[fla-left] [news] War Hero Sent To Prison For Protesting US Army's 'School of Assassins' (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Sun Jun 11 08:05:30 MDT 2000


forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Published on Friday, June 9, 2000 in the San Francisco Chronicle
>
> War Hero Sent To Prison For Protesting US Army's 'School of Assassins'
> Vet says protest against military school has been an `act of conscience'
>
> by Michael Taylor
>
> A federal judge sentenced Charles Liteky, a former Army chaplain
> and war hero turned lifelong demonstrator, to the maximum sentence of one
> year in prison yesterday, a term Liteky said he welcomed as a way of drawing
> attention to his cause.
>
> Standing at the lectern in a Columbus, Ga., courtroom, 69-year-
> old Liteky, who lives part-time in San Francisco, read a 10-minute statement
> to U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson. The judge leaned forward and listened
> intently, clearly interested in hearing why one of 147 living recipients of
> the Medal of Honor would willingly spend a year of his life in prison.
>
> Liteky got his one-year sentence and a fine of $10,000 for two counts of
> illegally trespassing at Fort Benning, the sprawling Army infantry post that
> is home to the controversial School of the Americas, a training facility for
> Latin American military officers.
>
> Liteky and other critics charge that many of the school's graduates have
> been responsible for massacres of peasants and human rights workers in
> Central and South America.
>
> ``I consider it an honor to be going to prison as a result of an act of
> conscience in response to a moral imperative that impelled and obligated me
> to speak for voices silenced by graduates of the School of the Americas, a
> military institution that has brought shame to our country and the U.S.
> Army,'' Liteky told Lawson.
>
> Under terms of the sentence, Liteky, who is not in custody, will be
> notified by mail within six weeks about which federal prison he should
> report to. He said yesterday that he suspects he will be sent to Lompoc in
> Southern California.
>
> Liteky's years of protesting and his occasional appearances before
> federal judges -- he did six months in prison 10 years ago for the same
> offense -- might well be overlooked had he not received the nation's highest
> award for bravery in combat. He then became one of only two of the 3,410
> recipients of the Medal of Honor to give it back, again as an act of
> protest.
>
> Liteky was awarded the medal (under the name of Angelo J. Liteky) for
> saving the lives of 23 soldiers during a fierce firefight in Vietnam in
> December 1967. At the time, he was a Catholic priest and was serving in the
> Army as a chaplain. He has since resigned from his religious order.
>
> During the one-hour court session in Columbus, Lawson told Liteky that he
> did not understand ``the connection between what is going on at the School
> of the Americas and this court.''
>
> Liteky said after sentencing that he intends to write Lawson from prison
> ``because I want him to understand that connection.''
>
> ``We're doing acts of civil disobedience in the tradition of our
> democracy,'' he said. ``This has been going on for a long time. And in going
> to prison, I'm drawing attention to the issue. I'm happy with his ruling.''
>
> Liteky's wife, Judy, a former nun, joined him in court yesterday. ``My
> main reason for being here,'' she said later, ``was to be with Charlie. The
> sentence is longer than I thought it would be, so I'm going to have to take
> some time to get used to a whole year.''
>
> Correspondent Jason Miczek in Georgia contributed to this report.</I>
> =A92000 San Francisco Chronicle





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