WMD Found in North Dakota: Disarmament Begins

Plowshares Action in North Dakota, Friends of Omaha peace movement arrested for act of conscience against WMD.

WMD Found in North Dakota: Disarmament BeginsA Roman Catholic Priest and two Veterans went to a Minuteman III silo this morning and began to disarm the nuclear weapon using hammers. Reverend Carl Kabat, OMI, Gregory Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli entered the E-9 missile silo on the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation in North Dakota about 75 miles southwest of Minot. Using a sledgehammer and household hammers, they disabled the lock on the personnel entry hatch that provides access to the warhead and they hammered on the silo lid that covers the 300 kiloton nuclear warhead that is targeted and ready to launch. The activists painted DISARM on the face of the 110-ton hardened silo cover and the peace activists poured their blood on the missile lid.

They were detained and arrested by McLean County Sheriffs and are being held in the McLean County jail in Washburn, North Dakota. The three have been charged with county Criminal Trespass and Criminal Mischief.

Speaking from jail, Greg Boertje-Obed, from Duluth, Minnesota, explained, “Carl Kabat, OMI from St. Louis, Missouri added, “We now prepare for the nuclear bombing of Iran with the reasoning that only weapons of mass destruction can stop weapons of mass destruction. We bombed and strafed in Iraq based on lies that the Iraqi’s possessed nuclear weapons. We have the weapons here.”

The Minuteman III missile is targeted and on alert for launch. The missile is armed with a warhead that carries 27 times the heat, blast and radiation of the bomb dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.

The activists say that they are following the nonviolent Jesus, that they are taught by their faith to love their enemies, and that the money used for these weapons of mass destruction is a theft from the poor and should be used for food, housing, medical care and rebuilding the infrastructure of our country.

ATTACHED: Statement, Fact Sheet and Biographies. For press updates, more information and images, go to www.jonahhouse.org

Nuclear Weapon Here Plowshares

Please pardon the fracture of the good order. When we were children we thought as children and spoke as children. But now we are adults and there comes a time when we must speak out and say that the good order is not so good, and never really was. We know that throughout history there have been innumerable war crimes. Two of the most terrible war crimes occurred on August 6th and 9th, 1945. On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 100,000 people (including U.S. prisoners of war). Three days later the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan, killing more than 50,000 people. Use of these weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations were abominable crimes against humanity.

The U.S. has never repented of these atrocities. On the contrary, the U.S. has deepened and expanded its commitment to nuclear weapons. The U.S. built a large nuclear industrial complex which has caused the deaths of many workers and has resulted in killing many more people by nuclear testing. Our country built thousands of nuclear weapons and has dispersed weapons-grade uranium to 43 nations. Each Minuteman III missile carries a bomb that is 27 times more powerful than those dropped on the Japanese people. The building of these weapons signifies that our hearts have assented to mass murder. Currently the U.S. is seeking to research a new class of smaller nuclear weapons demonstrating its desire to find new uses for weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. is rushing down the path that leads to more death and destruction, ultimately bringing this nation and other nations to ruin. Therefore we issue a call for national repentance. We make an urgent appeal to the people of the U.S. to change course – to place our security in God and not in weapons of mass destruction. We have chosen to start the process of transformation and disarmament by hammering on and pouring our blood on components of the Minuteman III nuclear missile system. We believe that the concrete that goes into making missile silos would be better used for building homes. We know that total disarmament of our first strike system of nuclear weapons will require national repentance with a change in the hearts and minds of the people of the U.S. The pouring of our blood is meant to make visible the bloodshed resulting from the production, testing, and use of nuclear weapons. We believe the message in the Bible that after Cain killed his brother Abel that Abel’s blood “cried out from the ground.” We hear our sisters’ and brothers’ blood crying out from the ground. We believe that God hears these cries and grieves deeply over every person whose blood is shed.

We call ourselves the “Weapon of Mass Destruction Here Plowshares” to highlight that our nation has thousands of horrific weapons of mass destruction. U.S. leaders speak about the dangers of other nations acquiring nuclear weapons, but they fail to act in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which commits the U.S. to take steps to disarm its weapons of mass destruction. We act in order to bring attention to people’s responsibility for disarming weapons of state terrorism. We can begin the process of exposing U.S. weapons of mass destruction, naming them as abominations that cause desolation, and transforming them to objects that promote life.

We dress as clowns to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death. Saint Paul said that we are “fools for God’s sake,” and we say that we are “fools for God and humanity.” Clowns as court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to authorities in power.

Is there hope for the world? Yes – if people begin to live the truth now. We believe that Jesus reveals who God is, and that God is a God of love and nonviolence, teaching us to love all people, even our enemies. Furthermore, the prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesy that there will come a time when people will learn the ways of God and “They shall beat their swords into plowshares,and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

By our plowshares/pruning hooks action we have tried to make visible God’s will for disarmament and peacemaking. By living this truth we hope to shorten this murderous age – closing the gap between the future hope for universal peace and our present reality of endless violence and war-making. We begin to bring hope into the present moment.

Carl Kabat, OMI
Greg Boertje
Michael Walli

June 20, 2006

WMD Here Plowshares

Greg Boertje-Obed—51; from Duluth, Minnesota; member of Loaves and Fishes Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace; former U.S. Army officer; participant in previous plowshares actions which disarmed Trident II nuclear missile tubes in Rhode Island, combat helicopters and nuclear capable war planes in Pennsylvania, and a Tomahawk nuclear-capable missile launcher and missile tubes in Virginia; married to Michele Naar-Obed; father of Rachel Obed,-11 years old.
“I believe Jesus led us to do this witness based on his teachings of intervening for the sake of the poor. These weapons are killing us and the poor today. I believe this plowshares action is a natural extension of our Catholic Worker mission which is hospitality, providing for the needs of the poor, and defending the poor.”

Carl Kabat, OMI—72; from St. Louis, Missouri; 47 years a Roman Catholic priest; worked as a missionary in the Philippines and Brazil; participated in the first plowshares/pruning hooks action in 1980 and the first Silo Pruning Hooks action in 1984 and other plowshares actions; served about 16 years in jails and prisons.
“We are fools and clowns for God and humanity’s sake. Over 2,500 American soldiers have died because of nuclear weapons in the past several years in Iraq. … I remember Eisenhower who said that every weapon that is made is a theft from the poor…. The only condemnation of Vatican II was that nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity and are to be condemned unreservedly.” Carl Kabat, OMI

Michael R. Walli—57; Vietnam veteran; Roman Catholic; currently residing in Duluth, Minnesota.
“I’ve been influenced by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and the teachings of the late Pope John Paul II to oppose the culture of death, and this plowshares action seems to me to be a suitable way of acting on these teachings.” Michael Walli.


A Minuteman III is a first strike Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) nuclear weapon. The current U.S. ICBM force consists of 500 Minuteman III’s located in three missile fields: F.E. Warren Air Force Base with 150 missiles covering the corner of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB in Montana with 200 ICBMs; and Minot AFB in North Dakota with 150 missiles. These warheads can be launched from a Minuteman III missile silo within minutes and reach any destination within 35 minutes. A nuclear bomb launched from a Minuteman silo produces uncontrollable radiation, massive heat and a blast capable of vaporizing and leveling everything within a 50-mile radius. Outside the 50 square miles – extending into hundreds of miles – the blast, wide-spread heat, firestorms and neutron and gamma rays are intended to kill, severely wound and poison every living thing and causing long term damage to the environment. A Minuteman warhead has the potential to destroy the genetic code of the human race. Current warheads carry 27 times more power than the U.S. nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima August 6, 1945.

The Minuteman III is currently undergoing upgrades to extend its 2020 service limit. Minuteman III is the sole ICBM deployed by the United States. Each Mark 12 or Mark 12-A warhead in a Minuteman III silo can travel more than 6,000 miles at 15,000 miles per hour.

At one point the U.S. had 1,000 land-based ICBMs at a cost to taxpayers of $7 million each. Minuteman IIIs are in transition from having 3 independently targeted warheads to carrying one.

The Minuteman missiles are dispersed in hardened silos and connected to an underground launch control center through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews, consisting of two officers, perform around-the-clock alert in the launch control center. A variety of communication systems provide the National Command Authorities with virtually instantaneous direct contact with each launch crew. Should command capability be lost between the launch control center and remote missile launch facilities, an airborne launch control center dubbed “looking glass” automatically assumes command and control of the missiles.

The Minuteman III system is undergoing upgrades to: replace an aging guidance system; increase payloads; remanufacture the solid-fuel rocket motors; replace standby power system; repair launch facilities; improve communication; enhance accuracy; and improve survivability in a nuclear war.

In January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, issued by the Bush administration, threatens the use of nuclear weapons to “deter” any attack by chemical or biological as well as nuclear weapons by any non-nuclear state or entity within or sponsored by “the axis of evil.” We now prepare for nuclear bombing of Iran with the reasoning that only weapons of mass destruction can stop weapons of mass destruction.

By any standard of proof, the threat or use of the Minuteman III constitutes crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity or genocide.

Bush Supporters and Detractors Gathered at Juan Diego Center

A crowd turned out at 31st and Q as President Bush traveled from the Juan Diego Center to Metro Community College.

Bush left the Catholic Charities’ Juan Diego Center, 5211 S. 31st St., at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The tour of the Center was followed by a speech on immigration reform at Metro Community College.

A crowd of 30 to 40 people gathered along Q Street, west of the Juan Diego Center. Signs in the crowd indicated that most were Bush detractors. Signs ranged from “I (heart) you Mr. President, but you are wrong. Secure Our Borders!” to “Impeach Bush and Cheney” and “Drop Bush, Not Bombs.” Three people held a large sign that read “We (heart) W!” They were largely outnumbered by people in blue “Nebraskans for Peace” shirts. Other signs displayed messages meant not for the President, but for other demonstrators, such as “Protest today, deported tomorrow” and “Illegals go home.”

The crowd remained quiet, and there was not much interaction among the different groups. The crowd appeared mostly white with a wide rage of ages, but mostly middle-aged. Most of the signs were in English. The president’s motorcade turned east as it exited the Juan Diego Center – the crowd was a half block away from the cars. There were a few cheers and a few boos, and the crowd dispersed after the motorcade passed.

The Omaha media had a minimal presence. Channel 7 had a reporter with a camera. Police were present on foot, on horseback and in patrol cars. Demonstrators and passers-by were allowed access only on the sidewalk on Q street west of the Juan Diego Center. Q Street east of 31st Street was closed to pedestrian and auto traffic.

