Tag Archives: Atrocities

Ludlow Massacre or unhappy incident?

Ludlow Tent Colony 1914
COLORADO COLLEGE- CC is holding a symposium on the 1914 Ludlow Massacre. Actually, it’s only called the Ludlow Symposium. True to Colorado Springs form, several among the audience want to call it an “incidence,” instead of a “massacre.” One of the participants, author Scott Martelle, is willing to oblige, explaining that if the militia hadn’t known that women and children were taking shelter beneath the tents which they were putting to the torch, then the soldiers were guilty only of criminally negligent homicide.

(*Note 4/12/09: this article has been revised in light of helpful comments offered by symposium participants. Also: Differences of opinion aside, I am remiss if I do not praise the scholars who were very generous with their time and encyclopedic memories to enrich this symposium.
1. CC’s own Professor David Mason authored an evocative narrative of lives caught up in the 1914 events, written in verse, entitled Ludlow.
2. Journalist Scott Thomas researched the most recent definitive account to date, the 2007 Blood Passion: the Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West.
3. Thomas Andrews, Associate Professor at CU Denver, enlarged the context in 2008 with his award winning Killing For Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War.
4. Zeese Papanikolas represented his authorative Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre, written in 1984.)

Does it matter what it’s called, or with what certainty? The symposium is filled with public school system educators looking for an angle with which to approach Ludlow with their kids. One of them expresses her doubt about teaching about Mother Jones, having just heard from the panelists a probably too-nuanced assessment of the labor hero’s tactics. The political climate of our age can’t find any purchase with moral nuance.

I’m stuck thinking that in recording social history, scholars cannot avoid writing the victor’s narrative. In particular as regards the history of labor, because neither academics nor even middle class hobbyists in the symposium’s audience can look at the events from the perspective of the working class.

Even the scholar’s objectivity is middle class. The opinion was expressed by the panel that the Ludlow aftermath was one of the few occasions when the story was spun to the benefit of labor interests. But this does not account for why authors and educators find themselves having to resurrect the tale of Ludlow these many years later. When it occurred, Americans may have swallowed the hyperbole, but since that time they’ve internalized its internment, effaced by a corporate culture so as to have disappeared from even our school textbooks.

I think this may have been something of the question posed by symposium organizer Jaime Stevensen to the panel, when she asked how the authors insulated themselves from the fictions woven into their own perspectives of history. She didn’t get any takers.

The very concept that history adds up to only so much trivial pursuit, is inherently a view from the ivory tower. BLOOD PASSION by Scott Martelle Do the Ludlow scholars not recognize that common people today face the same foes as did the miners of Ludlow? With the added impediment of a corporate PR system erasing its malevolent deeds. Have not American unions been maligned to the point of extinction? Yet at the same time, capitalists have thoroughly reprised their Machiavellian ways. History can be a tool, not only for statecraft, but for the common American to protect his hard-fought democratic gains.

The United Mine Workers of America having successfully spun the deaths of the striking miner families as a “massacre” may have made an unmerited impact on the public’s sympathies, but likewise, deciding to call Ludlow “not a massacre” will be falsely charged as well. Is there a valuable lesson in unlearning that unbridled corporate greed can be unthinkably inhumane?

OUT OF THE DEPTHS by Barron BeshoarHistorians can fancy themselves objective to ambivalence, but is that a luxury their readers and in particular the schoolchildren can afford? As we witness today the gloves coming off of the globalisation taskmasters?

How I prefer the emotional truth of earlier chroniclers like Barron Beshoar, author of OUT OF THE DEPTHS, a 1942 account of Ludlow, whose preface included this gem:

“If the mine guards and detectives, the mercenaries who served as the Gestapo and the coal districts appear to be scoundrels who sold themselves and their fellowmen for a few corporation dollars, the author will consider them adequately presented.”

KILLING FOR COAL by Thomas AndrewsAt Colorado College the consensus of contemporary historical synthesis, embodied by CU Denver’s Thomas Andrews‘ excellent book KILLING FOR COAL, seems to conclude about Ludlow, “we may never know exactly what happened.” This may reflect the Factual Truth, but it does so at the expense of unrecorded oral accounts, by depreciating their traditional path to us through of folklore.

Buried UnsungAnother author made pains to debunk the lyrics “Sixteen tons, and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt,” a cultural indictment of the “company store,” which was one of the grievances of the Ludlow strikers. He postulated that modern readers could be prone to let folklore color a predisposition against the company store. Perhaps a company store was in fact a convenience, derided because it was an arbitrary restriction against which human nature bucked. Trying to be helpful, another panelist suggested: “Imagine if the company store was 7-11, and you were told you could only shop there.” I believe both of these gentlemen are overlooking the much grosser complaint which the miners were protesting, that of insurmountable debt, systematically forced on them by their employers. That’s a phenomena on the rise today, if maybe not among college professors. Around the world, indentured servitude has never abated.

In our ivory tower we can debate which side, the union or the militia, fired the first shots on April 20. Who was at fault, seemed to be what that question would decide. At least panelist Anne Hyde had the presence of mind to lay some of the responsibility on the mine owners, who weren’t there of course, but whose stubborn greed played a not unsubstantial part in what the other panelists were attributing to “macho intransigence.”

That expression was in vogue to describe Cowboy presidencies. What an effete put down of militant activism. Are we to blame the striking miners for holding firm to their demands?

Thank goodness someone in the audience brought up recent efforts to deny the Sand Creek Massacre, which two panelists quickly weighed in to say “that was a real massacre,” discrediting Ludlow, obviously, and failing to grasp her point that indeed some Colorado Springs locals are rewriting Sand Creek as a battle, and not a massacre.

Another isolationist luxury has become to judge every action as it compares to a nonviolent ideal. It was noted that UMWA union leader John Lawson always recused himself from violent tactics. During the symposium’s opening reception, someone performed a song dedicated to the Ludlow martyr Louis Tikas, which lauded him for choosing to fight with words not guns, as if guns would discredit him.

I’ll play devil’s advocate and suggest that the miners fired the first shots. They saw Louis Tikas bludgeoned in the back of the head and then executed as he lay on the ground unconscious, they saw the National Guard move a machine gun into position above their tent city, and they probably began to fire at the soldiers lest a rain of bullets descend on miners’ wives and children before they had a chance to flee the camp.

The miners were asking that their union be recognized, that the Colorado eight hour work day be enforced, that the scales which determined their pay be verified, that their full hours be compensated, etc. The mine owners clung to their profits, and ordered the miners’ tent city, their only shelter and all their worldly possessions burned to the ground. Women and children were hiding in underground pits dug to escape the sniper fire which the mine guards sporadically aimed at the tents. The guards drove an armored car around the perimeter of the union camp, at all hours, for that purpose.

Ultimately this climate erupted into the violent clash on April 20, 1914, in which the miners battled with the far better equipped soldiers. The casualties were 25 to 1. I call that a massacre.

ADDENDUM: Photographs from visit to the Ludlow Memorial.
Site of Ludlow Massacre, photographed 2009
LUDLOW MEMORIAL, COLORADO- Day three of the Colorado College Ludlow Symposium featured a bus ride to the site of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, then on to Trinidad to the grave of Union leader Louis Tikas. A reporter for Colorado Public Radio interviewed the symposium panelists at the U.M.W.A. memorial grounds.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site
David Mason is interviewed by a freelance reporter for Colorado Public Radio.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site
Scott Martelle and Thomas Andrews are interviewed above the fatal cellar.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site

TRINIDAD, COLORADO- Masonic Cemetary.
April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site
Zeese Papanikolas spoke about his protagonist’s gravestone and its reference to Tikas as a “Patriot.”

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!

gaza-protest-children1   By the rivers of Babylon—
        there we sat down
        and there we wept
        when we remembered Zion.

 
Psalm 137, writes Joel Kovel, is “a virtual anthem of the Zionist cause.” The passage is subtitled in the New Revised Standard Edition Bible as Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem. You probably recognize the phrases from gospel music:
 
4   How could we sing the Lord’s song
        in a foreign land?

 
But omitted from the musical versions, and popular discourse at least outside of Israel, is the longing for revenge, expressed in verses 7-9:

7   Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
        the day of Jerusalem’s fall,
    how they said, ‘Tear it down! Tear it down!
        Down to its foundations!’
8   O daughter Babylon, you devastator!
        Happy shall they be who pay you back
        what you have done to us!
9   Happy shall they be who take your little ones
        and dash them against the rock!

Does this bear any relation to the 437 children killed in Israel’s last incursion into Gaza? Note, Kovel wrote Overcoming Zionism in the wake of the IDF’s atrocities in Lebanon, the ferocity of which their Gaza operation could only be said to have exceeded. Kovel did find counterparts to Psalm 137 in contemporary Israeli rhetoric. He quotes Rafi Ginat, editor-in-chief of Yediot Ahronot, July 28, 2006.

“wipe out villages that host Hezbollah terrorists […] wash with burning fire the Hezbollah terrorists, their helpers, their collaborators, and those who look the other way, and everyone who smells like Hezbollah, and let their innocent people die instead of ours.”

And Kovel quotes Israeli poet Ilan Shenfeld, published in Ynet, July 30, 2006, who throws the fate of Gaza’s children in with those of Lebanon:

“March on Lebanon and also on Gaza with ploughs and salt. Destroy them to the last inhabitant. Turn them into an arid desert, an uninhabited, turbid valley. Because we yearned for peace and wanted it, and our houses we destroyed first, But they were a wasted gift for those murderers, with beard and Jihad bands, Who shout: ‘Massacre now!,’ and who have neither love nor peace, Neither god nor father. […]

“Save your people and make bombs, and rain them on villages and towns and houses till they collapse. Kill them, shed their blood, terrify their lives, lest they try again To destroy us, until we hear from tops of exploding mountains, Ridden down by your heels, sounds of supplication and lamentation. And your pits will cover them. Whoever scorns a day of bloodshed, He should be scorned. Save your people, and make war.”

