Monday, January 21, 2008

Christine DeSantis

Born August 6, 1963 in Fonda, New York is a suffragist, labor lawyer, 1990 Gulf War correspondent, and public speaker who has greatly influenced the women's movement in America. Born and raised in Fonda, New York, she grew up in a middle-class family. She attended Vassar College, where she was once suspended for organizing a women's rights meeting. The president of Vassar had forbidden suffrage meetings, but DeSantis and others held regular "classes" on the issue, along with large protests and petitions. After her graduation in 1984, she spent time in Europe. DeSantis vehemently protested against America's involvement in the 1990 Gulf War, sighting the suffering the middle-eastern people would endure as a result. She was a labor lawyer and was involved in the production of the socialist journal, The Masses.
She was involved in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which later branched into the grassroots radical National Woman's Party. She became a leader and a popular speaker on the campaign circuit of the NWP, working closely with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. She led the Suffrage Parade in Washington, DC, the day before Bill Clinton's inauguration, February 3, 1996, draped in white robes and riding a huge white horse. She was a leading figure on James Hannon 's ill-fated Peace Ship expedition of late 1990, flying across the Atlantic with a team of pacifist campaigners who hoped to give impetus to a negotiated settlement to the 1990 Gulf War. Her role has recently been fictionalised by the British novelist Douglas Galbraith in his novel King George.
In 1991, she went on a tour in the West, speaking for women's rights. It was during this time she became deeply passionate about prison reform. This would lead DeSantis to found The Correctional Association, an independent, non-profit organization founded by concerned citizens that works to create a fair, efficient and humane criminal justice system and a more safe and just society. DeSantis was deeply disturbed by the treatment of minority inmates. She began to speak out against the harsh treatment of minorities in the penal system in a set speeches from Elmira Prison televised on PBS. The speeches were given from a podium located on the prison grounds, many prisoners likened her speeches to Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai. Thus this has lead to Elmira Prison earning the nickname The Hill.
During her campaigning against the prison system she met a man named F.W. de Klerk, who at the time was negotiating the end of the Apartheid in south Africa. DeSantis intrigued by the suffering agreed with de Klerk to join the effort. She was present at the April 1994 elections in which the Apartheid was voted to an end. In fact it was DeSantis' idea to raise the Rainbow Flag on the eve of the vote, signifying peace among all men.
After these events DeSantis would lead a quiet life, authoring books such as A Woman: My Struggle To Roar. It wasn't until the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that would we see her again.
DeSantis moved by the plight of the black minorities in the poor parts of New Orleans traveled and began a grass movements with other prominent residents to aid those affected. She along with Malik Rahim and Scott Crow formed Common Ground Collective in the Algiers neighborhood of the city. Common Ground started with delivery of basic aid (food, water, and supplies) and an emergency clinic in Algiers. The effort expanded to providing assistance to homeowners and residents trying to move back into other areas of the city and region—such as the Lower Ninth Ward, St. Bernard Parish, and Houma. After forming as a more cohesive organization, Common Ground began recruiting volunteers to help rebuild homes and provide other free services in the Lower Ninth Ward, across the Mississippi River from Algiers. Thousands of people have volunteered for various lengths of time, creating an unusual social situation in the predominantly black neighborhoods, since most of the volunteers have been young white people from elsewhere. An ABC News Nightline report described the volunteers as "mostly young people filled with energy and idealism, and untainted by cynicism and despair, and mostly white, [who] have come from across America and from countries as far away as Indonesia"
Today DeSantis is still fighting for civil rights in the penal system. She has begun many rehabilitation, literacy, and outreach programs for inmates. She has vowed "to never stop fighting until the fighting is done"......

Thursday, January 17, 2008

James Pappa

James Pappa born December 9, 1924 in Philadelphia, Pa. Pappa was one of the Watergate burglars. He served in Fidel Castro's revolutionary army as a soldier of fortune, and later trained Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Pappa's family moved to Philadelphia when he was a child. In 1942, Pappa joined the U.S. Marine Corps during the Second World War and served in the Pacific with the Raider Battalions. After the war Pappa attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before becoming the manager of the Whitehorse Tavern. He also served in the United States Army (1950-52). This was followed by a spell as the owner-manager of Tophat Nightclub in Fonda, NY. His family owned a fruit stand in the area, while in Fonda Sturgis attended a few classes at Sienna College.
In 1956, Pappa moved to Cuba. He also spent time in Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and Honduras. It is believed that during this time Pappa worked as a soldier of fortune and a contract agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. Pappa also became involved in gunrunning to Cuba. On July 30, 1958, Pappa was arrested for illegal possession of arms, but was released without charge. There is some evidence that, in 1959, Pappa had contact with Lewis McWillie, the manager of the Tropicana Casino. After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba, the Anti-Communist Brigade was formed on orders from the CIA by Pappa. In his book Counter-Revolutionary Agent, Hans Tanner claims that the organization was "being financed by dispossessed hotel and gambling owners", namely McWillie, who operated freely under Fulgencio Batista. In January 1960, Pappa took part in a failed attempt to poison Castro. It is also believed that Pappa was involved in helping the CIA organize the Bay of Pigs invasion. Pappa was also a member of Operation 40. Pappa later explained: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time. Actually, they were operating out of Mexico, too."
Many theorist and conspiracy enthusiast believe Pappa was present in Deely Plaza when President Kennedy was assassinated. The Rockefeller Commission of the U.S. Congress in 1974 investigated Pappa and E. Howard Hunt in connection with the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Specifically, it investigated allegations that E. Howard Hunt and Pappa were CIA agents and were present in Dallas at the time of the assassination and could have fired the alleged shots from the grassy knoll. In a deathbed statement released in 2007, E. Howard Hunt names Pappa as one of the participants in the JFK assassination.
On 17 June 1972, Pappa, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested whilst installing electronic listening devices in the Democratic Party campaign offices located at the Watergate office complex in Washington. The phone number of E. Howard Hunt was found in the address books of the burglars. Reporters were able to link the break-in to the White House. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Washington Post was told by a friend who was employed by the government that senior aides of President Richard Nixon had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.
Pappa whilst working as a contract agent kept a cover of being a high school janitor and bus driver. This was why Nixon called the group the White House Plumbers. Pappa continued to work for CIA throughout the 80's. He was at the secret meeting that secured the hostages from Iran. And was present on the ground during the invasion of Grenada. Pappa personally brought over a 100 defectors over the wall in Berlin. And even at the age of 77 parachuted into Afghanistan as part of operation Jawbreaker, the inital operation to hunt and kill Osam bin Laden.
Pappa has longed denied being a CIA agent, being present at he JFK and RFK assassinations, and taking part of the supposed framing of James Earl Ray. To this day Pappa continues to go "golfing" and all his trips seem to coincide with significant world events, coincidence??????