Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Likes The Clintons

Even before she became a 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate, former Wal-Mart corporate board member Hillary Clinton lived in the White House during her husband Bill Clinton’s first two terms as U.S. president in the 1990s. And in a June 13, 2003 essay, “American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—Out of Touch,” that appears in his 2004 book The Pursuit of Justice, U.S. consumer activist Ralph Nader indicated how the first Clinton administration served the special interests of U.S. corporations:

“…One high official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told me that they loved the Clinton government. Why not? Under Clinton they got corporate-managed trade called NAFTA and WTO, laws furthering media, telecommunications, agribusiness, banking, brokerage and insurance industry concentration, weak-to-nonexistent regulation, a chronic softness on corporate crimes against pensioners and small investors, and a pathetically indifferent consumer and labor policy—to name a few surrenders…”

In a May 2, 2003 essay, “Wall Street Accountability,” that is also contained in his The Pursuit of Justice, Nader also observed:

“The only way to end the corruption on Wall Street is to send a message that securities firms engaged in defrauding small investors will be punished to the full extent of the law and those culpable top executives will be convicted and sent to jail.

“It is also time to break up the behemoth Wall Street financial powerhouses. The Republicans and Democrats spent the last decade repealing Depression-era protection for investors and allowing financial institutions to combine in unprecedented ways. Firms should never be allowed to combine stock research, investment banking (selling shares to the public) and brokerage (buying shares for customers). Firms now have an ongoing incentive to provide rosy research and have their brokerage firms push stocks on individuals that benefit not the individuals, but the Wall Street firms’ corporate clients.

“Congress and state regulators need to bring back the Glass-Steagal Act…”

Next: The A.P. News Trust’s Special Influence: A 1990's Look At The Associated Press—Part 1

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Columbia University Gave Honorary Degree To Shah of Iran After CIA Coup

After the elected president of Iran was invited by Columbia University to speak on its campus, Columbia University President and Washington Post Company/Newsweek media conglomerate board member Lee Bollinger ( ) impolitely attempted to insult his guest by calling him a “petty dictator’ --before Columbia’s invited guest was even given a chance to deliver his speech.

Ironically, the “great dictator” of Iran who was installed by the CIA’s 1953 coup, the Shah of Iran, was awarded an honorary “Doctor of Laws” degree by former Columbia University President (and former member of the Mobil oil company board of directors) Grayson Kirk in February, 1955. The CIA then apparently helped Columbia University’s “Doctor of Laws” honorary degree recipient set up a police state in Iran prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. In addition, in July, 1977, former Columbia University President (and former member of the Texaco oil company board of directors) William McGill gave the Shah of Iran’s wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi ( ), a Columbia University presidential citation. So if you’re a Columbia University student who wasn’t able to find an Iranian people’s history course offering in Columbia’s catalogue, following is a capsule people’s history of what happened in Iran between 1953 and 1979 that might interest you:

A CIA employee named Robert Lessard apparently “trained the Shah’s secret police in the techniques of subversion and torture, after the CIA’s overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953,” according to the 1985 book Washington’s Secret War Against Afghanistan by Phillip Bonosky. Four different underground political tendencies, however, still emerged in Iran to oppose the Shah of Iran’s dictatorial regime following the 1953 CIA coup: the traditional Islamic groups; the constitutionalist and liberal groups; the independent left groups; and the Tudeh Party. The constitutionalist and liberal groups drew their support mainly from Iran’s secular middle-class and Iranian government employees. Although anti-communist, the Iranian constitutionalist and liberal groups were anti-imperialist in their politics and advocated semi-socialist economic democratization reforms and the democratic political secularization of Iranian society. Together with the independent left groups and the Tudeh Party, the constitutionalist and liberal groups formed a new underground National Front in the late 1950s.

1960s and 1970s Resistance to Shah’s Regime

The traditional Islamic groups that opposed the Shah of Iran’s dictatorial regime were led by Iranian politicians from the religious Iranian Bazaar merchant class and the Iranian clerical hierarchy. Although they were opposed to the Shah of Iran’s regime and advocated Islamic unity against Anglo-American imperialism in the Middle East, the Islamic religious politicians were strongly anti-communist in their politics and generally hostile to the secular Tudeh Party. In addition to establishing an Iranian government which would more effectively protect Iranian businesspeople from the economic competition of foreign corporations in Iran, the leaders of the traditional Islamic groups in Iran also wanted to create a society in Iran that was governed by the principles of the Islamic religion.

In the Spring of 1960, the Shah of Iran finally agreed to allow a limited amount of political freedom for certain opposition Iranian groups prior to a scheduled Summer 1960 election of a new Majlis/Iranian parliament. As a result, between 1960 and 1963 the National Front opposition group was allowed to be openly active, while the Tudeh Party was still banned from aboveground political activity in Iran. From exile, however, the Tudeh Party’s Central Committee in August 1960 called for a broad united front to be formed to replace the pro-U.S. imperialist regime of the Shah with an anti-imperialist, nationalist democratic regime that eliminated all remnants of feudalism within Iranian society.

The Summer 1960 Iranian parliamentary election of the Shah’s regime turned out to be a fraudulent one. So by May 1961 there were public student-teacher demonstrations against the Shah’s regime in Tehran; and the first public meeting of the National Front in Iran since the CIA’s 1953 coup was held that same month which attracted a crowd of 80,000 Iranians who demanded immediate, honest, democratic elections in Iran. In response to these demonstrations, however, the Shah of Iran’s regime began withdrawing the post-1960 political concessions it had made to the non-left, non-communist and non-Tudeh Party-affiliated groups by the summer of 1961.

To try to decrease the growing popular support for both the legal National Front and the illegal Tudeh Party among Iranian’s landless peasants in the early 1960s, the Shah of Iran’s regime finally instituted a limited land redistribution program. The Shah of Iran’s regime also finally proposed in the early 1960s that Iranian women be allowed to vote in Iranian elections.

In response to both the Shah’s land reform program and the proposal that Iranian women be allowed to vote, as well as to the dictatorial and pro-imperialist nature of the Shah’s regime, however, a widespread religious uprising against the Shah’s regime, led by the traditional Islamic opposition groups who were influenced most by Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini broke out in June 1963. After three days of rioting, this 1963 religious uprising in Iran was crushed by the Shah of Iran’s military in a brutal way, with 600 protesting Iranians killed and 2,000 Iranian demonstrators injured by the Shah’s troops.

Following this June 1963 religious uprising, Khomeini was arrested and then exiled in 1964, first to Turkey and then to Iraq. In addition, the National Front opposition group was again banned by the Shah of Iran’s regime between 1963 and 1978. At the same time, the repression of the underground Tudeh Party activists in Iran continued. As Sepehr Zabith observed in his 1986 book The Left in Contemporary Iran:

“The Pahlavi regime’s suppression of the Tudeh Party was more severe than that of the National Front. While the latter’s activists received short-term imprisonment or were forced into exile (with the exception of Hossein Fatem, who was executed), the regime showed no mercy for Tudeh Party activists or those affiliated with their organization. Forty-two of its prominent leaders—mostly officers—were shot, 14 were tortured to death, and another 200 were sentenced to life imprisonment. Moreover, SAVAK continued to bear down mercilessly on the Tudeh members even after the party ceased to be a major threat.”

Iranian dissidents in the 1970s estimated that between 25,000 and 100,000 Iranians were held as political prisoners in Iran between 1963 and 1978 during the Shah of Iran’s police-state regime.

After 1965, an Iranian New Left of younger Iranian activists also developed which worked for the overthrow of the Shah of Iran’s U.S.-backed dictatorship. Influenced by the Cuban Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the Vietnamese Revolution, two New Left groups were formed in Iran which waged guerrilla warfare against the Shah of Iran’s regime between 1966 and 1978: The People’s Fedayeen and the People’s Mojahadeen.

Formed by defectors from the outlawed Tudeh Party’s youth group, in 1963 the People’s Fedayeen group was secular and Marxist-Leninist in its political orientation. Its founder, Bijan Jazani and three other former Tudeh Party Youth organization activists, had met while in prison in 1955. In 1966, Bijan Jazani and other People’s Fedayeen leaders concluded that the Shah of Iran regime’s limited land reform program had changed Iranian society internally from one dominated by feudalist Iranian landlords to one dominated by pro-imperialist Iranian businesspeople.

In 1968, the original New Left leaders of the People’s Fedayeen were arrested by the Shah of Iran’s secret police, the CIA-trained SAVAK, and sentenced to a long period of imprisonment. During the 1970s, Bijan Jazani was, subsequently, executed in Iran’s Evin Prison by the Shah of Iran’s regime. Other People’s Fedayeen leaders like Hassan Zarif and Aziz Sarmedi were also murdered while in prison by the Shah of Iran’s regime in the 1970s. Despite the imprisonment and repression of its leaders, however, between 1971 and 1978 membership in the People’s Fedayeen guerrilla group grew to around 2,175. And prior to the early 1979 overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the People’s Fedayeen organized politically effective strike committees in Iran.

The founders of the religiously-oriented People’s Mojahedeen guerrilla group were former members of the non-communist National Front. Its leaders concluded in a 1969 position paper that under the Shah of Iran’s regime:

“Iran was essentially a police state where the armed forces constituted the ultimate power base. The strength and political stability of the regime was based on the effective functioning of its security bases, which were directed by the American Central Intelligence Agency.”

Given this 1969 political analysis’ conclusion, the People’s Mojahadeen group, not surprisingly, decided that the only way to establish a democratic, Islamic-oriented society in Iran was to begin urban guerrilla warfare against the Shah of Iran’s regime in 1970.

Unlike the People’s Mojahadeen, the People’s Fedayeen generally waged guerrilla warfare in rural areas of Iran, not in Iran’s cities. But both the People’s Fedayeen and the People’s Mojahadeen guerrilla groups held U.S. imperialist government policies responsible for the political repression and mass poverty that existed in Iran under the Shah’s regime.

Aboard, during the late 1960s and 1970s Iranian students who were members of the Confederation of Iranian Students, which has been founded in the mid-1960s, also organized protests against the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran’s dictatorial regime. When the Shah of Iran’s wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi ( ), was given the Columbia University presidential citation award by former Columbia University President McGill in 1977, for instance, a large anti-Shah protest in Manhattan led by foreign students from Iran who wore masks (to avoid being identified by SAVAK agents) was organized by the Confederation of Iranian Students’ local members.

Mass opposition in Iran to the Shah of Iran’s dictatorial regime grew rapidly during the late 1970s. Yet the Democratic Carter Administration continued to provide support for the Shah of Iran’s regime during 1978, when the Shah of Iran tried to retain political power in Iran by ordering his troops to shoot down unarmed Iranian civilian demonstrators who dared to protest against his pro-imperialist Iranian police state. Over 60,000 Iranian civilian demonstrators were killed and about 100,000 Iranian civilian demonstrators were wounded and disabled in 1978 by the Shah of Iran’s troops before the people of Iran were finally able to overthrow the Shah of Iran’s regime on February 12, 1979.

The preamble to the October 24, 1979 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran described how the people of Iran were able to create the 1979 Iranian Revolution:

“….The employees of all government establishments took an active part in the effort to overthrow the tyrannical regime by calling a general strike and participating in street demonstrations. The wide-spread solidarity of men and women of all segments of society and of all political and religious factions, played a clearly determining role in the struggle. Especially the women were actively and massively present in the most conspicuous manner at all stages of this great struggle. The common sight of mothers with infants in their arms rushing towards the scene of battle and in front of the barrels of machineguns indicated the essential and decisive role played by this major segment of society in the struggle.”

In response to the large pro-democratization demonstrations in Iran in 1978, the Shah of Iran’s regime also agreed to release some of its Iranian political prisoners before it finally collapsed on February 12, 1979. About 200 members of the People’s Mojahadeen group, for instance, were released from prison in the summer of 1978.

Next: Why The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Likes The Clintons

Friday, September 28, 2007

"The Conscience of Israel": Yeshayahu Leibowitz Opposed Israeli Militarism

The following article appeared in the Jan. 18, 1995 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown:

Prior to his death in August 1994 at the age of 91, Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz never received as much publicity on the Big Media screen as past and present Israeli government officials (like Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon, Abba Eban, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin) have received.

Yet, as Noam Chomsky wrote in his 1983 book The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, Leibowitz was “one of Israel’s best-known scholars” who spoke out against both the Israeli government’s continued military occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and its 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Chomsky also noted that after the September 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the West Beirut refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila, Leibowitz wrote in the Sept. 22, 1982 issue of the Israeli newspaper Haolam Hazeh:

“The massacre was done by us. The Phalangists are our mercenaries, exactly as the Ukranians and the Croatians and the Slovakians were the mercenaries of Hitler, who organized them as soldiers to do the work for him. Even so have we organized the assassins in Lebanon in order to murder the Palestinians.”

Leibowitz did not settle in Palestine until 1934, when he was 31-years-old. He was born in Riga, Latvia in 1903, but his family moved to Germany in 1919. Leibowitz spent the early 1920’s studying chemistry and philosophy at the University of Berlin, which awarded him a doctorate in 1924. Leibowitz then spent the next few years studying medicine at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute at Koln and Heidelberg. But because of the growth of anti-Semitism in Germany as Hitler’s Nazi party rose to power, Leibowitz ended up completing his medical studies in Basel, Switzerland.

After arriving in Palestine in the 1930’s, Professor Leibowitz began teaching chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He became active in the 1950’s and 1960’s in a committee of Israeli scientists and public figures who opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons development program at Dimona. Yet, unlike other dissident Israeli intellectuals, in the 1950’s Leibowitz apparently did not realize that the U.S. government’s espionage charges against Lower East Side residents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, prior to their execution, had been fabricated. In an essay titled “After Kibiyeh,” for instance, Leibowitz wrote that “some of our intellectuals, pretending to represent Jewish teaching of mercy and charity, addressed themselves to the ruler of another state and petitioned him to pardon spies who had threatened the security of the state.” (Judaism, Human Values, and The Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz) [Harvard University Press, 1992]

With regard to the June 1967 Middle East War, Israeli Professor Leibowitz wrote that “when in 1967 we launched a preventive war, we turned it into a war of conquest” and he argued within Israel that “we have no choice but to withdraw from the territories in which one-and-a-half-million Arabs live.” Leibowitz also argued that after 1967 “Israel ceased to be the state of the Jewish people and became an apparatus of coercive rule over another people” and “today is neither a democracy nor a state abiding by the rule of law, since it rules over a million-and-a-half people deprived of civil and political rights.” He also asserted that “the state of Israel…has earned contempt and hatred throughout the world” and he was one of the first prominent Israeli figures to call for direct talks with PLO representatives, long before it became fashionable to negotiate with the PLO. (Judaism, Human Values, and The Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz).

When the Israeli military invaded Lebanon in 1982, Leibowitz not only demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, but he also expressed support for Israeli soldiers who refused to serve in Lebanon or who resigned as military officers because they opposed the invasion. Israeli conscientious objectors, who refused to serve in the Occupied Territories and suppress expressions of Palestinian resistance to foreign occupation, were also supported by Leibowitz.

For taking such anti-militarist positions within Israel during his lifetime, Professor Leibowitz earned the nickname of “the conscience of Israel.” But he received little recognition for his moral integrity in U.S. Big Media circles. Leibowitz’s anti-militarism apparently stemmed from the particular philosophy of Orthodox Judaism which he had developed.

Although Leibowitz differed from most Orthodox Jews in the United States in his evaluation of Israeli foreign policy, he apparently shared some of their philosophical criticisms of Reform Judaism. In Leibowitz’s view, “Reform Judaism is the second historical distortion of the Jewish religion” and “empties Judaism of its religious content and reduces it to ethical humanism.” He did, however, realize that the status of women needed to be improved within Orthodox Judaism’s institutions, in order to provide equality of opportunity for Orthodox Jewish women to study the Torah. (Judaism, Human Values, and The Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz)

As the New York Times (8/19/94) noted in its obituary of him, Leibowitz “warned” that Israeli soldiers “risked becoming `Judeo-Nazis’” and “of a danger that the country would become a `fascist state’ that would imprison political dissidents like himself in concentration camps.” But he did not support the idea of a unified, democratic Palestinian secular state of Jews, Muslims, Christians and freethinkers in all of Palestine. In 1976, he argued that “the partition of the country between the two nations is the only feasible solution.” (Judaism, Human Values, and The Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz).

Professor Leibowitz should probably be remembered and respected most for his willingness to dissent from Israeli government policies which he found morally objectionable. But he also once wrote that “Ever since I reached maturity and became a Zionist, Zionism meant for me the endeavor to liberate Jews from being ruled by the Gentiles” and “the state of Israel completely satisfies the demand for freedom from domination by others.” (Judaism, Human Values, and The Jewish State by Yeshayahu Leibowitz)

This Jewish middle-class nationalist notion that the best way to respond to Gentile anti-Semitism in Europe before 1934 was to split from Europe and establish a Jewish-dominated settler-colonialist state in Palestine without the consent of the Palestinians, however, is debatable. The alternative Jewish radical assimilationist approach (of resisting anti-Semitism in Europe, classism and sexism within the Jewish community, and the special oppression of all religious, national and ethnic groups) can, perhaps, be more easily defended on democratic philosophical grounds.

