Friday

FRIDA BERRIGAN — a lifetime on the front lines

Frida Berrigan





The kids at our school
were most pretty poor,
but people took pains to look their best,
and everyone noticed when you wore
____________

the same clothes twice in one week.

We were poor too,
but we wore second (or third) hand
clothes and off brand sneakers,
and those clothes were
in a pretty tight rotation that
____________

often meant repeat performances
a few times a week.



Our school was 90-something
percent black … we were white.







For those three reasons,
we knew we were different
long before we learned
about the military industrial
complex and mutual assured
____________

destruction, before we were
old enough to attend
(and participate in) the
community’s weekly liturgy
and bible study, before we
learned about the Christian
mandate to perform the works
of mercy and love our neighbor,
before we could diss on
Junior ROTC and spew facts on world
____________

hunger, before we spent our
Summer Tuesday mornings
picking up bruised fruits
and veggies at the Jessup Food Terminal
to share with the people
who lined up around the block
at our three story row-house in Baltimore …






So, there were some
challenges “fitting in,”

and it was a pretty
hectic place with people
always coming and going.







But there was also a lot of love,
and our parents—despite the
interruptions of going to jail
and meetings and the demands
of communal life—offered pretty
structured life for my brother,
sister and I that in retrospect
was probably pretty important.
____________

After dinner and chores on
weeknights, Dad would read to
us — Narnia Chronicles,
Lord of the Rings, Dickens, London, etc…

____________

And once a week that
would be Bible study instead.








We had weekend chores and swimming
and tumbling lessons.
We went to the library for
their weekly movies (Buster Keaton,
____________

Charlie Chaplin, my brother
laughing so loud that everyone
else laughed because he
laughed not because of
what was happening on screen),
and for story hour.





LIZ MCALISTER, FRIDA AND PHILIP BERRIGAN , NOVEMBER 8, 1974
AT JONAH HOUSE COMMUNITY, FOUNDED IN JUNE 1973




THE
New American Dream Interview




FRIDA BERRIGAN, 34, lives in Brooklyn, NY.


She is Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation.

Previously, she served for eight years as Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at the New School in New York City.

She has also worked as a researcher at The Nation magazine.

Frida is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus and a contributing editor of In These Times magazine.

She is the author of reports on arms trade and human rights, U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and the domestic politics of U.S. missile defense and space weapons policies.

She has been a featured expert on national and regional radio outlets, and regularly speaks on national security issues to citizen’s organizations and at major conferences throughout the United States."


Frida is a daughter of Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister.



More about Frida Berrigan:

http://www.newamerica.net/people/frida_berrigan

http://www.inthesetimes.com/community/profile/57/

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2483/walking_to_guantamo/

http://antiwar.com/radio/2008/12/02/frida-berrigan-4/

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4736.htm




__________

The New American Dream Trivia Question


To win a copy of one of Palecek's books, or leftover Christmas candy, or maybe a "Deception Dollar," be the first one to correctly answer the following.


Frida Berrigan would rather be ....

a. Burning Toby Keith CDs in Catonsville
b. In the cast of Hairspray
c. Pounding on something with a small hammer
d. President Obama's Secretary of Spending Money on People Not Arms
e. Messing everything up in some Raytheon bigshot's office
f. Far away from all this vegetarian-consensus-we shall overcome crap


Frida's answers:

a) By “burning” do you mean copying?

I like D, but it would probably be a lot of work


g. be a dentist, but does not want to go back to school.
__________




NAD: Frida, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.


What's the inside scoop about growing up in Jonah House, for inquiring minds who need to know?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

It was different, as they say in the mid-West.

In elementary and middle school:
Many of our classmates were “latch-key kids.”
We had an over-abundance of caring (and kookie) adults living with us.

The kids at our school were most pretty poor, but people took pains to look their best, and everyone noticed when you wore the same clothes twice in one week.

We were poor too, but we wore second (or third) hand clothes and off brand sneakers, and those clothes were in a pretty tight rotation that often meant repeat performances a few times a week.

Our school was 90-something percent black … we were white.

For those three reasons, we knew we were different long before we learned about the military industrial complex and mutual assured destruction, before we were old enough to attend (and participate in) the community’s weekly liturgy and bible study, before we learned about the Christian mandate to perform the works of mercy and love our neighbor, before we could diss on Junior ROTC and spew facts on world hunger, before we spent our Summer Tuesday mornings picking up bruised fruits and veggies at the Jessup Food Terminal to share with the people who lined up around the block at our three story row-house in Baltimore …

So, there were some challenges “fitting in,” and it was a pretty hectic place with people always coming and going.

But there was also a lot of love, and our parents—despite the interruptions of going to jail and meetings and the demands of communal life—offered pretty structured life for my brother, sister and I that in retrospect was probably pretty important.

After dinner and chores on weeknights, Dad would read to us—Narnia Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, Dickens, London, etc…

And once a week that would be Bible study instead.

We had weekend chores and swimming and tumbling lessons. We went to the library for their weekly movies (Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, my brother laughing so loud that everyone else laughed because he laughed not because of what was happening on screen), and for story hour.




NAD: Did you ever long for a Bolton Hill "normal" family life?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Sure. Definitely.

But I guess the thing that helped mitigate against that longing becoming over-powering was the sense—from a young age—that our parents were not bringing us up in this iconoclastic, counter-cultural environment just to make us miserable or to feed their egos.

We were not different just for the sake of being different. Community, the discipline of work and prayer, gleaning food for ourselves and our neighbors, not owning a lot of stuff—all those things sustained a culture of resistance and contributed the fact that we were a little different—but they also provided the foundation upon which a rich and dynamic family and community life with a lot of freedom and agency and joy.



NAD: Where did you go to high school, college?

Did your classmates know who you were?

Did it matter?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

We went to Baltimore City College High School, a public, college prep magnet school, that is one of the oldest high schools in the city.

It was big and diverse and we studied Latin.

The “Berrigan” thing came up, but mostly from our teachers.

It was not a big issue for our classmates.

And when they knew, it was like: “oh, cool.”

I went to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

It was great.

Small town plus apple orchards and sheep.

I looked more like my college classmates than my high school classmates, but I did not “fit in” there either…

But by that time, it was fine—no one really fits in anywhere.

I loved the classes, the library, the run-down-around-the-edges facilities at Hampshire.

I liked how small the classes were and how quickly everyone knew everyone.

The school has a hippie-party reputation (that is well deserved) but it is also a school of students who take their work really seriously, and once I hit a stride there I worked really hard (and had fun too).




NAD: I suppose you have heard a million times about, "I remember you when you were just this tall."


Along with stories about your father and mother.


You ever get tired of that?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Not really. People like to share




NAD: Do you feel any pressure to continue the family tradition?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Not really.




NAD: Have you ever been arrested?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Yes.




NAD: What was it like having your mother and father away at prison for so long?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Tough.

Lots of letters.

Regular visits.

A commitment (from each of us) to keep the family close despite bars and bulletproof glass.

We did a good job.

But it was not fun.




NAD: What are your brother and sister doing?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Kate lives in Oakland, California and works for an organization that supports disabled people who live independently.

She volunteers with Critical Resistance, a prison abolition organization; is a sometimes trainer for the Ruckus Society; and is a killer rock climber.

Jerry lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with his wife Molly, their two kids—Amos and Jonah, the best nephews ever—and another couple in a new Quaker-Catholic Worker there.

All four of them went to Kalamazoo College and have come back to do work with kids in their East Kalamazoo community. He has grown into quite the construction (and reconstruction) maven, and he and Molly share a job as youth ministers at two local Catholic Churches.




NAD: Why the arms trade? Why did you pick that as your specialty?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

It chose me.





NAD: There are arms everywhere and we are selling everywhere.

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Yes. Yes.



NAD: Isn't it getting steadily worse? Is there any conceivable reason for hope?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Yes. Yes.

We did a study at the end of 2008 called “US Weapons at War: Beyond the Bush Legacy.” Here are a few of our findings:

We’re #1
· The United States is the world’s top arms-supplying nation, having entered into over $32 billion in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreements in 2007—a nearly three-fold increase over 2005.

· During 2006 and 2007, the United States provided weapons and military training to over 174 states and territories, up from 123 states and territories in 2001, the first year of the Bush administration. While many of these transfers were relatively small deals completed under the commercial licenses granted by the State Department, a number of key countries of strategic significance were added and/or restored to the U.S. client list during the Bush years, including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia.

Fueling Conflict
· Of the 27 major conflicts under way during 2006/07, 20 involved one or more parties that had received arms and training from the United States.

· Total U.S. transfers to areas of active conflict exceeded $11 billion in 2006/07. The five biggest recipients were Pakistan ($3.7 billion), Turkey ($3.0 billion), Israel ($2.1billion), Iraq ($1.4 billion), and Colombia ($575 million).

Arming Human Rights Abusers
More than half (13) of the top 25 U.S. arms recipients in the developing world during 2006/07 were either undemocratic governments or regimes that engaged in major human rights abuses. This represents a one-third reduction from 2005, when 18 of the top 25 U.S. recipients fit these categories. But even given this positive change, the current pattern of U.S. sales remains in stark contrast to the Bush administration’s pro-democracy rhetoric.

Total U.S. arms transfers to undemocratic governments and/or major human rights abusers totaled more than $16.2 billion in 2006/07, and the top recipients were Pakistan ($3.7 billion), Saudi Arabia ($2.5 billion), Iraq ($1.4 billion), United Arab Emirates ($983 million), (Kuwait ($879 million), Egypt ($845 million), Jordan ($474 million), and Bahrain ($308 million).

· The majority of the undemocratic and/or human rights abusing governments armed by the United States are in the two regions viewed as “central” to the war on terrorism: the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain) and South Asia (Afghanistan and Pakistan).

Subsidizing Weapons Sales
· U.S. security assistance funding has nearly doubled over the past eight years, from an average of $6–$8 billion a year prior to the first Bush term to an average of $14–$15 billion a year during the Bush administration.

· Of the over $108 billion in security assistance funding authorized from FY 2002 to FY 2008, over a third—$39.7 billion—was disbursed through new programs like the Afghan and Iraq Train and Equip programs, the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), the Pentagon’s Section 1206 program, and the Coalition Support Fund program of assistance to countries fighting alongside U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. All of these programs are authorized and implemented by the Pentagon, and all of them are markedly less transparent and accountable than traditional security assistance programs supervised by the State Department.

· Of the top ten U.S. arms recipients in the developing world, five—Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, Egypt and Colombia—rely heavily on U.S. government subsidies to purchase U.S. weapons. These countries track closely with the top recipients of U.S. security assistance during the Bush administration (FY 2002 to FY 2009), which are as follows: Afghanistan ($29.7billion), Iraq ($27.9 billion), Israel ($21.6 billion), Egypt ($14.9 billion), and Pakistan ($9.7 billion). These five countries alone account for over 83 percent of all security assistance disbursed by the Bush administration in the FY 2002 through FY 2008 budgets.


Why I have hope:

Because as the global community has come together to outlaw and regulate weapons like landmines and cluster weapons, as we work against nuclear weapons or against military operations in this or that far flung corner of the globe, we teach each other and are taught by history that the only work to be about is the work of abolishing war, the work of peacefully settling differences, the work of opposing injustice and violence.

Each one of these specific undertakings—whether successful or not—underlines those lessons, engraving them more deeply on our hearts, and each one of these specific undertakings puts us in touch with people who motivate and challenge and teach us…




NAD: If you were asked to be Secretary of Defense, would you?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

No. Power corrupts, absolute power… etc.

It is also probably pretty boring.




NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

I have hope in people.

In that old adage about the people leading, and the leaders following.

Will we lead? Will Obama follow?

Those are the questions to ask… not: will he fulfill my hopes.




NAD: Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

The cup I drink out of at the office is a Center for Constitutional Rights 40th anniversary cup, and it is emblazoned with the Fredrick Douglas quote: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”




NAD: What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Drink much coffee and write a to do list … but now it is 4pm



NAD: How about by Christmas 2009?

FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Rein in the number of meetings I go to on a weekly basis
Start “War and Peace”
Close Guantanamo
Finish all my unfinished writing assignments
Send off my 2008 Xmas cards
Design a cross word puzzle
Start writing a book on the Pentagon
Perfect our composting system at home
Unpack from our move in November 2008



NAD: Walking to Guantanamo.

