Helping Students Keep Their Humanity by Not Signing Up for War

We Are Not Your Soldiers brings exposure of imperial wars to a generation of youth largely unaware of the crimes being carried out throughout the world in their names.

by: Stephanie Rugoff

 As awareness and activism grows among young people around the climate crisis, immigration, racism, gun violence and the Trump administration, we show the connections between these issues and U.S. wars. (Photo: via EuroYankee)

As awareness and activism grows among young people around the climate crisis, immigration, racism, gun violence and the Trump administration, we show the connections between these issues and U.S. wars. (Photo: via EuroYankee)

On this Veterans Day, 2019, for the United States, making war is less about amassing human air, land and sea forces to attack “the enemy” as it is increasingly about amassing technological superiority in which machines replace humans enabling politicians and corporate bosses to pursue their goals without the pesky problem of waves of homeward-bound body bags and caskets.

Yet, the Pentagon was confronted with the obstacle of conscience being applied to technological research in mid-2018 when Google employees protested working on Project Maven, a program that would use artificial intelligence to assist in drone killing, causing Google to drop Maven. Tech workers at Amazon and Microsoft have also protested working on technology that supports repression and killing.

While work on Maven has been picked up by another firm and Amazon and Microsoft leadership have apparently felt free to ignore the pleas of their workers these protests illustrate the increasing power of individuals to throw monkey wrenches into the gears of the war machine.

Hence, the increasing importance of the task of educating all students on the consequences of war, whether or not they plan to join the military. 

This is what We Are Not Your Soldiers has been doing for 13 years by bringing veterans into classrooms. Being knowledgeable of the realities of fighting in or, by inertia, supporting the wrong side of imperialist wars can lead to people speaking and acting in opposition to them.

Veterans Dialogue With Students About U.S. Wars

During 2018-19, all We Are Not Your Soldiers visits were in New York State, including:

  • Four colleges in New York City
  • Seven NYC high schools – from very traditional to very non-traditional
  • A progressive NYC public middle school
  •  A NY State church social action program whose members are primarily immigrant youth

Speaking to:

  • 17 college classes
  • 41 high school classes (including one JROTC class)
  • Four middle school classes 
  • One church youth group

… averaging out to deep discussions with approximately 1,600-1,700 students. 

A teacher from one of the schools messaged us: “Just wanted to thank you again for spending a truly engaging, thought-provoking day with us. The work you do is incredibly vital for young people like my students, all of whom were enthusiastic, moved and grateful in their responses when I asked them for their thoughts on your visit in class the next day.  I’m constantly trying to raise consciousness (and consciences…), but it is often a tough uphill trek, so I’m happy to have your help in the mission. I would love to have you back next year to meet a new batch of students! In the meantime, please keep doing the work you’re doing — I know how exhausting it is but I promise you it is worth it!”

Our Speakers

Miles Megaciph, a spoken word artist, tells the story of his time in the Marines, in Guantanamo and Okinawa, via hip-hop. Lyle Rubin, who served as a Marine lieutenant, focuses on several key incidents during his time in Afghanistan.  John Burns, a former Army bomb technician, enlisted to save lives not to be turned into a robot. Will Griffin, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, was just elected to the board of About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War).

If Vietnam is being studied,  Joe Urgo, an Air Force Vietnam veteran who had been a principal organizer of the Winter Soldier Investigation, speaks. Bruce Dancis, a Vietnam resister who spent 19 months in federal prison, also speaks.

Our messages

The veterans share their own personal stories of how they were affected by their time in the military, bringing another vision of these wars in which so many have been sacrificed by losing their lives and/or their humanity. And, they address the effects on the peoples of the countries under attack and what has happened when social structures have been destroyed. Not many veterans can do this.

Speaking openly of such experiences is very difficult and can open raw wounds –  which is why even those students with veterans in their family or close circles have not heard much of what comes out in these discussions. Many veterans confront either denial or shame in revealing information contrary to the beliefs of those who “thank them for their service,” an issue for so many dealing with post-traumatic stress.

We are very grateful to these speakers who share their lives.  They struggle to do this in order to help others avoid the trauma they have suffered and to avoid the horrific violence being aimed at so many others around the world.

We Are Not Your Soldiers brings this exposure of imperial wars to a generation of youth largely unaware of the crimes being carried out throughout the world in their names. As awareness and activism grows among young people around the climate crisis, immigration, racism, gun violence and the Trump administration, we show the connections between these issues and U.S. wars.

We emphasize students don’t have to believe us any more than they have to believe media advertising or the recruiters who approach them. They need to investigate on their own, researching conflicting claims to be able to get a true grasp on reality. Students ask questions and state their own opinions and thoughts. As a retired teacher with long-term experience in the New York City school system, I work with educators to align the presentation with their curriculum and be as relevant as possible to the needs of their students.

One student wrote: “Thank you for coming to our school. I appreciate that you shared your experience with us. It opened my eyes about the military because I didn’t know any of the stuff you shared with us. Your story made me realize how cruel the military can be. Also, you’re brave and kind-hearted for thinking about other people’s lives.”

Sometimes, we show students “Collateral Murder,” footage released by Chelsea Manning via Wikileaks of the US helicopter killing of Reuters journalists and others in Baghdad,  or excerpts from “Unmanned,” a feature film about the moral quandary of a drone pilot stationed in the United States. After watching “Collateral Murder” students in a JROTC class asked, “Why did they kill children?” “Why did they talk about people in Iraq in such a messed up way?”

Morality is a key word or core idea we always introduce for students to consider throughout the presentation and discussion – knowing the difference between right and wrong and what to do when you know that something is wrong.

Coming to your school

If you are an educator, a student or a parent, invite us to your school. If you are a parent or simply a concerned citizen, approach local principals, guidance counselors or teachers about the importance of their students hearing all sides of the story so they can make wise decisions of what to do upon graduation. We encourage you to visit our website and follow our Facebook page.

We offer the We Are Not Your Soldiers presentations free of charge. Your donations keep us going. 

We are scheduling visits for our We Are Not Your Soldiers tour for the fall 2019 semester. Call us at 646-807-3259 or email wearenotyoursoldiers@worldcantwait.net. We will arrange to be at your school no matter where you are located — we can do “distance” visits via Skype or Zoom.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Ocasio-Cortez Joins Chorus of Critics Condemning Coup in Bolivia That Forced Out Socialist President

“What’s happening right now in Bolivia isn’t democracy,” she said.

byJessica Corbett

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform June 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday became the second U.S. lawmaker to join the growing chorus of voices across the globe who are condemning the resignation of Bolivia’s socialist President Evo Morales as a “coup.”

As Common Dreams reported earlier Monday, “Morales was forced to resign Sunday under threat from the nation’s military, police forces, and violent right-wing protestors.” The resignation followed Morales’ announcement that he would hold new elections after the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) questioned his October victory.

Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat from New York, tweeted in both Spanish and English Monday afternoon, “What’s happening right now in Bolivia isn’t democracy, it’s a coup.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOC

What’s happening right now in Bolivia isn’t democracy, it’s a coup.

The people of Bolivia deserve free, fair, and peaceful elections – not violent seizures of power.69.5K7:26 PM – Nov 11, 2019

The democratic socialist’s comment echoed that of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a fellow Squad member who had weighed in on Twitter late Sunday.

Progressives thanked Ocasio-Cortez “for breaking the deafening silence” and encouraged Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whom both Omar and Ocasio-Cortez have endorsed for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—to issue a similar statement on the recent developments in Bolivia.

Within two hours of Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, Sanders took to Twitter to express his concern “about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia.”

Bernie Sanders@BernieSanders

I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions.76K9:16 PM – Nov 11, 2019

The Washington, D.C.-based independent membership organization Just Foreign Policy responded by thanking Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Omar “for standing up for Bolivian democracy.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Sunday that he “fully support[s] the findings of the [OAS] report recommending new elections” in the South American country, and President Donald Trump on Monday called Morales’ resignation “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere.”

Throughout Monday, progressive journalists and advocacy groups continued to condemn the coup and U.S. media outlets reporting on it:

Glenn Greenwald@ggreenwald

There’s literally not a single thing about the violence and military rule taking place in Bolivia that is about restoration of democracy.

Everything that’s happening is about an end to democracy there: a classic coup.

It’s astonishing US media outlets won’t call it that:

Naomi Klein@NaomiAKlein

Exactly 10 years ago, Evo Morales’s negotiators went to a U.N. climate summit and called for a “Marshall Plan for Planet Earth” and “rights for Mother Earth.”

The idea was what is now being called a #GreenNewDeal.

If we had listened then, the world might not be in flames.

Posted in USA, Bolivia0 Comments

Another War for ‘Israel’ Featuring America’s Newest Allies: al Qaeda ‘Video’

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Essential Saker II

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Posted in Middle East, USA, Europe, C.I.A, Syria0 Comments

Democratic candidates require continued US support for ‘Israel’ to stop its violations in the occupied territories

Democratic candidate Senator Elizabeth Warner

The political rhetoric of the Democratic candidates has witnessed a remarkable development in its audacity by criticizing the policy and the arbitrary actions by the Nazi occupation forces and authorities against the Palestinians, where a number of Democratic contenders have expressed their dissatisfaction with these practices in recent weeks. Nazi PM Benjamin Naziyahu (who was unable to form a government after the September 17 elections) by racism and to plunge the region into tension and possibly explosion.

“If Israel continues to escalate settlements and move forward with its threats to annex land in the West Bank to Israel, US aid to Israel must be on the table as a lever to prevent the annexation of any occupied territory,” said Democratic candidate Senator Elizabeth Warner, who is currently in the race. .

Several candidates have joined her in recent days, such as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Petejig, former housing minister Julian Castro, and Senator Amy Klopcher, who, while avoiding the direct answer, acknowledged the need for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Traditional.

Petojig said at the conference of the liberal Jewish organization “ J Street ” on Monday, October 28, 2019 that if elected president of the United States, and if ‘Israel’ annexed land in the occupied West Bank and continue settlement, it would reconsider US aid to ‘Israel’ and conditional on granting it to stop settlement And end the occupation.

The first thing he will do is to re-establish relations with the Palestinians, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and reopen the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington.

He described Naziyahu’s practices against Palestinians and Arab citizens of ‘Israel’ as racist.

This was followed by a speech by former housing secretary (under former President Obama) Julian Castro, who repeated the same words and said, “We have to reopen the US Consulate in East Jerusalem and prepare it to be the US Embassy in the independent state of Palestine, which must be based on 1967 with a slight replacement of land with the consent of the parties. “

Senator Bernie Sanders, known for his advocacy of a Palestinian state and an end to the Nazi occupation, will speak on Monday evening, and Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat will also address the conference.

On the first side are a number of Republican Jews who are blindly pro-‘Israel’, the majority of whom are Orthodox Jews, and a few large donors to the Trump campaign, such as Sheldon and Mary Adelson. – From relocating the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem, withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal, preventing criticism of the Nazi actions towards the Palestinians, including the occupied Syrian Golan and desperate defense of the Jewish state in international forums.

On the other hand, the vast majority of American Jews define themselves as democratic liberals. The gap between American Jews reached its climax last August, when Trump pressed Nazi PM Benjamin Naziyahu to block progressive Democratic congressmen Rachida Taleb and Ilhan Omar from entering ‘Israel’.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

America’s Streets and Squares Are Waiting: Massive Rallies Work!

by RALPH NADER

Around the world people are marching, rallying, and demonstrating in huge numbers. Some of these countries are ruled by dictators or plutocratic regimes, others are considered democracies. Despite the peril of protest, people are seeking justice, freedom, and decent livelihoods.

Many boast about the United States being the oldest democracy in the world. While there are some street protests in the US, they are sadly too few and far between. Rallies calling attention to climate disruption have received less public support and media attention than they deserve. Likewise, the Parkland rally in Washington, D.C. against gun violence could have received more follow up publicity. And we all remember the massive women’s march the day after Trump was inaugurated in Washington, D.C. The subsequent women’s marches have attracted smaller crowds and therefore less media coverage.

It is not as if our country doesn’t have a historic tradition of sustained demonstrations. Mass protests have carried the labor movement, the farmer movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement to breakthroughs. These mass protests alone were not the sole drivers of political action – books, articles, editorials, pamphlets, posters, and litigation were essential. But visible displays of aggregated people power had a profound effect on those politicians’ actions. When politicians put their fingers to the wind, the repeated rumble from the masses is what fills the sails of change.

It is not as if mass injustices are absent in the “land of the free, home of the brave.” Sadly, the informed populace is just not showing up in an organized, big crowd fashion – the way they did to challenge the nuclear arms race and nuclear power in the nineteen seventies and eighties. In the era of the iPhone and Internet, activists have greater access to organizing tools than ever – no postage stamps or costly long-distance telephone calls are needed.

Consider these candidates for mass demonstrations proximate to where the decision makers are located. Millions of young people are being gouged by student loan creditors and for-profit colleges. Whether it is the U.S. Department of Education’s high interest rates or the exploitation by for-profit universities, the abuses are outrageous, cruel, and in the latter case, often criminal.

Total outstanding student loans amount to over $1.5 trillion. These burdened young Americans know how to contact each other for free; they also can raise money instantly using new crowdfunding technology. They know how to use the visual arts and the verbal arts. Congress can reverse the predatory practices in higher education. Where is the advocacy from millions of student loan debtors? They could have a huge impact if they surrounded the Capitol or held smaller rallies around Congressional offices back home, especially in the coming election year.

Millions of workers are making, inflation adjusted, less than workers made in 1968. The federal minimum wage, frozen at $7.25, is the culprit. The House of Representatives finally bestirred itself to pass a $15 minimum wage stretched over a number of years. But when the Walmart-indentured members of the Senate look out their windows, it would be nice to see masses of workers surrounding their Senate offices, prior to some insistent personal lobbying?

There are no labor mass rallies in front of Trump’s anti-labor White House either, even though, the headquarters of the AFL-CIO are just yards away on 16th Street NW. The face-off of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka v. Donald Trump is overdue.

Millions of minorities are suffering voter suppression. Civil rights leaders are angry. They anticipate Republicans at the state and federal level to again erect all kinds of insidious roadblocks that disproportionately affect people of color the most. Abuses in the Florida and Georgia races were rampant in 2018. Presidential races in swing states are also plagued by voter suppression tactics. All signs point to a more intrusive stripping of eligible voters in the 2020 election.

Where are the marches before the offices of the state secretary of state and culpable legislators and Governors headquarters?

A quarter of our country’s families are poor. A Poor People’s Campaign, led by the Reverend William Barber and local pastors, has been protesting in the streets in North Carolina and other states. Their protests deserve far greater attendance. The media has given them too little coverage. But if there were massive demonstrations in major cities and before state legislatures and the Congress, with coordinated demands and large photographs of key politicians fronting for the rich and powerful, will get mass media coverage.

Tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance or are severely underinsured. Thousands of lives are lost annually as a result. This is a problem in America but not other developed nations that have systems in place that prioritize their citizens’ health. Getting sick or injured without medical care is far too frequent in the U.S. Those who suffer from this deprivation can be motivated to take to the streets. The health care industry’s soaring profits and their mega-rich bosses should move additional Americans to rally for Medicare-for-All!

These rallies can be led by physicians and nurses, tired of the paperwork, the bureaucracy, and the health insurance companies denying access to health care for their patients and arbitrarily rejecting doctor-recommended treatments.

In the nineteen forties, President Harry Truman proposed to Congress universal health insurance. Americans still do not have Medicare-for-All and are paying the highest prices, premiums, and out of pocket bills in the world – not to mention the human suffering caused by an inadequate healthcare system.

What a great street story for television, radio, and print newspapers! Think of the tragic human interest stories, straight from the heart by mothers and fathers with children having limited or no access to health care.

Other marches can come from the homeless and the desperate tenants spending over half their income on rent in the many communities where there is a shortage of affordable housing.

All these mass turnouts can pass contribution buckets or tout websites and raise money from the crowds for the next round of even larger protests. At each event, a list of demands can be presented to decision-makers. At each event, protestors can go to the offices where the decision-makers are or insist that these lawmakers speak to the assembled protestors.

There are many innovations to make these action rallies more impactful, more motivating, and more mass-media-centric. There also have to be some enlightened billionaires, worried about their country and their descendants, who want to provide the modest amount of money necessary for event organizers and focused political action. Show up America!

Posted in USA0 Comments

30 Years Ago, American Nun Dianna Ortiz Was Kidnapped and Tortured in Guatemala, She’s Still Waiting for Truth & Justice

by BRETT WILKINS

Dianna Ortiz wanted to be a nun since she was 6 years old. To some people, that seemed a rather peculiar calling for a girl growing up during the seismic cultural shifts of the 1960s and ’70s, a time when many women were leaving religious orders. But Ortiz, the daughter of a homemaker and a uranium miner growing up in Grants, New Mexico, remained steadfastly committed to her goal through middle and high school and in her late teens she traveled across America to Maple Mount, Kentucky to join the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, part of a 400-year-old Roman Catholic order dedicated to the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy.

Dangerous Calling 

In keeping with the Ursuline mission, Ortiz taught kindergarten for a decade. She then felt called to follow Jesus’ path and work helping the poor. In September 1987 at the age of 28 she moved to Guatemala to join several other nuns serving indigenous residents of San Miguel Acatan and other small villages in Huehuetenango in the western highlands. Years later Ortiz explained that she wanted “to teach young indigenous children to read and write in Spanish and in their native language and to understand the Bible in their culture.”

It was dangerous work at a dangerous time. The country was ravaged by decades of civil war resulting from a 1954 CIA coup that deposed Jacobo Arbenz, the popular, democratically-elected progressive president, and replaced him with a series of right-wing military dictatorships, some of which perpetrated genocidal violence against indigenous peoples. The 36-year civil war left over 200,000 Guatemalans dead, more than 600 villages destroyed and countless people, mostly Mayan peasants, displaced.

“Every family in San Miguel had people who had been tortured, disappeared or killed,” Mary Elizabeth Ballard, an Ursuline sister who had arrived in Guatemala a year before Ortiz, told the literary magazine Agni in a 1998 interview. “No family was untouched.” Through it all, successive US administrations backed the perpetrators with arms, training, funding and diplomatic support.

Around a year after Ortiz’s arrival in San Miguel, the local bishop received an anonymous letter accusing her and the other nuns of planning a meeting with “subversives.” By early 1989, Ortiz was receiving threatening letters imploring her to leave the country. That summer she traveled to the capital, Guatemala City, to study Spanish. While she was there she was accosted by an unknown man on the street who told her, “we know who you are, you’re working in Huehuetenango,” before telling her to leave Guatemala.

She did leave, returning to the Ursuline motherhouse in Kentucky, where some of the sisters implored her to stay. But those who knew her best knew that wasn’t an option. “She had a great love for the Guatemalans,” Luisa Bickett, an Ursuline sister who also worked in San Miguel, told Agni. Ortiz returned to Guatemala to continue her work in September 1989. While staying in Guatemala City on October 13, Ortiz received the following death threat in the form of a letter pasted together from words cut from magazines and newspapers:

ELIMINATE DIANA. RAPED. DISAPPEARED. ASSASSINATED. DECAPITATED. LEAVE THE COUNTRY.

‘Hello, My Love’

Ortiz returned to San Miguel and on October 17 received yet another menacing letter telling her to leave the country. She decided to seek refuge at Posada de Belén, a convent and religious retreat 170 miles (270 km) away in Antigua. On November 2 Ortiz was reading in the convent’s garden when her life was forever changed. In an interview with Kerry Kennedy of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization, she recalled that:

“I heard a man’s deep voice behind me: ‘Hello, my love,’ he said in Spanish. ‘We have some things to discuss.’ I turned to see the morning sunlight glinting off a gun held by a man who had threatened me once before on the street. He and his partner forced me onto a bus, then into a police car where they blindfolded me. We came to a building and they led me down some stairs. They left me in a dark cell, where I listened to the cries of a man and woman being tortured. When the men returned, they accused me of being a guerrilla and began interrogating me. For every answer I gave them, they burned my back or my chest with cigarettes. Afterwards, they gang-raped me repeatedly.”

They raped her until she passed out. This was just the beginning of her nightmare. Ortiz was then moved to another room with another woman prisoner. “We exchanged names, cried, and held onto each other,” Ortiz said. “‘Dianna,’ she said in Spanish, ‘they will try to break you. Be strong.’” Some men returned with a video camera and a machete, which Ortiz thought would be used to torture her. Instead, she says she was forced to kill the other woman.

“What I remember is blood gushing, spurting like a water fountain… and my cries lost in the cries of the woman,” she recalled. Her captors then threatened to release video of her attacking the woman if she refused to cooperate. She was raped again. Then, the unimaginable:

“I was lowered into a pit full of bodies — bodies of children, men and women, some decapitated, all caked with blood. A few were still alive. I could hear them moaning… A stench of decay rose from the pits. Rats swarmed over the bodies… I passed out and when I came to I was lying on the ground beside the pit, rats all over me.”

More brutal interrogation followed. At one point, her captors held her down and began assaulting her again. One of them said, “Alejandro, come and have some fun.” Alejandro, who was tall and had fair skin, cursed in English and told the men that Ortiz was an American nun whose disappearance had already made news headlines. She says he then ordered them out of the room before helping her get dressed and leave the building in a sport utility vehicle parked outside.

“He kept telling me he was sorry, [that] the torturers had made a mistake,” Ortiz told Kennedy. “He said he was… working to liberate [Guatemala] from communism.” As they drove into Guatemala City, Alejandro blamed Ortiz for her ordeal, saying she should have heeded the death threats that preceded her kidnapping. He threatened her again and, fearing for her life, Ortiz jumped out of the SUV at a red light and ran.

State of Shock 

Darleen Chmielewski, a Franciscan nun who was one of the first people to see Ortiz after her escape, described her friend as in “a state of shock.”

“She was a shell of a woman; her eyes were blank and I presumed she had been tortured,” Chmielewski told Agni. The two women went the home of the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican representative in Guatemala City, who had offered Ortiz refuge. “Diana wanted to take a bath,” Chmielewski recalled. “I helped her wash and saw all the cigarette burns… she just cried and took baths.”

Two days later, Ortiz was back in the United States. “After escaping from my torturers, I returned home to New Mexico so traumatized that I recognized no one, not even my parents,” she told Kennedy. “I had virtually no memory of my life before my abduction; the only piece of my identity that remained was that I was a woman who was raped and forced to torture and murder another human being.”

She also felt forced to do something unimaginable for many nuns. “I got pregnant as a result of the multiple gang rapes,” she explained to Kennedy. “Unable to carry within me… what I could only view as a monster, I turned to someone for assistance and I destroyed that life.”

“Am I proud of that decision? No. But if I had to make [it] again, I believe I would decide as I did then,” Ortiz added. “I felt I had no choice. If I had had to grow within me what the torturers left me I would have died.”

Several months after her return stateside, Ortiz traveled to Chicago, where she lived for a time at the Su Casa Catholic Worker House for torture survivors. Sister JoAnn Persch said Ortiz arrived with “incredible fear” in her eyes and seemed “so fragile and traumatized.” She sat up all night with music and lights on so she wouldn’t succumb to the nightmares that came with sleep. “When she did fall asleep, she’d awaken with fists bruised from pounding the walls,” Persch told Agni.

Justice Denied 

Ortiz’s torment continued as she sought — and was denied — justice. Thomas Stroock, the US ambassador under President George H.W. Bush, accused her of staging her abduction in a bid to thwart US military aid to Guatemala. Cigarette burns — 111 of them, according to a US doctor who examined her — told a different story. In a bizarre twist, Guatemalan officials claimed Ortiz faked her kidnapping to cover up a violent lesbian affair, a rumor subsequently spread by US officials. Previously, the Reagan administration had undertaken a similar effort to discredit another Ursuline nun, Dorothy Kazel of Cleveland, Ohio, who along with three other American churchwomen was kidnapped, raped and executed in El Salvador by US-backed troops.

The prospect of Ortiz testifying about her ordeal terrified Stroock, a Wyoming oilman appointed by Bush, a Yale classmate who had no prior diplomatic experience. In a letter urging the State Department to not meet with her, he warned that “pressure… will build… to act on the information she provides.” Stroock worried that “we’re going to get cooked on this one.”

But it was Ortiz who continued to suffer. She received menacing phone calls and anonymous packages, one of them containing a dead mouse wrapped in a Guatemalan flag. Ortiz, however, remained undaunted. She made three trips to Guatemala to testify against the government, and tasted victory, albeit of a largely symbolic nature, when a federal judge in Boston ordered Gen. Héctor Gramajo, the Guatemalan defense minister who had tried to discredit Ortiz — in part by claiming her cigarette burns were the result of sadomasochistic sex — to pay her and eight Guatemalan victims a combined $47.5 million. “Forty-seven million dollars?” Gramajo scoffed. “I don’t have 47 million centavos!” He told the New York Times that he did nothing wrong; he was simply defending his country.

Demanding Truth 

In 1996 Ortiz held a five-week fasting vigil in front of the White House, where she broke down in tears while demanding that the US government declassify all documents about human rights abuses in Guatemala since the 1954 coup. Hillary Clinton, then first lady, invited Ortiz to her office. “I knew I needed to try to get Mrs. Clinton not only to understand my plight but also that of the Guatemalan people,” she told the Chicago Tribune at the time. During the half-hour meeting, Clinton told Ortiz it was possible that Alejandro was “a past or present employee of a US agency.”

Still, the hard truth was that many people, including government officials, doubted Ortiz’s story. She started to think that her torturers, who warned her that no one would believe her if she ever talked about her ordeal, might have been right. It was the same sadly familiar scenario faced by so many women who muster the courage to step forward to report sexual violence only to be called liars, or worse.

Ortiz’s relentless pursuit of justice eventually compelled the United States to declassify long-secret documents revealing details of US cooperation with Guatemalan security forces before, during and after the time of her abduction, including an admission by Stroock that the US embassy was in contact with members of a death squad. The documents also show that Gen. Gramajo had been trained in counterinsurgency tactics at the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), where military and police officials from Latin American allies — many of them dictatorships — were instructed in counterinsurgency and democracy suppression using course manuals that advocated the torture and execution of civilians.

“The US government funded, trained and equipped the Guatemalan army’s death squads — my torturers themselves,” Ortiz later wrote. “The United States was the Guatemalan army’s partner in a covert war against a small opposition force, a war the United Nations would later declare genocidal.”

In 1997 the Organization of American States (OAS) finished a four-year investigation that concluded Ortiz was kidnaped, tortured and very likely raped by Guatemalan security forces. The investigatory commission called on the Guatemalan government to hold the perpetrators accountable and to compensate Ortiz for the gross violation of her human rights. However, the case languished in the Guatemalan court system and no suspects were ever identified.

Healing Mind, Body and Soul 

Ortiz’s suffering has left her with an acute awareness of human rights issues and a desire to work in service of those rights. In 1998 she founded Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), and in 2002 published The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth. Understandably, she is reluctant to discuss the horrific events of November 1989. “Those of us who have survived torture must relive all our torture every time we speak of it, and that’s one of the reasons why few of us do speak publicly,” she explained in a 2005 Democracy Now! interview. “I want to be free of these memories,” she told Kennedy. “I want to be as trusting, confident, adventurous, and carefree as I was in 1987.”

As for her recovery, Ortiz confessed in The Blindfold’s Eye that “no one ever fully recovers” from torture. “Not the one who is tortured, and not the one who tortures.” Her faith, which also suffered after her ordeal, has recovered —  and evolved. “Today, my spirituality is an attempt to live a Gospel-centered life that is formed, inspired and transformed and guides me in my ministry,” she told Global Sisters Report in 2016. “Prayer centers my heart and ministry on what is most important.”

Through it all, Sister Dianna Ortiz has not stopped searching for the whole truth of what happened to her 30 years ago. “I stand with the Guatemalan people,” she told Kennedy:

I demand the right to a future built on truth and justice. My torturers were never brought to justice. It is possible that, individually, they will never be identified or apprehended. But I cannot resign myself to this fact and move on. I have a responsibility to the people of Guatemala and to the people of the world to insist on accountability where it is possible.

“I know what it is to wait in the dark for torture, and what it is to wait in the dark for the truth,” said Ortiz. “I am still waiting.”

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Trump’s Opposition to ‘Endless Wars’ Appeals to Those Who Fought Them

Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Polls show that a growing number of veterans have become disenchanted with the post-9/11 wars that continue in the Middle East.
Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Polls show that a growing number of veterans have become disenchanted with the post-9/11 wars that continue in the Middle East.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

By Jennifer Steinhauer

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WASHINGTON — Tyler Wade was awarded the Purple Heart while serving in Afghanistan, and says he is “proud of everything” he did during his service. He also believes the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were a mistake, as do a growing number of veterans — from retired generals to those who served across the enlisted ranks, from supporters of President Trump to “resistance” Democrats.

“All in all, it is a lot of wasted lives and money and time and effort spent to accomplish a goal we never accomplished,” said Mr. Wade, 31, who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during his five years in the Marines and is now a nursing student in Las Vegas.

Nearly two decades after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, polls show that a majority of all veterans have grown disenchanted with the continuing wars, even if the national security elite in both parties continue to press for an American military presence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The view is in stark contrast to widespread support for the wars across the military and veterans community — and the general population — when President George W. Bush first sent American troops to Afghanistan and then Iraq.

The shifting attitudes of so many who served in the wars help explain why Mr. Trump has support among veterans as he brings troops home and has resisted military action against other nations. There is a slow but steadily increasing alliance of those on the left and the right on Capitol Hill to curb what Mr. Trump calls “endless wars.”

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Among veterans, 64 percent say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, slightly higher than the 62 percent of civilians who feel the same way. Disagreement with the conflict in Afghanistan is lower — 58 percent of veterans and 59 percent of the general public believe that was not a worthy war. While some veterans support continued military engagement in Syria, more than half — 55 percent — oppose it.

Veterans have supported Mr. Trump more than the general population. About 56 percent of veterans said they approved of the job he was doing as president, compared with 42 percent of the population overall, according to a poll by The Associated Press last year, consistent with other poll findings. Veterans like Mr. Trump’s vow to support their care and bolster military spending, and in some cases they agree with his “America First” foreign policy calling for a smaller footprint for United States forces abroad.

For some veterans, especially those who identify themselves as liberal, the killing last weekend of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi underscored, rather than weakened, their views.

“I kind of developed a cathartic bitterness,” said Daniel Schick, who served in Iraq. “It was a waste of blood and treasure.”
“I kind of developed a cathartic bitterness,” said Daniel Schick, who served in Iraq. “It was a waste of blood and treasure.”Credit…Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Peter Lucier is a law student in St. Louis who recalled cheering for the killing of Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, when he was a 22-year-old Marine about to be deployed. Now, he says, “I am trying to get out of the killing business.”

“Also, the country is different,” he continued. “It’s been almost 10 years since we killed Bin Laden and we are still in these places. We are not moving the ball forward.”

In the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Mr. Trump performed especially well in counties that had a higher than average number of service members killed in action, even when adjusted for other factors in the 2016 election.

“For conservative-leaning veterans, we signed up to defend our country,” said Dan Caldwell, a veteran and the senior adviser at Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative group with substantial backing from the billionaire Charles G. Koch that focuses heavily on withdrawing forces from around the world. “We didn’t sign up to build girls schools in the Al Anbar Province. We had friends killed or wounded in action; it wasn’t clear for what.”

Yet, as with many policy areas, the president’s words are not always consistent with his administration’s actions. About 200,000 American troops remain deployed worldwide, about the same as when Mr. Trump took office. After originally announcing a full troop withdrawal from Syria — and abandoning Kurdish allies, for which he was widely criticized in public by many national security experts and in private even by some in the military — he opted to leave some troops in Syria.

“You get the argument that we have invested so much in treasure and blood, why would you abandon the project after we have had so many men and women wounded?” said Paul D. Eaton, a retired two-star Army officer who oversaw the training of Iraqi troops and who was an early critic of the policies of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. “What are you going to say to their families? Throwing good resources after bad is no way to run a country.”

The regret over the wars among these veterans is distinct from the feelings of veterans of the Vietnam era. Many served in that war only because they were drafted, and it prompted widespread public protests.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, in 2013. Fifty-eight percent of veterans say the Afghanistan war is not a worthy one.
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, in 2013. Fifty-eight percent of veterans say the Afghanistan war is not a worthy one.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Veterans of all ages have soured on the latest conflicts, which unlike Vietnam have been fought with an all-volunteer force that seems proud of its decision to choose public service and feels embraced by American civilians regardless of whether they supported the wars in the Middle East.

While the vast majority of veterans have returned stateside to productive and happy lives, many who served are concerned that the suicide rate among veterans outpaces that of the civilian population and is rising faster among younger veterans. Thousands who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with life-altering injuries that would have killed veterans of previous wars. And homelessness is a stubborn problem — only 7 percent of Americans are veterans, but they make up about 11 percent of the homeless population.

But, just as important, many veterans say their views of the conflicts have been shaped by the lack of a satisfying outcome.

“I wanted out of Podunk; I wanted upward mobility,” said Daniel Schick, 34, explaining why he joined the Army before going to Iraq, where he lost seven members of his unit in one deployment. He now lives in Portland, Ore., and has a temporary position with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

“I kind of developed a cathartic bitterness,” he said, reflecting on his service. “It was a waste of blood and treasure and destroyed what little infrastructure that the Iraqi people had.”

Such sentiments are not limited to enlisted personnel and lower-level officers.

In recent years, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general who helped write the military’s counterinsurgency manual, and Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of Joint Special Operations Command who then led coalition troops in Afghanistan, have called the Iraq invasion a mistake, as have other former officers.

“I think there is a frustration that Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t turn out more like Germany,” said Dana J. H. Pittard, a retired Army major general who led combat troops in Iraq, referring to the successful victory and aftermath of World War II. “Afghanistan is still a mess. On the Iraq side, we are frustrated now about why we went there in the first place. What people see is a state that is not as stable as it should be. Afghanistan doesn’t look like it was worth it because of way it turned out.”

“We have learned at this point there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” said Amber Smith, who served abroad.
“We have learned at this point there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” said Amber Smith, who served abroad.Credit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times

While early opposition to the war in Iraq focused on the faulty intelligence cited to begin the invasion, opinion across a broader spectrum has been soured by the failure of the military — and the government — to secure a reliable peace and the failure of politicians in both Kabul and Baghdad to build stable governments that can contain deadly domestic violence after years of American support.

Support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was already declining a decade after the terrorist attacks on the United States, with Pew finding in 2011 that about one-third of veterans of the post-9/11 cohort believed those conflicts were a bad idea. Disagreement with the policy was found to have almost doubled in the more recent Pew poll among this cohort. The latest Pew study found that neither rank nor combat experience differentiated veterans’ views of the wars, though partisan differences were clear. The poll found that 45 percent of Republican veterans versus 15 percent of Democratic veterans say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, mirroring party gaps in the civilian population.

For every veteran in Congress like Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who has consistently advocated “military solutions,” there are now those like Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado, who view the war in Iraq as an error and Afghanistan with ambivalence.

Mr. Crow recently returned to Afghanistan as a congressman and said that “it brought up a lot of memories for me, thinking about the time we spent there and the missed opportunities and wondering about things we could have done a different way.”

This year, VoteVets, a left-leaning organization started in 2006 to elect Democrats to Congress who would end the “endless wars,” and Concerned Veterans for America, which has long been VoteVets’ nemesis, joined forces to lobby lawmakers to end the post-Sept. 11 conflicts.

