Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2004
From: Joe Mulligan firstname.lastname@example.org
Colegio Centro America
I hope 2003 has been a good year for you, even in the midst of so many world
problems and injustices. I think that difficult years can be "good" if
we struggle together with the challenges and if we grow in compassion and
commitment through that struggle, and keep smiling, seeing the good side of
things, and celebrating life. And struggle keeps hope alive.
I have continued to enjoy my work with the Christian Base Communities, Jesuit
Volunteers, people with disabilities, students from the U.S., etc.
I. GOOD NEWS
GOOD NEWS #1
I would like to begin with two items of "good news." Eva Maria, a
Nicaraguan woman who was totally blind because of cornea damage, had a cornea
transplant in Miami in 2001. Eva recovered most of her sight in the operated
(right) eye but after a few months suffered an infection which resulted in
retinal detachment. She returned to Managua without sight.
In 2003 Eva returned to Miami, and the same doctor did a cornea transplant on
the other eye. Thanks to God, medical science, and the generosity of doctors
like those who were involved in these operations, Eva recovered most of her
vision in the left eye. In early October she returned to Managua, is using
glasses, and is seeing quite well. In fact, she has the joy of seeing her
In late September I visited Eva in Miami and was able to thank the doctors
and their assistants. I am also very grateful to my province (the Detroit
Province of the Society of Jesus) for a very generous donation to help with
Eva's hospital costs and also to many friends and relatives who contributed to
this "good news" for Eva.
GOOD NEWS #2
I happened to be in Miami for part of a very interesting and significant
civil trial in federal court. The relatives of Winston Cabello, a Chilean who
had been jailed in the Sept. 11, 1973 military coup and executed shortly
thereafter, were suing Col. Armando Fernandez Larios for his responsibility in
the killing. Now living in the U.S., he had been an officer in Pinochet's army
in 1973. The suit was brought by the Center for Justice and Accountability of
San Francisco, Ca.
I had the joy of getting to know the Cabello family and the CJA attorneys.
Testimony by various witnesses was very moving, and I felt good that the truth
was being told in a U.S. court and that one of those responsible for the murder
was being confronted by the Cabello family.
The jury found Col. Larios liable for torture, crimes against humanity, and
extra-judicial killing and ordered him to pay $4 million in damages to the
family. Whether they ever get any of that is beside the point: their quest was
for justice, and they achieved that to a significant degree.
For more information about this and other similar cases, please consult
My visit in the U.S. continued on a happy note as I joined in the festivities
at a wedding in the family and beheld the truly "awesome" wonders of
the Grand Canyon. I was very moved, spiritually and emotionally, by this marvel
of nature. There is so much beauty and goodness in the U.S. -- yes, along with
environmental destruction, violence, and injustices which we must combat.
III. WORK CONTINUES ON THE CASE OF FATHER JAMES CARNEY
There has been a significant new development in the case of Father James
Carney, the American priest who disappeared in Honduras in 1983 after entering
that country as a chaplain to a group of Honduran insurgents.
INSIDE DELTA FORCE -- The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit, by
Eric L. Haney, was published by Delacorte Press in 2002. According to the book,
Haney was a member of the U.S. Army's Delta Force and fought in Honduras in 1983
against the revolutionary column which David Arturo Baez Cruz, Fr. Jim Carney,
and others were in.
Haney is interviewed sometimes on US network TV (e.g., Fox News) as an expert
He says he shot "the guerrilla commander," and when he turned the
body over he recognized him as a former sergeant in the US Special Forces, to
whom he gives the fictitious name "Capitan Enrique Eduardo Saenz
Herrera." Haney says they had been in training together.
Capitan Enrique Eduardo Saenz Herrera is a pseudonym for David Arturo Baez
Cruz, the Nicaraguan/American who was with US Special Forces, then returned to
Nicaragua, and then went into Honduras with the revolutionary group. (He was not
the commander of the whole column, but may have been in charge of a smaller
group.) Juan Tamayo of the Miami Herald has reported: "when he turned over
the body of the rebel with the radio after the battle, Haney recognized him: It
was David Arturo BE1ez, a former U.S. Army Green Beret and, even more
shockingly, Haney's roommate during tryouts for Delta Force four years
"He confirmed that `Saenz' was `Baez' after The Herald identified Baez
independently" In a radio talk show in Georgia in Nov., 2002, Haney stated
that Fr. Carney was killed, adding: "there was some talk, and I believe I
had heard some evidence, that he did not die an easy death.... What I heard was
that from the condition of his body, he was brutalized prior to his death, that
the marks that were on his body had to have been inflicted while he was still
alive." Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has made an inquiry to the CIA about this
matter. If you live in Michigan, please thank Sen. Levin for doing this and urge
him to insist on a response from the CIA and to probe further. I would like to
ask friends in other states to ask their U.S. senators and representative to
look into this new development in the Carney case.
