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 Lives, Other Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org  This article was first published on Telesur English.

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail