Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sabra and Shatila: New Revelations on U.S. and Israeli Complicity in Lebanese Massacre

Published on Portside (

Sabra and Shatila: New Revelations on U.S. and Israeli Complicity in Lebanese Massacre

Seth Anziska
September 17, 2018
The New York Review of Books

Palestinian civilians returning to the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

   Historians try not to audibly gasp in the reading rooms of official archives, but there are times when the written record retains a capacity to shock. In 2012, while working at the Israel State Archives in Jerusalem, I came across highly classified material from Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon that had just been opened to researchers. This access was in line with the thirty-year rule of declassification governing the release of documents in Israel. Sifting through Foreign Ministry files, I stumbled upon the minutes of a September 17 meeting between Israeli and American officials that took place in the midst of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

   The startling verbatim exchange between Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and US diplomat Morris Draper clearly demonstrated how the slaughter of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of south Beirut was prolonged by Draper’s acquiescence in the face of Sharon’s deceptive claim of “terrorists” remaining behind. This made the US unwittingly complicit in the notorious three-day massacre carried out by militiamen linked to the Phalange, a right-wing political party of Lebanese Maronite Christians that was allied with Israel.

   Not long after publishing these findings, I was approached by William Quandt, a leading American expert on the Middle East who served on the National Security Council with responsibility for Arab-Israeli affairs under President Jimmy Carter. Quandt had been an expert consultant for the defense in the 1983–1984 lawsuit of Ariel Sharon v. Time Magazinein which Sharon sued Time for libel over its coverage of his role in the massacre. In the course of preparing for the case, which was eventually settled out of court, the New York-based law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore obtained classified material from the secret appendix of the official Israeli report into the massacre, known as the Kahan Commission. Large sections of the Hebrew original were translated into English by the law firm, and have been authenticated by several experts, including Israeli sources. Quandt was given a copy of those documents and passed them along to me for my own research. 

    We are publishing here for the first time these English-language excerpts from the secret Kahan Commission Appendix, in their original form and as an open source, so that researchers in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and farther afield can consult these primary sources directly. This appendix is another historical source that can elicit shock: a chilling set of memoranda that paints a more complete picture of Israeli and Phalange eagerness to foment violence against the Palestinians as part of a wider war to remake the Middle East.

   It includes extensive minutes of meetings between Israeli and Lebanese officials around the outbreak of the 1982 War, formative discussions between the Israeli Mossad, Israeli military intelligence, and Lebanese Maronite Christian leaders over the fate of Palestinians, commission testimonies from high-ranking Israeli officials, and internal Israeli cabinet minutes about the consequences of the violence. Collectively, the evidence provides new details of Israel’s extended discussions with Lebanese allies in Beirut to “clean the city out of terrorists” as part of a broader political agenda to remake Lebanon’s demographics. In practice, this pattern of false and dehumanizing rhetoric about “terrorists” served to countenance unrelenting violence, leading to the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in September 1982.

  The documents consist of large sections of the secret Kahan Commission Appendix. This material is presented without annotation or comment, arranged in page order. Handwritten page numbers and markings reflect the scanned copy provided by William Quandt, who was given the documents while consulting for Time in Ariel Sharon’s 1984 lawsuit against the magazine. (Page references given in the essay refer to these handwritten numbers, but that numbering restarts in a second section after page 309; therefore references are notated as I: 1–309 and II: 1–100.) The documents can be viewed here. Also see Kahan Commission Appendix (English) by The New York Review of Books on Scribd.

     Earlier this month, during a research trip in Lebanon, I visited Bayan Nuwayhed al-Hout, the principal documentarian and historian of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Not long after passing the suburban neighborhood of Monte-Verde, the road from Beirut to the nearby mountain village of Ras el-Matn curves around a sharp bend. Careening around that corner, my Uber driver and I stopped our conversation mid-sentence, catching our breath as the beauty of the pine-forested Lamartine Valley unfurled before us. The congestion of the seaside capital, with its endless traffic and sticky summer heat, melted away. So did the driver’s complaints about rental prices, the refugee crisis, and political corruption. It is easy to see how this lush valley, still unspoiled today, inspired the writing of the nineteenth-century French poet and Orientalist Alphonse de Lamartine, after whom it is named.
After the ascent, we reached Ras el-Matn and stopped in front of the Raed Pharmacy. Following the instructions I’d been given, I walked 200 meters down the road to the foot of some large stone steps. At the top of the stairs, an elegantly dressed woman in her early eighties greeted me warmly and led me to the shade of her stately olive tree. Bayan Nuwayhed al-Hout is a formidable scholar of Palestine, born in Jerusalem to a Lebanese family driven out during the 1948 War, known in Arabic as the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” Now retired, al-Hout spends much of her time researching and writing in this quiet mountain village, which became the Nuwayhed family home at the turn of the twentieth century.

