Archive | April 2nd, 2018

Nazi Massacre at Gaza’s Borders

NOVANEWS
Massacre at Gaza’s Borders: We Will Not be Silent – End Israeli Impunity
 

On Land Day, March 30, thousands of peaceful, hopeful and unarmed Palestinian women, men and children gathered at the borders of Gaza for the Great March of Return. Initial reports indicate that at least 16 Palestinian people have been killed, and more than 1,400 were injured as a result of the Israeli Occupation Forces firing into crowds with live ammunition and tear gas.

This peaceful, non-partisan event occurs yearly on March 30 to highlight an injustice that Palestinians experience every day: the loss of their land to an illegal, colonial occupation. In the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, Palestinians non-violently placed their bodies on their own land in an attempt to correct a grave injustice and were met with sniper fire.

The International Coordinating Committee for the Great Return March called on all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, 1948-occupied Palestine and the diaspora to take part in the event, which marked the 42nd anniversary of Palestine Land Day.

“We did not come to fight, but to return to our country” (Source: Oren Ziv/Activstills.org)

In UN Resolution 194 (1949), The United Nations General Assembly clearly resolved that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”

Palestinian civil society plans to continue its peaceful actions each day, until May 15, the day Palestinians mourn the Nakba (Catastrophe) and the day that the US Government plans to move its embassy to Al-Quds/Jerusalem.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, made up of civil society organizations in 14 countries, condemns the Israeli Government’s slaughter of Palestinian people, who were exercising their legal right of protest to be free of illegal occupation, and the universal right of freedom of movement. Once again the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have shown their disregard for human life: they must not be allowed to do so with impunity. Those responsible for these war crimes must face justice.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Call your elected officials and DEMAND that they object vigorously to these unjustifiable killings. Call for IOF snipers and those who gave them their orders to be held responsible internationally. Demand that Israel respect the freedom of movement of all Palestinians.

SHARE THIS MESSAGE AND SAY THEIR NAMES

It is important to name those killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces on Friday. They are not anonymous “casualty figures”, they are young people with family and friends, people who had a future, but put it on the line for Palestine and for freedom of movement. We encourage you to remember the following names when you contact politicians demanding action.

  • Naji Abu Hajir – 25 years old
  • Mohammed Kamal Al-Najjar
  • Wahid Nasrallah Abu Samour – 27 years old
  • Amin Mansour Abu Muammar
  • Mohammed Naeem Abu Amr
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Ashour Odeh – 16 years old
  • Jihad Ahmed Fraina
  • Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi
  • Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi – 18 years old
  • Ibrahim Salah Abu Shaar – 22 years old
  • Abd al-Qader Marhi al-Hawajri – 25 years old
  • Sari Walid Abu Odeh
  • Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsha
  • Jihad Zuhair Abu Jamous – 30 years old
  • Bader al-Sabbagh – 22 years old
  • Mus’ ab Zuhair Essaloul – 23 years old

The FFC will sail as long as the occupation and the blockade continue, demanding the end of world governments’ complicity with these violations of human rights.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Massacre at Gaza’s Borders

Skripal Incident Deception

NOVANEWS

 

The March 4 incident followed earlier fabricated accusations, falsely blaming Russia for things it had nothing to do with.

No evidence was presented corroborating all accusations made. Anyone with minimum intelligence know claims without proof don’t pass the smell test.

The likely US/UK-staged Skripal incident has the overwhelming aroma of Russophobic disinformation – demonizing a country opposing Washington’s imperial agenda, defeating its regime change aim in Syria, foiling its plan to redraw the Middle East map, its scheme for dominating the region together with Israel.

The main US/Israeli objective is replacing Islamic Republic of Iran governance with pro-Western puppet rule. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus now blocked by Russia.

Putin apparently intends staying the course, knowing if Syria and Iran fall, Russia and China are Washington’s next targets.

These nations are the only ones standing in the way of unchallenged US global dominance – its longstanding imperial goal crucial to prevent.

Along with continuing its anti-terrorism operations in Syria, Russia intends debunking the Skripal hoax.

Days earlier, its Foreign Ministry said

what’s going on “shows that the UK authorities are not interested in finding out the motives and those responsible for the crime in Salisbury and suggests that the British intelligence services are involved in it,” adding:

“The behavior of the British authorities raises many questions. The UK population is itself kept in the dark about the key moments of this announced serious threat of the incident. The total number of victims is unknown.”

Do any exist? Allegedly poisoned police detective Nick Bailey is alive, discharged from hospitalization, and well.

Skripal’s daughter Yulia appears heading for a full recovery from whatever may have harmed her – clearly not a military-grade nerve agent as falsely claimed, able to kill in minutes, survival not possible if affected.

Is Sergey Skripal’s “miraculous recovery” next? Britain continues suppressing information about the March 4 incident.

On March 3,

“British military conducted exercises, during which the methods of combating chemical and biological contamination were practiced,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry explained,” adding:

London led a worldwide “campaign to create an absolute presumption of Russia’s guilt” despite no corroborating evidence proving it.

Moscow considers the Skripal incident an “assassination attempt” of Russian citizens,” a scheme to falsely blame the Kremlin for what happened.

UK Porton Down Defense Science and Technology Laboratory head Gary Aitkenhead “admitt(ed)” Britain was developing poisonous substances it falsely claimed Russia used.

A previous article suggested the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is likely to rubber-stamp UK claims about the Skripal incident – given samples of alleged evidence were provided by Theresa May’s government.

They could have come from its Porton Down lab – unconnected to the Skripals. On Monday, Russia’s envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said

“(o)ur position is clear.”

“We advocate a comprehensive, open and unbiased investigation. Russia is ready for it, and our experts are ready to participate in such work.”

If Russian experts are barred from participation in the OPCW probe, its findings will be rejected, Shulgin stressed.

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu refused to share information about the investigation it’s conducting without UK approval – a policy Moscow rejects, calling its probe invalid. An official objection was submitted to the organization stressing this position.

On Monday, Sergey Lavrov slammed Britain for “tak(ing) their game too far.” Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called what’s going on “a major failure for Theresa May…exposing a large-scale effort to manipulate international public opinion” – through fabricated accusations clear to everyone paying attention.

East/West tensions are at a dangerous fever pitch – risking serious consequences if things continue on their present course.

Posted in Russia, UKComments Off on Skripal Incident Deception

Sarkozy’s Hand in the French Cookie Jar?

There was something refreshing about watching former French president Nicolas Sarkozy being interrogated in a French jail.   Particularly since he may soon be accused of conspiracy in the murder of my old friend, Col. Muammar Khadaffi of Libya.

Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Guéant, are being investigated for secretly accepting at least fifty million Euros from Khadaffi for his 2007 electoral campaign.  Such a payment violated France’s maximum permissible limit for political donation, not to mention a ban on foreign financing of candidates and failure to report the payments.  Sarko also faces investigation over secret payments from the Gulf oil states.

French political candidates often have to wade through the sewers to finance their campaigns because spending limits were set relatively low to prevent big money from buying the elections, as in the United States.

These charges against Khadaffi and Guéant have been percolating for years with only a muted response.  Sarkozy also got into hot water after he was accused of bilking large sums of cash from a senile heiress to France’s L’Oréal cosmetics company.

But three years ago, a French-Lebanese businessman told the French investigative site Mediapart that he had given suitcases with 5 million Euros (US $6.2 million) to Guéant.  The former chief of staff would later claim the cash was payment for a painting he had sold to the shady Lebanese. Of course it was!

In 2007, Sarkozy became president of France. At the time, he and Khadaffi appeared to be best of friends.  The Libyan leader made a gala visit to Paris, pitched his Bedouin tent on the grounds of the presidential palace and received the lavish official welcome that the French do so well.

France was interested in Libya’s high quality oil and using Libya as a beachhead for expanding Paris’ former influence in North Africa.  France and Libya secretly colluded to fight Islamist rebels in the region who were battling French-installed puppet rulers in West and Central Africa.

But then Sarkozy turned sharply against the Khadaffi regime and joined US and British efforts to overthrow it.  This was not the first time.  Former French president, François Mitterrand, ordered his intelligence chief, Count de Marenches, to destroy Khadaffi’s personal jet with an altitude-fused bomb.  Marenches told me the bomb was secreted aboard the plane, then removed when relations with Tripoli improved.

British intelligence, MI6, also tried to assassinate Khadaffi by means of a car bomb in Benghazi, Libya, but failed, though many civilians were killed.

Sarkozy eventually heeded demands from Hillary Clinton, then US Secretary of State, to launch a war against ostensible ally, Khadaffi, and seize his oil riches.

Warplanes and special forces from the US, France and Britain joined in a sustained attack on Libya, which was cynically misrepresented as a humanitarian rescue mission.   French aircraft strafed Khadaffi’s convoy. French special forces and Libyan mercenaries caught Khadaffi, tortured him with a knife, then shot him dead.

Khadaffi had made the fatal mistake of telling his eldest son, Saif al-Islam, and senior officials about his secret payment to Sarkozy.  When word leaked out from Saif, Sarkozy quickly ordered the attack on Libya. Dead men tell no tales.  French intelligence is very skilled at rubbing out foes and nuisances.

My surmise is that French justice will find some tenuous link between Sarkozy and Khadaffi’s murder, but no hard proof Sarko was directly involved.  If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney could get away Scott free after killing over one million Iraqi civilians in a trumped-up war, why prosecute Sarko for this minor ‘contretemps?’

Posted in France, LibyaComments Off on Sarkozy’s Hand in the French Cookie Jar?

Trump Invited Putin to Washington

NOVANEWS
 

 

According to Western media reports (Wash. Post, USA Today, Bloomberg, Reuters, London Guardian, AFP, among others), Trump extended the invitation by phone when congratulating Putin on his reelection triumph.

The Kremlin and White House confirmed it. Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders said both leaders talked about meeting to discuss the arms race, adding:

“As the President himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House. We have nothing further to add at this time.”

Putin aide Yuri Ushakov said

“(w)hen our presidents spoke (by) phone, Trump suggested meeting at the White House…an interesting, positive idea,” adding:

“If everything goes well, I hope that Americans will not change their mind about their proposal to discuss the possibility of holding a meeting.”

Neither government has begun planning for one. As Russian president, Putin met with Bill Clinton, GW Bush, Obama and Trump – never a formal White House state visit, a first if a trip is arranged.

Trump’s expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and closure of its Seattle consulate, followed by comparable Kremlin moves clearly represent an obstacle to meeting – more importantly what could be accomplished.

Washington’s deplorable history of promising one thing, then doing something entirely different, proves it can never be trusted.

US hostility toward Russia continues worsening relations, not improving them. Trump’s hardened war cabinet is implacably hostile.

So is near total bipartisan congressional unanimity on anything related to Russia – agendas of both countries worlds apart.

Instead of fulfilling a campaign promise to improve bilateral relations, Trump, his neocon infested administration and Congress continue acting provocatively – disturbing events pushing the envelope toward direct confrontation.

Russia wages peace, not war. America’s agenda is polar opposite, at war with humanity at home and abroad, the risk of things escalating dangerously out-of-control uncomfortably high.

Inviting Putin to visit Washington, ideally for a formal state visit, followed by Russia reciprocating in kind, would be a positive development – short-term stepping back from the brink.

Given longstanding US hostility toward Moscow, it requires a giant leap of faith to believe anything ahead can change dismal relations – especially with things at a boiling point over the Skripal affair.

Trump’s meeting with Sergey Lavrov at the White House last May triggered a firestorm of protests in Washington.

The meeting accomplished nothing, nor one-on-one talks with Putin last July on the sidelines of the Hamburg G20 summit – bilateral relations today far worse than then.

In November 2001, after meeting with Putin for three days of talks, GW Bush said

“(t)his is a new day in the long history of Russian-American relations, a day of progress and a day of hope.”

US aggression in Afghanistan began weeks earlier, ongoing after 17 years – followed by other wars in multiple theaters, raging endlessly in Syria and Yemen, violence by US-supported terrorists continuing in Iraq.

Washington considers Russia its number one adversary. Chance for positive change from summit talks with Putin is wishful thinking.

Longstanding US policy calls for regime change in Moscow. Trump/Putin talks won’t change a thing.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Trump Invited Putin to Washington

The Nazi Massacre Forces

NOVANEWS

The Israel Massacre Forces

The shooting on the Gaza border shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes

While the Western media fails to condemn the crimes committed by the Netanyahu government, the Israeli media is speaking out. Below are excerpts from Gideon Levy‘s article published by Haaretz.

**

The death counter ticked away wildly. One death every 30 minutes. Again. Another one. One more. Israel was busy preparing for the seder night. TV stations continued broadcasting their nonsense.

It’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if a settler had been stabbed – on-site broadcasts, throw open the studios. But in Gaza the Israel Defense Forces continued to massacre mercilessly, with a horrific rhythm, as Israel celebrated Passover.

If there was any concern, it was because soldiers couldn’t celebrate the seder. By nightfall the body count had reached at least 15, all of them by live fire, with more than 750 wounded. Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it.

Comic relief was provided by the army spokesman, who announced in the evening: “A shooting attack was foiled. Two terrorists approached the fence and fired at our soldiers.” This came after the 12th Palestinian fatality and who knows how many wounded.

Sharpshooters fired at hundreds of civilians but two Palestinians who dared return fire at the soldiers who were massacring them are “terrorists,” their actions labeled “terror attacks” and their sentence – death. The lack of self-awareness has never sunk to such depths in the IDF.

As usual, the media lent its appalling support. After 15 deaths Or Heller on Channel 10 News declared that the most serious incident of the day had been the firing by the two Palestinians. Dan Margalit “saluted” the army.

Israel was brainwashed again and sat down to a festive meal in a spirit of self-satisfaction. And then people recited “Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not,” impressed by the spread of plagues and enthusing at the mass murder of babies (the killing of the first-born Egyptians, the 10th plague).

Christian Good Friday and the Jewish seder night became a day of blood for the Palestinians in Gaza. You can’t even call it a war crime because there was no war there.

The above text article was published in Haaretz. To read the complete article click here

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Nazi Massacre Forces

M.L. King, Lesson for Today: Militarism and Economic Exploitation, Blatant Racism at Home and Imperialism Abroad

Martin Luther King, Lesson for Today: Militarism and Economic Exploitation, Blatant Racism at Home and Imperialism Abroad

Martin Luther King was not deceived: American militarism and ‘the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society’ are closely connected. That is why he came out bravely to express his opposition to the war in Vietnam. It is not fanciful to imagine that were he alive today he would be expressing similar opposition to America’s war against Syria.

Whoa! How can that be when in Syria, America – with Britain and Australia in tow – is nobly trying to defend the people of Syria from a ‘butcher’ bent on allegedly “massacring his own people”?

Well before Assad, it was Ho Chi Minh who was demonised, while America preferred to support, in the name of installing democracy, generals with names like Diem and Ky who oppressed their people atrociously.  In the same way we, the West, are happy to close our eyes to the dominance among the armed groups fighting the Syrian government of bloodthirsty Islamists without even pretensions to be democrats, as long as we can remove the ‘authoritarian’ Assad and stymie the Russians and replace Assad with Islamists who will dance to our tune.

But America’s wars ‘racist’? Isn’t that a bit OTT? MLK didn’t think so. He identified ‘the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation’ as interacting together to generate blatant racism at home and imperialism abroad. With an American President in the White House who is unashamed of enjoying popularity with the Ku Klux Klan, whose approval ratings soared when he unleashed his Tomahawks (the name an interesting subliminal nod to America’s original significant ‘Other’), and whose Secretary of State announces an intention to maintain a US military presence in Syria for as long as ‘stabilisation’ takes, joining the dots is not too difficult.

Not that Trump deserves more opprobrium than his predecessor. What would MLK have thought of a legatee of the civil rights movement who waited only three days before unleashing a programme of drone strikes far greater than anything Bush Jr had authorised, arrogated to the Presidency a right to kill anyone without due process, and who oversaw an unleashing of US military might against the people of Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan with untold numbers of civilian casualties dismissed as just unfortunate ‘collateral damage’? Who gloried in the success of the Navy Seals in extirpating a nemesis of America code-named, yes, Geronimo? Who anointed as his successor a foreign policy hawk who was visibly salivating at the prospect of reversing Obama’s relatively cautious policy towards military involvement in Syria?

As pointed out by Pankaj Mishra [London Review of Books, 22 February 2018],

‘Obama seemed to guarantee instant redemption from the crimes of a democracy built on slavery and genocide’.

But all we saw from this ‘culmination of the civil rights movement’ was ‘empire-lite and torture-lite’. ‘Empire-lite’ in Syria meant working through proxies, funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars the so-called Free Syrian Army, supplying dubious militants with weapons, training and salaries, dragooning Western allies into imposing draconian sanctions which are war in all but name, and conducting propaganda campaigns to demonise a secular government imperfect but no worse in terms of democracy and human rights than any of our Gulf allies.

‘A racist society can’t but fight a racist war’, said James Baldwin in 1967. ‘The assumptions acted on at home are also acted on abroad’.

So it has been with Trump’s war in Syria, with scores if not hundreds of pro-Syrian government forces killed in what must have been like a mass lynching in Deir Ez Zor province when the Syrian force dared to get close to the US-backed forces, not a single one of whom was killed.  ‘Injun’ country indeed, as American soldiers like to describe the places where they are sent to kill.

It is no accident that countries with a similar history of colonial dispossession and racism (Australia does the cap fit?) are always only too ready to act as acolytes to American imperialism.

The Americans couldn’t win in Vietnam. With voices like that of MLK to contend with the home front could not hold. Yet it was several years before America finally withdrew its claws from the stricken country. And so it promises to be with Syria, where no serious commentator believes that Assad can be prevented from regaining control of his country, as Ho did with his. But still America insists on prolonging the pain by attempting to colonise Syria’s oil-rich ‘Wild East’, by forming new mercenary militias with tame tribes, by conducting relentless information and economic warfare.

The searing experience of Vietnam and then the only slightly less searing experience of Iraq has made America leery of full blown large scale direct military interventions, except where air power is concerned. War on Syria is pretty painless, for Americans. And so we are not likely to hear from any latter day Martin Luther King. But his words  still echo down the decades: “Don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of  policeman of the whole world….I can hear God saying to America: ‘You’re too arrogant!’”.

Posted in USAComments Off on M.L. King, Lesson for Today: Militarism and Economic Exploitation, Blatant Racism at Home and Imperialism Abroad

The White Helmets are “Black Helmets”, They are Al Qaeda

NOVANEWS

And Canada Supports Them

The White Helmets are Black Helmets.  They are al Qaeda, and the Canadian government supports them financially and politically.[1]

Canadian MP Arif Virani explains on his Facebook page that,

“Today in Parliament, we received a delegation from the White Helmets. These men and women are part of Syria’s civil defence system, who literally risk their lives each and every day to come to the aid of bombing victims of the Syrian civil war. They are Syria’s only functioning first responders in what ‎has been a bloody conflict that has destroyed Syrian infrastructure over the past several years.

It was honour to receive them and to hear about the heroic work they are doing. It is now incumbent upon us to ensure that others learn about the life-saving work they are doing, and for us to assist them in their efforts.

To learn more about the humanitarian assistance being provided by the White Helmets, go to www.syriacivildefence.org “[2]

The photos above feature Raed Saleh[3], Mounir Mustafa, and Manal Abazeed.

Reality contradicts Virani’s aforementioned assessment.

The White Helmets are a product of a covert intelligence op.[4] and part of the Western war propaganda apparatus that sells mass murder, extreme misogyny, sectarianism, anti-Christianity, and Supreme International Crimes, as “humanitarian”.

They ARE NOT affiliated with the International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO).[5] They are a propaganda construct.  A terrorist PR front.

It is a bitter irony, on this Easter weekend, even as East Ghouta, Syria, is being liberated, and former captivesfeel “reborn”, that our government should continue to support anti-Christian[6], sectarian terrorists and their Public Relations fronts.

*

Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017.

Notes

[1] “Thursday: Syria’s White Helmets in Parliament Hill.” CPAC. (http://www.cpac.ca/en/cpac-in-focus/27mar2018-syrias-white-helmets-on-parliament-hill/) Accessed 31 March, 2018.

[2] Arif Virani. Public Facebook commentary. 29 March, 2018.

[3] Vanessa Beeley,“EXCLUSIVE: ‘President’ Raed Saleh’s Terrorist Connections within White Helmet Leadership.” 21st Century Wire.  10 December 2016. (http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/10/exclusive-president-raed-salehs-terrorist-connections-within-white-helmet-leadership/) Accessed 31 March, 2018.

[4] Rick Sterling, “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators/ White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone.” Dissident Voice. 9 April, 2015.(https://dissidentvoice.org/2015/04/seven-steps-of-highly-effective-manipulators/) Accessed 31 March, 2018.

