[Fwd: VERY DISTURBING email]
12/7/02 9:06:07 PM Pacific Standard Time
I've seen other reports that corroborate this. Disturbing is putting it mildly, but not surprising in light of "Patriot" and "Home Security"
- did people honestly think they weren't serious?
Nobody said it would be easy, and that's not something Americans are used to.
> Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 15:17:52 -0600
> Subject: Re: Letter from someone who stepped across the line at the
> School of the Americas.
> Gladys Schmitz wrote:
> I received this from Sister Dorothy. She is a member of St. Stephens
> church in Minneapolis; the writer of the following letter, Jack Neis,
> is also a member of her church. It is good for us to know. Gladys
> My dear friends:
> I was arrested last weekend during a demonstration in Columbus,
> Georgia protesting the existence of the School of the Americas; a
> school that is the symbol of the worst in this country's foreign
> policy. I will most probably receive a six month sentence in federal
> prison. Kate and I are adamant opponents of this school, as most of
> you know. HOWEVER. This missive is not about the school. It is
> about my experience the last few days: it is about the erosion of
> civil rights. I would appreciate your attention. I think that you
> will find it interesting.
> I was one of those fortunate to be in the company of the people
> who "crossed the line" during the School of the Americas Watch /SOAW
> demonstration at Fort Benning. The charge we were arrested for is
> trespassing. No property damage. No violence. No threats. It is a
> Petty misdemeanor. In some states a petty misdemeanor is not even
> legally considered a crime.
> In the past, violators of this ordinance, including
> repeat "offenders" were processed, arraigned immediately and released
> on their own recognizance until their trial months later. Everyone
> knew that they could, and repeaters expected that they would, receive
> a prison sentence. This year things were a bit different.
> As usual, our group of ninety-odd included some seniors. (well into
> the seventies). Keep them in mind as I continue. We were cuffed with
> plastic ties behind our backs, and taken to a processing area. We
> were interrogated (no Miranda), printed, and photoed. At this point
> we expected to be quickly ! arraigned, and released.
> We were then turned over to the USMarshal service. Again we were
> interrogated, fingerprinted and photoed.
> Now it starts getting ugly.
> (Remember: NONVIOLENT PETTY MISDEMEANOR and we have not been
> convicted: therefore assumed not guilty of even this charge. We can
> be HELD (not punished) for up to forty-eight hours.) They put us in
> SHACKLES and LEG CHAINS for transportation to the Muskogee County
> jail. Shackles are those things where your hands are locked in a
> fixture at your waist fastened to a chain around your waist that you
> see on serial killers. With leg chains you have to shuffle to walk.
> At the jail, everything was taken from us, and we were issued prison
> uniforms (short sleeved pajamas), one blanket, a towel, and a plastic
> cup. Again we were interrogated, printed and photoed. (No Miranda)
> Muskogee County has just dedicated a new jail. Apparently there was
> no room in the new section: they led us back to the old jail
> for "holding". It was dirty, rusty, and COLD. We wore our blankets
> constantly to keep warm. The blanket was just barely long enough to
> cover for sleeping. "Breakfast" was at 4:20 AM, and the "food" was
> During the entire time we were incarcerated, requests for medication
> were ignored.
> All day Monday and Tuesday, the 34 men spent the entire day in a 12 x
> 15 room as we awaited arraignment. Picture that. The women spent the
> day in a similar room. There were a lot more of them.
> I was raised upper middle class, went to a parochial grade school,
> Jesuit Prep high school, and Notre Dame University. I spent five
> years in the Air Force as a flight instructor. Beginning my career
> at Northwest Airlines, I was pretty much sure about everything in
> life, as would most given that experience.
> Then I was laid off (it turns out for almost nine years.) Given the
> job opportunities in 1970, I ended up driving a city bus
> inMinneapolis. Those 3+ years gave me the greatest part of my
> education. I learned about the lives of real folks. I got to know
> the poor, the black and the red, and the unemployed. I learned that
> I really hadn't known much at all about people. This experience in
> jail was another such step. My fellow cellmates included priests,
> college professors, students, Catholic Worker volunteers, and even a
> couple who call themselves "full time activists". You know, "those"
> What a marvelous and diverse group of men!!!!!! I was humbled by
> their experiences, and their lives of dedication to their fellow
> human beings. As I was sitting Sunday night with some of them;
> feeling the cold and the separation, my stomach twisted in a knot
> mostly from an ignorance of what was to come, I looked up and said,"
> I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be right now than right here."
