[R-G] Today's Protest against Negroponte
pieinsky at igc.org
Mon Jun 5 15:54:22 MDT 2006
I was down at this protest myself earlier today. We've got to confront
these war criminals whenever and wherever they appear.
5 June 2006
Protesters Arrested After Disrupting Negroponte in Vermont
by Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project
St. Johnsbury,VT--National Intelligence Director John Negroponte's
Commencement Address to the graduating class of private St. Johnsbury
Academy was disrupted twice by protesters inside the auditorium where the
ceremony was being held.
Over 75 protesters gathered on the sidewalk outside of the Academy
protesting Negroponte's shadowy record that spans decades including a stint
as the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and Ambassador to Iraq before his present
position as the nation's number one "intelligence" overseer. Two other
protesters from Vermont School of the Americas Watch were arrested as they
attempted to gain entrance to the auditorium. (More details of Negroponte's
actions in Honduras and his complicity in Nicaragua during the Contra War in
Briefly after Negroponte began his address, Michael Colby, a horse logger
from Worcester, VT stood up saying, "In the name of democracy I object to
this man speaking. He has blood on his hands from his work in Central
America and Iraq. He shouldn't be at the podium, he should be in jail. He
is a war criminal." Colby was grabbed by police and security and escorted
out of the auditorium to awaiting police cars.
As Colby was being escorted away, Negroponte told the audience, "Now it's my
turn." But before he could continue, Boots Wardinski, another logger
quickly rose stating, "No! It's my turn! When the headmaster intorduced
Negroponte, he forgot to tell about all the people tortured, killed and
raped (under Negroponte's helm in Honduras). You should be ashamed to stay
in here and listen to this man."
Some of the protesters assembled outside started to move toward the
auditorium. Palmer Legare and Brendan O'Neill, both from Vermont School of
the Americas Watch, were grabbed by the police and arrested.
O'Neill shouted to reporters and bystanders, "They are arresting the wrong
people. This man (Negroponte) teaches war not peace. He is responsible for
the murders of 30,000 innocent Nicaraguans."
"Negroponte should have been arrested," stated Legare as he was being
arrested and put into a police car. Legare continued, "he is a war
All four were arrested for disorderly conduct and trespass although both
Colby and Wardinski had tickets allowing them inside for the Negroponte
speech. Both Colby and Wardinski represented Horse Loggers for Peace and
Wardinski is also a member of Veterans for Peace.
After the four were released, Colby said that he told the arresting officer
that, "I come in peace." Colby said then the officer punched him in the
Wardinski said his arresting officer called him a, "punk asshole."
Fliers handed out by protesters made the accusation that while Negroponte
was "ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985, he collaborated with the
Honduran military government overseeing one of the most scandalous and
shameful periods of U.S. foreign policy overseeing:
"-An increase in military aid to Honduras from $4 million a year to over $77
--An illegal and unauthorized 'Contra' war against the Sandinistas in
--Increased collaboration between U.S. military, CIA., Honduran military and
the Nicaraguan Contras forming paramilitary death squads, secret torture and
detention camps and widespread assassinations of peace and justice activists
--The disappearances of 32 American women social justice church leaders
--Collaboration between the CIA with the School of the Americas's trained
founders of the infamously violent Honduran paramilitary organizartion
--Censorship of the media's reporting on the war
--The now infamous Iran-Contra Scandal...after the U.S. congress voted to
withdraw support for the (war) due to widespreadhuman rights abuses by the
Although Negroponte did not speak about foreign policy or government spying
on people in the U.S. during his speech, most protesters were alarmed that
Negroponte was chosen as the Commencement speaker for St. John's Academy
(even though Negroponte's son was graduating.) Long time activist Brian
Tokar told reporters, "It's outrageous that he's being given a position of
honor in our community."
Activists also pointed out that another Vermonter, Robin Lloyd, is in
federal prison after being convicted of "crossing the line" at a Fort
Benning, GA, School of the Americas protest that happened last November.
Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann are Co-Directors of Global Justice Ecology
Project and are contributors to various publications internationally.
Global Justice Ecology Project
P.O. Box 412
Hinesburg, VT 05461 U.S.
<mailto:info at globaljusticeecology.org>
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