Julia Butterfly Stands Up to US War Machine

October 15th, 2003 - by admin

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On October15, 2003, Julia Butterfly Hill stood on the steps of the Federal Building in San Francisco to announce her stand against the devastating effects of the US led war machine.

Activist/author Julia Butterfly Hill (known for her two-year vigil atop an endangered redwood tree) announced her refusal to pay $150,000 in federal taxes to prevent the money being used to support war and government corruption.

This is the statement of Julia Butterfly Hill:

The annual US military spending far exceeds that of China, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Libya combined. Yet, for all this spending, we as a nation are not safer, only more brutal. We live in a time of profoundly devastating war—a war that threatens our democracy, human rights, free speech, education, health care, social security, environment and of course, there is the murdering of an unknown tens of thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq who we dare to marginalize as ‘casualties’.

United States soldiers are being killed nearly every day. And what is this war for? To protect the big-money, oil interests of the elite. Now the Bush Administration is demanding $87 BILLION DOLLARS ($87,000,000,000) from the US citizens to rebuild a country that was destroyed by our bombs on the exaggerated pretense of Iraq’s alleged possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Meanwhile, the greatest accumulations of weapons of mass destruction exist right here—in the United States. These weapons of death are funded by US citizens’ tax dollars stolen from the basic necessities that better our society such as social services, education, health care and the safeguarding of human rights and our environment. For example, under the Bush tax cuts that help to provide for war funding, Medicaid benefits are cut by $93 billion; Food Stamps will be cut by $13 billion; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be cut by $8 billion and in a move that reminds us who truly benefits from war and who loses, $14.6 billion is being cut from benefits for Veterans, including money for disabilities.

Furthermore, our tax dollars are not only being spent to build the largest death machine humankind has ever known, but also the largest prison industrial complex in the world. We seem to be able to come up with endless billions for war, yet we have children without textbooks in schools that are falling apart, where it is statistically more likely for a child of color to end up in prison than to get into college, where the laws that protect air and water quality and biodiversity are being destroyed, and health services are not equally accessible to all citizens as is the case in every other civilized nation on earth.

I was raised by Christian parents who taught me about the Ten Commandments, the first of which is ‘Thou Shall Not Kill’. Paying for the murder of innocent people with my tax dollars is something that I cannot do in good conscience. It goes against every moral fiber of my being to support this cycle of uncontrolled madness, especially at the expense of such critical human necessities,”

I find it especially disturbing to see the Bush Administration having blatant ties to convicted corporate criminals such as Haliburton, which formed 35 offshore tax shelters when Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO. While Haliburton has been avoiding paying untold millions of dollars in federal taxes, it was awarded a closed- door, no-bid contract from the Bush Administration to secure the oil supply of Iraq. Unfortunately, this is just one example of the many instances where a corrupt system allows politically connected, mega- corporations to avoid paying taxes while the working class is forced to pay subsidies for big business with their hard-earned tax dollars.

Thousands of others before me have taken this stand. I am not avoiding paying taxes. I have thought through this very carefully, and with a clear mind and heart I am humanely re-directing my tax payments to where they belong, because our current federal government refuses to do so.

For more information on Hill’s protest and tax resistance, contact: