[saymaListserv] Fwd: SOA 43 sentencing

Michael Austin Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Sat Jul 20 22:05:09 JEST 2002

Dear Friends,

Please read and share this information.

Blessed Be,

>From: "Mary Johnson" <mary.johnson at starpower.net>
>Subject: SOA 43 sentencing
>Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 12:11:51 -0400
>Dear friends,
>The news is heavy in my heart, not unexpected, but difficult. Dad was given
>the maximum sentence. Six months in federal prison and a $1000 fine. We
>don't know the prison now, just that he'll receive notice to report sometime
>within 3-7 weeks from now. I haven't really processed this yet but want to
>get the news out immedately to all of you. Your support has meant so much.
>We felt your support and prayers with us in that courtroom. Thank you, thank
>you. Spread the word.
>Love to you all
>Here are 5 articles my friend Lee has sent: The first about the final
>sentencing, the others relay the process. (order goes most recent to first)
>The final is an op-ed from the Buffalo News. Check out the second article
>that covers Major Joseph Blair (former SOA instructor)'s testimony on behalf
>of the defense.  WHAT WILL IT TAKE???
>July 12 -- SOA 43 Sentencing
>Sentencing for the SOA 43 took place on Friday. Seven received six
>months probation. Fines ranged from none to $5000. Eight of the
>defendants pled guilty to trespass on Monday. Ten pled not guilty while
>stipulating to the facts presented by the prosecution.  Judge G. Mallon
>Faircloth found these ten guilty on Tuesday.  Fourteen defendants were
>tried on Tuesday and Wednesday ­ all found guilty with one exception.
>Five defendants who represented themselves were tried Thursday. All of
>the defendants (excepting the one acquitted) were sentenced yesterday
>afternoon well into the night.
>Sentencing of the 37 SOA Watch Defendants (listed in order of state)
>Fr. William O¹Donnell Berkeley, CA, 72, Sentenced to six months in
>federal prison, $1000 fine
>Leone Reinbold Oakland, CA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine
>Fr. Louis Vitale San Francisco, CA, Sentenced to three months in federal
>Toni Flynn Valyermo, CA, 56, Sentenced to six months in federal prison
>(in custody now)
>Jonna Cohen Denver, CO, 20, Sentenced to three months in federal prison,
>$500 fine
>Michael Sobol Golden CO, 18, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Kathy Shields Boylan Washington DC, 58, Sentenced to three months in
>federal prison, $500 fine
>Richard Ring Atlanta, GA, 33, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Mary Dean Chicago, IL, 37, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison,
>$1000 fine
>Kathleen Desautels Chicago, IL, 64, Sentenced to six months in a federal
>Brigid Conarchy Grayslake, IL, 23, Sentenced to six months probation,
>$500 fine and barred from entering Muskogee County for twelve months
>Fr. Jerry Zawada Cedar Lake, IN, 65, Sentenced to six months in federal
>prison (in custody now)
>Janice Sevre-Duszynska Nicholasville, KY, 52, Sentenced to three months
>in federal prison, $500 fine
>Ralph Madsen Newtonville, MA, 68, Sentenced to six months probation,
>Palmer Legare Springfield, MA, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Rev. Charles Booker-Hirsch Ann Arbor, MI, 41, Sentenced to three months
>in federal prison, $500 fine
>Maxwell Sadler Edwards Waterville, ME, Sentenced to six months in
>federal prison, $2500 fine
>Summer Nelson Missoula, MT, 26, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine (in custody now)
>Tom Mahedy Wall, NJ, 39, Former Navy ROTC. Sentenced to three months in
>federal prison
>Linda Holzbaur Ithaca, NY, 45, Sentenced to six months probation, $500
>fine Rae Kramer Syracuse, NY, 55, Sentenced to six months in a federal
>prison, $5,000 fine
>Laura MacDonald Syracuse, NY, 23, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine (in custody now)
>Mike Pasquale Syracuse, NY, 33, Sentenced to six months in a federal
>prison, $1000 fine
>Chani Geigle Salem, OR 19, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison,
>$1000 fine
>Shannon McManimon Philadelphia, PA 26, Sentenced to six months
>probation, $500 fine
>Rev. Erik Johnson Maryville, TN, 57, Sentenced to six months in federal
>prison, $1000 fine
>Kenneth Crowley Houston, TX, 60, Sentenced to six months in federal
>prison, $1000 fine
>Niklan Jones-Lezama Blacksburg, VA, 38, Sentenced to six months in
>federal prison
>David O¹Neill Elkton, VA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine
>Lee Sturgis Elkton, VA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine
>Peter Gelderloos Harrisonburg, VA 19, Sentenced to six months in federal
>prison (in custody now)
>Abi Miller Harrisonburg, VA, 23, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Sue Daniels Pembroke, VA, 41, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Nancy Gowen Richmond, VA, 68, Sentenced to three months in federal
>prison, $500 fine
>Lisa Hughes W. Hartford, VT, 36, Acquitted
>John Heid Luck, WI, 47, Sentenced to six months in federal prison
>Kate Fontanazza Milwaukee, WI 53, Sentenced to six months in federal
>prison, $1000 fine
>*For more detalis on the trial check out the SOA Watch web page
>(includes pictures!) at www.soaw.org or log onto the web page of the
>Atlanta office of Independent Media at www.atlanta.indymedia.org
>SOA Trial Report - 11 July, 2002
>by Observer 7:43am Fri Jul 12 '02
>Today was a day of creative defenses and much legal argumentation,
>defending our First Amendment Rights
>Summer Nelson and Abi Miller (their cases joined), plead Not Guilty,
>acting Pro Se (i.e. self-representation).
