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        Tuesday, August 30, 2005

       08/30/05 Feds Retrying War Protesters

Tomorrow is the One Year Anniversary of The Day the NYPD arrested 1800 people who were protesting George W. Bush at his convention. Almost all of us have had our charges dropped, or settled. Danny Burns was one of the people arrested that day.

Its time to get out the old mailbagFrom: Danny Burns

My name is Danny Burns and I was arrested at Ground Zero with you.
I am a defendant in the case below

Letting Hope Live

On September 19, 2005 in Binghamton NY federal court, four parents, Teresa Grady, Peter De Mott, Clare Grady and my partner, Danny Burns, will go on trial a second time for trying to prevent the Iraq war from happening. They are charged with Conspiracy to impede-"by force, intimidation or threat"- an officer of the United States, a felony, 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, as plans for "shock and awe" were becoming known, the four entered the Lansing NY military recruiting center and poured their own blood carefully around the vestibule of the center. They engaged in nonviolent civil resistance in the hope that their actions, as part of the worldwide outcry against the war, would stop the war from happening. During that week, over 7,000 people were arrested in the United States for trying to prevent the war and millions demonstrated around the globe

The four went on trial last year in Tompkins County court. Representing themselves, they convinced nine (out twelve jurors) that their actions were justified under the law. The trial ended in a hung jury after the jury was out for over twenty hours

At that trial the four spoke about their own inspiration for acting: their personal histories, their deep faith in the goodness of humanity, their knowledge that the war on Iraq was illegal under international law and their concern for the lives of Iraqis and Coalition service people.

They shared with the jury about the Nuremburg Principles of international law, which say that citizens have individual rights and duties to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity which supersede obligations of obedience to domestic law. The Nuremburg Principles were created after World War II as a way for the world community to hold individuals and countries accountable and prevent crimes against humanity.

They reminded the jury of people in our nation’s history who were willing to risk arrest so that our country would become more just:

Rosa Parks and freedom rides to end racial discrimination in bus seating

Students who did lunch counter sit-ins,

Abolitionists who aided escaping slaves on the underground railroad,

Susan B. Anthony and other women suffragettes who were arrested and jailed for picketing and attempting to vote,

Child workers who marched from Philadelphia to Washington to demand better working conditions,

Henry David Thoreau, who was jailed for not paying taxes in opposition to slavery and war.

They talked about how their action was legal under the law of necessity because any harm they caused- a mess that had to be cleaned up- was much smaller than the harm they were trying to prevent.

I am saddened to write that much of what we all sought to prevent through our actions against the war has happened. After two and a half years of war:

Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands injured.

Over 1800 Coalition service people have been killed and thousands injured.

Dust from many tons of cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions has contaminated the Iraqi landscape and the bodies of its people, for generations to come.

Over two billion dollars have been spent on the war while American communities are unable to afford adequate healthcare, nutrition, education, environmental remediation and other essential needs

In Iraq, violence continues to escalate, with no end in sight.

Following the first trial, the federal government decided that they should be re-prosecuted. In February of 2005 the four were indicted on federal charges. In March of 2005, they pled not guilty and began to prepare for their second trial.

The federal judge presiding over the case, Hon. Thomas MacAvoy, has ruled that the four will not be allowed to present evidence about international law or the law of necessity. He has even said that 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?

Danny and I have two boys, Finian, two and a half and Francis, four months. As we marvel over each of their small daily developments, we think of the future that is being created for them and we think of the present reality for so many children. We think of the children of Coalition soldiers, some of whom will never see their mothers or fathers again. We think of the Iraqi children who have been killed in the war. We think children born to Coalition soldiers who suffer with Gulf War Syndrome who have severe birth defects and other major health problems. We think of the many Iraqi children suffering with leukemia from exposure to depleted uranium.

Whenever Danny and I worry about prison time for Peter, Clare, Teresa and him we think of these things. And we realize, many are paying a much bigger price for the decisions our country is making.

Finian, who was four months old, and I were in New Orleans visiting friends and participating in efforts against the war there when Danny, Clare Peter and Teresa went to the recruiting center. My sister called to tell me they were in jail for nonviolent direct action at the recruiting center. My first feeling was relief and gratitude. With an illegal, unjust, unnecessary and immoral war imminent, my despair was lessened knowing that members of my family and community were acting to prevent it and be a voice for life and hope.

As the proceedings have dragged on for two and a half years now, I have been glad for the opportunity they create for ongoing dialogue about the war. I have been heartened to find support for war resistance where I least expected it.

Please come and support the four at their trial. The trial 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 to be allowed into the court house. The community is invited and encourage to come and be a witness to the proceedings.

A five night Citizens Tribunal on the Iraq War is being organized for the evenings of September 18th-22. It will occur in Binghamton and will articulate the moral and legal grounds for nonviolent civil resistance to this war. Some of the invited participants include: Ray McGovern, Howard Zinn, Camilo Mejia, Amy Goodman, Liz McAllister, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, and Rosalie Bertell.

Even if you can’t come to the trial, I urge you to work to end the war in whatever way you can: attending national demonstrations, resisting payment of war taxes, engaging in nonviolent resistance, talking to your friends, family and neighbors, or ending petroleum dependence.

For more information about the four, their trial and the citizens tribunal, please check out the website at I can be reached at 607-280-0329 or by email:

       8/30/05Katrina Pics from New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

Hurricane Katrina left devastation, and floods in New Orleans, and Mississippi

       8/30/05 Get Ready for 4 Dollars a Gallon

Check out H.L.s Comics here.

Get Ready for 4 Dollars a Gallon.

By H.L.
There is a fire at a refinery in Venezuela oil prices go up. A hurricane hits Louisiana,
and Mississippi, oil prices go up. The war will drag on for another 26 years, and oil prices go up. Bush takes a walk hand in hand with Prince Abdullah, through a field of daisies, and oil prices spike up again. Dick Cheney, decides that Halliburton did not make enough triple digit profits last month, and oil prices go up.
What is with oil prices going up every time the wind changes directions? As you well know, unless you have been living in a cave, oil prices are at an all time high, the price for a gallon of premium in Los Angeles in now hovering at about 3.15 a gallon. In 3 days the big Labor Day weekend begins, with experts predicting that just as many if not more people will be on the road despite the ridiculously high prices. AAA says that 30 Million travelers will take to the nations highways this weekend.
As I travel the Freeways, and streets of L.A. I see as usual that half the vehicles on the road are SUVs. At 3.15 a gallon and a 30 Gallon tank it is now costing close to 100 dollars to fill up and hit the gridlock traffic that is an everyday fact of life over here. How do these people do it? Many families here have to buy a house that is a good one-hour drive away from the city so they can afford it. That means 2 hour commutes every day, the gas prices must be driving them to near bankruptcy. Of course, soon they will not be able to declare bankruptcy anymore. If prices rise much more will we soon be seeing 2-year-old SUVs for sale for 1000 dollars? just enough to buy a 1991 Toyota Tercel.
Since people are maxing out their Visa cards to fill up the Escalade, and the Hummer, and continue to drive as much as ever, means that prices will continue to rise. Not until we get to 4 dollars a gallon will people finally start to try to conserve, and find ways to not use so much fuel.
Of course with oilmen running the country (Into the ground) you know that part of the reason for high prices are artificially created because oil companies know they can get away with it. Corporate Mergers have hit the oil business just like every other industry in

America, and when Exxon/Mobil, and BP/Amoco, decide to raise prices and sit on inventories there is nothing we can do about it. Kyle Cooper an analyst with Citigroup opines that prices are where they are because of Fear of what could happen, not what is actually happening today. Cooper says that oil should be trading right now at 35 to 40 dollars a gallon based on inventories, not at the 66 dollars a gallon that it is currently trading at.
"During the last 24 months, the world has added over 200 million barrels to petroleum inventories around the globe. How is that supply not keeping up with demand? Demand has grown significantly. Supply has met and exceeded demand by 200 million barrels." So What’s really happening is that oil companies are increasing inventories, yet raising prices because they know that Bush will let them get away with it. The question is how long will they be able to do this before the glut gets to be too much and the prices will have to come down. Probably just long enough to get to that magical 4 dollar a gallon level, at which point people will panic, and you will be able to pick up a Lincoln Navigator cheap.
Ever since the late 70’s, every time there was a big spike in oil prices, the pendulum eventually swung the other way bringing the prices back down lower then they were before the big hit. This is always due to artificial price increases. Between 1980, and 1982 gas prices were up to 1.20 a gallon. By 1986 it was all the way back down to 69 cents. In 1991 during the first president Bush’s term Gas prices went to 1.60 a gallon, and were back down to 1.15 a gallon in the mid 90’s. So prices will come down eventually but get ready to break the bank in the meantime if you own a Guzzler.