Designate US a State Sponsor of Terror

WTF. What act of terrorism has North Korea sponsored lately or ever? Are we talking about the weird assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s debauched rival heir? That was a hit, not an indiscriminate act, even as our propagandists now pretend to feel North Korea’s cross hairs. It was not even peanuts compared to capitalist corporate malfeasance and western state sponsored shock doctrine. If “State Sponsor of Terrorism” designation is an appellation controlée sort of prerogative, like Public Enemy Number One, it’s probably time to democratically crowd source a citizen’s intervention. Designate the US a state sponsor of terrorism. Bring on all the sanctions, terms of probation, and ankle monitoring devices required by law. Disarm our terrorist mercenaries and advisors. Throw them in Guantanamo and render them to the interrogation centers of the other rogue regimes who aid and abet state terrorism. Freeze our and their assets and check Priceline for last minute bookings at the Hague.

SEAL Team Glossary includes Canoeing, Winkler Hatchets & Bleed Out Videos.

You won’t find these terms in the indexes of the countless books praising SEAL Team 6. But they feature prominently in an Intercept exposé about the war crimes of America’s most famous death squad. “Bleed out” videos are passed among operators, as Special Ops mercenaries are called, featuring their victims bleeding to death as they are taunted by their murderers. “Canoeing” is the act of aiming a final gunshot through the top of the victim’s forehead such that the head splits open to form a V like the bow of a canoe. Canoeing Photos of faces spilling over with brains, such as the proof-of-death pic of Osama bin Laden, are then taken for the official record, including the team’s formal scrapbook. “Devil’s Guard” is an obscure war novel that glamorizes Nazi attrocities including fictional methods of inflicting state terror. Title 50 authority is the so-called license which US Special Ops have to partner with allied commandos to form death squads. Winkler hatchets are tomahawks made by craftsman Daniel Winkler for the SEAL Team 6 Red Squadron, known as the redmen, who are expected to bloody their hatchets as they conduct their raids. Using the hatchets to collect DNA hair-follicle samples for the Redmen means flaying their victims and returning with scalps, fingers and other disfiguring momentos. Another insight revealed by the Intercept: The British aid captive Linda Norgrove, who was killed during a botched rescue attempt, wasn’t killed by her captors, but by a grenade thrown at her by a Seal Team operators, perhaps because the goal of reaching Norgrove was not rescue but exposure control. Linda Norgrove worked for DAI, Development Alternatives Inc, an American NGO, a cover for being an agent for MI-6. The glossary we already knew: Blue Squadron, known as the Pirates; Gold Squadron, known as the Crusaders or Knights; Silver Squadron; and Red Squadron, known as the Redmen.

Maybe we can ask the Pope to call for the release of American mercenaries captured in a Baghdad brothel

WE SAY they were civilian contractors kidnapped from a Baghdad neighborhood apartment. WE ARE investigating whether the abduction was coordinated by Iran. When those missing are Western agents or corporate media propagandists or covert special ops (or wayward US sailors armed with AK-47s), we say they are abducted and scour diplomatic channels for traces of the underword. When the victims are adversarial persons of interest to Western military intelligence or the White House, they are rendered extraordinarily or summarily incinerated from the sky end of story.

Can you imagine foreign diplomats approaching US officials about their passport holders gone missing? How simply ludicrous that the US is indignant that our mercenaries are being picked off at the scene of their crimes. Iraq is a war zone. What, the occupied peoples must endure our drones but can’t arrest our criminals? Even when we’re raping Iraqi women? American exceptionalists bomb hospitals but hold brothels to be no fly zones.

US media won’t report who the contractors were or what they were doing. Security service company SALLYPORT is denying the three men work for them, or their parent company MICHAEL BAKER INTERNATIONAL, or doing work for GENERAL DYNAMICS CORP under contract with the US Army. The Dirty Three might have been in the sex trafficking service of providing “comfort women” for the US soldiers being redeployed to Iraq. “Sallyport” sounds pretty damned ugly to me. Good riddance.

Opposition forces kill US Ambassador Chris Stevens, America In Libya’s No. 1

Maybe it could have happened to a more deserving operative, but that’s splitting hairs. Obviously we can’t call the late ambassador Chris Stevens the “mastermind” of the US covert destabilization of Libya. However, he was Our Man in Benghazi, essentially the NO. 1 in charge of the state-terrorist cell poised to exploit the rolling “Arab Spring” for the forces of capitalist neo-democracy, let’s call it AMERICA IN LIBYA. Stevens organized and armed the US-sponsored rebels who exploited the pan-Arab protests to foment unrest, then civil war, then NATO intervention, against the West’s nemesis Muammar Gaddafi. Remember how Gaddafi was unceremoniously deposed? Captured, tormented, then shot most likely by a CIA-contracted assassin? Where was the humanitarian outcry against that sanctioned barbarity?
 
How undignified of Westerners to decry the killing of Ambassador Stevens, legally, in the field of battle, by opposition fighters in Libya, on this rare occasion when they got their man. Actually four: the ambassador, a military attache, and two Americans whose identities the USG won’t reveal, I’m thinking mercenaries. The USG is speculating that the rocket attack was planned, and by none other than al-Qaeda, because it’s unlikely the Libyans who stormed the US consulate in Benghazi brought impromptu grenade launchers. Funny, Gaddafi had the same nagging complaint about his supposed “protesters.”
 
Everyone is condemning this killing, even President Obama vows to exact “justice”. But by his own definition, this was justice meted by Libyans, perhaps even some of the allies we’d mobilized to remove Gaddafi. Whereas Obama’s “justice” means retaliatory air strikes and death squads against unnamed, unproven adversaries, immolating their homes, families and friends.

President Obama celebrates 4th of July in true Neo American spirit, rewarding foreign mercenaries for their service

Remember Rome’s soldier citizens? American forces now augment their numbers by recruiting foreign legionnaires with the promise of US citizenship. President Obama reportedly spent the Fourth of July in the company of soldiers for hire, hired to commit American war crimes with the advantage that if killed, they wouldn’t be tallied as American casualties. On the plus side, this batch also evaded being caught red handed committing war crimes, but ultimately the public does not know what it takes to earn that final prize, behaving like Americans or outwitting Americans.

Fear and Loathing in Colorado Springs

Those readers following the Occupy! Movement in its many forms around the world and in Colorado Springs will be glad to hear that Tuesday culminated a difficult week for us here with a resolution of many contentious issues, and an overall commitment to unity.
 
The subject matter behind this particular post is closely associated with the Movement in general, but it’s more a humanity thing than an Occupy thing, overall. I hope i can get the associations to make sense, and that readers will restrain themselves from developing the erroneous notion that this is meant to be a pitch for some sort of religion. It’s not.

I went to the Municipal Court in Colorado Springs to enter a plea of “not guilty” to the charge of camping on public property because of actions executed as a part of Occupy! Actually, i was camping on public property, to put it quite plainly, and the idea behind the plea is that the action does not engender guilt even if it violates a silly and badly unAmerican, (read, “oppressive,” if we’ve become a little unrecognizable in this regard), statute. A couple dozen supporters made it to the courtroom with me, and raised enough ruckus to get Municipal Judge Spottswood W. H. Williams to threaten them all with contempt charges. The whole thing was kind of a lot of fun, really. Made me feel a little like Hoffman or Hayden, in a much smaller sense. There comes a first time for everything, and this was my first visit to a courtroom during which i was able to feel utterly unencumbered by the dark nature of my own action that had led me there. My deepest thanks to all the OCS members and especially Dennis Apuan, who put his political credibility on the line to stand with us, and brought a good deal of patriotic weight to the room as State Rep for the fine soldiers of Fort Carson.

The hearing was only that, after all, and after entering the plea, we scheduled a pre-trial conference with the City Attorney, for 22 Nov, at which a government lawyer will make me an offer i’ll most assuredly refuse and we’ll schedule a jury trial. I’ll keep you news hounds posted as things progress.

The point to this post, though, is an underlying root to the no-camping ordinance, as well as to most of the woes of the day: The Fear.

Most of us don’t acknowledge the Fear because, well, it’s scary. Instead we get angry, or attempt to maneuver ourselves into a position to control uncontrollable factors like society or competitive economies. We eschew cooperation because we’re afraid of our fellows. We make assumptions about others’ behavior and how it will effect us. We bewail the corruption of society, and begin looking over our shoulders for the punishment of God, or black-clad mercenaries coming over the horizon to herd us into frigid winter FEMA camps. We worry about hunger, poverty, inglorious death. We develop elaborate political systems and foment revolution in order to establish “security” of dubious credibility. Look around. These tactics have not ever worked after attempting repeated, redundant permutations, and there is no reasonable expectation that they ever will.

The Fear has driven all this cutthroat competition. It’s what motivates folks to be sure they have more, more, more. It’s what causes us to petulantly demand our right to burn as much gas in our Hummers as possible, and to constantly engage in useless commerce. It motivates the lowest guy competing for some crappy job at Taco Bell just as surely as it motivates conspiratorial Rothschild backroom bankers. It motivates us to enact stupid, oppressive no-camping ordinances when someone that scares us becomes visible, oh my! We’re all deathly afraid of some horrible outcome, like someone else getting our stuff, or scaring tourists away, or enjoying some habitual pleasure we find repugnant.

The Fear is irrational! What’s the very worst that can happen to us in this life? We die? We find ourselves incarcerated or tortured? Consider, if you will, that we live our little spans, maybe a hundred years or so at the outside limit, surrounded at both ends by an unfathomable mass of toroidally twisted, multi-dimentional Eternity that not one of us will ever grasp while we live. What possible fear can be valid under this circumstance other than that we fail to live according to our own perceived Truths? I say “perceived” since only those afflicted by the Fear are afraid to examine those truths for the errors all honest thinkers know to exist within our own perceptions. If I knew my own blind spots they wouldn’t exist, right? We don’t even know what we’re afraid of mostly, though we can usually list a few if we set ourselves to the task. No one is to blame for his or her own irrational fears, especially cultural fears such as seem to be more or less universal. Many have been established by the direct influence of media that may well have been designed by nefarious folk for exactly the purpose of invoking unfounded fears in various populations. OMG! Now i’m making myself afraid! Not really–but what to do about the Fear?

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear,” reads a certain religious text, (1 Jn 4:18, for those with a source fetish like me). I won’t be digressing into a religious sermon here. The principle holds without the doctrinal baggage surrounding it in the context in which it nests. No matter how evil the Ideas we oppose as Occupiers, or as human beings in general, they can’t overwhelm a spirit of love. No matter the spiritual foundation or lack thereof, love can dissipate greed, fear, disappointment, embarrassment, and in fact any of the various bases for the secondary anger response we are all prone to manifesting in situations as apparently dire as the one we’re seeing now. As much as i can plainly see the bogus nature of the moves made in, say, the financial industry, (inseparable from other key industries at a certain level), applying some genuine empathy causes a mental process that can not end in hatred or vengefulness. Look guys like Greenspan or Geitner in the eyes next time you see them. They’re deeply miserable, and completely trapped in their own Fears. When it all collapses, i really hope they’re still available so we can feed them a plate of food, even if we can’t resist the temptation to ask, “What the fuck were you thinking!?”

We can’t fight fire with fire here. Battling greed with more greed, as some seeking to restore an “American Dream” involving bigger slices of a rotten pie seem to do. Revolution only spins us in circles: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” We always seem to find ourselves standing in the same spot we started, except standing in pools of blood with fewer resources after every revolution we’ve ever effected. We don’t have these options any longer. The planet is in a condition that will not permit us to continue on the deeply ingrained, competitive course we’ve followed for so long. Learning to love, to let go, to tolerate, to work together for our futures which are common whether we like it or not is the only way out of this. It’s not easy, only necessary.

I can’t tell anyone how to save anyone else, or how to convince the next guy that any of this is true. I can’t even describe the mental processes that led to these conclusions. All i seem able to do is to proceed in the direction the thoughts lead, as they come to me in a fashion that very often seems external. Examine the assertions that continue to spill out of me at 2 in the morning like this. Notice with joy that there seem to be many others reaching similar conclusions: Things are terminally fucked up and only Love can save us. If it turns out that we’re not saved, that the whole human experiment is doomed to fail, i’ll breathe my last breath in the knowledge that i walked the talk spoken by all my heroes in tongues long lost to history, or new today, or unspoken yet understood by common nature. I don’t think i’m alone. I don’t know how to be afraid of that.

Are FBI raids on activists focused on UNAC strategies?

The UNAC is claiming that recent FBI raids on the offices of various antiwar organizations are linked to those which attended its July conference, an attempt to coordinate national antiwar activities.

Even the title of the conference was never pinned down. Here are the 28 action points decided for the upcoming year, which reads like a clearinghouse of ideas.

Action Program Adopted by the National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now!

Albany, New York, July 25, 2010

1.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have invited peace organizations to endorse and participate in a campaign for Jobs, Justice, and Peace. We endorse this campaign and plan to be a part of it. On August 28, 2010, in Detroit, we will march on the anniversary of that day in 1963 when Walter Reuther, president of the UAW, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders joined with hundreds of thousands of Americans for the March on Washington. In Detroit, prior to the March on Washington, 125,000 marchers participated in the Freedom Walk led by Dr. King. At the march, King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech for the first time before sharing it with the world in Washington. This year, a massive march has been called for October 2 in Washington. We will begin to build momentum again in Detroit on August 28th. We also endorse the August 28, 2010 Reclaim the Dream Rally and March called by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to begin at 11 a.m. at Dunbar High School, 1301 New Jersey Avenue Northwest, Washington D.C. .

2.
Endorse, promote and mobilize for the Saturday, October 2nd “One Nation” march on Washington, DC initiated by 1199SEIU and the NAACP, now being promoted by a growing coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO and U.S. Labor Against the War, and civil rights, peace and other social justice forces in support of the demand for jobs, redirection of national resources from militarism and war to meeting human needs, fully funding vital social programs, and addressing the fiscal crisis of state and local governments. Organize and build an antiwar contingent to participate in the march. Launch a full-scale campaign to get endorsements for the October 2 march on Washington commencing with the final plenary session of this conference.

3.
Endorse the call issued by a range of student groups for Thursday, October 7, as a national day of action to defend education from the horrendous budget cuts that are laying off teachers, closing schools, raising tuition and limiting access to education, especially for working and low income people. Demand “Money for Education, not U.S. Occupations” and otherwise link the cuts in spending for education to the astronomical costs of U.S. wars and occupations.

4.
Devote October 7-16 to organizing local and regional protests to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan through demonstrations, marches, rallies, vigils, teach-ins, cultural events and other actions to demand an immediate end to the wars and occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan and complete withdrawal of all military forces and private security contractors and other mercenaries. The nature and scheduling of these events will reflect the needs of local sponsors and should be designed to attract broad co-sponsorship and diverse participation of antiwar forces with other social justice organizations and progressive constituencies.

5.
The U.S. military is the largest polluter in the world. Therefore, we endorse the “climate chaos” demonstration in Washington D.C. on October 11, coordinated by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.

6.
Support and build Remember Fallujah Week November 15-19.

7.
Join the new and existing broad-based campaigns to fund human needs and cut the military budget. Join with organizations representing the fight against cutbacks (especially labor and community groups) to build coalitions at the city/town, state and national level. Draft resolutions for city councils, town and village meetings and voter referendum ballot questions linking astronomical war spending to denial of essential public services at home. (Model resolutions and ballot questions will be circulated for consideration of local groups.) Obtain endorsements of elected officials, town and city councils, state parties and legislatures, and labor bodies. Work the legislative process to make military spending an issue. Oppose specific military funding programs and bills, and couple them with human needs funding issues. Use lobbying and other forms of protest, including civil disobedience campaigns, to focus attention on the issue.

8.
Mid-March, 2011 nationally coordinated local teach-ins and protests to mark the eighth year of the Iraq War and to prepare for bi-coastal spring demonstrations the following month.

9.
Bi-Coastal mass spring mobilizations in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 9, 2011. These will be accompanied by distinct and separate non-violent direct actions on the same day. A prime component of these mobilizations will be major efforts to include broad new forces from youth to veterans to trade unionists to civil and human rights groups to the Arab, Muslim and other oppressed communities, to environmental organizations, social justice and faith-based groups. Veterans and military families will be key to these mobilizations with special efforts to organize this community to be the lead contingent. Launch a full-scale campaign to get endorsements for these actions commencing with the final plenary session of this conference.

10.
Select a week prior to or after the April actions for local lobbying of elected officials at a time when Congress is not in session. Lobbying to take multiple forms from meeting with local officials to protests at their offices and homes. We will attend the town hall meetings of our Congresspersons and confront them vigorously on their support for the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and sanctions on Iran. We also will press them on the unconstitutional diminution of the civil liberties of all Americans and targeted populations.

11.
Consistent with the call to include broad popular sectors of society in our efforts and to contend with the challenges of opposing U.S. wars and occupations while also rejecting attacks at home, National Peace Conference participants will join May Day actions on May 1, 2011, so as to unite all those standing against war and for rights. U.S. military and trade wars force millions of refugees and migrants to the U.S., where they face growing repression, including mass detentions and deportations. Many immigrants, including youth, are forced into the military, through the economic draft as well as under threat of deportation and using false promises of citizenship. By standing together as one on May Day, the antiwar and immigrant rights movements make clear their united stand against U.S. wars and for the rights of all at home and abroad.

12.
National tours: Organize, over a series of months, nationally-coordinated tours of prominent speakers and local activists that link the demands for immediate withdrawal to the demands for funding social programs, as outlined above. Encourage alternatives to military/lethal intervention, relying on research and experience of local and international peace team efforts.

13.
Pressure on Iran from the U.S., Israel and other quarters continues to rise and the threat of a catastrophic military attack on Iran, as well as the ratcheting up of punitive sanctions that primarily impact the people of that country, are of grave concern. In the event of an imminent U.S. government attack on Iran, or such an attack, or a U.S.-backed Israeli attack against Iran, or any other major international crisis triggered by U.S. military action, a continuations committee approved by the conference will mount rapid, broad and nationally coordinated protests by antiwar and social justice activists.

14.
In the event of U.S.-backed military action by Israel against Palestinians, aid activists attempting to end the blockade of Gaza, or attacks on other countries such as Lebanon, Syria, or Iran, a continuations committee approved by the conference will condemn such attacks and support widespread protest actions.

15.
In solidarity with the antiwar movements of Japan and Korea, each calling for U.S. Troops to Get Out Now, and given the great increase in U.S. military preparations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, National Peace Conference participants will organize immediate protests following any attack by the U.S. on Korea. U.S. war preparations include stockpiling hundreds of bunker-busters and conducting major war games near the territorial waters of China and Korea. In keeping with our stand for the right of self-determination and our demand of Out Now, the National Peace Conference calls for Bringing All U.S. Troops Home Now!

16.
Support actions to end the Israeli occupation and repression of Palestinians and the blockade of Gaza.

17.
Support actions aimed at dismantling the Cold War nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. Support actions aimed at stopping the nuclear renaissance of this Administration, which has proposed to spend $80 billion over the next 10 years to build three new nuclear bomb making facilities and “well over” $100 billion over the same period to modernize nuclear weapons delivery systems. We must support actions aimed at dismantling nuclear, biological, radiological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. We must oppose the re-opening of the uranium mining industry, new nuclear power plants, and extraction of other fossil fuels that the military consumes.

18.
Work in solidarity with GIs, veterans, and military families to support their campaigns and calls for action. Demand support for the troops when they return home and support efforts to counter military recruitment.

19.
Take actions against war profiteers, including oil and energy companies, weapons manufacturers, and engineering firms, whose contractors are working to insure U.S. economic control of Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s resources.

20.
Support actions, educational efforts and lobbying campaigns to promote a transition to a sustainable peace economy.

21.
Develop and implement a multi-pronged national media campaign which includes the following: the honing of a message which will capture our message: “End the Wars and Occupations, Bring the Dollars Home;” a fundraising campaign which would enable the creation and national placement and broadcast of professionally developed print ads as public service radio and television spots which communicate this imperative to the public as a whole (which would involve coordinated outreach to some major funders); outreach to sympathetic media artists to enable the creation of these pieces; an intentional, aggressive, coordinated campaign to garner interviews on as many targeted national news venues as possible which would feature movement voices speaking our nationally coordinated message to the honed; a plan to place on message op-ed pieces in papers around the country on a nationally coordinated schedule.

22.
We demand the immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. military forces, mercenaries and contractors from Afghanistan and Iraq, and an end to drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries and call for self-determination for the people of all countries. In this demand is the necessity for full truth and transparency regarding all U.S./NATO actions and an expanded development of independent news sources for broad public knowledge of the state of the wars and occupations. We demand an end to censorship of news topics and full democratic access to freedom of information within the U.S. NATO Military Industrial Media Empire.

23.
We call for the equal participation of women in all aspects of the antiwar movement. We propose nonviolent direct actions either in Congressional offices or other appropriate and strategic locations, possibly defense contractors, Federal Buildings, or military bases in the U.S. These actions would be local and coordinated nationally, i.e., the same day for everyone (times may vary). The actions would probably result in arrests for sitting in after offices close. Entering certain facilities could also result in arrests. Participants would be prepared for that possible outcome before joining the action. Nonviolence training would be offered locally, with lists of trainers being made available. The message/demand would be a vote, a congressional action to end the wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Close U.S. bases. Costs of war and financial issues related to social needs neglected because of war spending would need to be studied and statements regarding same be prepared before the actions. Press release would encourage coverage because of the actions being local and nationally coordinated.

24.
We will convene one or more committees or conferences for the purpose of identifying and arranging boycotts, sit-ins, and other actions that directly interfere with the immoral aspects of the violence and wars that we protest.

25.
We call for the immediate release from Israeli prisons of Mordechai Vanunu and for ending restrictions on his right to speak. We also call upon the Israeli government to let him travel freely and to leave Israel permanently if he so desires.

26.
We oppose the prosecution for Bradley Manning for being the source of the Wikileaks leaks. Manning has done what all GIs should do when they see war crimes: expose them! Bradley Manning’s prosecution sends a message that if you expose illegal activity in the military, you will be prosecuted. We call for the unconditional release of Bradley Manning and an end to all war crimes.

27.
We call for building and expanding the movement for peace by consciously and continually linking it with the urgent necessity to create jobs and fund social needs. We call for support from the antiwar movement to tie the wars and the funding for the wars to the urgent domestic issues through leaflets, signs, banners and active participation in the growing number of mass actions demanding jobs, health care, housing, education and immigrant rights such as:

July 25 – March in Albany in Support of Muslims Targeted by Preemptive Prosecution called by the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project SALAM.

July 29 & 30 – Boycott Arizona Actions across the country as racist Arizona law SB 1070 goes into effect, including the mass march July 30 in NYC as the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Mets.

All the other mass actions listed above leading up to the bi-coastal actions on April 9, 2011.

28.
The continuations committee elected at this conference shall reach out to other peace and social justice groups holding protests in the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011, where such groups’ demands and tactics are not inconsistent with those adopted at the UNAC conference, on behalf of exploring ways to maximize unity within the peace and social justice movements this fall and next spring.

Flotilla not a Love Boat, it was a lynch, says Netanyahu, describing beating of IDF soldiers, not deaths of aid workers

What’s a lynch? I find it intriguing that Israel’s spin machine can drop an American pop culture reference like Love Boat, and simultaneously flub basic usage with “a lynch.” According to Israel, that describes what befell their crack-troop Mavi Marmara party-crashers. What does “a lynch” mean? Apparently someone feels at liberty to shorten Lynch Mob, or Lynching, to coin a new threat to Israel. But doesn’t it stretch credulity to imagine the IDF has never claimed to have been baited into an “ambush?”

Every modern military with a propaganda office, when it suffers a setback, attributes it to an ambush. When the US and Israel do it, it’s an attack; when our dastardly adversaries do it, it’s an ambush. Let’s set aside that the night watch on the Mavi Marmara’s deck might have been defending themselves. For the moment the IDF version of events is the only one Israel is allowing.

Ambush, trap, beating, getting jumped, wouldn’t these be appropriate descriptions for what Israel is asserting its night-vision video depicts? To lynch someone -it’s a verb- implies a hanging, extrajudicial, usually perpetrated by a crowd against a lone victim, unarmed. So where does the IDF get “lynch?”

To my mind, the Israeli-accented tender of “lynch” is feigned bad English, stuttered -I hope in shame- as perpetrator blames victim, but stuttered conveniently, to make the accusation less preposterous. Isn’t a rape victim who is too well versed in the crime perpetrated against her, less convincing than a victim who fumbles to comprehend the outrage she suffered? Poor Israel, its soldiers stepped into a, a, a lynch.

Emitted from military spokespeople however, one projects a reflexive followup “-that’s the ticket.”

I’m guessing grasping a straws like “lynch” is played for sympathy. And while I deconstruct the false unfamiliarity of otherwise precisely crafted English: PM Netanyahu’s mention of “Love Boat” had a bumbling Bush “the internets” ring to it. Anyone old enough to know the television show about the enchanted cruise ship knows there’s not “a Love Boat” but The Love Boat.

If the newly nouned “lynch” is intended to define a hate crime unique to anti-Semites, the motive fits with Israel’s insistence that first genocide, now holocaust, can only apply to Jews. Such an implication is aided by Netanyahu’s suggestion that the lynch was “plotted.” Because common understanding of mob misbehavior precludes a premeditated plot. This may reflect a naive dismissal of the responsibility of authorities who manipulated the lynch mobs and witch hunts, but dictionaries seldom chronicle the injustice of the victors who write the history. Conventional wisdom holds that lynchings were improvisational.

