Bulletin N°558




7 February 2013
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

In the late 19th-century, the German linguist Max Müller (1823-1900) became famous for his classification of theories concerning the origin of language. He ignored the 'gift-from-god' theory, which dates from the Middle Ages, and proceeded to distinguish between what he identified as the 'bow-wow' theory, the 'pooh-pooh' theory, and the 'yo-he-ho' theory --three theories: the first of which assumes that human language originated as the imitation of animal sounds; the second, that the earliest human words were emotional outcries; and the third, that man began to speak in response to the requirements of concerted action.(John Moran & Alexander Gode, eds., On the Origin of Language (1966), p.vii)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) in his essay, "On the Origin of Languages," had argued that the first invention of speech was due to passion, and not human need. (Rousseau believed that in the voluptuous southern climes, human needs stemmed from passions; unlike language acquisition in the northern regions, where material paucity dictated that passions derived from needs.) Our first ancestors were poets, he wrote, inventing sounds to express their feelings, and everyday speech was indistinguishable from song, containing melodies which indirectly represented experiences and evoked such feelings as joy, sorrow, etc….

By contrast, Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), the teacher of Goethe and the disciple of Johann Hamann, had written in his famous essay, "On the Origin of Language," that Rousseau was wrong: "there can be no doubt that emotion did indeed animate and elevate the first tones . . . .”

But, as mere tones of emotion, could never be the origin of human language (which, after all, was what this song was), something is still wanting to produce it, and that . . . was the naming of every creature after its own language. There then all of nature sang and sounded its recital, and the song of man was a concert of all those voices as far as his reason had use for them, as far as him emotions grasped them, as far as his organs could express them. . . . It was the expression of all creatures within the natural scale of the human voice!(p.137)

Invention of language is therefore as natural to man as it is to him that he is man.  . . .  Man manifests reflection when the force of his soul acts in such freedom that, in the vast ocean of sensations which permeates it through all the channels of the senses, it can, if I may say so, single out one wave, arrest it, concentrate its attention on it, and be conscious of being attentive. He manifests reflection when, confronted with the vast hovering dream of images which pass by his senses, he can collect himself into a moment of wakefulness and dwell at will on one image, can observe it clearly and more calmly, and can select in it distinguishing marks for himself so that he will know that this object is this and not another. He thus manifests reflection if he is able not only to recognize all characteristics vividly and clearly but if he can also recognize and acknowledge to himself one or several of them as distinguishing characteristics. The first ac t of this acknowledgement occur? Through a distinguishing mark which he had to single out and which, as a distinguishing mark for reflection, struck him clearly. Well, then! Let us acclaim him with shouts of eureka! This first distinguishing mark, as it appeared in his reflection, was a work of the soul! With it human language is invented!(pp.115-116)

In their poetic essays, which were written many years apart, both philosophers presented impassioned pleas for reason beyond the narrow bounds of “objective” empiricism and inductive logic. Both Rousseau and Herder produced systematic descriptions of the origins of human language and with it the human mind, differentiating their theories from those of 18th–century nominalists and dogmatic theologians.

Herder challenged the orthodoxy of his time by comparing the life of our species with that of certain insects: The honey bee and the spider, he described as producing activities derived from their limited existence, perfecting the symmetrical construction of a honey cone or a spider web. He observed that :

Every animal has its sphere to which it belongs from birth, into which it is born, in which it stays throughout its life, and in which it dies; and it is a remarkable fact that the keener the senses of the animals and the more wonderful their artifacts, the narrower is their sphere, the more uniform is their artifact. I have followed this relation and I find everywhere a remarkably observed inverse  proportion of the restricted extension of their movements, habitats, food supply, maintenance, copulation, rearing, and social behavior and their drives and artifactive skills.The bee in its hive builds with a wisdom that Egeria could not teach her Numa; but away from these cells, the bee is nothing. The spider weaves with the skill of Minerva, but all its skill is woven into this narrow spider space. That is its world. How marvelous is this insect, and how narrow the sphere of its activity.

Contrarywise. The more varied the activities and the tasks of an animal, the more diffuse its attention and the more numerous the objects of it, the more unsteady its way of life, in short, the wider and the more varied its sphere, the more we note that the power of its senses is dispersed and weakened.  . . .

And so I may assume the postulate: The sensitivity, the skills, and the artifactive drives of the animals increase in strength and intensity in inverse proportion to the magnitude and multifariousness of their sphere of activity. But now –

Man has no such uniform and narrow sphere where only one performance is expected of him: A whole world of ventures and tasks is lying about him.

His senses and his organization are not focused on one object: He has senses for all  things and hence naturally weaker and duller senses for each one.

The powers of his soul are spread over the world; there is no orientation of his conceptions toward one single object and hence no arifactive drive, no atrifactive skill –and (a point which belongs most particularly in this context) no animal language.

Animals of the narrowest sphere are consequently even without hearing. For their world they are all eye or smell or touch: all uniform image, uniform endeavor, uniform performance. They thus have little or no language. . . .
The bee hums as it sucks; the bird sings as it nests. –But how does man speak by nature? . . .  [T]he newborn … infant . . . is the most orphaned child of nature. Naked and bare, weak and in need, shy and unarmed: and  -to make the sum of its misery complete—deprived of all guides of life. Born as it is with so dispersed, so weakened a sensuousness, as such indefinite, dormant abilities, with such divided and tired drives, clearly dependent upon a thousand needs, destined to belong to a great circle—and yet so orphaned and abandoned as not to be endowed with a language enabling it to voice its wants – No! Such a contradiction is not nature’s way. In lieu of instincts, other hidden forces must be dormant in it. Born mute, but –  . . .

If man has powers of conception which are not confined to the construction of a honey cell or of a cobweb and which hence are inferior to the artifactive capacities of animals within that particular sphere, it is precisely for this reason that his powers of conception achieve a wider perspective. There is no single work of man in which his actions are not improvable, but he enjoys the freedom of improving himself forever. A thought, any thought, is not a direct work of nature, and for that very reason it can be a work of his own.

Call this entire disposition of man’s force nationality, reason, reflection, call it what you will. . . . What it is, is the total arrangement of all human forces, the total economy of his sensuous and cognitive, of his cognitive and volitional nature or rather: It is the unique positive power of thought which, associated with a particular organization of the body, is called reason in man as in the animal it turns into a artifactive skill; which in man is called freedom and turns in the animal into instinct. The difference is not one of degree nor one of a supplementary endowment with powers; it lies in a totally distinct orientation and evolution of all powers. . . .

If man had the drives of the animals, he could not have what we now call reason in him; for such drives would pull his forces darkly toward a single point, in such as way that he would have no free sphere of awareness. . . .

If man had the senses of the animals, he would have no reason; for the keen alertness of his senses and the mass of perceptions flooding him through them would smother all cool reflection. . . .

If animal sensuousness and the animal’s limitation to a single point were omitted, another creature would have come into being, one whose positive powers expressed themselves in a vaster realm, after a finer organization, with greater light; one which in separation and in freedom does not achieve only knowledge, follow its will, and pursue its work, but which also knows that it achieves its work. This creature is man, and this entire disposition of his nature . . . we shall call reflection.

If man was not to be an instinctual animal, he had to be –by virtue of the more freely working positive power of his soul—a creature of reflection. . . .

For if reason is not a separate and singly acting power but an orientation of all powers and as such a thing perculiar to his species, then man must have it in the first state in which he is man.. In the first thought of the child this reflection must be apparent, just as it is apparent in the insect that it is an insect.(pp.104-112)

Herder did not reduce the origin of language to sounds derived from feelings, although he does demonstrate a high respect for intra-species capacities to communicate feelings.

It was, as it were, the last motherly touch of the formative hand of nature that it gave to all to take out into the world, the law, “Feel not for yourself alone. But rather: your feeling resound!” And since this last creative touch was, for all of one species, of one kind, this law became a blessing: “The sound of your feeling be of one kind to your species and be thus perceived by all in compassion as by one!” (p.88)

Nevertheless, he asserts that language like any other phenomenon is incomprehensible in the absence of specific context.

The tear which moistens this lusterless and extinguished, this solace-starved eye –how moving is it not in the total picture of the face of sorrow. Take it by itself and it is a cold drop of water. Place it under a microscope, and –I do not care to learn what it may be there. This wearey breath –half a sigh—which dies away so movingly on pain-distorted lips, isolate it from its living helpmeets, and it is an empty draft of air. Can it be otherwise with the sounds of feeling? (p.90)

The language of feelings was meant “to sound, not to depict.” Languages, Herder writes, still contain the vestiges of these sounds of nature, which are still heard but do not constitute the roots of the language; “they are the sap that enlivens the roots of language.” The origin of human language, Herder maintained, cannot be understood independent of human volition, which is one of the traits of our species.(p.91)


This 18th-century discussion on the origin of our species and its human traits is a refreshing antidote to current pathologies which threaten our extinction, or worse, our mutation into something hideous and malignant. Civilization contains may paradoxes, not the least of which is the conundrum of over-specialization. The hyper-narrow focus of specialists, in many industries and government offices, bring to mind the old adage: “If all you’ve got is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.”

Beginning with the “cradle of civilization” in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley of 4th millennium BCE Mesopotamia, complex societies  have developed according to the arrival of new needs and new opportunities to solve problems. Thus, the emergence of cities, of writing and of social class divisions disrupted traditional life styles again and again; as a result many people live longer, healthier lives, even if it means entering into a state of “voluntary servitude”. This is a form of progress, I suppose; but not without a price . . . .

What we see emerging in the 21st century is considerably different. We have entered unchartered waters, and the ship of state appears to be on the rocks. The call has gone out among the first class passengers: “It’s every man for himself !” and cities, writing, and the division of labor no longer seem as advantageous for the collective as they once did. An increasing number of people believe that the “civilized” population of this world has caused enough damage to one another, to “less-civilized” people, and to the environment; consesnsus is waning, as inequalities grow, and danger signals begin to appear with greater frequency. Has civilization become a pathological disease, to which our species is the most vulnerable?

Is our faith in specialists grounded in reality, or are today’s muscle-bound superstars having trouble lacing their own shoestrings, so to speak –unable to resolve our most basic problems, which are no longer being addressed candidly through formal channels of political power. The traditional narcissistic displays of specialists flexing their impressive sets of muscles has no effect in light of the problems at hand. An intellectual Schwarzenegger might just go along with “rubbing it all out, and starting all over again.” Social Darwinism has its appeal to many privileged intellectuals and ideologues, who now see themselves comfortably ensconced among “the fittest” who are destined to survive, according to their dogma.


The 8 items below describe the products of class society in action. Even the “hidden histories” no longer evoke the feelings of astonishment that they once did, at a time before so few plutocrats bought so many over-specialists and before mass movements were fragmented and muffled forever by strategic assasinations and other operations. Perhaps it is now time for us to invent a new language, by naming new action verbs that we can identify around us: like “she who feels safe by collaborating with the repression of another …” (also known as mobbing) and “he who tries to humiliate and intimidate others in order to gain advantage ….”

Item A. is a sobering description of ice-free Arctic summers.

Item B., from Edward S. Herman, on the devastating effects of the US military in Africa, the by some accounts the start of another round of neo-imperialism.

Item C., is an article describing ‘the Marxist tradition” in the times of Abraham Lincoln.

Item D., from Jim O’Brien, is the January 29th newsletter by Historians Against the War citing important sources for information and analysis of today’s militarism.

Item E., from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article by Gregory Shupak on Christopher Hitchens’ intellectual legacy.

Item F., is a article by Lenni Brenner on Zionism and the Black Civil Rights Movement.

Item G., from Mark Crispin Miller, is an article on 20th-century African American slavery, by Douglas A. Blackman.

Item H., is the February 4 Newsletter from Historians against  War, a report on Iraq.


And finally, we offer readers an illustration of how overspecialization has sometimes served to disrupt communication, to the dire detriment of society :

Supervisor of Intelligence Estimate Hailed for Preventing War with Iran


And, also, we offer this example of the continuous effort to defeat old dogma by popularizing science, placing new concepts in the hands of ordinary people to facilitate their own creative empowerment and emancipation :

Quantum michanics


from Francis Feeley :
Date: 15 January 2013
Subject: Where has the ice gone?


What Will Ice-Free Arctic Summers Bring?
by David Biello

arctic ice




Posted by on January 25, 2013


from: Edward S. Herman :
Date: 27 December 2012.
Subject: US Military...Into Africa + "The Exceptional Character of US Armed Forces" ... killing children.


Army Teams Going to Africa as Terror Threat Grows
ABC OTUS News – Mon, Dec 24, 2012

A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year, part of an intensifying Pentagon effort to train countries to battle extremists and give the U.S. a ready and trained force to dispatch to Africa if crises requiring the U.S. military emerge.

The teams will be limited to training and equipping efforts, and will not be permitted to conduct military operations without specific, additional approvals from the secretary of defense.

The sharper focus on Africa by the U.S. comes against a backdrop of widespread insurgent violence across North Africa, and as the African Union and other nations discuss military intervention in northern Mali.

The terror threat from al-Qaida linked groups in Africa has been growing steadily, particularly with the rise of the extremist Islamist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria. Officials also believe that the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans, may have been carried out by those who had ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
This first-of-its-kind brigade assignment — involving teams from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division — will target countries such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger, where al-Qaida-linked groups have been active. It also will assist nations like Kenya and Uganda that have been battling al-Shabab militants on the front lines in Somalia.

Gen. Carter Ham, the top U.S. commander in Africa, noted that the brigade has a small drone capability that could be useful in Africa. But he also acknowledged that he would need special permission to tap it for that kind of mission.

"If they want them for (military) operations, the brigade is our first sourcing solution because they're prepared," said Gen. David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Army Forces Command. "But that has to go back to the secretary of defense to get an execute order."
Already the U.S. military has plans for nearly 100 different exercises, training programs and other activities across the widely diverse continent. But the new program faces significant cultural and language challenges, as well as nagging questions about how many of the lower-level enlisted members of the brigade, based in Fort Riley, Kan., will participate, since the teams would largely be made up of more senior enlisted troops and officers. A full brigade numbers about 3,500, but the teams could range from just a few people to a company of about 200. In rare cases for certain exercises, it could be a battalion, which would number about 800.

To bridge the cultural gaps with the African militaries, the Army is reaching out across the services, the embassies and a network of professional organizations to find troops and experts that are from some of the African countries. The experts can be used during training, and the troops can both advise or travel with the teams as they begin the program.

"In a very short time frame we can only teach basic phrases," said Col. Matthew McKenna, commander of the 162nd Infantry Brigade that will begin training the Fort Riley soldiers in March for their African deployment. "We focus on culture and the cultural impact — how it impacts the African countries' military and their operations."

Thomas Dempsey, a professor with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, said the biggest challenge will be the level of cultural, language and historical diversity across the far-flung continent.

"How do you train for that in a way that would be applicable wherever they go?" said Dempsey, a retired Army colonel. He said he's not sure using a combat brigade is the right answer, but added, "I'm not sure what the answer is. The security challenges differ so dramatically that, to be honest, I really don't think it's feasible to have a continental training package."

The Pentagon's effort in Africa, including the creation of U.S. Africa Command in 2007, has been carefully calibrated, largely due to broad misgivings across the continent that it could spawn American bases or create the perception of an undue U.S. military influence there. As a result, the command has been based in Stuttgart, Germany, rather than on the African continent.

At the same time, many African nations are eager for U.S. training or support, as they work to build their militaries, battle pirates along the coast and shut down drug trafficking, kidnapping and other insurgent activities.

McKenna acknowledged the challenge, but said the military has to tap its conventional fighting forces for this task because there aren't enough special operations forces to meet the global training needs. He said there will be as many as a dozen different training segments between February and September, each designed to provide tailored instruction for the particular teams.
The mission for the 2nd Brigade — known as the "Dagger Brigade" — will begin in the spring and will pave the way for Army brigades to be assigned next to U.S. Pacific Command and then to U.S. European Command over the next year. The brigade is receiving its regular combat training first, and then will move on to the more specific instruction needed for the deployments, such as language skills, cultural information and other data about the African nations.

Dagger Brigade commander Col. Jeff Broadwater said the language and culture training will be different than what most soldiers have had in recent years, since they have focused on Pashtun and Farsi, languages used mostly in Afghanistan and Iran. He said he expects the soldiers to learn French, Swahili, Arabic or other languages, as well as the local cultures.

"What's really exciting is we get to focus on a different part of the world and maintain our core combat skills," Broadwater said, adding that the soldiers know what to expect. "You see those threats (in Africa) in the news all the time."

The brigade will be carved up into different teams designed to meet the specific needs of each African nation. As the year goes on, the teams will travel from Fort Riley to those nations — all while trying to avoid any appearance of a large U.S. military footprint.

"The challenge we have is to always understand the system in their country," said Rodriguez, who has been nominated to be the next head of Africa Command. "We're not there to show them our system, we're there to make their system work. Here is what their army looks like, and here is what we need to prepare them to do."
Rodriguez said the nearly 100 assignments so far requested by Ham will be carried out with "a very small footprint to get the high payoff."

"How do you train for that in a way that would be applicable wherever they go?" said Dempsey, a retired Army colonel. He said he's not sure using a combat brigade is the right answer, but added, "I'm not sure what the answer is. The security challenges differ so dramatically that, to be honest, I really don't think it's feasible to have a continental training package."

The Pentagon's effort in Africa, including the creation of U.S. Africa Command in 2007, has been carefully calibrated, largely due to broad misgivings across the continent that it could spawn American bases or create the perception of an undue U.S. military influence there. As a result, the command has been based in Stuttgart, Germany, rather than on the African continent.

At the same time, many African nations are eager for U.S. training or support, as they work to build their militaries, battle pirates along the coast and shut down drug trafficking, kidnapping and other insurgent activities.

McKenna acknowledged the challenge, but said the military has to tap its conventional fighting forces for this task because there aren't enough special operations forces to meet the global training needs. He said there will be as many as a dozen different training segments between February and September, each designed to provide tailored instruction for the particular teams.

The mission for the 2nd Brigade — known as the "Dagger Brigade" — will begin in the spring and will pave the way for Army brigades to be assigned next to U.S. Pacific Command and then to U.S. European Command over the next year. The brigade is receiving its regular combat training first, and then will move on to the more specific instruction needed for the deployments, such as language skills, cultural information and other data about the African nations.

Dagger Brigade commander Col. Jeff Broadwater said the language and culture training will be different than what most soldiers have had in recent years, since they have focused on Pashtun and Farsi, languages used mostly in Afghanistan and Iran. He said he expects the soldiers to learn French, Swahili, Arabic or other languages, as well as the local cultures.

"What's really exciting is we get to focus on a different part of the world and maintain our core combat skills," Broadwater said, adding that the soldiers know what to expect. "You see those threats (in Africa) in the news all the time."

The brigade will be carved up into different teams designed to meet the specific needs of each African nation. As the year goes on, the teams will travel from Fort Riley to those nations — all while trying to avoid any appearance of a large U.S. military footprint.
"The challenge we have is to always understand the system in their country," said Rodriguez, who has been nominated to be the next head of Africa Command. "We're not there to show them our system, we're there to make their system work. Here is what their army looks like, and here is what we need to prepare them to do."
Rodriguez said the nearly 100 assignments so far requested by Ham will be carried out with "a very small footprint to get the high payoff."
The “Exceptional Character” of U.S. Armed Forces
3/23/12  by Jack A. Smith (edited by the digest)
Few American chief executives have lavished as much praise upon the U.S. military as President Barack Obama....“Good morning, everybody,” the president intoned cheerily during a January 5 visit to the Pentagon to explain Washington’s latest war policy. “The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known. And in no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history — and as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep it that way.”...Obama was even more effusive during his State of the Union Address January 25, declaring that “this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world… They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.” Yes, just imagine! Within days and weeks of these tributes these took place:

• A video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban suspects became public, obliging the American secretaries of Defense and State to issue apologies to the Afghan government and people.

• The Pentagon reported the rate of violent sexual crime within the armed forces increased 64% since 2006, noting that “rape, sexual assault, and forcible sodomy were the most frequent violent sex crimes committed in 2011.” There were 3,191 reports of sexual assault throughout the military last year but Secretary of Defense Panetta acknowledged in January that a more realistic estimate for such assaults “actually is closer to 19,000.” Active-duty female soldiers ages 18 to 21 account for more than half of the victims. Women are 14% of the military ranks but account for 95% of sex crime victims.

• A just discovered photograph emerged in February of another group of Marines posing with the exact replica of the Nazi SS flag. Outrage over the photo, the press reported, “threatened to snowball into the latest war-zone scandal for the Marine Corps.” The Marine commander declared, most improbably, that they didn’t know what the flag stood for. The murderous black uniformed Waffen-SS was a military wing of the Nazi Party.

• The retired commander of Special Operations forces, Lt. Gen William G. Boykin, known for his harshly anti-Muslim remarks, withdrew from speaking at West Point’s February 8 National Prayer Breakfast after protests. Following the 9/11 attacks, the general “described the fight against terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan,” reports the New York Times. “Since his retirement in 2007 and a new career as a popular conservative Christian speaker, Boykin has described Islam as ‘a totalitarian way of life’ and said that Islam should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

•  Jan 23, 2012, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the most responsible Marine charged in the 2005 Haditha massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians, who pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty to avoid charges of involuntary manslaughter, faces a maximum penalty of demotion to the rank of private.

• Jan. 26, USA Today reported “The Justice Department is funding an unusual national training program to help police deal with an increasing number of volatile confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans. Developers of the pilot program, to be launched at 15 U.S. sites this year, said there is an ‘urgent need’ to de-escalate crises in which even SWAT teams may be facing tactical disadvantages against mentally ill suspects who also happen to be trained in modern warfare.”

•Jan. 30 Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby, 21, a Hawaii-based Marine, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He had repeatedly punched, kicked and publicly humiliated Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, also 21, who committed suicide with a machine gun April 3 shortly after the abuse. Two other Marines accused of hazing Lew will have separate courts-martial later.

• A retired Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle,  just published “American Sniper — The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” He racked up 160 officially confirmed “kills” in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2009. “The number [of kills] is not important to me,” he writes. “I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place  without savages out there taking American lives.”

• Feb. 22, Obama apologized to [US puppet] President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people after Army troops , following orders, were observed burning copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, on a U.S. base in Afghanistan. This incident, following earlier desecration of corpses,  touched off protest demonstrations resulting in the deaths of several U.S. soldiers and about 40 Afghans.  March 20 Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. John Allen declared that since January 1, “the coalition has lost 60 brave troops in action..thirteen killed by what appear to have been Afghan security forces, some motivated, in part by, we believe, by the mishandling of religious materials.”

• Obama apologized for the murder March 11 of 16 Afghan men, women, nine children, age two to 12  in two nearby poor villages. by a U.S.-- several soldiers eyewitnesses insist.  

• March 16Bradley Mannning, the military pre-trial of 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst and whistle blower accused of leaking documents known as the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs and revealing U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. His 'crime' includes circulating a video of a U.S. Apache helicopter crew in Iraq  deliberately killing Afghan civilians and two Reuters journalists. Deploring the murders as “tragic and shocking” President Obama also said he “will bring the full weight of the law down upon anyone involved”... those  “involved” included the White House and Congress conducting and funding the war for a decade... the reported instances of war crimes, atrocities, and abuses attributed to the Pentagon’s foreign legion are but a small portion of the horrors...when President Obama apologized a second time in March for the conduct of the “best-trained, best-led” military in history... his statement declared that mass murder “does not represent the exceptional character of our military.”Exceptional indeed. As the president said, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example."  

Jack A. Smith is, editor of the Activist Newsletter


"Americans claim to be peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence.
Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying
machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone,
who from economic necessity, will risk his own life in an attempt on some industrial magnate.
Yet our hearts swell with pride that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth,
and will plant her iron foot on the necks of other nations.
Such is the logic of patriotism."
--Emma Goldman

Sgt. Robert Bales the Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians was part of a village stabilization operation...
Soldier 'soaked in victims' blood'
A US soldier accused of one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was captured on surveillance video running out of the darkness with the blood of his victims smeared on his face and soaked into his clothes, a prosecutor said. Less than a mile away, 16 Afghans, including nine children, were dead, some of their bodies on fire in two villages, a hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, was told. As fellow soldiers stopped him at the base's gate... as he was taken into custody, Bales said: "I thought I was doing the right thing."...

Bales, 39, faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder. The hearing could last up to two weeks and will help determine whether the case goes to a court martial....Bales has not entered a plea. His lawyers say he has post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered a concussive head injury during a previous deployment to Iraq.

Conservative estimate of Iraqis Slaughtered in US Operation Enduring Freedom: 1.5 million

"God, war, the World Bank, the IMF, free trade agreements, NATO, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, "anti-war" candidates, and Nobel Peace Prizes can be seen as simply different instruments for the advancement of US imperialism."
William Blum, Anti-Empire Report

Killing Children Is the All-American Way
12/22/12 by Finian Cunningham, http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/12/killing-children-is-the-all-american-way/ (editing by the digest)

Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador the United Nations, was asked on nationwide television in 1996 if the death of half a million Iraqi children from US war and sanctions on that country was a price worth paying. Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but the price – we think is worth it. That was before the so-called Second Persian Gulf War that began in 2003 with American air force “shock and awe”, followed by nearly nine years of military occupation – an occupation that included the use of nuclear munitions and white phosphorus.. in Fallujah and elsewhere, and involved countless massacres of families and children by US helicopter gunships and troopers.Since Albright’s infamous admission, the death toll of Iraqi children from US military crimes can be safely assumed to run into multiples of what she candidly thought was a price worth paying more than 16 years ago...

When President Obama was offering condolences to the families of the 20 children shot dead in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, he said: “Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease your heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.”

Indeed, Newtown is not alone. Children are slaughtered every week all over the world by Americans on the watch of Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama and his predecessors.

* Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions
by James A. Lucas in 2007 put the death toll of civilians from US wars and sponsored conflicts in 37 countries since the Second World War at up to 30 million lives. The proportion of that figure corresponding to child deaths is not known but if the casualty rate of Iraq is anything to go by, we can estimate that the number of children killed by US (open) and covert wars since WWII is easily in the order of 20 million – a million times the Connecticut carnage last week in Connecticut. Countries where these US-inflicted deaths occurred include: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. They also include Iran during the American-backed Iraq war of 1980-88. Every continent on Earth has felt the American hand of death.

Note the figure of 20 million child deaths by US militarism is bound to be a serious underestimate of the actual total. In the last five years, the world has seen an escalation of child mortality from the carcinogenic legacy of depleted uranium and suspected use of other nuclear weapons in Iraq. The above figures do not include the latest killings from US assassination drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other war theatres, such as Mali in West Africa. Nor do the figures include overt and covert American military action in Libya last year and currently in Syria – nor the ongoing imposition of crippling sanctions against Iran where an untold number of sick children are dying from lack of medicines due to Washington’s import blockade.

Americans need to look at how their society has become a culture of death over many decades...need to realize how their hallowed capitalist ideology of a putative American Dream is nothing but the destruction of... millions on the altar of profit-making. Think about the glib parlance used to describe the process of human destruction. Investors “make a killing”; workforces are “liquidated”...Death on an industrial scale sanctified through genocidal policies to enrich an oligarchy of financiers and warmongers...If human life is violated and cheapened on such a vast, systematic scale, in America and around the world, then the loss of 20 children in Newtown is, to be honest, a price that is negligible, if not worth it to them.

America is a killing machine, driven by an ideology in which human life is a worthless commodity to be be exploited and discarded.... seen most graphically in foreign countries where US interests want oil or other commercial or geopolitical gain....increasingly this killing machine is turning in on itself, destroying its own society, families and individuals.
Obama added in his eulogy for the deaths in Newtown, Connecticut: “We cannot tolerate this any more… we will have to change.”

This from the man who orders drone kill lists in Afghanistan and Pakistan every week that involve the “collateral damage” of children ripped to pieces. This from the man killing children in Iran by tightening economic strangleholds. This from the man who agreed to millions of dollars more weaponry to the Israel fresh from its mass murder of innocents in Gaza. This from the man supporting 'rebels' in Syria targeting schools and hospitals with car bombs.
Through the pain and suffering of the latest mass shooting in the US, maybe ordinary Americans are beginning to realize just how big a change is really needed in their country.

Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to PressTV where this article appeared
* Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions by James A. Lucas http://www.countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htm

 Hunger and homelessness rise in the US: 84% of US cities reporting that requests for emergency food assistance increased in 2012. 51% were families, 37% were employed.

from  Edward Herman :
Date: 21 January 2013
Subject: Abraham Lincoln, a perspective that does not appear in the Lincoln movie by Spielberg.

Remarkable and eye-opening (but long) article by John Nichols on Lincoln, Horace Greeley, DuBois and others.
ed herman

Reading Karl Marx with Abraham Lincoln Utopian socialists, German communists, and other republicans


from  Jim O’Brien :
Date: 29 January 2013
Subject: Recent articles on imperialist wars, old and new.

[haw-info] HAW Notes, 1/29/13: Conference; Iraq report; links to recent articles of interest
January 29, 2013
To members and friends of Historians Against the War,

Here a couple of notes, plus links to recent articles of interest.

1. Information about the April 5-7 HAW conference on "The New Faces of War," in Baltimore, is at www.historiansagainstwar.org/conf2013. The site contains a link to the registration page (the early registration fee is $50, or $30 at the student-or-low-income rate).  The full program is not yet posted, but will be soon; panels that are either complete or almost complete have a total of more than 70 participants.

2. Mike Zweig of US Labor Against the War has placed on-line his report-back on a December 2012 trip to take part in the fourth Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Inititiative conference, with over 100 images as the backdrop to his talk.  It is at

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

"'Disturbing and 'Misleading'"

By Steve Coll, New York Review of Books, February 7 issue
On the treatment of torture in the film Zero Dark Thirty

"The Force: How Much Military Is Enough?"
By Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, posted January 28
The author teaches history at Harvard University

"Kirakou and Stuxnet: The Danger of the Still-Escalating Obama Whistleblower War"
By Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, posted January 27

"How Did the Gates of Hell Open in Vietnam?"
By Jonathan Schell, TomDispatch.com, posted January 17
Review of Nick Turse's new book Anything That Moves

"Eight Things I Miss about the Cold War"
By Jonathan Wiener, TomDispatch.com, posted January 15
The author teaches history at the University of California, Irvine

"America's Strategic Stupidity: Obama's New Foreign Policy Team Must Beware of Generals Bearing Predictions"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The Spectator, posted January 13
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University

"Obama's Empire: Has America's Commitment to a Global Reign Deepened?"
By Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, USA Today, posted January 13
Peter Kuznick teaches history at American University

"The War in Libya Was Seen as a Success, Now Here We Are Engaging with the Blowback in Mali"
By Owen Jones, The Independent, posted January 13

"Waking Up in Tehran"
By David Swanson, War Is a Crime.org, posted January 11
Sheds light on the story depicted in the movie Argo

"Oliver Stone, Obama, and the War in Vietnam"
By Michael D. Yates, CounterPunch.org, posted January 10

Thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, James Swarts, and Jerry Lembcke for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

From Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 22 January 2013
Subject: Hitchens on trial.




Christopher Hitchens Stands Trial

With great vim and gusto, a new book dissects the ever-controversial Christopher Hitchens.

What emerges is a picture of Hitchens as an intellectually lazy poseur and a huffy racist—a man who, despite the remarkable breadth of his reading, “often lacked depth” and was “either unable or unwilling to cope with the sorts of complex ideas that he occasionally attempted to criticize.”

By the time of his death in December 2011, Christopher Hitchens had built a status perhaps outstripping that of any contemporary intellectual: His passing was considered worthy of the New York Times’ front page, and he was mourned by Tony Blair, Sean Penn, David Frum and Patrick Cockburn, among others. It is from this altitude that he is yanked down by Richard Seymour in the clever, incisive Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens. The slim critique of Hitchen’s ouevre focuses on his engagement with British politics and literature, his work on religion and his double-armed embrace of American imperialism.

Though only 35, Seymour has made a name for himself as a thoughtful political analyst, notably in his book The Liberal Defence of Murder, on how the language of humanitarianism helps camouflage imperialism, and on his blog Lenin’s Tomb, an indispensible source for analysis of neoliberalism, the War on Terror and Islamophobia.

Ironically, Seymour’s literary style often evokes that of Hitchens at his best. Some of Seymour’s turns of phrase are positively Hitchensian, such as his opening salvo in the introduction toUnhitched: “This is unabashedly a prosecution. And if it must be conducted with the subject in absentia, as it were, it will not be carried out with less vim as a result.”
And when writing in the prosecutorial mode, Seymour has, like his subject, a gift for reeling off an entire firing squad’s worth of bullets in a single sentence: “Hitchens was a propagandist for the American empire, a defamer of its opponents, and someone who suffered the injury this did to his probity and prose as so much collateral damage.” Seymour is also a Trotskyist, as Hitchens once was. But there the comparisons end, because Seymour is plainly a caliber of intellectual that his subject is not.

Accuracy, Seymour demonstrates, was not a major hang-up for Hitchens. Hitchens referred to Hugo Chávez as “the General” even though the Venezuelan never held that rank; said that Muammar Gaddafi turned over a “stockpile of WMD” although Libya never possessed even one such weapon; claimed in February 2003 that an invasion of Iraq would be justified because Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s presence in that country demonstrated a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda even though Zarqawi was an opponent of al-Qaeda at the time and it wasn’t clear that he was in Iraq at all; and asserted that Tunisians revolted against the Ben Ali regime because they did not have to fear violent repression on the same scale that Iranian protestors face despite the fact that 224 Tunisians were killed in their uprising as compared to the 72 killed in the Iranian dictatorship’s crushing of the Green Movement in 2009.

What emerges is a picture of Hitchens as an intellectually lazy poseur and a huffy racist—a man who, despite the remarkable breadth of his reading, “often lacked depth” and was “either unable or unwilling to cope with the sorts of complex ideas that he occasionally attempted to criticize.” Here Seymour adduces Hitchens’ gross misreading of Edward Said’s Orientalism, his travestying of Marx’s view of history, and his crude theological discussions: for example, Hitchens interprets the biblical Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac as divine endorsement for the murder of children, an unpersuasive claim given that the story had precisely the opposite function in the historical context in which it was written and received.

Hitchens’ record on intellectual honesty is also rather blotchy. Seymour is not the first to note this; he points to John Barrell, who argued in the London Review of Books that sections of Hitchens’ Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man were lifted from other sources without proper attribution. Seymour contends that Hitchens’ The Missionary Position was a re-write of research done by an Indian author who does not receive credit in the original hardback, and demonstrates convincingly that Hitchens’ essay “Kissinger’s War Crimes in Indochina” borrows from Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s The Political Economy of Human Rights without crediting the authors.

If Hitchens was a serial plagiarist who failed to get even the simplest of facts right, was allergic to nuance, and made no scholarly contributions, one might reasonably conclude that he ought to be ignored, and that a reader’s time and Seymour’s considerable talents be put to better use. But Hitchens matters precisely because of the inverse relationship that the quality of his work has to his status. His career reveals much about the function of the public intellectual.
The familiar narrative of Hitchens’ career has it that he made an abrupt turn from Left to Right in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, but Seymour complicates this, noting that traces of Hitchens’ sympathy for empire could be detected much earlier in his career. As an example, Seymour cites Hitchens’ 1992 claim that European colonization of the Americas “deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto.” While Seymour notes that Hitchens did some important writing prior to his ideological shift, particularly in his opposition to the 1991 Gulf War, he says too little about the high-quality work Hitchens did in the 1980s on Palestine and Reagan’s wars in Central America.

That said, Hitchens’ later years and the enormous celebrity he enjoyed during that period are a case study of just how handsome the rewards are for those willing and able to serve as attack dogs for the dominant powers of their place and time. Hitchens’ main service to the American elite was to employ a combination of innuendo and character assassination to cast aspersion on virtually every high-profile figure critical of American foreign policy after 9/11—a roster that includes Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, George Galloway, Michael Moore, Harold Pinter, Edward Said, Cindy Sheehan, Oliver Stone and Gore Vidal.
Hitchens could never have amassed such a large following—and perhaps more importantly, such apowerful following—had he not so entirely embraced American power and its corresponding ideologies after 9/11. Would Hitchens have been invited on as many talk shows if, rather than writing fawning biographies of safely institutionalized figures like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, he had taken as his exemplary subjects two others he professed to admire even near the end of his life, C.L.R. James and Rosa Luxemburg? If, instead of levying facile criticisms of organized religion primarily at the United States’ enemies, Hitchens had selected neoliberal capitalism for his most ferocious late-career critiques, is it likely that 60 Minutes would have profiled him when he was ill with cancer, or that his audience would have been extended to readers of Newsweek, much less the Weekly Standard?

Seymour’s book makes clear that Hitchens provides the best evidence one can find for Chomsky’s hypothesis that as intellectuals achieve increasing degrees of power, “the inequities of the society will recede from vision, the status quo will seem less flawed, and the preservation of order will become a matter of transcendent importance.” Nor is there a more perfect embodiment than Hitchens of Said’s argument that “Nothing disfigures the intellectual’s public performance as much as … patriotic bluster, and retrospective and self-dramatizing apostasy.”

To put the matter another way, consider Seymour’s justifiable revulsion at Hitchens’ revealing shifts in political friendships after 9/11: “It is one thing to sell out Sidney Blumenthal to the GOP, but to exchange Edward Said for Ahmed Chalabi? To smear Noam Chomsky yet endear oneself to Paul Wolfowitz?” Hitchens’ is the logic of an intellectual opportunist, of a man who has figured out the benefits of taking a clear stance with the established order: Relationships with Said and Chomsky will impress in certain circles, but they won’t get you the ear of the President of the United States or help you become chummy with the Prime Minister of England.

Hitchens was what Antonio Gramsci called an “organic intellectual”: a person who claims to speak for the interests of either a hegemonic or counter-hegemonic class. And, despite Hitchens’ protestations and pretensions of working-class sympathies, Seymour’s book makes clear Hitchens sided manifestly with the ruling class, particularly those factions of it that are concerned with foreign affairs. The most concrete expression of this was probably his joining the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which was initiated and headed by Bruce Jackson, a former vice president of Lockheed Martin. However, the primary task that Hitchens took up for America’s elite was to attempt to de-legitimize its opponents. In addition to his vicious but generally insubstantial attacks on critics of American empire, this took the form of him repeatedly asserting that all anti-capitalist movements were dead and that market forces are the world’s truly revolutionary force; of his sliming the alter-globalization movement and his justifying Arizona’s racist immigration laws (though these last two are among the few points that Seymour overlooks).

By no means is Seymour the first to call Hitchens a hack and a sell-out. In the aftermath of his full-throttled embrace of gunboat diplomacy post-9/11, unmasking Hitchens became almost a cottage industry for Left intellectuals. Among the finest of these are Tariq Ali’s chapter on his former comrade in Bush in Babylon, Clare Brandabur’s “Hitchens Smears Edward Said,” Norman Finkelstein’s “Hitchens as Model Apostate,” Glenn Greenwald’s counter-obituary, and more work by Alexander Cockburn and Terry Eagleton than I could list. But Unhitched offers a more thorough and in-depth discrediting of Hitchens than anything previously published. And in doing sHitchens thus stands in contrast to an organic intellectual of the counter-hegemonic kind—one who practices what Chomsky sees as the responsibility of intellectuals in Western democracies: to utilize “the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.” o, Seymour has made an important contribution to understanding the political role of the intellectual celebrity in our time.
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from Lenni Brenner :
Date : 18 January 2013
Subject : Zionism and the Black Civil Rights Movement.

Just before Martin Luther King Day we present historian Lenni Brenner's new article looking at various Black civil rights leaders and their views regarding Zionism. 
A NAACP founder and future Communist who was always pro-Zionist 
A civil rights leader who testified as to the good character of Ariel Sharon 
The supposed article by Martin Luther King Jr. saying that to attack Zionism was to attack Jews. 
Jesse Jackson's increasingly meek statements on Israel 
Malcolm X and a Trotskyite party 
The remarkable Stokely Carmichael 
The Black Civil Rights Movement And Zionism
by Lenni Brenner 

If you asked today’s American college students when the civil rights movement began, most would say “when Rosa Parks disobeyed a bus driver’s order to give her seat to a white.” She was arrested on December 1, 1955. On December 5th, after her trial and the first day of the Black bus boycott, a meeting in the Mt. Zion AME Church organized the Montgomery Improvement Association to lead the struggle. Martin Luther King Jr. was elected its president. In 1957, after strategy differences with King, Parks left Montgomery. She worked in Detroit as a seamstress. In 1965, Democratic Representative John Conyers hired her as his Detroit office secretary. She retired in 1988. 

Americans easily understand the Montgomery Improvement Association’s establishment in the Mt. Zion Church. Most Black Americans were religious. They identified with the Hebrew slaves fleeing Egypt for “the promised land.” But, beyond specialists in Black-Jewish relations, Parks’ subsequent employment by by Conyers, a severe critic of Israel, and the later politics of the civil rights movement is unknown to today’s public. Therefore this article will focus on the evolution of America’s Black rights leaders and movements attitudes towards Zionism, from the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909, thru to 1994, when apartheid South Africa, Israel’s open ally, vanished into history. 

The Black Struggle from 1909 to WWII.
When Parks was arrested, she was the secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. The national NAACP had only one Black, W.E.B. Du Bois, on its first executive board in 1909. His politics and the NAACP’s evolved, eventually in different ways, but he was always pro-Zionist. 
“The African movement means to us what the Zionist movement must mean to the Jews, the centralization of race effort and the recognition of a racial fount.” [1] 
In its early years the NAACP organized occasional protest marches but its primary arena soon became the courts. Post WW I, its place in the streets was taken by Marcus Garvey’s ‘back to Africa’ Universal Negro Improvement Association. Asked if he was imitating Benito Mussolini, he replied that Mussolini was imitating him. But men in military formations were needed in an era of anti-Black riots. 

The UNIA grew to massive size until 1922, when Garvey was arrested for mail fraud re money collected for his Black Star Line, which would ultimately ship followers to Africa. Convicted in 1923, imprisoned in 1925, he was deported to Jamaica in 1927. Garvey always equated the UNIA to Zionism, even after blaming Jewish NAACP leaders for his prosecution. 

Vladimir Lenin’s Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in 1917 and established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, based on ethnic equality. The Communist Party here made Black rights a top priority and attracted the attention of Black intellectuals. After Lenin died in 1924, party secretary Joseph Stalin converted the USSR into a personal dictatorship and the CPUSA took his commands to be holy writ. Stalin and Communist parties everywhere, including Palestine, opposed Zionism, but it was not an issue in their involvement in the Black struggle. 

In 1928, the CPUSA called for a Black republic in the areas of the American south where they were the majority. This attracted some Blacks, but more important was the CP’s legal defense of the “Scottsboro boys,” nine young Blacks convicted in Alabama in 1931 of raping two white women and sentenced to death. The CP’s International Labor Defense took the case to the Supreme Court which declared that defendants are entitled to effective counsel and that no one may be de facto excluded from juries because of their race. White racist rage against “Communists” and “Jewish lawyers” served to establish the credibility of both among Blacks. 

In July 1930, Wallace D. Fard Muhammad founded the Nation of Islam in Detroit. Among other things, it called for an independent Black state in America. In 1933 he established a security guard called the Fruit of Islam to defend the NOI and other Blacks against white racists. 

Fard Muhammad left Detroit in 1934 and was never seen again. Before departing he conferred leadership of the NOI on one of his earliest followers, Elijah Poole, who changed his name to Elijah Muhammad. He preached that Wallace Fard Muhammad was Islam’s Mahdi and Christianity’s Messiah. The Nation and FOI were a small but visible presence in Black communities until the early 1950s, when Malcolm X, who had converted while in prison for burglary, became Elijah Muhammad’s chief lieutenant. Under Malcolm’s leadership the NOI became a mass movement and the FOI grew in every Black community. 

It took the 1929 Depression, under a Republican President, to get northern Blacks to vote for a Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1932, in hope of improved economic conditions, but they had few illusions about their new party. It ruled the legally racially segregated “solid south” and many northern states where landlords and employers could discriminate or not, at their option. There were no Black Democratic convention delegates until 1940. 

In 1934, Stalin anticipated a second world war with Britain, France, the U.S. and the Soviets against Hitler. Unofficially, so as not to embarrass him, the CP supported Roosevelt, putting it in tandem with Black voters. It was central in organizing the Congress of Industrial Organizations, a rival to the almost universally racist American Federation of Labor. Hundreds of thousands of workers, many Black, joined CP-led unions. By 1939 the CP grew to 90,000 members, many Jewish or Black. Singer Paul Robeson, while not formally a CP member, was royally treated in the Soviet Union and helped make the CP a major force in the Black community. 

In 1938, Trinidad-born C.L.R. James, author of The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, came to the U.S. and joined the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party. In 1939, under his influence, the SWP declared that, if America’s Blacks wanted their own state in the south, they would support the demand. The SWP was very small, but James’ book made him well known to Black intellectuals, worldwide. 