The immigration ‘debate’ will continue in Omaha at an anti-illegal immigration rally later this month.

Small, enthusiastic turnout to ‘welcome’ President Bush

Approximately thirty people gathered at the intersection of 10th and Cuming between 5 and 7pm Tuesday, June 6, 2006. President Bush drove along Abbott Drive into Omaha from the Eppley Airfield shortly before 7pm. He will speak a the Juan Diego center in South Omaha tomorrow, regarding immigration reform.

The crowd waved and held signs up to passing traffic and police. Signs included “Drop Bush, Not Bombs” “No Person can be ‘illegal’” “Nadie puede ser illegal” and an american flag with a peace sign in place of stars, among others. The gathering was put together on short notice by the UNO Student Democrats. The crowd appeared to be mostly white, with a wide rage of ages, but mostly college-age. Most of the signs were in English.

People milled about and chatted as they waited for the motorcade. Others lined Cuming street, waving to cars and cheering as they honked. Traffic moved fast, but the stoplight at 10th street allowed some motorists to have a closer look. Reaction from drivers ranged from peace signs and smiles to scowls and looks of confusion.

The Omaha media had a large presence – reporters from Channel 3 and the Associated Press were present with, among others. A reporter from Channel 7 turned up just as the crowd was leaving.

Police presence was visible but not overbearing. 10th street was closed at noon, and nearby parking lots were closed as well. Two mounted officers were present on the opposite side of Cuming; they crossed the street to stand between the rally and the road as the motorcade approached. Officers on foot and in patrol cars were present in small numbers; more officers arrived as the motorcade approached.

The crowd remained on the brick corner of 10th and Cuming. The sidewalks along Cuming and along 10th street are owned by the city, but are considered the private property of the Qwest center, according to one of the event organizers.

As the motorcade drove past, one participant began call and response chants that were enthusiastically picked up by the rest of the crowd. Energy picked up as the motorcycles and black automobiles sped past along Cuming street. The crowd originally expected the motorcade to turn at 10th and Cuming; instead it continued along Cuming, driving past the group, but on the other side of the street.

President Bush will speak at the Catholic Charities’ Juan Diego Center, 5211 S. 31st St., at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Kwanzaa: The Cultural Holiday

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (MXMF) sponsored a very colorful Kwanzaa Ceremony at the Loves Jazz and Art Center earlier this evening (dec. 29) as part of the seven days of Kwanzaa celebration that runs from Dec. 26-Jan.1.

Kwanzaa, was first celebrated in 1966 by Dr. Ron “Maulana” Kareng. Dr. Kareng created the event in order to provide a way for African Americans and all Africans of the Diasopora to remember, comemorate, and celebrate their shared African Heritage. Kwanzaa focuses on community, and the links between individuals, their community, and their communal history; the history that includes recognizing the Africanicity of themselves, as well as recognizing the struggles that have been endured since the Diaspora.

The celebration of Kwanzaa varies from community to community; but all Kwanzaa celebrations have several things in common. Kwanzaa begins on December 26th, and lasts until January 1st. A Kinara, bearing seven candles, one black symbolizing unity, 3 red candles symbolizing struggle, and 3 green candles symbolizing past and future victories and hope. The candles are lit, one each day, while rembering the 7 values of Kwanzaa, Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective work), Ujamaa( Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani, (Faith).

One of main themes that seperates Kwanzaa from other more popular celebrations at this time of year (namely Christmas and Hanukah) is it’s religous neutrality. Some might say that Kwanzaa is the anti-Christmas, which is not a fair representation. I would say that Kwanzaa is not the anti-christmas but to me it is a good solution to what christmas has come to represent, which is much more material focused as opposed to community oriented. It’s inclusiveness is most attributed to the fact that Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday that is celebrated worldwide.

The celebration commenced with some very impressive polyrythms performed by Seku Neblett who played four drums known as “Bougurabous” with “Shashas” around his wrists. His fluid movements were hipnotic, with hands that floated effortlessly from drum to drum creating a very full sound. The Board President of the MXMF, Sharif Liwaru, made an opening statement and was followed by a brief history of Kwanzaa by Monalisa Ward (MXMF board member). Longtime activist Vicky Parks led the crowd in Libations with people shouting the names of persons in their lives who have passed on. After every new name shouted she poured a drink of water into a designated plant to help it grow. Then a group of participants lighted the Kinara and gave speeches reflecting the principles that they represent. Sharif made closing remarks, and elaborated on the conceptual plans the MXMF has for the Malcolm X birth site, which they want to expand into an ampitheatre, park, and museum dedicated to Malcolm X and the principles that he represented. The MXMF has a big future planned and could use help in resources and knowledge, if you are interested in helping them move forward with their goals they can be reached at:

Malcolm X Memorial Foundation
3226 Lake St.
Omaha, Ne 68111
Direct: (402) 216-3695
VM/Fax: 800-645-9287
Email: malcolmxfoundation(at)gosolo.com

“Celebrate Christmas Shutdown Stratcom”

Catholic Workers temporarily close off access to Offut Entrance during their annual Holy Innocence retreat.

