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All Hallows’ Eve…

We buried Paul in Matamoros, Mexico, November 1st, 1975, the day after All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween).

When we arrived at the cemetery, the area was full of road-stands selling foods and souvenirs. There was quite a crowd dressed formally and colorfully … like it was Carnival time.Halloween-002
Asking the funeral rep accompanying us with Paul’s body, “Is the cemetery like this all the time?” he replied, “No. This is Día de Todos los Santos [All Saints’ Day].” Seeing my perplexity, he continued…
It is believed that the souls of children return to the world of the living followed by adult spirits on Día de los Muertos, tomorrow. The children are known as angelitos, so today is called El Día de los Angelitos. The graves of children are cleaned and decorated with candles, paper streamers, and seasonal flowers such as cempazuchiles [Marigolds].
Shops and stands throughout Mexico sell toys and candy in the form of symbols such as skeletons, coffins, and the personification of La Muerta [Death]. Many families have special gatherings at home and cemeteries to honor dead relatives today and tomorrow.
“There is a belief among some that those buried today will rise back to life tomorrow…”
I turned to my associates, Dr. Robin Barraco and Jim Kennedy, “Maybe we outta stick around ‘til tomorrow and see if Paul comes back?

Paul Gribling & friends off the Florida coast.

Paul Gribling & friends off the Florida coast.

Paul Gribling (29) was my friend and partner in the reefer trade at Wayne State University, Detroit, where we were both students. In ’74 we put together an op to smuggle kilos of cocaine from Colombia, South America. A Kilo down there cost $3,000 and flipped in Detroit for $50,000!

In today’s money, that’s $275,000! You figure out the incentive…
Criminalization (prohibition) drove the market.  Back in the 1960s and ’70s there were few moral concerns regarding the recreational use of reefer, coke, LSD, peyote and the like. The university scene was relatively open to drug experimentation. Clients included professionals, doctors, lawyers, judges, businessmen and even cops.

This was some 10-yrs before the CIA-Contra connection created the crack market ($5, $10 and $20 rocks of cheap smokable coke) that devastated black and poor communities. (After 1983 the “politically correct” market for coke changed significantly.)
Included in the Carib crew were Donnie, a key-grip who provided gaffing (lighting, electrical, etc.) for the film-making and video industries; Mike, a former Navy SEAL who commanded a capping-sub for an oil company in the Gulf; and others.

(Years later, as a friend and contributor to the author Elmore Leonard, I provided a number of these vignettes for use in his novels. Dutch’s 1988 Detroit book, Freaky Deaky, includes part of that period.)

One leg of the op included renting a yacht in West Palm Beach. It wasn’t supposed to go all the way down to Colombia (the coke would be air-dropped to them off the coast), but after some 3-weeks-or-so, Paul became quite ill from the sun and exposure.
After a couple of weeks land-side, Paul felt well enough to continue the journey back to the US (two of the crew were skilled scuba divers, which took care of the delivery end). Paul again became quite ill. It later turned out, having the kind of pale skin he had, he was especially susceptible to the sun. By the time he was diagnosed w/melanoma cancer, it had metastasized throughout his organs. Within the year he succumbed to the disease.

Paul in Syria at a Palestinian Training base.

Paul in Syria visiting a Palestinian training base in 1971.

I’ve always associated this time of the year to the memory of Paul. He started out in his academic career seeking to become a CIA analyst. After his graduation with a BA, he became quite the expert in studying the Koreas. Paul was on his last leg to obtain a master’s degree on the subject. Paul and I traveled a lot, including East Africa and the Middle East.
His Southern California upbringing, long hair, political independence, veggie-diet and abiding interest in numerous coeds always struck me as a rite of passage. I could never get a handle on what he was truly serious about. Where he might have ended up is anyone’s guess. But that was true for many of us in the generation born during World War-II and immediately thereafter … and coming of age in the Cultural Revolution of the ‘60s.

Paul in East Africa 1973.

Paul in the Serengeti, East Africa 1973.

Like myself, Paul was a secular universalist. We especially enjoyed Halloween. In fact, I grew up thinking that Halloween pretty much came 3-or-4 times a year. My mother and her partner, Ruth, would throw parties that many of the gay, bi and lesbian partiers would be dressed in various forms of drag. What does a kid know? It was all just Halloween to us.

I’ve studied Halloween for its historical context. It always seemed to me to be the one pure pagan holiday that Christianity had not usurped, but not for lack of trying…

In the US and Canada, the season is also nationally celebrated as Thanksgiving (Jour de l’Action de grâce in French Canada) as a holiday of giving thanks for the bounty of the preceding year’s harvest.

Halloween started out in the Gaelic version as Samhain (SAH-win), about halfway between the Autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Its theme was to use “humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.” Clearly, the pagans loved to invent reasons to party-down.

Colombia 1974

Santa Marta, Colombia 1974

Once the Christian church achieved partnership w/the Roman Empire (circa 300 CE), they engaged in a series of usurpations of pagan holidays in order to co-opt such celebrations. Why bother trying to invent new ones when they can simply take over those already in existence?

Sometimes the takeover was not complete. The pagan holiday of winter solstice, for instance, was always a big event. The sun seems to stand still and then return for another year of growth in the world.That was certainly cause for celebration.

Christians celebrate the Birth of Christ (even though he was not born at that time of year, at least according to the biblical descriptions), as one of worship and fasting (at least initially). A week later we can all celebrate the event as New Year’s, partying down in a drunken orgy.

As we were burying Paul, we had attracted quite a large crowd. We were told that people do not normally bury bodies on that day. While there were no problems, it did make us somewhat wary. I suppose that some paid particular attention to that grave over the next couple of days….

All in all, I prefer the harvest festival … Halloween, of all the holidays. The Gaelic guising (trick or treat in various disguises) as a child was an added bonus.

Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), October 2014…

 

 

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Kurds & the Middle East…

One of the great ironies of history occurred in 1241. After Mongol hordes had conquered practically all of Asia, Iran and Russia, they were at the gates of Vienna with nothing standing between them and all of Europe. Suddenly they stopped….Mongols
Their leader, Ogedei Khan, had died and they returned home to compete for the succession to the Mongol Empire. Europe was thus spared conquest, occupation and a change in the course of all history since … perhaps.
Consider what Europe and Christianity eventually inflicted throughout the world, especially the Western Hemisphere thru colonial genocide over the next several hundred years. The First World War? The Second?
Would an Asian history be substantially different or was humanity doomed to predatory profiteering as conservative Social-Darwinists assert in their own defense?

One of the many events currently rattling the world scene as corporatism wages a never-ending war for profits—whatever ideals and other disguises are applied—is in the resource-rich area of the Middle East.
Petro-chemicals and war-profiteering are the driving forces. A tiny fraction of humanity already owns and controls over half the natural resources and wealth of the entire world. How much more could possibly satisfy them? Is there any limit to their profit, privilege and power?Kurdistan-001
As fascinating as this rhetorical question may be, allow me to scale it down to some comprehension of the peoples we’re currently engaged with…the Kurds of the Middle East. Who are they? Where did they come from? And what do they want?

The red area shown here are the tribal lands of the Kurds…NOT any nation. For the moment, they have no nation.
As we watch the current news coming out of Kobane, a Kurdish city in northern Syria up on the border w/Turkey, we’re witnessing the desperate battle for survival between the Kurds—most especially the women of Kurdistan (who enjoy far more social mixing and freedom w/males in Kurdish society than they do in the Islamic-Arab states)—and the ISIL fanatics.
Most Americans view the Kurds as a nomadic tribe of Arabs up in the mountains of Iraq and Syria. They’re wrong. Kurds are part of the Iranian tribal grouping; they’re not Arabic or Semitic.

(Arabs are descended, along w/their co-Semitic half-brothers, from Abraham.  Abraham’s first-born, Ishmael was caste out of the family; biblical history tells us that he became the founder of nomadic [Arab] Semites.
(Abraham’s second-born, Isaac, by his half-sister/wife, became his favorite and the progenitor of the Hebrew Semites. Abraham himself was an emigrant from Ur, an ancient Sumerian city in the south of Mesopotamia.)

The ancient Aryan migrations from the Caucasus Mountains...

The ancient Aryan migrations from the Caucasus Mountains…

Kurds, Iranians, Pashtun and others are a different line altogether. Their descent is from Aryan peoples who migrated down from the Caucasus Mountains further north.

