Monday, July 25, 2005

International pressure is needed on the US --HAITI

Message: 4        
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 09:58:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: bill quigley
Subject: Jean-Juste in Isolation and New Charges

"My body is in prison, but my soul is free."
Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste from prison

Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste is being held in isolation
in the Haitian National Penitentiary. I tried twice
to visit but was not allowed. Likewise his Bishop
tried to visit him but was not allowed.
I was able to deliver his prayer book and some
clothes and send a note in to him. He sent a note
back that included the following:
"Avoka Bill, Thanks a lot to everyone for
everything. I am in isolation section room I-05. I
am really isolated but not from God. In spirit I
remain together with you all. Keep the food program
running. Justice shall prevail. God's blessings,
The newest reported charges against Fr. Gerry are
"public denunciation" and "inciting to violence." The
second charge is the same one that the unelected
government has had pending against the former prime
minister of Haiti, Yvon Neptune, who has been in
prison for over a year with no trial in sight. These
charges are as groundless as the prior ones - but are
still not in writing and will probably change again.
Attorney Mario Joseph will try to visit him face
to face this week.
Mario and other haitian lawyers say there is no
basis at all in law for the charges against Fr.
jean-Juste. All think the government will hold him in
jail at least until after the scheduled elections in
the fall unless international pressure forces them to
act otherwise.
Fr. Jean-Juste has been described by insiders as
"the most dangerous man in Haiti" because of his
uncompromising advoacy for the poor, for human rights,
for the release of all political prisoners and for the
return of the elected president of Haiti,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
People here also thinks the "hand of the US is
behind this prosecution."
International pressure is needed on the US, the
Haitian Minister of Justice and the UN.
For their addresses and how Fr. Jean-Juste was
attacked at church and arrested see:
Some are calling for protection of Fr. Jean-Juste
in prison, but that is not the right call.
The call of people devoted to human rights and
democracy is for the IMMEDIATE RELEASE of Fr.
Sorry about the delays in getting this information
out - but computer access is difficult and electricity
is not always on.
Bill Quigley

Friday, July 22, 2005


Do more than March!

Anti-Recruitment Task Force.

DU Medical Testing for Iraq Vets:
How to Initiative.

Join us on Thursday, August 4th at 7p.m.

St. Jude Community Center on Rampart
(across from the St. Jude Church).

C3 sponsored, joined by local activists

For info email:

Haitian Priest Assaulted by Mob at Funeral and


Dear Friends:
This is Bill Quigley. I was with Fr. Gerard
Jean-Juste all day yesterday from church to jail.
Though it seems unbelievable even to me, this is is
what happened and some action ideas about what to do
about it. Pardon if it is not very well-written, but
the computers are not working well and this is the
best I can do in short time with little sleep. Please
circulate this to anyone you want. Please feel free
to reprint and send it anywhere.

Haitian Priest Assaulted by Mob at Funeral and
Arrested for Murder.
By Bill Quigley, in Port au Prince. Bill is a law
professor at Loyola University New Orleans and is
co-counsel with Mario Joseph and the Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