[5] “Intl. Civil Defence Org: ‘The White Helmets are not even civil defence’ in Syria (w/ VIDEO).” Off Guardian. 9 October, 2016. (https://off-guardian.org/2016/10/09/intl-civil-defence-org-the-white-helmets-are-not-even-civil-defence-in-syria/) Accessed 31 March, 2018.

[6] Mark Taliano, “America Seeks to Destroy Syrian Civilization, Replace it With Terrorism and Ignorance.” Global Research. 22 March, 2017. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/america-seeks-to-destroy-syrian-civilization-replace-it-with-terrorism-and-ignorance/5581148) Accessed 31 March, 2018.


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria directly from Global Research.  

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

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Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on The White Helmets are “Black Helmets”, They are Al Qaeda

Activists at Tel Aviv Demo Say ‘Gazans Searched for Freedom, Got Shot’. “Not in Our Name”

NOVANEWS

Hundreds of peace activists, joined by Joint List MKs, call on government to lift Gaza siege, prevent escalation of violence and pursue peace; Palestinain flags also hung during demo.

In a bitter irony, while the Western media through deliberate omission provided a biased analysis of  the massacre committed by Israeli forces, in contrast segments of the Israeli media have nonetheless  tacitly acknowledged the crimes committed  by the Netanyahu government.

Below is a Y-net news report by Itay Blumenthal on the protest movements in Tel Aviv under the banner: “Stop the gunfire”, and “Two peoples, one hope”

**

Below are excerpts of the article. To read the complete article click here

Hundreds of people protested in Tel Aviv Sunday evening, demanding an end to the escalation of violence on the Gaza border and calling for a peace process to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Protesters carried signs bearing various slogans, such as “There’s another way”, “Stop the gunfire”, and “Two peoples, one hope” while some Palestinian flags were hung.

The protesters in Tel Aviv were comprised of activists from Standing Together, Another Voice, Combatants for Peace, Peace Now, The Forum for Bereaved Israeli-Palestinian Families, Hope Instead of War, Meretz, Breaking the Silence, Hadash, Zazim and Gush Shalom.

 (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Source: Motti Kimchi

“During the festival of liberation, Gazans came to search for their freedom and came under live fire,” said Hadash activist and MK Aida Touma-Suleiman from the Joint List.

 (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Source: Motti Kimchi

“The Bibi-Lieberman government prepared the ground for the slaughter and fired without blinking at the civilians, at the children and women who were looking for their freedom,” she added. “We stand here in the heart of Tel Aviv to say not in our name. Enough with the wars, enough with the killing.”  …

 

 (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Source: Motti Kimchi

“We demand that these incidents are investigated … but an investigation is not enough,” he continued. “We must change direction. We cannot continue to ignore the turmoil and threats in Gaza. We demand that the government stop this escalation and the incitement.”

 (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Source: Motti Kimchi

 To read the complete article click here

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Activists at Tel Aviv Demo Say ‘Gazans Searched for Freedom, Got Shot’. “Not in Our Name”

Jews for Justice

NOVANEWS

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Most Israelis either support suppression of Palestinian resistance violently or by other means – or they’re preoccupied with their own lives, indifferent to how Palestinians are brutalized and otherwise mistreated.

A Jewish minority in Israel opposes longstanding militarized occupation, along with an attempt to terrorize an entire population into submission.

Over the weekend, several hundred Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv, protesting against bloodshed in Gaza since Friday, wanting to “create hope (and) stop the next war,” chanting:

“No to the occupation. In Gaza and Sderot, little girls want to stay alive.”

Human rights lawyer Michael Sfard explained

“Gaza is under siege and has been (blockaded) for the past decade.”

“The people of Gaza are suffering from an enormous humanitarian crisis and now, when they tried to protest against it, they were met with brutal force which killed 16 of them and injured and maimed many others.”

“As an Israeli, my duty is to protest against the evils that are done in my name.”

I as an American Jew have the same obligation. We’re all obliged to support Palestinians in their liberating struggle to be free from brutal Israeli bondage.

Activist writer Amira Hass said the following:

“The army allows itself to violate international law and shoot at unarmed civilians, and even kill them, because Israeli society accepts this as an a priori act of defense, without investigating the details.”

“And despite a few feeble condemnations, even governments around the world do not represent an obstacle to deter Israel.”

“The March of Return – whether it continues or not – declares to Israel and the international community that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not wretched and passive charity cases, but a politically aware public.”

Countless thousands of Palestinians throughout the Territories involved in “Great March of Return” activism are sick and tired of being sick and tired without redress – including for PA officials serving Israeli interests, not theirs, in Gaza, Hamas unable to contest Israel’s might to end brutalizing blockade, creating nightmarish conditions.

The Gisha Center for Free Movement issued a statement saying:

“For more than 10 years, residents of Gaza have lived under excessively harsh restrictions on movement, made possible by Israel’s closure of the Strip’s land, sea and air space.”

“A daily reality unbearable by any reasonable standards has been compounded by the impact of three devastating military operations and left little hope to Gaza’s overwhelmingly young population.”

The “Great March of Return” is the right of all Palestinians to resist a brutal occupier. For besieged Gazans, its a declaration of their legitimate demand to be freed from imprisonment without bars.

Palestinians have suffered since Balfour – a 67-word UK declaration changing everything in historic Palestine.

Generations of political, military and cultural repression of its people followed, far worse after Israel’s so-called war of independence, stealing 78% of historic Palestine, the rest in June 1967.

Endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation define conditions for beleaguered Palestinians – 100 years of suffering, no end of it in sight, the world community dismissive of their rights.

Palestinian resistance is more than a right. It’s essential, a duty. The alternative is endless subjugation by a brutal occupier, apartheid viciousness, the triumph of Ziofascist dominance over democratic freedoms.

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on Jews for Justice

The Scourge of War and The Children of Vietnam

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The Photographic Essay by William Pepper on the Children of Vietnam that Martin Luther King first saw on January l4, l967. How Will We Challenge Militarism, Racism, and Extreme Materialism?

This is an exposition of the photographic essay by William Pepperabout the children of Vietnam that Martin Luther King first saw on January l4, 1967.

Initially, while he hadn’t had a chance to read the text, it was the photographs that stopped him.

As Bernard Lee who was present at the time said, “Martin had known about the [Vietnam] war before then, of course, and had spoken out against it. But it was then that he decided to commit himself to oppose it.”

Pepper’s essay contains the most powerful creative energy on earth: truth force. It is as relevant 50 years later as it was in 1967.

Martin Luther King steadfastly exhorted all to confront and grapple with the triple prong sickness—lurking within the U.S. body politic from its inception—of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.

These evils require us to respond with life-giving intelligence, to change course away from the nightmare path we are pursuing, and towards, in Coretta King’s words, “a more excellent way, a more effective way, a creative rather than a destructive way.”

All of us in the United States are the ones best positioned to challenge the destructiveness of the three prong sickness destroying our civilization and the Earth, and change direction towards affirming life in all its variations and sacredness. We have choices and power here that the majority of humanity do not enjoy. The choice and the power resides with us. And the choice to recognize that power, and take responsibility for it to make this into a world where all of us can live together in peace and fellowship, sits right here.

***

Within the United States we are constantly told this is the greatest country on Earth and the last, best hope of humanity. In order to live up to such lofty assertions, it is necessary for all U.S. citizens to understand what is being done in our collective name every single day. Such awareness requires a willingness to confront disturbing and frightening facts that challenge the popular slogans of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Following reports in the 1980s of the U.S. -armed, -funded, and -trained death squads in Central America, the thought kept surfacing: ‘If only people in the U.S. could see factual footage of how our government is directly and covertly involved in on-the-ground torture and murder of innocent people south of the U.S. border, they would en masse demand it stop.’ There are many articles and books that catalog and enumerate sources concerning post-WWII United States military aggressions and intelligence agency covert operations both domestic and foreign.[1] The focus here is an especially potent photographic essay on the consequences to the people of Vietnam from the U.S. war in their country.

In January 1967, an article was published in Ramparts Magazine by William Pepper titled, “The Children Of Vietnam.”[2]

This searing essay presented vital historical truth of the toll the U.S. war in Vietnam was taking both physically and psychically on that country’s children. At the time Pepper was executive director of the New Rochelle Commission on Human Rights, an instructor in Political Science at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and director of the college’s Children’s Institute For Advanced Study and Research. On leave of absence in the spring of 1966, he spent six weeks in Vietnam as a correspondent accredited by the Military Assistance Command in that country, and by the government of Vietnam. His primary concern was the effects of the war on women and children, the role U.S. voluntary agencies performed, and the work of the military in civil action.

“A lovely 28-year-old peasant woman was lying on her back nursing a young child. The evening before, she had been sitting in her thatched hut when a piece of shrapnel tore through her back transecting the spinal cord. She was completely paralyzed below the nipple line. We could do nothing more for her than give antibiotics and find her a place to lie. A few mornings later she was dead.”

The time period in which “The Children of Vietnam” was written included a wide-spread and expanding anti-war movement that increased pressure on the U.S. federal government which finally ended its war in Vietnam in 1973. It might have ended it in 1968 had Presidential candidate Richard Nixon not committed treason by secretly offering the North Vietnamese a better deal if they waited until after he won the November election.[3]

It would have ended in the mid-1960s. Tragically, the assassination of President Kennedy aborted the formal decision he had made to withdraw all U.S. military forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965. James Galbraith described this in a 2009 interview:

Vincent Browne: Your father of course was very close to John F Kennedy… Some of our viewers may not know this, John Kenneth Galbraith was a very famous American. He was an economist, and a brilliant economist at that, but he also was well known generally. He became the ambassador to India, appointed to India by John Kennedy in 1961, and was quite close to Kennedy. Though why he was sent so far away to India, what he thought, I wonder.
James K. Galbraith: The reason for that was in part that he wanted my father involved on foreign policy, in particular to be an effective independent voice on Southeast Asia, on Vietnam. That played an important role in Kennedy’s thinking on those issues.
VB: And yet Kennedy is blamed quite a bit for building up American forces in Vietnam and starting that enterprise. Do you think that’s fair?
JKG: The reality was that my father was an opponent from the very beginning of the commitment of U.S. forces to Vietnam. McNamara and Kennedy agreed with him on that point. A policy was put into place to end the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and a formal presidential decision was taken in October of 1963 that would, if implemented, have caused a full pullout of U.S. forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965. That is the historical record.
VB: So you believe that Kennedy would have withdrawn the U.S. forces from Vietnam then.
JKG: What he did was to make a formal decision to do so. So it’s not a question of belief of what he would have done. It’s a question of establishing, as a point of historical fact, what he did decide to do. And it’s clear that he did. We have all of the documents involved in the making of the decision including the decision itself and including, actually, tapes of Kennedy ordering that decision to be taken. So the record is now very firmly established and the surviving participants, including Secretary McNamara, fully agree that that was in fact the decision that President Kennedy took.[4]

The formal decision of President Kennedy to implement a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam by 1965 was made less than two months before Dallas. In his November 2009 Keynote Address at the Coalition on Political Assassinations conference, Catholic Worker and author Jim Douglass spoke about this.

