Sunday, April 30, 2006


Red Hot Chinook


Minuteman Aryans

[The following is an excerpt from Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report. (The text of the e-mail from Border Guardians leader Laine Lawless to "SS commander" Mark Martin is available in a downloadablePDF. )]

A prominent anti-immigration leader has secretly urged the nation’s largest neo-Nazi group to launch a campaign of violence and harassment against undocumented workers in the United States....The e-mail from Lawless, who was also an original member of Chris Simcox’s vigilante militia before it morphed into the Minuteman Project in early 2005, detailed 11 suggestions for ways to harass and terrorize undocumented immigrants, including robbery and "beating up illegals" as they leave their workplace....

Lawless was featured in numerous media reports on the first Minuteman Project campaign in April 2005, and has patrolled side-by-side with Minuteman vice-president Carmen Mercer. ...

In April, just six days after Lawless e-mailed her suggestions to neo-Nazi Mark Martin, Border Guardians made national news when Lawless and other members burned a Mexican flag in front of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, where Lawless’ group is based. Before the flag was set aflame, Lawless held a press conference.

"As always, Border Guardians remains committed to only lawful actions to combat illegal immigration," she said. "We are committed to practice only peaceful, lawful action in defense of our country."


G-man German

[Ed. note: Skookum's editor and colleagues at Public Good Project were involved unofficially in gathering field evidence and information in the Washington state case cited below. We, and undoubtedly others we've worked with, quite possibly owe our lives to former Agent German.]

"In 1992, members of the Fourth Reich Skinheads, World Church of the Creator and White Aryan Resistance had begun amassing explosives and automatic weapons with the goal of attacking synagogues and assassinating prominent minority figures... Detailed plans had been drawn up to bomb the First African Methodist Episcopal church in Los Angeles in a coordinated attack that included using pipe bombs and machine guns to slaughter the 5,000-member, mostly black congregation. ...

Their plans were foiled by a young FBI agent, Michael German, who spent a year infiltrating Skinhead circles and was able to gather evidence that led to the arrest of eight suspects in 1993. Four years later, in 1997, German was undercover again. This time, he was instrumental in bringing seven members of the Washington State Militia and the Seattle-based Freemen to justice on charges of conspiring against the government and possession of destructive devices.

Mike German's 16-year career with the FBI came to an abrupt end in 2004. German, whose infiltrations in California and Washington had earned him accolades including a medal of valor, had been involved in a 2002 investigation in north Florida exploring links between an international terrorist organization and a domestic group that included the sale of illegal drugs. In the course of his investigation, German discovered several instances of FBI mismanagement, and when he reported those findings -- which included an illegal wiretap and the altering of records -- his superiors responded by stripping him of his security clearance and forcing him to resign.

But in the end, a whistle-blower investigation completed by the Justice Department in November 2005 "substantiated German's allegations that the Orlando case was mishandled and mismanaged."

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Armored in Rhetoric

[Ed. note: The following dialogue from concerns the Thursday evening Washington State Human Rights Commission hearing on the Minuteman project in Whatcom county, located on the Canadian border just south of Vancouver, British Columbia. The debriefing is by Warbaby, a key participant in the national human rights conference on this topic held in December. The full report from that conference Precursor to Domestic Terrorism is located in the sidebar of Skookum under Reports. We anticipate a more thorough accounting of the public forum discussed below to be forthcoming shortly at Orcinus blog, which can be accessed under Skookum Companion Blogs. (bold emphasis by Skookum)]

28 April 2006
That went well
Simcox arrived late and signed up to speak late, so John Stark had already left and the Herald was already locked up before Simcox spoke. The hearing lasted until 11 PM. The Herald deadline is 10 PM.

Simcox is a real smoothie, but couldn't keep himself from smirking through his entire statement. He reminds me very much of David Duke in his manner and affect. So he comes off very differently in print than he does in person.

There was another minuteman smoothie named Fox, who came up from Seattle to speak. In his testimony, he sort of stepped in it when he repeatedly posed the rhetorical question, "What would Martin Luther King say?" He was answered by Commisioner Rev. Ellis Casson who told him Dr. King would say "Here we go again." The Rev. is the most pungent and no-nonsense of the commisioners.

The Minutemen left en masse at the end of the hearing. As they left the church, I heard one chortle, "Man, I've never seen such a level of fear before." The hearing was covered by TVW and will be airing on statewide cable.
posted by: warbaby at: 10:04 7 comments

There seems to be a world of difference between what the local paper in your link says and the "vibe" of how you saw the meeting. I think you are a hero, but why don't you tell us what actually happened? We weren't there, remember? You know all the details. We don't. Did I mention that I thought you were a hero? Spill, dude.
posted by GeckoDundee 28 April 10:16

Do you know any filmmakers? Is anyone working on a documentary about these smoothies?
posted by matildaben 28 April 10:41

We say to the Minutemen, ‘Not in our city, not in our county, not in our neighborhood.’”Most of the approximately 200 in attendance responded with whoops and a burst of applause.Was that what it was like? I hope so.
posted by GeckoDundee 28 April 10:45

I'm still very tired from staying up so late, so I'll be brief. Dave Neiwert of the Orcinus blog was there and he will be posting a lengthy article next week. I'll post on it when Dave's published. Background is in the archives of Public Good, as is the report (PDF)I presented last night. I did the research ten years ago after the last cycle culminated in the Washington State Militia bust (PDF, see page 15 et seq.)

The testimony began with about ten or so people the commission specifically asked to speak on the topic. I was asked to speak first on the historical background. I described how there is a ten-year cycle of white supremacist vigilante activity and how their first priority is to neutralize local law enforcement, particularly local Sheriffs. I emphasized the fact that this is not new activity and every community has white supremacists who have participated in previous cycles. As a result, they have more training than law enforcement leaders, who typically lose their jobs every time it blows up in their faces.

Our Sheriff, Bill Elfo, is a good guy and he is trying to get up to speed on this. I then described how law enforcement operates almost entirely through informants inside these groups. At this point, some of the Minutemen started looking at each other. Heh.

I congratulated everyone involved on the restraint that had been demonstrated so far (this is the only area in the US where the Minutemen have not been involved in criminal activity and have been put on sharp notice to watch their step) but cautioned that we appeared to be reaching the point where they were no longer achieving their purpose and beginning to get frustrated. This is where the trouble starts, as the hot heads start to seek scapegoats for their inability to accomplish their goals.

I noted that the Legal Observer program (organized more or less along the lines of the NLG's previous observer operations) now has more people watching the Minutemen than there are Minutemen. Then I got the only laugh of the evening from the Minutemen when I suggested they and the observers would probably benefit from having dinner together at the end of a hard day of watching.

There were about a dozen featured speakers (at about ten minutes each) and then about 25 people spoke who had signed up to testify. This ran the clock past the Herald's deadline and Stark left to write his usual puff piece based on handouts. Everybody was well behaved, except for one very brief moment when some of the Minutemen booed one of the people testifying. The Commission chair immediately restored order and I think Tom Williams was chagrinned by the breach of decorum and discipline. There was the usual continuous picuture-taking by both sides. The Minutemen are simultaneously desireous of publicity and afraid of being publicly identified by name, so it's always kind of interesting as they attempt to intimidate people with the "What's your name?" line, since they want to be anonymous themselves.

For the most part, the Minutemen just sat quietly and scowled their way through the hearing. Four of their members testified and none came across as being either truthful or sincere, but they certainly were armored in their rhetoric and self-righteousness.

I spoke to the head of the Bellingham Major Crimes Unit who was coordinating the plainclothes security at the meeting. He thinks they will dry up and blow away in a year or so. He's been through this before, since he coordinated the local law enforcement cooperation with the FBI on the WSM bust. All in all, a good but tiring night. The commission is very good about keeping the meeting going as long as anyone wants to testify. I always enjoy seeing the Rev. He's the commissioner visible in profile on the right of the Herald photo. He just sits through the hearing impassively and then at the end delivers a couple of one-liners that totally skewer the nitwits.
posted by warbaby 28 April 11:15

I worry it's going to take someone getting killed by these Minutemen yahoos before law enforcement REALLY takes them seriously, like it took the bombing in OKC before law enforcement took the "militias" seriously.**Interesting factoid: at the time of the OKC bombing, the FBI had an 800-page dossier of intelligence about ACT-UP, the anti-AIDS group, and NONE on state militias.
posted by BoringPostcards 28 April 11:18

Well, nationally there have already been over 20 murders. There have been even more assaults, probably numbering in the hundreds. The last one was yesterday. It was particularly awful, since it involved torture. We're still waiting on if the target is going to live. It won't change until there is either a mass-murder or the Dems get control of one house of Congress. We'll probably start seeing domestic terrorism busts next year.
posted by warbaby 28 April 11:27

I should mention that I'm really proud to know you, warbaby.
posted by krix 28 April 23:26

Friday, April 28, 2006


Perpetuating a System

Part 2 of the radio interview of Sinn Fein's Bobby Lavery and Terry Kirby:


Classic Recipe

"As of 2001, estimates of the worldwide number of migrants ranged from 150 to 250 million. The worldwide number of refugees was estimated at 35 million."

"The true function of restrictionist policies is to depress wage levels, by creating a 'gray market' in undocumented (“illegal”) workers who cannot risk demanding higher wages — or protesting abusive or illegal working conditions."

"The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (usually known as “welfare reform”) excluded even legally documented immigrants from most public benefits."

"As long as deepening global warfare is promoted by U.S. policy elites and military profiteers, more and more refugee populations will be created."

"When white racism is depicted, most often it is attributed to working class or poor whites. Such images obscure the complex social, cultural, and economic realities of institutional racism and white privilege in the United States."

"The overt racism of hate groups and the more subtle bigotry of mainstream anti-immigrant organizations both serve to divide people who might otherwise find common ground in social struggles for justice. While they may attract followers with the power of their rhetoric, such anti-immigrant movements do nothing to address the root causes of suffering — the economic, social, and political structures that maintain an unjust and increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege. Instead, they substitute a lethal combination of resentment, scapegoating, and hatred — the classic recipe for fascism."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Unfinished War

When I read recently about the failure of the State of Louisiana to provide readily available and proven technology to enable the displaced citizens of New Orleans to vote from the various refugee centers scattered across the South, in their first mayoral election since fleeing the floods, I thought momentarily about the blacks illegally deprived of the right to vote in Florida 2000, and again in Ohio 2004, but mostly I recalled the price they already paid for this civil right back in the 1960s.

What I remembered in particular was the sacrifice made by Southern blacks like Fannie Lou Hamer, who lost her job, her home, her health, and nearly her life for the right to vote, and the hope to participate someday in society's benefits on an equal basis with other citizens. That was only forty-five years ago when the Freedom Riders and blacks from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia were vilified, beaten, and murdered by vigilantes, state and local police for attempting to use Whites Only restrooms in bus stations, or for trying to register to vote at their county courthouses.

With veterans of that struggle for human dignity now in Congress and other positions of responsibility--people like John Lewis and Julian Bond--it seemed almost impossible that Americans would tolerate a return to the discrimination of Jim Crow. Then we sat stunned as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris brought it back, as the US Supreme Court affirmed her dire deed, and the US Senate--led by Al Gore--refused to hear dissent from the Congressional Black Caucus.

Nothing, as they say, is set in stone when it comes to power politics. But maybe, around the corner, a black resurgence--like the indigenous resurgence seen in recent proimmigrant marches--is ready to bring down the wrath of moral sanction on the heads of White Supremacy, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, and the fight to finish the revolutionary war in our country can begin. Until it does, no honest American can proudly boast of the principles enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence without feeling ashamed.


Behavior Modification

"The mission of PSYOP is to influence the behavior of foreign target audiences to support US national objectives. PSYOP accomplishes this by conveying selected information and advising on actions that influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign audiences.

Behavioral change is at the root of the PSYOP mission. Although concerned with the mental processes of the target audience, it is the observable modification of target audience behavior that determines the mission success of PSYOP."

--from Chapter 5 of Field Manual-Interim, No. 3-07.22, Counterinsurgency Operations, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Overheard in British Columbia

I agree that the business of overthrowing democratically-elected governments abroad should be left to the CIA; they've got half a century under their belt, and know what they're doing. As for State, they'd never send pearl-handled six guns to the Ayatollah, let alone a bible in a birthday cake.

Which shows just how screwy things can get when military intelligence gets involved in things like, say, thinking. I mean, Oliver North aside, you only have to read Army manuals to understand what an oxymoron MI is.

The one officer I spoke with (a survivor of the Beirut bombing) told me MI in Lebanon had no idea Hezbollah would do something that crazy.


Predictable Behavior

"They're makin' for them islands to anchor for the night. They'll go on in the mornin'. But don't you worry. They'll come 'ere again. You just see if they don't. You know 'ow Germans are; they lays down systems an' they sticks to 'em. Mondays they're at one place. Tuesdays somewheres else. Wednesdays p'raps they're 'ere. Same ole round, week after week. You know."

--Mr. Allnut
from The African Queen


Influencing Behavior

"Sometimes the most effective countermeasure is not to respond or attempt to counter the propaganda. Direct response to propaganda can lend credibility to it and may be counterproductive....Think about what you will say before you speak."

--from Chapter 3 of Field Manual-Interim, No. 3-07.22, Counterinsurgency Operations, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.


New Plan

"Details of the plans are secret, but in general they envision a significantly expanded role for the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, the plans reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains traditionally handled by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. ...

For example, SOCOM has dispatched small teams of Army Green Berets and other Special Operations troops to U.S. embassies in about 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, where they do operational planning and intelligence gathering to enhance the ability to conduct military operations where the United States is not at war."

Monday, April 24, 2006


Out of Control

"If an insurgency has tapped into serious grievances and has mobilized a significant portion of the population, simply returning to the status quo may not be an option. Reform may be necessary, but reform is a matter for the state...

The state first decides upon its goal (restoration of legitimate government writ), then, produces a plan to accomplish that end...The government establishes the legal framework and command and control (C2) mechanisms to enable the plan to be implemented."

--from Chapter 1 of Field Manual-Interim, No. 3-07.22, Counterinsurgency Operations, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.


Resistors of Conscience

CIA analyst Mary McCarthy joins FBI interpreter Sibel Edmonds on the resistors of conscience list, for opposing the tyranny of the Bush Administration by leaking details of the secret worldwide network of prisons used by the CIA to torture suspects without observing civil, human, or international rights encoded in the US Constitution, UN Charter, or Geneva Conventions.

[Update: McCarthy says she wasn't the one who revealed the illegal prison system of the CIA, but that she was being accused as part of the new director's mission to remove all civil servants there who aren't willing to lie in order to support Bush politically.]

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Clan Mothers v Canada

"To defeat a colonial force that has an overwhelming military advantage, the insurgency must make the policy of colonialism by force a political issue, both within the occupied polities and the occupational polities. In Algeria, in Viet Nam, in Iraq, in the US, and in Canada.

This means that a political task of the indigenous resistance in North America is to politicize the expropriation."

Friday, April 21, 2006


A Movement of Movements

The formation of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, 1983-1994: building toward insurrection by empowering citizens as social actors--the non-institutional politics of building autonomies in order to "distribute power so it can do no harm; the objective is to free organized discontent from the reductive trap of electoral politics that fails to offer an alternative to the neoliberal model."



Tear Down This Wall

Society, as some suggest, is an ongoing experiment: try what seems to work; abandon what doesn't. Of course, what works for some is often detrimental to others. Especially in a winner-take-all capitalist system.

The European experiment in the Americas--beginning with slavery, murder, and theft, and, in many respects, still in that mode of relationships--is presently foundering on the indigenous resurgence and moral challenges posed by their culturally creative companeros.

Liberals--like conservatives--also fear the unknown, fear fundamental change, and fear the loss of privileges ingrained in our society for half a millenium. Their anxiety--based on a sense of security that is bound up with the existing system of inequality--places them in a juxtaposition between letting their conscience be their guide, and siding with those who would maintain such inequities.

For myself, the challenge--or experiment, if you will--is whether we can surmount the communicative barriers of the status quo in order to begin to discuss our hopes for the future.


A Taxing Situation

Bolivian President Evo Morales has proposed a tax on multinational oil and gas companies extracting hydrocarbons in Bolivia, for the purpose of funding health and education in his impoverished country. The corresponding aristocracy has threatened to fund civil war in retaliation.

Meanwhile, with tens of thousands homeless due to torrential rains and flooding, Cuba has dispatched medical teams and supplies, while the United States has withdrawn all support and aid in solidarity with the country's elite. With us or against us, indeed.


Athenians and Visigoths

Neil Postman:

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Hidden Peoples

The dominant economy of central Washington state, where I grew up, was built on agriculture, and Mexican immigrants were central to its success--still are. So when I saw the headline from Wenatchee LULAC proclaiming, "Today We March--Tomorrow We Vote," I was not surprised in the least to read of the number of locations from Okanagan to Walla Walla where proimmigrant rallies were scheduled for May Day.

The fact that many of these place names--like Yakima, Wapato, Toppenish, Kennewick and so on--are indigenous, is indicative of the hidden peoples, still extent, who share an autochthonous heritage in the continent with these immigrants, and likewise have, until recently in historical terms, been largely excluded from the social discussions and political decisions affecting the future of our land. In this sense, I take heart in the burgeoning expression of their humanity and dignity, and hope in the possibility of awareness of their moral power and its ultimate exercise of influence for economic and social change.

Which brings me back to the slogan proferred by LULAC--a mostly middle-class organization of US citizens of Mexican descent--and how limited it is in projecting the aspirations of those who recently took to the streets in outrage against legislated discrimination. Not that voting is entirely meaningless, but becoming pawns of the Democratic Party--depending on elite-approved politicians for the meager handouts we presently receive from our allegedly representative government--is not a program, not a demand of the powerful, and not even close to meeting the needs of their people, or of our society.

They could demand--and get--so much more.


Into the Future


Push the Button

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Watch Your Back

In posing the stark choice between submission and resistance to tyranny in America, I've encountered a distinct hostility lately from the readers of what I deem the most thoughtful of liberal blogs. And I don't think these were covert conservatives, but, rather, genuine liberals unable to come to terms with the enormous sacrifice and responsibility we face to rid ourselves of tyranny in the US.

Which lends a sobering aspect to Bush's observance that you're either with him or against him. Like the religious right, liberals may complain a lot about not getting their way, but, in the end, they will undoubtedly line up against those of us who believe in freedom, rather than take any personal risks.

In other words, if you're fighting for freedom, watch your back; otherwise you might find yourself with a liberal's knife in it.


Writing History

Flight from Montgomery:


Boss Hawg

A seasonal travelogue into the Confederacy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Retaliation as Strategy

I just got through listening to a radio program about Coca-Cola's inability to import its beverages bottled in India to the US or Europe due to its content of pesticides at 34 times the level allowed by public health agencies. So, for the time being--or until Congress can alter these public health regulations--these products can only be marketed in the third world, where cancer from soda pop will hardly be noticed amidst the carcinogenic waste dumped daily in the fields and streams of IMF/World Bank-sponsored loans for related industrial projects, the interest on which has already necessitated closing down public health programs there.

This happy thought led me to recall a headline yesterday about some oil or chemical company executive making something like 600 million dollars a year to make sure such projects in the third world continue, and I couldn't help asking how it is that executives like these haven't been assassinated. All in due course I guess.

Not that retaliation is necessarily a wise strategy or effective tactic, but, given the circumstances, I can hardly condemn anyone for it on moral grounds.


Looking Ahead

I know it's not a pleasant thought to consider doing harm to fellow citizens, and that's why it's imperative we exercise what political influence we have in order to avoid the need for violence.

As many reasonable people have pointed out, though, protesting crimes against humanity, and decrying the present corruption killing innocents foreign and domestic, has accomplished nothing. And should we begin to actually resist these state-sanctioned murders now taking place from New Orleans to Fallujah--using the various forms we've discussed previously--state repression and vigilante harassment will escalate. At that point, some of us will inevitably confront physical violence.

We can either choose to be victims, or we can defend ourselves. It's that simple. I mean, who would stand by idly while someone assaulted their child? Their spouse? Themselves?


War as Political Tool

If ever there was an argument for why the modern state as a framework for societal evolution is a dead end, this is it:


GOP 101

Monday, April 17, 2006


Irish Unity

A discussion paper:

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Honoring the Dead

The American Republic; can it be resurrected? Eliminating the fundamentalist element from the GOP will not suffice to restore democracy in the US. Militarism and white privilege are, after all, bi-partisan, or, monocultural, if you will.

Asserting the right to be free in our country, in the end, requires a willingness to die (and kill) for one’s beliefs. Suggesting it can be purchased for less dishonors those who have.


Business as Usual

In a day, or week, or month, when the bombs start falling on Iran, American liberals will undoubtedly complain privately about the treachery of our country's rulers. They won't likely take to the streets en masse, shutting down business as usual for a day or two. They certainly won't storm federal buildings or riot or otherwise make their rage known.

Sabotage, riot, and insurrection haven't been seen on our shores for a long time. For that matter, neither has civil disobedience, strike, or boycott against tyranny of the sort we now take for granted.

And so, while obedient Americans go about collecting their paychecks, shopping, and keeping their mouths shut publicly, the slaughter of its children and that of Iran's will proceed unabated, unresisted.


US Out of Iran!

Now that the cat's out of the bag on the covert US invasion of Iran--with American troops (as we speak) on Iranian soil supporting guerillas in combat against the Iranian Army--the frenetic pace of operational planning in the Pentagon for the bombing to begin in Iran finally makes sense: Bush has secretly invaded a country without even notifying Congress, let alone seeking authorization.

Why? Because he can.

Saturday, April 15, 2006



Billmon is back with another out-of-the-park swing against the pathological pecksniffs of Right Blogostan:
"In other words, figuring out what the right is trying to say these days – and what agitates it so – is becoming more of an exercise in hermeneutics (if not psychiatry) than political science."


Empire of Fear

"Fear is the nuclear warhead of politics. An eternally tempting weapon for the demagogue that efficiently annihilates dissent and cauterizes opposition, but only at a terrible price.

By sinking to that level -- by eagerly seizing and using this nuclear flashblinding option for petty, partisan gain for the last 20 years -- the GOP has unleashed horrors into the world that will take generations to put right. They have gained power, but only at the expense of destroying anything that was ever noble about their movement.

Only by enlisting the labor of the scum of the Earth to help them rip down our two-century-old democracy and erect on its bones an Empire of Fear. Only by deliberately pumping into the body politic the toxic wastes that mark them as the true and eternal enemies of democracy. Only by keeping America so afraid that is stops being America anymore."


Millenial Heist

Wabanaki reminds readers that the flip side of looting Indian tribes' energy assets by the U.S. Department of Interior is now the enrichment of the GOP and conservatism for a long time to come--none of which is of benefit to any of the rest of us.


The Price of Freedom

Reprisals by some businesses and schools against those participating in the recent pro-immigrant rallies, signals that the human rights movement in the US--led by indigenous peoples of the hemisphere--projects a credible threat to five hundred years of oppression and exploitation. The fact that the most marginalized and socially excluded are both aware of and willing to face these risks, should serve to inspire (and shame) the more privileged among us.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Disrupting Big Business

The effective mobilization of indigenous Americans against discrimination in the guise of immigration control, suggests they might have the power to do more than disrupt business as usual in the GOP-controlled capitol. In addition to disrupting the big business of racism in America, they could very well demand equal protection under the law, perhaps even initiating a push for less economic disparity and greater distribution of public wealth toward such things as universal health and educational benefits.

With luck and our support, this revitalization of the human rights movement has the potential to disrupt much more than a few sessions of Congress and Klansmen patrolling our borders; it could begin to shove the whole Contract with America agenda down the throat of corporate America where it belongs.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Sobriety v Hyperbole

Details about Iran's ability to generate electricity using nuclear energy. Confirms that nuclear weaponry is not something Iran has the ability to produce. Not even close.


White Power

How the rhetoric of discrimination is transmitted, and how--as part of the system of white supremacy--it reinforces American conservatism.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


First Things First

Before we argue about how to destroy Iran--which we got a pretty good start on by propping up the Shah--we need to remember two things: 1.nuclear power is not the same thing as nuclear weaponry, and 2.the US government will lie to us no matter what the reality is.

As many have pointed out, though, there is plenty of time to ascertain reality and options after Bush/Cheney are indicted for their treasonous conduct that led to unnecessarily destroying Iraq.


Heartless Spirit

Celebrating the power to destroy is a disease. If it has become the primary source of unity in our society, then it has reached epidemic proportions.


Our Most Urgent Task

Empires never go down easy. Some, however, do so with less grace than others.

While Washington doesn't face hairy, ax-wielding giants with painted faces like Rome once did, or carpet-bombing B-17s like Berlin in more recent times, it--like empires that came before--will eventually have to suffer in ruin.

This might, admittedly, require additional spectacular humiliations like 9/11, which--in the words of Richard Pryor in the movie Silverstreak--"whupped your ass," but the end result for the USA will be the same: disgrace, remorse, regret, impoverishment of body and soul.

The final act may take a while to play out, with almost unimaginable conflagrations abroad, turmoil and misery at home, but it will come--is coming--to a close. Preparing ourselves psychologically for the impact of living with less, in all respects, is perhaps--with the exception of preventing nuclear holocaust--our most urgent task.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


MAD-ness as Fireworks

Whiskey Bar's Mutually Assured Dementia lays out our long national journey towards complete idiocy--"it's over."

With indictments of both the Vice President and President of the United States of America for treason now a distinct possibility, the only thing that can stop them from unleashing nuclear holocaust in the interim is force--not Congress, not the courts, not international outrage at their past and present crimes against humanity--but force, be it military or civilian.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Terminal Creeds

Belief systems incapable of change.


Voice of Reason

"The greatest fear in the corporate world is that Indian people will use their intelligence, deprogram themselves and think coherently."
--John Trudell


Receive and Reciprocate

A Hopi full morning:

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Attitude Makes the Difference

It appears there is an opportunity to seize the offensive over the Libby revelations. Rather than continued No War protests, perhaps Indict Bush-Cheney pickets at federal buildings would accomplish the same objectives. Isn't there some kind of national campaign scheduled to kick off April 15th?

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Forms of Resistance

[Ed. note: as usual, another good dialogue from Karena's Blog.]

I think we're all in agreement about the extent and dangers of the Bush dictatorship. Which leaves us only one question: Fight or submit?
Posted by: spartacus o'neal April 08, 2006 at 02:25 PM

We know the answer, oppose. What are the best methods? We have tried that through our votes, which are rigged and stolen. We have tried that by preaching to the choir and going door to door to increase the voter turn out of the so-called opposition voters. That has not worked. How do we get heard? That is the question. Do we show up in protest droves? That has not worked. Do we try to convince the so-called opposition party to impeach? That has not worked. What are we to do?
Posted by: Karena April 08, 2006 at 07:52 PM

You're right: protest is not resistance; it's what's often tried in advance of fighting or submitting in hope that the dire choice isn't necessary. Unfortunately, it always is.

Once you're over the hump on that one, the choices of forms of resistance to tyranny are really quite limited:
civil disobedience
armed insurrection
Posted by: spartacus o'neal April 08, 2006 at 09:47 PM


Back the Attack

United Church of Christ takes on the false religion of christian capitalists and their apologists at ABC news. Let the war begin.


Divine Providence

Chip Berlet explores the 500-year-old roots of the Republican prosperity gospel, the Calvinist contract with America, and the seeds for the theocratic eyewash of GOP kleptocracy.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Long-Range Goals

"People at the meeting looked at the other civil rights organizations [NAACP, SCLC, CORE] and saw that they were money-oriented...This meant that on occasion they would sacrifice principles in order to keep the money coming in....

SNCC [in 1961] also recognized that we had to build a people's movement. We had to develop leadership outside our own, to carry forward the struggle...whether or not SNCC was around....

I disagreed strongly with the idea that it meant SNCC would become unimportant....[although] later it was used to negate [SNCC's] power...because of a fear of power itself, a lack of understanding about how to use power....

The cry for community control is a false one within the present structure of this society. Nevertheless, action geared to achieving community control can help people realize the impossibility of that goal if the proper political education goes along with the action....

The lack of an ideology would become a serious problem for SNCC when the problems of voter registration and segregation of public accommodations were largely resolved with passage of the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights acts....Our long-range goals, the kind of society we wanted to see built, the question of whether the fundamental problem facing black people was strictly racism or a combination of racism and capitalism, ... these issues had to be dealt with and failure to do so [eventually] tore the organization apart."

--from The Making of Black Revolutionaries by James Forman


Poignant Update

Our colleague David Neiwert writes about the current practice of transmitting poisonous ideas:

Mr. Neiwert makes two points that I believe are at the crux of the matter:
1. racism is an enterprise, and 2. this enterprise is supported by the mainstream press.

If one carefully examines the history of the European experience in the Americas over the last five hundred years, Mr. Neiwert's observations are merely an update on the status of this endeavor.


Blowing in the Wind

In Tucson last Sunday, Yaqui and Tohono Indians of Arizona marched with their indigenous Mexican immigrant brethren, noting that, "We did not cross the border; the border crossed us."


Going With the Flow

Hopi runners in green shirts came in through Chapultepec Park and came to a stop in front of the statue of Tlaloc - the ancient spirit of water and rain. There, they were received by traditional leaders and elders, marking the end of their two-week, 2,000-mile historic water run into Mexico-Anahuac. ... It will probably take years to fully comprehend the significance of some 60 members of the Hopi Nation in Mexico (more than half of them runners) delivering a message to the world regarding the sacredness of water. ...

The runners began their trek in northern Arizona, through New Mexico, all the way down to the 4th annual World Water Forum in Mexico City. ...They trekked to the 2,000-year-old city of Teotihuacan, where the temples of the sun, moon and Venus (Quetzalcoatl) are housed. ...Many of those with whom they met acknowledged that they are related and that the Hopi represent memory. ...

Oral traditions speak of the Hopi being the oldest peoples of the continent and of never having surrendered their sovereignty to anyone. And indeed, they are accorded this respect across the continent. It was amazing to see this unfold before my very eyes when the runners were obstinately prevented from leaving Mexico because most had come in without passports or visas. And yet, even in times of high levels of security, Hopi ID was sufficient; they prevailed.


No Ethics No Understanding

World Water Forum denies water is a basic human right.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Combing the Alleyways

Ask anyone knowledgeable about the Civil Rights Movement, and they'll tell you that one of the keys to success was good research and intelligence work by people like Jack Minnis and his staff in the Atlanta SNCC office. Ask anyone informed about the human rights movement in the US today, and they'll tell you the same about Political Research Associates in Boston, the Center for New Community in Chicago, and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama.

Other than that, what exists of opposition research and intelligence capacity in America is largely a network of ad hoc freelancers living hand to mouth without any regional or local support or coordination. Which means that there's basically no infrastructure west of the Mississippi to get the goods on right-wing organizations and agents.

There are, of course, considerable resources committed to liberal, religiously-oriented, advocacy organizations like ADL and American Friends Service Committee, but almost nothing going to the intrepid individuals combing the alleyways of fascism to garner the information these worthy pressure groups depend on to be effective in what they do. It'd be like the Allied Forces fighting the Nazis without the benefit of the OSS.

If philanthropists like MacArthur and Ford really want to save our republic from ruin, the most effective thing they could do is to get dough into the hands of this network pronto. I don't need to tell them how; that's what their staff is for. What I can tell them, though, is that they don't need to wait until a report is completed to get started; they could begin tomorrow by giving out such things as research grants and fellowships.

Call it the Jack Minnis endowment for research.


Right-Wing Dating Service

As our illustrious colleague Paul de Armond once put it, "All these blowhard, phony patriots like Citizens for Liberty, Minutemen, and Militias--who consistently dupe media and liberals alike--actually function as a dating service for right-wing domestic terrorists."

Useful in recruiting ignorant people with both real and contrived grievances, their gatherings are where hard core bigots meet up with others willing to act wittingly or unwittingly as stormtroops for reactionary movements like American Conservatism.

Synchronized with the GOP agenda, they can lend the appearance of being mainstream, when what they support--regardless of what they say--is the abolishment of universal civil and human rights.


New Dimensions of Wise Use

There's more than meets the eye in the new dimensions of the Wise Use Movement as represented by the implosion of CREA, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.

Wampum blog is all over the scandal, and dare we hope, indictments?


More Ruse Than Reality

Orcinus' editor Dave Neiwert visits the Minuteman encampment on the Canadian border.


Common Ground

Read about the street samaritans treating the medical needs of the people of New Orleans--something the US government couldn't manage, something everyone should know about and support.

Listen to the people doing it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Stolen Land Stolen Money Stolen Dreams

Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, is planning a big showing in Washington, D.C., next week to show support for the 10-year-old case amid Congressional settlement efforts.

In a display of unity, Cobell will be joined by tribal leaders, individual Indian landowners and other supporters on the day of a major court hearing. Next Tuesday, the D.C. Court of Appeals is hearing the Bush administration's attempt to remove Judge Royce Lamberth from the case and overturn a computer security ruling.

Prior to the start of oral arguments, Cobell, tribal leaders and drummers from the Blackfeet Nation will meet at 8:30am at the federal courthouse near the U.S. Capitol. After the hearing, the group will march a short distance to the National Museum of the American Indian. Tex Hall, the most recent president of the National Congress of American Indians; Jim Gray, the chief of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma; Mary Johnson, a Navajo landowner from Utah and others are scheduled to speak.


Carmichael on Minnis

“Then there was the complex network of ownership uncovered by Jack Minnis’ SNCC research department. These plantation factories must have been very profitable investments. One was owned by the corporation supplying electricity to Boston, Massachusetts. The majority stockholder of another was Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth…owner of one of the largest Mississippi plantations only slightly evolved from outright slavery….

Jack developed excellent, very detailed information on the Alabama power structure: which capitalists owned what, their historical relationship to the terrorist network, and so on…It was Jack who would find the old Alabama law that would be key to how we organized in Lowndes County….

D.C., a city with a black majority administered by congressional committees mostly of white Southerners…was as effectively disenfranchised as black people in Mississippi….Jack Minnis gave me a file on local government, federal preserve, congressional relationships, employment, everything, and I began speaking to everyone I could.”
--from Ready for Revolution by Stokely Carmichael

[Read more about Jack Minnis .
See who's carrying on his important work today .]

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Pearl River

My maternal grandmother, Pearl O’Neal, was born in 1898 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Tara, the original O’Neal plantation in Mississippi, is not far away. The Pearl River, that forms the border between Mississippi and Lousiana near Lake Pontchartrain, is mentioned by John Lewis in Oh Freedom Over Me

"You know, in spite of growing up in Alabama, where it's not too much different—but Mississippi! It was just—this was the last place," says John Lewis, who now represents Georgia in the U.S. Congress. In 1961, Lewis was 21 and a hero of the Freedom Rides. The Freedom Riders rode buses into the South to challenge whites-only lunch counters and restrooms. Lewis was punched and kicked by South Carolina segregationists. Rioting whites beat him bloody in Montgomery, Alabama. But what scared him was Mississippi. "When you crossed that state line over into Mississippi, it's just this sense of something like the climate changed, the air got warmer and your heart started beating faster. ... Too many bodies had been found, black bodies, had been found in the Pearl River or the Tallahatchee River in the state of Mississippi," says Lewis.

The Hattiesburg Freedom School system, which SNCC Freedom School director Staughton Lynd refered to as the “Mecca of the Freedom School world” had more than 600 students in five schools. During Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, Herbert Randall photographed the project around Hattiesburg:

The Free Southern Theater, that toured throughout the state that year with its production of In White America, was organized by SNCC, COFO, and Tougaloo College as an attempt to “stimulate thought and a new awareness among Negroes in the deep South.” Among the sponsors of the Free Southern Theater were singer Harry Belafonte, authors James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, performers Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Theodore Bikel, and Lincoln Kirstein,
general director of the New York City Ballet. The proposal for the Free Southern Theater originated with SNCC workers Doris Derby, Gilbert Moses, and John O’Neal, and Tougaloo drama instructor William Hutchinson.

John O’Neal, relation to Pearl unknown, was the field secretary for SNCC. At Tougaloo, O'Neal—along with a group of students—had formed the Free Southern Theatre, which was created to integrate art with social change.

Between the time my emigrant ancestor John O’Neal purchased his first African-American slave in South Carolina to the time the now-renowned black playwright John O’Neal established the celebrated playhouse Junebug Productions in New Orleans, a lot of change has happened along the Pearl River. But not enough for the former SNCC activist who shares my ancestor’s name.

In the 2002 Community Arts Network article Drawing the Line at Place
he remarked, “It was during the Spring of 1989. I don't remember clearly where in New Orleans we were when it happened, maybe Maspero's Slave Exchange. Maybe we saw one of those Mammy dolls beckoning the wary tourists. It might have been right after we'd heard the idea about buying one of the old plantations on River Road to make a museum that really shows what life was like in the "good old days." I really don't remember where we were, but I do remember that Jawole Zollar, the visionary leader of the Urban Bush Women, said, "Somebody ought to do something about purging the demons of slavery here in New Orleans.”

The 90-mile long River Road that runs along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Baton Rouge has been dubbed "Cancer Alley" by environmentalists and many of the residents. In addition to a group of predominately low-income African-American communities, it is home to a concentration of more than 130 major petrochemical plants, grain elevators, medical waste incinerators, solid waste landfills and other industrial operations that account for the bulk of toxic chemical releases in Louisiana. Residents face enormously high rates of cancer, miscarriages, birth defects and other health problems. The population of Cancer Alley is reported to have the highest rate of cancer in the nation.

Soon after his discussion with Jawole Zollar, John O'Neal was invited by Pat Bryant, of Gulf Coast Tenants Association, to an organizing meeting with people living on River Road. O'Neal learned that the map of Cancer Alley is a perfect template for the map of the old Mississippi River plantation system. While the nature of the bondage might have changed, he realized that this form of "environmental racism" was just a new face on an old problem.

So begins the story of the Environmental Justice Project, a multi-year, multidisciplinary, multiracial community-arts project planned for 1998 by Junebug Productions, an African-American, community-based theater ensemble in New Orleans founded and directed by John O'Neal. "Environmental racism is the modern demon of slavery that Jawole had been talking about," says EJP Project Director Roxy Wright. "Junebug realized that our job as artists was to help these people struggling to exorcise this demon through environmental justice."

Begun in 1981, Junebug Productions became the successor to the Free Southern Theater, and in many people's eyes, the theatrical legacy of the Civil Rights Movement itself. To me, that’s something worth crossing the Pearl River to see.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Buried Treasure

Last summer, while the nation’s attention was focused on the imminent loss of New Orleans to flooding, Americans were mostly unaware of another great loss within the yet-to-be-breached levees of this remarkable city six weeks earlier.

Jack Minnis passed away July 14 at Ochsner Hospital. His home was later destroyed by the flooding, but his wife Earlene was able to salvage some of Jack’s research files.

Last month, a few survivors of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s talked about their memories of Minnis.

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