On Thursday July 21, 2005, Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste
went to St. Pierre's Catholic Church to be one of the
priests participating in the funeral of Haitian
journalist Jacques Roche. Fr. Jean-Juste is a cousin
of the Roche family and members of the Roche family
protected him from a mob earlier in his life. He went
to express spiritual comfort and reconciliation to the
The tragic kidnaping and death of Jacques Roche
has been taken up as a cause by those opposed to the
Lavalas party. Jacques Roche was identified as a
supporter of the people calling themselves the group
of 184, who overthrew by force the democratically
elected goverment of President Aristide, the leader of
the Lavalas party, in February 2004.
Oppononents of Aristide say that because the body
of Jacques Roche was found in a poor neighborhood that
he was executed by the Lavalas party who is very
strong in the poorest neighborhoods. For those of us
in the US, this is much like blaming John Kerry for
inner city deaths because most of the people in the
inner city vote democratic.
Fr. Jean-Juste went to the funeral expressly to
pay his respects to the family and express his open
remorse and opposition to any killing of anyone, no
matter their political affiliation.
Jacques Roche's coffin was in the chapel next to
the sacristy and main area of the chuch. At 10
o'clock the bishop and about seven priests robed in
white with purple stoles or sashes paraded out of the
sacristy of the church to the chapel next to the main
area of the church to say blessings over the coffin of
Jacques Roche.
When Fr. Jean-Juste walked out, people started
yelling at him in the chapel. They called him
"assasin" and "criminal" and yelled out to "arrest and
kill the rat."
Fr. Jean-Juste has been publicly accused in the
last several days of "a plot against the security of
the state," smuggling money and guns into the
country, and of being behind all the kidnappings.
All clearly false charges but widely reported by
unfriendly press.
People knew Fr. Jean-Juste was coming to the
funeral because that was printed on the front page of
a conservative paper the day before.
As the well-dressed people continued yelling at
Fr. Jean-Juste, the prayer service nearly turned into
a riot. The other priests turned to leave and a
well-dressed crowd of screaming people surrounded him.
I went out to be by his side. Some plainclothes
security people and a few priests surrounded us and
helped push us through the increasingly hostile crowd
back into the church sacristy.
The other priests then persuaded Fr. Jean-Juste
not to continue in the funeral service. So we stood
aside as the priests and the funeral crowd filed past
us into the main church.
Well-dressed men and women continued to scream
and threaten Fr. Gerry as they moved by us into the
church. Then a crowd of 15 or 20 or more young men,
not dressed at all for the funeral came into the
sacristy and the mood turned uglier and more menacing.
At that point, the security forces melted away.
The young men continued the screaming started by
the well-dressed people and then started pushing and
hitting Pere Jean-Juste. At that point a young woman
came out of the funeral crowd and embraced Fr.
Jean-Juste shielding him with her body from the blows
and the increasingly loud and angry young men. She
started praying loudly and saying "mon pere, mon
A man in a suit, who identified himself as head of
security for the funeral, rushed back in from the
church area - only a few feet away and in plain view
-and told Fr. Gerry these people were going to kill
him there in the sacristy unless he fled. Fr.
Jean-Juste knelt to pray and the woman and I knelt
with him in the middle of the growing crowd.
At that point people started slapping Fr.
Jean-Juste on the head and face and spitting on him
and the other two of us. Something then hit Fr.
Jean-Juste in the head. Someone punched him in the
eye. We stood up and a few UN CIVPOL officers showed
up to help us leave the sacristy of the church. As we
tried to get to the stairs people continued pushing
and screaming and shouting threats. They continued to
call out "assasin," "criminal," and "kill the rat."The
crowd now overwhelmed the police. More people spit on
us and hit Fr. Gerry, even in the face, while others
were grabbing his church vestments trying to drag him
off the church steps.
The CIVPOL were trying to hold back the crowd but
were still well outnumbered and were not able to halt
the mob. We moved up the steps into a narrow dark
corridor while the crowd pushed and shoved and spit
and hit. We then retreated into a smaller corridor
and finally to a dead end that contained two small
concrete toilet stalls.
The three of us were pushed into the stalls as the
