The Honorable Rufus G. King, III
Chief Judge, Superior Court for the District of Columbia
500 Indiana Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Re: Janine Maria Allwine (Defendant)
Crim No. 2006 CDC 26113
Convicted on February 16, 2007
Dear Judge King:
You have ordered me to pay a fine of $50 for the above-referenced
conviction. I have thought long and hard about this matter and, even
though the money would go into a Victimís Restitution Fund, my
conscience dictates that payment of any money into any fund for
something I have the Constitutionally protected right to do is wrong.
I am writing to respectfully tell you that I will not pay this fine,
but, more importantly, I want to tell you why. I want to be sure that
you understand that I mean no disrespect to you or to your court. But
because I know that your conviction of me was wrong, I also know I can
not pay a fine and continue to look at myself in the mirror.
I was arrested while exercising my Constitutional right to petition my
government. It would take me several pages to tell you what I have
done since 2002 (indeed since the installation of George W. Bush as
president in 12/2000) to stop the downward slide of this country into
what I know is already here -- a particularly dangerous brand of
American fascism that infects our foreign and domestic policies. I do
not use this term lightly -- in fact, I have hesitated to use it --
but because it truthfully states what is happening, I now use it when
discussing this subject.
Our government has invaded, destroyed and occupied another country
for reasons that have nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction,
Saddam Husseinís actions toward his countrymen, democracy, freedom or
any other lie put forth by this administration. These dangerous
neocons have been itching to invade Iraq since we left it during the
first Gulf war and they were laughed out of the Bush I and Clinton
White Houses when they agitated for it. You can read all you need to
read about this in The Project for a New American Century (online).
Perhaps you already have.
This group intended to invade Iraq for
reasons that have everything to do with an exercise of American
military might designed to make the world afraid and willing to tow
the US line on what our freedom really means: the freedom for American
corporations to do business everywhere and in any manner they see fit.
Our government has used our military, our democratic processes and the
trust of ordinary Americans to make the world safe for American
business -- and that, Judge King, is the classic definition of
I was an ordinary person, aware but ordinary, before Mr. Bush was
allowed to subvert the democratic process I used to trust. After 9/11,
I waited and hoped that he would learn the lessons that were so
obvious -- that we must engage the countries of the world, we must
work for human and equal rights, we must not be hypocrites by paying
lip service to democracy while giving our intelligence agencies free
rein to remove those world leaders we donít like, and, above all, we
must not allow American business to rape the rest of the world for its
own ends. That is why ďtheyĒ hate us. Itís not hard to understand --
but obviously, itís not a lesson that fits in with the plans of people
like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Ledeen, Wolfowitz and a whole host
of others, who in reality hate what they say this country stands for.
I watched in utter horror over the months in 2002 as it became obvious
to me that we would invade Iraq and we would concoct any lie to do so.
And so we have. And so Iraq is a bloodbath -- for the Iraqis and for
us. My country has destroyed Iraq and I donít think I will ever feel
good about my country again. I am 53 years old and I never ever
thought I would lose hope for my countryís future and the future of my
daughter and all our sons and daughters, but I have over these past 6
years. My peace of mind has been destroyed by this government. But I
am only one person still living in comfort here -- not a single day
goes by that I do not force myself to look at pictures of the dead and
wounded Iraqis and US forces -- all dead by our governmentís hand. I
look at the Iraqis whose living hell of a life I can not really
imagine and for which I feel unrelieved shame. I look at the US
soldiers, who trusted their government would not call them unless it
was really necessary, and now they are legless, armless, burned and
mentally ill for the rest of their lives -- their lives wasted for no
reason at all.
I marched, I wrote and called my representatives, I wrote letters to
the editor, I flyered, I talked to everyone I could, I engaged in
civil resistance because I didnít know what else to do. I endured
harassment at work. I was subjected to the ugliest speech you can
imagine when I protested -- everyone else was on a patriotism high and
I was definitely the anomaly. Early on, I was afraid I would be shot
while I protested -- a Quaker was shot at in Annapolis in 2003. But I
did it anyway because I could not -- I will not -- be silent. During
all this time, I have read and informed myself more than most people
have. I know too too much to ever be silent again.
Judge King, this is just a hint of how I feel and how committed I am
to what I am doing. If the First Amendment to the Constitution does
not mean what it says, then what are we? The police actions on 9/26/06
were designed to do nothing more than prevent us from doing the very
thing this country came into existence for -- to protect the people
from tyrants and to guarantee the right of people like myself to speak
out against them when we see them.
And I do see them -- they are in the highest levels of our government
and I will continue to speak out against them. It is my right as an
American. You, more than most, must know that our precious civil
liberties, those rights that make us different from any other country,
have been cast aside by those currently in power. It is my right, it
is my duty to do everything I can to prevent these dangerous,
America-hating, greedy corporate shills from wreaking any more havoc
on this country and the rest of the world. I will never be silent
again. I will never be still again.
I respectfully decline to pay the fine.
Janine Maria Allwine
is a Baltimore activist with the Pledge of Resistance. She will not
pay a fine for exercising her rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom