Jeannette Armstrong - Indigenous Economics: A Syilx Perspective

Indigenous Economics: A Syilx Perspective. Jeannette Armstrong, Ph.D.IFG Teach-In: Techno-Utopianism & The Fate of the Earth
Great Hall of the Cooper Union, New York City
October 26, 2014

From the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus: “Both educator and protector, Jeannette Armstrong is a professor of Indigenous Studies and a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Philosophy. She is a spokesperson for indigenous peoples’ rights, award-winning writer and activist, novelist and poet and has always sought to change deeply biased misconceptions related to Aboriginal people. Armstrong feels passionately that the best way to accomplish this is as a professor of Indigenous Studies, where she gets to research, develop, educate and inform the minds of the next generation. ‘I get excited when students are inspired and new insights occur’.”

Ms. Armstrong is at the same time, a traditional wisdom keeper for the Okanagan People, especially the Penticton Band where she lives and teaches the wisdom of Indigenous economics centering upon restoration and conservation. She is one of the last native speakers of her language and has created a center to re-teach her people in the Okanagan, the language that has been with them for generation after generation.Film recording and complete transcript with slides is freely available. Summary excerpts follow.


My name. There I am with my daughter. My daughter's name is Her Power Is Water, sumaxatkʷ. My name is The Sound And Sparkle Of A Small Brook Rushing Along, laxx̌laxx̌tkʷ. Behind and surrounding us, embracing us, is our Grandmother. Our Grandmother who gifts us with the beautiful berries and the precious cedar baskets that take a year to make.

I have been a resister and an activist, as that is also needed in order to defend. But today I share my indigenous work here from my home. This place is the multiversity of my people which gave me my true Ph.D. My other Ph.D. is from university in environmental ethics. The Ph.D. is a way to look at, and share something, of my Grandmother's wisdom through that lens.

When I think of my grandmother I know that the soil and the plants and the animals and the birds are my ancestors. They have fed on our bones, on our lives. They have fed each other and us and we have sustained the reciprocity that is a gift to every living thing on that land. That is indigenous economics.

My Grandmother is wise in her wisdom, in her knowledge in the ways that that place needs to be.

The point to me seems obvious, that the root of today’s problem is how humans chose to live insulated from nature's mediation of their behavior within a system of reciprocities in which everything that takes must also give.

I can also see that it has something to do with a belief, a belief in ever increasing the insulation from nature's economic requirements of us as humans in the way we are.

It has been at great cost. A cost we cannot afford. We are now in deep, deep, deep debt. It has been but a few thousand years, this idea of civilization.

This civilization grounded in the belief that the Grandmother is wild and needs taming and that Indigenous Peoples are wild and need taming.

First they tamed Grandmother to make things. Taking things, easy to take without giving back. Taming the land. Agriculture was a way first to increase human advantage to sustenance. However, it also increased populations that now needed more and more and so more land was taken from other living things.

Agriculture needed easier tools in order to produce more and more. Then it created a need of tools for war in order to keep the tamed lands and tools to take more land from more peoples. Then it was necessary to make more war tools so taking was easier.

It was necessary to make more tools and to teach people to run the new tools to feed their families. It was necessary to make them believe that they could be wealthy and thus happy. It creates junk-ease.

Tools were made to reach into every house with that in mind. To keep people believing in making more tools to make life easy, and to rush to use new tools and thus to believe they need such tools. And so it is necessary to tame more and more—necessary to make junk easier and easier and they might be happier.

There is a deep belief that economic prosperity is based on this. There is a deep belief on this form of social dependency. We confirm this every day in the way we do things. The influence of the social mechanism structured to normalize that which we accept every day as our reality.

This is my brother, Richard. He didn't go to university. He went to Grandmother's University. This is my brother training ecologists and environmentalists and biologists in our lands economics. In doing restoration and conservation, they need to know the land's requirements of us all. And that many of its beings on those lands have included us humans in their reciprocity and need humans to take their gifts. And that the grasses and the great herds have included us and other animals in their reciprocity. Learning that way so we stay a part of that reciprocity.

My brother here is providing some ideas. It is a framework of economic principles. That is my extended family's children. That is my nephew and myself working with children.

And so one of the things that I have come to understand is that in maintaining those economic principles, is that we have to pass them on. Indigenous economics is a lived experience. We are socialized into that lived experience. It's not something we can learn about from a book or something we can learn about from a far distance from what we need in our lives.

We are needed in that place by those things that live there in that place.

So one of the things that I see is that at the level of individual, personal knowledge, some of those things are lost.

This is one of the boys in our puberty training. He is learning how the deer gives to us. He must do a gratitude ceremony to release the deer's spirit to rejuvenate itself. That way he never allows himself to kill the deer's ability to fully regenerate its kind. So it will always be there to give us its gift of its life as food. He is recognizing through our human spirit the spirit of the lives that embrace us.

The idea of indigenous knowledge, is to understand it as economic interaction. It is to have deep knowledge about the limits and the requirements of all the different living things in the place you use. It is understanding that we as humans can partake in that place like every other living thing, but we have to know those limits. Indigenous economics is about knowledge, in how we view nature.

These are children in my extended family. They are learning to love the taste of Grandmother's gifts and the pleasure of harvesting it together, and to hear the songs of its celebration. Also to give thanks and to love to work slowly and hard picking reverently each berry.

One of the things about the work that we do is in terms of bringing back our language. It is about re-languaging what we mean about work. That it is not work. That it is a joyful experience to be a part of that, to taste that, to love that and to be embraced by it. To re-language that our giving back is not work. That our giving back is being who we should be as humans.

These are children of the En’owkin Centre, our Syilx (the name of our people) learning center. They are learning appropriate ways to take but not to kill the relatives of the land. Those relatives have a right in their long, long lifeform residing there.

Whether they are trees for baskets or deer for food, to kill means taking until they cannot regenerate and they disappear. The laws of this is that it is nature's requirements of us, to know those limits. To know its reciprocity as a human love for these relatives. This is a human responsibility in terms of our reciprocity.

We know that doing things in a way in which that reciprocity is not possible, causes the extinction of any one of those relatives and that is what killing is about.

These are the local people of both indigenous and non-indigenous heritage at En’owkin's riparian forest restoration place. We rescued it from becoming a golf course.

We turn to the community of the local cities and the local reservations. We turn them into a force to protect it, to increase its reciprocity. We bring people to love it. The school's children in all the surrounding towns come. Adults learning ecological restoration and those who just need to rest and heal come to learn about it. To learn about the ecological knowledge from our point of view, from the Syilx point of view, as a collaborative force and a collaborative voice in re-indiginizing the place.

These are En’owkin’s adults going into this park to greet our relatives. The park has been closed because of perceived dangers and was secured to exclude us from harvesting the spawning kokanee, a land-locked salmon. We have resisted that. The millions of teeming salmon in those deep creeks kept us alive for many years.

However, we can't eat them now. The Okanagan Lake is being poisoned with effluent and agricultural and orchard pesticides and so we stopped eating them. But we do not stop going there to greet them, to give them offerings and to sing to them and to make a feast of giving to those who come to join in. We love them and they loved us. For too many years they loved us, for us to forget them.

One of the things I like about restoration, locally, is that it brings people back to local place. Local people back to local place. The spirit of the place wakes up inside of those local people and they are changed by it. It restores them to become indigenous to that place.

This is part of the Meadowlark Festival. A festival in which all the district’s environment projects are showcased and celebrated here on our restoration place called the Locatee Lands. Drumming together, singing together, feasting together, learning together, replanting and restoring together—it is the spirituality of that local culture that we are restoring and rebuilding.

This is a local teach-in at that same place with ecologists, biologists, and traditional indigenous keepers. En’owkin institutes a traditional knowledge component into Okanagan land conservation and restoration outside of the walls of the university. It has transformed the way they do things and the way they learn things in that place with us.

We need much more of this kind of restoration which restores local people to local places. It is people who need restoring to be able to do the things that are necessary to bring nature back on a global scale. One of the things I like about this slide is that that man is a bird watcher.

The idea of reconciling with what is indigenous in local nature is people living within its reciprocity. It can be something as obvious today as changing our food tastes. Something as easy as that.

The taste for exported and agricultured foods should be decreased. And the taste for local harvest indigenous foods increased. Learning how to responsibly and ethically empower indigenous reciprocity is to use those foods in local places by local people, while respecting the requirements of indigenous foods and learning to love them.

Those are my two Ph.D. supervisors, one is in environmental ethics the other in literature. It is a way of sharing Syilx ethics through that academic lens.

And this is a ceremonial feast. A gathering, a releasing of baby Sockeye which has been collected by hand from the Okanagan River and hatched to restore them where they had almost gone extinct. The whole community, indigenous and non-indigenous come together. To raise them, to sing, to pray, and to feast their release and their gifts to us.

It is one of the most beautiful ceremonies that our people did. This was the first Salmon release ceremony about 17 years ago. Since then, it's just grown so huge that many, many people can't fit into that small area.

This is Penticton, my home. En’owkin Centre is just behind there and the Locatee Lands that I was showing you is just behind, in that cottonwood riparian forest. Riparian forests now have only four percent left in the entire Okanagan.

This is the first run of returned Sockeye into the Okanagan. The gifts of Sockeye allow us its gifts, along its rivers and on its way to the ocean. Restoration is our way of giving back as Syilx people, as Syilx people enjoying each other. Living in the right way with these salmon, with these rivers and with these forests and other beings that surround us and embrace us.

These two long term collaboration projects that I mention here are still going on and more and more small environmentalist groups and conservation groups are working in collaboration with the Okanagan Nation Alliance to do that.

These are some of the gifts of the Sockeye to us.

These are my relatives, my grand daughter and my nieces and they're preparing the salmon. The happiness that it brings is in the faces of my niece and my granddaughter. The taking care of the salmon in the right way is spirituality.

Belonging. The longing to be part of the way things are as a whole is a longing for the joy of breaking free from the destructive spirit of killing behaviors.

Belonging to nature's reciprocity, here in this beautiful land and its diverse places. The longing to be a part of nature must end, and belonging must happen. It must happen in a good way.

So I will leave you now, with the contemplation of re-indigenization in this last slide as I walk back to my seat. Contemplation on how it transforms people to the land's spirit.

I pray for many, many ways to do this. And this is the song that Turtle gave us, that gave me this medicine which I sing walking back to my seat.

The Turtle came up from the deep dark and grasped onto the land's edge. I pray for that for everyone here. I give my medicine to you.

WATCH FILM / READ COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT WITH SLIDES


Mind Control, Psychological Operations, Propaganda, and Disinformation

Propaganda is any form of communication in support of national objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes or behavior of any group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly.
Psychological objective is a statement of measurable response expected from the target audience as a result of PSYOP. The psychological objective must accurately define the specific behavioral response or attitude change desired which, in turn, must support the PSYOP goals.
Psychological operations include psychological warfare and encompass those political, military, economic, and ideological actions planned and conducted to create in neutral, friendly, and nonhostile foreign groups the emotions, attitudes, or behavior to support the achievement of national objectives.
Psychological warfare is the planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.
Society is an enduring and cooperative social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships, traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests. Societies may be considered to be relatively independent human groupings that have their own territory, contain persons of all ages and both sexes, and maintain their unique respective lifestyle (culture). The American people, for instance, have formed lasting and cooperative social groupings which demonstrate organized patterns of behavior such as religious, educational, and political systems.
—Department of Defense, US Army Field Manual 33-1, p.H-3/p.241, 8/31/79

John Trudell: What It Means To Be A Human Being

Spoken Word presented at The Women’s Building, San Francisco
March 15, 2001
This is a moving, thought provoking spoken word and poetry address, given in honor of the U’wa and their resistance to oil drilling on their ancestral land in Columbia.John Trudell was a poet, musician, and an advocate for Native American rights. He did not set out to be a writer. His poetic gift developed out of the remarkable, sometimes horrifying circumstances of his life.

Trudell grew up on and around the Santee Sioux reservation near Omaha, Nebraska. In 1969 he participated in the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz. From 1973 to 1979, he served as national chairman of A.I.M., the American Indian Movement. The government response to A.I.M. was swift Trudell said, “They waged war against us. They hunted us down. They killed, jailed, destroyed us, by any means necessary.”

In 1979 that war took a terrible personal toll on John Trudell. On February 11, he led a march to the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. Approximately 12 hours later, in the early morning hours, a fire “of suspicious origin” burned down Trudell’s home on the Shoshone Paiute reservation in Nevada, killing his wife Tina, their three children, and Tina’s mother. Devastated by the loss of his family, Trudell withdrew from the world; “writing words” became his way “to keep some sanity” and continue to survive.

An essential point to keep in mind is that this expression comes from the oral tradition. The written word is different. The spoken word transmits awareness and understanding in a more comprehensive and integrated form. While the transcript is available, the most thorough way of taking this in is to listen.

Audio recording and transcript is freely available. Summary excerpts follow:

 


 

In the reality
Of many realities
How we see what we see
Affects the quality
Of our reality

We are children of Earth and Sky
DNA descendant now ancestor
Human being physical spirit
Bone flesh blood as spirit
Metal mineral water as spirit

We are in time and space
But we’re from beyond time and space
The past is part of the present
The future is part of the present
Life and being are interwoven

We are the DNA of Earth, Moon, Planets, Stars
We are related to the universal
Creator created creation
Spirit and intelligence with clarity
Being and human as power

We are a part of the memories of evolution
These memories carry knowledge
These memories carry our identity
Beneath race, gender, class, age
Beneath citizen, business, state, religion
We are human beings
And these memories
Are trying to remind us
Human beings, human beings
It’s time to rise up
Remember who we are

... the being part of human is being mined through the logic of the human, alright, and the emotions of the human. The being of spirit, the spirit of being is what is being mined through the logics and emotions of the human, in order to run this system, see.

I mean this is the purpose of techno-logic civilization. They call it techno-logic for a very specific reason. This isn’t an accident, okay? You know, it truly isn’t. But the purpose of the civiliz[ation] – and so one of the civilizing processes is to erase memories. Alright?, to erase memories. Because we have ancestral memory. It’s encoded in the DNA – it’s a genetic memory.

You look at how techno-logic civilization – and everywhere that it goes, the longer it’s there, the more isolated the human beings – but they’re not called human beings, they’re workers and citizens, etc., alright? Alright? But the more isolated they feel, they no longer – you know, maybe they remember their grandparents or their great grandparents.

But see, you’ve got all that ancestral knowledge that’s encoded in the DNA, but it’s been cut off. So it can’t activate because if we’re not conscious that it’s there then we can’t – it just makes [things] difficult. See this is the memory that it’s very important for them to erase. Alright, and it’s about who we are – it’s memory of identity and self-reality.

So anyway, we, because we are, we come from where we come from, every one of us is the descendant of a tribe. Every person in this room is a descendant of a tribe at some point in our ancestral evolution. Common, collective, genetic memory that’s in there, you know, that’s encoded, like I say, in the DNA.

And for every individual, encoded in our individual DNA, alright?, is the experience of our lineage from the very beginning. Whose whole perceptional reality was what I was just saying: all things have being, we’re made up of the Earth – all my relations, pray to spirits. See, and they didn’t pray to man or human form. The closest they came to it was they prayed to spirits that were called ancestors.

Alright? And because they were praying to those ancestors for help and guidance, they understood that we were borrowing today from the past and the future. We’re borrowing it from both places.

So they had this understanding of reality. So they knew that to keep the balance was the purpose. That was the purpose. The reason for being was to keep the balance.

So this was like, you know, what I will call a spiritual perception of reality. And so because of the spiritual perception of reality they understood that life was about responsibility. It wasn’t about the abstraction of freedom – it was about responsibility. That life was about responsibility.

So the spiritual perception of reality was based upon that: we were the Children of the Earth, the Earth was our Mother. The Sky, the Sun and the Sky – these were our fathers. Alright, but this was – and our reality worked for us....

So in our collective, genetic, ancestral memory, we had the experience of encountering the techno-logic perceptional reality. Because somewhere as this thing unfolded and refined itself, as it was spreading over the planet, a religious perceptional reality was used to replace a spiritual perceptional reality. Alright?

Because [with] a spiritual sense of reality you’re connected to everything man, you know, you’re connected. But in the religious perceptional reality, see, you committed a crime for being born, see you’re BLEEP forgettin’ here. [laughter] I didn’t make this up. And I’m not making it up now, alright? [applause]

And so anyway, in order to be – justify being here – to get to stay [laughter] – you had to submit to the male dominator chain of command, the authoritarian system. See, in this new religious reality[, it] said that, you know, well now there’s one god. The gods battled it out amongst themselves, see.

See I can’t envision, to me I’ve never been able to envision gods or goddesses. I can’t imagine the Creator in a human form. I mean no – you know, I can’t. And I think our road, our path to trouble started when we started to do it that way. Alright, you know, looking at the Earth as the Mother and these things, you know, call it a goddess, whatever, and this and that.

See, but I don’t go with god because I know that’s a limited perceptional reality. See, they forced it on us. But the trouble came see, when, when we decided that the Creator entity had a human form. See because then, that, that rationalized and justified mistreating the rest of the natural world.

Alright? I mean, sexism and racism came out of this perceptional change because once the Earth – you know under the new god thing, see, the Earth was no longer the Mother. The Earth was the property of this new god. And all god’s children – see god didn’t have a lot then, but they were very mean [laughter] so their numbers expanded through terror – see but god’s children was the – their job and objective was to subdue the Earth for this god.

So in order to achieve that objective they had to create sexism. See, sexism has got to do with how we live with the Earth. And racism, because now that the Earth was property, you know and all spiritual value was away, was away from the Earth, you know. Real spiritual value was now a religious perceptional thing, and, right, so it wasn’t all encompassing, it wasn’t just a part of the reality anymore.

So not a one of our people really went for this. Because it’s like, you know this is a major perceptional reality change. But anyway we committed a moral crime forgetting here, so now we had to submit to that world view.

To me, coherently to me, it’s clearly a blatant, a blatant, a very blatant perceptional altering how one perceives reality. I mean it’s brainwashing intensified at its maximum, right? Because our ancestors were forced to see life differently in order to remain just physically alive....

Alright – we know there was an inquisition. And this inquisition went on for 4 or 500 years in Europe. The purpose of the inquisition was to alter the perceptional reality of the descendants of the tribes of Europe. To make them believe and see reality the way the church wanted them to believe and see reality.

The church called it – they waged a war for possession – for possession, this is important – they waged a war for the possession of the souls of the godless heathens. And to be a godless heathen you just didn’t believe in god. It wasn’t a part of your reality. Or another way [of] becoming a godless heathen was to question the authority of the church to do this.

See now, again, I’m not making this up. You know, this did transpire. These things did happen. And they killed as many people as they could – I guarantee it – in order to get the other ones to submit. So they killed as efficiently as they could with the technology they had at their disposal at that time, alright? And because they created a rationalization as to why to do it, so it just became as efficient as they could do.

And at some point, the descendants of the tribes of Europe no longer knew what it meant to be a human being. They just didn’t know – they didn’t want to know. So the descendants of the tribes of Europe, in the end, had to love what they feared which was there to possess them. See, and I think it messed up love in a lot of ways, you know that they haven’t unsorted yet. You know, no offense, but .....

But anyway, all of this took place through our intelligence. Our intelligence. Now whoever it is we pray to, right?, whoever it is we pray to, however we pray, whatever, however we do that, alright?, I think that we have an obligation and a responsibility and it’s about respect. If we respect our Creator, then we should use our intelligence as intelligently as we can as often as we can. And that means with clarity and coherence. That means to activate and respect our intelligence and activate the thinking process so that it’s going the way we want it to be because that’s why it was given to us.

Our intelligence – as the human being part of all of this reality that’s going on, we were given intelligence, this is what was there to help us through the evolutionary reality – to ride the balance, so to speak, of the evolution with our intelligence. It’s our medicine, it’s our protection, it’s our self-defense.

Those fears and doubts and insecurity in one’s daily mind and reality – how much do they affect one’s daily mind and reality? How much do they affect the ones of the people around them that they’re connected to and that they care about? What’s the repercussions of the fears and the doubts and insecurity? Because I guarantee you, every day when we get up, we use our intelligence to create those effects.

So it isn’t that we’re not using our intelligence, or we can’t use our intelligence – we can’t stop using our intelligence. But it’s about as human beings, taking the responsibility to be as clear as one possibly can be about it and use our intelligence the way our Creator gave it to us to use.

Keep the balance, our intelligence. So this is – everything that ever happened – had, to change the perceptional reality, this – the battle ground had to take place. The real battle ground may have been the bleeding and the dying, but it has to do with the intelligence, to alter the perceptional reality....

But if we would look at ourselves clearly, the Dineh, the Navaho have a way of saying, I’m going to the fourth mind. Which means to look at everything. But you, you rise out of it. You look at it from outside, from the top, the bottom, all the way around, from the inside. You look at it from under it. You look at it, that that thing for it – every way that you can and you see it for what it is. And then you, you act....

The first act, the first act of being free and liberation, alright?, is the act of taking our intelligence back, taking our imagination back, our ability to think. That’s the first act of liberation. That is the very first act, alright?, of conscious liberation. The first steps towards respect for the Creator is understanding that we have that intelligence and doing the second act. It’s our intelligence. And for our next generation, you know, we have a responsibility to direct as much intelligence into that as we can.

Because this thing about life and death – you know, this techno-logic reality has been around for 3 or 4,000 years – I don’t know however long it’s been around, you know. But its whole reality is based upon death so therefore, at some point it must die. Our whole objective as human beings is to stay alive. Do you get it? I mean really alive. Not surviving and existing, I’m talking about alive. Connected to life and living. See, we have to outlast it because we can’t outfight it because its violence and its aggressive mindset, alright?, is beyond parallel.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s powerful. That just means that it’s violent and it’s aggressive and it’s without parallel and you better be damned careful of it. But that’s what that means, about power – our relationship to clarity and coherency and the use of our intelligence is our relationship to power and we can outthink it....

Your descendants and my descendants depend upon us, alright?, to keep the reality of the living alive. And we are going to influence the outcome, no matter what we do. So [what] I’m talking about is, well let’s take some responsibility, alright?, and let’s influence it in a more clear and coherent way. Outthink them. Trust ourselves and our ability to think. And each and every one of us was given just as much intelligence as we need. It’s not a contest.

LISTEN TO RECORDING / READ COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT


Atomic Energy: Consequences of Creating Nuclear Weapons & Power

The nuclear power industry grew out of the nuclear bombs that decimated two Japanese cities in August 1945. These two industries are still inextricably entwined and will never be separated. The enrichment technology to make new uranium fuel is identical to that needed to make the uranium bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, while the plutonium stripped from spent nuclear fuel at reprocessing plants like Rokkasho is identical to the plutonium used in the plutonium bomb that destroyed Nagasaki.

Long-lived radionuclides, such as cesium-137, are something new to us as a species. They did not exist on Earth, in any appreciable quantities, during the entire evolution of complex life. Although they are invisible to our senses, they are millions of times more poisonous than most of the common poisons we are familiar with. They cause cancer, leukemia, genetic mutations, birth defects, malformations and abortions at concentrations almost below human recognition and comprehension. They are lethal at the atomic or molecular level.

They emit radiation, invisible forms of matter and energy that we might compare to fire, because radiation burns and destroys human tissue. But unlike the fire of fossil fuels, the nuclear fire that issues forth from radioactive elements cannot be extinguished. It is not a fire that can be scattered or suffocated, because it burns at the atomic level – it comes from the disintegration of single atoms.





      • Catastrophic Events
        • Three Mile Island (1979)
        • Chernobyl (1986)
        • Fukushima (2011)
          • Steven Starr: The Implications of The Massive Contamination of Japan With Radioactive Cesium, Helen Caldicott Foundation Fukushima Symposium, New York Academy of Medicine, March 2013
          • The Impact of the Nuclear Crisis on Global Health, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Australian Medical Student Journal, 2013
          • SimplyInfo.org Fukushima 5th Year Report, March 2016. With technical details rarely covered by the press, the report shows the new understanding of the disaster. The social and environmental impacts are also covered in this 40 page report complete with diagrams, illustrations and images covering the past year.
          • Into the Zone - Fukushima 5+ years on, Mark Willacy, Foreign Correspondent, May 24, 2016
            ABC Australia transcript excerpts:
            • Mark Willacy: Tonight we go on a journey into the heart of this ongoing crisis... and we reveal the frightening enormity of the clean-up... and how dangerous it still is.
            • Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (May 2009 - July 2012): This really is unchartered territory. Nobody really knows where the fuel is...
            • Willacy: The man in charge of decontaminating and decommissioning the Fukushima plant [is] Naohiro Masuda. Has anything like this ever been attempted before?
            • Naohiro Masuda: There has never been an accident at a nuclear plant like the one at Fukushima where three reactors had meltdowns. We are currently working on a timetable to decommission the reactors over the next 30 to 40 years.
            • Naoto Kan, Former Prime Minister: I think it will take longer... This is a major accident, which has never happened anywhere in the world... 40 years is an optimistic view.
            • Willacy: We are heading to the buildings housing the melted reactors... Tepco is worried about possible nuclear terrorism, and won’t allow us to film certain security sites.
            • Masuda: This is a job we’ve never done and there is no textbook.
            • Willacy: [At Reactor 3 there was an] explosion right after the nuclear fuel melted... What happened inside [Reactor 2] no-one really knows... [Reactor 1] is where probably the worst meltdown occurred. They don’t know where the nuclear fuel is.
            • Masuda: We haven’t actually seen where the melted fuel fell, so it’s important to find it as soon as possible.
            • Willacy: For the first time, Foreign Correspondent can reveal just how vast the amount of melted nuclear fuel is, the three molten blobs that lie somewhere deep within each of these buildings.
            • Masuda: It’s estimated that 200 tonnes of debris lies within each unit... 600 tonnes of melted debris fuel and a mixture of concrete and other metals are likely to be here.
            • Willacy: The most daunting task, one the nuclear industry has never faced, is getting the melted fuel out. TEPCO admits the technology it needs hasn’t been invented.
            • Jaczko: It may be possible that we’re never able to remove the fuel. You may just wind up having to leave it there and somehow entomb it as it is. I mean that’s certainly a possibility. There is no playbook, they’re making this up as they go along.
            • Kan: If all the reactors had had a meltdown, there was a risk that half or all of Japan could have been destroyed... the accident took us to the brink of destruction.
            • Jaczko: You have to now accept that in all nuclear power plants...there’s a chance you can have this kind of a very catastrophic accident... that’s the reality of nuclear power.

  • Nuclear Whistle Blowers []
    • Dr. Alice Stewart
        • Low-Level Radiation - The Effects on Human and Non-Human Life, presentation at World Uranium Hearing, September 1992
        • The Survivor, Interview in New Scientist, August 2008
        • Summary of The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation:Dr. Alice Stewart is a British epidemiologist who revolutionized the concept of radiation risk. Born in 1906, she is an outstanding scientist with more than 400 peer-reviewed papers to her name and someone who has taken courageous and effective stands on public issues. Yet her controversial work lies at the center of a political storm and so has only relatively recently begun to receive significant attention. For more than forty years, Stewart has warned that low-dose radiation is more dangerous than has been acknowledged. While teaching at Oxford in the 1950s she began research that led to the discovery that fetal x-rays double the child’s risk of developing cancer. As a result, doctors no longer x-ray pregnant women. Two decades later--when she was in her seventies--she again astounded the scientific world with a study showing that the U.S. nuclear weapons industry is about twenty times more dangerous than safety regulations permit. The finding put her at the center of the international controversy over radiation risk.In recent years, she has become one of a handful of independent scientists whose work is a lodestone to the anti-nuclear movement. In 1990, the New York Times called her "perhaps the Energy Department’s most influential and feared scientific critic." The Woman Who Knew Too Much traces Dr. Stewart’s life and career from her early childhood in Sheffield to her medical education at Cambridge to her research positions at Oxford and the University of Birmingham. The book joins a growing number of biographies of pioneering women scientists such as Barbara McClintock, Rosalind Franklin and Lise Meitner and will find a wide range of appreciative readers, including those interested in the history of science and technology and of the history of women in science and medicine.

      • Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., G.N.S.H.
      • Dr. Thomas F. Mancuso
        • From Nuclear radiation: There is no safe dose, by Romeo Quijano, ABS CBN, April 1, 2011:
          In 1970, Dr. Thomas Mancuso, a professor of occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh, was commissioned by the Atomic Energy Commission to study the “biological effects, if any, of low-level ionizing radiation among workers employed in atomic energy facilities". It was expected that Mancuso’s study would find that nuclear work was safe. However, Dr. Mancuso’s team found a definite relationship between low levels of radiation and the development of certain types of cancer in spite of the fact that all workers employed were specifically selected for their excellent health. They discovered three kinds of cancers among the workers: lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and cancers of blood-forming tissues, particularly Myeloma. The cancers were occurring at well below the radiation exposure levels of the official limit of five rads per year. This meant that the current standards for nuclear safety might be twenty times too high. However, there were powerful forces who suppressed the research. Mancuso’s funding was cut off and he was ordered not to publish his findings. He was denied further access to the workers’ data. In 1977 he was ordered to give up his files or have them seized. Practically everyone who sided with Mancuso were subjected to character assassination or lost their funding. The government would only allow studies of workers health records to be performed by labs under them. The data of workers health became the virtual monopoly of a small group of government sponsored scientists and were unavailable to the larger scientific community.
        • The Risk of Making Nuclear Weapons, by Robert Alvarez, August 2006
      • Karl Z. Morgan, PhD
        • from nonuclear.se - environmental views on energy:
          For 29 years Dr. Karl Z. Morgan was the head of Health Physics at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons laboratory. He helped set radiation exposure limits for workers who produced the first atomic bombs. He determined from his many studies that "there is no safe level of radiation." This conclusion was not welcomed by those in the nuclear establishment who created the field of Health Physics to ensure that the health effects of atomic radiation would be documented and regulated by nuclear physicists rather than medical practitioners. In 1972 Dr. Morgan resigned so he could testify on behalf of those suffering from the adverse effects of atomic radiation.
        • Oral History of Health Physicist Karl Z. Morgan, Ph.D., conducted January 7, 1995, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering The Early Years, United States Department of Energy Office of Human Radiation Experiments, June 1995
        • The Major Cause of Cancer--Part 2, Rachel’s Environment & Health News #692
        • From ithacajournal: Dr. Sternglass, Emeritus Professor of Radiological Physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was also a leading anti-nuclear activist. Dr. Sternglass felt that his testimony at the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty hearings in 1963, contributing to halting atmospheric bomb testing in 1963, was his greatest achievement.

          In the early 1960s, Dr. Sternglass became aware of research showing that just a few pre-natal x-rays to the sensitive fetus resulted in a significant increase in the frequency of childhood leukemia. This marked the beginning of a lifelong effort to research and publicize the much higher-than-expected impact of low doses of radiation on public health.

          Dr. Sternglass, then a 23 year-old researcher at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in Washington DC and recent Cornell University graduate, wrote to Albert Einstein about his work. Over 8 years of correspondence and meetings, Einstein encouraged him to pursue his ideas in particle physics and in “Secondary Electron Emission," the core of later lunar cameras.

        • Nuclear Witnesses, Insiders Speak Out: Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass, Physicist, by Leslie Freeman, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1981, 1982)
      • Dr. Helen Caldicott
        • From www.helencaldicott.com/about/:

          The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last forty-five years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction....

          In 1971, Dr Caldicott played a major role in Australia’s opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific; in 1975 she worked with the Australian trade unions to educate their members about the medical dangers of the nuclear fuel cycle, with particular reference to uranium mining.

          While living in the United States from 1977 to 1986, she played a major role in re-invigorating as President, Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On trips abroad she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries. The international umbrella group, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the US in 1980....

          Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, including the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and twenty-one honorary doctoral degrees. She was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling – himself a Nobel Laureate. The Smithsonian has named Dr Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century. She has written for numerous publications and has authored a number of books including: Nuclear Madness (1978 and 1994 WW Norton), Missile Envy: The Arms Race and Nuclear War (1984 William Morrow, 1985 Bantam, 1986 Bantam), If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992, W.W. Norton); A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography (1996, W.W. Norton; published as A Passionate Life in Australia by Random House); The New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial Complex (2001, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Scribe Publishing in Australia and New Zealand; Lemniscaat Publishers in The Netherlands; and Hugendubel Verlag in Germany); Nuclear Power is Not the Answer (2006, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Melbourne University Press in Australia) War In Heaven (The New Press 2007); revised and updated If You Love This Planet (March 2009); and Loving This Planet (The New Press; 2013).

          She has been the subject of several films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight, nominated for an Academy Award in 1981, If You Love This Planet, which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982, and Helen’s War: Portrait of a Dissident, recipient of the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction (Documentary) 2004, and the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award for Best Documentary in 2004.

          Dr Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the US where she lectures widely. In year 2001, she founded the US-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which became Beyond Nuclear. She is President of The Helen Caldicott Foundation, which initiates symposiums and other educational projects to inform the public and the media of the dangers of nuclear power and weapons. The mission of the Foundation is education to action, and the promotion of a nuclear-energy and weapons -free, renewable energy powered, world.

          The Foundation’s most recent symposium was held at the New York Academy of Medicine on Februry 28 - March 1, 2015. It was entitled Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction.

          From 2010 to 2013 Dr Caldicott hosted a weekly radio show If You Love This Planet which aired on many community and other public radio stations internationally. From 2007 to 2009 she was also a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board convened by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the then Prime Minister of Spain.

      • Dr. Gordon Edwards, PhD
        • From: PDF at Akio Matsumura’s Finding the Missing Link Project:

          Gordon Edwards graduated from the University of Toronto with a Gold Medal in Mathematics and Physics (1961). He earned Master’s degrees in Mathematics (1962) and English Literature at the University of Chicago (1964) under a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. After teaching Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario for several years, he obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Queen’s University (1972).

          In 1970 he became the editor of Survival, an environmental newsletter with subscribers in 13 countries. In 1973 he coordinated a 7-volume study of the Role of Mathematics in Canadian Business, Government, and Science for the Science Council of Canada. In 1974 he joined the Faculty of Vanier College where he taught until his retirement in June 2010. In 1975 he co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) and rose to prominence as one of Canada’s best known independent experts on nuclear technology, uranium, and weapons proliferation. He created the CCNR website: www.ccnr.org.

          Dr. Edwards became involved in uranium issues in 1977, spending three weeks cross-examining expert witnesses at the Bayda Inquiry into Uranium Mining in Saskatchewan. He became involved in reactor safety, radioactive wastes and plutonium recycling for the Ontario Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning in 1977-78, where he cross-examined industry and government witnesses on a daily basis for three months. In 1978, the Commission reported that Edwards’ estimate for the probability of a meltdown in a CANDU reactor was “more realistic" than that given by the industry. That same year, Dr. Edwards produced a ground-breaking analysis showing that the cancer risk from radon gas is much higher than Canadian authorities had claimed. His results were later confirmed by the BC Medical Association, as well as by expert reviews ordered by the Atomic Energy Control Board and by the US National Academy of Sciences BEIR Committee.

          Dr. Edwards played a role in bringing about moratoria on uranium exploration in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. He testified to the Territorial Assembly of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife on three separate occasions in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, and in 2007 and 2010, he participated in public meetings in Baker Lake and Iqaluit, and gave presentations on the health and environmental impacts of the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.

          In the late 1990’s Dr. Edwards was invited, along with representatives from the industry-owned Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), to brief Inuit leaders on the issues surrounding the management of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The Inuit Grand Council recommended that the government of Canada stop producing these wastes.

          Dr. Edwards has acted as a consultant to governmental and non-governmental bodies, including the Auditor General of Canada, the Ontario Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning, the Select Committee on Ontario Hydro Affairs, United Steelworkers of America, the Siting Task Force for Radioactive Wastes, and many others. He has worked with aboriginal organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Mohawks of Kanesetake, Inuit Tapiriit Kanitami and the Chippewas of Nawash.

          Dr. Edwards was awarded the 2006 Nuclear-Free Future Award (Education Category). He has given many keynote addresses including at a 2007 International Conference on Nuclear Waste in Stockholm, at a 2008 International Conference on Uranium Mining in Salzburg, at the 2009 annual meeting of Physicians for Global Survival in Ottawa, and at the 2010 World Conference of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Basel, Switzerland.

        • Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, holds a Ph.D. in engineering (specialization: nuclear fusion) from the University of California at Berkeley. He has produced many studies and articles on nuclear fuel cycle related issues, including weapons production, testing, and nuclear waste, over the past twenty years.

          A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues, including two published by MIT Press. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. Most recently, Dr. Makhijani has authored of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007), the first analysis of a transition to a U.S. economy based completely on renewable energy, without any use of fossil fuels or nuclear power. He is the principal editor of Nuclear Wastelands and the principal author of Mending the Ozone Hole, both published by MIT Press.

          In 2007, he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was named a Ploughshares Hero, by the Ploughshares Fund (2006); was awarded the Jane Bagley Lehman Award of the Tides Foundation in 2008 and the Josephine Butler Nuclear Free Future Award in 2001; and in 1989 he received The John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, with Robert Alvarez. He has many published articles in journals and magazines as varied as The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Environment, The Physics of Fluids, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Progressive, as well as in newspapers, including the Washington Post.

          Dr. Makhijani has testified before Congress, and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CBS 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, and BBC, among others. He has served as a consultant on energy issues to utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Edison Electric Institute, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and several agencies of the United Nations.

      • Dr. Vladimir M. Chernousenko
        • Author of Chernobyl, Insight from the Inside (Springer-Verlag, 1991), Dr. Chernousenko was Scientific Director of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and was invited by the Academy to act as “Scientific Director of the Task Force for the Rectification of the Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident" (i.e. to help direct the cleanup of this catastrophe). In this capacity, he served for five years as one of three key participants in the attempts to “clean up" the disaster. As the publisher of the book explains,

          “The author’s chief motivation for writing this book is that he considers it vitally important that the world should be told the unvarnished truth about the scale and consequences of the disaster, the legacy of which will remain with us for many generations. He presents realistic estimates and new unpublished hard data from various reliable sources about the radiation pollution caused by the accident. The figures prove to be much higher than anyone dared assume up to now. We are confronted with horrendous numbers regarding the radiation pollution of the soil and aquifers in the Soviet Union."

          The author catalogues an incomplete set of 21 myths “about the way the Chernobyl disaster [was] handled -- from April 1986 up to August 1991." As he describes in Chapter 1, "Radiation emission was no less that 80% of the core (with a total of 192 tons), which amounted to 6.4 x 10^9 Ci. If we divide the figure by the population of the whole earth (4.6 x 10^9 people) then we get 1 Ci per person. (Naturally, the implications are not that everybody received such a dose, but such crude numbers certainly help to illustrate the scale of the accident.) The radiation levels of the emissions from the Chernobyl disaster exceed 16 to 27 times the maximum figure estimated as resulting from a hypothetical accident, in which the fuel rods melt down and the safety mechanisms are destroyed—this maximum figure was calculated as 3-5% of the core content."... At the end of the Preface Dr. Chernousenko distills the legacy of the catastrophe:

          “After five years of participation in the so-called rectification work I understand things ever more clearly. I know that it is not justifiable to speak about the "Rectification of the Consequences of the Accident". If one takes into account the scale and the degree to which an enormous number of peaceful people and a huge territory (in effect, our whole planet) have been affected, then one sees that the legacy of this catastrophe will continue to affect all of us for the rest of our lives. Our primary goal should be to provide relief to the people who suffer from the catastrophe’s direct consequences, and who are still living in the polluted territories. So far, only timid first steps in that direction have been taken; there are still very difficult times ahead of us. The noble, humanitarian participation of the international community is required for the good of all people."
      • Dr. Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko, and Alexey Nesterenko
        • From a summary by Dr Janette Sherman, about Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment; the book was

          published by the prestigious New York Academy of Science [and] is written by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko. The senior author, Dr. Alexey Yablokov was State Councilor for Environment and Health under Russian President Yeltsin and is a member of the Russian Academy of Science (class, Biology) and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy Art and Science (Boston, class, Population Biology). Prof. Yablokov receives no financial support other than as Councilor with the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Vassily Nesterenko, head of the Ukrainian Nuclear establishment at the time of the accident, flew over the burning reactor and took the only measurements of the radioactive plume. In August 2009, he died as a result of radiation damage, but earlier, with help from Andrei Sakharov, he established BELRAD to help children of the area. Dr. Alexey Nesterenko is a biologist/ecologist based in Minsk, Belarus. Contributing Editor for the book is Dr. Sherman-Nevinger is a physician and toxicologist and adjunct professor in the Environmental Research Center at Western Michigan University....

          The authors abstracted data from more than 5,000 published articles and studies, mostly available only in Slavic languages and not available to those outside of the former Soviet Union or Eastern bloc countries. The findings are by those who witnessed first-hand the effects of Chernobyl. The conclusions of this book contrast sharply to findings by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) who based their findings on some 300 western research papers, and who found little of concern about the fallout from Chernobyl....

          Based upon the data provided by multiple researchers and observers, the authors of this new book estimated that by 2004, some 985,000 deaths worldwide had been caused by the disaster, giving lie to estimates of 4,000 calculated by the IAEA and World Health Organization.

        • Steven Starr writing in the Preface of Radioactive Cesium and the Heart: Pathophisiologic Aspects, by Professor Yuri I. Bandazhevsky, M.D., “The Belrad Institute" 2013:

          Dr. Bandazhevsky’s groundbreaking research on the effects of radioactive cesium upon the children and people of Belarus is not well known in the United States. This is in large part because the government of Belarus chose to persecute him and suppress his work, which threatened to disrupt their plans to repopulate lands grossly contaminated with radioactive cesium. Bandazhevsky was forced to write this study while under house arrest, awaiting many years of subsequent imprisonment and torture. Government agents had already destroyed many of the archived samples, slides and materials that he and his colleagues and students had accumulated during the nine years he was Rector of the Gomel State Medical Institute of Belarus. However, Bandazhevsky had already published much of the statistical data he had obtained in 4 books: Clinical and experimental aspects of the effects of incorporated radionuclides in the body [Russian and English]. Gomel 1995; Pathophysiology of incorporated radioactivity. Gomel, 1997; Structural and functional effects of radionuclides incorporated into the body, Gomel, 1997. Pathology of incorporated radioactivity, Minsk, 1999, as well as numerous articles in the collection of scientific works of the Gomel State Medical Institute. He used much of this previously published information in conjunction with the slides that he had preserved at his residence, in order to write this study. For purposes of clarity, I have added a section, at the bottom of page 6, which provides more details on the methodology used by Dr. Bandazhevsky to obtain Whole Body Counts and the specific activity of 137Cs (cesium-137). This section on methodology is taken from “Chronic Cs-137 Incorporation in Children’s Organs," published in Swiss Med Wkly 2003; 133:488-490. Dr. Bandazhevsky was the author, but note that he was in prison at the time, and the 2003 study was compiled by his European colleagues using data that they had obtained from Dr. Bandazhevsky during their visits to the Gomel State Medical Institute during the period 1997- 1999. Dr. Bandazhevsky has recently confirmed to me that that the methodology described in the 2003 study did in fact describe the methodology used during his nine year research recorded in this study.

        • Timothy Mousseau is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina.
          Since 1999, Professor Mousseau and his collaborators (esp. Dr. Anders Pape Møller, CNRS, University of Paris-Sud) have explored the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the radioactive contaminants affecting populations of birds, insects and people inhabiting the Chernobyl region of Ukraine, and more recently, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Their research suggests that many species of plants and animals experience direct toxicity and increased mutational loads as a result of exposure to radionuclides stemming from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. In many species (e.g. the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica), data suggests that this mutational load has had dramatic consequences for development, reproduction and survival, and the effects observed at individual and population levels are having large impacts on the biological communities of these regions. Dr. Mousseau’s current research is aimed at elucidating the causes of variation among different species in their apparent sensitivity to radionuclide exposure.

          See the University of South Carolina Chernobyl and Fukushima Research Initiative.

          The Chernobyl Research Initiative began formal research activities in Ukraine in 2000, Belarus in 2005, and Fukushima, Japan, in July, 2011. To date, the group has conducted more than 35 research expeditions to Chernobyl and 16 expeditions to Fukushima.

          USC’s Chernobyl Research Initiative was the first and currently is the only research group to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to address the health and environmental outcomes of radiation effects in free-living natural populations. This has permitted the investigation of both acute (short term) and chronic (long term and multi-generational) exposures.

          The Chernobyl Research Initiative is also currently the only research team studying plants and animals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.

          Key funding sources have included the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, the CNRS (France), the National Science Foundation, and the National Geographic Society. Subsequently, additional funding sources have included the Civilian Research Development Foundation (CRDF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Qiagen GmbH, the Fulbright Foundation, the University of South Carolina Office of Research and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Finland, and gifts from private citizens.

          To date, more than 90 scientific publications> have resulted from this initiative, most in the past 10 years. This research has been highlighted in many newspaper reports and television programs including the New York Times, The Economist, Harpers, the BBC, CNN, CBS’s 60 Minutes, and Miles O’Brian of PBS News Hour.

          The team has pioneered the use of ecological, genetic and dosimetric technologies in order to unravel the health and environmental consequences of chronic low-dose exposure resulting from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. These have included massively replicated ecological censuses of natural populations of birds, mammals and insects to investigate population and demographic effects; DNA sequencing and genotoxicity testing to assess short and long term genetic damage to individuals living in the wild; and the use of miniature dosimeters attached to wild animals and field measurements of whole body burdens of radioisotopes in birds and mammals to obtain accurate estimates of realized external and internal radiation doses to animals living under natural conditions. Recently, the group has expanded to include epidemiological and genetic studies of human populations (especially children) living in Chernobyl-affected regions of Ukraine.

          Key results include the discovery of tumors, cataracts and damaged sperm in birds from high radiation areas of Chernobyl, and impacts on biodiversity in Fukushima. Exciting new results include the discovery that some species of birds may have developed resistance to the effects of radiation and effects on neurological development in small mammals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.

          These two disasters differ in the time since the events, and the amount and diversity of radionuclides that were released, although the predominant source of radiation is cesium-137 in both locations.

        Arnie Gundersen
        • Arnold Gundersen is an energy advisor with over 40 years of nuclear power engineering experience. A former nuclear industry senior vice president, he earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in nuclear engineering, holds a nuclear safety patent, and was a licensed reactor operator. During his nuclear industry career, Arnie managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants around the country. He currently speaks on television, radio, and at public meetings on the need for a new paradigm in energy production. An independent nuclear engineering and safety expert, Arnie provides testimony on nuclear operations, reliability, safety, and radiation issues to the NRC, Congressional and State Legislatures, and Government Agencies and Officials throughout the US, Canada, and internationally.

          He is a member of the board of Fairewinds Energy Education, a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2008. The website provides an educational hub for fact-based, undistorted nuclear energy information. Fairewinds’ website features podcasts and videos, in which we collaborate with experts in wide ranging fields to discuss nuclear energy issues.


Israeli Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy

Presentation by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Israeli Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy
Address given at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
March 18, 2016

Against the background of an increasingly more urgent debate over the sources of conflict in the Middle East, the growth of ISIS, the refugee crisis, and the role of the US armed interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria; this question takes on great importance: Who is setting Middle East policy in the US? Who decides whether to go to war and who receives weapons and financial aid and who gets bombed?These and other topics were addressed at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2016 at the conference on “Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?”

Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is the highest ranking US foreign policy whistle blower to date. Wilkerson’s last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University. He is currently a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg and is writing a book about the first George W. Bush administration.

In 2007 Wilkerson appeared in the Dutch documentary film, “The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo: the Power of the Israel Lobby in the United States.” In one segment he described how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was highly influential in the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq begining at 37:40:

Dick Cheney and his minions have brought—and Richard Perle is one of his minions and Doug Feith is one of his minions—have brought the art of lying to a new scale, a new level. Was oil the number one influence on President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Or was WMD? Or was spreading democracy? Don’t believe it for a moment. They didn’t even think about spreading democracy when they started this war. They transmogrified the mission into starting—or democracy, simply to appease the American people and give them some reason to support the war.

You have to decide where were these factors? And, inevitably, the Jewish Lobby in America, AIPAC in particular—the focus lobby—has got to be there. You’re being naïve if you don’t put that factor up there as an influence on national security decision-making. Particularly with the Bush Administration, the AIPAC lobby is very influential through Vice President Cheney, very influential—and through people like Elliot Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz and a host of others within the government.

 

Complete video recording and annotated transcript is freely available. Summary excerpts follow.

 

Ever since 1948, Israel has been a foreign and security policy problem. That Israel was a problem—a rather large one as a matter of fact, in ’47 and ’48 even—was most recently pointed out to me by one of my truly brilliant students. In fact, in a decade of teaching at both the George Washington University Honors Program and William & Mary, and six years at two of the nation’s war colleges, I’ve rarely had better papers than the one he submitted. At the end of our semester on Fateful Decision-Making—now, Fateful Decision-Making is what I teach in this seminar—and as the ancient Greek said, it’s when old men send young men, and now women, to die for state purposes—and something we often forget—to kill others for state purposes.He shall go unnamed, this student paper writer, but not unheralded by me, at least. I will say, too, that he had the additional characteristic, if you will, of being a Jewish American, which recalls to mind for me immediately a most unnerving moment as I had just begun my new career in 2001 as an erstwhile diplomat. I’d just entered the inner sanctum of a man who would prove to be very powerful at State over the next four years. He had only recently discovered that I had chosen to work for Richard Haass, in his capacity as State’s director of policy planning, rather than staying directly under my old mentor, the new Secretary of State Colin Powell. “Why,” he asked, “did you elect to work for that self-loathing Jew?” Recovering from mild shock, I looked him straight in the eye and replied, “I’ll forget I heard that.” I turned and evacuated his inner sanctum while he harrumphed to my rear.

I recall this little anecdote because it reveals what many use as a riposting device against any Jewish American who, through critical thinking, questions from time to time the policies of the modern state of Israel and the U.S. relationship with that state. Its complement, of course, for gentiles like me is anti-Semite. I have no doubt were someone such as Alan Dershowitz, from whom I have heard, for example, to read my student’s paper, the response “self-loathing Jew” would not be far from his lips.

In 1948, I would submit, there was no explicit such challenge for Jewish Americans or for any other American for that matter. The ingrained and highly partisan nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the neoconservative adoption of it in particular—Jim [Lobe], my hat off to you, he’ll talk more about that—had not yet come about. What my student rehearsed in the opening to his paper were the profound objections of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, of the iconic hero of World War II—after all, Harry Truman in a moment of apoplexy had essentially said, ‘He won the war, he won the war’; he couldn’t think of anything more to say about this man George Marshall, who was now Secretary of State—and others [who had] objected to what Harry Truman was about to do with regard to the State of Israel.

My student summed these objections that the Joint Chiefs had penned as the vehement Arab opposition to a Jewish state, the threats such opposition presented to the key oil imports from neighboring Arab countries, and then my student quoted the Joint Chiefs verbatim: “The decision to partition Palestine, if the decision were supported by the United States, would prejudice United States strategic interests in the Near and Middle East to the point that United States influence in the area would be”—and here come the words —“curtailed to that which could be maintained by military force.”[8] Is that prescience, or is that prescience?

Harry Truman, on the other hand, as my student pointed out, summed up the case for, if you will, thusly. “I’m sorry, gentlemen,” the president said, “but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”

Marshall, in a tale that’s not apocryphal, when Truman did decide that he was going to essentially recognize the state that had stood up, Israel, threatened not to vote for the president if he did. Coming from a man like Marshall, who as a military professional never voted in his life, this was almost stunning for Truman to hear. Of course, he went ahead, and so we began our relationship.

There were to be sure more counterarguments than the president’s re-election, as my student also pointed out in this excellent paper: the horrors of Holocaust, the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, and the need to make up for the wrongs committed against the Jewish people, all spoke for recognition by Truman. My student continued, also in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British had promised the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine.[9] And in the eyes of many Americans after World War II, it was up to the U.S. to give that home to them, and Harry S. Truman did just that.

Today, we can look back on a line of post-World War II presidents who tried to deal with the challenges and more that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had so presciently laid out. And to be honest, and as many of you in this audience probably are well aware, the Joint Chiefs were not breaking new ground. Ever since World War I and Louis Brandeis’ influence on Woodrow Wilson[10] and his foremost adviser, Edward House, the U.S. State Department’s position on the potential for a Jewish state in Palestine had been quite clear. It opposed the Zionist movement because it was a minority group interfering in United States foreign affairs. Again, talk about prescience and there we have it—prescience par excellence.

Even so, could State at that time have envisioned the power of AIPAC today, particularly after Bill Clinton decided in 1995, as I recall, to make presidential appearances there de rigueur? I love that French phrase. I looked it up in Merriam Webster to see what English definitions were given to it. The second one was this: “necessary if you want to be popular.” Oh, Bill, the things you did for popularity’s sake.

But despite these heavily adverse conditions, most U.S. presidents managed a rather precarious balance. Whether as in the beginning, it was Eisenhower in ’56, as we’ve heard before, telling the Israelis, British, and French to get their invading military forces out of the Suez Canal area. Or it was Ronald Reagan in mid- to late 1980s, selling AWACS aircraft to the Saudis. Or George H.W. Bush insisting on real and serious work on the Middle East peace process following the first Gulf war in 1991, in which the U.S. had gained quite a bit of new leverage applicable to that process of survival and potential success. And you all know probably, too, there are some critics who’ve written quite eloquently in my view that George H.W. Bush lost the election in ’92 because of his vehement opposition to Israeli settlements. And then came George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and a presidency captured by the neoconservatives of which I was a part.

In a flash, Israel became publicly a strategic ally. Its Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in every Arab eye dripping blood all over the Oval Office carpet, blood from Israel’s invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982 and ’83. I might add, an invasion we had to haul their asses out of, and ultimately at the cost of the greatest single-day casualty of Marines since Tarawa in World War II. This man, Ariel Sharon, became, in President Bush’s own words, “a man of peace.”

And all the fears of the 1948 Joint Chiefs of Staff loomed so largely in the rearview mirror of history that some of us in the U.S. government sucked in our collective breaths and found it hard to exhale thereafter. But, of course, we did, and ever since people just like us have been trying—clearly to little avail, with some brilliant exceptions, of which the Iran nuclear agreement is the most exceptional and recent—to restore that precarious balance maintained since World War II by all of the presidents.

And so, today, where are we in this relationship so fraught with danger—and, as has been pointed out, danger to both parties, to Israel and the United States? Today, how does U.S. policy toward Israel impact our overall foreign and security policy in adverse or positive ways?

To start, we have the unguarded words of General David Petraeus to illuminate our inquiries, before he was himself subjected to the ritual of head-bashing that accompany such remarks. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March of 2010, Petraeus said quite straightforwardly that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict foments anti-American sentiment in the region due to a perception of U.S. favoritism toward Israel, and it makes military operations that much more difficult. These remarks came amidst a U.S.-Israeli dispute over housing units, 1,600 of them, in Jerusalem—illegal under international law, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and destabilizing to the max. I can tell you that in the military councils, of which I’ve been part over three decades plus, this sentiment was often voiced, and at times in far more dramatic terms.

When my old mentor and boss, Colin Powell, and I used to talk about the issues here, we rarely if ever complimented Israel on its additions to U.S. security posture in the region. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Although today I suspect he would deny such conversations, and frankly I wouldn’t blame him. It would prove my point.

But there is more. There is concrete evidence of Israel’s detracting from U.S. security and of being a strategic liability rather than an asset. Where is, after all, U.S. hard power in southwest Asia, in Africa, and the Persian Gulf today? First, it ain’t in Israel. Nor could it be unless the world was at war and all bets were off....

Under any other conceivable scenario, the U.S. will never land meaningful military forces on the unsinkable Middle East aircraft carrier of Israel. That’s a phrase used by some of my neoconservative colleagues. Every instance of the use of force by the U.S. in the region to date has proven that reality beyond the shadow of a doubt.

So where, exactly, is the hard power? It’s in Qatar, it’s in Bahrain, it’s in Saudi Arabia, it’s in Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Djibouti and a host of other lesser places. The largest U.S. Air Force complex on earth, for example, by some measures, is in Qatar. The most powerful fleet headquarters in the U.S. arsenal, The Fifth [Fleet], is in Bahrain. The land-based aircraft carrier, if there is one, is Kuwait, not Israel, as both Gulf wars have proven. As a matter of fact, my comment during the first Gulf war, when we landed over half a million U.S. soldiers and all the supplies that went with them, was, “My God, another Marine, another soldier, we’ll sink Kuwait.”

In fact, in all my years in the military and beyond, I’ve never heard a serious suggestion of using Israel to help defend U.S. interests in the region. Instead, what I have heard many times is advice and decision-making to stay totally away from such use....

Does the unbiased policy of the U.S. toward this enclave jeopardize U.S. national security interest? You bet it does—big time. All we should ask, all I’m asking, all I asked for four years in the State Department, is that the American people be told the unvarnished truth and then decide if they’re willing to do it. Do they want their foreign and security policy based on sound principles of power management, or do they want it based on passions, ideology and unbridled favoritism? Now, I’m not quite certain what their answer is going to be. But I’m dead certain we need to give them the essential facts and then ask the question.

READ COMPLETE ANNOTATED TRANSCRIPT


Palestine Is Still The Issue

by Israeli Historian Ilan Pappé
Ilan Pappé: Why Palestine Is Still The Issue
Address given at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, California
May 2, 2016

Professor Ilan Pappé was the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization based in Berkeley. Since 1988 MECA has provided more that $21 million in food, medicine, medical supplies, and clothes, as well as books, toys, and school supplies to children and families in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Complete audio recording and annotated transcript is freely available. Summary excerpts follow.

We don’t need to be reminded that Palestine is still the issue. But I think you understand that the context of this talk is different. A lot of people would tell us, that given what’s going on in Syria, in Iraq, given the magnitude of the refugee issue in Europe, the economic problems in the United States, Palestine has been marginalized as an issue of global attention and you cannot galvanize anymore people to see Palestine as a central issue of humanity and inhumanity.It is important to remind ourselves why Palestine, in this respect, despite all the horrific things that are happening in Syria and Iraq, in Libya and Yemen, and despite the problems facing refugees in Europe and here as well, despite all of these distractions, if you want, it is important to remind ourself that Palestine is the issue because much of what we see in the Middle East and outside the Middle East, is connected to what happened in the past in Palestine and what happens today in Palestine.

Palestine is the issue for five major reasons and I would like to point out each one of them.

1Palestine is still the issue today because morally it is the last and only remaining struggle of indigenous native people against Settler Colonialism that is still very active. Palestine is not the only country where Settler Colonialism was visited upon. This very country we are in was one of the first projects of Settler Colonialism; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. But in all these other countries where Settler Colonialism was definitely prevalent in the past, at least processes of change and transformation were taking place.

Palestine is the only active, remaining act of Settler Colonialism and therefore it is representing the struggle of indigenous people and native people all around the world.

Settler Colonialism as you may know, is the movement of desparate Europeans outside of Europe because they were persecuted there; because they felt that Europe was unsafe. And they went to other countries, to other continents. And when they arrived in those new places, they found an indigenous native population. Because they were persecuted, because they were looking for a one-way ticket out of Europe, they felt that they don’t only want to make the new country a home, but also to make it a homeland.

The obstacle in the way of making a new place a homeland were always the indigenous native people. In many cases, the result of this clash between the wish to create a new homeland and the fact that someone else already lived there for centuries, was genocide; elimination of the native people.

We have to remind ourself, and remain hopeful, that Palestine is still the issue because people were not genocided there. Because there in Palestine the logic of elimination that informed settler colonialism in this country was terrible enough, but was not genocide....

Morally, Palestine is the place where the logic of elimination is still at work daily against the Palestinian people and everyone who experienced it here in the past, or still thinks about it, can see in Palestine a place where this logic should be rejected and replaced by humanization.

Settler colonialism is also a human project that was motivated by de-humanization. People who were chased out of Europe and arrived in the place where someone else lived were usually poor people, persecuted people, victims of ethnic cleansing themself. And in order to justify their transformation into victimizers themself they had to de-humanize the native people; they had to de-humanize the indigenous people.

Zionism in Palestine is this lethal fusion of these two logics that still operates in 2016, where Palestinians are de-humanized and therefore are an object of elimination. Elimination is not always physical genocide. You can be eliminated by being enclaved and besieged in your own village without the right to move. You can be eliminated by being expelled within your own homeland to another place. You can be eliminated by being robbed of all your civil rights, either to vote or to be elected in a way that can have an impact on your own future.

