Sunday, May 1, 2016

“It’s not made by great men” by Muhsin Y.

Many left-leaning citizens of the Republic of Turkey who have learnt English are presently sharing the (almost certainly fabricated) story of British Prime Minister David Cameron and puppet Kurdish “leader” Massoud Barzani condemning President Erdo─čan in unusually harsh language. The enthusiasm for such a story, real or fake, follows from a generally hegemonic discourse in the Kurdish Liberation Movement (and the HDK/HDP Turkish left which is close to it) of the “one man dictatorship” and “AKP fascism”. This rhetoric has been useful domestically (in Turkey) for the building of fronts against the current ruling party and its charismatic leader. However, internationally it is a problem, and it can become problematic in Turkey, because it represents a misanalysis of the root of the problems in Turkey presently manifested in the AKP government and its leader...



On Speaking Truth to Empire Dan Yaseen interviews Murtaza Hussain on Islamophobia. Murtaza is a journalist and political commentator. His work focuses on human rights, foreign policy, and cultural affairs. He is currently an investigative reporter with The Intercept; his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon, and on other online publications. 

411 on Venezuela with guest Eva Golinger (SOAPBOX PODCAST 5/1/16)

May 1, 2016

GUEST: Eva Golinger and Venezuela Strategy Group
TOPIC: Venezuela currently and US meddling there

This week on The Soapbox we present Venezuelan/American author/attorney Eva Golinger and a recent talk she gave about current affairs in Venezuela and the current state of US meddling in those affairs.

This presentation was part of the monthly conference call for the Venezuela Strategy Group (VSG)

If you'd like more information on the VSG, please contact
Chuck Kauffman of Alliance for Global Justice

Saturday, April 30, 2016

CASEY'S GIFT (Cindy Returns to Cuba) by Cindy Sheehan


When my son Casey was a newly formed solider, fresh out of boot camp, he was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas.

The first time he came home to visit, he gifted me with a golden necklace which looked like a shamrock and had a small diamond in the center. On the back it said, "For Mom, With Love." I loved it immediately and loved the gesture, but I said, "Casey, you can't afford to spend this much money on me," and I sent it back to the jewelry store in Killeen, Tx and told them to return his money.

Casey came home that Christmas and re-gave me that necklace and said, "Mom, you have to take it, it's paid for now."

After that dear, dear boy was killed in Iraq on April 04, 2004, and I became a noted antiwar activist, I wore the piece all over the world, and found myself fingering it for comfort more than once. In fact, once during a protest in Washington, DC, my sister was holding it for me and it fell from her purse. We were both distraught, but she found it hanging precariously from a subway grate on the sidewalk.

Subsequently, in my travels, I met the families of the "Cuban 5." Briefly, the Cuban 5 were five anti-terrorist campaigners who lived in Florida and infiltrated counter-revolutionary groups there which had caused Cuba much pain and loss of life. The "5" were captured and send to US prisons for long and unjust prison terms.

To make a long story short, after my first trip to Cuba, at the beginning of 2007, I fell in love with the country and its beautiful and strong people. Surprise! It wasn't the evil land of hopelessness and deprivation I had been (mis)taught about my entire life. I became very involved in the "Free the Cuban 5" movement and in November of 2011, I went to Holguin, Cuba to participate in an international conference: I met people there from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Sweden and all over Latin America.

There, I spoke at a rally and march on November 19th (which is my other son, Andy's birthday) and, there in the front row, were the mothers of Fernando Gonzales and Antonio Guerrero and other various family members of the 5. I often feel ashamed of the United States and it's murderous callous way, but the imprisonment of the Cuban 5 and what it did to their families and the almost complete ignorance of the case in the states was especially frustrating to me at that moment.

Magali, Cindy, and Mirtha
When I was speaking at the rally, I removed my "most precious" possession (the necklace Casey gave me) and called Fernando's mother, Magali Llort and Antonio's mother, Mirtha Rodriguez to the platform. I presented them with the necklace my son had given me as a pledge to them that I would do everything I could to help their sons return to Cuba to be with their families and community. We were all in tears and Mirtha and Magali pledged to me that when their sons (and the others) returned to Cuba, I would get my necklace back.

