The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
"The Bush administration is committed to the full and fair enforcement of the law." http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030809/NEWS/308090 382/1060 'Human shield' faces $10,000 fine 12.08.2003 SARASOTA -- A Sarasota woman who served as a "human shield" during the war in Iraq faces thousands of dollars in civil penalties. According to a letter dated March 20 from the federal Department of the Treasury, Faith Fippinger broke the law by crossing the Iraqi border -- a violation of U.S. sanctions that prohibit American citizens from engaging in "virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq." Fippinger, who returned home on May 4, learned of the letter from her brother, who kept track of her mail while she was overseas. Once she arrived in the United States, she had 20 days to respond, which she did. Now, Fippinger, 62, owes the United States at least $10,000, which is $10,000 more than she says she will pay. In a letter Fippinger mailed to the government in May, she said she would not pay a fine. "If it comes to fines or imprisonment, please be aware that I will not contribute money to the United States government to continue the build-up of its arsenal of weapons," Fippinger wrote in her response to the charges. She said she has no intention of paying. "Therefore, perhaps the alternative should be considered." The alternative could be as much as 12 years in prison. Fippinger said the $10,000 was a settlement offered to her by the Treasury Department as a quicker alternative to a drawn-out legal battle that could cost her up to $1 million. 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. She says she doesn't have much. "She was (in Iraq) in violation of U.S. sanctions," said Taylor Griffin, a Treasury Department spokesman. "That's what happens." The letter, signed by David Harmon, chief of the enforcement division of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, demanded that Fippinger include in her response the purposes and dates of her time in Iraq, along with a description of any financial transactions she made. The letter also asked for the name of any travel agent who arranged the trip, any U.S. goods she might have donated and any Iraqi goods she might have brought home. "They're saying that I, as a human shield, exported services to Iraq by going over there," Fippinger said Friday. In her response, Fippinger wrote that the only money she spent was on food and emergency supplies. She and others from 30 countries spread out through Iraq in a futile effort to prevent American bombing of the country. She spent about three months there, including time at an oil refinery. Only about 20 of nearly 300 "human shields" were Americans, she said. They all face the same charges as Fippinger. "I thought it was one of my friends pulling a joke on me," said one of them, Ryan Clancey of Milwaukee on Friday. He said the Treasury Department didn't promise that the case would be closed if he paid the $10,000. "They use the word settlement as in 'perhaps we won't punish you,'" he said. The Treasury Department employee who contacted Clancey told him that three others were facing possible criminal charges, but would not say who they were or whether Clancey would join their ranks. Griffin said Fippinger and the others also violated a ban against travel to Iraq. "I was aware I was violating a travel ban," Clancey said. "But I needed to meet the people we were going to bomb and kill." So far, arguments against the penalties have proven fruitless. "When you break the law, you can expect to get a fine," Griffin said. "The Bush administration is committed to the full and fair enforcement of the law." _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk