Wednesday, October 7, 2015

(Vegan) Food for (Healthy) Thought? | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Oct. 7, 2015

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

What we call “science” is more typically male-dominated phallo-technocracy. All those definitive (sic) studies we cite in posts, memes, blogs, and articles are typically funded by someone and that someone typically has an agenda -- or else that study typically doesn’t happen. 

Not all agendas are nefarious, of course, but living within the constricting confines of a corporate culture makes it virtually impossible to discern intent when there’s a profit to be made or an ideology to be advanced.

All this brings me to a study that allegedly found: “Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders.”

When “research” like this is brought to the attention of vegans, some will respond by sharing a study that allegedly found a plant-based diet to be beneficial to one’s mental health. Spend a little quality time with your search engine and you too will discover that “research” often “proves” the veracity of diametrically opposed theories. 

So… what is the truth? The only “truth” I can recognize here is that “the truth” is often different under different conditions and those conditions rarely remain static. In other words, I’m declaring something that is anathema to the vast majority of vegan outreach/activism: Healthy plant-based eating is a major challenge (nutritionally and financially) and thus, not remotely as “easy” as you say. 

I know you don’t like to hear stuff like this. I know this because I see your responses to something like a study linking vegetarianism/veganism to depression and anxiety. One common reaction is for vegans to simply ignore it, claiming they won’t even dignify such nonsense. 

Another frequent retort involves a far more insidious form of confirmation bias: “Yes,” some vegans say, “we are indeed more prone to anxiety and depression precisely because we’re so aware of the cruelty in this world. We’re depressed because we care so deeply.”

This is where the self-sabotaging and somewhat cult-like nature of veganism rears its ugly head. We found the truth. We live by the truth. Even if it costs us our mental health, we’ll embrace the truth. We’re that dedicated. The rest of you? Not so much.

Of course, such delusions of grandeur do nothing to explain why so many non-vegans get depressed or anxious. However, this all-too-common moral self-righteousness, does go a long in highlighting why vegans are among the most mocked and marginalized of activists. 

Human beings do things like volunteer at rape crisis centers, homeless shelters, and suicide hotlines but we’re being told that vegans have cornered the market on empathy? 

Medical professionals willingly put themselves at the epicenter of an Ebola outbreak but somehow they still won’t demonstrate true compassion until they stop eating meat? 

Are we to believe that none of these folks (and so, so many others like them) have valid, urgent reasons to experience depression and/or anxiety? 

I could go on (and on) but I won’t. I’d rather return to the points I began with: Research can’t always be trusted and going vegan in a truly healthy manner is not easy

If we accept these two premises -- at least for now -- the only logical and (dare I say?) compassionate choice is stop insulating ourselves within perceived parameters of perceived purity. 

“If discovering we can live without benefiting from so many of the ways the other species are oppressed is transformative, then why aren’t we acting as transformed people?” asks Carol J. Adams

“What’s our model for activism based on but male-defined criteria: left-brained, argumentative, scoring points? Where’s incubation, and silence, and trusting interactions, and creativity? Why are we accepting such a limited model?

Life becomes far more livable and activism far more active once we accept that going vegan is merely one step in a far bigger journey -- a step not everyone can or will take in order to contribute to the manifestation of drastic and sustainable social change. 
(Side note: When one of your top nutritional experts details how your dietary choice requires this many adjustments, you have no right to judge anyone who is unable or even unwilling to jump through such hoops.)

More from Carol Adams: “Learning how much suffering and death is inflicted on the other animals is painful. With this knowledge, what do we do? I believe the world is a very fragile place and I am seeking ways of creating change that doesn’t require traumatizing of others. What would activism look like if it had care at the heart of its insights and tactics?”

On that note, I’d like to end with an expanded version of something I recently wrote

The basic goal of my individual choices now -- particularly as a male -- is harm reduction. I have no illusions I can decrease suffering but I know I can at least put some of my values into practice by making conscious anti-exploitation choices. Some examples of what I mean: not using my meager money and/or boundless energy to support sweatshops or factory farms; circuses or the automobile culture; chemical manufacturers or pornographers; and so on.

Within a culture constructed upon a foundation of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism, the truth is elusive, sometimes fluid, and often obscured by relentless propaganda and conditioning. What we can and must do is keep identifying, demystifying, and unlearning -- but in the process, never forget the combined power of humility and solidarity.

Each of us is wrong far more often than we’re right. Perhaps this fundamental realization can be what finally helps to connect us… before it’s too late.


(Endnote: If you’re trying to discern my“agenda” in writing this article, I urge you to take some time to click on the myriad links I’ve embedded herein to see how many opposing viewpoints and “findings” I’ve provided.)

Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recently Occupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
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"(Vegan) Food for (Healthy) Thought?" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Who’s Trying to Silence Cindy Sheehan? | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z. 
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Oct. 2, 2015

Activism often makes for strange bedfellows. The arduous work of coalition-building involves strategic compromises and trade-offs. Most importantly, solidarity necessitates an agreement to disagree… with minimal malice. 

Being an ally, accomplice, or fellow traveler requires a fundamental understanding that disagreement is not the same as oppression or violence. If a particular activist contingent will tolerate nothing less than marching in lockstep, well, that’s not solidarity or ally-ship. It’s thought policing. 

Which brings me to a situation involving my friend and comrade, Cindy Sheehan -- someone who has connected with an astonishing array of dissident individuals and groups.

“I have worked with groups from the spectrum of revolutionary communists to ‘free-market’ capitalist libertarians,” explains Cindy. “There are some groups I have worked with that I only affiliate with on very narrow parameters because they have proven to be there more to support Democrats than oppose U.S. imperialism. We anti-imperialists are fewer in number, so it's weird that the ‘far-right’ and ‘far-left’ are meeting better on what I consider to be bedrock issues than with other groups I have worked with.”

I last interviewed Cindy in 2010 and was planning to do so again soon. When I recently learned she was being targeted by a new disinformation campaign, I knew the time was right. 

Our conversation went a little something like this… 

Mickey Z.: Lots of people only know you as "anti-war" and me as "vegan" but we each do activist work far beyond any one category. Recently, I noticed we've both begun to focus on male supremacy and "male pattern violence" as the core -- the foundation, if you will -- of all oppressions. Would you agree with that appraisal? 

Cindy Sheehan: I think this male pattern violence is the root of both of our foci. It is true that there are some women who are in high positions of "power" in this patriarchal paradigm, but it seems that most of the time, they are worse warmongers than the males because they feel like they have to prove that they can murder without conscience, also. Male supremacy is also the least recognized or talked about because almost every single institution is dominated by this male energy and the females who support it.

MZ: I find it amazing and so damn frustrating to realize that so much of my writing, public speaking, street activism, photography, etc. has not focused on this root. You might even say that by missing the foundation, I helped support it. Even so, it’s liberating and motivating to finally recognize the deepest connections and re-focus my energies.

CS: Not too long after I left Camp Casey in August of 2005, I was speaking somewhere about matriarchy and patriarchy and I was confronted by the (then) president of Veterans for Peace (VFP) who told me that I shouldn't be speaking about this issue because it will "marginalize" me and piss off half of the movement. What is amazing that so-called aware and awake activists are still stuck in this mindset in the 21st century. We should not still be wandering in the wilderness at his point or having to defend ourselves against sexist attacks for speaking up for the safety of women and girls.

MZ: Which brings us to the topic at hand. Can you explain what recently happened with VFP and how it’s impacted you?

CS: It started when this letter by the Women’s Alliance was brought to my attention. In it, the authors declare: “Veterans for Peace is aligning itself with a belief system that says that we, as women, are the bigots. VFP is rising up against ‘transmisogyny’ (a term not defined in your statement), but ignores male on female hate speech and violence completely bypassing the matter of misogyny.”

It was based on a new statement by Veterans for Peace on transgender politics in which VFP “affirms the rights, humanity and identity of trans and gender diverse people and will not accept trans-phobic or trans-misogyny behavior or remarks.”

I made a comment supporting the writers of the Women’s Alliance letter, and immediately began to be attacked for my mild support. 

So, I had the authors of the letter on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and got the most hits for any show I have done recently. To be fair, most of the response has been positive and grateful for the show.

MZ: Have other women reached out to you?

CS: Yes, for example, I was asked to sign a letter of midwives to the licensing org which has changed all of its materials at the bullying of the trans community to exclude the words: breastfeeding, mother, and woman.

Breastfeeding has to now be called "chestfeeding" because the other term that's been around for centuries offends women transitioning to male who have had mastectomies yet get pregnant. Women, woman, or pregnant must now be called: Pregnant partner and birthing individual.
Incredibly misogynistic to deny women the very thing that our biology makes us uniquely suited for.

MZ: I’ll assume your stance has inspired more than a few personal attacks in response.

CS: Once I supported Lisa Blank, Cheryl Biren, and Anita Stewart in their quest to get answers from Veterans for Peace as to their transgender-related rules and to define some terms it used, I was immediately attacked.

I have been told many times that I am "on the wrong side" of this issue, that I am "transphobic," that I am a “TERF,” that my support for my three friends means that I have made the entire "antiwar movement" irrelevant and anything I did for Private Manning is also irrelevant because I deny Private Manning her "womanhood." 

I have also been told that Caitlyn Jenner is more of a woman than I am. The trans-bullies (as I call them) obviously only support the "ideal" of a woman in this culture and can't even wrap their minds around being gender abolitionists nor around male supremacy and why that prevailing paradigm is so dangerous.

MZ: In other aspects of social justice activism, comrades can agree to disagree but in this case, you are being smeared and ex-communicated for owning a differing opinion. But, to state what should be obvious, let’s be clear: It’s quite possible, of course, to support transgender issues while not agreeing with every aspect of trans politics/queer theory.

CS: I fully support each and every individual's right to be whomever they want to be. To be with whomever they want to be with. As long as there is no exploitation or anyone else is being harmed. 

MZ: You’ve said, “The one thing gender politics refuses to acknowledge or analyze is class.” Can you elaborate on this?

CS: How many poor women can afford the surgeries and hormones? Just like back alley abortions, it is a class issue. Then again, women have always been second class citizens, and here in 2015, that is still true. Women still are paid less than men in the workplace and women are still not equal under the law. For example, the Equality Act of 2015 is being rushed through Congress, a bill which would give transgender women equality under the law before biological women get it.

For a long time, female members of VFP have been pushing for a statement about women and women veterans, and the answer is that it is not necessary, but within three weeks of bullying, VFP had a zero-tolerance for "transmisogyny" up on its website.

VFP (seems I am picking on them) recently instituted a program: "Peace at home, peace abroad" which is great and addresses police brutality and other issues, but leaves out the most prevalent one (especially among veterans) and that is domestic violence. 

It seems to be still socially acceptable to tell demeaning jokes about women, because, unfortunately, some women still laugh and tell others to "lighten up." It's sad, that in the 21st century, women still have to struggle to break free of our second class status.

MZ: How do you believe we can join together to fight for social justice, educate about the upcoming elections, work to save the environment, struggle against militarism, and expose patriarchy while under threat of silencing and thought policing?

CS: I don't know if I have shared this with you, but everyone I have come into contact with lately (those doing real, revolutionary grass-roots work) are all having the experience of being bullied by transgender activists. From struggles in small southern towns to Black Lives Matter movements around the country, transgender bullies are moving in with their “our way or the highway” approach.

To bully people who would stand with them in their right to safety and to be whomever they wants to be and to tear apart movements for their own narrow identity politics ends is counter-revolutionary.

I would just say "ignore them" and move forward, but the minority is hellbent on infringing upon the rights of the majority (biological women) using very abusive tactics. Like you said, with others most of the time we are able to put aside differences to work together on confronting fascism and I say we have to continue that strategy.
In fact, I heard from a young gay man that after he listened to the show I did on male supremacy, he has become a "gender abolitionist" when he was not before. We are having a good effect on people. One at a time, if necessary.

I would just encourage people to listen to the show: Confronting Racism on the Left at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox.

MZ: Bringing it back to where we started: where will your holistic brand of activism take you next? What’s on the horizon for you in terms of focus, actions, talks, etc. and how can readers follow your work and/or get in touch?

CS: I am still producing Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox on a weekly basis and published a book this year called: The Obama Files: Chronicles of an Award-Winning War Criminal.

Since March, though, I have been concentrating on helping my sister recover from and be cured of breast cancer (will the trans-bullies soon demand to start calling it "chest cancer”?). She has the rarest and most aggressive form of breast cancer which has metastasized. As aggressive as her cancer is, we are being more aggressive and recently learned the large tumor she had on her breast is completely gone!

With the next episode of bourgeois elections approaching, I see we will also have to be aggressive in exposing the empire and Capitalism every chance we get.

Thanks for the conversation, Mickey! As far as I know (as of late September), VFP and the Women’s Alliance have not come to a meeting of minds over the transgender statement. I will keep you posted!

Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recently Occupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
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"Who’s Trying to Silence Cindy Sheehan?" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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June 27, 1915 – October 5, 2015

Today, long-time activist and author Grace Lee Boggs passed away.

Cindy (Lee) Sheehan and Tour de Peace had a wonderful meeting with her in Detroit when the bike ride for peace and justice cycled through Detroit.

JUNE 2013



OCTOBER 4, 2015

(Cindy Sheehan is planning on being there)

This week, the Soapbox is re-running a show with family members of young men who were victims of police murder.

Learn about their stories, the stories of their loved ones and the inspiring heart-connection they have made to do something that I know is not easy.

None of us asked for "this," let's hear stories that are so difficult to hear, but even harder to tell. 


Christina Arechiga – Sacramento, CA– Prison right activist for over 15 years then changed focus to police brutality when her first cousin Ernest Duenez Jr was murdered by John Moody of the Manteca PD. Now works full time as a private investigator and in the CA Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality for all families who have been victims of law enforcement corruption and working on changing procedures and laws allowing such corruption.

Rosemary Duenez – Lathrop, CA – a mother and grandmother whose son Ernest Duenez Jr. was murdered by John Moody of the Manteca PD on June 8, 2011 – Ernest 34 yrs old was a father of an 11 month old son at the time, the Duenez family maintains weekly Sunday protests at the Manteca PD and is actively working with the CA Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality. They fought to have the dash cam video released to them and they in turn released to the public in their fight for justice. Their civil case is currently in the federal courts in Sacramento, Ca and trial will begin in early 2014. The officer was cleared by the DA’s office but the family maintains an ongoing investigation and continues to put pressure on law enforcement to be accountable and file murder charges.

You can view the video here:

 Denika Chatman – Vallejo, Ca – mother of Kenneth Harding 19 years of age was murdered on July 16, 2011 by San Francisco Police and then left to bleed out while medical personal was not allowed through police barricade – she moved her family back to California from Seattle to fight for justice for her son and holds monthly feeds for the homeless in the spot that still is stained with the blood of her son. Aka the Kenny Feeds held by the Kenneth Harding Foundation – they have recently been blessed with a new location in a church to continue their work. She is currently in a civil trial.

You can view the video here:

Cephus Johnson aka “uncle bobby”– uncle of Oscar Grant murdered by Johannes Mehserle on a BART platform in Oakland, works nationally to organize and unite families who have been affected by the injustice system, their story is on screens nationwide in the film FRUITVALE STATION – you can read reviews here:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GUEST ARTICLE: Socialism, A Love Story by Dakotah Lilly

Capitalism isn’t working and it never has. 

Correction, Capitalism isn’t working for 99% of people and it never has or will. A correction was needed because clearly some people are doing fabulously under capitalism. Hundreds of billionaires inhabit the United States including the worlds richest person; Bill Gates. 

Most people don’t interact or even see the capitalist class as they live in a different world, one free from anxiety over paying bills, choosing between the mortgage or medicine and the like. The reason these people live in a different reality, is because the rest of us do not. In order for there to be this privileged class, there must be an exploited class, i.e., the vast majority of the world. 

America is the richest nation on Earth, yet we send millions of children to bed hungry every night. 

America’s "great" cities are lined with corporate offices bearing names such as Raytheon, Boeing, and IBM: companies which make millions selling weaponry ensuring misery around the world. These offices are mere blocks away from the tattered slums filled with victims of this diseased (cy)stem. 

It should be clear: Capitalism is a system that has run its course, much like slavery and feudalism. The future however is optimistic and a new system is on its way to being established, that system is Socialism.

Oxfam recently released a study that hypothesized that by the year 2016, the worlds richest 1% will have more wealth than the bottom 99% combined. This again is a symptom of Capitalism: rampant inequality. This is inconsistent with the idea of Democracy, a concept we supposedly invade other nations to provide. 

It is impossible to have such inequality and still maintain a form of Democracy. Democracy is the voice of the people, but if you asked the average American, they would not be in favor of such draconian inequality. Danny Katch a comedian and writer for made this stunning analogy, “Since a billion dollars is thirteen thousand times what the average American owns, a billionaire could give you thirteen thousand dollars to do that undesirable thing and it would cost him the equivalent of one dollar. By the same scale, for a hundred dollars, a billionaire can spend $1.3 million in regular people money, which can buy the support of both candidates in most Congressional races, or pay the salaries of a dozen people to promote his agenda in a think tank or bogus grassroots organization.”

If you ask the average American, many would say that Socialism is a good idea but they will also refute it by saying human beings are naturally too greedy, or that it never works in practice. This could not be farther from the truth. Humans are naturally co-operative beings and to suggest that exploiting each other for valueless paper is somehow embedded in our genes is ludicrous. Others may say that Capitalism is more “efficient”, but this too is a farce. Extracting rare materials to make phones and other frivolous items designed to break is not efficient. 

Look around, clearly there is work to be done in order to make the world more livable and prosperous, but the work is not being done because there is no profit in doing so. That is not efficient and not wise or moral. 

Critics also point to examples like China, or the USSR as proof that socialism is not possible. However upon surface area examination, it is clear that these arguments are logical fallacies. North Korea is called a “peoples republic” America is called the “United” States. Simply saying something does not make it true, and the same applies to the “United Soviet Socialist Republic”. These states are bureaucratic, repressive, top-down places that had potential but were co-opted by many different factors. However, Socialist elements of the USSR and Cuba, have led to the launching of the Sputnik and the eradication of homelessness and hunger. Imagine what the potential of Socialism is in a nation as rich and developed as the USA.

During World War Two, the governments of the world went into full overdrive in order to defeat whoever they perceived as a threat. Millions of people were put to work in factories, community gardens and public works. That is an example of governments directly taking action to achieve a long term goal. Under Socialism, the vast amounts of wealth, resources and labor in the world would be put to use meeting peoples needs instead of delivering a profit to shareholders. If we can mobilize to employ people to kill Germans, we can put people to work building schools, hospitals, roads, green energy, housing as well as recruit teachers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, social workers and community oriented police. Nobody would go hungry or be homeless. It would by no means be a utopia as no matter what decision making problems would persist etc, but the ills of Capitalism would be no more. 

Socialism is simply about doing what is best for everybody and the planet, not for those who have already seen enough benefit for millions of lifetimes. Optimism is flooding the earth. From the presidency’s across Latin America of Cristina Kirchner, Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa, etc to the peoples uprisings in Greece, Spain, Ferguson, Zucotti Park and the Arab Spring. 

Millions are rising up to the global elite class of the IMF, WTO and the hegemony of the United States. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, more workers will realize that they have nothing left to lose but their chains.

 Dakotah Lilly is a 17 year old radical gay socialist who lives in PA. Lilly is the leader of Lehigh Valley Youth Democratic Socialists. Dakotah's first mass action was joining Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and other organizations in March in WDC for Spring Rising; in his spare time he likes smashing patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and defending the oppressed.

Although, not a self-identified anarchist, Dakotah Lilly is helping to organize a left wing anarchist action known as Mid-Atlantic Anarchist Collective MAAC,

Sunday, September 27, 2015

GUEST ARTICLE: 30,000 Murdered in Argentina while Pope Francis Was Top Jesuit - Millions While Pius XII Was Pope By jay janson

30,000 Murdered in Argentina while Pope Francis Was Top Jesuit - Millions While Pius XII Was Pope


The twenty-four hour week long electronic and print media saturation coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to a United States of Protestant and Evangelical Christianity majority brings various suspicious to mind. 

Though that was a long time ago, that John F. Kennedy overcame anti-Catholic sentiment to become president thanks largely to the wealth and connections of his father, is not the world wondering about being subjected to unconstrained media projected adulation that borders on adoration of Catholic Pope Francis during his dramatically highlighted V. I. P. tour of Washington, New York and Philadelphia, during which he addressed a joint session of Congress, met with the President, spoke before the UN General Assembly, at Madison Square Garden, in Central Park and Philadelphia.

Let’s think. First thing that comes to mind is that the simultaneous visit of President Xi Jingping of a China threatening American deep-pockets world hegemony is being nicely overshadowed and receiving less attention than otherwise. Xi Jingping recently called for a de-Americanization of the world; not easy, with the world satellite powered TV sources of information owned and controlled as they are by American investors in the use of US -NATO military power and US controlled International Financial Institutions.

Worth noting also is the inconvenient shutting down of sections of Manhattan for the in all seriousness announced precautions for the safety of the Pope’s life drummed up ever deeper fear of an ISIS that was really created by CIA and its overseas branches in allied nations to attack US NATO designated enemies Syria (where Assad refuses to resign as demanded), Shiite in Iraq and Iran and Muslims throughout the Middle East. (Although this reality hit the front pages of even London tabloids many months ago, the charade sails on).

Thirdly, the Pope’s visit blown up to super large proportions makes for a media inculcated impression that God’s representative on planet Earth is blessing America while its investors in the profitable use of US Armed Forces go on destroying nations and peoples in the formerly outright colonially occupied and plundered nations, most of which were originally wealthier and more highly cultured and scientifically advanced than their savage European conquerors.

Media holding up high this Catholic Pope as a paragon of virtue with God-like authority and a reputation purer than snow, has to serve well as a form of rehabilitation of the Papacy itself for the quite substantial amount of people who know of the horrific role of the church during the early centuries of European genocidal subjugation, plunder, enslavement and destruction of cultures and civilizations under the pretense of saving souls in the name of the God of the Christians, a role Popes have continued to play during the recolonialism or neocolonization of world led by an elite of speculating investors on Wall Street.

The career of Jorge Bergoglio, who has been paraded all week before the TV viewing world audience as and angelic Pope Francis, an awesome figure, often as not in the usual regal headdress Popes wore during the Dark Ages of European history, contains nothing outright criminal like the careers of the Popes of the Inquisition, however it does seem to reflect some proclivity not to interfere while the exploited poor are murderously persecuted. Your Archival Research Peoples Historian did a quick Internet search: ‘Pope and Videla,’ and chose for his readers from the first thirty entries that popped up. (General Jorge Rafael Videla was President and dictator of Argentina during the so called ‘Dirty War’ that took place from roughly 1974 to 1983, though it should well be dated from 1969, when military and security forces and right-wing death squads in the form of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance.) Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, held the top leadership position in the powerful Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979.

The Truth Behind Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis ...
Mar 16, 2013 - The Truth Behind Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis: Breaking the Silence ...

Photo: Pope Francis with Leader of military junta General Jorge Videla.

"Argentina between 1976 and 1983 was wracked by a “dirty war” in which successive military regimes hunted down, tortured and “disappeared” tens of thousands of citizens. …
The dictatorship that followed consigned thousands of Argentineans into military detention. Most were tortured; a few were released, many were eventually murdered. These “disappeared” numbered in all around 30,000.

"Former Argentine military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla recently died in prison while serving a life sentence for his crimes against humanity.

Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was announced dead on Friday. At 87, he died while serving life in prison for the abhorrent human rights abuses he conducted during the span of his ruthless military dictatorship from 1976-1983.  

Gen. Videla became president after overthrowing Isabel Martínez de Perón, in a coup d'etat. His dictatorship, referred to as the "Dirty War," is responsible for up to 30,000 disappearances, killings and tortures of subversives. Babies born into "dissident" families were stolen to give to military families.
… most of the controversy is based on his inaction towards the junta military as the leader of Argentina's Jesuits during the Dirty War.
Federico Finchelstein, an Argentine historian at the New School for Social Research in New York, told the New York Times that "The combination of action and inaction by the church was instrumental in enabling the mass atrocities committed by the junta ... Those like Francis that remained in silence during the repression also played by default a central role," he said. "It was this combination of endorsement and either strategic or willful indifference that created the proper conditions for the state killings."
Professor Finchelstein makes a valid point. In a region where church leaders have been vocal against military juntas in the past, it is very troubling that Pope Francis remained silent during such atrocities. It also doesn't help his case that as "the head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops from 2005 to 2011, Francis resisted issuing a formal apology for the church's actions during the Dirty War."
Regardless of the politics behind these accusations, there is a bigger, more disturbing question we should be asking. Why wouldn't a church leader step in or at least speak out while thousands of innocent lives were being kidnapped, tortured, and killed?  His [the Pope’s] duty as a leader of the church is to represent the teachings of Christ, right? Would Jesus sit idly by while such atrocities are taking place? … to think that someone who watched thousands of people die could be chosen as the head of the Roman Catholic Church."

Did Pope Francis Have a Part in Argentina's "Dirty War 
Time Magazine, 3/14/2013
Cover Story: Pope of the Americas)
"Since he was anointed cardinal by Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2000, Jorge Bergoglio has had to contend with repeated allegations over his actions — and inaction — in the years of what is called the 'Dirty War.' Those claims have resurfaced now that he has become Pope Francis, the first Pontiff from the New World.
The general criticism against him has been that raised against most prominent personalities of the period of junta rule: that he perhaps did not do enough at the time to try to stop the generals, that he did not speak out publicly about the thousands of desaparecidos — the disappeared who vanished without a trace and whose mothers protested for answers in a plaza in Buenos Aires.
Bergoglio, as quoted in his own defense in the Time article, rather seems to show himself as an insider of the dictatorship.
“I never believed [the two priests] were involved in subversive activies,” Bergoglio said. “But because of their work with some priests in the slums they were exposed to the paranoia of the witch hunt.” Bergoglio said he moved fast to save their lives. “That same night when I heard of the kidnappings I started to move. I saw Videla twice and I saw Massera. In one of my attempts to meet Videla I found out who the military chaplain was who gave mass to Videla and convinced him to call in sick and managed to be named to replace him.” Bergoglio said that after the mass he managed to speak to Videla about the case, which would not have been an easy task at the time, given the climate of fear that reigned over these issues in Argentina then."

Pope Francis and Argentina's Dirty War: Nine Questions He Needs to Answer
By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News
22 March 13
"Dogged journalists from Argentina and around the world have raised concern about the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to become Pope Francis. Was he, they ask, complicit with the Argentine military that kidnapped, tortured, raped, killed, and "disappeared" tens of thousands of people starting even before the coup of March 1976? The victims included two bishops and as many as 150 priests and nuns, and the atrocities reached the absolute horror of stealing newborn babies from their mothers and throwing living prisoners from helicopters and airplanes into the South Atlantic. ...
Vatican spokesmen dismiss it as old smears spread by the anti-clerical left. We have heard this spin before, over … the Church's complicity with the Nazi Holocaust ...  Pope Francis needs to do better than that. If he wants to put the dirty war behind him, he needs to provide full and convincing answers to nine deeply disturbing questions.

1. Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla, the imprisoned leader of the military junta, credits Papal Nuncio Pío Laghi, Archbishop Raul Francisco Primatesta, and other Church leaders with advising the military junta and helping handle the situation of the disappeared. "In some cases," the former dictator told Argentina's Revista El Sur, "the Church offered its good offices and told the relatives to give up searching for their child because he [or she] was dead." But the Church only did this, said Videla, "if it was certain that the relatives would not use the information politically" against the junta. How, Your Holiness, do you explain such close collaboration?

2. Church officials in Argentina have repeatedly asked forgiveness for their failure to speak out against the junta's human rights violations, and Bergoglio personally called for the Church to do public penance for the sins of the dirty war. The Church obviously lacked courage and moral clarity, but it was far from silent. It publicly supported the military junta. Cardinal Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu gave communion and his blessing to the newly installed dictator, Gen. Videla. Bishop José Miquel Medina, the head chaplain of the armed forces, and other church leaders justified torture, while providing chaplains to help the torturers overcome their moral qualms. In his visit to Buenos Aires in April 1982, Pope John II publicly embraced Videla's successor General Leopoldo Galtieri and refused to meet with the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who were demanding justice for their disappeared relatives. When, Your Holiness, will the Church face up to the depth of its complicity?

3. In 2007, an Argentine court convicted Father Christian von Wernich, a police chaplain, for his complicity in seven murders, 42 abductions, and 31 cases of torture. According to BBC News, several former prisoners testified that he used his position as a priest to win their confidence and then passed what they told him to police torturers and killers. The former prisoners said that he attended several torture sessions and told the torturers that they were doing God's work. Von Wernich is now serving a life sentence. As archbishop, Bergoglio ruled against giving holy communion to politicians and health care workers who facilitate abortion, while allowing von Wernich to remain a priest and provide communion to his fellow prisoners. Does Your Holiness truly believe that Church doctrine on abortion and contraception is more important to uphold than prohibitions against torture and mass murder?

4. In a case directly involving Bergoglio when he was the top Jesuit in Argentina, the army kidnapped, drugged, tortured, and held captive two of his subordinates who had been living and doing social work in a Buenos Aires slum. The army held Fathers Orlando Yorio and the Hungarian-born Franz "Francisco" Jalics blindfolded and in chains for five months and then dumped them half-naked and drugged into a field on the outskirts of the city. Soon after, Father Yorio sent the Jesuit hierarchy in Rome a first-hand report in which he accused Bergoglio of promising to speak to people from the armed forces and assure them that the two priests were not working with the left-wing guerrillas. But, wrote Yorio, Bergoglio spread rumors that we were. "We began to suspect his honesty," wrote Yorio, who reportedly forgave Bergoglio, but never withdrew his charges. Would Your Holiness release the late Father Yorio's full report and your detailed response to it?

5. Father Jalics made similar charges and has never withdrawn them. Now at a monastery in Germany, he says he has forgiven Bergoglio and does not want to comment on the new pontiff's role in what happened. Would Your Holiness ask him, in the name of truth, to testify about what he knows?

6. In 1979, Father Jalics was living in Germany and asked Bergoglio to help him get his passport renewed. Bergoglio made the formal request, but The Guardian has published a typed note from the foreign ministry archives that "appears to prove that Bergoglio said one thing and did the opposite." The note records that Jalics and Yorio "lived in small communities that the Jesuit Superior [Bergoglio] disbanded in February 1976. They refused to obey, requesting that they be removed from the order." According to the note, the information came from Bergoglio, who recommended that the foreign ministry not renew Jalics' passport. How, Your Holiness, do you respond to this damning evidence?

7. Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's best-known investigative journalists, uncovered the above document and interviewed many of the dissident voices within the Church, presenting their evidence in his left-leaning Peronist daily Pagina 12 and his best-selling "El Silencio: De Paulo VI a Bergoglio." He is also a direct participant in the story, having shown the courage after the coup to take up arms in the guerrilla war against the military dictator ...Would Your Holiness ask your defenders to stop trying to kill the messenger and deal with the specific evidence Verbitsky offers?

8. Pope Francis has long talked of making the poor central to the Church, encouraging Christian charity toward them and criticizing inadequate government and even IMF policies. But, in line with John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he worked to suppress Liberation Theology, which called for helping the poor to organize to fight for their own rights. This appears to have been an underlying issue in his treatment of Fathers Yorio and Jalics and in the heated divisions within Argentina's Catholic Church. Will Your Holiness now reopen the debate and allow defenders of Liberation Theology to speak freely within the Church?

9. Horacio Verbitsky and other critics are quick to credit Bergoglio with helping many of the junta's opponents and even hiding them from arrest. "I know people he helped," said Father Yorio's brother Rodolfo. "That's exactly what reveals his two faces, and his closeness to the military powers. He was a master at ambiguity." Over the years, Your Holiness, you have been a reluctant, vague, and often evasive witness about your role – and the role of your fellow priests – in the dirty war. Would you now, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, give independent journalists and historians access to Church archives, which – along with in-depth interviews and already available government archives – will allow them to set the record straight?"

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, author Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he writes on international affairs.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

It was reported: "Pope Francis urges Catholics in Europe to house refugees."  Good, but what about the refugees themselves fleeing from CIA created and funded ISIS and other CIA funded and organized terrorists invading Syrian over three years because its elected President Assad refuses to step down as demanded by Wall Street’s beholden President Obama? Searching the Internet does not bring up Pope Francis speaking out regarding a fifteen year occupation in Afghanistan by a US coalition that includes every single Caucasian populated nation in the world; likewise nothing by Pope Francis regarding the US bombing of dirt poor Yemen and Somalia for years.

As indicated in the title, this history article is not intended to merely unmask the Pope we are presently being hyped about, but rather to show that the Papacy has long been an instrument of the wealthy who rule misrule us and have brutally misruled most of humanity for many centuries.

Pope Francis, the first ‘Latin American’ Pope was preceded by Benedict XVI, who in his youth was a member of the Hitler Youth; one would not necessarily hold that against him, but for all the proper silence he maintained regarding the US led colonial powers covert invasion and bombing destruction of a small African country by its former colonial owners after it had risen from the poorest colonially exploited nation in Africa to have become by UN designation the 53rd Highest Quality of Life Indexed nation in the world, higher than nine European nations, including Russia.

 If one goolges Benedict’s predecessor ‘Pope John Paul II re’ any of the illegal, murderous and certainly unChristian employ of US military forces during his reign from end of 1978 through April 2005, it will be extraordinary if much can be found of the first Polish Pope criticizing, for example, President Carter helping with aid the Indonesian genocide in East Timor; Carter giving his permission for Gwangju Massacre in Korea to go forward;  the Carter ordered CIA backed Islamic terrorist civil war in Afghanistan mid 1979, against a popular women liberating Socialist government in Kabul; the funding of Osama bin-Ladin; the Reagan ordered paratroop landing and air and naval bombing invasion of tiny Grenada; the El Salvador genocide of hundreds of thousands; the US organized/funded Nicaragua Contra massacres; the US Panama invasion - death toll one thousand; the US slow destruction of Somalia begun under Clinton; Afghanistan invaded, occupied, 2001; Venezuela Chavez government overthrow backed in 2002.
Before the Iraq invasion began in 2003, the Pope John Paul II "opposed" it, but in May of 2004, while the invasion of Iraq was taking the lives the tens of thousands and the bizarre overthrow and kidnapping of President Aristide of Haiti had taken place, Pope John Paul II accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from a jovial, ‘why me worry’appearing  President George Bush Jr.

It seems a good indication of the priorities of Popes that while Pius XII excommunicated all those who might vote ‘the wrong way’ in the election of 1948, when the Communist Party of Italy, having led the fight against the Fascists, was expected to win the 1948 election, in 1964, the strongest words the well loved and later sainted John XXIII could muster up during the Cuban missile crisis that threatened the possible extinguishing of life on Earth was a plea to the American and Soviet leaders.

Your author was unable to document any reaction of John XXIII’s predecessor John Paul VI to the blatant US involvement in the brutal overthrows of popular governments in Brazil and Bolivia, nor the deadly US invasion and occupation of the Dominican Republic or the massacre of a half million ‘communists’ in Indonesia in which CIA was implicated, during his six years as Pontiff.

Three Popes, Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI and six US Presidents, unmistakably beholden to the leadership of powerful Wall Street profiteers of World War Two, oversaw the crucifixion of the population of the soft-spoken Buddhists farming population of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which the Vichy French fascist colonial occupation army had run for the Japanese to the loss of a million starved to death due to commandeered rice crops to feed the Japanese army.

This article closes with a review tenure of the second Pope mentioned in its title, Pius XII.
The Vatican & the Holocaust:
Pope Pius XII & the Holocaustfrom the Jewish Virtual Library
“Cries for Help
Throughout the Holocaust, Pius XII was consistently besieged with pleas for help on behalf of the Jews.
In the spring of 1940, the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Isaac Herzog, asked the papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Luigi Maglione to intercede to keep Jews in Spain from being deported to Germany. He later made a similar request for Jews in Lithuania. The papacy did nothing.(5)
Within the Pope's own church, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna told Pius XII about Jewish deportations in 1941. In 1942, the Slovakian charge d'affaires, a position under the supervision of the Pope, reported to Rome that Slovakian Jews were being systematically deported and sent to death camps.(6)
In October 1941, the Assistant Chief of the U.S. delegation to the Vatican, Harold Tittman, asked the Pope to condemn the atrocities. The response came that the Holy See wanted to remain "neutral," and that condemning the atrocities would have a negative influence on Catholics in German-held lands.(7)
In late August 1942, after more than 200,000 Ukrainian Jews had been killed, Ukrainian Metropolitan Andrej Septyckyj wrote a long letter to the Pope, referring to the German government as a regime of terror and corruption, more diabolical than that of the Bolsheviks. The Pope replied by quoting verses from Psalms and advising Septyckyj to "bear adversity with serene patience."(8)
On September 18, 1942, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, wrote, "The massacres of the Jews reach frightening proportions and forms."(9) Yet, that same month when Myron Taylor, U.S. representative to the Vatican, warned the Pope that his silence was endangering his moral prestige, the Secretary of State responded on the Pope's behalf that it was impossible to verify rumors about crimes committed against the Jews.(10)
Wladislaw Raczkiewicz, president of the Polish government-in-exile, appealed to the Pope in January 1943 to publicly denounce Nazi violence. Bishop Preysing of Berlin did the same, at least twice. Pius XII refused.(11)
Papal Reasons & Responses
The Pope finally gave a reason for his consistent refusals to make a public statement in December 1942. The Allied governments issued a declaration, "German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race," which stated that there would be retribution for the perpetrators of Jewish murders. When Tittman asked Secretary of State Maglione if the Pope could issue a similar proclamation, Maglione said the papacy was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities."(12) One reason for this position was that the staunchly anti-communist Pope felt he could not denounce the Nazis without including the Communists.”

Pope Pius dutifully was silent on the US post WW II War invasion of a Korea the US had recognized as territory of Imperial Japan during the forty years from the administration of Teddy Roosevelt through all four of Franklin Roosevelt in return for Japanese recognition of the Philippines as US territory. Likewise silent on the overthrow of a democratic all peninsula Korean government allowed by the departing Japanese, replacing it first with a US Military government and then installing the mass murdering dictator Singman Rhee (whose name is never mentioned in today's South Korea), and the eventual genocidal bombing flat of Korea South and North by US bombers with the UN flag painted on their fuselage.

Required Reading for those interested in the main theme of this article.
The Vatican in World Politics, twice Book-of-the-Month and going through 57 editions, one of the best-selling books of all time. It has been translated into most major languages including Chinese, Russian and most recently, Korean - and on pdf.

Author Avro Manhattan was the world's foremost authority on Roman Catholicism in politics. A resident of London, during World War II he operated a radio station called "Radio Freedom" broadcasting to occupied Europe.
He was the author of over 20 books. He was a Great Briton who risked his life daily to expose some of the darkest secrets of the Papacy. His books were #1 on the Forbidden Index for the past 50 years!!
A short biography of Baron Avro Manhattan
Born April 6, 1914, in Milan, Italy, of American and Swiss/Dutch parents. He was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and the London School of Economics. He was jailed in Italy for refusing to serve in the Fascist dictator Mussolini's army. While imprisoned in the Alps he wrote his first book on astronomy.
During the war, Mr. Manhattan operated a radio station called Radio Freedom broadcasting to the partisans in occupied Europe. For this service he was made a Knight of Malta. His aristocratic roots meant that he was a Knight of the House of Savoy as well as a Knight Templar and a Knight of the Order of Mercedes.
He was a member of the Royal Society of Literature and the British Interplanetary Society.

 Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents in 67 countries; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, Sweden and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong's Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Einartysken, Sweden: Saker Vineyard, Germany; Dissident Voice; Ta Kung Pao; Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Mathaba; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; MalaysiaSun; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; CubaNews; TurkishNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles; 300 of which are available at: click ; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign featuring a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining.
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An Injury to One with Ajamu Baraka (SOAPBOX PODCAST 9/27)

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
September 27, 2015

GUEST: Ajamu Baraka

TOPIC: Enlightened analysis of Syria and Sanders, etc

As Brother Ajamu points out in this interview, citizens of the US, for the most part, feel no solidarity with those outside our borders.

Some are willing to trade the lives/livelihoods of those outside the US borders for campaign promises of mild reform.

The mantra of the Wobblies, "An Injury to One is an Injury to All" does not just apply to worker solidarity, but international solidarity with other human beings on this increasingly smaller planet we share.