So for the next two years, I did work hard: among other events, I went to Ireland (both Northern Ireland and the Republic), Sweden, Canada, (back to Cuba), and Washington, DC. I spoke to activists and legislators; I protested in front of US Embassies and consulates; I wrote articles and had many shows devoted to The 5 on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox.

The Cuban 5 were arrested in September of 1998, and two of them finished their sentences in 2011 and the beginning of 2014, respectively; and the other three had varying degrees of time (up to 60 years) left to serve.

I awakened on the morning of December 17, 2014, to joyfully discover that in a prisoner trade, the other three had been released back to Cuba. It was one of the best Christmas presents I have received since my son was killed. Of course, I wasn't the only one around the world who felt that way.

As to the thawing of Cuban/American relations, I remain skeptical of US intentions, but if there ever were a people who have felt the oppression of the US and undermining of its revolution, it is certainly the Cuban people. However, as promised, I am returning to my home away from home this next week to receive my necklace back on Mother's Day and to celebrate with my Cuban family. 

Love never dies. The families of the Cuban 5 never gave up on their quest for justice, and I will never give up on my family's drive to see US war criminals held accountable. This is not about hate, it's about the love we have for our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. It's about the love we have for each other!

It has taken over two years for me to return for my necklace, because I have been taking care of my sister who has stage 4 breast cancer. We are now at a point where it is possible for me to travel to Cuba, but very expensive to do so.

The Cuban Friendship Society is hosting me in Cuba, but my travel to and from Miami is an expense that is hard for me to afford at present. Donations to Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox have tanked in this election year, and I am my sister's financial caregiver, also.

I will provide photos and reports about my trip.

If you can donate to Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox at this time, I would certainly appreciate it!

¡Muchas gracias!

Monday, April 25, 2016

What If 'They' Silenced Bernie Sanders? | Mickey Z.

    By Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA (bernie-sanders-franklin-nh-20150802-DSC02607) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
April 26, 2016

There's no shortage of righteous outrage on the Left (sic).

Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to “occupy” this or “take back” that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the left typically does just enough to accomplish nothing except get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream (thus making it that much easier for the Blue Bloc of law enforcement to get away with virtually anything at the next big protest). 

So, here's my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly removed from the scene? For the sake of argument, let's say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies) -- with the full support of the corporate media -- overtly silenced Bernie Sanders for his “political revolution” and recent anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

(Let me clarify something before you before you pollute the comments section to rant about #FeelTheBern. I'm neither endorsing nor condemning Sanders; I'm simply recognizing his current mythical status. In a society as heavily conditioned as ours, Bernie might as well be Che fuckin' Guevara. In other words, choosing the nation's best-known “revolutionary” as a target would equate to nothing less than the government declaring war on “dissidents” of all stripes.)

So, what would the American left wing do if Sanders were deported like, for example, Emma Goldman? What if he was denied a fair trial and imprisoned like, say, Mumia Abu-Jamal? What if he was publicly executed even in the face of massive protests, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Tookie Williams, or Ken Saro Wiwa? How about a straight-out hit job along the lines of Fred Hampton?

Pick your poison; it doesn't matter how he's silenced. The question remains: What if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies) transparently eliminated Bernie Sanders for his recent political rhetoric? Would we see anything more than a flood of tweets, memes, hashtags, articles, blog posts, t-shirts, celebrity photo ops, and symbolic profile photo switches? Would the reaction go beyond asking the state for permission to “shut shit down” and agreeing beforehand how many of those protestors will consent to be arrested? Would we dare risk more than holding handwritten signs in Zuccotti Park or crowdfunding yet another “peoples’” newspaper?

