spending money in Iraq = breaking embargo -> goto jail? - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-21-2003, 01:20 PM   #1
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spending money in Iraq = breaking embargo -> goto jail?

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Sitting in her modest two-bedroom home on the west Florida coast, Faith Fippinger begins to cry as she talks about the prospect of going to jail.

This spring, the 62-year-old retired schoolteacher decided to travel to Iraq as a human shield.

To many she is a humanitarian, but in the eyes of the US Government she is a criminal.

By the standards of most Americans Faith Fippinger is well-travelled.

Over the past few years she has visited almost every continent and the souvenirs dotted around the house prove it.

But it was her decision to travel to Iraq to try to prevent the war which has got her into trouble.

Dozens of people travelled to Iraq as human shields
"War is carnage, I understand that," she says.

"War is death, I understand that. In my opinion though this war was illegal, unjust and unnecessary," she told me.

For three months she travelled around Iraq, guarding oil refineries, teaching in schools and working in hospitals.

But when she returned home there was a letter waiting for her from the US Treasury Department.

"It was a requirement to send information as to why I was in Iraq," she says.

"It also said the penalties for being there could be as high as a million dollars and up to 12 years in jail."

By going to Iraq Faith Fippinger had broken the US economic embargo on Iraq, which had been in place for many years.

The letter explained that by travelling to the country and spending money there, Miss Fippinger was now liable for prosecution.

Supporters argue that she was simply exercising her right to freedom of travel and speech and accuse the Bush administration of trying to make an example of her.

"You know, part of what democracy is all about is that you can have varying opinions and that we can express them," she says.


"It's in regimes like Saddam Hussein's where that freedom is not allowed."

But the US Treasury Department is standing firm.

In a statement to the BBC it said that to express one's freedom of speech is a right but breaking the law of the United States is not a privilege.

It says it fully intends to proceed with her prosecution.

For travelling to Iraq Faith Fippinger will now probably lose her house, her pension and go to jail.
So every tourist in the last 20 years who is interested to see the one of the oldest cultural heritages of mankind (in Iraq) was breaking the economic embargo ? Or is it just people who work in a School or a Hospital to help others?

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Old 09-21-2003, 03:03 PM   #2
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Re: spending money in Iraq = breaking embargo -> goto jail?

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Originally posted by Klaus
So every tourist in the last 20 years who is interested to see the one of the oldest cultural heritages of mankind (in Iraq) was breaking the economic embargo ? Or is it just people who work in a School or a Hospital to help others?
First off, the embargo was 12 years old, following the Gulf War, if I remember right. Secondly, this is pretty standard fare for embargoes, where the same fate would befall her if she did this in Cuba.

Legally speaking, her "supporters" have it wrong. It is one thing to protest from the confines of American or, really, "non-enemy" soil, but it is another to willfully send yourself to an enemy nation and do their bidding. Faith Fippinger, whether she knows it or not, could easily be pursued for treason charges, let alone a violation of an embargo.

Having said that, I do think it is in poor taste for the Bush Administration to pursue criminal charges against her and others like her. I think they would have been best suited to have just ignored it, considering that I think anyone with a fairly rational mind does not think that these human shields were going over with the intention of treason or in support of Saddam Hussein.

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Old 09-21-2003, 03:20 PM   #3
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melon: you're correct 12 years!

If the government would call her a colaborateur or a spy - it would still be strange. But it's a economic embargo and i don't see that she did business there, she helped people in a hospital and educated children in a school! So i think from the morale point of view it's an abuse.

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Old 09-21-2003, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
melon: you're correct 12 years!

If the government would call her a colaborateur or a spy - it would still be strange. But it's a economic embargo and i don't see that she did business there, she helped people in a hospital and educated children in a school! So i think from the morale point of view it's an abuse.
But that's the trick. Using Cuba as an example, although, in many respects, our attitudes towards the nation have lightened over the past decade, the embargo has not lessened. Hence, any sports teams or whatever that have visited the place have had to be fully self-sufficient by bringing all their own food. Even spending one penny in Cuba is a violation of the economic embargo.

Even at that, those teams had to have special permission from the government to travel there. None of these human shields received special permission to travel to Iraq, and I find it highly doubtful that they were fully self-sufficient.

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Old 09-21-2003, 03:30 PM   #5
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Ok, thank you for these informations, i'm sorry to say that but this law is sick
It's a lack of personal liberty if your government defacto can forbid you to visit foreign countries just because they don't like the political leader.

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Old 09-21-2003, 05:40 PM   #6
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Oh, there are plenty of American tourists in Cuba, they just go through Canada, and many of them don't even bother staying in the resorts of Varadero, Cayo Coco, Holguin, etc., but slum around the country, living with the people.

They say they can get fined if they are spending money in Cuba, but how are you going to prove that if you stay outside of the 5 star resorts? Everything else there is an exchange of cash and barter.

They're not uncommon down there at all, although are a definite minority when compared to Canadians, Germans, French, Italian, Spanish.
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Old 09-22-2003, 02:53 AM   #7
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There is even an american vacationcamp in Cuba,..
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Old 09-22-2003, 04:23 AM   #8
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So.. these American tourists who go outside the 5-star resorts risk a million dollars and up to 12 years in jail because of the economic embargo?
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Old 09-22-2003, 09:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
So.. these American tourists who go outside the 5-star resorts risk a million dollars and up to 12 years in jail because of the economic embargo?
These American tourists risk that just for being in Cuba, but, because of the fact that they circumvent the embargo by first going to Canada, they fall out of the proverbial government radar. It doesn't change the fact that they are still violating the embargo.

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Old 09-22-2003, 12:31 PM   #10
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So with the new laws where the Airlines have to give ALL data to the US governmen (even the non US Airlines who fly to the US) it would be easy for the government to imprison people they don't like with this "economic embargo"

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