Monday, October 20, 2014

How Putin Became Central Figure in Texas Anti-Fracking Vote

Published on Portside (

How Putin Became Central Figure in Texas Anti-Fracking Vote

Steve Horn and Alexandra Tempus

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On September 8, a Texas state regulatory agency sent a letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, suggesting that U.S. anti-fracking activists are receiving funding from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is reasonable to assume,” Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter wrote, “that their intention is to increase their market share of natural gas production and distribution as Russia is the second largest producer of natural gas in the world.”

This move by Texas coincides with the lead up to an Election Day referendum on the state’s first proposed city-wide fracking ban, to be held in the city of Denton on November 4. But this particular move by Texas to discredit activists is not a new one. In fact, it highlights one way climate campaigners have previously been tracked and monitored by intelligence agencies, public relations firms, and their powerful clients to create “actionable intelligence.” That is, information that could help undermine and eventually defeat social movements.

The letter was publicized in a press release headlined, “Porter Exposes Putin Plot to Hurt Texas Economy.” It offers no direct proof to back up the Putin claims, only citing “multiple reports” linking Russia’s massive state-owned natural gas company Gazprom to public relations and lobbying firms, such as industry giant Ketchum.

Porter also wrote that Russia’s strategy includes bankrolling anti-fracking environmental groups and pushing propaganda by distributing the Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, which Porter called “an incredibly deceitful film.”
Kerry has not yet responded publicly to the letter. And Carlos Espinosa, the Texas Railroad Commission’s director of special projects, admitted in emails obtained under the Texas Public Information Act that there was no actual paper trail corroborating the Putin story, only claims from others in the news.

“Our information is based off of reports from the New York Times, CNN, National Review, and many others, including a former American Ambassador to Russia,” Espinosa wrote in response to a reporter’s query. “Gazprom is spending tens of millions of dollars — that we know of — to eliminate competition globally. It’s likely they’ve influenced much of the overall anti-hydraulic fracturing movement’s message.”

Texas’ economic interest in developing its natural gas resources and the state’s long history of working hand-in-hand with the energy industry may explain its effort to discredit the anti-fracking movement. In his letter, Porter insists that the U.S. government must protect the “vitality of the industry that produces these resources and paves the way for American energy independence.”

This cozy relationship between the industry and its regulatory agency does not go unnoticed by activists.

“The RRC is not a regulator, but a facilitator of industry’s wishes,” Will Wooten, a Denton, Texas-based anti-fracking activist who has also been involved in the Tar Sands Blockade, said in an email. “Whether approving the eminent domain process for pipelines like the Keystone XL, or allowing fracking to expand in urban areas with no real regulations in place, the RRC is there to make sure industry gets what it wants.”
The Texas Railroad Commission did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.

History Repeats Itself

The Putin tactic may have originated with Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. When the U.S. anti-fracking movement began to gain steam in 2010, Stratfor began monitoring the activities of anti-fracking activists. It did so on behalf of its “biggest client,” the American Petroleum Institute.

In a June 2010 email obtained by Wikileaks from the now-imprisoned Anonymous “hactivist” Jeremy Hammond, Stratfor senior Eurasia analyst Lauren Goodrich made a now-familiar accusatory overture: U.S.-based anti-fracking organizations — and in particular, Gasland director and producer Josh Fox — might be tied to Putin.
“[Fox] said his film was paid for by HBO,” wrote Goodrich. “However, I would be interested to see who else funded this documentary (ie Coal or Russia, etc.).”
Personnel records obtained via the Public Information Act show that the Texas RRC hired Espinosa in August, about a month before the release of the Porter letter. Espinosa formerly worked as a senior counselor at the public relations firm Dezenhall Resources. Importantly, Espinosa gave final guidance to “tee up” Porter’s letter for dissemination to the press.

PR Industry’s “Navy Seals”

Dezenhall, the self-described “Navy SEALs of the communications business,” previously hired security firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) to surveil Greenpeace USA as part of its issues management due diligence process.

In practice, that meant not only open-source snooping on the Web, but also “pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings,” according to a 2008 Mother Jones investigation.

Greenpeace filed a lawsuit in 2010 against both BBI and Dezenhall, which was dismissed upon appeal in August.

In the world of corporate public relations, firms like Dezenhall and Stratfor provide what Judith Richter, author of the book Holding Corporations Accountable: Corporate Conduct, International Codes and Citizen Action, points to as a key public relations technique: “environmental monitoring.”

The practice amounts to an “early warning system that helps PR managers to locate the smoke and take action before a major fire develops,” Richter wrote in her book. “As a result of such information-gathering, public relations firms have [developed] data banks on activist and other relevant groups and organizations.”

It’s no coincidence, then, that such tactics are now being deployed in Texas and beyond, working their way all the way up to the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Barry Smitherman, another Texas Railroad Commissioner, cited these claims made by the NATO Secretary General in a July 11 letter to Denton Mayor Chris Watts. In so doing, Smitherman hinted that those pushing for the city-wide fracking ban in Denton, Texas might be funded by Moscow.

“It would therefore appear that not all efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing are grounded in environmental concerns,” wrote Smitherman. “With this in mind, I trust you will all will determine whether funding and manpower behind this effort to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton is coming from out of state sources or from those who would profit from the imposition of such a ban.”

Out of Touch?

As Denton narrows in on its vote on the would-be historic fracking ban, powerful industry players have spent big money to defeat the measure. Citizens on the ground in Denton recently told the Dallas Observer that the Putin talking point has woven its way into the door-to-door canvassing operations of those volunteering to get out the vote in support of striking down the fracking ban proposal.

But Wooten, the anti-fracking activist, dismisses the Putin claims.

“While the [Russia] meme may be effective for [industry] on a national and international level, on a local level in Denton it just sounds out-of-touch with the issue at hand and borderline wingnut,” he said. “These tactics are hurting their support among Dentonites, not helping.”

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based staff writer for DeSmogBlog and a freelance investigative journalist. His writing has appeared in Al Jazeera America, VICE News, The Guardian, The Nation, Wisconsin Watch, Truth-Out, AlterNet and elsewhere. Alexandra Tempus is an independent journalist and was a lead researcher on This Changes Everything. She is also a researcher at Rolling Stone and has written on climate and politics for VICE News, Mic, the Associated Press and The Nation.

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman and Andrew Jackson Were Proponents of Native American Genocide

Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman and Andrew Jackson Were Proponents of Native American Genocide

Sunday, 19 October 2014 00:00By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

US Marines searching for the Native Americans among the mangroves during the Seminole War. (Photo: USMC)

Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz speaks about her book on the true history of how the United States became a nation and the Eurocentric racism used to justify it.

The false narrative of Columbus "discovering" the Americas still pervades history books and the Eurocentric mindset of the United States. Learn the true history of what author and Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls the legacy of Columbus's voyages: the annihilation and conquest of Native-Americans. Read "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" now.

"It's essential to remember that the United States had been involved in overseas imperialism from the beginning," author and Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes. That policy was forged as the original 13 colonies expanded westward and committed genocide against Native Americans. Many of the empire-building acts of the United States throughout its history - including at the current moment - can be explained by its war on indigenous inhabitants of North America that was justified by Eurocentric racism and "manifest destiny."

The following is an extensive interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on the true history of how the United States became a nation, occupying land it did not own by decimating native residents. It's an eye-opening account that thoroughly debunks jingoistic and false history taught in the vast majority of US schools.

Mark Karlin: Here it is October and the nation celebrated the 13th of this month as Columbus Day, "honoring" Columbus for "discovering" the Western Hemisphere. Many people, at least now, have the alternative of celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, including those of us at Truthout. Isn't it a bit galling that Columbus Day is still a federal holiday, given that it reinforces a false narrative that resulted in a magnitude of death and barbarity that is almost incompressible?

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Yes. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our nation was born in genocide. . .
. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode."
Continuing to celebrate Columbus's first voyage is an example of what Dr. King refers to as elevating genocide to a noble crusade. Columbus' voyage on behalf of the Spanish monarchs, endorsed by the Holy Roman empire, marked the onset of modern colonialism as well as the beginning of the African and Native-American slave trade.

And capitalism. Marx aptly described the process of primary accumulation of capital: "The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting
 of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of prior accumulation." - Karl Marx, from Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist
Following up on Columbus Day, your 11th chapter is entitled "The Doctrine of Discovery." How has this doctrine been used to seize what were indigenous lands by the United States?

From the mid-15th century to the mid-20th century, most of the non-European world was colonized under the Doctrine of Discovery, one of the first principles of international law Christian European monarchies promulgated to legitimize investigating, mapping and claiming lands belonging to peoples outside Europe. It originated in a papal bull issued in 1455 that permitted the Portuguese monarchy to seize West Africa. Following Columbus' voyage, another papal bull extended similar permission to Spain. Disputes between the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies led to the papal-initiated Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which, besides dividing the globe equally between the two Iberian empires, clarified that only non-Christian lands fell under the discovery doctrine.

This doctrine, on which all European states relied, thus originated with the arbitrary and unilateral establishment of the Iberian monarchies' exclusive rights under Christian canon law to colonize foreign peoples, and this right was later seized by other European monarchical colonizing projects. The French Republic used this legalistic instrument for its 19th- and 20th-century settler colonialist projects, as did the newly independent United States, when it continued the colonization of North America begun by the British.

In 1792, not long after the US founding, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson claimed that the Doctrine of Discovery developed by European states was international law applicable to the new US government as well. In 1823, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson v. McIntosh. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Marshall held that the Doctrine of Discovery had been an established principle of European law and of English law in effect in Britain's North American colonies and was also the law of the United States. The Court defined the exclusive property rights that a European country acquired by dint of discovery: "Discovery gave title to the government, by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession." Indigenous rights were, in the court's words, "in no instance, entirely disregarded; but were necessarily, to a considerable extent, impaired." The court further held that indigenous "rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished." Indigenous peoples could continue to live on the land, but title resided with the discovering power, the United States. The decision concluded that native nations were "domestic, dependent nations." This remains the fundamental colonial law under which the United States' government structures its relationship with Native-American nations.

The doctrine of discovery has been used by many colonial powers historically to claim land. After all, most of what is now the United States was first seized in the name of European powers, particularly Britain, Spain and France. Can you elaborate on the related notion of terra nullius (meaning land belonging to no one in Latin) that was used by British explorers, for example, to assert that aborigines and other indigenous populations did not occupy what is now Australia, so therefore they could be slaughtered since they were disposable and not a sovereign nation. Wasn't this doctrine also applied to the lands acquired by the US through "manifest destiny," even though the indigenous populations of North America did have identities that were a variation on nationhood, just different from the European model?

The Doctrine of Discovery does not require terra nullius in order to seize land from the indigenous inhabitants.

However, the British settlers of the 13 North American colonies, particularly Massachusetts Bay colony, as well as Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and carried on the independent US republic as well as by the republics of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, justified their brutal massacres of Native farmers and fishing people by claiming that the land was sparsely populated, invoking terra nullius.

That's why the first chapter in the book, "Follow the Corn," about precolonial North America, is so important.

Here I document the large populations that existed, with 99 percent of the indigenous population, agricultural producers, living in towns and cities, with vast irrigation systems, as well as networks of roads for robust trade and travel. The Valley of México was the source of the spread of agriculture all over the temperate, as well as even arid, regions of North America. Along the coasts, fishing villages thrived, with travel and trade around the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean. The nomadic people of the bison in the Plains were also involved in trading - the bison were even imported into upstate New York by the nations of the Iroquois. Rather than hunting, Native peoples built deer parks and practiced game management that brought the animals to them, rather than having to hunt them down.

The other important element has been called the "terminal narrative." In this version of terra nullius, infectious diseases brought by the Europeans wiped out most of the indigenous populations and would have depopulated the continent even if European settlers had never come, due to the trading ships along the Atlantic coast before settlement began. The principal reason the consensus view is wrong and ahistorical is that it erases the effects of settler colonialism with its antecedents in the Spanish "Reconquest" and the English conquest of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. By the time Spain, Portugal and Britain arrived to colonize the Americas, their methods of eradicating peoples or forcing them into dependency and servitude were ingrained, streamlined and effective. If disease could have done the job, it is not clear why the European colonizers in America found it necessary to carry out unrelenting wars against indigenous communities in order to gain every inch of land they took from them - nearly 300 years of colonial warfare, followed by continued wars waged by the independent republics of the hemisphere.

What was the role of religious manifest destiny to "conquer the heathens in the name of God," as you discuss in your section on Calvinism?

Most US historians of the pre-Republican period of Anglo colonizing projects attribute to the Puritans the fundamental ideology that still forms the basis for US nationalism and identity. The Puritans' arguments justifying their "errand in the wilderness" are very similar to those made by the Calvinist Boer settlers in Southern Africa, as well as the Calvinist Scots settlers in Northern Ireland, all of them embracing the concept of "Zion" and a new "Jerusalem," a godly mission to realize their god's will for creating "civilization" and destroying the devil-filled savages, false occupiers of land granted to the Calvinists' god's children. This rhetoric is nearly identical to that used by Zionism in seizing and settling the land of the Palestinians.

Although most US citizens today would not make the Calvinist argument, the residue of that ideology produces the nearly totally embraced concept of US exceptionalism. As President Barak Obama told an Al Arabiya television interviewer in Dubai, in affirming that the United States could be an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power." Of course, he was lambasted by right-wing patriots and even the press for claiming the US was less than perfect.

Your book is replete with research confirming how the US waged a conscious, often proclaimed war of annihilation, including ongoing massacres of women and children, against Native Americans to obtain land for white "settlers." How many Native-Americans were killed in the barbaric expansion of the US westward?

I don't believe anyone knows for sure how many Native Americans were killed in the process of US colonization of the continent, from founding to 1916. In the 16th century, it is estimated that there were 15 million native people in what is now the continental United States (but 30 million in the Valley of Mexico, which is inseparable from North American precolonial relations; 100 million in the Western Hemisphere); today, there are 3 million Native Americans within US borders.

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

The term "genocide" was coined following the Shoah, or Holocaust, and its prohibition was enshrined in the United Nations convention adopted in 1948: the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The convention is not retroactive but is applicable to US-Indigenous relations since 1988, when the US Senate ratified it. The terms of the genocide convention are also useful tools for historical analysis of the effects of colonialism in any era. In the convention, any one of five acts is considered genocide if "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group":

• killing members of the group;

• causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

• deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

• imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

• forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The colonization of North America was genocidal by plan, not simply the tragic fate of populations lacking immunity to disease. In the case of the Jewish Holocaust, no one denies that more Jews died of starvation, overwork and disease under Nazi incarceration than died in gas ovens, yet the acts of creating and maintaining the conditions that led to those deaths clearly constitute genocide.

Can you sum up how Andrew Jackson engaged in "career building through genocide"?

As the most notorious land speculator in western Tennessee, Jackson enriched himself by acquiring a portion of the Chickasaw Nation's land from which he carved his large slave-worked plantation. In 1801, Jackson took command of the Tennessee militia as a colonel and began his Indian-killing military career. With his army of white settlers promised booty and land, his militia waged a brutal war of annihilation against the Muskogee Creek Nation. Jackson, far from being reprimanded for his genocidal methods, won a commission from President James Madison as major general in the US Army. In that capacity, he commanded regular and mercenary troops in attacking resistant Muskogee Seminole villages in Spanish Florida. Wars against the Seminoles continued into and through and beyond his presidency. Jackson was elected to the presidency in 1828 as a hero to the planter class as well as the landless poor whites, to whom he promised land. He carried out their will as commander and chief of the armed forces in forcibly removing the five large agricultural nations in the Southeast to Indian Territory (later the state of Oklahoma) in forced marches.

After the Civil War, journalist James Mooney interviewed people who had been involved in the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation. Based on these firsthand accounts, he described the scene in 1838, when the US Army removed the last of the Cherokees by force:

Under [General Winfield] Scott's orders, the troops were disposed at various points throughout the Cherokee country, where stockade forts were erected for gathering in and holding the Indians preparatory to removal. From these, squads of troops were sent to search out with rifle and bayonet every small cabin hidden away in the coves or by sides of mountain streams, to seize and bring in as prisoners all the occupants, however or wherever they might be found. Families at dinner were startled by the sudden gleam of bayonets in the doorway and rose up to be driven with blows and oaths along the weary miles of trail that led to the stockade. Men were seized in their fields or going along the road, women were taken from their wheels and children from their play. In many cases, on turning for one last look as they crossed the ridge, they saw their homes in flames, fired by the lawless rabble that followed on the heels of the soldiers to loot and pillage. So keen were these outlaws on the scene that in some instances they were driving off the cattle and other stock of the Indians almost before the soldiers had fairly started their owners in the other direction. Systematic hunts were made by the same men for Indian graves, to rob them of the silver pendants and other valuables deposited with the dead. A Georgia volunteer, afterward a colonel in the Confederate service, said: 'I fought through the civil war and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.'
You quote many famous figures in US history, including Walt Whitman and Theodore Roosevelt, expressing their abject racism toward the indigenous population. In essence, the Euro-centric wave of US occupation of indigenous lands appeared grounded in a wanton racial stereotype of Native-Americans as an inferior race, even implying that they were a species so inferior that causing their extinction was a benefit to the human species. From where did this despicable outlook derive?