Was that scary? Empowering? Tiring? Hot?


FRIDA BERRIGAN:

Yes. Yes. No. Yes.

Read more at http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2483/walking_to_guantamo/




NAD: If you would like — please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes:

New America Foundation, Arms and Security Initiative:
http://www.newamerica.net/programs/american_strategy/arms_security

Witness Against Torture
http://www.100dayscampaign.org/

War Resisters League
http://www.warresisters.org/


Thank you.



Thursday

BRIAN TERRELL — part of the dynamic Iowa peace movement

Demonstrating outside Drake University’s Knapp Center on Oct. 2, (l-r) Catholic Peace Ministry executive director Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker communications director Mona Shaw, Iowa Peace Network coordinator Renee Espeland, Veterans For Peace (VFP) member Gil Landolt, Methodist Federation for Social Action coordinator Eloise Cranke, and Des Moines Catholic Worker and VFP member Ed Bloomer protest U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ “support for torture and attack on the Constitution.” (Photo M. Gillespie).



From left, Ed Bloomer, Rev. Chet Guin, Frank Cordaro, Renee Espeland,
Brian Terrell, Sherry Hutchison, Elton Davis. All are from Des Moines
except Terrell who is from Strangers and Guest Catholic Worker House in Maloy, IA.


Seven Arrested During Protest in Sen. Harkin's Office

These seven individuals were arrested Wednesday evening in Des Moines when they refused to leave U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's office and allow the facility to close. A group of 15 had gathered in the office throughout the afternoon to protest continued violence in Gaza and what they perceived as Harkin's inaction. (Photo provided by demonstration organizers.)






Some Des Moines Catholic Workers
Left to right), Brian Terrell, Mona Shaw, Frank Cordaro, and Mauro Heck
http://www.desmoinescatholicworker.org/aboutus.html





Brian Terrell



_________________________

Twenty-one people attended a training session on nonviolent protest at the Nov. 15 anti-war forum, organizers said.

On Tuesday, a far larger group, more than 100, stood outside the federal courthouse beside Mr. Terrell in bitter cold, holding a new set of protest signs that said,

"Say no to political grand juries," "You can subpoena us, but you will not silence us" and "Investigate Halliburton not Iowans."

_________________________


New York Times"An Antiwar Forum in Iowa Brings Federal Subpoenas"


Federal Judge Asks University To Turn

__________

Over Records Re: Anti-War Activists

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the protesters said.

Federal prosecutors refuse to comment on the subpoenas.

In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum. ...

Whatever is going on, this is definitely an escalation on the part of the government’s war on dissent and clamp down on civil liberties. The fact that anything that we three and the peacemaking communities we represent could possibly attract the notice of a “Terrorism Task Force” is reprehensible. Please spread the word, express concerns you have with Federal and Polk County authorities. Keep us in mind and prayer.

Brian Terrell
Executive Director
Catholic Peace Ministry

Welcome to George Bush’s America.




"Winter of Our Discontent" protesters that were arrested in civil disobedience action at the White House 2/27/06. From left: Elton Davis, Bernie Meyer, Ed Bloomer, Eileen Hansen, a supporter who did not get arrested (holding banner on left), David Goodner, Brian Terrell, Jeff Leys
(Photo: Mike Ferner)


Seven Arrested at White House in Protest of Iraq War
[Common Dreams]







From The Nuclear Resister, 1995

A priest and a rural mayor, both from Iowa, are serving federal sentences for protests at the Strategic Nuclear Command (StratCom) at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha.

Fr. Frank Cordaro and Maloy Mayor Brian Terrell are veteran nuclear resisters, with arrests over the last two decades at nuclear and military facilities across the United States. They were charged with trespassing at Offutt May 29.

Mayor Terrell was sentenced to four months beginning Nov. 1. In a 12-minute trial on Oct. 20, Fr. Cordaro said he had already spent 26 months in jail, but if set free he would return to the base to demand that it cease coordinating all U.S. strategic nuclear weapons systems. He was sentenced to six months.

Cordaro and Terrell will be sending out a newsletter from prison. Send contributions to Fr. Frank and Brian's Support Fund, St. Patrick's Church, 223 Harmony St., Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503.

Terrell requests prayers, letters, and visits to himself and his family, and donations to compensate for his lost income. Letters should be sent to Terrell, his partner Betsy, and children Clara and Elijah, care of Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker, P.O. Box 264, Maloy, Iowa 50852.

Source: the Nuclear Resister, 1995



I rejoice to see the young people thinking of "the works of mercy" as a truly revolutionary, but nonviolent program. The spiritual and corporal certainly go together, and often involve suffering.

To oppose nuclear buildup has led to the imprisonment this last month of two of our workers, Robert Ellsberg and Brian Terrell, in Rocky Flats, Colorado — and solitary confinement is suffering indeed, and, added to that, a hunger strike is certainly dying to self.


Dorothy Day, On Pilgrimmage, The Catholic Worker, June 1978





The New American
Dream Interview

[Originally published March 3, 2009]

BRIAN TERRELL, 52, lives in Maloy, Iowa, near Des Moines.

Terrell was until recently executive director of Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines.

He joined the Catholic Worker community in New York City in 1975 and was an associate editor of The Catholic Worker in the last years of Dorothy Day's life.

He moved to Iowa in 1979 and managed a hospitality house for homeless people in Davenport.

In 1986 he relocated to the Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa, where he currently lives with his wife Betsy.



He is a longtime peace activist, maybe the most accomplished peace activist you've never heard of.


Last summer he walked with the Witness Against War folks for just about a week, from Sparta to just past La Crosse, WI.

He was convicted on Jan. 12 of trespass at Fort McCoy as a result of participation in the walk.

[See http://vcnv.org/fort-mccoy-peace-activists-fined-in-federal-court ]
See Brian's letter to the judge



He is the former mayor of Maloy, Iowa.

In the recent film about Dorothy Day, "Don't Call Me A Saint," by Claudia Larson, you can see Brian at the door of St. Joseph House. Maryhouse.

In 1992 Brian was in Israel and Palestine with an international peace walk. He was arrested when the walk crossed the Green Line, spent two days in jail and was deported.

