Telling Truth about the Iraq War
by Jessica Stewart

On September 19, four parents, Teresa Grady, Peter De Mott, Clare Grady and my partner,

The St. Pats Four: (left to right) Danny Burns, Peter DeMott, Teresa Grady and Claire Grady all of Ithaca. Photo:Stephen Schweitzer

Danny Burns, will go on trial a second time for trying to prevent the Iraq war. They are charged with Conspiracy, to impede - "by force, intimidation and threat" - an officer of the United States, and three lesser charges. If convicted, they face up to six years in prison, a period of probation and $275,000 in fines.

On March 17, 2003, just before the US "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq, the four entered a military recruiting center in Lansing, NY and poured their own blood carefully around the center's vestibule. Their act of nonviolent resistance was in concert with over 7,000 people arrested nationwide and millions who demonstrated worldwide in hopes of preventing the war.

The four went on trial last year in state court. Representing themselves, they convinced nine (out of twelve) jurors that their actions were legally justified. After twenty hours of deliberations the trial ended in a hung jury. Following the first trial, the federal government decided the four should be re-prosecuted. In February, 2005 they were indicted on federal charges. This is the only case stemming from the pre-invasion civil disobedience actions that the federal government is re-prosecuting.

The presiding federal judge, Hon. Thomas MacAvoy, has ruled that the "war on Iraq is entirely irrelevant to this matter." According to this ruling, they won't be able to offer evidence about how the war was not approved by the UN, was based on lies and therefore was an illegal war of aggression. They won't be allowed to offer evidence about duties, under the Nuremberg Principles, which transcend obligations of national obedience. They won't be allowed to show how causing a small harm (a mess) in order to prevent a much greater harm (illegal war) is legally justified. He has even said they will not be allowed to present evidence about why they went to the recruiting center. How can the twelve jurors make a fair judgment of guilt or innocence if they are not allowed to hear the whole story, if the defendants are not allowed to present their case?

In answer to this, a Citizens Tribunal on Iraq will occur concurrently with the trial. Please join us as we put the war on trial during the week of September 18th, 2005.

For more information, please check out the website at www.stpatricksfour.org. I can be reached at 607-280-0329 or js6076@msn.com.

The Trial: It will begin Monday, September 19th at 9am at the Binghamton, NY, Federal Building on 15 Henry St. in downtown Binghamton. A photo ID is required for admission to the court. The community is invited and encouraged to come and be a witness both inside and outside the courthouse.
The Citizens Tribunal on Iraq: The tribunal will occur during the evenings of September 18th-22nd at 7pm in Binghamton and will articulate the moral and legal ground for nonviolent resistance to this war. Participants include Gold Star Families for Peace, Ray McGovern, Camilo Mejia, Liz McAllister, Medea Benjamin, Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Rosalie Bertell. A thousand jurors of conscience are needed. Check website for location.
Hospitality: Meals and floor sleeping space will be available for those wishing to come to Binghamton and offer support during the week of the trial. Please let us know in advance if you would like sleeping space.
Outreach: Bumperstickers, buttons and yard signs reading, "Stop the Iraq War, Acquit the St. Patrick's Four" are available. Call 607-277-6932 if you would like some.
Speaking Engagements: The four are available to speak to groups. Please email db6076@isp.com or call 607-280-0329 to set up a speaking engagement.
Donations: Financial support is desperately needed to help with outreach expenses. Donations can be received through the website (www.stpatricksfour.org) or by mail (Ithaca Catholic Worker, PO Box 293, Ithaca NY 14851). Please make checks payable to Ithaca Catholic Worker, memo St. Pat's Four.


Jessica has been involved in organizing for justice and peace since she was a teenager. She has two sons, ages 2 ½ and four months. She and her partner, Danny Burns, are trying in their own small way to create a just and peaceful world.