Thursday, September 29, 2011

Show a Little Mercy; Free the Cuban Five! by Cindy Sheehan


Show a Little Mercy

Free the Cuban Five!

Cindy Sheehan

Nothing can make injustice just but mercy.
Robert Frost


For quite some time, I have been involved in the call to free the “Hikers,” Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, from Iranian prison. I put “Hikers” in quotation marks, because this is the term they have become known by in the media—not because I believe there was anything more nefarious in their actions. I was first contacted by Josh’s brother, and subsequently have gotten to know Shane’s mother, Cindy Hickey better—I even once had her on my radio show, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.

I was delighted on September 21st, the day Shane and Josh, convicted of spying and given a eight year sentence, were shown the highest mercy by the country of Iran and released. I had been invited to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in NYC that day, but financial circumstances prevented me from making a last minute trip from California. I wish I had been able to go to thank him personally, but while I was not in NYC, I was at my home in California basically doing a deathwatch for Troy Anthony Davis who was ultimately “lynched” by the State of Georgia for the 1989 murder of a cop that he most likely he did not commit. However, I have noticed a pattern, if a cop is killed, someone must die—it doesn’t really matter if that person is actually the one that committed the murder.

In another recent case, two Fullerton, California cops beat Kelly Thomas, a homeless and mentally ill man, (who was begging for his life and for his dad to help him) to death on the 5th of July and Kelly died five days later on the 10th—a crime that was videotaped by passersby with cell phone cameras AND a transit camera because the incident occurred at a bus station. The charges against these murderers for a heinous crime were essentially slaps on the wrist, á la Johannes Meserle, the assassin of unarmed, Oscar Grant. What is the common thread in the above cases? The state kills “Cop Killers,” and Killer Cops literally get away with their murders. Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli the murderers of Kelly Thomas, are on paid administrative leave—the taxpayers are funding their little paid vacation (with full benefits intact).

Besides the cruelty of the police state killings of Kelly Thomas and Oscar Grant and more recently a young black man, Kenneth Harding, who didn’t have evidence of paying his MUNI fare in San Francisco, the cops surely must know that their crimes will be videotaped in this age of almost universal citizen access to this technology—yet the police state still commits its crimes supremely confident in the knowledge that they will assuredly “get away” with them. That’s a bone-chilling thought!

To me, the guilt or innocence of a person is not what’s important in the issue of capital punishment—what’s important is that the use of this state murder is barbaric and needs to end. Troy Anthony Davis was not shown mercy by the State of Georgia, or by the Barbaric State of America. Kelly Thomas and Kenneth Harding were tragically not shown mercy by members of the police sate, but the cops will be shown plenty of that elusive virtue because it's usually only reserved for the wealthy or members of this police state.

The day that the Hikers were released, the Prez of this country said, “I am thrilled. They never should have been in prison in the first place.” Well, I would like to tell you about FIVE men currently languishing in US Federal Prison who never should be there, "in the first place," either. It’s the little known case of the Cuban Five, or the “Five Heroes” as they are referred to in Cuba.

Many acts of terrorism against Cuba have been planned from the right-wing Cuban exile community in Miami. These terrorists have killed thousands of Cubans and so the Cuban Five, as they would come to be known, were sent to the US to infiltrate this terrorist cell based in South Florida so as to be able to transmit messages back to Cuba to save lives in their homeland.

René González, Ramón Labaniño, Fernando González, Antonío Guerrero and Gerardo Hernández left their families to go to the US. 

To make a long story short, in an act of good will, Cuban authorities decided to share information gathered by the Five with the FBI, and instead of rounding up the real terrorists, the Five were rounded up, put on trial in a kangaroo court in Miami where a fair trial was just not possible and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

The Five Heroes did nothing against the US and never gathered any intelligence against our government—yet they have been in prison since 1998.

I have met their mothers, wives and children all over the world and I have also been in solidarity with the movement to free the Five for several years.

I know that President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela used his good influence with President Ahmadinejad of Iran (in fact, as I am told, worked harder than the US did for the Hikers’ freedom) and I am wondering after so many have called for the release of the Five if there’s any humanitarian that the leaders of this nation would listen to? Of course, the “Communist Dictator,” Hugo Chávez, has no influence here in the US—he himself is on the same path of demonization that Castro, Ahmadinejad, Qaddafy, et al, are on.

The Cuban Five never should have been in prison, either and 13 years is a long time for innocent men to be incarcerated.

It’s time for Obama to show the same mercy as was just shown two of our innocent citizens by Iran and send the Five Heroes home to their families.

It’s not only the humane thing to do; it’s the just thing to do.


FURTHER READING:


FIDEL CASTRO CALLS OBAMA, "STUPID."


BLACK YOUTH GUNNED DOWN BY SF POLICE


FULLERTON OFFICERS CHARGED IN BEATING DEATH




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

President Chavez's Letter to the UN on Palestinian Statehood.



Miraflores, September 17, 2011

His Excellency, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

Mr. Secretary General:

Distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

I address these words to the United Nations General Assembly, to this great forum that represents all the people of earth, to ratify, on this day and in this setting, Venezuela’s full support of the recognition of the Palestinian State: of Palestine’s right to become a free, sovereign and independent state. This represents an act of historic justice towards a people who carry with them, from time immemorial, all the pain and suffering of the world.

In his memorable essay The Grandeur of Arafat, the great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote with the full weight of the truth: The Palestinian cause is first and foremost the set of injustices that these people have suffered and continue to suffer. And I dare add that the Palestinian cause also represents a constant and unwavering will to resist, already written in the historic memory of the human condition. A will to resist that is born of the most profound love for the earth. Mahmoud Darwish, the infinite voice of the longed-for Palestine, with heartfelt conscience speaks about this love: We don’t need memories/ because we carry within us Mount Carmelo/ and in our eyelids is the herb of Galilee./ Don’t say: If only we could flow to my country like a river!/ Don’t say that!/ Because we are in the flesh of our country/ and our country is in our flesh.

Against those who falsely assert that what has happened to the Palestinian people is not genocide, Deleuze himself states with unfaltering lucidity: From beginning to end, it involved acting as if the Palestinian people not only must not exist, but had never existed. It represents the very essence of genocide: to decree that a people do not exist; to deny them the right to existence.

In this regard, the great Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo is quite right when he forcefully states: The biblical promise of the land of Judea and Samaria to the tribes of Israel is not a notarized property contract that authorizes the eviction of those who were born and live on that land. This is precisely why conflict resolution in the Middle East must, necessarily, bring justice to the Palestinian people; this is the only path to peace.

It is upsetting and painful that the same people who suffered one of the worst examples of genocide in history have become the executioners of the Palestinian people: it is upsetting and painful that the heritage of the Holocaust be the Nakba. And it is truly disturbing that Zionism continues to use the charge of anti-Semitism as blackmail against those who oppose their violations and crimes. Israel has, blatantly and despicably, used and continues to use the memory of the victims. And they do so to act with complete impunity against Palestine. It’s worth mentioning that anti-Semitism is a Western, European, scourge in which the Arabs do not participate. Furthermore, let’s not forget that it is the Semite Palestine people who suffer from the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Israeli colonialist State.

I want to make myself clear: It is one thing to denounce anti-Semitism, and an entirely different thing to passively accept that Zionistic barbarism enforces an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. From an ethical standpoint those who denounce the first, must condemn the second.

A necessary digression: it is frankly abusive to confuse Zionism with Judaism. Throughout time we have been reminded of this by several Jewish intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Erich Fromm. And today there are an ever increasing number of conscientious citizens, within Israel itself, who openly oppose Zionism and its criminal and terrorist practices.

We must spell it out: Zionism, as a world vision, is absolutely racist. Irrefutable proof of this can be seen in these words written with terrifying cynicism by Golda Meir: How are we to return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people. It is not as people think, that there existed a people called Palestinians, who considered themselves as Palestinians, and that we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist."

It is important to remember that: from the end of the 19th century, Zionism called for the return of the Jewish people to Palestine and the creation of a national state of its own. This approach was beneficial for French and British colonialism, as it would later be for Yankee imperialism. The West has always encouraged and supported the Zionist occupation of Palestine by military means.

Read and reread the document historically known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917: the British Government assumed the legal authority to promise a national home in Palestine to the Jewish people, deliberately ignoring the presence and wishes of its inhabitants. It should be added that Christians and Muslims lived in peace for centuries in the Holy Land up until the time when Zionism began to claim it as its complete and exclusive property.

Let’s not forget that beginning in the second decade of the 20th century, Zionism started to develop its expansionist plans by taking advantage of the colonial British occupation of Palestine. By the end of World War II, the Palestinian people’s tragedy worsened, with their expulsion from their territory and, at the same time, from history. In 1947, the despicable and illegal UN resolution 181 recommends dividing Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an area under international control (Jerusalem and Belem). Shamefully, 56 percent of the territory was granted to Zionism to establish its State. In fact, this resolution violated international law and blatantly ignored the will of the vast Arab majority: the right to self-determination of the people became a dead letter. 

From 1948 to date, the Zionist State has continually applied its criminal strategy against the Palestinian people with the constant support of its unconditional ally, the United States of America. This unconditional allegiance is clearly observed by the fact that Israel directs and sets US international policy for the Middle East. That’s why the great Palestinian and universal conscience Edward Said stated that any peace agreement built on the alliance with the United States would be an alliance that confirms Zionist power, rather than one that confronts it.

Now then: contrary to what Israel and the United States are trying to make the world believe through transnational media outlets, what happened and continues to happen in Palestine —using Said’s words— is not a religious conflict, but a political conflict, with a colonial and imperialist stamp. It did not begin in the Middle East, but rather in Europe.

What was and continues to be at the heart of the conflict?: debate and discussion has prioritized Israel’s security while ignoring Palestine’s. This is corroborated by recent events; a good example is the latest act of genocide set off by Israel during its Operation Molten Lead in Gaza.

Palestine’s security cannot be reduced to the simple acknowledgement of a limited self-government and self-policing in its “enclaves” along the west bank of the Jordan and in the Gaza Strip. This ignores the creation of the Palestinian State, in the borders set prior to 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital; and the rights of its citizens and their self-determination as a people. This further disregards the compensation and subsequent return to the Homeland of 50 percent of the Palestinian people who are scattered all over the world, as established by resolution 194.

It's unbelievable that a country (Israel) that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN, said Father Miguel D’Escoto when pleading for the end of the massacre against the people of Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
Mr. Secretary General and distinguished representatives of the peoples of the world:

It is impossible to ignore the crisis in the United Nations. In 2005, before this very same General Assembly, we argued that the United Nations model had become exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian issue has been delayed and is being openly sabotaged reconfirms this.

For several days, Washington has been stating that, at the Security Council, it will veto what will be a majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. In the Statement of Recognition of the Palestinian State, Venezuela, together with the sister Nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), have denounced that such a just aspiration could be blocked by this means. As we know, the empire, in this and other instances, is trying to impose its double standard on the world stage: Yankee double standards are violating international law in Libya, while allowing Israel to do whatever it pleases, thus becoming the main accomplice of the Palestinian genocide being carried out by the hands of Zionist barbarity. Edward Said touched a nerve when he wrote that: Israeli interests in the United States have made the US’ Middle East policy Israeli-centric.

I would like to conclude with the voice of Mahmoud Darwish in his memorable poem On This Earth: We have on this earth what makes life worth living: On this earth, the lady of earth, Mother of all beginnings/ Mother of all ends. She was called… Palestine./ Her name later became… Palestine./ My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life.

It will continue to be called Palestine: Palestine will live and overcome! Long-live free, sovereign and independent Palestine!

Hugo Chávez Frías

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Source: MINCI

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's OUR Soapbox! Two listeners submit their news pieces to the Soapbox!