“Emboldened” by their confirmed suspicions that the US Government has maintained close surveilance of their activities, midwest Catholic workers crossed the line at Stratcom Air Force Base earlier today (Dec. 28). In a recent Democracy Now segment Des Moines Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro said “the fact that we have made the list as a threat to the military only emboldens us, I guess, and maybe confirms to us that we’re on the right track.” in response to the Pentagon conducting surveillence of local peace activists.

Armed with banners, speeches, songs, and prayers the crowd marched towards the barricaded entrance of Stratcom. There were a total of four people who disobeyed the orders of Military Police and opened the gate that blocked their entry on base. They then proceeded to march on to the base and into the custody of the MPs. Three of the activists, Fr Jack McCalsin, Paul Gallagher, and Frank Cordaro, already have bannned & barred status from previous actions at Stratcom. Along with Renee Espeland the four face a possible six months in federal prison.

They were processed on base by the MPs and will most likely have to return for their court dates soon.

The line crossers were:
Fr Jack McCalsin, 76 yrs old, retire priest of 50 year from the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE
Paul Gallagher, 44 yrs old, from the Jaegerstaetter Catholic Worker Farm in Danville IL
Renee Espeland, 44 yrs old, mother of four and Chimney Sweep from Des Moines IA
Frank Cordro, 54 yrs old, Des Moines Catholic Worker, Des Moines IA

Pentagon spies on Nebraska Peace Activists

Omaha, NE


Democracy Now! reported last Thurs. Dec. 15, 2005 that authorities are keeping track of cars spotted at anti-war events around the country. The information, initially obtained and reported by MSNBC, indicates that the Pentagon has been conducting domestic surveillance of anti-war and anti-recruitment protesters across the country, including the demonstration at Offutt Air force base near Omaha, which was listed as a ‘credible threat.’

Bush has since admitted to signing an order authorizing domestic surveillance but has claimed that the spying was limited to people in the United States with a “clear link” to terrorism. This is at odds to the information published in MSNBC’s site, which mentions the protest at Offutt several times as well as events in New York, California, Florida, Georgia and several other states.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the coup in Haiti

Since September at least 400 people have been killed, joining the thousands of people that have been murdered by the military junta since the overthrow of the priest turned populist president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. I am resurrecting an article I wrote in August about US military involvement in the coup in Haiti.

Even though there is a definite climate of fear and repression in Haiti (something the haitians know too well), the people are still taking to the streets in support of President Aristide.

Just last week an armed gang broke into one of Haiti’s major prisons and released 500 prisoners (95% of whom were never charged with anything).

In the country’s poorest areas, rape has been commonly used as a form of political violence. All of this in the heart of the first truly free republic in this Hemisphere. I say truly free because at the same time of the slave revolts that lead to there freedom from French colonial rule the US was still a slave-holding nation.

There are a few things I would like to correct before I resurrect this piece. One of them being the history of US sanctions on Haiti, this was not completely accurate because even though the US did not recognise Haiti’s independence that didn’t stop them from sending war ships to there harbors well before the emancipation proclamation (Germany, France,Britain,and the US were competing for Haiti’s resources and cheap labor). America has a long history of hegemony over the Haitian economy and political affairs. The following is an article I wrote in August about the recent coup and American involvement in the region:

When analyzing the recent coup in Haiti, you have to ask the penetrating questions that dive deep into the core of US involvement in the economic, social, and political realms in Haiti. Haiti is a country deeply in debt to the World Bank and IADB (Inter-American Development Bank), the interest on the loans received from these financial institutions are being paid back through the public sector. This is what most economists call SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programs).

SAPs were introduced by the Reagan administration to “alleviate” third world poverty, but they ended up creating and perpetuating the conditions of third world poverty instead. These programs are loaded with stipulations. Countries that sign out of necessity, are told they need to devalue their currency and eliminate any barriers to trade. Barriers to trade include environmental protections, tariffs, labor laws, and anything that infringes upon the motives of Private wealth. Multi-national Corporations benefit immensely from these SAPs, allowing them to import goods, have them assembled in export processing zones (sweatshops), and export the finished product without having to pay tariffs or legal wages. Haiti is just one of many countries that is stratified by the global financial institutions (IMF, World Bank).

If you’ve read anything in the “Omaha World Herald” or seen coverage in the mainstream media about the coup in Haiti it would paint the picture of a peasant revolution against a thuggish president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, because of flawed elections. In an Omaha World Herald article they made passing reference to international donors pulling funds out of Haiti because of the disputed 2000 elections. This was Haiti’s third democratic election in 200 years. Aristide’s Lavalas party made a sweeping victory at the polls and out of the 7,500 offices to fill, election observers noticed that seven of the senate results from the Lavalas party might have been illegitimate.

What the Omaha World Herald and other major media outlets decided to leave out was that these disputed senators immediately resigned and new elections were called. The opposition was given another chance, but they refused to take part and the legislature wasn’t able to convene. It was very obvious to them that defeat was imminent. Another piece of information that was omitted from the mainstream press was the fact that Aristide was planning on raising the deplorably low minimum wage. I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, because shortly afterwards Aristide was ousted. With that being said, let’s take a look at who the opposition is and how they were organized.

The opposition to President Aristide was organized mostly by Stanley Lucas, the acting director of the IRI’s (International Republican Institute) operations in Haiti. What Stanley Lucas did was take every single party opposed to Aristide and grouped them together in one all encompassing party called the “Democratic Convergence” which functioned more like the political wing of a coup than a political party. Stanley Lucus was able to do this with $2 million allotted to him by the IRI (US taxpayer money from the US Agency for International Development) in 1998. The IRI has funneled in a little over $3 million to Haiti under the guise of “promoting Democracy”.