By the time of Theodore Roosevelt, US society, including "scientists," was awash in Social Darwinism and eugenics. But, clearly, Walt Whitman was a true visionary in the sense that his vile language of Mexicans, "Injuns," and "niggers," fit into the Social Darwinism that developed in the Atlantic world as a justification for colonialism and genocide, not just in North America, but all the Americas and Caribbean, South Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific, and especially, Africa and African Americans.

As an enthusiastic supporter of the US war against Mexico in 1846, Whitman proposed the stationing of 60,000 US troops in Mexico in order to establish a regime change there "whose efficiency and permanency shall be guaranteed by the United States. This will bring out enterprise, open the way for manufacturers and commerce, into which the immense dead capital of the country [Mexico] will find its way." Whitman explicitly grounded this prescription in racism: "The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated; it is the law of the races, history. . . . A superior grade of rats come and then all the minor rats are cleared out." The whole world would benefit from US expansion: "We pant to see our country and its rule far-reaching. What has miserable, inefficient Mexico . . . to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noble race?" In September 1846, when General Zachary Taylor's troops captured Monterrey, Whitman hailed it as "another clinching proof of the indomitable energy of the Anglo-Saxon character." Whitman's sentiments reflected the established US origin myth that had the frontier settlers replacing the native peoples as historical destiny.

That Whitman remains the idol of so many US American intellectuals, scholars, and writers, including predominately the Beat Era rebel poets, attests to the deep-seated racism in US culture, a kind of toxic that oozes everywhere. Thanks to the powerful African-American-led Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century, there is much greater awareness now of the crimes of the Atlantic slave trade and the institution of legalized enslavement of Africans in the United States. Although deep-seated racial discrimination and racial hatred persists, such acts are at least denounced and are formally illegal. However, the residue of Indian-hating and Indian-killing has been dealt with sporadically, and the myth of a "natural" disappearance of a "backward race" is not far from the surface of most US Americans' consciousness. The renewed and very public indigenous resistance movements in the 20th century have produced hundreds of researchers, writers and spokespersons that are beginning to have an effect, as witness a widespread questioning of celebrating Columbus, and, of course, the public debate about the Washington football team's moniker.

You draw a close relationship to the US using strategies of empire against the indigenous population that became part of a pattern in how the United States became a colonial power independent of Europe. Can you give an example of how this played out with possessions such as the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico?
Yes, but it's essential to remember that the United States had been involved in overseas imperialism from the beginning. Traversing the continent "from sea to shining sea" was hardly a natural westward procession of covered wagons as portrayed in Western movies. The US invasion of Mexico was carried out by US marines, by sea, through Veracruz, and the early colonization of California initially progressed from the Pacific coast, reached from the Atlantic coast by way of Tierra del Fuego.

Between the Mississippi River and the Rockies lay a vast region controlled by indigenous nations that were neither conquered nor colonized by any European power, and although the United States managed to annex northern Mexico, large numbers of settlers could not reach the Northern California goldfields or the fertile Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest without army regiments accompanying them. Why then does the popular US historical narrative of a "natural" westward movement persist? The answer is that those who still hold to the narrative remain captives of the ideology of "manifest destiny," according to which the United States expanded across the continent to assume its preordained size and shape. This ideology normalizes the successive invasions and occupations of indigenous nations and Mexico as not being colonialist or imperialist, rather simply ordained progress. In this view, Mexico was just another Indian nation to be crushed.

Then there were the Barbary Wars. The opening lyric of the official hymn of the US Marine Corps, composed and adopted soon after the invasion of Mexico, "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli," refers in part to 1801-1805, when the Marines were dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson to invade the Berber Nation of North Africa. This was the "First Barbary War," the ostensible goal of which was to persuade Tripoli to release US sailors it held hostage and to end "pirate" attacks on US merchant ships. The "Second Barbary War," in 1815-1816, ended when pasha Yusuf Karamanli, ruler of Tripoli, agreed not to exact fees from US ships entering their territorial waters.

But, yes, the post-Civil War US Army of the West that carried out the genocidal counterinsurgencies against the peoples of the Northern Plains, the Intermountain West, and the Southwest moved abroad in the 1890s to the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, carrying out tried and tested counterinsurgency campaigns against those peoples who resisted. The prime target by 1898 were the Spanish colonies of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, where nationalist forces were fighting for independence from Spain, and the US intervened to drive Spain out, then turned on the insurgents, holding the Philippines as a colony for nearly a half century, dominated Cuba until the Cuban Revolution, and seized and still holds Puerto Rico as a colony (also Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and other Pacific islands).

In your conclusion, you state bluntly that "North America is a crime scene." Can you expand on that?

I take that concept of North America as a "crime scene" from Chickasaw scholar Jodi Byrd. One can imagine yellow tape surrounding the whole of the United States. I think the metaphor of a crime scene brings to consciousness the unfinished business of dealing with the past. It also raises the question of the violence and criminalization that permeates the society, the prison-industrial complex as well as the proliferation of firearms and attachment to them, and the continued US wars against much of the rest of the world, rhetorically and militarily.

On pages 64-65, you provide background to the barbaric origin of the term "redskins." In light of your historical account, how do you view the refusal of the Washington DC NFL franchise to change its name?
Not only the Washington franchise, but also public schools and colleges across the country use "redskins" as their nickname. And not only does the Washington team balk at dropping the odious name, but also the fans continue to support its retention. I believe this willfulness is based on something more profound than ignorance of the historical significance of the term and is actually an affirmation of settler-colonialism, that a dead Indian is the symbol of the team that inhabits the US capitol.

The source of "redskins": As an incentive to recruit fighters, colonial authorities early on introduced a program of scalp hunting that became a permanent and long-lasting element of settler warfare against indigenous nations. During the Pequot War, Connecticut and Massachusetts colonial officials had offered bounties initially for the heads of murdered indigenous people and later for only their scalps, which were more portable in large numbers. But scalp hunting became routine only in the mid-1670s, following an incident on the northern frontier of the Massachusetts colony. The practice began in earnest in 1697, when settler Hannah Dustin, having murdered 10 of her Abenaki captors in a nighttime escape, presented their 10 scalps to the Massachusetts General Assembly and was rewarded with bounties for two men, two women and six children. Dustin soon became a folk hero among New England settlers.

Scalp hunting became a lucrative commercial practice. The settler authorities had hit upon a way to encourage settlers to take off on their own or with a few others to gather scalps, at random, for the reward money. "In the process," military historian John Grenier points out, "they established the large-scale privatization of war within American frontier communities."

Although the colonial government in time raised the bounty for adult male scalps, lowered that for adult females, and eliminated that for indigenous children under 10, the age and gender of victims were not easily distinguished by their scalps nor checked carefully. What is more, the scalp hunter could take the children captive and sell them into slavery. These practices erased any remaining distinction between indigenous combatants and noncombatants and introduced a market for indigenous slaves. Bounties for indigenous scalps were honored even in absence of war. Scalps and indigenous children became means of exchange, currency, and this development may even have created a black market. Scalp hunting was not only a profitable privatized enterprise but also a means to eradicate or subjugate the indigenous population of the Anglo-American Atlantic seaboard. The settlers gave a name to the mutilated and bloody corpses they left in the wake of scalp-hunts: redskins.
White House Petition: Change the Columbus Day Holiday to Indigenous Peoples' Day
Copyright, Truthout.

Mark Karlin is the editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout. He served as editor and publisher of BuzzFlash for 10 years before joining Truthout in 2010. BuzzFlash has won four Project Censored Awards. Karlin writes a commentary five days a week for BuzzFlash, as well as articles for Truthout. He also interviews authors and filmmakers whose works are featured in Truthout's Progressive Picks of the Week.
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The NSA's Moonlighting Problem

National Security Agency Headquarters in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. (photo: National Security Agency)

The NSA's Moonlighting Problem

By Allen McDuffee, The Atlantic Wire
19 October 14

In Washington, the revolving door between government service and more lucrative ventures is common, if not expected. However, having one foot in each has raised questions for the National Security Agency, which has launched an internal review of one senior official who was recruited by former NSA director Keith Alexander to work for his new—and very lucrative—cybersecurity private venture.