It's Your Turn (Up on the Soapbox)!  Click here to listen or download, beginning at 2:00 PM San Francisco time.  Today, (Sunday, September 25th) the subject is the star of the show.  Cindy welcomes two contributors who sound off!  She features reports contributed by each of these gracious journalists, one from James Rhodes, and the other from Lisa Barr.  Jim leads off with his interview of displaced Californian expatriate Rick Peltier, formerly a licensed building contractor in that state who had the good sense to get out - while the getting was still good!  This interview was conducted in Hanoi, the once feared Communist domino capitol - which Rick says is now a wonderful and peaceful place to live.  Lisa follows up with an OUSTANDING report, discussing the corporate stranglehold on our political process and the social chaos and devastation that engenders.  She proposes and advocates evidence-based social policies.  (Do we instead currently feature "the best democracy money can buy"?) 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Transcript of show on 9/11 with Paul Thompson and Dr. Dahlia Wasfi



Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox: THE 9/11 DECADE


Paul Thompson

CS: Cindy Sheehan
PT: Paul Thompson

CS: Welcome back to Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox. I am your host Cindy Sheehan and you are listening at CindySheehansSoapbox.com

Well dear listeners, today is the 10th anniversary of the awful day when thousands of Americans were killed. The day that precipitated hundreds of thousands of needless and tragic deaths--my own son, Casey, included. 

If you listen to my show you know that there are many unanswered questions about that day. No matter what really happened the war of terror is still being justified by something that terrified us, then unified us, then ultimately destroyed us. Instead of using that day to reevaluate our national priorities the idiot Bush told us to go shopping and travel then embarked on his war of terror. Today on the Soapbox I have two quests with intimate knowledge about that day and it’s tragic aftermath. The first guest on the Soapbox today is the author of The 9/11 Timeline Paul Thompson. Then we will hear the perspective of Iraqi American, Dr. Dahlia Wasfi.

Our first guest Paul Thompson is an alumnus of Stanford University and the creator of The Complete 9/11 Timeline available at Historycommons.org. By collecting mainstream articles, government documents and peoples statements Paul has written a multitude of entries and placed them into a timeline format like is done with so many crimes. Through these timeline entries you are able to see many omissions, distortions and contradictions of the official account of 9/11.

Paul Thompson welcome to Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.

PT: Hello, thanks for having me.

CS: Of course today when the show is airing is the 10th anniversary of the events on 9/11 and I believe that there are many unanswered questions. Your website does attempt to put things in factual order. So what prompted you to become involved in 9/11 and what specifically inspired you to do a timeline?

PT: Well I’m like you and I believe there are many unanswered questions there. I started feeling that way in the middle of 2002. That was the time when a bunch of stories started to come out. Like the one about President Bush having this briefing called, “Bin Laden determined to strike the US” and that really got me wondering and so I was really trying to make sense of it for myself and I thought, well if I could put this in a timeline that could really help. It just snowballed from there. It grew and grew and other people started joining in

And here it is pretty much ten years later and it’s continuing to grow.

CS: You mentioned the briefing, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the US”. George Bush was handed that on August 6th of 2001. And I’ll never forget that date because that’s the date 4 years later I sat in a ditch in Crawford Texas demanding that he speak with me. And it’s also Hiroshima day so that’s a very significant date. What was contained in the Presidential daily briefing that he received?

PT: Well just a lot of different pieces of information. What’s interesting is that we now know that there were so many warnings that were coming in and a lot of them were not actually mentioned in that daily briefing which is kind of strange. But certainly at that time period that’s one of the things that really intrigues me so much is that there were just so many warnings coming in. For instance just from foreign governments alone you had the British, the French, the Germans, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Italy, I mean it just goes on and on and all these countries were warning the United States. Some of them were really specific warnings that talk about airplanes being used to crash into buildings. 

Even according to 60 Minutes there were warnings from Egypt where they actually said there were about 20 people coming to the United States some of them trained to operate aircraft and they even mentioned the names of some of the high jackers like Muhammad Atta.

So you had this tremendous information coming in and then the Bush administration did nothing. There was in the 9/11 commission they interviewed Norman Manetta the transportation secretary and they asked him, what did the Bush administration do in response to all these warning? He literally said “nothing." It’s just staggering when you think about it.

CS: Well also it was recorded somewhere, you probably know the direct source, that George Bush said to whomever handed him that briefing, he said “you’ve covered your ass." Is that correct?

PT: Right. Yeah there’s some strange thing about that briefing like it mentions that there were 70 FBI ongoing investigations into bin Laden and Al Qaeda and there was no where near 70 investigations going on. So it definitely seemed like some kind of ass covering moves that were going on there. But that was hardly the only warning that George Bush got. I think they said he got 40 warnings in the months leading up to the attacks.

CS: Well you know I’m kind of peripherally on the 9/11-truth movement. I think like I said there are many questions. I don’t have a definitive explanation of what happened that day. Many people do though based on very flimsy evidence. There’s speculation that Israel’s Mossad was responsible for it 100 percent; or laser beams hit the towers and that the planes were actually holograms; that the people on the flights didn’t really call their loved ones, whatever, there’s just so much speculation based not really on any facts going on with 9/11. You’ve actually said that you do not like to speculate. Why is that?

PT: When I started on this project of putting this timeline together and if people want to check this out go to historycommons.org. You know it occurred to me that all these things were coming up in the news. These interesting little bits of information and yet it was sort of there one day and gone the next so folks tend to forget this stuff. So I thought it was kind of important to almost be like a librarian for this whole issue. To have this documented on a way that not going to go away. That’s not going to be forgotten in a few months.

If people want to come to the website they can look it up see it and if I am in that sort of role of archive or librarian for all these different stories I feel like it is almost my duty where I shouldn’t be imputing my personal opinion in on everything. I just want to state what the facts are, this is what such and such report say’s and summarize it in a way where you don’t have to read thousands of pages to understand all this stuff. If I start throwing out this theory and that theory then I am going to be turning my back to other facts that might be contradicting that. So I really try to keep an open mind and the other people who work on the project to, we all try to do that. Of course everybody has biases, everybody has their theories but we really try to be objective as we can.

