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Mid-Missouri
Fellowship of
Reconciliation

FOR News July 2001


P.O. Box 268
Columbia, Missouri
65205
573-449-4585
email: jstack@coin.org


Gov. Bob Holden Signs Bill Banning Death Sentencing of Mentally-Retarded

Activist Steve Jacobs on July 17 to begin one-year prison sentence for SOA protest

Two Columbia activist from St. Francis House arrested at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis

"Smart Sanctions" a Continuation of Same Dumb U.S. Policy

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Statement on Nuclear Annihilation and Conventional Destruction

Film and Talk on the Palestinian Crisis July 15

Attend Next MADP Meeting July 21

FOR: Please Pitch In to Support Our Work


Ten Years Later, Bill Passes to Protect Mentally-Retarded People from Death Sentences

Missouri moved incrementally toward becoming a more civilized society Monday, July 2, as Gov. Bob Holden signed Senate Bill 267 into law. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the death sentencing of individuals determined to be mentally-retarded. Missouri becomes the 16th state to protect mentally-retarded citizens from the harshest legal punishment. A few weeks ago Florida’s Gov. Jeb Bush signed a similar bill; the Texas legislature also passed such a bill this session, but still need the governor’s signature to become law.

A majority of the U.S. states (28, when adding in the 12 states that don’t allow any executions) forbid death sentencing their mentally-retarded citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court, consequently, stands a greater chance of ruling the practice unconstitutional, when it considers next year the case of a mentally-retarded facing execution in North Carolina. Justices had based past decisions in large part, on how the U.S. majority viewed the issue.

Missouri activists have struggled for the past decade to end the practice. It is good to achieve this step toward embracing full human rights for all people. Congratulations to the dozens of folks who have strug-gled for the cause (it’s especially worth acknowledging former Rep. Mike Schilling who for several years sponsored a sim-ilar bill).

Please contact Gov. Holden (write: State Capitol, Jefferson City MO 65101, fax 573-751-1495 or phone 573-751-3222) to thank him for signing the bill.

If you haven’t already please contact and thank the following individuals:

-- Rep. Ralph Monaco monaco@services.state.mo.us (573-751-9851), sponsor of SB 267 in the House;

-- Rep. Craig Hosmer chosmer@services.state.mo.us (573-751-9474), sponsor of the MR bill, HB 265 and facilitator of the original compromise between prosecutors and defense attorneys;

-- Rep. Bill Boucher bboucher@services.state.mo.us (573-751-7335), sponsor of the second MR bill, HB 369, co-sponsored by 20 other reps.;

-- Sen. Dave Klarich dklarich@services.state.mo.us (573-751-1073), sponsor of SB 267, which proved to be the vehicle to bring about the MR exemption;

-- Sen. John Schneider (no e-mail address) (573-751-4106), sponsor of the initial MR bill, SB 192.

To write any of the above legislators, address correspondence to The Honorable _______, House Post Office, Jefferson City MO 65101 or Senate Post Office, Jeff City MO 65101.

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Activist Steve Jacobs on July 17 to begin one-year prison sentence for SOA protest

Steve Jacobs, with the St. Francis House Catholic Worker community in Columbia (operating a hospitality house for homeless men) along with a dozen other activists will begin lengthy federal prison sentences for nonviolent civil disobedience actions at the notorious US Army School of the Americas (SOA) based in Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia. Jacobs was sentenced to two six-month sentences, running consecutively, for separate instances of "trespassing" upon the army base. The court thankfully honored his request that he be sentenced to the Leavenworth penitentiary in eastern Kansas, thus enabling family and friends to more easily visit him.

Army instructors at the SOA, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, train Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics. Among the nearly 60,000 SOA graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, plus lower-ranking soldiers like those who assassinated Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero and took part in the El Mozote massacre of 900 civilians in El Salvador.

Jacobs has no reservations about his actions, consciously accepting the consequences. He noted in a recent Columbia Daily Tribune article, "All my heroes from Martin Luther King to Gandhi to Jesus had all been in prison. If I try to follow in their footsteps, I’m happy to do the same."

Please keep in mind and/or pray for those Americans across the southern hemisphere afflicted by the practices learned by SOA graduates, plus the protestors, including Jacobs, facing prison. We’ll let you know of a mailing address, once he gets settled in. Call the St. Francis community (875-7874) for more information or to offer your labor to fill the void of service which would be left with his imprisonment. For other info on the SOA, check out www.soawatch.org.