Patrick Dowd, the NSA's Chief Technological Officer, is allowed to work up to 20 hours a week for Alexander's firm, IronNet Cybersecurity, Inc., according to Reuters, which broke the story on the deal. Although the arrangement was apparently approved by NSA managers and does not appear to break any laws on its face, it does raise questions about ethics and the dividing line between business and one of the most secretive agencies in government.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Reuters, "This matter is under internal review. While NSA does not comment on specific employees, NSA takes seriously ethics laws and regulations at all levels of the organization."
Alexander, acknowledging that the dual roles were "awkward," said that Dowd wanted to join IronNet full-time, but he declined the request, saying, "I wanted Pat to stay at NSA." He added: "I just felt that his leaving the government was the wrong thing for NSA and our nation."

Alexander, who retired from the NSA in March, was the founding general in charge of U.S. Cyber Command. His firm ostensibly draws on the prestige of that post—something that caused at least a little eyebrow-raising. Over the summer, it was revealed that Alexander's firm would charge as much as $1 million a month to help banks protect their assets against digital assaults. Others have criticized him for filing anti-hacking patents on technology that he developed while he was the head of the NSA. Some of these were co-filed with Dowd.

In other words, it already seemed as though Alexander profited from work he did while employed by the government. Now, we know he’s profiting from employing somebody who still has agency access.

This isn’t the only conflict-of-interest case confronting the NSA. Last month, BuzzFeed News reported that Teresa Shea, the head of the overseas electronic eavesdropping efforts within the NSA, is married to a vice president of DRS Signal Solutions. DRS Signal Solutions is a contractor for the NSA. A subsequent report revealed that Shea was running an office and electronics sales and rental business out of her home.

The Pentagon's Inspector General found in August that Regina Dugan, the former director of DARPA, used her position to bring agency attention to a technology research company that she created. But Dugan's career hasn't exactly petered out: She's now Google's vice president for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects. And just what does that sector of the giant do?

Among other things, it works on robotics projects for the military.

2014 Reader Supported News

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Police Raid on Okra Plants? 10 Totally Pointless SWAT Raid Nightmares

Published on Alternet (

AlterNet [1] / By Alex Henderson [2]

Police Raid on Okra Plants? 10 Totally Pointless SWAT Raid Nightmares

October 15, 2014 |

On October 6, a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia decided that members of a SWAT team who maimed and disfigured a 19-month-old toddler during a botched no-knock drug raid should not face any criminal charges [3]. It was yet another example of militarized, trigger-happy narcotics officers endangering the public with impunity, which has been the norm in the War on Drugs. SWAT teams, when used appropriately, can save lives: for example, an effective, well-trained SWAT team can actually reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in certain hostage situations. But with American police having become overly militarized in recent years, the use of SWAT teams in non-extreme circumstances has become much too common.

In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released the results of an in-depth study of police militarization. Titled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” the report analyzed 800 SWAT raids in the U.S. and concluded that the vast majority of them were unnecessary. Kara Dansky, senior counsel for the ACLU’s Center for Justice, stated: “We found that police overwhelmingly use SWAT raids not for extreme emergencies like hostage situations, but to carry out such basic police work as serving warrants or searching for a small amount of drugs. This unnecessary violence causes property damage, injury, and death.”

Below are ten frightening, egregious examples of Americans being terrorized by SWAT teams and military-like units in 2014 when such force was totally unnecessary.

1. The Phonesavanh Family, Habersham County, Georgia

Of all the botched drug raids that have occurred in 2014, the most appalling was the one that took place in Cornelia, Georgia on May 28—when narcotics officers carried out a paramilitary no-knock SWAT raid at 3 AM at the home of Alecia Phonesavanh. The person they were looking for, Phonesavanh’s nephew Wanis Thonetheva, was suspected of making a $50 methamphetamine sale. Thonetheva, however, didn’t even live in Phonesavanh’s home and was nowhere to be found during the raid. But Phonesavanh’s 19-month-old toddler, Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, was home. After breaking down the door of the Phonesavanh home, one of the officers tossed a flashbang grenade—which landed in the baby’s crib, exploded and caused the toddler extensive injuries (includingsevere burns, disfigurement and a hole in his chest [4] that exposed his ribs). No drugs were found in the home, and Wanis Thonetheva was subsequently arrested without incident.

To make matters worse, Habersham County officials announced in August that the county would not be giving the Phonesavanh family any assistance with the baby’s huge medical expenses. And the fact that members of the SWAT team escaped criminal charges on October 6 only encourages militarized narcotics officers to continue endangering the public.

2. David Hooks, East Dublin, Georgia

In September, methamphetamine addict Rodney Garrett confessed to stealing an SUV from the home of 59-year-old David Hooks, an East Dublin, Georgia resident who owned a construction company. Garrett claimed that he found a bag of meth in the vehicle, and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Department obtained a warrant for a no-knock raid on Hooks’ home. When the SWAT team broke into Hooks’ house on September 23, Hooks—according to attorney Mitchell Shook, who is representing Hooks’ widow—thought he was being robbed again and grabbed a gun to defend himself, although Shook said Hooks’ didn’t actually fire it. At least 16 shots were fired by the SWAT team [5], killing Hooks instantly. Shook told reporters, “There is no evidence that David Hooks ever fired a weapon.”

No drugs were found in the home during a 44-hour search. And there was no evidence that Hooks had any involvement in drug trafficking apart from the dubious claims of a confessed meth addict and car thief.

3. Ruth Hunter, Henrico, Virginia

On April 10, 75-year-old Henrico, Virginia resident Ruth Hunter was terrorized by the Virginia State Police when they carried out a no-knock drug raid on her apartment. They were searching for a drug suspect who lived in an apartment two doors down, but thanks to a sloppy investigation, Hunter’s apartment was the one on the search warrant. Hunter was placed in tight plastic handcuffs while officers interrogated her, and no drugs were found in her apartment. After the officers found the man they were looking for in a nearby apartment and arrested him, his fiancée confirmed that they had raided the wrong apartment [6]. According to Hunter, the officers never even apologized and said that she would have to pay to fix the front door herself.

4. Jessica Walker, Bakersfield, California

In the War on Drugs, it isn’t uncommon for narcotics officers to screw up an investigation and carry out a paramilitary SWAT raid on the wrong house or apartment. That happened to Bakersfield, California resident Jessica Walker in April 19, when militarized officers conducted a no-knock raid on her apartment at around 11 PM. The SWAT team suspected one of Walker’s neighbors of selling drugs, but Walker’s apartment ended up on the search warrant by mistake. Getting ready to take a bath, Walker was half undressed when officers broke her door down, ordered her onto the ground and handcuffed her in front of her four children. The officers let Walker go when they realized they had raided the wrong address [7], and thankfully, neither Walker nor any of her children were injured.

5. Dwayne Perry, Cartersville, Georgia

In Cartersville, Georgia, state narcotics officers acted like soldiers in Fallujah, Al Anbar when, in early October, they invaded the back yard of Dwayne Perry. Flying overhead in a helicopter, they were searching for marijuana plants and thought they spotted some in Perry’s yard. The officers, weapons drawn, invaded the yard with a K-9 unit. But what they thought were marijuana plants turned out to be okra plants. Perry told WSB-TV: “I was scared…….They were strapped to the gills [8]. Anything could have happened.”

6. Barbara Thomas, Houston, Texas

In May, Houston resident Barbara Thomas and her autistic son were traumatized by militarized narcotics officers who conducted a no-knock raid on their house in the predominantly black Cashmere Gardens section of the city. It turned out that officers had the wrong address: Thomas lived at a “5816” address, and the drug suspect they were looking for lived at a “5818” address. Thomas told Houston’s KPRC-TV, “They told me to get down. There were guns everywhere—I mean, the long guns with lights on them [9]. I was crying hysterically…… I thought they were going to kill us.”

