PHILOSOPHY CLUB HOSTS IRAQ DEBATE
Posted on Thu, May. 26, 2005
Rumsfeld uses Phila. talk to deny
By Carrie Budoff
Inquirer Staff Writer
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told a Philadelphia audience
yesterday that he did not authorize the military to shoot down the small
plane of a Pennsylvania pilot that strayed into restricted airspace over
the Washington area May 11.
The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported in yesterday's
editions that Rumsfeld had given orders to take down the Cessna 150, if
necessary, as it flew within a few miles of the White House and the Capitol
complex, forcing the evacuation of those buildings. The two-seater plane
of Hayden L. "Jim" Sheaffer of Lititz originated at Lancaster's Smoketown Airport and was forced to land near Washington by F-16 fighter jets.
"It was two anonymous sources for the article, and of course it
wasn't true," said Rumsfeld, speaking at a World Affairs Council
luncheon held at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. "I never got on the phone for this
conference call to discuss the circumstances of the little plane. The
little plane was not threatening. It was repeated for hours on
newspapers, television, all around the world - something that was totally
not true. It happens on a regular basis."
Spencer Hsu, a Post reporter on the story, said the paper "was
reporting this out" and would have a story in today's paper.
It was the second time in as many weeks that the Pentagon took the media
to task for its reporting, starting with a story that Newsweek magazine
retracted about the military allegedly mistreating the Koran during interrogation
of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Rumsfeld diverged from his prepared remarks to criticize the Post story
in a 20-minute speech that focused mostly on military efforts to combat
terrorism and its achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also challenged the media in general for
their methods of news-gathering.
As part of his prepared speech, Rumsfeld said there was a "seemingly
casual regard for classified information, resulting in a near-continuous
hemorrhage of classified documents to the detriment of our country."
The government must respond quicker to the 24-hour news cycle and better
utilize nontraditional media sources around the world as "the
influence and reach of more traditional channels continue to
decline," he said.
"Despite the damage that can be done in an era of mass - and
sometimes reckless - communications, free people eventually get it
right," he said. "The American people seem to have an inner
gyroscope that can sort through the clutter of information, misinformation
and opinion and eventually reach balanced conclusions."
Rumsfeld spoke to
several hundred people at the luncheon while more than 75 protesters
stood outside along Broad Street. In signs they hoisted above
their heads, they challenging the secretary to end the military action in
The group included at least two parents who lost children in Iraq - Celeste Zappala of Mount Airy, mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a
national guardsman killed in April 2004, and Michael Berg, father of
Nicholas Berg, a Chester County businessman beheaded by Iraqi
insurgents in May 2004.
"I hold Donald Rumsfeld most responsible for my son's death,"
Berg said, holding a sign with his son's picture.
Rumsfeld took several questions from the audience, but not the media.
When asked about the Pentagon's list of proposed base closings, including
Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Montgomery County, Rumsfeld spoke only generally about the plan.
He said the closings would save $5 billion to $6 billion a year. A final
closing list will be determined by a special commission this year.
"I never thought of the Department of Defense as a job corps,"
he said. "Some communities are concerned. I understand that.
Everyone will have had a chance to say their piece."
Posted on Mon, Mar 21, 2005
Antiwar march marks Iraq
In Center City, activists read names of war dead and asked the President
to recall U.S. troops.
Rain-soaked peace activists marked the second anniversary of the start
of fighting in Iraq
yesterday by demanding that President Bush recall the military and repair
the war-torn country's damaged infrastructure.
"This is a war that shames us before the world," Robert M.
Smith, a spokesman for the Brandywine Peace Community, told about 250
protesters as they prepared to march in Center City. "It is up to
the people of this country to bring it to an end."
The marchers said they were doing their part locally to help a
nationwide effort to create a nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq,
which began March 19, 2003.
The marchers tromped from the historic Arch Street Friends
Meetinghouse to the federal building a few blocks away at Sixth and
Along the way, names of area soldiers killed in Iraq
were read over a loudspeaker, as were those of some Iraqi civilians
killed by the fighting.
Two coffins were carried, one with an Iraqi flag and one with the
Stars and Stripes. A bell was struck every few seconds in tribute.
The group paused the march at the Federal Detention Center to remember
the seven-day sentences some members - including an 89-year-old Quaker
woman who uses a wheelchair - served after protesting the start of the
war two years ago by blocking entrance to the federal courthouse.
The walk culminated in a rally at the adjacent federal building with a
handful of speakers. Perhaps the most widely known was Michael Berg.
His son Nicholas, 26, was beheaded in Iraq
by Islamic fundamentalists who said the move was in retaliation for the
mistreatment of prisoners by American soldiers.