Ran HaCohen wrote in Antiwar.com, quoting Israeli peace activist A. B. Yehoshua from Ha’aretz, March 19, 2004, who justified the plan for Gaza.

“After we take out the settlements … we would use force against an entire population, use force in a total manner. … We would cut off the electricity in Gaza. We would cut off communications in Gaza. We would stop fuel supply to Gaza…. It won’t be a desirable war, but definitely a purifying one.”

gaza-protest-end-killing

Bishop Williamson and Auschwitz 1.0

Arbeit Macht Frei
I am curious as to why a Roman Catholic bishop would risk a second excommunication over the historic particulars of the Holocaust. Bishop Richard Williamson is being labeled a “Holocaust Denier” because he questions the extent, and mechanism, of the official version of the Holocaust. Because Williamson is also criticized for his skepticism about the official 9/11 narrative, and for his praise for the Unabomber’s manifesto, I want to take a closer look, and wonder what is he reading?

Bishop Richard WilliamsonHere’s what the outspoken Williamson told Swedish SVT in a November 2008 interview, as transcribed by the BBC:

“I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler… I believe there were no gas chambers [during World War II]”

First, I’m compelled to pose a naive question: If we can all agree that Jews died in huge numbers by incomparable horrors at the hands of the Nazis, would it matter what the exact death toll was, or which killing method predominated? Why? What is the need for laws to restrict historians who are trying to reconstruct the record from emerging facts? Must preemptive “anti-defamation” laws mandate that historians stick to the official “untold” number and “indescribable” evil?

Even if we postulate, albeit cynically, that Holocaust reverence is critical to upholding American public support for Israel‘s “right to exist” in the Middle East, how could a revision of the casualties, in any case a horrific magnitude, make an difference?

Millions of Jews fell victim to the Third Reich. No one is denying it, and historical revision is not trying to bring the Holocaust victims back to life. Holocaust Remembrance of the Jewish victims has remained a political priority around the world, advocating commemoration in education, literature, civic life, and pop culture. Why then, an aversion to scrutiny?

Last week a fellow Society of St. Pius X member, Rev. Floriano Abrahamowicz was ejected from SSPX for coming to Williamson’s and the Pope’s defense.

While the usual politicians and Jewish community leaders are voicing their indignation, can we ask, are the Bishop’s beliefs really at odds with accepted orthodoxy? The media will reiterate that the Six Million figure has always been beyond dispute. All the while, official scholarship has been recording otherwise. In Germany, revisionist historians are jailed for Holocaust Denial. Yet bit by bit, mainstream historians have been able to publish divergent theses which withstand legal refutation.

For the sake of argument, let’s dismiss all the “deniers” as kooks, and look only at the traditionally vetted voices.

On the subject of Auschwitz, where four million of the total six million Jews were believed to have perished, Der Spiegel managing editor Fritjof Meyer a continued critic of revisionism, summarized in Osteuropa 52, 5/2002, p. 631:

“In 1945, the Soviet Investigatory Commission numbered four million victims in the National Socialist work and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a product of war propaganda. Under coercion, camp Commandant Höß named three million and recanted. Up until now, how many people actually fell victim to this singular mass murder could only be estimated. The first Holocaust historian, Gerald Reitlinger, assumed one million, while the latest state of research estimated it to be several hundred thousand fewer.”

Naturally even Meyer touched off a firestorm by integrating the sum of official scholarship into the big picture. The difficulties which historians face in reaching variant findings are explained by another mainstream scholar, noted Hitler historian Dr. Werner Maser, Professor for History and International Law, Munich University, Falsification, Legend, and Truth about Hitler and Stalin, Olzog, Munich 2004, on p.332

“To be sure, […] the extermination of the Jews is considered to be one of the best researched aspects of contemporary history […], but that is not the case. […] Indeed, whole regions remain as much terra incognita as ever, […] German historians exhibit timidity about taking on the horrible issue and possibly bringing to light details that do not agree with the accounts which have multiplied for a very long time.”

And about the deterrence of the Holocaust Denial laws:

“The sword of Damocles hovers over historians (not only in Germany) who portray the controversial phases of history as they ‘actually were’ – and identify the frequently even officially codified ideological specifications as falsifications of history.”

The question of the gas chambers is raised by the absence of evidence. According to major Holocaust authority Dr. Arno J. Mayer, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Princeton University, in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History, Pantheon, New York 1990, p. 362:

“Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable. Even though Hitler and the Nazis made no secret of their war on the Jews, the SS operatives dutifully eliminated all traces of their murderous activities and instruments. No written orders for gassing have turned up thus far. The SS not only destroyed most camp records, which were in any case incomplete, but also razed nearly all killing and crematory installations well before the arrival of Soviet troops. Likewise, care was taken to dispose of the bones and ashes of the victims.”