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Two Columbia activist from St. Francis House arrested at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis

Chrissy Kirchhoefer and Maureen Doyle, Catholic Workers from the St. Francis community were arrested June 25 along with four other acitivists at the entrance of Monsanto's corporate headquarters, protesting the company's role in spraying Roundup Ultra in Colombia. They spent three days in jail. The six activists attempted to enter the headquarters in order to dialogue with executives about the indiscriminate use of Roundup Ultra which the Pentagon is spraying in order to irradicate coca production. Company officials refused to meet with the activist who have been trying to get a meeting for months. The non-violent civil disobedience was preceded by a rally attended by 90 other protesters, some of whom had recently returned from Colombia and observed contamination of food crops and say that the spraying of farmers fields is without their permission and is used to drive civilians out any areas contested by the guerillas and the army and paramilitary organizations. Kate McCoy from the Colombia Support Group told the crowd of activists that ". . . If a company sells chemicals used to make a terrorist bomb and doesn't know the chemicals were used for that purpose, it would not be guilty of complicity. But if a company sold chemicals knowing that they would be used to harm others, then they would be guilty of supporting terrorists. Monsanto knows that their chemicals are being used indiscriminately on civilians in Colombia". Michael Joseph, who spent nine months in Colombia with Witness for Peace, saw contaminated farm fields with food crops destroyed by the spraying. He said that farmers are reporting respiratory and skin disorders in themselves and their children and their water and food is contaminated from aerial spraying. He noted that no Colombian farmer has ever consented to be sprayed by the U.S. government. For local info call Steve Jacobs at (573) 443-0096

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"Smart Sanctions" a Continuation of Same Dumb U.S. Policy

Neither "Smart Sanctions," which the United Kingdom introduced in the United Nations on Tuesday, May 22, nor alternative proposals offered by Russia and France, solve the Iraqi humanitarian crisis. Though a discussion of the current sanctions in the UN represents a move in the right direction, these initiatives do not address the root causes of the Iraqi crisis.

Campaign of Conscience—which is supported by the national Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and is endorsed by more than 2,000 individuals and 100 organizations—continues to call for an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq.

The sale of oil is. However, under "Smart Sanctions," oil revenues, Iraq's major source of income, continue to be deposited in an escrow account managed by the UN. Without control of its income, Iraq remains unable to decide when, where and whether it can purchase goods to meet its people’s needs.

The Persian Gulf War and 11 years of sanctions have ravaged Iraq's infrastructure. Today, water treatment and sewage treatment plants still lie in ruin, leaving water unsafe to drink and deadly to children, and an unreliable electric power grid means that food and medicine cannot be safely refrigerated.

Sanctions have contributed to the death of well over one million Iraqis. More than 200 people die each day in Iraq; 5,000 to 6,000 die each month, according. to UNICEF and Denis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest of the U.S.-led UN-coordinated sanctions. The U.S.-British plan of foolishly-called smart sanctions "doesn't do anything to allow Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure," said Thomas Gumbleton, a Catholic bishop who signed the letter. "If you can imagine, what would Germany have been like without the Marshall Plan?" And it ought to be added, imagine a post World War II Germany, burdened by sanctions instead of receiving support.

Join folks across the nation in pressing President George Bush to end the Iraqi sanctions. Either write him at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, FAXa letter to 202-456-1414, or call 202-456-1414

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HIROSHIMA—NAGASAKI

The statement below will be run as a signature ad in the Columbia Daily Tribune and/or the Columbia Missourian on August 6. Please add your name and encourage others to sign on as well. A suggested donation of $2-$25 per signature to help defray the ad’s cost, is not required but encouraged to help determine the size of the ad. Please print this statement (should be page 4 but check with your browsers print preview function) and return signatures for the ad, a joint project of the Mid-MO FOR, Columbia Interfaith Peace Alliance and Mid-MO Peaceworks to the Peace Nook, 804 C E. Broadway, Columbia MO 65201 no later than July 25. Write checks out to Mid-Missouri Peaceworks.

Fifty-six years ago, on August 6, 1945, U.S. forces dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later a second one was used against Nagasaki. Approximately 100,000 human beings died in the Hiroshima blast; 70,000 died in Nagasaki. Thousands more in Japan have died, and continue to die, due to after effects of those two bombs.

Today in the post-Cold War era our country remains armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. Rather than taking steps required of us as signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to pursue universal nuclear disarmament, our policies are based upon maintaining arsenals of thousands of nuclear warheads in perpetuity.