He visited Iraq in 1998.

He has also organized against the use of Iowa National Guard troops in Iraq and has been arrested at Iowa Guard installations.

Answering an invitation to speak to high school students in Germany, he toured Europe, addressing the war in Iraq and United States imperialism.

Brian and his wife, Betsy Keenan, have two grown children, Elijah who lives in Buffalo, New York, and Clara who is in grad school in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

They met in the late 1970s, either in New York City or the Catholic Worker farm at Tivoli, New York.


_______________


The New American Dream Trivia Question:

To win a round button that says, "Bush Is Lying About What He Knew,"
be the first one to correctly answer the following.

Brian Terrell ....

a. Absolutely adores jail food

b. Would rather be in Dubuque

c. Flips slow-moving farm vehicles the bird every chance he gets

d. Thought Peter Maurin was kind of a blabber

e. Will not eat that vegetarian crap

f. Is a majority stock holder in The Des Moines Register

g. Would like to be arrested three more times, and then that's it.

_______________



NAD: Brian hello, welcome and thank you for taking the time.

Where are you from, originally?

BRIAN TERRELL:

I lived in and around Green Bay, Wisconsin, where I was born, until I was ninteen years old.

In 1975 when I left for New York City and the Catholic Worker.

I was a month or so into my sophomore year at St. Norbert College in De Pere when the absurdity of my situation there became too much and I dropped out.

Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, God and money, but St. Norbert’s and other Christian schools exist, it seems, only to prove Jesus wrong on that one!

(For more on my brief academic career and its fallout see http://www.aislingmagazine.com/aislingmagazine/articles/TAM24/Degrees.html)




NAD: How did you get interested in the Catholic Worker?

BRIAN TERRELL:

I had very little idea of what the Catholic Worker was before I got there but had already come to realize that a practice of Christianity that is not a protest against greed and against torture, empire and war is pretty meaningless — likewise, any Christianity that is not about living in solidarity with the poor, the marginalized, the prisoner.

For all its faults and dysfunctions, I felt more at home at the New York Catholic Worker than I had ever before in my life.



NAD: What were you going to be before you heard about Dorothy Day?

BRIAN TERRELL:

Believe it or not (I have my own doubts) I thought that I might be a priest!



NAD: Is there still time?

BRIAN TERRELL:

There are many avenues left to me, even at my advanced age, to sell out.

On this one, however, the bridges that I might have crossed have been burned long ago, thank God.

This is not to say that all priests are “sell outs,” only that I know that I would have been one if I could have been.


__________

I have gone abroad over the years, too, several trips to Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East.

__________

Work in these places has been of value and meaning, it is the witness and protest that I have participated in here in Iowa that has made the most difference, I am convinced.

__________



NAD: Iowa has perhaps the most lively, active per-capita peace movement in the universe.

What's up with that?


... BTW ... Why Iowa? Why not New York, or Seattle, Boulder, Madison, Austin, Ann Arbor ... Duluth?

Why burn up all your good ideas and energies in the shadow of Living History Farms?


BRIAN TERRELL:

I don’t know.

I moved from New York to Davenport, Iowa, in 1979, a time that historians seem to agree was not a time of populist upheaval.

I am not sure about that either but I remember that not as a quiet time but one of furious activity, responding to nuclearism, of solidarity against imperialism in Central America and more.

Nor did I experience Iowa as a lazy backwater.

As much or more was going on then here as around the east coast that I had left. I have lived in Iowa since then and while I often travel to places like New York, Washington, D.C.

I was arrested there most recently on January 11, 2008, for “causing a harangue at the Supreme Court” and then in June spent ten days in the D.C. jail.

[See http://www.witnesstorture.org/5.30.terrell) and Chicago (busted there on January 20, ’09 in Senator Durbin’s office protesting the massacre in Gaza, [See http://vcnv.org/gaza-10-arrested-at-senator-durbins-office-in-chicago).


I have gone abroad over the years, too, several trips to Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East.

Work in these places has been of value and meaning, it is the witness and protest that I have participated in here in Iowa that has made the most difference, I am convinced.


______________________________________________

Bill Moyers NOW this Friday 9:30
-10:30pm on PBS

Special Report on Grand Jury investigation on harassment of peace activists in Iowa

Brian Terrell from Iowa wrote:

"A crew from NOW spent most of last Friday in Des Moines, interviewing Dr. Maxwell, pres of Drake U, and me, both at Friends' House and at the scene of the crime, Camp Dodge."

Brian Terrell
Executive Director
Catholic Peace Ministry
4211 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312

More from Iowa:

Victory
by Tim Schmitt From Pointblank, Des Moines Metro Area Alternative weekly, 2/18/04


Brian Terrell sits in the office of the Catholic Peace Ministry, a drafty and chilly corner of the basement in the house occupied by the American Friends Service Community (AFSC). The building's circuit box
sits on one wall, half hidden by a strategically hung tapestry. Pipes and conduits criss-cross the low ceiling, betraying the makeshift nature of the organization's headquarters. The small office is abuzz
as Terrell busily fields calls from local reporters and several national news magazines.

He's been playing phone tag with Bill Moyers for a couple days; a clipping from the current edition of The New York Times sitting on his table prominently features a picture of Terrell standing against a small bookshelf in this very office. The AFSC, a Quaker organization committed to non-violence and the promotion of peace and justice is not officially affiliated with Terrell's organization. The same is true of the Iowa Peace Network, which keeps offices in the building upstairs.

______________________________________________

"It sends a chill down your spine immediately," says Kathleen McQuillen, Iowa Program Coordinator of the AFSC. "You think, 'my God, this is happening here in Des Moines?' This was very scary stuff."

That the protest had attracted the attention of authorities was no surprise to Terrell. An investigation of the protests he expected, but a grand jury investigation, he says, indicates a level of fear and distrust that just hasn't been present — or necessary — at the dozens of actions Terrell has helped organize in Central Iowa in the past few years. Terrell, no newcomer to the peace and justice community, first walked a picket line in 1975 with the United Farm Workers in New York City.

Since then, he's been arrested several times for acts of non-violent civil disobedience. He's spent time in the Catholic Worker Community in New York and in federal prison for his protesting — time he served while simultaneously serving as mayor of Maloy, the town he calls home.

