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Meeting Senator Clinton - Federal Court results / effort continues

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Wed Sep 01 2004 - 10:21:56 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

This is a 'quick' message to keep you updated on what has happened
this week at the Syracuse Federal Building. Efforts continue to get a
meeting with group members and Senator Hillary R. Clinton.  I had a
conference with the Judge and prosecutor yesterday in US District
Court and the results, while disappointing, have served to make future
direction clear (although the road appears very rocky!).  The two big
items were: No stipulation, but a trial on pending charges & the Judge
said it was 'all right' for security to push me away from the
building.  For full background and details, see:

No Stipulation
The Judge had a change of opinion regarding the 'stipulation' that was
going to resolve the 4 pending charges without need for trial.  He
told me and the US Attorney he would not accept our agreement (to use
the previous trial transcript as a statement of the facts). Then, for
about the next 30 minutes, he proposed some solutions and was
'encouraging' me to either plead "guilty" or "nolo contendere" (no
contest) to the charges -- that would allow for a quick decision and

We have a lot of mothers and fathers in the group that have written
and told me how they plead 'guilty' to things they didn't do --
because of pressure and promises from Judges, lawyers, and social
workers. Being a 'lie', it is never the right thing -- but it happens,
we are just human. Well, yesterday, I really felt the squeeze.

As the Judge was talking about rejecting the stipulation I felt my
stomach dropping.  The way I (You) used to feel in Family Court when
you get the Judge's decision, and even before you get all the details,
you  know you 'lost' -- you are not seeing your kids as you hoped! 

All I could think was "When am I going to see Domenic?"  My son lives
out West and I can't buy plane tickets to get my weekend 'visit' until
this sentence was served.  I had been hoping to get a verdict and
sentence and hopefully be able to see him by October.

For a long moment I almost wanted to say 'guilty' just to get it over
with so that I could see Dom as soon as possible, but I did not -- and
my thanks to the many of you who shared your experiences. How easy it
is to forget how wrong a 'lie' is, what a denial of Faith (even though
everybody does it!). An old explanation - a 'lie' is a false attempt
to participate in the Act of Creation.  By the power of a word, to
bring substance from void.  To make 'be', something that 'was not'.

Finally, the Judge set a trial date of September 21st.

Okay to 'push'
I was glad to have the opportunity to raise the issue of being
'pushed' out of the Building by security and being 'blocked' from
entering. I had written a letter earlier with more details:

I told the Judge the conduct was inappropriate.  That this was a Civil
Right's issue and it was an indignity for authorities to push someone
away when they are trying to peacefully petition their Member of
Congress...  He did not seem disturbed and said he would not interfere
while they are doing their duties -- that maybe this was something for
a 'civil action'.

Again, I was reminded of those of you who had your rights trampled in
the system.  Sometimes through out-right fraud -- but who has the
money to hire a lawyer to pursue justice when facing the power of

NonViolent Action
Tomorrow, Sep 2nd, at about 2pm I'll be going back to the Federal
Building and again 'press' for entry even it we end up in a 'dance'
blocking both doors to the building.  It is an uncomfortable
thought. It will provide another reason for arrest and perhaps even an
extended detension before trail (although I still have a 'right' to
speedy trial if detained).  In some ways I may be doing exactly what
they want -- shifting the focus from the hallway outside Senator
Clinton's office.  It will also be what will show my (our) conviction
that being separated from the children we love is a GREAT wrong, and
worthy of GREAT sacrifice to restore.

Being a former Air Force pilot, I never thought I would learn anything
from an Army Sergeant -- but I heard part of a conversation a few days
ago as I was outside the building that really stuck with me.

As he was walking into the building, I heard him say to a companion,
"There are only two things in life worth fighting for -- your Country
and your Family."

I thought about 'fighting' and the images most of us think about:
weapons, combat, injuries, death -- personal sacrifice. I don't know
about you, but I'm a bit glad I'm not in the military right now. I
have a friend who is expecting rotation back to Iraq and the knowledge
that at any time as he is passing down a road -- a bomb could explode
and he could be killed or maimed (just that easy!).

What about us here as parents?  I certainly DO NOT think any kind of
weapons are need for Family Law reform.  It is not that kind of
'fight'. But it will require a real struggle and real sacrifice. That
is what NonViolent Action is about. 

If we really think this is a GREAT Civil Right, we are not exempt from
sacrifice as parents.  Sometimes what we will do will have great
external effect, sometimes it will be meaningless, and sometime we'll
be hurt by "friendly fire."  I can't help but think of the NFL player
Pat Tillman, gave up millions to be a 'grunt' and killed by one of
our own soldiers in Afghanistan.  Did that change the value of his
sacrifice? No.

Current Events
Will I be doing the 'right' thing tomorrow and in the future?  God only
knows. It is especially frightening when I find myself alone there (I
want to thank many of you who wrote the Senator. I think it made a
difference and her contact info is at the web site, above).  But in
the last two weeks ZERO people have stopped by the Federal Building
to participate or even lend a word of support.  Yesterday I hoped some
folks would come by to talk and perhaps be at the Court session. ZERO.

Tomorrow what do I expect?  Someone.  I always do. Am I 'mad' at folks
for not showing up -- of course not.  I realize how busy everyone is.
We all see how much stuff comes across the Internet.  I have seen
pleas for help that I have ignored (you can only do so much).  But
I've also got Faith there are some good folks out there (better than
me) and that any day now, someone will come.  Does having ZERO company
relieve me of my obligation to act?  No.