Justifiably, scholars are skeptical that the complete absence of evidence should be taken as proof of its existence and total suppression. Some camps were overrun before the Germans could destroy any part of them. Mayer continues, p. 163:

“In the meantime, there is no denying the many contradictions, ambiguities, and errors in the existing sources. […] Much the same is true of for the conflicting estimates and extrapolations of the number of victims, since there are no reliable statistics to work with. […] Both radical skepticism and rigid dogmatism about the exact processes of extermination and the exact number of victims are the bane of sound historical interpretation”

In light of the before-sited Wannsee Conference documents now being considered post-war forgeries, Mayer explains, p 163:

“To date there is no certainty about who gave the order, and when, to install the gas chambers used for the murder of Jews at Auschwitz. As no written command has been located, there is a strong presumption that the order was issued and received orally”

With no written record of a “Final Solution,” and the implausibility of a completely vaporized paper trail, mainstream scholars have had to improvise an explanation for how an extermination directive was disseminated. University of Vermont Professor Raul Hilberg, member of US Holocaust Memorial Council, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, (Holmes & Meyer, New York 1985), was quoted in Newsday, Feb. 23, 1983:

“But what began in 1941 was a process of destruction [of the Jews] not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They [these measures] were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus mind reading by a far-flung [German] bureaucracy.”

Hilberg himself ran into trouble with the authorized version, because he refused to corroborate tales of Jewish rebellion against their Nazi jailers. His group-think theory extended to the Jews themselves, putting emphasis on their acceptance of being exploited as war industry slave labor.

“I had to examine the Jewish tradition of trusting God, princes, laws and contracts […] Ultimately I had to ponder the Jewish calculation that the persecutor would not destroy what he could economically exploit. It was precisely this Jewish strategy that dictated accommodation and precluded resistance.”

That’s where the extermination camp thesis becomes less probable than the work camp. Perhaps the Jews didn’t resist because they were being worked, not gassed. Worked to death, of course, but dying as more a consequence of wartime Germany’s depleting resources, than from a deliberate eradication effort. Evidence is plentiful of the work camps and dead bodies.

And isn’t that the answer to my innocent question? To doubt whether the murder weapon was a pistol or a knife, means calling into question the crime entirely. That’s why revisionists are decried for being “deniers.” While we presume the distinction makes little difference, because clearly a murder was committed regardless, the prosecutor constructing the accusations wants to prove his motive and not another.

There are many details about which historians have begun to disagree. Many of the witness accounts have been proven to be unreliable. Even Elie Wiesel was compelled to reclassified his memoir as a novel. The Holocaust as later generations have come to know it was not as the WWII generation saw it. Even those soldiers who encountered the atrocities themselves.

Professor Hilberg recounts studying at Brooklyn College under Hans Rosenberg, a fellow Jew. Even in the wake of the haunting newsreels of the concentration camps, Hilberg records that Rosenberg remarked in a 1948 lecture:

“The most wicked atrocities perpetrated on a civilian population in modern times occurred during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain.”

I don’t really subscribe to the idea that the Holocaust is diminished by learning that the WWII concentration camp victims died from systemic and despotic abuse, starvation and exhaustion. But those holding the secrets believe that the concept of the Holocaust being the greatest evil perpetrated upon mankind falls apart if cracks are allowed to form in the accepted narrative.

Perhaps the German population, and for that matter, the Catholic Church, did not intercede more vigorously because there was no premeditated extermination program. We can say now that German reinforcements being sent to the Russian Front knew they were being sent to their deaths, but this is only with hindsight.

Is this Bishop Williamson’s interest in revisiting the Holocaust, to rehabilitate the church’s role? I doubt it. The Catholic church cannot escape culpability for its instrumental role in support of the Nazis, guilty of ware crimes and crimes against humanity, initiating a war of aggression being the chief charge at the Nuremberg Trials for example, before even taking into account the concentration camps.

Perhaps the American industrialists and bankers who knew about the camps did not interfere because they understood the camps were for the supply of slave labor. Isn’t this a key enigma of the Holocaust, as we grapple with it? How could we have not known? How could this have been allowed to happen?

Perhaps the signs above the camp gates which read ARBEIT MACHT FREI, work earns freedom, meant what they said. They might have been inescapable ironies, but not the cruel mockery of which we accuse the Germans.

Why would factories like IG Farben and Krupp want to liquidate their valuable cheap workforce? Why would camps meant to exterminate have infirmaries? Why would the wardens treat inmates for illness while simultaneously sending incoming transports to directly to ovens?

