17th Annual Mother Jones Dinner
17th Annual Mother Jones Dinner
17th Annual Mother Jones Dinner
by Thomas J. Broderick
Joe Burrows, Perry Cobb, Rolando Cruz, Gary Gauger, Alejandro
Hernandez, Verneal Jimerson, Ronald Jones, Carl Lawson, Steve
Manning, Anthony Porter, Steven Smith, Darby Tillis, Dennis Williams.
These are the names of thirteen men condemned by the State of
Illinois to be executed. All were found to be innocent of the
crimes for which they were to be murdered.
How did they end up in the condemned units of Illinois prisons?
Class and race figure as major factors. The state has a budget
that it can manipulate to throw large amounts of money into the
prosecution of capital cases. Most defendants who face the death
penalty have to rely on poorly paid private lawyers or public
defenders bogged down by their caseloads. Some of these defense
attorneys are incompetent. Some judges go out of their way to
favor the prosecution. Some prosecutors focus on winning a high
profile case and ignore or hide evidence that hurts their chances.
Often the defendants receive only the justice they can afford.
African American defendants have been condemned to death by
all-white juries. Imagine the cries for "a jury of my peers"
coming from Chicago's mayor if he faced an all-African American
jury on obstruction of justice charges stemming from his role
as State's Attorney when Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives
were allegedly torturing confessions out of prisoners on the south
side of Chicago.
Ten men are currently in the condemned units in Illinois prisons
after confessing to Jon Burge and company. Russian roulette, suffocation
and electric shock are interrogation methods reportedly used by
Burge and his detectives. After years of community pressure, in
1993 the Chicago Police Department fired Burge, but allowed him
to retire with a full pension. Those men on death row are facing
execution through the legalization of lynching, not a fair and
just judicial system.
The majority of women and men in the condemned units in Illinois
did not get there because of Burge, but they did suffer through
a legal system that Governor George Ryan has called racist and
unfair. The Illinois Constitution gives the Governor broad power
in sentence commutation. Governor Ryan has indicated that he is
considering commuting the sentences of the men and women facing
execution in Illinois. This should not be considered an act of
mercy. This should be viewed as recognition of a legal system
that does not provide justice. It should be seen as recognition
of a legal system that is prepared to execute the innocent.
While the number of commutations would set a record, other
governors have either commuted every death sentence under their
review, or they have commuted the sentences of everyone on death
row prior to leaving office. Most recently, Governor Anaya of
New Mexico commuted the sentences of all five condemned prisoners
in his state prisons before leaving office in 1986.
Standing in the way of mass commutation is a law passed by
a vindictive Illinois State Legislature that only allows the governor
to commute the sentences of prisoners requesting commutation.
In January of 1996, then Governor Jim Edgar commuted the sentence
of Guinevere Garcia from death, to natural life in prison without
parole. Edgar issued this commutation against the wishes of Garcia.
After reviewing her case, Governor Edgar felt that the circumstances
of her crime (shooting her husband during a robbery attempt) did
not merit the death penalty. Governor Edgar issued the following
statement after commuting Garcia's sentence: "It is not the
state's responsibility to carry out the wishes of a defendant."
In a spiteful move, our legislature then passed the law that requires
the prisoner to request commutation. Obviously, justice was not
a consideration in the passage of this law, as it makes commutation
dependant upon the defendant as opposed to a gubernatorial review
of possible judicial failure, systemic or individual.
Regardless of the law, Governor Ryan should commute the sentences
of all of the condemned to, at most, a sentence of life without
possibility of parole. This would prevent execution of the innocent
and allow for further review of the individual cases of all currently
condemned prisoners. Given that the ratio of executed to exonerated
in Illinois since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977
is less than 1:1 (12 executed to 13 exonerated), complete commutation
is the only just solution.
Timing is of the essence. It is inconceivable that either of
the major gubernatorial candidates will consider mass commutation.
