Monday, August 11, 2003

Bullshit alert!

Write your congressmen and local newspapers about this travesty:

A retired schoolteacher who went to Iraq to serve as a "human shield" against the U.S. invasion is facing thousands of dollars in U.S. government fines, which she is refusing to pay.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a March letter to Faith Fippinger that she broke the law by crossing the Iraqi border before the war. Her travel to Iraq violated U.S. sanctions that prohibited American citizens from engaging in "virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq."

She and others from 30 countries spread out through Iraq to prevent the war. She spent about three months there. Only about 20 of nearly 300 "human shields" were Americans, she said.

Fippinger, who returned home May 4, is being fined at least $10,000, but she has refused to pay. She could face up to 12 years in prison.

In her response to the charges, she wrote the government that "if it comes to fines or imprisonment, "please be aware that I will not contribute money to the United States government to continue the buildup of its arsenal of weapons." Since she won't pay, she said, "perhaps the alternative should be considered."

The government also has asked Fippinger, 62, to detail her travels to Iraq and any financial transactions she made. In her response, Fippinger wrote that the only money she spent was on food and emergency supplies.

If Fippinger does not pay, the fine may increase, and the money will be drawn from her retirement paycheck, her Social Security check or any of her assets, officials said.

"She was (in Iraq) in violation of U.S. sanctions," said Taylor Griffin, a Treasury Department spokesman. "That's what happens."

Remind everybody about this hypocrite:

It was only five years ago when Vice President Dick Cheney, as chief executive of the oil-field supply corporation, Halliburton Co., was engaged in secret business dealings with Saddam's regime by selling Iraq oil production equipment and spare parts to get the Iraqi oil fields up and running, according to confidential United Nations records.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney adamantly denied such dealings. While he acknowledged that his company did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries, Cheney said, "Iraq's different." He claimed that he imposed a "firm policy" prohibiting any unit of Halliburton against trading with Iraq.

"I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal," Cheney said on the ABC-TV news program "This Week" on July 30, 2000. "We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that."

But it turns out that Cheney was lying. It's only through the sale of Iraqi oil that Saddam would be able to afford to obtain such weapons. If Saddam was in fact building nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, which some news reports allege could be used against American and British troops, Cheney is partially responsible.

The Washington Post first reported Halliburton's trade with Iraq in February 2000. But U.N. records obtained by The Post two years ago showed that the dealings were more extensive than originally reported and than Vice President Cheney has acknowledged.

Update: It appears that Dem Vet beat me to this one, making an entirely different point.


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