   It was not her dispossession in 1948 that I had come to talk to her about, but what had happened thirty-four years later, in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon and brought fighting to her doorstep once more. On Friday September 17, 1982, four Israeli soldiers in full battle dress knocked on the door of Bayan’s Beirut apartment, where she lived with her late husband, Shafiq al-Hout, who was the official representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon. Shafiq was not there but in hiding, a target of several assassination attempts because of his leadership position in the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon. The soldiers forced their way in and began questioning Bayan while searching for documents. One officer found her husband’s old Palestinian passport, from his childhood in Jaffa, where he was born and raised during the British Mandate. The soldiers were amazed as they looked through its pages.

   “Your reaction is no surprise to me. I am sure you have never seen such a document,” Bayan told them. “As you can see, the text is written in all three languages: Arabic, English, and Hebrew. It comes from the time when Palestine had enough room for everyone, regardless of his religion or sect.”

   The soldiers confiscated the cherished passport, despite Bayan’s attempts to get it back, as she recounted tearfully to her husband when they were reunited some days later. In his memoirs, Shafiq al-Hout recalled the incident with obvious pain, conveying a message from the story, “that the Zionists’ perpetual objective is the elimination of Palestinian national identity. Why else would they insist on continuing to eradicate all physical, spiritual, and cultural trace of our presence in Palestine?” As a refugee who had fled Israel’s creation and ended up in exile, Shafiq regarded the 1982 war against the PLO in Lebanon as another outright assault on the aspirations of his people.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon, the Israeli government launched an invasion in June of that year partly on the pretext of stopping Palestinian militant rocket fire on the Galilee region of northern Israel. After the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Israeli leaders had also become increasingly anxious about the power of the PLO and the growing links between Palestinians inside the occupied territories and across the Arab diaspora. The main focus of their concern was on Lebanon, where the PLO had relocated its center of operations from Jordan after an armed confrontation with King Hussein’s army in 1970–1971. Israeli strategists believed that targeting the PLO in Lebanon and forcing its withdrawal would accomplish several objectives: the quashing of Palestinian national aspirations for a homeland, the expulsion of Syria’s troops from Lebanon and the elimination of Syrian influence there, and the establishment of a client Maronite Christian state as a close ally.

   Instead of entrenching Israeli dominance over its northern neighbor, the Lebanon War morphed into what some have called “Israel’s Vietnam.” In the midst of an already brutal civil war, the Israeli intervention resulted in the deaths of more than 600 Israeli soldiers and at least 5,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians—over 19,000 by Lebanese estimates that counted combatants as well. Closely coordinated with Maronite forces, Israel’s invasion soon devolved from being a limited incursion to a summer-long siege against the PLO’s stronghold in West Beirut. Unlike the wars in 1948, 1967, or 1973, Israel was unequivocally engaged in what Begin called a “war of choice.” Combining military force with psychological operations, Israeli forces inflicted heavy casualties inside an Arab capital for the first time, bombarding Palestinian positions from land, sea, and air, while occupying Lebanon’s international airport.

    President Ronald Reagan, disturbed by the images of destruction, pushed his administration to negotiate an end to the fighting and to facilitate a peaceful evacuation of PLO fighters from the city to neighboring Arab states. The PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, had signaled that he and his men were willing to withdraw provided that the PLO had the requisite American guarantees of security for Palestinian civilians and Lebanese supporters who remained behind. Sharing the draft of the withdrawal agreement with Shafiq al-Hout, Arafat sounded a wistful note about the departure:
"Beirut has given Palestine what no other Arab capital has. It has given and given, without asking for anything in return. And it never would ask. Nor should we make it ask. We should pay it back of our own free will."

   The first contingent of PLO fighters left the city on August 21, with Arafat and leading PLO officials departing on a Greek shipping vessel to Tunisia on August 30. In all, some 10,000 fighters left Lebanon by sea and land routes, pushing the PLO into still deeper exile. Even after the heaviest fighting ended, a protracted Israeli occupation of the south of the country lasted until 2000, reshaping the politics of the region. Syrian influence over the country continued, but increasingly it was supplanted by Iranian power with the rise of Hezbollah. Far from cementing Israel’s regional hegemony, the 1982 War ultimately undercut Israeli and American influence in the Middle East, while transforming perceptions of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism around the globe.
At the heart of this transformation was the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which began on September 16 and was still taking place on the day that Israeli soldiers raided Bayan’s apartment, September 17. After the evacuation of PLO fighters, Shafiq al-Hout had stayed behind to organize the protection of Palestinian civilians remaining in the country. Israeli troops had also remained in Beirut, with Ariel Sharon determined to forge an advantageous peace treaty with a pliant Lebanese government. 

   The September 14 assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a close Maronite ally of Israel, upended Sharon’s plans, and he responded by ordering his troops forward into West Beirut. Despite American pressure to withdraw, the Israelis claimed that the Palestinian refugee camps still harbored “terrorists” whom they hoped to “mop up” with the help of their Christian allies. At this point, the US had pulled back its Marine forces to their ships, making any American guarantee of external protection meaningless. In that absence, the Lebanese militia linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange party, which was reeling from the assassination of their leader, was free to terrorize Palestinian civilians.

