Draft Board and Dow Chemical Raids (1969)
An incomplete listing on draft board and Dow Chemical Co. raids (The Dow raids are of the same genre and often are conducted by the same people) shows that they have become much more frequent as the Vietnam war has dragged on.
There was a kind of freak raid on a Minnesota draft board in 1966, but the one that is generally credited-or blamed-with starting the movement was the four-person raid at the Baltimore Customs House Oct. 27, 1967. Father Berrigan was among the raiders who poured blood on the draft records.
The federal charges were destroying government property and interfering with the Selective Service system’s operation. These charges have since become fairly standard wherever federal prosecution of draft board raids is undertaken.
The next step was the May 17, 1968 raid by the Catonsville 9-Catonsville is a Baltimore suburb-and this precipitated not only federal but also Maryland state charges, including arson. Most of the state charges eventually were dropped.
Next came the Sept. 14, 1968 raid by the Milwaukee 14. In this case, two of the raiders pleaded guilty to federal charges but eventually federal charges against all other defendants were dropped because it proved impossible to get an impartial jury.
The pace was stepped up this year. It went like this:
-March 22 the D.C. 9 invaded Dow Chemical’s Washington office. They are charged with three federal felony countsburglary, and two counts of property destruction-and come to trial Feb. 3 in a federal court in the District of Columbia.
-May 20, the Pasadena 3 invaded an induction center in that Los Angeles suburb, took 600 I-A files and burned them in a field. They got three years in federal prison.
-May 21, the Silver Spring 3 invaded a draft board in that Maryland suburb of Washington, threw paint on the files and destroyed equipment. Two of the three pleaded nolo contendere-one who’d broken bond was sent to jail while a second was sent to a federal youth center at Morgantown, W.Va.-and the third raider, a 17-year-old, got three years’ probation.
-May 25, the Chicago 15 invaded a South Side Chicago draft board, took files down a fire escape and burned them. They await federal trial at the end of January; the state did not press charges.
-July 4, the New York 5, led by Maggie Geddes, invaded a Rockefeller Center draft board, shredded 6,500 I-A files, damaged I-A keys on typewriters and destroyed cross-reference books. Miss Geddes was not arrested but the other four were. The federal case against them was dismissed but they could be re-indicted.
-Aug. 2, in the Bronx and Aug. IS in Jamaica, Long Island, the New York 8 invaded draft boards and damaged records. Later in the month they surfaced and accepted responsibility for the acts. No prosecution so far.
-In mid-October two Clevelanders set fire to draft board records in Akron and later surfaced in a Cleveland cathedral, claiming responsibility for the act. No prosecution so far.
-On Oct. 3 1, the Beaver 5 5 -who were not 55 but only eight and were named whimsically by Tom Trost, one of the group-shredded records of 44 Indianapolis draft boards, according to their later statement. No prosecution so far.
-Nov. 7, the Washington Dow Chemical offices were hit again, with files strewn and
ink and chemicals splashed around. A short statement left in the office said it was wrong to put profit before people, invoked support for the Beaver 55, the D.C. 9 and the Ohio group and was signed, D.C. 541/2.
The person who carried this out surfaced the next day; he was one of the Akron draft board invaders. No prosecution so far.
-Nov, 7 1 the Boston 8 entered four Boston locations housing eight draft boards and shredded files. The Boston 8 surfaced the morning and afternoon of Nov. 15 in Washington and distributed Boston draft files around the mall and the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. No prosecution so far.
Nov. 7, the Beaver 55 invaded Dow. Chemical’s data center in Midland,- Mich., and erased magnetic tapes, filled with biological and chemical research. They surfaced at a Nov. 16 Washington press conference (which was widely unreported); five of the Beavers were arrested in Midland and held on $20,000 bond apiece under state charges.
-Nov. 11, the Silver Spring draft board was revisited by the youngest of the original Silver Spring 3, plus the two Clevelanders who had worked over the Akron draft board. They took out the files and left them on a railroad track. They, were spotted and held on federal charge bond is $ 10,000 apiece.
The trick in all this seems to be to not get caught and then surface at some distance from the deed and with sufficient vagueness so that no evidence is available for prosecution.
Posted by: skip