The IRI was formed in 1983 by the Reagan Administration, it is one of four other “NGOs” (Non-Government Organization) established by the NED (National Endowment for Democracy). All of these “NGOs” espouse the same rhetoric about spreading Democracy by opening free markets and liberalizing the economy. It seems to me that the real function of these so-called “NGOs” is US clandestine activity without the shackles of political or corporate accountability. The IRI Board of Directors includes a rag-tag group of politicians, military officials, and CEOs with such notables as Senator John McCain (Chairman), CEO of Chevron/Texaco Michael V. Kostiw (Vice Chairman), and our own US senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Recently I emailed Senator Hagel questioning him about what the money given to Stanley Lucas in 1998 went to. I figured I would give him a chance to proselytize about the IRI’s commitment to establishing democracy in Haiti, but I received no response.

Funding Political opposition leaders isn’t even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. For two years “Haitian rebel forces” mostly made up of the military junta FRAPH (Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti) have been receiving technical training and payment in the Dominican Republic from the IRI. Also, 200 US special forces operatives were in the Dominican Republic training Haitian soldiers, this according to Dr. Louis Barrios (Professor of Criminal justice at John Jay university in New York city, and priest) who went on a fact finding mission to the Dominican Republic. He interviewed journalists and soldiers in the Dominican Republic and found out that the IRI was making payment to FRAPH members from an office in Santo Domingo. They were also involved in supplying 20,000 M16s, weapons supposedly going to Dominican Republic armed forces to enforce borders, but they ended up in the hands of the Haitian militants instead.

This provided rebel leader Guy Philippe (former police([search]) chief) with sufficient enough fire power to storm Port Au Prince, Haiti and massacre thousands in late Feb. this year. Guy Philippe in an interview with Salon.com reporter Max Blumenthal said that he and Stanley Lucas are long-time friends. When he was on Democracy Now Blumenthal said “An embassy official told me on condition of anonymity that he witnessed Lucas conferring with Guy Philippe in Ecuador in 2001, which is where Philippe lived at the time and was trained by U.S. Forces.”

Shortly after Port Au Prince was taken over by rebel forces, President Bush([search]) along with Secretary of State Colin Powell called for the resignation of Democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was then whisked away to the Central African Republic (CAR) in an unmarked plane traced back to a bankrupt corporation from Oklahoma. Aristide wasn’t alone, he was accompanied by the US military and was forbidden to make any phone calls or communications to the outside world. Luckily he was able to make it to a cell phone, and called Randall Robinson (Trans Africa Founder). Aristide said to Robinson “tell the world it is a coup” and emphatically denied the claims of his resignation.

Aristide was held captive in CAR until he was rescued by friends, US Congress member Maxine Waters and Robinson. He was then given sanctuary in Jamaica, which compromised the terms of the restraining order given to him by the US and unelected Haitian Prime minister Gerard Latortue. Jamaica’s Prime Minister was threatened by Condoleeza Rice accordingly in a phone call she made concerning Aristide’s new housing arrangements. Jamaica is part of the 15 nation council CARICOM (Carribean Community), that has said they will not recognize US installed Gerard Latortue as the new Haitian prime minister.

More recently in Haiti, Louis Jodel Chamblain (2nd in command FRAPH death squad) was acquitted of murder charges he received in 1995. Chamblain was convicted in absentia of assasinating Guy Mallory (former Justice minister under Aristide) and killing Haitian Business man Antoine Izmery. His hearing was held overnight with little news coverage, even the US State Department condemned the outcome saying “We deeply regret the haste with which their cases were brought to retrial, resulting in procedural deficiencies that call into question the integrity of the process.”

During an interview in the Dominican Republic Chamblain was caught on tape with a national police Dominican republic uniform on, it wasn’t till the report aired that they recognized the mistake. Haitian rebels that were being trained in the Dominican Republic were dressed in Dominican Republic uniforms to mask their purpose for being there. This allowed training to go on with a reasonable amount of anonymity.

The two classes of people in Haiti that will flourish now that Aristide is banished are:

The Industrial Sector – Made up of the “Mulatto Elite”, these are the wealthy land owners who run the sweat shops and lead the civil society wing.

The Military- Probably sour from being disbanded by Ariside in 1995, they guarantee the conditions to run the sweatshops.

Stanley Lucas was the glue that held this coup together, with his lucrative position at the IRI, his ties to the Mulatto elite, and his connections to FRAPH. Stanley Lucas comes from a wealthy land owning family that has close ties to the deposed Duvalier regime (which ruled Haiti with an iron fist for decades). He was schooled with the Mulatto elite growing up. Amnesty International documented a massacre conducted and organized by two of Stanley Lucas’s cousins in 1987. They massacred 250 peasants during a land reform protest shortly after the Duvalier regime crumbled. Lucas , a judo master, trained the Haitian military in counter-insurgency tactics. He has proved himself to be a valuable asset to the IRI, and he is taken care of. Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega has worked closely with Lucas by removing US embassy officials that opposed what Lucas has done.

