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57 Varieties of Radical Causes, Part I, Continued By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 17, 2004


To read the first part of this article, click here. To read the conclusion of this article, click here. To go to the Endnotes, click here. To order the book, Click HERE.

Chapter 2: The Heinz Endowments

As the details of Teresa Heinz Kerry’s involvement with Tides demonstrates, the allegations that she funneled money to President Bush’s most virulent detractors – including fringe antiwar activists, anti-free trade demonstrators, anarchists and Marxists – are well-founded. She has accomplished this not only through her gifts to Tides, but through the immense philanthropic resources at her disposal as the executor of her first husband’s estate.

One example of her sponsorship of the radical left occurred just as her second husband prepared to announce his candidacy for president. In 2002, the Howard Heinz Endowment gave $100,000 to the Three Rivers Community Foundation “to support the work of grassroots organizations actively engaged in promoting social, racial and economic justice.” Like Tides, Three Rivers is dedicated to “bringing about progressive social action.” [41] It works to “bridge persistent divisions in society around issues of race, economic status, gender, sexual identity, and disability.”[42] Like Tides, Three Rivers primarily funds other so-called “grassroots” organizations. But unlike her donations Tides, the money Teresa Heinz Kerry gave to Three Rivers was earmarked specifically for the radical “grassroots organizations.

Thomas Merton, R.I.P.

The Three Rivers website lists the Thomas Merton Center as one of the “groups that have received the greatest cumulative total of Three Rivers funding over the years.[43] The Roman Catholic monk Thomas Merton had nothing to do with the Center’s founding and would be turning in his grave if he saw what it perpetrated in his name. The Thomas Merton Center runs more than 35 left-wing projects, including:

  • Code Pink’s Pittsburgh chapter. Founded by the pro-Castro activist Medea Benjamin, Code Pink presents itself as an organization of housewives who oppose war. In fact, the core leadership of Code Pink met while organizing support for Nicaragua’s Marxist dictatorship and El Salvador’s Communist guerrillas in the 1980s. In 1985, top Code Pink organizer Sandra “Sand” Brim flew an American surgeon to El Salvador to operate on Marxist guerrilla commander Nidia Diaz. TV actor and Win Without War activist Mike Farrell was also present. Commander Diaz’s group had murdered four Marines and nine civilians just two months before.[44]
  • Pittsburgh Social Forum. This is an activist group that “identifies with the World Social Forum,” an international socialist gathering of anti-globalization radicals. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) a Columbian narco-terrorist group led workshops at the Forum’s international meeting in 2001.[45] Interestingly, on February 9, 2003, John Kerry defended FARC terrorists on C-SPAN, saying a recent Colombian bombing “seems to be a renewal of a kind of chaos fueled partly by guerrillas who have legitimate complaints.”[46]
  • Pittsburgh Association of Peacemakers and Proactive Youth (PAPPY). According to its own description, this is “Pittsburgh’s first action network linking high school activists across the city. PAPPY is a resource for students who want to get involved and need a place to start, and for those who want to meet with other involved high school students.” PAPPY induces these high school students to dress like anarchists and take part in illegal antiwar protests. The group’s photo page shows pictures from the “unpermitted” (i.e., illegal) March 20th protest, including the inevitable police arrests of these minors.[47]
  • Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign. This is an organization that successfully lobbied to pass the Pittsburgh city council’s anti-Patriot Act resolution, which enjoins city officials to refuse municipal cooperation with Homeland Security measures.
  • Conscience. The services of this group include “counseling, legal support, organizing public solidarity with individual conscientious objectors.” It would appear their interest is in those “conscientious objectors” already in the military. In the summer of 2003, Medea Benjamin and Leslie Cagan founded “Occupation Watch,” located in Baghdad, to encourage American servicemen to declare themselves “conscientious objectors” and sent home. This is the institutionalization of what Jane Fonda attempted to do as an individual on her visits to Communist North Vietnam in the 1970s: encourage U.S. military personnel to defect from their duty. In an article for Nation, Benjamin sketched this as one plank of a larger plan to erode U.S. military strength around the world.[48]
  • RESYST. RESYST is a self-described “radical queer project,” named for a celibate Roman Catholic.
  • Peaceburgh. This is an organization that hopes to usher in world peace by asking schoolchildren to paint “peace bird” pictures.
  • The Raging Grannies, a group of old-timers who sing protest songs at antiwar rallies.
  • Haiti Solidarity Committee, which shows its solidarity with Marxist dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • Zapatista Alliance Pittsburgh, which supports Mexico’s violent, Marxist Zapatista revolution in Chiapas.  
  •  Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee, which is self-explanatory.
  • Parenting for Peace, ditto.
  • Anti-War Committee, ditto.[49]

