Thursday, June 7, 2007

CODEPINK, Scooter and Pink Profiling

Medea Benjamin

It’s great being back at the CODEPINK house in DC and jumping back into the thick of the anti-war rabble-rousing.

On Tuesday we started out bright and early at the Court House where Scooter Libby was going to be sentenced. There were a group of about 10 of us, and I decided to go inside while the others stayed outside with dozens of press teams from all the major tv networks. Trying to court the press, we had brought them a platter of Danish and coffee for the press. They unfurled our big banner that had two columns: One said “Done” and included the names of Libby, Rummy and Wolfie; the other said “To Do”, with Rove, Condi, Dick and Rummie. It’s our checklist for some of the mega-liars who should all be behind bars.

I went through security with no problem, went up to the fifth floor where the courtroom was, and waltzed into the room before the judge arrived. It was an electric atmosphere—Scooter’s family in the first row, then several rows of press, then the public. I’m starting to recognize the faces of the press—Dana Milbank from the Washington Post seems to be warming up to us—he must have seen our Danish platter and coffee downstairs and asked me why I didn’t bring them up. Nina Totenberg from NPR is never very warm and fuzzy, but she was wearing a pink and white checkered dress with a pink jacket, which I took as a friendly sign. I recognized Michael Izikoff, the Newsweek writer who provoked riots when he wrote that a Guantanamo guard flushed the Koran down the toilet. I wanted to talk to him, but his ear seemed attached to his Blackberry every time I approached him.

I got one of the last open seats. As I was sitting there minding my own business and reading the Washington Post while waiting for the hearing the start, the bailiff singled me out: “You can’t be here in that shirt,” he said. I asked him what he didn’t like about my sleeveless CODEPINK: Women for Peace t-shirt. “Is it that my bra is sticking out?” I asked, somewhat seriously. I thought perhaps there was some courtroom decorum that didn’t allow sleeveless shirts. But no, it was the CODEPINK: Women for Peace that was the threat to our justice system. He tried to get me to leave, but I luckily had another shirt in my purse (I have started carrying them around for precisely such instances) and quickly put it over my offensive CODEPINK shirt.

The bailiff left, but came back a minute later. “I was told to tell you, ma'am, that if you speak out or anything like that, I’m gonna have to take you out,” he said sternly. I wondered if he meant “take me out” and shoot me, or “take me out” and arrest me or what, but I just smiled and assured him I was simply there to witness the sentencing.

Meanwhile, downstairs, the CODEPINK ladies were having a harder time. Pink profiling has become a daily occurrence for us! Three of them tried to get into the courthouse to go to the bathroom but were stopped at the front entrance. The guard was on the walkie-talkie with his supervisor, who was saying, “If they’re wearing pink shirts, they cannot come in.” It even included plain pink shirts with no writing on them! The women were amazed. They yelled and screamed that this was a violation of their rights, that it was ridiculous, that it couldn’t possibly be legal to keep people out for wearing a particular color, but they got nowhere. They demanded to speak to the supervisor but he was no better. “You can’t come in with those shirts,” he insisted, “You’ll have to take them off to get in.” So they did. They stripped to their bras! But even that didn’t work, as they were accused of indecent exposure!

Meanwhile, back upstairs, the judge finally ruled to give Libby a sentence of 30 months and $250,000. I thought that was great, and ran downstairs to tell the folks, who were already chanting, “Libby got 30 months for his crime, now Cheney and Bush should be doing time.”

The press was gathered in full force in front of the courthouse waiting to catch Libby, but he snuck out the side entrance. Liz and I dashed around the side and managed to “catch him” as he was running to his car. We yelled that we were glad he was going to jail for his lies, that he should take Dick Cheney with him, that the whole lot of them were a bunch of liars, that thanks to their lies, soldiers and Iraqis were dying.


Some people told me later that they thought we were too harsh on the poor guy, that they felt sorry for him taking the fall for Rove and Cheney and Bush; that he has a wife and young kids. I didn’t feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for the millions of Iraqis whose lives have been so utterly destroyed by these guys….


Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

charles stuthard said...

I also think Libby got exactly what he deserved, "fall guy" or not. He made a choice to be complicit with the lies and deception that has cost many courageous and honest men and women their lives. Shame on him! No integrity = no sympathy!