This marks the 33rd coup in Haiti’s short history. Aristide was also overthrown in 1991 by FRAPH (then lead by CIA asset Emmanuel Constant). Emmanuel Constant currently lives in Queens, NY, where he is given safe-haven. Maybe he’ll make his way back to Haiti now that things look a little more to his liking there.

It seems that when ever there is a democratic election in Haiti, a violent coup follows. I guess when Aristide took 67% of the vote in 1990 running against US funded Mark Bazan some powerful heads rolled. But don’t worry former President Clinton came to save the day in 1994 and reinstalled Aristide. Of course it was only under the condition that he adopt an economic program more beneficial to the US, hence IMF/World Bank agreements. The choice for Aristide was non-existent, he either signs on the dotted line or Haiti is left to be run by a military dictatorship that is even more favorable to foreign investment.

The United States has a rich history of interrupting, weakening, and controlling Haiti’s economy. After the slave revolt in 1804, the US imposed harsh sanctions on Haiti until around the same time the Emancipation Proclamation was introduced. Thomas Jefferson didn’t like the idea of slaves freeing themselves so accordingly the US didn’t recognize the newly formed Haitian republic. The US owes Haiti a debt of gratitude because if they had not rebelled against Napoleon and French colonists then the conditions to make the Louisiana Purchase might not have been created.

Noam Chomsky said it best when he wrote “The US continued to do what it could to strangle Haiti, even supporting France’s insistence that Haiti pay a huge indemnity for the crime of liberating itself, a burden it has never escaped – and France, of course, dismisses with elegant disdain Haiti’s request, recently under Aristide, that it at least repay the indemnity, forgetting the responsibilities that a civilized society would accept.”

In 1915 Woodrow Wilson sent US troops to Haiti and they occupied the island until 1934. While trying to establish new order the US marched into a violent complex society with no history of democracy. Exploiting resources was the main goal of occupation, in 1918 a law was passed that granted US corporations the right to turn Haiti into a giant plantation. The law passed by 5% of the population after Wilson’s marines disbanded the Haitian parliament at gunpoint.

The US continued to support dictatorship regimes in Haiti until the threat of democracy reared it’s head. The most recent and notable regime being the Baby Doc Duvalier dictatorship. While just as ruthless as his father was, he was even more inclined to appease US business interests. His father represented the wealthy land owning class in Haiti and became weary of the US. His worries were only with the preservation of his own wealth and the wealth of Haiti’s elite. Baby Doc Duvalier made it clear that he was in America’s pocket when he took power.

Since Aristide’s removal from office, the new Haitian regime has unleashed a campaign of terror. Supporters of Aristide’s Lavalas party have been rounded up and are either dead, awaiting trial to be killed, exiled, or in hiding. One report from the National Lawyers guild found that over a thousand bodies were dumped by the state morgue in March. It’s business as usual at Capitol hill, the Bush administration has successfully stamped out the prospects of democracy in Haiti. Of course, they had plenty of help from the business community and Haitian death squads.

Democracy Now!
Salon.com “The Other Regime Change” Max Blumenthal
Moscow Times “Operation Sweatshop” Chris Floyd
ZMagazine “Noam Chomsky: US-Haiti, An Analysis”
Book TV C-Span, Randall Robinson
Omaha World Herald

False Pride of the “Super Outlaw State”

“Although few Americans realize that their country was the first to commit genocide, ethnic cleansing and use forced death marches, these historical facts didn’t escape the Third Reich and Adolph Hitler. He admired the American government for their efficiency”

“Much of the world regards the United States as a rogue state and the greatest threat to their existence.” – Samuel Huntington, Harvard Professor, Foreign Affairs

“Bush has – his administration has succeeded in a few years in making the United States the most feared and often hated country in the world.” – MIT Professor Noam Chomsky

America is a country built on genocide, slavery, exploitation and war. In America’s short and bloody history there have been millions murdered by extremist politicians and profiteers, usually in the name of freedom and democracy.

Of all the war crimes committed by America, the mass murder of millions of Native American Indians stands out as one of the most poignant examples of genocide in human history. In 1838 Government troops enforcing the “Indian Removal Act”, captured or killed every Cherokee American in North Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. The Cherokees had discarded their traditional Indian ways and were wearing their hair and clothing exactly like white settlers. They also built their farms, homes, schools and towns exactly like the whites, and they had printing presses and printed their own newspapers. The Cherokees understood that nothing could stop an expanding American civilization from enveloping their world and they made every effort to conform and become part of that new civilization. In the end it proved impossible for them to gain acceptance because of American racism.

The Cherokee Americans were herded together into collection camps with inadequate food water and shelter. These were the first concentration camps and many died in them. After the United States government had collected well over the officially stated 17,000 people, a number closer to 17,000 families, the exhausted and sick Cherokee people were forced to make a 1000 mile march north to prison camps in Okalahoma. This march, which took place in winter, was probably the first forced “death march”. The Cherokees called it, “The trail of tears”, because of the thousands who died along the way.

Although few Americans realize that their country was the first to commit genocide, ethnic cleansing and use forced death marches, these historical facts didn’t escape the Third Reich and Adolph Hitler. He admired the American government for their efficiency in removing the American Indians. It gave him precedence for his “Master Race” objective, which was similar to John Luis O’Sullivan’s 1845 “Manifest Destiny” declaration, justifying the unbridled and murderous westward expansion of the United States in the 1800′s.

