Wednesday, October 22, 2014

There Are Only 6 White Rhinos Left in the World, and Only 1 Breeding Male

The 34-year-old animal was one of the last two male breeding white rhinos in the world. (photo:

There Are Only 6 White Rhinos Left in the World, and Only 1 Breeding Male

By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, Independent UK
20 October 14

The northern white rhino has become a step closer to extinction after one of its last breeding males died in Kenya, leaving only six of the species now left in the world.

Suni, a 34-year-old northern white rhino, was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

“Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,” the Conservancy said in a statement.
The animal, which was one of the last two breeding males of the endangered species, was not poached, according to the Conversancy, but his cause of death remains unclear.
A post mortem on the rhino is expected to be carried out later this week by vets at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Suni was the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity. He was born at a Czech zoo in Dvur Kralove in 1980, but was moved to Kenya in December 2009 in an attempt to save the species from extinction.

He was one of four northern white rhinos to be moved from the zoo into the wild, where it was hoped it would be easier for the animals to breed.

“We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf,” the Conservancy added.

While there are thousands of southern white rhinos still roaming the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching have drastically cut northern white rhino numbers.

Gangs of poachers ship their stolen ivory to Asia, where rhino horn was valued higher than gold or platinum last year.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Obama Has Until December to Explain Withholding of 2100 Graphic Photos of Detainee Torture

(illustration: uruknet)

Obama Has Until December to Explain Withholding of 2100 Graphic Photos of Detainee Torture

By Spencer Ackerman, Guardian UK
22 October 14

Obama administration must justify suppression of never-before-seen photographs depicting US military torture of detainees

The Obama administration has until early December to detail its reasons for withholding as many as 2,100 graphic photographs depicting US military torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ordered on Tuesday.

By 12 December, Justice Department attorneys will have to list, photograph by photograph, the government’s rationale for keeping redacted versions of the photos unseen by the public, Judge Alvin Hellerstein instructed lawyers. But any actual release of the photographs will come after Hellerstein reviews the government’s reasoning and issues another ruling in the protracted transparency case.

While Hellerstein left unclear how much of the Justice Department’s declaration will itself be public, the government’s submission is likely to be its most detailed argument for secrecy over the imagery in a case that has lasted a decade.

“The only thing that bothers me is that we’re taking a lot of time,” Hellerstein told a nearly empty courtroom.

At issue is the publication of as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse, although the government continues not to confirm the precise number. Said to be even more disturbing than the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs that sparked a global furor in 2004, the imagery is the subject of a transparency lawsuit that both the Bush and Obama administrations, backed by the US Congress, have strenuously resisted.

In 2009, US president Barack Obama reversed his position on the photographs’ release and contended they would “further inflame anti-American opinion and … put our troops in greater danger”. That year, Congress passed a law, the Protected National Security Documents Act, intended to aid the government in keeping the images from the public. Two secretaries of defense, Robert Gates in 2009 and Leon Panetta in 2012, have issued assertions that US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be placed at risk by the disclosure.

But in August, Hellerstein said the government’s declaration was overbroad. Some of the photographs, which he said on Tuesday he had seen behind closed doors, “are relatively innocuous while others need more serious consideration”, Hellerstein said in August.

Disclosure, sought by the American Civil Liberties Union since 2004, will not come this year. Hellerstein scheduled a hearing to discuss the upcoming government declaration for 23 January.

The return of the US to war in Iraq raises the stakes for the case. Unlike in 2012, when Panetta certified that the release of the photographs would endanger the US military in Afghanistan, some 1,600 US troops are also now in Iraq again, this time to confront the Islamic State (Isis).

But while Hellerstein indicated he was interested in an “update” about current exposure to danger, he only ordered the government to specify its reasons for keeping each individual photograph withheld as of Panetta’s November 2012 declaration.
Potential release of the photographs dovetails with another imminent torture disclosure. The Senate intelligence committee is expected to soon unveil sections of its long-awaited investigation into CIA torture. The government’s most recent filing in a different transparency suit indicated the report’s release will come on 29 October, though the government has asked for extensions in the past and may do so again.

Marcellene Hearn, an attorney for the ACLU, portrayed the release of the torture photographs as an accountability measure.

“It’s disappointing that the government continues to fight to keep these photographs from the public,” Hearn said after the half-hour hearing. “The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened in our detention centers abroad. Yet the government is suppressing as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and elsewhere. We will continue to press for the release of the photos in the courts.”

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Freeport-McMoRan Destroys Famous "Salt of the Earth" Labor Union

Published on Portside (

Freeport-McMoRan Destroys Famous "Salt of the Earth" Labor Union

David Correria

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
La Jicarita

Members of Steelworkers Local 9424-3 in Bayard, NM are employed at one of the world’s largest open-pit copper mines owned by one of the world’s most profitable companies, Freeport-McMoRan. They voted last week 236 to 83 in favor of decertifying the union.

The vote was the culmination of six months of union busting work by Freeport employee Irvin Shane Shores, a Deming-resident and recent Freeport-McMoRan employee. According to the National Labor Relations Board, any employee who no longer wants a union to represent him or her is entitled to seek an election to determine if a majority of their coworkers agree.

In mid-August Shores circulated a petition asking members of the Steelworkers to decertify the union. He collected signatures from more than 30 percent of members of the bargaining unit, thus triggering the decertification vote. The National Labor Relations Board scheduled the election for September 17 and 18.

The local Steelworkers union Shores decertified is the inheritor of Mine-Mill Local 890, a union made famous by the 1954 film “Salt of the Earth”, which dramatized Local 890’s 1951 Empire Zinc strike. A number of members of the creative team behind the film had been blacklisted by Hollywood. The director, Herbert Biberman, went to jail for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated communist “infiltration” in politics, entertainment and education, among other industries.

The film was financed by the national office of Local 890, the International Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers Union, which was expelled from the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1950 for presumed communist influence.

The aggressive, pro-labor message made the film an instant favorite among leftists and labor unions. It found an enthusiastic audience in union hall screenings all over the US. It was banned or boycotted everywhere else. The film and its creators were condemned by the House of Representatives, investigated by the FBI; theaters refused to play it and it was widely denounced by newspapers and chambers of commerce throughout New Mexico.

It was rediscovered by Chicano Movement activists in the late 1960s and remains today a neo-realist classic for its focus on Chicano activism and feminist politics.
The strikers found success in the film but the real union found little more than struggle. Mine-Mill Local 890 organizer Clinton Jencks was arrested by federal agents in 1953 and jailed for alleged communist connections. The Kennecott Copper Company refused to negotiate with Mine-Mill Local 890 in the mid 1950s, telling the union’s members “we have refused to bargain with unions whose officers have failed to file the non-Communist affidavits required by the Labor-Management Act, 1947 [Taft-Hartley]. We believe, with Congress, that the spread of Communism in the United States is fast becoming a menace that presents a serious threat to our free way of life.”

Apparently, Kennecott defined “freedom” as its ability to reap windfall profits while its workers, on whose backs it made those profits, labored in miserable working conditions for immiseration wages. Kennecott Copper Company was the world’s largest copper producer with mines in the US and Chile. Its domestic production at four mines in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico accounted for nearly half of all copper produced in the US and 20 percent of the world’s copper supply. The mine in Bayard was the largest industrial operation in New Mexico and accounted for 12 percent of Kennecott’s total copper output. In the years prior to the “Salt of the Earth Strike”, and despite a series of strikes that shut down mines in Utah, Kennecott reported more than $23 million in profit. It had $17 million dollars on hand in reserve and reported to its board of directors an earned surplus of nearly $165 million of accumulated profit.

While the mine recorded record profits throughout the 1940s and 50s, most Anglo workers at the mine made less than $5 per day. Kennecott paid lower wages to Spanish-speaking and Navajo workers.

Mine-Mill merged with the United Steelworkers of America in 1967, the same year that Local 890 staged a six-month strike at the mine in Bayard. Kennecott sold the mine to Phelps-Dodge in 1987. In the dramatic history of violent struggle between mining companies and miners’ unions, Phelps-Dodge stands out as among the most aggressive union busting firms in US history. After thousands of workers lost their copper mining jobs in the early 1980s, and Phelps-Dodge refused to negotiate with the Steelworkers, thousands of union miners walked out of four of Phelps-Dodge’s Arizona mines. Phelps-Dodge responded by firing workers and evicting others from company housing. Local police arrested workers for walking legal picket lines and Phelps-Dodge hired goons who violently attacked the strikers who remained.

Phelps-Dodge broke the union in 1984 when the Arizona National Guard, with tanks and helicopters, attacked strikers and helped thousands of scabs cross picket lines throughout Arizona. The year after breaking the union, Phelps-Dodge, which had refused a small cost-of-living increase for union workers during negotiations in 1984, reported more than $200 million in profits in 1985, an increase of more than 600 percent over 1984 levels.

In the late 1990s, Phelps-Dodge built a private security army in Arizona and used it to attack union workers. It fired or suspended dozens of workers in New Mexico for once holding a peaceful protest at a company banquet.

Phelps-Dodge sold the New Mexico mine in Bayard to Freeport-McMoRan in 2007. It is unsurprising that after generations of union busting, it would be Freeport-McMoRan that would finally break the union at the Bayard mine. Freeport-McMoRan is one of the world’s wealthiest corporations with a documented history of ultra violent and often successful union busting campaigns.

It employs 23,000 workers at its massive Grasberg mine in Indonesian Papua, where workers are paid U.S. $1.50 an hour. In 2012, rebels linked to the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM) began targeting Freeport managers and facilities as part of a decades-long struggle for an independent Papua. The attacks came on the heels of particularly contentious labor struggles at Grasberg where workers demanded modest wage hikes. When labor negotiations stalled, thousands of miners went out on strike. The peaceful strike quickly turned violent when Freeport brought in bus loads of scabs. Strikers defended themselves against an army of more than 500 Freeport security thugs who swept through the protest firing shotguns, killing one union striker and wounding six others.

Despite Freeport’s violent suppression of local labor, and its decades-long complicity propping up Indonesia’s brutal Suharto regime, it is the separatist OPM that the US Department of Homeland Security considers a terrorist threat.

Occupy Phoenix activists marched on Freeport’s Phoenix headquarters in October of 2012 to protest the killing of striking miners at the Grasberg mine. The same month President Obama reaffirmed US support for the Indonesian police state in Papua during a visit to Jakarta in which he committed US marines to the region, a move that the Thai newspaper The Nation concluded had everything to do with heightened concerns over security at the increasingly volatile Grasberg mine.

While Papuan miners defended a picket line against Freeport’s private police force, 1,200 miners at Freeport’s Cerro Verde Mine in Peru walked off the job. Freeport bought Cerro Verde in 2007 and along with gold, silver, uranium and molybdenum, it produces 2% of the world’s annual copper production, more than 200 million pounds of copper each year from a massive open pit mine and huge leaching facility. Freeport-McMoRan reported 2011 revenues of nearly $21 billion with profits in excess of $5 billion; meanwhile miners not only in Peru and Indonesia but more recently in Chile, Bolivia, Mauritania, South Africa and Zambia ask for modest pay increases and get instead guns and goons.

Freeport-McMoRan took a different approach to union busting in New Mexico than it has in Indonesia. It began by paying higher non-union wages to employees of its three mines in southern New Mexico, a fact Irvin Shane Shores noted when asked why he began the decertifying campaign. What Shores didn’t say was that the Company was also paying non-union workers bonuses.

There has been some speculation that Freeport-McMoRan recruited Shores expressly for the purpose of busting the union. This is a familiar union-busting tactic. Shores of course denies this. Any connection between Shores and Freeport-McMoRan would invalidate the decertification vote. Prior to coming to Freeport-McMoRan, Shores had never worked in a mine. He managed a Pizza Hut in Deming and, more recently, owned a doughnut shop that he quickly ran into the ground. In 2009 Shores unsuccessfully pursued a seat on the Luna County Board of Commissioners as an ultra conservative Republican.

He makes up for his lack of mining skills with a crusading anti-union enthusiasm that surely appealed to Freeport-McMoRan.

Guadalupe Cano, the granddaughter of a former Mine-Mill union leader expressed outrage at Shores and the decertification vote, telling the Silver City Daily Press, “I am absolutely horrified. I cannot believe that after all of these generations of people fighting for this union that it is all gone after one man, who hasn’t even worked there long, decided it should go away. I’m glad my grandpa didn’t live to see this day.”

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

My Father Was Killed by a Computer, Says 7-Year-Old Afghan Child
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Common Dreams

My Father Was Killed by a Computer, Says 7-Year-Old Afghan Child

Dr. Hakim

Though his father was killed in a U.S. drone attack when Imal was just a baby, the seven-year-old still puts out hope for a more peaceful world. (Photo: Courtesy of Voices for Creative Non-Violence)

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.
As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.
If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

If Imal were a white American kid, this tragedy would not have befallen his father. Which American would allow any U.S. citizen to be killed by a foreign drone?
Suppose the UK wanted to hunt ‘terrorists’ in the U.S., with their drones, and every Tuesday, David Cameron signed a ‘secret kill list’ like Obama does. Drones operated from Waddington Base in the UK fly over U.S. skies to drop bombs on their targets, and the bombs leave a 7 year old American kid, say, John, fatherless.

John’s father is killed, shattered to charred pieces by a bomb, dropped by a drone, operated by a human, under orders from the Prime Minister /Commander-in-Chief.
“John, we’re sorry that your father happened to be near our ‘terrorist’ target.’ He was collateral damage. It was ‘worth it’ for the sake of UK national security.”
Unfortunately, no U.S. official or military personnel had met with Imal’s widowed mother to apologize.

Raz, Imal’s uncle who brought him to visit us, asked his young nephew,
“Will you bring me some marbles to play with?”

Imal was friendly, like any other 7 year old kid. “Yes!” His voice was a trusting one, eager to be a good friend and playmate.

“Do you also play with walnuts? Tell us how you play with walnuts,” Raz requests.
“We put them in a line, and flick a walnut to hit other walnuts, like playing with marbles,” Imal explains diligently, like he was telling a story we should all be interested in.

“Besides beans, what other food do you like?”

“I also like… potatoes… and meat… …and… rice!” All of us were smiling with the familiar love of Afghan oiled ‘palao’ or ‘Qabuli’ rice.”
Imal knew what my laptop was. He said, “We can look at photos & watch films…”
But, then, it seemed that he took on the understanding of an older person when his voice became serious.

”My father was killed by a computer.”

I wanted to tell Imal that nowadays, it takes children and young people like Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai to tell us adults the plain facts.

When Malala was 16 years old and met with the Obamas at the White House, Malala had told Obama that drones were fueling terrorism.

Do we get it? Drones are employed in the ‘war against terrorism’, but instead, drones fuel terrorism.

How many drone attacks are there in Afghanistan every month, and how many women, children and young men like Imal’s father are killed?

We don’t know. It’s not a transparent strategy.

We would all want to know everything about the possible effects of a drone strategy on our children, especially if our country was the most drone-bombed country in the world, like Afghanistan is.

A Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s ‘Naming the Dead’ report says that fewer than 4% of the people killed by drone attacks in Pakistan have been identified by available records as named members of Al Qaeda. If this is true for drone attack victims in Afghanistan too, then 96% of drone victims in Afghanistan have been innocent civilians like Imal’s father.

In another Bureau of Investigative Journalism report, ‘Tracking drone strikes in Afghanistan’, (July, 2014),the Bureau states that “nobody systematically publishes insurgent and civilian deaths from drones on a strike-by-strike basis. Neither the US nor UK authorities publishes data on the casualties of their drone operations.”
So, we are unable to find out for Imal’s mother if it was a U.S./UK drone that killed her husband, and who the drone operator was.

If Imal were John, could he or his mother sue David Cameron? Stop the drone? Stop the human drone operator? Disable the computer?

We gave Imal a Borderfree blue scarf, and thanked him for coming.

His eyes were bright and cheerful, taking in the photos on the wall, including a poster of Gandhi and Badshah Khan. Badshah Khan was a Pashtun like Imal, and has been called the Frontier Gandhi for his lifelong struggle for nonviolence.

I have been thinking hard about Imal, about whether anyone would hear him, when few among the elites who declare wars and order drone strikes seem to have heard the now famous Malala, not even President Obama.

“I wish to tell the world, ‘We don’t want war. Don’t fight!’”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Dr Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young, Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 9 years, including being a friend and mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Solartopia Transcends King C.O.N.G.


When Solartopia Transcends King C.O.N.G.

By Harvey Wasserman, EcoWatch
20 October 14

A green-powered future is our only hope.

A planet run by King CONG—Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas—cannot be sustained.
But to get beyond it, our Solartopian vision must embrace more than just a technological transformation. It also demands social, political and spiritual transcendence.

From Fukushima to global warming, from fracking to the Gulf disaster(s), it’s clear the fossil/nuclear industry is hard-wired to kill us all. Its only motivating force is profit; our biological survival has no part in the equation.

Thankfully, renewable energy has achieved technological critical mass. Green power is cheaper, cleaner, safer, more reliable, more job-producing and more secure. Despite a furious fossil/nuke push-back, the multi-trillion-dollar transition to a green-powered economy is well underway. Photovoltaic cells alone will be the biggest industry in human history.

Likewise, our food supply cannot be sustained with chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, monoculture, industrial meat and genetic modification. The switch to organic, sustainable agriculture is essential to our survival.

But this vital transformation in food and energy will not happen in a vacuum. We can prove the economic, ecological and public health rationale for a Solartopian transition.

But we can’t win without a cultural and political transformation.

That starts with the empowerment of women. Nature-based societies are matriarchal. And only when women are guaranteed equal education, pay and control of their reproductive rights will the human population come into balance with the planet’s ability to support us.

We must also cure the corporate virus that’s killing us all. Our economic and political system is being devoured by a Frankenstein monster whose only imperative is to make money. It claims human rights but has no human or ecological responsibilities. Until the engines of our economy are made accountable to us and the planet, we have no chance of survival.

The corporate monster’s primary assault mechanism is war, the continual slaughter of humans and the Earth. War’s only predictable long-term outcome is massive corporate profit and a destroyed planet. It is the ultimate divide-and-conquer strategy of a terminal cancer.

Sustaining our life also means all humans must be fed (which can be done globally at a fraction the cost of war), housed, clothed, educated and healthy. Without social justice, Solartopia is a meaningless dream.

And there’s only one way to get there—with true democracy, which cannot be had while corporations own and operate our government. Big money must be banned from our elections, which can only happen with universal voter registration and hand-counted paper ballots.

We also need a neutral internet, free of corporate control, a global nervous system by which our evolving consciousness can freely communicate.

As a species we can count great strides in cultural awareness and social ecology. But in the material world we run a dead heat with mutant fossil/nuke technologies and the vampire corporations now draining the life out of us and our planet.
In the long run, our human survival instinct must transcend the corporate profit motive.

There are those who say it’s hopeless, and that the battle is already lost.
But for the rest of us, for our kids and grandkids, not to mention our own good times, let’s just say we’ll see you in Solartopia …

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough

Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough
By Winslow Myers

There were giants on the earth in those days . . . (Genesis 6:4)

The fear that we citizens of the United States have been seduced into since 9/11 spreads across our benighted nation like a fog, inhibiting all policy alternatives not based in blind vengefulness. Special are those who have the spiritual clear-sightedness and persistence to make people-oriented global connections that pierce the fog of fear with the light of visionary possibility.

One such giant is David Hartsough, whose vivid, even hair-raising, memoir of a lifetime of peace activism, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, has just been published by PM press. It ought to be required reading for every U.S. citizen befogged by the crude polarization between Islamic extremism and the equally violent, ineffective, but seemingly endless Western military reaction it has elicited.

It hardly seems possible that Hartsough has been able to crowd into one lifetime all his deeds of creative nonviolence. He was there with Martin Luther King in the late fifties in the South. He was there when a train loaded with bullets and bombs on their way to arm right-wing death squads in Central America severed the leg of his friend Brian Willson in California. His initiatives of support for nonviolent resistance movements span both decades and continents, from efforts to get medical supplies to the North Vietnamese, to reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians, to support for Russian dissidents as the Soviet Union was breaking up, to the resistance to Marcos in the Philippines, and on and on. Hartsough’s book thus becomes a remarkably comprehensive alternative history to set against “the official story” of America’s—and many other nations’—often brutal and misguided reliance upon military intervention.

