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Ithaca Saboteurs Set Free By: Joe Sabia
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 17, 2004

A jury in upstate New York has set a group of militant anti-war activists free.  Ignoring the evidence of multiple crimes, jurors decided to engage in jury nullification so as to express their contempt for the United States military and the war in Iraq.

In March 2003, four members of the militant Marxist organization “Ithaca Catholic Worker” vandalized a military recruiting center.  As reported in FrontPage Magazine last year, an eyewitness to the crime stated:

“[Members of the Catholic Worker] entered the Cayuga military recruiting office with jars filled with human blood which they poured upon the walls, door, bay window, on the flag, on the stand-up cut-outs of smiling military recruits, and over a body bag which they had brought representing the American soldiers who may die.”


The facts of the case are incontrovertible.  Teresa B. Grady, 38, Clare Grady, Peter De Mott, 57, and Daniel Burns, 43 admit their crimes.  In fact, Clare Grady is quite brazen in her admission of guilt, telling the Ithaca Journal, “We are willing to testify to what we know and what we've done, any place at any time.”


The defendants were confident as they sat in the Tompkins County Courthouse, knowing that a jury of their peers — peaceniks, communists, and America-haters — would never vote to convict them.  As expected, the trial ended with a hung jury.  Tompkins County’s impotent District Attorney, George Dentes, announced that he was dismissing all charges against the defendants. 


To his credit, Dentes is handing the case off to the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, who has agreed to begin federal prosecution.  In announcing his judgment, Dentes admitted to the Ithaca Journal, “If we used the same evidence, and had the same rulings, during a trial in Tompkins County Court, we'd probably end up with another hung jury.”  However, with a federal trial, the jury will be comprised of residents outside of Ithaca, where citizens actually care about enforcing the law.


The anti-war criminals are being aided by Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley, who hopes that troubles in Iraq will continue so as to increase sympathy for the defendants.  Gleefully, Quigley told the press, "I think the situation in Iraq is less popular now than it was two months ago."


The rule of law is under assault in Ithaca because this city is a hotbed of vile anti-Americanism.  This hatred has intensified in recent years, with little opposition from fair-minded Democrats.  For example, Ithaca community leader Peter Demott had this vile reaction to the September 11 attacks:


“The plane that crashed into the Pentagon — and presumably the other three airplanes also — had depleted uranium on them that was being used as ballast. And when those planes crashed, of course, that depleted uranium was dispersed into the air and soil and water and into the fire that resulted…And once again, it is kind of an example to me of how the airline industry and how this Corporate America is always interested in putting profit ahead of the people, ahead of the health of human family.”


And an associate of the Ithaca Catholic Worker, identified only as Maryann on a publicity video, announced:


“My 21-year-old son understands that what has happened at the Trade Centers is in response to many, many years of very severe U.S. policy that has affected those in other countries--citizens who have felt the brunt of our oppression, of our military build-up, of our military strikes against innocent people who are angry because of what we have done for many years.”


In this context, it is quite easy to see why anti-war criminals cannot be convicted in Ithaca.  The city has been poisoned.   The mayor, Carolyn Peterson, is a socialist dimwit, laughed at by both Republicans and Democrats alike.  The city council is comprised entirely of kooky far-leftists who publicly opposed the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and any action taken by the United States military generally.  


While conservatives rightly shy away from federal involvement in local affairs, the situation in Ithaca is approaching that of the stubborn southern cities that refused to enforce the Civil Rights Act in the late 1960s.   If local leaders cannot enforce the law of the land because of a depraved citizenry, the state and federal governments must step in to do it for them.


Ithaca has given its stamp of approval to individuals who break into military recruiting offices, soak the American flag in human blood, and destroy private property.  The time for passivity has passed.


Not only should the feds see to it that the four criminals are convicted at trial, but the Justice Department should consider prosecuting the Ithaca Catholic Worker under the RICO statute.  This criminal enterprise must be dismantled not only to prevent further Ithaca Catholic Worker crimes, but to put the fear of God into the next violent anti-war group: We’re coming for you next.

Joe Sabia is an assistant professor of consumer economics at the University of Georgia.

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