If not, emboldened by the ease with which Bernie’s eradication was achieved, the government might then toss a few more high profile “dissidents” into prison for treason. More protests, more outrage, more symbolic arrests, more hashtags. Undaunted, Corporate America pulls its advertising dollars from “liberal” TV shows and forces all of them off the air. In response, 500 new trending hashtags emerge and the "Free Comedy Central" website registers nearly three million hits a day until it’s mysteriously hacked and removed. Hell, considering how little they have to fear, why wouldn’t the 1% next go all out and straight-up invade Cuba to get their hands on Assata?

Marveling at the sheer lack of resistance, the powers-that-be move on to declare Black Lives Matter to be a domestic terror threat and the color-coded alerts would go haywire as they initiate mass arrests of alleged terrorists, culminating in the bombing of several suspected safe houses, leaving dozens dead. (Not possible, you say? Ask the folks at MOVE.)

We know the general public would say the same thing they say every time a new "security precaution" is instituted: "If it makes us safer, I'm all for it." But… how do you think lefty activists (sic) and thinkers (sic) would react? Could/would they do anything to stop this long-predicted onslaught?

This is not a facetious question, an accusation, or an ill-advised attempt at satire. I'm genuinely curious: What do you think purported radicals, progressives, liberals, anarchists, socialists, communists, revolutionaries, and all such fellow travelers would do if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies) -- with the full support of the corporate media -- silenced Bernie Sanders for his recent political rhetoric?

Mickey Z. can be found here.
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What If 'They' Silenced Bernie Sanders? by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Call It What It Is, Treason by guest blogger Jon Gold

9/11 Family Member Lorie Van Auken holding up the JICI with redacted pages on CNN.
Jon Gold

You may have heard of the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11. They have been redacted for years, and the 9/11 families and others have been fighting for their release since the day it was announced they were redacted. According to people like former Senator Bob Graham, those pages talk about alleged Saudi Government support for the hijackers.

Recently, there was a short segment on 60 Minutes about the pages. This resulted in a much needed push for the release of the 28 redacted pages. When Obama first came into office, it was reported that he told 9/11 Family Member Kristen Breitweiser “that he was willing to make the pages public.” A few years later, according to 9/11 Family Member Bill Doyle, Obama told him “Bill, I will get them released.”

Many times throughout Obama’s Presidency, we have seen him protect the Saudis against the 9/11 Families who want their day in court. Right now, he is threatening to veto a bill called JASTA that would finally give the families that day in court.

The 28 pages were originally classified by the Bush Administration “for reasons of national security.” Obama said that “Jim Clapper, our director of national intelligence, has been going through to make sure that whatever it is that is released is not gonna compromise some major national security interest of the United States.”

We have heard from many people who have read them say that there is nothing in those pages that would affect national security. Rep. Walter Jones said “there's nothing in it about national security.” Former Sen. Bob Graham has said “they do not affect national security.”

Yesterday, the former Chair and Co-Chair of the discredited 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean & Lee Hamilton released a statement that said “we would recommend that steps be taken to protect the identities of anyone who has been ruled out by authorities as having any connection to the 9/11 plot.”

In other words, they don’t want all of the names within the 28 redacted pages released. As 9/11 Family Member Lorie Van Auken stated the other day on CNN, one of the names listed might be Prince Bandar. Or “Bandar Bush.”

Indeed. Former 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman said “yes. The average intelligent watcher of 60 Minutes would recognize them instantly,” and Rep. Walter Jones said “it’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.”

If a close personal friend of the Bush family and George Tenet’s is listed within those pages, I think the American people, and the people of the world deserve to know about it. When the 9/11 Commission met with Bush and Cheney behind closed doors, not under oath, with no transcripts allowed, 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman asked Bush about an allegation concerning Princess Haifa and Prince Bandar. Apparently, Bush “dodged the questions.” After his meeting with the 9/11 Commission, Bush held a press conference and said that he “answered every question they asked." Certainly doesn’t sound like it.

Today, it was reported that the Obama Administration “will likely soon release at least part of a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11…” That is a slap in the face to the 9/11 families and to the people of the world.