crowd banged on the walls and doors of the stalls and
continued screaming. The woman held the door closed
and prayed loudly as the people outside roared and the
CIVPOL called for reinforcements.
After a few minutes, reinforcements arrived and
the hallway was finally cleared of all but us and the
A man in a suit identifying himself as secretary
for security for Haiti told us that he was going to
have to arrest Fr. Jean-Juste because public clamor
had identified him as the assasin of journalist
Jacques Roche. The police would bring him to the
police station for his own safety. Fr. Jean-Juste
told the man that he was in Florida when the
journalist was killed and he wanted to return to St.
Claire's, his parish. The man left escorting out the
woman who helped us.
In a few minutes, CIVPOL police, including troops
from Jordan, surrounded Fr. Jean-Juste and I and ran
us out of the church to a police truck. The truck
with police with machine guns sped away from the
church and took us not to Fr. Gerry's parish but to
the police station in Petitionville.
For the next seven or eight hours we were kept in a
room while the UN forces and the Haitian forces
negotiated about what to do. Fr. Gerry read his
prayer book while we waited. We were told informally
that the UN wanted to escort Fr. Jean-Juste back to
his parish but the Haitian government was insisting
that he be arrested.
The attackers were allowed to go free and not
arrested, but they wanted to arrest the victim!
Fr. Gerry told me "This is all a part of the death
sentence called down upon me on the radio in Miami.
The searches at the airport, the visits to the police
stations, the mandate to appear before a criminal
judge yesterday, and now this. It is all part of the
effort to silence my voice for democracy."
At about 6pm, several Haitian officers came into
our room and ordered Fr. Gerry and I and Haitian
attorney Mario Joseph to come with them.
The officers held out a piece of paper that they
said was an official complaint against Fr. Gerry
accusing him of being the assasin of Jacques Roche.
The complaint was based on "public clamor" at the
funeral identifying him as the murderer. They refused
to let Fr. Jean-Juste or the lawyers see this paper.
It was their obligation, they said, to investigate
this public clamor identifying him as the murderer.
If Fr. Jean-Juste chose not to talk with them, they
would put him in jail immediately.
Fr. Jean-Juste agreed to the interrogation and it
went on for over three hours. He was growing
increasingly sore and tired from the beating he took,
but was not bleeding externally. When the lawyers
argued with the police, Fr. Gerry read his prayer
The police already knew that Fr. Jean-Juste was in
Florida at the time of the kidnapping and death of the
journalist, because the police had already interviewed
him several times in the last few days in connection
with the other false allegations against him, but
asked him many questions anyway. How many cell phones
did he have? What is his exact relation to Jacques
Roche? Why did he go to the funeral? Can he prove he
was in Florida? Since he was on the news in Florida
can he provide a copy of the newstape showing he was
in Florida? When Aristide was president was he
provided with armed security? What happened to the
pistols that his secutity had? Could he find out and
have any pistols returned to the government? Why did
he go to the funeral? Did Lavalas promise Aristide to
execute someone from the group of 184 in retaliation
for them taking power? When was the last time he was
in the US? Are the Catholic sisters in Bel-Air with
you when you got to demonstrations there? and on and
After over three hours, the interrogation
With great solemnity the police told Fr. Jean-Juste
that he was being charged with participating in the
death of Jacques Roche and not returning state
property. The said the law orders that he will be
brought before a judge within 48 hours for further
At exactly 10pm, Fr. Gerry handed me his keys and
church vestments and was locked into the jail cell at
Petionville with many, many others. He was holding a
pink plastic rosary, his prayer book and a roll of
toilet paper.
He flashed a tired smile and told me: "Now you
see what we are up against in Haiti. If they treat me
like this, think how they treat the poor people. Tell
everyone that with the help of God and everyone else I
will keep up the good fight. Everyone else should
continue to fight for democracy as well. The truth
will come out. I am innocent of all charges. I will
be free soon. Freedom for Haiti is coming. The
struggle continues."
As I left him, a very tired Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste
was being greeted by all the prisoners in the very
crowded jail cell as "mon pere!"