In 1939, after Britain and France signed the Munich pact with Hitler, Stalin reversed himself and made the Hitler-Stalin pact. Thousands of Jews quit the CP in disgust, but Bayard Rustin, a gay Black Quaker member of the Young Communist League since 1936, stayed on. In 1941 the YCL assigned him to fight against U.S. military segregation, then called off the campaign when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. He quit in disgust and joined A. Philip Randolph (1889 – 1979), president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in calling for a Black march on Washington against racial discrimination in war industries and segregation in the military. The march was cancelled after Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, banning war industry discrimination. The military remained segregated, but the Executive Order was seen by many Blacks as a partial victory. 

Rustin went to prison in 1944 for violating the WWII draft law. He could have accepted a religious pacifist civilian work assignment, but chose prison, feeling that his political opposition to war was more important than his religious concerns. 

The Cold War Era.

With Hitler’s defeat, Democratic President Harry Truman faced a very different enemy, foreign and domestic. The USSR was seen by many Blacks as for their rights. Many thousands of Blacks were in CP-led unions. In 1947, Randolph formed the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. Truman had two concerns. If the U.S. faced off militarily with any Communist foe, it would try to get Blacks in the segregated military to mutiny, and he was hoping to get elected in 1948. 

Vice President Truman became President when Roosevelt died in 1945. In 1948, one of his opponents was Henry Wallace, his predecessor as Roosevelt’s Vice President (1941–1945). During anti-Black riots in Detroit in 1943, Wallace declared that America couldn’t "fight to crush Nazi brutality abroad and condone race riots at home." Such politics were too left for Roosevelt and he chose Senator Truman, front man for the notoriously corrupt Kansas City, Missouri Democratic “machine,” to run with him in 1944. Every poll predicted Truman’s defeat. If he lost enough Black votes to Wallace he was certain to lose. So, on July 26, 1948, he abolished military racial segregation via Executive Order 9981. 

Wallace got only 2.4 percent of the national vote, but even after 9981 and a civil rights plank in the Democratic Party platform, the first in its history, he received one third of the Black vote. Prominent Blacks supported him including heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, singer Lena Horne, Robeson and Du Bois. This led to the NAACP terminating Du Bois’ employment, but Zionism wasn’t an issue in the rupture. The NAACP’s leaders were for Truman, who raced Stalin to be the first to recognize the new Israeli state. 

Wallace opposed the “cold war” and was running as the candidate of the Progressive Party, created for the occasion by the CP. It maintained Lenin’s anti-Zionist line until 1947, when Moscow suddenly declared its support for the creation of Israel. The scholarly consensus is that Stalin wanted Britain, Palestine’s Mandatory ruler, out of the Middle East. None of London’s Arab satraps were interested in rebelling against their overlord and Stalin thought Zionist success in kicking the British out would, somehow, force Britain’s Arab puppets to try to do likewise. 

Until the late 40s, most Jewish men were blue collar workers. In the 30s, almost all Jewish union leaders opposed Zionism. When their bosses gave donations to Zionist charities they felt that the money should have gone to their members as wages. This changed dramatically after the Holocaust. A nationalist wave swept through American Jewry. In Manhattan, thousands of Jews and others marched and danced around the New York Times tower when its electronic sign announced the creation of Israel. That demonstration was organized by the CP and Black CPers were among the dancers. 

There were two reasons why Truman overruled his “the Arabs got the oil” oriented State Department and recognized the new state in 1948. In her book, Harry S. Truman, his daughter Margaret related how “On October 6,1947, Bob Hannegan,” the Democratic National Chairman, “almost made a speech, pointing out how many Jews were major contributors to the Democratic Party‘s campaign fund and were expecting the United States to support the Zionists’ position on Palestine.” [2] 

The other reason was the Progressive Party’s strength among Jews and Blacks in New York, the home state of Thomas Dewey, his pro-Zionist Republican opponent. Truman feared that, unless he backed Zionism, rich Jews would fund Dewey, Jewish workers would vote Progressive and he would lose the state. In fact Truman did lose it but, to everyone’s amazement, won the national election. 

Two years later, in 1950, Du Bois ran for the U.S. Senate as the candidate of the American Labor Party, the Progressive Party’s New York affiliate, and received almost 210,000 votes, and 12.8 per cent of Harlem’s count. 

With Stalin it was always gyrations. His own pro-Zionist politics generated enthusiasm for Israel among Soviet Jews which he equated with disloyalty to him. In November 1948 he began a purge of “cosmopolitans,” almost always with Jewish names or with their Jewish birth name in brackets next to their later Russian name. On January 13, 1953, a group of doctors was accused of being agents of a Zionist conspiracy to poison him and other Soviet leaders. He died on March 5, 1953 and the new Soviet leadership exonerated the doctors in a March 31 decree. 

Many Jews left the CPUSA, usually with their Times Tower politics and pro-civil rights feelings intact. Those still loyal after 1953 simply used the exoneration to wash away Stalin’s anti-Semitism and their zeal for him in that period. Thereafter the CP supported the Soviet Union’s alliances with Palestinian movements and Arab regimes, but it always opposed the call for a democratic secular binational state. Party members and CP-led unions continued to play important roles in the civil rights movement. 

Although Black voters backed pro-Zionist candidates, Israel wasn’t a Black election issue in 1948. But on September 17, Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte, the U.N. mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict, was assassinated by the Lohamei Herut Israel, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel (aka the Stern gang), and Ralph Bunche, a Black American diplomat, took his place. He worked out the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, establishing the armistice line between Israel and Jordan, now known as the Green Line. 

Most educated Blacks saw Bunche’s Armistice as sanctification of Israel’s existence, especially so after 1950, when Bunche won the Noble Peace Prize. This pro-Zionist spin was later reinforced when Bunche participated in the 1963 March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery march that led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

This same period also saw a rival left involvement in the civil rights movement that produced what comes off today as amazing secular prophesy. In 1946-48, Daniel Guerin, a French Trotskyist, visited the southern U.S. In Negroes on the March, copyright 1951, he assessed the NAACP: 

"In Mobile, Ala., an important industrial city, the NAACP branch numbered 2,000 members when I was there, but I could not find a single worker among them. One of the few places where I saw a branch with a relatively proletarian composition was Montgomery, Ala.; the reason for this happy exception was that the branch secretary was also a trade union official.... 

A living example of this evolution was presented to me by E.D. Nixon of Montgomery, Ala., a vigorous colored union militant who was the leading spirit in his city both of the local union of Sleeping Car Porters and the local branch of the NAACP. What a difference from the other branches of the Association, which are controlled by dentists, pastors and undertakers!” [3] 

Leftist presence in the civil rights movement automatically meant FBI spying. In June 1952, a CP informer brought Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer and realtor, to the FBI’s attention. He was supposed to be a secret major CP financier since the end of WWII. In 1955 he, Rustin and others set up In Friendship to send money to southern Black activists. 

Rustin introduced Levison to King in 1956 and he soon became King’s good right hand. He set up the MIA’s first mail-solicitations for funds, and helped King get the contract for his first book, Stride Towards Freedom, and wrote parts of it. On September 20, 1958, King was stabbed by Izola Curry, a mad Black woman, while promoting the book, and Levison became central to the financing of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference while he recovered. 

Levison drifted away from the CP before he met King. But he refused an FBI request that he inform on the party and took the 5th Amendment when called before a Senate committee. That made the Kennedy brothers and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover think that might he still might be a covert CPer. On June 22, 1963, President John Kennedy told King that he should drop Levison. He wouldn’t abandon his confidant and, on October 10, 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, violating the 1st Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion and speech, authorized wiretapping King. The FBI soon bugged his hotel rooms, taping his extra-marital affairs. Eventually they sent the tapes to King, hoping that they would drive him to suicide. [4] Spying continued until his 1968 assassination. 

In reality, Levison had shifted his allegiance to the Zionist American Jewish Congress and ran its Upper West Side Manhattan branch. This is understandable, given his CP involvement during its Times Tower phase. Rabbi Stephen Wise (1874–1949), founder of the American Jewish Congress in 1918, had been a NAACP national board member since 1914, but many scholars, including pro-Zionists, consider his Nazi era behavior disgraceful. According to Saul Friedlander, "In the spring of 1941, Rabbi Wise had decided to impose a complete embargo on all aid sent to Jews in occupied countries, in compliance with the U.S. government's economic boycott of the Axis powers.” [5] On December 2, 1942, after reports of the slaughter in the Ukraine reached the West, he wrote a letter to “Dear Boss,” Franklin Roosevelt, asking for a meeting and informing him that “I have had cables and underground advices for some months, telling of these things. I succeeded, together with the heads of other Jewish organizations, in keeping them out of the press.” [6] 

When Peter Bergson, a rival Zionist, organized a “They Shall Never Die” pageant to mobilize pressure on Roosevelt to rescue Jews, the AJC kept it out of auditoriums wherever it could. [7] Du Bois and Randolph signed Bergson’s newspaper ads and Walter White, then the NAACP Director, spoke at his 1943 Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe. 

There is no evidence that Levison knew this when he joined AJC, or that he was its agent in the civil rights movement. On the contrary, he was King’s ‘agent’ in getting support from the Jewish establishment. King knew that few southern Jews joined the civil rights movement, but declared that “the national Jewish bodies have been most helpful.” [8] 

The night before his murder, he famously proclaimed that he had “been to the mountaintop.... And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” In fact he had actually been to Palestine. 

In 1959, under the influence of Rustin and the Quakers, King went to Mohandas Gandhi’s Indian birthplace to study satyagraha, Gandhi’s resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience. He returned via Jordan and visited Jericho and Jerusalem‘s “old city.” It was then impossible to go to through the Mandelbaum Gate between the Israeli and Jordanian sectors of Jerusalem, and he returned home by way of Egypt and Greece, but the visit and the fact that he couldn’t go through the checkpoint remained prominent in his thinking. Indeed he referred to his traveling the road from Jericho to Jerusalem - where a Biblical Hebrew was rescued by a good Samaritan, after other Jews ignored his misery - in his last, immortal, speech. 

In 1961 W.E.B. Du Bois joined the American Communist Party, became a citizen of Ghana and, still pro-Zionist, died there in 1963, only days before King’s celebrated “I have a dream" speech. King was the greatest American orator since Lincoln, but Rustin put together the speakers list for the massive August 28, 1963 March on Washington. King spoke immediately after Joachim Prinz (1902-1988), President of the AJC, 1958–1966: 

“When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned... was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problems. The most urgent... and the most tragic problem is silence.” [9] 

In reality he had been an eager collaborator with Nazism. In 1937, in America, he wrote about Germany. His article described the Zionist mood in 1933: 

“The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal! ... In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we called for a conference.” [10] 


On February 8, 1981, I interviewed him. 

Brenner: “What made you think that you could represent the Jews in dealing with the Nazi government?” 

Prinz: “Oh, we thought, in our discussions with intellectuals in the SS movement, that the time would come when they would say, ‘Yes, you live in Germany, you are Jewish people, you are different from us, but we will not kill you, we will permit you to live your own cultural life, and develop your own national capacities and dreams.’ We thought, at the beginning of the Hitler regime that such a very frank discussion was possible. We found among the SS intellectuals, some people were ready for such a talk. But of course such a talk never took place because the radical element in the Nazi movement won out.” [11] 

How did a wannabe collaborator with Hitler come to speak with King? As I was leaving, after the taped interview, he told me that “When I got to America, everything I believed in Germany sounded crazy to me.” I’ve never doubted his honesty. The 1963 rabbi was very different from the 1933 rabbi, and Rustin and King knew nothing about that rabbi. They, like most Jews and gentiles of that era, knew little of Zionism’s history. 

Although the March was massive, Malcolm X called it a “farce.” On October 11, 1963 Malcolm spoke outdoors to thousands at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. The NOI’s representative had nothing good to say about the racially integrationist civil rights movement. But after the rally, with the microphone off, two men went up to the podium. I heard one say, in accented English, “Minister Malcolm, we think your talk was very good. But we are from Iran, a Muslim country. There is nothing about race in the Koran or Islam.” Malcolm looked at them, without moving or saying a word, for over a minute, until a U.C. official took his arm and led him off the podium. 

On November 22, President Kennedy was assassinated. On December 1, Malcolm was asked about it and declared it “chickens coming home to roost” and Elijah Muhammad ordered him silent for three months. During that period Malcolm heard rumors about Muhammad's extramarital affairs with young secretaries. On March 8, 1964, he announced his break from the NOI, claiming Muhammad confirmed the rumors. He converted to Sunni Islam, and set up the Organization of Afro-American Unity, a secular Black nationalist movement. 

On March 26, he met King at a Senate debate on the Civil Rights bill outlawing unequal voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, workplaces and public accommodations. They were photographed warmly smiling and shaking hands. [12] 

In April he went to Mecca, saw those Iranians were correct, visited several Arab and Black African countries and returned to the U.S., eager to work with all races for worldwide human rights. The SWP asked him to speak at its New York Militant Forum and he did so three times. He and the SWP discussed having its Young Socialist Alliance organize a national college tour for him. Then, on February 21, 1965, he was assassinated by members of the NOI at a public OAAU meeting. 

America’s Blacks were outraged. The Harlem NOI mosque was torched and NOI members were attacked in other places. Tens of thousands viewed his body before his funeral. Rustin and Andrew Young from SCLC, John Lewis from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, were among many civil rights leaders at the televised wake. Actor Ossie Davis delivered an acclaimed eulogy for "our shining black prince." King telegrammed Betty Shabazz, expressing sadness over "the shocking and tragic assassination of your husband. While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem." [13] 

After his death, the SWP’s Pathfinder Press published many of Malcolm’s speeches and their evaluations of his development. They saw his strengths and weaknesses: 

“At a press conference held on the day of his return to New York.... he was also asked if he still thought Negroes should return to Africa.... Malcolm X replied that after speaking to African leaders he was convinced that ‘If Black men become involved in a philosophical, cultural and psychological migration back to Africa, they will benefit greatly in this country.’ He compared this to the benefits that Jews had derived from their identification with Israel.” 

Editor George Breitman cited “overgenerous remarks Malcolm made about Prince Feisal, who had shown Malcolm extraordinary courtesies in an emotionally tense period during his trip to Mecca.... Malcolm did fail, on occasion, to differentiate sufficiently between revolutionary and non revolutionary African, Arab and Asian leaders.” 

But Breitman was correct. “The Last Year of Malcolm X” was indeed “The Evolution of a Revolutionary.” [14] His trip to Mecca converted him into an intense personal cosmopolitan and he realized that the SWP, a central element in the anti-Vietnam war movement, had a lot to teach him re the political side of that world view. 


Martin Luther King, Black Power, Black Panthers and Zionism.

That leftward evolution didn’t stop with Malcolm. Growing out of a February 1, 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth's sit-in, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) played a central role in the sit-ins, freedom rides and racially integrated voter registration drives over the next years. Its Chairman, John Lewis, prepared to make the most radical speech at the 1963 Washington march, including 
“Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it in the courts. Listen Mr. Kennedy, the black masses are on the march for jobs and for freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won't be a 'cooling-off period.'" [15] 

The Kennedy administration put pressure on Rustin and this statement was deleted from his speech but it reflected SNCC’s ever growing radicalism. 

On the West Coast, Huey Newton heard me speak during the 1963 Cuban missile crisis. On October 16, 1964, he introduced himself to me in Oakland, California, in jail. Over four days we spent two hours discussing America, the civil rights movement, Marxism and Vietnam, but didn’t discuss Zionism. However, his Black Panther Party, founded on October 15, 1966, was anti-Zionist and worked with left Jews and other whites inside the Peace and Freedom Party. They called themselves Panthers from the ballot logo of SNCC’s Alabama Lowndes County Freedom Organization, in 1966 known for “Black Power” and anti-Zionism. 

It was Trinidad-born Stokely Carmichael, SNCC’s chair after Lewis, who converted it into a Black organization and put “Black Power” into America’s political lexicon in a June 16, 1966 speech in Greenwood, Mississippi, but he always said he wasn’t the one who converted SNCC to anti-Zionism. 

Born in 1941, he came to the New York at 11, after his mother proved that she was born in the Panama Canal Zone when it was governed by the U.S. He graduated from the world’s best high school. In his posthumous book, Ready For Revolution, he told us that “At Bronx Science, I attended study camps with the Young Socialists and Young Communist groups. Here I learned to sing ‘Hava Nagella’ and to dance the hora. During the fifties, these young-left groups were unquestioningly pro-Zionist. Stalin had given arms to Zionist factions in 1948, and Israel was said to be progressive. End of story. There was no discussion at all of the rights of the Palestinian people. None.” [16] 

His transition to anti-Zionism “was due almost entirely to the work of one courageous activist sister.” To protect her from retaliation, he never named her, but scholars say it was Ethel Minor, SNCC’s communications director. After college, “She met Palestinians.... She began to investigate the issue.... she followed Malcolm into the Organization of Afro-American Unity. After his assassination, the sister joined SNCC, where she organized a study group on the question.... We found, to my surprise, that a great deal of the most incisive and persuasive critical writing was by Jewish writers.” [17] 

His biggest shock “was discovering the close military, economic, and political alliance between the Israeli government and the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.” [18] 

He related how “war was declared on SNCC” when the press reported a SNCC anti-Zionist position paper: 
“No other civil rights organization had a position on the Middle East, and there were clear reasons for that. A good deal of their financial support came from mainstream liberals, quite often from progressive elements of the Jewish community.... So obviously there would be a price to pay.... But as Dr. King said, ‘There comes a time when silence is tantamount to consent.’” [19] 

King said that in 1967, re the Vietnam war. But in 1966 he was among the civil rights leaders who denounced the notion of Black power, calling it “an unfortunate choice of words.” [20] And he only agreed to speak at an April 15, 1967 anti-war rally at the U.N. if Carmichael wasn’t allowed to speak. The organizers accepted his condition but then invited Carmichael, who spoke and led a marching group carrying Vietcong flags. By then King was so anti-war that, according to Murray Friedman’s 1995 What Went Wrong: The Creation and Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance, they went to Harry Belafonte’s home, where the three “exchanged views on future plans.” [21] We don’t know more about what they discussed, but Friedman and subsequent scholars understood that future joint public appearances would have served to further legitimatize Carmichael’s anti-Zionism, regardless of King’s personal opinion re Israel. 

“Black Power” made Carmichael so famous that, three decades later, the Times reported his cancer diagnosis. This generated a 1996 letter from Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman: 
“Re your laudatory news article on Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael (March 1): While working for civil rights is admirable, there is another side to Mr. Toure’s career that the article did not convey. Mr. Toure is an unabashed racial separatist and anti-Semite who often uses the slogan ‘the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.’ His visits to college campuses have been followed by acts of anti-Semitism and violence.” [22] 

I wrote the paper a letter, accompanied by an article by Carmichael. The Times called me. “Thank you very much for your letter.” It ran on March 16: “As a Jewish leftist who worked with Mr. Toure against the Iraq war, I insist that he is not anti-Semitic. Mr. Toure’s nuanced position was expressed in the May 1991 Anti-War Activist newsletter.... 'Africans must transform the anti-war movement to an anti-capitalist and anti-Zionist movement.... The Zionists tried to chastise [Nelson] Mandela for his support for the P.L.O.... They control our community’s politicians. Look how they work harder for Israel than for Azania-South Africa! We must properly distinguish between Judaism and Zionism.’” 

Mr. Toure’s hatred of Zionism, not Judaism or Jews is justified. Nathan Perlmutter, Mr. Foxman’s predecessor at the Anti-Defamation League, has written about why the organization would not join the group Trans-Africa in its demonstration against apartheid: 
‘I cannot ignore the fact that the [African National] Congress’s literature is anti-Israel, highly sympathetic to the P.L.O. cause and tolerate of cooperation with the South African Communist Party. The lesson for us as Jews is not to engage our emotions in indignation about evil empires like South Africa. I think we too have a responsibility to determine whether or not that which stands in line to replace a current regime is better for the Jews or worse for the Jews’.” [23] 

Did the Times caller’s “thank you” speak for its editors? No, but he certainly spoke for many of its readers, relieved that a civil rights icon hadn’t become anti-Semitic. In any case, the Times 1998 obit, “Stokely Carmichael, Rights Leader Who Coined 'Black Power,' Dies at 57,” heaped criticism on him, including King’s “an unfortunate choice of words,” and threw in a few praises: “Tall, slim, handsome.... Carmichael was arrested so often as a nonviolent volunteer that he lost count after 32.... a spellbinding orator,” but the obit said nothing re his anti-Zionism. [24] 

The Times may not have known of the Belafonte meeting. It certainly didn’t know of their last meeting. In 1968, the Washington Post warned King that Carmichael would turn the Poor People’s Campaign into rioting. But, in 2003, Ready For Revolution told us that “When Dr. King came into D.C., I went to see him. Of course I assured him that I and SNCC would never do anything to... jeopardize the campaign. He said, ‘Stokely, you don’t need to tell me that. I know you.’ I told him that Washington SNCC would organize the local community, the street people and youth gangs - to make sure they were cool. He said he’d appreciate that.... As I was leaving, he held onto my hand, looking worried. ‘Stokely, please be extra careful now. Avoid any unnecessary risks. Promise me.’ I recall laughing.... King repeated his warning.... Very soon I’d have reason to remember his mood at our last meeting.” [25] 

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at SNCC’s 50th year reunion in 2010. Knowing that Israel’s alliance with apartheid until its end is known to many Blacks, Holder didn’t utter a word against Carmichael. 

In 1967, Nobel Peace Prize winner King signed a Times ad just before the June “six-day war,” calling on the U.S. to back Israel. But, according to Friedman, “In a conversation with Levison and his other New York advisers the following day, King admitted to being confused. He had never actually seen the ad before it appeared, he told them. When he did, he was not happy with it. He felt it was unbalanced and pro-Israel, although he observed that it would probably help with the Jewish community.... his advisers, even the Jewish ones, suggested in effect that King carry water on both shoulders. Since war settles nothing, as Levison put it, King could adapt a peace position without taking sides. While agreeing that the territorial integrity of Israel and its right to be a homeland were incontestable, King should urge a peace position without taking sides. King should urge that all other questions be settled by negotiations. Such a position, said Levison, would serve to keep the Arab friendship and the Israeli friendship. King agreed to it.” 

A month later he proposed “a pilgrimage of blacks and whites to the Holy Land.” He worried “that the Arab world, and probably Africa and Asia too, would interpret the action as endorsing everything that Israel had done and he did have doubts.” Andrew Young “chipped in that he felt it important that King develop a strong point of view and personal contact with the Middle East situation since the Arab position had never had a hearing in this country, Levison agreed.” 

Months later King wrote “a four-page letter to the president of the American Jewish Committee.” He had spoken at a Chicago New Politics convention. “Jewish agencies asked King to disavow the malevolent language” after he left. “He indicated that had he stayed he would have reiterated the SCLC stand... Israel’s right to exist as a state was incontestable.” [26] 

King’s public statements pleased Zionists, and rabbi Abraham Heschel was on the podium when King gave his powerful April 4, 1967 New York Riverside Church anti-Vietnam war speech. But rabbi Marc Schneier’s Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. & The Jewish Community, tells us that King’s oration created a problem for “major Jewish organizations. Though most disliked the war, they were extremely cautious in their public opposition to it, since President Johnson had warned them that any anti-war stands from them would jeopardize American support for Israel.” 

Schneier writes that, “Johnson liked having things his way. If you disagreed with him, he was likely to find a sore point to which he could apply the pressure until you complied with his wishes. For Jews, Israel was that sore point. 

Never saying it outright, Johnson strongly implied to several key Congressional and Jewish leaders that Jewish opposition to the war could trigger cuts in American military and economic aid to Israel. It was a trump card.” [27] 

King’s April 4, 1968 assassination came at a crossroad in his relations with Washington and American Zionism. He was publicly pro-Israel but met with Carmichael against Johnson’s war and for King’s Poor Peoples Campaign, as the Zionist establishment silently moved from him towards Johnson. They didn’t identify with his Poor People's Campaign aimed at bringing poor Blacks, Whites, Indians and Hispanics to Washington. The establishment wasn’t helping him in Memphis, Tennessee when he died supporting Black sanitation workers, striking for higher wages and racially equal treatment. “The most important thing that I learned... was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problems. The most urgent... and the most tragic problem is silence.” That’s what Prinz said in 1963, but they were silent about that strike. 

The murder generated Black riots across the U.S. and Johnson, who loved listening to tapes of King’s sex, had to declare him a martyr. Since then the Zionist establishment has loudly publicized its marching with him in 1963, even while, as Zionist John Rothman reports, “For some Jews, Nixon's support for Israel was the litmus test. Yitzhak Rabin actively campaigned for him in 1972, when Nixon got 37 percent of the Jewish vote, up from 19 percent in 1968.” [28] 

‘King loved Israel, Israel loved him’ propaganda has reached enormous proportions. Israel has an official ML King day and forest. Schneier, chair of the World Jewish Congress’s American Section, tells of “an article that appeared in the Saturday Review two months after the [1967] war ended.” According to Schneier, King wrote: 
“You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist.’ And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth.When people criticize Zionism, they mean the Jews -- this is God’s own truth. Anti-Semitism ... has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.” [29] 

Schneier’s gives his source as “King, ‘Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,’ Saturday Review, 47 (August 1967), 76. Reprinted in King, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York, 1971), 234-235.” [30] 

Except that this writer and Harlem’s Schomberg Library couldn’t locate the Letter or “This I Believe.” At my request, The Journal of Palestine Studies and the Library of Congress also sought and couldn’t discover them. On March 15, at a public meeting in New York’s Queens University, I asked Schneier to locate the Letter for me. “Contact my office.” I emailed his Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, waited, then phoned: “We got your email. We’re not supposed to talk to you.” 

Off the record, Hoover had told some Congress Representatives and others about Levison and King’s sex life. After King’s April 1968 assassination, a journalist revealed that Robert Kennedy, then running in Democratic primaries to replace Johnson, had authorized wiretapping King, but there wasn’t much public focus on this. Then, on June 5, Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian. 

Except for the usual conspiracy buffs, his jailers and today’s scholars agree that he did it on his own. But the assassination drew the public’s attention away from the tapping of King, and turned Kennedy into a Democratic martyr. With time, details of the wiretapping emerged, but today perhaps the best example of the party’s hypocrisy is its simultaneous iconic treatment of King and the two villains who spied on him. 

After King’s slaying, Black movement splits deepened. John Lewis, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson and others went into Democratic politics, hoping to get practical if limited reforms. But Stokely became the Black Panther “honorary Prime Minister” in 1968. He tried to make them into a community movement. He visited Newton, waiting a trial in jail. Huey thought the party would become a Northern SNCC, however Stokely told him “That was not very likely if their most visible community program remained armed patrols monitoring police behavior in the streets.... We agreed that this image would only isolate the party out in front of the community, whereas, where they needed to be was deep inside the day-to-day fabric of the neighborhoods.” 

Then the party’s leaders forbade more visits to Newton. In 1969, he and his wife, South African singer Miriam Makeba, moved to Guinea-Conakry. 

In July he publicly rejected the Panthers. Stokely saw “the youth gang culture,” unsalable to “anybody’s aunt or the deacon board of the local church.” [31] He also disliked white lefts hailing the Panthers, thereby convincing themselves (and the FBI) that they were revolutionaries.

The Black Democrats and the Zionist-Apartheid Alliance.

With Stokely in Africa, the disintegration of the Panthers in the 1970s, and federal enforcement of legal equality, the Black masses stopped demonstrating in the streets and voted southern Black Democrats into the House of Representatives. In 1977, Georgia Representative Andrew Young was appointed U.N. Ambassador. Then, on August 15, 1979, Young, who stood next to King when he was murdered, resigned over a secret discussion with the Palestine Liberation Organization after a U.S. promise not to talk to the P.L.O. until it recognized Israel. 

Every sector of Black leadership was outraged. White diplomat Milton Wolf previously met the P.L.O., no resignation. Why then did Jimmy Carter accept his Black appointee’s resignation “with deep regret”? [32] Was it Zionist pressure? Over time Young said no, the issue was his repeated undisciplined public statements, etc., and he stayed loyal to the Democratic Party. Most leaders felt it was Israeli pressure but also stayed solidly Democratic. 

Jesse Jackson, who dashed upstairs after the King shooting and appeared in a bloody shirt at the following press conference, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988. On February 13, 1984, the Washington Post reported that “In private conversations with reporters, Jackson had referred to Jews as ‘Hymie’ and to New York as ‘Hymietown.’” On February 19 he lied: “It simply is not true,” [33] On February 26,1984, he apologized in a synagogue. 

Neither before nor after the Hymietown affair was Jackson ever against a Zionist state. In 1984, with the Zionist-apartheid alliance before the world’s eyes, he was for no more than a weaponless sheep pen Palestinian Bantustan in the West Bank and Gaza. By 1988 he even announced that he would not, as President, meet with Yasser Arafat, then the P.L.O.’s leader, and babbled about understanding “the pain of the occupier.” 

Many years later, in 2008, the New York Post reported that, “Jackson believes that, although 'Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades' remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.” [34] 

Obama’s campaign immediately disassociated itself from Jackson’s comments. Indeed Jackson’s evolution certifies the thesis that closeness to King at any point doesn’t necessarily justify anyone’s further activities. 

All scholars see Rustin as the most pro-Zionist of the Black civil rights Democrats. After his break with Stalinism he joined the Socialist Party and then, over time, he and the S.P. went into the Democratic Party. 

Norman Thomas, the S.P.’s leading figure, developed a celebrity media reputation, running for President six times, 1928-48. He joined the Progressive Party, then quit over its obvious CP domination and ran his 1948 campaign to offer left of center anti-Stalinists an alternative to Truman and Wallace. He was very friendly with the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism, but by then the public didn’t care what he thought about anything (139,569 votes, 0.3%). 

Post 1953, Thomas secretly started taking money from Central Intelligence Agency Director Allen Dulles, who he knew from their college days. When did Rustin learn of this? Perhaps before February 22, 1967, when the Times ran an article, "Thomas Upholds CIA-Aided Work." [35] 

The S.P. was minuscule and without influence until the mid-1950s, when Rustin linked up with King. In 1958, Max Shachtman, an SWP founder who broke with Trotsky in 1939, joined the S.P. and became Rustin’s mentor. Moving ever rightward, they were intensely anti-Stalinist and for the S.P. entering the Democratic Party. Getting anti-Stalinist AFL-CIO support for the southern struggle became their top priority. 