With so many vocal groups under its wing, the Thomas Merton Center is able to hold demonstrations on a regular basis. The Center took protesters via bus, van and carpool to the April 2002 anti-Israel “peace” rally in Washington, D.C., where participants chanted “Long Live the Intifada!”[50] and supported Palestinian terrorists. According to pictures on the Center website, activists marched alongside International ANSWER, the Socialist Party USA and the National Youth & Student Peace Coalition.[51]

At a February 2003 “peace” rally, supporters carried signs with such messages as “Capitalism is War”; “Fixed Election, Bogus President, Phony War”; “Bush AWOL”; and “Drop Bush, Not Bombs.” They were joined in this march by anarchists in black masks, whose calling card is provoking confrontations with police.[52] United for Peace and Justice, International ANSWER and Code Pink are also frequent comrades of the Merton activists at antiwar protests.[53] On March 20, 2004, The Merton Center faithful marched alongside Physicians for Social Responsibility (another regular grantee of the Heinz Endowments) in a protest opposing Operation Iraqi Freedom a year after Saddam’s fall.

On June 5, 2004, the TMC protested the abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. According to the radical Internet website Indymedia.org: “Organized by the Thomas Merton Center's Anti-War Committee, some protesters re-enacted the infamous photos of Abu Ghraib prison abuse.[54]

A June 2004 editorial, putatively on “gay liberation,” explained the organization’s radical principles. “As people struggling for liberation, we don’t consider it ‘equality’ if we too can participate in the killing of thousands of innocent people for oil or any other reason… We don’t want to be admitted into the military – we want to abolish it. And we demand an end to America’s imperialistic warmonger tactics.” The editorial also denounces “capitalistic greed.”[55] This group approved of (and featured on its website) the “Christianity and Anarchism” conference, a “Renewing the Anarchist Tradition” conference and a “Life After Capitalism” seminar attended by indicted terrorist Lynne Stewart, radical Z magazine editor Michael Albert, and Wiccan priestess “Starhawk.”)

When not attempting to undermine America’s war abroad, the Center is at war with Homeland Security. The Merton Center also played a role in lobbying Pittsburgh’s city council to adopt the anti-PATRIOT Act resolution demanding “Pittsburgh police refrain from participating in unlawful and illegal searches” – the kind the Supreme Court has declared perfectly legal – “engaging in racial profiling and enforcing immigration laws that are the responsibility of the federal government.” The objective is to make Pittsburgh an “asylum city” above the decrees of federal immigration law.[56]

Not surprisingly, the Thomas Merton Center has a blasé attitude toward Islamic terrorism. For example, the editorial in the September 2002 issue of the Center’s publication condemns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for noting several suspected terrorists in the Pittsburgh area were affiliated with the local “Attawheed Foundation…a West End Saudi school, Al Andalus [another Muslim group]; and a magazine, ‘Assirat Al-Mustaqeem,’ published between 1991 and 2000, which was said to publish inflammatory pro-terrorist articlesWhatever may have appeared in Assirat a year ago, or five years or ten years ago, appeared in another time. This is now.”[57] Assirat posted fatwas from Muslim clerics blessing jihad operations against infidels, including crashing airplanes into buildings.[58] The government has since ordered the site’s operator, Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, to be deported.