   The militia fighters congregated at the Beirut airport, a major Israeli staging point; from there, they were ushered through Israeli lines into the camps, which were surrounded by Israeli forces. Under the command of Phalange leader Elie Hobeika, these men raped, killed, and dismembered hundreds of women, children, and elderly men while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow, dark alleyways. Sharon, meanwhile, briefed his cabinet colleagues on September 16 about the Phalange movements, stressing, according to cabinet minutes, that “the results will speak for themselves… let us have the number of days necessary for destroying the terrorists” (I: 287). This insistence on the presence of “terrorists” belied the actuality of who had remained after the PLO’s evacuation, yet it fit with Israel’s rhetorical strategy of deliberately blurring distinctions between Palestinian civilians and armed fighters.

   As news of the massacre trickled out, Bayan Nuwayhed al-Hout began what would become a painstaking, years-long quest to document the details of each victim and corroborate accounts of what had occurred in the camps. By recording interviews with survivors and witnesses, and doggedly collecting documentary evidence (including suppressed lists of casualties, some from Lebanese humanitarian sources), she eventually published the definitive account of the massacre, Sabra and Shatila: September 1982 (2004), which also appeared in an Arabic edition. Bayan provides the verified names of at least 1,390 victims, with estimates far exceeding that number of those who were detained and disappeared during the violence.

    “I wanted to prove there was a community,” Bayan recounted to me in her Ras el-Matn garden. “A community was killed, families were killed.” Another impetus for her work was the anger she felt at reading the official Israeli account of the massacre, which was issued in February 1983 as the Kahan Commission Report (and translated into Arabic in Lebanon). Facing domestic and international outrage over the atrocity, Prime Minister Begin had appointed the Chief Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court, Yitzhak Kahan, to lead an independent inquiry into the September 1982 events.
The commission focused narrowly on the Israeli role in the affair, and the report exonerated the Israeli government of immediate responsibility—though it did find certain military and intelligence leaders “indirectly responsible” for allowing the Phalangists into the camps. Ariel Sharon, in particular, was singled out for “ignoring the danger of bloodshed” and “not taking appropriate measures to prevent” the violence. As a result of the report, the Director of Military 

   Intelligence Yehoshua Saguyand the Division Commander in charge of Beirut, Amos Yaron, were forced out of their posts and briefly removed from operational roles. The published findings avoided, however, any discussion either of the victims or of the political background of the massacre.
Bayan al-Hout described the mechanics of the massacre as having three sides. “I have only one part of the triangle,” she said, “the victim side.” The other two comprise the Phalange side—“those who committed the massacre by their hands”—and the side of those “who were leading the show.” The appendix material from the Kahan Commission Report reveals the third side of the triangle, and forces a new reckoning with the mechanics of slaughter and the moral implications of the events in 1982.

   Some critics have always suspected, and hoped to uncover evidence, that Israeli officials explicitly ordered the massacre or directly colluded in its execution. These new documents don’t supply that smoking gun. What they do show is a pattern of extensive cooperation and planning between Israeli and Maronite leaders in the aims and conduct of the war that provides a more comprehensive framework for judging moral accountability. These sources suggest a line of thinking about the political and military defeat of Palestinian nationalism that built on the legacy of the Nakba itself, reaching tragic ends through the destruction wrought in Beirut. 

     Israeli and Maronite war plans were not limited to targeting PLO fighters, and this is also evident from statements by officials on both sides concerning Palestinian refugees. The refugees were first discussed on July 31, 1982, as the Israeli siege of Beirut was still going on, at the end of a secret meeting between the Christian leader Bashir Gemayel, chief of Lebanese Military Intelligence Johnny Abdu, and leading Israeli and Lebanese officials at Ariel Sharon’s ranch in the Negev in southern Israel. Sharon explained that he would be insisting on an Israeli peace agreement with the Lebanese government and this had to address the question of the Palestinian refugees left behind in Beirut. Bashir told the Israelis, “We’ll take care of everything and we’ll let you know soon.” Yehoshua Saguy, the Israeli intelligence chief, responded, “The time has come for Bashir’s men to prepare a plan to deal with the Palestinians. I understand you are getting ready to deal with it and you need to prepare a plan.” Sharon added a final note, anticipating squeamishness in Israel and among diaspora supporters over such blunt action: “The Jews are weird but you must agree about the issue—we don’t wish to stay there and take care of the issue” (I: 234–43).

   By discussing the fate of Palestinians in that way, Sharon and the other Israeli officials invited Gemayel and the Phalange to do Israel’s bidding in the refugee camps of Beirut—and received an enthusiastic response. But amid the vague and euphemistic language of July 31, what was that bidding exactly? The understanding between the Israelis and Maronites can be traced back to a meeting earlier that month between Sharon and Bashir Gemayel at the Lebanese Forces headquarters in Beirut. According to records contained in the secret appendix, Gemayel asked the Israelis “whether we would object to him moving bulldozers into the refugee camps in the south, to remove them, so that the refugees won’t stay in the south,” referring to camps in southern Lebanon. According to the record, “the DM [Sharon] responded by saying that it was none of our business. We do not wish to handle Lebanon’s internal affairs” (I: 294–95). Sharon’s disavowal here seems unambiguous, yet such open talk of driving out Palestinians through violence and expulsion recurred in further discussions he held just before the massacre. In a crucial meeting with Gemayel on September 12, two days before the Lebanese leader’s assassination, Gemayel told Sharon that “conditions should be created which would lead the Palestinians to leave Lebanon” (I: 83; 100–102). Not all the details of what transpired at that meeting are known; no complete minutes exist in the appendix (and none may have been taken).