David Hartsough gave himself a head start by getting born into the right family. As a boy he heard his minister father preach the gospel of loving your enemies and almost immediately got a chance to try it out when bullies pelted him with icy snowballs. It worked, and Hartsough never looked back. Having determined to do integration in reverse by attending the predominantly black Howard University, he soon found himself sitting in with courageous African-American students at segregated restaurants in Virginia. A white man crazed with hate threatened him with a knife. Hartsough spoke to him so gently that the man was “disarmed” by the unexpected shock of a loving response and retreated open-mouthed and speechless.

Sixty years of innumerable protests, witnesses, and organizing efforts later, Hartsough is still at it as he helps to begin a new global movement to end war on the planet, called “World Beyond War.” While his book is a genuinely personal memoir that records moments of doubt, despair, fear of getting shot, and occasional triumph, even more it is a testament to the worldwide nonviolent movement that still flies completely under the radar of American media. Living in a bubble of propaganda, we do not realize how intrusive the bases of our far-flung empire are felt to be. We do not feel how many millions worldwide regard the U.S. as an occupying force with negative overall effects upon their own security. Even more importantly, we remain insufficiently aware how often nonviolence has been used around the world to bring about positive change where it appeared unlikely to occur without major bloodshed. The U.S. turns to military force reflexively to ”solve” problems, and so it has been difficult indeed, as we are seeing in our ham-handed response to ISIS and the chaos in Syria, for us to learn lessons that go all the way back to the moral disaster of Vietnam. We have not registered how sick of the madness of war the world really is. Now academic studies are starting to back up with hard statistical evidence the proposition that nonviolent tactics are more effective than militarism for overthrowing dictators and reconciling opposing ethnic or religious groups.

Coincidentally, the book I read just before Waging Peace was its perfect complement: a biography of Allen Dulles, first director of the CIA, and his brother John Foster Dulles, longtime Secretary of State. The Dulles book goes a long way toward explaining the hidden motives of the military-industrial-corporate behemoth which Hartsough has spent his life lovingly but persistently confronting—truly a moral giant named David against a Goliath of clandestine militarism that props up narrow business interests at the expense of the human rights of millions. Always this David has kept in his heart one overarching principle, that we are one human family and no one nation’s children are worth more than any other’s.

Hartsough’s tales of persistence in the face of hopeless odds remind us not to yield to despair, cynicism, fear mongering or enemy posing, all temptations when political blame is the currency of the day. Hartsough is a living exemplar of the one force that is more powerful than extremist hate, reactive fear, and weapons, including nuclear bombs—the human capacity to be harmless, helpful and kind even to supposed adversaries.

If—let us say optimistically when—peace goes mainstream and deluded pretentions to empire are no longer seen as the royal road to security, when we wake up to the hollowness of our selfishness and exceptionalism, when we begin to relate to other nations as opportunities to share good will and resources rather than to bomb, it will be largely because of the tireless efforts of insufficiently heralded giants like David Hartsough.

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative and writes for Peacevoice.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 21 - 23, 2014

19] Philadelphia Peace Vigil – Oct. 21
20] No JHU Drone Research – Oct. 21
21] Campaign Against Police Abuse – Oct. 21
22] Protest Sabra – Oct. 21
23] Central American children – Oct. 22
24] No to Silencing Prisoners' Speech – Oct. 22
25] Catholic Ecology – Oct. 22
26] Report back from Ferguson – Oct. 22
27] Teaching the Second Vatican Council – Oct. 22
28] Pray for Peace – Oct. 22
29] Immigrant Film Fest – Oct. 23
30] Richard Falk book talk & signing – Oct. 23
31] Explore "Israel and the Region" – Oct. 23
19] – Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine. The next vigil is Oct. 21. Call 215-426-0364.

20] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Oct. 14, but note today demonstrators will be there from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Call Max at 410-366-1637.

21] – On Tues., Oct. 21 from 6 to 8 PM, come get your questions answered by joining the Campaign Against Police Abuse for their first public meeting at the Lamont Street Collective, 1822 Lamont St. NW, WDC 20009. Recent events in Ferguson have again exposed the injustice and discrimination of the police system, and its inability to protect all members of our communities. Do you want to find out how you can empower yourself and your community against racist police abuse through grassroots organizing? Would you like to know more about what a Copwatch program can do to ensure police accountability? Visit or email

22] – On Tues., Oct. 21 from 6:30 to 8 PM, gather outside Sabra (Hummus), 1254 Wisconsin Ave. NW, WDC, a new pop-up store in Georgetown to consider opening a permanent storefront. Sabra (The Sabra Dipping Company) is half-owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, a company that proudly boasted on its website of supporting the Israeli army's Golani brigade. In addition to being at the forefront of the Israeli army's military occupation and its invasions into the Gaza Strip, the Golani brigade may have become most notorious for their racist t-shirts ( including one featuring a pregnant Muslim (presumably Palestinian) woman in crosshairs with the caption "1 shot, 2 kills."

Before Strauss removed the English-language page (remains in Hebrew) on their site declaring their sponsorship of the brigade, the page stated the following: “Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path.” Visit

23] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 10 AM at the Institute for Policy Studies' conference room, 1112 16th St. NW, Ste. 600, WDC 20036, hear about Newly arrived Central American children: The role of U.S. policy in the current situation from Érika Patricia Guerra Escalante, formerly with the Honduran office of Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (Jesuit Migrant Service, or SJM, by its Spanish acronym). She will discuss how U. S. policy has contributed to insecurity in Honduras and in other Central American countries, which forces children out of their home countries to embark on the treacherous journey north. The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns is a cosponsor of this event, along with Witness for Peace and the Institute for Policy Studies. RSVP to

24] – Tell Philadelphia: No to Silencing Prisoners' Speech. Wednesday, October 22 is national day of action against police brutality and mass incarceration. In Philadelphia a protest is set for 4 to 5 PM at City Hall. Then there will be a town hall meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at 11th St. and Berks Ave., Gladfelter Hall, Temple University, Room 24. The Pennsylvanian governor is expected to sign the "Revictimization Relief Act," which affords virtually unlimited discretion to district attorneys and the state attorney general to silence prisoner speech, by claiming that such speech causes victims' families "mental anguish." Politicians are claiming a power that if granted to them will be difficult if not impossible for citizens to check.

Victim relief is not served by denying fundamental rights to those convicted, especially because prisoner freedom of speech is crucial for redressing wrongful convictions and the current crisis of harsh sentencing that is often disproportionate to alleged crimes. Our society is currently engaged in a full-scale debate on the problems of mass incarceration that could not have developed without prisoners' voices. Contact the Team at

25] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM in the Reinsch Library Auditorium, Marymount College, 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207, hear about Catholic Ecology – Faith, Security, Health and Advocacy – from Drew Christensen, SJ, Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Laura Anderko, PHD, RN and Lonnie Ellis, OFS. The discussion will include Catholic Theology, Climate Security, Environmental Health and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Call 703-522-5600.

26] – REPORT BACK FROM FERGUSON NATIONAL PROTESTS & NEXT STEPS BALTIMORE is happening on Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM at 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218. Call 443-221-3775. Join the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, FIST youth group and others for a report back on Baltimore activists involvement in the protests in Ferguson and St Louis. Participants ranged from 5 years old to 65; they'll tell you about their experiences. Also see photo slide show. Come prepared to ask questions and to discuss what's on your mind. Following this discussion, two questions will be explored--How does one deal with police violence in Baltimore and what else can be done to support the people of Ferguson and St. Louis. Visit You can Google a picture album at

27] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM, Catholic Tipping Point welcomes Fr. Tony Flannery, Founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland. Fr. Tony Flannery is a founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a grassroots group which acts to provide priests with an opportunity and a voice to engage in the debates taking place in Irish society and which advocates for a “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council.” Father Flannery made international news, when in 2012, he was ordered to silence by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, on account of some of his writings. After a period of failed negotiations with the CDF, Fr. Flannery felt he had to speak out. He wrote of his experience in “A Question of Conscience.”

Father Flannery will speak about the role or conscience in faith life and the path for reform in the Catholic church at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2100 New Hampshire Ave. NW, WDC 20009. Contact Katie Breslin at 202.203.0931 or

28] – Pray for Peace at 7:30 PM on Wed., Oct. 22 at the Church of the Nativity, 419 Cedarcroft Road, Baltimore--corner of Cedarcroft and York Road. Direct correspondence to Charles Cloughen, Jr., Interfaith Peace Partners coordinator, at or call 410-321-4545. The preacher will be the Rt. Rev. Heather Cook Bishop, suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

29] – The new Greater Washington Immigration FilmFest will be staged over four days from Thurs., Oct. 23 through Sun., Oct. 26. Thirteen feature films that entertain, educate, and inspire will be shown at 12 locations in Washington and around the Beltway. Reserve your free tickets now at (corrected). Contact John Campbell at 202.713.5457 or jcampbell AT geofinity. Com.

30] – On Thurs., Oct. 23, Richard Falk will be launching his new book, Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope, at the Jerusalem Fund, Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037. Call 202.338.1290. Use the Foggy Bottom Metro stop. Sandwiches will be served at 12:30 PM, and the lecture begins promptly at 1 PM. The event is free to attend and will be livestreamed. The book will be available for purchase, and Falk will sign it. Register at

31] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 1 to 2 PM, Yossi Alpher, former Mossad official, will explore "Israel and the Region" at the Wilson Center, Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

Published on Alternet (

The Huffington Post / By Sam Roberts [1]

Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

October 16, 2014 |

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs," Sylvia Plath began The Bell Jar. My sixth birthday was sandwiched between their execution at Sing Sing on Friday night, June 19, 1953, and their funeral that Sunday morning. The somber procession passed by our block in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and while I was too young to be told details, I was old enough even then to feel the palpable betrayal and shame.