7. Jason Westcott, Tampa, Florida

Militarized police are a hazard all over the United States, but progressive talk radio host/attorney Mike Papantonio has said more than once that militarized police in the Deep South (who he describes as “Dixieland stormtroopers” and “ninja cops”) are especially toxic. And the Dixieland stormtroopers were feeling very trigger-happy when, on May 27, a SWAT team in Tampa, Florida carried out a no-knock raid on the home of 29-year-old Jason Westcott (who narcotics officers suspected of selling marijuana). Westcott, who evidently believed he was being robbed, grabbed his gun—and he was killed when the SWAT team opened fire [10]. Officers found about two dollars worth of marijuana in the house.

8. Sally Prince, Des Moines, Iowa

Unjustified SWAT raids often occur in connection with the War on Drugs, but they can also come about if officers suspect another nonviolent offense such as illegal gambling or credit card fraud. Sally Prince of Des Moines, Iowa found that out the hard way in February 2014, when a SWAT team used a battering ram to break down the door of her home. The officers didn’t raid the home in search of al-Qaeda members, but rather, in connection with an investigation for alleged credit card fraud [11]. Officers were looking for about $1000 worth of electronics that had allegedly been purchased with a stolen credit card. But no evidence was found in connection with that investigation, and thankfully, no one was injured.

Prince told Des Moines’ WHO-TV: “This is over property purchased with a stolen credit card. It doesn’t make any sense to go to such extremes for something that simple.”

9. Larry Lee Arman, St. Paul, Minnesota

There have been many examples of militarized narcotics officers killing pet dogs during drug raids, and the two dogs that St. Paul, Minnesota resident Larry Lee Arman owned were shot and killed when a SWAT team carried out a no-knock drug raid on his home on July 9. Although Arman acknowledges that he is a recreational marijuana user, he has vehemently died any involvement in drug trafficking—and the only items found during the raid were a glass bong and marijuana remnants in a metal grinder. Camille Perry, Arman’s girlfriend, was present during the raid and said that she feared for the lives of their young children [12]. “The only thing I was thinking was my kids were going to get hit by bullets,” Perry told Minneapolis’ KMSP-TV. But gratefully, their children—unlike Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh—were not injured.

10. Lilian Alonzo, Manchester, New Hampshire

Journalist Radley Balko (author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces) has often said that when paramilitary weapons are used in connection with investigations for nonviolent offenses, the chances of innocent people being injured escalate. That happened in Manchester, New Hampshire on August 27, when members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided the apartment of 49-year-old Lilian Alonzo.

Although two of her daughters, Johanna Nunez and Jennifer Nunez, were suspects in the investigation, Alonzo herself was not a suspect—and neither of them lived with her. During the raid, the unarmed Alonzo was picking up a baby when two shots were fired [13]; one of them went through her left arm and entered her left ribcage (30 stitches were needed). No drugs were found in Lilian Alonzo’s apartment.

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[14] on Police Raid on Okra Plants? 10 Totally Pointless SWAT Raid Nightmares

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Radioactive Coyotes and Poisoned Apples: The Strange History of the Manhattan Project

A nuclear explosion. (photo: LIFE)

Radioactive Coyotes and Poisoned Apples: The Strange History of the Manhattan Project
By Todd VanDerWerff, Vox
18 October 14

Before launching season one of WGN America's terrific new drama series Manhattan, Sam Shaw was best known as a writer on the first season of another period drama: Showtime's Masters of Sex. But Shaw had long wanted to do a drama set in the midst of the Manhattan Project and the construction of the world's first atomic bomb, and that pre-planning shows in the deliberate, hugely satisfying fashion in which the cable drama's first season played out.

Of course, amid all of that conceptualization, Shaw learned a lot about the Manhattan Project.

"We have our own Alexandrian library of nuclear apocalypse in our offices," he told me. "300 or so volumes and growing, from histories of the Manhattan Project (Richard Rhodes's The Making of the Atomic Bomb is the King James Bible of atomic scholarship; Peter Hales's Atomic Spaces is fascinating, too, as is Jon Hunner's Inventing Los Alamos) to memoirs by physicists, soldiers, WACs and, especially, wives (two of the best are Laura Fermi's Atoms in the Family, and Phyllis Fisher's Los Alamos Experience). Also technical books and more obscure stuff — monographs about food rationing, salaries, housing on the Hill, etc. Then there's primary source research — period magazines and newspapers. There are fantastic documentaries on the Manhattan Project and the atomic age, starting with Jon Else's incredibly great The Day After Trinity. And lots of podcasts and oral histories, many of them preserved online by the Atomic Heritage Foundation."

Because truth is stranger than fiction, we asked him to share some tidbits from his research that might break our brains just a little bit. Some made it into the show, but some were just too weird to be believed and will stay in the historical record only. Below are five of the weirdest things Shaw learned while researching his show.

1) Dead coyotes were key to understanding the dangers of radiation

Sam Shaw: We mostly spent this first season at Los Alamos, which is sort of the hub of the Manhattan Project. But there were a bunch of these secret cities that were built around the country to support the project. One of them that we only glancingly even mention in the first season is Site W, which is this huge operation in Washington state. It's basically this giant factory that was built as this operation between the government and private industry to pump out the plutonium that ultimately was used in the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki.

But all of the questions about the health and environmental implications of this crazy operation were completely unanswered at that time. There's this giant factory in the middle of nowhere that is pumping out huge clouds of toxic dust, and nobody knew what it was going to do. So one method that the Army hit on to try to get a sense of what the environmental implications were, is that they noticed that these clouds of dust would settle on these local artemisia leaves, like local foliage. And then rabbits would eat the leaves, and then coyotes would eat the rabbits.

So these Army guys would drive around with rifles, and they would poach coyotes. And they had a monthly quota of coyotes that they were gonna kill. And they would autopsy the coyotes, and pull out their thyroids, and measure the levels of iodine in the thyroids of these coyotes.

So basically the canary in the coal mine of medical and environmental safety at Site W was the radioactive iodine in the thyroids of these crazy, nuclear coyotes.

Todd VanDerWerff: Especially as the season has gone on, the Olivia Williams character has gotten very interested in what the health implications of this are. How realistic is that to the time?

Sam Shaw:Really, this story was kind of a true life science fiction story. Very little was known about what the ancillary implications of radiation and exposure to all of these materials was going to be on the human body. There was very little known about the physiology of irradiation.

There's a story that we tell partway through the season that involves a guy swallowing some plutonium. That actually was inspired by an event that took place at Los Alamos. There was a young scientist named Don Mastick who swallowed some plutonium. And what happened to him is actually pretty similar to what happens to Michael Chernis's character on our show, which is they immediately pumped his stomach and handed him the contents and told him to separate the plutonium from whatever he had eaten for breakfast at the commissary that morning, so that they could retrieve the plutonium and use it, because it was very valuable.

But all of the safety standards in this place were, at best, guesses, and if you're cynical, you could say they were an exercise in smoke and mirrors undertaken by the Army to reassure all of these really brainy human guinea pigs that they were safe, when in fact, the health implications of the work they were doing was completely unknown.

2) Robert Oppenheimer very nearly murdered his tutor — intentionally

Sam Shaw:We don't spend a lot of time with Robert Oppenheimer [the head of the Manhattan Project's special weapons lab and the lead scientist on the project], but he's sort of the protagonist of the big historical story of the Manhattan Project that most people are familiar with. But one thing that people may not know about Oppenheimer is that when he was a student at Harvard, he took a year abroad. He was at Cambridge, and he tried to murder his tutor. And the way that he tried to murder him was very peculiar and kind of amazing, which is that he poisoned an apple with toxic chemicals, and he left this apple out for his tutor to find and snack on. And ultimately, he went back and retrieved it before the guy had a chance to eat it. But it's a very odd thing that this person who later was entrusted with the most expensive, secret military project in human history freelanced as an attempted murderer earlier in his life.

Also a very odd thing about that is, you may know Alan Turing, a very fascinating guy in his own right who cracked the Enigma code and has a movie that is coming out soon with Benedict Cumberbatch playing him. But he committed suicide, and the theory that everybody has is that he ate an apple he had poisoned with arsenic. It's very odd that these two great minds of World War II mathematics and science were both sort of obsessed with poisoned apples. I don't really know what that suggests, other than a great sense of poetic metaphor.

Todd VanDerWerff: Oppenheimer is in this show every so often, but this is mostly a show about imagined characters. How did you decide to tell stories about people you had made up?

Sam Shaw: That was fundamental to the conception of the show from the outset. And part of it was there have been movies and stories about the bold-faced names of history who were associated with this project, about Oppenheimer and about General Groves, who is sort of the military overlord of the entire project. And those guys are incredibly fascinating.

