Let the Jury Decide Who the Real Criminals Are

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I hate the subhead in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer report on our effort to subpoena Donald Rumsfeld: “Lawyer says effort to subpoena Rumsfeld not publicity stunt.”

My co-defendants and I are quite serious about this. We want to cross-examine Rumsfeld about the war in Iraq. We were arrested while trying to stop the war, so his testimony is important to our defense.

When our small group of seven citizens sat in Rep. Steve Chabot’s office — for which we were charged with criminal trespassing — we were trying to save human lives. Ohio law provides for a defense of necessity. If someone breaks into a burning building to rescue a child, for example, the law provides that a jury can find that “offense” justified. That’s all we were trying to do: save lives.

Although we did nothing more offensive than sing peace songs and read aloud the names of Americans and Iraqis killed in the war, we knew we might face arrest. But we believe a jury will find that our petty lawbreaking was justified. We want the jury to hear about the false premises on which the war was launched and hear the details of the suffering and death that have resulted; and to accomplish that, Rumsfeld is essential to our defense.

Five of us — Barbara Wolf, the Rev. John Rich, Sister Mary Eleven Jegen, Ellen Dienger and I — are scheduled for trial Jan. 22 before Hamilton County Municipal Judge David Stockdale. In Hamilton County Juvenile Court, charges were dismissed against our comrade Shannon Isaacs and are still pending against Ari Staiger. Instead of being prosecuted, these young women should be commended for their courage.

— Gregory Flannery

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5 Comments on “Let the Jury Decide Who the Real Criminals Are”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You are all patriots and I have faith that the jury will know that it is Bush, Chenney, Rumsfeld and Chabot that are the real criminals. If there were any justice in this world they’d all be on trial.

    If you murder one person they’ll throw you in jail, if you commit mass murder they’ll call you a leader.

  2. Natasha Says:

    Will our administration be held accountable for the ever-changing snake of lies that led us to war? Time will tell.

    I certainly wish our group the best in their efforts, and I’ll join my prayers and practices to their own for the truth to be brought forth.

    In the meantime, Bush has reshuffled his staff in an effort towards advancing the plan of a “surge” of 30,000+ troops into Iraq. We should not yet rest easy.

  3. Westside John Says:

    Iam sorry but breaking into a burning building to save a child is FAR from trespassing to forward your political views. I am a strong supporter of your right to protest what you believe is an unjust war. I also believe you are entiltled to have your elected official hear you out. I DO NOT believe you have the right to trespass where it is not warranted. That would be like breaking into a fire alarm company to protest the fact that the alarm isn’t going off at that so called burning building.

    I applaud your conviction and if this were a persect world we would not need to be in Iraq. I honostly don’t have an answer to that question. Good luck on your endeavors but watch the laws.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Westside John, Bush doesn’t pay attention to laws. If he did we wouldn’t be in Iraq. I don’t think your anology makes sense. Civil disobedience is a great American tradition. We didn’t have a real democracy so we don’t get a choice about this war. Like Vietnam it is the American people that will end this war. We must do this by any means necassary. If we were in Nazi Germany and we broke laws to save people it would still be against the law.

    Segregation was wrong and people had to break the law to stop those unjust policies. Ghandi and King broke laws and went to jail to bring more justice to the world. The criminals are in our governmnet and we shouldn’t obey unjust laws, we should bring them to justice.

  5. Bill Wright Says:


    I can’t tell you how moving the actions of you and your friends are to me. Perservere, Ellen. Perservere.

    Bill Wright,
    Your former Biology Professor
    Chapman University

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