That was the closest I would come to the Rosenberg case for the next 30 years. In 1983, reviews described Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton's "The Rosenberg File" as newsworthy, and Arthur Gelb, the Times managing editor who had covered the execution in 1953, made a startling suggestion to his colleagues: "Why don't we do a news story?" I made the mistake of not looking preoccupied when Arthur headed toward me, arms flailing.

I contacted Peter Kihss, who had covered the case. He challenged me to find David Greenglass, the army machinist who had been assigned to Los Alamos, stolen secrets to the atomic bomb, and delivered them to his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, to convey to the Soviets. Greenglass' testimony had sent Julius and Ethel, David's sister, to the electric chair. I called Roy Cohn, too, one of the former prosecutors, seeking the one compelling piece of evidence that would finally solve the case. "The smoking gun," he said, "is the testimony of David Greenglass."

Since he was released from prison in 1960 after serving nearly 10 years, Greenglass had surfaced only once, in the 1970s, when Radosh and Sol Stern interviewed him and his wife, Ruth. With the help of Radosh and others, I finally found Greenglass, but he refused to talk. I would periodically write him, requesting an interview, but never received a reply—until 1996, when a lawyer who had represented Greenglass for 15 years suggested we meet. The lawyer said that just a few days before, Greenglass had told him, "I have a confession to make; I want to tell you who I really am."

"Who are you, Hitler, Stalin?" the lawyer asked, incredulously.

"You remember the Rosenberg case?" Greenglass replied. "I'm Ethel Rosenberg's brother. I'm David Greenglass." The lawyer was dumbfounded. "Do you hate me?" Greenglass said.

He agreed to speak to me, unconditionally, for my book, The Brother, because he needed money, which I grudgingly consented to pay. He was unrepentant, narcissistic and smug. After reading transcripts of my interviews, my friend David Halberstam pronounced Greenglass aschmendrick. (I consulted Leo Rosten's Joys of Yiddish to be certain of the definition: "An apprentice schlemiel.")

While I worried that he would wallow in self-justification, Greenglass did just the opposite. Over and over, he patiently revisited his Sophie's choice, how he chose to sacrifice the sister who helped raise him over the mother of his two children. "My wife is my wife," he said. "I mean, I don't sleep with my sister, you know."

First, in confessing to the FBI, he inadvertently implicated Ruth (who was at least as complicit in the espionage conspiracy as Ethel). Then, to protect his wife from prosecution, he began cooperating with investigators. He fingered Julius, whom prosecutors hoped would confess if they threatened Ethel with execution. Finally, only a week before the trial was to begin, with the government desperate for evidence against Ethel and with Greenglass still hoping for a suspended sentence, he averred that maybe Ruth was right in her own recollection a few days earlier, that his sister had typed his handwritten notes for delivery to the Soviets. He testified to that effect. Ruth corroborated his sworn account, and the prosecutor declared in his summation to the jury that Ethel had "struck the keys, blow by blow, against her own country in the interests of the Soviets."

Except that Greenglass admitted to me that he had lied, that he couldn't recall then or now who typed his notes, that he confirmed Ruth's account only because he didn't want to label her a liar. He added a stunning coda: "I frankly think my wife did the typing, but I don't remember." Without that testimony, the single most incriminating evidence against Ethel Rosenberg, she might well have been acquitted.
Just as I was completing my book, I interviewed Herbert Brownell, who served as assistant attorney general while the Rosenbergs were appealing their conviction. What happened to the government's strategy of leveraging the charges against Ethel to get Julius to confess? I was stunned by Brownell's candor and his cynicism. "She called our bluff," he said.

After my book was published, I kept tabs on Greenglass periodically. This week, when the nursing home where he was living told me that he was no longer a patient there, I guessed that he had died at the age of 92, having outlived the Rosenbergs by six decades.

Michael and Robert Meeropol, the Rosenbergs' sons and the Cold War's most famous orphans, extended their condolences to their uncle's family, though they hadn't seen Greenglass since 1950. But while they had acknowledged to me earlier that their father, at least, had been guilty of the legal charge against him—conspiracy to commit espionage—they still insisted that "without any involvement on our parents' part, David and Ruth were the ones who actually provided atomic information to the Soviet Union, although it was of little value." The information, even from a lowly machinist, was briefly valuable, if superseded by subsequent elaboration from rogue scientists like Klaus Fuchs. And while the Rosenbergs arguably did not receive a fair trial, the judge and prosecution managed to frame a guilty man.

Rebecca West described the unnatural relationship between David and his sister Ethel as "the hostile twin of incest." And E.L. Doctorow predicted that "the treachery of that man will haunt him for as long as he lives." How would Greenglass be remembered? He told me he was certain he would be remembered as a man who sent his sister and brother-in-law to their deaths. But he asked people to recall that the Rosenbergs had recruited him as a spy and that nobody expected the death penalty to be imposed. He claimed that most men faced with the same choice, sister or wife, would have done what he did.

What would he want his obituary to say, I asked. "I was a good father," he replied. "A good husband. A good son. A good brother. Born in a time which tore people's souls."

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[2] on Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

Edward Snowden, left, with Greenwald, second from right, David Miranda and Laura Poitras. (photo: David Miranda)

Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

By Laura Poitras and Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch
20 October 14

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.
For our own safety, of course. That goes without saying.

All of this offers a new definition of democracy in which we, the people, are to know only what the national security state cares to tell us. Under this system, ignorance is the necessary, legally enforced prerequisite for feeling protected. In this sense, it is telling that the only crime for which those inside the national security state can be held accountable in post-9/11 Washington is not potential perjurybefore Congress, or the destruction of evidence of a crime, or torture, or kidnapping, orassassination, or the deaths of prisoners in an extralegal prison system, but whistleblowing; that is, telling the American people something about what their government is actually doing. And that crime, and only that crime, has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law (and beyond) with a vigorunmatched in American history. To offer a single example, the only American to go to jail for the CIA’s Bush-era torture program was John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower who revealed the name of an agent involved in the program to a reporter.

In these years, as power drained from Congress, an increasingly imperial White House has launched various wars (redefined by its lawyers as anything but), as well as a global assassination campaign in which the White House has its own “kill list” and the president himself decides on global hits. Then, without regard for national sovereignty or the fact that someone is an American citizen (and upon the secret invocation of legal mumbo-jumbo), the drones are sent off to do the necessary killing.
And yet that doesn’t mean that we, the people, know nothing. Against increasing odds, there has been some fine reporting in the mainstream media by the likes of James Risen and Barton Gellman on the security state’s post-legal activities and above all, despite the Obama administration’s regular useof the World War I era Espionage Act, whistleblowers have stepped forward from within the government to offer us sometimes staggering amounts of information about the system that has been set up in our name but without our knowledge.

Among them, one young man, whose name is now known worldwide, stands out. In June of last year, thanks to journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras, Edward Snowden, acontractor for the NSA and previously the CIA, stepped into our lives from a hotel room in Hong Kong. With a treasure trove of documents that are still being released, he changed the way just about all of us view our world. He has been charged under the Espionage Act. If indeed he was a “spy,” then the spying he did was for us, for the American people and for the world. What he revealed to a stunned planet was a global surveillance state whose reach and ambitions were unique, a system based on a single premise: that privacy was no more and that no one was, in theory (and to a remarkable extent in practice), unsurveillable.

Its builders imagined only one exemption: themselves. This was undoubtedly at least part of the reason why, when Snowden let us peek in on them, they reacted with such over-the-top venom. Whatever they felt at a policy level, it’s clear that they also felt violated, something that, as far as we can tell, left them with no empathy whatsoever for the rest of us. One thing that Snowden proved, however, was that the system they built was ready-made for blowback.

Sixteen months after his NSA documents began to be released by the Guardian and the Washington Post, I think it may be possible to speak of the Snowden Era. And now, a remarkable new film, Citizenfour, which had its premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10th and will open in select theaters nationwide on October 24th, offers us a window into just how it all happened. It is already being mentioned as a possible Oscar winner.

Director Laura Poitras, like reporter Glenn Greenwald, is now known almost as widely as Snowden himself, for helping facilitate his entry into the world. Her new film, the last in a trilogy she’s completed (the previous two being My Country, My Country on the Iraq War and The Oath on Guantanamo), takes you back to June 2013 and locks you in that Hong Kong hotel room with Snowden, Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian, and Poitras herself for eight days that changed the world. It’s a riveting, surprisingly unclaustrophic, and unforgettable experience.

Before that moment, we were quite literally in the dark. After it, we have a better sense, at least, of the nature of the darkness that envelops us. Having seen her film in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.

Tom Engelhardt: Could you start by laying out briefly what you think we've learned from Edward Snowden about how our world really works?

Laura Poitras: The most striking thing Snowden has revealed is the depth of what the NSA and the Five Eyes countries [Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the U.S.] are doing, their hunger for all data, for total bulk dragnet surveillance where they try to collect all communications and do it all sorts of different ways. Their ethos is "collect it all." I worked on a story with Jim Risenof the New York Times about a document -- a four-year plan for signals intelligence -- in which they describe the era as being "the golden age of signals intelligence." For them, that’s what the Internet is: the basis for a golden age to spy on everyone.

This focus on bulk, dragnet, suspicionless surveillance of the planet is certainly what’s most staggering. There were many programs that did that. In addition, you have both the NSA and the GCHQ [British intelligence] doing things like targeting engineers at telecoms. There was an article published at The Intercept that cited an NSA document Snowden provided, part of which was titled "I Hunt Sysadmins" [systems administrators]. They try to find the custodians of information, the people who are the gateway to customer data, and target them. So there's this passive collection of everything, and then things that they can't get that way, they go after in other ways.

I think one of the most shocking things is how little our elected officials knew about what the NSA was doing. Congress is learning from the reporting and that's staggering. Snowden and [former NSA employee] William Binney, who's also in the film as a whistleblower from a different generation, are technical people who understand the dangers. We laypeople may have some understanding of these technologies, but they really grasp the dangers of how they can be used. One of the most frightening things, I think, is the capacity for retroactive searching, so you can go back in time and trace who someone is in contact with and where they've been. Certainly, when it comes to my profession as a journalist, that allows the government to trace what you're reporting, who you're talking to, and where you've been. So no matter whether or not I have a commitment to protect my sources, the government may still have information that might allow them to identify whom I'm talking to.