This is the end of the message. I have some nice words below from
Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.  I think you'll like them and
maybe someday we will turn these words into ACTION.  When we do, we
will have our GREAT right recognized.

Oh, and of course I feel 'good' about tomorrow.  It is another chance
to demonstrate the GREAT love I have for my child...  Can anything
'bad/evil' happen to me as a result of that -- it is inconceivable.

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/

Professor Gilburt Murray of Oxford: "Be careful in dealing with a man
who cares nothing for sensual pleasures, nothing for comfort or praise
or promotion, but is simply determined to do what he believes to be
right.  He is a dangerous and uncomfortable enemy because his body,
which you can always conquer, gives so little purchase over his soul."

Martin Luther King: "We are American citizens, and we are determined
to acquire or citizenship to the fullness of its meaning . . . We are
here because we are determined to get the situation corrected . .(he
reviewed how blacks were treated by the system) . . But here comes a
time when people get tired. We are here this evening to say to those
who have mistreated us so long what we are tired -- tired of being
segregated and humiliated; tired of being kicked about by the brutal
feet of oppression.

We have no alternative but to protest . . . we come here tonight to be
saved, to be saved from patience that makes us patience that makes us
patient with anything less than freedom & justice . . (he spoke of the
threats of division and apathy to the movement) . I want to say that
in all of our actions we must stick together. Unity is the great need
of the hour, and if we are united we can get many of the things that
we not only desire, but which we justly deserve.

If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are
wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong . . .If we are
wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a Utopian dreamer who never cam
down to earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie.

In our protest there will be no cross burnings. No white person will
be taken from their home by a hooded Negro mob and brutally
murdered. There will be no threats and intimidation. We will be guided
by the highest principles of law and order . . . our actions must be
guided by the deepest principles of our Christian faith. Love must be
our regulating ideal. . . .

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that
use you. If we fail to do this our protest will end up as a
meaningless drama on the stage of history, and its memory will be
shrouded with the ugly garments of shame. . . (when the history books
are written) . . . There lived a race of people, of black people, of
people who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights. And
thereby they injected a new meaning into the veins of history and

Mahatma Gandhi: "He who is brooding over result often loses nerve in
the performance of duty. He becomes impatient and then gives vent to
anger . . . he jumps from action to action, never remaining faithful
to any. He who broods over results . . . is every distracted, he says
good-bye to all scruples, everything is right in his estimation and he
therefore resorts to means fair & foul to attain his end. Not focusing
on "results" gives one the inner peace to achieve final goals, this is

Gandhi disliked the words and idea of "passive resistance". The term
Satyagraha, is a combination of satya (truth-love) and
agraha(firmness/force). It is the "the vindication of truth not by
infliction of suffering on the opponent but on one's self ." 
Satyagraha is peaceful, opponents must be converted by a demonstration
of purity, humility, and honesty. They are to be converted -- not
annihilated. Violence and anger create bitterness in the victim, and
brutality in the attacker.

Appealing to the common sense and morality of his adversary was
key. "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves
honored by humiliation of their fellow human beings." Satyagraha
assumes there is a constant dialogue between the opponents with a view
to ultimate reconciliation. Insults, threats, and propaganda only
serve to obstruct the goal.

Henry David Thoreau: "Even voting for the right is doing nothing for
it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should
prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance,
nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but
little virtue in the action of masses of men. . .

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a
just man in also a prison.

. . . But the rich man . . . is always sold to the institution which
makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue;
for money comes between a man and his objects . . . Thus his moral
ground is taken from under his feet. . .

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that,
whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the
question . . . the long and the short of the matter is . . . they
dread the consequences of disobedience to their property and families
. . . If I deny the authority of the State when it presents it
tax-bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass
me and my children without end. This is hard . . .

Thus the State never intentionally confronts a man's sense,
intellectual or moral, but only his body. It is not armed with
superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength."

St. Francis of Assisi: Francis was visible at the edge of the square,
hopping, dancing, his robe was tucked up. "Come one, come all!" he was
calling. "Come, brothers to hear the new madness!"

Behind him ran a hoard of laughing children, chasing him and throwing
stones . . . He, calm and laughing, turned from time to time, held out
his arms to the children, and shouted, "Whoever throws one stone at
me, may he be once blessed by God; whoever throws two stones at me,
may he be twice blessed by God; whoever throws three stones at me, may
he be thrice blessed by God" -- whereupon a continuous stream of
stones rained down upon him.

Blood was flowing now from his forehead and chin . . . He was jumping
and dancing rapturously, all covered with blood. "Hear, brothers," he
sang, "hear the new madness!" . . .

"Tell us, tell us, tell us!" came from every side, accompanied by a
chorus of guffaws.

Francis mounted the steps of the temple, opened his arms to the
jeering crowd and screamed: "Love! Love! Love!" Then he began to run
from one end of the square to the other, jumping, dancing, shouting
. . .

"Peace be unto you!" he said to each person who approached. "Peace be
unto you!" When a great number had assembled and the square was full
he spread his arms. "Peace," he shouted, "peace be unto your hearts,
your houses, your enemies. Peace be to the world! The kingdom of
heaven is at hand!"

Above from: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil_back.htm

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