    The excerpts from the Kahan Appendix do, however, underscore the fact that members of the Israeli military and intelligence organizations knew in advance what the Phalange was intending to do to the Palestinians—at a minimum, forced expulsion through threatened or actual deadly violence, and the subsequent razing of the refugee camps. According to the testimony of Colonel Elkana Harnof, a senior Israeli military intelligence officer, the Phalange revealed that “Sabra would become a zoo and Shatilah Beirut’s parking place.” Harnof added details about acts of brutality and massacres that had already taken place, inflicted by Maronite forces with “specific references to acts of elimination of locals ‘most likely Palestinians.’” This was relayed to Defense Minister Sharon as early as June 23, little more than two weeks after the start of the Israeli invasion (II: 78). On that day, a report was passed to Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Sharon that described the Christian militia’s “terminating” 500 people in the evacuation of West Beirut. The Mossad Director Nahum Admoni and others met with Bashir Gemayel and the description of the meeting contains harrowing evidence of what was planned for the Palestinians throughout Lebanon.

   According to the notes of the meeting, “Bashir [Gemayel] adds it is possible that in this context they will need several ‘Dir Yassins,’” referring to a notorious massacre of Palestinians in an attack on a village by Jewish Irgun fighters during the 1948 War. But, the memorandum of the meeting records, “N.[ahum] Admoni stresses that as long as the IDF is around, the Christians will have to refrain from this type of action. Bashir explains once again that he will act at a later stage since a Christian state would not be able to survive if the demographic aspect will not be dealt with” (II: 79). As Admoni explained to the Kahan Commission, “Bashir had a very spontaneous speaking style. He was preoccupied with Lebanon’s demographic balance, and discussed it a lot. When he (Bashir) talked in terms of demographic change—it was always in terms of killing and elimination” (II: 80).

    The invocation of Deir Yassin was an ominous indication of the measures those who disliked the Palestinian presence in Lebanon and wanted to see them disappear were willing to envisage. It is unclear where the Palestinian refugees were expected to go, if they survived such an onslaught. Jordan was one possible destination—and Sharon had voiced hopes of seeing the Hashemite Kingdom collapse and turn into a Palestinian state as a result of an influx of Palestinians from Lebanon, since this would, he thought, relieve pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. The father of one Phalange militia member involved in the massacre testified to a staff member of the Kahan Commission that before entering the camps, the fighters were briefed by Elie Hobeika, from which “the men understood that their mission was to liquidate young Palestinians as a way of instigating a mass flight from the camps—in accordance with Bashir’s vision of the final act of the war in West Beirut.”

   Israeli officials were evidently aware of Gemayel’s dire intentions but did not want to pay a moral price for their strategic alliance with the Maronites. When pressed by Chief Justice Kahan about Phalange intentions with regard to Palestinian civilians, the Mossad chief Yitzhak Hofi explained the Israeli reply to Gemayel: “We told him we thank him very much, but that we have no intention that the solving of the Lebanese Palestinian problem would be made at the expense of the State of Israel” (II: 81–83). In the aftermath of Sabra and Shatila, Sharon’s primary defense was to blame the Phalange militiamen and exonerate the Israeli army which remained outside the camps during the massacre.

  The new documents paint a more incriminating picture of wider Israeli official eagerness to invite the Phalange militia into Beirut, to help fulfill a broader diplomatic and military objective of vanquishing Palestinian demands for nationhood and the right of return. For the Lebanese, the revelations contained in the Kahan Appendix will elicit an uncomfortable reckoning with a past many would rather forget. The Maronite collusion with the Israelis before and during the invasion was known, but the additional new details provide a fuller picture of right-wing Christian agency in the Israeli intervention that wrought destruction across the country. The evidence of Maronite leaders’ planning of violence will undermine prolonged efforts to rehabilitate the wartime leaders of several political parties.

  In Israel, the rehabilitation campaign reached its apogee in the case of Ariel Sharon. Initial public condemnation of Sharon’s part in the 1982 War eventually gave way to his resurrection with his election as prime minister in the early 2000s. But a focus on Sharon alone absolves others of their involvement in the violence against Palestinian refugees. Eliding Palestinian political demands did not work in the 1980s, and will not go unchallenged today. As Bayan al-Hout’s confrontation with the soldiers who took away her husband’s passport showed, Palestinians still exist even if evidence of their history is stolen.

  With a taxi waiting to take me back to Beirut, Bayan walked me to the door, stopping by another large tree in her garden. She had me extend my hand into the trunk—hollowed out completely by a bomb dropped during the war. On the winding drive back down to the valley, I thought about something Bayan told me during my visit. I had asked about her methods as a historian, and my own struggle to assemble the missing pieces of the triangle that would illuminate the political origins of the violence.