“Donald Trump is a big reason” for the two groups to now work together, said Jon Soltz, an Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq before helping found VoteVets, which struggled to build support for its antiwar agenda in its early years, even among Democrats. “He stood up and beat Jeb Bush by saying the Iraq war was a total joke. I don’t like him. He blocked us on Twitter, and we are going to work to beat him in 2020. But you can’t deny that Donald Trump trashing these wars was a game-changer for us all.”

Many veterans find this dynamic frustrating.

Amber Smith, 37, was a fourth-generation service member who served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2008. Like many other veterans, Ms. Smith saw a greater purpose in the war in Afghanistan than the one in Iraq, given the Taliban’s role harboring Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. But as with many veterans, that purpose ended in her mind long ago.

“We gave it nearly two decades, thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and we have learned at this point there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” said Ms. Smith, who served for one year in the Trump administration in the Defense Department. “There are a few veterans in Congress who are very pro-military-involvement in the Middle East. Well, they already fought that fight. They are not going back. As we have seen, when Trump talks about reducing troops, everyone in D.C. becomes unhinged. Unfortunately, the U.S. service members pay the consequences for that.”

Those who have served — voluntarily — in the military since Sept. 11, 2001, “served primarily out of patriotism,” said David W. Barno, a retired Army lieutenant general and former top commander in Afghanistan whose children have also served in the military. “Every one of them knew they were volunteering for war. But there is a gnawing issue that we are still losing people.”Correction: Nov. 2, 2019

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of stars that Paul D. Eaton, an Army officer who oversaw the training of Iraqi troops, retired with. It is two stars, not three.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria0 Comments

Most Iraq and Afghanistan Vets now Regret the Mission

by FRED GARDNER

“Trump’s Opposition to ‘Endless Wars’ Appeals to Those Who Fought Them” read the headline above a front-page story by Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times November 1. The percentage of vets deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who disapprove of US intervention there has almost doubled since 2011! Key excerpts follow.

Among veterans, 64 percent say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, slightly higher than the 62 percent of civilians who feel the same way. Disagreement with the conflict in Afghanistan is lower — 58 percent of veterans and 59 percent of the general public believe that was not a worthy war. While some veterans support continued military engagement in Syria, more than half — 55 percent — oppose it…

Many who served are concerned that the suicide rate among veterans outpaces that of the civilian population and is rising faster among younger veterans. Thousands who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with life-altering injuries that would have killed veterans of previous wars. And homelessness is a stubborn problem — only 7 percent of Americans are veterans, but they make up about 11 percent of the homeless population…

Support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was already declining a decade after the terrorist attacks on the United States, with Pew finding in 2011 that about one-third of veterans of the post-9/11 cohort believed those conflicts were a bad idea. Disagreement with the policy was found to have almost doubled in the more recent Pew poll among this cohort. The latest Pew study found that neither rank nor combat experience differentiated veterans’ views of the wars…

Steinhauer contrasts the anti-war views now coming from Iraq/Afghanistan vets and those expressed by Vietnam vets.

The regret over the wars among these veterans is distinct from the feelings of veterans of the Vietnam era. Many served in that war only because they were drafted, and it prompted widespread public protests. Veterans of all ages have soured on the latest conflicts, which unlike Vietnam have been fought with an all-volunteer force that seems proud of its decision to choose public service and feels embraced by American civilians regardless of whether they supported the wars in the Middle East.

In Vietnam, draftees’ resentment contributed to some anti-war sentiment; but it was mainly what they saw in country that led them and the Regular Army GIs serving three-year hitches to conclude that they should not have been sent there —just as the volunteer-Army vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are now doing. Veterans of all three wars came to feel that US intervention was wrong after they were deployed and saw how the locals felt about the situation and the level of destruction being wrought.

Most so-called volunteers are driven to enlist by socioeconomic pressure. Steinhauer quotes an Iraq vet named Daniel Schick, who joined the military because “I wanted out of Podunk; I wanted upward mobility.”  Schick lost seven members of his unit in one deployment. “I kind of developed a cathartic bitterness,” he said, reflecting on his service. “It was a waste of blood and treasure and destroyed what little infrastructure that the Iraqi people had.”

“Cathartic bitterness” is a brilliant description of the attitude that enabled Daniel Schick to deal with the trauma he lived through in Iraq. He now lives in Oregon and is working for the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The news that a majority of vets not  disparage the US role in Iraq and Afghanistan did not require an upcoming-election angle, but as the headline showed, the editors of the Times (and the think-tank fellows at PEW) are preoccupied with Donald Trump and 2020. Steinhauer duly analyzes  the impact antiwar vets might have on the re-election of a President who claims to want to put an end to “Endless Wars.” She notes that Trump has hardly reduced the number of US troops1 stationed overseas (about 200,000), and that his announced withdrawal of troops from Syria turns out to be only a partial withdrawal. The Pew Research Center study that the Times story is based on was published July 10.

Implications for Medical MJ Proponents

Many military vets have found that marijuana provides relief from PTSD2, and proponents have implored the federal government to let VA doctors approve its use by patients. The VA has stonewalled for years citing a lack of any clinical trials confirming the widespread claim of benefit3.

Arizona psychiatrist Sue Sisley, MD, finally got federal approval to conduct such a trial after many years of trying. Her protocol stated that the study would “explore whether smoked marijuana can help reduce PTSD symptoms in 76 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants must be U.S. veterans, men or women, aged 18 or older with a diagnosis of PTSD that has not improved after trying either medication or psychotherapy.”

With a grant of $2,156,000 from the state of Colorado and the help of veterans’ groups, Sisley enrolled 76 qualified patients. (The original criteria for participants included combat experience but that was waived when recruitment proved difficult.) The trial was completed in February of this year.  The data was then prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal by co-investigator Paula Riggs, MD, and Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, whose title was “Coordinating Principal Investigator.” Neither of them interviewed any vets; that was Sisley’s role. The results have yet to be published and revealing them in advance would get their paper spiked. (Why a medical journal requires a scoop doesn’t make sense to your correspondent.)

Sisley was appalled by the quality of the herb provided by NIDA’s only supplier, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly of the University of Mississippi. This is how she described the stuff to Randy Robinson of Merry Jane:

It comes in these generic batches of either high-THC, high-CBD, or placebo cannabis. You have a very limited menu there, and they come in these ziplock bags. When you open it, it’s a greenish powder filled with extraneous plant material. So, there’s some flower; there’s some mixed stems and leaves, just ground-up fragments of the plant. It’s not just the tops of the plant — the flower — which is what we’d like to study…

There’s no transparency. Normally, when you do clinical trials — and for years I did trials for Big Pharma — you get a complete drug master file that would give you all the details about the drug: its properties, how it was manufactured, et cetera. There’s none of that available.

Even though the DEA takes millions of dollars of taxpayer money, they provide zero transparency. You’re not allowed access to the drug master file, which would be normal operation procedure in any other FDA trial.

The only other federal agency who has access to the file is the FDA, and they refuse to share that with the public, which is already an abomination in my opinion. It should be challenged.

I shared Jennifer Steinhauer’s Times story with Dr. Sisley and was disappointed to learn that the vets in her study had not been asked about their attitude towards the mission itself. If you feel the mission was truly to protect America people, then the impact of horrific personal memories might be tempered somewhat by a sense of having done some good. But if you feel the intervention was greed-driven and of no use to your people, there is no buffer when the nightmare images of death and destruction flood your brain. “Moral injury” is an apt term for the loss of that buffer. Cannabis might help veterans cope, and so might cathartic bitterness.

Notes.

1. Such numbers are misleadingly low as a measure of the empire’s military might because armed contractors are not “US troops.”

2. A most insightful commentary by Tod Mikuriya, MD on how cannabis helps people cope with PTSD ran in O’Shaughnessy’s, Summer 2006

3. Here is a transcript of Arizona vets providing strong anecdotal evidence on the subject in a piece recounting the runaround Dr. Sisley was getting from the federal government.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan, Iraq0 Comments

In the Looming Shadow of Civil War

by JOSEPH NATOLI

Photograph Source: Roscoe Myrick – CC BY 2.0

“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,”

– Donald J. Trump, tweet

“The mood of the country has been more poisonous that this; at the time of Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia in 1970, and again in the run-up to the Iraq War. Worse, yes; but it has never been crazier.”

– David Bromwich, London Review of Books, 24 October 2019

I. The Combatants

The President of the United States urges Republicans to get tougher and fight an illegitimate impeachment. It seems we may soon have to choose which side we are on in our deep cultural divide. The President’s long game may be to take the whole issue to the Supreme Count where another Gore/Bush decision will come down. Much will fester during this wait.

But if a civil war were to come if Trump wins or if Trump loses the election or a Supreme Court battle, this war wouldn’t have a casus belli anything like ending slavery. Never Trump and Forever Trump are very sad casus belli, although they would feed the ego of Trump. Given that, it would still be a humiliating and disgusting episode in American history, were that to come.

What brand of Republican would be fighting what brand of Democrat? Or would it be the Trumpians rebelling against the tyranny of the Never Trumpians? Perhaps it would be a religious war: those fighting on the side of abortion and LGBTQ rights lining up against those who have made Jesus their personal savior?

Reasons, not forthcoming, aside we can yet see the battle lines joined on a level of passions. Liberals retain the old tax and spend/baby killing on demand profile, taking from working Americans and giving to lazy shirkers and on the way killing babies. The profile grows darker: gay marriage, gender choice, LGBTQ rights, amnesty to illegal aliens, open borders, confiscation of guns, cars, cattle, Jesus, Robert E. Lee and white privilege.

The “extreme Left” and Progressives have a thinner profile: Communists.

Republicans have not been labelled so colorfully by Democrats because both share a deep respect for the continuous growth of profit. The differences regarding what to do with the consequences of a rapacious economic system have not been sufficient for Democrats to paint a damning portrait of Republicans. That’s been the case until Bernie Sanders, a class warrior not silenced by those who have made this label synonymous with traitor, terrorist, Communist.

The splinter Trump faction now both tormenting and keeping the Republican Party alive is colorfully stereotyped by Liberals and Progressives. Donald J. Trump led them to this profile simply by being elected the 45th President of the United States. What sort of voter would vote for a man who during the campaign aroused anger and hate, racism, bigotry and misogyny, who had 25 women accusing him of sexual misconduct, who refused to pay hundred of workers, who nastily ridiculed his opponents?

The profile then of the Trumpian placed both ignorance and stupidity at the top of the list, followed by racist, bigoted, misogynist and homophobic. In brief, if you voted for Trump, you were a troglodyte with a gun.

For these two stereotypified factions to clash, American culture would have to stop pulsating like a nerve end on opioids. Because we interface in cyberspace to a greater extent every day and that alternate reality makes second by second change its métier, we cannot expect a passionate clash now will remain in our digitalized memory banks.

Although there is no clarity to what might be the casus belli of a coming civil war, there is clarity to the history taking us to where we are now.

It deserves to be summarized if we are to position ourselves reliably in our 2020 election decisions.

II. The Journey to Where We Are Now

The Dow Jones didn’t cross the 1000 mark until 1972. Savings accounts paid 8% and so no one was pushed into the stock market. The market climbed when Reagan replaced a reliable income based on wages with speculative investment, which spurred the growth of the financial sector.

Working for wages and savings accounts with reputable returns were replaced by investing in a stochastic market and pipe dreams of a bottom 40% starting a business. Profiteers of Viet-nam with loads of money to invest in the tax friendly environment that Reagan created replaced the now diminished “working class hero,” the lunch pail, GI Joe who with the help of the G.I. Bill, the unionizing victories of John L. Lewis and Walter Reuter, among many others, shaped a middle class.

Economic theory set up market rule as the horse driving the cart of egalitarian democracy. It drove that cart right into plutarchy. Labor failed to set up its own political party and suffered the consequences, until by the time Bill Clinton was in office the assaults on workers and wages meant very little in a Democratic Party focused on leaning into neoliberal economics and soon into multicultural and identity politics. At a time when wages hadn’t gone beyond 1973 levels, Democrats were concentrating on bathroom rights.

By 2004, the effects of market rule, of making interest and dividends from investment a fulfillment of the American dream as money compounded into ever increasing amounts of money, siloed from any injurious taxation, some 80% of the population were hurting but also befuddled, rather like someone in a dark closet being hit but blind to who the hitter might be.

Obama’s “Yes, We Can!” met the emotional needs of this suffering class, which like the big skies of Montana do not pay the grocery bills. It was as passionate an attachment to voters as Trump was to achieve 12 years later, the passions though being diametrically opposed. Obama was at first not aware of the conditions on the ground, of the battle he was in but when awareness arrived, he leaned into the Clintonian affinities with neoliberalism. He put all his eggs into health care, a consequence of something and not the root cause, a symptom of an economic travesty he failed to recognize.

When it became crystal clear after the Great Depression of 2017 that a runaway financial sector had played a long grift on the whole country but paid no price, both Dubya and Obama assuring that no felon would be indicted, the price to be paid was forwarded to the present in the shape of this 40% who want that whole whatever it was that wrecked their lives to be taken apart.

The failure over the course of eight years of a Democratic presidency to focus directly and totally on market rule’s demolishing of a middle class that buffered the country from a fall into plutarchy made the country vulnerable to an autocratic takeover. It should be no surprise that the American version of an autocratic demagogue would be some sort of spin, spectacle and glitz celebrity, perhaps a Reality TV celebrity, a clown in orange wig and makeup, the American version of an autocrat. We go hyperreal as naturally as tides follow the moon.

Some 80% of the population has been in various stages of demolishment since Reagan and they have solid reasons for messing with the Democratic/Republican order of things, something that Trump does to his followers’ cheers.

Sixteen years of Clinton and Obama did nothing to end this travesty: Five Americans have as much wealth…. It’s an astonishing failure. Wages sank beneath inflation as corporate decisions not to raise them faced no challenge by diminished unions or Republican legislatures. Clinton and Obama adopted the same view of unions as did the Republicans: they were run by gangsters and impeded economic growth.

Our politics pretends to be pitching from two different directions but it’s not.

It’s been a profits first, Market Rule one party system since Reagan. Until Bernie Sanders came on the scene, there has been no attack on unbridled capitalism that was launched by Democrats, who have a New Deal behind them while the Republicans have Reagan’s Voodoo economics.

The DNC undermined Bernie’s chances to win the 2016 Democratic Primary because his platform touched a third rail that they share with Republicans. Bernie dared to attack capitalism. Elizabeth Warren has more cleverly planned her attack now, admitting she is a “capitalist to the bone,” by which she means a foundational capitalism and not the politically uncontrollable Devourer Demogorgon that it has become.

III. Where We Are Now

We should, by now have reached the point in the road in which we try to avoid the worst in us being encouraged or elected into office. We should be able to recognize when we’re being incited to riot, to hate, to drown out other voices, to be ready to do “whatever is necessary” as if there was ever a justifying end.

Passions are not reasons, but actually devoid of reason. And, as passions do, they have a short fuse life span. Volatile emotional responses must be rekindled, stoked and fired up, sometimes with a tweet in the early morning hours. Buttons must be pushed and re-pushed in a society that effervesces at nano speed.

Donald J. Trump has obliged this need, although it’s clear that he’s digging what he calls the Losers into a hole they can only get out of if they don’t respond to all the buttons of irrational response.

And we must admit that some productions of our reptilian brain, of the darker devils of our humanity, the twisted tree of our nature from homophobia and racism to misogyny and every variety of ethnic and religious prejudice have deep roots. Neither Marx nor Adam Smith have cured the disease at these roots; neither the Bible or the Koran, Sophocles or Shakespeare, prosperity gospel preacher, Paula White or Lao Tzu, Jeff Bezos or Pierre Joseph-Proudhon. A political or economic solution to the worst in us is itself a kind of hubris.

We have been deterred and detoured from reaching that point in the road where we recognize how democracy has moved to plutocracy, and how the White House is now occupied by a man who broadcasts his vileness on Twitter.

Detoured from reason, perhaps, because our Market Rule pushes the same buttons while ridiculing and extracting efforts to educate, to inform and critically think, politics is not going to follow the path of rational dialogue, but those advertising, marketing and branding practices that pitch low to reach the many.

Confused and confounded, perhaps, because we spend so much time in a cyberspace alternate reality in which all our blindness and stupidities, all our thoughtlessness and baseless opinions find a welcoming home. Errant minds can easily find there other misguided, errant wanderers in a digital world, a confused, tangled world, curated in soundproof silos.

It’s a space new, except to those who have been born within it and the “off-line”world, and so how it affects our politics is something we are in the process of learning. Our elections. Yes. The President’s hold on his followers. Yes. The rise of neo-fascist/white supremacist groups. Yes. The failure of 4th and 8th graders to pass reading comprehension tests. Yes.

My assumption in this last tragedy is that social media, texting and tweeting and posting photos are productive if the goal is to reduce the cognitive faculties of a mass of people scheduled for extinction axiomatically by techno-semio capitalism. In this scenario, the Smartphone is a handheld soma tablet.

We would not be urged to just read the transcript of Trump’s phone conversation with Zelensky in order to conclude with the President that it was a “perfect” call if the American public were able to find meaning in words resistant to spin and alternative meanings. Or, more precisely, we are at a place where words mean as Humpty Dumpty said they mean: “What any speaker says they mean.” Speakers in position of power, as our friend Humpty presumes himself to me, want words to bend to their will.

But all is not spun and manufactured in spite of the fact that we live in a morass of mindless opinions.

In our present looming shadow of war among ourselves, there are legitimate grievances, anger and worn out patience, a lingering sense of having been cheated that has been in search of some relief since Reagan activated a collapse of a middle class and headed us toward a new Middle Ages. So many have been in search of a personality who could make them feel good about themselves again. I say personality and not ideas because America personalizes, it doesn’t theorize.

Donald J. Trump filled that role of watchable personality but remember passions not reasons led a forever unknown number of the 40% of the population to him. A red hat with a slogan does not necessarily mean racist or even “un-woke.” It doesn’t mean Burke style conservative or Friedman style neoliberal or Clinton style globalist. We have warring camps of not ideas but red baseball hats and rainbow flags.

Another unknown portion of the Republican Party has reasons to stay with Trump, dollars and cents reasons. One has to allow that very many Democratic portfolio holders who shout “Never Trump” will in the privacy of the voting booth vote for dollars and cents reasons.

The portfolio dividend class, which spans both parties, will have thought deeply about what, say, a President Elizabeth Warren will do to their stock portfolio.

Perhaps, their perception that this man, President Trump, is a very low form of life and that another four years of him will put the country where the climate is, that is, on an irreparable road to ruin, propel them to vote for a woman who has a plan to reverse what Ronald Reagan did in two terms as president, i.e., fashion a Winner/Loser culture, serfs and peasants/aristos and moguls and schedule the middle class for extinction. As the saying goes, I wouldn’t hold my breath for this.

There is only one way most likely that would bring the portfolio class of Trump supporters over to Warren’s side: a promise not to mess with their wealth amassing arrangements.

Warren won’t do this and neither would Bernie. For all the rest, notably Biden and Buttigieg, they have to signal that, except for a few tweaks, the sort of “free enterprise” that has made five individuals more prosperous than 50% of the entire population will be preserved. That order of things, which suits a top 1% and the next 20% meritocratic/professional class that serves them, can go on relatively undisturbed.

Mayor Pete, after all, is a perfect product of this chosen meritocratic means to preserve our egalitarian democracy. Sarcasm aside, it’s a terrible means given the fact that our societal level playing field is about as level as it was in France before their revolution. For every American born into the bottom quintile who rises up the meritocratic ladder and avoids imprisonment, there are multitudes who compost right in the lowly digs where they started.

It doesn’t matter if in the next quarter century, the middle class changes from white dominant to race-plural if reading levels of African Americans and Hispanics remain the same. And judging by the direction education is taking under DeVoss, but more significantly, the way in which investors see education as a new marketing frontier, a race-plural middle class will not climb the meritocratic ladder as Mayor Pete has.

The circumstances that enabled his rise cannot become a template and neither can a product of such arrange the change that is needed.

Middle Class Joe Biden is also for the portfolio class a tempting alternative to Trump.

If Biden were a race horse, you could pedigree him this way: Biden out of Obama out of the Clinton’s out of Third Way out of neoliberal economics. Third Way is what an FDR kind of Democratic Party collapsed into once they decided a Democratic had to lean into the Republican political party and give capitalism its head, no pulling on the reins, otherwise the whole foundation of globalized supremacy would collapse.

Biden would be in a dead heat to out trump Trump in the key rust belt states, but if he did win, the country would wake up to find they were in the same place they were before Trump came along. And that means some new version of Trump, like Nero succeeded Caligula, is in the wings.

One problem with one or the other of these middle of the road candidates is that they won’t do much to allay the fears, hatreds, bitterness, confusions and a revolutionary’s sense of being cheated, over and over again.

A Democratic president at this time would be like a shot fired at Fort Sumter. Amend that: Elizabeth Warren would be that. The others would be Roman candles.

No moderate Democrat can moderate the furor resulting from a Trump loss, especially if he rallies his followers behind “Fraud at the Poll!”

The immediate relief a President Warren would give all the Rust Belt states is by taking away their employee and union medical benefits and asking them to queue up at the nearest Social Security Office where a Federal Government they have learned to love and trust will call their number in several hours. If they are aware of this on election day, Trump will get his second term.

Thus far, none of the Democratic candidates have a “gone viral” on YouTube celebrity status, a requirement now for our hyperreal politics as hyperreal entertainment. None now seem likely to out bluster and bullshit Trump in any debate.

Unfortunately, the candidate who has the presence and especially the gravelly, many roads travelled voice — Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown — to win over the rust belt demographic, and also charismatically school Trump in any debate, is not running. The crime here is that the DNC made no all out effort to induce him to run.

A party pitching its tent in choosing a candidate who represents every form of diversity of the population is as interested in a 66 year old white, heterosexual male candidate as they were interested in a socialist candidate in 2016.

Unfortunately, the states needed for an Electoral College win – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – may not be as attracted to a diversity candidate as the Democratic Party is. They also continue to be not overly interested in candidates who base their politics on the working class and their fall from honored or even reputable status in the U.S. It’s their identity Brown focuses on.

The only reason why we’re talking about Biden and not Sherrod Brown early on is name recognition. And that can be traced to a portfolio class’s uninterest in supporting a labor candidate. Buttigieg, who had less name recognition than Brown, seems to have no trouble pulling in funding from the financial sector, which in itself should be a warning.

IV. Over and Over Again Impeachment

Regardless of the obtuse and lackluster Democratic field, the portfolio Republicans may chance a bet on any Democrat but Warren simply because they know another four years of Donald will most certainly mean another House impeachment.

For the preservation of our balance of powers democracy, it doesn’t matter if Mitch McConnell dismisses the Articles as soon as they are brought up. What matters is getting the House’s reasons for impeachment on the record. This President was impeached but not convicted. The House doesn’t have to wait for the election. They could bring another round of impeachment charges, all those in the Mueller report as well as all those out of Trump’s own mouth.

Once Trump is not convicted in the Senate, he will not only take a victory lap, he’ll push ahead with even more flagrant abuses of executive authority. Because he is only familiar with his own understanding of anything, he remains capable of abuses that more historically savvy and informed autocrats, some as equally vile but not as ego swollen, of the past would hesitate to commit. Trump shows no signs of hesitancy; Twitter reversals are made as boldly as Twitter declarations.

How many times can Republicans dismiss all the Articles of Impeachment the House of Representative sends to them before their moral nerve is touched, when the occasion for a moral review materializes?

Actually, if there were a moral sense floating around in the Republican Party, dollars and lobbyists would guide its expression.

“Moral hazard,” for instance, is not faced when a legislator shills for a transparently mad, bad and dangerous to know president. Nor does it kick in when you survey the Trump Twitter Archive  which eventually will fill a Trump Library as a terrible lesson never to be forgotten, a visit to a Holocaust library.

It’s ironic that those who have been crushed beneath “supply-side/Laffer Curve” economics look to a rich, unscrupulous capitalist as their savior. Ironic, yet again, that those who vote based on their moral obligations adhere to Trump’s “grab them by their pussy” beatitude. But irony doesn’t ring when the Reptilian brain is directing traffic.

Most of the country that David Brooks toured to gauge where The People were at regarding impeachment didn’t seem much interested. If Trump wins a second term, they will most likely remain uninterested, more interested in climate change, especially if fire, drought, flood and wind has ruined their homestead. (The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2019_

Where Donald J. Trump will take the portfolio class, the throng in red hats, the gentrifiers, the Coastals and everyone in “fly over” America in his second term will probably be where a gone wild autocrat unchecked by a Congress or by a “fake news” press or by his own intelligence community or by any of his acting cabinet appointees or by his trophy wife or by Ivanka and Jared takes him and them.

Adam Schiff may find himself under arrest; Pelosi cellmates with Hillary; Bernie and Warren held on treason charges; Bezos’s holdings shut down; The New York Times building a victim of eminent domain; the Congress abolished. And so on.

As long as the market grows and preserves the wealth of the top 20% and as long as second term President Trump entertains his followers with new targets to hate, most Americans can continue to be uninterested in the crimes committed against themselves and their country.

Winning control of the Senate and retaining control of the House is more vital in the 2020 election than who becomes president.

In that way, the inevitable abuses of power that President Trump commits in that second term will not go without impeachment and conviction.

If the second Civil War begins then one could conclude that Trump’s followers’ anger has segued into war, that passions had a sustaining force that thought could not interrupt.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Exposed as Hate Group: The ADL’s Genocide Legislation Failure

By VT Editors 

Credit: Hrag Vartanian and Jewcy.com

                                          By David Boyajian

Why did I testify at the Massachusetts State House on Oct. 7 against legislation that would require public schools to teach the Jewish Holocaust, Armenian and Greek Genocides, and other genocides and “atrocities”?

Good question, especially as I’m an Armenian American journalist and activist.  My Christian grandparents landed on these shores over 120 years ago.

My answers:

  • A brazenly two-faced, alleged civil/human rights group — the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — wrote and sponsored the legislation (566 & S.327).
  • The legislation itself has problems.
  • Schools have been utterly careless in scrutinizing the programs and curricula proposed or created by outside organizations such as the ADL.

This article goes far beyond Armenian American issues.  It’s about how the ADL and similar groups intimidate and/or hoodwink respectable American organizations, schools, and institutions.

Genocide hypocrisy

The ADL continually demands worldwide recognition of, reparations for, and legislation on the Holocaust.

Yet the ADL long denied/diminished the Armenian Genocide that Turkey committed (1915-23).  The ADL also colluded with Turkey to defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress.

Jewish, Israeli, Turkish, and American media have outright admitted this.  So did a fine man, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Chief of Staff, William S. Parsons (now deceased), in a personal conversation with me.  He was distressed by it.

Such blatant hypocrisy renders the ADL unfit to author legislation or pontificate on any genocide.

Several other major Jewish groups are equally guilty.

Yola Habif Johnston of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) disclosed in 2006 that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith, and JINSA “have been working with the Turks on this issue” for more than 15 years.

“The Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”

These Jewish groups would demand apologies and more from any mainstream organization that treated the Holocaust like that.  But they had few qualms about demeaning the Armenian Genocide.

We aren’t blaming these Jewish organizations’ rank-and-file supporters, who have often expressed disgust with their organizations’ hypocrisy.  We fault their leaders.

Trilateral conspiracy unmasked

In 2007, I publicly blew the whistle on the ADL’s war against Armenian Americans.  Many principled Jews and other non-Armenians, joined in.  The resulting scandal exploded across national and international media.

Turkey hurled accusations at Israel because the conspiracy among certain Jewish organizations, Israel, and Turkey to do the latter’s dirty work had been unmasked. At that time, relations between Israel and Turkey hadn’t yet soured.

Two respected, long-established American advocacy organizations, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), joined the campaign after a while.

Grassroots Armenian Americans and others did most of the heavy lifting, though, and quite successfully.

ADL gets slapped

Consequently, from 2007-8 a dozen Massachusetts cities and the Massachusetts Municipal Association (which represents the entire state) evicted the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program “No Place for Hate.”

Rarely had the ADL been slapped in the face so hard and so publicly.

New York, Michigan, and California saw similar, though lesser, actions against the ADL.

But like nearly all American organizations who criticize the ADL (and other powerful Jewish political groups), the two Armenian American advocacy groups worried about probable retaliation.

So in mid-to-late 2008 ANCA and AAA dropped out of the campaign. Nevertheless, a small group of activists, including myself, carried on.

For instance, in 2013 then-Governor Deval Patrick nominated Atty. Joseph S. Berman, an ADL National Commissioner, for a Mass. Superior Court judgeship.

Berman subsequently acknowledged he failed to criticize his organization’s genocide hypocrisy prior to 2007.   He was grilled on this and other shortcomings by the elected Governor’s Council, which ratifies judicial nominations.  I testified against Berman.

In 2014, despite the backing of the entire Massachusetts political, legal, and media establishment, Berman lost.  We activists — without ANCA/AAA support — won a stunning victory over the ADL.  Don’t let anyone tell you groups like the ADL can’t be beaten.

A weak deal

Two years later, I alerted ANCA and AAA that predominantly Jewish Newton, Mass. had — perhaps unintentionally — brought an ADL program into its schools despite having thrown out the ADL in 2007.

Unfortunately, ANCA’s Dikran Kaligian, AAA’s Anthony Barsamian, and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian (of Armenian-Irish ancestry) ignored my advice to simply push the ADL out of Newton once again.

They’re good people and have helped the Armenian American community in many ways.

But in 2016 they made a pathetically weak deal with ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.  He acknowledged the Armenian Genocide but only in a “blog” post, not a formal organizational declaration.

The “blog” also said the ADL “would support” — not does or will support — an Armenian Genocide resolution.

The rest of the deal has never been made public.

Andrew Tarsy was the New England ADL Director who was fired in 2007 because he acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.  “Inadequate” was what he rightly termed the ADL’s 2016 deal with ANCA/AAA/Koutoujian.

The ADL, said Tarsy, “ought to lead the conversation about reparations for these [Armenian] families … assets, land … everything that Holocaust reparations … has represented .”

We activists fought and wrote against the bad deal but to no avail.

The ADL’s only “support” for the Congressional resolution came in a letter three years later — a mere 24 hours before an overwhelmingly positive October 2 House resolution vote (405-11) whose success was already assured.

In 2007 Armenian Americans had demanded that as partial moral reparations the ADL must advocate as hard for an Armenian Genocide resolution as it has for Holocaust legislation.  The ADL never did so.

Nor has the self-centered ADL ever apologized to Armenians or made amends.

Regardless, the ADL’s chance to do the right thing expired years ago.

Koutoujian’s ambitions

I place the onus for ANCA/AAA’s weak-kneed 2016 ADL deal on Sheriff Koutoujian.  Like so many ambitious American politicians, he has openly allied himself with numerous Jewish organizations and individuals to advance his career.

During the nomination of the ADL’s Joseph Berman for a judgeship in 2013, for example, Koutoujian privately urged a councilor who opposed Berman to switch her vote.

A Jewish leader had apparently pressed Koutoujian to do this.  Had that councilor done as Koutoujian asked, Berman and the ADL would have won.

In 2014, Koutoujian and thirteen others — mostly local police chiefs — went on an ADL junket to Israel for “counterterrorism” training, which is obvious nonsense. Curiously, Koutoujian happened to be the only sheriff.  A Mass. sheriff’s main responsibility is running county jails.

But even had the ADL never warred against Armenian Americans, it still wouldn’t qualify as a civil/human rights organization.

More bad ADL behavior

We can only skim the surface here of the swamp of ADL’s bad behavior.

In the 1990s and beyond, the ADL settled two civil rights lawsuits for illicitly surveilling thousands of individuals and organizations.  These included the ACLU, Greenpeace, and NAACP as well as civil rights, media, anti-Apartheid, and African/Asian/Hispanic/Jewish/Native American groups.

The ADL also illegally possessed reams of government records, including classified FBI documents.

In 1993, political strings were reportedly pulled at the last moment before a San Francisco grand jury could hear the case.

The ADL did not escape entirely.  It had to pay over $50,000 to the city.

The mainstream media reported this scandal though not nearly enough.

In reality, then, the ADL is really just a political, rather than a civil/human rights, group.

Like most Jewish organizations, the ADL believes that Holocaust denial/diminishment is anti-Semitism and, hence, hate.

By analogy, therefore, the ADL’s denial/diminishment of the Armenian Genocide would apparently make it a hate group.

Dubious genocide legislation

Fast forward to October’s hearing on the ADL’s genocide legislation.

Again, because the ADL has been knee-deep in genocide denial/diminishment, it has no business writing genocide legislation.

Furthermore, the legislation’s text and concept are flawed.

The Holocaust is placed before the Armenian Genocide, even though the latter preceded the former by two decades and was a model for Hitler, who admired Turkey’s brutality.

The legislation refers to “atrocities in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan.”   Some of these, particularly those in Rwanda and Sudan/Darfur, were definitely genocides not mere “atrocities.”

The numerous massacres of Native Americans are not mentioned.

Indeed, I suspect the text includes genocides other than the Holocaust mainly to increase its chances of passage.

Regardless, should genocide instruction as a separate unit be required when so many high school graduates have a poor knowledge of American history, not to mention the ‘Three Rs’?

By law, moreover, the Mass. Dept. of Education already has a unit on genocide which teachers can use.

And some schools already invite organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves to teach genocide history.

Genocide is legitimate history and should be included in history textbooks rather than presented as a wholly separate unit.

Moreover, ANCA and AAA should not, as they did, have explicitly teamed with the disreputable ADL to support this legislation.  Had they wished to support the bills, they could have done so independently.

If this legislation succeeds, the genocide-denying/diminishing ADL may well play a role in writing and teaching the curriculum.  That’s outrageous.

Are schools competent to bring in outside groups to teach genocide or other subjects?

Dubious outside groups

Consider the dozen Massachusetts city governments — often pushed by their so-called ‘human rights commissions’ — and the Mass. Municipal Assoc. that formally approved the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” but later rejected it.

They probably didn’t bother to look into the ADL’s checkered background.  Or did so but didn’t care.  At a minimum, they’re inept.  Other cities and schools across America who have adopted ADL programs must also be inept.

Over one thousand cities, schools, universities, and law-enforcement agencies here and internationally participate in ADL programs such as “No Place for Hate,” “Campus of Difference,” “Classroom of Difference,” “Anti-bullying,” and more.  These curricula purport to instill ‘tolerance and diversity.’

But was the ADL ‘tolerant’ of the civil rights, media, anti-Apartheid, and ethnic groups and individuals it surveilled?  Far from it.  Did the ‘diversity’ of genocides the ADL recognized until recently include the Armenian Genocide?  On the contrary.

Are students in ADL programs told the facts about that organization’s distasteful history?  Doubtful.  That’s not education.  It’s deceit.

Any organization that presumes to inculcate morals into young people must come with clean hands.  That’s not the ADL.

Educators often fail to investigate other outside organizations and programs they bring into schools and libraries.

Consider DragQueenStoryHour (.org).

Hundreds of American public schools and libraries are hosting frightening, bizarrely outfitted, provocative adult drag queens who read to, physically contact, and sometimes strip before young, often pre-school, children.

Some of these drag queens have been convicted of child sex abuse and prostitution.

Problematic organizations that seek to influence unsuspecting students are making schools a battlefield.

Students deserve better.

America’s future leaders should not serve as guinea pigs just so the ADL can advance its political agenda with dubious legislation.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

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