But among the European settlers who sought their liberation at the expense of Palestinian self-determination rights during the 20th-century, Leibowitz was among those who realized earliest what a moral disaster the state of Israel was in danger of becoming, as a result of its militaristic foreign policy.

(Downtown 1/18/95)

Next: Columbia University Gave Honorary Degree To Shah of Iran After CIA Coup

Thursday, September 27, 2007

`Marilyn Buck'

Way out in California
Is where they have her locked
For she is strong and beautiful
And her name is Marilyn Buck.

They sentenced her to eighty years
Because she is morally tough
Her rebel spirit they cannot break
And her name is Marilyn Buck.

From Texas to Chicago
The War she tried to stop
She fought alongside Black comrades
And her name is Marilyn Buck.

Assata Shakur, from prison freed,
Did give them all a shock
And another rebel they could not find
Her name was Marilyn Buck.

The Capitol bombed, where the Congress met
To finance CIA plots
And one of the resisters charged
Her name was Marilyn Buck.

Political prisoners still locked up
The list is very long
There’s Mutulu Shakur and Sekou Odinga
And each one deserves their own song.

There’s Sundiata Acoli and Mumia
And Herman Bell and Robert Seth Hayes
And Jamil Al-Amin and the Africas
And Jalil Muntaqim.

So if you feel discouraged
And wish you had more luck
Remember the freedom fighters
And the soulful Marilyn Buck.

Yes, way out in California
Was where they have her locked
For she was strong and beautiful
And her name was Marilyn Buck.

To listen to this protest folk song, you can go to the following music site link:

The Marilyn Buck protest folk song is sung to the tune of the traditional folk song, “Mary Hamilton.” Marilyn Buck ( is currently imprisoned in the Pleasanton federal prison in Dublin, California. [But shortly after finally being released in July 2010, Marilyn died of cancer in early August 2010]. For more information about the current situation of U.S. political prisoners like Mutulu Shakur, Sekou Odinga, Sundiata Acoli, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Herman Bell, Robert Seth Hayes, Jamil Al-Amin (f/k/a H.Rap Brown), the Africas and Carlos Alberto Torres, you can check out the Jericho Amnesty Movement site at and the Prison Activist Resource Center at .

Next: “The Conscience of Israel”: Yeshayahu Leibowitz Opposed Israeli Militarism

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Review of `Enemies Of The State: Interviews with Marilyn Buck, David Gilbert and Laura Whitehorn

A Review of Enemies Of The State: Interviews with Marilyn Buck, David Gilbert and Laura Whitehorn
Brooklyn, NY (May 1999); 84 pgs.
Resistance in Brooklyn (RnB) publication

In her introduction to the Enemies Of The State pamphlet, Meg Starr notes that "the government and mainstream media have used their formidable power to prevent real information about political prisoners Marilyn Buck ( ), David Gilbert ( ), Laura Whitehorn and others from getting out." She also accurately observes that "invisible in the social democratic or liberal histories of the 1960s is the logic of their progression from public to clandestine activism."

The Enemies Of The State pamphlet that the Resistance in Brooklyn (RnB) affinity group has put together may help to reintroduce these three 60s radicals-turned 70s, 80s and 90s revolutionaries to 21st-century activists. It may also act as a corrective to some of the "looking back at the 60s" memoirs and histories written by certain U.S. academics. These memoirs and histories often caricature the late SDS white radical Movement political tendency whose perspective Buck, Gilbert and Whitehorn still reflected from within U.S. prison walls for most of the 1990s and early in the 21st century.

In the late 1990s, Whitehorn was released from the Pleasanton Federal Prison in Dublin, California after completing 15 years of her 23-year sentence for conspiracy to protest and alter government policies through the use of violence against government property. Yet this former Harvard University student activist's initial political involvement in radical left activism seemed to be triggered by the same 60s historical situation which sparked the involvement of many white radical left activists who didn't end up in prison for such a long period.

In her interview, Whitehorn recalls that she was inspired by the emergence of the Black Panther Party in the late 60s and her "participating in confrontation with the Chicago police department" in situations like the 1968 Democratic Convention. And "when the Chicago cops and FBI assassinated Fred Hampton on December 4, 1969," it made it clear to Whitehorn what she "had already accepted: that the fight of Black people would have to involve armed struggle." Whitehorn's conclusion "that armed struggle as well as mass struggle would be needed" was a strategic point of view shared by a significant proportion of hard-core white New Left/Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) activists, as well as by many African-American radicals/Black Panther Party activists, of that era.

Like a significant number of hard-core anti-war activists of that Vietnam War era, Whitehorn also came to feel "that armed struggle could be a way to speed up the victory" of the Vietnamese people over an immoral U.S. military machine; and thus "lessen a nation's suffering" at the hands of the Pentagon's military machine. Motivated by this political and moral perspective, Whitehorn first "took part in mass confrontation, in attacks on military think tanks and in building takeovers at big univeristies" and "later took part in armed action against targets like the NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the Israeli Aircraft Industries and the U.S. War College and Capitol Building." In Whitehorn's view, her "desire to wage armed struggle against all aspects of this oppressive society" was also "fueled" by "her desire, as a woman and a lesbian…to fight against sexism and homophobia."

In her interview, Whitehorn also speculates on why some 60s revolutionaries might have ended-up retreating from their 60s militancy. Yet, as for herself, --despite all her years of imprisonment-- Whitehorn doesn't think that "armed struggle is ever an irrelevant form" and still maintains that her personal involvement in "bombing the U.S. Capitol and other political and military buildings after the invasion of Grenada (and while the U.S. was waging a counterrevolution in Central America) was fine and correct."

Still serving her 80-year sentence in the Pleasanton Federal prison for “conspiring” to free former Black Panther activist Assata Shakur and to protest and alter government policies “through the use of violence” and to raise funds for Black liberation organizations through robbing banks, Marilyn Buck jointly responds with Whitehorn in Enemies Of The State to a number of questions. Buck and Whitehorn's frank response to the question of what their political achievements and political mistakes were is a major reason why the pamphlet should be of interest to 21st century Movement activists.

The second interview contained in Enemies Of The State pamphlet is with a person who is no stranger to 1960's Movement activists who were involved in the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt. A founding member of Columbia University Students for A Democratic Society, David Gilbert is serving a 75-year-to-life sentence in Clinton State prison in Dannemora, New York on charges of participating as an anti-racist ally of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) in the 1981 Brink's robbery and shoot-out. But Gilbert states in his interview that although he hates being in prison, "the 17 [now 26 years] in prison have only deepend my awareness of the totally antihuman nature of the social system," and that "in terms of the basic principle and the broad commitment to the struggle, I have no regret," aside from not fighting imperialism more effectively.

In his interview, Gilbert defines what he means by the term "imperialism," recalls how he personally became politically aware and active in 1960's Movement politics, and explains why "after 7 years of activism and analysis" he "reluctantly concluded that there wasn't a chance against the forces of repression without developing a capacity for armed struggle." But Gilbert now expresses "regret that we weren't capable of expressing publicly a feeling of loss and pain for the families of the two officers and the guard who were killed" prior to his October 20, 1981 arrest. "Even in a battle for a just cause, we can't lose our feeling for the human element," says Gilbert.

Gilbert also recalls the historical conditions that led him to help build the Weather Underground Organization of the late 60s/early 70s, but now asserts that "armed struggle is not the primary question now: building a strong anti-imperialist Movement is."

Like Whitehorn and Buck, Gilbert frankly discusses both achievements and the errors of the political tendency with which he was involved. While asserting that the Weather Underground pierced "the myth of government invincibility by carrying out more than 20 bombings of government and corporate buildings without so much as injuring a single civilian" during the 70s Vietnam War Era, Gilbert also argues that the anti-imperialist white radical group of which he was a part still sometimes made political errors. Some of these political errors, in Gilbert's view, reflected both unconscious racist and militarist tendencies and unconscious ego problems.

Gilbert also provides readers with an intellectually sophisticated political analysis of how the world political situation has changed since 1979. He asserts that the current political challenge for Movement people is "to find ways to connect the range of different oppressions, against our common enemy, imperialism, and to find ways to synthesize grassroots activism with a global consciousness and solidarity."

In the final interview of Enemies Of The State, Marilyn Buck passionately asserts that "the enemy of humanity is not invincible," but warns of "a much more brutal fascist regime on the near horizon." She also recalls how she became politically aware and then politically active in the 60s and criticizes "too many, even in our political movement" who "would prefer to relegate us to museum pieces, objects of campaigns perhaps, but not political subjects and comrades in an ongoing political struggle against imperialism, oppression, and exploitation." To her political supporters outside of prison, Buck says: "Don't lock us into roles as objects or symbols."