Perhaps the English speaking viewers are meant to associate the implicit racism of the term. Ambush after all doesn’t conjure the slightest whiff of antisemitism. But here’s where Israel’s liberal arts wordsmiths may have outsmarted themselves. While it’s true that thousands of African Americans were lynched through our nation’s history, to the average American who dwells not very often on shameful pasts, the definition of lynching encompasses simply an execution in lieu a trial. Even an unfair trial, or kangaroo court, can be called a lynching. A lynch mob is an enraged crowd meting vigilante justice, hanging high what to them is an indisputable wrongdoer. The overwhelming number of lynching victims in America’s lawless west were hunted criminals. While xenophobia may always have skewed the mob’s judgment against Indian, Chinese, Mexican, or Black, a lynching was not by definition about racial prejudice.

If the beating of the Israeli commandos illustrated a hatred, was it racist? One is meant to assume the motive was anti-Semitic, but I wonder if Arab-Israelies serving in the IDF, or foreign nationals or mercenaries, don’t garner antagonism as vociferous. The historic prejudice decried by ADL and holocaust remembrance stalwarts has been against Jews, but the world today reviles Israeli arrogance. The US has become universal despised, but American tourists are still assured the world hates America, not its people. It’s what we’re told, if even if it is untrue. I do not know of course if Israelis are proffered the same polite assurance.

Did Israel mean that the Freedom Flotilla was an attempted lynching of Israel’s international reputation? In that case, Israel’s predictable militant reaction made such a hanging a matter of assisted suicide. If the Israeli national character suffers irreparably, who’s going to be to bame?

Presuming to paint its soldiers into a lynching scene, which character does Israel assert they played? Were the IDF the horse thieves? Bandying about the connotations of lynchings makes for an interesting turning of the tables. Were the convoy defenders the ones pronouncing hasty judgment upon their dark-of-night assailants? Or were Israel’s commandos declaring themselves judge and jury on the alleged arms smugglers?

In cases of breaking and entering, the home field advantage is accorded the right to self-defense. A SWAT team might make the argument that identifying itself as law enforcement preempts a homeowner’s recourse to armed resistance, based on the principle that an arresting officer’s safety is inviolate. Israel may assert it was policing its border, but unfortunately last Monday it was operating beyond its border. What protection can a law enforcement function claim if outside its jurisdiction?

It might be well and good to say Israel reserves the right to protect itself from enemies anywhere in the world, but it can’t pretend its badge should command universal obeisance.

The Mavi Marmara had declared her intention to run Israel’s blockade, but hadn’t yet attempted the crossing. In fact the Freedom Flotilla was moving away from the contentious area at the time of Israel’s attack.

Who then was the victim of this “lynch?”

I’ll tell you why it’s lynch and not lynching. Because Israel’s soldiers weren’t killed, they were beaten. Not to diminish what might have been their adversaries’ worst intentions, but the gantlet the IDF commandoes received was not a hanging specifically, and not very effective in terms of proving fatal. On the other hand, the outcome was the killing of an as yet undisclosed multitude of civilians, unarmed to an extent that the killings can be defined as executions, the entire result already adjudged to have been a massacre.

Israel’s invention of “lynch” is an utterance which I believe betrays the sign of shame the world longs to see from Israel. Even as the public revels in watching the Israeli hubris on self-destruct, empathy has us hoping to see Israel grasp for its lost humanity. To describe the events on the Turkish passenger ship as a “lynch” is to fail to summon the chutzpah to bear false witness, to accuse the dead of capital murder. Neither does Israel dare to raise the specter that summary executions were committed that night at all.

There is a term to describe

a) Israel’s taking the law into its own hands by pirating a ship belonging to another nation while it sailed in international waters,

b) Israel’s soldiers not being a police force but an ideology-deputized posse,

c) opting in a confused fervor to punish outlaws thought to have been caught red handed,

d) issuing on the spot death sentences.

It’s called a mass lynching.

“Warrior” drops peacekeeping pretense

Wounded Warrior OlympicsCOLO. SPRINGS- Just down the street, all week, the Olympic Training Center hosts the Warrior Games,
a Special Olympics for wounded vets. And there it is.
Not injured peace- keepers, not disabled freedom-bringers, not usurpers of foreign lives and liberty taken down a notch, but Wounded fucking Warriors. I suppose it had a ring to it that trumped showing moral decorum. We’re soliciting slogans for a cross-the-street banner.

BABY KILLING, cost: ARM & LEG
CLEAN CONSCIENCE: PRICELESS
Is that to mean undue disrespect? Just what part of 1.4 million deaths seems out of proportion to you?

If “warrior” is just a word, so is killer. Why not wounded paid-killers? Or wounded not-sorry death dealers?

Again, if disabled veterans need something to keep themselves busy and out of the halls of the VA, they can give back to Iraq or Afghanistan and stop feeding the Department of Defense propaganda machine. A four star general joined the Colorado governor to give props to their uniformed mercenaries. All volunteer, remember. Do they recognize the harm they did? Do they feel like they were duped into the deeds? They’ve got a lot more soul searching to do if they think salvation will come of rolling up and down a basketball court in a wheelchair. Community Service. Figure it out.

Support the troops? Of Course — Bring them home!

Proud of our boys? You’ve got to be kidding.

Should US torturers of 15-year-old combatant Omar Khadir stay unnamed?

Extending the jurisdiction of military tribunals to civilians and adversaries is not simply unpopular, it’s illegal, and America’s kangaroo courts in Guantanamo mock even self respect. Right now we’re prosecuting Afghanistan combatant Omar Khadr, captured when he was age 15, for lobbing a grenade toward US invaders (are any of our GIs guilty of less?) meanwhile obscuring the identity of American soldiers culpable of torture and murder. Last week four key reporters were banned from Guantanamo proceedings for having revealed the name of “Interrogator #1” guilty of past episodes for abuse of detainees including a death. His name: US Army Specialist Joshua Claus.

How many of these anonymity-seeking torturers can we out on the web? From mercenaries to repentant vets, the least we can do for the memories of their victims and their captives’ loved ones is to publish their identities in public.

You might see the wisdom in protecting the confidentiality of witnesses who were victims of sexual abuse, but perps? Of course a chief problem of military tribunals in addition to permitting testimony obtained through torture is the use of unnamed accusers. Convictions obtained through tribunals will stand up so long as the USA reigns omniscient, but in the eyes of international justice, the US and its torturers remain criminals at large.

Al-Qaeda combat-tourism deluxe pkg?

Combat-tourism has never been more accessible, by simply enlisting with state forces you have a license to hunt in a war zone. Today’s ROE pretty much mean open season. If you can’t make the military commitment, negotiate a contract with a private mercenary firm where the conditions are riskier but the limit on civilians is irrelevant. How long before real adventurers can hire safaris to bag the most coveted trophy according to world-sentiment, a US soldier? Al-Qaeda al-Shmaeda –no need to join a West-hating jihad– I’m talking about embedding with a military contractor who shoots both ways.

Who knows that this doesn’t happen already? Assuming US military affiliated contractors have scruples about which direction their paid bullets fly, those suffering agency oversight can subcontract their authorized black-ops missions, dropping paying-customer Rambos into the field as insurgent terrorists.

Assuming no scruples addresses why hired-guns are reviled in the first place. Neither defending their home, their honor, or a nationalist construct like “Freedom,” mercenaries go to war for the money. If a privateer contracts himself to Big Oil, or corporate whomever, what qualms should he have to serve Joe Blow Adventure-seeker who simply wants to bag some arrogant American Armies of One?

Actually, US casualties serve the war machine more effectively than US victories when you consider the bigger picture.

The scenario is a win-win-win. US corporate partners can charge the Pentagon $1K/day for the manpower, the DoD can expense it in their “surge” development budget, and a combat-tourism subcontractor can charge you for the thrill of pulling the trigger. I can already see the posting on Craigslist or Ebay, a fortnight’s trek with Xe Xtreme LLC, all the GIs you can shoot, we supply the AK47s and RPGs, what am I bid?

For the homicidal veteran dishonorably discharged –we can only wish– longing to get back to the action, for the Dubai bachelor who has everything, for the Great White Hunter who faces too many warrants for poaching endangered predators. These already comprise the mercenary contractor corps. The elite combat enthusiast with something to prove wants to put Kevlar in his cross-hairs. The more invincible the US forces pretend, the higher the allure.

Good news that image is fading.

Greg Mortenson brings war to Pakistan

Three Cups of Tea, now Stones Into Schools author Greg Mortenson saw stones turned against Americans as the US suffered its first soldier casualties from an IED in the northwest boarder region of Pakistan. The US troops were training the paramilitary Frontier Corps, mercenaries hired to protect the all-girls schools built by Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute and USAID to which local Muslims and the Taliban take such umbrage. Oh, and lots of teenage girls were killed and injured too.

You thought Pakistan was already seeing plenty of casualties? Well except for a US contractor killed in a hotel bombing, all the deaths have been Pakistani civilians, killed by the score in daily air strikes by US drones.

Avatar: novel push for noble savage

Avatar movie poster based on the novel by SapphireI’d like to contrast the high-profile critical receptions being given two Hollywood films about darker-skinned-ness. Precious is about an African-American girl so dark she absorbs the light, without being about race at all. The movie tells a story of poverty, incest and the cycle of abuse, while tipping the scales with gratuitous stereotypes of Hottentot welfare mamas attendant their usual good-for-trouble black males. Vilifying the subjects it pretends to rescue, Precious has the blessing of the media, a shameless Oprah included. James Cameron’s Avatar on the other hand, opened to depth-charges of faint praise calculated to dim the buzz, perhaps because it packs the most subversive black-is-beautiful message since Muhammad Ali.

Avatar evokes rudimentary indigenous spirituality, peppered with what even elementary-schooled audiences can associate as Native American themes, from which we can infer the concepts are eternal, but idealizes an athletic aesthetic more human than the movie’s live-action characters. The “blue cat people,” as the critics have chosen to describe its Na’vi tribe, are but fantasy-striped, tailed Spartans, computer iterations of the Williams sisters and NBA dream teams. The real humans of Avatar tower in prowess, dignity and luminescence over their modern mensch oppressors.

Where racial equality on film is plotted according to how black figures are granted access to the world of white priviledge, Avatar celebrates the sovereignty of dark skin in its environment, where it’s not a barbershop, rapper’s crib, or street corner in Harlem. And instead of prepping the more palatable light-skinned negro for easier assimilation to the welcome-diversity crowd.

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, is an ugly project by and for gentrified American, whose title character is White-America’s usual avatar into their mysterious conception of Black America. I can do it no better justice than this review excerpt published Counterpunch:

A fiction whose “policy message is that welfare recipients are black women who wish to avoid work, who use their time having sex with their daughters, watching television and dining on pig leavings.” Is this a film – or a crime?

A crock and defamation that reinforces white man’s supremist burden.

Under Iran’s culturally repressive Islamic Revolution, the artists have produced a golden age of film. The greatest of these films have had to disguise their social message in analogies surrounding the concerns of children. Avatar takes perhaps a similar tack. Behind diversions of fantasy and special effects, is a profound morality tale. Critics can attack James Cameron for his simplistic storytelling, it’s the price to pay to bring the simplest of viewers along. Perhaps the director can release a final cut for cineastes which omits the redundant exposition. I don’t mind that Cameron uses a highlighter for the Cliftnote set. A survey of online comments shows me that some fans applaud themselves for getting Avatar’s message where they are certain their fellow audience members might not.

Most certainly the alarm most critics are raising has to do with the unpatriotic attitude which Avatar takes toward Capitalist imperialism. In GWOT America where we still “Support Our Troops” and still refrain from labeling our military contractors as mercenaries, this film will rub flag wavers the wrong way. I’d hate to be an active duty US soldier, watching Avatar in my uniform, as the audience roots for good to vanquish evil. It will probably be some time before Americans will want to see Iraqi or Afghan freedom fighters depicted as heroes. We’ve yet to see sympathetic accounts for example of the Vietcong holding down the Ho Chi Min Trail, or for that matter, the real Germans or Japanese beyond the Allied propaganda. But by disguising his story in science fiction, James Cameron has rehabilitated the Vandal and Visigoth, from the shadow of the Roman Empire. The shadow of man’s civilizing drive which grows darker the more it is illuminated.

And best of all, Cameron’s pagans are not whites like the typical Anglo Semites of the Christian holy lands. Cameron’s indigenous humans have the beautiful noses, skin and haunches indigenous to the climates which cradled humankind.

DAI and the perils of privatization

The perils of privatization. Cuba has arrested a pro-democracy agent who admits working for the US government. But that didn’t come from a confession. Instead, it was reported by a Washington DC area contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc, who confirmed one of their employees had been apprehended. The US State Department and CIA have always used private firms as cover, but privatizing the payroll, instead of providing a firewall of deniability, has added a bureaucratic layer more readily exposed.

Referring to their agent in Havana as a “subcontractor” is not to suggest that there are now sub-mercenaries, or sub-agents, but simply that the functions of the CIA and USAID have indeed been subcontracted. DAI is not a cover for the CIA, it’s a privatized surrogate.

The name DAI reminds me of the more embarrassing anagram, CAI, Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, also doing the Lord Uncle Sam’s work.

Actually, the agent in question is not an employee of DAI, but a person subcontracted under the employ of a third party. The identity of neither the person, nor the third party company, is being revealed. Does that imply funny business to you?

Aspiring privateers beware, there is neither diplomatic immunity, nor covert backup, for private companies infiltrating foreign political systems. Under US laws, these agents would be tried as terrorists.

I’ve read it suggested that Cuba should consider a prisoner swap for the CUBAN 5, who’ve been languishing in US prisons for the crime of trying to stop Florida-based terrorists plotting attacks on Cuba. The DAI employee apprehended today entered Cuba under false pretenses, with a tourist visa, with the intention of overthrowing the Cuban government. The US would be lucky if it could be considered an even trade.

Can art rehabilitate a parking meter?

Colorado Springs Parking MeterIt’s become another art medium in itself. Like oil, watercolor, and macaroni sprayed gold, we now have painted industrial objects. I’ve seen fiberglass cows, pigs, and elk cast to provide uniform canvases for ensemble-scale kitsch. Colorado Springs is probably not the first municipality to recycle obsolete parking meters as art pieces. The scheme is actually fairly clever: scatter beautified meters around retail areas to collect spare change “for the homeless,” to scoop the tug of panhandlers who may have less responsible designs on charitable donations.

My favorite is a meter painted like a Muslim imam, with the time-expired flag made to be a cry for help showing through his clear forehead.

Of course, I interpret this “help” to be a desperate cry from embattled Islam, a message in a bottle aimed at the English-speaking westerners whose soldiers have the Islamic world besieged. But the artist might just as well have meant to portray this Muslim’s spiritual lobe as less pellucid than vacuous. Imprisoned behind the soundproof uniformity of Sharia grooming and dress might echo a lonely S.O.S. seeking a secular salvation.

After the city’s counter-sidewalk-insurgency fund-raising is through, the painted meters will be auctioned for charity. But would you want one?

As upcycled sculptures go, I’m not big on commemorating parking meters. Of all industrial contraptions, it’s hard to imagine a function less popular. Meter maids must vie with dentists for trying a therapist’s sympathies. For most people, paying for parking is an investment in nothing. Isn’t it inherently objectionable when civil authorities charge tolls on already tax-funded thoroughfares? One of the liberating feelings you experience from taking mass-transportation is not worrying about a ticking parking meter. We most often approach parking meters with great anxiety and at a run, they take our coins like terrible vending machines, returning sometimes not even the incremental reprieve for which we paied, with no one to call for a refund. When we return to find a parking ticket, it’s the meter who ratted us out. What are we supposed to do with one of these at home, but beat it?

The analog charm of these retired meters cannot help but remind us what mercenaries their replacements have become. Newer models have all sorts of digital enhancements. They can tell when the previous vehicle leaves the parking space so as to reset the timer to zero. They can monitor whether you’ve overstayed the posted time limit, preventing you from feeding the meter, although without refunding the excess of your solicitous enticements. And when your permission to park has expired, they can send off a wireless signal to alert a parking enforcement officer posthaste. Can you imagine one day we will be playfully decorating these humorless machines?

A coworker of mine was retiring from the payroll department at around the same time the factory was updating its time clocks. He’d spent virtually his entire career tabulating punch cards collected multiple times a day from the various department clock-in areas. Actually it was our employer’s policy to take a sledgehammer to all obsolete equipment, sooner than risk the liability posed by an uncertain post-operational utility. I suggested we decorate one of the antiquated models like a big hunting trophy to present as a retirement gift. In none too many words my friend was able to articulate his lack of even curiosity for my proposal.

There might be a call for imbuing nostalgic utilitarian items with a creative after-life: toasters and typewriters for example, even drill presses and lathes. But granting immortal persistence to machines whose function it was to measure our labor, or tax our time? I don’t think so.

Top 10 secret armies of the CIA

Found this on the web, will try to retrace provenance, worth a read: The United States have a well known history of providing military support to countries in need. But from time to time, the US Government has provided secret forces. While many are successful, there have also been a number of failures. This is a list of the ten top secret armies of the CIA.

1. Ukrainian Partisans
From 1945 to 1952 the CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukranian partisan units which had originally been organised by he Germans to fight the Soviets during WWII. For seven years, the partisans, operating in the Carpathian Mountains, made sporadic attacks. Finally in 1952, a massive Soviet military force wiped them out.

2. Chinese Brigade in Burma
After the Communist victory in China, Nationalist Chinese soldiers fled into northern Burma. During the early 1950s, the CIA used these soldiers to create a 12,000 man brigade which made raids into Red China. However, the Nationalist soldiers found it more profitable to monopolise the local opium trade.

3. Guatemalan Rebel Army
After Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz legalised that country’s communist party and expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations, the CIA decided to overthrow his government. Guatemalan rebels were trained in Honduras and backed up with a CIA air contingent of bombers and fighter planes. This army invaded Guatemala in 1954, promptly toppling Arbenz’s regine.

4. Sumatran Rebels
In an attempt to overthrow Indonesian president Sukarno in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitary experts and radio operators to the island of Sumatra to organise a revolt. With CIA air support, the rebel army attacked but was quickly defeated. The American government denied involvement even after a CIA b-26 was shot down and its CIA pilot, Allen Pope, was captured.

5. Khamba Horsemen
After the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, the CIA began recruiting Khamba horsemen – fierce warriors who supported Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama – as they escaped into India in 1959. These Khambas were trained in modern warfare at Camp Hale, high in the rocky mountains near Leadville, Colorado. Transported back to Tibet by the CIA operated Air American, the Khambas organised an army number at its peak some 14,000. By the mid-1960s the Khambas had been abandoned by the CIA but they fought on alone until 1970.

6. Bay of Pigs Invasion Force
In 1960, CIA operatives recruited 1,500 Cuban refugees living in Miami and staged a surprise attack on Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Trained at a base in Guatemala, this small army – complete with an air force consisting of B-26 bombers – landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 19, 1961. The ill-conceived, poorly planned operation ended in disaster, since all but 150 men of the force were either killed or captured within three days.

7. L’armee Clandestine
In 1962, CIA agents recruited Meo tribesmen living in the mountains of Laos to fight as guerrillas against Communist Pathet Lao forces. Called l’armee Clandestine, this unit – paid, trained, and supplied by the CIA – grew into a 30,000 man force. By 1975 the Meos – who had numbers a quarter million in 1962 – had been reduced to 10,000 refugees fleeing into Thailand.

8. Nung Mercenaries
A Chinese hill people living in Vietname, the Nungs were hired and organised by the CIA as a mercenary force, during the Vietnam war. Fearsome and brutal fighters, the Nungs were employed throughout Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Nungs proved costly since they refused to fight unless constantly supplied with beer and prostitutes.

9. Peruvian Regiment
Unable to quell guerrilla forces in its eastern Amazonian provinces, Peru called on the US for help in the mid-1960s. The CIA responded by establishing a fortified camp in the area and hiring local Peruvians who were trained by Green Beret personnel on loan from the US army. After crushing the guerrillas, the elite unit was disbanded because of fears it might stage a coup against the government.

10. Congo Mercenary Force
In 1964, during the Congolese Civil War, the CIA established an army in the Congo to back pro-Western leaders Cyril Adoula and Joseph Mobutu. The CIA imported European mercenaries and Cuban pilots – exiles from Cuba – to pilot the CIA air force, composed of transports and B-26 Bombers.

11. The Cambodian Coup
For over 15 years, the CIA had tried various unsuccessful means of deposing Cambodia’s left-leaning Prince Norodom Sihanouk, including assassination attempts. However, in March, 1970, a CIA-backed coup finally did the job. Funded by US tax dollars, armed with US weapons, and trained by American Green Berets, anti-Sihanouk forces called Kampuchea Khmer Krom (KKK) overran the capital of Phnom Penh and took control of the government. With the blessing of the CIA and the Nixon administration, control of Cambodia was placed in the hands of Lon Nol, who would later distinguish himself by dispatching soldiers to butcher tens of thousands of civilians.

12. Kurd Rebels
During the early 1970s the CIA moved into eastern Iraq to organize and supply the Kurds of that area, who were rebelling against the pro-Soviet Iraqi government. The real purpose behind this action was to help the shah of Iran settle a border dispute with Iraq favourably. After an Iranian-Iraq settlement was reached, the CIA withdrew its support from the Kurds, who were then crushed by the Iraqi Army.

13. Angola Mercenary Force
In 1975, after years of bloody fighting and civil unrest in Angola, Portugal resolved to relinquish its hold on the last of its African colonies. The transition was to take place on November 11, with control of the country going to whichever political faction controlled the capital city of Luanda on that date. In the months preceding the change, three groups vied for power: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By July 1975, the Marxist MPLA had ousted the moderate FNLA and UNITA from Luanda, so the CIA decided to intervene covertly. Over $30 million was spent on the Angolan operation, the bulk of the money going to buy arms and pay French and South African mercenaries, who aided the FNLA and UNITA in their fight. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, US officials categorically denied any involvement in the Angolan conflict. In the end, it was a fruitless military adventure, for the MPLA assumed power and controls Angola to this day.

14. Afghan Mujaheedin
Covert support for the groups fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and was stepped up during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The operation succeeded in its initial goal, as the Soviets were forced to begin withdrawing their forces in 1987. Unfortunately, once the Soviets left, the US essentially ignored Afghanistan as it collapsed into a five-year civil war followed by the rise of the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban. The Taliban provided a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

15. Salvadoran Death Squads
As far back as 1964, the CIA helped form ORDEN and ANSESAL, two paramilitary intelligence networks that developed into the Salvadoran death squads. The CIA trained ORDEN leaders in the use of automatic weapons and surveillance techniques, and placed several leaders on the CIA payroll. The CIA also provided detailed intelligence on Salvadoran individuals later murdered by the death squads. During the civil war in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992, the death squads were responsible for 40,000 killings. Even after a public outcry forced President Reagan to denounce the death squads in 1984, CIA support continued.

16. Nicaraguan Contras
On November 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a top secret National Security Directive authorising the CIA to spend $19 million to recruit and support the Contras, opponents of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. In supporting the Contras, the CIA carried out several acts of sabotage without the Congressional intelligence committees giving consent – or even being informed beforehand. In response, Congress passed the Boland Amendment, prohibiting the CIA from providing aid to the Contras. Attempts to find alternate sources of funds led to the Iran-Contra scandal. It may also have led the CIA and the Contras to become actively involved in drug smuggling. In 1988, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations concluded that individuals in the Contra movement engaged in drug trafficking; that known drug traffickers provided assistance to the Contras; and that ‘there are some serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua’.

17. Haitian Coup
In 1988, the CIA attempted to intervene in Haiti’s elections with a ‘covert action program’ to undermine the campaign of the eventual winner, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Three years later, Aristide was overthrown in a bloody coup that killed more than 4,000 civilians. Many of the leaders of the coup had been on the CIA payroll since the mid-1980s. For example, Emmanuel ‘Toto’ Constant, the head of FRAPH, a brutal gang of thugs known for murder, torture, and beatings, admitted to being a paid agent of the CIA. Similarly, the CIA-created Haitian National Intelligence Service (NIS), supposedly created to combat drugs, functioned during the coup as a ‘political intimidation and assassination squad.’ In 1994, an American force of 20,000 was sent to Haiti to allow Aristide to return. Ironically, even after this, the CIA continued working with FRAPH and the NIS. In 2004, Aristide was overthrown once again, with Aristide claiming that US forces had kidnapped him.

18. Venezuelan Coup Attempt
On April 11, 2002, Venezuelan military leaders attempted to overthrow the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, Hugo Chavez. The coup collapsed after two days as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and as units of the military joined with the protestors. The administration of George W. Bush was the only democracy in the Western Hemisphere not to condemn the coup attempt. According to intelligence analyst Wayne Madsen, the CIA had actively organised the coup: ‘The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the US Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organise the coup against Chavez.

Do we have a soft spot for mercenaries

Norwegian Tjostolv Moland sentenced to death in Kisangani, DRCIt’s damning photograph. I sought it out after hearing the story of the two Norwegian mercenaries condemned to death in the Congo for the murder of their Congolese driver. Was their black companion killed in an attempt to rob the white adventurers, as they tell it? US news outlets asked Tjostolv Moland’s mothers about the picture of her son, which showed him smiling as he wiped blood from the driver’s seat of their pickup. The mother dismissed it as bad timing, she though her son was probably caught off guard, laughing at a joke unrelated to his morbid task. Boy can Americans relate.

Other US newspapers speculated about a fabled Norwegian propensity to laugh at adversity. They also described Norwegian diplomats scrambling to save the two boys from the gallows. It’s true that Norway doesn’t have a death sentence, and therefore does not condone it elsewhere. Otherwise US and BBC portrayal of Norwegian concern for the two mercenaries seemed at odds with Norway’s usual determined pacifism, so I was eager to hear from my relatives there.

The scoop? Contrary to US and UK sentiments and their projection of Norwegian concerns, there is no domestic sympathy for the two wayward boys. None.

The Norwegian public has become well aware that Moland and partner Joshua French have been traveling the Congo as mercenaries, and have been involved in other killings as well. The fact that Congolese courts are trying to extort a large fine from the Norwegian government, based on the accusation of the two travelers being agents of Norway, is due to documents which the two forged to pretend they had active duty contact with the Norwegian military.

In Norway, military service is compulsory. Every Norwegian male has a record of military service. It helps that Norway rarely involves itself with acts of aggression, sanctioned by a fraternity of nations or not. And when soldiers of fortune like Moland and French set about rampaging in Africa, it behooves Norwegian authorities to ensure that their military is not implicated by association.

How fitting that US and UK listeners should presume a reflexive maternal instinct to protect the two white boys, set upon by angry African opportunists. The boys might be mercenaries, but America and Britain have lots of those overseas. Hired guns, paid assassins, professional killers, why quibble with words?

The laws of war grant little grace for mercenaries, but that’s not what English-speaking supporters of imperial expansion want to believe. Mercenaries in the Neocon vernacular are called private contractors. They’re just ordinary soldiers who’ve escaped the poor pay of military service, to the entrepreneurial ranks of war-making free enterprise.

Could Bush have bettered Obama?

Barack W. ObamaDavid Swanson describes for Tomdispatch what a GW Bush third term would have looked like. He paints a horror story continuation of all the policies which drove voters in 2008 to elect anybody but Bush. But did we? ABB Obama is proving to be quite the reliable steward of Bush’s policies of war, torture, rendition, and mercenaries, minus the public outcry. It’s change we can’t quite put our finger on.

The US – Islam War nears halfway mark

I have to do more research, but I’m pretty sure October 7, 2009 should mark the HALFWAY POINT of the US-ISLAM WAR. I realize the Pentagon brass are calling for fifty years more of insurgency suppression in Afghanistan and Iraq, but if we grant them no more time than for America’s longest military intervention, we’ve got another eight years before beating our humiliating retreat.
iraq

Those who insist we could have won the Vietnam War, would have our murderous troops there still. No foreign occupation has succeeded in modern times, with the ongoing exception of Israel, which by its swallowing of Palestine has been skewing the definition of occupation to the Old Testament model of mass extermination. The treacherous method worked against the Native Americans, it may still doom the (Palestinian) Native Israelis.

Afghanistan and Iraq remain occupations, where Vichy puppet governments prosecute genocide against the native resistance. How long before Americans lose their stomach for continuous bloody repression? I cannot account for the Russians in Chechnya, but on the US-Islam front, we are halfway there.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, we may already have surpassed half the civilian death tolls in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It’s hard to say, the US “doesn’t do body counts” now, and we didn’t then either. Our own military casualties grew exponentially in Vietnam. If such statistics bear comparison, today’s numbers cannot be but comparable.

It’s being whispered that American casualties are approaching a multiple of a thousand mark. Official soldier deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are conjectured to be reaching a round number.

I’m not told how many US mercenaries are being killed. We have as many hired-guns contracted as government soldiers. Want to lay odds on how many body bags they’ve required?

Nor are we told how many US soldiers are being wounded, many of them with injuries which would not have sustained their lives in Vietnam. Surely there is a sad gray area of injury which we could round up as it approximates death.

Reenacting wars of colonial imperialism

A Revolutionary War reenactment with Colorado Springs D-12 schools
COLORADO SPRINGS, 1776. District 12 elementary school 5th graders reenacted a couple Revolutionary War battles, where the heretofore unstoppable Red Coats fought in vain to crush the American insurgency.

Ryan
Aided by Awakening Councils of British Loyalists, the English troops threw overwhelming force against Colonial militias who would not fight fair.

Hiding in the woods
Comprised mainly of army irregulars, dressed often as ordinary civilians, because they were, the “American” rebels would not renounce terrorist tactics, human shields and unconventional warfare.

Fighting against insurgents
British soldiers were conscripted from among the families who could afford neither education or apprenticeships to the skilled trades. Whereas their Tory collaborator were from the colonies’ wealthy landowners.

Devon
The British armies represented a coalition from client states of the empire, such as the Scottish Highlanders. These occupation forces supplemented their number with private contractor mercenaries, the professionally equipped, widely despised Hessians.

French
The Continental insurgency was accused of including foreign fighters.

Wounded on the field

Red Coats
British military superiority was overwhelming, wherever they concentrated their forces, the rebels withdrew. But there were never enough British soldiers deployed to hold the entire countryside.

Continental Army
The American Freedom Fighters were assisted by France, home of “French Fries,” later called “Freedom Fries,” and the Statue of Liberty.

Ryan
After eight long years of far flung military engagements, incurring an insurmountable national debt, the English conceded victory to the separatists in what became known as the American War of Independence.

EPILOG:
Support Our Troops
Playing the heavy in a reenactment of the US patriotic struggle against British occupation, was not so bad as playing a turncoat.

Most Americans look back and picture themselves having been Lexington Minutemen, or Kentucky Rangers or Continental Marines, but many of our forefathers fought against the patriots. The more ignoble among the collaborators were: Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers, the Loyal Irish Volunteers, the New Jersey Volunteers, Brant’s Volunteers, Butler’s Rangers, Caldwell’s Company, Docksteader’s Rangers, DeLancey’s Brigade, Brewerton’s Company, the King’s Royal Regiment, the Loyal American Regiment, the Royal American Volunteers, the Queen’s Rangers, and Tarleton’s British Legion.

POSTSCRIPT:
Reports of atrocities were dismissed as enemy propaganda. Evidence emerges later of what happens when infantry are left to their own initiative. Witness: stretcher-bearers and wounded come upon a British patrol coming off the lunch-hour, and are put to the bayonet.
Nurses

Cheney and other Perverted Torture Freak Scum…

There’s a standard, a psychological finding used to determine
when somebody is a serial killer, and determine whether he is
worthy of the death penalty.
The prosecution doesn’t actually NEED it in many cases, but they
always do the testing and make the determination.

It’s a level of sociopathy wherein one has a fetish for causing
pain, or even death, and becomes sexually aroused by it.

The same standard can be applied to torturers.

Those who do the “dirty work” themselves, and those who direct
their actions, such as George Bush and Richard Cheney.

Their clones John and Sarah as well, and those who, knowing the
bastards were engaged in these unholy perversions, supported them
anyway.

There’s another Legal standard, “accomplice before and/or after the fact”.

This has also been often used in Death Penalty cases, sometimes the
“first to squeal, gets the deal” will be the one who actually
pulled the trigger.

And get a life sentence while his partners in crime get the needle,
or the gas in California or the bullet in Utah.

The standards for determining “torture” and “war crimes” used to
convict the Nazis, and lately Saddam Hussein and many of his
friends and family, also convicts Richard Cheney and his
meat-puppet George Bush.

…and the people who support them.

People like Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, the people
who VOTED for them.

I’m often told that this is overly harsh, people say stupid crap
like the Torturers keep us safe.

But the only way a Torturer can accomplish his job is if he or she enjoys it.

On an extremely basic sexual level.

Torture, like serial murder, is a vicious form of rape.

People tell me “How dare you say that! My son, daughter, husband,
father—whoever— works at Abu Ghraib or Khandahar or Guantanamo”

Hey, the fact that the Perverts are related to the whiners who say
that doesn’t make the Perverts any less guilty.

Your son or daughter works at one of the Torture Centers, your son
or daughter is a Rapist. It is EXACTLY that simple.

The Torturers keep us safe? Are you sure?

Do you REALLY want to trust the future governance of our nation to
Perverts who get their rocks off to killing or hurting people?

They’re “only doing their jobs”? They’re not forced to take the
job. They seek out the job because it gives them an opportunity to
exercise Ultimate Control over another human being, and, because
they, like Bush and Cheney and Jindal and Gingrich, are physical
cowards… they have to have helpless victims.

They have to have their Gang back them up on everything.

They took the job not out of Patriotism or a sense of Duty, nothing
nearly that noble. They took the job because they enjoy doing it,
and some Dumbass Dubya appointee hired them to do it and gave them
immunity.

The only substantial difference between them and the dude strapped
to a table with a needle in his arm, THEY have the support of “our”
Government.

And enough people who are Stupid enough to support them unconditionally.

