What Is Code Pink? Group's Protests Suspended CIA Director Nominee John Brennan's Senate Confirmation Hearing

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By Howard Koplowitz | February 8, 2013 9:09 AM EST

The women-led activist group Code Pink brought the John Brennan confirmation hearings to a standstill Thursday when  individual members interrupted the proceedings before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Photos of the Code Pink protesters showed women donning pink attire. One heckler held up a sign that read “Brennan = War Criminal.”

Brennan, 57, is President Barack Obama's nominee to succeed Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned in disgrace amid a sex scandal, as director of the CIA.

Brennan, who currently serves as Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, has come under attack for his support of the CIA drone program. The program’s critics contend the practice is legally questionable, especially when it comes to U.S. citizens who are the targets of drone strikes – as was the case with al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaqi.

Among the signs displayed during Brennan’s confirmation hearing were “Don’t Drone Me, Bro” and “Stop Drones, Stop Brennan,” Politico reported.

Code Pink members were among the protesters who caused Brennan’s confirmation hearing to be suspended. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., the committee chief, cleared the hearing room floor following the protests.

Just what is Code Pink? What does the group stand for?

According to its own website, Code Pink is a “women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.”

While the group is mostly composed of women, it encourages men to join. The entire leadership of Code Pink is female, however .

In line with the group’s protest of Brennan, Coded Pink is aligned with the “Drones Watch” campaign. The Drones Watch site advocates efforts to “stop killer drones overseas and stop domestic drones from violating our privacy and safety.”

The website also heavily criticizes Brennan.

“John Brennan is responsible for the biggest atrocities of two different administrations.  He was considered for the same position – CIA director – in 2009, but eventually withdrew his name from consideration following uproar over his support of the use of torture after 9/11. The fact that there is significantly less controversy surrounding Brennan’s nomination this time around suggests that the public – and Congress – have been quick to forget the atrocities that have occurred over the past decade. If anything, Brennan’s record has only gotten worse over the past few years,” Drones Watch maintains.

Code Pink’s members are interested in other foreign policy topics.

During Obama’s second inauguration last month, the group danced outside Washington's Union Station to “end war and violence against women” and staged a “hug-in” to promote peace.

Code Pink is also a staunch advocate of peace with Iran, advocating for “diplomacy, not bombs” and disagreeing with the economic sanctions levied against the Middle Eastern nation.

Among some of the group’s more radical actions is its encouragement of members to perform a “citizen’s arrest” against people Code Pink deems “war criminals.”

The group gives instructions on how to locate such a “war criminal” and how to make a “citizen’s arrest.” But Code Pink cautions against actually making an arrest.

“Note: Do NOT actually place the handcuffs on the war criminal’s wrist or touch the criminal. Making physical contact with a war criminal may be construed as assault by the police; handcuffs are only for use as a prop. Only an on-duty police officer has the right to actually cuff the War Criminal in a citizen’s arrest. Your arrest complaint is your power,” the group warns on its website.

Code Pink identifies a number of Bush administration officials as “war criminals,” including Colin Powell, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and the ex-president himself.

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