Both Ron Blagojevich and Jim Ryan support the death penalty, as
do the two major candidates for attorney general: Lisa Madigan
and Joseph Birkett. In fact Lisa Madigan, alone, has stated her
opposition to the current moratorium on executions. Commutation
will be a non-issue for them. While it is unlikely that Governor
Ryan will act before the November election, he will have nearly
two months after the election to help right the wrongs of a broken
Contact Governor Ryan and urge him to commute the sentences
of all of the condemned in Illinois prisons. His address: The
Honorable George Ryan; Governor of Illinois; State House; Springfield,
by Paul Fitzgerald
From August 15 through the 18th Young
Democratic Socialists held our Summer Institute and National
Convention at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Around forty
students and youth showed up from around the country to discuss
our ideas and direction and hear speakers on issues from GLBT
rights to the occupation of Palestine.
On Thursday, as people continued coming into town, we held
"basics" workshops about our ideology which included
an informative and entertaining "discussion/debate"
resembling some sort of Mclaughlin Group with the U of C's own
Noah Millstone and Peter Frase. Later, we were lucky to have Salim
Muwakkil (whom you may recognize from the magazine In
These Times and his weekly editorials in the Chicago
Tribune) speak to us on Race in America after 9/11 and spoil
us with a lengthy question, answer and discussion spot afterwards.
The next day, our conference officially began with workshops
on Plan Columbia and LGBTQ youth issues and ideas of how to organize
folks around either issue. We started reviewing the Activist Agenda
(our guide to priorities for the coming year) in small groups
and pitching ideas for changes. Another round of workshops were
given with the main topics of discussion being the International
Union of Socialist Youth (YDS is a member) and Reproductive
Choice Campus/School Organizing. Afterwards, our Keynote Event
(which was open to the public) "Assault on Democracy"
took place with Hany Khalil of the War
Times Organizing Committee and Svend Robinson a Member of
Parliament from Canada with our sister organization the New
Democratic Party. Hany gave an excellent presentation of the
history of the Israel/Palestine conflict from the original basis
to both Intifadas via PowerPoint. Svend told several personal
anecdotes on experiences he has had in Palestine as well as commentary
on the current status of America's looming war with Iraq.
Saturday was a day of guest workshops. Jessica Shearer of the
Party (and YDS member, actually) spoke on Congressional campaigns
and the importance of a Wellstone victory in Minnesota as well
as the WFP in New York. Kevin Pranis spoke on the Prison
Moratorium Project and its current campaign against Lehman
Brothers, a firm that underwrites bonds for private prisons. Author
of the recent Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn
to Lenin, Mao and Che, Max Elbaum spoke on anti-war and anti-occupation
organizing. Max is (like Hany Khalil) a member of the War Times
Organizing Committee, which puts out the bi-lingual, non-sectarian
newspaper War Times every six weeks as a means to inform
and organize people (the newspaper is geared towards working class
and of color communities).
Now the nuts and bolts of the conference in the form of plenaries
and so forth: YDS passed resolutions on the topics of Zimbabwe,
Bi-lingual education, The War on Iraq and some structural aspects
of our magazine The Activist.
Our Activist Agenda has been changed to reflect more work on Racism
and the ongoing war (both abroad and the domestic assault on civil
liberties) and we've decided to step up our work within the National Youth and Student Peace
Coalition. A new Coordinating Committee was elected with Peter,
Noah and myself, Paul, representing Chicago (apparently a very
Biblical town) as well as others from everywhere from Phoenix
to Texas to Washington, DC. All in all the conference was a success
with excellent speakers and good decisions.
by Jorge Mújica
After a year of intense lobby, Mexicans abroad are no closer
to being able exercise their political rights than they were in
1996. In that year, the Mexican Constitution was amended, to allow
the vote from abroad, conditioned to whatever the Election Code
dictated. Eight years later, the Election Code does not say anything
regarding such vote, and Mexicans abroad might miss the chance
to participate in the mid-term election of 2003.
Mexicans abroad already lost their chance to participate in
the 1997 election, when, for the first time in history, the Institutional
Revolutionary Party lost its majority in Congress. Obviously,
they also lost their chance to participate in the 2000 presidential
election, when the PRI lost the presidency, also for the first
time in history.
Since last year, Mexicans in the United States have been lobbying
to participate in their country's political change in the year
2003. In the years gone by since 1996, their demand has raised
not only for the right to vote, but from the right to also be
elected to public offices. Particularly, migrant groups wrote
and delivered to all Mexican political parties their own amendment
to the Constitution, commonly known as the "Sexta Circunscripción,"
the Sixth Electoral District.
Besides the regular 300 political districts for the House of
Representatives, Mexico elects 200 Congressmen (Diputados), in
five mega-electoral districts, according to the percentage of
votes received by each political party. The Senate is formed by
two Senators per each one of the 32 states, plus 28 also elected
according to vote percentage in these five mega-districts.
The migrants proposal creates a Sixth mega-district, and establishes
the election of 40 Congressmen and 10 Senators, all of whom have
to be living abroad for the last five years. The initiative also
establishes an electoral mechanism. It calls for polling places
in the capital cities of any country where Mexicans live, the
10 largest cities in the United States, the 50 counties with large
concentration of Mexican nationals, by request of 500 or more
citizens not living in any of the above, and finally, the vote
via postal office. The initiative establishes a time and conditions
to register to vote from abroad. Altogether, the initiative is
not only comprehensive but impeccable in its legal reasoning.
Nobody is left out; everything falls into place.
Not surprisingly, despite the initiative being presented to
new President Vicente Fox, to the presidential office of Mexicans
abroad, and to all political parties, the one that formally took
it to the floor of Congress was the Revolutionary
Democratic Party, PRD.
In itself that fact condemned the migrants' initiative to "the
freezer", the congressional limbo where all initiatives not
supported by the main political parties end off. The initiative
was presented on October 4, 2001, with plenty of time to be lobbied
for and discussed in Congress.
In mid March, at the beginning of the congressional period,
dozens of Mexican migrants met in México City for a week
of lobby in favor of the "Sexta". The delegation was
formed not only by PRD members but by US-resident members of the
PAN and the PRI. They met with Congressmen and Senators of those
three and smaller political parties, plus a number of civil rights
organizations, and public officials. Nobody said no to their proposal
but the one and only necessary step for the initiative to become
law, its scheduling for a discussion in the floor of Congress,
was impossible to achieve. That would require a political agreement
by the two political parties that make up 85% of Congress, the
PRI and the PAN.
According to the Mexican Constitution, any change in the Election
Code has to be signed into law one year before the election to
be enforced. The year 2003 election will be held on July 6, which
left the migrants with less than three months to reach their goal.
Every two weeks, delegations of migrants held forums, conferences,
attended political gatherings and conventions in México
City and other states, lobbying for their proposal. They even
succeeded in passing a resolution in the State Legislature of
the state of Michoacán, which has over 3 million citizens
in the United States, calling the federal Congress to discuss
and approve the "Sexta".
By the end of June, with time running out, the two major political
parties agreed only in placing migrant candidates in their lists
for the year 2003, so they could be elected and become congressmen.
Migrants' groups rejected the agreement, as they declared, "because
democracy means 'electing representatives' not 'having somebody
to representing us.'"
Until the fatal date of July 5, 2002, migrants kept pushing
for the right to vote and to be represented in Congress. After
that, they declared war on Congress and Mexican political parties.
In a declaration dubbed the "Plan de Azores", migrants
called for boycotts against Mexican products, declarations of
Mexican officers as persona non grata in the US, and to
the creation of their own political organization. The first of
these boycotts was held from July 15 through the 19th, with the
immediate result that both PRI and PAN immediately declared that
the political rights of Mexicans abroad would be a priority ...
by the year 2006. Too little, too late, according to migrant groups.
The Plan de Azores calls for a new and "last stance"
in favor of the "Sexta" by September, when Mexican Congress
starts its fall session, with not one but two Constitutional amendments:
since the time for reform has expired, migrants call for a change
in the Constitution that allows electoral changes "three
months before the election", instead of a year. If successful,
the second amendment would be, again, the "Sexta".
To force the amendments, the Plan de Azores calls for boycotts
in September to Mexican products such as Cerveza Corona, Bimbo-Marinela-Tía
Rosa products, Herdez, Jarritos and a dozen other popular items.
It also calls for a delay in sending money, to affect the Mexican
bank system. Mexicans sent over $9 billion USD last year, the
amount has increased this year, and Mexico hopes to receive well
over $11 billion USD this year. Since this money goes directly
to families in México, migrants plan not to stop sending
it, but to hold it for days or weeks, until their demands are
Finally, the Plan de Azores calls for the creation of a national
political association to represent the interests of Mexicans abroad.
The association will hold a National Convention in Chicago on
October 12. For the time being, is called MUSA, Mexicans in the
United States of America.
On a more practical side, realizing that two amendments of
the Constitution can be "just too much", MUSA plans
to take advantage of the "offer" of migrant candidates
by the Mexican political parties, but in a way that creates "really
elected" congressmen: MUSA will call in October for a national
"election of migrant candidates-to-be-candidates" in
the US. The election will be held in January, and the complete
list of participants will be presented to the Mexican political
parties for them to choose their own candidates. In a way, even
without voting on July of 2003, migrants would be "electing"
their own representatives. The counter offer to the Mexican political
parties is simple: "if you position our own candidates, we
will not act against your party". If the parties don't agree,
migrants in the US will call their voting families in México
telling them not to vote for them. If they agree, migrants will
call their families in favor of casting their ballots for the
parties that support migrant candidates.
Of course, on July 6, 2003, Mexican migrants in the US plan
a whole range of activities, from thousands of people going to
border towns to cast real ballots, to holding "constitutional
elections" in every major town in the United States.
In the background of their refusal to allow Mexicans to vote
from abroad, the PRI and PAN are simply full of fear. Adding 10
million voters to the election lists is a major cause of panic
since neither of these parties can say for sure that those voters
will favor them. The delicate balance between the Mexican political
parties could be smashed by those numbers. If the PRI is favored
with the votes, it would obtain a supermajority in Congress. The
converse would happen if those votes favor the PAN. But if those
votes go to the left-wing PRD, this party would recover from its
2000 crash and re-establish the 1997 balance in which neither
of the three parties had majority in Congress.
Interestingly enough (although not surprising), one of the
major controversies regarding Mexican voting from abroad comes
not from México, but from the United States. It seems that
the same folks who oppose immigration, whether legal or undocumented,
are scared by the possibility of Mexicans organizing politically
in the US. For months now, they have being discussing an amendment
to the US Constitution that would make illegal holding dual citizenship,
like Mexicans enjoy. In the wake of September 11, it seems to
them that a US citizen should only think in terms of the US and
forget the existence of the rest of the world. After all, Mexicans
organizing politically in the US to participate in Mexican election
is only one step away of Mexicans organizing politically in the
US to participate in the US elections.
For those reading in Spanish, you can follow the development
of the Mexicans' movement to vote from abroad by subscribing to
International Coalition of Mexicans Abroad's Internet group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cimechicago.
Officially, the boycott starts on Saturday, September 15th,
our Independence Day. The first 3 products in the boycott are
Corona beer, Gansitos (a sort of Mexican Twinkie), and Hérdez
products (sauce, chiles and so on). Every Monday we will announce
3 more Mexican products to the list (all Spanish newspapers but
one are weeklies).
by Mark Weinberg
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences
of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson
(N.Y.: Henry Holt, 2000) 288p $15 paper, $26 hard
I write this a few days before the September 11th program co-sponsored
by CDSA and Open University of the Left in which I'll be doing
a short presentation on Chalmers Johnson's Blowback: The Costs
and Consequences of American Empire to be followed by comments
of several local peace activists and audience discussion. Although
I'm a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy, I'm hardly an expert
and I agreed to discuss the book as part of a series of readers,
book talks that OUL's David Williams, a librarian for the Chicago
Public Library planned at the Harold Washington library. As library
czar Mary Dempsey now has a select committee scheduling speakers
there, my little talk has been moved and is now the modest centerpiece
of a program scheduled on the first anniversary of the horrific
I first read the book a few months after 9/11, having read
that it predicted such attacks a year before they occurred. Johnson
wrote, "Given its wealth and power, the United States will
be a prime recipient in the foreseeable future of all the more
expectable forms of blowback, particularly terrorist attacks against
Americans in and out of the armed forces anywhere on earth, including
within the United States." While this doesn't seem clairvoyant
to us on the Left, Johnson's well-written and documented book
is an incisive indictment of U.S. foreign policy by a revisionist
scholar with some mainstream currency. After serving in the Navy
during the Korean War, he taught political science at the University
of California, Berkeley, and became chair of the Center for Chinese
Studies there. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences in 1976. By then he had left the China field,
due to "the stultifying Maoist uniformity prevailing in my
University." He was also working as an intermittent consultant
for the CIA although he makes clear that he had nothing to do
with covert actions. Like many other experts with some intellectual
integrity he left when he saw his expertise had no effect on U.S.