> We sang together, we "mantra"ed together in that crowded little room,
> slowly walking around in single file as we intoned for the better
> part of half an hour. We could hear through the walls the women
> singing loudly. We prayed together, we joked and we talked. I was
> in awe Considering my puny contributions to humanity, I felt somewhat
> undeserving to be in their company.
> The court arraignments dragged on. Although some of us made personal
> statements, I believe most of them were shorter than a minute. There
> was a constant repetition of our "rights" and the charges against
> us. In spite of our attempts with our legal people to expedite the
> proceedings, and therefore the release of those yet to come, the
> delays were unbelievable. One woman late in the afternoon (after 4)
> was asked why she was shaking. The courtroom was cold, and she had
> not been fed since 4:20 that morning. Everyone else in the courtroom
> was wearing either heavy long-sleeved turtleneck shirts or suit and
> tie. A good number of the spectators were wearing their jackets and
> sweaters. Another woman who was diabetic had had not only no food,
> but no meds since arrest. The judge evidently thought it somehow
> entertaining to throw in adolescent humor.
> The proceedings lasted until just short of the 48 hour deadline.
> Finally came the last surprise. $5000 each for bail. High school
> students, college students, unemployed, poor, rich, first timer or
> repeater; whatever. Unprecedented! In the history of the SOAW, NO
> ONE has ever not shown up for trial! The judge mentioned, "These are
> different times"! I know that I broke the law. I am ready and
> willing to take the consequences. I will probably receive 6 months
> in federal prison. I do not agree with it, but I knew the risks.
> But evidently the word has come down from above. Possibly from John
> Ashcroft himself. We have committed the most grievous of crimes. We
> are attempting to bring attention to and to criticize our
> government's foreign policy, and we must be dealt with. In a nation
> founded on Dissent, Dissent will not be tolerated. Make life for
> those protestors as miserable as you can.
> Of course there's also the chance that once in jail, regardless of
> whether convicted, and regardless of for what, all persons not only
> can, but should, be treated as animals. What would you think if you
> were mistakenly arrested, held for 48 hours and were treated like
> this? Is this sort of treatment OK?
> Well, one of our number will be found innocent. He was dragged onto
> the base by a soldier. He has many witnesses. Yet he received the
> same treatment.
> Michael Parenti has warned that wars are between the rich and the
> poor. Poor countries don't need government. Government is all
> about money, and its purpose is to move it from the population to the
> rich. Laws are written to protect the rich from the poor. THINK
> ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT! After our foreign policy has made use of
> the backs and lives of the poor around the world, the system will
> begin to attack and subjugate its own people. They need only fear as
> a tool. I think it's starting.
> We are at a crucial point in the history of this country. We must
> decide whether it should be an ally in a world of nations, or an
> empire. Before you answer, find out what an empires, and who runs
> George and his regime want to rule the world. Do you want that? I
> didn't say he wants the United States to rule the world. He is not
> in this for us. There is always the possibility that he might
> actually think he is. But if so, he is governing from a position of
> ignorance "â¦.as would most given that experience."
> Sometimes you have to question what you have always believed. It's
> hard. It's uncomfortable. It's unnerving. And it can be painful.
> Believe me, I know.
> Jack Neis POC
> "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible
> government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to
> the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the
> unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the
> first task of the statesmanship of the day."--Theodore Roosevelt,
> April 19, 1906
> "And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within
> the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people
> love their servitude, and producing â¦ a kind of painless
> concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact
> have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it,
> because they wi! ll be distracted from any desire to rebel by
> propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological
> methods."--Aldous Huxley, 1959
> "There is an evil which ought to be guaarded against in the
> indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it
> in perpetuity by corporations. The power of all corporations ought to
> be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never
> fails to be a source of abuses." James Madison