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How three pacifists were convicted as terrorists (commondreams.org)
403 points by swombat on June 9, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 163 comments



When I was growing up as a Quaker, I was raised to see such people as heroes, and I still do. These people took their beliefs and their convictions and chose to live life on their terms, not bowing to the authorities of the government. They knew what the potential punishments were. They used the trial to make their case. They made it. Like many other heroes of great magnitude they have sacrificed much and now stand as political prisoners.

But in addition to making their own cases, they have exposed something deeper about our system of government. We are all in their debt.

I shall listen to Jack Warshaw's "No Time for Love" (as a tribute to political prisoners) tonight, both his version[1] and the Moving Hearts version[2] (which was published first interestingly).

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT8p1XhTc2Y

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTgD-QveQrU


"But in addition to making their own cases, they have exposed something deeper about our system of government. We are all in their debt."

It was hard for me to put a name on what in this story resonates with me. And I think that quote really captures it. What they did was illegal, of course, but there's something about the response of the government that really exposes the paranoid insecurity of the security state. We're told that our wars on Terror and Drugs are going well and that the ends justify the means, and yet this story seriously destabilizes for me the feeling that there's much else besides security theater and draconian punishment. The government just seems to be making up the rules as it goes, and if you don't like those rules, God help you.

It's infuriating. We could be so much better as a country.


> We're told that ... the ends justify the means

There are no ends, life is just a sequence of means. Really, whatever objectives somebody have, they'll change before anybody get even near them.

Nobody ever uses that phrase to achieve something good. No exceptions, it doesn't matter if you think this time it's different, or that this one is a honest person.


"They knew what the potential punishments were."

I completely disagree with this. They could reasonably have expected to be charged with trespass and vandalism but to be labelled as terrorists is ludicrous. I doubt they even expected to get as far as they did (they had to hang around and sing songs before they were finally arrested).


If you have been around the activist community, and people who are willing to engage in civil disobedience... Remember, I was raised as a Quaker. When I was in Middle and High School we used to take a road trip down to the Nevada Test site for the annual protests there. My Friends Meeting used to hold actual civil disobedience training sessions. One of the members of my Friends Meeting (Salt Lake Monthly Meeting) engaged in a similar protest (a lone trespass, though it did not involve cuttng through fences) and was acquitted by a jury. I knew lots of people who decided to trespass during the protests, and many who chose not to. When I was in Middle School I helped build rock barricades on the road into the test site, so I think I have a sense of what people think who engage in protests of this sort.

When someone in these communities decides to undertake a protest of this magnitude, particularly when it is against a military installation, they tend to expect the absolute worst. This means inflated charges, possibly long prison terms, and so forth. When someone decides to do it anyway, the typical approach is to try to use all of this to one's advantage, to emphasize the political prisoner aspect, and to use the trial and jail time as a soap-box from which to make one's view known. Quakers particularly have a long tradition of this but so do some Catholic groups.


"They could reasonably have expected to be charged with trespass and vandalism but to be labelled as terrorists is ludicrous"

No, it was very reasonable to expect exactly this to happen. They were offered pleas, but choose not to take these pleas. The US justice system always retaliates against defendants that are unwilling to take pleas. I'm not saying that it is morally right, but I am saying that the defendants knew this very well and willfully choose this over other options. As a result of this you now know about them.


My expectation (as a lifelong pacifist) is that, when someone gets arrested as part of a peace protest of this nature, they will try to face maximum charges and then plead guilty to them. That's part of the protest -- taking responsibility for your actions, and using that to highlight the "injustice" of war and the government's actions in relation to war.

Usually the maximum charges are things that match the protesters' perceptions of themselves -- trespassing, vandalism, things like that. "Terrorism" is a completely unexpected form of government retaliation.


Not plead guilty. You want to turn the trial into an exposure of what is going on. The trial is part of the protest too. Don't count that out. But yes, the jail term is a part of the protest, with that I am entirely in agreement.

> "Terrorism" is a completely unexpected form of government retaliation.

I don't think you can look at the way various other anti-logging protesters and the like have been treated, and the way terrorist watch lists have been assembled, or even talk with activists who were active in the 1960's and 1970's and not expect this.


In the current police state, if you do anything to infrastructure you are going to be charged with terrorism.


The driver of the truck that came to grief on the I-35W bridge should be sweating then.


on related note - Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in MA (and, thanks to ALEC, coming soon to your state).


That's a good example of exactly why I suspect they would have expected such charges.


I suspect they knew the possible consequences going in and did it anyway. They're obviously not stupid people, and knew the lengths the government would go to protect a nuclear weapons facility. I applaud them either way.

They have exposed how extremist our government has become in the name of "stopping" terrorism, and have probably had much more far reaching effects in doing so than if they had just been charged with trespassing.

Many eyes are on the US government right now, and things like this inspire criticism from within and without.


Indeed, Quakers, who opposed slavery before anyone else and were probably the group most instrumental in ending it. (Unlike Southern Baptism - formed out of a desire to theologically justify slavery)

Also - Smedley butler


On the other side, Alvin C. York. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_C._York#World_War_I


This is becoming a lot more common lately. The discrepancy between how much jail time the people who upset the government get, and the people who commit real crimes is getting bigger. And that's without counting the complete lack of interest in prosecuting bankers and other corporations that are very friendly to the government. Justice is becoming increasingly more unequal.


It's the war on terrorism. Every time you hear officials talk about terrorism, replace terrorism with "the devil".

"an act of terrorism" == "an act of the devil"

The war on terrorism is our witch-hunt.


Except there is no canonical proof of the devil, and there are people who detonate explosives at the Boston Marathon.

I'm not saying what happened in the article is okay, nor am I saying things like PRISM and the PATRIOT Act are necessary sacrifices for the war on terror, but there are people in the world who do very very bad things to innocent people.


True, but the risk of dying at the hands of these people is extremely slim. According to tabular data found here[1], which chronicles US terrorist incidents and assassinations dating back to 1865, only 5031 people have been killed by terrorists in the last 148 years. That comes out to approximately 34 deaths per year!

That number is trivial compared to other causes of death. Here's a sampling of some death statistics from the year 2006 [2]:

  Fireworks discharge:                           8
  Fall on and from stairs and steps:         1,818
  Bitten or struck by dog:                      32
  Contact with venomous snakes and lizards:      8
  Accidental drowning and submersion:        3,579
  Exposure to electric transmission lines:      93
  Transport accidents:                      48,412
  Contact with hot tap-water:                   32
  Terrorism:                                     0
You're more likely to be killed by hot tap-water than you are by a terrorist.

[1](http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/wrjp255a.html)

[2](http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/injury_and_death_statistic...)


The problem with this sort of analysis is that there are EXTENSIVE efforts to reduce the amount of terrorism.

You might not like it, but the efforts are not trivial.

You're looking at the number of terrorism incidents AFTER efforts to mitigate them, and then concluding it's not a real issue. That's like saying that vaccinations aren't important because we haven't had a large number of Measles incidents lately.

We absolutely need better information, as citizens, to help weigh the relative success of these programs, but pretending to be sure that they aren't affecting the numbers is silly.


Good point.

Still, I can't help but hypothesize that the primary reason terrorism is such a rare occurrence in America is because intelligent people living comfortable lives without mental illness (read: the vast majority of the US) very rarely want to kill en masse. Or kill at all, really. If the opposite were true, I highly doubt our current counter-terrorism efforts would be good enough to prevent disaster after disaster.

For example, we were completely unable to predict and prevent events such as the Colorado theater shootings, the Newtown school shootings, the marathon bombings, etc. And the list of foiled Islamic plots since 9/11 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_foiled_Islamic_terroris...) can almost be counted on two hands.

Our justice system promises pretty severe retribution on those who would commit acts of terrorism against US citizens. The threats of ostracism, humiliation, prison time, and execution act as deterrents, because we've proven again and again that they're basically inescapable. Consequently, most reasonable people don't even consider terrorism.

It seems to me that punishing the guilty is far more effective than spying on the innocent.


Rational, reasonable response. Kudos!

Thought experiment: imagine if half of these foiled plots had occurred. In other words, imagine if every 6 months or so we had a terrorist attack that killed a dozen people (and sometimes more).

Do you think the American public would take the HN line that it's still a very small number of total deaths, similar to the number of people dying from hot tap water? Or would they elect politicians with a very aggressive anti-privacy regime that would be "necessary" to eliminate these routine acts of terror?

At the end of the day, politicians are elected by the people, and I suspect that even the best politician would need to have a somewhat aggressive surveillance regime purely to avoid being replaced by someone who would throw caution to the wind in response to routine attacks.

I'm sure someone will respond that there are basically no real thwarted attacks, but I don't believe that. The Wikipedia article you posted reflects my sense of the frequency of attempted attacks. You can also claim that these attacks would have been thwarted without any surveillance, but that isn't my understanding of how law enforcement works in general.

What we should be pushing for is a far more open understanding, by the citizenry, of the scope of data collection and how that data can be used by law enforcement operations.


> Thought experiment: imagine if half of these foiled plots had occurred. In other words, imagine if every 6 months or so we had a terrorist attack that killed a dozen people (and sometimes more). > Do you think the American public would take the HN line that it's still a very small number of total deaths, similar to the number of people dying from hot tap water? Or would they elect politicians with a very aggressive anti-privacy regime that would be "necessary" to eliminate these routine acts of terror?

The conditions of your thought experiment are not realized but the American public still reacts as you hypothesise they would if terrorist attacks were a semi-annual occurrence.

People are fucking awful at reasoning about rare but dramatic events. This should come as a surprise to nobody.


>The problem with this sort of analysis is that there are EXTENSIVE efforts to reduce the amount of terrorism.

the question here whether there are EFFECTIVE efforts. As Boston Marathon shows - no. Like in other times and other countries, anybody who wants is still able to commit such atrocious terrorist acts, despite the EXTENSIVE efforts. Governments just like EXTENSIVE efforts.


That's like saying that if there are any reports of measles, the entire vaccination regime is a failure.

I agree that we need to know more about the efforts to understand if they're working.

I disagree that the small number of terrorist attacks is evidence that the efforts we're using to combat the attacks aren't necessary.


I have this banana in my ear to keep the crocodiles away.


There are EXTENSIVE efforts in place, but I am willing to bet they are less than effective. I'd like to see a comparison of how many real terror attacks there are on US soil post-9/11 vs pre-9/11. I'm willing to bet they are very similar.

I think the methods used to sniff out terrorism are the same as they used to be, except now government agencies want to spy on everyone instead of just suspected terrorists.

Not to mention that every method we know about to stop terrorism since 9/11 has been reactionary; it has been a reaction to something that already happened. Not something that could happen.

I feel no safer from terror attacks now than I did before 9/11. Truth is, I never worried about them before and I don't worry about them now. It just doesn't happen that often. As stated, I'm tens of thousands of times more likely to die in a car ride on the way to a building that will be bombed than to die in the bombing itself.


There have been long-standing and extensive efforts to reduce deaths in traffic accidents too (in fact over time far more extensive than our antiterrorism efforts), and yet in the month of September, 2001, 20% more people in the US died in traffic accidents than in acts of terrorism. Once you aggregate beyond a year, the risk of terrorism is insignificant.

If you don't believe that, let's stop enforcing traffic safety laws, stop requiring manufacturers to include safety features in their cars, and stop designing traffic intersections with safety in mind and see what happens.


I think, perhaps, that the problem with terrorism is that the distribution of terrorism event impacts is likely heavy-tailed -- i.e., the probability of one "black swan" event (nuclear, biological, chemical) is higher than a normal distribution model of event impacts would suggest.

But, to me, this means that the national security apparatus should be exclusively focused on reducing the probability of those most-terrible events, and instead leave the small-scale stuff to standard law enforcement. I.e., if the # of deaths is almost certainly < 200 (say), normal law enforcement procedures apply. If more than 500, then every resource can and should be brought to bear to prevent it.


Sorry for the derail but: How ... how do you get killed by contact with hot tap water? Is that like unexpectedly boiling water coming out on babies, the elderly, and the very frail?


> but there are people in the world who do very very bad things to innocent people.

And we have some very good laws to deal with that. Laws against murder for example. I think the analogy between 'terror' and 'devil' is a good one, because it captures the almost mystical 'special' evil that 'terrorist' implies. It's a childish, primitive term, with the same kind of semantic effect as the word 'baddie' in reference to an action movie.