Enemies Of The State also includes a glossary of terms which explain some of the political references made by Whitehorn, Gilbert and Buck, that may not be familiar to a new generation of U.S. Movement activists.

In Ireland, Palestine/Israel and Germany the political activists who were sentenced for political activities which resembled somewhat the political actions Whitehorn, Gilbert and Buck were jailed for in the 1980s have, in large number, been released from prison. The release of Whitehorn and 11 of the FALN/Puerto Rican nationalist political prisoners hopefully is an indication that the U.S. government will also finally release its remaining political prisoners.

Enemies Of The State provides a strong case for now releasing Gilbert and Buck from prison. They are imprisoned politically motivated activists who received excessive sentences because of their radical left/anti-imperialist political beliefs. They are not "terrorists" and they never were "terrorists."" Read Enemies Of The State and judge for yourself.

Next: Marilyn Buck protest folk song lyrics

Saturday, September 22, 2007

`Old John Brown'

Old John Brown was a white man who lived long ago
And all the slave-owners called John Brown a foe
He went to Harper’s Ferry and there he took his stand
And word of his great deed did spread across the land.

And Jesus was a peasant who worked in the fields
And he sided with the poor and performed miracles
The powerful rich men, they ordered him dead
But words of his preachings did spread across the land.

Now Old John Brown he read from the Bible each day
And he acted according to what Jesus said
They hung him for working to set free some slaves
The law found him guilty and John Brown they killed.

Now all of the leaders of this brutal land
Are trying to make like they are righteous men
But people in bondage I know you can see
The folks who are righteous are as red as me.

So let’s push the process as fast as we can
And open the prisons and confront the wicked men
We’ll put them in hospitals, if they don’t resist
But if they attack us, we’ll use self-defense.

To listen to the Old John Brown biographical protest folk song, click on the following music site link:

The Old John Brown protest folk song was written in the Spring of 1971, when I was living in a slum apartment in the Bronx, near Belmont Avenue (where Dion and the Belmonts used to hang out). Later in the 1970s, the now-deceased Hollywood screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for the classic Salt of the Earth movie, Michael Wilson, wrote a screenplay adaptation of Truman Nelson’s 1973 book, The Old Man: John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, which Wilson titled Raid On Harper’s Ferry. Unfortunately, none of the Democratic Party-oriented Hollywood liberals who often help determine which screenplays get produced and distributed by Hollywood were apparently eager to bring the Raid On Harper’s Ferry movie to the screen. In the early part of the 21st-century, however, I found a copy of Wilson’s great script for Raid On Harper’s Ferry among the now-deceased Truman Nelson’s papers; and I spent a day reading through the screenplay for what would be an exciting, emotionally moving and inspiring movie, if it could ever get produced.

Next Posting On 9/26/07: Review of Enemies Of The State: Interviews with Marilyn Buck, David Gilbert and Laura Whitehorn pamphlet

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Israeli Government Lobby's Media Connections

As The Power Peddlers: How Lobbyists Mold America’s Foreign Policy by Russell Howe and Sarah Trott noted in 1977, “today, the Israeli Air Force can bomb a more or less defenseless Lebanon in search of Palestinian guerrilla camps, immolating hapless civilians in its passage, with nary a word being said about the provisions of the Foreign Military Sales Act…” One reason for the Israeli government’s ability to apparently violate the provisions of the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales Act without getting its military aid cut-off by the U.S. government may be because its lobbying organizations in the U.S. have ties to the Big Media and also spend a lot of money on spreading propaganda in the U.S. As The Power Peddlers revealed:

“The 1963 Fulbright hearings into foreign lobbies probed the activities of the Jewish Agency, the United Israel Appeal, the United Jewish Appeal, the American Zionist Council [AZC] and AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. The AZC’s report for the previous year noted that it had supplied free lecturers and articles and sent `journalists and others’ on junkets to Israel. The report, without naming names, said its magazine committee was `chaired by a man who holds a key position on the editorial level in the magazine business. He knows everyone in the trade, has important contacts, and exploits them on behalf of Israel.’ The magazine committee was responsible for `the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America’s leading magazines.’ The TV-radio committee had been `fortunate in securing the services of the director of creative projects of an important TV chain.’ This would `expand the influence’ of the American Zionist Council on television…

“Gottlieb Hammer and Isidor Hamlin of the Jewish Agency testified that they had spent over $5 million between 1957 and 1962 on propaganda in the United States…In a 1974 article, Senator Abourezk accused the World Zionist Organization—an Israeli Government front—of spending `$5 million a year’ on “propaganda in the United States.’”

(Downtown 9/1/93)

Next: Old John Brown lyrics

Thursday, September 20, 2007

25th Anniversary of Beirut Bombing and Massacre

Twenty-five years ago, on June 4, 1982, the now-deceased “Nobel Peace Prize” winner—Menachem Begin—ordered Israeli jets to start bombing Beirut. Two days later, Begin ordered 60,000 Israeli troops and 500 Israeli tanks to invade Lebanon. By invading Lebanon 25 years ago, “Israel broke a ceasefire along its 63-mile Lebanese border that had been in effect since July 1981,” according to former Israeli intelligence agency employee Victor Ostrovsky’s book, By Way Of Deception. The same book also noted that “months before the Israeli invasion of Lebanon,” the now-deceased PLO leader Yasir Arafat had “ordered a halt to the bombardment of Israeli villages.” But, according to By Way Of Deception, “Israel used” the attempted assassination in London of Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Shlomo Argove, “as an excuse to launch a full-scale war” and the Israeli government falsely blamed the shooting of Argove on PLO leader Arafat “even though he had nothing to do with it.”

As a result of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the bombing of Beirut, thousands of Arab civilians were killed in Lebanon during the next few years and 462 Israeli soldiers and 241 U.S. Marines were also killed in Lebanon. Around 3 ½ months after the beginning of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, a massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila was carried out by the Israeli military’s Lebanese allies.

The leader of the Lebanese right-wing force that slaughtered Palestinian civilians in the Shatila refugee camp, Elias Hobeika, was apparently connected to the Israeli intelligence apparatus; and the Israeli military passively watched the slaughter as it took place. According to By Way Of Deception, on Sept. 16, 1982:

“Israeli Major General Amir Drori, head of the Northern Command and several other top Israeli officers had guests at their command post: Lebanese Forces Chief of Staff Fady Frem, and their infamous intelligence chief, Elias Hobeika…For the Mossad [Israeli] intelligence agency…Hobeika had been an important contact. He had attended the Staff and Command College in Israel. He was the main leader of the force that went into the refugee camp and slaughtered the civilians…

“At 5 p.m. on September 16 [1982], Hobeika assembled his forces at Beirut International Airport and moved into the Shatila camp, with the help of flares and, later, tank and mortar fire from the Israeli Defense Force [IDF]…

“The next day, Hobeika received Israeli permission to bring two additional battalions into the camps. Israel knew the massacre was taking place. Israeli forces had even set up observation posts on top of several seven-story buildings at the Kuwaiti embassy traffic circle, giving them an unobstructed view of the carnage.”

(Downtown 6/10/92)

With regard to the Israeli government’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Israel in Lebanon stated the following:

“The Commission, having considered the evidence and the relevant rules of law, concludes:

“1. The Government of Israel has committed acts of aggression contrary to international law.

“2. The Israeli armed forces have made use of weapons or methods of warfare forbidden by international law, including the laws of war;

“3. Palestinian, Lebanese and prisoners of other nationalities have been subjected to treatment forbidden by international law, including inhuman and degrading treatment…

“4. There has been deliberate or indiscriminate or reckless bombardment of a civilian character, of hospitals, schools and other nonmilitary targets…

“5. There has been systematic bombardment and other destruction of towns, cities, villages and refugee camps.

“6. The acts of the Israeli armed forces have caused the dispersal, deportation and ill-treatment of populations, in violation of international law.

“7. The Government of Israel has no valid reasons under international law for its invasion of Lebanon, for the manner in which it conducted hostilities or for its actions as an occupying force.