The name, Iranian, is phonetically related to the term Aryan. Same people. There were actually two great migrations of the Aryan Caucasus back thousands of years ago … those who traveled south and became the large family of Iranians (including Kurds and Pashtun), versus those who went west into Europe, Aryans. Genetic analysis of Europeans and Kurds/Iranians further establish this link.
(The term Aryan is a neutral ethno-linguistic classification despite the concept of the Aryan race as has been used by proponents of ideologically-motivated racism and white supremacists. In the latter sense, Aryanism developed as a racial ideology that claimed that the Aryan race was a master race. The reality is that there are no master or “chosen” races…period. Except, of course, by themselves.)

"Rehana" reported 28Oct'14 captured and beheaded.

“Rehana” reported 28Oct’14 captured and beheaded.

The population of Kurds might also surprise Americans. While there are, for example, 14.2 million Jews in the world (6.2 million in Israel/Palestine), and 11.6 million Palestinians (5.8 million in Israel/Palestine), there are an estimated 30 million Kurds! Certainly no small nomadic tribe wandering the Middle East.
All but some 2 million live in the area they describe as Kurdistan, which overlaps the political borders of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. This is in fact another example of how the history of colonialism, which created these borders, controlled these populations.
(By the way, the same split-border division of the Pashtun (50 millions) between Afghanistan and Pakistan was accomplished by the British Durand Line. We see those political results today… The Pashtun are the same originating Aryan-Caucasus race as the Kurds.)
Today, that history includes the US/Israeli/Saudi oil/war/colonial axis, which created the blowback and fertile conditions for ISIL. This conflict attracts more and more adherence from disrupted local populations–as well as a seemingly growing number of nutzos from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic fringes (as well as the usual opportunistic profiteers). Its leadership claims it’s trying to reestablish the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1517 CE), and the Kurds are literally being caught dead in the middle. A tragic example is that of Ceylan Ozalp (19) pictured here…

She saved the last bullet for herself rather than be captured by the running-dogs of ISIL...

She saved the last bullet for herself rather than be captured by the running-dogs of ISIL…

Up to 25% of the Turkish population is Kurdish, so one can see—given historical Turkish repression of the Kurds—why the Turks today refuse to aid the Kurds in Kobane, just across their Syrian border. Since the Turks also oppose the Assad Arab Socialist regime of Syria, they work toward both sides killing each other. The last thing that Turkey wants is a viable united Kurdistan.

Of course, one of the final questions down the road is just how far will the Kurds allow themselves to be controlled and used by the US/Israeli/Saudi axis. The sacrifices of the masses are always cheered and applauded by corporatist profiteers … until it’s time to share/control their resources and labor…

Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD) Oct. 2014

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Iraq, Syria & Humanity…

Galactic Status Report: Given the following analysis and the potential for humans to discover the technology allowing them to travel beyond their star system, we caution against any contact at this time.
We estimate that while only some 3% of the human species are predatory, this group has in fact usurped the vast majority of wealth on the planet (all produced by a wage-slave, working-underclass) and rule over the entire species–indeed, the entire bio-habitat–w/a parasitic pathology.Earth Observer
Given previous contacts, we expect that this species has a small chance to socially advance and learn to control their predatory sub-caste. More likely, they will self-destruct. Either event is well w/in the norms of the Prime Directive. (End of report.)

In addition to social development, how nice it would be if we simply followed The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.
Of course, the reality is that Euro-colonialism—which the West celebrates as commencing w/the 15th century travels of Columbus—is the result of quite intentional decisions by persons seeking personal profit by colonial predation over victim societies. This remains much the same template for international relations today.
When I look at the changes in the Lavant over just the lifetime of my grandparents (1900), I’m quite astounded.

On the eve of The Great War (World War-I), the entire region was occupied and dominated by the Ottoman Empire, founded in 1516. The Ottomans joined w/Germany and Austria-Hungary and when the war was lost by these Central Powers, they also lost their colonies.OttoEmp1900