   “The historiography of massacres could never be done as a plan, because the massacre itself, it leads you,” Bayan explained. “It makes its own historiography. You are led by the massacre.”
This essay is adapted from Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo, published by Princeton University Press. 

Seth Anziska is the Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Lecturer in Jewish-Muslim Relations at University College London. He has been a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut and the London School of Economics. In 2016 he was awarded the Oxford University Press Dissertation Prize in International History (2016). 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [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, September 29, 2018

Baltimore Activist Alert September 30 to October 4, 2018

Baltimore Activist Alert September 30 to October 4, 2018

"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 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 [at]

1] Books, buttons and stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists  
4] Pat Elder for Congress
5] Buy an Anti-War Veteran hat  
6] Canvass for Ben Jealous – Sept. 29 & 30
7] Progressive Frederick canvass – Sept. 30
8] “Should Humanists Proselytize?” – Sept. 30
9] Contact Pennsylvania Voters – Sept. 30
10] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education – Sept. 30
11] National Call for Moral Revival in Montgomery County – Sept. 30
12] Film “Jews Step Forward” – Sept. 30
13] Campaign and Kick Back – Sept. 30
14] Pass the ERA – Sept. 30
15] Black Lives Matter demo – Sept. 30
16] Talbot Rising – Sept. 30
17] Protest at the Pentagon Oct. 1
18] Food Rescue Baltimore – Oct. 1
19] Shut Down Trump – Oct. 1
20] Legal Observer Training – Oct. 1
21] Phone bank for Johnny O -- Oct. 1
22] Get the Money Out – Oct. 1
23] Constitution in Crisis -- Oct. 2
24] Pakistan’s economic outlook – Oct. 2
25] Peace Vigil – Oct. 2
26] No Drone Research DEMO – Oct. 2
27] Phone bank for Ben Jealous – Oct. 2 & 4
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

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 6address to mobuszewski at  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 You will get a confirmation message once subscribed.  If you have problems, please write to the list manager at

4] – Green Candidate Pat Elder is Running against Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer -- Elder is a life-long peace and justice activist, who will be on the ballot in November. He is a great progressive.  Elder calls for shutting down the Chalk Point and Morgantown coal-fired stations in the 5th district. Pat is opposed to Dominion Energy’s terminal at Cove Point and other projects in the 5th. He also demands a cessation of weapons testing in the Potomac and an immediate cleanup of Superfund sites at the Indian Head Naval Warfare Center and Patuxent River Naval Air Station. He calls for subjecting the military’s ongoing environmental degradation to state oversight. 

Pat supports Medicare for all, public financing of elections, free community college. Elder supports a living wage; strong measures to correct racial injustice; eliminating the Social Security taxable maximum of $128,400; He advocates for meaningful cuts in military spending and increasing the top tax for folks making more than $2 million to 50%. That’ll pay for everything. Pat supports non-violent, multilateral solutions to the problems facing our country.

Pat plans to capture 5% of the vote and expects to open the political debate. Pat expects to run the most successful Green Party congressional campaign ever. It shouldn’t be too tough. Hoyer is awful. Spread the message on social media. Send in a dollar or two if you can.

5] – Get a good-looking black hat which says Anti-War Veteran in the front and Viva House 50th in the back.  The cost is $10. Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

6] – The Baltimore City Canvasses for Ben Jealous, hosted by Baltimore City Democratic Party, will continue until Oct. 28.  Canvass on Sat., Sept. 29 and Sun., Sept. 30 at 10 AM and 1 PM at 1023 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201-5403. Tell voters why Ben Jealous is the best gubernatorial candidate for our City! Canvass every Saturday and Sunday with launches at 10 AM and 1 PM! 

If you've never canvassed before, it's easy! You'll have talking points on hand, and plenty of seasoned volunteers to support you as you engage with our neighbors across Baltimore. Volunteering is the most important thing we can do to make sure our state has the leadership it needs in Annapolis, and with your help, we'll get that new leadership in November!  Go to

7] – JOIN A FREDERICK PROGRESSIVES CANVASS on Sun., Sept. 30 from 10:30 AM to 3 PM at Dem HQ, 1170 W. Patrick St., Frederick 21702.  Support progressive candidates.  RSVP at

We cannot undo the GOP’s vile behavior before, during, and after Ms. Ford testified. We can keep pushing to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which is still in question. And, with a pivotal election in 39 days, we can and must channel our outrage into accountability by wresting control of the House—and Senate—away from Republicans on Nov. 6.

8] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 2521 St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion at 10:30 AM.  On Sun., Sept. 30, the topic is “Should Humanists Proselytize?” Many people like Ethical Culture because it tries to make the world a better place while defending freedom of thought and the uniqueness of every individual. How do we recruit people to help us in our ethical mission without crossing the thin line between advocacy and manipulation? For example, should humanists proselytize? Hugh Taft-Morales explores how we can promote our values, grow our movement, and protect individual dignity and autonomy. Hugh Taft-Morales joined the Baltimore Ethical Society as its professional leader in 2010, the same year he was certified by the American Ethical Union as an Ethical Culture Leader. He also serves as Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia. Call 410-581-2322 or email

9] –  Contact voters in a pivotal race near you on Sun,, Sept. 30 at noon at Janet Winter's House, 87 Cemetery Ave., Stewartstown, PA 17363. Every vote matters if we’re going to win PA-11 in November. We've seen red districts across the country flip this past year because campaigns start talking to voters early & mobilize thousands of people to the polls. That's why there is door knocking in the new 11th district. Sign-up at

10] – The Immigration Outreach Service Center, St. Matthew and BUILD are hosting a learning session for people who believe all children have a right to an excellent education. On Sun., Sept. 30 at 12:30 PM be at St. Matthew Church Hall to learn how you can help transform education in Baltimore City. You’ll learn about the work of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (sometimes called the “Kirwan Commission”) and what you can do to ensure the Commission’s work results in lasting change. If you believe healthy schools are critical to building healthy communities, then this learning session is for you. Contact Cynthia Keenan at to RSVP or learn more. 

11] – The Do the Most Good Montgomery County (DTMG) and the Poor People’s Campaign will register voters and talk with people about the Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in Montgomery County.  Canvass at the Aspen Hill Shopping Center and surrounding shopping centers on Sat., Sept. 29 and Sun. Sept. 30 from 2 to 4 PM. Gather both days in the parking lot of the 13415 Connecticut Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906 office building (closest to the Chipotle at the south entrance of the Aspen Hill Shopping Center). RSVP at

12] – The Holy Land, i.e. Israel and Palestine, is now in the news on a weekly basis: “U.S. Moves Embassy to Jerusalem.” “Israel Passes Controversial ‘Jewish Nation-State Law.’” “Casualties in Gaza Surpass 155 Dead and Over 17,000 Wounded” ….. How do we understand these headlines? How do we understand issues of justice, human-rights, and peace in the Holy Land? How do we understand the role of U.S. policies and mainstream media on the lives of the people living in the Holy Land?

To explore these complex, difficult, and emotional questions, a coalition of nineteen interfaith and interdenominational faith organizations have joined together to offer a five-week film series and discussions exploring issues of justice, human rights, and peace in Israel and Palestine. This first ever Baltimore Voices from the Holy Land 2018 Film Series began on September 23rd and continues every Sunday afternoon through October 21st at three different locations. This series is hosted by St. Ignatius Catholic Community, Hinenu: Baltimore Justice Shteibl, Homewood Friends Meeting, and First and St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ. Moderated Q&A Discussions led by knowledgeable experts follow the film screenings. All events are free and open to the public. No reservations required.

The next film to be screened is “Jews Step Forward,” which can be seen on Sun., Sept. 30 at 2:30 PM at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St. See the trailer: Note that "Jews Step Forward" contain graphic scenes and descriptions of violence and death. Check out

13] – On Sun., Sept. 30 at 4 PM and continuing through Oct. 14, there is a Campaign and Kick Back, hosted by Andy Ellis For State Delegate-MD 45 and Glenn L. Ross For State Delegate-MD 45 at 509 N. Milton Ave., Baltimore 21205-2504. See  People in east and northeast Baltimore are ready to elect State Delegates who put people before special interests.

Andy Ellis is a progressive leader with a record of youth empowerment. Glenn Ross is a community health advocate and proven coalition-builder who has served east Baltimore for nearly 40 years. Work hard to send these leaders to the Maryland State Assembly. Newcomers are encouraged to attend!  Register on the campaign website at Check out or

14] – On Sun., Sept. 30 at 4 PM, join The CALL - ERA Education Program, hosted by One Rural Woman at Katrina's Dream, PO Box 32003, WDC 20007.  Get tickets at  Help build the groundswell. The collaboration of grassroots organizers, lobbyists, and professionals is dedicated to promoting and educating folks across the United States of America to empowering women around the world.  PASS THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT.

There is a NATIONAL WEEKLY SUNDAY CALL at 4 PM with E.R.A. ADVOCATES -- CALL IN NO: 563.999.2090 CONFERENCE NO: 898879#.  Go to

15] – On Sun., Sept. 30 from 4 to 5 PM, attend a Black Lives Matter monthly vigil at Governor Warfield Parkway and Windstream Drive in Howard County. The vigil will continue until Dec. 9. Join in on the second Sunday of each month for a public witness to remind the community that all lives will matter when black lives matter. Show up to tell the world that injustice will not be ignored in Howard County or anywhere else. Check out

16] – Talbot Rising s holding a meet and greet with Talbot Council candidate Rose Potter on Sun., Sept. 30 at 7 PM at 23253 Maple Hall Rd., Claiborne, Find out what she will do to help Talbot County. The event is sponsored by the Bay Hundred Citizens for a Just Society. Visit

17] – 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 Oct. 1, 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.

