The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matt Daloisio, National Committee Member, War Resisters League
201-264-4424 or

WRL Activist Ellen Barfield Gets Jail Time for 'Blood Money'


Citing the "biohazard" created by blood-stained money, Judge Lynne
Leibovitz of Washington's Superior Court recently sentenced Ellen
Barfield, a member of the War Resisters League National Committee to 25
days in jail for a protest at a Senate hearing on U.S.
Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.

Three capital-area peace proponents interrupted the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee hearing last May 21, calling out "No more blood money
for wars!" and "End the wars now." To scattered applause from spectators,
Barfield of Baltimore and Peter Perry and Eve Tetaz, both of Washington,
DC, dropped blood-stained dollar bills on the hearing room floor until
they were removed by guards.

On December 14, Judge Leibovitz also sentenced Perry to four days and
postponed Tetaz's sentencing for health reasons.

A U.S. Army veteran, Barfield is also active in Veterans for Peace. All
three defendants are members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent
Resistance, formed to end "aggressive and immoral wars."

In her sentencing statement, Barfield said, "Silence is the voice of
complicity, and I cannot be complicit with our government's

The defendants argued that their action was in the tradition of Mohandas
Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Judge Leibovitz and the prosecutor
disagreed. In addition to describing the blood money as a "biohazard,"
Judge Leibovitz declared that there is a "time and place" for
making one's views heard. The prosecutor, referring to Barfield's lengthy
list of arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience, asked Leibovitz to
impose an even longer sentence, in the hope that several months in jail
would change Barfield so that she would no longer commit this kind of

Barfield's husband, Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert, observed that he "and her
friends and colleagues know better."

Barfield's lawyer, Ann Wilcox, expressed the defendants' gratitude for
the presence of supporters in the courtroom during the sentencing.
Barring an appeal or unforeseen circumstances, Barfield should be
released on or about January 8. Messages supporting her can be sent to

The United States' oldest secular pacifist organization, the War Resisters League has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Our work for nonviolent revolution has spanned decades and has been shaped by the new visions and strategies of each generation's peacemakers.