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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Not happy

The Nation reports:

"On March 17, 2003, two days before the US invasion of Iraq commenced, four protesters - now known as the "Saint Patrick's Four" - entered a military recruiting centre near Ithaca, New York, and poured small amounts of their own blood around the building's vestibule in a symbolic protest against the coming invasion. By their own account, they were alone in the vestibule and no one was prevented from entering or leaving the center.

"For this act of non-violent civil disobedience, the longtime Catholic peace activists--sisters Clare and Teresa Grady, Daniel Burns, and Peter DeMott--are now charged with conspiracy to impede "by force, intimidation and threat" an officer of the United States along with three lesser offences. If convicted of federal conspiracy in a trial starting this Monday, September 19, they face up to six years in prison, a period of probation and $275,000 in fines.

"The trial is the first time the Federal government has pressed conspiracy charges against civilian Iraq war protesters and comes after a previous trial last year in county court on charges of criminal mischief and trespassing which resulted in a hung jury, with nine of twelve members favouring acquittal. As public interest lawyer and law professor Bill Quigley who is acting as legal advisor to the defendants, says, "Federal intervention in this case represents a blatant act of government intimidation and will have a chilling effect on expression of the first amendment rights of any citizen to protest or speak out against their government." Which is, of course, the idea."

The parallels to the American peace protestor, Scott Parkin, being deported from Australia on spurious national security issues raise the spectre that Western democracies are slowly but surely cracking down on dissent.

We must fight this at every turn.

5 Comments:

Blogger Shabadoo said...

Sorry, but these guys are complete idiots...what the hell is the point of going in to a vestibule and depositing bodily fluids? Seems like a pretty bizarre and disgusting protest to me ... especially since as they say no one was around. What were they trying to accompish other than achieve the heady high of feeling morally superior? I imagine they were hoping for the following scene of inbred redneck military types showing up for work and finding their display:

Officer 1: Nyuk, nyuk, hey Cletus, dang ol' looks like done been a stuck pig wherein de office last night! Nyuk!
Officer 2: Gaw-ly! Does too, right! Naw, ain't no pigs in Ithaca, nyuk! Must be dem dang-ol' Cat-lick peace protesters. Best be callin' Washington now, tell 'em we quit and dey oughts to go callin' off that war-hootenany....


As for Parkin, he wasn't peaceful, he was coming down to teach all sorts of disruptive activities and 'direct actions' designed to inconvenience people, damage property, and shut down businesses. Good riddance.

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:27:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Addendum: On first glance I thought they'd busted in at night, now I see they were doing this during daylight hours. My thoughts still stand, but really, isn't there a better way to make a point than silently daubing papercut wounds around the joint?

Monday, September 19, 2005 12:07:00 pm  
Blogger Rebekka said...

Whatever you think of the protests, it's the heavy-handedness of our Government trying to suppress views that oppose their own that is the worry. Democracy is not democracy without freedom of speech.

Monday, September 19, 2005 2:11:00 pm  
Blogger weezil said...

shabadoo, why am I not at all surprised that you either did not fully read or comprehend Ant's bit before you went off into verbal diarrhoea?

You must have serious bruises on those knees from jerking them up into the desk.

Monday, September 19, 2005 3:15:00 pm  
Blogger Asher said...

I just wrote an article on Scott, who I met while in Sydney, on my blog at leftandlefter.blogspot.com/2005/09/deportation-of-peace-activist.html

Monday, September 19, 2005 7:00:00 pm  

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