CS: Well I’ve found that some people are very dogmatic about their theories. They don’t think they are theories they think they are facts. Especially the people who say Mossad did it. You know they accuse me of being a Zionist if I won’t expound on the theory you know when I am very much against Israel’s policies concerning Palestine. But I don’t see any evidence that’s factual that states that Mossad was behind 9/11. Do I think they would be capable of it? Probably. Do I think our CIA is capable of it? Yes. Do I think our own government is capable of killing three thousands of it’s own citizens? Yes. But I haven’t seen any incontrovertible facts that any of those things are true.

PT: Lots and lots of kind of weird facts out there. You may have heard the story called the Israeli art students where months before the attacks they were all these people going across the country from Israel claiming to be art students and they would say they were selling pictures, you know kind of really weird stuff out there and it’s not some weird conspiracy theory. It was on ABC News; they did a big thing on it. The mainstream people did a big story on that. However, it’s a huge leap from that to some sort of spies running around the United States to saying Mossad did it.

I think it is unfortunate that there are some people who get so dogmatic and all these people are arguing with each other and I think they lose sight of the bigger picture which is that amongst all the people who question the official theory it’s not so important which specific little thing that you think is important as I think it is that everybody can agree that there are problems with the official theory. That there are holes in the 9/11 commission report and as time goes on we find more and more holes and that we never really got to the truth.

We never really had an honest investigation. It was a very politically compromised investigation. The executive director for instance, Phillip Zelikow, we found out there were all kinds of conflicts of interest. He was a close friend of Condoleezza Rice. Even during the commission he was having some phone calls with Karl Rove. It was just basically a whitewash. So I think people who truly know the facts and looked into the 9/11 issue they should say, "let’s all agree that we’ve never got to the truth. We need new information we need new investigations. Real honest, independent investigations."

CS: Well what are some of these big holes in the 9/11 report specifically?

PT: A real interesting thing recently happened about a month ago. Richard Clarke who was the counter terrorism czar under both Clinton and Bush through 9/11. There was a video interview. You can see it on secrecykills.com, I believe and it’s about 12 minutes, it’s really interesting. 

What he (Clarke) says is sort of three or four years before the commission came out with their report some new information came out that made him seriously doubt a lot of the story that the commission put out, and in particular, I think the most intriguing thing that’s come out in recent years is the theory that two hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdharand  and Nawaf al-Hazmi and they were in the US twenty months before 9/11 living openly in San Diego. 

One of them even had his name in the phone book. And the whole thing, I can’t really go in to too much detail, the whole long tangled story about how way back when even before they came to the US the CIA found they had US visas, found that they had gotten onto a flight and came to the United States and yet that information was never shared with the FBI or other people in government.

Clarke said he never heard about this and for twenty months the CIA knew about this. He said he was talking to the CIA everyday. Talking to George Tenet three or four times a day. Any little bit of information, he would read over people’s reports from the CIA everyday. There’s no way they could have known that and just accidentally forgot to tell him about it and other people about it. It had to have been a deliberate cover up that went on for nearly two years and he’s just mad as heck about that. And you know it’s something the 9/11 commission never got into, never figured out. So we’re finding a lot of stuff now that’s coming out. 

 The real interesting thing is that a lot of people who were in the FBI and the CIA, they were interviewed by the 9/11 commission in different other criminal investigations and they’re now retired these people and they’re coming forward, doing interviews for the 10th anniversary and so forth. Some of them saying, you know I wasn’t really on this back when I was being interviewed by the 9/11 commission because there was tremendous pressure on me.

For instance on these interviews there would be minders, government minders. Like if you were from the CIA they would have this CIA boss with you, a CIA lawyer with you and we know that these minders would often be intimidating to the point of almost answering the questions that were supposed to be asked of the interviewee. So these people were feeling a lot of pressure to conform to a certain story that their agencies wanted them to put out that would make the agency not look bad. Only now that they are retired are they starting to be able to talk freely and we’re really just starting to see how much of a whitewash those early investigations were.

CS: What do you think about the recent information, I don’t even know if it is recent information but I just found out about it, that Phillip Zelikow actually wrote an outline to the 9/11 commission report before the investigation even started?

PT: Yeah, I think that came out in 2008 they had a whole table of contents for their book, the final report that they came out with. This table of contents was written before they even started looking at any of the information. Not only that but they broke up into different teams and some of the teams even had some of the different subchapter heading and everything all worked out. So it was like a fill in the blanks where they had all the conclusions that they wanted to make beforehand and then let’s go and find the evidence that will support those conclusions that we want. 

That’s not any way to conduct an investigation. There was just so much political bias in these kinds of things because you basically had five Democrats, five Republicans and they were a very partisan people, Senators and Congressmen and they were really using the 9/11 commission as a way to try and score political points, were not really trying to get at the truth.

The whole thing became a political football, which anybody would have seen from the way it was created. That it was sort of, in fact the two chairs said lately, that we were set up to fail. They actually said that, that we didn’t get enough money we didn’t get enough funding. The way that it was done so politically and everyone was a political appointee. We didn’t have enough time. They were set up to fail and they did. So yeah, it’s a real shame that they got away with it because they put out that final report that a million plus people bought a copy and I think a lot of people just though, "oh well they got that whole issue sorted out. We found out what the whole story is there." When in fact we did not at all. 

People say, "well that was ten years ago you know, its kind of becoming ancient history why does this matter so much?" It really does matter because so much of what our current society has become is based on this 9/11 incident. You know we have had erosion of civil liberties, we’ve had tremendous military spending, different wars we’ve fought. I read something in the newspaper today that really blew my mind. It said that if you look at the total spending on the wars plus all the security measures, Homeland security all that different stuff and put it all together there’s one estimate has been eight trillion dollars.

CS: Holy Moley. Yeah I mean you know the wars abroad are bad but as you just mentioned the national security state that has arisen from this must be, well we know there must be people profiting off of, even the X-ray machines in the airport, Michael Chertov has an interest in those. So it’s been very profitable for some people but for people like my family it’s been very disastrous and devastating.