In this respect, we are witnessing daily the experiment of settler colonialism in Palestine motivated by these two logics, of de-humanization and elimination and if we are against such inhumanity then Palestine should be the issue for us.

2Palestine is also the issue because it has been connected and associated in the most wrong way possible with anti-semitism. For so many years we were lead to believe that the colonization of Palestine was the antidote to anti-semitism. Europe, the United States, and the West in general, used to convince themselves and others that because there was a problem of anti-semitism, and its worst chapter was in Europe during the holocaust, the only way to solve the hatred towards Jews because they are Jews was to allow them to colonize Palestine and dispossess the Palestinians.

This irrational, this cruel logic, that is at the heart of the connection between Zionism and anti-semitism still fuels most of the support Israel gets in this country, and still is the main ammunition pro-Israeli groups and individuals use in this country to silence any criticism on the Jewish state and its criminal policies.... the second reason that Palestine is still the issue [is] because the Jewish problem of Europe, the Jewish problem of the West, is a universal problem. Because it is not only the problem of the Jews. The genocide of the Jews in the Second World War showed the cruelty of modernity, of European Enlightenment, of the aspirations of Europeans to be culturally, morally, and politically superior to any other civilization. We need the closure to that terrible chapter in the history of humanity. Allowing Jews to colonize Palestine and dispossess the Palestinians is not the answer to this problem....

3Palestine is still the issue because it is connected, also, to Islamophobia. It has a long history of connection to the fear of Muslims just because they are Muslims. The Balfour Declaration, in which Britain gave something that didn’t belong to it to a movement it didn’t belong to ... the two motives for the British Empire, to take part of the Middle East, part of the Arab world, part of the Muslim world, and to grant it to a new ideological movement and promise that the empire would do its utmost to create a homeland there, the two major motives were, surprisingly, anti-semitism and Islamophobia.

There was a fear of Islam, there was a fear of Muslims, very much at the heart of the British policy makers who were about to take the Middle East as a new possession in their empire that already was very big and they much preferred to have non-muslim enclaves and kingdoms if they could in their new domains, in their new possessions....

Palestinians were the first victims of Islamophobia in modern times. They are also the last victims of Islamophobia in our times. It is the fear of Islam, it is the hatred of Islam, it is the animosity to Muslims just because they are Muslims that helped Israel to stop almost a natural process in the United States at the very end of the last century in which Americans, because of the easy access to information, to knowledge, began to understand what was going on the ground in Palestine. It was the major tool by which Israel, after 2001, associated terrorism with Palestinians in a way that stifled any proper discussion about Israel, Zionism, and Palestine in this country. And we are witnessing it again and again, the attempt to associate violence that is carried out by desparate people in Europe and their supporters with justification for the state terror that Israel exercises against the Palestinians.

So if you have a discussion about Palestine, you have a genuine discussion about terror. Not a false discussion about terror. You have a genuine discussion about the causes of violence in the Middle East, in Brussels, in Paris, in the United States, and everywhere in the world. You have a much better conversation of how Palestine is connected to desperation, to violence, if you focus on that country and you don’t allow the conversation about terror and the Islamophobic discourse to stifle any genuine discussion about the systematic structure violation of human rights against the Palestinians that has started in the late 19th century and has not stopped for even one day.

4Palestine is still the issue because it is also an issue of social justice.... Social justice, more than anything else, is a struggle against double talk, against hypocrisy, against exceptionalism, against deception. And no other case of violation of human rights and civil rights can compare with the case of Palestine when it comes to exceptionalism, deception, and double talk. This is something we are all familiar with and we know.

It is not only the cruelty of the occupier, the inhumanity of the colonizer. It is the pretense of those who support these actions that what we see is not the crime but rather “the war of defense,” “a democratic action,” “a justified moral policy.” We are all familiar both with the double talk, with the language, with the fury, the pretentious fury, the righteous fury that goes along and accompanies the atrocities on the ground. It is this hypocrisy, more than anything else, that symbolizes for workers around the world the way that they are being treated by their employers, by the multi-national corporation, and therefore you can see how many people today understand that the fate of the native, who was a victim in a settler colonialist project, is the fate of the worker today and the neoliberal system that we are living in....

I think many people, especially in Europe, but I have seen it here in 2008 as well, understand the connection between Flint, Ferguson, Palestine, India, Pakistan, Africa—this is part ... You are not only struggling against the criminal policy, you are struggling against the narrative that claims that this is not a crime—that this is for the benefit of the people—that the whole discourse that pretends to improve people’s life but actually destroys them is exemplified in Palestine on a daily, if not an hourly, basis.

5Finally I would say, and this is very, very important, Palestine is the issue of human rights today. This is the reason, I think, for so many of us, this is such an important historical juncture. And when I say ”us”—I mean Palestinians, people who support the Palestinians, Israeli Jews, anyone who is involved as an NGO, as an activist, as someone who lives there or someone who was expelled from there—for us 2016 is a very critical moment.

The Palestinians will have to redefine their project of liberation and adapt it to 2016. It is very difficult given the fragmentation which is the greatest Zionist success. The Palestinians were fragmented to five different groups. Naturally each one of these groups developed its own agenda. But we need a united Palestinian front, we need united Palestinian Representative bodies. None of the bodies that exist today represent faithfully, the needs and aspirations of the Palestinian. They usually represent a slice of the Palestinian issue and that kind of slice always serves well the Israelis and those who want to harm the Palestinian people.

So I think this is the moment where you have to find the way of re-defining the struggle for liberation in Palestine as the most important human rights and civil rights issue in the world. It is possible. The energy you hear from young people all around the world is there, ready to put Palestine at the center, as the symbol for the struggles for human rights, civil rights, and social justice around the world. But you cannot do it without representation which is authentic and unified over the Palestinian people.

The second thing that we have to take into account, 2016 should be the time where we all would be invited to the funeral of the two-state solution. The body is already in the morgue. Every now and then there is an American negotiator who takes the body out of the morgue, puts some life into it, like Jesus, and makes us feel as if it’s still alive then tells us it’s just around the corner. But apparently that corner is not on Earth. It’s somewhere on Mars....

We need you on our side. We need every good person, inside and outside, a Palestinian and a non Palestinian, to join forces with us and find out how do we respect the human rights, the civil rights, of both the native population of Palestine and the settler community that now is in its third generation? How do we help them to build a political system that rectifies the evils of the past and promises good future life for everyone who is there and everyone who was expelled from there?

This is a very important topic and I will end by saying that this is a particularly important issue because I think it is connected to everything that goes on in the rest of the Middle East. We have to remember that before Zionism arrived in Palestine, although there was violence, and definitely there was violence, although there were wars in the Middle East, the two logics I was talking about of de-humanization, of physical elimination, of elimination, were quite strange to the Middle East.

I’m not idealizing the Middle East. I am just saying that it was European enlightenment that invented Settler Colonialism that gave license in the name of Enlightenment and progressiveness, the right to de-humanize other people, to the extent that you could hunt them as animals in Australia, and to kill them as if they were not human beings in the United States of America.

This is something that is still an open wound and Palestine is the bleeding part of that wound. I think that you have to understand what happens in the rest of the Middle East if you can see that elimination and de-humanization of the Palestinians is not only possible because Israel is strong, is not only possible because Israel has the military capacity to do it. It is possible because Israel has an exceptional treatment in the international community. Because it has a license to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians in 1948 and not one international body says anything. It has the license to expel 300,000 Palestinians from the West Bank in 1967 and nobody says a word including within the more conscientious sections of the western society.

So the whole Middle East is watching and says, the problem is not inhumanity, the problem is not eliminating human beings or de-humanizing them. That is not the problem. The problem is whether you are a member of the exceptional club who is allowed to do it. And Israel is the sole member of this club in the Middle East....

But you can never have a genuine conversation about human rights and civil rights as long as the exceptionalism of Israel continues. So if you want to talk to Syrians about human rights and civil rights, start in Palestine. Don’t start in Damascus. If you want to talk about human rights in the Yemen, in Libya, start in Palestine. People would then believe that you really care about human rights, about civil rights. And Palestine could be the place where it’s not only still the issue but it also can push the issue of human rights and civil rights. And then maybe we will understand why it used to be called the Holy Land. Because now it is anything—it is the Hollow Land and not the Holy Land. And we have to bring it back to its historical, ethical, and moral place in history by having this kind of conversation.

So I will end by saying, don’t let anyone tell you that the Palestine issue is less important than any other issue. Don’t give up on Palestine and the Palestinians. And be brave enough to put aside slogans, formulas, solutions which are irrelevant, that are negative, that are destructive, and join the new energy that we are feeling coming out from many parts of Palestine and Palestinian life that wishes to create normal life, democratic life, human life for anyone who lives between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean and anyone who was expelled from that homeland and wishes to come back.

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Panama Papers - Intelligence Agencies and Iran-Contra Players

The following is one of many articles produced by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest German national subscription daily newspaper. Approximately 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries have taken part in researching the documents. The ICIJ Offshore Leaks project is one of the largest collaborations in journalism history. At the end of this article are excerpts concerning The Panama Papers–The Secrets of Dirty Money.

by Will Fitzgibbon and Nicolas Richter

Original source for the following at: http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/570e6affa1bb8d3c3495baf4/

The files of Mossack Fonseca reveal all kinds of connections to the activities of the world’s intelligence agencies. For instance, there are links to the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal that involved secret arms shipments under President Ronald Reagan. Oliver North, a military advisor, was charged at the time. Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer, also appears in the documents in this context.On July 4, 1986, a four-engine Boeing 707 landed in Tehran, the Iranian capital. It had taken off in Rijeka, Yugoslavia, fully loaded with valuable goods from the United States. Seven years after the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian regime was suffering from the sanctions the US had imposed. The airplane was thus delivering military equipment that was in short supply, including defense missiles and replacement parts for fighter jets–all of which were subjected to the embargo.The delivery was a typical undercover operation: officially, Iran and the United States were archenemies. And yet the military supplies aboard the Boeing were American. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the delivery in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Iran was to arrange the release, in addition to paying for the arms. The CIA would then use the funds to finance the uprising of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

The Iran-Contra affair was only exposed later on. Oliver North, who worked for the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, was one of several people who had to testify at a congressional hearing. Initially, the operation was meant to remain secret, which explains why the Reagan administration couldn’t make the military delivery with the US Air Force.

The Reagan administration needed what intelligence agencies often require to carry out their secret transactions: intermediaries, middlemen, companies, and airplanes that don’t look like they’re owned by the US government. In other words, the government needed what intelligence experts refer to as “plausible deniability”, which essentially means the ability to deny things in a credible manner after the fact.

The airplane that landed in Tehran in 1986 was registered in the United States and appeared to be owned by a man named Farhad Azima, who lived in the US state of Missouri. Azima, an Iranian-born American charter airline executive, made a career of renting and leasing airplanes. To this day, he claims he had no idea that the CIA used one his aircrafts to deliver military supplies to Tehran. “I’ve had nothing to do with Iran-Contra,” Azima told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “I was investigated by every known agency in the U.S. and they decided there was absolutely nothing there,” said Azima. “It was a wild goose chase. The law enforcement and regulators fell for it.”

The Panama Papers now provide new insights into the business dealings of Azima and half a dozen other personalities suspected of having links to intelligence agencies for decades. Many are thought to have helped the CIA, even though they have consistently denied it. While no direct CIA payments have been found in the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the documents do show a number of behavioral patterns that are well known in secret agent circles: dubious company structures, business transactions with used airplanes, and partnerships between shady characters.

“You just can’t walk around and say you’re a secret agent”

The Mossack Fonseca files leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, which were analyzed in cooperation with the ICIJ, contain a number of names from the world of espionage: two suspects from the Iran-Contra affair, a suspected CIA helper for arms deliveries to Afghanistan, and high-ranking former officers of the secret services of Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Rwanda.

The documents reveal that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included Saudi Arabia’s first intelligence chief, who was named by a U.S. Senate committee as the CIA’s “principal liaison for the entire Middle East from the mid-1960s through 1979.” Sheikh Kamal Adham controlled offshore companies later involved in [BCCI,] a U.S. banking scandal; Colombia’s former chief of air intelligence, ret. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rubianogroot, held shares in an aviation and logistics company; and Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Ndahiro was a doctor turned spy chief to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Adham died in 1999. Ndahiro did not respond to requests for comment. Rubianogroot confirmed to ICIJ partner and Colombian investigative journalism organization, Consejo de Redacción, that he was a small shareholder in West Tech Panama, which was created to buy an American avionics company. The company is in liquidation.

The Greek entrepreneur Sokratis Kokkalis, once known to the Stasi as “Agent Rocco”, is also mentioned. And of course, the German secret agent Werner Mauss also appears. Mauss operated or still operates a dozen shell companies via Mossack Fonseca.

It is striking just how comfortably these professionals use shell companies to carry out covert operations–in some instances, even long after their retirement. Indeed, it seems that old habits die hard. The documents show that Mossack Fonseca’s offshore structures not only served the interests of suspected tax evaders and other criminals, they also supported spies in a business that relies on absolute secrecy.

The phenomenon can easily be explained. “You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy,” says Loch K. Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia, in explaining the cover that offshore firms offer.

Johnson, a former aide to a U.S. Senate committee’s intelligence inquiries, has spent decades studying CIA front companies. Just like everyone else, spies, hostage rescuers, or weapons smugglers need logistics, starting with things as simple as bank accounts and credit cards to pay for their hotel rooms. Sometimes they also need cash, a ship, or even an airplane. It is in these instances that a front company can conceal the true customers or interested parties.

In the James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name

Ian Fleming knew this, too: in his James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name to cover up the British secret agent’s activities. It is very telling that the company has such a nondescript name. Whenever Bond has to make a call to London, he identifies himself as a businessman who is contacting his boss at the export company. He then talks about trivial things, the true meaning of which only British intelligence understands.

Over the years, “Universal Exports“ has become the epitome of secret service front companies. In fact, the name is so well-known that Mossack Fonseca’s business partners still mention it today. When a trustee wrote to the Panamanian law firm in 2010 to request that a company be set up for a client, he joked about possible company names: “I’ll suggest a name like ‘World Insurance Services Limited’ or maybe ‘Universal Exports’ after the company used in the early James Bond stories but I don’t know if we’d get away with that!” Many of the company names that appear on Mossack Fonseca’s lists suggest that the parties concerned would at least like to have the feeling that they’re close to the world of espionage. Company names include “Goldfinger”, “Skyfall”, “Moonraker”, “Spectre”, and “Blofeld”–all of them well-known from Bond movies. Evidently, the clients of the offshore business either have a good sense of humor, or are just plain cynical.

The trail to the world of espionage not only leads to secret agent movies, but also to the real world of intelligence agencies. One example is Loftur Johannesson, a wealthy 85-year-old Icelander from Reykjavík. Several articles and books have shown links between Johannesson and the CIA. Among other things, he is thought to have supplied weapons to anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan, an allegation that Johannesson has denied. “Mr. Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation related activities, and he completely rejects your suggestions that he may have worked for any secret intelligence agencies,” a spokesman told ICIJ. From 2002 onward, his name appears in connection with at least four companies that Mossack Fonseca manages, and which are headquartered either in the British Virgin Islands or Panama.

It is not clear why people like Johannesson still need offshore companies after they have retired, or why they may keep a portion of their assets there. It is likely difficult to transfer revenues from secret business activities to a normal account without raising suspicion. The German secret agent Werner Mauss’s shell companies raise similar questions. Does he (or did he) need them to move ransom money, collect commissions, or simply to save taxes? According to information provided to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the state prosecutor’s office in Bochum, Germany, is currently investigating Mauss on suspicion of tax evasion. Mauss, however, has expressly denied the allegations.

Operating fleets of airplanes (or managing global trade activities with them) appears to be one of the business sectors to which intelligence agencies or their suspected helpers are often linked. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian in exile, whose Boeing 707 allegedly flew weapons to Tehran, appears in the Mossack Fonseca files from 2000 onward. At the time, he had a shell company called ALG (Asia & Pacific) registered in the British Virgin Islands. It appeared to be a branch of his Aviation Leasing Group, a US company based in Missouri that operates more than 60 aircraft.

It wasn’t until 13 years later that Mossack Fonseca realized it might be dealing with a man who did business with an intelligence agency. At the time, Mossfon employees came across a report that linked Azima to the CIA. The report described how a company called EATSCO (Egyptian American Transport and Services Corporation) was thought to have helped deliver weapons to Libya in the late 1970s. The company was owned by several former CIA agents. When they found out about this, Mossack Fonseca became nervous, and asked an Azima representative to confirm his identity. When the law firm did not receive an answer, it looks as though it didn’t pursue the matter any further. Perhaps Mossfon determined that it was best not to know the details in some instances. Mossack Fonseca responded to a request for comment by explaining that it does a thorough background check on each of its clients. However, the law firm declined to comment on specific cases, stating that it finds any abuse of its services unfortunate.

Azima is linked to another dubious person: as the Mossack Fonseca documents show, in November 2011 Azima was registered as the co-director of a company named Eurasia Aviation Holdings Limited. Once again, the company appears to deal in airplanes. Houshang Hosseinpour (who is also active in the aviation business) is named as another of the company’s co-directors. Later on, the US government accused Hosseinpour of violating US sanctions imposed on Iran. And in February 2012, Eurasia Aviation suddenly claimed that Hosseinpour had nothing to do with the company, and that his name had appeared as a result of an “administrative error”. Shortly after, the company purchased an airplane.

Azima told ICIJ that the company was only used to buy an aircraft and that Hosseinpour had never been involved in the company. The plane was not going to be used in the U.S., Azima said, so couldn’t be registered in the U.S. and the choice of the BVI was not for tax purposes. “I’ve filed every tax known to mankind,” Azima told ICIJ. Hosseinpour could not be reached for comment. In 2013, before the sanctions came into force, he told the Wall Street Journal that he had no connections to Iran and ”nothing to do with evading sanctions.”

In itself, none of this demonstrates any contact to the CIA. However, it does show how comfortably people in intelligence circles move about in the world of shell companies. Adnan Khashoggi is another example of this: the Saudi billionaire is said to have orchestrated arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. According to a US Senate report [The BCCI Affair: Bank of Credit and Commerce International Senate Investigation Report December 1992; Section 11, BCCI, The CIA and Foreign Intelligence; HTML and PDF formats], he also played a “central role” [“Similarly, Khashoggi and Ghorbanifar performed a central role for the U.S. government in connection with the Iran/Contra affair in operations that involved the direct participation of CIA personnel.” page 308] in helping the CIA make secret arms sales to Iran.

Khashoggi also appears in Mossack Fonseca documents: from 1978 onward, he is listed as head of Isis Overseas S.A., a Panamanian company. The documents also link Khashoggi to four other companies, which he used mainly between the 1980s and the early 2000s. It is unclear what these companies were meant to hide.

Shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havens

At any event, the files confirm suspicions that secret agents, weapons dealers, and hostage rescuers need a secret financial infrastructure in addition to the services of companies like Mossack Fonseca, from which they don’t expect too many questions.

There is no indication that Mossack Fonseca looked into Khashoggi’s past, even though the firm processed payments from the Adnan Khashoggi Group the same year he made global news when the U.S. charged him with helping Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines at the time, loot millions. Khashoggi was later cleared. Mossack Fonseca’s files show the firm ceased business with Khashoggi around 2003.

It goes without saying that the shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havens. Supposed private companies that in fact work for the CIA can also be established in the United States. One recent example is a network of six US companies, among them Aero Contractors Limited, Pegasus Technologies, or Tepper Aviation. While these companies are listed as providers of chartered flights, after 2001 they operated 26 airplanes that in reality belonged to the CIA.

At the time, the Agency used the airplanes for the global war on terror, for instance to move suspected Al-Qaida terrorists between secret prisons and other torture facilities. Just as was the case for arms shipments to Iran, prisoner transport was not something that the government could do openly. The New York Times, which exposed the true activities of Aero Contractors and others, cited a former CIA agent as saying: “When the C.I.A. is given a task, it’s usually because national policy makers don’t want ‘U.S. government’ written all over it“.

By all appearances, shell companies and tax havens have helped people in the underworld lead a double life. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian-born airline executive, is thought to have been involved in several dubious arms deals. However, nothing has ever been proven, and Azima can still present himself as a high-society businessman in his other life. He is also a well-known donor to US politicians. Azima has donated money to both Republicans and Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton invited him to the White House on several occasions, and Azima has also supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In September 1996, ten years after the Iran-Contra affair, Bill Clinton was seen at a hotel in Kansas City during his presidential campaign, where he led the chorus of people singing “Happy Birthday” to their host–none other than Farhad Azima. Azima had pledged to donate USD 250,000 to Clinton’s campaign.

Panama Papers–The Secrets of Dirty Money []

About the Panama Papers: The scale of this information leak is unprecedented: 2.6 terrabytes of data, 11.5 million documents, 214,000 letterbox companies.

The Panama Papers include approximately 11.5 million documents–more than the combined total of the Wikileaks Cablegate, Offshore Leaks, Lux Leaks, and Swiss Leaks. The data primarily comprises e-mails, pdf files, photo files, and excerpts of an internal Mossack Fonseca database. It covers a period spanning from the 1970s to the spring of 2016.

The leaked data is structured as follows: Mossack Fonseca created a folder for each shell firm. Each folder contains e-mails, contracts, transcripts, and scanned documents. In some instances, there are several thousand pages of documentation.

The company at the center of all these stories is Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian provider of offshore companies with dozens of offices all over the world. It sells its shell firms in cities such as Zurich, London, and Hong Kong–in some instances at bargain prices. Clients can buy an anonymous company for as little as USD 1,000. However, at this price it is just an empty shell. For an extra fee, Mossack Fonseca provides a sham director and, if desired, conceals the company’s true shareholder. The result is an offshore company whose true purpose and ownership structure is indecipherable from the outside. Mossack Fonseca has founded, sold, and managed thousands of companies. The documents provide a detailed view of how Mossack Fonseca routinely accepts to engage in business activities that potentially violate sanctions, in addition to aiding and abetting tax evasion and money laundering.

About Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) Headquartered in Munich, is one of Germany’s leading newspapers. SZ has a total readership of 4.4 million for its print and online media. Its investigative journalism team counts five people, three of which are members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The Süddeutsche Zeitung has won a number of prestigious awards for its research work. Its team has cooperated with other media organizations on a number of projects, including Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, and Lux Leaks, which ICIJ coordinated. At the beginning of 2015, an anonymous source began sending the Süddeutsche Zeitung data from Mossack Fonseca, a provider of offshore companies. This marked the beginning of the Panama Papers project.

“‘There is no question that the United States serves as one of the biggest tax havens in the world for people outside the United States,’ said Daniel Reeves, now a consultant after retiring three years ago from the Internal Revenue Service, where he helped create its offshore compliance program.”
—“US scolds others about offshores, but looks other way at home,”
By Kevin G. Hall and Marisa Taylor, McClatchyDC, April 5, 2016

What needs to be revealed: One year ago “John Doe” sent a message. “John Doe’s” real name certainly is not John Doe. But this name, commonly used in the US by people who would like to uphold their anonymity, popped up. John asked a question that aroused our curiosity: “Interested in data? I would be happy to share.” And with that, one of the most unusual and exciting chapters in the history of Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) started.

SZ is now able to give insights into a demimonde, a shadow world which up to this point nobody from outside has ever been able to look into. This is a world in which people covertly shove back and forth assets worth millions. Here is where they park company shares, a world in which they buy yachts and airplanes.

In this shadowy world some of the action is completely legal. It can be reasonable for a German bank manager to keep secret the fact that he owns a mansion on the island of Mallorca. He might decide to hide the necessary papers in an offshore company. Fair enough as long as his assets are taxed in his home country. However, this is not the case for many of the business activities which are handled through offshore companies in overseas tax havens.

Often, those accounts are solely a cover-up for unlawful activities and shall protect criminals. SZ has evaluated data together with 400 journalists from all over the world during the past twelve months. Suddenly it becomes obvious how gigantic the problem of offshore businesses really is and how urgent it is for the world community to act upon it.

So far it has commonly been known that rich people and companies use offshore firms to avoid–as they see it–annoying taxation as much as possible. This is already shameless often and violates the societal contract, because these taxes are desperately needed for national budgets. The missing money can’t be used for community purposes: the construction of schools, rail tracks and public housing. But the offshore problem goes far beyond that. Apparently terror groups are using this system to finance themselves, as SZ’s stories will show. Criminal regimes in Syria and elsewhere are presumably capable to bypass sanctions imposed by the international community and able to continue a war with barrel bombs against its own people.

Members of China’s state and party leadership up to the entourage of the president himself apparently have set up an extraordinary amount of companies in or through Panama to hide millions of dollars abroad. Even before we published the results of our research, we received threats by those people who were confronted with our findings. The spokesperson of the Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared his people for an “information attack” of Western media. That was the Kremlin’s official answer to questions we had raised about those dubious transfers of huge amounts of money by the President’s entourage and about the fabulous wealth of close friends of Putin.

The law firm in Panama running many of these business deals, announced retaliatory measures against coming publications. The use of “information/documentation unlawfully obtained” would be a crime.

When Edward Snowden passed on his knowledge about the wiretapping of the NSA the US government also accused him of a crime: betrayal of secrets. Colleagues from The Guardian had to justify themselves because they published the material obtained by Snowden.

Many John Does are currently out there in the financial world. For media outlets the decisive question is not only if this information was obtained legitimately. There are two other crucial points: Is the source trustworthy? And is there a legitimate public interest?

Together with their partners Süddeutsche Zeitung checked and compared thousands of documents John Doe had delivered to us. We double cross examined with other publications and documents or files from lawsuits. Not in a single case there were any doubts. And the public interest here is obvious: The secrets of the Panama Papers need to be revealed.

This interest is not a voyeuristic one. It must not be kept secret if a state–as in the case of Snowden–is gathering information about its citizens, continuously breaching law or the legal shell of friends and allies. On the same token it must not be kept a secret when the community of states–as in the case of the offshore business–does nothing or not enough if a criminal regimes breaches sanctions. This has to be revealed.


American Nuremberg: Holding the U.S. Accountable For Its Actions

Amer-Nuremberg2

Back Row: C. Rice, J. Brennan, B. Obama, D. Petraeus
Front Row: R. Cheney, G. Bush, D. Rumsfeld, Fill-In #1, Fill-In #2

Challenging the legitimacy and further perpetuation of the “Global War on Terror” has never been more vital and necessary for the future of humanity than it is today. Rebecca Gordon’s latest book: American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial For Post 9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books: New York, 2016), provides critical perspectives on confronting war crimes committed by both U.S. presidents since September 11, 2001.A good introduction podcast is Jeff Blankfort’s radio program Takes on the World interview with Rebecca Gordon, American Nuremberg Trial Needed. Blankfort goes way back with Gordon as he describes at the beginning of the program. The recording of the program is all of 34 minutes. Start with this to get a sense of the significance of this book.From American Nuremberg’s Introduction:

“To this day, the people of the United States have never had a full accounting of all that has been done in our name as part of an apparently endless war on terror. After years of struggle, we finally have the heavily redacted 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report on the torture allowed by the CIA. But it contains only a partial accounting of the actions of a single US agency among the many security branches involved in the war on terror. Nor has there been any real public reckoning for those officials, including men (and a few women) at the highest levels of the government who are responsible for all these deeply troubling actions undertaken by Washington since 9/11. This impunity all but guarantees that the next time our country is seized by a spasm of fear, we can expect more crimes committed in the name of national, and our own, security....

“There is a pressing need to bring the United States into the legal community of nations, where it must be held accountable for its actions. Let us be clear: the scale of US crimes in the war on terror comes nowhere near the genocidal war-making of the Nazis. But ever since World War II, the American empire has put its heavy boots on every continent. Even in imperial decline—after disastrous wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and facing long-term challenges from China and Russia—it remains the world’s preeminent military and economic power. If the most powerful country in the world—a country that still, decades after the end of the Soviet Union, calls itself “the leader of the free world”—can violate international laws of war and human rights with complete impunity, then why should any other nation be constrained? For the sake of the victims of the war on terror, for the sake of our national soul, but even more for the future of humanity, we need a full accounting and real accountability for American war criminals. We need an American Nuremberg.”

Rebecca Gordon, writing in TomDispatch.com:

The conclusion of Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial (April 24, 2016):

And so, the case against the man who was waterboarded 83 times and contributed supposedly crucial information to the CIA on al-Qaeda plotting was oh-so-quietly withdrawn without either fuss or media attention. Exhibit one was now exhibit none.

Seven years after the initial filing of Zubaydah’s habeas petition, the DC District Court has yet to rule on it. Given the court’s average 751-day turnaround time on such petitions, this is an extraordinary length of time. Here, justice delayed is truly justice denied.

Perhaps we should not be surprised, however. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, CIA headquarters assured those who were interrogating Zubaydah that he would “never be placed in a situation where he has any significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released.” In fact, “all major players are in concurrence,” stated the agency, that he “should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life.” And so far, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one—not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA—has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

The conclusion of Crimes of the War on Terror – Should George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Others Be Jailed? (June 7, 2016):

Seeing “the truth established” was the purpose behind South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Torturers and murderers on both sides of the anti-apartheid struggle were offered amnesty for their crimes—but only after they openly acknowledged those crimes. In this way, a public record of the horrors of apartheid was built, and imperfect as the process may have been, the nation was able to confront its history.

That is the kind of reckoning we need in this country. It started with the release of a summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program, which brought many brutal details into the light. But that’s just the beginning. We would need a full and public accounting not just of the CIA’s activities, but of the doings of other military and civilian agencies and outfits, including the Joint Special Operations Command. We also would need a full-scale airing of the White House’s drone assassination program, and perhaps most important of all, a full accounting of the illegal, devastating invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Justice would also require—to the extent possible—making whole those who had been harmed. In the case of the “war on terror,” this might begin by allowing torture victims to sue their torturers in federal court (as the U.N. Convention against Torture requires). With one exception, the Obama administration has until now blocked all such efforts on national security grounds. In the case of the Iraq War, justice would undoubtedly also require financial reparations to repair the infrastructure of what was once a modern, developed nation.

We’re unlikely to see justice in the “war on terror” until that cruel and self-defeating exercise is well and truly over and the country has officially acknowledged and accounted for its crimes. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 40 years.


Dr. Martin Luther King's 1967 Anti-War Speech & Today

adapted by E. Martin Schotz
with assistance from David Ratcliffe
20 June 2016

MLK-at-RC-4Apr1967-detMartin Luther King speaking at Riverside Church, NYC, 4 Apr 1967

Almost fifty years ago Martin Luther King gave a major speech against the Vietnam war and US militarism in general. In that speech he tied together our militaristic and repressive response to the movements of national liberation throughout the world that were threatening certain economic interests. He called for a revolution in our values from an orientation toward wealth and physical things toward a concern with others and particularly the poor. He warned that history did not stand still, that if we did not seize the opportunity, the tides that seemed to be rising against injustice might recede. Looking back we can see that his warning was all too true. The lessons of the movement against of the Vietnam War were not learned by us. We allowed ourselves to be mesmerized by the manufactured drama of Watergate. We allowed our revulsion over the Vietnam War to be labeled our “Vietnam Syndrome”, something to be cured by another more successful First War against Iraq.

Now fifty years later we are in darker times. The military industrial intelligence complex, the national security state, the corporations and their media are all more entrenched. We find ourselves living inside a monster to which we have a parasitic relationship, a monster which progressively threatens the environment upon which life on our planet depends.

January 18 was Martin Luther King Day. Is this really a day of celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or is it a day designed to further consign him to history and truncate his message? In an effort to explore this, let’s go back to his speech at Riverside Church of 49 years ago on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated, and, re-working it, take from it what we can for today. Perhaps this can help us come closer to truly resurrecting Martin Luther King, Jr in ourselves. In the following 2016 re-work, Dr. King’s original words are set in italics and bold.

Read 2016 re-work


Nuclear War - An Unrecognized Mass Extinction Event Waiting To Happen

The Helen Caldicott Foundation Presents

Steven Starr

Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction

The New York Academy of Medicine, 28 February - 1 March 2015

It is time for the leaders of the nuclear weapon states to publicly acknowledge that nuclear arsenals threaten continued human existence.

In 1945, Albert Einstein said, “The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking.” In 2015, seventy years later, we are still stockpiling nuclear weapons in preparation for nuclear war. Our continued willingness to allow huge nuclear arsenals to exist clearly shows that we have not fundamentally grasped the most important truth of the nuclear age: that a nuclear war is not likely to be survived by the human species. A war fought with 21st century strategic nuclear weapons would be more than just a great catastrophe in human history. If we allow it to happen, such a war would be a mass extinction event that ends human history. There is a profound difference between extinction and “an unprecedented disaster,” or even “the end of civilization,” because even after such an immense catastrophe, human life would go on.

But extinction, by definition, is an event of utter finality, and a nuclear war that could cause human extinction should really be considered as the ultimate criminal act. It certainly would be the crime to end all crimes.

Nuclear war fought with US & Russian strategic nuclear arsenals would leave Earth uninhabitable; Radioactive fallout from bombs, ruined nuclear power plants, and destruction of ozone layer

The world’s leading climatologists now tell us that nuclear war threatens our continued existence as a species. Their studies predict that a large nuclear war, especially one fought with strategic nuclear weapons, would create a post-war environment in which for many years it would be too cold and dark to even grow food. Their findings make it clear that not only humans, but most large animals and many other forms of complex life would likely vanish forever in a nuclear darkness of our own making.

The environmental consequences of nuclear war would attack the ecological support systems of life at every level. Radioactive fallout, produced not only by nuclear bombs, but also by the destruction of nuclear power plants and their spent fuel pools, would poison the biosphere. Millions of tons of smoke would act to destroy Earth’s protective ozone layer and block most sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface, creating Ice Age weather conditions that would last for decades.

Yet the political and military leaders who control nuclear weapons strictly avoid any direct public discussion of the consequences of nuclear war. They do so by arguing that nuclear weapons are not intended to be used, but only to deter.

Remarkably, the leaders of the Nuclear Weapon States have chosen to ignore the authoritative, long-standing scientific research done by the climatologists, research that predicts virtually any nuclear war, fought with even a fraction of the operational and deployed nuclear arsenals, will leave the Earth essentially uninhabitable.

Existential Threat of Nuclear War is Unrecognized--Leaders of Nuclear Weapon States do not publicly recognize or discuss the threat their nuclear arsenals pose to continued human existence

Some of the more recent of these scientific studies appeared in print almost 9 years ago. Yet their predictions have not been publicly acknowledged or discussed by any American or Russian President, nor by any of their top military leaders. In fact, none of the current leaders of any of the nations that possess nuclear weapons have ever made such a public acknowledgment.

It is not clear that these leaders are even aware of the findings of this research, since they have consistently refused to meet with the scientists who did the studies.

No Nuclear Weapon State has ever attempted to evaluate what consequences the detonation of their nuclear arsenals would have upon the global biosphere and ecosystems.

The existential danger of strategic nuclear arsenals is not part of the global debate on nuclear weapons

As a result, the grave threat to continued human existence posed by existing arsenals of nuclear weapons is a subject not included in the global debate on nuclear weapons.

The existential danger of nuclear war has not been mentioned during American presidential campaigns or debates for more than 40 years. Such considerations have never been included in any military planning or as part of any national strategic review of US military force requirements.

The existential danger of strategic nuclear arsenals is not part of the global debate on nuclear weapons

Why is this? According to our best scientists, the deployed arsenals of nuclear weapons pose a clear and present danger to the survival of our species. How is it that our leaders are unable or unwilling to even talk about this grave danger?

Absence of public education and awareness of nuclear war: American public schools do not teach about the effects of nuclear weapons or the consequences of nuclear war; public is no longer aware of the grave danger posed by nuclear war; American political leaders are also generally uninformed about the size and capabilities of the US nuclear arsenal

In the 1980s, the American public was generally aware of the existential threat posed by nuclear war. That awareness no longer exists today.

This is in part because US public schools do not teach students about nuclear weapons. A couple of generations of Americans have grown up with essentially no knowledge of the effects or consequences of nuclear war.

This may be why our political and military leaders continue to focus upon the numbers of nuclear weapons rather than the consequences of their use. This makes no sense when a single ballistic missile now carries almost three times more nuclear explosive power than all the bombs that were detonated during World War 2.

A universal ignorance of basic nuclear facts ultimately creates a very dangerous situation, because leaders who are unaware that nuclear war can end human history are likely to lack the gut fear of nuclear war that’s needed to prevent them from leading us into a nuclear holocaust.

I teach an online class on nuclear weapons at the University of Missouri [Nuclear Weapons: Environmental, Health and Social Effects], and I get smart students but virtually none of them that come into my class know anything about nuclear weapons; they don’t know the difference between an atomic bomb and a strategic nuclear weapon, they don’t know that large arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons even exist.

Without this basic knowledge, it is almost impossible for anyone to understand the immense dangers posed by nuclear war. Thus I am now going to take some time to explain these facts, to try to insure my message today is clear.

WATCH FILM / READ COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT WITH SLIDES.


The History of United States Settler Colonialism

Colonization, Dispossession, Genocide Forms the Core of US History, the Very Source of the Country’s Existence

Will It Be The Future As Well?   The Choice Is Ours

American Progress

An 1872 painting by John Gast called “American Progress” shows a white woman floating across the plains of the United States. The female figure is a depiction of Columbia. She wears the Star of Empire on her forehead, carries a School Book under her right arm, and is the herald of techno-logic perceptional reality, driving Indigenous people, bison, and other animals out of the picture and into oblivion. Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, writing in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2014), describes the significance of the Columbia persona:

The Columbus myth suggests that from US independence onward, colonial settlers saw themselves as part of a world system of colonization. “Columbia,” the poetic, Latinate name used in reference to the United States from its founding throughout the nineteenth century, was based on the name of Christopher Columbus. The “Land of Columbus” was—and still is—represented by the image of a woman in sculptures and paintings, by institutions such as Columbia University, and by countless place names, including that of the national capital, the District of Columbia.

Within the theology of Western civilization’s industrial progress—and belief in its intrinsic goodness that indoctrinated generations of Europeans—rests the justification for the wanton destruction of the great civilizations existent in the Western Hemisphere long before the arrival of Columbus. Throughout her book, Dunbar-Ortiz explores the driving process of settler colonialism that was and continues to be the global foundation of this destruction and how “To learn about this history is both a necessity and responsibility to the ancestors and descendants of all parties.”

A compilation of segments from An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States are at: <https://ratical.org/ratville/US-Settler-Colonialism.html>. Excerpts from this compilation follow:

What historian David Chang has written about the land that became Oklahoma applies to the whole United States: “Nation, race, and class converged in land.” Everything in US history is about the land—who oversaw and cultivated it, fished its waters, maintained its wildlife; who invaded and stole it; how it became a commodity (“real estate”) broken into pieces to be bought and sold on the market.

US policies and actions related to Indigenous peoples, though often termed “racist” or “discriminatory,” are rarely depicted as what they are: classic cases of imperialism and a particular form of colonialism—settler colonialism. As anthropologist Patrick Wolfe writes, “The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism. Land is life—or, at least, land is necessary for life.”

The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism—the founding of a state based on the ideology of white supremacy, the widespread practice of African slavery, and a policy of genocide and land theft. . . .

Writing US history from an Indigenous peoples’ perspective requires rethinking the consensual national narrative. That narrative is wrong or deficient, not in its facts, dates, or details but rather in its essence. Inherent in the myth we’ve been taught is an embrace of settler colonialism and genocide. The myth persists, not for a lack of free speech or poverty of information but rather for an absence of motivation to ask questions that challenge the core of the scripted narrative of the origin story. How might acknowledging the reality of US history work to transform society? That is the central question this book pursues.

The above excerpts are reprinted with permission from An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Beacon Press, 2014, pages 1-2 and 4.

Speaking about the book in December 2014, Dunbar-Ortiz describes connections between the centuries-long genocidal program of the settler-colonialist regimen and the US military today. It is critical to understand the continuity between the unrelenting frontier wars that began in the early seventeenth century and which moved overseas after the Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890, symbolizing the end of Indigenous armed resistance in the continental US.