Instead of working toward a future based upon cooperation and mutual security, today President Bush is leading a headlong charge to deploy Star Wars (national missile defense), a seriously flawed concept. Such a scheme will cost us well over a hundred billion dollars, enriching the military contractors, putting a wrench in the arms control process, and ultimately, it will fail to protect us. We would be much safer eliminating weapons of mass destruction throughout the world, including our own vast arsenals.

While nuclear weapons are a primary threat to our survival, far more death and destruction has actually come from conventional warfare. As U.S. citizens, we are deeply disturbed that our country pursues an interventionist, militaristic foreign policy. The United States uses its status as the world’s sole military superpower to bully and attack, and our economic power to coerce through sanctions.

The currently escalating U.S. intervention in Colombia, our ongoing military and economic war against Iraq and our four-decade-old attempt to strangle Cuba are prime examples of a foreign policy that causes horrific suffering. While we are told that our country is pursuing noble purposes, the means used are not consistent with the stated ends. Peace, justice and democracy do not flow from the barrel of a gun. They are not achieved by starving children or by defoliating jungles and pushing peasant farmers off their land. To attain our stated ends, our nation must take up the tools of peacemakers. We must creatively employ non-violent conflict resolution techniques.

We cannot undo the harm already done by wars and sanctions, but today we pledge to help eliminate the threat of nuclear war and create a more peaceful, just and environmentally sustainable future. We urge President Bush to lift sanctions imposed upon Iraq and Cuba, to end our counterinsurgency campaign in Colombia and to commit U.S. resources to help rebuild the still war-ravaged Iraqi nation. We implore our elected officials to work toward attaining these realities.

We call upon all governments to halt the international arms trade and to work toward nuclear disarmament and the elimination of all conventional weapons. We support non-violent conflict resolution, a non-interventionist foreign policy and the redirection of the hundreds of billions of dollars currently being squandered on the world’s military toward environmental improvement and fulfilling the unmet needs of the world’s people for adequate nutrition, housing, health care and education.

Print Name (legibly please, as you’d like it to appear in paper)

Signature

Full Address

Phone

 

 

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Film and Talk on the Palestinian Crisis July 15

The public is welcome to attend on Sunday, July 15, a potluck dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by a video presentation at 7:00 of "People and the Land," a documentary on life in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the Guadelope Room of the Newman Center. The Center is located in Columbia at the corner of Maryland and Turner on the University of Missouri campus. The program, featuring the 1997 film, produced by Tom Hayes, will include an update on the people’s nonviolent struggle there. Jointly sponsored by the Newman Center and the Islamic Center of Central Missouri, call the ICCM at 875-4633 for more information.

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Attend Next MADP Meeting July 21

Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty will have its next quarterly meeting from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., Saturday, July 21 in the Missouri Catholic Conference office at 600 Clark Lane in Jefferson City. Among the items on the agenda will be an update on the status of various individuals living under a death sentence; legislation consideration for the 2002 session, long-term strategizing, wrap-up report on the Missouri Journey of Hope and whatever folks want to bring to the table. (For folks traveling from the north, take Hwy 63 South, exiting at the Clark Lane off-ramp then turning into the parking lot of the first building visible after exiting on the right, west side of the road. For car-pooling from Columbia call Jeff (449-4585).

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FOR: Please Pitch In to Support Our Work

We have always operated and depended on the generosity of people of conscience and good will to keep us afloat financially. These days it has typically been a dozen or so folks contributing, whom have provided the funding to make possible our work such as the FOR newsletter you now hold in your hands. Each newsletter costs between $500-$700 to print and mail. We also incur $100-$200 in monthly long-distance phone expenses. Just the other day, our bookkeeper Nan George reported that our bank balance has dipped to about $800. It doesn’t take an accountant to figure out that we are on the verge of becoming financially insolvent. In fact, we’re sending out this newsletter on and as a prayer. We think it’s important that you learn more about Jerome Mallett the human being whom Missouri officials plan to execute and that you have other information to consider about the death penalty plus other peace and social-justice efforts passed along via the FOR line of information. If you consider it important to you, please consider donating as generously as you’re able. If you agree, please make a contribution today. To those several people who have donated in the past few months, we extend our hearty appreciation. But for the other 1700-plus folks on the mailing list, we ask you to give what you can, sending a check written out to "FOR" and mailed to P.O. Box 268, Columbia MO 65205. Thanks in advance and peace with justice be unto you.

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