If the United States attacks Iraq, a former president of the Pacific
Exchange plans to participate in nonviolent demonstrations aimed at shutting
down San Francisco's Financial District, including his former employer.
Warren Langley of San Francisco, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was president
of the exchange from 1996 to 1999, will work with Direct Action to Stop the
War, the activists organizing civil disobedience on the first business day
after a U.S. attack.
"I felt I needed to do something more than marching in a demonstration,
more than talking to my friends about it, more than sending e-mail letters to
(Sens. Barbara) Boxer, (Dianne) Feinstein and (Rep. Nancy) Pelosi," Langley
said Monday. "I feel that this is an important enough issue to take a risk."
Warren Langley, NASDAQ Stock Market
The 60-year-old Russian Hill resident expects to be involved in nonviolent
protests in front of the exchange.
A spokesman for the Pacific Exchange declined to comment Monday on
Langley's involvement. Langley will formally announce his participation at an
11 a.m. news conference today in San Francisco. Now an independent consultant,
Langley resigned from the exchange during management changes there.
A 1965 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Langley raised money to help
fund an acclaimed 1998 documentary on Vietnam War prisoners of war, "Tom Hanks
Presents: Return with Honor." Several of his academy classmates were POWs.
Now, he wants to speak out against the war.
Anti-war activists have been planning to blockade the Transamerica Pyramid,
the Pacific Exchange and other "war-making" corporate and federal headquarters
in San Francisco on the first business day after a U.S. attack.
Since last October, dozens of small affinity groups, clusters of five to 25
like-minded individuals, have been planning sit-ins, intersection blockades
and theatrical productions around more than two dozen locations, most in the
The activists' goal, as stated on their Web site and flyers: "If the
government and corporations won't stop the war, we'll shut down the war makers!
The retired lieutenant colonel participated in his first anti-war march Jan. 18 in San Francisco -- on his 60th birthday.
"I looked around me, and I was seeing that a lot of people marching next to
me could be living down the street from me," said Langley. "People had come to
(San Francisco) on BART, or over from Marin. Ordinary people.
"I felt after going to the second (Feb. 16) march that I definitely had to
do something more."
That's when a former colleague sent Langley a copy of a Chronicle article
about the anti-war plans.
Langley e-mailed Direct Action to Stop the War. Organizer Patrick
Reinsborough said he was "a little surprised to receive it, but it was a very
sincere e-mail" and quickly called Langley.
Over the next week, Langley met and spoke over the telephone with several
protest organizers. He said he wanted to be sure that he felt comfortable
enough with their shared goal of stopping the war and the methods they planned.
"I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the way I do, but
haven't wanted to come forward because they're afraid of being identified with
a fringe group," Langley said. "I don't believe in all the things that all the
(anti-war) groups stand for, but we all do share one thing in common: I do
believe that this war is wrong."
©2003 San Francisco Chronicle