For more information about Fr. Carney and the investigation, please see the
website of the Carney Latin America Solidarity Archive of the University of
Detroit Mercy at http://liberalarts.udmercy.edu/~
IV. PROTEST AGAINST THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS
Last but not least, I would like to tell you about my participation in the
protest against the School of the Americas in November and our upcoming trial.
Please see Appendix below, which consists of my report and the statement of 7 of
I will be traveling to Georgia on Jan. 20. We will have meetings in Columbus
with our attorneys and others of the School of the Americas Watch staff and
among ourselves in preparation for the start of the trials on Jan. 26.09
I'm estimating that I will probably get a 3 to 6 month sentence, which I
don't think will be too difficult -- lots of time for reading, writing, prayer,
I will probably close out my email address on Jan. 26. If I am sentenced to
prison, I will probably go right in.
For more information about the trial and sentencing, and about where the
prisoners are being held, please see the SOA Watch website at www.soaw.org
or send an email to SOAW at email@example.com Let us hope and pray that 2004
will be a year of greater justice and peace for the U.S. and for the whole
world. And let us keep enjoying and celebrating life and love!
My article on Iraq, "The War's Economic Motives are Obvious," was
first published in the Miami Herald on April 4, 2003, and then posted at http://www.commondreams.
Another article on Iraq, "A Mean Streak in U.S. Foreign Policy,"
was published in The Witness online magazine at http://thewitness.org/agw/
Yet another, "Liberating Iraq: From Cyrus I to George II," was also
published in The Witness online magazine at http://thewitness.org/agw/
And my article, "Season's Greetings, George," was published on
December 31, 2003 by CommonDreams.org at http://commondreams.org/
Plus one more on Iraq, hot off the internet: "Soldiers Do Have a
Choice," at http://www.commondreams.
TO: Friends and Media
FROM: Father Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: Nov. 25, 2003
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please see School of the Americas Watch (SOAW)
website: http://www.soaw.org/ or contact
SOAW at email@example.com or at (202)
REPORT ON PARTICIPATION IN DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE U.S. ARMY'S SCHOOL OF
THE AMERICAS, NOV. 21-23, 2003
About 10,000 people of all ages and all walks of life took part in the
protest against the U.S. Army'sSchool of the Americas (SOA, now called the
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation -- WHISC) during the
weekend of Nov. 21-23.
SOA-WHISC has given military training to thousands of soldiers from Latin
America, many of whom have gone on to become notorious torturers, assassins, and
other human-rights violators.
CROSSING ONTO THE BASE
Shortly after the start of the solemn procession on Sunday, Nov. 23, during
which people responded "presente" to the names of thousands of victims
of repression, those who had decided to cross onto the base to present their
message swung into action. Gary Ashbeck (of Jonah House in Baltimore), Father
Ben Jimenez, SJ (of Cleveland, Ohio), and Brother Mike O'Grady, SJ, (of
Cincinnati) climbed over the main gate of Ft. Benning and were arrested by the
military on base property.
Others entered the base after walking up a side street, accompanied by
a "Follow Me" banner and many supporters, and straddling a 3-foot-high
wall. Among those arrested were 3 Roman Catholic priests: Father Bernard Survil,
a Catholic priest of the Greensburg, Pa., diocese who worked for many years in
Nicaragua and Guatemala; Father Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ, of the Detroit
Province of the Society of Jesus, who works with Christian base communities in
Nicaragua, with Jesuit Volunteers International, with the handicapped, and on
human-rights issues; Father Jerry Zawada, OFM, of Wisconsin, who worked in
the Philippines and who has been active in recent years in solidarity with the
people of Iraq and Latin America. A retired Presbyterian pastor and theologian
was also arrested in the same group, as well as a man who had worked on a farm
cooperative in Nicaragua from 1989-1990, and a retired history professor who is
blind (he was later released without charges).