>Government witnesses were called, to testify to Ban and Bar letters,
>details of the videotape of the Nov. 18, 2001 Action, and of posted
>and bullhorn-announced warnings to Defendants on that date.
>The defendants’ defense was that they had been part of the legal
>protest, but went inside solely to deliver an “Indictment” to the
>commandant (or his representative) of the SOA, charging them with
>specified crimes against humanity, and “to confront the fact that our
>government is training torturers.” The videotape from Nov. 18 showed
>officers waving the defendants towards the base, while warnings were
>issued to protesters as they were forced to the ground and into a
>waiting bus. The defendants’ closing argument centered around “our
>constitutional right to petition our government to redress grievances.”
>The judge rejected all arguments and found them Guilty, as charged.
>Peter Gelderloos, plead Not Guilty, acting Pro Se
>The same government witnesses were called, this time adding information
>about various Fort Benning checkpoints and how people are vetted to
>enter the base. The judge repeated his contention that “a breach of the
>law is a breach of the peace.” Major Joe Blair (U.S. Army, retired) was
>called to the stand by Peter. Major Blair had long been in charge of
>instruction at the SOA, after also being a “Political/M ilitary
>Officer” in Latin America and Viet Nam. Major Blair confirmed the SOAW
>allegations that some of the routine courses taught at SOA included
>interrogation and torture, and techniques of physical abuse, torture,
>and infiltrating (labor) unions. Major Blair later became outspoken on
>these issues when he became aware that this was a violation of the
>Executive Order of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who had prohibited the
>use and teaching of these “Project-X” classified manuals that had been
>used in VietNam and elsewhere. After a recent visit to SOA/WHISC, Major
>Blair concluded “there are no substantive changes besides the name.” He
>continued in saying “they teach the identical courses that I taught and
>changed the course names, and use the same manuals.” They also continue
>to teach courses on U.S. military strategy, tactics and use of
>technology, although torture techniques are no longer taught.
>During his testimony, it was pointed out that Latin America only fights
>wars internally, not to defend their country. They are taught these
>techniques to use against their own civilian population. He agreed that
>what is taught at SOA/WHISC directly results in violations of U.S.
>treaty law, human rights law, human rights treaties, international
>agreements on tariff and trade, and the North America Free Trade
>Agreement. Major Blair closed by saying that the vast majority of the
>officers who teach at the SOA/WHISC are Latin American, and that he
>considers SOA/WHISC a quasi-Latin American military school, but he was
>glad that they are starting to teach a new 8-hour Human Rights class.
>Peter then took the stand himself. He said that he legally protested
>outside the gate, then entered to deliver an information document to the
>SOA/WHISC commander, and insisted that we all have a clear First
>Amendment right to lawful assembly and to petition for redress of
>grievances. Peter raised many reasons for innocence and acquittal, based
>on the Supremacy Clause, on International law, on the OAS Charter, on
>the Equal Protection law, on First Amendment rights, and others.