Again, we don’t know exactly when Rustin learned that the AFL-CIO was working internationally with the CIA, but presumably it was before Tom Braden, former CIA foreign operations director, published "I'm Glad the CIA's Immoral, "in the May 20, 1967 Saturday Evening Post. He proudly wrote of using the AFL-CIO to fund "strong-arm squads in Mediterranean ports, so that American supplies could be unloaded against the opposition of Communist dock workers." [36] 

Later in 1967, after the Israeli-Arab “six-day war,” S.P. national secretary Irwin Suall, skeptical regarding Israel, went there and came back so pro-Zionist that he was appointed fact finding director of the Anti-Defamation League. ‘Fact finding’ translates into spying on “anti-Semitic” anti-Zionists, leftists, etc. 

Rustin’s Vietnam war hawk stance took him away from dove King. The war debate also broke up the S.P. In 1973, Rustin and Suall, still for the Vietnam war, set up Social Democrats USA, with Rustin as National Chairman. 

After the U.S. defeat, Rustin focused on Israel. In 1975 he set up a Black Americans in Support of Israel Committee, with heavy Black Democratic support and Zionist funding. Young signed up, as did David Dinkins, later mayor of New York, but it had no popular following with Israel’s alliance with apartheid South Africa before American Blacks’ eyes. Even Rustin had to voice a “deep sense of concern and disturbance” when Israel brought South African Prime Minister Johannes Vorster to the Wailing Wall in April 1976. [37] Yet his zealotry for Zionism continued. In 1984, he appeared as a character witness for Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon when he sued Time Magazine for libel for a 1983 article saying that Sharon urged the Lebanese Phalangists to avenge leader Bachir Gemayel's death by the September 1982 Sabra and Shátila massacre of hundreds of Palestinians. To put Rustin’s testimony into perspective, readers should know that the Israeli government’s own Kahan Commission later found Israel indirectly responsible for the event and compelled Sharon to resign as head of the Ministry. 

Rustin’s later-day pro-Zionism was looked upon as apostasy by many civil rights activists as they morphed into anti-apartheid fighters. To this day Reverend Matt Jones, the second most arrested civil rights era campaigner, will not sing at any demo on any issue unless he is allowed to denounce Israel. Elombe Brath, New York’s prime anti-apartheid organizer, routinely had this writer and other anti-Zionist Jews speak at anti-apartheid rallies. 

The word got out to the broad community. Typically, a Jewish civil servant told me of how pleased her Black colleagues were when they complained about the apartheid alliance and discovered that she was anti-Zionist. But rank and file Black anti-apartheid activists focused on what Israel was doing to Africans via the alliance, rather than on what Zionism did to Palestinians and, after apartheid’s downfall, most didn’t continue on in the anti-Zionist movement. 

On the electoral level, John Lewis and the Black Congressional Caucus talked against apartheid, but Michigan Democrat John Conyers went further and critiqued Israel’s alliance with apartheid. The other Caucus Democrats generally evaded the alliance, concerned about Zionist campaign contributions. But not talking about the alliance de facto meant not mobilizing the community, which would have asked about the collaboration, putting them on the spot re party funders. Conyers could talk about Israel because Michigan is the one state where Arabs are a significant proportion of the vote. 

What Should We Learn from this History?

What must we learn from these decades of Black rights leaders’ thinking about Zionism, first as an idealistic notion, then as Israel, an on the ground political fact? The civil rights struggle was successful. Millions of Blacks gained legal equality. But King’s assassin killed the mind behind the Poor People’s Campaign. After his death, it organized one badly planed encampment in Washington, then vanished. Now King’s birthday is a legal holiday, but millions of Blacks and others still live in poverty. In 2010, America’s first Black President commemorated King’s birthday by going to a soup kitchen and feeding some poor. Did that traditional charitable gesture honor King? Of course not. That Black President then went right back to bailing out the rich. 

The best way to honor the founder of the Poor People’s Campaign is to study his political strengths and weaknesses and then use that knowledge to help abolish poverty in America and injustice around the world. Studying his politics includes, among other things, dealing with his public pro-Israel statement, his off-the-record concerns about it, and his last two meetings with Carmichael, a proud anti-Zionist. 

What would King have done had he lived thru years of open alliance between Zionism and apartheid? He would have been 84 in 2013. What would King say, today, when Israel is the only country in the U.N. that doesn’t condemn the U.S. embargo on Cuba, whose 41,000 soldiers were the decisive force defeating South Africa’s army in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola in 1987-88. That defeat convince apartheid’s leaders that it was time to hand over power to the African National Congress. Do you, dear reader, need a "weatherman" to know what King would have said, today, about the U.S, Cuba and Israeli apartheid? 

1 - Manning Marable, W.E.B. Du Bois: Black Radical Democrat, Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1986, p. 100.
2 - Margaret Truman, Harry S. Truman, Morrow, New York, 1973, p. 386.
3 - Daniel Guerin, Negroes on the March, 1951, Rene Julliard, Paris, [English edition, updated Oct. 9, 1954, published February 1956], pp. 116, 179.
4 - Scott Shane, “To Investigate or Not: Four Ways to Look Back at Bush,” New York Times, www.nytimes.com/2009/02/22/weekinreview
5 - Saul Friedlander, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945, Harper Collins, New York, 2007, p. 304.
6 - Eliyahu Matzozky, “The Responses of American Jewry and its Representative Organizations, November 24, 1942 and April 19, 1943,” unpublished Masters Thesis, Yeshiva University, app. II.
7 - Sarah Peck, “The Campaign for an American Response to the Nazi Holocaust, 1943-1945,” Journal of Contemporary History, April 1980, p. 374.
8 - Marc Schneier, Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. & The Jewish Community, Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, Vt., 2009, p. 45.
9 - Joachim Prinz, “America Must Not Remain Silent,” Congress bi-Weekly, October 7, 1963, p. 3.
10 - Joachim Prinz, “Zionism under the Nazi Government,” Young Zionist, London, November 1937, p. 18.
11 - Joachim Prinz and Lenni Brenner, “Excerpts from an Interview, February 8, 1981,” 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With The Nazis, Barricade Books, Fort Lee, NJ, 2002, pp. 104-105.
12 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X.
13 - http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry telegram_from_martin_luther_king_jr_to_betty_al_shabazz/.
14 - George Breitman, The Last Year of Malcolm X: The Evolution of a Revolutionary, Pathfinder, New York, 1967, pp. 63, 92.
15 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki March_on_Washington#Controversy_over_John_Lewis.27_speech.
16 - Stokely Carmichael with Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Scribner, New York, 2003, p. 557.
17 - Ibid, p. 558.
18 - Ibid, p. 558.
19 - Ibid, pp. 560-561.
20 - Michael Kaufman, “Stokely Carmichael, Rights Leader Who Coined 'Black Power,” Dies at 57,” New York Times, November 16, 1998 www.nytimes.com/1998/11/16/us/
21 - Murray Friedman, What Went Wrong: The Creation and Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance. Free Press, New York, 1995, pp. 248-249.
22 - Abraham Foxman, “Black Activist Disparages Jews,” New York Times (Letters), March 11, 1996, p.16.
23 - Lenni Brenner, “Anti-Zionism Doesn’t Equal Anti-Semitism,” New York Times, (Letters), March 16, 1996, p. A20.
24 - Michael Kaufman, “Stokely Carmichael, Rights Leader Who Coined 'Black Power,' Dies at 57,” New York Times, November 16, 1998.
25 - Carmichael, pp. 647-648.
26 - Friedman, p. 252.
27 - Schneier, pp. 142, 182.
28 - John Rothman, “Nixon’s Israel support cannot excuse his anti-Semitism,” www.jweekly.com/article/full/4734/nixon-s-israel-support-cannot-excuse-his-anti-semitism.
29 - Schneier, p. 178.
30 - Ibid, p. 213.
31 - Carmichael, pp. 661-662.
32 - Robert Weisbord and Richard Kazarian, Jr., Israel in the Black American Perspective, Greenwood Press, Westport, Ct., 1985, p. 122.
33 - Rick Atkinson, “Peace with American Jews Eludes Jackson,” Washington Post, Feb. 13, 1984, p.186.
34 - http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/10/obama-camp-resp.html.
35 - "Thomas Upholds CIA-Aided Work." New York Times, Feb. 22, 1967, p.17.
36 - Tom Braden, "I'm Glad the CIA's Immoral," Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967, pp. 10-14.
37 - Weisbord and Kazarian, p. 94.
Lenni Brenner can be contacted at BrennerL21@aol.com.


From Mark Crispin Miler :
Date: 21 January 2013
Subject: Thousands of blacks were forced into slavery until World War 2.


The South's Shocking Hidden History: Thousands of Blacks Forced Into Slavery Until WW2

by Douglas A. Blackmon [1]

On July 31, 1903, a letter addressed to President Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the White House. It had been mailed from the town of Bainbridge, Georgia, the prosperous seat of a cotton county perched on the Florida state line.

The sender was a barely literate African American woman named Carrie Kinsey. With little punctuation and few capital letters, she penned the bare facts of the abduction of her fourteen-year-old brother, James Robinson, who a year earlier had been sold into involuntary servitude.

Kinsey had already asked for help from the powerful white people in her world. She knew where her brother had been taken—a vast plantation not far away called Kinderlou. There, hundreds of black men and boys were held in chains and forced to labor in the fields or in one of several factories owned by the McRee family, one of the wealthiest and most powerful in Georgia. No white official in this corner of the state would take an interest in the abduction and enslavement of a black teenager.

Confronted with a world of indifferent white people, Mrs. Kinsey did the only remaining thing she could think of. Newspapers across the country had recently reported on a speech by Roosevelt promising a “square deal” for black Americans. Mrs. Kinsey decided that her only remaining hope was to beg the president of the United States to help her brother.

“Mr. Prassident,” she wrote. “They wont let me have him.… He hase not don nothing for them to have him in chanes so I rite to you for your help.”

Considered more than a century later, her letter courses with desperation and submerged outrage. Yet when received at the White House, it was slipped into a small rectangular folder and forwarded to the Department of Justice. There, it was tagged with a reference number, 12007, and filed away. Teddy Roosevelt never saw it. No action was taken. Her words lie still at the National Archives just outside Washington, D.C.

As dumbfounding as the story told by the Carrie Kinsey letter is, far more remarkable is what surrounds that letter at the National Archives. In the same box that holds her grief-stricken missive are at least half a dozen other pieces of correspondence recounting other stories of kidnapping, perversion of the courts, or human trafficking—as horrifying as, or worse than, Carrie Kinsey’s tale. It is the same in the next box on the shelf. And the one before. And the ones on either side of those. And the next and the next. And on and on. Thousands and thousands of plaintive letters and grimly bureaucratic responses—altogether at least 30,000 pages of original material—chronicle cases of forced labor and involuntary servitude in the South decades after the end of the Civil War.

“i have a little girl that has been kidnapped from me … and i cant get her out,” wrote Reverend L. R. Farmer, pastor of a black Baptist church in Morganton, North Carolina. “i want ask you is it law for people to whip (col) people and keep them and not allow them to leave without a pass.”

A farmer near Pine Apple, Alabama, named J. R. Adams, writing of terrible abuses by the dominant landowning family in the county, was one of the astonishingly few white southerners who also complained to the Department of Justice. “They have held negroes … for years,” Adams wrote. “It is a very rare thing that a negro escapes.”

A similar body of material rests in the files of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the one institution that undertook any sustained effort to address at least the most terrible cases. Dwarfing everything at those repositories are the still largely unexamined collections of local records in courthouses across the South. In dank basements, abandoned buildings, and local archives, seemingly endless numbers of files contain hundreds of thousands of handwritten entries documenting in monotonous granularity the details of an immense, metastasizing horror that stretched well into the twentieth century.

By the first years after 1900, tens of thousands of African American men and boys, along with a smaller number of women, had been sold by southern state governments. An exponentially larger number, of whom surviving records are painfully incomplete, had been forced into labor through county and local courts, backwoods justices of the peace, and outright kidnapping and trafficking. The total number of those re-enslaved in the seventy-five years between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War II can’t be precisely determined, but based on the records that do survive, we can safely say it happened to hundreds of thousands. How many more African Americans circumscribed their lives in dramatic ways, or abandoned all to flee the South entirely, to avoid that fate or mob violence? It is impossible to know. Millions. Generations.

This is not an easy story for Americans to receive, much less accept. The idea that not just civil rights but basic freedom itself was denied to an enormous population of African Americans until the middle of the twentieth century fits nowhere in the triumphalist, steady-progress, greatest-generations accounts we prefer for our national narrative. That the thrilling events depicted in Steven Spielberg’s recent film Lincoln—the heroic, frenzied campaign by Abraham Lincoln leading to passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery—were in fact later trumped not just by discrimination and segregation but by the resurrection of a full-blown derivative of slavery itself.

This story of re-enslavement is irrefutably true, however. Indeed, even as Spielberg’s film conveys the euphoria felt by African Americans and all opposed to slavery upon passage of the amendment in 1865, it also unintentionally foreshadows the demise of that brighter future. On the night of the amendment’s passage in the film, the African American housekeeper and, as presented in the film, secret lover of the abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, played by the actress S. Epatha Merkerson, reads the amendment aloud. First, the sweeping banishment of slavery. And then, an often overlooked but powerful prepositional phrase: “except as a punishment for crime.”

It began with Reconstruction. Faced with empty government coffers, a paralyzing intellectual inability to contemplate equitable labor arrangements with former chattel, profound resentment against the emancipated freedmen, and a desperate economic need to force black workers back into the fields, white landowners and government officials began using the South’s criminal courts to compel African Americans back into slavery.

In the first years after the Civil War, even as former slaves optimistically swarmed into new schools and lined up at courthouses at every whisper of a hope of economic independence, the Southern states began enacting an array of interlocking laws that would make all African Americans criminals, regardless of their conduct, and thereby making it legal to force them into chain gangs, labor camps, and other forms of involuntarily servitude. By the end of 1865, every Southern state except Arkansas and Tennessee had passed laws outlawing vagrancy and defining it so vaguely that virtually any freed slave not under the protection of a white man could be arrested for the crime. An 1865 Mississippi statute required black workers to enter into labor contracts with white farmers by January 1 of every year or risk arrest. Four other states legislated that African Americans could not legally be hired for work without a discharge paper from their previous employer—effectively preventing them from leaving the plantation of the white man they worked for.

After the return of nearly complete white political control in 1877, the passage of those laws accelerated. Some, particularly those that explicitly said they applied only to African Americans, were struck down in court appeals or through federal interventions, but new statutes embracing the same strictures on black life quickly replaced them. Most of the new laws were written as if they applied to everyone, but in reality they were overwhelmingly enforced only against African Americans.

In the 1880s, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida passed laws making it a crime for a black man to change employers without permission. It was a crime for a black man to speak loudly in the company of a white woman, a crime to have a gun in his pocket, and a crime to sell the proceeds of his farm to anyone other than the man he rented land from. It was a crime to walk beside a railroad line, a crime to fail to yield a sidewalk to white people, a crime to sit among whites on a train, and it was most certainly a crime to engage in sexual relations with—or, God forbid, to show true love and affection for—a white girl.

