Saturday, September 16, 2017

`Remember Lumumba' protest folk song lyrics

An historical protest folk song from 2017 about role of Belgian and U.S. governments, UN and former Columbia University administration officials in eliminating democratically elected Congolese PM Patrice Lumumba, between July 1960 and January 1961.


Remember Lumumba
Lumumba, Lumumba
Spoke for freedom. 

The Belgians pulled out
The U.S. moved in
They wanted a puppet
Who wouldn't stand firm
. (chorus)

Katanga they took
Belgium returned
UN troops came
Then changed their whole mission. 

Columbia Trustee Burden
Named Lumumba as his foe
And helped by the UN's Cordier
Lumumba was overthrown. 

He would not submit
They carried out a coup
They threw him in jail
And Patrice Lumumba they slew. 

They still want their empire
They still want their mines
And they still try to kill
Those who expose their crimes. 

Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!

Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!
Lumumba lives!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's August 2017 Letter


The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.
“August, 2017

“Dear Comrades

“August already. I haven’t got my head around July yet. Must have missed it. And so the year zips by. Pity some individuals and institutions don’t zip by and disappear over the horizon never to return, creeps who treat us like mugs as if we can’t see through their lies and corruption and stupidity.

“In a line-up of morons, Barnaby Joyce wins the jackpot (attacked Four Corners for exposing serious water theft by cotton growers and officialdom and he’s the water minister!). Cotton should never be grown here anyway.

“He’s followed closely by the fellow who blamed his mum for turning him into an Italiano, which shows he’s not fit to be an MP. He’s not on his Pat Malone. We should be marching in the streets about the incredible powers given to Dutton as super cop in charge of a range of secretive outfits which have outrageously repressive laws at their disposal.

“Few Australians seem to know or care that without a Bill of Rights we have absolutely no protection, especially with Dutton in charge. Turnbull made the announcement against a backdrop of heavily armed masked commandos. Pathetic and childish at one level, but deliberately creating a nasty atmosphere.

“We’re just the patsies, surrogates for the ones yanking our government’s strings to play Little Brother for Big Brother. Have you counted the number of senior US military figures popping in to Canberra recently? And what do you know, on cue a terrorist plot has turned up.

“So here we are tightly tied to a country going down the tubes that if allowed, will bring us all undone. ‘Liberal’ America isn’t worth two bob, while conservative America with Trump at the helm is off the planet ideologically. Uninformed, abysmally ignorant, venal, insular, who believe implicitly in ‘American exceptionalism,' ignoring startling statistics about how little Americans know about world geography and history.

“US author William Hawes pulls no punches when he says that America’s political leaders are ‘mentally unfit for office, unable to listen, take advice or think rationally.’ They are not simply anti-intellectual and religious and economic extremists, but are ‘seriously unhinged’ and represent a danger for everyone. It beggars belief that these aggressive cretins accuse North Korea of ‘threatening world peace’.

“I know I’ve talked about Syria many times, but the statistics continue to appall me. At least 475,000 dead, 5 million driven into exile, another 6 million internally displaced and 11 million forced from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine and with ancient Christian peoples fleeing for their lives. Two of Syria’s greatest and oldest cities, the once beautiful and prosperous Damascus and Aleppo, pounded into ruins by massacres and airstrikes. If this isn’t wickedness I don’t know what is.

“And that is just the tip of a monstrous iceberg. After overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Qaddafi in 2012, the fighting and killings continue, while yet another humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Yemen.

“‘They make a desert and call it peace,’ said Calgacus of the Romans he fought in the first century, just like the current military crop who claimed ‘victory’ over the battle for Mosul, where more than 40,000 civilians died with Mosul a heap of rubble. The world should be outraged, but isn’t.

“ Meanwhile the Americans spend $600 billion every year on the military, are $20 trillion in debt, run $800 billion trade deficits and seem incapable of fixing their health care system, reform their tax code or fund an infrastructure programme, and are gearing up to fight more wars. And we help them. 
"Next cab off the rank, Venezuela. From the moment Chavez was elected, the US Empire worked around the clock to destroy his revolution. Chavez died and the Empire never let up. After a fake referendum, America’s propaganda mill is churning out lies that President Maduro is no longer its legitimate president. When it’s all about oil. Venezuela has the largest known reserve of oil in the world, which Venezuela controls and uses for the benefit of its people. But the vultures are circling.

“Somewhere in Washington DC, politicians, generals, spies and oil company executives from ExxonMobil are plotting to create more chaos, more destabilisation and how to pull off a coup d’etat. And it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference who is president. Nothing gets in the way of the Empire’s foreign policy objectives, especially when we’re talking about oil. ‘The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles’, trumpeted Trump, with the danger he is preparing for a full-scale military intervention.

"A positive from the recent Paris climate agreement. Trump was isolated and the US was left out in the cold, a 19-1 standoff over the most important issue of our time. It’s hard to disagree with filmmaker James Cameron when he says that humans have a nasty habit of letting market forces dictate our future. ‘Market forces have put us into runaway climate change and resource depletion and all forms of environmental collapse and the sixth great mass extinction which, if we don’t change, could be a slate-wiper for the planet.’

“Our wildlife is dying out due to habitat destruction, toxic pollution and climate change, when our lives depend on the plants, animals and micro-organisms of Earth to maintain a liveable climate. Assuming we survive a climatic catastrophe, the next big question is ‘can we prevail in a world where machines that we’ve built are as smart or smarter than we are?’ No time to waste.

“Joan Coxsedge”

Monday, August 7, 2017

Columbia University and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited--Part 2

“…I would like to refer specifically to the painful case of the Congo, unique in the history of the modern world, which shows how, with absolute impunity, with the most insolent cynicism, the rights of peoples can be flouted. The direct reason for all this is the enormous wealth of the Congo, which the imperialist countries want to keep under their control…How can we forget the betrayal of the hope that Patrice Lumumba placed in the United Nations? How can we forget the machinations and maneuvers that followed in the wake of the occupation of that country by UN troops, under whose auspices the assassins of this great African patriot acted with impunity?...”

