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VITW: US Customs investigates Iraqi family aid

Worrisome news from Voices/US ...

From:  Voices in the Wilderness []    
To:  'Kkelly@Igc.Apc.Org'   

Subject:  Vitw Urgent News   
Sent:  2/21/2002 4:46 PM 
FEBRUARY 21, 2001  

Voices in the Wilderness Responds to Raids on Agents that Transfer Money to Iraq 


Responding to news that US Customs agents have investigated efforts by Iraqi families to send 
desperately needed funds to loved ones in Iraq, Voices in the Wilderness members again assert 
determination to openly violate the US laws which forbid extending the hand of friendship to 
ordinary people in Iraq.  Sending anything of value or any package weighing more than 12 ounces 
violates United States sanctions against Iraq.  

42 Voices in the Wilderness delegations have traveled to Iraq, carrying medicines and medical 
relief supplies, since our campaign began on Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 15, 1996.  Each 
of our delegations has returned with eyewitness accounts about the punitive effects of economic 
sanctions.  Visits with beleaguered children and families in Iraq help us understand why their 
loved ones in the United States would undertake extraordinary steps to aid needy Iraqi relatives 
with financial support.  We cannot, ourselves, imagine walking away from the bedsides of dying 
children in Iraq without reaffirming our commitment to end the economic sanctions.  We will not 
ourselves be bound by laws which are cruel and unjust.  We feel responsible to help Americans 
understand that US residents of Iraqi descent who send money to their families are engaging in a 
rational act of compassion, not a desperate act to fuel terrorism. 

We’re grateful for the support and solidarity which has emerged from a long list of faith-based and 
community groups who join us now in our efforts to use nonviolent civil disobedience to defy the 
economic sanctions.  Organizations dedicated to peace, justice, human rights and the alleviation of 
human suffering have sent delegations to Iraq and encouraged their membership to explore nonviolent 
ways to break the economic sanctions.  

We’re confident that all of the groups and individuals who have campaigned and petitioned to end 
the economic sanctions will assert a collective support for Iraqi families as they face escalated 
consequences of the most comprehensive state of siege ever imposed in modern history.  

Voices in the Wilderness, based in Chicago, has already been issued a $160,000 pre-penalty notice 
for the so-called crime of bringing toys and medicine to children and families in Iraq.  We wish to 
reiterate that we’ve done exactly that.  We’ll continue to undertake travel to Iraq, we won’t pay 
any penalties, and we invite US government officials to join us in our efforts to challenge the 
economic sanctions. 

We encourage all who receive this message to help educate their local media, elected 
representatives and surrounding community about the effects of economic sanctions on ordinary Iraqi 
people.  Guided by such information, it will be easier for people to endorse and laud the refusal 
of Iraqi American families to abandon their loved ones. 

We also ask all who read this to note that we have gone on record, since the beginning of this 
campaign, as a group opposed to the development, storage, sale and use of all weaponry, including 
the weapon of economic sanctions. 

Voices in the Wilderness, Chicago office 

Voices in the Wilderness 
1460 West Carmen Ave 
Chicago  IL  60640 
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