Category: War


On March 20, 2003, I participated in a peaceful protest against the war. I was arrested, incarcerated, handcuffed, booked, fingerprinted, had mug shots taken, put on trial, convicted and sentenced. My conviction is currently under Appeal in the Vermont State Supreme Court. Courtroom procedure allows the condemned the Right of Allocution. This was the first time that I was allowed to speak freely and openly to the court. Below are my words, as I spoke them, to Judge David Suntag, in Vermont District Court, in Bennington, Vt., on October 7, 2004.

Your Honor, I would like to express my gratitude to you, the Prosecutor Mr. McManus, the members of the Bennington Police Department, to my family, especially Christine, to all those who support me, and especially to Mr. Saltonstall.

It is my profound respect for the Rule of Law that brought me to the 4 corners on March 20, 2003. At the precise moment of my arrest, the federal government of the United States was bombing civilians. The bombing of civilians is a violation of international law, a violation of U.S. treaties, a crime against humanity, and a war crime. Now that same government is sitting in judgment of many who have protested the war. Last week, in a court in Philadelphia, Lillian Willoughby, an 89-year-old deaf woman, in a wheelchair, was sentenced to prison. She had participated in a peaceful protest. Also in Philadelphia, Andrea Ferich, a 22 year old, was sentenced and she has just spent a week in solitary confinement. She also had participated in a peaceful protest. I have just been told that Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, was arrested in a peaceful protest on Saturday, in Washington. All over this country, hundreds of those who have peacefully protested the war, are now condemned by the government. The way that this country is headed, eventually, all people of peace will be behind bars. I am in solidarity with them and all others who have resisted the government in the past, or will do so in the future.

Your Honor, it is with deep respect that I voice some concerns. How can it be that a nation, that is itself in violation of the law, can then hope to impose the rule of law on its citizens? I believe that either the rule of law applies to everyone, or else it applies to no one. Even a nation as powerful as the United States, can not have it both ways. The fact that the government of the U.S. is in violation of the law, is a fact that has been documented by many around the world. William Blum, one of the world’s leading historians, and also former member of the U.S. State Dept., has authored several books on the topic…even naming one of his books about US foreign policy, Rogue State.

I have here a copy of the Indictment of 19 charges against members of the government as compiled by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. [I held the documents up for all to see.] Also, here is a statement from a group of U.S. law professors. The statement is entitled “U.S. Lawyers Warn Bush on War Crimes.” Also, here is a report from an international human rights organization that is accredited by the United Nations. This report documents extensive U.S. war crimes in Iraq. This is just a small sample of information that is easily available. Can all of these experts be wrong? Also, I have here an Associated Press report that was released shortly before my arrest, stating that the U.S. was threatening to use nuclear weapons. That, too, is a war crime.

Your Honor, I believe that our government will not regain its legal and moral authority until it gives up its life of International Crime, and in the words of William Blum, is no longer a rogue state. It is important to say here, that the war in Iraq is not the first violation of human rights and International Law by the U.S. The abuse of people, people just like you and me, started back in 1492 and has been a consistent pattern ever since. Talk to some Native Americans, especially now that Columbus Day is upon us. Talk to our black brothers and sisters. Talk to the people of Diego Garcia or Panama or Hiroshima or Cuba….the list is endless.

As individual citizens, we all have rights and responsibilities. I believe that it is the responsibility of all citizens to resist any government, anywhere, anytime, when that government is slaughtering civilians. I, and many other protesters that I know, would gladly spend the rest of our lives in prison, if only the U.S. would stop bombing civilians.

I have always been opposed to any form of violence. Seeing the photographs of the bombed Iraqi children has changed my life and strengthened my commitment to working for justice for those children. I do not understand how anyone can stand by silently, while knowing that civilians are being bombed. If what I, and the many thousands of others who protested the war, did, was wrong…what then would be the right thing to do? If you saw a child being beaten up and murdered on Main Street by a gang of thugs, should you write a letter to the editor or call your congressman or write a book on how adults should interact with children? Of course not. When children are being killed, immediate, direct, and powerful intervention is called for. What the other protesters and I did should be criticized in only one area. We all did too little. To all of the people of Iraq, I would like to say, “I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future.”

I pray for the day when factory workers join with farmers, and police officers join with poets, and judges join with veterans in protesting the illegal acts of our government. Now is a time in history when silence is the greatest of all crimes.