policy. Although he came to realize the antiwar protestors were
right in the large scheme of things he still feels that they were
ill informed on the nature of Vietnamese communism and China's
"Cultural Revolution". He later taught at the University
of California, San Diego and co-founded the Japan Policy Research
Institute with which he is still affiliated. He was recently working
on a new book on the militarization of the United States and other
"Blowback," he explains, is an old CIA term, "a
metaphor for the unintended consequences of the U.S. government's
international activities that have been kept secret from the American
people". He begins the book by saying, "Instead of demobilizing
after the Cold War, the United States imprudently committed itself
to maintaining a global empire." He then, in succeeding chapters,
shows how we have built up resentments in Okinawa, Indonesia,
South and North Korea, China, Japan and Thailand. He likens our
action to that which led to the demise of the USSR, citing the
$5.5 trillion it has cost the U.S. to build and maintain our nuclear
arsenal. America is most threatened by this larger "aspect"
of blowback, "the tangible costs of empire."
Some other comments of Johnson may be more controversial with
CDSAers. He writes, "It is not the contradictions of capitalism
that lead to imperialism but imperialism that breeds some of the
most important contradictions of capitalism" leading to devastating
economic crises. However, it is hard to disagree with his first
steps, "adjust to and support of China on the global stage;
establish diplomatic relations with North Korea and withdraw ground
forces from the Korean peninsula; pay the United States dues to
the United Nations; support global economic diversity rather than
globalization; extricate ourselves from our trade-for-military-bases
deals with rich East Asian countries, even if they do not want
to end them; reemphasize the 'defense' in the Department of Defense
and make its name fit its mission; unilaterally reduce our stockpile
of nuclear warheads to a deterrent level and declare a no-first-use
policy; sign and ratify the treaty banning land mines; and sign
and ratify the treaty establishing an international criminal court."
I would strongly recommend that everyone, even those who don't
read this book, look at the article Johnson wrote for the October
15, 2001, issue of The Nation. It's available widely on
the web or in the new anthology, A Just Response: The Nation
on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001 edited by Katrina
Vanden Huevel (N.Y.: Thunder Mouth's Press/Nation Press, 2002).
The terrorists did not "attack America"; they attacked
American foreign policy. He dismisses the Bush administration's
characterization of the culprits as just "evil" and
the banal "clash of civilizations" theory. He briefly
explains the U.S. role in creating Osama bin Laden, similar to
the creation of Manuel Noriega or Saddam Hussein. He deplores
military retaliation as just creating more terrorist, more blowback.
He again offers first steps: urging "the dismantling of West
Bank Israeli settlements as fast as possible," withdrawing
our troops from Saudi Arabia, bringing home the Third Marine Division
from Okinawa and demobilizing it, eliminating (not just renaming)
the US Army's School of the Americas, and larger goals like reducing
arm sales, refurbishing our diplomatic capabilities, rebuilding
our railroads and making us less dependent on aviation. But here
he clearly admit that "none of this is going to happen"
because "the people in Washington who run our government
believe they can now get all the things they wanted before the
trade towers came down: more money for the military, ballistic
missile defenses, more freedom for the intelligence services".
A year later and Johnson's prophesy has again proven accurate.
Perhaps now those many Americans who initially rejected the concept
of blowback as explanation for 9/11, perhaps unconsciously believing
what novelist Mark Slouka in an essay in the September, 2002,
Harper's calls "the three-century-old myth of American
exceptionalism", can now, metaphorically, "leave the
City upon a hill, walk out of Canaan, return to Egypt, filthy
with history" and see our bones. I hope so.
by Harold Taggart
Kathleen Desautels spent years opposing terrorism and exposing
its sponsors. Her knowledge of terrorism is extensive. Much of
it is first hand. She's an invaluable resource for a nation that
has been the victim of terrorism and wants to address the causes.
The government did contact Kathleen regarding her anti-terrorism
activities and sentenced her to six months in jail.
Kathleen is a diminutive, harmless-looking lady. She has short-cropped,
silver hair and a beautiful, disarming smile that seems to be
permanently affixed. Only the slightly furrowing brow offers an
insight into the tremendous tenacity of the person inside that
poses a threat to terrorists and their sponsors.