First of all, the Boston marathon bombing has nothing to do with terrorism, based on the current information.

There is people indeed who does very very bad things to innocent people, and many of them are in the USA government.

Posts like yours show how effective the governments' brainwashing is. Lots of innocent people dies in war bombings, and they're not necessary.

Do you have any idea of how many people died at the hands


I keep saying it but it bears repeating. Above street level all justice is just politics.

Add in "terrorism" and it becomes completely non-deterministic. The charges may as well be completely invented. There is literally no way to predict the punishment any particular action might provoke. The complete failure of the rule of law. It's just rule by fiat.


Becoming more common lately? Or it is becoming more apparent to you lately? I would like a citation on wrongful prosecution activities.


This isn't a reference library. In the absence of a citation, I think its perfectly acceptable to automatically read that (or any comment post or blog) as "My perception is..." and move on without criticizing.


I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask that perceptions be stated explicitly as such, rather than leaving statements open to easy misinterpretation.


I think it's perfectly absurd to expect that a brief intelligent comment on a social chat board be expected to include encyclopedic completeness and citations to ward off every conceivable casual wanton misinterpretation.


What's wrong with saying "This seems to be becoming a lot more common lately" rather than "This is becoming a lot more common lately"?


What's wrong with saying "This is becoming a lot more common lately" and without any supporting evidence, assuming opinion, rather than "This seems to be becoming a lot more common lately"? I think you would do well to answer that question first, as your question presupposes this question has already been answered, when it fact it has not.

Indeed, you have broken your own rule and left your comment open for easy misinterpretation.


Well, I prefer the latter because it leads to a community where I can take more posts at face value and thus learn quicker. I don't think it's unreasonable to encourage this kind of behaviour. It seems to have very little cost.

> Indeed, you have broken your own rule and left your comment open for easy misinterpretation.

Have I? What's easy to misinterpret?


I think to most people, the fact that a comment is a statement of a person's opinion is part of the face value.


If that's the culture of HN then I bow to it.

However, I've never interpreted our community to be like that. On this forum I don't expect to hear

The discrepancy between how much jail time the people who upset the government get, and the people who commit real crimes is getting bigger

without evidence any more than I expect to hear

database server X is becoming faster than database server Y

without evidence.


Most people? Or are you projecting. I would like a citation on this.


Comedic interlude appreciated :)


Glad somebody picked up on it :)


As I said:

I think you would do well to answer that question first, as your question presupposes this question has already been answered, when it fact it has not.

Asking why X is superior to Y is nothing more than an attempt to place the burden on someone else rather than yourself. You presupposed that Y is superior to X without any proof being offered.

It's akin to me asking you "When did you stop beating your wife," or other questions like that.

> Have I? What's easy to misinterpret?

So, specifically, with your statements, you make it seem like you've already proven your side, when in fact, you've done no such thing. It's disingenuous and manipulative. So, either you meant to be that way (dishonest), or you simply made a mistake of not backing up your opinion (What you are arguing against).

So, considering the later is what you are arguing against, it's very easy to assume you are simply trying to be dishonest. I'd like to think better of HN, and assume that people generally speak their opinion, and only assume they are speaking fact when they are providing sources or it's something I also know about.

> Well, I prefer the latter because it leads to a community where I can take more posts at face value and thus learn quicker.

Their is asking for clarification, and asking for clarification rudely, which is what I saw happening, as did others, I imagine. Their is value in asking for citations, no one questions that. The GP was clearly stating an opinion based on his own observations. The question in response was of little value because it was merely being antagonistic.

> I don't think it's unreasonable to encourage this kind of behaviour.

Peppering phrases with weasel words? People should just say what they think, rather than qualify every statement with qualifying statements. Case in point:

> It seems to have very little cost.

Citation needed.


Your response makes me wonder if we're even talking about the same issue.

> > It seems to have very little cost.

> Citation needed.

Yes you're right. I should have said "I think it seems to have very little cost".


> Your response makes me wonder if we're even talking about the same issue.

We are. That you are confused is clear by other remarks, and it's almost time for GoT, so I don't feel like spending the time restating what has already been said.

> I should have said...

I know what you meant. I didn't really need a citation. I've already made it clear my stance on the matter.

However, that you would make such an error and then question whether we are talking about the same issue should be troublesome for you. In a topic on this very subject, you yourself can't meet your own standards of clarity. So, if you said something different then what you meant, how can you presume to understand those that attempt to hold conversations with you?

It's far easy to assume opinion then to assume perfect English. Especially on a board where English is not always the first language, and the subtleties of "It seems to have very little cost" and "I think it seems to have very little cost" is meaningless to all but a rare few.


Nothing.

What is wrong is nitpicking apart the nuanced difference when it was just a casual intelligent comment made in a social setting, where reasonable expectation is to get the point rather than belabor its numerous subtle variants pursuant to wanton misinterpretation.


Personally, I've given up on misinterpretation and just assume bad faith when it comes to comments shaped like the thread parent's. I dismiss and, by virtue of scrolling down, take a look at the respondents to see if anyone has anything useful to sub in.


Well, as but one example, computer crimes are more harshly punished than in the past, and sometimes get harsher sentences than causing bodily harm.


"Hacker Faces More Jail Time Than The Convicted Steubenville Rapists He Exposed"

http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/09/hacker-faces-more-jail-time...


And for another, we used to wait till people were sentenced / punished before claiming that they were punished.

This is an article about their prosecution. Prosecutors push for the maximum sentence that they can possibly get, and have done so since the dawn of time. Whether or not they are _actually_ sentenced depends on the judge.

As far as I can tell, this is a hit-piece by the defense team of these three individuals to drum up public support, and hope for a reduced sentence.


>And for another, we used to wait till people were sentenced / punished before claiming that they were punished. This is an article about their prosecution. Prosecutors push for the maximum sentence that they can possibly get, and have done so since the dawn of time. Whether or not they are _actually_ sentenced depends on the judge.

One: how did that work out for Aaron Swartz? I'm asking because the same BS was said in the defence of the prosecutors actions then.

Second: Citation needed, that prosecutors have "since the dawn of time" pushed for the same kind of sentences in the same kind of cases. Merely pushing for a little more doesn't qualify -- this is an extreme blow up of the actual offence here.