In total, about 45 protesters were arrested. Those arrested were first
processed by the Military Police, then handed over to U.S. marshalls, and
finally incarcerated as federal prisoners in the Muscogee County Jail in
Columbus, Ga. They were in a newly-painted section of the jail which some
described as quite tolerable.
On the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 24, a bond hearing was held before a federal
judge. Defendants were assisted by attorneys who volunteer their services with
the School of the Americas Watch. All but 3 of the defendants were released
after $1000. was deposited on behalf of each one, agreeing to appear in federal
court in Columbus, Ga., on Jan. 26, 2004.
Charged with criminal trespassing, all face a maximum sentence of 6 months in
prison plus a possible fine.
Gary Ashbeck, Father Ben Jimenez, SJ, and Brother Mike OB4Grady, SJ,
opted to refuse release on bond and thus to remain in jail until trial. In a
separate case, Karl Meyer of Nashville, Tenn., was arrested on Nov. 23 when he
refused to submit to an electronic wand search as he entered the area which had
been cordoned off for the demonstration, 3 blocks from the gate of Ft. Benning.
All those entering this area were required to be searched by local police.
Karl had been arrested last year for the same conscientious action in defense
of civil and constitutional rights. His trial on those charges is set for early
On the current charge, he was released on bond until trial.
This year the U.S. government ratcheted up its hostility toward the peaceful
demonstrators in various ways:
1) During the day of Saturday, Nov. 22, Ft. Benning, site of SOA-WHISC,
blared loud music at the protesters near the stage outside the gate of the fort,
making it impossible for most to hear the speakers. Thus the Army is now turning
its Psychological Operations tactics, such as this one which was used to drive
the Panamanian strongman Gen. Noriega out of his political asylum in the Vatican
Embassy, against U.S. citizens exercising their democratic rights at home.
After the base was inundated with complaints from around the country, the
commandant said they would respect the religious services and solemn procession
in honor of the thousands of victims on Sunday by not playing the loud music. He
kept his word.
2) The Military Police of Ft. Benning used excessive force against a peaceful
demonstrator after she had been arrested for non-violently walking onto the
base. Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness (a group which has worked
for years in solidarity with the people of Iraq against the harmful UN sanctions
and against the U.S. invasion), was being woman-handled in a rough way by a
female MP, who called Kathy by an obscene name beginning with "b" and
shouted at the detainee to spread her legs further apart for the search.
Kathy respectfully asked why the lady was using such an aggressive tone, was
told to shut up, and then said she could not cooperate with this kind of abusive
treatment. Kathy did NOT go limp or make any move at this moment, but
immediately five MPs were all over her and dropped her to the floor.
At this point I entered the building in handcuffs to be processed, noticing
the soldiers squatting and kneeling, but I did not see Kathy and could not see
what the soldiers were doing. I heard some muffled groans and cries. Then I saw
Kathy, hog-tied, being carried away by the troops.
Later she returned to our area, walking on her own and smiling, and described
what had happened.
3) A minor incident revealed the aggressive and potentially violent attitude
of a U.S. marshall who was accompanying us in the bus on our way from the base
to the Muscogee County Jail. After we had waited for about 15 minutes for the
bus to start and then were on the road for about 5 minutes, some of the shackled
passengers politely asked him if the air conditioning could be turned down a
bit. He said his only concern was to get us to the jail.
Someone asked again, and the young marshall said it felt fine to him. Could
the marshall adjust the direction of the air outlets on the ceiling so that the
cold air would not be coming right at us (we were without our outer shirts and
jackets)? He said he would have to get up to do that and chose not to,
counseling us that there was one way we could have avoided all this.
When the marshall was asked by a prisoner if he himself could stand up to
adjust the vent, the marshall responded: "not unless you want to be laying
on the floor."
(It should be noted that in general the MPs, marshalls, sheriffB4s deputies,
and jail guards treated us with respect and some with courtesy.)
4) At our bond hearing on Monday, Nov. 24, the federal judge increased by
100% the cash amount which each defendant would have to pay to walk out and be
free until trial: from last year's$500. to $1000.
Father Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is the statement of 7 of the defendants:
"IS THE CAUSE WORTH A PRECIOUS SOLDIER'S LIFE?"
STATEMENT ON PARTICIPATING IN THE PROTEST AGAINST THE SOA-WHISC
November 22, 2003
There are many and varied reasons for opposing the Western Hemisphere
Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC, fomerly the School of the Americas --
SOA). We are here today to repudiate the U.S. Army'spractice in the past of
using torture manuals in the training of Latin American soldiers. We are here
today to reject the School of the AmericasB4 record of training dictators,
torturers, and other human-rights violators. Some of its graduates participated
in the brutal assassination of the six Jesuit priests and the two women in San
Salvador in 1989. These martyrs are present with us here in Columbus, Ga., this
weekend as we revere and honor in our Mass and procession a very significant
relic of them -- some of the blood which they shed for the people of El
Salvador, which was collected from the garden where they had been slain.
In another case, Father James Carney, who had been in basic training at Ft.
Benning before serving in Europe during World War II in the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, disappeared in Honduras in 1983; some of the Honduran troops alleged
to have been involved in his torture and disappearance were products of the SOA.
But we are not concerned only about past atrocities. And our concern goes beyond
the question of whether a few human-rights units are included in the
institute'scurriculum. Indeed, when Father Joseph Mulligan visited the SOA in
1990, some instructors told him that some mention was being made of the notion
of human rights but that the trainees did not take it seriously, throwing in the
teachers' faces the facts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and other U.S. atrocities.
One of our main reasons for demanding that the U.S. government close SOA-WHISC
has to do with the recruitment of Latin American troops into the military
strategies and operations of the U.S. government. SOA-WHISC is a symbol and
instrument of this, as its very name indicates. Other countries of the
hemisphere have been pressured into sending token forces (about two hundred from
each of several nations) to cooperate in a military occupation which the Bush
administration has defined as necessary for U.S. security. Do the people of
Latin America need to participate in this kind of "security
Troops from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic have
joined U.S. soldiers in Iraq, which we find very sad and ironic. It is
especially ironic in the case of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, since
those countries were occupied by the U.S. military in the early 20th century.
Another reason for closing SOA-WHISC has to do with the nature and purpose of
the Latin American military forces. They do not exist primarily to defend one
nation against another, but rather to protect an unjust and inequitable
distribution of resources within each country against movements of social and
political change. By training and equipping the armed forces of Latin America,
the U.S. military is strengthening the hand of the privileged elites in their
efforts to repress unions, farmers, students, and others struggling for justice.
The most needed priority for Latin America is not further militarization.
As Christians we hope and struggle for a world of justice and peace:
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be
satisfied.... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of
God" (Matthew 5). Of course, this year the demonstration against SOA-WHISC
is an occasion to express opposition to the invasion and the current occupation
of Iraq as well as the growing militarism of the U.S.
We grieve for the U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, and our hearts
go out to their loved ones. We are also profoundly saddened by the far greater
number of Iraqi deaths resulting from the U.S. invasion and military occupation.
And we are deeply concerned about the troops from Latin American countries and
from other nations who are in Iraq.
We support these troops, but we want to do more than pray for them and send
condolences to their families when they die. And so we say: bring them home,
save their lives.
They are seen by many as foreign invaders in Iraq, and they seem to be
killing more and more innocent civilians in their pursuit of the guerrilla
To the U.S. and Latin American soldiers in training at Ft. Bennett, Ft.
Bragg, and other military installations, we say: please reflect seriously on the
reasons which have been given for the war in Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction?
Ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda terrorists?
Or does it have more to do with oil and other natural resources in the Middle
East, and lucrative construction contracts for well-connected U.S. corporations,
and privatizing the Iraqi economy for American companies?
Do you want to risk your life, and risk leaving your family without you, and
kill Iraqi militants and civilians for such purposes of the Bush administration?
If not, please consider applying for conscientious objector status.
Vernon Baker, who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery as a 2nd Lt. in
World War II, has said: "Before we fight a war, we have to ask ourselves a
basic question: Is the cause worth a precious soldier'slife? Each of our
soldiers has loved ones, and if you can't answer the question 'yes,' then don't
fight the war" (Chicago Tribune, Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2003).
Let us all follow our conscience, being faithful to the truth as we see it.
As Jesus said: "if you live according to my teaching, you are truly my
disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"
Father Benjamin Jimenez, SJ
Father Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ
Brother Mike O'Grady, SJ
Father Bernard Survil
Father Jerry Zawada, OFM
Joe Mulligan is a Detroit Province Jesuit and a longtime missionary in Central
America. He has been on a personal crusade -- to find out what really happened
to Father James Carney, the American priest who disappeared in Honduras in 1983
after entering that country as a chaplain to a group of Honduran insurgents.