( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Surprise, surprise. A peace activist comes to the US and is turned away immediately. What are we really scared of?
In 2006 an Irish jury decided that ex-seminarian Damien Moran was not guilty of criminal damage for his part in the ‘disarmament’ of a US Navy plane in February 2003.
Good for Damien! He is someone who stood for his principles. He is someone many in America should want to hear from.
The 27-year-old ex-seminarian was due to visit his brother in Virginia, and to speak at an anti-war event in Nebraska. But when the Homeland Security officer scanned his Irish passport, his arrest came up on the computer–though the information on file seemed pretty half-baked and did not, apparently, include the fact of his acquittal.
I wonder how many peace activists have been turned away by W’s Homeland Security. How does this make us more secure? Is making us aware of what we’re doing in the rest of the world somehow making us more secure, or does turning the activists away just squelch dissent?
Moran, then part of the Dublin Catholic Worker community, was one of the five ‘Pitstop Ploughshares’ who did $2.5 million of damage to a Navy C-40A being used to transport cargo through Ireland’s Shannon Airport during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. In a case that has been detailed here previously here on Counterpunch, the five were quickly and unanimously acquitted by a Dublin jury in July 2006 after their defence argued they had ‘lawful excuse’ to take action against American military equipment in light of what the US was doing in Iraq.
Good for the jury in Dublin! Perhaps we could bring the occupation in Iraq to an end if we tried the same type of thing here in the US. Of course, we would probably disappear if we did so.
“Deportation is the least of your worries!” one Homeland Security officer shouted at Moran. Indeed, under US law in the age of Bush, Moran might well have been subject to arrest and detention for his action in Ireland. In reality, however, the prospect of an orange jumpsuit for a well-mannered young white man who was the subject of a sympathetic TV documentary in Ireland after his acquittal is politically highly unlikely. The words ‘diplomatic incident’ spring to mind.
Perhaps, in turn, it’s time for other countries to start turning away HS officers at their borders. Clearly, they are a threat to the citizens of other countries, even those who are law abiding citizens.
Moran’s deportation is nonetheless a blow to those US activists who want to build solidarity with their equivalents abroad. The Global Network Against Weapons in Space and Moran himself shared the cost of his trip, and that money is now gone without hope of recovery.
And here’s the crux of the issue, isn’t it? I wonder if it’s only a matter of time until the US closes international communication to stop the ‘terrorists’ such a Damien or other dissenters. This issue doesn’t just effect Damien and other activists. It has a chilling effect upon dissent here in the US, as some will see such actions and fear that their activities will be treated the same way. It’s a shame that the US has come to this.
Originally posted here: http://rjones2818.blogspot.com/2008/…