Third: I'm appalled by your casual dismissal of this, as "it's how it's always been". Even with the actual sentencing depending on the judge, this over-blowing of offences is a moral and legal problem that should stop. The prosecutors should push for the sentence that is appropriate to the crime, as they perceive it, not to "the maximum sentence they can possibly get". Their job is to serve justice, not to put as many people in jail as they can.

Fourth: Who said that asking for the "maximum sentence" is a harmless tactic? Who said it doesn't impact the jury's decision and the sentence that the judge will give? If the offence is something that should get 10 years in prison, and they ask for life, then maybe this will provoke a sentence of 15 years. The same tactic also can lead to innocent people plea to guilty, instead of risking a potential 5 or 10 years in prison (where they would actually take their chance for their actual lower appropriate sentence).


Aaron Swartz decided it wasn't worth fighting the good fight. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but it was his decision to give up, not his defense team's. It is very difficult to call someone who commits suicide a Martyr. I'm sorry, but that is how it is.

No one knows how Aaron Swartz's case could have ended up. All we know is that he gave up... in the way that hurt his friends and family the most.

Prosecutors push for the maximum because we have an adversarial system in the USA. It is the prosecutor's job to push for the worst, and it is the Judge / Jury's job to decide when the prosecutor has gone too far. It is the defense team's job to argue against the prosecutor.

If you don't know what an "adversarial system" is, start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adversarial_system

It is the Judge and jury's job to give the correct sentence, not the prosecutor's job.


> Well, as but one example, computer crimes are more harshly punished than in the past

Computer crimes cause more damage than in the past.


What about Weev? Specifically, the crime he was charged with, not whatever other stuff he got up to before. There was zero damage from that, except to AT&T's reputation.


DDoS hardly cause damage, just loss of revenue, yet they carry very stiff penalties.


If you've ever had to stay up all night trying to get a site back up during a DDoS attack you'd know there was more damage than just lost revenue.


Not decades in prison worth of damage.


Has someone been sentenced to decades in prison for DDoS attacks?


Legal damages precisely include lost revenue.


I think the reference is to the war on whistleblowers. That part is more common. Also it is true that protesters are treated worse more recently than they have been for a few decades.

The problem though is that if you go back more than a few decades, it is not clear the trend is downward so much as cyclical.


We have seemingly already gone back that far into dark times that any criticism can only be voices as comedy, fairy tales or sarcasm - here's the one for this:

How do you know that monopoly is an old game - because the rich also go to jail.


I don't particularly agree with them, frankly, but I would still hold them up as an example of the proper use of civil disobedience as a tool to affect change.

a) broke the law, knew there would be consequences

b) did not cause harm, injure or endanger people in the process

c) used the attention to proselytize their cause, not beg for leniency

So, as a person who does not want society to stagnate, I applaud that there are people out there will to take risks for (perceived) needed change.

However, that only stands as long as there is a society to be 'risking' it against. We need laws and we need structure to be a society. And not every change truly is needed.

Since there is a compelling reason to punish people who break into government weapons facilities (we don't want every high schooler with a naive moral streak imitating it), It strikes me that, while I hold nothing against them and applaud their willingness to take the punishment, I think their does need to be a fairly harsh punishment.

Now, if despite the harsh punishment, more and more people start doing this and if the less brave of us who are in agreement with them are vocal (I said already I'm not particularly in agreement), and the less brave still at least vote, then over time laws and government can change. But in the short term, the brave revolutionaries must take the consequences.


I disagree. I think they should have only been charged with the trespassing, and instead the management of the facility should have been been on the hook for some serious negligence charges. Let's just assume for a second that there are terrorists out there younger and a little more nimble than an 82 year old...

If the whole point is the send a message to the public / make an example of, then it should be those responsible for security (and the budget for security, etc. up the line) that should be made the example of.


>>> I think they should have only been charged with the trespassing, and instead the management of the facility should have been been on the hook for some serious negligence charges.

Exactly. I find it outrageous that the manager of that facility claimed that "their acts had an impact on nuclear deterrence" - their acts did not, his did and IMO he should rot in jail.

Don’t blame the mirror for your ugly face.


Also, I think its important to note that no one is disputing Destruction of Property as something they genuinely are guilty of.

If there was naivety involved in this, I genuinely feel for these people. If this was the stand they wanted to make, than this thread is perhaps the start of the attention they wanted to the topic.

But for reals folks, if you are not prepared to spend 'years' in jail, do not break in to a government weapons facility, guarded or not. Please, for me. :-)


What do you think would be an appropriately harsh punishment for an 82 year old nun and couple other seniors breaking through a fence and putting up a banner at a nuclear facility, then wait to be arrested?


I completely agree with negligence on the part of the facility management and entire hierarchy of responsibility there. I just think it's a separate issue :-)


it's not separate. the reason why such harsh penalties are needed (i imagine, from the pov of the government) is because there's nothing else to stop others from doing the same damage. in your apology for the status quo above, where you mumble on about the need to protect society (and make trains run on time), you conveniently forget that there are many tools for that, including security guards.

also, if there had been competent security, then they wouldn't have got so far and would likely be open to significantly less charges. it seems particularly unfair (to me, i guess you'll find an excuse) that the incompetent security lead directly to worse charges. so again - not separate.

i'm sorry for the vitriol above, well not really, but people who say they understand and then dream up excuses to have everything continue exactly as before make my blood boil.


huh, and phrases like 'mumble on' make your point stronger? I wonder, what have you stood up for? I was trying to have an exchange of ideas, but as long as we're making it personal, people who save their bravery and vitriol for the internet make my blood boil.


if it's any consolation, i would be mad in your face too. but my post had both rhetoric and an argument. yours?

[update: on the other hand, this is the second time in two days i've lost my temper, which isn't good. i am going to take a break from the internet.]


> I think [there] does need to be a fairly harsh punishment

Okay, I can see the argument that the government shouldn't have just left it at misdemeanor trespassing. Felony damage to federal property, 0 to 6 years -- I can see that. Damage in excess of $1000, up to 10 years -- this is already starting to seem like a stretch to me. If it costs more than $1000 to fix the fences and paint over their peace slogans, it won't be much over $1000; and when was that statue enacted and how much inflation has there been since then? So I'm not even sure it's within the spirit of that law to charge them with that; but I'll accept it for the sake of discussion.

