CODEPINK confronts warmongering diplomat


CODEPINK activists went to Congress on March 22 to demand diplomacy, not war, during the Senate testimony of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Blinken was testifying before a Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled “American Diplomacy and Global Leadership: Review of The FY24 State Department Budget Request.” The activist group showed up with signs and messages reminding the committee members and Blinken that the United States should actually start practicing diplomacy before they discuss how to fund it.

One by one, five of the protesters stood up holding signs referencing key areas where Blinken is failing as a diplomat including: “Ukraine: Peace Talks Now!”; “China is Not Our Enemy”; “No $$$ to Israeli Apartheid”; “Cuba Off Terrorist List”; “End Cuba and Venezuela Sanctions”; and “No War!”

As soon as each person stood to deliver their message, Capitol police moved in to push and pull them from the room even as they continued to speak out for diplomacy.

Maya Garner demanded that Congress, “Cut the $3.8 billion to Itamar Ben-Gvir’s army,” and continued, “Send … Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court. You yourself met with Palestinian civil society. Why won’t you listen to them? Who will protect them?”

Samantha Wherry then stood up to declare, “Cuba is not a sponsor of terrorism.” She pleaded as she was ejected, “Listen to our allies in Latin America from Brazil to Mexico, from Columbia. They are asking you to take Cuba off the state-sponsor of terrorism list.”

Gregory Wilpert was quickly seized as he called on Blinken to, “End U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba. You are starving the people of Venezuela and Cuba. Shame on you! Engage in diplomacy not in warfare. Engage in diplomacy not economic warfare.”


Despite the grip of a burly cop lifting her out of the room, Medea Benjamin calmly told the diplomat, “Secretary Blinken, we need peace talks with Ukraine now. The American people don’t want to keep fueling a proxy war with Russia that could lead us to World War 3 or a nuclear holocaust. You’re supposed to be a diplomat. Start negotiating. You know, if you don’t like the Chinese proposal, where is your peace proposal? The American people want you to negotiate. Be a diplomant, do your job now…”

Finally, former State Department official and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright was rousted from the room as she challenged the Secretary. “I live in Hawaii and you’ve made a target out of Hawaii and Guam and the western Pacific. Be a diplomat, not a warmonger. China is not our enemy!” she said, and then to the police, “Don’t break my arm!”

The five were charged with “incommoding” a public event and each paid a $50 fine before being released two hours later.


CODEPINK asks that you click here to sign their petition telling Blinken: Be a Diplomat, Not a War Hawk.


The five protesters after getting out of jail, with supporters. CODEPINK photo.