And that’s how it happened. Within a few years of the passage of these laws, tens of thousands of black men and boys, and a smaller number of black women, were being arrested and sold into forced labor camps by state officials, local judges, and sheriffs. During this time, some actual criminals were sold into slavery, and a small percentage of them were white. But the vast majority were black men accused of trivial or trumped-up crimes. Compelling evidence indicates that huge numbers had in fact committed no offense whatsoever. As the system grew, countless white farmers and businessmen jostled to “lease” as many black “criminals” as they could. Soon, huge numbers of other African Americans were simply being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The forced labor camps they found themselves in were islands of squalor and brutality. Thousands died of disease, malnourishment, and abuse. Mortality rates in some years exceeded 40 percent. At the same time, this new slavery trade generated millions of dollars for state and local governments—for many years it was the single largest source of income for the state of Alabama. As these laws and practices expanded across the South, they became the primary means to terrorize African Americans, and to coerce them into going along with other exploitative labor arrangements, like sharecropping, that are more familiar to twenty-first-century Americans.

This was the terrifying trap into which Carrie Kinsey’s young brother had been drawn. After a trip through the counties near Kinsey’s home, W. E. B. Du Bois, who was then teaching at Atlanta’s Morehouse College, described in 1905 one such convict farm. “It is a depressing place—bare, unshaded, with no charm of past association, only a memory of forced human toil—now, then, and before the war,” he wrote. He described black farmworkers who never saw wages because charges for rent and food always exceeded any compensation. “A dismal place it still remains, with rows of ugly huts filled with surly ignorant tenants,” Du Bois wrote. “And now and then it blazes forth in veiled but hot anger.”

Du Bois could easily have been describing Kinderlou, where Kinsey’s brother was taken. Encompassing 22,000 acres, it was an enterprise that dwarfed any antebellum definition of the word “plantation.” Owned by state Representative Edward McRee and his brothers, Kinderlou was an unparalleled center of economic and political power in Georgia. By 1900, the siblings had inherited the enterprise from their father, a noted Confederate officer named George McRee. Each lived in a lavish mansion within a square mile of the center of the plantation, basking in the subtropical warmth of the Gulf Coast.

Between them, an empire bustled with enslaved laborers. Consuming the bulk of an entire county, Kinderlou included thousands of acres of lushly fertile sandy loam, and thousands more of dense pine and hardwood. On a private spur of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad thrust into the center of the plantation, dozens of boxcars waited at all times for the hundreds of thousands of bushels of tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, corn, tobacco, and cotton. The McRees owned their own cotton gins, compresses to make bales, and warehouses to store enormous quantities of lint. A five-horsepower steam engine ground the plantation’s sugarcane to make syrup. Five eighty-foot-long barns were built to cure tobacco, and a factory produced thousands of pallets, wooden crates, and baskets for shipping produce. Deep in the forests, McRee turpentine camps collected rosin for their naval stores distillery.

Initially, the McRees hired only free black labor, but beginning in the 1890s they routinely leased a hundred or more convicts from the state of Georgia to perform the grueling work of clearing land, removing stumps, ditching fields, and constructing roads. Other prisoners hoed, plowed, and weeded the crops. Over the course of fifteen years, thousands of men and women were forced to Kinderlou and held in stockades under the watch of armed guards. After the turn of the century, the brothers began to arrange for even more forced laborers through the sheriffs of nearby counties in Georgia and Florida—fueling what eventually grew into a sprawling traffic in humans.

A black worker in 1904 described to a journalist how he arrived at the farm at age ten as a free laborer. A few years later, he attempted to leave to work at another plantation. Before sundown on the day of his departure, one of the McRees and “some kind of law officer” tracked him down. The new employer apologized to the McRees for hiring the young worker, saying he would never have done so if he had known “this nigger was bound out to you.”

“So I was carried back to the Captain’s,” the man said later. “That night he made me strip off my clothing down to my waist, had me tied to a tree in his backyard, ordered his foreman to gave me thirty lashes with a buggy whip across my bare back, and stood by until it was done.”

When his labor contract finally expired after a decade, the man was told he could leave Kinderlou, so long as he could pay his accumulated debt at the plantation commissary—$165, the rough equivalent of two years’ labor for a free farmer. Unable to do so, of course, he was compelled to sign a contract promising to work on the farm until the debt was paid, but now as a convict.

He and other “prison laborers” slept each night in the same clothes they wore in the fields, on rotting mattresses infested with pests. Many were chained to their beds. Food was crude and minimal. The disobedient were tied to a log lying on their backs, while a guard spanked their bare feet with a plank of wood. After a slave was untied, if he could not return to work on his blistered feet, he was strapped to the log again, this time facedown, and lashed with a leather whip. Women prisoners were held across a barrel and whipped on their bare bottoms.

In the summer of 1903, the assistant U.S. attorney in Macon, Georgia, began a brief investigation into Kinderlou’s army of black laborers held against their will. He discovered that the brothers had arrangements with sheriffs and other officers in at least six other Georgia counties. These law enforcement officials would seize blacks on the grounds that they were “committing crimes,” often specious and sometimes altogether made up, and then sell them to the McRees and other businessmen, without ever going through the regular processes of the criminal courts. When the McRees learned of the investigation, they hastily freed the workers being held involuntarily. At least forty fled immediately.

James Robinson, the brother of Carrie Kinsey, may have been one of them, though federal officials never connected her allegations to the Kinderlou investigation. Even if Kinsey’s brother’s case had been investigated, her letter misspelled the name of the plantation.

In November 1903, a grand jury indicted the McRee brothers on thirteen specific counts of holding African American men and women illegally. Many of those enslaved had never been charged or tried in any fashion. Several public officials were indicted for conspiring to buy and sell blacks arrested on trivial or fabricated charges and then turning them over to the McRees. Sheriff Thomas J. McClellan, resorting to an audacious legal defense employed repeatedly in the handful of slavery cases brought by federal officials in the early twentieth century, argued that since no federal law specifically made slavery a crime, he could not be guilty of violating it. In effect, he claimed slavery was not illegal in the United States.

A member of the U.S. Congress submitted a legal brief in support of the sheriff, and prominent state officials sat at the defendants’ table during a hearing on a challenge to their charges. Across Georgia, operators of lumber camps, where thousands of other men were being held under similarly dubious circumstances, watched the proceedings closely. Appearing with his brothers before a Savannah courtroom, Edward McRee assured the judge that while his family had held many African Americans in the four decades since slavery’s abolition, they had never intended to enslave anyone or break the law. “Though we are probably technically guilty we did not know it,” he told the court. “This custom has been [in] existence ever since the war.… We never knew that we were doing anything wrong.”

The judge, hoping to avoid inflaming the anger of local whites, dispensed symbolic punishments. The McRees were allowed to plead guilty and pay a token fine of $1,000. In the wake of that trial and other failed prosecutions in the first years of the century, the U.S. Department of Justice turned a blind eye to such practices for the next forty years. Only the advent of World War II, a declining need for low-skill laborers, and a new era of federal prosecution would finally bring a true end to American slavery.

More than 100 years after Carrie wrote her letter, I received an unexpected call from a man who identified himself as Bernard Kinsey. He believed he was one of Carrie’s cousins.

Her letter had haunted me through years of research for the book I wrote on re-enslavement. What those few lines conveyed—the seizure of a teenage boy and his sale to a powerful businessman, the abject refusal of authorities to assist her, the brutalization of thousands of other blacks on the same plantation, the heroism of Carrie in seeking the aid of President Roosevelt, and, finally, the futility of her letter—captured the entire epic tragedy of black life in the rural South in the time between the Civil War and World War II. Even to this day, I find myself turning back to her story, resifting census records and cemetery records, looking for the fate of her brother. Did he escape? Did he die at Kinderlou? The answer still eludes me.

Bernard Kinsey represented the counter story. He told me that the Kinsey family fled to Florida not long after the McRee trial of 1903. Bernard’s father opened one grocery store. Then more. Bernard graduated from Florida A&M University in 1967, and a few years later he became one of the first black employees of Xerox Corp. Twenty years later, he retired as a senior executive, one of more than 10,000 African Americans at the company. He then became a major civic leader in Los Angeles, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, and one of the leading collectors of African American art and artifacts in the U.S.

Here was the valiance of African Americans who persevered against immeasurable odds. Here was the miracle that American society survived its sweeping betrayal of its own values, its collective dishonoring and debasement of Lincoln’s achievement, the euphoric crowds of 1865 and all those who had died in the Civil War. Ultimately, it is only in a full revelation of all three narratives—of Lincoln and the Thirteenth Amendment, of re-enslavement and the failure of American character, and of the slow ongoing resurrection of our values through the struggle of citizens such as Bernard Kinsey—that we can begin to understand the progress we have made, and the progress we have yet to achieve.

A few weeks after the publication of my book, the great-great-granddaughter of a white industrialist and enslaver of thousands in Atlanta wrote me to describe her pain at discovering a personal connection to these events—and the importance of not looking away from them. “We did not know of any of this before,” she wrote. “But I believe that the ghosts of slavery and racism and the terrorism inflicted within our own country must not be hidden away but brought out into the open.… Without the whole truth, we live only in illusions.”

See more stories tagged with:
slavery [2],
labor [3],
world war ii [4]

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/souths-shocking-hidden-history-thousands-blacks-forced-slavery-until-ww2

[1] http://www.alternet.org/authors/douglas-blackmon
[2] http://www.alternet.org/tags/slavery
[3] http://www.alternet.org/tags/labor-0
[4] http://www.alternet.org/tags/world-war-ii
[5] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

From Historians against War :
Date: 4 February 2013
Subject: [haw-info] Iran War Weekly - February 3, 2013.

Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
February 3, 2013

Hello All – Using the annual Munich Security Conference as a platform, it appears that the United States, the EU, and Iran have agreed to meet in Kazakhstan during the week of February 25th to renew negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program.  The actual meeting may not be a done deal, however, as Iran has stressed the need for a realistic agenda for the next meeting, one that would at least end some of the economic sanctions and indicate a willingness to accept Iran’s right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium as part of a civilian nuclear program.  Despite this caveat, the announcement of negotiations is a welcome breakthrough, as diplomacy has been snoozing since last June, and Iran’s presidential election in June probably means that further negotiations will not be possible beyond March.

The renewed negotiations appear (underline, appear) to have been jump started by Vice President Biden’s announcement at Munich that the United States was willing to meet with Iran if serious negotiations were possible.  Iran has long insisted that direct negotiations with the United States was the key to resolving the many disputes between the two countries, of which Iran’s nuclear program is only one.  Whether Biden’s statement represents a post-election readiness of the Obama administration to negotiate seriously with Iran remains to be seen.

Just as it was impossible for the Obama administration to make any diplomatic moves toward Iran prior to the November election, it will be very unlikely that Iran’s domestic politics will allow much flexibility on its nuclear positions before their June election.  In the good/useful reading below I’ve linked several articles that reflect the fierce political struggles among what used to be considered Iran’s “conservatives,” who, now that there are no longer “reformers” or “liberals” on the scene, have established the main fracture in the Iranian political elite between “traditionalists” and “populists” (e.g. Ahmadinejad).  It is hard to say whether the growing dominance of the “traditionalists” will make a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 more likely.

While diplomatic doors are cautiously opening, Israel’s attack on Syria last week cracks open the door to war with Iran.  As noted below, Iran’s recent statement that it would consider an attack on Syria to be an attack on itself was quickly followed by Israel’s attack on what it claimed to be Syrian weapons bound for Hezbollah.  Whether through accident or design, Israeli military action against Syria that draws in Iran would of course obligate the United States to also attack Iran, with calamitous results.

Once again I would like to thank those of you who have helped in distributing the Iran War Weekly and/or linking it on websites.  Previous “issues” of the IWW can be read at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383.  If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.

Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

The US Needs a Completely Different Approach to Iran
By Flynt and Hillary Leverett, Race for Iran [January 31, 2013]
---- As Washington and its great power partners prepare for more nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration and policy elites across the political spectrum talk as if America is basically in control of the situation. Sanctions, we are told, are inflicting ever-rising hardship on Iran’s economy. Either Tehran will surrender to U.S. demands that it stop enriching uranium or, at some point, the American military will destroy Iranian nuclear installations. This is a dangerous delusion, grounded in persistent American illusions about Middle Eastern reality. … We return from our latest visit to Iran convinced this is the only way diplomacy can succeed. No one who has walked the streets of Tehran, seen that Iran’s economy is not imploding, and talked with a range of Iranians could think that sanctions – as severe as they are and might become – will compel either Iran’s collapse or its surrender. The only thing that will work is accepting the Islamic Republic and acknowledging its interests and rights – including safeguarded enrichment. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/01/31/the-u-s-needs-a-completely-different-approach-to-iran/

In Which Direction Will the 2nd Obama Administration’s Foreign Policy Move?
By Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Iran Review [February 2, 2013]
[FB - For those who must wade through US-based “Iran-ology,” I thought this Iranian analysis of the post-election Obama administration tea leaves might be interesting.]
---- The people who Obama has chosen for his new national security and foreign policy teams are characterized by two prominent features. The first feature is the past familiarity as well as ease of contact and interaction between them and Obama. This means that the new people in key posts are familiar with Obama’s ways and, as a result, he will be probably facing fewer problems compared to his first term when dealing with everyday affairs of the United States foreign policy. Their second feature is their good command of internal politics of the United States. This also means that they will face less practical problems both inside and outside the United States. However, despite all the explanation about the behavior and composition of these groups, it should be noted that the US foreign policy is finally implemented within framework of a complex political context.. http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Complicated-but-Innovative-Diplomacy.htm

American and Iranian Apes on a Treadmill
By Paul R. Pillar, National Interest [January 26, 2013]
---- The late Paul Warnke, who was the chief arms control negotiator in Jimmy Carter's administration, wrote an article in 1975 that was a critique of the U.S.-Soviet arms race and was titled, “Apes on a Treadmill.” Warnke saw the two superpowers as waging an endless competition that was not in either country's interest and argued that the United States should take the first step off the treadmill. There are many differences, of course, between the U.S.-Soviet competition in strategic arms and the current confrontation between the United States and Iran. The most obvious one, apart from Iran being nothing close to a superpower, is that on the Iranian side there are no nuclear weapons, the regime says it does not want such weapons, and the U.S. intelligence community says the regime has not decided to build such weapons. The nuclear weapons most involved are the ones owned by Israel, which wants to preserve its regional nuclear weapons monopoly. http://server1.nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/american-iranian-apes-treadmill-8025

Waking Up to Iran’s Real History
By David Swanson, War is a Crime [January 11, 2013]
[A review of M. Lachlan White, Waking Up in Tehran: Love and Intrigue in Revolutionary Iran, due to be published this spring.]
---- Waking Up in Tehran is the memoir of Margot White, an American human rights activist who became an ally of pro-democracy Iranian student groups in 1977, traveled to Iran, supported the revolution, met with the hostage-takers in the embassy, became a public figure, worked with the Kurdish resistance when the new regime attacked the Kurds for being infidels, married an Iranian, and was at home with her husband in Tehran when armed representatives of the government finally banged on the door. I’m not going to give away what happened next. This book will transport you into the world of a gripping novel, but you’ll emerge with a political, cultural, and even linguistic education. This is an action-adventure that would, in fact, make an excellent movie — or even a film trilogy.  http://consortiumnews.com/2013/01/11/waking-up-to-irans-real-history/

(Audio) An Interview with Muhammad Sahimi
By Scott Horton [January 25, 2013] – 60 minutes
---- Muhammad Sahimi, political columnist and professor of chemical engineering, discusses how Iran’s religious dictatorship can be traced back to the 1953 CIA coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq; the 2009 Iranian election and subsequent crackdown on political opposition; how Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has squandered Iran’s oil revenues and created a kleptocracy; and why the US needs to mind its own business and let Iranians institute their own political reforms.

