I recently received a letter from Jack Cohen-Joppa, the co-publisher of The Nuclear Resister (www.serve.com/nukeresister). This newsletter has been providing information about and support for imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists since 1980.
He noted that in a letter to supporters this summer, we’d written the following about one RFC beneficiary who was sentenced to two months in jail for protesting against the U.S. government’s torture training facility, formerly known as the School of the Americas*: “Until recently those taking part in symbolic civil disobedience … received token punishment for their actions. Now Bush-appointed judges, in an effort to intimidate activists, hand out substantial fines and several month sentences.”
Jack pointed out that this information was inaccurate. He noted, “The fact is, that for more than a decade, the large majority of those prosecuted for protest at Ft. Benning have been sent to federal prison for anywhere from one month to one year. Of the near 300 individuals arrested, over 240 have served prison sentences totaling more than 97 years. For the last several years this has included all who were arrested, and not simply the repeat line-crossers.”
I apologize and take personal responsibility for writing the incorrect description quoted in the second paragraph above. I garbled out-of-date information that I received during the first term of the Bush administration. It was certainly not my intention to understate the history of repression against these demonstrators.
I appreciate that Jack took the time to point out our error. It is very important for us at the RFC to be as accurate as possible when describing the circumstances that lead to our grants. (Unless we must obscure who the beneficiaries are for reasons of security or privacy.) I urge any of our supporters who spot an error in any of our reports to contact us so we can correct it. There is nothing we value more than your trust.
(*For more information on the movement to close the facility formerly known as the School of the Americas, visit www.soaw.org.)
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