Former county commissioner arrested in Washington D.C.
March 12, 2015
WASHINGTON — Former Eagle County commissioner Arn Menconi was arrested Wednesday when he interrupted a Senate hearing to protest military force against a Middle East terrorist organization.
Menconi, who these days says he is working for social justice, stood and interrupted Secretary of State John Kerry during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on President Obama's request for Authorization for Use for Military Force against the Islamic State group.
The entire incident was captured on CSPAN.
About 17 minutes into the hearing, Kerry was testifying, saying "We simply cannot allow this collection of murderers and thugs to achieve in their group their ambitions, which include …" Menconi stood and held a sign over his head lampooning AUMF, calling it "Another Useless Military Fiasco."
"The American people are speaking out Secretary Kerry," Menconi shouted. "We're tired of an endless war, a war with no end … the killing of innocent people."
Menconi kept shouting as he was escorted out of the room by Capitol police.
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When Menconi was gone, Kerry responded to his comment about the deaths of innocent people.
"Killing more innocent people?" Kerry said. "I wonder what our journalists who were beheaded and the pilot who was fighting for freedom who was burned alive, what they would have to say to their efforts to protect innocent people."
Arrest not the goal
Menconi said he didn't set out to get arrested but knew there was a good possibility of it. He said he said a quick prayer Wednesday morning asking God where he wanted him to be and that's where he went.
"I can't sit back knowing what I know now," Menconi said. "I don't question that ISIS is evil, but there are 20,000 of them and we are setting aside $60 billion to fight them."
He's been in six of these hearings; this was his third with Kerry.
"I've watched this Orwellian play where they never answer the questions. They never address the facts and figures," Menconi said.
Menconi said he spent only a few hours in jail, where he said the detention staff asked him what he did for a living and about his marital status, and said he looked like the actor Richard Gere. The police let him have his phone, and he shot some video while in custody.
He got a $50 fine and was charged with, among other things, crowding, obstructing, incommoding — "causing difficulty, disturbance and annoyance."
Menconi said he interrupted Kerry to try to end the madness, after spending six months watching AUMF discussions.
"Our politicians are lying. They like to keep the Middle East unstable so they can keep funding the war. In the meantime, 10.5 million people go to sleep every night in refugee camps," Menconi said.