TE: To ask the same question another way, what would the world be like without Edward Snowden? After all, it seems to me that, in some sense, we are now in the Snowden era.

LP: I agree that Snowden has presented us with choices on how we want to move forward into the future. We're at a crossroads and we still don't quite know which path we're going to take. Without Snowden, just about everyone would still be in the dark about the amount of information the government is collecting. I think that Snowden has changed consciousness about the dangers of surveillance. We see lawyers who take their phones out of meetings now. People are starting to understand that the devices we carry with us reveal our location, who we're talking to, and all kinds of other information. So you have a genuine shift of consciousness post the Snowden revelations.

TE: There's clearly been no evidence of a shift in governmental consciousness, though.

LP: Those who are experts in the fields of surveillance, privacy, and technology say that there need to be two tracks: a policy track and a technology track. The technology track is encryption. It works and if you want privacy, then you should use it. We’ve already seen shifts happening in some of the big companies -- Google, Apple -- that now understand how vulnerable their customer data is, and that if it’s vulnerable, then their business is, too, and so you see a beefing up of encryption technologies. At the same time, no programs have been dismantled at the governmental level, despite international pressure.

TE: In Citizenfour, we spend what must be an hour essentially locked in a room in a Hong Kong hotel with Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill, and you, and it’s riveting. Snowden is almost preternaturally prepossessing and self-possessed. I think of a novelist whose dream character just walks into his or her head. It must have been like that with you and Snowden. But what if he’d been a graying guy with the same documents and far less intelligent things to say about them? In other words, how exactly did who he was make your movie and remake our world?

LP: Those are two questions. One is: What was my initial experience? The other: How do I think it impacted the movie? We've been editing it and showing it to small groups, and I had no doubt that he's articulate and genuine on screen. But to see him in a full room [at the New York Film Festival premiere on the night of October 10th], I'm like, wow! He really commands the screen! And I experienced the film in a new way with a packed house.

TE: But how did you experience him the first time yourself? I mean you didn't know who you were going to meet, right?

LP: So I was in correspondence with an anonymous source for about five months and in the process of developing a dialogue you build ideas, of course, about who that person might be. My idea was that he was in his late forties, early fifties. I figured he must be Internet generation because he was super tech-savvy, but I thought that, given the level of access and information he was able to discuss, he had to be older. And so my first experience was that I had to do a reboot of my expectations. Like fantastic, great, he's young and charismatic and I was like wow, this is so disorienting, I have to reboot. In retrospect, I can see that it's really powerful that somebody so smart, so young, and with so much to lose risked so much.

He was so at peace with the choice he had made and knowing that the consequences could mean the end of his life and that this was still the right decision. He believed in it, and whatever the consequences, he was willing to accept them. To meet somebody who has made those kinds of decisions is extraordinary. And to be able to document that and also how Glenn [Greenwald] stepped in and pushed for this reporting to happen in an aggressive way changed the narrative. Because Glenn and I come at it from an outsider’s perspective, the narrative unfolded in a way that nobody quite knew how to respond to. That’s why I think the government was initially on its heels. You know, it's not everyday that a whistleblower is actually willing to be identified.

TE: My guess is that Snowden has given us the feeling that we now grasp the nature of the global surveillance state that is watching us, but I always think to myself, well, he was just one guy coming out of one of 17 interlocked intelligence outfits. Given the remarkable way your film ends -- the punch line, you might say -- with another source or sources coming forward from somewhere inside that world to reveal, among other things, information about the enormous watchlist that you yourself are on, I’m curious: What do you think is still to be known? I suspect that if whistleblowers were to emerge from the top five or six agencies, the CIA, the DIA, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and so on, with similar documentation to Snowden’s, we would simply be staggered by the system that's been created in our name.

LP: I can't speculate on what we don't know, but I think you're right in terms of the scale and scope of things and the need for that information to be made public. I mean, just consider the CIA and its effort to suppress the Senate’s review of its torture program. Take in the fact that we live in a country that a) legalized torture and b) where no one was ever held to account for it, and now the government's internal look at what happened is being suppressed by the CIA. That's a frightening landscape to be in.

In terms of sources coming forward, I really reject this idea of talking about one, two, three sources. There are many sources that have informed the reporting we've done and I think that Americans owe them a debt of gratitude for taking the risk they do. From a personal perspective, because I’m on a watchlist and went through years of trying to find out why, of having the government refuse to confirm or deny the very existence of such a list, it’s so meaningful to have its existence brought into the open so that the public knows there is a watchlist, and so that the courts can now address the legality of it. I mean, the person who revealed this has done a huge public service and I’m personally thankful.

TE: You’re referring to the unknown leaker who's mentioned visually and elliptically at the end of your movie and who revealed that the major watchlist your on has more than 1.2 million names on it. In that context, what's it like to travel as Laura Poitras today? How do you embody the new national security state?

LP: In 2012, I was ready to edit and I chose to leave the U.S. because I didn't feel I could protect my source footage when I crossed the U.S. border. The decision was based on six years of being stopped and questioned every time I returned to the United States. And I just did the math and realized that the risks were too high to edit in the U.S., so I started working in Berlin in 2012. And then, in January 2013, I got the first email from Snowden.

TE: So you were protecting...

LP: ...other footage. I had been filming with NSA whistleblower William Binney, with Julian Assange, with Jacob Appelbaum of the Tor Project, people who have also been targeted by the U.S., and I felt that this material I had was not safe. I was put on a watchlist in 2006. I was detained and questioned at the border returning to the U.S. probably around 40 times. If I counted domestic stops and every time I was stopped at European transit points, you're probably getting closer to 80 to 100 times. It became a regular thing, being asked where I’d been and who I’d met with. I found myself caught up in a system you can't ever seem to get out of, this Kafkaesque watchlist that the U.S. doesn't even acknowledge.

TE: Were you stopped this time coming in?

LP: I was not. The detentions stopped in 2012 after a pretty extraordinary incident.
I was coming back in through Newark Airport and I was stopped. I took out my notebook because I always take notes on what time I'm stopped and who the agents are and stuff like that. This time, they threatened to handcuff me for taking notes. They said, "Put the pen down!" They claimed my pen could be a weapon and hurt someone.
"Put the pen down! The pen is dangerous!" And I'm like, you're not... you've got to be crazy. Several people yelled at me every time I moved my pen down to take notes as if it were a knife. After that, I decided this has gotten crazy, I'd better do something and I called Glenn. He wrote a piece about my experiences. In response to his article, they actually backed off.

TE: Snowden has told us a lot about the global surveillance structure that's been built. We know a lot less about what they are doing with all this information. I'm struck at how poorly they've been able to use such information in, for example, their war on terror. I mean, they always seem to be a step behind in the Middle East -- not just behind events but behind what I think someone using purely open source information could tell them. This I find startling. What sense do you have of what they're doing with the reams, the yottabytes, of data they're pulling in?

LP: Snowden and many other people, including Bill Binney, have said that this mentality -- of trying to suck up everything they can -- has left them drowning in information and so they miss what would be considered more obvious leads. In the end, the system they’ve created doesn't lead to what they describe as their goal, which is security, because they have too much information to process.

I don't quite know how to fully understand it. I think about this a lot because I made a film about the Iraq War and one about Guantanamo. From my perspective, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. took a small, very radical group of terrorists and engaged in activities that have created two generations of anti-American sentiment motivated by things like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Instead of figuring out a way to respond to a small group of people, we've created generations of people who are really angry and hate us. And then I think, if the goal is security, how do these two things align, because there are more people who hate the United States right now, more people intent on doing us harm? So either the goal that they proclaim is not the goal or they're just unable to come to terms with the fact that we've made huge mistakes in how we've responded.

TE: I'm struck by the fact that failure has, in its own way, been a launching pad for success. I mean, the building of an unparallelled intelligence apparatus and the greatest explosion of intelligence gathering in history came out of the 9/11 failure. Nobody was held accountable, nobody was punished, nobody was demoted or anything, and every similar failure, including the one on the White House lawn recently, simply leads to the bolstering of the system.

LP: So how do you understand that?

TE: I don't think that these are people who are thinking: we need to fail to succeed. I'm not conspiratorial in that way, but I do think that, strangely, failure has built the system and I find that odd. More than that I don't know.

LP: I don't disagree. The fact that the CIA knew that two of the 9/11 hijackers were entering the United States and didn't notify the FBI and that nobody lost their job is shocking. Instead, we occupied Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. I mean, how did those choices get made?

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gas Pipeline Expansion Should Alarm Homeowners

(photo: EcoWatch)

Gas Pipeline Expansion Should Alarm Homeowners

By Marcia Greenberg, The Washington Post
20 October 14

Homeowners and communities are unprepared for an invasion of their cherished private yards and public spaces.

The Mid-Atlantic region is facing an expansion of natural gas transport infrastructure that threatens communities’ health, safety and homes. With increased hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and plans toexport liquefied natural gas (LNG), the gas industry needs supporting infrastructure. Beyond drilling wells, energy companies are building compressor stations and laying thousands of miles of pipelines. The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America has estimated that from 2011 to 2035 the industry must build nearly 15,000 miles of subsidiary lines — each year.

It is hard to ignore the compressors and pipelines extending quickly through the Mid-Atlantic. Last month, Dominion Power gained the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a plan to convert a dormant LNG import facility at Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay into a major exporting facility for fracked gas. With the FERC’s green light, Dominion will start exports from the Lusby, Md., facility in 2017.

Now, residents are engaged in battles to protect their families and neighborhoods: Until 2012, Lusby was a peaceful town of more than 20,000 people who happily raised children in a safe and quiet environment. Dominion’s plans will turn their lives upside down, threatening quality of life, health, safety and property values.
Families are distraught. Approximately 360 homes lie within 4,500 feet of the site, to which large trucks will regularly haul heavy equipment and construction will generate noise. While an increase in pollution is undisputed, Dominion has easily satisfied the FERC’s pollution-abatement requirement by buying clean-air credits from elsewhere in Maryland — which will not alleviate the toxic conditions around the facility.
Moreover, the possibility of an explosion is undeniable. Homeowners know that, unlike with oil-based fires that burn locally, an LNG fire could trigger an explosion that could race along the pipeline.