This brings us to the sabotage charge, and this is where it starts getting clearly absurd. The ordinary meaning of the word "sabotage" requires that one do damage that interferes with the functioning of a system. The protestors made no attempt to do anything whatsoever to interfere with the operation of the facility.

And then the terrorism charge is beyond absurd. Oh yes, I am just quaking in my boots at these three unarmed pacifists spray-painting peace slogans! I am so terrorized! Seriously -- the successful leveling of terrorism charges at these people frightens me far more than what they did. I am very afraid of what is happening to my country.

Because the "crime" these people are actually being prosecuted for, it's quite obvious, is that of embarrassing the government. And if that is worth 16 years in federal prison, we are all in big trouble.


I agree with you, it went to the absurd. That point had already been made over and over, but I should have reiterated it. My intent was to talk about some other aspects that I thought hadn't been addressed.

On a related note, I would actually join the chorus of complaints about prosecutorial over-stepping. This case alone doesn't really rile me (obviously), but as another straw on top of Aaron Swartz, Weev, etc. Yeah I agree, that's a problem that needs fixing.


> Oh yes, I am just quaking in my boots at these three unarmed pacifists spray-painting peace slogans! I am so terrorized!

Well, I think that news is quite terrifying. If I lived at the US, I'd probably be terrorized.

Not by the trespassers, of course.


There is a penalty for trespassing, and it was printed on a sign and hung up on the fence. Teenagers with "moral streaks" that feel like committing a misdemeanor in order to make a point may do so.

If there needs to be stronger laws against trespassing, then the laws should change. Except, we know that trespassing shouldn't come with a 10+ year sentence. Allowing prosecutors to arbitrarily up the charges is a failure of justice. It allows a more "legal" way for the government to act in retaliatory ways.

If the facility hadn't been completely incompetent in their security, these people would have been stopped at the first fence and not even made the news. Instead, many people are embarrassed and at least if "convicted terrorists" go to jail over this, there is some saving of face possible.

Why were they not immediately charged with such high crimes? If this was truly a major problem, why not pin them from the start?


> If the facility hadn't been completely incompetent in their security, these people would have been stopped at the first fence and not even made the news.

That's like me arguing that if you'd had stronger locks, I would have only been charged with attempted breaking and entering. Going down that route opens the doors to defense arguing in many cases how if the police had arrested people on their first offense in a series, they wouldn't have committed the rest. Heck, just drive 5 miles over the speed limit and say "Hey, if the cops had stopped me, I wouldn't have done X".

> Why were they not immediately charged with such high crimes?

Because the prosecution was fine with letting them off leniently. But they wanted to make a point. Let's not forget that these people did break into and damage a facility that is a part of our national defense. Whatever else you might think, they did that. That they chose not to plead guilty of lesser crimes is their choice.

Why were they not immediately charged with such high crimes? Because the government was trying to be reasonable.


This piece is extremely disturbing, are you kidding me? Has the US Gov't and its justice system degenerated so far as to label pacifist as terrorist and incarcerate them? What disturbs me the most, is that I had heard nothing at all about this case, and I consider myself fairly up-to-date on political happenings...


Anyone who was so naive as to think that terrorism laws would not be used against political troublemakers has no perspective of history ;-)

We've known for some time (and it has been controversial on many sites I frequent on both left and right) that "terrorism" has been used to label groups believed to be radical by the government (i.e. those groups which threaten the bipartisan consensus. Environmental groups get added. Groups espousing local governance get added. But it is nothing new in this country.

The words of Jack Warshaw, originally applying the experience of Americans to the Troubles in Northern Ireland are as true today as they ever have been:

     They say that here we are free 
     To live our lives as we please
     To sing and to speak and to write
     So long as we do it alone
     But do it together 
     With comrades united and strong
     And they'll take you away for long rest
     With walls and barbed wire for a home

     No time for love if they come in the morning
     No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
     No time for goodbye, no time to ask why
     And the sound of the sirens, the cry of the morning.


terrorism is the new communism


The names change, the tensions stay the same.


It could be just me, but this story bothers me a lot more than all the non-stop coverage about NSA.

Perhaps I had always expected NSA to snoop on everything on the internet whereas this shows complete breakdown in common sense by the government.


The most dangerous crime you can commit is to embarrass this government.


It's a pretty ballsy move to martyr these people. It may end up bringing much more awareness to the simple undeniable fact that the people charged with the defense of one of our most sensitive military facilities were totally and utterly incompetent. If they were smart then they would go totally by the book to make the story as unexceptional as possible, anything that draws attention to this case does not look good for them. Of course their incompetence has already been demonstrated on the ground, so why should their PR be any better?


They exposed the lack of security, thereby threatening the revenues of some contractor(s) and kickbacks of some generals.

Reminds me of the charade of security exposed by Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko in his book Rogue Warrior.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Marcinko

TL;DR: His team did penetration testing pretty much everywhere, with great success, embarrassing the hierarchy.


more than a lack of common sense - it's vindictive, thuggish behaviour.

(then again - aaron swartz...)


Also completely, blatantly unjust, yet comming straight from US justice system.


I think those are actually supporting each other. One is about getting more power. Other is the demonstration that they are not to be trusted with that power.


I'm infuriated and disturbed by both stories.


Am I the only person who dislikes the headline?

"Turning a pacifist into a violent terrorist" is what happens when you send someone to Gitmo, break him, convince him the world has no meaning except for through violent terrorism, etc.

Prosecuting a protesting pacifist under laws meant for terrorism doesn't "turn them into" violent terrorists; I'd be perfectly comfortable around them/not afraid they would kill me, although I do think they should get some slight punishment for destroying government property and trespass (suspended), while the security at Oak Ridge should get vastly more scrutiny.


I disagree. While you are right that turning someone from a pacifist into a violent terrorist can be done by "breaking" them, I think the point of the article is to show what lengths the US government will go to destroy those who disagree with it, whether they are citizens or not.

I think anyone who perused the article for more than 30 seconds sees that these people were not "converted."

The fact that they have been labelled violent terrorists for a peaceful protest is much more worrisome and impactful than throwing them in prison and watching their ideals erode away.