It is true that men like James Madison and others were moral enough to write into the United States Constitution that, “all men are created equal”, but they didn’t intend for Negroes or women to share in that equality. For nearly one hundred years after ratifying the United States Constitution America continued to use hundreds of thousands of African Negroes as slaves, literally building the wealth of a nation with the blood sweat and tears of a race stolen from their land.

For 144 years women were not allowed to vote in America. According to the white Christian males who ruled and continue to rule the country, the American Constitution said nothing about women being equal. At the time of the writing of the US Constitution in puritanical America, women had been denied the right to vote and were conveniently relegated to a permanent second-class status only slightly above that of the Negro. This punishment for women was justified by the early American ‘religious right’ because of the perceived biblical sins of Eve in the Garden of Eden.

American history proudly records that in World War II, American military might and technology saved the world from Hitler and Nazism, but America’s contribution to the war against Germany was minimal. Near the end of World war II, America had 94 divisions spread around the world fighting on multiple fronts, It was Russia, which concentrated 491 divisions against the bulk of Hitler’s forces, killing well over four million German soldiers, and it was Russia which lost over twenty million citizens and rose like a phoenix from the ashes of her own destruction to save the world from Nazism.

America has been involved in so many wars in its short history that war has become an integral part of the American economy. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were waged to generate profits for the corporate military industrial complex and a hand full of right wing politicians. On June 27, 1950 president Truman ordered U.S. forces into Korea to “protect the world from communism”. It was to be the beginning of a long “for profit war”, which John Foster Dulles, a government appointed International attorney, had secretly instigated between North and South Korea.

On Oct. 26 the Chinese army under the command of Mao Tse Tung, put an abrupt end to the scheme. Entering the war with 300,000 men, China dealt America a crushing defeat beating the U.S. back to the 39th parallel. By the time of the Armistice negotiations of 1953, North and South Korea, and China combined had suffered a total of 4,000,000 casualties, 500,000 more than Japan in World War II, and America lost 54,246 soldiers. Had America successfully instigated a civil war between North and South Korea, it could have lasted for decades and cost the lives of tens of millions of human beings. The American corporate military industrial complex and their political lackeys in Washington didn’t get the war they were hoping for. They did however get $263 billion taxpayer dollars and kill over 4,000,000 innocent human beings in the name of freedom and democracy.

Vietnam was a much more financially successful repeat of Korea. America instructed their corrupt South Vietnamese puppet dictator Prime Minister Diem to halt democratic elections in Vietnam to prevent the establishment of a united Vietnam. America assured Diem that if hostilities resulted United States armed forces would help him to appose the North Vietnamese. With the backing of America, Diem promptly cancelled the elections. In 1958 Civil War started and within two years guerrilla war erupted throughout southern Vietnam. Diem asked Washington for assistance and the American military industrial elite had their war.

On January 27, 1973, in spite of American saturation bombings during the peace talks, a peace agreement was signed that stipulated the immediate end of hostilities and the withdrawal of U.S. troops. US involvement in the, “Vietnam slaughter for profit war” had lasted 25 years and resulted in the deaths of 3,000,000 of the Vietnamese people and 58,000 Americans. $570 billion taxpayer dollars were consumed in the war, generating obscene profits for the Federal Reserve banking system and the military industrial complex.

The most recent Gulf wars were also fought for profit and oil and are based on lies to justify blatant attacks by America. In the first 1990-91 Gulf war waged by George Bush Senior, Kuwait had been slant-drilling the Iraqi oil field of Rumallah as well as driving down the price of oil at a time when Iraq was in desperate need of funds to rebuild its infrastructure after the Iran-Iraq War. Saddam Hussein notified Washington that Kuwait was slant drilling his oilfields. Since Saddam had been armed by Washington and was their ally, he never expected to be attacked when Washington gave him permission to attack Kuwait. Bush Sr. punished Saddam and his people severely by wiping out most of the Iraqi army and imposing sanctions, which killed well over a million innocent people, mostly children. Although the first Gulf War had lasted less than a year it had cost the American taxpayers some $63 billion.

The second war against Iraq waged by George W. Bush Jr. was based on nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and a non-existent connection between Iraqi and the destruction of the World Trade Center. In two years the Bush administration has killed over 100,000 innocent men, women, and children in Afghanistan and Iraq and wounded over 500,000 in the name of Democracy and freedom. Although the original reasons for attacking Iraq have proven to be completely fabricated and baseless, the ensuing war of resistance has provided Bush with an excuse to maintain a constant US military presence. Already $165 billion dollars have been looted from the American people to pay for the Iraq war, with an additional $82 billion recently requested by the Bush administration.

In Bush’s junior’s Iraq war there have also been many war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions committed by his administration: Bombing civilians, attacking hospitals, and torture to name a few. Probably the worst war crime committed in the history of man has been the dumping of over 1000 metric tons of the deadly U238-isotope, America’s nuclear waste, on Iraq and Afghanistan by the Bush administration. This monstrous act has made childhood leukemia and spontaneous abortions commonplace, and has doomed the people of both countries to endless suffering and premature death. According to a UN Sub Commission report, cancer in Iraq has increased 1000%, and deformities 600%. Depleted Uranium has rendered Iraqi lands infertile, entered the food chain, and contaminated the ground water. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years the Uranium 238 dropped on Iraq by Bush Jr. and his father has rendered much of the country permanently unfit for human habitation.

