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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] 'Human shield' faces $10,000 fine

"The Bush administration is committed to the full and fair enforcement of
the law."

'Human shield' faces $10,000 fine


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

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

"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

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]