Tornado Ravaged Greensburg, Kansas:
> Kansas Mutual Aid Relief Workers forced out of city by police
> Saturday May 19, 2007
> by Dave Strano
> On Saturday May 19, five members and volunteers affiliated with Kansas
> Mutual Aid, a Lawrence based anarchist collective, made the trek back to
> Greensburg to again help in relief efforts in the tornado ravaged city. A
> week earlier, four KMA members had traveled to Greensburg on a fact
> finding mission to assess the situation there. What KMA members found was
> a militarized, entirely destroyed city where relief efforts were moving
> tragically slow.
> Today's trip back to Greensburg by KMA members and volunteers was intended
> to solidify the bonds we had created in the first trip, and establish a
> base of operations for future relief efforts. KMA spent the morning
> working on a house with members of AmeriCorps, and then proceeded to meet
> with contacts with the Mennonite Disaster Services.
> We then headed out of town to a church just outside of city limits that we
> were told would be a place we could probably set up a base camp for our
> work. The church had been converted into a fire station by the state, so
> we continued down the road and met a farmer who was willing to work with
> us and let us use his land.
> Soon after meeting the farmer, we were approached by officers with the
> Dickinson County Sheriff's Department. After a brief exchange, the
> officers left, and we were told to report to the Kiowa County Emergency
> Response Command Post to receive official permission to set up our base of
> operations. We were notified that if we did not do so, we would risk
> having our operation ceased by the state.
> Two of our delegation went to the Command Post, while the other three of
> us went to the County Courthouse to pick up som water and provisions being
> offered by the Red Cross. While we were picking up water and food, I was
> approached by an Olathe Police Officer named Ty Moeder who knew my face
> and identity. I was ordered to take my hands out of my pockets and follow
> the officer to a side street "to avoid making a scene".
> I and the other people with me followed the officer, and were repeatedly
> ordered to keep our hands out of our pockets, where they could be seen by
> the officer. Soon more officers approached, as well as at least one member
> of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and some people from FEMA.
> Surrounded by agents of the state, we were ordered to produce our
> When I asked the police why we were being detained, Officer Moeder
> responded "We need to check to see if you are affiliated with the
> anarchists." At this moment, our remaining two comrades approached to see
> what was happening. They were detained as well, and made to produce their
> Officer Moeder asked how we had gotten in to the city. "We drove in,"
> someone replied.
> "They weren't supposed to let you in at the road block," responded Moeder,
> seemingly frustrated and perplexed by that answer.
> "They even gave us a day pass to drive in and out," we shot back.
> A waiting game ensued for the next several minutes, with more officers
> approaching, now numbering almost fifteen. A Lawrence police officer
> approached, and was ordered to take photos of the car we had driven that
> was parked down the street. Officer McNemee from the Lawrence Police
> Department took extensive photos of the car, even of the inside contents
> of the vehicle.
> Officer Moeder ordered me to step away from the rest of the relief workers
> and speak with him. "You're being ordered to leave and not return. This is
> not negotiable, not appealable. You can't change it. If you return you'll
> be arrested on site. And believe me, you don't want to push that right
> now. This system is pretty messed up, and you wouldn't be issued bail.
> You'd disappear in the system."
> I asked repeatedly what we had done and why we were being ordered to leave
> the city. "You're part of a dangerous anarchist group that will only drain
> our security resources," he responded. "We've been monitoring your website
> and e-mails, we know what kind of agenda you have."
> "So this is about our political beliefs?" I asked.
> "No," he responded. "This is about you being federal security threats.
> Kansas Mutual Aid is not welcome in this city, end of story. I know you
> are going through legitimate means to work in the city, and you're story
> seems picture perfect, but we know who you are, and you're not allowed
> We were ordered back into our car and escorted out of the city by several
> police vehicles with their lights flashing, and left just outside the
> We returned to Lawrence just moments ago, unhindered in our resolve to
> provide support to the people in the disaster area. We will continue to
> work in whatever capacity we can in the areas around the city that we may
> still be allowed into, and provide support to those entering the city.
> The area is a police state, to be certain. Police and Law Enforcement from
> across Kansas and the country are making the rules about everything.
> Relief workers were banned from Greensburg today because of their
> political beliefs and work against oppression and tyrannical state
> We will still be doing our presentation on Monday at the Solidarity
> Center, 1109 Mass Street in downtown, and at this point, are still
> planning on doing some sort of relief work on Memorial Day Weekend, even
> if that limits us to the farms in the surrounding area.
> A longer, more in depth update with an announcement for future action will
> come soon. Please spread this story far and wide.
> In love and solidarity,
> Dave Strano, on behalf of KMA
Tornado Ravaged Greensburg, Kansas:
i saw this on infoshop the other day - very impressed that this kind of thing goes on; even slightly impressed by the police reaction to it - they take anarchists seriously. That said, they are way to the authoritarian side of most Liberal Democracies in kicking people out of an area for political affiliation - even in israel 'you're an anarchist' is not a good enough reason to keep citizens out of areas.
solidarity to KMA.