Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 7 No. 4 | Winter 1985 (Seattle) /// Issue 14 of 24 /// Master# 62 of 73

With her attorneys and co-defendants, she intended to prove in Port Orchard district court that the operation of the White Train is illegal under international law, which, according to Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, supersedes state and federal law. But the judge ruled that international law was inadmissable as evidence. Karen was found guilty as charged and spent 8 days in the Kitsap County Jail. Since then, the State of Washington has lost the last three cases against demonstrators charged with “Attempting to obstruct a lawfully operated train.” The State was not able to prove that the White Train operation was legal, even under domestic law. A brake check, required by law, was not done, nor did the train display the proper placards. It is unlikely that the State will risk Rusty Kuntze__ T think the vast majority of the JL people out there would be flabbergasted if they knew that 62 cents on every dollar they pay in income tax goes to the military. In a time when so many children are dying of starvation, if it’s not illegal, it’s certainly immoral. The weapons are killing people right now.” Rusty Kuntze is a Mount Vernon, Washington, attorney and a war tax resister. He does counseling with people considering some form of tax resistance, and every year as income tax day approaches, he has decisions to make about how to express his own outrage. He would like to see the legal community mobilize around this issue: American taxpayers have the choice of breaking U.S. tax laws or violating international law. This year, Rusty will withhold 10 percent of the taxes he owes because, based on his research, this is the perWar tax resisters are not tax dodgers. The other half of not paying war tax is the redirection of the money. Last year Rusty donated the money he withheld to the local food bank. centage that goes directly toward building nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. “Providing a standing army with rifles may not be illegal under international law, but there are some very strong arguments that nuclear armament is.” According to the Geneva Convention, employing methods of warfare which may be expected to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment is prohibited. The charter of the International Military Tribunal forbids Crimes Against Peace, including preparations for war. It forbids Crimes using this charge again. Some activists are disappointed. They believe that the lawfulness of the train is in question. They think it’s a bigger question than brake checks and placards. They think the legality of the White Train should be decided by ajury which has been allowed to take international law into consideration. And so they continue to block the tracks and get arrested. The offenders are escorted off the bus and into the police station. Fingerprints and pictures are taken, forms are filled out and LD.’s produced. Charges will be filed at a later date. Released on their own recognizance, they are put aboard the bus again, and driven back to the tracks. Some Vigilers are still there. They sing a song together. Karen has friends waiting. It’s 10:30 p.m., time to go home. Against Humanity, including extermination. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that those engaged in conspiracy to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide,shall be tried by a competent tribunal, and punished. Rusty Kuntze sees it as unproductive to blame the President or the Russians for the arms race. He prefers to accept responsibility for his own share of taxes, and to practice non-complicity. War tax resisters are not tax dodgers. The other half of not paying war tax is the redirection of the money. Last year Rusty donated the money he withheld to the local food bank. He attached a letter explaining what he had done, and why, to his income tax return. He wanted to be sure that the money was spent on human needs, rather than death-producing equipment. Rusty has the people he counsels ask themselves, “What am I trying to accomplish?” Certain goals may necessitate a specific tack. If the point is to see that as little money as possible goes to the military machine, there are things you can do, legally, to cut down your tax liability. You can scale down your income, put your car in someone else’s name. There are times when ownership is not as important as access to something. If you are a war tax resister and live on the Walter Creek Land Trust, you can have a house there for the rest of your life and the IRS can’t attach your property, Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen is a war tax resister. He redirects 50 percent of the amount he owes in taxes each year to a collective escrow account, where there is $300,000 in unpaid war taxes being held. because you don’t own the property. Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen is a war tax resister, and he does it to take a stand, to protest the arms race. He redirects 50 percent of the amount he owes in taxes each year to a collective escrow account, where there is $300,000 in unpaid war taxes being held, waiting for the passage of the U. S. Peace Fund Tax Bill. If passed, the bill would give Conscientious Objector status to taxpayers who could then, for reasons of conscience, legally ensure that they are not contributing to the arms race with their tax money. The Peace Fund Tax Bill is a long way from passage. CQN$CIENCE & MILITARY TAX CAMPAIGN - U.S. TELEPHONE TAX NOTIFICATION CARD I have deducted $ ___________, the amount of the federal excise tax, from this bill to help focus attention on the need for a PEACE TAX FUND BILL to allow conscientious military tax objectors pay their fulI share of taxes toward nonmilitary, nonviolent programs. The federal excise tax on this bill helps pay for past wars, current military interventions, and preparations for future nuclear war. I cannot pay taxes for what I believe to be morally and ethically wrong. Please communicate my protest to Congress and the IRS and request their support for passage of a PEACE TAX FUND BILL. Thank you, Date Telephone H Signature Right now, if you don’t send in your full amount of taxes, the computer in Ogden, Utah, will start spitting out threatening letters. A lot of people in the movement want to break through this monolithic, faceless bureaucracy. They take the letters from the IRS and go down to the Federal Building and try to make personal contact with a human being. The IRS will eventually tell you that if they don’t hear from you in 10 days, they are going to take legal action. Pat and John Schweibert are Portland tax resisters. The IRS has seized the title to their house and can, with 10 days notice, auction it off to the highest bidder. “One person offered to pay our back taxes if we promise never to do this again,” says Pat. “We don’t need that kind of help. We’re not trying to do anything extreme, we’re just trying to live consistently. This is what faith is all about. We don’t think we have to have wars. We’re hoping no one will bid on this house.” There are less drastic forms of tax resistance. There are people with strong personal or religious convictions who want to “Bear witness,” as the Quakers put it. A more symbolic form of resistance may be called for. Rusty Kuntze has a dream—a flood of ONE LESS DOLLAR FOR WAR tax returns next April 15. If someone owes $1,252, they simply write the check for $1,251, attach a letter explaining why, and redirect the dollar. Rusty can’t imagine the IRS pursuing everyone for a dollar each. If the IRS does, the protester now owes one dollar, and twelve cents in penalties, which is paid “Under protest,” another chance for dialogue. Withholding the federal surcharge on a telephone bill is a low-risk form of war tax resistance. The surcharge was reimposed by Congress during the Vietnam War. Historically, it has been imposed by Congress to finance wars. Currently it’s at three percent of the phone bill. If a person refuses to pay the surcharge, the company doesn’t turn off the telephone. Legally, non-payment is an issue between the taxpayer and the government. The phone company just compounds the amount on the bill. Fifty-nine cents upon fifty-nine cents of unpaid war tax. The United States has a history of tax resistance dating back to the Boston Tea Party. The nuclear war tax resistance movement is gaining momentum outside the U.S., in Italy, Germany and Australia, among others. It’s a personal matter how far the resister can take it. Some people play it down to the wire. There are lots of chances to bow out, to pay back taxes and penalties, right down to the last hour before the government auctions off the house. The Archbishop vows to continue to withhold 50 percent of his taxes, even though the IRS eventually gets its money by attaching his wages. The IRS will eventually attach Rusty’s savings account and get his taxes and penalties. But he sleeps better at night because, “I am not an accomplice. I'm not willingly forking it over. They’ll have to come and get it. It’s empowering. We don’t have to blindly obey what Big Brother says.” Writer/artist Susan Cicotte is a former Seattle resident now living in Port Townsend. This is her first story in CSQ. 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