Kaufman Blasts NED at CounterInaugural
January 20, 2005
[The following speech was delivered
on Jan. 20, 2005, at 4th and Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington,
DC, at the precise moment George W. Bush was taking the oath of
office 4 blocks away at the Capitol.]
Why is someone from the Nicaragua Network
speaking at a demonstration calling for an end to the occupation
of Iraq and for bringing the troops home now?
Well, being a founder of the ANSWER Coalition
and a member of the Steering Committee doesn't hurt ... but seriously,
the reason we are on the Steering Committee is because Nicaragua
and all of Latin America have much in common with Iraq.
When the US invaded the sovereign nation
of Iraq in March of 2003, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista
movement in Mexico said, "Chiapas is now Southwest Iraq."
Latin Americans understand US imperialist aggression as well as
anyone in the world because they've suffered blows from the mailed
fist so often. Because of that experience El Salvador is the only
country from all of Latin America that has troops in Iraq today.
That's also why the US is considering
what it calls the "El Salvador Option" for Iraq. The
"El Salvador Option" is nothing less than the training
of death squads to terrorize the population that opposes US occupation.
It worked so well in El Salvador - 70,000 unionists, peasant leaders,
teachers, healthcare workers, and ordinary men, women, and children
died thanks to the death squads. It worked well in Nicaragua too
- 40,000 dead. But it worked best in Guatemala where over 200,000
were slaughtered. Yes, Iraq is indeed much better off since the
US has brought them freedom.
Nicaragua, like Iraq, has been invaded
and occupied by the US on more than one occasion. Early in the
last century the occupation lasted for decades. The occupiers
even ran the Nicaraguan customs service and post office. In our
office we have a letter mailed from Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1932,
and the cancellation stamp reads "5th Regiment United States
Marine Corp, Managua, Nicaragua."
Like Iraq, Nicaragua's natural resources
have been exploited or stolen for the benefit of US corporations.
Like Iraq, Nicaragua's political system
has been shamelessly manipulated, politicians bought, and elections
paid for so that the corporate-owned US press could declare them
free and fair as if we lived in an Orwellian nightmare where black
is white and slavery is sovereignty, freedom is terrorism and
liberty is death.
George W. Bush has a lot to answer for.
I think he knows it too. Why else has he gone to so much trouble
to try to keep us from lining the parade route. If he doesn't
have to see us in our tens of thousands, maybe he can make himself
believe the lies that he has told the American people. Lies that
have cost the lives of 100,000 Iraqis and nearly 1400 US soldiers,
not to mention the tens of thousands on both sides who have suffered
life changing wounds both physical and emotional.
Granted, George Bush isn't the first person
guilty of war crimes to have traveled the route from the Capitol
to the White House on coronation day. You can almost choose names
at random. How about Andrew Jackson who was already guilty of
genocide against Native Americans when he took office? How about
Thomas Jefferson whose crimes against humanity included slave
ownership and rape? The greatest criminal in my own opinion was
Harry Truman who used the ultimate weapons of mass destruction
- the atomic bomb - not once, but twice, against the people of
The hypocrisy of the United States to
think that we have something to say about what weapons other countries
can stock when no country in the world has more weapons of mass
destruction than we do and no country has killed more people through
their use than ours is truly monumental.
A supposed love for democracy is the other
area where the United States and particularly George W. Bush's
neo-con proto-fascist cronies excel in hypocrisy. The first September
11 of global importance was September 11, 1973, when the democratically
elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown
with CIA support. There are way too many countries whose governments
have been overthrown by the US to list in a couple of minutes.
Read William Blum's excellent book "Rogue State" for
a complete list of those since WWII.
Today, the US anti-democracy campaigns
are run by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According
to one of NED's founders, "A lot of what we do today was
done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
Nine million NED dollars bought the government
of Nicaragua for the US in 1990 and ended the Sandinista experiment
in popular democracy and economic justice.
More recently NED, through its affiliates
the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center and the International Republican
Institute, bankrolled the organizations that organized the unsuccessful
coup against democratically elected Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and,
unsuccessfully again, last year's recall election against him.
How many rank and file labor union members know that their international
solidarity center is in league with the Republicans to overthrow
the progressive government of Hugo Chavez, the first Venezuelan
president in decades who is concerned with poor and working people?
In Haiti, the International Republican
Institute, with NED taxpayer given money, trained the groups of
thugs who terrorized the Haitian people and provided a pretext
for the US to kidnap democratically elected President Aristide
and spirit him out of the country. Well more than 1,000 progressive
Haitians have been killed in the aftermath.
Did you wonder where Ukrainians got all
those orange clothes worn by the US-supported candidate's supporters
during their recent election? I mean, I may have several orange
outfits in my closet, but Sara tells me I have no fashion sense.
I'll bet not many of you have orange outfits in your closets.
Surprise, surprise, NED invested heavily on one side in the Ukrainian
election...and it conducted the "exit polls" that called
the result into question. I've seen liberals raise up the example
of the so-called spontaneous outpouring of Ukrainians contesting
the election. Still, those orange clothes make me wonder.
NED is also investing heavily in Iraq.
I use the word investing advisedly because that's exactly what
it is. NED's expenditures are well invested if they insure that
pro-US government, pro-transnational corporate candidates are
elected in countries where the US has strategic or economic interests.
Well invested, that is, if you are a stockholder in a US arms
manufacturer like Boeing or a stockholder in Halliburton or Citibank.
We are out here today after a long hard
political and legal struggle to assert our constitutional right
to be here - to loudly and strongly tell George W. Bush that it's
not right to preemptively invade other countries. It's not right
to drop 2,000 pound bombs on cities. It's not right to give the
Israelis carte blanche for their apartheid and settler colonial
persecution of the Palestinian people. It's not right to gut our
civil liberties and to spend the money for our children's education
and health care on war. It's not right to give tax cuts to the
rich while Americans are living in the streets through lack of
jobs and housing.
It's not right George W. Bush. We will
fight your evil policies until our last breath. We will raise
the domestic costs of your endless wars until even your fat cat
friends can't stand the cost. We will be sugar in the gas tank
of your war machine. We will be sand in the gears of your national
security state until that day when we can look in the eyes of
our friends in other countries and say that we too are a law abiding
nation committed to human progress and equality for all.
1247 "E" Street
National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
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