But what really interested me as I got to get more and more immersed in the subject matter was the experience of all of these other thousands of people in this secret town whose stories I hadn't really seen before. And a lot of them, for me, were people who were marginalized in the official histories. I was really interested by the question of what it was to be a spouse in this town. What it was to be uprooted from your life and dragged to this mysterious, secret city on top of a dead volcano, surrounded by barbed wire fences, and not have your partner be able to tell you what it is he's working on at the end of the day when he comes home.

The kind of story that we wanted to tell certainly involves the history and involves the science, but ultimately isn't a docudrama and certainly not a technical history of the development of the bomb, fascinating as that is. It attempts to be a character story about the inner lives of this ensemble cast. From the very beginning, the approach was to populate this carefully researched, historically accurate world with fictional characters.

3) Nothing about life in the Manhattan Project was private

Sam Shaw: For me, the genesis of this whole project, in a way, was the moment when I first read what I think is probably the most astonishing fact of all, but somehow I just hadn't really grasped.

I'd read a little bit about the Manhattan Project, but what I really hadn't understood was that of the thousands of people who lived in this town, this really peculiar town that was built almost overnight, the vast, overwhelming majority of them had no idea what the purpose of the town was until the day in August of 1945 when they turned on their radios and heard that this city in Japan had disappeared in the fraction of a second.

The idea that it was possible for neighbors and friends to perpetrate a secret of that magnitude, it just boggled my mind. We live in this moment when Jay-Z gets in a fight with his sister-in-law, and everybody on the planet knows about it 45 minutes later on Twitter. The idea that in spite of that, this $2 billion project that consisted of many, many thousands of people working in this secret city was kept not only from the Vice President and Congress but from the very people who were living in those cities — that was breathtaking to me.

Todd VanDerWerff: What were some of the ways they kept those secrets, and how did you pull those into the show?

Sam Shaw: There were very rigorous codes that dictated what you could say, what you couldn't say in a letter, on a phone call. All of the aspects of a security state that you see on the show — the eavesdropping on phone calls and the censoring of letters, the system of day passes that were issued so that your movement in and out of the place was controlled, this sense of living in a surveillance state — all of that was very, very real.
Beyond that, there were just aspects of the town itself that, by design or not, had the effect of protecting a secret. All of these people were really living right on top of each other in shoddy, ramshackle houses built by this series of companies that would come in and install round after round of these pre-fab, awful buildings that had paper-thin walls. Everybody was sort of aware of everybody else's business.

So there's really a feeling in the place that one never had any privacy anywhere. So the threat of getting caught if you were saying something you shouldn't be saying to the wrong person was enormous. At the same time, on a personal level, the irony is that it was almost impossible for anybody to keep anything private or to keep any secrets in their private lives. Their neighbors knew if they were having a fight with their husband, or having sex, or if their kid had snuck out. It was very interesting to me.

Todd VanDerWerff: What's the appeal of building a show where everybody's keeping secrets from everybody?

Sam Shaw: The show, it's certainly not an allegory. We didn't sit down to write a story about PRISM or Edward Snowden or the war on terror by writing about a bunch of characters building a bomb in the desert in the 1940s.
But the more I read about the Manhattan Project and the more time I spent thinking about this world, the more it felt like the birthplace of a lot of the cultural problems that we are trying to untangle now, 70 years later. The question of how much transparency we expect from our government and the people who are supposed to be protecting us, and also how much privacy we insist on or give away in our personal lives, that's very interesting to me.

4) Eastman-Kodak accidentally found out about the A-bomb before just about anybody else

Sam Shaw: You may know a bit about the Trinity test, which was the first atomic detonation on this planet, a little bit ahead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the Alamogordo Desert.

There are couple of things I think are very, very fascinating about it. One thing is there's this piece of popular lore that historians of the Manhattan Project love to talk about, which is all of these incredibly brilliant physicists basically set up a betting pool. They were all betting money on the question of what the kiloton payload of the bomb was going to be. A bunch of the Army guys who were hanging around and eavesdropping got very, very nervous, because there was a side pool set up by Enrico Fermi, the brilliant Italian physicist, and the side pool was betting on the question of whether they were going to accidentally set the atmosphere on fire and destroy the world — or possibly just destroy the state of New Mexico. It was a very interesting bet set up, because of course, if you bet that the world is going to end, there's no way to collect your money once you've won.

Another great thing about the Trinity test that I absolutely love is that not too long afterward, Eastman-Kodak got a lot of complaints from customers that their film was fucked up. It was foggy. And they couldn't figure out what the problem was until eventually they realized that the cardboard packaging for the film, which was made out of these husks from corn that was grown in Indiana, was contaminated with nuclear fallout from the Trinity test a thousand miles away. Customers returning fogged up film caused Eastman Kodak to accidentally discover that the United States Army had detonated the world's first atomic bomb in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Todd VanDerWerff: The pacing of this season is very deliberate, and the series is probably building up to this detonation. Do you have a sense of how much you want to cover before you get there?

Sam Shaw: There are two answers to that question. One has to do with the chunk of history that we wanted to address. This whole season was, in its way, built around a lot of historical facts, but there was one in particular that became very important to us. In early 1944, it was discovered that the bomb design that the army and the science staff at Los Alamos had invested basically all of their time and resources in developing was not going to work. It resulted in a very radical restructuring of the entire project. It was a really terrifying moment for everyone involved with the Manhattan Project.

Ultimately, it fell to what in reality was a ragtag operation of a few guys and a chalkboard and a much more technically complicated and in some ways conceptually brilliant to the bomb design, the implosion bomb, to deliver a working atomic weapon. That was a fact that served as a jumping-off point for a lot of the dramatization.

We spent a lot more time talking and thinking about where we wanted to take the characters, what the relationship between Frank and Charlie would be along various points in this season. But we knew very early on that the arc of the history that we'd be biting off really had to do with this movement from Frank's place at the furthest margins of this project to a moment at the end of this season where he's essentially validated and gets what he has wanted for this whole season, but gets it in the worst way possible.

5) The US had another secret bomb project underway in New Mexico. The other one involved bats.

Sam Shaw: Okay, well, here's the craziest one for you. This is the fact that always wins the ice cream cake for me.

In 1943 there were actually two secret bomb projects being financed by the Army in New Mexico, and the other one was conceived by this guy who was a dentist from Pennsylvania who was a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. He was vacationing in Carlsbad Caverns right around the time of Pearl Harbor, and he was hanging out in these caves full of Mexican free-tailed bats.

He learns that Pearl Harbor has been bombed, and he has this lightning strike of inspiration. He decides that he wants to build a bomb that will turn the tide of the war that will involve taking Mexican free-tailed bats and attaching little incendiary devices to their feet and then sticking them into bomb casings and dropping those bomb casings out of airplanes over Japanese cities.

The idea is a little parachute would pop out. The bats would be released. They would fly away and roost under the eaves of Japanese houses, which were traditionally built out of wood and paper — very, very highly flammable materials — and then, on a timer, the incendiary devices would explode, and whole cities would be destroyed in these fires that would run amok and terrorize Japan.

Incredibly, he made some phone calls. Eleanor Roosevelt was supportive. The Army wrote a gigantic check and set up this operation, and the project was only shut down considerably later when, finally, somebody informed whoever was overseeing the project that there was this other secret bomb mission taking place not very far away that seemed considerably more promising.

Todd VanDerWerff: Did you at any time think about making a show about the bat people? Sam Shaw: You'll have to wait for like season 17 of our show. It's more of a farce. Maybe a half hour. But nothing would make me happier.
Although having inflicted a cat, a scorpion, and a herd of goats on our production staff over the course of this season, I don't think anybody wants to see me writing bats into our show.

Todd VanDerWerff: You've mentioned this as true science fiction a couple of times, and it plays almost like a mystery show where we know the solution to the mystery. How do you build that tension out of a story where we absolutely know how it's going to end?

Sam Shaw: There are great perils dramatically in telling a story whose ending, at least in some meaningful way, is known by our audience, and there are great advantages. It creates opportunities for some really interesting story structures, opportunities for dramatic irony when some aspects of the end of the story are already known to the audience.

It's not an accident that you see so much storytelling in television over the last five or 10 years where the beginning of an episode or the beginning of a pilot reveal some piece of information from the end of the story and the energy and fun of the storytelling involves the puzzling efforts on the part of the audience to figure out how we're going to arrive at that final image. It's almost now become a kind of narrative cliché.