On October 11, 1963, President Kennedy issued a top-secret order to begin withdrawing the U.S. military from Vietnam. In National Security Action Memorandum 263, he ordered that 1,000 U.S. military personnel be withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of 1963, and that the bulk of U.S. personnel be taken out by the end of 1965.[5]Kennedy decided on his withdrawal policy, against the arguments of most of his advisers, at a contentious October 2 National Security Council meeting. When Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was leaving the meeting to announce the withdrawal to the White House reporters, the President called to him, “And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots, too.”[6] Everybody is going out.

In fact, it would not mean that at all. After JFK’s assassination, his withdrawal policy was quietly voided. In light of the future consequences of Dallas, it was not only John Kennedy who was murdered on November 22, 1963, but 58,000 other Americans and over three million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians.[7]

National Security State historian John Judge devoted his life to research, writing, and speaking.[8] In Kenn Thomas’s words, “Judge compiled data and ferreted out information about the oft covered-up facts of history.”[9] John grew up in Falls Church, Virginia where both his parents, John Joseph Judge and Marjorie Cooley Judge worked as civilian employees in the Pentagon. As he recounted in a 2002 talk:

[M]y mother was the highest-paid Pentagon employee for more than almost all of her thirty years career in the Pentagon. But for many, many years, the highest paid employee under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Directly under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, my mother’s job was to project the draft call. She had to project for the Joint Chiefs how many do they have to draft in order to keep the force level at where the Joint Chiefs wanted it to be. They would give her statistical tables based on their experience: How many would retire? How many would die of natural causes? How many would reenlist? How many would discharge under each category? How many would enlist anew? And therefore to have whatever force level they wanted up or down, how many did you have to draft? She had to project that annually and nationally and those calls got upwards of 50,000 a year. She had to project it annually and nationally right and accurately enough to be within a hundred people either way on the call. And I remember her sweating them coming in. Those projections had to be made that accurately five years in advance. Five years in advance.

They projected it, and whatever number my mother said they needed they multiplied it by five, she told me, and sent it to the Select Service System as its quota. Why? Because fifty to fifty-five percent would flunk a physical; ten to fifteen percent would fall under a deferment or exemption; another ten to fifteen percent would no show or refuse. And then they were back to the twenty percent they needed in the first place. They planned it.

So I asked my mother after she retired, When did they tell you they would escalate the war in Vietnam? Because she had to be among the first to know. She told me that in April of 1963, for the first time in her career at the Pentagon, she was told to reverse her projections, to change her projections. She’d never been asked to do that before. She said it was on orders from the White House, which meant it was on orders from John F. Kennedy. She was told to change the projections to reflect a full withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam by the end of 1964. She put those figures into the projections.

I said, When did they tell you they would escalate? She said the last week in November. I said, Late November, last week—I said—Kennedy’s killed Friday the 22nd of November in 1963. She said, The Monday following the assassination. He’s barely in the grave and she’s given figures and my mother couldn’t believe the figures. My mother told me she took the figures back up to the Joint Chiefs and she said, These can’t be right. And they told her to use them. I used to tease her that that was the first civilian protest of the war in Vietnam.

The figures she was given on November 25th ’63 was that the United States was entering into a ten-year war in Vietnam with 57,000 American dead. Exactly on target. Till ’73: fifty seven thousand five hundred names on the wall. They know where they’re going. They plan ahead.[10]

Over three million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodian as well as 58,000 U.S. American lives were lost as a direct result of the assassination of the 35th President. The war that would finally end in 1973 was being put on rails to end ten years earlier. Collectively, U.S. state actors, academicians, and media personnel have not yet confronted, much less acknowledged, the truth concerning our history of this timeline.

Who benefited from the prospective eight additional years of that war? Certainly not the indigenous peoples of southeast Asia. Beyond the number of dead in Vietnam, those who survived faced a more pernicious horror as the opening of “The Children of Vietnam” explains.

“Any visitor to a hospital, an orphanage, a refugee camp, can plainly see the evidence of reliance on amputation as a surgical shortcut.”

For countless thousands of children in Vietnam, breathing is quickened by terror and pain, and tiny bodies learn more about death every day. These solemn, rarely smiling little ones have never known what it is to live without despair.

They indeed know death, for it walks with them by day and accompanies their sleep at night. It is as omnipresent as the napalm that falls from the skies with the frequency and impartiality of the monsoon rain.

The horror or what we are doing to the children of Vietnam—“we,” because napalm and white phosphorus are the weapons of America—is staggering, whether we examine the overall figures or look at a particular case like that of Doan Minh Luan.

Luan, age eight, was one of two children brought to Britain last summer through private philanthropy, for extensive treatment at the McIndoe Burns Center. He came off the plane with a muslin bag over what had been his face. His parents had been burned alive. His chin had “melted” into his throat, so that he could not close his mouth. He had no eyelids. After the injury, he had had no treatment at all—none whatever—for four months.

It will take years for Luan to be given a new face (“We are taking special care,” a hospital official told a Canadian reporter, “to make him look Vietnamese”). He needs at least 12 operations, which surgeons will perform for nothing: the wife of a grocery-chain millionaire is paying the hospital bill. Luan has already been given eyelids, and he can close his mouth now. He and the nine-year-old girl who came to Britain with him, shy and sensitive Tran Thi Thong, are among the very few lucky ones.

There is no one to provide such care for most of the other horribly maimed children of Vietnam; and despite growing efforts by American and South Vietnamese authorities to conceal the fact, it’s clear that there are hundreds of thousands of terribly injured children, with no hope for decent treatment on even a day-to-day basis, much less for the long months and years of restorative surgery needed to repair ten searing seconds of napalm.

When we hear about these burned children at all, they’re simply called “civilians,” and there’s no real way to tell how many of them are killed and injured every day. By putting together some of the figures that are available, however, we can get some idea of the shocking story.

In February 2003 William Pepper spoke at Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco on the release of his new book, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. He started his talk by relaying his experience in Vietnam.

This story actually begins with Vietnam in 1966. As a very much younger person I was there as a journalist and didn’t publish anything whilst I was there, but waited until I got back to the United States. Then I wrote a number of articles. One of them appeared in a muckraking magazine called Ramparts, that had its home in this city, published by Warren Hinkle in those days. It was called “The Children of Vietnam.” That is what started me down the slippery slope of the saga of Martin Luther King; his work during the last year, and his death. And then an investigation which has gone on since 1978.[11]

In 1964 Wayne Morse (D-OR) was one of only two U.S. Senators to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which authorized LBJ to take military action in Vietnam without a declaration of war. In remarks before the Senate on August 22, 1966, Morse spoke at length about William Pepper and his experiences in Vietnam the previous spring:

As Mr. Pepper makes clear, by far the majority of present refugees in South Vietnam have been rendered homeless by American military action, and by far the majority of hospital patients, especially children, are there due to injuries suffered from American military activities. The plight of these children and the huge burden they impose upon physical facilities has been almost totally ignored by the American people.[12]

In a 1999 essay, Jim Douglass writes how:

The final chapter of Martin Luther King’s life began on January 14, 1967, the day on which King committed himself to deepening his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was at an airport restaurant on his way to a retreat in Jamaica. While looking through magazines, he came across an illustrated article in Ramparts, “The Children of Vietnam”. His coworker Bernard Lee never forgot King’s shock as he looked at photographs of young napalm victims.[13]

He froze as he looked at the pictures from Vietnam. He saw a picture of a Vietnamese mother holding her dead baby, a baby killed by our military. Then Martin just pushed the plate of food away from him. I looked up and said, “Doesn’t it taste any good,” and he answered, “Nothing will ever taste any good for me until I do everything I can to end that war.”

Bernard Lee later explained, “That’s when the decision was made. Martin had known about the war before then, of course, and had spoken out against it. But it was then that he decided to commit himself to oppose it.”[14]

Continuing in his 2003 talk, Pepper described how he began to work with Martin King:

Then he asked to meet with me and asked me to open my files to him that went well beyond what was published in the Rampartspiece in terms of photographs. Some of you probably saw, if you’re old enough to remember, a number of those photographs. Portions of them used to appear on lampposts and windows of burned and deformed children. That was what gave him pause. He hadn’t had a chance to read the text at that point but it was the photographs that stopped him.

“Torn flesh, splintered bones, screaming agony are bad enough. But perhaps most heart-rending of all are the tiny faces and bodies scorched and seared by fire.”

The introduction of the article was by Benjamin Spock. It resulted, ultimately, in a Committee of Responsibility bringing over a hundred Vietnamese children, war-injured children to this country and our placing them in hospitals around the nation. This was so that people would have a chance to see first-hand what their tax dollars were purchasing.

On the way to Cambridge to open Vietnam Summer, an anti-war project, we rode from Brown University (where he had delivered a sermon at the chapel there) and I continued the process of showing him these photographs and anecdotes of what I had seen when I was in the country. And he wept, he openly wept. He was so visibly shaken by what was happening that it was difficult for him to retain composure. And of course that passion came out in his speech on April 4th, 1967 at Riverside Church where he said that his native land had become the greatest purveyor of violence on the face of the earth. Quoting Thoreau he said we have come to a point where we use massively improved means to accomplish unimproved ends and what we should be doing is focusing on not just the neighborhood that we have created but making that old white neighborhood into a brotherhood. And we were going entirely in the opposite direction and this was what he was pledging to fight against.

