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

“Land of the Free”, baby.

I guess I should have been more clear. Please read my post again. What I said was that the most vehement post (one calling for a charge of treason) came from someone not an American (if that is the case…I did ask the question). The woman is being fined for breaking a rule, and someone in Denmark thinks she should be tried for treason. I just thought that was excessive. It would be excessive if the poster were an American. Of course Winston has the right to express himself in this forum. But since this was an American woman being fined for breaking an American rule, I though his reaction was a little over the top.

You’re right. I don’t know whether she disapproved of her country, and neither do you. We differ only in that I assume she had the best intentions and you assume she had the worst. That’s what is meant by the oft-used phrase “your mileage may vary.”

You (and Winston) have as much right to your opinion as anyone. Whether it’s valid or not is, well, a matter of opinion. And around and around we go. :wink:

FTR I didn’t add any “spice” to it, if that’s what you were thinking. The thread title was the exact title of the news story, nothing more.

It’s incorrect to make a blanket statement that US citizens are not allowed to travel to Cuba. Feel free to get the facts of the matter from http://travel.state.gov/cuba.html.

It’s just flat out wrong to say that US citizens aren’t allowed to travel to Iraq. http://travel.state.gov/iraq_warning.html has this to say:

Where is the Ford Act when you need it?

Look, Ghandi would have been disappointed if the law hadn’t responded to his provocations. This lady should be pleased she has the chance to defend her beliefs in a public arena.

That is a big part of what protesting is about.

(Still a great book remains to be written about the Children’s Crusade that was the whole Human Shield thing.)

If US citizens aren’t allowed to travel to Iraq, we have over 200,000 soldiers who could come under prosecution.:slight_smile:

With respect to the OP, I think the punishment of having the whole world know what an idiot this woman is should be adequate for her crime. It does seem somewhat frivolous to prosecute her, although I can imagine that the gov’t might want to pursue some of the more blatantly public cases.

I speed all the time. And when I get a ticket, I pay the fine and don’t expect to get off.

I guess I don’t see the problem.

Let’s say there is a law that you don’t like (any law). You can protest the law, write letters against the law, object to the law, only vote for folks who will try to repeal the law, etc.

But if you break the law, there are consequences.

There are many unjust laws. Many good people went to jail for breaking Jim Crow laws. People get arrested for breaking the laws concerning environmental issues frequently.

Breaking an unjust law can be a great way to draw attention to the unfairness of it. Going to jail can bring even more attention to your cause.

But to purposely break a law, and then complain that you are being punnished for breaking that law… that just doesn’t make sense to me.

Ya, but a $10,000 fine for engaging in “direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq.” is no speeding ticket. She could also face up to 12 years in prison from this law.

This law is so vague that a person merly traveling to Iraq can be charged. If you charge her, why not reporters? Why not aid workers? Who else? Is the US charging anyone another then these people for traveling into Iraq?

I know that Human sheids are dumbasses, but I don’t think when she decided to become a human shield she was knowingly breaking this stupid law. This smells.

I do. You don’t just hop a plane to Iraq. It takes planning, and in planning, she had to find out why American Airlines doesn’t fly into Baghdad. She knew.

Even if she didn’t “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

As for prosecuting reporters, of course not. Reporters have to get permission before entering. Basically, they have to ask the US government for an exemption. So they broke no law.

If this woman supported the Baath regime, she should be prosecuted for that, but visiting a country we don’t like is not a valid basis for prosecution. Freedom of movement is a basic human right, and the mere fact that its excercise would be against the interests of the US is no sufficient cause for it to be forfeited. Requiring reporters to get permission (and I don’t know if this was the case) is especially egregious, as it is not only a right but a duty for the American people to excercise their First Amendment right to investigate and report the state of the world. I wonder if North Korea uses similar rationale “The rest of the world is the eneny, visiting them would be helping the enemy, therefore foreign travel is prohibited”.

That said, I found this to be quite humorous:

Of course they are! That’s the whole point of punitive measures. Hey, here’s another news flash: artillery is used to break up concentrated formations! Taxes are used to obtain revenue! The Pope is Catholic!

The Ryan, as usual you don’t get it.

The only effective form of protest ever against this administation so far were the silent protesters at the front of the US Embassy in Liberia, shot dead in a hail of crossfire hitting the refugee camp. That got te US to put at least a few soldiers there.

Do we have to all die to effectively protest against this administration? By the way some of you are acting, yes. And that is most repugnant.

This is Great Debate not Great Gossip, I don’t much care one way or the other what happens to this particular wretched woman, my comment was on the principle of it all – what does a person doing so and so deserve.