So writ large, that's sort of the challenge with us. And, of course, there are models, whether they're aesthetically close to the strike zone for the show that we set out to make or not. Titanic is the most obvious example. But the mission for us became figuring out how to construct a story where the driving questions aren't ultimately who's going to win the war or is the bomb going to work but they're the sort of human questions associated with it. So it becomes more of a howdunit or whydunit than a whodunit.

Todd VanDerWerff: You were renewed, but this show has flown way under the radar. What has that been like?

Sam Shaw: Here's the thing: Somebody asked me a couple days ago if I am gratified by the fact that there's so much incredibly great TV these days that it's hard to find an audience as a new show that's trying to do something interesting or not. For me, as a viewer and as somebody who works in this business, it's so exciting and so gratifying that there's so much great TV right now. I wouldn't, for a second, bemoan that fact. It's a great gift. Writing teacher Ethan Canin, the novelist, used to say he didn't consider himself a writer so much as a reader moved to emulation. And I feel the same way. I loved probably a lot of the same shows that you loved. It's a crowded field, let's put it that way.

But for us, I think there was so much work involved by so many hundreds of people to try to make a television show any good. It's enormously hard to make a TV show that's terrible, but to make a TV show that you're proud of is back-breakingly hard work. The good news, I think, for us is that I didn't really spend a lot of time sweating it or worrying about whether we had hit the zeitgeist in the way that one might hope to yet. We just set out to make the best show that we could, and we loved doing it. We're really proud of it. It's been really gratifying that WGN has been so supportive of us. The coolest thing of all to me is that we get to keep doing it now, and I really hope that some people will join the party in progress, and I hope they like what they see.

Todd VanDerWerff: Where are you at in the process of figuring out what season two looks like?

Sam Shaw: I spent a lot of years thinking about this show before we started production so I had a lot of time to think about what season two looks like, season three and beyond, so a lot of scripts are getting written somewhere in some anteroom in the back of my head. Because I'm a superstitious creature, I definitely have not opened a Final Draft document and typed "Fade In" or anything.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Saturday, October 18, 2014





Contact: Nancy Burton/

Things just got a whole lot riskier for folks living in the shadow of Millstone.

Dominion will now be able to operate Millstone at full power for up to 24 hours with its main radiation monitors deliberately disabled without prior notice to the public, where the previous standard was 15 minutes.

Dominion now has free rein to belch dirty radioactive air at “unusual” levels for 24 hours straight while its main radiation monitors are down, as long as the blast coincides with “pre-planned maintenance.”

Watch out! Dominion has just brought Millstone Unit 3 to cold shutdown for a scheduled refueling and lots of “pre-planned maintenance.”

Dominion projects that Unit 3 will release its heaviest, dirtiest radiation releases to the air during this weekslong shutdown. This graph appears on Dominion’s website

Last week, NRC seriously relaxed its rules governing inoperable radiation monitors three weeks after concerned citizens demanded to know why radiation monitor outages were recurring frequently at Millstone, a fact known to them only because Dominion was required to report the loss to the NRC and the NRC posted the report on its website,

Millstone has the worst record of all U.S. nuclear reactors in the frequency of reported radiation monitor outages over the past year, according to the NRC.

(Dominion, “the licensee for the Millstone nuclear power company does report radiation monitors out of service more frequently than at other nuclear power plants in the United States via a 10 CFR 50.72 report.” NRC letter to Union of Concerned Scientists October 8, 2014.)

The NRC’s now excusing Dominion from having to report the loss of radiation monitoring operability for reasons of “planned maintenance” unless the loss persists for 24 hours. The prior time frame was 15 minutes.

“Unlike most other plants, Millstone does not have redundant devices for some of their radiation monitors, particularly [the main station stack and long-range monitors, the most critical ones],” the NRC wrote in its

October 8, 2014 letter.

Here’s the obvious question:

What’s to stop Dominion from venting its dirtiest releases – those containing the highest concentrations of radionuclides – during “pre-planned maintenance” over 24-hour periods, making it impossible for the public to ever know the levels to which they and their children and grandchildren were exposed?

The NRC has an easy answer: Nothing!

Shockingly, under existing regulation, Dominion is allowed to disgorge built-up “batches” of its dirtiest radioactive air from the containment, where the nuclear reactor is located, and radioactive processing systems, even when its major radiation monitors are shut down.

All that Dominion need do in such circumstances is apply its “best efforts” (Dominion’s term, approved by the NRC) to repair the monitors and carry out additional sampling and analysis.

The Union of Concerned Scientists asked the NRC if it could say whether Dominion had its workers actually carry out these “compensatory measures.”

Once again, the NRC had an easy answer: “This level of detailed information is not required to be submitted to the NRC.”

The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone has demanded that Millstone shut down when its main station radiation monitors are disabled.

In a letter sent on October 13, 2014 to Jeffrey Semancik, DEEP Director of Radiation, the Coalition demanded independent DEEP radiation monitoring of Millstone releases and disclosure of such releases to the public.


October 13, 2014

Jeffrey Semancic
Director, Radiation Division
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford CT 06106

Dear Mr. Semancic:

We are alarmed to learn that in September 2014, without prior notice to the public or opportunity for public comment, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission revised its rules to allow the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant to operate at full power for up to 24 hours with its main station radiation monitors deliberately disabled and inoperable, where the previous standard was 15 minutes, as long as the releases coincide with “pre-planned maintenance.”

Please reference the October 8, 2014 letter of the NRC’s Raymond R. McKinley to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) responding to the UCS’s query to him dated August 15, 2014 regarding Millstone’s frequently recurring inoperability of its main station radiation monitors. (For your reference, copies of both letters are being sent to you by U.S. Mail.)

The UCS query derived from reviews of reports posted on the NRC website when Millstone’s main station radiation monitors were inoperable for periods in excess of 15 minutes.

The NRC letter confirms that Millstone holds the U.S. record for frequency of reporting of radiation monitor inoperability.

Our alarm particularly focuses on the statement in the McKinley letter concerning whether NRC verifies whether Dominion may pre-plan its worst and dirtiest radiation releases to coincide with “pre-planned” radiation monitor shutdowns.

The NRC told UCS that Millstone is permitted to vent its “batch” releases containing heavier-than-normal concentrations of radionuclides even when it lacks the capability to adequately monitor the releases because of the monitor shutdowns.

Although the NRC letter seeks to provide assurances that Dominion will take adequate “compensatory measures” – such as air samples and analysis – when it deactivates the radiation monitors, here is what the NRC acknowledges in response to the UCS query as to whether the NRC actually verifies that Dominion has taken such compensatory measures:

“This level of detailed information is not required to be submitted to the NRC.”

We are gravely concerned that the public health and safety have been put at far greater risk of radiation exposure as a result of the NRC’s decision allowing Millstone to operate at full power for up to 24 hours with the loss of its most critical radiation monitors without having to report the loss of monitoring capability to the NRC and, hence, the public. Further, we are at a loss to understand how the welfare of the public is served when Dominion is excused from having to report its deliberate disabling of the critical radiation monitors as long as it “pre-plans maintenance” to coincide with the dangerous releases.

As you know, Connecticut General Statutes §22a-135 (“Duties of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection re: nuclear energy and radiation”) mandates that with regard to “posting of planned radiation releases,” your office must require that Dominion “immediately report [to it] . . . (A) any release of radiation which is . . . unmonitored.”

In accordance with this law, we request, pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, the opportunity to review and copy all DEEP records regarding Dominion’s reports to it of “unmonitored” radiation releases (that is, occurring while critical station radiation monitors were inoperable) during the past two years during which Millstone has attained the U.S. record of frequency of reports of inoperative radiation monitors.