______________________________________________

In his years as an activist and non-violent protester, Terrell has never himself experience such an effort to squelch dissent as that which took place in Des Moines last week. It appeared the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was poking around, trying to find out who in Central Iowa was involved with planning the protest and the conference, and who exactly was in attendance. Terrell knew several people who were part of grand jury investigations in the 1970s for activities similar to the protests in Central Iowa, and he's seen the effect such an investigation can have.

"I know how devastating it was to communities at that time," says Terrell. The result, he explains,was a sense of fear and distrust that spread throughout the peace and justice movement and eventually destroyed friendships and broke organizations apart. That, he believes, was the goal here. And it could have ended badly. Drake University could have washed its hands of it all and quietly turned over the requested records. ...
______________________________________________

More:

Subpoenas Dropped: New York Times
February 11, 2004

Subpoenas on Antiwar Protest Are Dropped
By MONICA DAVEY

DES MOINES, Feb. 10 — Facing growing public pressure from civil liberties advocates, federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped subpoenas that they issued last week ordering antiwar protesters to appear before a grand jury and ordering a university to turn over information about the protesters.

The protesters, who had said they feared that the unusual federal inquiry was intended to silence and scare people who disagreed with government positions, declared victory.

"We made them want to stop," Brian Terrell, executive director of the Catholic Peace Ministry here and one of four protesters who received subpoenas, told a crowd at the federal courthouse. "We're here to make them want to never let it happen again."

Representatives of the United States attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Stephen Patrick O'Meara, declined to comment on what prompted the reversal. Mr. O'Meara's spokesman, Al Overbaugh, said he could not comment on information related to grand jury subpoenas.

On Monday, prosecutors defended their inquiry, saying it was limited to the narrow issue of whether a protester trespassed on Iowa National Guard property on Nov. 16.

A subpoena compelling Drake University to provide information about an antiwar forum on its campus on Nov. 15 was also withdrawn, as was an earlier court order that barred Drake officials from speaking publicly about the case.

David E. Maxwell, president of the private university of 5,100 students, said he was deeply relieved.

"It has been a remarkable several days," Dr. Maxwell said. "I'm still processing this."

The school received a subpoena last week that demanded a broad range of information about the sponsor of the forum on Nov. 15, the Drake chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. The subpoena included its leadership lists, annual reports and location. That subpoena was later narrowed somewhat, university officials said on Tuesday, to include the names of people at the forum and records from campus security that might describe "the content of what was discussed at the meeting."

Dr. Maxwell said the subpoenas concerned him because they threatened essential values of the university like the right to free assembly and the sense of the university as a "safe haven" for ideas, even unpopular ones.

"It raised very troubling issues for us," he said.

In the end, the president said, events played out as they should.

"From that perspective," Dr. Maxwell said, "this has shown that the system works. We felt something inappropriate was being asked of us, and in the end it was resolved the way we wanted."

Civil liberties advocates here and nationally said they had questions about the intent of the investigation and whether it might signal a broader worry for antiwar protesters here and others elsewhere. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union intends to investigate the investigation, said its executive director, R. Ben Stone.

"Despite any retreat by the Iowa U.S. Attorney," Mr. Stone said, "there remain serious questions about the scope of this particular investigation. If it was just a trespassing investigation, why seek the membership records of the National Lawyers Guild? If this was an attempt to chill protests through the aggressive policing of a run-of-the-mill crime, we've got a serious problem in America."

Twenty-one people attended a training session on nonviolent protest at the Nov. 15 antiwar forum, organizers said. On Tuesday, a far larger group, more than 100, stood outside the federal courthouse beside Mr. Terrell in bitter cold, holding a new set of protest signs that said, "Say no to political grand juries," "You can subpoena us, but you will not silence us" and "Investigate Halliburton not Iowans."

______________________________________________



NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

We don't ask this to make fun. We ask because we really seek the answers.

Are UFOs real?
Did we land on the moon in 1968?
Did Bush knock down the towers?
Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?
The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
Is Bigfoot real?
Is there a God?


... What makes you think that?


BRIAN TERRELL:

The state has lied to us about almost every important thing that led us into war since the beginning. The sinking of the USS Maine, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin.

How can we assume that they are telling us the truth now?




NAD: Please tell us more about yourself, the things you have done, what you would like to do, what you did today.

BRIAN TERRELL:

Mostly, these days after my precipitous (maybe) exit from my job of nine years as director of Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines I am mostly here down on the farm in Maloy, cracking wall nuts, taking care of the goats and chickens and helping Betsy with her weaving.

[See Page 5 of this for more about our farm. http://desmoinescatholicworker.org/via%20pacis%20october%202008%20screen%20copy.pdf ]



__________


I write this a couple of weeks after the inauguration, deeply disturbed that so many
__________

good folks still support Obama and I wonder if there is any amount of blood there could be on his hands before there is a general disillusionment.

__________



NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?

BRIAN TERRELL:

No.



NAD: Why. Why not.

BRIAN TERRELL:

I write this a couple of weeks after the inauguration, deeply disturbed that so many good folks still support Obama and I wonder if there is any amount of blood there could be on his hands before there is a general disillusionment.

The good news about Obama’s election is that it shows how much idealism is still out there.

The bad news is that that idealism can be so readily coopted and exploited by such a cynic as Obama.

The election of an African American president might say something good about America but the only mitigating thing to say about Obama as we are faced with the horrible reality of his unfolding crimes is that he always said, promised in fact, that he would only expand Bush’s war of terror, “bump” the pentagon budget, increase the size of the military, keep military aid to Israel “sacrosanct” and hold the entire globe hostage to nuclear annihilation with “all option on the table” regarding Iran.

As I travel around the country, well meaning liberals recognize that I am from Iowa, where Obama got his first big boost for his campaign by winning the Iowa caucus, and try and thank me for helping get him elected!

I take only small satisfaction that I beat the crowd and was arrested for protesting Obama policies in his Iowa campaign office the day of the 2008 caucus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHcYWYELkoI.



__________


The NAD feature interviews are archived below here.


Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Palestine

Richard Flamer, Catholic Worker in Chiapas

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, activist

Elena Siff Erenburg, political artist from Los Angeles

Allen Ruff, of Rainbow Bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin

Len Osanic, Black Op Radio

Levi Asher, a writer and literary critic in New York City

Geov Parrish, Seattle journalist, activist

Bill Polonsky, Yukon 9/11 Truth

Daphne Webb, Denver writer, activist, green wedding planner

Michael Boldin, a populist blooms in L.A.

Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher magazine

Will Braun, editor of Geez Magazine,

Ben Heine, political artist in Belgium

Matt Sullivan, editor of The Rock Creek Free Press

Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review

Jarek Kupsc, 9/11 Truth filmmaker, "The Reflecting Pool"

Bill O'Driscoll, arts editor, Pittsburgh City Paper

Gerry McCarthy, editor of The Social Edge

Jim Cullen, editor of The Progressive Populist magazine

Bartcop, old-school blogger from Tulsa

Lee Rayburn, radio show host from Madison, Wisconsin

Aimee England, bookseller in Michigan

Al Markowitz, poet for the working woman & man

Timbre Wolf, a Tulsa peace minstrel goes to Hawaii

Steven Stothard, a radical grows in Indiana

Dale Clark, an artist in the desert

Jacqui Devenuau, Green Party organizer in Maine

Don Harkins, co-editor of The Idaho Observer

Stewart Bradley, independent film producer

Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host

William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth

Lynn Berg, New York City actor

Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network

Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine

Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth

Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

Tuesday

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN: Live From Palestine

On the streets:
Nora Barrows-Friedman, a KPFA radio producer, follows Rawan, 14,
(with microphone) and Haneen, 16, in a field recording class in the Dheisheh refugee camp
.




Ansam and Rawan get a lesson on digital editing from Nora Barrows-Friedman
at Ibdaa Radio 194 in the Dheisheh refugee camp.




It's a great job because
you can access
so many people all over the world,
__________
ask them what they think,
and spread it far and wide in the
hopes of actually forming changes in consciousness.






Barrows-Friedman stands amid the rubble of
demolished homes in the Jebaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.








THE New American
Dream Interview





NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN, 30, lives in Oakland, California.

She is the producer and co-host of Flashpoints, a daily investigative news magazine on the Pacifica Radio Network.

Several times a year, Nora travels to occupied Palestine as a reporter, writer and educator.

She is based at the Ibdaa Cultural Center, located inside the sixty-year-old Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.

She also works with a group of students and Ibdaa doing radio production and media arts.

In addition to hosting and producing the show and trying to cross numerous illegal checkpoints, on her off time, Nora likes to play her cello, bake cookies and, most importantly, hang out with the coolest eight-year-old on the planet.


More about Nora Barrows-Friedman:
http://web.mac.com/nora78/iWeb/NoraInPalestine/About%20Me.html
http://flashpoints.net/




_______________

The New American Dream Trivia Question

To win a copy of one of Palecek's books, or leftover Christmas candy, or maybe a "Deception Dollar," be the first one to correctly answer the following.

Nora Barrows-Friedman would rather be ....

a. Covering the craft show at the Plymouth Iowa County Fair
b. Covering the New England maple syrup beat for NPR
c. On three hours every afternoon in every little town in the U.S.A., just like Rush ... and change the world
d. Staying home, for a while
e. Curled up, with my Northern Exposure collection
f. Headed to a Natalie Merchant concert


Answer:
g. in complete isolation for three months, writing a novel, living in a little house on a farm in Umbria, Italy.

_______________




NAD: Nora, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.

Where are you from? Hometown, school, first job, like that.

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:

I was born and raised in Berkeley, California.

I graduated from Albany High in 1996, and then went on to New College of California years later, graduating with a degree in Humanities With a Focus on the Illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine (really, it's written in calligraphy on my diploma) in 2004.

My first job was stockroom clerk at a bookstore in berkeley.




NAD: What was the mascot for your high school?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
The Albany High Cougars!




NAD: Why this job?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
This job encompasses many of my passions — speaking truth to power, asking questions and figuring out what makes people tick — I guess I'm a bit of a social-anthropological voyeur.

It's a great job because you can access so many people all over the world, ask them what they think, and spread it far and wide in the hopes of actually forming changes in consciousness.

Plus, I get to go to palestine (even though I raise my own funds and have $30,000 in credit card debt, but I digress) whenever I want and really dig in to the story here.

It's my passion.



NAD: Why do you do it?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I think we all have the responsibility to speak out and enact change when we see how impossibly wretched the world is for so many silenced people.

This forum allows me, personally, to communicate to the outside world the reality on the ground in Palestine without self-censorship and with total focus on the human impact of political decisions and official lines.

It's a lot to carry in terms of personal responsibility but it's also really empowering to know that something you put on the air could actually change people's opinions and spark a flame.



NAD: The name, Flashpoints, what does it mean to you?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
Flashpoints means a collective chorus from places around the world where people are facing oppression and injustice, and from where grassroots resistance comes forth.




It is the most densely-populated place on earth,
_______________
and many consider it to be the world's largest open-air prison.





NAD: Where is Palestine? Where is Gaza?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
Palestine is on the Mediterranean sea, south of Lebanon and north of Egypt. Some people call it Israel, but I like to call it all Palestine — Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and what is considered to be "Israel."

Gaza is a tiny little strip on the very south-west of Palestine-Israel, five miles wide by 22 miles long right on the border of Egypt.

It's home to 1.5 million Palestinians, 80 percent of whom are refugees from the original 1948 expulsion and dispossession as Israel came into being.

It is the most densely-populated place on earth, and many consider it to be the world's largest open-air prison.



NAD: Why don't I already know?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
The world would rather you not talk about Palestine or the Palestinians.

Or what happened to them in 1948.

Or the fact that 530 villages were ethnically cleansed and "depopulated" as Israel shoved foreigners into the place and called it Israel.

Shhhh...



NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

We don't ask this to make fun. We ask because we really seek the answers.

Are UFOs real?
Did we land on the moon in 1968?
Did Bush knock down the towers?
Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?
The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
Is Bigfoot real?
Is there a God?


NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I'm going to answer the God question.

Because I'm writing from occupied Palestine, God is on the tongues of a lot of people around here.