We spoke very early in the morning following that Riverside address and he said, “Now you know they’re all going to turn against me. We’re going to lose money. SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] will lose all of its corporate contributions. All the major civil rights leaders are going to turn their back on me and all the major media will start to tarnish and to taint and to attack me. I will be called everything even up to and including a traitor.” So he said, “We must persevere and build a new coalition that can be effective in this course of peace and justice.”[15]

As William Pepper recounted, when Martin King first saw “The Children of Vietnam,” “He hadn’t had a chance to read the text at that point but it was the photographs that stopped him.” The profound force of truth in the images of U.S. war consequences to the people of Vietnam moved Dr. King to begin, in Gandhi’s words, his final experiments in truth.[16]

Vincent Salandria describes how “historical truth is the polestar which guides humankind when we grope for an accurate diagnosis of a crisis.”[17] Jim Douglass relays how Gandhi’s experiments in truth take us into the most powerful force on earth and in existence: truth force or satyagraha. “Remember what Gandhi said that turned theology on its head. He said truth is God. That is the truth: Truth is God. We can discover the truth and live it out. There is nothing, nothing more powerful than the truth. The truth will set us free.”[18]

“The Children of Vietnam” provides an instance of truth force that is needed now more than ever to counter the fragmentation and doublethink being amplified by the demands of capital and its accumulation. Because, tragically and horrifically, what the United States caused to happen in Vietnam has not stopped. It continues to this day, magnified on a global scale within numerous theatres of U.S. military and covert operations including in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and Yemen.[19]

Earlier this month a report from the Costs Of War project at Brown University details U.S. spending on post-9/11 wars to reach $5.6 trillion by 2018.[20] Among other data, this series finds that the average U.S. taxpayer has spent $23,386 on these wars since 2001. Apprehended in this way, it is clear how each of us who pays taxes in the U.S. is collaborating in, and contributing to, the militarism that is devastating the globe and devouring our collective future.

WAR IS TERRORISM

In denouncing the U.S. war in Vietnam at Riverside Church in 1967 Martin King posed the question on behalf of Vietnamese peasants: “What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?” And this was a war that ended up being broadcast on nightly news television in the United States as it became evermore hellish in its results. Said King at Riverside, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” His voice, love, compassion, and intelligence are as searingly relevant right now, half a century later, as in 1967.

Historian Vincent Harding was a close friend of Martin King and the author of King’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” speech at Riverside Church. In his uncompromising book, Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero,[21] Harding offers a series of meditations on the final years of King’s life after his August 1963 I Have A Dream speech. In a 2010 conversation, the historian described how, for the U.S. to establish a national MLK holiday,

Martin would have to be somewhat domesticated in order for the country to deal with him because he was…calling us to give up for instance on the whole experience and teaching and living of white supremacy, calling us to move away from the great levels of materialism that have always been so much a threat to our humanity and the humanity of others…. Almost never in most of the [national holiday] celebrations is there any lifting up of his powerful statement against the war and against the machinery of war and against militarism and against our temptation to live as a new kind of imperial power in the world.[22]

Harding’s book evokes and reignites the increasingly radical King, largely forgotten, rejected, and ignored by the status quo at every level. Writing of the national holiday, he asks the question,

When will he be safely dead? Listen for him in January…. Hear the voices from the black past (and future) singing, beyond the “Hosannas,” singing with Martin, for Martin, “Ain’t no grave can hold my body down.”

He was deformed by polio, but he stood in front of Saigon’s City Hall every day—shining shoes, staying alive.

Perhaps the youngest children will hear best, will receive the voices and the songs through ears and hearts not yet filled with the “Top Forty,” through eyes that see beyond MTV and other diversions from getting ready. Perhaps they will sense that great men and women do not really die. Perhaps they will ask about his dream, his cause, suspecting that he lives, somewhere, nearby. Perhaps we will have the wisdom, the knowledge, and the courage to introduce them to the hero who, by the end of his life, was totally committed to the cause of the poor—in Mississippi, in Chicago, in Appalachia, in Vietnam, in Central America, in South America, in Memphis.

Perhaps we will tell them that the older dream, the famous, easier-to-handle dream, the forever-quoted dream of 1963 was no longer sufficient for him. Let them know that at the end, when the bullet finally came, he was dreaming of marching on Washington again, but this time to stay there, not just for speeches and for singing, but for audacious, challenging, divinely obedient action—to engage in a campaign of massive civil disobedience to try to stop the functioning of the national government. Tell them he planned to do this, calling on thousands and hundreds of thousands of lovers of justice until the cause of the poor became the nation’s first priority, until all people were guaranteed jobs or honest income, until our nation stopped killing Asians abroad and turned to tend to the desperate needs of its people at home.[23]

Published in 1996, Harding reminds us of the bristling vector Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was accelerating towards, unceasing in his invitation for all to likewise walk through the self-imposed walls of our own limitations and to create and establish “another way, a better way than the way of weapons and war, to be all [we] can be.”[24]

Getting ready is letting the shouts, the accusations, the condemnations cascade over us, enter deep, breaking through the walls, getting under the skin, flaming up the cool. Getting ready, for some of us, is especially hard sometimes, for some times it is being black and understanding that poetry is timeless. It is facing the possibility that now, years later, years of “progress” and “equal opportunity” and getting our piece, and swimming in the main one, and sitting paralyzed in front of television for hours at a stretch every impressionable childhood day—that now the screaming, revival-time words might be not just for white folks, but also for us, for us, to warn us of how fearful we are now, today (so many years after the Memphis balcony). How terrified, how guarded we have become against all that Martin King was called then in his last, beleaguered years: “agitator,” “trouble-maker,” “radical,” “communist-sympathizer,” “fanatic,” “unpatriotic,” “un-American,” “naive,” “dangerous” to the status quo.

Do we dare fantasize about what we would do now, if he came to our black-administered city, to challenge our leaders; if he tried to question our values, and our bank accounts, and our political machine; if he dared to undermine the morale and question the Christian faith of our soldiers, of our officers, of our chaplains—as they landed in Grenada, as they poised themselves on the borders of Nicaragua, as they enjoyed equality of opportunity to press the buttons of nuclear destruction, as they prepared for possible duty fighting “the communists” on behalf of the government of South Africa?

Are we, too, now frightened by people who organize unkempt and unrespectable folks to struggle for peace and justice here and abroad, who now take risks to do for escaping Central Americans what the Underground Railroad did for us—while we stand back, as far back as possible? Are we, too, now frightened in our respectable blackness by all the strange folks who, with King, really believe the way of love is more faithful to Jesus of Nazareth than the well-paid “defense” occupations of war-making, war-thinking, war-threatening, and death? Do we, too, mock democracy each time we back away, each time we fail to participate actively in the struggles for the transformation of our institutions and of this nation, in the defense of the poor, in the protection of the environment, in the questioning of our political leaders, in the teaching of ourselves and our children who the hero really was—and who he, and we, may yet become?[25]….

He dreamed a world where all were free to serve their sisters and brothers in compassion and hope, where fear had no dominion, where the resources of the nation were redistributed to meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of its people, where no one had to fear old age, or sickness, or being left alone.

Oh yes, he saw the rest, the other. Couldn’t you tell it in his eyes? Didn’t we feel the pain of what he saw, this brother from another planet? At all the funerals of his adopted children, sisters, brothers, mommas, and daddys, in all the jails, at every confrontation with dogs and guns and frightened, narrow, brutal men, he had seen us humans, plumbed the depths of our terror, our cruelty, and our fear, he had seen our selfishness and our blind ambition. But he never stopped looking there.

Always the dream pressed him on, inward, outward, deeper. In the depths of our eyes, roaming even then beyond the walls, he had found the fugitive hope, crouching in corners; he had seen the compassion, gnarled and unused, felt the love, unnamed, unrecognized, unclaimed; he had grasped the oneness, denied and bombed to shreds.

Something in this man saw the sister, brother, momma, fearful child in all the strangest places, faces, and he sang to us of what we might become, beyond walls. He sang in the night, sang the old Negro songs, sang the strong black songs, sang the African-sun-soaked songs, and beckoned us, red, white, brown, black, toward ourselves, told us, like Langston—dear brother Langston Hughes—told us, “America is a dream.” And we of every hue and cry, we are the dreamers, creating, dreaming with him, singing with him, dancing with him, to Native American songs, Mexican songs, Scotch-Irish songs, German songs, African songs, Jewish songs, Vietnamese songs, Puerto Rican songs, Appalachian songs.

Organizing, marching, singing the songs, standing unflinching before the blows, going to jail, challenging all the killers of the dreams, he called us to sing, dream, and sing and build—and stand our ground, creating a new reality, a new nation, a new world, ready for the hero. He saw us dancing before we knew we could move. He recognized what we had not seen and was ready to live and die for it, for us.

Early in his movement toward us, back in the 1950s, he was sensing what he saw, saying, “I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world … come what may.” And for those of us who are getting ready, what truth of God could be greater than the truth of our rich, unexplored human possibilities, our fundamental oneness, our essential union with all life, and our responsibility to live out that truth, politically, economically, socially, spiritually, ecologically, culturally—come what may—against all the systems of separation, dehumanization, and exploitation which deny “what the living may become”?

Are we ready to be what we may become? Oh nation of greatness, do we know who we are, really are, getting ready for our hero, and ourselves?

Long before the bullet struck, Martin was getting ready, moving toward our rendezvous. In the little book of poetry, John Dixon caught a glimpse of the hero becoming, and shared his insight with us:

In an age when courage is measured by destruction, his courage was the courage of love. In an age when men are commodities with a price, he believed in the reality of persons. In an age afraid to believe, his faith was as innocent as a child’s. In an age when subtlety of intelligence serves profit or power, his mind sought the liberations of peace.

What embarrassing words: courage, faith, love, liberation, peace. Haven’t they been outlawed yet? Lock doors, put troops at the gate, guard the legislative halls against courage and faith, against liberation, love, and peace! But here comes the dead man, living, walking, still becoming. He comes piercing our walls, planting courage, planting faith, planting love and peace toward the center of our hearts, reminding us that “intelligence” was not meant to be another word for espionage, spying, and dirty tricks, that doctorates do not have to be sold to the highest bidders, that there is another way, a liberating way, to be shared, as he used to say, “by no D’s and PhD’s.” Are we ready? Is this implacable lover really our hero? Hero of a nation not yet born, but borning? God, are those the pangs we feel?[26]

Coretta Scott King recounts how, on Saturday, April 6, 1968—as Vincent Harding writes, “two days after the bullet of fear and greed, of racism and militarism, and of ignorance and blindness had finally caught up with her husband”—she spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta about her spouse.

My husband often told the children that if a man had nothing that was worth dying for, then he was not fit to live. He said also that it’s not how long you live, but how well you live. He knew that at any moment his physical life could be cut short, and we faced this possibility squarely and honestly. My husband faced the possibility of death without bitterness or hatred. He knew that this was a sick society, totally infested with racism and violence that questioned his integrity, maligned his motives, and distorted his views, which would ultimately lead to his death. And he struggled with every ounce of his energy to save that society from itself.