Berg, a civilian from West Chester, had gone to
hoping to help rebuild the country's communications network. His
slaughter was videotaped and posted on the Internet.
His parents sued the government after the military detained him
following his arrest in Mosul.
Michael Berg accused the government of turning its back on his
family's effort to safely bring home his son.
"I should have become active against this war sooner," he
said. "It's too late for me to get my son back. But it's not too
late for you. We need to act now to apply pressure against our
Posted on Wed, Oct. 27, 2004
Activists against Iraq
war freed after 7-day jail terms
Lillian Willoughby, an 89-year-old Quaker
peace activist from Deptford, and four others arrested March 20, 2003,
for blocking the entrance to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia in
protest of the start of the Iraq war were freed from federal prison yesterday
after serving seven-day sentences.
Robert M. Smith, a spokesman for the Brandywine Peace Community, which
sponsored the protest that resulted in the arrests of 107 antiwar
demonstrators, said Willoughby,
who uses a wheelchair, was in good health when released.
Willoughby, Michael Brix, 28, and Marion Brown, 58, of Philadelphia;
and Cassandra Heino-Haw, 22, and her husband, Christopher Haw, 23, of
Camden, reported for prison Oct. 20 after pleading guilty to blocking the
entrance to a public building and opting to not pay the $250 fine.
- Joseph A. Slobodzian
Walking and in a wheelchair, they start serving their time
Five who blocked a U.S. courthouse at the start of the Iraq war chose jail over paying a $250 fine.
Bundled in two sweaters and a jacket against the biting wind as she sat
in her wheelchair, 89-year-old Quaker antiwar activist Lillian Willoughby
went to jail.
"I never dreamed I'd get this kind of send-off," said Willoughby,
of Deptford, as she sat yesterday morning in front of the U.S.
courthouse in Center City
surrounded by about 50 banner-holding members of the Brandywine Peace
The gathering was both a peace vigil and a show of support for Willoughby
and four other demonstrators as they reported to the Federal
to begin seven-day sentences for blocking the courthouse entrances on March 20, 2003, the day after the
"It will be worth it if it gets the message out and people start
working for peace," Willoughby
Willoughby and the four
other demonstrators - Michael Brix, 28 and Marion Brown, 58, of Philadelphia;
and Cassandra Heino-Haw, 22, and husband Christopher Haw, 23, of Camden
- were among 107 arrested March
The five were among the last to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and
elect a sentence of seven days in jail rather than a $250 fine.
But the presence of Willoughby,
just three months shy of her 90th birthday, and her husband, George -
active members of the peace movement for more than 60 years - brought an
element of star quality to the event.
It was Willoughby's first
arrest as a peace activist, and at times she seemed almost embarrassed by
"I have no worries whatsoever," said George Willoughby, who
has been arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations and was honored
two years ago in India
for promoting the precepts of Mohandas K. Gandhi. "She knows how to
take care of herself, and she is doing this for the right reason."
Also present at the start of yesterday's vigil, in full dress uniform,
was Marine Lance Cpl. Elliot Ruiz, recently returned home to North
Philadelphia from Iraq.
Though he chose not to speak publicly, Ruiz quietly thanked several
demonstrators for promoting peace.
The group remained in front of the courthouse, on Market
Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets, for
75 cold minutes, handing leaflets to tourists and passersby and ignoring
several truck drivers who blew their air horns in counter-protest; one of
the truck drivers added an obscene gesture.
There were brief speeches by some of the five, including Brown, who
railed at the government for starting the war the day her grandchild was
born, and Brix, who pointed out his pregnant wife.
"I go to jail for my unborn boy because I don't want him, 25 years
from now, to have to do the same thing I'm doing," Brix said.
Then it was time for the brief walk one block north on Seventh to Arch
Street and the Federal Detention
Center, where they will spend
the next six days.
spokesman Tony Alexander said staff were not making special accommodations
for Willoughby: "We are a
completely handicapped-accessible facility. We're well-equipped to meet her
With some difficulty, Willoughby
was wheeled through the front doors and then transferred to a prison
wheelchair. Her four associates joined her inside to a burst of applause
and a chant from those outside: "We love you, Lillian!"
Phila Inquirer 9/30/04
Prison for 89-year-old peace activist
Lillian Willoughby chose a week in jail over a $250
fine for blocking a federal courthouse in a 2003 antiwar protest.
In 65 years of Quaker activism, Lillian Willoughby has been on the line
in nonviolent demonstrations opposing war, race discrimination and nuclear
proliferation even when they resulted in her arrest.