18] – On Mon., Oct. 1, and every Monday until Feb. 4, 2019, at noon, there will be a Food Rescue at Land of Kush, 840 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore 21201. Food Rescue Baltimore is honored to partner with The Land of Kush each and every Monday to bring access to free vegan/plant-based food in the community. Bring a bag. Take what you want from noon to 1PM or while supplies last. No purchase is necessary to take advantage of the Food Rescue Baltimore give away. Items from The Land of Kush's menu are not included in the give-away but will be available for sale. See

19] –  On Mon., Oct. 1 from noon to 2 PM, get involved with Shut Down Trump #WeDoNotConsent, hosted by the By the People - Impeach Trump in Lafayette Square, WDC.  Sign up at  The people are withdrawing consent from the Trump administration. It’s time for Congress to do the same. Trump is in the midst of an unprecedented power grab. Threatening to fire Rod Rosenstein, the person who oversees the Mueller investigation, and continuing to push the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination, despite numerous sexual assault allegations, are efforts to show that powerful men can get away with anything. Trump thinks he can grab whatever he wants, and Congress is letting him get away with it.

If you can't be there, sign up to learn how you can withdraw your consent from wherever you live:  Visit

20] –  On Mon., Oct. 1 from 5 to 6 PM, catch up with a Legal Observer Training with the National Lawyers Guild, hosted by OutLaw at UMB, University of Maryland School of Law, Room 108, 500 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore 21201.  The NLG Legal Observer Program is "designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system."  If you are not affiliated with the university, arrive early to check in with a photo ID.  As a matter of efficiency, please complete and bring this form before arriving.  Go to

21] – On Mon., Oct. 1 at 5:30 PM and continuing until November 5, do phone banking with Team O!, hosted by Johnny Olszewski for Baltimore County Executive, 4050 North Point Blvd., Dundalk 21222.  Join a people-powered campaign to build a better Baltimore County!  Contact Team O's Brad at 410-371-9731 or at  Look at

22] – Join the Get Money Out of Maryland Teleconference on Monday, Sept. 12 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.  Call 605-475-6711, code 1136243#.  Work only on brainstorming ideas for participation in the upcoming General Election. Early voting goes from Thurs., Oct. 25 through Thurs., Nov. 1 (8 days), and Election Day is Tues., Nov. 6. 

23] – On Tues., Oct. 2 from 8 to 10 AM, catch The Constitution in Crisis, hosted by The Atlantic Festival at 901 F St. NW, WDC 20004-1405.  See  Over its 231 years, the U.S. Constitution has been a resilient framework for our government and a blueprint for discourse and dissent – surviving a Civil War and gaining strength through conflicting interpretations over time.  Today, the Constitution faces new challenges. Polarization is high. Truth is under assault, faith in leadership has declined, and tribalism is on the rise. During this morning summit, The Atlantic and the National Constitution Center will explore the health of the building blocks of our democracy. In a time of fake news and echo chambers, impassioned tweets rather than reasoned arguments, and declining trust in institutions, how can we protect democratic debate, the rule of law, and the constitutional ideals that have defined America since its founding? This event is held in conjunction with The Atlantic Festival. See and go to

Prevent an 18th Year of U.S.-Led War on Afghanistan on Tues., Oct. 2 at noon with a rally at the White House.  A letter will be delivered to the president.  Then from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, there will be a panel at the Brookland Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE, WDC 20017.  Speakers include Medea Benjamin, Matthew Hoh, David Swanson, Brian Terrell and Ann Wright. RSVP at

24] – The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, WDC 20036, invites you to an on-the-record panel discussion on Tues., Oct. 2 from 2 to 3:30 PM. Pakistan’s incoming administration faces a slew of economic challenges including a looming balance of payments crisis, the possibility of a new IMF bailout, and concerns over the financial viability of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). How are these issues likely to develop over the coming months, and what are their strategic implications within the wider region? Please join the Stimson Center for a panel discussion addressing Pakistan’s economic outlook and its potential to both shape and strain regional political and security dynamics. The panelists, Shamila Chaudhary, Senior Advisor to the Dean, School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Arif Rafiq, President, Vizier Consulting, Yun Sun, Co-Director, East Asia Program, Stimson Center, and Uzair Younus, Director, South Asia Practice, Albright Stonebridge Group, will offer comments.  RSVP at 

25] –  Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine.  The next vigil is Oct. 2.  Call 215-426-0364.

26] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Oct. 2 from 5:30  to 6:30 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607. 