When 9/11 happened I was just a regular American and my son was still alive and we were struggling like any other family with all the issues. I think it was a couple days after 9/11 George Bush was saying, "I don’t want to hear any crazy conspiracy theories." And as soon as I heard him say that, and I wasn’t even very politically sophisticated, but as soon as I heard him say that I thought, "well then it must be, there must be some kind of hanky panky going on if George Bush is already telling us not to question things.

PT: Just want to address that before you move on. I think you said that a couple of months afterwards he was speaking at the UN and he did make that comment about the conspiracy theories. You know I think you are really right to have a red flag there because I think that term "conspiracy theory" is kind of code for, "let’s not talk about this, let’s put that off the table."

An interesting example of that I like to tell people about is right when the Iraq war started Tony Blair, the Prime Minister in England, there were big headlines there because he said anybody who thinks the upcoming war in Iraq has anything to do with oil is a "conspiracy theorist." It’s just come out in the past month or two that now know at the very time he was making that comment there were British oil companies that were scrambling to talk to Tony Blair about getting big oil contracts in Iraq.  So I think he knew if you just throw out that statement and say that people who think “x” are "conspiracy theorists" then in the mainstream media a lot of journalists are just going to say, "I don’t want to touch that topic because I don’t want to be tarred with that brush."

Unfortunately now the whole 9/11 topic has been so tarred with that brush that a lot of journalist don’t want to do any articles on it. They feel like people are going to think I’m wacky if start looking in to all these issues.

CS: Well and especially of course when one says,  "conspiracy theory" people start to think tin foil hats and crazy cab drivers or people at home alone and that’s their whole life because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to think.

My friend Gore Vidal says, "I’m not a conspiracy theorist I am a conspiracy analyst." But even people on the so called left when you talk about 9/11 they just shut down and end the conversation and say, "it’s exactly the way the government said it happened." Even though they will scream from the top of the mountains that George Bush and Dick Cheney are liars and criminals, they lied about Iraq, sometimes they feel that Afghanistan was not justified, or they lied about Afghanistan, they’re torturers, they’re murderers, they’re liars, but they think that what the government says about 9/11 is exactly the way it happened even though George Bush and Dick Cheney didn’t testify under oath or publicly and they did it together which is the biggest problem I have with the 9/11 commission, their so called investigation.

PT: You know I think that a lot of people on the left they want to be seen as credible in the mainstream and they think if I touch this 9/11 issue that people are going to put me with that 9/11-truth crowd and so no one is going to take me seriously. I run in to that problem a lot with people who do not want to talk about this stuff at all. I think it is a real shame because this is in my opinion a real remarkable story and the aspects of it are continuing until the current day. One of the things that I have always been interested in with the 9/11 story as an example is the possibility of Pakistani government involvement in 9/11.

There’s a lot of evidence that even way before 9/11 that Pakistan had a pretty deliberate policy of supporting terrorism. They’re involved in this war with Kashmir; war with India and basically India is a way much larger country with a much larger military. So they felt the way to even things up were send in these very radical Muslims in to Kashmir that could pin down a huge number of Indian troops. So they have for years allowed openly these training camps and Al Qaeda and these other troops to flourish in Pakistan.

It even goes deeper than that where it seems like there are many attacks, even recent attacks that the Pakistani government was involved in like in 2008 here was a bombing in Afghanistan with the Indian Embassy there that killed 50 people. The New York Times reported that the US military found out from communications intercepts that that was planned by Pakistani intelligence service the ISI. The same year there was an attack in Mumbai India that killed 150 people. You may or may not remember that for three days gunmen were running around shooting people. More and more evidence show that was planned by the ISI.

There is a court case going on in the US right now. One of the guys who was involved in the attacks was arrested in the US. He’s being put on trial and he is saying he got his orders from the ISI. So you see this long progression and one result of that is that the ISI, Pakistani government, everyday they train, they fund thee militants and they send them across the border into Afghanistan and they’re fighting US troops there.

We’re in this crazy situation where we are basically funding the enemy. We've given something like 20 billion dollars to Pakistan since 9/11 and they turn around and fund the Taliban who are fighting the United States and there’s just no end to this dynamic. This goes on year after year like a machine that just chews up all these young men and women. It’s crazy in my opinion that this is still happening and it goes all the way back to 9/11 and even way before 9/11 when we see these same patterns continually. Yet it’s like I don’t know what. No one seems to notice or want to change things.

CS: It’s definitely hard to be aware, especially in the United Stares when we are so propagandized and distracted by things that are irrelevant. We only have about a minute left Paul. I can’t believe this has gone by so fast. I would like you to tell my listeners your website and also in just like a minute, what do you think should be done? What do you think; do you think it should be a valid transparent investigation? Or how are we going to get to the truth finally?

PT: The website is historycommons.org and I recommend people go there and even join in if they want to help get more information out there. And also I (unintelligible) with that book The Terror Timeline. I recommend people check that out.

About your question, you know the victims relatives, the Jersey Girls, way back when they said this should be an independent investigation of academics, of experts not politicians and I still think that’s the logical thing and we are still waiting for that to happen. It needs to happen.

CS: Okay great Paul. Well, thank you for taking the time to be on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox today.

PT: Thanks for having me.


Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

CS: Cindy Sheehan
DW: Dahlia Wasfi

CS: That was our guest Paul Thompson. Our next guest is Dr. Dahlia Wasfi. Dahlia was born in 1971 in New York to a Jewish American Mother and a Muslim Iraqi Father. Dr. Wasfi spent part of her early childhood living in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. She returned to the US at age five, earned her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College in 1993 and her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Dahlia is my friend. She’s a fellow truth, peace and justice advocate and she’s one outspoken, eloquent, passionate and amazing person. Dahlia Wafsi, welcome to Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.

DW: Thanks so much for having me.

CS: It’s nice to talk to you. When’s the last time we actually got to talk to each other?

DW: I think the last time I saw you was in Valley Forge in March 2010. So it’s been a long time and it’s overdue.

CS: We were actually doing a conference. I think it was called: Treason in America that had a lot to do with 9/11.

DW: Exactly. Absolutely.

CS: You’ve gotten married since then?

DW: Yes. I’m trying to get my life back on track since that. Thank you for asking.