Action: Write or fax UN Special Representative
Juan Gabriel Valdés, urging him to release MINUSTAH's
prison report immediately, and to resist pressure from
the Haitian police to minimize the number of
casualties. Mr. Valdés speaks English, French and Spanish.
His fax number is(dial 011 first from the US for
an international line)509 244 3512.

Mr Juan Gabriel Valdés
Special Representative of the Secretary-General
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
387, avenue John Brown
Port-au-Prince, Haïti

Contact Information:

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, James B. Foley
United States Embassy
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephones: 011-509-223-4711, or 222-0200 or 0354
Fax: 011-509-223-1641 or 9038
Email to Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer:
Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher
Embassy of Canada
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509- 249-9000
Fax: 011-509-249-9920

Ambassador of France in Haiti, M. Yves GAUDEUL
Embassy of France
51 place des Héros de l'Indépendance - BP 312
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509-222-0952
Fax : 011-509-223 5675

Haiti Authorities:
Fax. No. 011-509-245-0474
Me. Henri Dorléans
Ministre de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique
Ministère de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

DSM3 Event in Covington, LA


Downing Street Minutes 3rd Anniversary Event:

The Smoking Gun that Proves Bush Lied About Iraq

Mourn the Losses, Learn the Truth, and Investigate the Lies

Mark the 3-Year Anniversary of the Downing Street Meeting
Sponsored by the
Louisiana Activist Network
Saturday, July 23, 2005 at 6:00 PM

St. John's Coffee House
535 East Boston Street
Covington, LA 70433

Be part of a national day of action
Saturday, July 23, 2005,
as the Louisiana Activist Network stands in solidarity with

Congressman Tancredo Advocates Preemptive Nuclear Strike on Mecca

ADC Action Alert:
Congressman Tancredo Advocates Preemptive Nuclear Strike on Mecca

July 18, 2005, Washington, DC - In a radio interview last Thursday, July 14, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) advocated the United States preemptively strike Mecca with nuclear weapons.

The Colorado Congressman made his comments on the Pat Campbell Radio Show (AM 540, WFLA, online at: in response to Campbell's statement that terrorists are seeking the means to attack the United States with a dirty bomb. Tancredo suggested that a preemptive attack on Mecca would be enough of a threat to make terrorists think twice about attacking the United States again. Listen to his comments here:

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is alarmed at Congressman Tancredo's comments advocating an attack on Mecca. It is irresponsible for a member of the United States Congress to advocate destroying the holy site of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims with a nuclear weapon. For good reason members of Congress and the Administration have expressed deep concern at the negative effects of hateful rhetoric directed against the United States in some elements of the Arab and Muslim worlds. But we must also be keenly aware of the damaging and irrational rhetoric against Arabs and Islam expressed by members of Congress, the Administration, and the media.

Statements by members of Congress, just like the legislation they pass, are closely followed around the world. Tancredo's remarks will be widely distributed by media outlets throughout the world and will be seen as representative of the views of the United States government. At a time when the United States is asking religious tolerance of others shouldn’t others expect the same from the United States?

This incident is all the more inexplicable as just last week, on July 14, Congressman Tancredo expressed extreme disapproval at a Chinese government official for his remarks regarding the use of nuclear weapons. Tancredo said "For a senior government official to exhibit such tremendous stupidity by making such a brazen threat is hardly characteristic of a modern nation." For more information, see:

In a letter faxed to Congressman Tancredo today, former congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar, ADC President said, "While we must do all that we can to find terrorists and end their means to strike again, advocating for a nuclear attack against a holy place revered by the world's 1.2 billion followers of Islam is completely unacceptable and contrary to American values and tradition of freedom and tolerance of religion." Oakar said, "These remarks have no place in the United States Congress."

ADC demands Congressman Tancredo provide an immediate and public explanation for his remarks. We urge ADC members, supporters, and friends to contact the congressman and request a clarification and apology. Additionally, ADC asks members of Congress and the Bush Administration to denounce Congressman’s Tancredo’s comments and to clarify that dropping a nuclear bomb on Mecca is not part of the United States policy to win the war on terrorism.

Congressman Tancredo can be reached at:

Washington Office

1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0606
Phone 202.225.7882
FAX: 202-226-4623

District Office
6099 South Quebec St., Suite 200
Centennial, Colorado 80111-4547
Phone: 720-283-9772

Monday, July 11, 2005

From Bernie in Nashville--More Reason to Rid the US of ROVE

This excellent article chronicles the payments from the RNC to Sproul's company. As you may remember, this is the firm that registered people to vote in eight states -- and then threw away the Democratic registrations. The Oregon Attorney General is now investigating Sproul for criminal prosecution.

And Karl Rove twists slowly, slowly in the wind ....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

"Pink Ribbon Lein"--benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation

Hello friends,
I am posting the work of this woman who has done wonderful art work, especially of flowers, and whose work I saw in New York in May. I am buying 3 of the Lilac matted Pink Ribbon photos, but she also has note cards and other flower art. Please visit her site and help her help others. By the way..her prices are fantastic--and her work is phenomenal!

I met my husband over 17 years ago at my friend Sarah Jones' wedding to Don Lein. Steve was the best man, and I was one of the bridesmaids. Sarah had planned on setting us up. We like to joke that we got together despite her efforts.

In the Spring of 2005, Sarah began her battle with breast cancer. So far, she's had the lumps removed, received the great news that the lymph nodes were clean, and begun her chemotherapy. This summer, she will have radiation treatments, and then she will be on Tamoxifen for 5 years. (She jokes that she's being pumped full of weed killer, and soon she'll start to glow.) Her prognosis, by the way, is excellent.

In honor of Sarah and everyone who has ever been touched by breast cancer, I have started my "Pink Ribbon Lein" of artworks. Each image features a small bouquet of flowers with a pink ribbon. A portion of the purchase price of these items will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"Pink Ribbon Lein"
benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation
and in honor of Sarah Lein.
Artwork by Flavia Huber

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day for Whom?

Happy July 4th?

Yes, today The United States of America, the first modern democracy, celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence--the document that stated the reasons for separation from the colonialism imposed by a country an ocean away.

Yet, in this country, the very sons and daughters of this new democracy imposed their "freedom" on the indigenous nations of this continent even as the Constitution establishing the USA was being signed. As a "free" nation, we grew strong by exploiting others--Africans, children, women, immigrants, and even peoples who lived in nations on other continents. We became the imposers of colonialism--though we had based out identity on the rejection of such political and economic exploitation. In the name of freedom and equality we are passing bills, declaring wars, and creating programs in every corner of this country and the world.........

How does a child of abuse become an abuser?

Perhaps this question is what we need to ask. We can no longer claim what we do to others throughout the world and in our own neighborhoods is "promote" freedom. To make such a claim is to deny our psychological tendency to repeat the sins of our fathers. Freedom from outside rule means exactly that--it does not mean determining the precise government that needs to be decided upon by controlled elections or "parties." Economic freedom means "no taxation without representation"--even in this country--where government money is collected from the working poor who do not have equal access to decent education, basic health care, employment, or affordable housing.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of modern "Free" US America is the paranoia that urges us all to be American--the same--disguised under the label of "Freedom-loving Christian Patriots." William Penn and Benjamin Franklin would never have recognized this type of American, and I suspect the majority of US citizens know this in their hearts, but are afraid to say this aloud to a news reporter.

I love Freedom. I don't want to live in another country at another time. I want this country and this time to remember what we said we were hoping to accomplish. Maybe some day we can get to that country.

Women and Public Housing: Hope or HOPE 6 ?

Women and HOPE VI Plans for New Orleans Public Housing:
A Woman’s Concerns

Paulette Swartzfager
July 2, 2005

Why would any mother want to live in Public Housing? If HOPE VI programs help women move our of public housing to better homes or even to their own homes, why would any woman oppose HOPE VI funding? Many women in the land of opportunity can tell you.

First, let me acknowledge that I agree with HUD that public housing is not the way any American should have to seek shelter. I appreciate the efforts that help people move on and move up. Nevertheless, for many women public housing is the last resort before homelessness. The facts show that women, especially single heads of household, are far more like to be in need of affordable housing. The following comments are based on a study of US Census Statistics:

Women were about 40% more likely to be poor than men in 2003, with a poverty rate of 12.4% compared to 8.9% for men. Almost one of every eight women was poor, compared to about one of every eleven men. The gender gap was even larger among the aged, with aged women over 70% more likely to be poor than aged men. ….

Extreme Poverty
Almost 60% of adults who were extremely poor -- income less than half the poverty standard – in 2003 were women. Women were 34% more likely to be extremely poor than men, with an extreme poverty rate of 5.1% compared to 3.8% for men. About one of every twenty women was extremely poor, compared to about one of every twenty-six men.

from “READING BETWEEN THE LINES: Women’s Poverty in the United States, 2003” (

Of course, we are not even discussing men or non-family households who will soon include veterans from the Iraq conflict (a population that historically has trouble readjusting to the community they leave). Interestingly, the HANO/HUD plans in Orleans have not included veterans or their families as “checked” in the box of “preferred” for applicants to public housing. Many of the Veterans or their widows will be women with children—and as we all know, Louisiana contributes more than its fair share of young men and women to war.

As working women, even white women whose skin privilege makes it so much easier for us to get employment and support from neighbors, we are only one divorce or one medical disaster away from poverty. Fortunately, I never had to face the possibility of homelessness, but I know women without such privilege who have lived in cars or moved to Section 8 housing, or even to the “projects.”

To be sure, HANO and HUD and all of us want all public housing to be temporary. We want Poverty to be temporary. We want everyone to be able to move out and to move up in life and in opportunity. While we work for justice, let us respect human dignity. For those whose income may allow them to make this move, the offer of moving costs, help in relocating and preparing for home ownership is a miracle that cannot be underestimated! For those who cannot, the indignity of insult and forced exclusion is a crime.

I heard people say that no one comes to the HANO meetings, that the residents don’t care, that notices are up everywhere. Did anyone forget that these people live demanding lives, are often illiterate, and ought to be visited in their on apartments—or in the community centers that have never been built for them?

To assume that people who live in public housing are lazy or criminal is not only logically flawed, it is morally deceitful. To find the truth, walk through the halls and visit at least one of the many mothers who hold their children inside to protect them from drug dealers who drive to Iberville to do business. Those dealers have money and don’t need to live there. While poverty does make people vulnerable to illegal means of earning money, not everyone can be so easily dismissed by such a stereotype. We need to provide witness protection for residents, and we should help mothers find help for their children in trouble (rehab like suburban kids get on first offenses). These families are not so different from families in surburbia, just families without enough options.

Many in New Orleans (and at the HANO hearings 6/30/2005) have noted the severe shortage of public housing and lack of affordable housing in Section 8 rental units. With wait lists of over 10,000 people and current units available decreasing daily, this seems to be a most unfortunate time to be considering mixed income housing. In fact, the income levels in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, show a significant gap between those who can live with shelter and those who live from day to day, shelter to shelter (as documented by those from Hope House and Pax Christi at the Hope VI hearing this past Thursday).

More Specific Comments about Iberville and Specific Policies:

As Legal Aid representatives argued in the hearings on Thursday, minor and non-violent offenses (like trespassing or public drunkenness—usually offenses white teens aren’t even arrested for) should not be counted in the HUD/HANO First Strike Out eviction program. Certainly, convicted violent offenders who are a danger to the community should not receive preference for housing that needs to be safe for residents in good standing.

And by all means, put the fire escape ladders back up on Iberville before a tragedy no one wants becomes the headlines on local news. Renovation, as HOPE VI claims, is not necessarily about new stoves or plastered walls; we need to maintain what we have. Every time we build new “projects” we claim these new one will do the “job,” but we need a clear plan for maintenance—a realistic one that includes the residents and pays them for upkeep (like the recycling idea that one of the speakers at the HANO hearing proposed and was willing to volunteer his time to set up for the teens in Public Housing).

Let us as women stand with those who want to help people move who can move, but let us also stand with the residents whose only choice is to stay. To add higher priced rental units, or “mixed” income real estate simply is not helping the working poor in this city who cannot afford to move to these units. And there are far more people needing shelter than the predicted number of units in this plan allow. The plan must be rewritten to meet the needs of the people who really live in this city.

On a more personal note, I found it unfair that HANO and HUD representatives, as well as passionate Resident Council Representatives, based their arguments for our city of New Orleans based on the argument that such programs are Federal and are happening all over the country. My mother told me that I don’t have to jump off a bridge just because everyone else is going to.

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