world affairs

world affairs

Dr. Robert J. Lifton and Richard Falk, Festival of Hope, Day 11, Part M

3mo ago
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Richard Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 books, speaker, activist on world affairs, and an appointee to two United Nations positions. Falk has published a number of books and essays analyzing the legality of the Vietnam War and other military operations. With regard to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he wrote that it is "inescapable that an objective observer would reach the conclusion that this Iraq War is a war of aggression, and as such, that it amounts to a Crime against Peace of the sort for which surviving German leaders were indicted, prosecuted and punished at the Nuremberg trials conducted shortly after the Second World War." Robert Jay Lifton (born May 16, 1926) is an American psychiatrist and author, chiefly known for his studies of the psychological causes and effects of war and political violence and for his theory of thought reform. He was an early proponent of the techniques of psychohistory. September 9, 1980 Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, author and poet from New York City; Philip Berrigan, father and co-founder of Jonah House in Baltimore, MD; Dean Hammer, member of the Covenant Peace Community in New Haven, CT; Elmer Maas, musician and former college teacher from New York City; Carl Kabat, Oblate priest and missionary; Anne Montgomery, Religious of the Sacred Heart sister and teacher from New York City; Molly Rush, mother and founder of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh and John Schuchardt, ex-marine, lawyer, father and member of Jonah House, entered the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA where nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads were made. They hammered on two nose cones, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace. They were arrested and initially charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts. In February 1981, they underwent a jury trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. During their trial they were denied a "justification defense" and could not present expert testimony. Due to the Court's suppression of individual testimony about the Mark 12A and U.S. nuclear war-fighting policies, four left the trial and returned to witness at G.E. They were re-arrested and returned to court. They were convicted by a jury of burglary, conspiracy and criminal mischief and sentenced to prison terms of five to ten years. They appealed and the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed their conviction in February 1984. The State of Pennsylvania then appealed that decision. Following a ruling in the fall of 1985 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in favor of the State on certain issues (including the exclusion of the justification defense), the case was returned to the Superior Court Appeals Panel. In December of 1987, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania refused their appeal, but ordered a re-sentencing. This ruling, however, was appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In February 1989 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied a hearing of any further issues in the case, and on October 2, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear the Plowshares Eight Appeal. On April 10, 1990 the Plowshares Eight were re-sentenced by the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Norristown and, with neither the prosecutor nor G.E. making any recommendations or asking reparations, paroled for up to 23 and 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison. Judge James Buckingham listened attentively to statements by defendants, attorney Ramsey Clark, Dr. Robert J. Lifton, and Professors Richard Falk and Howard Zinn, placing the "crime" in the context of the common plight of humanity, international law, America's long tradition of dissent, and the primacy of individual conscience over entrenched political system.