Kathleen is a 64-year-old nun from Indiana. She is a Sister
of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She has traveled extensively
in Central America. Her travels also include South America, the
Middle East and China. She has witnessed first hand the destructive
and ruinous consequences of terrorism. The more she sees, the
more tenacious she becomes in her fight against it.
Why does the U.S. government that claims to be fighting terrorism
around the world want to intimidate and silence Kathleen? Kathleen
opposes terrorism from any source but concentrates on the terrorism
perpetrated and abetted by the U.S. and its client states.
Martin Luther King once said that the world's greatest purveyor
of violence was his own nation. Kathleen has found King's statement
continues to be true today.
In July, 2002, Kathleen was summoned to appear in court in
Georgia. The judge gave her the maximum sentence: six months in
federal prison. She was charged with trespassing onto government
property in November, 2001. Kathleen stoically accepted the sentence.
That small inconvenience was insignificant compared to the horrors
suffered at the hands of U.S. terrorist training school graduates.
Terrorism has not been defined officially. The definitions
that do exist have much in common. The words "violence,"
"civilians" and "political ends" appear in
all of them. The differences in the definitions are very instructive.
As could be expected from those who revere property more than
human beings, the U.S. definition uniquely includes violence against
property. The United Nations definition specifically mentions
"state terrorism." The U.S. definition does not. The
World Court convicted the U.S. of state terrorism for its actions
against Nicaragua during the 1980s. The U.S. could have been charged
in numerous other cases but the victim nations knew there was
no way the sentence could be enforced.
Most Chicago activists know Kathleen. She spent the last 16
years assigned to the 8th
Day Center for Justice in Chicago. Any time there is an action
against some injustice anywhere in the world, Kathleen is there
if at all possible, participating in or leading the protest. It's
always comforting to see Kathleen at a planning meeting. Those
who know her would not relish being with her opposition.
Kathleen's "crime" resulted when she participated
in the annual protest against
the School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning in Georgia. The
SOA, known to activists as the School of the Assassins, a more
accurate description of its true function, has produced some of
the most barbaric thugs found in Central and South America. When
the SOA's connection to grotesque human rights violations and
murders was exposed to the public and pressure put on members
of Congress to do something, those members reacted in a way that
was morally cowardly and shameless. Rather than stop funding,
they attempted to cover up the nefarious activity by changing
its name to Northern Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
The military admitted it offered courses on terrorism, but
claimed that the restructuring that came with the new name eliminated
those courses. However, Col. Blair, a former instructor at the
school testified in court that the terrorist courses had not been
It takes a lot of training to become a terrorist. Most people
are not born Hitler-grade monsters. The U.S. government has developed
the expertise to produce them like Plymouths rolling off a Chrysler
Corp. assembly line. As of the year 2000, the SOA had produced
an estimated 60,000 Latin American graduates.
At the SOA, military and police students are trained in the
arts of torture and intimidation. A successful torturer needs
to know how to inflict the most pain without sending the victim
into a coma, shock or even death. Not that they oppose killing
the victim, which they often do, but they want to maximize the
information extraction and leave a body so brutally mutilated
that no one else in the community will dare to cross the government.
These tactics are needed for a small wealthy nobility to control
a large impoverished peasantry, the government structure most
preferred by the U.S. The U.S. trainers suggest that their students
kill just a few in the village as an example to the rest. Experience
has shown that a terrorized but obedient and compliant village
is the result.
The problem with the policy is that sometimes it backfires.
The victims become enraged, not compliant. The best examples on
a grand scale were U.S. attempts to suppress the Filipino and
Vietnamese independence movements after the Second World War.
In the Philippines, terrorizing and demoralizing the civilian
population resulted in submission after several hundred thousand
deaths. In Vietnam, the same policies only heightened resistance
and the U.S. failed even though it killed an estimated 2,000,000
The U.S. has mastered the most advanced techniques of terror
training. It is one area in which it excels but doesn't like to
brag outside the school especially since it claims to be fighting
terrorism everywhere. The contraband video clip of the CIA dealing
with the young John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan is proof that
many U.S. agents are graduates of similar training.
A second advantage to training military and police of Latin
American nations is a ready-made coup contact if the U.S. decides
the current leaders are not sufficiently complying with the needs
and demands of U.S. international corporations. Also, pesky people
like Kathleen that expose U.S. hypocrisy can disappear in these
nations and their fate covered up as many documentaries have revealed.