27] – On Tues., Oct. 2 and Thurs., Oct. 4 at 6 PM, get involved with Baltimore City Phone Banks for Ben Jealous, hosted by the Baltimore City Democratic Party at the 1199 SEIU Maryland/DC, 611 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore 21201.  Call voters across Baltimore, and tell them why Ben Jealous is the best candidate for our City! Phone bank every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 PM.  You'll have talking points on hand, and plenty of seasoned volunteers to support you as you engage with neighbors across Baltimore. Just bring a cell phone and a charger! Go to

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hanford nuke workers win health and safety deal

People's World

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Hanford nuke workers win health and safety deal
September 25, 2018 9:57 AM CDT  BY TIM WHEELER
Hanford nuke workers win health and safety deal
A sign warns of radioactivity near a wind direction flag indicator at the “C” tank farm on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. | Ted S. Warren/AP

HANFORD, Wash. – Union workers, who have been repeatedly exposed to toxic chemicals as they toil to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, won a victory last week. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed an agreement to install catalytic scrubbers to remove poisonous vapors leaking from more than 700 tanks filled with radioactive wastes.
Hanford, considered the worst “Superfund” site in the Western Hemisphere, produced the plutonium used in the atom bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, killing an estimated 70,000 people – mostly women, children, and senior citizens – during World War II.
Speaking at a news conference in Richland, WA, Sept. 19, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson hailed the agreement. “We’re finally moving towards a lasting solution,” he said. “We should not have to file lawsuits. It shouldn’t have to come to this.” Ferguson stressed that the lawsuit is on hold and can be re-activated if the Department of Energy and sub-contractor renege on their promises.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit  filed three years ago include Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598, AFL-CIO, the environmental group, Hanford Challenge, and the State of Washington.  The DOE agreed to testing of new technology to capture and destroy vapors escaping from the tanks containing the  radioactive wastes. They agreed to install a detection and alarm system and to maintain current safety measures including scuba-style respirators. They also agreed to pay Washington State and Hanford Challenge $925,000 to reimburse them for legal expenses.
Mark Mokler, Business Agent of Local 598, told People’s World in a phone interview, “It’s a good agreement, a step forward in meeting challenges we have been dealing with for a number of years.”

He said an Ohio firm, NuCon, is developing the thermal catalytic converters to remove toxic chemicals from the vapors leaking from the holding tanks.  “Over the years, thousands of workers were exposed.”

Abe Garza,  who worked 34 years at Hanford,  suffers from heart, lung, and kidney ailments, from his years of exposure to the toxins. Garza told the news conference, “It’s time the Department of Energy faces up to the fact that people are getting sick instead of trying to deny it.” He greeted the  agreement but warned, “Time will tell how good it is. I don’t trust them.”

In July 2016, the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, which unites the 15 building trades unions representing the Hanford workers issued a “stop work” order halting work until workers were provided with air respirators to protect them from the vapors. The DOE and Washington Rivers Protection Solutions, the sub-contractor hired to perform the clean up, hastily supplied the respirators.

Less than a year later, May 2017, a tunnel collapsed where radioactive wastes were stored. Last December,  while demolishing a plutonium finishing plant, scores of workers were exposed to radioactive vapors. Tests showed that 42 workers inhaled or ingested radioactive wastes.

Environmentalist Marc Brodine lives about 130 miles northwest of Hanford in Roslyn, WA. “This positive agreement is just one step in a decades long battle to clean up the environmental disaster that the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been,” said Brodine.  “It has been a disaster for the workers, for the immediate community, for the Columbia River and for the people who were victimized by the atom bombs created from the Hanford plutonium.”

He pointed out that people living down river from Hanford have waged battles for decades demanding that the Federal government clean up Hanford that produced 110,000 tons of radioactive materials. “The Energy Department stored radioactive wastes with a half-life of 10,000 years in containers supposedly safe for 150 years,” said Brodine. “Those containers are already leaking into the Columbia River.”

The leakage is such a menace that the Energy Department is trying to transfer the wastes from single shell tanks to double shell tanks. But vapors are leaking from both the old and the new tanks. The DOE has earmarked $17 billion for a plan called “vitrification” to turn the waste into more stable glass.
Brodine, who is also the chairman of the Communist Party of Washington State denounced President Donald Trump’s plan to spend over $1 trillion to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. “Trump’s plan goes exactly in the wrong direction,” Brodine said.
He was echoing the views of Mitsugi Moriguchi, 81, of Nagasaki, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Aug. 9, 1945. Moriguchi visited the Tri-Cities areas, Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco, about a mile from the Hanford complex last March.  He is believed to be the first Nagasaki survivor ever to visit Hanford. Moriguchi said only his mother’s omen of disaster saved him and his brothers and sisters. She took all her children out  Nagasaki the day before the bomb was dropped. And after the bombing, she returned to the destroyed city and rescued  two of her older children she had been forced to leave behind.
His host, the mayor of Richland, took Moriguchi on a tour of Hanford including “Reactor B” that produced the plutonium that destroyed his city. “It was shocking to me to come to Reactor B and see it open to the public as a prideful accomplishment,” Moriguchi told reporters. “Here the production of plutonium has only one purpose: to destroy human beings. Nuclear cannot bring happiness to humanity.”
Tim Wheeler
Tim Wheeler estimates he has written 10,000 news reports, exposés, op-eds, and commentaries in his half century as a journalist for the Worker, Daily World and People’s World. Tim also served as editor of the People’s Weekly World newspaper. He lives with his wife Joyce in Sequim, Wash. His new book, “News From Rain Shadow Country,” is a selection of writings covering his childhood and youth growing up on a dairy farm near Sequim in the 1950s and his retirement on the family farm in recent years. Tim’s much anticipated complete memoirs will be out soon.

Copyright 2018 Some Rights Reserved.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [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