More so than UFOs and Bigfoot and Paul Wellstone (RIP).

Personally, I think there is no God.

I think there are bigger questions than we have answers for, and I believe there are purposes to people's lives that are somewhat dictated by fate and the cycle of the universe, but I don't think there is some bearded white guy in the clouds counting the times I've ripped toilet paper on the sabbath or prayed a certain number of hours a day or the amount of rosaries I chant.

I think human obsessive-compulsive disorder, packed with shame and guilt and neuroticism and paranoia, along with religious dogma is a wretched and destructive combination.

And he's certainly not a real-estate agent by any means (that one is a slam to my Jewish brothers and sisters who believe that "god" "gave them" this land and therefore the Palestinian indigenous must vacate, cuz it's in the book that they (the Jews) wrote).

Give me a break.




NAD: On your website, the photos, there is one of a former prison called al-Faraa, with blood stains all over the wall, very noticeable, with bullet holes.

Also, it seems that from the other photos, bullet holes are the motif, the decorating design of most buildings in the area.

Is that true? Why?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
You could say that bullet holes are the motif in occupied Palestine.

That's why sometimes I snarkely call this place the "holey land."

I think israelis are very much amused by punching holes in things. buildings, bodies, with guns, with bulldozers, with missiles.

Also, Israel enjoys the distinction for being the country with the highest level of domestic violence.

I think in a militarized culture, built on the back of the trauma of the nazi holocaust (a trauma that really hasn't even been dealt with on a collective psychological level — my mom's a therapist, can you tell?) and then pushed into this ultra-violent culture of death and siege and extreme offense masked as defense, domestic violence — as well as other forms of physical violence enacted every second onto the Palestinians — is inevitable. And growing.



NAD: You have probably been to Bethlehem? Is it awesome? Does it make you believe in God?

Want to believe?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I live in Bethlehem or at least in the immediate Bethlehem area when I am here.

I have for five years.

It makes me believe in good fairytales, the sunset over the Jordanian desert, hot, sweet tea, and felafel.




And I will believe him about social security,
health care for my daughter, better education
_______________
and services for the poor when I see them.





NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
Not much. In terms of foreign policy, he's basically towing the Bush doctrine (sorry, folks).

And I will believe him about social security, health care for my daughter, better education and services for the poor when I see them.


NAD: Why?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
It's the system. the capitalist system is the problem.

Changing the face of the leader of the same system doesn't really do much to save the world when the system itself is the thing that is destroying us.



NAD: Or ... perhaps ... there is a world out there and maybe we should not think so much about ourselves? Just wondering.

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
Exactly.

There are our non-human relatives who also give a shit about their lives (or stasis, if you're a rock), and would rather we just shut up about ourselves for a minute and think about those who have no voices.

Sorry, do I sound like a hippie?

It's my Berkeley upbringing coming out.

I can't suppress it.




NAD: Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
Yes!

It's my A-lJazeera cup that I bought in Doha, Qatar, at the Al-Jazeera media conference in April 2007.

It's white, dark blue inside, and has the flashy Al-Jazeera logo on it in gold on the side.

Al-Jazeera means "the island."




NAD: What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I have to pick up stock footage of the zionist militia's destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948 and 1949 from Zochrot, an anti-zionist Israeli organization that documents and archives the Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic), what Palestinians call the expulsion.

I'm helping to produce a music video about the Nakba and zionism with a friend of mine from Detroit, Invincible (aka Ilana Weaver), an amazing MC.



NAD: How about by Christmas 2009?

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I have to complete my book proposal — sample chapters and a structure/outline.

NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?




NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
I think you hit every nail on the head! this was fun!!




NAD: Please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes:

NORA BARROWS-FRIEDMAN:
www.norabf.com (my website which i haven't updated in a long time, pls forgive me)
www.flashpoints.net (my work)

other links i likey:
www.kabobfest.com (great Palestine-Iraq-Middle East news and information analysis with a side of snark)
www.electronicintifada.net (amazing and serious analysis)
www.ibdaa194.org (website to the Ibdaa cultural center in Dheisheh refugee camp where i'm based)

and you can tell i'm a dork cuz i also check out:
www.boingboing.net (info-tainment - news/views on tech gadgets, arts and culture and a little bit o' politics and rage)
cakewrecks.blogspot.com (just plain ol' fun)


[Originally published January 2009]


__________


The NAD feature interviews are archived below here.



Richard Flamer, Catholic Worker in Chiapas

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, activist

Elena Siff Erenburg, political artist from Los Angeles

Allen Ruff, of Rainbow Bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin

Len Osanic, Black Op Radio

Levi Asher, a writer and literary critic in New York City

Geov Parrish, Seattle journalist, activist

Bill Polonsky, Yukon 9/11 Truth

Daphne Webb, Denver writer, activist, green wedding planner

Michael Boldin, a populist blooms in L.A.

Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher magazine

Will Braun, editor of Geez Magazine,

Ben Heine, political artist in Belgium

Matt Sullivan, editor of The Rock Creek Free Press

Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review

Jarek Kupsc, 9/11 Truth filmmaker, "The Reflecting Pool"

Bill O'Driscoll, arts editor, Pittsburgh City Paper

Gerry McCarthy, editor of The Social Edge

Jim Cullen, editor of The Progressive Populist magazine

Bartcop, old-school blogger from Tulsa

Lee Rayburn, radio show host from Madison, Wisconsin

Aimee England, bookseller in Michigan

Al Markowitz, poet for the working woman & man

Timbre Wolf, a Tulsa peace minstrel goes to Hawaii

Steven Stothard, a radical grows in Indiana

Dale Clark, an artist in the desert

Jacqui Devenuau, Green Party organizer in Maine

Don Harkins, co-editor of The Idaho Observer

Stewart Bradley, independent film producer

Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host

William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth

Lynn Berg, New York City actor

Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network

Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine

Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth

Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

Saturday

WORKING WITH THE POOR — in Chiapas, Mexico

Araceli, at right




Richard




Richard's first carpentry class with their families.



"I do not feel at home in the U.S., and, I find that the more time I spend in Chiapas the more I realize
I have never really felt at home in this country.

Mexico, especially in the Southern portion,
is a land of indigenous families who are poor.


