Protesters sentenced to prison : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

In the past, I've asked you, and myself, "what do we do to stop big government's assault on our rights and freedoms?"

Here's the story of a few brave souls who actually had the moral strength to DO something:

Friends: Below is the news and statement from Chani Geigle, who is/was one of the

staff people at Oregon PeaceWorks in Salem, who was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for stepping onto the grounds at the School of the Americas (WHISC). After her statement I have attached an article from the day before the sentencing took place. --dan ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 21:32:27 -0700 (PDT) From: Donna S Frazier Subject: Chani's day

Chani was sentenced to 6 months in federal minimum security prison and a

$1,000 fine. Most of the first time offenders, with no previous ban and bars, received 90 days and $500 fine. Second timers, with previous ban and bars, like Chani, got the maximum 6 months plus $1,000 fine. There were a couple of exceptions - 2 first timers got the maximum 6 months. It was a

long and incredible week. I'll send a couple of more messages to wrap it


Chani knew what would probably happen, and she's ready. She'll be home for a month or so and you'll no doubt be hearing from her.

Below is her sentencing statement.

donna ------- I come before you today with a heavy heart. I am really angry that I have been called here today. I am angry I've had to quit my job at a non profit peace and justice group in Salem. I am angry I've had to put my educational plans on hold. I am angry I am having to prepare to leave my

community, my friends and my family.

But that anger is nothing compared to the anger I have over the honest jobs stolen by corrupt corporations, over situations where children do not have school as an option because they have to apply themselves to slave-labor jobs in order to help their families survive, over communities being torn apart, over lands being raped, over family members losing loved ones to the hands of state perpetrated violence. I am enraged at the injustices perpetrated by this country. I am filled with indignation towards the injustice that you and the system you represent are carrying


I will never apologize to you or the United States government or to anyone else for protesting these injustices. But I do have one apology to make. I beg the mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters and brothers of Chiapas, of El Mozote, of Colombia, of Guatemala

and all of Central and South America, to forgive me for my participation

in a system that oppresses, tortures and murders them daily. I ask the God of Life and Truth that sustains those people to forgive me. I beg that they hear my cries of repentence as I hear their cries of "Basta - enough is enough!". I also know that I cannot even ask for forgiveness if I am not willing to change my greedy lifestyle. Not only change my own lifestyle, slowly, day by day, decision by decision, but I must stand up

to that lifestyle of greed and violence if I am truly sorry in my heart for the grief I have helped put in this world. I am determined to spend the rest of my life doing everything in my power to correct my wrongdoings.

That is why I am here. I am not guilty because I protest and resist the School of the Americas and other violent institutions under your authority. Your authority will

crumble and wash away. I have no faith in your authority. My authority comes from the same voice and heart of which I ask forgiveness from. It is those same mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers that empower me to make my stand. It is God and life itself that says I am not guilty. That love and light and life of me and

my co-defendants and the spirit of those affected by the SOA and other horrible U.S. foreign policies. We have brought that spirit here today and I swear to you, it is a force to be reckoned with. Go ahead, sit in your

throne of injustice and sentence us to probation, prison and fines. But I am warning you now - the people will rise up - the people ARE rising up and we will be stronger than we ever have been before and the laws and systems and vaules of hate and fear that you are grasping onto now WILL FALL. For your own sake, Mr Faircloth, I invite you to join us. Basta - no mas! I invite you to stand up and make your plea.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never forget the infinite hope.

Donna Frazier Coordinator Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation 503-566-7190 P O Box 222 Salem, OR 97308 ----------------- 13 protesters found guilty - 31 await sentencing for trespassing onto Fort Benning BY JIM HOUSTON Staff Writer

U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth found 13 SOA Watch protesters guilty

Wednesday of trespassing onto the Fort Benning Military Reservation during the Nov. 18 protests that drew thousands of demonstrators to the post's gates.

The 13 join 18 other protesters awaiting sentencing by Faircloth after pleading guilty or being convicted during the first two days of U.S. District Court proceedings. Each faces up to six months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine.

After finding 10 defendants guilty who had pleaded not guilty, but admitted by stipulation that they crossed onto Fort Benning, Faircloth told the group he was going to invite them to go to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation -- the successor to the School of the

Americas, whose presence on Fort Benning has drawn a growing number of protesters each of the last 12 years.

The School of the Americas was closed more than 18 months ago, but the protesters who allege SOA graduates have carried out atrocities in Mexico, Central and Latin America, told Faircloth that WHISC is a change in name

only. The protesters testified they will not cease their demonstrations until WHISC also is closed.

The judge suggested the invitation as part of a continuing dialogue he has conducted with the protesters as their cases were tried during the last three days. He has repeatedly urged that using the democratic process, rather than committing crimes of civil disobedience, is a more effective way of achieving their goal. Most of the defendants have countered that both tactics have been used and will continue.

During her trial, Chantilly J. Geigle, 19, of Salem, Ore., told Faircloth she has lobbied Oregon's congressmen, cornered countless business and political leaders and even garnered the support of the Salem City Council for efforts to close the Fort Benning school. But the avenue of the democratic process is not the only one she will employ, she said.

"Sometimes we are called to stand up for our country and our family," said Geigle. "I'm going to do that until the SOA -- now called WHISC -- is closed."

Geigle admitted she crossed onto Fort Benning as part of the Nov. 18 demonstration after having been banned from the post for a similar trespass during protests in November 2000.

Geigle was one of three defendants who demanded a trial Wednesday without signing an agreement stipulating that they crossed onto the military reservation. She was the only one, however, who testified.

Niklan Jones-Lezama, 38, of Blacksburg, Va., and Susan Jean Daniels, 41,

of Pembroke, Va., presented no evidence and did not testify, relying on arguments by attorneys Bill Quigley and John Wilson Reed, both of New Orleans, that prosecutors had failed to present sufficient evidence of their guilt.

Faircloth ruled the evidence presented by U.S. Army Capt. Dave Anglin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Daskal -- including a videotape depicting both defendants' crossing onto the post -- was sufficient to support his finding of guilt.

Of the 37 protesters from across the nation who faced trial this week, only one has been acquitted of trespass. Trial of the remaining five, who will represent themselves, begins at 9 a.m. today in the third-floor courtroom of the federal building at 12th Street and Second Avenue.

-- joj (jump@off.c), July 14, 2002


We had a minister here in a town near me that was in the same prostest . This is what our local peper had to say.

-- SM Steve (, July 15, 2002.

Joe, I wanted to responed to you disagreeing with part of my post and coment on your nuclear protesting story.But I couldn't get to the forum, I think it was down. And after reading your last posting ,when I went bact to freedom forum to responed the thread was gone.I must be getting slow.

-- SM Steve (Unreal@, July 19, 2002.

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