--Che Guevara in his Dec. 11, 1964 speech to the UN General Assembly

“…Cordier was part of the Congo Club, a group of senior UN officials intent on making sure that the international organization safeguarded Western interests in the Congo…. “

--Ludo De Witte in his 2001 book, The Assassination of Lumumba

“Lumumba’s fall and assassination were the result of a vast conspiracy involving U.S., Belgian and UN officials…My own research in the United Nations Archives in New York has yielded data on…the anti-Lumumba activities of Andrew Cordier…”

--Howard University Professor Emeritus of African Studies Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja in his 2003 book, The Congo From Leopold to Kabula: A People’s History

“Students for a Democratic Society will hold a rally today to protest the University's expansion policies and the alleged involvement of Acting [Columbia University] President Andrew W. Cordier in the assassination of former Congolese Premier Patrice Lumumba….The radical student organization has…accused President Cordier, who was formerly dean of the School of International Affairs…of helping to plot…the downfall of his government…A leader of the Brooklyn Black Panther Party, known as Captain Ford, is scheduled to speak at this evening's rally…”

--from a Sept. 26, 1968 Columbia Daily Spectator article

“…Mr. Lumumba, the Prime Minister….is completely irresponsible—if not a mad man…He is wildly ambitious, lusting for power and strikes fear into anyone who crosses his path. There is really no such thing as a Congolese Government…There is a cabinet, but Lumumba uses it as his tool. Some members of the Cabinet share his vision and lust for power…The only real solution of the problem is a change of leadership. It will not be easy, however, to remove Lumumba from his position…"

--Former Columbia University President and School of International Affairs [SIPA] Dean and United Nations Under-Secretary General Andrew Cordier in an Aug. 18, 1960 letter to Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professor V.F. Schwalm

Columbia University and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited—Part 2

In his 2009 book Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the late 1960s, Professor of History and African American Studies Stefan Bradley noted that on Aug. 23, 1968--three months after they had requested on May 22, 1968 that New York City police be used to clear Columbia University’s campus of protesting students for a second time--“Grayson Kirk and David Truman stepped down as the president and vice president” of Columbia University; and “Andrew Cordier, from the School of International Affairs [SIPA]” of Columbia University “took over the reins of the university as acting president.” Cordier then spent two years as Columbia University’s fifteenth president until September 1970, before spending an additional two years as Dean of Columbia’s School of International Affairs [SIPA] prior to his 1975 death--from cirrhosis of the liver--at the age of 74.

Before being appointed as Columbia’s School of International Affairs Dean in 1962 (by a Columbia University board of trustees that included the former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium between 1959 and 1961, Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden), Cordier had worked since 1946 at the United Nations as advisor to the President of the General Assembly and executive assistant to the Secretary General. And, as UN Under-Secretary General, Cordier, coincidentally, “had a large role in the Congo” in the summer of 1960, 57 years ago, according to Professor Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Professor of History Emmanuel Gerard and University of Pennsylvania Professor of History Bruce Kuklick’s 2015 book, Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba.

As Carole Collins observed in an article, titled “The Cold War Comes to Africa: Cordier and the 1960 Congo Crisis,” that appeared in the June 22, 1993 issue of the Journal of International Affairs:

“…In early September 1960, while filling in as the Secretary-General's interim special representative to the Congo... Cordier's decisions effectively…reinforced U.S. and Belgian efforts to oust Lumumba… Some scholars argue that Cordier's actions ultimately served to help abort the Congo's transition to democracy, set in motion a series of events culminating in the murder of Lumumba -- the Congo's first democratically elected prime minister -- and facilitated the rise to power of a young Congolese army officer, Joseph Desire Mobutu...The Zairian [Congolese] people are still grappling to this day with the tragic legacy of these decisions…

“…Several sources, including Madeleine Kalb's study based on declassified diplomatic cable traffic, document the extent to which Cordier continually briefed and was briefed by U.S. diplomats and collaborated with them on Congo policy….

“…Cordier's 15 September [1960] letter to[Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professor V.F.] Schwalm reveals that he had advance notice of Kasavubu's intent to dismiss Lumumba, and that he welcomed the move…Cordier notes he met four times with Kasavubu…to discuss the firing of Lumumba… When Kasavubu announced his dismissal of Lumumba from office on the radio on Monday, 5 September, Cordier…made his `two most important decisions:’ to send U.N. troops to close the airport and to seize the radio station.

“These…actions…primarily hurt Lumumba because only Kasavubu enjoyed access to radio facilities in the neighboring state of Congo Brazzaville. Similarly, Kasavubu's allies were allowed to use the ostensibly closed airport to travel into the Congolese interior to mobilize support for the president while Lumumba's supporters were grounded….Near the end of his three-week stay in early September, Cordier …authorized the United Nations to offer food and pay to the Congolese Army… This action…allowed Mobutu -- a one-time Lumumba aide who had been appointed chief-of-staff of the army by Kasavubu just days earlier -- to win credit for paying the soldiers their past-due salaries…and to pave the way for his coup attempt a few days later…. The combination of U.N. and U.S. support was pivotal for Mobutu's subsequent seizure of power.

“…On 14 September
 [1960], Mobutu seized power… In the end, Cordier's actions served to fuel the Congolese civil war…. After his dismissal by Kasavubu, Lumumba was placed under virtual house arrest, but even this failed to dampen his popular or legislative support….In January 1961, he was killed through the coordinated efforts of Mobutu, Kasavubu, Tshombe and the CIA…[Connor Cruise] O'Brien – the…Irish diplomat…who had represented the United Nations in Katanga in 1961…believes that Cordier deliberately helped Washington plot Lumumba's ouster…”

Howard University Professor Emeritus of African Studies Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja’s 2003 book,The Congo From Leopold to Kabula: A People’s History, also contains a reference to the role that former Columbia University President Cordier played in Congolese history:

“…The dismissal [of Lumumba] was…clearly a civilian coup and therefore illegal. Both houses of[the Congolese] parliament, where Lumumba still had a working majority, gave him a vote of confidence and rejected Kasa-Vubu’s decisions as null and void…Cordier and U.S. Ambassador [to the Congo] Timberlake worked hand in hand to implement U.S. policy objectives. Acting as a viceroy, Cordier helped engineer and execute the illegal overthrow of Lumumba from power, beginning with his active support of the Kasa-Vubu coup of 5 September [1960]…”

Conor Cruise O’Brien’s 1962 book To Katanga and Back: A UN Case History, also indicated how former Columbia University President Cordier contributed to the illegal overthrow of Patrice Lumumba’s democratically-elected Congolese government in September 1960:

“…Andrew Cordier…had taken a decision which, politically, had broken the back of Lumumba—the Prime Minister who had called in the United Nations [to end Belgian military intervention in support of the illegal Belgium-backed secessionist Tshombe regime in the Congo’s Katanga province]…Had it not been for Mr. Cordier’s…action, there is little doubt that the support Lumumba could have rallied at this crucial moment would have been most formidable…Mr. Cordier’s actions…had played a decisive part in this crucial series of events, as a result of which the Congo no longer possessed a universally recognized Government…”

But as Kwame Nkrumah [the democratically-elected Ghanaian president who was overthrown in a CIA-backed military coup in 1966] argued in his 1967 book Challenge Of The Congo, “how could such action of the United Nations be justified when Lumumba was the lawful Prime Minister?” Nkrumah also noted in the same book that “the executive assistant to the Secretary-General, Andrew Cordier, knew in advance of Kasavubu’s plan to dismiss Lumumba;” and during the period in early September 1960 when former “acting” Columbia University President Cordier was the “acting” head of the UN Congo Mission in Kinshasa[Leopoldville], “press correspondents in Leopoldville at the time were convinced that the UN were helping to oust Lumumba…”

Coincidentally, a now de-classified “Telegram From the Station in the Congo to the Central Intelligence Agency” that was sent from Leopoldville[Kinshasa] on Sept. 5, 1960 also stated:

“…An unimpeachable source…advised [Embassy] that Kasavubu plans to oust Lumumba…As soon as this step taken, he plans to broadcast a message to Congolese people from Radio Congo requesting them to remain calm and accept the new government….Kasavubu plan includes following steps: A. For the UN Operation Congo (UNOC) to guarantee his personal safety with UN troops. B. Request UNOC to guard the radio station, thus guaranteeing his personal safety when he speaks and insuring that Lumumba forces will not be able take control of the radio and mount a propaganda campaign in support of Lumumba. C. Airports Congo would be closed to all departures. 4. Kasavubu’s plan has been coordinated with UNOC at highest levels here. He already has taken the first step, to demand protection by UN troops. The rest of the plan was to be implemented 5 September but timing may well be changed.”

According to Ludo De Witte’s 2001 book The Assassination of Lumumba, as Acting Head of the UN Operation Congo [UNOC] in Kinshasa/Leopoldville during early September 1960, Cordier “did exactly what was expected of him.”

In discussing, at a September 2004 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Cold War Studies conference at Princeton University, what happened in the Congo between July 1960 and the Jan. 17, 1961 murder of the democratically elected, but illegally ousted, Congolese Premier Lumumba and two of Lumumba’s colleagues, CUNY Emeritus Professor of Political Science Herbert Weiss characterized former Columbia President Cordier’s historical role in the following way:

“There is a very important event…that is the closing of the airport and the closing of the radio, without which the dismissal of Lumumba would have had a very different end…The key person there is Andrew CordierCordier was, at the very minimum, a profoundly non-neutral person whose writings suggest that he was a racist…It’s Cordier’s actions that cut the feet from under Lumumba…”

And at the same September 2004 conference, another conference participant, Thomas Kanza, the Congo’s first permanent representative to the UN, said: 

“If I may, I would like to support what Herbert said….Your…points are really correct. When Cordier came to Kinshasa…and Cordier stepped in, as special representative of the Secretary General. Number one, the dismissal of Lumumba…Cordier stepped in and said that he must be dismissed… Cordier was really acting as the number one UN [man] in the Congo...Cordier, as far as I’m concerned, was responsible for many things, including what would happen later….”

According to the Death in the Congo book, in the month before the former Columbia president used his UN power in the Congo to coordinate with Kasa-Vubu’s plan to illegally dismiss Lumumba in early September 1960, Cordier had personally interviewed Lumumba in New York City on Aug. 1, 1960, when “Lumumba made a last visit to the UN;” and the following personal interaction happened during this interview:

Cordier began his interview with Lumumba with a lengthy and condescending exposition…Ignoring the white man’s speech, Lumumba made his own long reply. He admonished Cordier and expressed disappointment…that the UN had not evicted the Belgians…”

During the same month that Cordier was coordinating with Kasa-Vubu to illegally remove Lumumba from power in a “civilian coup,” the CIA’s Chief of Station in the Congo, Larry Devlin (using illegally the diplomatic cover of “consul” at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa/Leopoldville), was also covertly working to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Patrice Lumumba. In his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo: A Memoir of 1960-67, Devlin (who died in 2008) describes what happened when he visited the Congolese presidential palace shortly after the “civilian coup” of Kasavubu that Cordier backed:

“…[Congolese National Army/ANC] Colonel Mobutu stood in the doorway flanked by two soldiers…`Wait for me outside,’ he said softly to the soldiers. He closed the door and shook hands with me…Finally, he said, `Here is the situation: the army is prepared to overthrow Lumumba. But only on the condition that the United States will recognize the government that would replace Lumumba’s…’

[CIA Director] Allen Dulles had made it absolutely clear to me that the United States wanted Lumumba removed from power, but I had always thought in terms of a legal or parliamentary change, not an army coup…Yet the more I considered Mobutu’s plan, the better it sounded…

“`I’ve got to get back to my commanders,’ Mobutu said, turning to leave. `I have to give them a `go’ or a `no go’ order. Lumumba doesn’t know they’re here, so they must get back to their bases before he finds out.’…

“…I held out my hand to Mobutu and said with as much conviction as I could muster: `I can assure you the United States government will recognize a temporary government composed of civilian technocrats.’

“…`The coup will take place within a week,’ he said. `But I will need five thousand dollars [equivalent o around $41,000 in 2017 U.S. dollars] to provide for my senior officers…’

“…I assured Mobutu that the money would be available and arranged to meet him in his office…I left the presidential palace without further incident…I arrived at army headquarters at the early hour agreed upon with Mobutu…Mobutu said he had met his area commanders and told them that the coup was on. `I’ll be setting a date and time shortly but it will be within the next week,’ he said. `I’ll take control of the radio station, announce the formation of new government.’…On the evening of Sept. 14 [1960]…at a party…at the home of Alison `Tally’ Palmer, the American vice-consul…I…had a call with the news that Mobutu was on the radio announcing that the army was installing a government of technocrats…Our efforts to remove Lumumba…were at last bearing fruit…”

In a statement at a Dec. 10, 1960 UN Security Council meeting, the Moroccan representative to the UN, Mhamet Boucetta, indicated how the CIA-supported Mobutu used some of the Congolese National Army [ANC] troops (that Cordier had paid with U.S. government-provided UN money)  to “install a government of technocrats” between Sept. 13 (when a joint meeting of the Congolese Chamber of Representatives and Senate restored full power to the illegally “dismissed” Lumumba by 88 votes to 5 with 3 abstentions) and Sept. 14, 1960:

“I should like to tell you something I saw with my own eyes. I was present at the last two meetings held by this [Congolese] Parliament…By an overwhelming majority, the Parliament gave the legitimate Government a vote of confidence and renewed its mandate…

“The next morning, a hundred soldiers with helmets and submachine guns at the ready and an old tank with a rusty gun were stationed in front of the Parliament building. The elected representatives of the people were not allowed to enter…The members of Parliament were rounded up and hustled away, payment of their allowances was stopped…That is what…we saw…”

And less than five months after Mobutu’s first CIA-backed coup in September 1960, the 35- year-old Lumumba was murdered in the Katanga region of the Congo. As The Congo From Leopold To Kabila: A People’s History book observed:

As it turned out, Mobutu played a critical role in every step leading to Lumumba’s assassination…He did so by the coup of 14 September [1960], Lumumba’s arrest on 1 December [1960], and his incarceration at the elite military garrison of Mbano-Ngungu[Thysville]. And Mobutu was among the…Congolese involved in the…plan of sending Lumumba to his death in Katanga…”

And, according to Death in the Congo:

CIA turncoats, among others, have testified that in the immediate aftermath of the assassination Devlin boasted to people in the Agency about his role in the murder…In 1960 he persisted in trying to finish off Lumumba and immediately took credit when the African was killed; he later persisted in denying that he tried…Justin O’Donnell, a senior officer from CIA headquarters got to Leopoldville[Kinshasa] on November 3[1960]. O’Donnell would oversee the murder and report to Devlin. In asking for O’Donnell after Washington’s encouragement, Devlin let headquarters know that he still had…poisons, but also wanted a `high-powered foreign make rifle with telescopic and silencer.’…Devlin asked for the rifle in writing a week after an unusual appearance by Lumumba on the balcony of his residents where he spoke to a crowd below…Devlin and those around him in the Congo would not rest until someone finished the job…The Belgians and the American fixated on murder…”

 In a 2010 AllAfrica website column, a former Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Africa, Stephen R. Weissman,  also asserted that “Devlin gave a green light to delivering Lumumba to men who had publicly vowed to kill him” and “shortly before” Lumumba’s “transfer” to where he was murdered, “Mobutu indicated to Devlin that Lumumba `might be executed,’ according to a Church Committee [of the U.S. Senate] interview,” but “Devlin did not suggest that he offered any objection or caution.”

In an Aug. 18, 1960 letter to Manchester College in Indiana Emeritus Professsor V.F. Schwalm, former Columbia University President Cordier wrote the following about the democratically-elected Congolese prime minister that he would help oust from power less than a month later:

“…Mr. Lumumba, the Prime Minister….is completely irresponsible—if not a mad man…He is wildly ambitious, lusting for power and strikes fear into anyone who crosses his path. There is really no such thing as a Congolese Government…There is a cabinet, but Lumumba uses it as his tool. Some members of the Cabinet share his vision and lust for power….The only real solution of the problem is a change of leadership. It will not be easy, however to remove Lumumba from his position…In various ways the Secretary-General has given encouragement to the moderates and they are also receiving encouragement from other powerful political sources…”

Patrice Lumumba, however, presented an alternative historical point of view in the last letter he wrote from the Camp Hardy military prison in Mbano-Ngungu[Thysville]--a letter to his wife--before being assassinated on January 17, 1961:

“My dear wife,

“I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them…What we wished for our country, its right to an honorable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and the Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional, amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organization in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance. Neither brutal assaults, nor cruel mistreatment, nor torture have ever led me to beg for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head held high, unshakable faith, and the greatest confidence in the destiny of my country rather than live in slavery and contempt for sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets…   Love live the Congo! Long live Africa!


(end of article)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Columbia University and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited--Part 1

“…I have learned much about William A.M. Burden II from Peggy and I…I was best acquainted with his 20-year tenure…as Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] and his contribution to the quality of the output of this `think tank’s serving the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff…His government service reached its apogee during his two years, 1959-61, as Ambassador to Belgium…He has been most responsive over these years also to the needs of Columbia University which he has served as a trustee…”

--General and former IDA President Maxwell Taylor in foreword to Columbia University Life Trustee William A.M. Burden’s 1982 book, Peggy and I: A Life Too Busy For A Dull Moment

“Before I accepted my ambassadorship in Belgium I had been given in 1957…appointment as `a public trustee’ of the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA]. It became one of the top priorities of my life…I…was elected chairman in May, 1959…One of the unfortunate side-effects of the student protest movement against the Vietnam War was that IDA itself became a target for anti-war protests, and its member universities were subjected to faculty and student pressure to cancel their ties…”

--Columbia University Life Trustee William A.M. Burden in his 1982 book, Peggy and I

“Only prudent, therefore to plan on basis that Lumumba Government threatens our vital interests in Congo and Africa generally. A principal objective of our political and diplomatic action must therefore be to destroy Lumumba government as now constituted…”

--Columbia University Life Trustee and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium William A.M. Burden in a July 19, 1960 cable to the U.S. State Department

“The Belgians were sort of toying with the idea of seeing to it that Lumumba was assassinated. I went beyond my instructions and said, well, I didn’t think it would be a bad idea either, but I naturally never reported this to Washington—but Lumumba was assassinated. I think it was all to the good…”

--Columbia University Life Trustee William A. M. Burden in a 1968 Oral History Interview with Columbia University School of Journalism’s Advanced International Reporting Program Director John Luter

Columbia University and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited—Part 1

When Columbia and Barnard students first occupied Hamilton Hall on Columbia University’s campus on Apr. 23, 1968, one of their six demands was “that the university sever all ties with the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] and that [then-Columbia] President Kirk and Trustee Burden resign their positions on the Executive Committee of that institution immediately.”

