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Bert Sacks — Activist Fined $10,000 for Bringing Medicine to Iraq
from theCapitolHillTalks.com, posted November 26, 2012
In 1997, Bert Sacks traveled to Iraq to deliver $40,000 worth of medicine. For this, he was fined $10,000 by the U.S government in 2002 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. We discuss how he was fined, the merits of the sanctions on Iraq, the deficiencies of the Oil for Food Program, and nonviolence. His website is iraqikids.org, and he also directs listeners to visit concernforiraq.org.
Host: Andy Walters
Photos: Hadjar Homaei
“Case Dismissed: Activist Bert Sacks Confronts a Bittersweet Victory,” Real Change, Jan. 11, 2012
Real Change assistant editor Rosette Royale wrote this article, which begins:
Bert Sacks ended 2011 with news that would cause most activists to celebrate: A judge dismissed a federal fine against him that totaled more than $16,000.
But as 2012 begins, Sacks, 69, believes that without the chance to defend himself in court, he’ll have to find new ways to vocalize his core belief: “That the greatest purveyor of terrorism in the world is my own country,” said Sacks.
Strong words from a self-proclaimed nonviolent activist, but they have a precedent. The phrase, said Sacks, is a slight reworking of Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is my own country.” King spoke those words at Riverside Church in New York City in his 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”
“Bert Sacks: No fine and no court time for Iraqi sanctions,” Seattle Times, Jan. 3, 2012
Seattle Times editorial columnist Bruce Ramsey wrote this blog entry, which begins:
The federal case against Bert Sacks, the Seattle activist fined for violation of the Trading with the Enemy Act, was dismissed Dec. 28 — and Sacks is not too happy about it.
Sacks wanted a jury trial. He wanted to argue in public court that in the 1990s the U.S. government had committed an act of terrorism by destroying Iraq’s water purification plants during the first Gulf War and using economic sanctions to block their repair. Sacks cited UNICEF and other sources that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children had died from the effects of unclean water and no medicine. In Sacks’ view, they had been killed by the United States as surely as if our government had bombed them.
Read the rest of the story at the Seattle Times website.
“Judge puts Bert Sacks trial on hold,” Real Change, Oct 19, 2011
On Sept. 19, Bert Sacks had planned to ask a federal judge whether U.S. involvement in Iraq amounted to terrorism. But that judge’s recent decision means that Sacks will have to wait for his day in court.
Last month, the judge scheduled to hear United States of America v. Bertram Sacks, which levies a $10,000 fine against Sacks for “engaging with an enemy” ordered the case put on hold before Sacks could take the stand. “The most patriotic thing I’ve done is to try to get myself into court,” says Sacks.
Read rest of Rosette Royale’s article here.
“An American citizen confronts America’s sins,” Real Change, Jan. 19, 2011 — Text is below; for a pdf of the article with photos click here.
On a recent plane flight, Bert Sacks found an opportunity to practice nonviolent compassion, a skill he’ll use to defend himself this September against federal charges of engaging with an enemy.
Sacks had just visited his ailing mother in early January when he sat down on the plane next to a married couple from Ohio. He struck up a conversation.…
Read rest of Rosette Royale’s article here.
“Bert Sacks vs. the U.S. — why an activist still fights for the Iraqi people,” Seattle Times, Jan. 4, 2011
Seattle Times editorial columnist Bruce Ramsey writes this op-ed piece, which begins:
For most Americans the sanctions imposed on Iraq during the George H.W. Bush years are an old story. Not for Seattle resident Bert Sacks. Sacks, 68, is scheduled to be in federal court in Seattle Sept. 19 because he publicly violated them.
In 1997, during the Clinton years, Sacks and three others carried satchels of medicine for donation to Iraqi hospitals. They did it in full view of the U.S. media, publicly arguing that the sanctions had created a humanitarian disaster in Iraq. …
The story as told on Democracy Now in 2007!
If you prefer to read the transcript here.
Seattle P-I, “The U.S. vs Bert Sacks’ principles on Iraq,” June 17, 2002
Bert Sacks looks like he could be anybody’s favorite grandfather.
Wafer-thin with unruly white hair, a gentle manner and soft spoken, the 60-year-old Seattle resident professes a love of children and a steely desire to live by principle. …
Read the rest of the article here.