This is our country right now: a peaceful person can be labelled a violent terrorist. I think the title fits.


I couldn't help but be struck by the parallels between this case and that of Aaron Swartz, given the significant overreach by the prosection in continuing to add federal charges to the indictment as the case progresses. We have a glimse here as to how the Swartz might have ended; it will be revealing to see how the sentencing in this case pans out.


The behavior of federal prosecutors in the Aaron Swartz case wasn't anything unusual. The same holds true for the case this article speaks about. Piling inappropriate charge upon charge to coerce a plea deal is standard operating procedure. This stuff is happening every day and has been happening for a long, long time.

As for the sentencing, there are rules that we can apply to get an idea of what to expect. The federal sentencing guidelines have a bit of flexibility, but not much. These people probably have a criminal history level of I under the sentencing guidelines. The sabotage charge has a base offense level of 26. The property damage charges each have a base offense level of 6. I'm guessing the property damage charges would be considered a part of the sabotage charge, so we'll just stay at 26. That yields a sentence of 63-78 months. I'd be seriously surprised if any of them get more than 7 years.


Conservatives complain about "activist judges" but I would like to see something done about "activist prosecutors", who stretch the law to imprison people in ways not intended by law. The computer hacking statutes are also a good example of this.


This is really not a failure of prosecutors. I mean it is, in the sense that they aren't actually obligated to do this, but they have every incentive to and they're human.

The real failure is of Congress not to over-criminalize minor offenses and to distinguish what these people or people like Aaron Swartz did from people doing the far more malicious things whose actions are used to justify the laws and penalties these people have been charged with.


Prosecutors, like police, have 'discretion.' The ability to decide, hey this is not that important to our community and let it go; there are more important things to do.


I read an interview with a prosecuter (it may have been an AMA on reddit) where he said that while a lot of lawyers wanted to become defence lawyers because they dreamed of saving innocent people, as prosecutor he had the power to simply drop the charges, with no reason to go to trial.


The supposed obligation of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not to put people in jail. When the incentives favor injustice, they should be adjusted; public campaigns personally shaming overzealous prosecutors are one possible disincentive that could be added.


I remember a common phrase when I was growing up: "Don't make a Federal case about it." Back then, a Federal crime was something serious, rare, and unusual. Most crime was (and still is) a local affair. Then things changed in the 80's and onward. Now double jeopardy is far too common, and trying to live your life without somehow stepping on the morass that is the US Code is difficult.

These folks meant to perform civil disobedience, to bring attention to their opinions, but to rot in jail for the rest of their lives (consider their age) is a travesty.


Any threat against a government's monopoly on violence is a threat against its very lifeblood. The outcome is pretty predictable.

What do you think would cause a more passionate and exaggerated reaction in the IT community?

* someone stealing a few computers from a hardware store, or breaking other people's computers on purpose, OR

* someone saying computers are inherently evil and should be abandoned and banned forever, while rallying support in that direction?

(to be clear, this is an analogy to a government's expected reaction to theft, vandalism, rape etc. versus a perceived existential threat to its military and police)

Being suddenly outraged or shocked by the development in this story displays a lack of understanding of basic historical patterns. If anything, the government's desire to send such exaggerated, exemplary signals by means of giving peaceful old nuns "a lesson" points at some surprising weakness & insecurity on its part.


Looking at just the title, it makes it sound like the government somehow drove former pacifists to violence, which isn't remotely true. It's a story of how the government has been treating those pacifists like violent terrorists; they haven't at all become terrorists.


"they haven't at all become terrorists."

Of course that's what they've become. They were even convicted of it. What Big Brother defines as terrorism has very little to do with reality, of course.

The real problem is if you make the penalty for non-violent protest the same as the penalty for violent protest, you're relying solely on the perpetrators ethics and morality to not shoot the place up and burn it down. After all they get the same penalty for holding up a banner as for doing something actually violent... so why not make "more" of a statement?


A group of people trespass into a nuclear weapons facility, carrying written statements indicating they may be there to sabotage the weapons, already caused damage to the facility, and they didn't expect something like this to happen? I don't think their charges sound that terribly unreasonable. Maybe somewhat excessive but it's definitely not a bigger deal than the NSA issue.

What's the problem with nuclear weapons anyway? They're simply a fact of international relations that you have to deal with. Should all of NATO have just thrown all their nukes into the ocean during the cold war and let the USSR have our way with them? They've only been used in wartime twice in history, and that was to save far more lives than it took, and since then they've been an adequate deterrent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction


    carrying written statements indicating they may be there to sabotage the weapons
In what article was the contents of their written statements disclosed?

    I don't think their charges sound that terribly unreasonable.
10-30 years for trespassing and damaging three fences is reasonable? Are you deranged?


"""They carried bibles, written statements, peace banners, spray paint, flower, candles, small baby bottles of blood, bread, hammers with biblical verses on them and wire cutters. Their intent was to follow the words of Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”""" That's what I meant. Maybe it doesn't explicitly say that's what the written statements said, though. And trespassing and damaging fences just anywhere, sure, that'd be nuts, but this is a nuclear weapons facility! More time is to be expected for breaking into government property with questionable intentions like that. They must have known what they were possibly getting into when they did this. 10 years is a bit excessive but it's not surprising.


The sign on the fence said "trespassing is punishable up to 1 year in jail".


> it's definitely not a bigger deal than the NSA issue

It's the same thing, brah. The US government is overstepping its bounds in every way. Not only are they now monitoring every US citizen regardless of their (lack of) terrorist affiliations, we're now convicting peaceful protesters of violent terrorism. I'm surprised you don't see the correlation.

> I don't think their charges sound that terribly unreasonable

Yes, let's try murderers, rapists, and robbers as violent terrorists while we're at it. Let's try anybody who speaks out against trying non-terrorists as terrorists as terrorists. How far does it go? At what point does crime stop and terrorism begin? Apparently pretty early, if a few hippies singing songs is terrorism.

These people committed a crime and should see jail time. But they are not violent terrorists.

> and that was to save far more lives than it took

Japan was close the the end already, and we knew it. There was no real reason to nuke them other than trying out a new toy we made. Let's not pretend that nukes saved anybody.


What's the problem with nuclear weapons anyway?

As a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty the US is LEGALLY OBLIGED to get rid of its nuclear arsenal.


