From the Rockingham Star:
By Marian Fox
Associated Press Writer
Mound Bayou, Miss. (AP) — A 63-year-old grandmother who refused to pay taxes to support the Vietnam war says she’s willing to face a federal prison sentence rather than renounce her protest because “The war is still going on.”
“I’m too old to be frightened by anything,” said Mrs. Martha Tranquilli, a registered nurse at Delta Community Hospital in Mound Bayou, who was sentenced in U.S. District Court at Clarksdale to nine months in federal prison after refusing to apologize in court for income tax violations stemming from her protest of American involvement in Southeast Asia.
“The war is still going on and we are pretty much in the same position as we were in . We still have men over there and of course, the corporations are moving in now to set up businesses and exploit the people,” said Mrs. Tranquilli, a petite, soft-spoken Springfield, Ill., native, who became a “devote [sic] pacifist after they dropped the bomb in Hiroshima.”
“We are providing 80 per cent of the support for the Thieu regime. We are supporting a foreign government, which I think should be illegal if it isn’t”
On her income tax return, Mrs. Tranquilli claimed as dependents six peace and freedom organizations. “By claiming these organizations, this reduced my taxable income by about 60 per cent, which would go to the war. These groups were entitled to my money, they were my dependents in as much as I support them.”
The groups were the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the War Tax Resisters, the War Resisters League, the American Civil Liberties Union, the International League for the Rights of Man and the American Friends Service Committee.
“After writing, marching, petitioning and kneeling down before them, I used this method to get the government to listen. This is a nonviolent civil disobedience.”
Mrs. Tranquilli’s sentence is being appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans. She does not deny the charges of perjury and willfully filing a false income tax return.
“I am saying ‘No’ to my government. I telling them they cannot use my money to support this senseless war. If enough people take the power back into their own hands, by simply saying ‘No,’ the government will have to change.”