The next chapter is called “Bloody Footprints” and it’s about how the U.S. Army was formed in the wars against native people east of the Mississippi. This is a quote from a military historian, John Grenier, in a book called The First Way of War:

For the first 200 years of our military heritage, then, Americans depended on arts of war that contemporary professional soldiers supposedly abhorred: razing and destroying enemy villages and fields; killing enemy women and children; raiding settlements for captives; intimidating and brutalizing enemy non-combatants; and assassinating enemy leaders. . . . In the frontier wars between 1607 and 1814, Americans forged two elements—unlimited war and irregular war—into their first way of war. [ The First Way of War, American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814, John Grenier, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 5, 10]

I make throughout the book, connections between the U.S. military today and its foundation in these unrelenting wars that actually went up through 1890 and then moved overseas to the Philippines and the Caribbean with the same generals in the Philippines who had been fighting the Sioux and the Cheyenne in the Northern Plains. And interestingly enough, also, who were called in (one division of them) to fight striking workers in Chicago. So I think there [are] very interesting interconnections with the use of the military in the United States that we don’t always put together.

The Second Amendment and the irregular warfare, these were mostly settler militias who could organize themselves. Andrew Jackson started that way as the head of the Tennessee Militia. [For] his militia’s war against the Muskogee Creeks, driving them out of Georgia, he was made a Major General in the U.S. Army. So it was a career builder as well to start a militia. But these were also used, especially after U.S. independence, as slave patrols, these militias, self-appointed militias. These militias would form to police – free – they weren’t paid to do it – and we still see the ghosts of this performing, actually today.

Recording of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz at Green Apple Books in San Francisco on 4 December 2014. Produced by Time of Useful Consciousness Radio in Parts One and Two.

Detailing the ways in which the conquest of lands that are today called the United States came to be claimed and owned by European men, reveal the processes and characteristics of settler colonialism. This specific brand of colonial usurpation is founded upon institutionalizing extravagant violence through unlimited war and irregular war. Extreme violence was carried out by Anglo settlers against civilians to cause the utter annihilation of the indigenous population. The goal of this extermination was to enable the settlers’ total freedom to acquire land and wealth.

To say that the United States is a colonialist settler-state is not to make an accusation but rather to face historical reality. (p. 7)

Settler colonialism, as an institution or system, requires violence or the threat of violence to attain its goals. People do not hand over their land, resources, children, and futures without a fight, and that fight is met with violence. In employing the force necessary to accomplish its expansionist goals, a colonizing regime institutionalizes violence. The notion that settler-indigenous conflict is an inevitable product of cultural differences and misunderstandings, or that violence was committed equally by the colonized and the colonizer, blurs the nature of the historical processes. Euro-American colonialism ... had from its beginnings a genocidal tendency. (p. 8)

In the beginning, Anglo settlers organized irregular units to brutally attack and destroy unarmed indigenous women, children, and old people using unlimited violence in unrelenting attacks. During nearly two centuries of British colonization, generations of settlers, mostly farmers, gained experience as “Indian fighters” outside any organized military institution. Anglo-French conflict may appear to have been the dominant factor of European colonization in North America during the eighteenth century, but while large regular armies fought over geopolitical goals in Europe, Anglo settlers in North America waged deadly irregular warfare against the indigenous communities....

The chief characteristic of irregular warfare is that of the extreme violence against civilians, in this case the tendency to seek the utter annihilation of the indigenous population. “In cases where a rough balance of power existed,” observes historian John Grenier, “and the Indians even appeared dominant—as was the situation in virtually every frontier war until the first decade of the nineteenth century—[settler] Americans were quick to turn to extravagant violence.”

Many historians who acknowledge the exceptional one-sided colonial violence attribute it to racism. Grenier argues that rather than racism leading to violence, the reverse occurred: the out-of-control momentum of extreme violence of unlimited warfare fueled race hatred. “Successive generations of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, made the killing of indian men, women, and children a defining element of their first military tradition and thereby part of a shared American identity. Indeed, only after seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Americans made the first way of war a key to being a white American could later generations of ‘Indian haters,’ men like Andrew Jackson, turn the Indian wars into race wars.” By then, the indigenous peoples’ villages, farmlands, towns, and entire nations formed the only barrier to the settlers’ total freedom to acquire land and wealth. Settler colonialists again chose their own means of conquest. Such fighters are often viewed as courageous heroes, but killing the unarmed women, children, and old people and burning homes and fields involved neither courage nor sacrifice. (p. 58-9)

US history, as well as inherited indigenous trauma, cannot be understood without dealing with the genocide that the United States committed against indigenous peoples. From the colonial period through the founding of the United States and continuing in the twenty-first century, this has entailed torture, terror, sexual abuse, massacres, systematic military occupations, removals of indigenous peoples from their ancestral territories, and removals of indigenous children to military-like boarding schools. The absence of even the slightest note of regret or tragedy in the annual celebration of the US independence betrays a deep disconnect in the consciousness of US Americans. (p. 9)

Robert Williams is an author, legal scholar, and member of the Lumbee Indian Nation. In his 2012 book, Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization he discusses the anxiety-producing imagery of the “savage” from the time of Greek colonizers to its influences today. Anglo settlers projected their own inner savagery outside themselves onto Indigenous people whose way of life was perceived to be so different that they could be branded as “other” and then destroyed. One instance of the savagery practiced by Anglo settlers was in the way scalp hunting came to be practiced. The roots of scalp hunting pre-date the Settler Colonialism project in North America.

During the early 1600s the English conquered Northern Ireland, and declared a half-million acres of land open to settlement; the settlers who contracted with the devil of early colonialism came mostly from western Scotland. England had previously conquered Wales and southern and eastern Ireland, but had never previously attempted on such a scale to remove the indigenous population and “plant” settlers. The English policy of exterminating Indians in North America was foreshadowed by this English colonization of Northern Ireland. The ancient Irish social system was systematically attacked, traditional songs and music forbidden, whole clans exterminated and the remainder brutalized. A “wild Irish” reservation was even attempted. The planted settlers were Calvinist Protestants, assured by their divines that they had been chosen by God for salvation (and title to the lands of Ulster). The native (and Papist) Irish were definitely not destined for salvation, but rather the reverse, both in the present and hereafter.

The “plantation” of Ulster followed centuries of intermittent warfare in Ireland, and was as much the culmination of a process as a departure. In the sixteenth century, the official in charge of the Irish province of Munster, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, ordered that:

The heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies and brought to the place where he incamped at night, and should there bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie ledying into his owne tente so that none could come into his tente for any cause but commonly he muste passe through a lane of heddes which he used ad terrorem...[It brought] greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kindsfolke, and freinds. [Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialsim, and the Cant of Conquest (New York: W. W. Norton, 1975), 168.]

Bounties were paid for the Irish heads brought in and later only the scalp or ears were required. A century later, in North America, Indian heads and scalps were brought in for bounty in the same manner. Native Americans picked up the practice from the colonizers. The first English colonial settlement in North America had been planted in Newfoundland in the summer of 1583, by Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

From “The Grid of History: Cowboys and Indians, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Monthly Review, 2003, Volume 55, Issue 03 (July-August).
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

In Chapter 4 Dunbar-Ortiz explains more about how scalp hunting became routine amongst Anglo settlers starting in the mid 1670s and cites John Grenier making the point that with settler authorities offering bounties for scalps, “they established the large-scale privatization of war within American frontier communities.” Understanding the savagery visited upon the nations and communities of Indigenous peoples at the hands of Europeans bent on taking their lands by extirpating them provides a more holistic understanding of how the commonplace violence expressed today throughout the United States has its historical roots in the founding centuries of this settler colonialist state.

Indigenous people continued to resist by burning settlements and killing and capturing settlers. As an incentive to recruit fighters, colonial authorities introduced a program of scalp hunting that became a permanent and long-lasting element of settler warfare against Indigenous nations. [Grenier, First Way of War, pp. 29-34, 36-37, 39.] During the Pequot War, Connecticut and Massachusetts colonial officials had offered bounties initially for the heads of murdered Indigenous people and later for only their scalps, which were more portable in large numbers. But scalp hunting became routine only in the mid-1670’s, following an incident on the northern frontier of the Massachusetts colony. The practice began in earnest in 1697 when settler Hannah Dustin, having murdered ten of her Abenaki captors in a nighttime escape, presented their ten scalps to the Massachusetts General Assembly and was rewarded with bounties for two men, two women, and six children. [Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America. New York: Viking, 2001, p. 290.]

Dustin soon became a folk hero among New England settlers. Scalp hunting became a lucrative commercial practice. The settler authorities had hit upon a way to encourage settlers to take off on their own or with a few others to gather scalps, at random, for the reward money. “In the process,” John Grenier points out, “they established the large-scale privatization of war within American frontier communities.” [Grenier, First Way of War, pp. 39-41.] Although the colonial government in time raised the bounty for adult male scalps, lowered that for adult females, and eliminated that for Indigenous children under ten, the age and gender of victims were not easily distinguished by their scalps nor checked carefully. What is more, the scalp hunter could take the children captive and sell them into slavery. These practices erased any remaining distinction between Indigenous combatants and noncombatants and introduced a market for Indigenous slaves. Bounties for Indigenous scalps were honored even in absence of war. Scalps and Indigenous children became means of exchange, currency, and this development may even have created a black market. Scalp hunting was not only a profitable privatized enterprise but also a means to eradicate or subjugate the Indigenous population of the Anglo-American Atlantic seaboard. [Ibid. pp 41-43.] The settlers gave a name to the mutilated and bloody corpses they left in the wake of scalp-hunts: redskins.

This way of war, forged in the first century of colonization—destroying Indigenous villages and fields, killing civilians, ranging and scalp hunting—became the basis for the wars against the Indigenous across the continent into the late nineteenth century. [Ibid. p 52.]

It follows that the commonplace violent nature of today’s culture in the United States would have as its roots, generations of US Americans who were raised within a tradition of killing indian men, women, and children as part of the genesis of a shared American identity as well as the shared experience of engendering profitable privatized enterprises resulting from such extravagant violence.

READ COMPLETE COMPILATION


Atomic Energy: Origins Of The Fallacy In A Risk-Free Radiation Dose

URANIUM: ITS USES AND DANGERS, by Dr. Gordon Edwards, 25 Sep 2014
URANIUM: ITS USES AND DANGERS, from a talk by Dr. Gordon Edwards, 25 Sep 2014; Photograph by Robert Del Tredici[1]

The ability to tap energy at the level of the atom is something new to our species. Atomic or nuclear energy is of a profoundly different order than energy that was previously released exclusively through chemical means.

Let’s begin with the word, nuclear. What is nuclear? Why do we use this word? Basically, a simple answer is, nuclear energy is energy that comes from the nucleus. The nucleus being the core of an atom. Every atom has a tiny core called the nucleus—very massive. And it’s surrounded by one or more orbiting electrons. These electrons are negatively charged and the nucleus itself is positively charged.

Chemical energy involves only the outer electrons. So every chemical reaction you’ve ever seen portrayed on television—big explosions—tanks firing things or cooking in the kitchen—all the changes that take place, all the industrial changes that take place in chemical plants—all of it involves only the electrons. It doesn’t involve the nucleus. Nuclear energy is energy that comes directly from the nucleus and it is typically millions of times more powerful than any chemical energy. And that’s why it’s rather difficult sometimes to grasp the scale of nuclear energy because things which are extremely tiny can be giving off an incredible amount of energy.

There are two types of nuclear energy in particular to discriminate between. The first one is called NUCLEAR FISSION and that’s the splitting of uranium atoms, for example. That’s what really gives the juice in a CANDU nuclear reactor, that’s what really produces the bulk of the heat that’s used to produce steam to generate electricity. But, there’s another form of nuclear energy, radiation, RADIOACTIVITY, specifically.

Now it’s very important to understand that these are different things. Nuclear Fission is a process which can be controlled. It can be speeded up, it can be slowed down, it can be stopped, it can be started. Radioactivity cannot be controlled that way. Nobody knows how to speed it up, how to slow it down, how to stop it. You can’t shut it off. And that’s why we have a nuclear waste problem because this radioactivity—enormous amounts of radioactivity—cannot be shut off.

There’s the problem in a nutshell. Nobody knows what to do about it. Although some people think they have an answer, we’re not sure if that answer is correct or not.

— Dr. Gordon Edwards [2]

Beginning in 1940, with the project to create an atomic bomb, a new technology based on the ability to manipulate the chemistry of uranium, was established with profound consequences unforeseen at that time. From that beginning, what came to be known as nuclear power was inextricably linked with nuclear weapons.

The nuclear power industry grew out of the nuclear bombs that decimated two Japanese cities in August 1945. These two industries are still inextricably entwined and will never be separated. The enrichment technology to make new uranium fuel is identical to that needed to make the uranium bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, while the plutonium stripped from spent nuclear fuel at reprocessing plants like Rokkasho is identical to the plutonium used in the plutonium bomb that destroyed Nagasaki.

— Chiho Kaneko [3]

In the past 7 decades, the increasing generation of vast amounts of man-made radioactive matter, inimical to all life on Earth, is unprecedented.

Long-lived radionuclides, such as cesium-137, are something new to us as a species. They did not exist on Earth, in any appreciable quantities, during the entire evolution of complex life. Although they are invisible to our senses, they are millions of times more poisonous than most of the common poisons we are familiar with. They cause cancer, leukemia, genetic mutations, birth defects, malformations and abortions at concentrations almost below human recognition and comprehension. They are lethal at the atomic or molecular level.

They emit radiation, invisible forms of matter and energy that we might compare to fire, because radiation burns and destroys human tissue. But unlike the fire of fossil fuels, the nuclear fire that issues forth from radioactive elements cannot be extinguished. It is not a fire that can be scattered or suffocated, because it burns at the atomic level – it comes from the disintegration of single atoms.

— Steven Starr [4]
Disaster Creep: “Safe Radiation Doses” Belief Began Post-1895

The events that developed in the late 1930s to early 1940s, becoming the Manhattan Project during World War II, resulted in the creation of two different designs of atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945. These events were preceded by a half-century of mistaken belief that low dose radiation was not harmful.

In 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen (pronounced rênt′gən) was studying the phenomena accompanying the passage of an electric current through a gas of extremely low pressure. On November 8, 1895, he discovered what he called X-rays as their nature at that time was unknown.[5] In 1898 Marie and Pierre Curie announced their discovery of radium, an element more radioactive than uranium.[6]

Use of xrays and what was termed "therapeutic irradiation for non-malignant conditions" became very popular among physicians even before the turn of the century. Marking the one hundredth anniversary of Röntgen’s discovery in 1995, Dr. Ronald G. Evens described some of the enthusiasm of those early days:

By the time of the appearance of the first American clinical diagnostic radiograph [also called roentgenograph and skiagraph], made at Dartmouth College by Dr. Edwin Frost on February 3, 1896, physicians were becoming increasingly aware of the extraordinary potential for the new discovery. By April, “xray mania” had seized the United States. Xray studios had opened for “bone portraits,” and countless photographers and electricians had set up shop as “skiagraphers.” Thomas Edison became an enthusiast in 1896, and attempted to xray the human brain “at work”.... Soon, the appearance of xray machines in general practitioners’ offices across the United States would underline the notion that a new technology was available to diagnose any and every ailment. Some physicians even thought it would eliminate the need for laboratory analysis in medicine.[7]

Medical practitioners believed xrays might cure almost every affliction. In 1906 Dr. George MacKee, a dermatologist, wrote about the runaway enthusiasm looking back at the first ten years:

During those years the rays, to a large extent, were empirically used and they were tried out on nearly every chronic disease. The literature was misleading, as it was full of case reports of wonderful cures, the occasional paper from the pen of a good man being ignored or overlooked by the average xray operator of the period and in spite of repeated warnings from capable men, the “radiomaniacs” held the reins.[8]

In 1963 Dr. John W. Gofman was asked by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to found and become the first Director of the Biomedical Research Lab at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. As a graduate student at UC Berkeley, where he received his PhD in Nuclear/Physical Chemistry in 1943, Gofman worked with Glenn Seaborg (his graduate advisor and co-discoverer of Plutonium) and Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project, eventually becoming the leader of the plutonium group at UC Berkeley. He received his M.D. from UCSF in 1946.

While working in the plutonium project at UC Berkeley, Gofman met Ernest Lawrence, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1939, “for the invention and development of the cyclotron and for results obtained with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements.” In 1952, Lawrence successfully lobbied the AEC to establish the University of California Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, California. In 1954 Lawrence invited Gofman into his office to discuss a matter of concern. As Gofman recounts their meeting,

We were good personal friends. “I’m worried about the guys out at Livermore,” he said. “I think they may do some things to harm themselves. You’re the only person who knows the chemistry and the medicine and the lab structure. Could you do me a favor and go out there a day or two a week and just roam around and see what the hell they’re doing, and see that they do it safely? If you don’t like anything they’re doing, you can tell them that your word is my word, that either they change, or they can leave the lab.”[9]

Lawrence understood and valued the fact that Gofman was especially qualified in both the hard (nuclear physics) and soft (medical) sciences.

In 1995 Gofman was interviewed in a program on Human Radiation Experiments Oral Histories conducted by the Department of Energy.[10] In addition to the interview, he submitted the following supplement, providing context regarding how, in the five decades preceding the Manhattan Project, the dominant biomedical community erroneously believed that exposure to low dose ionizing radiation was of no consequence. Once this bias of missing the boat concerning cancer induction had been adopted over decades, the imperative to continue operating with the “no problem from exposure to low-dose radiation” mindset predominated. This overrode all voices urging caution or that the medical community’s prior guidance was wrong.

Supplement to the Oral History of John W. Gofman
March 20, 1995
An Overview in Retrospect of the “1945 + Human Radiation Experiments”

It is my opinion based upon some major studies I have accomplished in the past year that it is a grave mistake to consider “human radiation experiments” as a phenomenon peculiar to the advent of large-scale atomic energy.

In fact, the really significant events were in 1895 (Roentgen’s discovery of the X-Ray), and 1898 (the Curie’s discovery of radium). The true era of massive human radiation experimentation began very shortly after Roentgen’s work, and by the 1940-1945 period, all the features were in place that ASSURED we would have precisely what has been found to have been the case in the post-1945 period. But there really was nothing special about the human experiments beginning after 1945.

Two Major Facts of Life Which Must Be Conceded Here

1. Humans in recent decades (last couple of hundred years) operate on the technological imperative. Whatever is discovered must be applied immediately. There has been no thought, until recently, about DISASTER CREEP which can occur as a result of looking only at the short span of time for consequences of exposure to new technologies.

2. A special example of disaster creep is the inordinately long latent period before the full flowering of cancers following exposure to carcinogens such as ionizing radiation. The time is clearly at least 50 years and it may really be 60 or more years.

THE RESULT: The bulk of cancers from x-radiation and radium gamma rays simply were not seen, partly because of the long latency and partly because the idea that long-term follow-up was essential was clearly dismissed in the half-century after the Roentgen discovery.

THE FALSE CONCLUSION: Doses of 200, 400, 600, and even over 1000 Roentgens of exposure to partial body radiation were erroneously exonerated as cancer producers. Millions of cancers were set in motion in the populations receiving ionizing radiation in the half-century before the A-bomb.

And this set the stage for all the events recently receiving notice. How?

Radiation below 500 to 1000 roentgens of exposure was ridiculed as being of no consequence by failure to look at the follow-up of persons exposed.

When the post-Hiroshima era resulted in the massive Atomic Energy Bureaucracy, with all the biases built-in from 50 years of having missed the boat concerning cancer production, WHO WAS PUT IN CHARGE OF THE PROGRAM ON HEALTH EFFECTS? THE VERY PEOPLE WHO HAD A TOTAL BIAS IN FAVOR OF “No Problem from Low-Dose Radiation.” Although there should have been more thoughtfulness over the uranium miners and dial painters, somehow the idea became accepted that beta particles and electromagnetic radiation simply had shown themselves not to be a worry. Alpha particles, grudgingly yes.

Not that these people were correct. THEY WERE NOT. But I am describing the atmosphere in which these individuals came to be the dominant forces in setting up the post-war era of biology and medicine of irradiation. The bias was overwhelming, and with their short-sighted look at the problem, it seemed as though they really believed there was no harm.

That was the EARLY phase post-war. But once the bureaucracy was set up and the movers and shakers were told, “No problem with health issues,” the door was opened wide for all sorts of proposals from nuclear power, massive uses of radionuclides in medicine and elsewhere, and even all the “Plowshare” ideas.