“8. Israeli authorities or forces were involved, directly or indirectly, in the massacres and other killings that have been reported to have been carried out by Lebanese militiamen in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in Beirut area between 16 and 18 September

A possible motive for the Israeli government’s “ethnic cleansing” activity in Lebanon was also indicated in the 1983 Israel In Lebanon report:

“The Commission received evidence that Israel harbored certain territorial aspirations towards Lebanon, the most significant of which may have been its intention to obtain access or possibly control over the waters of the Litani River, the major sweet water source in Lebanon. The commission’s attention was drawn to Israel’s urgent need for access to water as its needs cannot be met even after appropriating the water resources of the Occupied Territories…

“Israel, since 1978, has in effect established a `security zone’ in South Lebanon…”

(Downtown 9/1/93)

Next: The Israeli Government Lobby’s Media Connections

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More People Imprisoned Under Clintons Than Under Reagan

Both 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill, claim to be against institutional racism. Yet during the Clintons’ first two terms in the White House, the number of African-Americans who were locked up in U.S. prisons increased dramatically. As Ralph Nader observed in a March 15, 2001 column, titled “The `Tough On Crime’ Party,” which was reprinted in Nader’s 2004 book, In Pursuit of Justice:

“…A report issued by the Justice Policy Institute finds it’s not the Republicans but the Democrats’ recently departed President Clinton who has title to what the Institute labels as the `most punitive platform on crime’ in the last two decades.

“Noting that President Clinton consistently supported increased penalties and additional prison construction, the report said that 225,000 more prison inmates were added during Clinton’s eight years than were added under President Reagan’s watch. And President Clinton also topped President George Bush [I]’s incarceration score, adding 34,000 more during his first term (1992-1996) than were added to the prison population in the four years of Bush [I]’s single term (1988-1992).

“…By the end of the Clinton administration, there were two million people in jails and prisons in the United States and 4.5 million others on probation and parole…

“African-Americans, in particular, have felt the effects of the `tough on crime’ politics of both major political parties. Between 1980 and 1999, the incarceration rate for African-Americans more than tripled from 1,156 per 100,000 to 3,620 per 100,000.”

Nader also noted that Hillary’s husband signed a law in 1994, for instance, which rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation that African-Americans who distribute 5 grams of crack cocaine not be sentenced to longer prison sentences than white people who distribute 450 grams of powdered cocaine:

“Some of the growing prison population of African-Americans is the result of tougher sentencing laws enacted in 1986 and 1988, which made the punishment for distributing crack cocaine one hundred times greater than the punishment for powdered cocaine…A person convicted in federal court for distributing 5 grams of crack cocaine receives a mandatory 5-year minimum sentence while it takes 500 grams of powdered cocaine to trigger a 5-year mandatory sentence.

“In 1994, the U.S. Sentencing Commission…recommended that the sentencing be equalized so that the mandatory sentence would be triggered by the same amount of cocaine…in powdered…form. But Congress voted to reject the commission’s recommendation and President Clinton signed the rejection into law…”

Next: 25th Anniversary of Beirut Bombing and Massacre

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 5

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

After the rally moderator noted that women from the Women’s Action Coalition “played a strong role in organizing” the protest, the demonstrators began to march down Milwaukee Avenue towards the 1996 Democratic National Convention, chanting “No Justice! No Peace! No Racist Police!” At Wilcott and Lake Streets at around 7:45 p.m., a line of police, some on foot and some on horses, blocked the protest from marching any further. For a few moments, the crowd was shoved by the police on horses, about a quarter-mile from the convention hall. Then another van of police containing 10 cops drove up to reinforce the Chicago police blockade of the crowd.

For awhile, the protesters chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” But, when it began to get dark, the number of the demonstrators confronting the police blockade began to decrease. And the Chicago cops seemed to be waiting until only a few of the demonstrators were around to arrest Dellinger and a few others who were engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience on the street. So Dellinger and the other folks who had planned to get arrested on Tuesday night decided to end their sit-in prior to being arrested. The next day, however, Dellinger and his comrades were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience at Chicago’s Federal Building.

Foreign journalists apparently have an easier time in gaining access to U.S. politicians like the Clintons than do U.S. political dissidents. At the Heartland CafĂ© in the Rogers Park section of Chicago’s North Side on Wednesday, Aug. 28 [1996], Downtown/Aquarian asked the Washington bureau chief of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Yoichi Funabishi, whether foreign journalists have an easy time gaining access to the White House?

“I think that the White House, in terms of accessibility, provides the best service for the foreign correspondent,” said Funabishi.

Asked by Downtown/Aquarian whether Japanese political parties have the kind of security perimeter the Democrats set up in Chicago when they have conventions in Japan, the Tokyo newspaper’s correspondent replied:

“Well, actually, the conventions for the political parties in Japan is not a big thing and not as exciting as the Republicans and the Democrats’ conventions here. There are not so many political reporters coming there at all. I cannot think of any of my friends, foreign correspondents, ever covering Japanese political party conventions.

“Japanese party political conventions are choreographed, scripted, for the sake of unity, for control. So it’s not news. Here there is more interest in the protest, in the platform planks, and so forth. Because that’s where the drama is all about. When it comes to the policy-making.”

Downtown/Aquarian then asked Funabishi why most people in the United States don’t generally realize that one of the major political parties in Japan is more pacifist than the Democratic Party?

“Well, I think the Cold War being here with us for more than 40 years. And all types of relations were a hostage to the nuclear shadow game. So there was a strong, I think, political gag on the exposure of the actual suffering the nuclear bomb caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it’s still there. For instance, take the example of the cancellation of the exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution [in 1995], which was decided after the objections of the right-wing.

“So the administration still is constrained and prevented from revealing the true picture of that suffering and the ordeal caused by the nuclear bomb to the public. Because there is a fear among the Establishment-type of people, particularly the military establishment. They’re afraid that exposure of the suffering caused by the nuclear bomb would lead the public to more strongly demand the demilitarization of nuclear weapons and nuclear systems. That’s my interpretation.”

Coincidentally, questioning the Clintons’ failure to demilitarize nuclear weapons and dramatically cut the Pentagon’s defense budget during their first White House term was impossible, under the system of “Democratic Fascism” which was practiced to block protest marches in Chicago during the Clintons’ 1996 Democratic National Convention.
(end of article)

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: More People Imprisoned Under Clintons Than Under Reagan

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 4

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

Near the end of the Wicker Park rally, the former New York City Panther Trial 21 Defendant Dhoruba Bin-Wahad—who was later wrongfully imprisoned on a trumped-up charge for 19 years in Upstate New York—argued that we now live under a system of “Democratic Fascism” in the United States:

“Power To The People! Power To The People!

“This is Chicago 1996. And everyone is acting like they’re totally intimidated. And the reason why people are acting like they’re intimidated today is because in the United States we have a new form of democracy. Let’s say we have a new form of direct democracy. And that form of direct democracy is called: `Democratic Fascism.’

“It’s called Democratic Fascism because it’s aligning the Corporate Interest to the Racist State. And the Racist State carries out the policies of the Corporations and the Rich White Males who control this society.

“These policies are translated into a vehement hatred of the poor, a criminalization and degradation of people of color, and an increased hysteria perpetrated by law enforcement agencies against drugs.

“Now we know in the African community in the United States that drugs is a problem. But we also know that, as reported just recently [in 1996] in the newspapers on the West Coast, that the U.S. government has always been heavily into importing drugs into the African community in the United States. They did this during the Vietnam War in order to cool Black people out. In order to divert the militancy of organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the Republic of New Afrika and SNCC.

“In those days in the African communities there was an increased awareness, an increased heightened consciousness of racism, of institutionalized racism and sexism. Lest we forget, African people have always led the greatest human rights struggle for civil rights in this country. It was the civil rights movement of Black people’s struggle for liberation that emancipated women, that led to the freedom of gays to stand up, and speak out, and come out. It was the struggle of Black people in the street from Selma to Chicago that galvanized and made the peace movement militant.

“Don’t let CNN re-write our history!

“Don’t let Channel 4 re-write our history!

“Fred Hampton was murdered in Chicago. By an administration headed by the father of the current mayor. Let’s not be blind to our history.

“The city of Chicago worked hand-in-hand with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its Counter-Intelligence Program to destroy the Black Panther Party in this city. And what did we have in the wake of this destruction? We had people come forward to mislead the African community. Or had people come forward who ignore the repression that was visited on the African community by the police departments of the United States.

“All throughout this country, as I speak, a war on drugs is ravaging the African community. It’s not a `war on drugs.’ It’s a war on us.

“The street that these cops patrol in our community—harassing young Black males, locking them up, running them through the criminal justice system, creating a military state and jail cells by 30 billion dollars—is a crying shame. But it’s part and parcel of a new form of democracy: `Democratic Fascism.’

“I said `Democratic Fascism.’ Where you get to vote, but you can’t vote for anybody. Where you get to hoop and holler at the Republican or Democratic Convention, and then you got to go on to business as usual.

“You know Dole is attacking Clinton because he says `the war on drugs is not successful’ and Clinton is ‘soft on drugs.’ But Dole and the Republican Party know full well that 100,000 new cops in the street is not going to translate into safety for African people in their communities. When these cops are racist, when these cops don’t live in their community, when these cops don’t take care of business in our community.

“What we need is a National African Defense Network. We need to defend ourselves on every level in the Black community. What we need is decentralization…of police departments. What we need is community control of the police. And I’ll tell you how to get community control of the police: by using the ballot. By putting it on a referendum in every major city in this country. Community control and civilian control of the police department. And watch how quickly these cops turn rabbit on you. Because they don’t want to be accountable to the community. They don’t want to live in the community. They want to be outside the community and be the biggest gangs on the streets of Chicago, New York or L.A.

“The message that I’m trying to bring to you today is to understand that the `war on drugs’ is a war on us. And is an excuse to remove all the civil and legal rights of every citizen in the United States. And tomorrow, when you wake up, the cops will be kicking in your door and jackboot you upside the head. The way they did to us 25 years ago.

“The issue of political prisoners…is very important. The use of the death penalty in a racist and calculating fashion is very important…

“But the murder of Black people, and especially now, the impending murder of Mumia Abu-Jamal, is something that we have to understand in the context of `Democratic Fascism.’ I said understand the context in which Mumia is going to be put to death if the State has its way. It’s the context of `Democratic Fascism.’

“The political prisoners are in prison because of the courts in this country. And we have to understand that we must mobilize not only today. But tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

“Power To the People! Power To The People! Free Mumia! Down With The Death Penalty! Death To The Death Penalty! Free All Political Prisoners!”
(end of part 4)

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: The Clintons’ 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited—Part 5

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 3

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

The woman activist who played a major role organizing the demonstration and who acted as the rally moderator later introduced [the now-deceased] former Chicago 8 Conspiracy Trial defendant Dave Dellinger and Dellinger’s grandson. After Dellinger’s grandson sang a song he had written while accompanying himself on a guitar, Dellinger spoke:

“Now I think that we should all understand that the organizers, all the various groups on the Not On The Guest List! Coalition, do not want a riot or expect a riot here today. Now before I say a few words about Leonard Peltier, I want to say—well, the Black Panthers used to say: all prisoners are political prisoners.

“The United States, you know, supported Hitler until the very last minute. And I actually went to Nazi Germany as an anti-Nazi and actually carried messages for the anti-Nazi movement. But, anyway, I didn’t register for the draft. And at that point, when I did three years in federal prison, they concluded `he’s yellow.’ So they always put me in with the most violent criminals, at least at the beginning. And like one time, I remember, I was in with 13 people in a cell for two people, where every one of them had committed murder.

“But what I found out was—if you treated each one of them with love and understanding, and tried to help them to believe in themselves—that there was a potential Buddha within them…

“Well, anyway, I want to say one other thing…We heard the name Geronimo today. Now there is another Geronimo, originally Geronimo Pratt…

“There was an FBI agent who resigned many years ago now, in protest over what the FBI was doing. And he came to me through the services of Charley Garry, the lawyer for the Black Panther Party. And we talked. And I wrote an article and included words in a magazine that I was editing at the time. And he told me then that he received death threats. And so did I.

“Well, he spoke at the University of Vermont this Spring. And he recounted one of the stories that I had known. And that was that Geronimo was the leader of one faction in the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles. And, as often happens, there were some rivals also who wanted to be leaders in the Black Panther Party.

“And one day, when Geronimo was in San Francisco for three days, somebody connected with the FBI killed his rivals. And then he was tried and railroaded. And he’s been in, if I remember correctly, 23 years now. [In the late 1990s, Geronimo Pratt was finally released from prison].

“And as this ex-FBI agent said to the University of Vermont people: `We knew that he couldn’t possibly have done it. Not just because one of our own people was implicated. But also because he was away for three days—the day before, the day of the murder, and the day after.’

“Now about Leonard Peltier. I think that Vernon [Bellecourt] has said enough about the case so I think I’m not going to talk about that: the injustice of it and the lies and so forth. But I’m going to say that, maybe by now at least 18 months ago, I decided, working with Ron McBride of the Peltier Defense Committee, that we would get together the kind of people that the White House would consider prestigious. And ask for an interview to discuss the case.

“And I’m sure I’m not going to remember them all. But we got Pete Seeger and Dick Clark and, if I remember correctly, Martin Sheen and Grace Paley and Buffy St. Marie and Gandhi’s grandson…and various others of that type. And then we wrote, made the formal applications…

“It took awhile. And then we got the answer. The answer was that…Clinton or nobody else in the White House—we mentioned his legal counsel, we mentioned Hillary, we mentioned Janet Reno—would discuss the case until the Justice Department has made its ruling on what the case deserves.

“And already it had been more than two years since the Appeals Court…demanded that the Justice Department make a ruling or an investigation and come up with some conclusions. So I decided than, and got together with a few other people, and we organized the Campaign For Non-Violent Civil Disobedience To Free Leonard Peltier.

“On March 20 [1996], there were nonviolent protests in three places in the country. I happened to be one of the ones who were arrested in Washington, D.C. for blocking the Justice Department door. And I wish that was the form of civil disobedience that we were doing here. That it would be clear that it was the federal government and the Justice Department and the FBI. But circumstances are such that it will be some other form of civil disobedience which will probably give the message.

“Now before I read a poem by Leonard Peltier. Well, maybe I’ll say this before I do it…

“But I will say that Gandhi once said `that if you are concerned with acting violently, then you must be trained in the art of killing.’ And then he said: `But if you plan to act nonviolently, then you should deal with the art of dying for the cause.’

“I thought of that because I was thinking about Martin Luther King. And there were references to him today. And I know, from working with him, in the very last six to eight months of his life he became an over-all radical in the way he had never been before…

“Black people like SNCC were way ahead of him in coming out against the Vietnam War. But when he did, then there was the death threat. And I want to quote this from the last few months of his life…And after you hear this, if you think that some single white anti-Black person in the South was the one who killed him, then you’ll understand, if you read this, that wasn’t it. And there’s a lot of other evidence I won’t go into, that the government, itself, was involved.

“So here are the statements by King. I’ve got to put on my glasses. Now that I’m over 40, I have to do that.

“`For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconversion of the entire society, a revolution of values. We can’t have a system where some people live in superfluous, inordinate wealth, while others live in abject, deadening poverty. From now on, our movement must take on basic class issues between the privileged and the underprivileged.’

And then one final sentence: `The evils of capitalism’—what they now call the `free market’--`The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.’…” (end of part 3)

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: The Clintons’ 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited—Part 4

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 2

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

Grant Park is somewhat isolated from Downtown Chicago’s commercial district, but is still within walking distance of the streets that are filled with office workers during commuting hours and lunchtime. The site of the 1996 Democratic National Convention, the United Center, however, is not within walking distance of Downtown Chicago. It’s usually used as the basketball arena where the Chicago Bulls play before fans who drive in from the suburbs, and park their cars in the huge parking lot that surrounds the Center. During Convention Week, the parking lot, as well as the streets surrounding the Center, was part of a fenced-in security zone; and Chicago cops prevented pedestrians and local residents from walking closer than a third of a mile from the bussed-in Dem delegates and media people.

At Wicker Park, a few miles north of the convention hall, around 4,000 Not On The Guest List! Coalition demonstrators gathered for a late afternoon rally. Chicago cops on horses and foot watched from a street near the park, but only a few media people were there to report on what the speakers said. One of the speakers was a Puerto Rican nationalist activist:

“There are people today, political prisoners and P.O.W.s, who are in prison. Many for more than 25 years. Many from the Black Liberation struggle. Many anti-imperialists. Many from the Native American struggle…

“If you look at U.S. prisons and jails…You can look at the fact that there are 1.5 million people in prison and jails [in 1996]. And 70 percent of them are people of color. And then, on the other side, you can see that there are about 1.5 million people in higher education and 80 percent happen to be white. There’s something wrong in that set-up also.

“So when you look at the fact that we have Puerto Rican political prisoners. And we have 15 of them who have been in prison for more than 16 years already. For the `crime’ of wanting to put an end to one of the most heinous crimes against humanity: colonialism and racism. Because the two go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.

"And so today, we have gathered here to not only tell people that we demand justice for everyone and that there can be no peace without justice. At the same time there are very particular elements of justice and that includes, obviously, an end to colonialism. An end to racism. And that is why all of us here must demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. And, in particular, on behalf, obviously, of the Puerto Rican political prisoners and P.O.W.s…”

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: The Clintons’ 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited—Part 3

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 1

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

“I think Bob Dole and Bill Clinton both stink. I think they both don’t give a damn about AIDS. And I think the reality that we are told, vote for the lesser of two evils, is unacceptable,” the ACT-UP New York Prison Caucus Chairperson said. The ACT-UP spokesperson, David, was talking to a pack of media people around noon on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1996, on the sidewalk in front of the press center that the Dems had set-up in Chicago’s Loop.