Most particularly, we request such records as pertain to those occasions when Dominion has reported inoperability of radiation monitors to the NRC, as follows:

Unit 2

Event Number 49313
High range stack radiation monitor RM-8168
“removed . . . from service for pre-planned maintenance”
Unit 2

Event Number 49349
RM-8169 Vent Stack Radiation Monitor
“Pre-Planned Maintenance”
Unit 2

Event Number 49893
“Stack RadMonitor out-of-service for pre-planned maintenance”
Unit 2

Event Number 50165
“High range stack monitor taken out of service for planned maintenance”
Unit 2

Event Number 50343
“Removal of stack high radiation monitor for maintenance”
Unit 2

Event Number 50357
“Site stack radiation monitor out of service for planned maintenance”
Unit 3

Event Number 49724
“Normal ventilation radiation monitor removed from service for planned maintenance”
Unit 3

Event Number 49891
“Normal ventilation process radiation monitor out of service for planned maintenance”
Unit 3

Event Number 49951
“[Supplementary Leakage Collection and Release System] radiation monitor out of service for pre-planned maintenance”

Furthermore, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §22a-135(4) (“DEEP shall . . . (4) monitor radiation originating from nuclear plants and perform tests to detect any buildup of radioactivity in the soil, water, plants or animals of the state”), please inform us what steps you have taken as DEEP’s Radiation Bureau Director to monitor Millstone radiation releases on those occasions when Millstone’s radiation monitor have been disabled for “pre-planned maintenance.”

We particularly request that you implement forthwith a program to monitor goat milk from among the 17 locations within 20 miles of Millstone as were identified by Dominion in its most recent (2013) Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report. That reports states that Dominion did not sample goat milk as part of its environmental monitoring program during 2013. We request as well that you implement forthwith a program to monitor human breast milk pursuant to the statute.

Furthermore, we request that you act on your statutory authority (Connecticut General Statutes §22a-135(a)(6) and (7)) to petition the NRC to reverse its decision allowing Dominion to operate at full power for 24 hours with disabled radiation monitors for “pre-planned maintenance” without reporting the inoperability of the monitors to the NRC.

Finally we request that you act on your statutory authority (Connecticut General Statutes §22a-135(a)(6) and (7) to petition the NRC to revise its regulations and policies to require that Dominion shut down Millstone during periods when its critical radiation monitors are deliberately disabled for “pre-planned maintenance.”

We appreciate your response at your earliest convenience.
Nancy Burton
Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 19 - 21, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert October 19 – October 20, 2014
"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." - Martin Luther King Jr.
Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center. Go to If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]
Tune into the Maryland Progressive Blog at
1] Books, buttons & stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster – Oct. 30
6] Food drive – through Nov. 8
7] Can you donate a kidney?
8] Death with Dignity – Oct. 19
9] Peace and Pancakes – Oct. 19
10] World Peace – Oct. 19
11] Pentagon Vigil – Oct. 20
12] Arms Control Association annual meeting – Oct. 20
13] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Oct. 20 – 27
14] Celebrate Pete Seeger – Oct. 20
15] Save Central American children – Oct. 20
16] Children and HIV – Oct. 20
17] Pledge/FOC meeting – Oct. 20
18] Pressure Larry Hogan – Oct. 21
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available. “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.
2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at
3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR]. It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed. It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq. To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net. Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.
THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe. It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing. To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.
4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale. For more details and to download the order form, go to The coffee comes in one-pound bags.
Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month. Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered. Send it to Francine Sheppard at 5639B, Harpers Farm Rd., Columbia 21044. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Francine at 410-992-7679 or
5] - The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster, featuring artist Rev. Howard Finster, will be exhibited from Sat., Oct. 4 through Oct. 30. The Visionary Experience offers a perspective on some of the most important moments in history, invention, science, politics, and religion at the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Hwy. Call 410-244-1900. Visit

6] – The Men and Families Center, 2222 Jefferson St., Baltimore, continues its food drive through Sat., Nov. 8. The organization is collecting canned and unperishable goods so that food pantries in the center are stocked for the holidays! Call Quandra or Rodney at 410-614-5353 or email

7] - A relative – or sort of relative – of the Berrigans by the name of Michael Moore has an ex-wife suffering from renal failure and is on dialysis four times each day. Her only hope is to receive a kidney from a donor. Her name is Mary Ann Nowak, and she can be reached at 760-632-5462 or by email at Anyone willing to be tested or who has already been tested and is able to donate a kidney would give new life to this woman. Many thanks for any and all consideration you can give. Thanks for reading, for caring, for considering--Liz McAlister.

8] - Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On Sun., Oct. 19 hear about “Legalizing Aid in Dying in Maryland.” Join Catherine Weber and Ellen Dinnerman as they discuss how a small group of volunteers and the national office of Compassion and Choices, DwD/AID is slowly moving towards an active campaign to bring a Death with Dignity law to Maryland. Call 410-581-2322 or email
9] - Join the Kadampa Meditation Center for Peace and Pancakes on Sundays at 10:30 AM at KMC Maryland, 2937 North Charles St. All are invited to participate in guided meditation and chant praying for world peace. There will be a talk based on Buddhist thought followed by brunch. Call 410- 243-3837. Brunch is $5.
10] – On Sun., Oct. 19 from 2 to 4 PM, various speakers from different faiths will talk about how to attain world peace from their faith perspective. This convention provides opportunity to
learn about the founder of other religions, and their concepts. It helps establish a better understanding and create an atmosphere
of peace, harmony
and tolerance. The conference is sponsored by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and held at Bait-ur-Rehman Mosque, 15000 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring 20905. Contact Amjad Chaudhry at Visit

11] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop. The next vigil is Mon., Oct. 13, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Email or call 202-882-9649. The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

12] - On Mon., Oct. 20 from 9:45 to 11 AM, Robert Einhorn, Brookings Institution, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Center for a New American Security, and Alireza Nader, RAND Corporation, will examine "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle" as part of the Arms Control Association annual meeting at the Carnegie Endowment, Root Room, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC.

Then from 11 to 11:30 AM, Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund, takes on "The Unaffordable Arsenal: Reducing the Costs of the Bloated U.S. Nuclear Stockpile." From noon to 12:55 PM, hear Des Browne, former U.K. Defense Secretary, present the keynote speech. Finally from 1 to 1:30 PM, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman and Guakhar Mukhatzhanova, Monterey Institute, will discuss "The Future of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Regime." To register for the Arms Control Association annual meeting, register at

13] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to All shows are also available as podcasts at

14] – Get over to the Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW, WDC, on Sun., Oct. 19 from 6:30 to 10 PM and celebrate Pete Seeger. For more than seven decades Seeger lent his voice, long-neck banjo, and 12-string guitar to every great social movement of the 20th and 21st centuries. He was one of the most beloved musical artists and activists of all time, and popularized folk music. Pete was inducted into the rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He believed in the power of song and in the power of people singing together to build a better world! With Woody Guthrie and the Almanac Singers, Pete played in hundreds of union halls. The concert proceeds will benefit the Culture Works Collective. See

15] – On Mon., Oct. 20 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, Ayuda is hosting a vigil in support of the children fleeing violence in Central America at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, 1525 H St. NW, WDC. Join them to keep the awareness of this critical issue going even if media attention fades and to put pressure on the White House to take action to protect the children.

16] – Enjoy An Evening with Eric Bond, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, at the University of Maryland, 1104 South Campus Commons, Building 1, College Park, on Mon., Oct. 20 from 7 to 9 PM. Around the world, nearly 700 children are infected with HIV every day. These infections are preventable and treatable. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is the global leader in the fight to end AIDS in children. Since their inception 25 years ago, there has been a 95 percent decline in new HIV infections in the U.S., and a 51 percent decline in the number of new infections in children worldwide. They have the science and medicine to get that number almost to zero. EGPAF is focused on ending AIDS in children and families with a three-pronged focus on research, advocacy, and HIV service delivery in the countries with the greatest HIV burden. Bond is a senior writer in Washington, D.C. He previously served as managing editor for Bread for the World, a leading organization committed to a world free from hunger. Visit

17] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings take place at Max’s residence. The next meeting will be on Mon., Oct. 20. The proposed agenda will include anti-drone activities, including a drone law passed in Baltimore’s City Council, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, KILL THE MESSENGER & CITIZEN 4, and visiting Rep. Sarbanes’ office on Oct. 15. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at for directions.

18] – On October 14, seven women and two children--under the banner of Moms Demand Action--presented Larry Hogan with a letter asking him to clarify his position on enforcing the Firearm Safety Act. See the WBAL coverage: Mr. Hogan claims he supports the bill, though six months ago he told Republicans the bill ‘went too far.’

The protesters promised to return the following two Tuesdays before the election, unless Hogan explains how his current support aligns with his previous statements and his 91% rating from the NRA! Join them on Tues., Oct. 21 and/or Tues., Oct. 28. The carpool leaves Baltimore at 11 AM and returns by 1:30 PM. Email and let her know if you can join them. The voters deserve to know if the Republican candidate for Governor is on the voters’ side or the side of the NRA.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs