Feb 16, 2007 1:28 pm


"Now, you know, I don't know what kind of a tortured logic it takes to go after a Quaker meeting as somehow a threat to national security, but, I mean, that's sort of the attitude that has seized this administration it seems." Mark Shield opined last night.

"Chillingly, this is not the only time we've heard of this administration using terrorism as an excuse to spy on Americans. NBC News recently discovered a Pentagon database of 1,500"suspicious incidents" that included a Quaker meeting to plan an antiwar rally." New York Times editors declared indignantly this morning.

Can you believe it; they even listen in on poor, hapless, innocent Quakers meetings? Now, if Quakers are suspect, who isn't? That is their implied, wrong headed message. In truth, I feel safer hearing that"they," i.e., American intelligence, is savvy enough to pay attention to these tireless agitators. For it was American Quakers, I discovered during an interview with leading Danish intellectual, Ebbe Reich, who came to Denmark to organize a Danish anti Vietnam War movement and convinced Reich that the US was a degenerate society engaged in a genocidal war in Vietnam. Together, they later organized the Danish hosting of the second Russell Tribunal against the Vietnam War in Roskilde. (See my book, International Citizens' Tribunals)

Moreover, the Quakers may be pacifists when it comes to fighting for American democracy be it during the American revolution or World War II. But they are not necessarily so when it comes to fighting against it:

During the (Vietnam) war, more than a few Friends and other pacifists came to give qualified support to violent revolution in Vietnam and other Two-Thirds World Countries. American military defeat in Vietnam was welcomed, not only as the quickest method of ending the war, but also as a good way of ushering in a better society there. A very few Friends went so far as to advocate violent revolution even in the United States. It is difficult to think of a period since 1660 when so many Friends supported violent revolution.

In other words, the Quakers are far from neutrals. They are part of an active international movement with long standing ties to violent revolutionaries around the world including the Middle East where they have been working not only against the Iraq War but also against the sanction regime which preceded it. The so called Quaker antiwar activist from Ohio taken hostage (in the same mosque as Italian Journalist Juliana Sgrena) recently came to the central battlefield of the war on terror for the same purpose Quakers traveled the world during the Vietnam War, to secure an American retreat and defeat. Chances are that when released they will follow the example of the recently released Sgrena and act as their kidnappers' advocate.

Indeed, just as Quakers cooperated with the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese in the Sixties, it must be assumed that they are cooperating indirectly, if not directly, with Iraqi insurgents today. How else can their blaming the coalition for their kidnapping be explained? Hence, monitoring antiwar groups, such as the Quakers, is not only reasonable but failing to do so would be negligent, if not criminal.

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MarkD - 12/21/2005

A government that can kill David Koresh and his followers can certainly keep an eye on the Quakers... I mean, haven't we already proven that the government is above the law? Release the Barrett Report, let's all see how ethical the previous administration was.