Incidentally, I don't know about the situation in the US, but in the UK this is one of the key rationales for this kind of action. Since it is a defence to argue that your actions were motivated by the need to prevent a greater crime, this kind of action potentially presents an opportunity to raise the legality of the state's nuclear weapons policy in court. As the article says:

> The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a document they called “Motion to Preclude Defendants from Introducing Evidence in Support of Certain Justification Defenses.” In this motion, the U.S. asked the court to bar the peace protestors from being allowed to put on any evidence regarding the illegality of nuclear weapons, the immorality of nuclear weapons, international law, or religious, moral or political beliefs regarding nuclear weapons, the Nuremberg principles developed after WWII, First Amendment protections, necessity or US policy regarding nuclear weapons.


As far as I can tell from the wikipedia article, the US doesn't have to /get rid/ of the nuclear weapons, it just can't "proliferate" them.


The wikipedia article states:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, issued 8 July 1996, unanimously interprets the text of Article VI as implying that

"There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."


This is why they want everything secret. Perversions of justice and insane prosecutions such as this. Because open coverage reveals their multiple levels of failure.

What's next? Being charged with "Interference with Lawful Surveillance" if you encrypt files, use TOR?


These guys sneaked into a nuclear (weapons) facility. Which I guess is a very critical and important facility to the US.

How can we know they weren't real spies?

There is a difference between freedom of expression, and cutting a nuclear facility fence. Try to convince people about the dangers of the weapons and not cut the fences.

Cutting the fences will obviously put you in jail. Maybe the sentence was too harsh, but I have little sympathy for them.

If they were detained for speaking about the dangers of nuclear weapons, they'll not have only my sympathy but also any possible help I can give.


    > Maybe the sentence was too harsh, but I have little 
    > sympathy for them.
I cannot rightly comprehend the sociopathy that assembles the facts of this case and renders a judgment like the above. I hope you never need stand before a jury of your peers.


Did you miss the part where he said NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY?

There are absolutely zero places I would want more defended than a place holding nuclear weapons. Hell, one of the points used to oppose nuclear power plants is the fact that they have nuclear fuel at all, and that kind of fuel doesn't even blow up in a nuclear yield. But nuclear weapons can!


Precisely. And that's why the managing director of that facility should be the one charged with 35 years in prison for not protecting it well enough, and thus endangering the safety of the United States of America. These people should be only given the original charge of trespassing and spend at most a year in jail.


Which is why we should be giving these three people a medal and sending to prison whoever was responsible for the incompetency of the security force.

We were lucky and need to be thankful that three pacifists (including a nun of all people) and not actual terrorists were the first ones to find a major hole in the security of this facility. A facility, mind you, tending to weapons that could destroy human civilization many times over.


I want them defended too, which is why everyone in charge of security should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for their incompetency, as well as everyone up the food chain reprimanded for their poor oversight.

I expect that fence to be at least somewhat resistant to a group of pacifists cutting a whole in it. I expect it to be electrically charged.

I expect that EVERY camera is ALWAYS working and when ONE goes down that at least 20 people are notified "Fix this or you are fired". EVERY instance of failure should be notified.

The fact that cameras weren't working at a "secure nuclear facility" for 6 months is what should scare you.


because spies would probably not be spraying graffiti, sitting around singing hymns and waiting to be arrested?

If your escape strategy is to hang around being as obvious as possible, and then hoping for only a short prison sentence, you've probably made some poor career choices.


How can we know they weren't real spies?

Apart from what others have said, two are retired armymen and, more importantly, one has been a catholic nun for the last 60 years.


Read the article till this rediculous paragraph:

"Describing themselves as the Transform Now Plowshares, the three came as non-violent protestors to symbolically disarm the weapons. They carried bibles, written statements, peace banners, spray paint, flower, candles, small baby bottles of blood, bread, hammers with biblical verses on them and wire cutters. Their intent was to follow the words of Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

And was like, uhm, ok they may not be terrorists but they are nut job religious people. I mean baby bottles full of blood what the hell?

And yes it is sort of terrorism to go to a nuclear power plant of a country and say dismantle all your weapons with something/anything that may look threatening!

But regardless I don't think terrorism should stick in the court cases as much. They should get a bit more of a sentence than normal protest and maybe include some invasion of private property but terrorism seems a bit out of touch.


In the dark, the three activists cut through a boundary fence which had signs stating “No Trespassing.”

They broke into and vandalized a nuclear weapons facility. If you mess with the bull, you're gonna get the horns.


I am still kinda shocked that is even possible. I mean the US go to great lengths to prevent Iran from getting nukes, but they don't even protect their own storage facilities?

I understand that you can't exactly just press a button to make a nuclear bomb go of (although if the PAL is still set to its cold war default of 00000000 that might be just that simple) but on of the US fears is how close Iran is to be able to make enriched uranium, best case (or worst case, for us) estimates are still years away but if they can simply waltz into a weapons storage facility and walk away with it, then they could get it at any time and what is possibly worse is that they could finish the rest of the components (which wouldn't worry the US too much, as they still wouldn't have the uranium) and then get the uranium in a few days (and if the storage facilities aren't tracking their inventory closely enough, the first indication of the nukes being stole may be when the Iranians announce that they have them).

And if Iran doesn't want nuclear bombs, then we know that North Korea wants them.


If they had broke into and attempted to destroy a nuclear weapons facility, then would sympathize a bit more with the charges. A handful of pacifists cutting fences, making signs, and singing songs is not terrorism, much less violent terrorism.

How long until robbing a bank is terrorism? It could presumably hinder national defense, so it must be terrorism. How about killing someone? Is that terrorism? Smoking marijuana? Jaywalking?

How far will we go, allowing ourselves to say "that person deserves it," before we're next on the list? If pacifists trespassing is terrorism, I'd say anyone living in the US should be pretty fucking worried right about now.


They SUCCESSFULLY broke into a nuclear weapons facility without any opposition. The nuclear facility security staff and management should be getting the horns.


It sounds like they had a horrible lawyer.


I imagine they either represented themselves or had a lawyer who acted in accordance with their wishes.


See, this is the sort of thing that cheapens the word "terrorist", and which underscores the strategic failing and corruption of the US justice system.

By clearly being adversarial, petty, and unjust, we are in effect giving permission/encouragement/polarization to elements which would wish us harm. If we did this to aged protestors, anybody who is considering something similarly mild may as well try and up the ante--after all, they can only jail you for life once.


> The federal manager of Y-12 said the protestors had damaged the credibility of the site in the U.S. and globally and even claimed that their acts had an impact on nuclear deterrence.

LOL


With broad enough laws & proprietorial discretion; coupled with sufficient levels of surveillance and record-keeping, we are all effectively at the mercy of the whims of the agencies. The only missing piece is the capability for mass incarceration .... oh... wait a sec. ..


The FBI has been referring to left-wing activists as 'domestic terrorists' for a while now, specifically the animal rights / global justice / anti-nuke / anti-capitalist / green flavors.


I wonder how much of the expansion of the charges against them was due to embarrassing the government, and how much was due to them not pleading guilty and forcing the prosecutor to take the case to trial.


The (potential) application of statutes may be outrageous for the kind of infraction. However...

"In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 28, 2012, long-time peace activists Sr. Megan Rice, 82, Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, and Michael Walli, 63, cut through the chain link fence surrounding the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear weapons production facility and trespassed onto the property."

Stop right there. You did what? And you didn't expect what to happen? Really? Geeze people.

You seem to mistake exercising your first ammendment with breaking into the property of a government nuclear weapons facility. Contrary to popular belief, you can exercise your first ammendment without running afoul of the law.

Don't be surprised that they do throw the book at you, if you give them the means to do so.


>The (potential) application of statutes may be outrageous for the kind of infraction.

You can stop right there, because that's the whole point. If the government had charged them with trespassing and fined them each $1000 or put them in jail for two weeks (and then taken the opportunity to have a good hard look at the security of their facility), nobody would be complaining about anything. This is about proportionality.

> Don't be surprised that they do throw the book at you, if you give them the means to do so.

The idea is that they should not have the means to do so. "Making the government look stupid" is not a felony. Trespassing is not a felony. "Here's the defendant, find me the crime" is a miscarriage of justice. A law that allows them to do that to anyone is a broken law that demands to be fixed. And yes, there are a lot of them, and they all need to be fixed.


The litany of charges seems a bit much, but a light sentence for trespassing is too little.

The penalty, must deter future attempts by other people. $1000 and a couple weeks of jail is not going to deter other similar protesters.


Fixing on-site security will - with the neat side effect to deter criminals, terrorists and so on as well.


Assume the security was 'fixed'. Doesn't mean that someone couldn't come and chop the fence with full intention of getting arrested as part of a political protest.

If the known penalty for doing this (even with fully operational security) is light, then that activity isn't really deterred.


The government isn't supposed to deter harmless political protests.

The whole idea of civil disobedience is to get yourself put on trial for something you're willing to do the time for. "They aren't being deterred, the prison sentence has to be increased" is obviously a flawed response to that unless your goal is to suppress dissent without regard to how draconian and disproportionate you have to be in order to do it.


1. trespassing at a nuclear processing facility is not harmless political protest

2. insisting on physical security (i.e. no trespassing) at a nuclear processing facility is not in conflict with the idea of peaceful assembly and political protests


Breaking news, there are a lot of bad laws. Next up at 11, how to ignore idiotic laws and get into trouble. Neighbors say, they where such peaceful and intelligent people.


You are saying "government nuclear weapons facility" as if it was some serious thing. If it were actually serious in any way to anybody then three geezers would't enter this facility to spray and pray just by cutting few fences some random morning.


Is this something you believe because it should be true, or because you have some evidence that it is true?


He's being facetious.

Obviously nuclear weapons facilities are very important. Obviously three hippies aged 57, 63, and 82 shouldn't be able to break in so far as to spray paint a building holding nuclear weapons.


PSA: If you go looking for trouble, don't be surprised if you get into trouble.


PSA: Three old geezers shouldn't be able to bypass nuclear weapon facility "security".


PSA: if you think trespassing and singing songs is terrorism, you're a very disturbed individual.


PSA: You and I might think that it's unfair to throw the book at somebody for minor infarctions. That doesn't mean the government wont.


There was a sign right on the fence claiming that the maximum penalty was one year.


What if they had been shot by guards? This wasn't a very good plan.


From the article:

> The DOE agent admitted the three carried a letter which stated, “We come to the Y-12 facility because our very humanity rejects the designs of nuclearism, empire and war. Our faith in love and nonviolence encourages us to believe that our activity here is necessary; that we come to invite transformation, undo the past and present work of Y-12; disarm and end any further efforts to increase the Y-12 capacity for an economy and social structure based on war-making and empire-building.”

The ultimate reason for carrying such a letter would be to explain their actions in the event they could not explain their actions themselves. For example, had they been shot by guards.

And later they said:

> "For this we give our lives — for the truth about the terrible existence of these weapons."

Sounds like they are very much aware that their actions might have ended in their death, and accepting of it. They are 82, 57, and 63 years old.


It looks like they expected to be shot.


[Edited: Deleted, wrong thread. Thanks for pointing it out. Sorry]


Wrong article?


You are correct sir. This is entirely the wrong thread. I am deleting the comment.


More link bait. Charged != turned. The puffed up charges have to hold up in court.

Edit: I somehow missed that they were convicted. Regardless of the semantics of the law I am quite sure they do not support violence.


To quote:

"...convicted of violent crimes of terrorism. Now in jail awaiting sentencing for their acts at an Oak Ridge, ..."

They have been convicted, not just charged. The stronger title is justified.


They don't support violence. The title is meant to indicate that they are being treated as if they were violent terrorists.


If you read the article you'll see they were convicted of the "puffed up charges". They await sentencing.


TLDR : 80yo nun incarcerated for non-violent protest at nuclear weapons facility [ fence cut, graffiti sprayed, prayers said ]

Quote, last sentence :

"In ten months, an 82 year old nun and two pacifists had been successfully transformed by the U.S. government from non-violent anti-nuclear peace protestors accused of misdemeanor trespassing into felons convicted of violent crimes of terrorism."


Don't do that please.


Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/...

Related: http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7...


That might all be true, but that doesn't mean his Department of Justice is faithfully serving justice.

The story is equally chilling regardless of how legitimate the protesters' concerns were.




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