
October 4, 2003
Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore,
WHO: The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore was formed for individuals willing to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or to protest an invasion of Iraq. It is part of a national network, which was organized by long-time peace groups such as the American Friends Service Committee. On July 4, 2003, three Pledge activists were arrested near the National Security Agency by security forces denying a group of demonstrators from doing a protest on Route 32 outside the main gate. Those arrested were later released without charge.
WHAT: On September 24, 2003, the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore sent a letter to Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, the director of the NSA, requesting a meeting. The letter raised three major concerns: 1] the agency’s involvement in Justice Department plans to monitor and gather data about US citizens; 2] its role in the war against Iraq; and 3] the eavesdropping on the diplomatic delegations from several United Nations Security Council nations [first reported March 2, 2003 in the London-based Observer]. Since there was no response to the letter, fourteen Pledge members went to the spy agency to seek a meeting with the director. However, they were not permitted any where near the NSA, and five of them were arrested and charged with trespass.
WHEN: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 1:45 PM
WHERE: near the National Security Agency, 9800 Savage Road, Fort Meade, Maryland
WHY: The visit to the National Security Agency was part of October 4-11 KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE WEEK, organized by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN) in conjunction with affiliates around the world. [CONTACT: Bruce Gagnon (207) 729-0517.] The International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space occurred in 10 nations and at over 61 locations.
Those arrested, Marilyn Carlisle, Cindy Farquhar, Jay Gillen, Max Obuszewski and Levanah Ruthschild, welcome an opportunity to appear in federal court to challenge the illegal work of the NSA. The trespass charge will never stand up in court, as security forces cannot deny citizens an opportunity to petition government agencies.
There is no date yet set for the case, which would occur in federal court in Baltimore.
The Pledge feels it is extremely necessary to challenge any further erosion of Constitutional rights.