What happens to me here today is not important. Since the day of my arrest, more than 13,000 Iraqi civilians, many of them children, have been killed. That IS important.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She can be reached at dissent@sover.net.

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SYNDICATED
by makeprofilelink(“Pam Spaulding”); Pam Spaulding · 8/24/2007 02:00:00 PM ETmyCount

I watched the third part of CNN’s documentary with Christiane Amanpour, “God’s Warriors” and it will have the fundies hopping mad. Parts one and two dealt with extremist movements in Judaism and Islam. Last night’s installment took a look at religious fundamentalists in the U.S., the “Christian” right wing. The transcript is here.

Amanpour conducted the last TV interview with Rev. Tinkywinky at Liberty University the week before Falwell died. He again recanted the apology he made for saying “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” were responsible for 9/11. He calls his young Liberty University scholars “pit bulls for Christ;” his goal is to graduate as many fundie lawyers as possible, to infiltrate and influence the judicial system in favor of God’s law.

Michael Jensen has a great piece up at AfterElton about this part of the doc series. A snippet:

It would be hard to imagine a documentary examining the impact of Christian fundamentalists on American culture that didn’t include a look at the part played by gay issues. Fortunately, God’s Christian Warriors doesn’t disappoint and the result is a fascinating and often frightening look at the religious right that any progressive — but especially any gay progressive — would be well advised to watch.

…While watching Amanpour interview some of these fundamentalists, I hoped she would ask just what would happen to gay people should they get their way: stoning to death, as suggested in Leviticus? After all, fundamentalists claim the Bible should be the foundation upon which America is built and that would be the logical conclusion.

…If looked at through the prism of understanding what the religious right wants for America, however, then the documentary can be considered a success if even only a few Americans — especially gay ones — wake up to what these Christian fundamentalists aspire to. And for anyone paying attention for the last twenty years, no explanation is needed as to what it is the religious fundamentalists want for America.

As God’s Christian Warriors makes amply clear, their goal is an America that is governed by biblical principles; principles that leave no room for gay people to co-exist in any meaningful way except by going deeply back in to the closet.

CNN has done a fine job on this series; I am curious how the documentary is being received by fundamentalists, considering it is quite harsh (but accurate) about the violent history of the religious right regarding abortion activity, showing the shootings of doctors and bombings of clinics — acts Falwell condemned when the topic was raised by Amanpour. I’d venture a guess that being lumped in with extremist factions of Islam and Judaism is going to cause a massive uproar in the fundie press shortly.

Oh wait…take a look at the drivel already up at WingNutDaily.

What are your thoughts on CNN’s documentary series, ‘God’s Warriors’?

And the headline of the related story, which has all of the expected hysteria:
CNN airs ‘one of the most distorted programs’ ever
Documentary compares Jews, Christians to Muslim terrorists

CNN will proabably re-air all three parts over the weekend. Check listings.

 

Key historical dates:

 

1390-1902

 

Independent sultanate of Patani, comprising the present-day provinces of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat, and parts of Songkhla, ended when the

Kingdom of
Siam formally incorporated the sultanate.

 

1909

 

Anglo-Siamese Treaty recognized Siamese control over Patani and drew a border between Patani and the Malay states of Kelantan, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. The local aristocracy was deposed in favour of officials who spoke only Thai and reported exclusively and directly to
Bangkok.

 

1932

 

Constitutional monarchy was introduced with a parliamentary government.

 

1938

 

Regime of Phibun Songkhram came to power and it followed a policy of forced assimilation into mainstream ‘Buddhist Thainess’ aimed at creating the monolithic character of the state.

 

1940s

 

Emergence of Patani People’s Movement (PPM), a separatist movement fighting for an independent Patani

 

 

1948

 

250,000 Thai Malays petitioned the UN to oversee the accession of Patani, Narathiwat and Yala to the new Federation of Malaya.

 

 

28 April 1948

 

Dusun-nyor riot: clashes between Muslim villagers and police and military forces, led by religious leader, Haji Abdul Rahman, resulted in the deaths of some 400 Muslims, thousands more fled to Malaysia

 

 

1950s

 

Expansion of Malay resistance was accelerated by formation in Malaya of the Gabungam Melayu Patani Raya (GAMPAR, the Greater Patani Malayu Association), an organization set up to incorporate Thailand’s four majority Muslim provinces into Malaya and the Patani People’s Movement, a Thailand-based organization with the same goal.

 

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