He never hated. He never despaired of well doing. And he encouraged us to do likewise, and so he prepared us constantly for the tragedy.

I am surprised and pleased at the success of his teaching, for our children say calmly, ‘Daddy is not dead; he may be physically dead, but his spirit will never die.’

Ours has been a religious home, and this too has made this burden easier to bear. Our concern now is that his work does not die. He gave his life for the poor of the world—the garbage workers of Memphis and the peasants of Vietnam. Nothing hurt him more than that man could attempt no way to solve problems except through violence. He gave his life in search of a more excellent way, a more effective way, a creative rather than a destructive way.

We intend to go on in search of that way, and I hope that you who loved and admired him would join us in fulfilling his dream.

The day that Negro people and others in bondage are truly free, on the day want is abolished, on the day wars are no more, on that day I know my husband will rest in a long-deserved peace.[27]

Trappist Monk Thomas Merton had a gift for seeing the truth of our world with intelligence and coherence. In a letter to a correspondent on New Year’s Eve 1961, Merton wrote about how we had become servants of our own weapons of war:

Our weapons dictate what we are to do. They force us into awful corners. They give us our living, they sustain our economy, they bolster up our politicians, they sell our mass media, in short we live by them. But if they continue to rule us we will also most surely die by them.[28]

The scourge of war that forever changed the world of the children of Vietnam, who physically survived our war in their land, casts an ever-lengthening shadow that haunts us to the present day with ever more effective killing machines including drones and remote-control-engendering-death technologies. The questions before us have not changed since 1967. How have we and how will we respond to the world of hellish death and suffering we fund throughout every year, including on blood money tax day? What are we to do with these lives we have been given to move away from the great levels of materialism that have always been so much a threat to our humanity and the humanity of others? To oppose all war and the machinery of war and come out every day against militarism and against our temptation to live as a new kind of imperial power in the world? To be totally committed to the cause of the poor—in Mississippi, in Chicago, in Appalachia, in Vietnam, in Central America, in South America, in Memphis? To work tirelessly so the cause of the poor becomes the nation’s first priority, until all people are guaranteed jobs or honest income, until our nation stops killing humanity abroad and despoiling the Earth and turns to tend to the desperate needs of its people at home? To dissolve our psychological numbing walls and allow the light of courage, faith, fellowship, love and peace to come into our hearts and thus be reminded that intelligence is not meant to be another word for espionage, spying, and dirty tricks? What truth of God could be greater than the truth of our rich, unexplored human possibilities, our fundamental oneness, our essential union with all life, and our responsibility to live out that truth, politically, economically, socially, spiritually, ecologically, culturally—come what may—against all the systems of separation, dehumanization, and exploitation which deny “what the living may become”?

“Despite the gradual process of animalization, in their striving to maintain a semblance of dignity, they are beautiful.”

The questions demanding our response abilities remain. They will not go away. To respond to them may appear to run the gamut from seemingly difficult to impossible. And yet, for our fellow human beings we share this earth with, whose lives have been forever changed by our country’s prosecution of the wars that have ravaged themselves, their loved ones, and their land—and by the demands of capital and its accumulation that has stolen the raw material resources from their land to further pad the Fortunes of the Five Hundred and of the One Thousand—the challenges the poor of the world confront are countably infinite more difficult to respond to than what the majority of we here in the United States face. We have choices and power here that the majority of humanity do not enjoy. The choice and the power resides with us. And the choice to recognize that power, and take responsibility for it, and make this into a world where all of us can live together in peace and fellowship, sits right here.

Afterword

While writing this composition my mind went back to what William Pepper had recounted in 2003: “Then [MLK] asked to meet with me and asked me to open my files to him that went well beyond what was published in the Ramparts piece in terms of photographs.” I wrote Mr. Pepper asking if he would be amenable to my including some of the additional photographs he described sharing with Martin King in addition to those published in Ramparts. Apologizing for not being able to fulfill my request, he responded with the following:

Many years ago, when I lived on Roosevelt Island, in one of a number of break-ins to my apartment by the local FBI, my photo files were raided and stolen. The thefts included my surveillance photos of Raul as well as the Vietnam files. Strangely, they left the autopsy photos of MLK – perhaps to be a reminder.

The power of truth force contained in such a photographic record was validated by its theft at the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Whose interests are served by such breaking and entering thievery? Who directs and orders the confiscation by federal police of our collective history? What are the true costs to this society—and by extension to all of humanity—of having its factual historical record gagged, buried, classified, omitted, distorted, and stolen? And whose interests are served by such malevolent hatred, theft, and destruction of historical truth?

Appendix B in William Pepper’s 2016 book, The Plot To Kill King,[29] is titled “Ramparts Magazine—The Children of Vietnam” and includes a black-and-white reproduction of his January 1967 work. The introduction to it states:

As human beings, we sometimes are confronted with experiences which render us substantively different individuals than we were prior to exposures. Vietnam had this effect upon me. It was soul shattering—first, because of what was done to those innocents, and secondly because we, the American people and our tax dollars, caused it under the self-serving lies and greed which underlay the atrocities. Virtually every war crime imaginable was committed against this ancient people and their children.

These victims are embedded in my being. Dr. King wept when he was confronted with the images, but the history and its narrative, which moved him to oppose the war in 1967, should be remembered, and is without doubt, a part of his legacy.[30]

Near the beginning of his Riverside Church Address, Dr. King said,

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

As members of our single human family, one of many responsibilities is to bear witness to actions and situations that run counter to our best instincts and understanding and to use our intelligence and empathy to always shift direction towards nurturing and caring for others and for our single, indivisible planetary home. Throughout his life William Francis Pepper has been a tireless champion of humanity and a messenger of truth. His distinct persona, in evidence throughout his decades of writing as well as his actions and deeds, expresses great empathy and concern for the innocents who suffered grievous trauma as a result of the self-serving lies and greed that has driven and promoted United States “national security interests” over and above the interests of Life on Earth. This writer is deeply grateful for William Pepper’s undying love for his fellow woman and man, children and elders, and Life unbounded on Earth, now and especially for those yet unborn who can not speak up on their own behalf and for their world yet to be.

William Pepper’s witness in The Children of Vietnam connects many historical threads contained in the tapestry of our epoch. Two primary elements are what President Kennedy and Martin King gave of themselves to change the course of the human project in a more excellent way, a more effective and creative way. For both humans, they were willing to pay the supreme price to pursue the visions they expressed of helping move towards a peaceful and just world. In an illuminated 1998 essay titled, “The Assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy in the Light of the Fourth Gospel,”[31] Jim Douglass explores how “Kennedy, like King, lived the word agape: ‘No one has greater love than that this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13).”[32]

The stories by which we can understand Martin Luther King and John Kennedy are biblical. Martin Luther King, like John the Baptist in the Fourth Gospel, came as a witness to testify to the light of agape coming into our world—the light of truth and nonviolence which enlightens everyone. He testified to agapemade flesh in justice for the oppressed and love for the enemy. He testified to the possibility of agape made flesh in a new America.

In his final, most radical presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King dealt with the question of restructuring the whole of American society. He asked, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” “When you ask that question,” he said, “you begin to question the capitalistic economy.” In order to “help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace,” King said, “one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”…[33]

John F. Kennedy was raised from the death of wealth, power, and privilege. The son of a millionaire ambassador, he was born, raised, and educated to rule the system. When he was elected President, Kennedy’s heritage of power corresponded to his position as head of the greatest national security state in history. But Kennedy, like Lazarus, was raised from the death of that system. In spite of all odds, he became a peacemaker and, thus, a traitor to the system….[34]

It was a miracle that a man of John F. Kennedy’s background should be born again as a peacemaker. The Fourth Gospel’s final words on Lazarus are: “So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Judeans were deserting and were believing in Jesus” (John 12:10-11, my emendations). The great danger John Kennedy posed to the system was that many Americans, even people of power, would on account of him desert a cold war vision and believe in peace.

In his address before the 18th General Assembly of the United Nations, September 20, 1963, John Kennedy said:

Two years ago I told this body that the United States had proposed, and was willing to sign, a limited test-ban treaty. Today that treaty has been signed. It will not put an end to war. It will not remove basic conflicts. It will not secure freedom for all. But it can be a lever; and Archimedes, in explaining the principles of the lever, was said to have declared to his friends: “Give me a place where I can stand—and I shall move the world.”

My fellow inhabitants of this planet: Let us take our stand here in this assembly of nations. And let us see if we, in our own time, can move the world to a just and lasting peace.[35]

The place where John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King stood so as to move the world was in the presence of all nations, before their God, ready to lay down their lives for a just and lasting peace.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.[36]

“One tiny child provided for me their symbol. He was about three years old and he sat on the ground away front the others. He was in that position when I entered and still there several hours later when I left. When I approached he nervously fingered the sand and looked away, only to finally confront me as I knelt in front of him. Soon, I left and he remained as before—alone.”

Each of us has tremendous gifts and the energy sparked by the upwelling needs of Life to carry on the work of those who came before us. Resurrecting the JFK and the MLK within sets before us the task of exploring ways of implementing the imperative of peacemaking each of them gave their lives for. Exercising our intelligence in this manner, with clarity and coherence, is of the highest calling Life presents us with. Continuing the work of those who devoted their lives to be peacemakers is before every one. No one can ever take that away from us. There are many sources of inspiration to learn about and collaborate with.[37]

*

Copyright © 1996, 2008 by Vincent Harding. 

Excerpts from Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero reproduced with the permission of Orbis Books.

Notes

  1. Good introductions to this subject include:
  2. William F. Pepper, “The Children of Vietnam,” RampartsJanuary 1967, pp. 45-68.
  3. From David Swanson, “PBS’s Vietnam Acknowledges Nixon’s Treason,” Let’s Try Democracy, October 11, 2017:I want to call particular, and grateful, attention to one item that the PBS film does include, namely Richard Nixon’s treason. Five years ago, this story showed up in an article by Ken Hughes, and others by Robert Parry. Four years ago it made it into The Smithsonian, among other places. Three years ago it gained notice in a corporate-media-approved book by Ken Hughes. At that time, George Will mentioned Nixon’s treason in passing in the Washington Post, quite as if everyone knew all about it. In the new PBS documentary, Burns and Novick actually come out and state clearly what happened, in a manner that Will did not. As a result, a great many more people may indeed actually hear what happened.
    What happened was this. President Johnson’s staff engaged in peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese. Presidential candidate Richard Nixon secretly told the North Vietnamese that they would get a better deal if they waited. [UPDATE: He sent a similar message to the South Vietnamese that also helped sabotage the talks.] Johnson learned of this and privately called it treason but publicly said nothing. Nixon campaigned promising that he could end the war. But, unlike Reagan who later sabotaged negotiations to free hostages from Iran, Nixon didn’t actually deliver what he had secretly delayed. Instead, as a president elected on the basis of fraud, he continued and escalated the war (just as Johnson had before him). He once again campaigned on the promise to finally end the war when he sought re-election four years later—the public still having no idea that the war might have been ended at the negotiating table before Nixon had ever moved into the White House if only Nixon hadn’t illegally interfered (or might have been ended at any point since its beginning simply by ending it).
  4. James Galbraith: Kennedy was pulling out of VietnamNightly News with Vincent Browne, TV3 Ireland, 2009 See Also: from James K. Galbraith:
  5. Published in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Volume IV: August-December 1963 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991), Document 194.National Security Action Memorandum No. 263, October 11, 1963, pp. 395396. Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAMs. Top Secret; Eyes Only. The Director of Central Intelligence and the Administrator of AID also received copies. Also printed in United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, Book 12, p. 578.NSAM #263 though very brief, initiated what President Kennedy had begun to implement for withdrawing U.S. military forces from Vietnam. Although short, this memorandum directly refers to and builds from the Taylor/McNamara Report (Document 167) as well as Documents 179 and 181.
    Document 167. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor) and the Secretary of Defense (McNamara) to the President, October 2, 1963, pp. 336346. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, Memos and Miscellaneous. Top Secret.

    Audio recording: NSC Meeting on McNamara-Taylor Report on Vietnam, 2 October 1963 (28:45), Tape 114/A49, jfklibrary.org.

    Document 179. Memorandum for the Files of a Conference With the President, October 5, 1963, pp. 368370. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Vietnam Country Series, Memos and Miscellaneous. Top Secret.
    Document 181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam, October 5, 1963, pp. 371379. Source: Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 S VIET. Top Secret; Immediate Prepared by Hilsman with clearances of Harriman and Bundy. Cleared in draft with Rusk and McNamara. Regarding the drafting of this cable, see Document 179. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD exclusive for Felt.

  6. Kenneth P. O’Donnell and Dave F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye; Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (Boston: Little Brown, 1970), p. 17.
  7. Full transcript: Jim Douglass on The Hope in Confronting the Unspeakable in the Assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Keynote Address at The Coalition on Political Assassinations Conference, 20 November 2009, Dallas, Texas.
  8. See Selected Writings of John Judge, ratical.org.
  9. Kenn Thomas from the Foreword, Judge for Yourself: A Treasury of Writing by John Judge (Say Something Real Press, 2017), p. vi.
  10. Transcript of film: John Judge: September 11 Critical Analysis, Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, 16 February 2002.
  11. Transcript: William F. Pepper: An Act of State – The Execution of Martin Luther King, Talk at Modern Times Bookstore, San Francisco, 4 February 2003.
  12. Wayne Morse remarks before the Senate of the United States, August 22, 1966, appears in “The Children of Vietnam.”
  13. Jim Douglass, A Letter to the American People (and Myself in Particular) On the Unspeakable; first published in Fair Play Magazine, 1999, extended on ratical.org, 2012.
  14. Bernard Lee quoted in David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (New York: Vintage Books Classics, 1988), p. 543.
  15. Transcript: 2003 Pepper Talk.
  16. For an account of his final year see: Ratcliffe, “50 Years Ago: Riverside Church and MLK’s Final Year of Experiments With Truth,” rat haus reality press, April 4, 2017.
  17. Vincent Salandria, Chapter 18. Notes on Lunch with Arlen SpecterFalse Mystery – Essays on the JFK Assassination (rat haus reality press: Boston, 2017).
  18. Transcript: Jim Douglass, Conclusion, COPA 2009 Keynote Address.
  19. Today United States military and covert operations are carried out from more than 1,000 foreign U.S. military bases that surround the world. In “The Children of Vietnam,” William Pepper wrote how, “When we hear about these burned children at all, they’re simply called ‘civilians,’ and there’s no real way to tell how many of them are killed and injured every day.” The following partial list contains contemporary reports of devastating consequences to civilian populations engendered by U.S. warlords and military contractors. The military-industrial-intelligence-congressional complex learned the lesson of Vietnam—where on-the-ground footage of the human toll of the war was broadcast nightly on television news—and ceased producing nor allowing detailed reports about the numbers of people killed or injured by U.S. forces. This past July, Kathy Kelly wrote about “What Does War Generate?”:At an April, 2017 Symposium on Peace in Nashville, TN, Martha Hennessy spoke about central tenets of Maryhouse, a home of hospitality in New York City, where Martha often lives and works. Every day, the community there tries to abide by the counsels of Dorothy Day, Martha’s grandmother, who co-founded houses of hospitality and a vibrant movement in the 1930s. During her talk, she held up a postcard-sized copy of one of the movement’s defining images, Rita Corbin’s celebrated woodcut listing “The Works of Mercy” and “The Works of War.”

    Rita Corbin

    She read to us. “The Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry; Give drink to the thirsty; Clothe the naked; Visit the imprisoned; Care for the sick; Bury the dead.” And then she read: “The Works of War: Destroy crops and land; Seize food supplies; Destroy homes; Scatter families; Contaminate water; Imprison dissenters; Inflict wounds, burns; Kill the living.”

    The following week, General James Mattis was asked to estimate the death toll from the U.S. first use in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of the MOAB, or Massive Ordinance Air Burst bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. arsenals.

    “We stay away from BDA, (bomb damage assessment), in terms of the number of enemy killed,” he told reporters traveling with him in Israel. “It is continuing our same philosophy that we don’t get into that, plus, frankly, digging into tunnels to count dead bodies is probably not a good use of our troops’ time.”

    His comment seemed to echo another General, Colin Powell, who, when asked how many Iraqi soldiers might have been killed by U.S. troops invading Iraq in 1991, commented, “That’s not really a number I’m terribly interested in.” Other generals noted that some of those Iraqi troops, conscripts trying to surrender, were literally buried alive in their trenches by plow attachments affixed to U.S. tanks. More recently, Lieutenant General Aundre F. Piggee acknowledged that during the 2007 U.S. military surge in Iraq, when civilian casualties rose by 70%, the U.S. military wasn’t “necessarily concerned” about limiting civilian deaths.

    One measure of how much suffering and death is caused every day by the United States abroad can be gleaned from the enumeration of U.S. base deployments given that stationed military and clandestine forces personnel can be counted on to be actively engaged in their geographical spheres of operations. As well, independent reporting by witnesses and writers who cover the ongoing nightmare of U.S. military aggressions and intelligence agency covert operations fills in more of the tapestry of carnage and bloodshed perpetrated upon those unfortunate enough to find themselves in the crosshairs of U.S. national security interests.

    The current U.S.-generated suffering and violence in Iraq stretches over 26 years:
    Kathy Kelly:
    • The Quality of Mercy,” Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Nov 22, 2017
      The comfortable nations often authorize the worst atrocities overseas through fear for their own safety, imagining themselves the victims to be protected from crime at all costs. Such attitudes entitle people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen to look in our direction when they ask, “Who are the criminals?” They will be looking at us when they ask that, until we at last exert our historically unprecedented economic and political ability to turn our imperial nations away from ruinous war, and earn our talk of mercy.
    • How Afghans View the Endless US War,” Consortiumnews.com, Nov 2, 2017
    • What Does War Generate?,” Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Jul 3, 2017
    Jason Ditz:
    Jessica Corbett:
    Moon of Alabama:
    Bill Van Auken:
    Eddie Haywood:
    Abayomi Azikiwe:
    Nicolas J S Davies:
    Alex Ward:
    Nick Turse:
    Rebecca Gordon:
    Interfaith Network On Drone Warfare, a project of Peace Action Education Fund
    Pitch Interactive
    Bureau of Investigative Journalism:
    Stephen Lendman:
    James Cavallaro, Stephan Sonnenberg, and Sarah Knuckey,
    James A Lucas:
    John Horgan:
  20. Neta C. Crawford (Boston University), US Budgetary Costs of Post-9/11 Wars Through FY2018: $5.6 TrillionCOSTS OF WAR, Watson Institute International & Public Affairs, Brown University, November 2017. Summary Article: Costs of War: “U.S. spending on post-9/11 wars to reach $5.6 trillion by 2018,” Brown University, RI, November 7, 2017.
  21. Vincent Harding, Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008)
  22. Film: Vincent Harding – The Inconvenient Hero, Martin Luther King (8:26), Ikeda Center, November 11, 2010. The complete transcript of the recording:Dr. Harding, why do you call Martin Luther King the inconvenient hero?

    Mm-hmm. The first thing that I should say is that I feel very comfortable in naming him since he was my friend. Ever since we began talking about establishing a national holiday honoring King in this country it’s been very clear to me that there has been a great tension. Many of those, who, out of the best intention wanted to see the country honor Martin, many of them knew, at least they felt they knew, that the country could not take Martin as he was. That somehow Martin would have to be somewhat domesticated in order for the country to deal with him. Because he was both a prophet, seeking to speak the truth to the country, and a lover, seeking to grasp the country in his great affection for the country. And it’s very hard, as you know, for us to take both of those energies at once. There’s always a temptation to want to ask the the prophet to back off some and not to be so demanding on us and not to keep calling us to our best possibilities. That was what King was about. Calling us from our more easy, convenient stances in our old and not helpful ways, he was calling us beyond that. Always calling us to go outside of that.

    Calling us to give up, for instance, on the whole experience and teaching and living of white supremacy. Calling us to move away from the great levels of materialism that have always been so much a threat to our humanity and the humanity of others. And he was always calling us to look at the world, not through the eyes of a dominator, but through the eyes of sisters and brothers to the world. Those calls were hard for people to take.

    On the other hand people knew that there was something right about honoring King as our hero. What essentially happened is that those who were responsible both at national levels and local levels for developing the traditions of honoring King, chose the most convenient ways, the least challenging ways.

    So for instance, instead of taking the 1963 speech, with its presentation of the ways in which black people had been treated so unjustly and his cataloguing of that injustice, they took the piece of the speech at the very end in which he was essentially saying that as long as we continue to struggle for a better country, then he has a dream that this can come. But we took that last piece—“I have a dream.” Not talking anymore about the injustices. Not talking about the struggle that is necessary to overcome the injustices. Going as quickly as possible to the dream of the country with justice.

    All through our treatment of King we forgot the pieces that were most difficult for us to handle. Almost never, in most of the celebrations, is there any lifting up of his powerful statement against the war and against the machinery of war and against militarism and against our temptation to live as a new kind of imperial power in the world.

    We took him, we wrapped him in the most, in most cases, in the most unchallenging attire; made him convenient to where we wanted to be; made him convenient to our unchallenged pathways.

    So I have to call him an inconvenient hero because I am convinced that the ways in which, by and large, he has been dressed, attired, by the desire to create this national holiday, in order to get the holiday, in order to keep the holiday, in order to make the holiday acceptable to all kinds of people, we have diminished him and we have made him fit our convenience.

    I’m quite convinced that he can never become all that he needs to become for us unless we are willing to open ourselves to the prophetic pastor, to the crier out for justice and rightness and open ourselves to what would have to be called the very tough love that he wanted to share with us. Otherwise he’ll be a hero who has nothing to offer us except a dim reflection of ourselves and we don’t need any more of that.

  23. Harding, The Inconvenient Hero, p. 28. Concerning the Poor People’s Campaign and mobilization that was being planned by Martin Luther King to commence in the spring of 1968 in the nation’s capital, his commitment was to bring 500,000 people to Washington culminating in an encampment in the shadow of the Washington Memorial, to force the United States government to abolish poverty (see An Act of State, p. 7). In a lecture transmitted over the Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio network in late 1967, Martin King expressed his vision first of a national and then a global nonviolent revolution against the increasing concentration of financial wealth in the U.S. corporate empire state and its encompassing military power.Nonviolent protest must now mature to a new level to correspond to heightened black impatience and stiffened white resistance. This higher level is mass civil disobedience. There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point. That interruption must not, however, be clandestine or surreptitious. It is not necessary to invest it with guerrilla romanticism. It must be open and, above all, conducted by large masses without violence. If the jails are filled to thwart it, its meaning will become even clearer….

    Mass civil disobedience as a new stage of struggle can transmute the deep rage of the ghetto into a constructive and creative force. To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be more effective than a riot because it can be longer-lasting, costly to the larger society, but not wantonly destructive. Finally, it is a device of social action that is more difficult for the government to quell by superior force. (Lecture reprinted as Chapter 1, Impasse In Race Relations, in Martin Luther King, The Trumpet of Conscience (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010) pp. 15-16.)

    Dr. King wasn’t just talking about “dislocat[ing] the functioning of a city without destroying it.” He and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were preparing a very real plan announced on December 4, 1967 for a Poor People’s Campaign to commence on-the-ground in Washington D.C. in the spring of 1968:

    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference will lead waves of the nation’s poor and disinherited to Washington, D.C. next spring to demand redress of their grievances by the United States government and to secure at least jobs or income for all. We will go there, we will demand to be heard, and we will stay until America responds. If this means forcible repression of our movement we will confront it, for we have done this before. If this means scorn or ridicule we embrace it, for that is what America’s poor now receive. If it means jail we accept it willingly, for the millions of poor already are imprisoned by exploitation and discrimination. But we hope with growing confidence that our campaign in Washington will receive at first a sympathetic understanding across our nation followed by dramatic expansion of nonviolent demonstrations in Washington and simultaneous protests elsewhere. In short, we will be petitioning our government for specific reforms and we intend to build militant nonviolent actions until that government moves against poverty.

    A measure of what the assassination of Martin Luther King resulted in was that at its peak, the 7,000 protestors who lived in Resurrection City between mid-April and June 19, 1968, was less than two percent of the half-million people Martin King was committed to bringing to Washington D.C. while he was still alive.

  24. Ibid. p. 41.
  25. Ibid. pp. 31-32.
  26. Ibid. pp. 34-36.
  27. Coretta Scott King, My Life With Martin Luther King, Jr., Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969, p. 327.
  28. Thomas Merton, Cold War Letters, (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006), p. 43.
  29. Dr. William F. Pepper Esq, The Plot To Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2016)
  30. Ibid. p. 344.
  31. Jim Douglass, “The Assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy in the Light of the Fourth Gospel,” Sewanee Theological Review 42:1 (1998), The School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, pp. 26-46.
  32. Ibidp. 40.
  33. Ibidp. 45. “Why are there forty million poor people…” from Martin Luther King, “Where Do We Go From Here?,” Delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention Atlanta, GA, Aug 16, 1967.
  34. The Assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedyp. 42.
  35. Transcript, audio of Address before the 18th General Assembly of the United Nations, Sep 20, 1963.
  36. The Assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedyp. 46.
  37. A few of many pro-active, peacemaking, war resisting sources are listed below. Recommendations for helpful additional sources are always welcome.
    • Film: Chief Arvol Looking Horse – ‘One Prayer’“I’m asking people all over the the world to pray with us. We can create an energy shift. That’s what needs to happen to heal Mother Earth. [In] 1994, the first white buffalo was born. It was like a needle in a haystack, message to the world: we need to heal together, survive together, come together. There’s no one person higher than the other. There’s no one nation higher than the other. We are at the crossroads, faced with chaos, disasters, tears from our relatives eyes. Or we can unite, spiritually, all nations, all faiths, one prayer.”
    • Earth GuardiansThe mission of Earth Guardians is to grow a resilient movement with youth at the forefront by empowering them as leaders and amplifying their impact. Now with thousands of engaged youth on six continents, Earth Guardians has given youth a voice and direction worldwide in order to become effective leaders and make measurable change in their communities. Earth Guardians is developing the resources to build a stronger collaborative network and cultivate this large wave of youth engagement.
    • Courage To Resistsupports the troops who refuse to fight, or who face consequences for acting on conscience, in opposition to illegal wars, occupations, the policies of empire abroad and martial law at home. Our People Power strategy weakens the pillars that perpetuate these causes of immense violence. By supporting military resistance, counter-recruitment, and draft resistance, we intend to cut off the supply of troops for war, while pledging resistance to the policies of hate, repression, and the militarization of policing domestically. We are autonomous from and independent of any political organization, party or group.
      Books:

    • Countering Military Recruitment Celebrating and Carrying On John Judge’s Legacy by Pat Elder
    • Film: C.H.O.I.C.E.S., John Judge (7:40)from “A Better Welcome Home for Veterans: Transformative Models to Support Veterans and Their Families” held at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University, November 2, 2011, (07:41). C.H.O.I.C.E.S. brings veterans and military family members together to tell schools and communities about military, war, and veterans’ problems. How You Can Help:
      1. Realize this is our military, and how it treats recruits, enlisted members, and veterans is up to all of us;
      2. Encourage Washington, DC-area veterans and military family members to join C.H.O.I.C.E.S., to talk in our high schools about military life, combat, and veterans’ issues;
      3. In other cities and states work with or create similar groups. Connect with the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth to find groups and more information.
    • National Coalition to Protect Student Privacyworks to prohibit the automatic release of student information to military recruiting services gathered through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Career Exploration Program in high schools across the country. The organization works to safeguard student privacy from the Pentagon’s predatory recruitment practices.
    • National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY)is a national networking body that brings together national, regional and local organizations to oppose the growing intrusion of the military in young people’s lives.
    • Project YANO, the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunitiesprimarily serves young people who are looking for job training, wish to go to college or want to make a difference in other people’s lives—but they might not see enough opportunities to pursue these goals. We also work with educators and others who advise young people, and we support youths who are using activism to change their lives, their communities and the larger world they are part of.
    • Vietnam Full Disclosure CampaignVietnam: Full Disclosure campaign organizers have established a google group to help build momentum within the nationwide movement of truth telling leading up to the 50th anniversary of the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
    • American Friends Service CommitteeThe American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.
    • International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
    • World Beyond WarWorld Beyond War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace; to create awareness of popular support for ending war and to further develop that support; to advance the idea of not just preventing any particular war but abolishing the entire institution. We strive to replace a culture of war with one of peace in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed.
      • Study war no more – A Concerned Citizens Study & Action Guide Encourages learning, reflection, visioning and action toward the development of a “A Global Security System: An Alternative to War.” Developed, produced and maintained by World Beyond War in partnership with the Global Campaign for Peace Education, this discussion and action guide is intended for those concerned with pursuing alternative possibilities to the general futility of war as a means to pursuing peace. It provides guided inquiries for students and citizens to understand the nature of “the war system” and the possibilities for its transformation to an authentic “global security system” pursued via peaceful means. World Beyond War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. The Global Campaign for Peace Education builds public awareness and political support for the introduction of peace education into all spheres of education, including non-formal education, in all schools throughout the world.
      • A Global Security System: An Alternative to War (AGSS) 2017 editionThis report is based on the work of many experts in international relations, peace building and peace studies and on the experience of many activists. This 3rd edition reflects new thinking and insights as well as the feedback from readers and partners. This is not just another report, but a living document that we will continually seek to improve. New in this edition is an analysis of Trump’s foreign policy agenda; updated and new data on peace economics and military spending; and new or updated sections including the business of peace building, demilitarizing security, multi-track diplomacy framework to peacemaking, and many other additions.
        “What a treasure. It is so well written and conceptualized. The beautiful text and design immediately captured the attention and imagination of my 90 graduate and undergraduate students. Visually and substantively, the clarity of the book appeals to young people in a way textbooks have not.” —Barbara Wien, American University
    • Mayors for PeaceThe Mayors for Peace, through close cooperation among the cities, strives to raise international public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons and contributes to the realization of genuine and lasting world peace by working to eliminate starvation and poverty, assist refugees fleeing local conflict, support human rights, protect the environment, and solve the other problems that threaten peaceful coexistence within the human family. At present, the Conference is composed of 7,514 cities in 162 countries and regions around the world.
    • Women’s International League for Peace & FreedomThe Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) with National Sections covering every continent, an International Secretariat based in Geneva, and a New York office focused on the work of the United Nations (UN). Since our establishment in 1915, we have brought together women from around the world who are united in working for peace by non-violent means and promoting political, economic and social justice for all. Our approach is always non-violent, and we use existing international legal and political frameworks to achieve fundamental change in the way states conceptualise and address issues of gender, militarism, peace and security. Our strength lies in our ability to link the international and local levels. We are very proud to be one of the first organisations to gain consultative status (category B) with the United Nations, and the only women’s anti-war organisation so recognised.
    • List of Endorsers Organizations to the Montreal Declaration for a Nuclear-Fission-Free World
    • International Fellowship of Reconciliation
    • War Resisters League
    • Antiwar.com
    • International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War: IPPNW
    • Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
    • Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
    • Physicians for Social Responsibility

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