>There were some tense moments as the prosecutor unsuccessfully struggled
>to keep up with Peter’s creative defense and cool demeanor.  An exciting
>debate on Free Speech took center stage, with Peter’s assertion that
>people are ultimately ruled by their own morality. He insisted that Free
>Speech is the main foundation of our freedom, and especially objected to
>men with guns (and power) using coercion to silence people, both in
>Latin America and in this very courtroom. “It is important to listen,”
>he stated to the judge and prosecutor, “especially when your basic
>assumptions are being challenged.” Following up the prosecution’s former
>statement “a protest by any other name…” comment, Peter closed with “The
>First Amendment, by any other name, is valid.” He pointed out that Law
>and Justice are not identical, and challenged Judge Faircloth to uphold
>both of these ideals.
>Peter was found guilty as charged.
>Palmer Legare, acting Pro Se, plead Not Guilty.
>Palmer contended simply that his case, as well as the others, should be
>acquitted because of international law. “I thank the prosecution for
>selecting me as one of their [quota of ] 43,” he said, and then told a
>touching story of personally learning the pain of oppression of
>minorities, how this led him to a life of activism to help alleviate
>suffering, and of his experiences in Guatemala. “I couldn’t understand
>that when some one knew about this oppression going on, that they did
>not do anything about it.” He said that it seems that “WHISC is needed
>so that the U.S. can continue to make money overseas, and generally keep
>the people of Latin and South America powerless,” for that purpose.
>Palmer challenged Judge Faircloth directly, explaining that he and
>others were upset with the court’s behavior and treatment of the
>defendants. He also showed compassion for the judge and his point of
>view. To everyone’s surprise, Judge Faircloth wanted to know how
>he was perceived and why people would be upset with him. Although in the
>end the Judge concluded that they simply misunderstood each other, the
>dialog was electric. Palmer concluded by asking the Judge to look him in
>the eye when sentencing him, and to know that any sentence he passes
>makes him complicit with the SOA atrocities, that he can slow down the
>SOA Watch, but not stop it.
>Judge Faircloth stated “You mentioned that Martin Luther King and
>Malcolm X did what they thought was right no matter the consequences.
>You all talk about doing what you think is right. This is the first
>mention of consequences. You all knew there would be consequences for
>your actions. I admire you for acknowledging this and for saying it.”
>The judge also said, “While I am not authorized to break the law, I can
>bend procedure in court. I have bent it to the extent that I have
>allowed you all to say whatever you have to say. I do not know another
>judge who would have allowed this. [However,] I am bound by the law.”
>Judge Faircloth also said, “I am glad to hear that they are no longer
>teaching torture at SOA. When I go out there, I want to take Major Blair
>with me. I want to see what you see. I want you to point it out to me.”
>Palmer was then pronounced Guilty, as charged.
>John Heid, plead Not Guilty, acting alone, Pro Se
>As time was short, the Prosecution presented their case quickly. John
>raised many questions during his cross exam of the government’s two
>witnesses, such as how SOA students are screened, if at all. He asked
>the Chief of Administration and Civil Law if he was aware that one SOA
>instructor was a convicted war criminal from Chile, how such an
>appointment could happen and questioned whether the SOA students +
>instructors are immune from U.S. Federal law.
>John will present his defense case tomorrow. John’s case is the last of
>the 37.
>So far, 35 guilty and one acquittal. Tomorrow afternoon (Friday),
>sentences will be pronounced for the SOAW 37.
> From the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer (Columbus Georgia):
>Posted on Fri, Jul. 12, 2002
>Judge offers penalty options
>Protesters may spend six months in Fort Benning school or prison
>BY JIM HOUSTON, Staff Writer
>penalty options
>As seven SOA Watch protesters mulled the judge's offer of a six-month
>stint at the very school they seek to close, another of the
>demonstrators was sentenced Thursday to the maximum prison term for
>trespass onto the Fort Benning Military Reservation.
>U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth, who has convicted 35 protesters
>during three days of trials and pleas in U.S. District Court in
>Columbus, told the defendants and their supporters to leave the
>courtroom early Thursday evening. With only attorneys, court personnel
>and a reporter watching, he then issued the first sentence for a
>protester convicted of crossing onto Fort Benning during the Nov. 18
>demonstration against the former School of the Americas and its
>successor, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
>Maxwell E. Sadler of Waterville, Maine, said nothing as he stood before
>Faircloth. A first-time offender, he had pleaded guilty on Monday, with
>attorney John Martin of Columbus explaining that Sadler had trespassed
>after SOA Watch supporters assured him first-time crossers would not be
>Before sentencing, Faircloth told Sadler he had ruled against the city's
>attempt to stop the protesters from gathering at the gates of Fort
>Benning, because they had a constitutional right to free speech
>activities in that location, where they had gathered peaceably for 11
>consecutive years.