CS: Congratulations.

DW: Thank you very much. Thank you. In the midst of all this madness I found a soul mate who has the same convictions that I try to have. I think we are working now synergistically so we can really wrap up this whole unending war thing relatively quickly now that we have met each other. We’re counting on that.

CS: Since 9/11 also I have been gifted with three beautiful smart, amazing grandchildren and one on the way. He is in fact due on 9/11. (Cindy note: Jackson Newcomb Henry, weight 7lbs and 8oz was born on September 8th--Mom and Baby super-healthy and fabulous.)

DW: Oh my goodness.

CS: I know. So it gets us like, when these good, positive things happen it gives us so much joy and dare I say, hope for the future. But also a renewed sense of commitment, at least in my case. My grandkids motivate me to make the world a better place for them and their little grandchildren friends around the world.

DW: Absolutely. And this is the same thing for my only child, which has four legs so I don’t know what it is to be a mom, but this is the same thing I observe with my family overseas in Iraq that this is what they state. They continue to live their lives. If they waited for things to get better, to move on they would never stop waiting. So the next generation is being born. They do the best they can for their families and they as well try to make a better future for their kids. So that’s what comes to mind as you talk about rebuilding your own life.

CS: Well also it is the 10 anniversary of 9/11. I’m fed up to my eyebrows with how the US was attacked on 9/11 and we were attacked because "the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy and our way of life, that they want to attack our way of life." If that was true they did a really good job. 

There’s very little talk about the people outside of the US that have been destroyed by whatever happened on 9/11. But you don’t hear their stories and how needlessly and tragically their lives have been affected because of what happened on that day. So that’s why I wanted to invite you on because you are very eloquent critic of US policies but you are also very eloquent in describing your Iraqi roots and what’s happening to the people in that country. So I just want you to today talk about that, talk about the connection between 9/11 and Iraq and what the US did ostensibly there and what really happened. And what’s still happening. Iraq has basically fallen off the face of the Earth. It may as well not exist because we don’t talk about it at all. Dick Cheney says it’s better, it’s a better place now, they have a democracy now and blah, blah blah. I wish I believed in hell because I know Dick Cheney would be going there. But I don’t think that’s happening. So Dahlia, give us the Iraqi perspective.

DW: I so appreciate it. I too promise that I am not going to forget what is happening on Sunday. I’m not going to forget the anniversary. I don’t need any reminders but I know more are coming. But I can tell from my personal experience. I was born in New York, we lived in Iraq when I was little and we left when I was five years old so except for a few years in there I was born and raised here. I don’t even speak Arabic. I know from the few months that I spent with my family what they have to endure on a daily basis, which is something that I could not consistently deal with. They’re much stronger than I could ever dream to be.

What happened on September 11th 2001 once it was clear, sort of, what was being built up and I knew that no matter who was responsible that Arabs and Muslims were going to be blamed by this country because that is just par for the course. It happened after the Oklahoma City bombing, pretty much anytime. It happened just recently with Norway. The first suspect that was must be an Islamic terrorist. We’re the "go to" people. While there still needs to be a genuine investigation, as far as I am concerned, and many others we still don’t know what happened that day. I knew that the next hits coming were going to be racist. I certainly did not face what others faced in this country. A lot of people died in this country after 9/11 because they looked Muslim, they looked Arab.

What came afterward was our assault on Afghanistan. Of course the people of Afghanistan had nothing to do with September 11th. And the assault on Iraq, which started the planning for that on September 13th two days after 9/11 in 2001. 

It’s very clear I think the numbers are 165 times that Bush administration lied about numerous things including the supposed ties between Iraq and 9/11. The outcome today for Iraqi’s is their lives will never be the same. There’s over a million people dead. Over five and a half million refugees. That’s twenty percent of Iraq’s 27 million population. From what my cousins have told me there is no one who has been untouched. Everybody knows someone who has been killed. Either a victim of the violence we have brought to Iraq or a victim of the destruction of the infrastructure and the health care system.

Then on top of all that returning veterans are suffering the consequences as well from our use of depleted uranium which is basically a radioactive metal that vaporizes in to dust and this contaminates the air, the sand and the water supply for Iraqi’s. It’s in the air that occupying forces are breathing in so this is a risk of cancer for the next four and a half billion years. Still with that knowledge in spite of keenly aware of the weapons that we’ve used and the effects on future generations, which is most vividly being demonstrated in the city of Fallujah after two major sieges in 2004. Iraqi’s, they continue forward. They again you know, trying to do day to day things put their lives back together. But the sense that I get to this day is they want the end to the occupation. Very simple. And I think what as I hear as we build up to this tenth anniversary there are families out there in Iraq and Afghanistan where everyday is a marker for 9/11.

We have one day of tragedy to commemorate but with the number of offenses and operations that we’ve conducted there is a terrible anniversary for someone for every day of the year. That’s why it’s so important for those who have been affected the most; in my opinion you have the most powerful voice to say that, not in my name. Whether it’s the families of the victims actually on the date of September 11th 2001 or a military Mom like yourself who’s saying, :I know what the grief is." You know you walk in those shoes and it’s such a powerful voice to say, "it’s enough." Because all of this is being done for corporate profits. And while people are not waking up as fast as I’d like them to things are definitely, we are day-by-day seeing differences in more and more people awakening. And so still we’re working for an immediate unconditional withdrawal of US forces and mercenaries and the CIA from Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to military aide to Israel in compliance with our domestic law and international law. Those should be the first steps towards establishing security I believe.

CS: You mentioned that twenty percent of Iraqi’s have been either killed or displaced or wounded. I want to point out to people that would be 60 million Americans. You know, just think of 60 million Americans with something like that. Almost like twice the size of the population of California. Wouldn’t there be a national or international outcry if 60 million Americans were killed or made refugees in their own country or in another country?