Now, just shy of 90, hard of hearing, and using a wheelchair, Willoughby
is embarking on a new first: going to jail.
Yesterday, Willoughby joined
five other antiwar activists who were among 107 arrested March 20, 2003, for blocking the
entrance to the federal courthouse in Center
City the day after the start of
bombing in Iraq.
Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count, Willoughby,
of Deptford, and the other five refused to pay a $250 fine, electing
instead to spend seven days in jail.
"You understand that in every one of these cases, the punishment
has been a $250 fine or seven days in prison?" U.S. Magistrate Judge
Arnold C. Rapoport asked Willoughby,
whose daughter Susan had to wheel her about eight feet from the bench so
she could hear the judge.
replied. "I don't want it any different."
Willoughby handed Rapoport a
book, Fifty-two Stories of Nonviolence, and spoke for about five
minutes about the Iraq
war and her sadness about the U.S.
involvement in a war she said had recently claimed the son of a good
"Here I sit in this 21st century, and I think that it is time for
this madness to stop," Willoughby
Afterward, Willoughby and
her husband, George, who was honored in India
two years ago for promoting the precepts of Mohandas K. Gandhi, moved
proudly down the hall on their way to register her with federal probation
officers in anticipation of her sentence.
"I've been arrested before but never spent time in jail," Willoughby
said, clutching a bouquet of flowers.
She insisted she was not worried by a prospect that frequently moves
criminal defendants to tears: "This is the start of a great
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Goldberg, who has handled the
prosecutions of all 107 protesters, said he believed Willoughby
would serve her time.
"Except for that fact that she is 90, she is in reasonably good
health, and the Federal Detention
Center officials believe they
can handle this," Goldberg said.
No date was set for the start of the sentences of Willoughby
and the five others: Michael Brix, 28; Marion Brown, 58; and Jason Fultz,
29 - all of Philadelphia - and
Cassandra Heino, 22, and husband Christopher Haw, 23, of Camden.
As with the earlier sentencings, the six were supported by a group of
about 50 people who packed the courtroom. Many were members of the
Brandywine Peace Community, a decades-old antiwar group based in Swarthmore.
Before sentencing, Willoughby
and the five others joined supporters and members of the Brandywine Peace
Community for a service at the Friends
Center at 1501
Cherry St. and then made a "Walk for
Peace" to the U.S.
courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets.
Goldberg said yesterday's sentencing leaves about a dozen remaining of
the 107 arrested March 20, 2003.
From Delaware County Daily Times Sept
When Martha Stewart announced her wishes to go to prison this week in order
to get on with her personal and business life, there were a gaggle of
microphones and tape recorders in her face. When Andrea Ferich went to jail
to begin serving her term, there was no such media crush.
Martha will go to jail for
five months after being convicted of lying about dumping stock to make a
few more bucks. She has earned the sympathy of her many fans and even those
in the business world who feel she was unfairly targeted because of her
Andrea went to jail for seven days for sticking to her belief that the war
in Iraq is wrong and human lives are
being sacrificed irresponsibly. She was part of a group of more than 100,
many of them women, who refused to move from the steps of the Federal Building at Sixth and Market in Philadelphia, the day after the war on Iraq began in March 2003.
Martha will do her five months in a facility that will more than likely
resemble an austere hotel, often called a "country club" in the
prison system. There will be some structure to the day, most likely, and
perhaps a menial job or crafts to help pass the time.
Andrea did her time in solitary confinement, with no books, no writing
paper and nothing to make the days and nights pass other than her own mind.
She was told she could receive letters, but then she learned there was a
shortage of mail screeners and a glut of federal prison mail, which meant
she got it on the way out. Or, in reality, most letters were returned to
Martha contends she is being targeted because of her high profile. She
talks about the unfairness of being famous and then becoming the target of
a government investigation. She claims any other citizen would not have
faced the full wrath of federal prosecutors. It’s a case of too much
Andrea only wanted to bring attention to a war she considers wrong. She
only wanted to exercise her constitutional right to protest government
policies. At 22, she wanted to make a stand in her young life and use her
voice to speak out.
For both women, the question of justice being served remains unanswered.
It’s obvious that Martha remains adamant that she has been wronged.
It’s just as certain that the only lesson Andrea learned is the
government doesn’t want to hear the voices of dissent and that a
federal judge will go to any length to break the spirit of a young
We are fighting a war in Iraq that speaks of bringing freedom
to the oppressed and changing an awful climate of repression of thought and
Maybe we ought to do a better job of addressing those issues at home.
ŠThe Daily Times 2004
More Iraqi war protesters begin their jail sentences