There have been many ladies dissenters who’ve been jailed by the American authorities as political prisoners. There are ladies in jail now who’re present process punishment as perceived enemies of the American Empire. Two such ladies are nuclear resister Elizabeth McAlister and alleged “terrorist” Aafia Siddiqui. Once I wrote about Pakistani-born Aafia Siddiqui as one of many “ladies politicals (not) within the information” eight years in the past, she had simply begun her 86-year sentence at Carswell Federal Jail in Texas for allegedly assaulting US troopers of the Empire in Afghanistan. Now 46, she just lately appealed to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for assist: “I need to get out of jail, my imprisonment within the US is against the law as I used to be kidnapped and brought to the US. . .” Dr. Siddiqui was accused of being a would-be murderer and an Al Qaeda terrorist. However she was the one who was grievously wounded within the abdomen. She was the one whose youngest youngster was killed when she was taken, “disappeared” in Pakistan, and her different two youngsters imprisoned individually for years. She was the one who was crushed, raped, tortured and stored in solitary in black website prisons of the American Empire. Her “crime” was being a physician in Boston who was a Muslim activist, and who, via a collection of unlucky and skewed connections, ended up on Lawyer Common Ashcroft’s “watchlist.” For her “crime,” lshe needed to endure the results of an excessive anti-“terrorist”/anti-Muslim period which started with the September 11, 2001 bombings.
Crimes towards Muslims globally, and fast repression of Muslims inside the US, though not beginning then, drastically intensified after 9/11. The FBI, in its zeal to root out Arab “terrorists,” has been concerned in questionable actions which fly within the face of civil rights or constitutional regulation. We’ve seen using the grand jury as bullying tactic, wholesale surveillance, sweeps to arrest dissenters, and entrapment to create “terrorists” when actual ones don’t exist.
Professional-Palestinian activists have been victimized, together with younger Muslim ladies who’ve been candidates for entrapment. In 2013, Rasmea Odeh, deputy government director of the Arab-American Community, was indicted by the US authorities for “immigration fraud” when she utilized for citizenship. Though the State Division was properly conscious of the circumstances of her shifting to the US, Israel Lobbyists labored to get her arrested. Caught in a “safety sweep” in Israel in 1969, she was, though harmless, imprisoned for a grocery store bombing. Throughout her 10 years in Israel’s jails, she was tortured and raped. After coming to the US in 1994, she turned an activist for Arab-American ladies, and located herself jailed once more. She was deported in September of 2017. In 2015, Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas have been arrested in NYC by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Process Drive, and charged with conspiracy to “use a weapon of mass destruction.” They have been skillfully entrapped by an FBI informant, by no means planning and even eager about bombings till the agent prompt they need to. They await their trial. The local weather of worry present in America, together with “terrorism” expenses needing no habeus corpus or guidelines of proof, imply no justice and no sanity for Muslim ladies caught by the US “justice” system.
As a “terrorist” enemy of the Empire and its troopers, Aafia Siddiqui had no probability in any respect. She was mistakenly accused initially. She was “disappeared” in Pakistan by useful brokers, and when her true story started to emerge, she was put in black website prisons, crushed and tortured. When she was lastly placed on trial, she was a damaged lady, and had solely to be disposed of by a kangaroo courtroom—sentenced to 86 years at Carswell. She has been visited by Pakistan’s Consul Common in Houston, who has complained to the US Justice Division about Siddiqui’s continued brutal remedy. She says Siddiqui suffers “immense bodily and sexual torment.” Pakistani and American authorities all say they’re wanting into the matter, however nothing has occurred. One Pakistani official’s assertion was that the US treats its prisoners “humanely and in a fashion that complies with our human rights obligations.” Certainly.
The Empire applies its “humane” remedy to greater than its accused Muslim “terrorists.” Ladies of the anti-nuclear Plowshares motion, who bear witness towards weapons threatening potential annihilation of the planet, are additionally thought-about “terrorist” threats. Elizabeth McAlister, former nun and widow of anti-nuclear activist Philip Berrigan, at age 73, is in jail in Georgia for her half in an anti-nuclear motion: Kings Bay (GA) Plowshares, carried out on April four, 2018. Seven stalwarts, three of whom have been ladies—McAlister, Martha Hennesy of NYC and Clare Grady of Ithaca—entered the naval base which homes Trident submarines armed with nuclear warheads. They have been there to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Their banners included King’s “The last word logic of racism is genocide.” They smeared the bottom’s emblem with human blood.
They usually carried with them indictments of the US authorities, President Trump and the bottom commander Brian Lepine, for warfare crimes. They have been charged with the felonies of conspiracy and destruction of presidency property. Clare Grady and Elizabeth McAlister have been jailed, and McAlister stays in jail immediately. In response to nukeresister.com, McAlister is in jail to struggle the Empire: “We resist militarism that has employed lethal violence to implement international domination. . . The weapons from one Trident have the capability to finish life as we all know it on planet Earth.” Such activists present means an excessive amount of transparency for the American Empire.
