Last Friday I was tried and found guilty in federal district court in alexandria, virginia for a civic action at the pentagon on march 20 — the first day of the fourth year of the u.s. invasion of iraq. My court statement follows.
I stand accused of failing to obey a lawful order.
On March 20 of this year our nonviolent civic action on the outskirts of the Pentagon was all about being lawful.
I was acting under the Nuremburg imperative of resisting the organized and lethal illegalities of my government.
I live in a nation whose most salient characteristic these days is the defiance of lawful order.
I live in a nation whose rulers hold the Ten Commandments in contempt.
Let us recall some of those commandments particularly relevant to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq:
thou shalt not steal;
thou shalt not bear false witness;
thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ goods;
thou shalt not kill.
I live in a nation whose rulers habitually engage in armed or covert intervention against other sovereign states.
I live in a nation whose military — the Pentagon — habitually and brazenly defies international law;
a Pentagon that systematically defies the Geneva Conventions,
a Pentagon that, by endorsing torture, degrades each of us.
However, these rogues could not operate without the silence and complicity of us all.
Speaking out is each citizen’s responsibility.
It is also the Judiciary’s responsibility not to be complicit when the Executive branch systematically defies the law.
However on June 16, this Court found some of my co-defendants guilty for going to the Pentagon to petition our government for redress of grievances — a right expressly asserted in that quaint document, the U.S. Constitution.
The grievances we sought to bring to the Pentagon on March 20 include its
~ invading and pillaging Iraqillegally and without provocation;
~ using torture and terror;
~ and otherwise slaughtering tens of thousands of Iraqis;
~ defiling Iraq with toxic and radioactive depleted uranium;
~ squandering hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money to enrich the corporate cronies of Bush Inc.;
and so on.
Your honor, I am an eye-witness to these grievances, to these war crimes.
In 2003 I spent five months in Iraq.
I was there during “shock and awe.”
Men were incinerated or blown apart within shouting distance of me.
Since 1987 I have deliberately lived below taxable income.
I have done so to avoid subsidizing Pentagon criminality.
Likewise I resist the Judiciary’s complicity with such criminality.
Your honor, I will not pay fines for illegitimate and politically-motivated charges.
I will not pay fines levied against me for my nonviolent civic activism.
I have been to prison before and I can go to prison again.
In these times prison may be where an honorable citizen must be.
I understand our Constitution holds international law to be the highest law of our land.
Your honor, with all due respect, I urge you to uphold that Constitution.
I urge you to honor those soldiers in Iraq who die or get maimed believing they are defending our Constitution.
I urge you to heed the Nuremburg mandate
to not play the “good German”
to not succumb to fear and careerism.
I urge you to find my co-defendants and myself not guilty for honoring our conscience and for honoring the rule of law.
ED KINANE can be reached at: Edkinane@verizon.net