FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Social Security

by KATHY KELLY

Pekin Federal Prison
Peoria, Illinois

On June 4, 2004, lawyers for Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) will argue, in federal court, that a judge should allow further “discovery” to help establish why VitW travelers believed they had a duty to challenge economic sanctions against Iraq. The US Government charges us with the “crime” of delivering donated medicines to Iraq, without authorization. The US Treasury Department is attempting to collect $20,000 from VitW for violation of US sanctions against Iraq, sanctions which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq and effectively destroyed the civilian infrastructure. VitW is countersuing for reparations for the catastrophic effect of US led economic sanctions.

From 1996-2003, our resolve not to be bound by unjust UN/US led economic sanctions deepened, each time we personally witnessed innocent Iraqis being brutally and lethally punished by shortages of food and medicines, deteriorating infrastructure, contaminated water and disastrous breakdown in their health care systems.

Prosecuting lawyers will argue that our case should be resolved swiftly since we have already acknowledged delivering medicines to Iraq. Our attorney, Bill Quigley, professor of law at Loyola University, New Orleans, who traveled to Iraq prior to the US war counters, “The US government has no business punishing people for bringing medicine to Iraq, while its sanctions and occupation cause the daily deaths of Americans and Iraqis and continue to create a desperate need for medicine and basic goods for many Iraqis. This case is about justice, this hearing is an attempt to further criminalize dissent, and we will continue our civil resistance and actions regardless of the outcome of this case.”

Only the lawyers will appear in the courtroom on June 4. But our role, in the wider court of public opinion, continues.

I can’t directly participate in activity outside a courtroom, on June 4th — a federal court has already imprisoned me for protest at a US military combat training school which has been graduating Latin American trainees who’ve later been implicated in torture, disappearance, assassination, and murder upon return to their home countries. But here in the Pekin Federal Prison Camp, between work shifts in the dish room, I have several hours each day to contemplate up further nonviolent resistance to US war making.

There is considerable press attention right now to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse and torture scandal. Here in the prison library, I’ve read numerous letters to the editor which insist that, even if ordered, US Military Police and prison guards should not have cooperated with degrading humiliation of Iraqi prisoners. Should VitW members have gone along with economic sanctions when we’d seen that Saddam Hussein didn’t miss a meal while these sanctions were inflicting disease and death on Iraq’s most vulnerable people? Should we have cooperated with one of the most egregious instances of child abuse in history?

Here is a tableau which communities across the country could set up outside of courtrooms as a demonstration of solidarity with VitW defendants.

Several friends could enact packing a duffel bag with antibiotics, aspirins, and vitamins, along with a few toys. One could hold a sign, saying:

“Yes, VitW traveled to Iraq, after learning that a million Iraqi children died as a direct result of economic sanctions”

“Yes, VitW brought medicine and toys to children’s hospitals in Iraq”

“Yes, VitW developed friendships with Iraqis”

and

“Yes, VitW disobeyed a US law.”

Efforts to extend a hand of friendship and build bonds of trust between people enhance our collective “social security”. Treat other people well and you won’t have to be afraid of them–this truism could liberate us from the trap of insecurity set for us by Bush’s ongoing war against Iraq.

Imagine the frustration felt by mothers here in the prison when they can’t directly influence situations affecting their children. Hampered by maddeningly limited phone time and long distances between themselves and their loved ones, women still do what they can, over the months and years, to help care for their children.

I hope they’ll inspire me, beyond these confines, to use our freedoms creatively and constantly in hopes of shaping a more secure future for our children and next generations.

We can’t wait for Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry to improve our “social security”. Exercising our right to free speech, let’s join Dennis Kucinich, community and religious leaders and others worldwide who are calling for an end to the war against Iraq. Let’s help people deliver a verdict against war and occupation. You might start with a choice making exercise in front of your local courthouse.

For documents regarding this case, please see http://vitw.org/summons
For further information call: Angela Garcia, 773-784-8065 or Danny Muller 917-217-6809 (on site in D.C.)

KATHY KELLY is a co-coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness. To learn more about how to become part of efforts to close the SOA, visit www.soaw.org Kathy will also spend time in prison for crossing the line at Project ELF, a US Navy nuclear weapon facility in northern WI which helped fast-track Tomahawk Cruise missiles that attacked Iraq during the Shock and Awe campaign. To learn more about the campaign to shut down Project ELF, visit www.nukewatch.com. She can be reached at: Kathy@vitw.org.

 

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org  This article was first published on Telesur English.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 01, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary: Ordinarily Awful or Uncommonly Awful?
Pam Martens
Clinton Says Wall Street Banks Aren’t the Threat, But Her Platform Writers Think They are
Jason Hirthler
Washington’s Not-So-Invisible Hand: It’s Not Economics, It’s Empire
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Marx on Financial Bubbles: Much Keener Insights Than Contemporary Economists
Pete Dolack
Brexit Will Only Count if Everybody Leaves the EU
Evan Jones
Ancillary Lessons from Brexit
Aidan O'Brien
Brexit: the English and Welsh Enlightenment
Jeremy R. Hammond
How Turkey’s Reconciliation Deal with Israel Harms the Palestinians
Margaret Kimberley
Beneficial Chaos: the Good News About Brexit
Phyllis Bennis
From Paris to Istanbul, More ‘War on Terror’ Means More Terrorist Attacks
Ishmael Reed
OJ and Jeffrey Toobin: Black Bogeyman Auctioneer
Ron Jacobs
Let There Be Rock
Ajamu Baraka
Paris, Orlando and Turkey: Displacing the Narrative of Western Innocence
Robert Fantina
The First Amendment, BDS and Third-Party Candidates
David Rosen
Whatever Happened to Utopia?
Andre Vltchek
Brexit – Let the UK Screw Itself!
Jonathan Latham
107 Nobel Laureate Attack on Greenpeace Traced Back to Biotech PR Operators
Steve Horn
Fracked Gas LNG Exports Were Centerpiece In Promotion of Panama Canal Expansion, Documents Reveal
Robert Koehler
The Right to Bear Courage
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”
Binoy Kampmark
Who is Special Now? The Mythology Behind the US-British Relationship
Mark B. Baldwin
Russia to the Grexit?
Andrew Wimmer
Killer Grief
Manuel E. Yepe
Sanders, Socialism and the New Times
Franklin Lamb
ISIS is Gone, But Its Barbarity Still Haunts Palmyra
Mark Weisbrot
A Policy of Non-Intervention in Venezuela Would be a Welcome Change
Cesar Chelala
How Tobacco Became the Opium War of the 21st Century
Joseph Natoli
How We Reached the Point Where We Can’t Hear Each Other
Andrew Stewart
Skip “Hamilton” and Read Gore Vidal’s “Burr”
Christopher Brauchli
Educating Kansas
George Wuerthner
Ranching and the Future of the Sage Grouse
Thomas Knapp
Yes, a GOP Delegate Revolt is Possible
Gilbert Mercier
Democracy Is Dead
Andy Piascik
The Hills of Connecticut: Where Theatre and Life Became One
Charles R. Larson
Mychal Denzel Smith’s “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: a Young Black Man’s Education”
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Four Morning Ducks
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail