U.S. Fines Woman for Being 'Human Shield'

U.S. Fines Woman for Being ‘Human Shield’

As much as I dislike those stupid ‘Human Shields’, these charges seem pretty trumped up. I mean WTF does traveling to Iraq have to do with trade? If they are going through with this, I hope the US gov. will bring down charges equaly on every single American who has ever visted Iraq before the war (reporters, etc). I think this stinks of selective punishment, or something (It just doesn’t seem correct). What does the SDMB think?

The US doesnt respect Human Rights of the Guantanamo Prisoners… doesnt regard the International Crimes Tribunal as Relevant… so I guess this poor woman is just the next target of the Patriotic Homeland Security clean up.

Its a Witch Hunt and totally absurd. Where is the Freedom of Expression ? Might as well change the constitution of the US for the Bible. (Old Testament preferably).

I think it looks like she’s being charged with anything that can stick. She deserves to be charged for treason, not breaking the trade embargo.

Right on topic! Unfortunately not the topic of this thread.

This woman isn’t being fined because she was a human shield. This is the most twisted OP title I’ve seen in the last couple of months. She was fined for going to a country which - as the US passport clearly says - American citizens are for the most part not allowed to travel. “Transaction related to travel…are generally prohibited,” says my passport. Because anyone who enters a country is probably going to spend some money on food if nothing else, this woman broke the law. It’s the same for travellers to Libya and Cuba. People may get government approval to travel to those places, but that didn’t happen in this instance.

For what it’s worth, I think the law sucks, and people should be allowed to travel where they please (Cuba could really use the economic boost of US tourists). But the woman did violate the rule, and it wasn’t just for being a human shield but for being in the country to begin with.

UnuMondo

She broke the law in public way and is being fined for her crime. Sounds OK to me.

Shit. I’m going to have to agree with december in GD?!

Folks who intentionally violate laws for whatever reasons, including protest, humanitarian efforts, etc., should neither be surprised nor expect sympathy when they face prosecution for their actions.

The law is an ass. Why, on earth, should people not be free to travel to Iraq or Cuba? To say that spending a few dollars a day there is helping the enemy is plainly ridiculous. A law which penalises directly aiding the enemy in time of war, that I can understand. A law which punishes people for traveling to countries with regimes the USA government does not like is an infringement on the very basic right to travel and learn and experience things for oneself. I cannot think any other developed, democratic, countries which restrict the rights of their citizens like this.

Seriously Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba??? :eek: :eek:

Whatever.

The law may suck, but if you know about the law and then violate it don’t be surprised when you get caught and punished. That’s really all there is to it.

Technically, no.

More info at: ...FAQ's... Cubalinda.com-Your Travel to Cuba!!!...

I find it… interesting.

Truth is, a lot of US citizens do go to Cuba, via Mexico and other such places. Cuban officials never stamp american passports (or won’t if you ask them not to), so no one needs to know you’re… sleeping with the enemy…

:wink:

http://www.treas.gov/ofac/t11cuba.pdf

…is the gov’t document (PDF) with all the restrictions n’ stuff. Enjoy!

sailor

and Rashak Mani:

(IANAL, so someone with more expertise please correct me if I’m wrong.)

The charge against this woman is transacting with (or while inside) Iraq, and therefore, Congress has authority to regulate this conduct under the Commerce cause (which gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations). I don’t think the charge has anything to do with free expression.

With that said, while I vehemently disagree with the very premise of Americans being human shields in Iraq, I don’t think the government should bother with old ladies whose actions, while IMHO terribly misguided, do not constitute treason nor were a threat to the nation’s security.

Keep your goddamn eyes on the ball, government!! :mad:

Well, that’s the idea behind an embargo or boycott…you refuse to purchase anything with the hope that the country will, to get your money, change its behavior.

If people are allowed to travel there freely, spend their money there freely, there’s really no point to an embargo.

What if this woman was unfairly arrested when she got there? Or perhaps more likely; what if she got sick or hurt? Should the government help her? Same thing with someone visiting Cuba.

That’s a pretty lame argument. Especially since not even the US government uses it as a justification. The US government can and does issue travel warnings but it does not even pretend that it can protect US citizens abroad. When you travel you are under foreign jurisdiction whether in Cuba or in Algeria. And right now Cuba is much safer than Algeria for US citizens. I cannot see any valid justification for these travel prohibitions and I consider them an unwarranted infringement on people’s liberties.

Oh come on. I don’t care if it was against the law. They are using her to intimidate others who might do the same thing down the road.

Pure and simple.

To Captain Amazing:

By that logic, we should end the embargo on Cuba. It’s been going on for a generation & has effected nothing.:wally

As for the main topic, add my vote to the “DA LAW IS A ASS” column. This really is a free-speech/freedom-of-conscience issue at bedrock, & I have very little patience for legal positivists who denounce those who break stupid laws. Ever speed? Ever spray a controlled pesticide? Self-righteous punks!

What if an American is married to an Iraqi and living in Iraq ? It seems she would be subjected to the same punishment. Reporters too ?

Interesting that the most vehement reply came from outside the US. Are you a US citizen, Winston, or do you just like sniping where the situation doesn’t really concern you? Citizen or not, do you really think that a sixty-ish woman’s expression of disapproval of her country’s policies (NOT of her country, I hasten to add) rises to the level of treason? Please tell me you’re not related in any way to our government. I’m depressed enough by the people I know are.

Captain, you are indeed Amazing. Puh-leeze! This woman isn’t a billionaire accused of aiding an enemy or breaking an embargo. She’s just one person expressing her feelings in the most direct way she knows. Whatever money she spent there isn’t likely to aid anyone but an inkeeper.

Exactly. Throw the full force and power of the US Government against one woman, terrify her and anyone else who thinks they have the right to move freely about the planet. Mustn’t let people think they are free in this country.

It’s sad when the government becomes a bully.

Why should his citizenship have any bearing on his contributions to the various debates here? By your ‘logic’, only those who have citizenship in the various nations affected should bother to voice their opinion?

Regardless, you have no idea if she expressed dissapproval of her country or not. I would guess she did. The sort of person dumb enough to think that we will or will not drop a bomb on point X because their tired hippy ass is sitting there (by choice), is probably the sort of person that loves to tear apart America, while lifting the Saddams and Castros of the world onto a pedestal. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

By the way, I have been a US citizen for over 17 years now. Does that validate my opinion?