Official Says Iran Is Open to New Round of Nuclear Talks
By Steven Erlanger, New York Times [February 3, 2013]
---- Iran’s foreign minister said Sunday that his country was open to a renewed offer of direct talks with the United States on its nuclear program and looked favorably on a proposal for a new round of multilateral nuclear negotiations on Feb. 25 in Kazakhstan. But the Iranian official, Ali Akbar Salehi, does not have the power in the Iranian system to decide these matters on his own, so his comments were viewed by European and American officials as more atmospheric, designed for the trans-Atlantic audience at the Munich Security Conference, than definitive. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/world/middleeast/irans-foreign-minister-calls-for-new-round-of-nuclear-talks.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print

Low Chance for Nuclear Deal Before Iran’s 2013 Presidential Election
By Mohammad Ali Shabani, Lobe Log [January 30, 2013]
---- After the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) in Moscow last June, dialogue at the senior political level was put on ice due to the American presidential vote. Eighty-five days have passed since the re-election of Barack Obama, and high-level talks between Iran and the P5+1 have yet to resume. There are many reasons for this. ,,, The most important factor affecting Iranian behavior, however, is how it has entered its election cycle. Tehran is filled with debate and rumors about likely presidential candidates and what they’ll be able to do after assuming office. Western policymakers would be wise to recognize that all politics is local and show an understanding for how the Iranian presidential elections may slow down dialogue. www.lobelog.com/low-chance-for-nuclear-deal-before-irans-2013-presidential-election/

The Iranian Nuclear Program is Speeding Up
Iran Is Said to Be Set to Accelerate Uranium Enrichment
By Alan Cowell, New York Times [January 31, 2013]
---- Iran has told the United Nations nuclear supervisory body that it plans to install more sophisticated equipment at its principal nuclear enrichment plant, a diplomat said on Thursday, enabling it to greatly accelerate its processing of uranium in a move likely to alarm the United States, Israel and the West. Currently, Iran uses less reliable IR1 models developed in the 1970s, but has been reported for several years to be trying to enhance its enrichment capability with newer centrifuges developed domestically from technology initially acquired from Pakistan. The Associated Press quoted a diplomat in Vienna as saying Iran had told the I.A.E.A. it planned to install over 3,000 of the IR2m centrifuges in addition to thousands of the older models at Natanz. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/world/middleeast/iran-is-said-to-be-set-to-accelerate-uranium-enrichment.html?ref=world&_r=0

Diplomats: Iran Prepared to Up Nuclear Program
From the Associated Press [January 31, 2013]

The Iranian Nuclear Program is Slowing Down
Israel: Iran slowing nuclear program, won’t have bomb before 2015
By Sheera Frenkel, McClatchy Newspapers [January 28, 2013]
---- Israeli intelligence officials now estimate that Iran won’t be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 or 2016, pushing back by several years previous assessments of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Intelligence briefings given to McClatchy over the last two months have confirmed that various officials across Israel’s military and political echelons now think it’s unrealistic that Iran could develop a nuclear weapons arsenal before 2015. Others pushed the date back even further, to the winter of 2016. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/01/28/181276/israel-iran-slowing-nuclear-program.html#storylink=cpy

Phantom Menace: The Iran Nuke “Threat”
By Ben Schreiner, Counterpunch [January 30, 2013]

Ahmadinejad to make first Egypt visit by Iran head in decades
From Reuters [February 2, 2013]
---- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Cairo next week, becoming the first Iranian president to travel to Egypt since Iran's 1979 revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two most populous countries in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad will head Iran's delegation to a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, said Amani Mojtaba, head of Iran's interest section in Cairo, which it maintains in the absence of an official embassy. http://news.yahoo.com/ahmadinejad-first-egypt-visit-iran-head-decades-162747693.html

Report: Ex-Iran FM Mottaki slams Iran negotiating team
By Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor [January 30, 2013]
---- Former Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki has reportedly delivered a stinging assessment of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team. He cast Iran’s negotiators, in comments reported by Iranian news site Baztab, as amateurish and given to posturing, more obsessed with what city to hold nuclear talks, than in making diplomatic progress that could help relieve economic hardship suffered by the Iranian people. http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/01/4232/ex-iran-fm-mottaki-slams-iran-nuclear-negotiating-team/#ixzz2Jrx8S6cp

Iran’s Coming Presidential Election (June 2013)
Changes To Iran's Election Law Seen As Attempt To Prevent Ahmadinejad Influence
By Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [Janaury 30, 2013]
---- Iran's Guardians Council has approved changes to the country’s election law that significantly diminish the government’s authority over elections. A Guardians Council spokesman said the new law stipulates that elections will be run by a new central election board made up of representatives from the three branches of power, as well as seven "national, political, social, and cultural" figures.  Previously, the Interior Ministry was tasked with organizing and overseeing all elections. Now it will play a much smaller role. The changes, which come as the Islamic republic prepares for a June 14 presidential vote, appear to be a preemptive move to prevent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad from using his office to manipulate the vote. http://www.rferl.org/content/changes-iran-election-law-power-struggle-ahmadinejad-khamenei/24888075.html

Iran Cracks Down on Journalists Ahead of Elections
By Omid Memarian, Al-Monitor [January 29, 2013]
---- Fourteen journalists in Iran were arrested this weekend [Jan. 26-27], and while Iranian officials say the mass arrests were not a result of the reporters’ “journalism activities” but security-related, reporters inside the country tell another story. … All 14 journalists belonged to the so-called reformist camp. The raid is considered the most aggressive crackdown on independent media since the 2009 presidential election, which was followed with the arrests of hundreds of reformist journalists and political activists, many of them still in prison after receiving long-term prison sentences. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/iran-newspapers-14-reformist-journalists-arrested.html#ixzz2JVMFrxVR

Iran’s Parliament Sacks Another Ahmadinejad Minister
By Jason Rezaian, Washington Post [February 3, 2013]
---- Iran’s parliament Sunday voted to impeach the country’s labor minister, the ninth minister from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet to be sacked during the president’s second term in office.
Sunday’s proceedings represent a dramatic escalation in the long-standing power struggle between Ahmadinejad and the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani.

Iran and Argentina Rapprochment
Argentina and Iran agree to interrogate suspects in Jewish center bombing in Teheran
From the Associated Press, [January 27, 2013]

Israel Rebukes Argentina for Deal With Iran to Investigate ’94 Attack
By Isabel Kershner, New York Times [January 29, 2013]

---- Although Iran and its nuclear program were barely visible in Israel’s recent election, Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately announced that the priority of his new government will be to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  He seized on the IAEA announcement that Iran was installing a new generation of nuclear centrifuges (article above) to stress the urgency of Israel’s situation, ignoring the simultaneous statements by Israeli Iran watchers that Iran had slowed its nuclear program (article above).

Netanyahu’s posturing adds another piece to the puzzle of what was the meaning of Israel’s attack on Syria last week.  For the first few days the front-burner question was what actually happened.  Now that it is clear that Israeli planes attacked several targets in Syria, the next questions are why and why now?  The standard answer – to prevent advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah – is presented in several of the articles linked below.  But I was struck – as was Paul Woodward in his article linked below – that the Israeli attack came immediately after Iran had stated that any attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran itself.  Is Israel trying to provoke Iran into attacking it, so that an Israeli attack on Iran would be justified as self-defense, and the Americans would be forced to intervene on the side of Israel?  We shall see.

Another piece of Israeli weirdness re: Iran last week was its support (and origination?) of the claim that there had been a giant explosion at Iran’s Fordow nuclear enrichment plant.  Within 48 hours everybody but the Israelis had announced that the story was a hoax; but why would Israeli get behind such an easily disprovable hoax unless a) it had really bad intelligence? or b) it simply didn’t care that the hoax would be unmasked quickly and its exponents discredited?  Myself, I’m baffled.

The Israeli Attack On Syria
Is Israel baiting Iran?
By Paul Woodward, War in Context [January 31, 2013]
---- Last week, Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that an “attack on Syria is considered attack on Iran.” Yesterday, in a dangerous act of brinkmanship, Israel called Iran’s bluff. But Israel doesn’t want to be perceived as risking provoking a war and so it portrayed its air strike on Syria as an imperative act of self defense necessitated by Syria’s alleged attempt to transport Russian-made SA-17 missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon. http://warincontext.org/2013/01/31/is-israel-baiting-iran/

Israelis: Missiles were at Syrian military base when aircraft struck
By Sheera Frenkel, McClatchy Newspapers [January 31, 2013]
---- The anti-aircraft missiles that were the target of a disputed Israeli airstrike on Syria this week were on a military base outside Damascus and had yet to reach the highway that leads to Lebanon when they were destroyed, two Israeli intelligence officials familiar with the air assault told McClatchy on Thursday. The officials differed on the details, with one saying that the convoy carrying the missiles was parked at a military base in the Jamraya district outside Damascus, while the other said the convoy was in the process of being moved from the base to the highway. But both agreed that the location of the base, less than five miles from the Lebanese border, made Israeli officials unwilling to wait any longer to attack.

US Green Lit Israeli Attacks on Syria, Approves Future Strikes
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [February 2, 2013]
---- More and more confirmations are coming across the media that the White House not only green lit Israel’s Wednesday attacks on Syria, but that they have offered a blanket approval for future strikes. The Wednesday attacks targeted several different sites in Syria, and the Syrian government has shown footage of the aftermath of an attack on a military research facility, one which experts claim was regularly visited by Russian military personnel. … Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has become the first administration official to go on record about the attacks, saying that the US “fully backed” Israel in attacking Syria, adding that the US was concerned about possible transfers of anti-aircraft weapons because they might be used against “civilian aircraft.” http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/02/us-green-lit-israeli-attacks-on-syria-approves-future-strikes/

Also useful/interesting – Jason Ditz, “Obama ‘Green-Lit’ Israeli Attack on Syria,” Antiwar.com [February 1, 2013] http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/01/obama-green-lit-israeli-attack-on-syria/; and from War in Context “Syria Parries Israel With Verbal Strike,” [January 31, 2013] http://warincontext.org/2013/02/01/is-israel-heading-towards-yet-another-war/

The “Fordow Explosion” Hoax
Israeli Officials Peddle False Stories of Explosion in Iran
John Glaser, January 28, 2013
---- Did Israeli government officials aggressively promote an unsubstantiated story about an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility? According to Ali Gharib at The Daily Beast, yes. He writes that it is “an object lesson that shows just how far some press—and even Israeli government officials—have gone down the rabbit hole on Iran issues by propagating a story reported on a conspiracy website.” Reports have been circulating for days claiming there was such an explosion at the Iranian enrichment facility at Fordow. It might have just disappeared, but Israeli officials started pushing the story in the press, without citing any evidence, of course. http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/01/28/israeli-officials-peddle-false-stories-of-explosion-in-iran/

Also useful/interesting – Jason Ditz, “IAEA: No Sign of Explosion at Iran Enrichment Plant,”  Antiwar.com [January 29, 2013] http://news.antiwar.com/2013/01/29/iaea-no-sign-of-explosion-at-iran-enrichment-plant/; and Zachary Keck, “Iran’s Fordow Nuclear Site “Explosion,” The Diplomat [January 30, 2013] http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/01/30/irans-fordow-nuclear-site-explosion/?all=true

Executive Orders and Legislative Acts Regarding Current Iran Sanctions
[A comprehensive list, with links to the documents, from 1984 to date.]

The United States Could Be Violating Its Own Iran Sanctions
By Brian Fung, The Atlantic [January 31, 2013]
---- It's hard to think of another case where sanctions have had such drastic effects on a country's economy so quickly. Iran used to export 2.14 million barrels of oil every day; that was two years ago. Now that number stands at some 890,000. … But despite the U.S. campaign to marginalize Iran, a new report suggests Washington may be unwittingly undercutting its own efforts by buying up Iranian oil -- a clear violation of the sanctions prohibiting almost all economic activity with the pariah state. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/01/the-united-states-could-be-violating-its-own-iran-sanctions/272714/

Et Tu, Karzai? Afghanistan Violates US Iran Sanctions
By Nick Schwellenbach, WhoWhatWhy [January 30, 2013]

Iran crude oil exports rise to highest since EU sanctions
From Reuters [January 31, 2013]
---- Iran's crude oil exports in December leapt to their highest level since European Union sanctions took effect last July, analysts and shipping sources said, as strong Chinese demand and tanker fleet expansion helped the OPEC member dodge sanctions. Exports rose to around 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, according to two industry sources and shipping and customs data

Syria: How We Can End the Bloodshed
By Jonathan Steele, The Guardian [January 31, 2013]
---- The motives behind Israel's attack on Syria on Wednesday are still as obscure as the nature of the target. But two things seem clear. It was related to Israel's long war with Hezbollah in Lebanon rather than any desire to intervene in the fighting in Syria. Yet the attack was also a reminder that Syria's turmoil is having dangerously unpredictable consequences across the region. Finding a viable political solution is therefore all the more urgent. So it was good to hear that Moaz al-Khatib, who leads the Syrian National Coalition – the group of exiles who support armed intervention against the Syrian government and are backed by western and Gulf Arab states – now advocates talks with Basher al-Assad's people. This is not the view of French, British and US leaders or most of Khatib's Syrian colleagues, who talk vaguely of a political outcome but only mean Assad's unilateral surrender. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/31/syria-israel-attack-political-solution

The US and Syria: Six lessons from the past
Marwan Bishara, Aljazeera [January 29, 2013]
---- "If the United States drew back from military intervention because of... congressional second-guessing and Soviet bluster, the Turks... refused to demobilise the 50,000 troops they amassed along their Syrian frontier."  These words read as though they're from the morning's paper. But this scenario played out in 1957 in Syria. Washington had finally backtracked on instigating another coup d'état after its covert plans were exposed. It would have been the fifth attempted coup, successful or otherwise, since Syrian independence a decade earlier. … Unfortunately, America rarely remembers how much Washington has mucked around in other countries even though there are valuable lessons to be learned from past experiences. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/2013129111028388160.html

(Video) Syria and the US: The complicity of silence
From Aljazeera [Empire] [January 30, 2013] – 50 minutes

(Video) Who supports who in Syria?
From Aljazeera [Inside Syria] [January 27, 2013] – 25 minutes
---- We look at how support for the regime and the rebels has ebbed and flowed and how it is impacting the battle for Syria. www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2013/01/2013126125733749625.html