>But this year was very different, he said, because the terrorist acts of
>Sept. 11 were still so recent many people felt it was not a good time to
>hold the demonstration at the gates of the nation's infantry center.
>Despite Sadler's admission of guilt, the six-month jail sentence and
>$2,000 fine Faircloth imposed was short of the maximum punishment by
>only $3,000. He did agree to allow Sadler to voluntarily surrender to
>the prison to which the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will assign him.
>A murmur ran through the defendants and their supporters as they
>returned to the courtroom and learned of Sadler's sentence.
>Seven of the 35 who have been convicted are to decide before sentencing
>at 1 p.m. today whether to accept Faircloth's offer of six months on
>probation at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
>Although 10 originally signed for consideration of such an alternative,
>three withdrew their names. Those remaining are Nancy Gowen of
>Richmond, Va.; Richard Ring of Atlanta; Janice Sevre-Duszynska of
>Lexington, Ky.; Jonna Cohen and Michael Sobol of Denver; the Rev. Louis
>Vitale of San Francisco; and the Rev. Charles Booker-Hirsch of Ann
>Arbor, Mich. Faircloth warned that the alternative sentence would be no
>picnic. Anyone who accepts would have travel restricted to Muscogee and
>Chattahoochee counties, would have to attend all classes scheduled at
>the institute during the six months and would risk being imprisoned for
>six months for violation of probation, even if only one day remained on
>the sentence, he said.
>But the judge refused to say whether the seven would be sentenced to
>prison if they refused the offer of attending the institute.
>The suggestion of having a protester serve his sentence at the
>institute, to later be able to tell all exactly what goes on at the Fort
>Benning-based school for Latin American soldiers and officials,
>originated with the Rev. William O'Donnell. The Berkeley, Calif., parish
>priest's name is no longer on the list.
>Faircloth also said he will be taking a look at the institute, and he's
>willing to take along former SOA instructor Joe Blair of Columbus, a
>retired U.S. Army major who has been a vocal critic of the school and a
>demonstrator against the institute's continued existence.
>"When I go, I want to take Maj. Blair with me, if he will go," the judge
>told the crowded courtroom.
>"I will," Blair answered from his seat among the spectators.
>"Good. I want to see what he sees," Faircloth said.
>Blair testified Thursday during the trial of Peter A. Gelderloos of
>Harrisonburg, Va., that torture was taught at the School of the Americas
>when he was an instructor (1986-89), in direct violation of an executive
>order issued by President Jimmy Carter. Instructors taught interrogation
>techniques from an outlawed "Project X" manual and from the "Project
>Phoenix" program used in South Vietnam, he said.
>"Capt. (Victor) Tice taught it was U.S. military policy that it would be
>appropriate in a military setting to use physical abuse, false
>imprisonment, infiltration of unions and infiltrations of organizations
>in their country," Blair said.
>When he inspected the manuals, curricula and programs at the institute
>in March -- after his year-old request for the opportunity was finally
>approved -- he found those violations no longer occur, Blair said.
>"What I clearly saw is that the school no longer teaches torture," he
>In addition, the week-long course on human rights now taught at the
>school is "a vast improvement" over the four-hour human rights lesson
>that was folded into an 11-month command course he taught, Blair said.
>"That's a major change," he told Faircloth.
>But many of the other courses have had no substantive changes, and the
>fact remains that most Latin American nations who send their soldiers to
>the institute use their military to control civilian populations -- not
>for defense against external groups or threats, Blair said.
>Gelderloos was one of four defendants who demanded trials, represented
>themselves and were convicted on Thursday.  The others included Abigail
>M. Miller, also of Harrisonburg, Summer Lisa Nelson of Missoula, Mont.,
>and Palmer D. Legare of Springfield, Mass.
>The trial of John E. Heid of Luck, Wis., also representing himself, will
>resume when court reconvenes at noon today in the third-floor courtroom
>of the federal building at 12th Street and Second
>SOA Watch Press Release:
>Trial Begins for 37 Human Rights Activists for Civil Disobedience at
>School of the Americas
>COLUMBUS, Ga., July 8 -- Thirty-seven human rights activists go to trial
>in federal court today for civil disobedience at the School of the
>Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation)
>in Columbus, Georgia. They were among 10,000 who gathered last November
>to call for the closure of the notorious school. The defendants
>peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. They are
>charged with trespass and face up to six months in federal prison and
>$5,000 in fines. Trial before Judge G. Mallon Faircloth in Columbus is
>expected to last through the week.