All documents pertaining to 9/11 should immediately be released, and completely unredacted. President Bush’s PDBs that came before 9/11 that Kurt Eichenwald reported on, and said “the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.” The 80k documents pertaining to the Sarasota/Atta/Saudi story that Dan Christensen is working on. All of the documentation from the 9/11 Commission, including Prince Bandar’s Memorandum For The Record which is currently classified. Any and all documentation pertaining to 9/11 should be released. PERIOD!!!

Protecting those allegedly involved in the murder of 2,976 people is Treason, and the American people shouldn’t stand for it.

As the September Eleventh Advocates recently stated “no amount of money, no greed, no power, no regional interest could ever be worth such treason.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Obama Bows to Mass Murdering Tyrants by Anthony Freda

The Saudis are taking a much needed break from beheading dissidents, homosexuals and adulterers to
greet Obama this week.

“The American people send their greetings, and we are very grateful for your hospitality,”
Said Obama to his criminal hosts.

Obama will no doubt reassure the tyrannical regime that he will continue to arm them with the weapons they need to perpetuate mass slaughter in the region.

Arms sales in general — and specifically to Saudi Arabia — have been a consistent element of Obama’s tenure.
“Many Americans would be surprised to learn that his administration has brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic,” said William Hartung, a senior adviser to Secure Assistance Monitor, a progressive group that tracks arms sales.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Last Thoughts On The 2016 Election (as if it actually matters) | Mickey Z.

MSM spotlights Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. By DonkeyHotey Flickr/(CC BY-SA 2.0). Nightly News Coverage in 2015: Trump 234 mins, Clinton, 113 mins, Sanders 10 mins - Sag / Daily Kos   This caricature of Donald Trump was adapted from Creative Commons licensed images from Gage Skidmore's flickr photostream. This caricature of Hillary Clinton was adapted from a photo in the public domain from the East Asia and Pacific Media's Flickr photostream. The body was adapted from a photo in the public domain from the U.S. Department of State's Flickr photostream. This caricature of Bernie Sanders was adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo by Nick Solari available via Wikimedia.MSM spotlights Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. By DonkeyHotey Flickr/(CC BY-SA 2.0). Nightly News Coverage in 2015: Trump 234 mins, Clinton, 113 mins, Sanders 10 mins - Sag / Daily Kos. This caricature of Donald Trump was adapted from Creative Commons licensed images from Gage Skidmore's flickr photostream. This caricature of Hillary Clinton was adapted from a photo in the public domain from the East Asia and Pacific Media's Flickr photostream. The body was adapted from a photo in the public domain from the U.S. Department of State's Flickr photostream. This caricature of Bernie Sanders was adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo by Nick Solari available via Wikimedia.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
“I am documenting our collective self-annihilation. I am not writing to change your mind.” (Cory Morningstar)

I’d like to preface this article with a little story about Sept. 11. Not September 11, 2001. I mean Sept. 11, 1973. 

On that date, the U.S. government (with corporate assistance) funded and sponsored a military coup in the South American nation of Chile. The democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and they claimed he committed suicide… with a machine gun. In his place, the Land of the Free™ propped up a dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. Not surprisingly, under Pinochet, human rights violations in Chile skyrocketed. Surprisingly, someone within the Home of the Brave™ power structure talked about it.

David Popper, U.S. ambassador to Chile at the time, asked the U.S. State Department about the atrocities. The Secretary of State in the mid-70s was none other than Henry Kissinger. His response was short and sweet: “Tell Popper to cut out the political science lectures.”

Now, I may not have anything approaching a college degree, but I have taken one political science class in my life. I get it. So, in a rare case of synchronicity with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dr. Kissinger, I promise there will be no political science lectures herein. 

In fact, I’m finally done with that “political” nonsense forever. So here goes. My last thoughts on Election 2016 (as if my thoughts ever mattered in the first place).