I feel so much more at home
surrounded by the poor,
living amongst them, as well.
"






THE
New American Dream Interview

[first published January 2009]




RICHARD FLAMER, 61, lives in Chiapas, Mexico.

He has been there full time since 2001, six months a year prior to that for six years.

He is married to Araceli Benitez Moya, A Zapotec woman from Oaxaca.

The two of them run a Catholic Worker farm, which offers hospitality and housing to those in need, chiefly migrants on the road from Central America.




NAD: Richard, hello, welcome.

You are now up here in the states.

Where exactly are you, what are you up to?

How long will you be here? And then you will go back to Chiapas?

Do you view that as your home now? Or, do you feel you are back home, now, up here?



RICHARD FLAMER:

I am currently in Champaign, IL. staying at the local Catholic Worker while working in construction in rebuilding a small house for a local family.

That is, I am working for money to get enough to build a house for my wife and I on the farm site.

Each year I come back to the U.S. to raise funds, do talks, do a little construction, whatever it takes to continue our life in Chiapas.

I do not feel at home in the U.S., and, I find that the more time I spend in Chiapas the more I realize I have never really felt at home in this country.

Mexico, especially in the Southern portion, is a land of indigenous families who are poor.

I feel so much more at home surrounded by the poor, living amongst them, as well.




NAD: Where did you grow up?

You were in Vietnam. What year. Where. Were you in combat?

Did you see all the bad things we picture? How did you end up there?


RICHARD FLAMER:

Vietnam was the best of times and the worst of times (thank you Charles Dickens.) It was a fundamental time for me to be in the war.

My work was largely in Military Intelligence so I ended up being out of combat most of the time but responsible for locating targets for the B-52 bombers.

For a short period I was on the ground working with a Marine unit in surveying target damage, etc.




NAD: When you came back, can we assume you were depressed, PTSD?

What did you go through, and what pulled you out? You were involved in some civil disobedience.

You have done some on-purpose jail time and some no-so on purpose — right?


RICHARD FLAMER:

I have done some short stints in jail for Civil Disobedience. My time when I came back was awful but I was fortunate in finding a route for my intellect at a good College (Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont) and a way at a healing.




NAD: What is your passion today?

When you woke up this morning, what did you feel you had to get done before supper time?


RICHARD FLAMER:

I don't know that I have a single passion anymore.

My whole life seems to be a life of passion. I try to approach everything with the same hope and fervor.

I find that I have the same questions as I had when I was a youth but the importance of the answers has waned.

These days I take great joy in almost everything around me. As for getting things done — I don't much worry about that stuff.

As Dorothy Day once offered us: "God doesn't ask us to be effective, only faithful."




I find that I have the same questions as I had
when I was a youth but the importance of the answers has waned.





NAD: How do you see the USA now, from your front-porch perch way down south?

There are many things to talk about in your life, that is why there is a movie in the works, but could you just briefly mention your days down there as a photographer.

You really have been sort of a good works wanderer. It must have been fun, in a way.


RICHARD FLAMER:

I don't know that my life has been as a good works wanderer.

I think what I started was a kind of atonement. That is, I searched for a way of atonement and ended up having a life that helps in serving others.

One sort of forgets about all your travails and finds solace in the faith of those around you.

As a photo-journalist I was always trying to take pictures which would somehow contribute to a peaceful life — I ended up taking photos of the people that I learned to love.

It is an enormous joy, this life. I have the best life in the world.




It is an enormous joy, this life. I have the best life in the world.




NAD: Tell about the movie being planned about your life.

On the website for that project there are quotes from Dorothy Day.

Do you feel pretty strongly about the Catholic Worker, the poor, the service philosophy?


RICHARD FLAMER:

I feel strongly about Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker, etc. but I am unhappy about the idea that the film will be about me.

The truth is, the measure of our lives is in love; how well we can be disciples. It's not about me, it's the work.




NAD: Please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes:


RICHARD FLAMER:

Link to www.bishopruizproject.org


Thank you.

Richard



____________

About

THE New American Dream Feature Interviews

If you search the archives below the current feature interview,
you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:


Anthony Rayson, Chicago anarchist, publisher of prisoner authors

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Elena Siff Erenburg, a political artist in L.A.

Allen Ruff, bookstore worker and author in Madison

Len Osanic, Black Op Radio, Vancouver, Canada

Levi Asher, a writer and literary critic in New York City

Geov Parrish, Seattle journalist, activist

Bill Polonsky, Yukon 9/11 Truth

Daphne Webb, Denver writer, activist, green wedding planner

Michael Boldin, a populist blooms in L.A.

Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher magazine

Will Braun, editor of Geez Magazine, Canada

Ben Heine, political artist in Belgium

Matt Sullivan, editor of The Rock Creek Free Press, Washington, D.C.

Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review, from Maine

Jarek Kupsc, 9/11 Truth filmmaker, "The Reflecting Pool"

Bill O'Driscoll, arts editor, Pittsburgh City Paper

Gerry McCarthy, editor of The Social Edge, Canada

Jim Cullen, editor of The Progressive Populist magazine, Austin, Texas

Bartcop, old-school blogger from Tulsa

Lee Rayburn, radio show host from Madison, Wisconsin

Aimee England, bookseller in Michigan

Al Markowitz, poet for the working woman & man

Timbre Wolf, a Tulsa peace minstrel goes to Hawaii

Steven Stothard, a radical grows in Indiana

Dale Clark, an artist in the desert near Bisbee, Arizona

Jacqui Devenuau, Green Party organizer in Maine

Don Harkins, co-editor of The Idaho Observer

Stewart Bradley, independent film producer in Indiana

Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host

William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist in California

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth

Lynn Berg, New York City actor

Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network

Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine, Brooklyn, New York

Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth

Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change, New York State

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author, living in Belize

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love, living in NYC

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza, sometimes in California

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs, in Taos, New Mexico

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher, living in Maine

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet, in Tucson

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter, from New York City

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author, from Isla Vista, California

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle, Florida

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary [deceased]

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host, in Arizona

Phil Hey, professor, poet, Sioux City, Iowa

John Crawford, book publisher, Albuquerque

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist, in Wisconsin

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left, in Vermont

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist, in California

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners, from Chicago

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

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