Today the popular conscience has been saturated with the ghostly images of the concentration camp victims. How to explain the emaciated inmates discovered by the liberating troops, many of whom could not be saved from dying, even under the administration of the liberators? Dr. Arno J. Mayer concedes this explanation, p. 365

“[…] the whole of Auschwitz was intermittently in the grip of a devastating typhus epidemic. The result was an unspeakable death rate. […] There is a distinction between dying from ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ causes and being killed by shooting, hanging, phenol injection, or gassing. […] from 1942 to 1945, certainly at Auschwitz, but probably overall, more Jews were killed by so-called ‘natural’ causes than by ‘unnatural’ ones.”

This is not to diminish the crime of the Holocaust one iota. The German people, the industrialists, the church, the anti-Semites, are far more guilty because the crime against the Jews was banal and common. It was not devised by agents of unspeakable evil.

Other aspiring genocidal nations and peoples cannot excuse their acts because their methods fall demonstrably below the mythic proportions of the Holocaust.

ig-farben-auschwitz

Israelis unscathed by fierce fire fights

IDF Israeli Defense Force soldiers
Despite barring entry to journalists, confiscating cameras, and shooting reporters outright, photographs emerge from Gaza of the IDF’s horrific misdeeds. There are pictures of the dead, of the wounded, of the bodies charred by white phosphorous, of schools and hospitals destroyed. And of course the stories emerge of UN workers fired upon, of families forced inside houses which were then shelled.

I think a most effective photograph depicts Israeli soldiers leaving Gaza, all smiles. They are emerging from, what a cooperative media called, fierce fighting, which left 1,100 Palestinians dead at the cost of 13 IDF soldiers, four of them by friendly fire. The “fierce fighting” sounds more likely to have been Israeli soldiers getting in each other’s way in the fierce frenzy to massacre.

I’d like to think the IDF friendly fire casualties resulted when fellow soldiers cut them down, when they refused to rein in their rabid blood lust. Also likely is that fellow soldiers killed those less gung-ho about the mahem, lest they testify about the war crimes they witnessed.

israelis-watch-gaza-invasion
In another favorite photo, Israeli youth picnic on a hill overlooking Gaza, hoping for a glimpse of the IDF ground assault, the incursion to exterminate the Palestinian vermin.

STOP ISRAEL Sunday, January 18, 1PM

Sister City archWHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO JOLT THE CONSCIENCE OF ISRAEL?!
IDF killings continue. Soldiers are being given “free-fire-zone” license!
 
Meet this weekend, SUN, Jan 18 at 1PM, Acacia Park, at the torii gate, a traditional site for antiwar protest.
 
The Shinto arch at Nevada Ave and Bijou Street commemorates our sister city of Fuji-yoshida, Japan. The plaque reads: “the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities”

Nawabad Afghanistan civilian casualties

Oops. US military spokesmen have had to do an about-face on their account of the NATO air raid on Nawabad which may have killed in excess of 60 Afghan children. It turns out a western doctor on the scene the next day made a video record on his cell phone which depicted more bodies than the US Special Forces had admitted, by a factor of too many.

UN and Afghan representatives are calling for an investigation into the over 90 casualties. Their counts are corroborated by the villagers and eyewitnesses. The official US and NATO casualty figure is still eight. This is the number recorded by the ISAF soldiers and corroborated by an embed reporter, working for none other than Fox News, and being none other than Oliver North!

Can Russians do worse than US soldiers?

I’m listening right now to live alarmist coverage of Russia’s occupation of Georgia. Embeds are reporting to analysts about the panicked Georgians, about forced labor, and about marauding Russian soldiers committing atrocities. A cease fire has been signed, and though we don’t hear any gunfire, American leaders and media hounds are blustering about the Russian disproportionate use of force. When did our DoD decide to recognize that war crime?

It’s only been a few days that the Russians have been tasked with restoring order in the belligerent Georgia. They’re making Georgians help clean the streets and they’re destroying the military facilities which the US-advised Georgian forces just used in their attempt to seize South Ossetia. I’m poised to hear Belgian/Kuwait atrocity fabrications as our talking heads try to prompt Americans to “do something.” The Russian move is being likened to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, where Americans can have nothing but regret about not having acted to repulse the Soviets.

But we Americans know something about occupations now don’t we? How misbehaved have the Russians been? Are we hearing about Russian Predator Drones zapping unsuspecting civilians? Are we hearing of Russian snipers shooting everything that moves, including toddlers in their back yards? Are we hearing about cars and buses being strafed to a halt at improvised Russian checkpoints? Are Georgian ambulances being shot by helicopters?

Gitmo is reincarnation of Con Son Island

the abyss stares back at youWhen you delete data on a computer, actually you only erase pointers to the data. The files remain, but you’ve eradicated the addresses of where to find them. Likewise, to get away with a crime, you eliminate the witnesses who could point the finger at you. Luckily internet search engines are still proving impervious to “cleaners” due to the proliferating network of memory hole archivists and blogger sidewalk barkers. Try this at home: Google “tiger cages.” Think you’ll see images of tigers? Hardly! While Americans are being led to infer that John McCain was mistreated by his North Vietnamese jailers, let’s revisit how our forces treated the communist civilian captives. There was a precedence for Guantanamo. Vietnamese non-combatant detainees were caged on an offshore island prison called Con Son.

Row of tiger cages on Con Son Prison
The occasional pots held lye which the guards threw unto the prisoners for purposes of “hygiene.” When the Con Son brutality was found out, the victims were transfered to worse quarters called “cow cages.”

Fog of War is not Fog for War Crime

Special Forces extra-judicial execution of Partisans who fought the invading Germans
No pictures have yet emerged of what the 595 A-team Fifth Special Forces did with the captured Taliban at the mass graves at Dasht-e Leili. The BBC documentary Massacre at Mazar reports that an Afghan who sought the reputed black market video evidence was beaten by Northern Allied warlord men and left for dead.

In late November 2001 at the battle of Kondutz, several thousand surrendering Taliban promised amnesty, were loaded at Qala Zeini fort into thirteen unventilated shipping containers, bound and blindfolded, some hogtied, and transported to to Sheberghan prison where their dead bodies poured out like fish. US special forces directed the containers be taken to the desert where the bodies were spilled into trenches. Witnesses report that the dozen US soldiers killed those Taliban fighters who emerged alive.

Support the Troops executing civilians

German regulars execute 36 Serb civilians in Pancevo, Vojvodina in retaliation for the deaths of two SS men
Early in WWII, a German Army film staff recorded this deed in color: enraged by the loss of two officers on April 21, 1941, the invading German soldiers gathered 36 random males from the town of Pancevo, Vojvodina and hung or shot them. How different was this from what US soldiers did on November 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq? In Haditha American Marines killed the women and children too. The Pancevo events in 1941 were kept from the German public lest their support for their troops waiver.

Do 700,000 dead kids mean anything?

Do you have feelings one way or another about your friends in the media business? It’s easy, I realize, if you’re not particularly activated about the war, to have no opinion about what the media is or is not telling you. It’s easy to remain apolitical if the news you hear doesn’t resonate with any alarm. You ask: “Everyone is against the war, why belabor the point?”

Some weapons involved the deliberate targeting of childrenLet me put it to you this way. Let’s say that over the hill, on the other side of the world, 700,000 Iraqi children were being murdered. You may or may not know that, I excuse you for not knowing, 700,000 is a rough estimate extrapolated from the Johns Hopkins calculation that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed since the US invasion. We know that over half of the population are children. I can forgive you not knowing, but I have a harder time forgiving those who do know, and don’t want to tell you.

You’d think the death of 700,000 children would be cause for alarm.

Do you think if you knew about 700,000 children being killed, and that your fellow citizens knew, that you might be able to raise an objection, collectively, and prevail against your elected representatives to have the killing stopped? Perhaps we disagree on whether you could make a difference or not, or would be moved to make that difference. But I’m pretty damned sure that seeing 700,000 kids burned, strafed, sniped, exploded, starved, poisoned or run over, would prompt a universal humanitarian outcry, your voice included, and eventually the perpetrators would have to relent. That’s a likely reason, I believe, why you and others are not being shown the killing.

They watch 700,000 Iraqi kids die so you don’t have to.

Now what do you think of the people in the position to know, atop the hill, with an overview and the best analysts to deduce the horror being masked by military spokesmen? What do you think about those news people deciding not to tell you about it? The only people with the power to spread the word, with the power to save the children by alerting the rest of the world to the continuing slaughter; what is your opinion of those people?

Now it’s true, they have bosses who are beholden to the corporations that earn a ton from selling the weapons used to kill the kids. There’s oil afoot, and huge contracts, and all sort of profit to reap, and hell, an anti-capitalism spiritual belief system to tamp down. The corporate media have their reasons, and the newscasters are but people like you and me trying to hang on to their jobs. But 700,000 children. Should you begrudge the bastards 700,000 Iraqi children?

I’ve called them bastards, those with the means to cry out the alarm for the next 700,000 children who’ll die by the hands of our soldiers, our administrators, or our neglect. They won’t tell you about it, and you’ll profess your ignorance and meanwhile resent all attempts at intercession. I say those newsmen are bastards who would cover up for the crime of 700,000 murdered children. In what kind of regard do you hold them?

Garrett Reppenhagen Winter Soldier

COLORADO COLLEGE- Iraq Veterans Against the War held a mini- Wintersoldier hearing this evening at the Max Kade Theatre in Armstrong Hall. They screened the original 1970 documentary, originally unseen in this country and unavailable until just recently on DVD. Afterwards four soldiers told of their experiences in Iraq. IVAW chairman Garrett Reppenhagen told an interesting story:

Have you ever seen pictures of fighter planes which bore tiny icons beneath the cockpit indicating how many planes they’d downed? Well some US soldiers in Iraq were putting little “car” stickers on their windshield to show how many cars they’d bumped off the road or totaled. Military vehicles are instructed to stop for nothing, so cars moving too slowly or stopped by traffic are simply hit and pushed out of the way. Commanders eventually had to forbid the stickers when the drivers’ views were being impaired by too many stickers. You could earn half stickers for dogs, or bikes or people.

Garrett was at the 50mm gun in a convoy when the humvee ahead swerved to hit an Iraqi child. The vehicle did not come close enough so the driver swung open his door to extend his reach. Garrett explained that armored doors are so heavy that they require two soldiers to lift them on or off their hinges. He’s certain the Iraqi boy was killed on impact.

When they returned to their FOP, Garrett was relieved to see an officer approach the guilty driver and scold him loudly for his actions. Later the very disgruntled soldier revealed that he was not reprimanded for striking the boy, but rather for having opened his door, exposing his fellow soldiers to the risk of gunfire.

Police state runs amok in Eldorado Texas

Residences for families of breakaway Mormon sectLet’s face it, Republican US President, George W. Bush, and Republican Texas State Governor, Rick Perry, are simply in total cahoots in coordinating the incredible police state witch hunt going on in Eldorado, Texas. The US police state is running amok and this is a test case for how much the government can get away with in denying US citizens their constitutional rights.

And where are the damn Democrats? I thought that these great leaders were grand protectors of civil rights? Is everybody just going to remain totally silent and complicit with this government child abuse and disregard of all citizen rights? Right now, it certainly appears so, doesn’t it? This is a test case, and the report card for all so far, is FFF. Make that F- PLUS.

The number of kids removed from the Eldorado, Texas religious compound is now over 400, with 133 women taken away, too, as if they were mere children. This is the federal police state and their local henchmen posing themselves as grand and noble knights on white horses, saving the maidens and the children from bad men folk, we are all to suppose? Not hardly. And yet, nobody has been charged with any real crime! Talk about going fishing Texas sized. This is Dick Cheney out fishing! Feel that hook in America’s heart?

What is to be established here? That the federal government and/ or local and state governments can treat ordinary US citizens as if they were Afghan civilians in a war zone? Bombs away? What happened to due process of civilian law? We are now all presumed guilty until; we are proven innocent by government authorities, who meantime can do anything they want with our kids, our families, and everybody? Cooperate, or else! So?

Under normal law in a non-police state, if the police has charges against somebody, they arrest that person and charge them with a crime. They don’t go out and throw the lives of around 600 people into total turmoil, including traumatizing small kids. This America we have now is shameful and disgusting. It takes the complicity and apathy of all of us to allow this charade to continue as it is. Shame on the Democrats for not speaking out! Shame on them! And shame on all of us for simply tolerating the abuse of our fellow citizens by police thugs.

Do we treat Iraqis worse than dogs?

Smiling executionerEveryone’s in an uproar about laughing US marines who videotaped themselves throwing an Iraqi pup off the edge of a cliff. I’m so embarrassed Americans can’t show similar alarm for the disposing of Iraqi children or babies. Hopefully this might lead some to be indignant at our soldiers’ equally well reported disrespect for human life.

Dear soldiers, keep the Youtube videos coming. Show us the children you are running over with your convoys, the women and infants you snipers are whacking like moles, the crowds you strafe indiscriminately, the families you bury with missile strikes, the detainees you torture. Put all that on video with your grinning psychopathic smiles. I mean, show us MORE of that. Eventually one of the videos will accidentally include a dog as collateral damage, or a dog losing its owner. Then Americans will empathize.

Winter Soldier testimonies coming to DC

Winter Soldier film features confessions and documentation of American atrocities in VietnamThe IVAW are really pulling it together this year. And they’ve set upon an ambitious strategy that has precedent with Vietnam antiwar vets. Winter Soldier Redux, Washington DC, March 13-16, 2008.
 
In 1970 veterans of the Vietnam war convened in Detroit to share personal confessions of their part in atrocities perpetrated against the Vietnamese. The documentary made of these transcripts was kept from the US public and has only recently become available. Click here for some clips on YouTube.

Darfur round and round table discussion

No imperial intervention on the pretext of DarfurPeople please come prepared to the Darfur round table discussion tomorrow night. The in-house event at the PPJPC is intended to bridge a perceived divide that our organization may be telegraphing regarding non endorsement of the Save Darfur organization and other like efforts. Is the PPJPC for western intervention in Sudan or against, military and/or economic?

I’m hoping a moderator will be able to preempt filibusters by spirited missionaries intent on witnessing with descriptions of Janjaweed atrocities until the rest acquiesce in submission.

Come prepared to be informed, but please do the background research. The discussion time will be limited and will be quite ill-served, I think, with a chorus responding “I didn’t know snake oil was both TASTY and LESS FILLING.”

If you can read about the Darfur Crisis, you can read why it is also considered the Darfur Controversy.

The iron fist of the marketplace

Burmese priests protestThink you’re the only one who’s come to the conclusion that the average person can be relied upon only as far as you can drag him by the ear? Do you lament that the common sense of common heads put together adds up to a hill of beans?

If you think you know better, your challenge might be to cajole or inform, in hopes of motivating the herd, where others high on the food chain would simply ride roughshod.

Burmese monks leave their sandals behindI find it odd to use animal kingdom analogies to explain human behavior when Homo Sapiens comprise neither competing species, genus, class or phyla stalking each other.

Of the nurture versus nature, I mean carrot versus stick herd management option, which approach do you observe governments most often employ? In public schools it’s authoritarian, on the streets it’s civility so long as people submit appropriately to their fleecing. But as recent events have shown, dissent has meant government reaction with black gloves, masks, armor padding, truncheons, and low tech brutality. Every aspect something you’d expect more from those traditional masters of persuasive communication, the mobsters.

The people most alarmed by totalitarian repression are the educated class who over the centuries have fought for every liberty their overlords were forced to yield. The working classes represented the leverage used to negotiate each concession, and thus came along for the ride. But its muscled ranks have always served as the labor pool for the thugs the governors would use to fight any progressive reformers.

Your police departments all have riot gear to don in the event of civil disturbances. Can you say you’ve approved of their harsh measures in the event of your getting hysterical? That equipment isn’t for soccer hooligans, it’s to break strikes and beat back political assemblies.

We’ve seen police around the world fire on crowds assembled peaceably in Burma, Mexico, Tibet and Iraq. In New Orleans we’ve seen police taser crowds of people just like us, who wanted to protest a public meeting where the decision was being made to condemn their houses.

If you think massacres are beyond the pale for our corporate overlord class, think again. If they can do it without inciting a mass rebellion, they will. The independent minded people of East Timor were massacred with US weapons and the tacit complicity of a media which let it happen off camera. So long as you don’t see it, it doesn’t bother anyone’s conscience apparently. Children labor as slaves in Bangladesh, Africa and Asia for our corporations. You don’t see it, so it’s not a problem. For the profit-mongers all corporate genocide is OK, be it by economic starvation, accident, contamination, or pollution. If you could understood the depravity inherent in their exploitation of world poverty and its resources, can you doubt they’d hesitate to fire live rounds into a crowd who threatened their rule?

Black Fire- Indigenous with an attitude

Black Fire is good music. Defeated Nations, Native American- Sacred Spirit.

Indigenous Protest, Resistance, and Dissent

The Totonacs, to better understand the Anglo population of Colorado by seeing it in another country. More about indigena and mestizos

They teach ‘Colorado Indians’ in grade school in District 11. But what do they really teach you, Safiyyah? We need to learn more.

“The Road To Hell” $500,000 in Department of Defense Funding to Kansas University for Mapping of Communally Held Indigenous Lands in La Huasteca and Oaxaca, Mexico.

The face of legally blind patriotism

Prosthetic eye with Marines emblemGunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch lost his eye in the assault on Fallujah. His new glass prosthetic features a holographic emblem of the US Marine Corps.
 
This Veterans Day, Sergeant Popaditch was awarded a medal for pioneering an innovative combat technique. Presuming an ambush, Popaditch called in an airstrike, then drove his tank forward under cover of the C-130 gunship before its firestorm had subsided. As a result Popaditch was injured, but in his words: “(We were) just inflicting a devastating number of casualties on the enemy, and we did it in a way that no one had ever done before.”

This is the same tank commander immortalized on magazine covers in 2003 smoking his cigar as he assisted in toppling Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square. Articles told later of Popaditch’s tank named “Carnivore” storming Fallujah in retaliation for the contractors killed by jubilant Iraqis. Now he’s grabbing attention with his Few-The-Proud cornea. When we recoil at WWII accounts of the Death’s Head Regiment and other unthinkably morose nomenclature and regalia of the enthusiastic Nazis, can we fathom the imaginative horrors of our own X-Box-born killers?

Popaditch acted courageously by venturing into an ordnance maelstrom to certain injury. But whose kind of hero?

United Nations pedophile ‘peacekeepers’

Everywhere in the US liberals want the United Nations to get involved and send in the ‘UN peacekeepers’, even though the UN Security Council is totally controlled by the American government.

And let’s face it, at times the UN troops act in some ways like the US troops do in Afghanistan and Iraq. And in some ways even worse! Like many of the ‘peacekeepers’ having sex with minors in areas under their control.

This has happened over and over in Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Haiti, East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo,and yes, Sudan, too. See UN Child Sex Slave Scandals Continue and the latest S Lanka troops ‘abused Haitians’ .

Why are liberals so enchanted about having UN troops being sent into a country? The UN is a total mess and totally under the control of the US. Isn’t it time to stop calling or desiring for the UN to do the US’s mop up operations?