This set up a new phase. Once the biologists had told the high moguls there was no problem with health effects, all kinds of wheels were in motion and from there on out, the biomedical people had to try to have biology conform to their erroneous view of what the real truth was.

And all hell would break loose if the moguls had been embarrassed by the poor biological guidance from an inept biomedical community. And that community, seeing this golden goose of unlimited funds for research and grants, simply was not in any mood to say, “Go Slow,” or that our prior guidance was wrong.

We are now slowly coming off that erroneous mountain—but because so much prestige and so much funding have gone into the enterprise, the easiest path is denial that any problem exists at doses of a few rads. After all these same people just a couple of decades earlier were telling the Congress and the public that 500 to 1000 rads were “Safe” exposures. I have recently found even more evidence that this was the prevailing view at the bureaucratic top.

There is a fundamental rule that exposing persons to a potential poison, with an assurance of safety when that cannot be assured, is fraudulent. At the very least, this constitutes human experimentation, with its Nuremberg connotations. Such experimentation is commonplace today, with so-called safe standards being set for “tolerance” doses. The idea of safe doses was much much more in error for the 50 year period before the atomic bomb.

Now we can go into the Oral History, but I think failure to appreciate the 50 years before the a-bomb completely confuses the persons looking into the ethics of so-called “human experimentation.” The outcome WAS CRADLED long before the post-bomb period, and was an inevitable expectation.

End of Prologue

I have felt these conclusions needed to be here. They have resulted from an in-depth year-long investigation of the extent to which ionizing radiation, primarily medical x-rays and radium gamma rays, accounts for the current level of breast-cancers. We estimate that 75{61cfed9bfd5d1099fe4565cd35b02734a85b61aaff86c4ca27fbe4b79001e9ab} of all breast-cancers were and are induced primarily by medical irradiation. Most of that was in the horrendous use of fluoroscopy and the equally questionable uses of radiation in the therapy of benign diseases—from dermatologists to rheumatologists. There is some REAL human experimentation.

Given the above, the dangers from further increases of low dose radiation exposure by official rulings is of concern to all. Raising the levels of “permissible” radiation exposure limits are occurring in the U.S. and Japan.[11] It becomes an ever more urgent necessity to inform ourselves and others about the true consequences of creating nuclear weapons and power.

A very positive process to be informed by, sign on to, and promote is the Montreal Declaration for a Nuclear-Fission-Free World. As stated in its opening two paragraphs,

As citizens of this planet inspired by the Second Thematic World Social Forum for a Nuclear-Fission-Free World, conducted in Montreal from August 8 to August 12, 2016, we are collectively calling for a mobilization of civil society around the world to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons, to put an end to the continued mass-production of all high-level nuclear wastes by phasing out all nuclear reactors, and to bring to a halt all uranium mining worldwide.

This call goes out to fellow citizens of all countries worldwide who see the need, whether as an individual or as a member of an organization, for a nuclear-fission-free world. We are committed to building a global network of citizens of the world who will work together, using the internet and social media to overcome isolation, to provide mutual support and to coordinate the launching of joint actions for a world free of nuclear fission technology, whether civilian or military.

References
  1. Photograph by Robert Del Tredici, “Monument to the Splitting of the Atom, Chelyabinsk,” which commemorates Igor Kurchatov, the father of the Soviet atomic bomb. It shows the splitting of a uranium atom. Large semicircles depict the energy given off at the moment the atom splits. Two hemispheres represent broken pieces of the atom; they are newly formed radioactive materials called `fission products'. Slide Number 4 from “Uranium, Its Uses and Dangers,” (PDF), Presentation by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (www.ccnr.org), presented at Wendake, Quebec, on September 25, 2014 for the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec & Labrador.[]
    See Also: “Born Again: Denial and Eternally Recurring Surprise in Nuclear Waste Management,” a slide presentation by Robert Del Tredici, “in order to capture the human meaning of what we’re dealing with.” May 12, 2011, Naropa University, Boulder Colorado from Rocky Flats, a Call to Guardianship a lecture series on the sterwardship of nuclear waste sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and the Environmental Studies Department of Naropa University.
  2. High Level Nuclear Waste, film presentation by Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, made in Schreiber, Ontario, February 11, 2015. []
  3. Chiho Kaneko, member of Fairewinds Board of Directors; “Demystifying Nuclear Power: Nuclear IS Atomic, Fairewinds Energy Education, 18 Oct 2015. []
  4. Steven Starr, Director, University of Missouri Clinical Laboratory Science Program, Associate, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, former board member and senior scientist for Physicians for Social Responsibility;
    The Implications of Massive Radiation Contamination of Japan with Radioactive Cesium,” Helen Caldicott Foundation Symposium, “The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident,” Co-Sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, March 11 and 12, 2013. []
  5. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen received the Nobel Prize in Physics 1901in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him”. []
  6. See “Dec. 21, 1898: The Curies Discover Radium,” by Tony Long, wired.com, 12/21/09 []
  7. Ronald G. Evens, “Roentgen Retrospective: One Hundred Years of a Revolutionary Technology,” J. American Medical Assn. Vol.274, No.11: 912-916. September 20, 1995, pp. 914, 915. []
  8. George M. MacKee, XRays and Radium in the Treatment of Diseases of the Skin, Third Edition. 830 pages. Several chapters have co-authors. (Lea & Febiger, Malvern PA 19355 USA.) 1938, p. 16. []
  9. Chapter 4. John W. Gofman, Medical Physicist. from Leslie Freeman, Nuclear Witnesses: Insiders Speak Out (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1981, 1982), p. 86. []
  10. Human Radiation Studies: Remembering The Early Years, Oral History of Dr. John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D., conducted December 20, 1994, United States Department of Energy, Office of Human Radiation Experiments, June 1995 []
  11. See, for example:[]

 


What Was The Phoenix Program?

The Phoenix Program in Vietnam in many ways provides a blue print for our own times. Assassinations and torture are the essence of the war on terror. As are death squads and false flag terror attacks. As are mass surveillance of the populace.

douglasvalentineThanks to the work of Douglas Valentine in his nonpareil book The Phoenix Program we have an extremely detailed account of the Phoenix Program, exposing a classic example of the brutality of the CIA’s counter insurgency wars. By studying the Phoenix program one gains a great deal of insight into the wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

What was the Phoenix Program?

From the perspective of a Bureaucrat like Bill Colby it was merely an attempt to coordinate a number of pre-existing programs.  Sort of like the Department of Homeland Security or more precisely its fusion centers where military, police, and intelligence agencies pool information on their enemies the American people. Phoenix sought to provide cooperation between various Vietnamese and American agencies so that they could coordinate their war on the Vietnamese people. What was the Phoenix program? A massive campaign of torture and assassination aimed at destroying what the CIA called the VCI the Viet Cong Infrastructure.  Amusingly this term was as confusing to Vietnamese as it probably is to you.

Read Hugo Turner’s full review of The Phoenix Program here:

Hugo Turners Full Review

The documentation of The Phoenix Program includes an archive at Cryptocomb.org wherein is published, “over 8GB's of audio recordings that Mr. Valentine collected throughout his personal interviews with former CIA and U.S. Military Officers while researching for his book, The Phoenix Program. The Phoenix Program for the unacquainted was a CIA generated operation that sponsored mass arrests, terrorism, torture, murder and lies during the war in Vietnam. Many of the players went on to walk the halls of the Pentagon, Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, and major National Security Corporations. The recordings are just as Cryptocomb received them, in the raw, not edited or redacted. Cryptocomb would like to thank Douglas Valentine for preserving these recordings and providing them to Cryptocomb. It's only through his hard work and diligence that everyone benefits from the truth.”

Doug Valentine writing in “How I Came to Understand the CIA ” (counterpunch, 12-23-16):

I’ve been researching the CIA for over 30 years and I’ve interviewed over 100 CIA officers. So naturally, people often wonder how I prepare myself. In one of the interviews that’s included in my new book, James Tracy asked me how I know where to look for information that’s pertinent to a given story.

I told James that’s it’s complicated, that my experience is different from most other CIA researchers and writers. I didn’t follow the usual career course. I didn’t go to the Columbia School of Journalism. I’m a college dropout who climbed trees for a living for ten years. But I did want to be a writer, and my philosophy of life is based on the study of language and literary criticism. I take a very broad approach. When I went to college, I studied Greek and Roman literature, read the Norton anthologies of English and American literature, and took courses in classical myth and the Bible.

Very early in my studies I was introduced literary critics like Robert Graves, poet and author of The White Goddess, and Sir James Fraser who wrote The Golden Bough. Fraser brought a socio-anthropological way of looking at the world of literature. That led me to Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Eric Newman, Northrop Frye and a few other people who approached literature from a variety of different perspectives – psychological, political, anthropological, sociological, historical, philosophical. All those things were of interest to me. So when I look at a subject, I look at it comprehensively from all those different points of view, plus my blue collar, working class perspective.

Literary criticism teaches the power of symbolic transformation, of processing experience into ideas, into meaning. To be a Madison Avenue adman, one must understand how to use symbols and myths to sell commodities. Admen use logos and slogans, and so do political propagandists. Left or right; doesn’t matter. The left is as adept at branding as the right. To be a speech writer or public relations consultant one must, above all, understand the archetypal power of the myth of the hero. That way you can transform Joe the Plumber, or even a mass murdering politician, into a national hero.

When I decided to research and write about the CIA’s Phoenix program, that was how I thought about it. I went directly to William Colby, who’d been Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I didn’t know enough to be intimidated, it was just the smart

thing to do. Colby was the person most associated with Phoenix, the controversial CIA “assassination” program that resulted in the death of tens of thousands of civilians during the Vietnam War. No one had written a book about it, so I wrote Colby a letter and sent him my first book, The Hotel Tacloban, which is about my father’s experiences in combat and as a POW in World War Two.

Tacloban was key to unlocking the CIA’s door, for two reasons. First, it demonstrated that I understood what it means to be a soldier, which was essential in terms of winning the trust of CIA officers, most of whom think of themselves as soldiers. The CIA is set up like a military organization with a sacred chain of command. Somebody tells you what to do and you salute and do it.  Colby himself had parachuted behind enemy lines in France during World War Two.

On a deeper level, Tacloban showed that I could bridge the “man” gap that divided my frag-happy, draft-dodging generation from Colby’s “saved the world for freedom and democracy” generation. I felt that “father-son” dynamic with Colby and several of the senior spooks he referred me to. Some of them even acknowledged that I was attempting to reconcile with them in a way their own sons never had.

So I told Colby I wanted to write a book that would de-mystify the Phoenix program, and he was all for that. Colby liked my approach – to look at it from all these different points of view – so he got behind me and introduced me to a lot of senior CIA people. And that gave me access from the inside. After that it was easy. I have good interview skills. I was able to persuade a lot of these CIA people to talk about Phoenix. I approached it from an organizational point of view, which is essential when writing about bureaucracies like the CIA or the DEA. You have to understand them as a bureaucracy, that they have an historical arc. They begin somewhere, they have a Congressional mandate, they have a purpose, and organizational and management structures. And in that regard I really lucked out. One of the first people I interviewed was the CIA officer, Nelson Brickham, who organized the Phoenix program in 1967 in Saigon. Brickham graduated magna cum laude from Yale and was something of an organizational genius. He explained to me how he organized Phoenix. He also explained the different divisions and branches of the CIA so I’d be able to understand it. All of that went into my book The Phoenix Program.

So I lucked out. Through Colby I had access to the CIA people who created the Phoenix program and its various components. I was able to find out what was on their minds and why they did what they did. That never would have happened if I had gone to the Columbia School of Journalism, or if I’d been working for mainstream media editors for many years. I’d have had a much narrower way of going about the thing. But the CIA officers I spoke with loved the broad view that I was bringing to the subject. They liked me asking them about their philosophy. It enabled me to understand the subject comprehensively. I related to them on a very personal level, and when the book came, they reeled. Colby was furious.

So the New York Times killed the book in its cradle. As Guillermo Jiminez noted in one of our interviews, the book didn’t take off until Open Road Media republished it 25 years later as part of their Forbidden Bookshelf series. Guillermo asked me why my book was chosen for the series, why there was new-found interest in Phoenix, and what the CIA is up to, generally, nowadays.

As I explained, when the book came out in 1990, it got a terrible review in The New York Times. Morley Safer, who’d been a reporter in Vietnam, wrote the review. Safer and the Times killed the book because in it I said Phoenix never would have succeeded if the reporters in Vietnam hadn’t covered for the CIA.

Several senior CIA officers told me the same thing, that some correspondent “was always in my office. He’d bring a bottle of scotch and I’d tell him what was going on.” The celebrity reporters knew what was going on, but they didn’t report about it in exchange for having access.

I said that in the book specifically about The New York Times. I said, “When it comes to the CIA and the press, one hand washes the other. To have access to informed officials, reporters frequently suppress or distort stories. In return, CIA officials leak stories to reporters to whom they owe favors.” I told how, at its most incestuous, reporters and government officials are related. I cited the example of Charles LeMoyne, a Navy officer who ran the CIA’s counter-terror teams for a year in the Delta, and his New York Times correspondent brother James. I said that if Ed Lansdale hadn’t had Joseph Alsop to print his black propaganda in the US, there probably would have been no Vietnam War.

 

Read more about Doug Valentine and his work here: <douglasvalentine.com>


Army Feared King

US Army Intelligence
Spied on King Family for 3 Generations

MLK Family Tree back 3 generations
Martin Luther King Family Tree

Contrary to what is presented in corporate state media, the United States Intelligence-Surveillance State is not a recent phenomenon. A penetrating article written by Stephen G. Tompkins in 1993 investigates a level of institutional racism that directed multi-generational decision-making by authorities in U.S. Army Intelligence.

The article reveals what was, in 1993, “the Army’s largest-ever espionage operation within the United States.” The complete article is available here. The beginning is quoted below.

 

Army feared King, secretly watched him
Spying on blacks started 75 years ago
Stephen G. Tompkins
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Tennessee
Sunday, March 21, 1993

The intelligence branch of the United States Army spied on the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for three generations. Top secret, often illegal, intrusions into the lives of black Americans began more than 75 years ago and often focused on black churches in the South and their ministers.

The spying was born of a conviction by top Army intelligence officers that black Americans were ripe for subversion – first by agents of the German Kaiser, then by Communists, later by the Japanese and eventually by those opposed to the Vietnam War.

At first, the Army used a reporting network of private citizens that included church members, black businessmen such as Memphis’s Robert R. Church Jr., and black educators like the Hampton Institute’s Roscoe C. Simmons. It later employed cadres of infiltrators, wiretaps and aerial photography by U2 spy planes.

As the civil rights movement merged with anti-war protests in the late 1960s, some Army units began supplying sniper rifles and other weapons of war to civilian police departments. Army Intelligence began planning for what some officers believed would soon be armed rebellion.

By March 1968, King was preparing to lead a march in Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers and another march a few weeks later that would swamp Washington with people demanding less attention to Vietnam and more resources for America’s poor.

By then the Army’s intelligence system was keenly focused on King and desperately searching for a way to stop him.

On April 4, 1968, King was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

In the 25 years since, investigators have focused on the role the FBI and other police agencies played in King’s life. Few have paid attention to the Army’s activities.

Some of the Army’s spying against anti-war and civil rights groups became public knowledge in 1971 congressional hearings. But key intelligence officers avoided testifying, leaving the full story untold.

The Commercial Appeal’s 16-month investigation of the Army’s secret spy war with black citizens provides a first-time look inside the Army’s largest-ever espionage operation within the United States.

Much of the story was pieced together from a trail of memos, memoirs, diaries and meeting notes scattered around the country in military archives, the Library of Congress, presidential libraries and private collections. Some of the documents are still classified. Other pieces came from interviews with nearly 200 participants, including the recollections of several dozen Army agents still living in this country and in Mexico.

This newspaper’s investigation uncovered no hard evidence that Army Intelligence played any role in King’s assassination, although Army agents were in Memphis the day he was killed.

But the review of thousands of government documents and interviews with people involved in the spying revealed that by early 1968 Army Intelligence regarded King as a major threat to national security.

READ COMPLETE ARTICLE


 


Who Killed RFK?

Sirhan Sirhan Did Not Kill Robert Kennedy
48 years Later His 15th Parole Application Is Denied in 2016

 
Contents
 
Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the 1968 murder of Robert F. Kennedy, came face to face with man who testified at his trial and has long advanced the argument that Sirhan fired shots that night—but not the ones that killed Kennedy.
Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16
Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of killing Robert F Kennedy, during his Feb 2016 hearing in San Diego where he was denied parole.
Photograph Credits: Gregory Bull/AP

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan has been denied parole for the 15th time after telling a board that he could not remember shooting John F Kennedy’s brother in 1968 and was therefore unable to confess.

In the highly charged atmosphere, a witness in the 1969 trial of Sirhan Sirhan came forward at the hearing to call for the convicted man’s release. Paul Schrade, now 91, who was also shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, apologized for missing Sirhan’s previous 14 parole hearings. He told Sirhan: “I should have been here long ago and that’s why I feel guilty for not being here to help you and to help me.” After the hearing, while Sirhan was being taken away, Schrade shouted, “Sirhan, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s my fault.”

Parole commissioners, however, were unmoved. “This crime impacted the nation, and I daresay it impacted the world,” commissioner Brian Roberts said. “It was a political assassination of a viable Democratic presidential candidate.”

Mr Schrade was alongside the candidate when five people were injured in the June 5th shooting. Mr Schrade was shot in the head.

The two men faced each other at the parole hearing for the first time since Mr Schrade testified at Sirhan’s 1969 trial.

Mr Schrade pleaded for the release of Sirhan at the hearing and apologized to him for not doing more over the years to secure his freedom.

A 2008 update to Shane O’Sullivan’s 2007 documentary film, RFK Must Die featuring new audio evidence
that suggests a second gunman fired the shot that killed Bobby Kennedy.
 

 

What follows is the testimony of Paul Schrade
 
By Paul Schrade, Reader Supported News, 11 February 2016
Full text of Paul Schrade’s prepared remarks for delivery at Sirhan Sirhan’s February 10, 2016 Parole Suitability Hearing.
Transcription provided by Brad Johnson, Concept Producer for Rob Beemer, Interesting Stuff Entertainment, Los Angeles (Rob accompanied Paul Schrade to Sirhan’s parole hearing, acting as Mr. Schrade’s support person).
Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16
Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16Sirhan Parole Hearing, 02-10-16
Paul Schrade giving testimony at Sirhan Sirhan’,Feb 2016 parole hearing
Photograph Credits: Gregory Bull/AP

Good Morning, Gentlemen:

I am Paul Schrade of Los Angeles. I am 91 years old. And back when I was 43, I was among six persons shot at the old Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles at just after Midnight on June 5th, 1968.

I was shot along with Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had just won California’s Democratic Primary Election for the Presidency of the United States. Five of us survived our wounds. And as history knows, Senator Kennedy was fatally wounded.

I am here to speak for myself, a shooting victim, and to bear witness for my friend, Bob Kennedy.

Kennedy was a man of justice. But, so far, justice has not been served in this case. And I feel obliged as both a shooting victim and as an American to speak out about this – and to honor the memory of the greatest American I’ve ever known, Robert Francis Kennedy.

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984 but, after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded and he has since been denied 14 times.

In order for you to make an accurate determination of Sirhan Sirhan’s parole, you need to know my feelings on this case and the full picture of what actually happened.

Sirhan, I forgive you.

The evidence clearly shows you were not the gunman who shot Robert Kennedy. There is clear evidence of a second gunman in that kitchen pantry who shot Robert Kennedy. One of the bullets – the fatal bullet – struck Bob in the back of the head. Two bullets struck Bob literally in his back. A fourth bullet struck the back of his coat’s upper right seam and passed harmlessly through his coat. I believe all four of those bullets were fired from a second gunman standing behind Bob. You were never behind Bob, nor was Bob’s back ever exposed to you.

Indeed, Sirhan, the evidence not only shows that you did not shoot Robert Kennedy but it shows that you could not have shot Robert Kennedy.

Gentlemen, the evidence clearly shows that Sirhan Sirhan could not and did not shoot Senator Bob Kennedy.

Several days ago, I made sure that several documents were submitted to this board for you to review. If you have not done so as yet, I would ask you to please review them very carefully during your deliberation. I will be glad to re-submit these documents to you, here today.