Republican National Convention Protests

As early as February 2004, the Thomas Merton Center planned to send protesters to the Republican National Convention in NYC the following September.[59] They write, “In Pittsburgh, Global Justice Now, a project of the Thomas Merton Center…will be organizing multiple buses for the RNC events while the Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) is considering what type of direct action tactics are feasible during the RNC.” They were surprisingly forthright about their intentions: “Every group mobilizing wants to oppose the convention and thousands of people will be in NYC to physically disrupt to the maximum extent possible the functioning of the RNC, but it remains to be seen how diverse approaches can work together in the close quarters of Manhattan.” They also boast of their working relationship with “The NYC Campaign to Demilitarize the Police.” Thus, grant money provided by the wife of the opposition candidate may have gone directly to protesters whose purpose was to disrupt the Republican convention and, in effect, shut down the democratic process.   

“We’re Not Fair-Weather Radicals”

Other “grassroots” umbrella groups receiving Three Rivers and hence Heinz-Kerry money are the Alliance for Progressive Action and The Pittsburgh Coalition to Counter Hate Groups. The Alliance for Progressive Action’s executive director, Linda Wambaugh, knows how to turn out a vocal, angry crowd. She spent 13 years as organizing director of the local Service Employees International Union, the most left-wing of the government unions (its president Andrew Stern is an old SDS, anti-Vietnam War radical).[60] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dubbed Wambaugh a “protest pro.” With a background in left-wing agitation, she wasted no time coordinating protests against America’s bombing of Iraq – in 1999, during the Clinton administration. Also present at the rally against Clinton’s incursion was Molly Rush of the Thomas Merton Center, and Jan Neffke of The Pittsburgh Coalition to Counter Hate Groups. Neffke told the Post-Gazette of her plans to mobilize a “Free Mumia” rally in Philadelphia, the hometown of his victim’s widow. Noting that the same faces turn up at all Pittsburgh rallies, one protest leader summed up, “We’re not fair-weather radicals.”[61]

Shutting Down Christian Media

However, The Alliance for Progressive Action is best known for its simultaneous assault on two clauses of the First Amendment: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In 1999, the Alliance tried to stifle a local Christian television station – and nearly muffled Christian broadcasters nationwide. When Cornerstone Television tried to swap its FCC license to broadcast on a commercial frequency near Pittsburgh for a non-commercial one, the Alliance filed a complaint calling the nonprofit station’s programming “highly ideological” and “extremist.” The Alliance’s challenge resulted in the FCC issuing a ruling that declared that all non-commercial television stations must dedicate one-half of their programming time to “educational” programming – which does not include religious broadcasts of any kind.[62] This would have crippled Christian radio and television stations – which are overwhelmingly conservative – effectively silencing them twelve-hours a day. The ruling generated tremendous opposition and was quickly withdrawn, but for a moment the Alliance for Progressive Action joined with a Democrat-controlled governmental body to silence the entire Christian media. Two years later, Teresa Heinz Kerry funneled money to the funding parent of the would-be censor.

Money for “Radical Queers”

The Three Rivers Community Foundation also funds the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh. The GLCC supported the March 20, 2004, protests sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, posting this notice on its calendar under the heading, “Anti-war call for a Radical Queer/Pink Bloc”: “Resyst [another Three Rivers program] is sending this call out to all radical queers and queer sympathizers to join us in Pittsburgh. Those who see the interconnectedness of all oppressions and struggles and who wish to ensure that a radical queer perspective is heard in the ongoing anti-war movement must join together.[63]

On November 5, 2003, they invited people to see the Guerrilla Girls.[64] The Guerrilla Girls (who apparently wear gorilla costumes on stage) create leftist/feminist posters, including “George Bush’s Letter to Santa.” In the letter, scribbled in a child’s hand, the commander in chief asks for “A big flag with lots of stars” and “All the oil in the world.”[65]

Three Rivers also funds Prevention Point Pittsburgh, which “began providing needle exchange services once a week” to Steel Town’s junkies.[66]

In other words, Three Rivers funds numerous front groups, all designed to attract individuals from different backgrounds – including minors and pre-teen children, Islamists, socialists, feminists, homosexuals and drug addicts – in order to recruit them to radical agendas.

Heinz executive director Maxwell King grouses that critics accuse his charity of “using its funding…to advance a laundry list of partisan causes and fringe political groups.” Where on earth would they get an idea like that?

To read the conclusion of this article, click here. To read the first part of this article, click hereTo go to the Endnotes, click here. To order the book, Click HERE.


Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).


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