DW: Absolutely. This is something that is beyond our comprehension it really is. And if we could see, and that seems really simple to me, if we could just get people to other lives, the lives of other nationalities other families the same way that we see our own I think we would conduct ourselves in a much different way and we would not allow what is taking place now. I think there is still a great deal of ignorance that allows these policies to continue. I am still trying to show that every country is made up of families and it’s those families that either reap the benefits of what their government does or pay the price and unfortunately in many places around the world from the United States to Iraq these families are paying the price and especially with the latest target of NATO war planes now in Libya.

You know it’s the same old story all over again. It’s very discouraging to see a lot of my colleagues who have opposed the wars in Afghanistan the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq all of a sudden turn around and say, "well this is a good intervention." Just to say with any military assault like this 90 percent of the casualties are unarmed civilians. So you cannot make a good argument to me that there’s good reason for that in any situation. This is ultimately who pays the price. We’ve seen it over and over and over again. Once we recognize that once that reality comes to light I do think things will change. I pray anyway.

CS: I also think with Libya it was just lazy justification and lazy reporting for the justification for the humanitarian intervention in Libya because I swear they could have replaced "Saddam Hussein" with "Gadhafi" and they could have replaced "Iraq" with "Libya." Every single time they talked about it. I was like, "people why are you falling for this again?"

DW: I know. It’s a brutal dictator that’s killing his own people and we have to go in to help them. Looking at the history certainly the United Kingdom has done a great deal to arm Libya in recent years. Just as we did a great deal to arm Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This is a lot like professional wrestling. The good guys become the bad guys then become the good guys again. Just depending on which way the winds are blowing. But it’s really remarkable that any sort of military aggression is considered humanitarian and that’s the ultimate Orwell double speak and I’ve had enough of it and I’m sure you have too.

CS: Absolutely.

DW: The only thing is that we are absolutely over extending ourselves. We are in Iraq, we are in Afghanistan, we are bombing Pakistan and we are bombing Yemen. We are trying to suppress the demonstrators, it’s funny they’re valiant rebels in Libya but they are insurgents in Bahrain where the American 5th Naval fleet sits. So you know it all depends on what is in our interests. So the double standards become more and more clear and we are over extending ourselves. Meanwhile back at home there’s no jobs. We’re continuing in this recession. So the connection should be made. The media is failing to make the connection but it should be made that while pouring all this money into overseas military aggression and through the budget of the Pentagon while our economy is falling apart. We just have to connect the dots. We could fix so much and open new jobs opportunities here by instead of destroying infrastructures overseas how about rebuilding it here.

CS: And making sustainable systems and economies instead of the one that we have now. Well Dahlia, thank you for coming on and connecting the dots on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox. Thank you for giving the uncool side of the story upcoming on this anniversary.

DW: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I greatly appreciate it.

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We Are all Troy Davis (Written September 21)

On the ironically named International Peace Day, our country is being "led" (really, I think presidents just do what they are told and the same entities have been in charge since the beginning) by a Nobel Peace Laureate who is in more conflicts than most analysts can count; denies Palestinians the same human rights as Israelis, is getting ready to murder Troy Davis (whenever this state murders anybody--we all lose some of our humanity), and is committing economic terrorism here in our own country.

International Peace Day was instituted by the United Nations in 2002 and it seems that since then the global situation has deteriorated with the US Empire's War OF Terror against the world and the United Nations seems to exist to legitimize those wars and to give Israel a free pass when it commits crimes against humanity in Palestine.

For what it's worth, the only thing I think that we can do at this point is to create healthy systems outside of the ones that are currently oppressing and killing us. This can't save Troy Davis and the people who are being occupied and killed have an urgent need to protect and defend themselves, but the truism of Peace Begins With You has never been more valid. Even in my own case, my son Casey would still be alive if we didn't trust the system that killed him.

Most of us teach our children "well" that violence is not the way to solve problems by using our words and other coping skills when faced with issues. Even considering that most of the "problems" that the U.S. sets out to solve are manufactured or greatly exaggerated, we are constantly bombarded by the State and its propaganda branches of CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox that violence is just about the only acceptable way for problems to be solved. Top down violence from this nation is the overwhelming rule and not the exception and one is considered a lunatic in this truly Orwellian paradigm if a different perspective is proposed.

Shifting paradigms can only originate out of the grassroots and civil societies, so a few years ago, my non-profit,
Peace of the Action, proposed a people's solution to war and violence called the International People's Declaration of Peace (IPDOP)--signed by Yoko Ono Lennon and others.
Love & Peace

Cindy Sheehan

TODAY I AM TROY DAVIS AND IT'S NOT TOO LATE.

CLICK HERE

and
HERE

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BARBARISM BREEDS BARBARISM by Cindy Sheehan


My heart is very heavy as I write this--in three days (Sept. 21), people around the world will be commemorating International Peace Day and the state of Georgia has scheduled the execution of Troy Anthony Davis.

There is much evidence that Davis is not guilty of the murder, with the majority of the witnesses recanting, or saying undue pressure was put on them.

However, the guilt or innocence of Davis is not the immediate point, whether he is guilty or not, our nation has no right to execute anybody--whether here in the US, or in far away places. Is the state so bloodthirsty to take other lives because it hates competition and wants a monopoly on murder?

I saw the mother of the slain police officer on the news today and my heart ached for her as she thinks that executing Troy will bring her some "peace." As the mother of a murdered son, I really don't think more death brings peace. I have been told by people like Hillary Clinton, John McCain and John Q. Public that my son's death must be avenged by murdering more people to "honor his sacrifice." I would love to realize justice for Casey's murder and the murder of millions of more people killed by my country, but even if someone did go on trial for Casey's murder--a monster like Dick Cheney, George Bush, or Donny Rumsfeld--I still wouldn't clamor for their executions. I am not a barbarian like the US Empire. Vengeance is not justice and I don't think anything good can come from it.

Please click this link for more information on Troy Anthony Davis and make as big a stink as you can for clemency. I know this state is not known for its compassion, but we must be loud and clear about our feelings.

Even though we have a great show this week with anti-nuke activist, Michael Leonardi talking about the victory in Italy and the planned national day of action here on October 1st, it may also be a good time to listen, or re-listen to the show I did with my guest, anti-death penalty activist and actor, Mike Ferrell--please click this link for the archived show.