The Donald

For the past two decades, my presidential election-related writing could be summed up in one of my favorite phrases: The primary difference between Democrats and Republicans is that they tell different lies to get elected. 

I had that line polished and ready to shine again… but along came Donald Trump. This time around, there finally is a greater evil component, but my radical “friends” are far too programmed and/or sexist to recognize it.

The media-fueled rise of Trumpism has re-emboldened misogynists, racists, and white supremacists all across God’s Country™. To view this phenomenon as some form of low brow entertainment spectacle is to expose one’s lack of historical context. For some Americans to flippantly talk of moving to Canada is a betrayal to all those without the resources to leave or fight back or earn justice. 
To trot out the classic “it can’t happen here” is to ignore that it’s already happened here many times and, in some cases, never stopped happening.

(I say “Trumpism” because this mindset transcends any one man or one party. However, Trump is precisely the kind of charismatic demagogue who can effectively mainstream and normalize such an agenda.)

Saint Bernard

Obviously, I appreciate any electoral effort with the goal of blocking Trump and Trumpism. If that means some of you will vote for Bernie Sanders, hey... someone's gotta be president for the next four years!

However, the way the "left" has gone from "strategic voting" to straight-up hive mind worship is even worse than the Obamatrons of 2008. It's as if all other forms of dissent are suspended so every ounce of energy can be focused on genuflecting before another establishment politician.

#FeelTheBern is swooned over for his accent and sexualized in fake Tinder accounts. He's believed to have the power to conjure wildlife to his podiums. His love of drones and military interventions is somehow an acceptable part of a "revolution." He's even emancipated his flock from any accountability for their open misogyny. Bernie Sanders is literally (and often) compared with Jesus! (socialist Jew, blah-blah-blah)

Just when you think the Left (sic) couldn't sink any lower, they’ve flocked to yet another savior who brings them the added “benefit” of being not-Hillary. 

I remember well the last time my radical “friends” flocked to a savior who wasn’t Hillary Clinton. I call it The Year of Hope & Change™. Even the most cursory view of the past eight years provokes the snarky question: How’s that working out for you? 

To borrow from Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven: “It's like that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, ‘So far, so good.’”

With friends like this… 

The activist (sic) scene loved me when I used my writing skills to relentlessly promote their causes (with virtually no financial compensation). They packed venues when I’d passionately and eloquently stand up and give voice to their dreams (for even less remuneration).

It took me long enough but I finally can see how ideological friendships are doomed by definition, especially for someone like me who never stops questioning, evolving, and changing. I very much relate to these thoughts from Alicen Grey
  • Belief-based friendships are volatile. Unless you have other things in common with a person, or they’re mature enough to engage in critical discourse, they’ll probably turn on you as soon as you start challenging the shared worldview. After all, it is the foundation of your relationship. And a shaky foundation crumbles the entire house.
  • Belief-based friendships are echo-chambers. They don’t allow challenges or growth or evolution. There tends to be an unspoken pressure to keep your questions to yourself, which leads to suppression and denial of the self.
  • Even if your friends are tolerant/accepting when you change to a different worldview, it might still feel uncomfortable to bring up the topic.
Considering how quickly and comfortably many of my “friends” switched gears from solidarity and even adulation to hurling slander and threats of physical violence, why would I ever again want to associate with any activist (sic) hive mind -- especially when they’re all dripping in overt misogyny? (Answer: I don’t.)

As for the election blah-blah-blah, I’m done. Obviously, my opinion means less than nothing and has only bred contempt, so there’s no rational reason to continue speaking about this topic. Instead I’ll use my closing thoughts to issue a warning: Ignore Trump and Trumpism at your own peril.

Mickey Z. can be found here.
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    Monday, 18 April 2016
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    Monday, 18 April 2016



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hell no, we won't pay! (SOAPBOX PODCAST 4/17/16)

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
April 17, 2016

GUESTS:  Members of National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (

TOPIC: War Tax Resistance

Today, on The Soapbox, we replay a show about how and why some people refuse to pay income taxes to pay for Empire.