Coincidentally, besides representing Columbia University—with the (now-deceased) Grayson Kirk—on the Executive Committee of the Pentagon’s IDA weapons research think-tank in 1968, Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden was also the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium who recommended fifty-seven years ago, in July 1960, that “a principal objective” of the Republican administration in Washington, D.C. of former Columbia University President Eisenhower “must therefore be to destroy” the democratically-elected “Lumumba government as now constituted” in Belgium’s former Congo[Zaire] colony. As David Talbot recalled in his 2015 book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government:

“Dulles, Doug Dillon (then serving as a State Department undersecretary), and William Burden, the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, led the charge within the Eisenhower administration to first demonize and then dispose of [Patrice] Lumumba. All three men had financial interests in the Congo. The Dillon family’s investment bank handled the Congo’s bond issues. Dulles’s old law firm represented the American Metal Climax (later AMAX), a mining giant with holdings in the Congo…Ambassador Burden was a company director…Ambassador Burden was a Vanderbilt heir…

“Burden, who had acquired his ambassadorship by contributing heavily to the 1956 Eisenhower campaign, spent his days in Brussels attending diplomatic receptions…It was the ambassador who first raised alarms about the rising Patrice Lumumba…Burden began sending agitated cables to Dulles in Washington well before Lumumba’s election…By the…summer [of 1960], Burden was cabling Washington `to destroy Lumumba government’ as a threat to `our vital interest in Congo.’…”

“…At an NSC [National Security Council] meeting in August 1960, Eisenhower gave [CIA Director Allen] Dulles direct approval to `eliminate’ Lumumba. Robert Johnson, the minutes taker at the NSC meeting…said there was nothing ambiguous about Eisenhower’s lethal order. `I was surprised that I would ever hear a president say anything like this in my presence or the presence of a group of people’…

“…Lumumba `would remain a grave danger,’ Dulles told an NSC meeting on Sept. 21, 1960, `as long as he was not yet disposed of.’…”

A Life Trustee of Columbia University since 1956, Burden (who died in 1984) was among the “people in the Eisenhower administration” who “hunted for ways to reduce Lumumba’s influence” and, along with CIA Director Allen Dulles “and the CIA’s man in Leopoldville[Kinshasa],” Larry Devlin, “devised actions,” according to Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Professor of History Emmanuel Gerard and University of Pennsylvania Professor of History Bruce Kuklick’s 2015 book, Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba.

The same book also noted that Devlin, was “a CIA agent from the late 1940s” who “began spying for the CIA in Brussels, where he had a cover position as an attaché’” in 1958 and where he “made contacts with the Congo’s politicians, who came to Belgium for various deliberations.” After his appointment as the CIA’s chief of station in the Congo in “the second part of 1959,” Devlin “went there with Burden” in March 1960, when the Columbia Life Trustee and his wife traveled through the still not-yet independent Belgian Congo. Coincidentally, besides being a Columbia trustee in 1960, Burden was also a trustee of the Farfield Foundation that was utilized by the CIA, during the Cold War Era of the 1950s and 1960s, as a conduit for covertly financing projects and journals, like the American Congress of Cultural Freedom [CCF] and Encounter magazine, which promoted U.S. power elite foreign policy objectives. 

Following his March 1960 trip to the Congo with CIA Station Chief Devlin, “Burden told the Department of State that America could not permit the Congo to go left after independence,” according to Death in the Congo. And after the Congo[Zaire] was granted its formal independence on June 30, 1960, the Columbia Life Trustee--who also “maintained during his ambassadorship, a directorship in American Metal Climax, whose Rhodesian copper interests were to make it the leading corporate defender of a conservative order…in Katanga (where Belgian troops began supporting an illegally-established secessionist regime on July 11, 1960), according to Roger Housen’s 2002 paper “Why Did The US Want To Kill Prime Minister Lumumba Of The Congo?”--began pushing for the removal of the democratically-elected anti-imperialist Lumumba as Congolese Prime Minister in July 1960. As Madeline Kalb observed in her 1982 book, The Congo Cables: The Cold War in Africa:

“The U.S. Embassy in Brussels, replying to the U. State Department’s query on July 19…took a very strong line regarding Lumumba, recommending openly for the first time that the United States try to remove him from office. The U.S. ambassador, William Burden, said he believed the situation called for `urgent measures on various levels.’…Burden concluded by noting that while the U.S. Embassy in Leopoldville[Kinshasa] had the primary responsibility for dealing with the internal political situation in the Congo, the CIA in Brussels would be `reporting separately some specific suggestions.’”

The Death in the Congo book also noted:

“…Burden barraged Washington with memos asking greater sympathy for the [Belgian] imperialists…He understood, he told [then-U.S.] Secretary [of State Christian] Herter, why the United States would look at issues from the point of view of the Congo. Nevertheless, America should instead pressure the UN to support Belgium. At the end of July Burden briefed Dulles when returned to Washington for discussions. From Europe, Burden would continue as a mouthpiece for the more rabid anticommunism guiding Dulles’s report to the NSC [National Security Council]…”

Columbia Trustee Burden also apparently pressured Time magazine’s then-owner, Henry Luce, to not do a Lumumba cover story, with Lumumba’s picture on the front of the magazine, during July 1960 discussions in Paris about the Congolese political situation between Burden and U.S. Ambassador to France Amory Houghton, U.S. Ambassador to the Congo  Clair “Tim” Timberlake and CIA Chief of Station in the Congo Larry Devlin. As Devlin recalled in his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo: A Memoir of 1960-67:

“We [Devlin and “Tim” Timberlake] moved to Ambassador Houghton’s office where we were joined by Ambassador Burden for more detailed talks concerning the Congo and its problems. We were provided lodging at Ambassador Houghton’s residence and dined there with the two ambassadors. During our discussions, Tim brought up a delicate matter: `Time magazine plans to do a cover story on Lumumba with his picture on the front of the magazine.’ He continued, `Celebrity coverage at home will make him even more difficult to deal with. He’s a first-class headache as it is.’

“`Then why don’t you get the story killed?’ Burden asked. `Or at least modified?’

“`I tried to persuade the Time man in Leopoldville[Kinshasa] until I was blue in the face,’ Tim replied. `But he said there was nothing he could do about it because the story had already been sent to New York.’

