Thursday, June 14, 2007

Action at Lieberman’s office on 6-14-07

By Susan O.

Earlier in the week, Lieberman had called for a bombing of the country of Iran. This inspired Leslie, who was staying at Code Pink House, to go on a fast until she could talk to Lieberman herself about these threats he made. Leslie had just returned from a trip to Iran with Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Here is what the foreign press reported on Lieberman’s comments:

From Asia Times: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

US Senator Joseph Lieberman's call for cross-border bombing raids into Iran appears to be the culmination of a two-week campaign by proponents of war to put the military option center-stage in the US debate over Iran once more. The immediate effect of reigniting the let's-bomb-Iran discussions is the undercutting of the recently initiated US-Iran talks over Iraq, which in turn will cause the military confrontation with Iran to be viewed in a new light. Lieberman out-hawked the administration of President George W Bush on the television news show Face the Nation this past Sunday by calling for "aggressive military action against the Iranians", including "a strike over the border into Iran". Repeating accusations - by now all but abandoned by the Bush administration - of Iranian complicity in the killing of US soldiers in Iraq, the Connecticut senator's comments caused a storm on Monday. Suddenly, the military option against Iran was once more at the center of the United States' Iran debate.

Yes, the world has noticed that Lieberman is calling for the bombing of Iran. Didn’t we learn in kindergarten not to threaten other people with harm?

Leslie and some other Code Pink women went to Lieberman’s office on Monday, June 11, to hold a fast and sit in until Lieberman agreed to meet with them directly. The office staff arranged a meeting for 4:30 PM on Thursday for Leslie and two others. This meeting was arranged directly with Lieberman.

During the week, there was lots of research done on Iran (like: Iran has not invaded or attacked another country in 200 years, except in response to other country’s aggression.) They researched comments made about Iran by Lieberman and other presidential candidates for 2008. There were pictures printed up, some laminated, one framed for this office visit. There were cloth signs made, saying things like “Iranians are my sisters” and “Don’t Iraq Iran” that people could pin to their shirts. They did press work, and they did outreach to local activists. Code Pink told their email contacts about what was going to happen. On the morning of June 14, we got word that the meeting was canceled.

After some discussion, the Code Pink women decided to go ahead with going to Lieberman’s office at the original appointment time. There were between 50 to 60 people there, and I counted eleven cops at one point that were just around me. Karendc did some live blogging on the event on Daily Kos from the hallway.

Just before 5 PM, staff at Lieberman’s office agreed to meet with three people (Leslie, Robert Naimen of Just Foreign Policy, and another guy whose name I do not have). Out in the hallway, the rest of us started a discussion on Iran and Iraq. One Iranian-American said he was embarrassed when he went to Tehran because of America’s actions. Someone spoke of their trip to Iran with Fellowship of Reconciliation. Code Pink encouraged people to sign their list and include contact information. An Iranian-American woman spoke of her love for both countries. She also commented on how our country is becoming despised around the world and how Iraq shows that war does not work. Medea read what Lieberman had said – Medea pointed out that Lieberman claims he has irrefutable evidence that Iran is making nuclear bombs, and she asked “where have we heard that before?” An activist from Portland was there and spoke about sanctuary movement for US soldiers who are going into the Iraq war.

A man named Ri’ed commented on WMDs in the USA. He said as a Muslim, he does not see a future for his children in this country, mainly due to financial reasons. He had gone to India and learned about Gandhi, and he says he will not pay taxes for war. Rae spoke as an Israeli-American and said that war on Iran will not make Israel safer, and as a Jew she found Lieberman’s statements outrageous. An Iranian said that Lieberman claimed that governments in the Middle East are concerned about Iran, and that these governments would be puppet governments. Robert Naiman (Just World News) said that it was very unfortunate timing in Lieberman’s comments, since we are just starting dialogue with Iran in Iraq recently. This was very counter-productive. He said that Lieberman is attempting to sabotage these efforts. He reported that Lieberman’s staff said this was not the intention, but this could be the consequence.

Leslie reported that in the meeting, she asked Lieberman to go to Iran, and she further asked that Lieberman prove that Iran is killing US soldiers. She stressed PROVING IT because she said that much of what has been told us about Iran is just a lie. She also stressed that the people of Iran were warm and welcoming to her without exception. She shared photographs that she took in Iran and said that we need diplomacy, not warmongering. She was very emotional. Leslie had done five days of fasting at this point.

Medea said that she felt we had brought a warm heart to the cold halls of congress and that she felt we were heard, thanks to all the people that were there. At the end, there were still 35 people in the hallway, but some had already left. The photo above is taken outside Lieberman’s office of some of the participants.

UPDATE: The US House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution that asks the UN Security Council to charge Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Genocide Convention, because he reported said that Israel should be wiped off the map. From an explanation by Prof. Juan Cole, this meant that Ahmadinejad felt that the country of Israel (not the citizens) did not have a right to exist and the “map” of the area should be restored to its former name, meaning that Israel would again be called Palestine. I do not agree with Ahmadinejad about the status of Israel or what it should be “restored” to – or to calling for the end of the Israel government. However, this is not calling for the killing of the people that live there. It is calling for the end of the government of Israel, which reminds me A LOT of the calling of certain states an “Axis of Evil” and calling for the end of the Saddam regime. What is really rich in this article is that it claims this is a step to use the instruments of international law against Teheran!! Like anyone in the US Congress ever cared about INTERNATIONAL LAW! Why, our press does not even know that such a thing exists! And what about Lieberman and McCain calling for the bombing of Iran – isn’t that a violation of international law? Isn’t that worse than calling for the end of the Israeli government? When did Ahmadinejad call for the invasion or bombing of Israel in public? Never, as far as I know.

Hypocrisy lives.

1 comment:

Janet Weil said...

Great post on an important action. Leslie called me yesterday; I told her that we Code Pinkers in the Bay Area are so proud of her initiative and dedication! Thanks to all who went with her and who continue to work on this crucial effort of preventing YET ANOTHER WAR. I am reading "Target Iran" by Scott Ritter, with strong arguments against military action attacking Iran; I'll email Leslie talking points from that tomorrow.

Proud of all my friends and allies at the Code Pink House! - Janet