Go to www.CindySheehansSoapbox.com at 2pm pacific time today (or anytime thereafter) to listen to the show with Michael Leonardi and how you can find out if there is an anti-nuke action planned near you on October 1, and if there isn't, how you can perhaps plan one.

Love & Peace
Cindy Sheehan

SOAPBOX LISTENER REFLECTIONS FROM JEFF AND KAREN HAY

TWELVE STEP PROGRAM FOR THE TRIANGULATED
JEFF AND KAREN HAY

As with all 12 Step Programs aimed at releasing the hopelessly addicted and delusional the first step is ending denial.  

In the case of being triangulated by Slick Willy Clinton in the '90's, Al Gore in 2000, and Barack Obama is 2008 the principle of triangulation has remained the same - those who call themselves liberals and progressives have nowhere to go and no one to vote for other than the Democratic candidate no matter how far to the right the candidate moves.  

Those being triangulated protect themselves from despair and disillusionment by excuse making, apologetics, and denial.  So when Presidential Candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama said that he would filibuster any attempt to give the Telecoms retroactive immunity (by which he apparently meant he would silently filibuster to himself) and shortly thereafter not only did he not filibuster he voted for retroactive immunity, liberals and progressives made excuses.  

After he was elected and threw the Union Card Check under the bus faster than you could say, "Reverend Wright;" liberals and progressives made excuses.  

When President Obama escalated the unmanned drone attacks on Pakistan (Af-Pak became the cutesy brand name) and the accompanying slaughter of innocent human beings accelerated, liberals and progressives made excuses.  

When he ramped up Bush's bailout for banksters and teamed up with Summers, Geithner and the rest of the Goldman Sachs' minions, when he gave the robo finger to those being foreclosed upon by his bankster campaign sponsors, when he showed that there were trillions of dollars available instantly for his Wall Street campaign buddies, when he threw Van Jones under the bus (after the trillions to Wall Street there was no money for Green jobs anyway), when he didn't close Guantanamo, continued kidnapping (extraordinary rendition) to countries that torture -thereby continuing the torture, when he took prosecution of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and every other war criminal from the Bush regime off the table, when he won the Nobel Peace Prize and celebrated by escalating the Afghanistan war and rebranding the Iraq war and moving on to more war in Yemen and Somalia and Libya, when he threw Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Protection Agency under the bus, when he let BP run the Gulf oil disaster cover-up (a.k.a. clean up), when he scuttled the Copenhagen climate talks, when he made it perfectly clear that his policy towards the Palestinians would be at least as bad as Bush's, when he pushed for more government subsidized nuclear power plants before Fukushima had even finished blowing up, when he okay'd new deep water oil wells in the Gulf, when entirely unprompted and unpressured by Republicans the POTUS set up his "Deficit Commission" whose task it was and is to rationalize cuts to Social Security and Medicare (if not to fulfill Clinton's wet dream of privatizing Social Security), when with his Republican buddies he held the nation hostage over his phony deadline to default, when he decided he had the power to command extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens, when he continued the Patriot Act, when he decided those unlawfully detained in Guantanamo can be unlawfully kept there forever, when he pronounced Bradley Manning, who he is torturing, guilty without a trial, when he came up with his "health care" plan of, by and for the benefit of his Insurance corporation and Pharmaceutical corporation campaign financiers - simultaneously throwing Quentin Young (Obama's one time personal physician) and all single payer advocates under the bus, when he had Michelle plant a tiny organic garden at the White House while putting Monsanto genetic engineering promoters in every position of power related to US Agriculture, when he deported more human beings than even Bush, when he prosecuted more whistle blowers than even Bush, and while he continues and escalates Bush's saber rattling and war mongering and contempt for all things Constitutional - the liberals and progressives who have been blatantly triangulated continue to believe rather than facing their illusions, hitting bottom and breaking free of denial--and of course will end up voting again for him despite vociferous righteous indignation over the same offenses committed by George W. Bush - as he "is still better than Michele Bachman, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney".  

P.S.  Lest we forget when Obama "nationalized the auto industry" he didn't use the opportunity to create a new mission for the industry making high speed trains (a job which he off-shored to Spain - contracting out billions of dollars of high speed trains that could have been built here) Obama used the opportunity to demand cuts from Labor.  And speaking of Labor he also made damn sure the protestors in Wisconsin did not get any support from the Democratic Party hierarchy - a clear signal to Jerry Brown in California and Andrew Cuomo in New York to follow the same "austerity" measures so beloved by Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  

P.S.S.  Obama did, in all fairness, create or extend Bush's jobs program for people of color within the prison industrial complex.

Phyllis Benis often refers to Barack Obama as a "different type of President" (this especially concerning foreign policy - aka war). Barbara Lee and Barbara Ehrenreich proudly call him "calm", "thoughtfully deliberating" and of course he is -  which a judge in a court of law could tell you differentiates him from his hot tempered reactionary predecessor who could be found not guilty by reason of insanity while Barack would have to be found to be a cold blooded premeditated murderer.  Who knew when Barack said he wanted to "change the mindset that leads to war" that he meant he would blow their brains out.

So let's all remember that having the insipid criteria of "anybody but Bush" can lead us to have someone better, or in this case, someone worse.

Jeff and Karen Hays have been in Santa Cruz, Ca for the past few years and are trying to connect with the type of community building that Revolutionary Communities have been covering lately.  Jeff and Karen became aware of Cindy and Casey Sheehan back when Casey's mom camped out in Crawford.  They saw Cindy's courage galvanize the anti-war movement and then sadly watched as many within it distanced themselves from her (and people like the Hays) who felt that Democrats and Republicans and everyone else should be held to the same standard as Bush was held to.  

Prior to 2004, the Hays were in New Zealand for five years and had a front row seat to see how neo-liberal economics and its accompanying "structural adjustment" destroys the many for the benefit of the few.  Jeff and Karen fought against it there and being US citizens decided to come back to the belly of the beast and fight it here.  It's crazy to watch the same movie play out here (i.e. "austerity") that brought such disparity to New Zealand.