Below is Ed Kinane’s Court Statement on the charge of Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct for holding a banner saying “STOP THE KILLING!” in a House Approprations Committee hearing

28 MARCH 2006


[March 8 action with Mike Ferner of Toledo at the House Appropriations Committee hearing, Rayburn office building. I went pro se; Mike was defended pro bono by DC activist attorney Mark Goldstone. This misdemeanor carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.]


Since the seventies I have been an activist in the tradition of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Henry David Thoreau.

In February 2003 ˆ on the brink of the invasion ˆ I went to Iraq with the human rights group. Voices in the Wilderness.

I was there for several months before, during, and after “Shock and Awe.”

My housemate in Baghdad, a young Iraqi named Haythem Jabouri, also committed to nonviolence, was incarcerated in Abu Ghraib during the occupation.

My closest Iraqi friend, Ghareeb Ramadan, was killed in an ambush during the occupation.

Since returning to the States I have been active opposing the war.

The Iraq war, I believe, was unprovoked.

It is also illegal, immoral, costly and unfathomably destructive and lethal.

The ongoing war, now in its fourth year — was based on lies.

It certainly has been enormously profitable for corporations with close ties to the Bush administration.

I believe the invasion and occupation have done immense damage to the standing of my country in the eyes of the world.

This February 15 several of us began a liquid-only fast here in Washington.

I have not eaten a bite of food since that day.

Our group has been vigiling and flyering on the edge of the Capitol grounds since February 15th.

Our purpose has been to awaken U.S. people – especially Congress people – to the horror and stupidity of this war.

On March 8 I attended the evening session of the House Appropriations Committee in its deliberations regarding adding tens of billions of dollars to the Iraq War budget.

As the Appropriations Committee was about to vote on this matter, my involvement in this hearing was particularly timely.

My intention there was to unfurl a banner.

With your permission your honor, I would like to show you that banner.

[Judge agrees and I unfurl the banner.]


It was not my intention to disrupt the hearing.

Rather, I sought to influence the Appropriations Committee by standing up and silently displaying the banner.

[the prosecution, evidently confusing me with Mike (who at a point in the hearing when our own Representative Jim Walsh from central Mew York was speaking, began reading aloud the names of Iraqi and U.S. war dead), falsely alleged that I disrupted the hearing by “screaming.”]

I saw myself as petitioning my elected representatives, my government, for redress of a policy that grieves me enormously.

I think of my action – whether rightly or wrongly – as coming within the spirit of the First Amendment.

Although I could have sat much closer to the front of that large hearing room, I deliberately chose to sit in the very last row so as not to obstruct the view of anyone in the audience.

I did not intend to disturb the hearing room and I do not believe I did so.

If there was a disturbance, I believe it may have been caused in part by the rough manner in which my First Amendment speech was suppressed.

[Plain-clothed security cops were on top of us the moment I pulled my banner out of my daypack, and dragged us out of the hearing room. I didn’t resist.]

I plead “nolo contendere” because I can plead neither innocent nor guilty.

I can’t plead innocent because I indeed did try to unfurl my banner.

I can’t plead guilty because, examining my heart, I find no guilt.

I am not ashamed of my action;

I acted in full accord with my conscience.

May each of us do whatever we can to end this heinous war as soon as humanly possible.

[After I delivered my statement, Mike, a Veteran for Peace, read his.

In it he briefly described several maimed young men he attended while serving as a Navy corpsman during the Viet Nam War. This hospital experience had led him to leave the military as a conscientious objector. These memories, after 35 years, were so intense that as he read, Mike was overcome with tears.

Judge Milliken – ignoring the prosecution’s call for harsh sentences – gave both Mike and I “time served.”

My 41-day fast ended that afternoon. ]

KHLink to an article by Mike Ferner about the same incident: Four Words That Spoke Volumes

Ed Kinane lives in Syracuse, New York.