>Judge Faircloth is known for giving the maximum of six months to
>opponents of the SOA/WHISC. Seventy-one people have served a total
>of over 40 years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a
>broad-based campaign to close the school. Last year 26 people were
>prosecuted, including Dorothy Hennessey, an 88 year-old Franciscan nun
>who was sentenced to six months in federal prison.
>"Those who speak out for justice are facing harsh prison sentences while
>SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity," said
>SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois.
>The SOA/WHISC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers.
>Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses and
>atrocities, according to SOA Watch. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to
>release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of
>torture, extortion and execution. In December 2000 Congress authorized
>the WHISC to replace the SOA. The renaming of the school was widely
>viewed as an attempt to diffuse public criticism and to disassociate the
>school from its reputation. SOA Watch maintains that the underlying
>purpose of the school, to control the economic and political systems of
>Latin America by aiding and influencing Latin American militaries,
>remains the same.
>"The SOA is the terrorist training camp in our own backyard," said
>Bourgeois. SOA Watch works to stand in solidarity with people of Latin
>America, to change oppressive US foreign policy, and to close the
>U.S. Must Stop Funding School that Trains Terrorists
>Sunday, June 23rd 2002  --  The Buffalo News  -- BY JOAN HEALY
>Imagine if someone approached you asking for a contribution to fund the
>training of terrorists.
>What would be your response? Outrage? Would you assume the person was
>insane? Would you report him to the proper authorities to have this
>action stopped at once?
>You know in your heart that terrorism is despicable. It is the
>antithesis of everything that our country stands for.
>Furthermore, our government has said repeatedly that we, as a nation,
>will not allow any person or nation to help in the spread of terrorism..
>If those would be your responses, I hope, as you read this, you will
>become outraged and call the  proper authorities to have this action
>stopped. Because right now, you are contributing to the  training of
>terrorists with your tax dollars.
>Are you shocked? You should be. Because it is often overlooked in the
>media, most people have  never heard this. It is not out in the open
>because those in power know Americans would be infuriated to find their
>tax dollars being used to help train terrorists who go on to commit
>horrendous human-rights abuses.
>The school that receives this funding to train terrorists is not in Iraq
>or Afghanistan or Libya, but in our own country at Fort Benning, Ga. I
>am referring to the School of the Americas.
>And before anyone corrects me, yes, I know the name was changed. When
>some members in Congress fought for an investigation of the school to
>have the funding stopped because of the atrocities that were being
>carried out by the graduates, members who supported the school did what
>all devious people do, they changed the name.
>This name change was presumed to wipe out the memory of all past abuses.
>It is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
>Cooperation. But the name was the only thing that changed. In fact, a
>school supporter, the late Sen. Paul Coverdell of Georgia, called the
>name  change "cosmetic," and assured everyone that the mission and
>operation would continue.
>For those unfamiliar with this training operation, let me introduce you
>to some of the people on the list of more than 60,000 graduates. For
>starters there are some of the most notorious dictators Latin America
>has been cursed with: Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama,
>Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado
>of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador and Hugo Banzer Suarez of
>In 1998, graduate Lima Estrada was found guilty of the murder of Bishop
>Juan Geradi. In 2000, Guatemalan dictators Efrain Rios Montt and
>Fernando Lucas Garcia were brought to court on charges of genocide.
>Colombia, our best customer, has had more than 10,000 troops trained
>there. Have we, unknowingly, helped Colombia to earn the distinction of
>having the worst human-rights record in all of Latin America? Hundreds
>of thousands of deaths in Latin America are attributed to the graduates
>of this school.
>If we allow this to continue, we cannot claim that we believe in human
>rights for all people, or that we are fighting a war against terrorism.
>No longer are we peacekeepers. Nor can we say that we live in a
>civilized society, because if we support terror, we are not civilized.
>JOAN HEALY, a freelance writer, lives in East Aurora, NY.
>Copyright 2002 The Buffalo News
>School of the Americas Watch:
>PO Box 4566
>Washington DC 20017
>tel: 202-234-3440
>fax: 202-636-4505
>info at soaw.org
>Mary Johnson
>Policy Analyst
>American Friends Service Committee
>Washington Office/Davis House
>tel: (202) 483-3341
>mary.johnson at starpower.net

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