The US considers those that object to its international empire with its drones, bombs, common surveillance and help for fellow oppressive nations—whether or not within the Center East or Latin America—as potential terrorists. So ladies who protest towards the Faculty of the Americas or unmanned drone assaults from US bases are arrested and jailed. Because the 80s, ladies protesters have been jailed from six to 15 months for talking out towards the SOA, an American establishment which has educated Latin American dying squads. Ann Tiffany and Nancy Gwin of Syracuse, each served six months at Danbury for “illegally getting into” army bases, and shining mild on the Empire. Mary Anne Grady Flores (of Ithaca) acquired a yr for anti-drone motion, and really busy anti-Empire activist Kathy Kelly has had 4 stints in federal jail for protesting towards the dying and destruction introduced by unmanned bomber drones within the Center East. Ladies who resist the ominous nuclear arms menace of the USA can obtain notably stiff sentences, as “terrorist” threats to authorities property and nationwide safety.
Partially impressed by Catholic Employee founder Dorothy Day, clergymen Daniel and Philip Berrigan started a motion to beat swords into plowshares by taking over the American nuclear arms (army and company) juggernaut. Ladies—for probably the most half Catholic nuns—have been enthusiastic members from the start. Sister Anne Montgomery took half in six Plowshares anti-nuclear actions together with the primary, together with 4 males (with the 2 Berrigan brothers), and Molly Rush, in 1980 at King of Prussia (PA). Montgomery spent 11 weeks in jail for King of Prussia; she was indicted in 2009 at age 83 for her remaining motion—Disarm NOW Plowshares in Bangor (WA). Sister Montgomery was educated in civil disobedience on the McAlister/Berrigan Jonah Home.
Sister Elizabeth McAlister was an artwork historical past professor at Marymount School when she met Father Philip Berrigan and was impressed by him to turn out to be an activist. Such activism led to them turning into two of the “Harrisburg 7,” charged with conspiring to raid federal workplaces so as to bomb underground conduits—and to kidnap Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. That they had kidded about doing that in letters, however J. Edgar Hoover was not amused. The federal government ultimately needed to downgrade the fees to anti-draft actions. McAlister and Berrigan each left their orders and married in 1973. Jonah Home was based by Elizabeth McAlister and her husband in Baltimore, as one in every of quite a few “resistance communities” begun within the 70s; and was, and is, a base and coaching floor for civil disobedience and anti-nuclear actions.
On Thanksgiving morn 1983, the “Plowshares 7” entered the Griffiss Air Drive Base in Rome, NY. They hammered dents into and spilled blood on a B-52, there on alert, armed with nuclear weapons. They needed to wait outdoors over an hour, singing and marching with their banner earlier than safety got here to arrest them. The “7” included 4 ladies—Jacqueline Allen (of Hartford, CT), Kathleen Rumpf (of Marlboro, NY), Clare Grady (then 25, of Ithaca), and in her first Plowshares motion, Elizabeth Mcalister. Their decide determined the defendants couldn’t use a protection addressing the “imminence of the hurt” of the weapons as a result of they did “acts of destruction” to authorities property. He sentenced them to federal jail: two years for Rumpf, Allen and Grady and three for McAlister. Daughter Frida Berrigan has stated that her household has paid a worth for her mother and father’ struggle towards nuclear weapons: they have been separated from one another or their youngsters for a complete of 11 years.
The work continues for Plowshares ladies. By means of the 1980s and 90s and past, they’ve been jailed by the Clinton, Bush (each), Obama and Trump administrations—administrations which all featured large nuclear build-ups. Sisters Jackie Hudson, Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert spent years in jail for, as Gilbert stated, “symbolically disarming America’s weapons of mass destruction.” After 2001 such ladies can be handled as terrorists. Sister Megan Rice, 82, for her half within the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant (TN) motion of 2012, acquired three years as a “violent offender.” Elizabeth McAlister was jailed for the Kings Bay motion in April. She was charged underneath Georgia state regulation, in response to nukeresister.org, for misdemeanor legal trespass, but in addition for 2 felonies: possession of instruments to commit a criminal offense and interference with authorities property. The protection workforce has mounted a protection based mostly on the Spiritual Freedom Restoration Act, that the protesters have been appearing “from privateness of conscience rooted of their religion.” The decide will determine on that—and by no means has any kind of protection based mostly on ethical grounds ever labored, thoughts you—on the finish of January, and a trial date shall be set. McAlister and her fellow protesters have been charged as a result of they dare to withstand militarism that employs “lethal violence to implement international domination.”
Elizabeth McAlister, in jail since April, stays steadfast, modest and unassuming. She hesitates to offer interviews. She did write after her arrest about why she resists the Empire’s weapons: “We got here to Kings Bay Submarine Base animated by the absurd conviction that we might make some impression on slowing if not ending, the mad rush to the devastation of our magnificent planet.” Such sentiments, such absurd convictions, that anybody can intrude within the Empire’s international destruction, need to be punished. Such feminine dissenters should be jailed and silenced. There must be no extra silence surrounding America’s ladies politicals. Whether or not thought-about terrorist threats as a result of, like Aafia Siddiqui, they’re a part of a gaggle deemed an enemy race; or thought-about terrorist threats as a result of, like Elizabeth McAlister, they resist and expose America’s international domination—such ladies might be made political prisoners of the Empire.