One other thing,..

A determination of somebody being a habitual killer is strengthened
if the person attributes his actions to God.

Like George and Sarah do…

And their good friend Erik Prince, the Murderer in Chief of the
Blackwater mercenaries does…

For those of you who do support those types of action, there’s an
excellent description from Professor Churchill:

Little Eichmanns.

Just following orders, right(wing)?

Black Pirates meted Southern Justice

US Navy Seals recover captive lifeboat from the USS Maersk Alabama
Dutch NATO forces rescued 20 hostages off the coast of Africa last week without loss of life. They thwarted a pirate attack, confiscated the booty, but must release the captured pirates owing to International Maritime Law. Contrast this with American cowboy rules of engagement.

Several US Navy warships faced a solitary lifeboat on which three teenage Somali pirated held hostage Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips. The covered lifeboat remained tethered to the stern of one of the Navy ships while negotiations, we’re told, progressed.

Going into day three, before the American TV audience could lose interest, US Navy Seals rescued the captive Phillips at a cost of a 100% casualty rate to the pirates. Although the DoD did not initially want to reveal its anti-pirate tactics, spokesmen have admitted that the “daring rescue” was in effect three precisely-simultaneous sniper shots to the heads of the three captors. The fourth pirate already having been entrusted to the US ship’s custody for medical care. The captain freed, the wounded pirate’s collateral was thus gone, and his grant of safe-passage was rescinded.

The official story is that US infrared imagery revealed that the American captive’s life was in danger. One of the pirates was holding a gun to his head, and this act prompted the snipers to intervene. Negotiations, apparently, were not proving fruitful. I’m guessing that this account reflects the exact opposite of what happened. The navy snipers had been holding their fire until the moment Captain Phillip was NOT in a pirate’s crosshairs.

Although the Somali pirates were just teens, I bet they knew from brutal experience, what most of us know from violent television, that holding your gun to a hostage’s head is the only way to prevent your rivals from gunning you down. Trapped in a lifeboat, the pirates knew that high powered US weaponry would be trained upon each of their heat silhouettes. The moment their captive was not in the predicted trajectory of the crossfire, nor threatened by a collateral death-spasm squeeze of a trigger, the pirates would be toast.

The rescue operation began with a greater-than-three number of US snipers aiming weapons at the little boat. The more the better, to assure that at every instant, complicated by the rocking and turning of the lifeboat in the waves, at least one sniper could claim one pirate, without the hostage laying vulnerable to leeward bullets. The images in the sniper scopes were wired to a director’s console, where the determination could be made when all three targets were spoken for, and the order could be given to fire. The last hurdle remained for the pirate who held his gun on the hostage to drop his guard for just an instant, lest he squeeze off a round into the hostage. Wanna bet that’s what happened?

Great marksmanship, no question. Plenty of training no doubt. We can take nothing away from the heroism shown in braving responsibility for jeopardizing Captain Phillip’s life. It is probably also a common law enforcement strategy. Although that doesn’t make it legal.

Unless the US Navy releases the targeting footage, we are unlikely to confirm the true sequence of events. But where the pirate’s gun was pointing makes a difference. The Navy is explaining that it acted because Phillips’ life was at stake. Otherwise, shooting people who are not shooting at you is considered underhanded.

The Dutch navy forces bay have bellyached that they had to turn loose their captured pirates, instead of leaving them imprisoned somewhere, but the Dutch had seized them in Somali waters, where the pirates operate as their nation’s only Coast Guard. The Dutch NATO commandos prevented an attack, and liberated the detainees being held by the de-facto Somali border agents, and their directive ended there.

The US on the other hand, executed three “Somali Pirates,” regardless the varying degree of culpability the individuals might have had.

Without a day in court, that’s extra-judicial murder. If you consider these were three African youths, it looks like a lynching.

Let’s take note, by whose account to we know what happened out on the high seas? Do we know even that these were pirates? Says who? I am simply playing devil’s advocate. Do we know these four youth weren’t stowaways? Perhaps they had been Shanghaied and attempted an escape via the Maersk Alabama’s lifeboat. Do we know what happened really? That’s what courts are there to decide.

Everything the American TV audience knows is from the mouths of the US military. What do we know? These youths might have been human-trafficking cargo, en route to or from war zones. They might have broken free, running straight into the Maersk’s convenient cover story that all inconvenient incidences can be labeled pirate attacks. Have we anybody’s word who has not been lying to us about war crimes everywhere, about the use of torture, about the true magnitude of renditions and secret prisons?

These black youths might just as well have been the captive sex slaves of the porky white contractor mercenaries who were planning to kill them while in the act of buggering them, but the damn Negroes slipped free. So the Navy Seals had to come play cleaner to the embarrassing mess. I exaggerate to emphasize: what the fuck do YOU know?!

“This is how the USA handles pirates” was basically our statement. Americans stateside cheered and grabbed their dicks. But overseas, and on the seas, the sentiment is much more wary. The US Navy has escalated the war on piracy. Now the rules of engagement for both sides is going to be shoot first, ask questions later.

Are the Somalis quaking in their pirate boots? When the news hit about what the Navy Seals did, the self-styled privateers of the Somali Coast redoubled their attacks on foreign ship traffic.

Mother Jones: You Don’t Need a Vote

Mary Harris Jones portrait from her 1925 autobiographyAfter the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and the later capitulation of the UMWA union, Mother Jones, by now 85 years old, toured the US to spread the word about what happened. She wrote in her autobiography, about a meeting in Kansas City: “I told the great audience that packed the hall that when their coal glowed red in their fires, it was the blood of the workers, of men who went down into black holes to dig it, of women who suffered and endured, of little children who had but a brief childhood. ‘You are being warmed and made comfortable with human blood’ I said. … ‘The miners lost,’ I told them, because they had only the constitution. The other side had bayonets. In the end, bayonets always win.'”

From The Autobiography of Mother Jones, Chapter 22:
YOU DON’T NEED A VOTE TO RAISE HELL.

Five hundred women got up a dinner and asked me to speak. Most of the women were crazy about women suffrage. They thought that Kingdom-come would follow the enfranchisement of women.

“You must stand for free speech in the streets,” I told them.

“How can we,” piped a woman, “when we haven’t a vote?”

“I have never had a vote,” said I, “and I have raised hell all over this country! You don’t need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!”

Some one meowed, “You’re an anti!”

“I am not an anti to anything which will bring freedom to my class,” said I. “But I am going to be honest with you sincere women who are working for votes for women. The women of Colorado have had the vote for two generations and the working men and women are in slavery. The state is in slavery, vassal to the Colorado Iron and Fuel Company and its subsidiary interests. A man who was present at a meeting of mine owners told me that when the trouble started in the mines, one operator proposed that women be disfranchised because here and there some woman had raised her voice in behalf of the miners. Another operator jumped to his feet and shouted, ‘For God’s sake! What are you talking about! If it had not been for the women’s vote the miners would have beaten us long ago!'”

Some of the women gasped with horror. One or two left the room. I told the women I did not believe in women’s rights nor in men’s rights but in human rights. “No matter what your fight,” I said, “don’t be ladylike! God Almighty made women and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies. I have just fought through sixteen months of bitter warfare in Colorado. I have been up against armed mercenaries but this old woman, without a vote, and with nothing but a hatpin has scared them.

“Organized labor should organize its women along industrial lines. Politics is only the servant of industry. The plutocrats have organized their women. They keep them busy with suffrage and prohibition and charity.”

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

National Space [Weapons] Symposium

Unveiling latest military technology
REMINDER! The military-industrial complex converges this week on the Broadmoor Conference Center, in the guise of “Space Symposium 2009.” The biggest mercenaries, profiteers, mass-murderers and top brass will gather over cocktails in the late afternoon, after weapons exhibitors have set up their displays. Local news is already hyping the event, this year’s emphasis is, we kid you not, EDUCATION! Citizens for Peace In Space (CPIS) is reprising their STOP TRUTH DECAY street theater at 5pm on Monday, Coloradans 4 Peace has reserved a more pointed message, to begin at 4pm, before the death-merchant revelers retreat inside.

We will also be bannering the arrival of school buses, Tuesday through Thursday, between 8am-10am. Springs schools have organized field trips to the Space Symposium exhibits, without revealing the context of the massive malevolent industry behind it. In the past, the school children crane their necks to see us, but teachers have been able to dismiss the odd protesters as Peace Luddites, giving the children no clue as to why we might be opposed to the event. This year our message will be more succinct.

In the past, organizers have expressed not knowing where to stand, nor when, to be seen by the school buses. But not this year. The days of containing the protest message to only inoffensive slogans, or coordinating with police as to where it’s permissible to stand, ARE OVER!