Daniel A. Handelman
Mr. R. Richard Newcomb, Mrs. Betsy Sue Scott
Office of Foreign Assets Control (Attention: Civil Penalties)
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.
Washington, DC 20220
WRITTEN PRESENTATION IN RESPONSE TO PREPENALTY
NOTICE IQ 162016 and IQ 162433 and CUSTOMS SEIZURE # 1998 3801 00235
December 27, 1998
Dear Mr. Newcomb and Mrs. Scott:
I received your prepenalty notice dated December 3, 1998.
First and foremost, I will reiterate what I already told the agents in Customs: I travelled to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) in violation of the U.S. embargo to deliver medicine to sick and dying children. U.N. agencies in Iraq report that over one million people have died as a direct result of the sanctions on Iraq. It is our obligation as citizens of the country primarily responsible for these conditions to put an end to this immoral and illegal policy.
As to the specific charges against me, I will begin with count 6, that I engaged in travel-related transactions to/from/within Iraq without prior license or other authorization from OFAC. The U.S. government was informed of my intentions before I traveled to Iraq. As outlined in the forthcoming letter from VitW (being sent separately), I do not feel I can participate in your process to license those who wish to aid sick and dying children. Also, my First Amendment right to "peaceably assemble" includes my right to travel abroad and associate with others, regardless of any other U.S. or U.N. laws or policies.
As to counts 5 and 7, which charge that I exported film and videotape to Iraq, and imported them back into the U.S. along with other items: First, it flies in the face of common sense to charge me with exporting blank tapes, recording images on them, and stating that when I brought them back to the U.S. they somehow became "goods or services of Iraqi origin." Second, the tapes, film, and other items seized are informational materials and are not subject to embargo according to my understanding of EO 12722, EO 12724, 50 USC Chapter 35 Section 1702 (b), 50 USC Appendix 2405 sections (f) and (g), 22 USC 287c, 103 PL 236, and, again the First Amendment. For more information please see the enclosed copies of my petitions to Customs for the return of my items.
Other arguments explaining the reasons I was compelled to deliver medicines to Iraq are included in the written presentation you will receive from VitW, the letters from Professor Richard Falk and others writing on behalf of our organization, and the enclosed fact sheet with U.N. statistics regarding the effects of sanctions. While these items represent my views, it is by no means an exhaustive reply to your charges against me. Given the rather short time frame, I am continuing to research other responses to your charges, and reasons that you should act to end the cruel embargo on the Iraqi people.
I expect that all of my items, including the paperwork, water bottle label, stamps, as well as the videotapes and film, will be available should you deny this written presentation and I then appeal your finding in favor of a Judicial proceeding. I also expect that I will be able to obtain copies of the film and video, and photocopies of the other items in order to prepare my case for that possible Judicial proceeding.
In conclusion, I once again invite you to search your conscience; to view the educational materials you have seized and see first-hand recordings of the human toll of this tragic policy. I hope that you will join Voices in the Wilderness in our campaign to end the deadly embargo on Iraq.
1. Secondary Petition to Customs, December, 1998, with attachments (1) and (2)
2. Petition to Customs, January, 1998
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