Kathleen's trial was a Kafkaesque experience. For those who
believe they have the right to a trial by their peers, think again.
Her trial was before a single Federal judge whose mind was as
closed as an Enron energy supply facility. Coincidentally the
main courtroom was "closed down" so the trial was held
in a tiny adjacent room with only a handful of visitor seats.
A request by international observers to witness the proceedings
had no more chance than Ralph Nader has of sitting in on General
Motors Board meeting.
Kathleen was allowed to serve her time at her favorite correctional
facility, the Pekin Correctional Facility in Illinois. She has
been ordered to report there on September 10, 2002. No doubt she
will make some needed corrections there. It's ironic that those
who need to be locked up, corrected and civilized are running
free and those who are our best role models are incarcerated.
Over 10,000 protesters attended the SOA
Watch action in November, 2001. Over 3,000 crossed the line
that arbitrarily designates the beginning of the government's
property at Fort Benning, Georgia. The peoples' taxes pay for
the facility, but the people aren't allowed to use their purchase
or even look inside the box. Inside the line, our leaders erected
a fence to keep pesky people away. The fence quickly became a
display board for accounts of the sins of American terrorism and
Our leaders who have no problem spending $750,000 for a single
Cruise missile to blow up a tent in the middle of the desert,
were thrifty with their fence expenditures. They fenced off only
a portion of the Fort. Kathleen and about 80 others simply found
the end and went around it. They were arrested. Forty-three were
chosen for prosecution by some lottery or other arbitrary selection
process much like the school's students are taught to torture
and kill arbitrarily. In past years, first offenders were let
off with a warning. This year, 13 first time offenders were given
three-month prison sentences. Apparently this is part of America's
twisted get tough policy on terrorist connected activities.
The 2002 SOA Watch protest will be held this year on November
15-17. Fort Benning is in Columbus, Georgia, just across the river
from Phenix City, Alabama, and about 75 miles south of Atlanta.
Details for those interested in going, or who just want further
information about the impressive accomplishments of SOA Watch,
can be found at soaw.org on the Web. Photos of Kathleen and other
defendants and her moving statement at the trial can be found
Also, funds are needed for defense expenses. Anyone who wants
to contribute should make a check or money order out to "8th
day/defense fund" and send it to 8th
Day Center for Justice, 205 W Monroe, 2nd Fl, Chicago, IL.
by Robert Roman
A problem with bi-monthly publications is that events often
move faster than the publication. By the time you get this (nevermind
when you finally read this) the United States may be invading
yet another country, Iraq. Even if you contend that Iraq is a
country worthy of such abuse, I hope you'll forgive my skepticism
that the invasion has much to do with the nature of that state.
Rather, this adventure is aimed more at the American electorate
than it is at state of Iraq; it is a desperate, cynical attempt
by conservative fanatics to maintain the Reagan counter-revoluation.
Political economy and empire figure into this, of course, but
in ways that are not quite what cheap cynics and vulgar marxists
Whatever the case, opponents of this foolishness should be
aware of two upcoming events.
At 1 PM at the Tribune Plaza, 435 N. Michigan in Chicago, Not in Our Name will hold
a demonstration commemorating and protesting the one year anniversary
of our action in Afghanistan. For more information, call 773.250.3196
or email email@example.com.
ANSWER Coalition is planning a national demonstration in Washington,
DC, to specifically protest a war in Iraq. Busses are being arranged
from Chicago. For more information call 773.878.0166 or email
Compiled by Bob Roman
This year's event will be on Saturday, October 12 at the University
of Illinois Springfield PAC building cafeteria. The cocktail hour
starts at 5 PM. The dinner is at 6:15 PM. The program is at 7
PM. The featured speaker is Illinois AFL-CIO President Margaret
Blackshere and entertainment is by singer, songwriter Eddie Starr.
Tickets are $25 each and are available from the Mother Jones Foundation,
PO Box 20412, Springfield, IL 62708-0412. For more information,
call Hallie Mayner at 217.522.1182 or Terry Reed at 217.523.3722.
The annual ceremony at the Mother Jones monument in Mt. Olive
will be at 11:30 AM on October 13.