“`You can’t expect much from a journalist at that level,’ Burden said pulling out his address book and flipping through the pages. He picked up the phone and put a call through to the personal assistant of Henry Luce, Time’s owner.

“Luce soon returned the call. After a brief, friendly exchange that made clear his personal relationship with Luce, Burden bluntly told him that he would have to change the Lumumba cover story. Luce apparently said that the magazine was about to go to press. `Oh, come on, Henry,’ Burden said, `you must have other cover stories in the can.’ They chatted for a few more minutes before Burden hung up.

“A few days later in the United States we picked up a copy of the magazine with a new and different cover story. Lumumba had been relegated to the international section…”

The Death in the Congo book indicated one reason that Columbia Life Trustee Burden was influential enough in U.S. Establishment circles to be able to stop Time magazine from putting Patrice Lumumba’s picture on the magazine’s front cover in the summer of 1960:

Burden was born into the colossally rich Vanderbilt family. He had a background in aviation and finance…Burden used his great wealth and the contacts that came from it to secure upper-level governmental experience, socializing with moneyed internationally oriented Republicans…”

In 1973, for example, besides still being both a Columbia trustee and the honorary chairman of the board of the Pentagon’s Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] weapons research think tank, Burden--a former Assistant for Research and Development to the Secretary of the Air Force--also sat on the board of directors of Lockheed, CBS, Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Allied Chemical and was still a director of American Metal Climax [AMAX], according to a Feb.6, 1973 Columbia Daily Spectator article. In addition, the former U.S. ambassador to Belgium also sat on the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in 1973.

By August of 1960, former Columbia University President Eisenhower’s administration in Washington, D.C. “feared that Lumumba’s oratorical talent would make him a thorn in their side even if he were maneuvered out of power” and “decided it made more sense to kill him,” according to Mark Zepezauer’s 1994 book, The CIA’s Greatest Hits. After CIA Chief of Station in the Congo Devlin met with CIA Director Dulles at CIA headquarters and then returned to the Congo in August 1960, Eisenhower called for the elimination of Lumumba at an Aug. 18, 1960 meeting of the National Security Council, and the following happened, according to Death in the Congo:

“Project Wizard had come into being. It grew out of Devlin’s ideas but also out of proposals of the Brussels CIA…The next day the CIA cabled Devlin to move forward with various ramped-up dirty tricks…Ultimate formal approval of the government’s most unpleasant jobs came through a standing four-person subcommittee of the National Security Council, the `Special Group.’ In addition to a note-taker, it consisted of a top man of the Department of State and of Defense; Dulles; and [White House National Security Adviser] Gordon Gray, who spoke for the president. On August 25 [1960],  Dulles had his regular meeting with the Special Group. He outlined the mounting anti-Lumumba exercises of Project Wizard…After some discussion, the Special Group agreed not to `rule out’ consideration…of `any particular kind of activity which might contribute to getting rid of Lumumba.’

“The next day Dulles himself wired Devlin about the `removal’ of Lumumba as `an urgent and prime objective.’ With a State Department nod, Dulles allowed Devlin some freedom of operation and stipulated `more aggressive action if it can remain covert.’ The CIA also awarded …an additional $100,000 [equivalent to over $821,000 in 2017 US dollars] to accomplish these goals should a `target of opportunity’ present itself and should Devlin not have time to sound out either the embassy in the Congo or the CIA at home…”

As the now-deceased Devlin recalled in his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo:

“…To the best of my knowledge, no other station chief had ever been given such latitude…If further evidence was required that Washington supported our own conclusion about replacing Lumumba, that was it…We were already monitoring parliament and encouraging and guiding the actions of various parliamentary opposition groups that we had penetrated…We were also using [a Belgian citizen and CIA agent named] Jacque to insert anti-Lumumba articles in the country’s leading newspaper…

“With the full backing of Headquarters, the station began to work on a plan to remove Lumumba from power. One of our early operations, organized by Jacque who provided…financial support, was an anti-Lumumba demonstration when the latter spoke at meeting of African foreign ministers held in Leopldville[Kinshasa] on Aug. 25 [1960]. On his arrival, hostile demonstrators shouted `a bas Lumumba’ (`down with Lumumba’), and when he began to speak to the delegates, the mob drowned him out shouting anti-Lumumba slogans.”

Then, according to Death in the Congo, “on the evening of Sept. 3 [1960], Congolese President Joseph Kasa-Vubu summoned” the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Leopoldville[Kinshasha] during the first two weeks of September1960, Andrew Cordier, for a meeting. Coincidentally, the Columbia University board of trustees (that included by-then former U.S. ambassador to the Congo Burden), would later appoint Cordier to be the Dean of its School of International Affairs [School of International and Public Affairs] between 1962 and 1968, to be the Columbia President who succeeded Grayson Kirk between August 1968 and September 1970 and to again be School of International Affairs Dean between September 1970 and 1972. The same book also observed:

“Cordier and Kasa-Vubu had more meetings over the next two days, Sept. 4 and 5 [1960]…A few minutes before 8 p.m. on Sept. 5, Kasa-Vubu sent his Belgian adviser Jef Van Bilsen to Cordier with a formal written exhortation. Cordier should close the airports and monitor the Leopoldville radio station. Then, at 8:12, Kasa-Vubu appeared at the station…He nervously asserted that he was sacking Lumumba…Cordier immediately implemented Kasa-Vubu’s written solicitations…The firing was invalid…Lumumba made the illegality of Kasavubu’s ploy clear in a letter…delivered to Cordier at 4 a.m. on Sept. 6 [1960]…On Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 7 [1960], in the Congo’s house of representatives Lumumba yet again explained the illegality of Kasa-Vubu’s acts…For 5 days Cordier took instructions from politicians who had no justifiable authority. He had closed the radio station and shut the airports because Kasa-Vubu asked him…When Kasa-Vubu pitched Lumumba out [as Congolese prime minister], the Congo’s [ceremonial] president had the help of Belgian and UN authorities...and also the goodwill of the CIA. At this time the Americans put Joseph Ileo, Kasa-Vubu’s choice for prime minister, on the payroll, although he had already been funded to secure his election as president of the Congo’s senate…”

According to Professor of Political Science George Nzongola-Ntalaja’s 2003 book, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History, however, “both houses of” the Congo’s “parliament, where Lumumba still had a working majority gave him a vote of confidence and rejected Kasa-Vubu’s decision as null and void.” But on Sept. 14, 1960, future Congolese/Zairean dictator Mobutu “pulled off his first military coup with the help of the CIA.” Prior to Mobutu’s Sept. 14, 1960 military coup, CIA Director Dulles had flown to Brussels to brief Burden “on the recent decisions of the National Security Council” and told Burden that “he believed the leader we could depend on in a showdown with Lumumba was young Colonel Joseph Mobutu, second in command of the Congolese army,” according to Burden’s Peggy and I book.

Back in the United States on Sept. 19, 1960, “Dulles and his immediate subordinates launched a top-secret communication channel to Devlin called PROP, which would only discuss assassination” of Lumumba, according to Death in the Congo;” while “in a document signed in October 1960, the then-Belgian minister for African Affairs, Count Harold d’Aspremot Lyden, stated explicitly that Belgian interests “required `the final elimination of Lumumba,’ according to The Congo from Leopold to Kabila. And by the end of January 1961, the democratically-elected and illegally ousted Congolese prime minister had been physically “eliminated.”

Coincidentally, in a 1968 oral history interview with former Newsweek editor and Columbia University Journalism School faculty member Joel Luter, less than 8 years later, Columbia Life Trustee and then-IDA Executive Committee member and chairman of the IDA board of trustees Burden made the following comment about the murder of Lumumba and two colleagues, Congolese Senate Vice-President Joseph Okito and Congolese Youth and Sports Minister Maurice Mpolo, on Jan. 17, 1961 in the Katanga area of the Congo[Zaire]:

“The Belgians were sort of toying with the idea of seeing to it that Lumumba was assassinated. I went beyond my instructions and said, well, I didn’t think it would be a bad idea either, but I naturally never reported this to Washington—but Lumumba was assassinated. I think it was all to the good…”

Bur in his 1967 book, Challenge of the Congo, Kwame Nkrumah (the democratically-elected Ghanaian head of state who was forced out of office in a 1966 CIA-orchestrated military coup) wrote the following about what happened in the Congo during Columbia Life Trustee Burden’s term as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium and during the period when former Columbia University President Cordier was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Congo:

“Somewhere in Katanga in the Congo…three of our brother freedom fighters have been done to death…They have been killed because the United Nations…denied to the lawful Government of the Congo…means of self-protection…The murder of Patrice Lumumba and of his two colleagues…is unique in that it is the first time in history that the legal ruler of a country has been done to death with the open connivance of a world organization in whom that ruler put his trust...Kasa-Vubu illegally tried to remove Patrice Lumumba from office and to substitute another Government. When Lumumba wished to broadcast to the people, explaining what had happened, the United Nations…prevented him by force from speaking…

“…The United Nations, which could exert its authority to prevent Patrice Lumumba from broadcasting, was, so it pleaded, quite unable to prevent his arrest by mutineers or his transfer, through the use of airfields under United Nations control…The United Nations would not effectively intervene to save the life of the Prime Minister or his colleagues…Our dear brothers Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito are dead…”.

And as Ludo De Witte recalled in his 2001 preface to the English edition of his book The Assassination of Lumumba:

“…Without the steps taken by Washington and the United Nations during the preceding months, the assassination could never have been carried out. In July 1960, after Belgium intervened in the Congo and after the rich copper state of Katanga seceded, the United States went into action…U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower had instructed his aides to liquidate Lumumba and a top secret CIA unit was given the task of eliminating him…Lumumba’s transfer to Katanga, delivering him into the hands of his worst enemies, was done with the full knowledge of Lawrence Devlin, the CIA station chief…UN complicity is demonstrated by the help given to Mobutu’s soldiers in capturing Lumumba…The assassination of Lumumba and tens of thousands of other Congolese nationalists, from 1960 to 1965, was the West’s ultimate attempt to destroy the continent’s authentic independent development…”

(end of part 1)

Monday, July 24, 2017

`Christiania Lives' folk song lyrics

A folk song about the free youth community in Copenhagen, Denmark, with lyrics that were written in Copenhagen in 1985, after visiting Christiania as a tourist.

Christiania lives
A Nuclear-free city
But Copenhagen's dream
Seems Threatened by the poverty.

Young people long ago rejected the consumer world
But still they needed homes to live rent free
So when the Danish Army left its base empty
To Christiania all the youth did flee. (chorus)

They came there from the north
They came there from the west
They ran there from the boring suburban streets
They dropped out from their schools
They joyfully quit their jobs
To spend their days and nights as hippie freaks. (chorus)

The Parliament got upset at seeing the youth all squat
And ordered police to take Christiania's land
But the free youth community defended its liberty
So today Christiania still stands. (chorus)

They have their own radio and people move in and out
But a few people have remained there all the time
They party and get high and play in the poverty
And laugh at the businessmen in ties. (chorus) (chorus)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

`Democracy Now!' Host/Producer's Amy Goodman's Total Annual Compensation: $176,000 in 2015

In 2015, the majority of people who work at straight jobs in the United States were paid annual salaries of less than $50,000. Yet according to its Form 990 financial filing for 2015, the co-host and president of the Lannan Foundation and Park Foundation-subsidized Democracy Now! Productions Inc. alternative media group, Amy Goodman, apparently took home a base salary of $150,000 and $26,632 in speaking fees income, for a total annual compensation of $176,632 in 2015. 

Although Goodman's Democracy Now! Productions Inc. alternative media firm is a tax-exempt, "non-profit" organization, in 2015 its total revenues of over $8.1 million exceeded its total expenses of $6.2 million by nearly $1.9 million, according to its Form 990 financial filing; and the Democracy Now! Production Inc. firm's total assets increased from over $18 million to over $19.9 million between the beginning and end of 2015.

Of the $8.1 million that Democracy Now! Productions Inc. took in during 2015, a significant percentage of money came from the "charitable grants" of tax-exempt foundations like the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Lannan Foundation. According to the "non-profit" and tax-exempt Lannan Foundation's Form 990 financial filing for 2015, for example, in 2015 two charitable grants, totalling $400,000, were given to "Democracy Now! Productions" for "general operating support" and "internship support."

And, coincidentally, the "philanthropic" Lannan Foundation's Form 990 financial filing also indicated that the Lannan family's "non-profit" Lannan Foundation--whose board of directors currently includes Patrick Lannan, John R. Lannan and Lawrence P. Lannan Jr.--also paid the Lannan Foundation president--"J. Patrick Lannan"--an annual salary of $298,358 in 2015--despite the post-2008 endless economic recession for working-class people in the United States.

Between 2015 and 2017, Democracy Now! Productions has also received, for example, some additional grant money from the following other tax-exempt foundations:

1. A $25,000 grant from the Park Foundation in 2015;
2. Six grants, totalling $302,000, from the Tides Foundation in 2016;
3. A $30,000 grant from the Park Foundation in 2016; and
4. A $30,000 grant from the Park Foundation in 2017.

In 2015, the Lannan Foundation also gave another left gatekeeper/alternative media group, The Nation magazine/Nation Institute, a $75,000 "charitable" grant. In addition,in 2015 and 2016, The Nation/Nation Institute also received, for example, grant money from the following other tax-exempt foundations:

1. A $50,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in 2015;
2. Two grants, totalling $58,000, from the Park Foundation in 2015; and
3. A $750,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 2016. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's May 28, 2017 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter. 
“May 28, 2017

“Dear Comrades,

“And yes, our hearts ached when we saw the latest outrage against powerless young working-class kids in Manchester just out at a concert enjoying themselves. These are wicked times where wicked people commit wicked acts, but In all the understandable noise and fury truth is struggling to be heard with why’s and how’s drowned out.

“ ‘Iraq’ is whispered, when it should be shouted from the rooftops. There were no suicide bombers in Iraq until Blair and Bush and Howard invaded. Blair was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee before the invasion that ‘by far the greatest terrorist threat to the UK would be heightened by military action against Iraq’. This was backed up by a secret CIA report. ‘Before the invasion’, it said, ‘Iraq exported no terrorist threat to its neighbors because Saddam Hussein was ‘implacably hostile to alQaida’.

“In their 1991 illegal, unprovoked, blood-soaked Gulf war, ‘allied’ forces left more than 200,000 Iraqis dead and injured, and their infrastructure in ‘an apocalyptic state’. Tracts of southern Iraq were contaminated with depleted uranium and cluster bombs.

“The later sanctions, designed and promoted by zealots in Washington and Whitehall, were genocidal. After ordering the destruction of Iraq’s water and sewerage plants to spread infectious diseases, the brutal sanctions made it impossible for them to be repaired. Some half-a-million infants died (‘worth it,' said then Sec. of State Madeline Albright), but barely reported in the West.

“America’s targeting of civilians, its illegal rewriting of laws and theft of resources through privatization, the everyday torture and humiliation of ordinary people and failure to protect Iraqi’s great archaeological and cultural heritage has been the catalyst. Throughout the Muslim world, the bitterness was palpable, a contagion that has spread.

“As a killer on an industrial scale, Christianity leaves Islam for dead. It must be said again and again and understood - that the West cannot continue to invade, occupy and subvert Muslim and Arab nations and not expect consequences, especially when it means the slaughter of its own people. It’s called ‘blowback’. 

The announcement that Trump has sealed an outrageous arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion immediately and $350 billion over 10 years was all it took for western leaders to look the other way when it came to Saudi’s public beheadings, crucifixions, eye gouging and other barbarisms meted out in the Kingdom on a regular basis, indistinguishable from the religious extremists and fanatics in Syria.

“By the time Trump reached the bit in his speech threatening those ‘choosing the path of terror’, he sounded like a speech-writer for Isis. Predictably, the fawning, corrupt rulers of the Muslim world clapped away when the loopy president had finished speaking. For fueling war between Shia and Sunni?

“Within minutes of landing at Tel Aviv Airport (part of whose runways lies on land legally owned by Palestinian Arabs) Trump was churning out America’s ongoing hatred of Iran, about Iran’s ‘terror plots’ and its continuing desire to make a nuclear bomb. He seemed unaware that Iran has just re-elected a president who had signed the nuclear agreement two years ago, substantially reducing any threat to Israel or anyone else.

“But listening to Trump’s Twitterworld garbage someone from outer space would believe that Iran was the creator of Isis and that Israel was bombing the violent cultists, when the reverse is true. Landgrabbing Israel was bombing the shit out of the Iranians and Syrians and had not once bombed Isis.

“Chris Hedges describes the awful descent of the US political system which is affecting all capitalist countries, with special resonance for Australia. ‘The crisis we face today is the result of a four decade long corporate coup that has rendered the citizen impotent, left us without any authentic democratic institutions and allowed corporate and military power to become omnipotent. This crisis has spawned a corrupt electoral system of legalized bribery…if we do not overthrow the neoliberal corporate forces that have destroyed our democracy we will continue to vomit up more monstrosities as dangerous as Donald Trump…it began with the creation of corporate-funded foundations and organizations that took control of the press, the courts, the universities, scientific research and the two major political parties…it began when big money was employed by political operatives to create negative political advertisements and false narratives to deceive the public, turning political debate into burlesque…unless we dismantle the corporate state, we are doomed’.

“We’ve seen what 40 years of economic ‘reforms’ have done here with privatization of everything that moves, ferocious anti-unionism, jobs moved offshore and increase in unstable part-time work, gross wage disparity, decline of manufacture while lousy unproductive industries such as welfare-to-work schemes prosper, and Ignoring climate change.

“Cleared of rape allegations but far from free, Julian Assange is still holed up in London’s Ecuadoran embassy in a small room without sunlight for daring to expose America’s war crimes and its contempt for sovereignty and international law. Official documents show that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the US, while London’s Metropolitan Police are at the ready to arrest him if he steps outside.

“But what then? Months in prison until the US delivers its extradition request and he’s dragged before a secret Grand Jury set up seven years ago? According to Edward Snowden, Washington’s bid to get Assange is ‘unprecedented in scale and nature’ with threats of kidnapping and assassination swirling around.

Refreshing to hear from a great Cuban. ’Cuba will always support Palestine…,’ from Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban Five speaking in Beirut at the inaugural session of the 3rd International Arab Forum on Justice for Palestine. ‘The people of Cuba have always been in solidarity with the Palestinian cause,’ he said.

“Good news! After 38 years of unremitting hatred for Cuba, rabid right-winger Ileana RosLehtinen has retired from Congress. About bloody time…

“Joan Coxsedge”