By Jeff Zurawski
May 25th, 2008 marked the one-year anniversary of the day I was arrested several weeks after expressing a political opinion on a public walkway above a highway in DuPage County, IL. The completely bogus misdemeanor charge alleges I committed the offense of “disorderly conduct” because I “knowingly without a county permit, staged a war protest...causing a traffic disturbance because unknown objects were being thrown on the expressway, as well as the American flag being displayed in an upside down manner…”
( Click Here to read the whole story from its beginning. )
With strong support from our community, local activist groups, the international net-roots society, and the Collins Law Firm we’re still fighting the malicious prosecution, which has now entered its second year.
Over the holiday weekend, I exercised my recently regained freedom to leave the State of Illinois and visited a friend up in Wisconsin. Mostly I fished for walleyes and hunted for morel mushrooms.
I did make time to think about more important things like the death and suffering caused by the US-led military invasion of Iraq:
4084 U.S. troops have been killed and over 30,000 wounded. Department of Veterans’ Affairs coordinators have identified approximately 1,000 suicide attempts per month by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans under VA care. Roughly eighteen veterans commit suicide every week. 1.6 million (approx. 18-20%) veterans of those wars are suffering from psychological problems.
Depending on which source you believe, the number of Iraqi civilians who’ve died violently since the 2003 US-led military invasion is approximately 84,000, between 104,000-223,000, nearly 655,000, or over 1.2 million. An estimated 5 million Iraqis have fled their homes due to violence.
Simply staggering, especially knowing all that death and suffering resulted from unnecessary war of choice based on a pack of lies. Want to know more about Iraq war lies? Here’s a handy electronic gadget created by Mother Jones magazine: Lie by Lie Timeline.
Crossing the Illinois state line on my way back home, I remembered that I have a court date coming up on June 9th, 9:30am, building 505, room 4007 at the DuPage County court complex in Wheaton, IL. The case is set to go to trial. The trial won’t start until 1:30pm or later.
This whole situation is even more ironic after learning more about how it developed during the last hearing on April 10th when our lawyer argued there was no “probable cause” for our arrests.
In our case, the arresting officer established probable cause when he confirmed a motorist called 911 to report he was scared because he saw us “acting like they were throwing stuff at the windshields” then confirmed that allegation was at least possible when he responded to the call and saw us standing on the bridge.
In the United States of America, where freedom reigns, the Constitution’s 1st Amendment guarantees us the Right to express a political opinion in public. As citizens, it’s our duty to exercise that Right, especially when our government lies and leads us in the wrong direction. If you exercise that Right in DuPage County, IL you might find yourself arrested, jailed, and forced to defend yourself in court against criminal charges based solely on someone’s lies.
Worse yet, after we win the case (and I’m sure we will, eventually), the sickness that motivates a citizen to call 911 with a totally fake story to harass fellow citizens won’t magically disappear, nor will the sicknesses that cause law enforcement officials to pursue malicious prosecutions or governments to wage wars of aggression.
Please Keep The Faith!