“There are many of us out here who have 10, 12, 15 T-cells left. And we cannot negotiate with these animals who have decided that we don’t have a strong enough caucus. We don’t have a strong enough voice. And we haven’t been recognized as having to deal with the epidemic in our daily lives.

“This is not cancer. This is not heart disease. This is a pandemic. Zaire is almost gone from it. There are other countries which have been wiped out. And it’s going to start here.

“Brooklyn has more people with AIDS in it. By year 2010 it will have more than people in it who don’t have AIDS. This is a pandemic and it is being created by social conditions. Clinton is deadlier than the virus at this point.”

Downtown/Aquarian asked David how he’d respond to those who say, like Barney Frank, that “Clinton is the lesser evil?”

“That’s bullshit! So let’s have Hitler instead of Mussolini? That’s a total bullshit response,” answered the ACT-UP New York spokesperson. “Anybody who comes out and says that, that `Clinton has done well with people with AIDS,’ is a liar or ignorant. Anybody who says that we should take Dole over Clinton is not recognizing that he’s killing us just as well. He just signed the worst Republican welfare cut in the history of this country! We don’t want Dole. We don’t want Clinton. I personally need to see a revolution come now. And that’s what it takes.”

On the sidewalk behind David, about 20 ACT-UP demonstrators held signs and were chanting “Welfare Reform Equals Death! Hillary Is A Fraud!” and “Clinton Equals Dole! Fight Back! Fight AIDS!" According to the ACT-UP New York Prison Caucus Chairperson:

“Clinton made 66 promises in 1992 to reform the AIDS crisis and try to bring substantial change to keep people with AIDS alive. He has kept none of those promises. His own presidential AIDS Advisory Council has condemned him over and over again for taking no stance on the drug industry’s enormous profiteering off AIDS. He has done nothing, by executive action, to bring about clean needle exchange, which saves the lives of millions of people. He has done nothing to try to bring about actions right now that would save lives of people with AIDS, by bringing about immediate release of drugs that are sitting in the FDA without any type of testing going on.”

ACT-UP was out in Chicago “as a diverse, non-partisan coalition” that represented “angered action to end the AIDS crisis in order to bring about immediate action by the president, by his staff, to recognize that the AIDS crisis is still going on,” said David. He also warned “that more people will die from AIDS in the next four years” if Clinton waits to take the proposed actions “than died in World War II, Korea and the Vietnam War.”

A uniformed security guard interrupted ACT-UP’s impromptu sidewalk press conference by ordering the press to “clear the sidewalk” in front of the Democratic Party's press center. Prior to ACT-UP’s picket, a homeless African-American man could be seen sitting on a ledge at the corner of Downtown Chicago’s Wells Street. A handful of homeless African-Americans were also later observed sitting in Grant Park, at the same time about 30 counter-cultural folks were hanging out around the park bandshell, early in the afternoon. One of the young women hanging out was standing and doing some stretching exercises under the hot sun. (end of part 1)

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: The Clintons’ 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited—Part 2

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Torture In The Holy Land?

Amnesty International charged the Israeli government in the 1990s with torturing its Palestinian political opponents. In its 1993 report, the London-based human rights organization stated the following:

“About 25,000 Palestinians were arrested in 1992 on security grounds, with more than 10,000 imprisoned at any one time. Most were serving sentences passed by military courts or were awaiting trial. Several hundred were administratively detained without charge or trial; over 500 of them were still held at the end of the year. There were Palestinian and Israeli prisoners of conscience, including conscientious objectors to military service. Palestinians under interrogation were systematically tortured or ill-treated. Four died in circumstances related to their treatment under interrogation. At least 120 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces, often in circumstances suggesting extrajudicial executions or other unjustifiable killings…”

According to Amnesty International, the methods of torture used by the Israeli government “mostly during interrogation,” included “beatings, hooding with dirty sacks, sleep deprivation, and confinement in small, dark cells known as `closets’ or, when cold, `refrigerators’” and “a police unit operating in the West Bank was said to have specialized in interrogating detainees at night with methods including severe beatings with wooden sticks and electric shocks.”

(Downtown 12/22/93)

The Israeli government was accused by Israeli human rights organizations of torturing some of the 400 Palestinian activists it locked up without trial in 1994, on charges of being members of the outlawed radical Hamas organization.

A 1992 Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights Report, Making Women Talk: The Interrogation of Palestinian Women Detainees by Teresa Thornhill, also described how the Israeli government’s General Security Services [GSS]—Shin Beth—apparently tortured Palestinian women during the early 1990s:

“Most interrogation work is carried out by the General Security Services [GSS], Israel’s internal intelligence agency…

“The GSS feel no taboo against using physical violence against Palestinian women…

“Male detainees are regularly subjected to most of the same forms of physical abuse as women. However, it is important to remember that, throughout her time in the hands of the GSS, the female detainee is made to feel sexually threatened. Many women detainees report having been threatened with rape…

“Women are routinely slapped, and kicked during interrogation sessions if they do not readily answer questions. Sometimes an interrogator will bang the woman’s head against the wall…”

The same report concluded that “the stories quoted in the report, although they represent the experiences of a relatively small number of women, suggest that the Israeli practice of torturing female security detainees is widespread” and observed that “the torture of male Palestinian detainees has been widely documented elsewhere by…Amnesty International…”

A Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, Mahmond al-Zahar, in 1994 told a New York Times correspondent: “Is there anyone in Gaza who does not realize that Israel still occupies 40 percent of the Gaza Strip with settlements and troops to protect the settlements [in 1994], that it controls our shorelines, that its surveillance planes patrol the skies, as you can see them now…and that we are locked up in here periodically under curfew [in 1994] whenever Israel feels like it?” (NY Times 12/3/94)

(Downtown 12/3/94)

Next: The Clintons’ 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited—Part 1

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

`Palestine Lives!'

Palestine lives
Palestine will not die
You can pretend it no longer exists
But Palestine will always survive.

There’s a people scattered
By a heavily-financed foe
There’s a nation which was shattered
By an army backed by gold
There’s a people now resisting
The years of forced exile
There’s a people who cry out:
That Palestine is still alive.

There’s a people with a cause
Which missiles cannot defeat
There’s a nation which was wronged
By oppressors who self-righteously preach
There’s a people now fighting
Experts in international crime
There’s a people who shout out:
That Palestine is still alive.

There’s a people with a vision
Of a new society
There’s a nation with a dream
Of a land in which all people will be free
There’s a people now defying
The Western drive to colonize
There’s a people who cry out:
That Palestine is still alive.

There’s a people who fight on
From the ruins of Gaza and Beirut
There’s a nation which stands firm
Against tanks, cluster bombs and armed brutes
There’s a people, all alone,
Who resist those who seek genocide
There’s a people who, with blood, say:
That Palestine is still alive.

Palestine Lives! was written during the 1970s when the Israeli establishment was then unwilling to even sit down at the negotiating table with the representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] that was recognized as a legitimate political organization by most members of the United Nations. But the folks who control the U.S. media conglomerates still don’t appear very eager to provide much airplay for U.S. folk songs that support the right of all Palestinians to return to their homeland and exercise their democratic right of national self-determination.

Yet according to Jerusalem: Arab Origin and Heritage by M.A. Aamiry, “the period of uncontested Arab habitation and rule in and around Jerusalem and Palestine covers at least 800 years” and “In 1948, the population of Jerusalem was about 160,000, half of them Arabs, half Jews.” The same book also observed:

“After the war of June 1967, the Zionists proclaimed the annexation of Old Jerusalem to add to the sectors of the city which they had occupied from 1948. In spite of resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, Israel has persisted in its arbitrary measures and has lost no time in converting the city to its own purposes, bulldozing Arab houses, driving out their owners and rendering them homeless, expropriating Arab land and erecting tall new skyscrapers, `match-boxes six stories high,’ thus disfiguring the Holy City and destroying its unique character…”

The New York Times (11/18/94) also reported that “the Palestinians” in 1994 accused Israel of violating the 1993 peace agreement “by building blocks of new housing in East Jerusalem.”

(Downtown 12/7/94)

Amnesty International also observed in its 1990 Report:

“About 25,000 Palestinians…were arrested in connection with the Intifada (uprising) in the Occupied Territories. Over 4,000 served periods in administrative detention without charge or trial…Thousands of Palestinians were beaten while in the hands of Israeli forces or were tortured or ill-treated in detention centres. At least eight were reported to have died as a result. Over 260 unarmed Palestinian civilians—including children—were shot dead by Israeli forces, often in circumstances suggesting excessive use of force or deliberate killing. Others died in incidents where tear-gas was possibly deliberately misused…”

Despite its policy of continuing to violate human rights in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, the Israeli Establishment still got “$3 billion a year in aid” in 1996 during the Clintons’ first White House term because “no American Administration wants to pick a fight with Israel during an election year,” according to the New York Times (9/28/96).

(Downtown/Aquarian 10/9/96)

Next: Torture In The Holy Land?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Columbia University-Linked Kresge Foundation Owned $2 Million Worth of Halliburton Stock In 2005

Most U.S. anti-war activists don’t think it was moral for U.S. corporations like Halliburton (whose CEO during the 1990’s was U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney) to make windfall profits following the Bush Administration’s military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq after October 2001. Yet as the site notes:

“Halliburton saw its revenues increase 30 percent to $16 billion in 2003, largely because of its military contracts in the Middle East. Halliburton was the number one U.S. Army contractor in 2003 with the total value of its Army contracts valued at $3,731,725,648. Dan Briody, in his book The Halliburton Agenda, described Halliburton’s relationship with Cheney as `the embodiment of the Iron Triangle, the nexus of the government, military, and big business that President Eisenhower warned America about in his farewell speech.”

Most U.S. anti-war activists also don’t think it’s moral for a university president to also sit on the board of a foundation that invests in Halliburton. Yet in 2005 Columbia University President Lee Bollinger ( ) was paid $48,000 to sit on the board of trustees of a foundation, the Kresge Foundation, which owned 32,500 shares of Halliburton stock, worth over $2 million, according to the Kresge Foundation’s Form 990-PF financial filing for 2005.

The total value of the Columbia University-linked Kresge Foundation’s marketable securities on Dec. 31, 2005 exceeded $1.4 billion, including $802 million in hedge fund investments and $191 million in oil and gas corporation investments. The Kresge Foundation also owned over $4.6 million (99,100 shares) worth of Wal-Mart Stores stock and over $2.7 million (68,500 shares) worth of Coca-Cola Company stock in 2005. That same year, the tax-exempt Kresge Foundation also gave a $500,000 grant to the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and a grant of $1.5 million to the University of Michigan, for UM’s renovation and expansion of Alumni Memorial Hall.

Coincidentally, Kresge Foundation board member Bollinger used to be the president of the University of Michigan before he relocated to Low Library to become Columbia University’s current president.

Next: Palestine Lives! protest folk song lyrics

Monday, September 10, 2007

Columbia University-Linked Kresge Foundation Gave $750,000 Grant To Columbia-Linked International House

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger ( ) was paid $48,000 in 2005 by the tax-exempt Michigan-based Kresge Foundation just for sitting on that foundation’s board of trustees, according to the Kresge Foundation’s Form 990-PF financial disclosure form for 2005. And Columbia University Deputy Vice President for Development Frederick Van Sickle and Columbia University Business School’s Jerome A. Chazan Institute of International Business Senior Research Scholar Mary Wadsworth Darby also sit on the board of trustees of International House.

Coincidentally, in 2005 the Kresge Foundation gave a $750,000 grant to International House, which is located on Riverside Dr. and W.122nd St. (a few blocks from Columbia’s campus), to help subsidize the renovation of this residence for graduate students.

International House’s board of trustees also includes Fareed Zakaria of the Washington Post Company’s Newsweek International and Kresge Foundation Trustee Bollinger is also a member of the Washington Post Company board of directors. In addition, former Nixon Administration Secretary of State and Kissinger Associates influence-peddling firm head Henry Kissinger is also an honorary trustee of International House, while David Rockefeller is the honorary chairman of International House’s board of trustees.

The market value of the Columbia University-linked “non-profit” Kresge Foundation’s assets at the end of 2005 was about $3 billion; and between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005 the Kresge Foundation earned over $27.9 million in net dividends and interest from the marketable securities it owned. During this same period, the Kresge Foundation’s total revenues of $418 million exceeded the tax-exempt foundation’s total expenses of only $156.9 million by about $261 million.

The “non-profit” and tax-exempt Kresge Foundation also paid Kresge Foundation President and CEO John Marshall III an annual salary of $616,936 in 2005; and the Kresge Foundation’s chief investment officer, Edward Human, was paid an annual salary of $595,474 in 2005.

Next: Columbia University-linked Kresge Foundation Owned $2 million Worth of Halliburton Stock In 2005

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hillary Clinton's 1990's Telecommunications Investments

In July 1993 Joseph McNay’s Essex Investment Management Company “was selected by President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton to become the First Family’s personal money manager”—after a May 1993 consultation with 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Clinton at the White House in which McNay “talked with her about his investment philosophy,” according to the Boston Globe (8/31/93). Among Essex’s largest stock holdings at the time it began managing Hillary Clinton’s “blind trust” stock portfolio (then-worth only $1.2 million) were $66.6 million in Tele-Communications Inc. stock and $41.1 million in CBS stock, according to Pensions & Investments (9/6/93) magazine. Pensions & Investments also reported that Hillary Clinton’s personal money manager favored “telecommunications, cable and entertainment, reinsurance, natural gas, selected health care and biotechnology stocks;” and Essex also owned stock in a corporation that Hillary Clinton directed before moving into the White House during the Clintons’ first term there—Wal-Mart.

Coincidentally, the husband of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Clinton signed a telecommunications bill in 1996 which hurt cable-TV consumers, allowed CBS-Westinghouse to further monopolize their radio and TV broadcasting markets and increased the value of Tele-Communications Inc. stock.

Downtown/Aquarian asked the Clinton White House’s Office of Media Relations in 1996 how then-President Clinton responded to the charge that it was undemocratic for him to refuse to debate 1996 presidential candidate Ralph Nader on TV before the California primary.

“It’s a campaign decision,” a White House spokesperson replied, “which can only be answered by the Clinton-Gore campaign committee, not by the White House.”

Downtown/Aquarian then phoned the Clinton-Gore ’96 headquarters in Washington, D.C. to ask a campaign committee spokesperson for an official response to that charge that it was undemocratic for Clinton to refuse to debate Nader.

“Who’s making the charge?” a Clinton campaign spokesperson asked in return.

The Corporate Male’s Big Media has a history of attempting to rig U.S. presidential elections by denying news coverage to anti-establishment Third Party candidates like Nader. As The Other Candidates: Third Parties In Presidential Elections by Frank Smallwood concluded in 1983:

“The final major complaint of the third-party candidate involved the issue of the exposure—or more accurately, the lack of exposure—in the national media…Most were unable to obtain any significant coverage from the large television networks or national newspapers. According to the Rosenstone study, `in 1980 Reagan and Carter received about 10 times more coverage in leading newspapers and weekly magazines than did all the eleven third party…candidates combined. This disparity existed in network television news coverage as well.’…

“A review of the ballot access, the campaign finance, and the media issue reveals that the third-party…candidates face…institutional and procedural obstacles. During recent years these obstacles have increased in severity with…the erosion of equal-time access to broadcast media.

“Despite the homage that is paid in American politics to the concepts of free enterprise and free competition, the two major parties are intent on doing everything possible to kill off their third-party rivals…”

The official African-American unemployment rate under the Clinton Administration, incidentally, was 10.3 percent in February 1996, while the official Hispanic jobless rate was 9.7 percent in February 1996 under the Clintons.

(Downtown/Aquarian 3/30/96)

Next: Columbia University-Linked Kresge Foundation Gave $750,000 Grant To Columbia-Linked International House

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hillary Clinton and Arkansas's S&L Scandal Revisited Again

As 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential candidate Ralph Nader observed in his introduction to Who Robbed America? A Citizen’s Guide to the S&L Scandal by Michael Waldman, “the S&L scandal” was “the most outrageous example of banking corruption and governmental deregulatory complicity in American history;” and “a program designed to safeguard the savings of the middle class and poor was used to subsidize an unprecedented frenzy of speculation and business criminality.” Nader also noted in his 1990 introduction that “the country’s major national media ignored the real S&L story until it was too late” and ignored “the early alerts, reports, press conferences, and street demonstrations by consumer groups.”

In Arkansas, the Clintons’ Whitewater business partner headed the S&L scandal-linked Madison Guaranty bank and 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did legal work for Madison Guaranty in Arkansas while her husband, Bill Clinton, was Arkansas’s governor. Coincidentally, Investor’s Business Daily (1/26/96) noted that, according to The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery by Martin Mayer, “the fraction of Arkansas thrifts that came unglued is the highest in the country.” In addition to Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, the following other Arkansas banks were allowed to pursue speculative policies which led to them failing during the years when Hillary’s husband was the state’s governor: Commonwealth S&L Association; First American Savings Bank; First Federal S&L; First Savings of Arkansas; First State Savings Bank; Grand Prairie Federal; Independent Federal S&L; and Savers Saving Association.

(Downtown/Aquarian 3/20/96)

Next: Hillary Clinton’s 1990's Telecommunications Investments