December 5, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OWS ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AT ARMS FINANCE CONFERENCE
Activists had handed fake agendas to dozens of defense industry executives
Contact: Jerry Goralnick, 917-450-6301; José Martín, 773-307-1929, firstname.lastname@example.org
OWS activists, indistinguishable from conference-goers thanks to thrift-store power suits, walked past the police security perimeter and handed out fake conference agendas to dozens of participants in the 7th annual Aerospace & Defense Finance Conference at Credit Suisse last week. The conference brought Department of Defense officials and Wall Street bankers together with defense contractors to hear pitches about the latest and greatest in military and civilian-control technology.
The fake agendas listed DoD presentations such as "Preemptive Elimination of Fetal Enemy Combatants" and "Neutralization of Peaceful Social Disorders Through Asphyxiation Expectorants," and ended with a quote by Maj. Smedley Butler, an opponent of war adventuring who died in 1940: "[War} is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious [racket]ÉIt is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the very many."
It is unclear which conference participant first realized the agenda was fake. Embarrassed organizers quickly commanded police to seize and arrest two of the activists; they were released the next day.
"54% of our taxes go to the military-industrial complex, while vital social services like education and health care are on the verge of collapse," said JosŽ Mart’n, one of the activists. "It's not us the NYPD should have arrested." The NYPD was famously called the world's "seventh largest army" by New York mayor Bloomberg.
"I was arrested for highlighting the tragic absurdity of our government's spending priorities," said Jen Waller. "At my arraignment, the District Attorney said: 'It's not about what she did, but where she did it and who she did it to.' I guess you can play a joke on people, so long at they're not part of the world's financial or military elite."
The fake agendas were distributed as part of a day of action coordinated by Occupy Wall Street, the New York City branch of the War Resisters League, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and many other organizations. Morning and afternoon marches greeted conference attendees with props, signs, chants, songs, as well as a banner drop, and eighteen people were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience actions intended to bring attention to the violent agenda of the conference.