I believe, after you review these documents, that it should become clear to you that Sirhan Sirhan did not shoot – and could not have shot – Robert Kennedy. What I am saying to you is that Sirhan himself was a victim.

Obviously there was someone else there in that pantry also firing a gun. While Sirhan was standing in front of Bob Kennedy and his shots were creating a distraction, the other shooter secretly fired at the senator from behind and fatally wounded him. Bob died 25 hours later.

Gentlemen, I believe you should grant Sirhan Sirhan parole. And I ask you to do that today.

Along with what Sirhan’s lawyers have submitted to you, the following are the documents that I made sure were submitted to you and which should also be factored into your decision today.

First, I want to show you this. It’s a letter written in 2012 by my good friend, Robert F. Kennedy Junior[1]. Bobby wrote this letter to Eric Holder, who was then the Attorney General of the United States. In his letter to Mr. Holder, Bobby requests that federal authorities examine the Pruszynski Recording, the only known audio recording made of his father’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel. The recording was uncovered in 2004 at the California State Archives by CNN International senior writer Brad Johnson.

This next document is a federal court declaration from audio expert Philip Van Praag,[2] who Johnson recruited to analyze the Pruszynski Recording.

In this document, Van Praag declares that his analysis of the recording concludes that two guns were fired in the Robert Kennedy shooting.

Van Praag found a total of 13 gunshots in the Pruszynski Recording.[3] Sirhan’s one and only gun at the crime scene held no more than eight bullets and Sirhan had no opportunity to reload it.

Van Praag also found what he calls “double-shots” – meaning two gunshots fired so close together that they could not both have come from Sirhan’s Iver Johnson Cadet revolver. Van Praag actually found two sets of these “double-shots.”

Additionally, he found that five of the 13 gunshots featured a unique audio resonance characteristic that could not have been produced by Sirhan’s gun model, meaning those five shots were fired from a second gun of a different make.

Van Praag further found that those five gunshots were fired in a direction heading away from Pruszynski’s microphone. Since the microphone was about 40 feet west of the Kennedy shooting, those five shots were fired in an eastward direction, which was opposite the westward direction that Sirhan is known to have fired his eight-shot Iver Johnson Cadet.

These documents are statements from two witnesses to the Robert Kennedy shooting, both of them assistant maître d’s for the Ambassador Hotel. These two men, Karl Uecker[4] and Edward Minasian,[5] escorted Robert Kennedy into the kitchen pantry immediately after the Senator delivered his victory speech in a hotel ballroom for having won the California Primary. Both Uecker and Minasian say Sirhan was in front of Bob Kennedy as the Senator walked toward Sirhan, meaning that Bob and Sirhan were facing each other. Both witnesses say Sirhan was still in front of Bob as Sirhan fired his gun. And both say that after Sirhan fired his first two shots, Uecker quickly pushed Sirhan against a steam table, placing Sirhan in a headlock while grabbing hold of Sirhan’s firing arm, forcing the tip of Sirhan’s gun to point away from where Bob Kennedy was and causing Sirhan to fire blindly his remaining six bullets.

In other words, Sirhan only had full control of his gun at the beginning, when he fired his first two shots, one of which hit me. Sirhan had no opportunity to fire four precisely-placed, point-blank bullets into the back of Bob Kennedy’s head or body while he was pinned against that steam table and while he and Bob were facing each other.

This document is the official Robert Kennedy autopsy report summary.[6] It shows that all bullets directed at Senator Kennedy were fired from behind him at point-blank range. As the autopsy states, and as these drawings show, the bullets traveled from back-to-front at steep upward trajectories. One bullet struck Senator Kennedy at the back of the head, two bullets at the right rear armpit and a fourth bullet at the right rear shoulder of his jacket, which passed harmlessly through his jacket.

Again, Sirhan’s bullets could not have struck the back of Bob Kennedy’s head or the back of his body or the back of his jacket’s right shoulder, as the autopsy clearly shows took place, because Sirhan was never in a position to administer any of those four Kennedy shots. The prosecution never placed Sirhan in that location and position.

These are documents from the Los Angeles Police Department that reveal LAPD misconduct in the police investigation of the Robert Kennedy murder.[7] They detail evidence that was destroyed while Sirhan’s appeal was still pending as well as a photograph that was acknowledged by the LAPD to be “effective rebuttal” but was withheld from the defense team.

Indeed, the LAPD and L.A. County District Attorney knew two hours after the shooting of Senator Kennedy that he was shot by a second gunman and they had conclusive evidence that Sirhan could not – and did not – do it. The official record shows that the prosecution at Sirhan’s trial never had one witness – and had no physical nor ballistic evidence – to prove Sirhan shot Bob Kennedy. Evidence locked up for 20 years shows that the LAPD destroyed physical evidence and hid ballistic evidence exonerating Sirhan – and covered up conclusive evidence that a second gunman fatally wounded Robert Kennedy.

This document is a memo written by Criminalist Larry Baggett, who investigated the Robert Kennedy shooting for the LAPD. The Baggett memo states that the bullets that hit Senator Kennedy and William Weisel, another shooting victim in the pantry, were not fired from the same gun. The memo also states that the bullet that traveled upward through Bob Kennedy’s body and into his neck was not fired from Sirhan’s revolver. Such a finding would be proof that Sirhan did not shoot Robert Kennedy.[8]

Mr. Deputy District Attorney, based on all of this information and more, I ask that you inform Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey that I am formally requesting her to order a new investigation of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. I will also be making the same request of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

Please note, Mr. Deputy District Attorney, that I am using the word “new” here. I am not requesting that the old investigation simply be re-opened. For that would only lead to the same old wrong conclusions. I am requesting a new investigation so that after nearly 50 years, justice finally can be served for me as a shooting victim; for the four other shooting victims who also survived their wounds; for Bob Kennedy who did not survive his wounds because his were the most grievously suffered in that kitchen pantry; for the people of the United States who Bob loved so much and had hoped to lead, just as his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had led only a few years before; and of course for justice, to which Bob Kennedy devoted his life.

Furthermore, Mr. Deputy District Attorney, I ask that you please also tell the District Attorney, Ms. Lacey, that I would appreciate the opportunity to personally meet with her in Los Angeles at her earliest convenience. Would you please convey my message to her?

I hope you will consider all of the accurate details of this crime that I have presented in order for you to accurately determine Sirhan Sirhan’s eligibility for parole. If you do this the right way and the just way, I believe you will come to the same conclusion I have: that Sirhan should be released. If justice is not your aim, then of course you will not.

Again, Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984 but after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded and he has since been denied 14 times.

The best example of this can be found in this statement of Los Angeles District Attorney John Van de Kamp.[9]

Again, gentlemen, I believe you should grant Sirhan Sirhan parole. And I ask you to do that today in the name of Robert F. Kennedy and in the name of justice.

Thank you. That concludes my remarks.

*     *     *     *     *
 
Sirhan Bishara Sirhan: trained by coercive persuasion techniques to serve as a distractor at RFK’s assassination
from: “The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing

Another important document submitted to the parole board two days before the hearing was a new declaration by Dr. Daniel Brown,[10] a psychologist from Harvard Medical School. Since May 2008, Dr. Brown has spent over 100 hours with Sirhan, including a two-day visit last September.

The aim of these sessions was threefold: to “conduct a detailed forensic psychological assessment” of Sirhan’s mental status; to allow Sirhan “to develop a more complete memory...for the events leading up to and of the night of the assassination”; and to determine whether or not Sirhan was the “subject of coercive suggestive influence” at the time of the shooting and if this accounted for his amnesia.

The declaration states that, in Dr. Brown’s expert opinion, Sirhan is normal, does not have a psychiatric condition or personality disorder and shows no evidence of any violence risk if released (the primary consideration for any parole panel).

In his sessions with Sirhan, Dr. Brown found “a variety of personality factors that are associated with high vulnerability to coercive suggestive influence: an extreme dissociative coping style; hypnotically-induced altered personality states; extremely high hypnotizability; and high social compliance”:

Mr. Sirhan is one of the most hypnotizable individuals I have ever met, and the magnitude of his amnesia for actions not under his voluntary [control] in hypnosis is extreme. This unusual combination of personality factors makes Mr. Sirhan the type of individual extremely vulnerable to coercive social influence [and accounts for his] uncharacteristic behavior and strong amnesia for that behavior on the night of Senator Kennedy’s assassination...

Dr. Brown’s declaration traces the seeds of this “coercive suggestive influence” back to his experiences at a local race track, where,

Mr. Sirhan regularly practiced self-hypnosis with fellow stable boys...Mr. Sirhan was observed to quickly enter a very deep state of hypnotic trance state and to then respond compulsively and uncritically to suggestion the [sic] behave in certain ways for which he subsequently became amnesic....

After a fall from a horse at a ranch in Corona in 1966, Sirhan was briefly hospitalized but, as Dr. Brown notes,

The medical record of the hospital shows that he was treated for a minor eye injury and discharged the same day. His mother and best friend both states [sic] that he was missing for two full weeks. Mr. Sirhan recalls being in the hospital for several weeks. Sometime thereafter he was taken to a military firing range and trained to shoot upon command at vital human organs while in an hypnotic state.

Dr. Brown notes that Sirhan’s “dissociative vulnerability” causes him “on rare occasions to shift self-states”:

On more than one occasion I was able to find the cue to induce “range mode,” wherein upon hypnotic cue, Mr. Sirhan takes his firing stance, hypnotically hallucinates that he is shooting at circle targets at a firing range, automatically starts shooting, and subsequently is completely amnesic for the hypnotically induced behavior. This altered personality state only occurs while Mr. Sirhan is in a hypnotic or self-hypnotic state, and only in response to certain cues. This state never spontaneously manifests. While in this altered personality state, Mr. Sirhan shows both a loss of executive control and complete amnesia....[T]his distinctive self-state is cue-specific and state-dependent...and is likely the product of coercive suggestive influence and hypnosis.

On the night of the assassination, Sirhan recalls being led in the Ambassador Hotel pantry by a girl in a polka-dot dress. As Robert Kennedy was approaching him, Dr. Brown writes, “this same woman taped [sic] him on the elbow twice (a common hypnotic cue) following which he immediately went into ‘range mode,’ and believed he was shooting at circle targets at a local firing range.”

Given the new evidence of a second gunman found on the Pruszynski recording, it is Dr. Brown’s expert opinion “that Mr. Sirhan was trained through a variety of coercive persuasion techniques to serve as a distractor on the night of the assassination, so that a second professional shooter could render the fatal shot.”

Sirhan fired his gun on cue, carrying out an involuntary post-hypnotic suggestion and his “strong dissociative coping style...would cause him to be ‘out of it’ and be confused and amnesic for such actions”:

Given the likelihood that Mr. Sirhan was in such a state at the time of the assassination, it should not be assumed at the parole hearing that he should manifest either knowledge of, remorse for, or clear memory for an event wherein his behavior was likely compulsively induced, involuntary, and for which he still has little memory.

portion of most famous page from Sirhan's notebook
Portion of the most famous page of Sirhan Sirhan’s notebook
Photo credit: California State Archives

The self-incriminating writing in Sirhan’s notebooks has always been cited as primary evidence of premeditated murder. The most famous page begins: “May 18 9.45 AM – 68 My determination to eliminate R.F.K. is becoming more the more of an unshakable obsession.” Underneath it are a series of concentric circles that bear a strong resemblance to targets at a firing range.

After exploring Sirhan’s “responsiveness to automatic writing in hypnosis,” Dr. Brown concluded that the automatic writing in his notebooks was “a product of coercive persuasion by a third party”:

Mr. Sirhan was an avid enthusiast of short wave radios. He had a short wave radio in his bedroom, and spent most nights before the assassination communicating on his short wave radio to third parties. Mr. Sirhan frequently entered a hypnotic state while communicating with other parties on the short wave radio. While in trance Mr. Sirhan would automatically write down what was communicated to him, and subsequently was amnesic for the content of his automatic writing in the spiral notebooks.

Dr. Brown compares the notebooks to “a coerced internalized false confession” and claims they should have been ruled inadmissible at trial. He concludes:

Mr. Sirhan has been in prison for over four decades for a crime that he is unlikely to have committed. Extensive psychological testing by me and others shows no evidence for any clinically significant psychiatric condition and low evidence for violence risk, combined with the new evidence that raises reasonable doubt that Mr. Sirhan was the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, and also reasonable doubt about his previous written and verbal self-incriminating statements being voluntary and reliable, there is, in my opinion, no justifiable reason to deny his parole. Since he has spend [sic] all of his adult life in prison for a crime that he may not have committed, nor has volition about, knowledge of, nor memory for, the compassionate response would be to let Mr. Sirhan live the remainder of his life free. There is little risk here.

*     *     *     *     *
 
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS: Petition for a Writ of Certiorari by counsel for Mr. Sirhan to the US Supreme Court

The following was filed by attorneys Dr. William F. Pepper, Esq. and Laurie D. Dusek, Esq., counsels for Mr. Sirhan, with the Supreme Court of the United States., July 2016 (23 pages):

In The
Supreme Court of the United States
SPRING TERM, 2016


SIRHAN BISHARA SIRHAN
PETITIONER
V.

P.D. BRAZELTON, WARDEN E
RESONDENTS


On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the
United States Court of Appeals,
For the Ninth Circuit


PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

. . .

Petitioner, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a prisoner in the California State Prison system, subsequent to being arrested and charged with the murder of Robert F. Kennedy, has not only been previously denied, on appeal his petition for a new trial, on his habeas corpus petition for an evidentiary hearing but also he has been denied a Certificate of Appealability even in the force of powerful new forensic evidence.

Petitioners, respectfully prays that a Writ of Certiorari issue to review the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

. . .

REASONS FOR GRANTING THE WRIT
  1. IF ALLOWED TO STAND THE DECISION BELOW EVISCERATES THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS’ BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF A CRIMINAL DEFENDANT TO A FAIR TRAIL, BY ELIMINATING THE REQUIREMENT FOR EFFECTIVE LEAGAL [sic] ASSISTANCE AND REPRESENTATION.

Subsequent to being arrested and charged with the murder of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Appellant was represented at trial by his lead counsel, Grant Cooper. Appellant, to his detriment, never understood the degree and effect of the conflict, which would totally compromise his opportunity for a fair trail and compel ineffective assistance of counsel. Grant Cooper, the head counsel, during the entire trial was under a federal criminal indictment and subject to all the leverage and intimidation that imposes.

. . .

CONCLUSION

It is hard to conceive of a more blatant, textbook, example of ineffective assistance of Counsel. Defense counsel’s acts and omissions in this capitol case - Petitioner is only still with us because the California Legislature abolished the death penalty - ensured that a guilty verdict and a sentence to death was obtained.

Needless to say, the pending indictment against defense counsel Cooper went away after his performance.

The Petition for a Writ of Certiorari should be granted.

 


Sources
  • Robert F Kennedy’s killer loses 15th parole bid,” The Irish Times, Feb 11, 2016
     
  • The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing,” by Shane O’Sullivan, Who.What.Why, Feb 16, 2016
     
  • Transcript of Complete February 2016 Parole Hearing (212 pages)
     
  • B.C.-based actress Nina Rhodes-Hughes speaks of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination (with video),” by Denise Ryan, Vancouver Sun, May 7, 2012
     
  • Petition for a Writ of Certiorari by counsel for Mr. Sirhan to the US Supreme Court, July 26, 2016 (23 pages)
     
  • Sirhan’s Researcher website is Rose Lynn Mangan’s highly detailed compilation where she presents her “own research on the RFK assassination, which focuses on the ballistics evidence of the case, and the subsequent mishandling and falsification of that evidence in the attempt to cover up a conspiracy to assassinate RFK.” As she writes (beginning two-thirds of the way down on the site’s home page):

    I am Rose Lynn Mangan, the person whom Sirhan Bishara Sirhan designated, along with his brother Adel, to be his authorized researcher. I have been acting in that capacity for many years, and Sirhan has confirmed this in two authorization letters, one on September 20, 1993, and one on December 26, 1993.Statement of Conclusions and Beliefs about the RFK Assassination

    After nearly four decades of research into the RFK assassination, numerous personal meetings and interactions with Sirhan and his family, interaction with criminalists and other researchers involved in the case, interaction with the Los Angeles Police Department, the California criminal court system, and the California State Archives, I have come to the following firmly-held conclusions and beliefs:

    1. Sirhan was a psychologically-manipulated patsy in a much larger scheme to kill RFK. His true role, unbeknownst to him, was that of an attention-grabbing diversion. He did not fire the bullet that killed RFK.
    2. Sirhan was firing blanks! His ammunition had been switched by his handlers prior to the assassination. This theory, first suggested by criminalist William Harper, corresponds with the statements of several eye witnesses who saw “bits of paper” and other residue consistent with the use of blanks coming from Sirhan’s gun. It is my firm belief that Sirhan’s handlers put blanks in Sirhan’s gun because they did not trust that Sirhan would hit his intended target.
    3. There were two separate “firing positions”, according to William Harper’s measurements of ballistics evidence using a Hycom camera (see discussion below). According to Harper, one position was in line with Sirhan’s position, and one was behind RFK. There were other people besides Sirhan who were in an in-line position to shoot the bystanders. Harper’s ballistics measurements were in fact corroborated by the LAPD’s own independent tests years after the Sirhan trial, as documented in the Baggett memo mentioned below.
    4. Ballistics and other evidence was intentionally mishandled, mislabeled, and misappropriated by the L.A.P.D.  My report on Special Exhibit 10 documents this. It is my belief and conclusion that the L.A.P.D. did so at the behest of a higher Federal authority (see references below for more details).

    What you will find on this website

    On this website you will find documents, court testimony, analysis and reports on the weapons and bullets used and not used in the RFK assassination. You will see evidence of multiple guns, of the substitution of guns in the chain of evidence, of the destruction of records related to the guns, and of tampering of ballistics evidence of the bullets involved in the RFK assassination. My own research is covered in the Special Exhibit 10 Report that I presented to a meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences in Montpelier, France, in September, 2002. Overall, there are 424 pages of materials, which have been divided into logical pieces so that they may be more easily viewed and downloaded.

 


References

 

The first nine endnotes are documents Paul Schrade referenced during his testimony as well as observations he shares here:

  1. Letter from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., September 25, 2012. PDF and text formats. []
     
  2. Exhibit C, Declaration of Philip van Praag, November 14th 2011 in support of a new evidentiary hearing for Sirhan.
    See Also: “The Assassination of RFK: A Time for Justice!,” by Frank Morales, Global Research, Jun 16, 2012. []

     
  3. The Only ‘Picture’ of the Fatal Shooting of Robert Kennedy” []
     
  4. Karl Uecker Statement, 6-5-68: PDF and text formats []
     
  5. Edward Minasian Statement, 6-5-68; PDF and text formats []
     
  6. To Be Added: Official Robert Kennedy Autopsy Report Summary []
     
  7. To Be Added: Documents revealing LAPD misconduct in the police investigation of the Robert Kennedy murder []
     
  8. The Baggett Memo: PDF and text formats.
    This Baggett memo is from the LA Police SUS files, the Special Unit Senator unit set up to control the investigation of the RFK case in June 1968. This is evidence the LA Prosecutors had that proved the RFK neck bullet did not match Victim Weisel’s bullet from the Sirhan gun therefore proving Sirhan did not shoot RFK and the 2nd Gunman did. There is no date on it or file source. The first page does show the name of LA Police Deputy Chief John A Mc Allister and the initials of the person who wrote this report. This first page also questions and thinks “Wolfer and the investigator should go...”. For some time I thought the initials at the bottom were WEP but now think they look like MEP. They could be for Manuel Emmanuel Pena (Manny Pena) of the LA Police and head of SUS. This Baggett memo is undated and despite the connection with the Deputy Chief and maybe Pena it could stand more validation. []

     
  9. To Be Added: Statement of Los Angeles District Attorney John Van de Kamp exemplifies how political pressure forced Sirhan’s parole date to be rescinded []
     
  10. Declaration of Daniel Brown, Ph.D., 796 Beacon St., Newton, MA 02459, to Legal Dept., Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, 480 Alta Rd., San Diego, CA 92179, Re: The February 10, 2016 Parole Hearing of Sirhan B. Sirhan. PDF and text formats. []