While I don’t see how her being sixty or woman are mitigating circumstances, I think her actions went a little bit beyond merely “expression of disapproval”. I think treason is appropriate since she, in a state of war, (successfully or not) willingly and knowingly abided the enemy, and actively tried to interfere with the US’s conduct of war. I should think this is pretty much the definition of treason. If her opposition was limited to just “expression of disapproval” I would have found any charge outrageous, since I’m a great believer in freedom of speech.

I don’t think it is vehement to suggest a trial for treason is most correct. Everybody knows, she’s being tried not for breaking the embargo but for acting as “bomb shield”. Trying her for her real crimes (perceived or not) will give her a fair chance to defend herself.

PS. I’m not a US citizen, but if it makes you happy, I can inform you we had the same kind of “human shields” from Denmark, and as Denmark also was officially at war, the same problems have arisen.

(Actually, two shields from Denmark if I remember it correctly; one went home before the war started – since he found out the Iraqis clearly didn’t want him there, the other had to seek refuge with American soldiers fearing she would be lynched by civilian Iraqis after her guardian Bathist ran. Now how’s that for glorious shields? Still, while I despise their actions, I’m not without admiration for their courage.)

Your government is my uncle.

Another one…

It is completely stupied that one can go to prison for 12 years for spending one day in Libya, Cuba and (formerly) Iraq and just being a tourist when murdering someone will often result in just half that.

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/6512423.htm

She and others went to Iraq to become shields in order to prevent a war which was as yet not an acomplished fact. That action was no doubt unwise, maybe even stupid. But please explain to me how she could interfere with the conduct of a war that didn’t as yet exist.

I don’t know the state of this lady’s finances, but if she’s like most people, she’s not going to be able to “defend herself” very well against the full weight of the United States Justice Department. No doubt they will be willing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to make an example of her and intimidate anyone else who might be inclined to civil disobedience.

Good for you. Then urge your own government to try those people, if they are not already doing so.

Apparently you and I differ on what treason is. If your “shields” or Faith Fippinger had somehow sneaked across the Iraqi border after hostilities had begun you might have a case for giving aid and comfort to the “enemy.” Since it was before the invasion began, you only have a few misguided idealists doing something stupid. That’s not treason just because you don’t agree with their action.

The one the family’s not too sure of, no doubt. :wink:

Travel there before or after, I don’t see the difference. It’s treason if you willingly and knowingly help an enemy during war. My message was in response to the “human shield” part which I took as she was there during the war, if she went home before the war broke out, it’s clearly another case. However according to the article, it seems she returned on 4 May while the invasion started in March. Now maybe she felt she need a bit of vacation on Hawaii after Iraq and so left before March, though I find it more likely she was in Iraq during the war. Further:

She at least intended to stay. Are we talking about an oil refinery here? This goes beyond shielding hospitals or schools. No modern military can work without fuel. Is it unreasonable to assume that her plan was to in some way, by her presence, to prevent the American air force from attacking the refinery? If this refinery was useful for the Iraqi army how can this not be a clear cut of treason?

Call me an idealist, but I don’t think any amount of money can convict you if you’re clearly innocent.

I think not. They have already been thoroughly ridiculed, such trials would not now serve any purpose.

Okay she was still there after the war started, as if she could just leave once the hostilities bagan. She was in no way a combatant. As I said, she was just a misgided–even stupid–idealist. I don’t agree with what she did, but I still can’t agree with you that it was treason.

As for your second comment, idealist isn’t what I’d say to that. Naive is more like it if you believe that only the guilty have anything to fear from the power of a governments that is out to get them.

How is it that you are satisfied that your own idealist idiot shields should get off with ridicule but Ms. Flippinger deserves to be tried for treason? A little selective in your judgement, don’t you think?

A man may regret pressing the trigger, however that he cannot stop the bullet does not make him any less of a killer.

She not only purposefully put herself in a position from where she must have foreseen withdrawal would be difficult or impossible - she went there with intention to stay during the war. More, even though she may not have been able to leave, I don’t think she at any point was forced to act as “human shield”.

Few of those that make war possible are combatants; this does not absolve them from responsibility.

Oh, I don’t think she should be tried either, I’m just saying that if she should be tried she should be presented with the appropriate charges – which is treason not breaking the trade embargo.

Rune

I would not be surprized if that is exactly what many of these “Human shields” did.**

Are you willing to stake 12 years of her life on that?**

This is a really vague law, I think Ignorance of it is a real excuse.

Vague? How is “Americans citizens cannot travel to Iraq” vague? That’s about as clear a law as I can think of.

Spies are not combatants either, but they are treasonous. If she was “protecting” an Iraqi refinery for the benefit of Saddam’s regime, then she was commiting treason. What is treason if it is not helping an enemy? What was she doing other than helping the enemy?

If she had gone there to give Saddam military secrets, would that not be treason?