Complicity in Pentagon War Crimes?
Ed Kinane's Recent Statement in Federal Court
On the first day
of the fourth year of the US invasion of Iraq, 51 of us were arrested at the
far edge of the Pentagon grounds - well out of sight of the Pentagon itself.
Bearing a simulated coffin, we were attempting to meet with Donald Rumsfeld.
Here is the statement I made on July 7 in Alexandria, VA court during my pro se defense. Judge Jones seemed attentive. But he found me and others guilty and fined us each $85.
Oh yeah - I didn't pay the fine.
Your Honor, members
of the court, my fellow citizens:
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 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 US 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 attack or engage in armed 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.
As recently as June 16 of this year, 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 US Constitution.
The grievances we sought to bring to the Pentagon on March 20 include its
invading and pillaging Iraq illegally 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.
Conscientious Objector to War
Minimum number of Iraqis displaced by sectarian violence from February to early July 2006.
Ministry of Displacement and Migration (Baghdad),