In Myersville, Md., citizens learned in 2011 that Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) proposed to build a noisy compressor station less than a mile from the town’s only elementary school. The 16,000-horsepower compressor is expected to emit 23.5 tons of nitrogen oxides and 53,892 tons of greenhouse gases every year.
Myersville’s residents and officials have been battling to stop the compressor. The town’s council rejected DTI’s request for a zoning variance, but the FERC authorized the project.

The threats from gas industry juggernaut may seem to be local rather than regional. They are not.

This could be your actual back yard: In Nelson County, Va., DTI notified homeowner Charlotte Rea of plans to survey her property, which lies along the proposed route of a 550-mile pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. Rea was advised that DTI may use eminent domain if homeowners resist. Her reaction is unnerving: “It’s a violation,” she told a reporter in Charlottesville. “It’s a desecration. It makes you feel totally powerless.” While eminent domain takings may sometimes be necessary for energy infrastructure serving our needs, they support Dominion’s profit-driven exports.

Communities must mobilize to protect themselves. If your home or town lies in the path of pipelines or near a planned compressor, you will have little warning: Lusby’s residents did not see the notice of Dominion’s application in the Federal Register — and it allowed parties only two weeks to intervene. To be sure, corporations have rights, and businesses may pursue profits. But the playing field should be level for

Communities must wrest back local control. They must demand that states repeal laws that enable the gas industry to invade private property and challenge state laws preempting local lawmaking. They should pass bills making people’s rights trump corporate privileges. Unless we rise up and are vigilant, this may be in our own back yards soon.

The writer, a lawyer, has worked on U.S.-funded democracy programs and local economic development in Eastern Europe.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

George W. Bush: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

George W. Bush: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Saturday, 18 October 2014 09:04 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

US Army soldiers take samples from items found in a weapons cache, Baqubah, Iraq, January 3, 2009. (Photo: The US Army)

Thirteen years ago, after the Towers came down but before the war started, I wrote a book that claimed there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and therefore there was no reason to go to war there. That book has stood the test of time, but as it turns out, there were WMD in that shattered, battered and bombed-out nation...just not in the way it was explained to us.

On Tuesday, The New York Times published a thunderclap of an article titled "The Secret Casualties of Iraq's Abandoned Chemical Weapons." The gist of it, in short, is that Iraq was littered with thousands of chemical munitions the US and other countries had sold to the country before 1991. US troops were tasked to police them up and destroy them, a process that injured many of them in ways they still endure today, but because the Bush administration wanted to keep these munitions secret, the troops who happened to scoop up a leaking mustard gas shell and woke up the following day covered in boils and unable to breathe never received proper medical treatment.

But wait, hold the phone: Wasn't the whole point of the exercise about the presence of WMD in Iraq? If US troops found thousands of chemical shells, which they dealt with at their peril, why didn't the Bush administration bellow the fact to the heavens?

Ask Karl Rove:

Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to "let these sleeping dogs lie."

The issue of Iraq's WMD remnants was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops' chemically induced wounds.
To people familiar with the issue, both inside that administration and outside, the blame for the coverup falls on one particular set of shoulders: Rove's.

Some very stupid people heralded the Times' article as vindication of their long-embraced belief that Iraq actually did have WMD, and therefore George W. Bush's calamitous war was justified. There are several problems with this premise: 1. One actually has to read the article, which is long and full of words, several of which explain that the chemical munitions discovered were from 1991 or before, and were utterly useless as designed when found during the war; 2. None of it was worth fighting a decade-long war over; 3. The Bush administration didn't announce the existence of these decrepit munitions to the world because the US sold them to Iraq during the last Bush administration, and because pretending they weren't there meant the VA could blow off the affected soldiers.

The rhetoric, circa March 2003: Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX gas, mobile biological weapons labs, and uranium from Niger for use in a "robust" nuclear weapons programs.



Meanwhile, as these old dogs grapple and scrape over this well-stripped bone, the fruits of their pestiferous labors continue to bloom. The latest revelation, from McClatchy News, reads US Will Build New Syrian Rebel Force to Battle Islamic State:

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

This time, (retired Marine General John) Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it's tied to "a credible field force" that will have undergone an intense vetting process.

"It's not going to happen immediately," Allen said. "We're working to establish the training sites now, and we'll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out."

This time...

This time...

This time?

It is always this time, until next time, which becomes this time, and by God, we're going to deploy the same catastrophically failed tactics that led us here to begin with. Why? Because eternal war means eternal weapons sales...and a nifty side benefit happens to be the irrational paranoia consistently dosed to the American public by way of the "news" media, which lets things like "George W. Bush was right and the Iraq war was good!" slide by unremarked.

I have said this many times before, and will have to say it many times again until either these people are in jail or I am wrapped in my shroud: The single greatest strength of the American right is their utter and complete lack of shame. They will say anything - literally anything - if it moves the political ball even a few inches down the field.

P.S. The region of Iraq where the majority of these pre-1991 US-made chemical munitions can still be found is currently under the control of ISIS.

Thanks, George. You're the gift that keeps on giving.

Copyright, Truthout.

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

How Putin Became Central Figure in Texas Anti-Fracking Vote

Published on Portside (

How Putin Became Central Figure in Texas Anti-Fracking Vote

Steve Horn and Alexandra Tempus

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On September 8, a Texas state regulatory agency sent a letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, suggesting that U.S. anti-fracking activists are receiving funding from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is reasonable to assume,” Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter wrote, “that their intention is to increase their market share of natural gas production and distribution as Russia is the second largest producer of natural gas in the world.”

This move by Texas coincides with the lead up to an Election Day referendum on the state’s first proposed city-wide fracking ban, to be held in the city of Denton on November 4. But this particular move by Texas to discredit activists is not a new one. In fact, it highlights one way climate campaigners have previously been tracked and monitored by intelligence agencies, public relations firms, and their powerful clients to create “actionable intelligence.” That is, information that could help undermine and eventually defeat social movements.

The letter was publicized in a press release headlined, “Porter Exposes Putin Plot to Hurt Texas Economy.” It offers no direct proof to back up the Putin claims, only citing “multiple reports” linking Russia’s massive state-owned natural gas company Gazprom to public relations and lobbying firms, such as industry giant Ketchum.

Porter also wrote that Russia’s strategy includes bankrolling anti-fracking environmental groups and pushing propaganda by distributing the Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, which Porter called “an incredibly deceitful film.”
Kerry has not yet responded publicly to the letter. And Carlos Espinosa, the Texas Railroad Commission’s director of special projects, admitted in emails obtained under the Texas Public Information Act that there was no actual paper trail corroborating the Putin story, only claims from others in the news.

“Our information is based off of reports from the New York Times, CNN, National Review, and many others, including a former American Ambassador to Russia,” Espinosa wrote in response to a reporter’s query. “Gazprom is spending tens of millions of dollars — that we know of — to eliminate competition globally. It’s likely they’ve influenced much of the overall anti-hydraulic fracturing movement’s message.”

Texas’ economic interest in developing its natural gas resources and the state’s long history of working hand-in-hand with the energy industry may explain its effort to discredit the anti-fracking movement. In his letter, Porter insists that the U.S. government must protect the “vitality of the industry that produces these resources and paves the way for American energy independence.”

This cozy relationship between the industry and its regulatory agency does not go unnoticed by activists.

“The RRC is not a regulator, but a facilitator of industry’s wishes,” Will Wooten, a Denton, Texas-based anti-fracking activist who has also been involved in the Tar Sands Blockade, said in an email. “Whether approving the eminent domain process for pipelines like the Keystone XL, or allowing fracking to expand in urban areas with no real regulations in place, the RRC is there to make sure industry gets what it wants.”
The Texas Railroad Commission did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.

History Repeats Itself

The Putin tactic may have originated with Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. When the U.S. anti-fracking movement began to gain steam in 2010, Stratfor began monitoring the activities of anti-fracking activists. It did so on behalf of its “biggest client,” the American Petroleum Institute.

In a June 2010 email obtained by Wikileaks from the now-imprisoned Anonymous “hactivist” Jeremy Hammond, Stratfor senior Eurasia analyst Lauren Goodrich made a now-familiar accusatory overture: U.S.-based anti-fracking organizations — and in particular, Gasland director and producer Josh Fox — might be tied to Putin.
“[Fox] said his film was paid for by HBO,” wrote Goodrich. “However, I would be interested to see who else funded this documentary (ie Coal or Russia, etc.).”
Personnel records obtained via the Public Information Act show that the Texas RRC hired Espinosa in August, about a month before the release of the Porter letter. Espinosa formerly worked as a senior counselor at the public relations firm Dezenhall Resources. Importantly, Espinosa gave final guidance to “tee up” Porter’s letter for dissemination to the press.

PR Industry’s “Navy Seals”

Dezenhall, the self-described “Navy SEALs of the communications business,” previously hired security firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) to surveil Greenpeace USA as part of its issues management due diligence process.

In practice, that meant not only open-source snooping on the Web, but also “pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings,” according to a 2008 Mother Jones investigation.

Greenpeace filed a lawsuit in 2010 against both BBI and Dezenhall, which was dismissed upon appeal in August.

In the world of corporate public relations, firms like Dezenhall and Stratfor provide what Judith Richter, author of the book Holding Corporations Accountable: Corporate Conduct, International Codes and Citizen Action, points to as a key public relations technique: “environmental monitoring.”

The practice amounts to an “early warning system that helps PR managers to locate the smoke and take action before a major fire develops,” Richter wrote in her book. “As a result of such information-gathering, public relations firms have [developed] data banks on activist and other relevant groups and organizations.”

It’s no coincidence, then, that such tactics are now being deployed in Texas and beyond, working their way all the way up to the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Barry Smitherman, another Texas Railroad Commissioner, cited these claims made by the NATO Secretary General in a July 11 letter to Denton Mayor Chris Watts. In so doing, Smitherman hinted that those pushing for the city-wide fracking ban in Denton, Texas might be funded by Moscow.

“It would therefore appear that not all efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing are grounded in environmental concerns,” wrote Smitherman. “With this in mind, I trust you will all will determine whether funding and manpower behind this effort to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton is coming from out of state sources or from those who would profit from the imposition of such a ban.”

Out of Touch?

As Denton narrows in on its vote on the would-be historic fracking ban, powerful industry players have spent big money to defeat the measure. Citizens on the ground in Denton recently told the Dallas Observer that the Putin talking point has woven its way into the door-to-door canvassing operations of those volunteering to get out the vote in support of striking down the fracking ban proposal.

But Wooten, the anti-fracking activist, dismisses the Putin claims.

“While the [Russia] meme may be effective for [industry] on a national and international level, on a local level in Denton it just sounds out-of-touch with the issue at hand and borderline wingnut,” he said. “These tactics are hurting their support among Dentonites, not helping.”

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based staff writer for DeSmogBlog and a freelance investigative journalist. His writing has appeared in Al Jazeera America, VICE News, The Guardian, The Nation, Wisconsin Watch, Truth-Out, AlterNet and elsewhere. Alexandra Tempus is an independent journalist and was a lead researcher on This Changes Everything. She is also a researcher at Rolling Stone and has written on climate and politics for VICE News, Mic, the Associated Press and The Nation.

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman and Andrew Jackson Were Proponents of Native American Genocide

Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman and Andrew Jackson Were Proponents of Native American Genocide

Sunday, 19 October 2014 00:00By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

US Marines searching for the Native Americans among the mangroves during the Seminole War. (Photo: USMC)

Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz speaks about her book on the true history of how the United States became a nation and the Eurocentric racism used to justify it.

The false narrative of Columbus "discovering" the Americas still pervades history books and the Eurocentric mindset of the United States. Learn the true history of what author and Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls the legacy of Columbus's voyages: the annihilation and conquest of Native-Americans. Read "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" now.

"It's essential to remember that the United States had been involved in overseas imperialism from the beginning," author and Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes. That policy was forged as the original 13 colonies expanded westward and committed genocide against Native Americans. Many of the empire-building acts of the United States throughout its history - including at the current moment - can be explained by its war on indigenous inhabitants of North America that was justified by Eurocentric racism and "manifest destiny."

The following is an extensive interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on the true history of how the United States became a nation, occupying land it did not own by decimating native residents. It's an eye-opening account that thoroughly debunks jingoistic and false history taught in the vast majority of US schools.

Mark Karlin: Here it is October and the nation celebrated the 13th of this month as Columbus Day, "honoring" Columbus for "discovering" the Western Hemisphere. Many people, at least now, have the alternative of celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, including those of us at Truthout. Isn't it a bit galling that Columbus Day is still a federal holiday, given that it reinforces a false narrative that resulted in a magnitude of death and barbarity that is almost incompressible?

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Yes. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our nation was born in genocide. . .
. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode."
Continuing to celebrate Columbus's first voyage is an example of what Dr. King refers to as elevating genocide to a noble crusade. Columbus' voyage on behalf of the Spanish monarchs, endorsed by the Holy Roman empire, marked the onset of modern colonialism as well as the beginning of the African and Native-American slave trade.

And capitalism. Marx aptly described the process of primary accumulation of capital: "The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting
 of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of prior accumulation." - Karl Marx, from Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist
Following up on Columbus Day, your 11th chapter is entitled "The Doctrine of Discovery." How has this doctrine been used to seize what were indigenous lands by the United States?

From the mid-15th century to the mid-20th century, most of the non-European world was colonized under the Doctrine of Discovery, one of the first principles of international law Christian European monarchies promulgated to legitimize investigating, mapping and claiming lands belonging to peoples outside Europe. It originated in a papal bull issued in 1455 that permitted the Portuguese monarchy to seize West Africa. Following Columbus' voyage, another papal bull extended similar permission to Spain. Disputes between the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies led to the papal-initiated Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which, besides dividing the globe equally between the two Iberian empires, clarified that only non-Christian lands fell under the discovery doctrine.

This doctrine, on which all European states relied, thus originated with the arbitrary and unilateral establishment of the Iberian monarchies' exclusive rights under Christian canon law to colonize foreign peoples, and this right was later seized by other European monarchical colonizing projects. The French Republic used this legalistic instrument for its 19th- and 20th-century settler colonialist projects, as did the newly independent United States, when it continued the colonization of North America begun by the British.

In 1792, not long after the US founding, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson claimed that the Doctrine of Discovery developed by European states was international law applicable to the new US government as well. In 1823, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson v. McIntosh. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Marshall held that the Doctrine of Discovery had been an established principle of European law and of English law in effect in Britain's North American colonies and was also the law of the United States. The Court defined the exclusive property rights that a European country acquired by dint of discovery: "Discovery gave title to the government, by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession." Indigenous rights were, in the court's words, "in no instance, entirely disregarded; but were necessarily, to a considerable extent, impaired." The court further held that indigenous "rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished." Indigenous peoples could continue to live on the land, but title resided with the discovering power, the United States. The decision concluded that native nations were "domestic, dependent nations." This remains the fundamental colonial law under which the United States' government structures its relationship with Native-American nations.

The doctrine of discovery has been used by many colonial powers historically to claim land. After all, most of what is now the United States was first seized in the name of European powers, particularly Britain, Spain and France. Can you elaborate on the related notion of terra nullius (meaning land belonging to no one in Latin) that was used by British explorers, for example, to assert that aborigines and other indigenous populations did not occupy what is now Australia, so therefore they could be slaughtered since they were disposable and not a sovereign nation. Wasn't this doctrine also applied to the lands acquired by the US through "manifest destiny," even though the indigenous populations of North America did have identities that were a variation on nationhood, just different from the European model?

The Doctrine of Discovery does not require terra nullius in order to seize land from the indigenous inhabitants.

However, the British settlers of the 13 North American colonies, particularly Massachusetts Bay colony, as well as Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and carried on the independent US republic as well as by the republics of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, justified their brutal massacres of Native farmers and fishing people by claiming that the land was sparsely populated, invoking terra nullius.

That's why the first chapter in the book, "Follow the Corn," about precolonial North America, is so important.

Here I document the large populations that existed, with 99 percent of the indigenous population, agricultural producers, living in towns and cities, with vast irrigation systems, as well as networks of roads for robust trade and travel. The Valley of México was the source of the spread of agriculture all over the temperate, as well as even arid, regions of North America. Along the coasts, fishing villages thrived, with travel and trade around the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean. The nomadic people of the bison in the Plains were also involved in trading - the bison were even imported into upstate New York by the nations of the Iroquois. Rather than hunting, Native peoples built deer parks and practiced game management that brought the animals to them, rather than having to hunt them down.

The other important element has been called the "terminal narrative." In this version of terra nullius, infectious diseases brought by the Europeans wiped out most of the indigenous populations and would have depopulated the continent even if European settlers had never come, due to the trading ships along the Atlantic coast before settlement began. The principal reason the consensus view is wrong and ahistorical is that it erases the effects of settler colonialism with its antecedents in the Spanish "Reconquest" and the English conquest of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. By the time Spain, Portugal and Britain arrived to colonize the Americas, their methods of eradicating peoples or forcing them into dependency and servitude were ingrained, streamlined and effective. If disease could have done the job, it is not clear why the European colonizers in America found it necessary to carry out unrelenting wars against indigenous communities in order to gain every inch of land they took from them - nearly 300 years of colonial warfare, followed by continued wars waged by the independent republics of the hemisphere.

What was the role of religious manifest destiny to "conquer the heathens in the name of God," as you discuss in your section on Calvinism?

Most US historians of the pre-Republican period of Anglo colonizing projects attribute to the Puritans the fundamental ideology that still forms the basis for US nationalism and identity. The Puritans' arguments justifying their "errand in the wilderness" are very similar to those made by the Calvinist Boer settlers in Southern Africa, as well as the Calvinist Scots settlers in Northern Ireland, all of them embracing the concept of "Zion" and a new "Jerusalem," a godly mission to realize their god's will for creating "civilization" and destroying the devil-filled savages, false occupiers of land granted to the Calvinists' god's children. This rhetoric is nearly identical to that used by Zionism in seizing and settling the land of the Palestinians.

Although most US citizens today would not make the Calvinist argument, the residue of that ideology produces the nearly totally embraced concept of US exceptionalism. As President Barak Obama told an Al Arabiya television interviewer in Dubai, in affirming that the United States could be an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power." Of course, he was lambasted by right-wing patriots and even the press for claiming the US was less than perfect.

Your book is replete with research confirming how the US waged a conscious, often proclaimed war of annihilation, including ongoing massacres of women and children, against Native Americans to obtain land for white "settlers." How many Native-Americans were killed in the barbaric expansion of the US westward?

I don't believe anyone knows for sure how many Native Americans were killed in the process of US colonization of the continent, from founding to 1916. In the 16th century, it is estimated that there were 15 million native people in what is now the continental United States (but 30 million in the Valley of Mexico, which is inseparable from North American precolonial relations; 100 million in the Western Hemisphere); today, there are 3 million Native Americans within US borders.

Settler colonialism, as an institution or system, requires violence or the threat of violence to attain its goals. People do not hand over their land, resources, children and futures without a fight, and that fight is met with violence. In employing the force necessary to accomplish its expansionist goals, a colonizing regime institutionalizes violence. The notion that settler-indigenous conflict is an inevitable product of cultural differences and misunderstandings, or that violence was committed equally by the colonized and the colonizer, blurs the nature of the historical processes.

The term "genocide" was coined following the Shoah, or Holocaust, and its prohibition was enshrined in the United Nations convention adopted in 1948: the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The convention is not retroactive but is applicable to US-Indigenous relations since 1988, when the US Senate ratified it. The terms of the genocide convention are also useful tools for historical analysis of the effects of colonialism in any era. In the convention, any one of five acts is considered genocide if "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group":

• killing members of the group;

• causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

• deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

• imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

• forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The colonization of North America was genocidal by plan, not simply the tragic fate of populations lacking immunity to disease. In the case of the Jewish Holocaust, no one denies that more Jews died of starvation, overwork and disease under Nazi incarceration than died in gas ovens, yet the acts of creating and maintaining the conditions that led to those deaths clearly constitute genocide.

Can you sum up how Andrew Jackson engaged in "career building through genocide"?

As the most notorious land speculator in western Tennessee, Jackson enriched himself by acquiring a portion of the Chickasaw Nation's land from which he carved his large slave-worked plantation. In 1801, Jackson took command of the Tennessee militia as a colonel and began his Indian-killing military career. With his army of white settlers promised booty and land, his militia waged a brutal war of annihilation against the Muskogee Creek Nation. Jackson, far from being reprimanded for his genocidal methods, won a commission from President James Madison as major general in the US Army. In that capacity, he commanded regular and mercenary troops in attacking resistant Muskogee Seminole villages in Spanish Florida. Wars against the Seminoles continued into and through and beyond his presidency. Jackson was elected to the presidency in 1828 as a hero to the planter class as well as the landless poor whites, to whom he promised land. He carried out their will as commander and chief of the armed forces in forcibly removing the five large agricultural nations in the Southeast to Indian Territory (later the state of Oklahoma) in forced marches.

After the Civil War, journalist James Mooney interviewed people who had been involved in the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation. Based on these firsthand accounts, he described the scene in 1838, when the US Army removed the last of the Cherokees by force:

Under [General Winfield] Scott's orders, the troops were disposed at various points throughout the Cherokee country, where stockade forts were erected for gathering in and holding the Indians preparatory to removal. From these, squads of troops were sent to search out with rifle and bayonet every small cabin hidden away in the coves or by sides of mountain streams, to seize and bring in as prisoners all the occupants, however or wherever they might be found. Families at dinner were startled by the sudden gleam of bayonets in the doorway and rose up to be driven with blows and oaths along the weary miles of trail that led to the stockade. Men were seized in their fields or going along the road, women were taken from their wheels and children from their play. In many cases, on turning for one last look as they crossed the ridge, they saw their homes in flames, fired by the lawless rabble that followed on the heels of the soldiers to loot and pillage. So keen were these outlaws on the scene that in some instances they were driving off the cattle and other stock of the Indians almost before the soldiers had fairly started their owners in the other direction. Systematic hunts were made by the same men for Indian graves, to rob them of the silver pendants and other valuables deposited with the dead. A Georgia volunteer, afterward a colonel in the Confederate service, said: 'I fought through the civil war and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.'
You quote many famous figures in US history, including Walt Whitman and Theodore Roosevelt, expressing their abject racism toward the indigenous population. In essence, the Euro-centric wave of US occupation of indigenous lands appeared grounded in a wanton racial stereotype of Native-Americans as an inferior race, even implying that they were a species so inferior that causing their extinction was a benefit to the human species. From where did this despicable outlook derive?

By the time of Theodore Roosevelt, US society, including "scientists," was awash in Social Darwinism and eugenics. But, clearly, Walt Whitman was a true visionary in the sense that his vile language of Mexicans, "Injuns," and "niggers," fit into the Social Darwinism that developed in the Atlantic world as a justification for colonialism and genocide, not just in North America, but all the Americas and Caribbean, South Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific, and especially, Africa and African Americans.

As an enthusiastic supporter of the US war against Mexico in 1846, Whitman proposed the stationing of 60,000 US troops in Mexico in order to establish a regime change there "whose efficiency and permanency shall be guaranteed by the United States. This will bring out enterprise, open the way for manufacturers and commerce, into which the immense dead capital of the country [Mexico] will find its way." Whitman explicitly grounded this prescription in racism: "The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated; it is the law of the races, history. . . . A superior grade of rats come and then all the minor rats are cleared out." The whole world would benefit from US expansion: "We pant to see our country and its rule far-reaching. What has miserable, inefficient Mexico . . . to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noble race?" In September 1846, when General Zachary Taylor's troops captured Monterrey, Whitman hailed it as "another clinching proof of the indomitable energy of the Anglo-Saxon character." Whitman's sentiments reflected the established US origin myth that had the frontier settlers replacing the native peoples as historical destiny.

That Whitman remains the idol of so many US American intellectuals, scholars, and writers, including predominately the Beat Era rebel poets, attests to the deep-seated racism in US culture, a kind of toxic that oozes everywhere. Thanks to the powerful African-American-led Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century, there is much greater awareness now of the crimes of the Atlantic slave trade and the institution of legalized enslavement of Africans in the United States. Although deep-seated racial discrimination and racial hatred persists, such acts are at least denounced and are formally illegal. However, the residue of Indian-hating and Indian-killing has been dealt with sporadically, and the myth of a "natural" disappearance of a "backward race" is not far from the surface of most US Americans' consciousness. The renewed and very public indigenous resistance movements in the 20th century have produced hundreds of researchers, writers and spokespersons that are beginning to have an effect, as witness a widespread questioning of celebrating Columbus, and, of course, the public debate about the Washington football team's moniker.

You draw a close relationship to the US using strategies of empire against the indigenous population that became part of a pattern in how the United States became a colonial power independent of Europe. Can you give an example of how this played out with possessions such as the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico?
Yes, but it's essential to remember that the United States had been involved in overseas imperialism from the beginning. Traversing the continent "from sea to shining sea" was hardly a natural westward procession of covered wagons as portrayed in Western movies. The US invasion of Mexico was carried out by US marines, by sea, through Veracruz, and the early colonization of California initially progressed from the Pacific coast, reached from the Atlantic coast by way of Tierra del Fuego.

Between the Mississippi River and the Rockies lay a vast region controlled by indigenous nations that were neither conquered nor colonized by any European power, and although the United States managed to annex northern Mexico, large numbers of settlers could not reach the Northern California goldfields or the fertile Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest without army regiments accompanying them. Why then does the popular US historical narrative of a "natural" westward movement persist? The answer is that those who still hold to the narrative remain captives of the ideology of "manifest destiny," according to which the United States expanded across the continent to assume its preordained size and shape. This ideology normalizes the successive invasions and occupations of indigenous nations and Mexico as not being colonialist or imperialist, rather simply ordained progress. In this view, Mexico was just another Indian nation to be crushed.

Then there were the Barbary Wars. The opening lyric of the official hymn of the US Marine Corps, composed and adopted soon after the invasion of Mexico, "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli," refers in part to 1801-1805, when the Marines were dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson to invade the Berber Nation of North Africa. This was the "First Barbary War," the ostensible goal of which was to persuade Tripoli to release US sailors it held hostage and to end "pirate" attacks on US merchant ships. The "Second Barbary War," in 1815-1816, ended when pasha Yusuf Karamanli, ruler of Tripoli, agreed not to exact fees from US ships entering their territorial waters.

But, yes, the post-Civil War US Army of the West that carried out the genocidal counterinsurgencies against the peoples of the Northern Plains, the Intermountain West, and the Southwest moved abroad in the 1890s to the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, carrying out tried and tested counterinsurgency campaigns against those peoples who resisted. The prime target by 1898 were the Spanish colonies of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, where nationalist forces were fighting for independence from Spain, and the US intervened to drive Spain out, then turned on the insurgents, holding the Philippines as a colony for nearly a half century, dominated Cuba until the Cuban Revolution, and seized and still holds Puerto Rico as a colony (also Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and other Pacific islands).

In your conclusion, you state bluntly that "North America is a crime scene." Can you expand on that?

I take that concept of North America as a "crime scene" from Chickasaw scholar Jodi Byrd. One can imagine yellow tape surrounding the whole of the United States. I think the metaphor of a crime scene brings to consciousness the unfinished business of dealing with the past. It also raises the question of the violence and criminalization that permeates the society, the prison-industrial complex as well as the proliferation of firearms and attachment to them, and the continued US wars against much of the rest of the world, rhetorically and militarily.

On pages 64-65, you provide background to the barbaric origin of the term "redskins." In light of your historical account, how do you view the refusal of the Washington DC NFL franchise to change its name?
Not only the Washington franchise, but also public schools and colleges across the country use "redskins" as their nickname. And not only does the Washington team balk at dropping the odious name, but also the fans continue to support its retention. I believe this willfulness is based on something more profound than ignorance of the historical significance of the term and is actually an affirmation of settler-colonialism, that a dead Indian is the symbol of the team that inhabits the US capitol.

The source of "redskins": As an incentive to recruit fighters, colonial authorities early on introduced a program of scalp hunting that became a permanent and long-lasting element of settler warfare against indigenous nations. During the Pequot War, Connecticut and Massachusetts colonial officials had offered bounties initially for the heads of murdered indigenous people and later for only their scalps, which were more portable in large numbers. But scalp hunting became routine only in the mid-1670s, following an incident on the northern frontier of the Massachusetts colony. The practice began in earnest in 1697, when settler Hannah Dustin, having murdered 10 of her Abenaki captors in a nighttime escape, presented their 10 scalps to the Massachusetts General Assembly and was rewarded with bounties for two men, two women and six children. Dustin soon became a folk hero among New England settlers.

Scalp hunting became a lucrative commercial practice. The settler authorities had hit upon a way to encourage settlers to take off on their own or with a few others to gather scalps, at random, for the reward money. "In the process," military historian John Grenier points out, "they established the large-scale privatization of war within American frontier communities."

Although the colonial government in time raised the bounty for adult male scalps, lowered that for adult females, and eliminated that for indigenous children under 10, the age and gender of victims were not easily distinguished by their scalps nor checked carefully. What is more, the scalp hunter could take the children captive and sell them into slavery. These practices erased any remaining distinction between indigenous combatants and noncombatants and introduced a market for indigenous slaves. Bounties for indigenous scalps were honored even in absence of war. Scalps and indigenous children became means of exchange, currency, and this development may even have created a black market. Scalp hunting was not only a profitable privatized enterprise but also a means to eradicate or subjugate the indigenous population of the Anglo-American Atlantic seaboard. The settlers gave a name to the mutilated and bloody corpses they left in the wake of scalp-hunts: redskins.
White House Petition: Change the Columbus Day Holiday to Indigenous Peoples' Day
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Mark Karlin is the editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout. He served as editor and publisher of BuzzFlash for 10 years before joining Truthout in 2010. BuzzFlash has won four Project Censored Awards. Karlin writes a commentary five days a week for BuzzFlash, as well as articles for Truthout. He also interviews authors and filmmakers whose works are featured in Truthout's Progressive Picks of the Week.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs