I was routinely cleaning toilets in my dorm at Pekin Federal Prison Camp when the loudspeaker summoned me to the Administration Building. “You’re going next door,” said the guard on duty. “Someone wants to talk with you.” During a five-minute ride to the adjacent medium-security men’s prison, I quickly organized some thoughts about civil disobedience and prison terms, expecting to meet a journalist. Instead, two well-dressed men stood to greet me and then flashed their FBI badges. They had driven to Pekin, Ill., from Chicago, where they work for the FBI’s National Security Service.
Source: A Visit from the FBI: A Change Gonna Come. CounterPunch (May 20, 2004)
Heckler: Mr. Rumsfeld, you’re fired! Your foreign policy is based on lies. The war in Iraq is unjust and illegal, and the occupation is immoral. There are U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq —
Heckler: Go home!
Heckler: — every day! Still dying! Bring the troops home now.
Heckler: Tell us when the troops are coming home!
Hecklers: (Chanting.) Hey, Rumsfeld, what do you say? — How many troops did you kill today?! Hey, Rumsfeld, what do you say? — How many troops did you kill today?! Hey, Rumsfeld, what do you say? — How many troops did you kill today?! (Hecklers escorted out of room.)
Souce: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). News Transcript, On the Web: http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=3151, Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132, Public contact:, http://www.dod.mil/faq/comment.html, or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1. Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. September 10, 2003 1:15 PM EDT.
Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks at National Press Club Luncheon
First conscientious objector imprisoned for refusing to fight Iraq War, anti-war hero Stephen Funk returned home from six months in North Carolina military prison to a community celebration in Oakland, California March 14, 2004. The event was announced on the front page of the local news section of the San Francisco Chronicle and was covered by most Bay Area television stations, Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now!, Indymedia, and many others. A dozen progressive organizations presented Stephen with an “Anti-War Hero” plaque in recognition for his courageous stand against an unjust war.
Source: March 15, 2004. Update: Stephen Funk is Free! Not in Our Name.
The Israeli bulldozer that ran over and killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie, 23, in the Gaza Strip had killed before. A few weeks ago, on March 3, an Israeli bulldozer killed a nine-month pregnant Palestinian woman, Nuha Sweidan, while destroying the house next door in a dilapidated Gaza refugee camp. Palestinian witnesses said that Mrs. Sweidan, 33, bled to death under the rubble as she cradled her 18-month-old daughter. Her unborn baby also died.
Source: Rachel Corrie, Nuha Sweidan and Israeli war crimes. By Steve Niva. Daily Times (Pakistan) Tuesday, March 18, 2003.
On October 6, 2002, at 7:30 a.m., three Roman Catholic Dominican Sisters and members of the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares action in 2001, Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson and Ardeth Platte, entered Minuteman missile silo site N-8 near Greeley, Colorado. Wearing white mop-up suits which said Disarmament Specialists and Citizens Weapons Inspection Team, they cut through two gates and entered the silo area. They hammered on the tracks used for the silo lids to open and on the silo itself. They also used their blood to make the sign of the cross on the tracks and on the silo. They then began defencing–cutting through the fence in three places. They concluded the witness with a liturgy.
Source: SACRED EARTH AND SPACE PLOWSHARES II. PlowSharesActions.org
NORTHAMPTON, MA – May 2 – On Thursday evening, Northampton City Council voted unanimously in favor of a Resolution to Defend the Bill of Rights. The resolution addresses concerns that the USA PATRIOT Act and several Executive Orders threaten key rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens and non-citizens by the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and privacy; the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. . . .
The Northampton City Council’s vote follows the passage of similar resolutions in the nearby towns of Amherst and Leverett the previous week. The City Councils of Ann Arbor and Berkeley passed civil liberties resolutions in January. Denver City Council passed a resolution in March. Cambridge City Council will consider a similar resolution within the next few months.
Source: BORDC Press Release Archives (Item 1) May 2, 2002. Third Massachusetts town votes to defend Bill of Rights from threats of USA PATRIOT Act. Contact: Nancy Talanian, Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Northampton, Massachusetts
On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
In 1990 SOA Watch began in a tiny apartment outside the main gate of Ft. Benning. While starting with a small group, SOA Watch quickly drew upon the knowledge and experience of many in the U.S. who had worked with the people of Latin America in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Source: About SOA Watch
We believe that the penal code of the old covenant, AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH, has been abrogated by JESUS CHRIST; and that, under the new covenant, the forgiveness instead of the punishment of enemies has been enjoined upon all his disciples, in all cases whatsoever. To extort money from enemies, or set them upon a pillory, or cast them into prison, or hang them upon a gallows, is obviously not to forgive, but to take retribution. VENGEANCE IS MINE—I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD.
The history of mankind is crowded with evidences proving that physical coercion is not adapted to moral regeneration; that the sinful dispositions of men can be subdued only by love; that evil can be exterminated from the earth only by goodness; that it is not safe to rely upon an arm of flesh, upon man whose breath is in his nostrils, to preserve us from harm; that there is great security in being gentle, harmless, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy; that it is only the meek who shall inherit the earth, for the violent who resort to the sword are destined to perish with the sword. Hence, as a measure of sound policy—of safety to property, life, and liberty—of public quietude and private enjoyment-as well as on the ground of allegiance to HIM who is KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, we cordially adopt the non-resistance principle; being confident that it provides for all possible consequences, will ensure all things needful to us, is armed with omnipotent power, and must ultimately triumph over every assailing force.
Source: New England Non-Resistance Society Declaration of Sentiments, Written by William Lloyd Garrison, September 18-20, 1838. Harmless as Doves Ministries.
Spear began himself to write critically of capital punishment in 1830. He and his brother John urged passage of resolutions against capital punishment at the Universalist General Conventions in 1835 and 1836. In 1839 they both were founding members of the New England Non-Resistance Society, an organization led by William Lloyd Garrison and Adin Ballou which renounced violence and all worldly government. In 1841-42 Charles and John Spear organized both the first and second Universalist Anti-Slavery Conventions in Lynn, Massachusetts.
In 1845 Charles Spear was appointed General Agent of the newly founded Massachusetts Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment. In his Essays on the Punishment of Death, published the previous year, Spear articulated the arguments still used by opponents of capital punishment. He argued that because human life is sacred and capital punishment irremediable, execution is a blasphemous appropriation of divine power. He said a spirit of revenge is unworthy. He considered the horrifying and brutalizing effects upon everyone concerned with an execution—the prisoner, the prisoner’s family, and the spectators….
He had earlier said, “I want our prisons to be more like hospitals.” Early in 1845 Spear began to edit and publish the Hangman, soon retitled The Prisoner’s Friend, a journal devoted to transformation of the purpose of prisons from punishment to rehabilitation….
Source: Charles Spear, Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (UUHS)
The American Peace Society, based in Boston, Massachusetts, was formed in May 1828 as a result of a merger suggested by William Ladd between the peace societies of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The records of the American Peace Society, housed at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, consist of meeting minutes, branch material, correspondence, reports, articles, periodicals, pamphlets, scrapbooks, memorabilia, photographs, and personal material from Benjamin Trueblood and his daughter, Lyra Wolkins.
Source: “American Peace Society: Contribution of Benjamin Franklin Trueblood.” This page written by Anne Yoder, Archivist. Last updated August 1998.