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DAVID BARROWS – continued from June 2015 issue pdf page 2

In addition to community service, D.C. Superior Court Judge Neil Kravitz ordered David not to enter the two congressional office buildings where he stood up in protest on the two occasions — the Rayburn House Office Building and the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Kravitz said David would still be free to go to Capitol Hill to conduct “legal” protests outside any congressional building, as well as at the U.S. Supreme Court. No fine was imposed, but David will have to pay $50 into a crime victims’ compensation fund.

The government did not seek any jail time or fine for his guilty plea. The judge did impose a 30-day jail term, but suspended it in its entirety.

David Barrows shown here (center) with Attorney Mark Goldstein and David Hanrahan to his left, along with 14 of David's most fervent supporters outside the courtroom following the proceeding’s conclusion. Alli McCracken of Code Pink.

David Barrows shown here (center) with Attorney Mark Goldstein and David Hanrahan to his left, along with 14 of David’s most fervent supporters outside the courtroom following the proceeding’s conclusion. Alli McCracken of Code Pink.

Eighteen supporters who attended the proceedings were jubilant for a relieved David, who could have faced up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. David has expressed at congressional hearings what so many of us think and feel about U.S. militarism and our endless wars. Now we need to thank him for standing up for us, and for confronting the warfare state.

David, who represented himself (pro se), was aided by attorney Mark Goldstone who served as David’s courtroom legal adviser. Both gave statements to the court before the sentencing.

Mark was particularly eloquent in describing David as a person of principle who stands up and speaks out in the face of government criminality and misconduct, When David stood up at a congressional hearing last September, he was protesting a “rush” to more U.S. military involvement in Middle East wars.

David and other concerned anti-war activists believe in abiding by the Nuremberg Principles and “choose not to remain silent” when their government commits to endless war, Mark said. [Ed. Note: Mark Goldstone’s statement, somewhat edited, is reproduced below.]

David told the court that a majority of District of Columbia citizens oppose war, yet have no representation in the Senate or House of Representatives to turn to when Congress or the President threaten more military action. Since many D.C. citizens are members of the military and can be called on to fight and die in wars, and because D.C. residents have no one in congress to turn to be their voice against war, this necessitates protests at congressional hearings and elsewhere.

The offense to which David pleaded guilty comes under a D.C. — not federal — statute and relates to David’s very brief, nonviolent statement from the audience at a hearing on ISIL before the House Armed Services Committee on September 18, 2014. Specifically, he was charged with “unlawful conduct in violation of D.C. Code & 10-503.16(b)(4).”

In the February 2015 incident at a Senate hearing, David spoke out briefly against the deliberate misrepresentation of the situation of prisoners held at Guantanamo who had been cleared for release five years ago. With today’s plea bargain, that case is disposed of.

Copyright © 2015 InTowner Publishing Corp. & John Hanrahan. All rights reserved.


Statement Submitted to the Court by Mark Goldstone, Esq. on Behalf of David Barrows

“Your Honor I have known David Barrows for many years. And I respect his work. In fact, I spoke on a panel on activism just this week with him at Potters House in Adams Morgan.

“I note that David has more than a dozen supporters in Court today. David likes to protest by using street theater. He often uses costumes, masks and props to illustrate his political point. He told you that he has a Masters in Teaching. Well — he believes that a picture is worth a thousand words. David always acts completely non-violently. He speaks truth to power.

“The Government alleged that he shouted in the Congressional hearing while then Secretary of Defense Hagel was testifying about going to war in the Middle East against Isis/Isil. He wasn’t shouting. He was speaking loudly, in “full voice” in his loud operatic voice.

“When David is attending a hearing and hears something from the Government that he believes is a lie, he will speak up. He follows the adage “if you see something, say something.” He takes very seriously his obligations as a United States citizen. He is an active citizen. Also, as a DC resident with no voice in Congress he is well aware of that special obligation as DC sends its citizens to war and pays taxes for defense with no Congressional representation.

“And David takes seriously his responsibilities under the Nuremberg Principles. These were established during the prosecution of Nazi war criminals and state that it is not a defense for a soldier to say “I was only following orders.” David believes that Nuremberg stands for the principle that all citizens are personally responsible for the actions of their government and are complicit in their government’s violations unless they oppose the policies by speaking up against them; that there are personal individual obligations, responsibilities, and guilt to not oppose your governments unlawful action.

“In David’s case he opposed the rush to war against Isis/Isil. A few journalists were beheaded; nothing was done, there was outrage that nothing was done and all of a sudden we are back at war in the Middle East. There was no declaration of war, no real Congressional debate. David reminded Congress of its solemn responsibly under the Constitution of its role to declare war. And also under Article 6 Section 2 of the Constitution — the Supremacy clause — the United States is bound to observe treaties that have been ratified. David believes that the U.S. has not been observing signed treaties, and by going to war without proper debate and authorization. He believes the U.S. Congress is abdicating its responsibility by rushing into war again without Constitutional support by means of a declaration of war. David knows the authorization for the use of military force was based on a hasty response to 9/11 and has nothing to do with events in Syria and Iraq against Isil/Isis.

“Much later, after David and others spoke out, Congress did finally pass a lawful authorization for the use of military force against Isis/Isil. And they no longer relied upon the post 9/11 authorization. So David spoke a few words in a Congressional hearing informing them of their Constitutional obligations. And for this brief statement to Congress for which they could have warned him or banned him from the room or detained him briefly, the Government chose to arrest and prosecute him to the fullest extent.”

Copyright © 2015 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Mark Goldstone. All rights reserved.