Today the world is told constantly that America is in a so-called “never-ending war” against terrorism. But over the past 35 years American leaders have been the single greatest purveyors of terrorist acts throughout the world. The US government or their CIA trained mercenary forces have used terror-bombing campaigns against unarmed civilian populations in many countries. America has participated in destroying churches, hospitals, schools, houses, hotels, farms, and factories, and other nonmilitary targets. America has killed millions in Laos, Cambodia, the Congo, East Timor, Panama, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Mozambique, Somalia, Angola, Yugoslavia, Iraq, and numerous other countries. In dozens of countries with democratic movements, which threatened the power of American corporations to exploit the native populations, US leaders have used death squad terrorism to successfully eliminate social and democratic reform. America has also contributed to the death and destruction of the Palestinian people, leaving generations without mothers and fathers, bent on revenge.

When Spanish president Aznar, announced that Spain would participate in the American war against Iraq he had the support of 2% of the population of Spain. He was therefore hailed by the Bush administration as a great leader of what was called the New Europe. Old Europe, the bad guys, were countries with governments that took the same position as the large majority of their population. New Europe were the countries like Spain and Italy where the governments overruled the vast majority of the population and followed orders from Crawford, Texas, proving that they understood the nature of democracy according to the administration. Turkey, dared to follow the will of 95% of the population, and rejected Washington’s orders to participate in the war. They were bitterly condemned by some in US leadership such as Paul Wolfowitz, who berated the Turkish military for not ignoring the will of 95% of the people and forcing the government to take their marching orders from Bush. Democracy is an acceptable concept for the US elite as long as we the people do what they the political and economic leadership say.

The Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which is very respectable and not given to exaggeration, ran an article by two prominent strategic analysts, John Steinbrenner and Nancy Gallagher. They pointed out that the military programs and aggressive stance of the Bush administration, carry in their words, “appreciable risk of ultimate doom,” They go on to say that, “If the United States is to remain a democracy worthy of the name, the political system will have to acknowledge that the United States is now the dominant threat to everyone else.” The “super outlaw state.” They go on to explain that the terrifying technology that is being developed in Donald Rumsfeld’s transformation of the military will “assuredly defuse to the rest of the world. There will be a competition in intimidation and action/reaction cycle creating rising dangers, potentially unmanageable ones, for Americans as well.”


© Copyright 2/17/05 by Raymond Ponziny. Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged.

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs (www.foodnotbombs.net) is a meme, that is a contagious information pattern that replicates by infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. In other words, it’s an idea that caught on and people have been doing it for 25 years because it strikes them as a good thing to do.

FNB started in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1980 as an outgrowth of the anti-nuclear efforts that were in the forefront of activists’ minds at the time. The movement now is international with hundreds of autonomous groups who provide free vegetarian food for the homeless and hungry.

Members of Food Not Bombs, who sometimes call themselves freegans, forage for free food, employing a technique known as dumpster-diving; and they ask retailers to let them recycle produce the stores would otherwise throw out (thereby eliminating the dumpster-diving requirement.) They cook the food and serve it outdoors in public parks.

During the last nine years, Omaha area activists have provided free meals at the west end of Gene Leahy Mall on Sundays at 2:00 PM. Although they have had to deal with the whims of city bureaucracy, which on occasion have impeded them from doing their errand of mercy, they have held steadfastly to their mission to feed people in need for nearly a decade. Food Not Bombs also provides free meals at some demonstrations. The meals are provided in reusable vessels, that is bowls, cups and utensils that get washed and re-used the following week. Wow!

You can help them by showing up at Gene Leahy Mall on any Sunday about 2:00 PM. Ask for Mario. Food Not Bombs can always use dishwashers and donations of food, stockpots, dishware, and of course the old stand-by of grandmothers everywhere—envelopes filled with money.

Action is the word!

Pop-Ed 2.0

This is for you to copy and send or reword and send to whoever you think ought to read it.


Alberto Gonzales should not be confirmed as America’s next Attorney General. The author of the end-run around the Geneva Conventions, who characterized as “quaint” the world’s proper response to genocide and other excesses of states’ behavior in war, deserves a dishonorable mention in the rogues’ gallery of lawyers who use the law to excuse crime.

His advice to President Bush proved unhelpful in Bush’s stated purpose to bring an end to terrorism. Torturing humans is not an option in a world which is making its slow progress toward a sustainable peace.

The Abu Ghraib torture and ongoing reports of illegal abuse of prisoners; the reports of extralegal “renditions,” called for by Donald Rumsfeld and others; and the news that the numbers of the Iraqi “insurgency” probably out-pace the numbers of coalition fighters indicate that torture is clearly counter-productive. Further reports that this administration is considering building prisons to permanently house “detainees” (that would be life-imprisonment for people who are not charged and have not enough evidence gathered against them to be tried for any crime) should further alarm proponents of democracy regarding the appropriateness of having Alberto Gonzales and his ilk at the helm of the Justice Department.

Alberto Gonzales apparently hadn’t enough moral foundation or logical precision to foresee what any parent could figure out, that extreme pressure results in extreme resistance.

On the weakness of this alone, his confirmation to the position of Attorney General should not go forward.