The former League of Nations established a mandate system of administering certain former colonies after the Great War. France took the mandates of Lebanon and Syria, and Britain took Palestine and Mesopotamia.
Lebanon and Syria formed their own republics during the Second World War and in 1946 the French left. Britain carved their areas into the political states of Palestine, Jordan and Iraq.
Underlying these social and political realities is the creation of Israel in 1948 and the fact that 66% of the world’s oil production comes from the Middle East.
The World Zionist Organization (WZO), founded in the 1890s in Austria among a group of ultra-nationalist Jewish petty-bourgeoisie, assumed that assimilation was impossible. They argued that there is an abiding state of anti-Semitism among non-Jews and that the solution was their own colonial-state in Palestine and beyond (how far beyond is an evolving issue). As for oil, this resource remains the major driving force in all Western/Middle East competition and conflict. As the popular saying goes, “Follow the money…”PalArea1916
The old Phoenician empire evolved into the modern state of Lebanon. Lebanon’s location, as also w/Palestine, at the Med/Arabian crossroads shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. Both Maronite Christians and Islam continue to share cultural and political power in Lebanon.
The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party was founded in Syria in 1941 w/an ideological mixture of Pan/Arab nationalism and socialism. Ba’athism calls for “Unity, Liberty, Socialism” of the Arab world. While recognizing the freedom of religion, it was able to advance toward a modern, multi-ethnic state, and grant women far more power and equality than they get in either the Islamic or aristocratic states of the region. Allied w/the former Soviet Union, its anti-imperial policies made it a steady target of the West and Israel.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was carved out of a vast area east of the Jordan River by the British and achieved its aristocratic independence also in 1946. During Israel’s takeover of most of the Palestinian mandate in 1948, Jordan invaded the West Bank of the Jordan River and effectively annexed the territory.
In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive war against Jordan, Syria and Egypt, thus expanding their territory east to the Jordan River, south to the Suez Canal and north through the Golan.
Iraq is by far the most intriguing state in the region. It is the birthplace of the West’s concept of its own beginnings…the “Cradle of Civilization.” Iraq’s borders were carved out of the area known as Mesopotamia almost single-handedly by an extraordinary British woman, Gertrude Bell. Bell was an English writer, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy.
At the conclusion of her political duties, she founded and administered the National Library of Iraq and the Iraqi Archaeological Museum.
Bell and T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) both employed the standard political practice of installing ruling gov’ts in their colonies from minority elites, initially even importing the Hashemite brothers respectively as kings in French Syria and British Jordan and Iraq.

Middle East 1923

Middle East 1923

While working to keep major influence in the hands of their former colonial masters, it also contained the seeds of conflict. While monarchies were established in these nations, the only surviving one to date is in Jordan.
Established in 1922, the Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from Britain in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Iraq was created. Iraq was then controlled by a wing of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party from 1968 until 2003 under Saddam Hussein.
At the height of the Bush-Cheney drumbeats for war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the post-“Reichstag Fire” 9/11 atmosphere (their intent to use that excuse to seize Iraq’s oil, the world’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia), I wrote a proposal for consideration to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz who was scheduled to appear at the UN in NYC. I was a federal prisoner at that time.
I’ve always had an avid interest in anthropology, archaeology and other expressions of ancient history. The West derives much of its self-image from the history of the “Cradle of Civilization” and the “Fertile Crescent,” primarily the Tigris-Euphrates Mesopotamian basin, which is today the central mass of modern Iraq.
The ancient empire of Sumer gave birth to Abram, the father of Judaism, which in turn spawned Christianity and Islam.
My proposal—many would no doubt call it a pipe-dream (preferably a hookah filled w/Afghani hashish)—not-so-modestly entailed declaring the entire state of Iraq to be a United Nations National Park museum-site. As such, it would be administered by the then regime of Saddam Hussein and be open to all nations.

Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient Mesopotamia

Recall, that back at the time of this proposal–on the eve of March 20th, 2003, when the US and others invaded Iraq–there could be no doubt where all that was going to end. The Bush administration had falsely linked Saddam and Iraq w/the “global war on terror.” Salafist terrorists at that time had zero-presence in Iraq. Saddam Hussein had zero tolerance for Islamic fanatics.
If Iraq could petition the support of a vast majority of UN membership, charter the nation as a World Heritage Site based upon its history and vast untapped archaeology w/an international proposal to rebuild where possible those ancient cities funded by the state’s oil revenues, and open the state to the world based upon that scenario as a tourist mecca, it could literally avoid the certain ravages of war…or at least make it perfectly clear to all that such a war is purely the for-profit intent of certain predatory profiteers.
Given the conditions of the time, I don’t think the proposal was all that off-the-wall. With an open-state declaration, what could be the justification for war? The letter was delivered back to me unopened.
So here we are. On March 20th, 2003, the US commenced its “Shock & Awe” devastation of the thoroughly modern city of Baghdad, then occupied that nation…spawning further fanatical resistance.

Even the former director of the CIA at the time, George J. Tenet, stated that VP Cheney and other Bush officials pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a “serious debate” about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.MEastToday
It’s estimated that 1+million civilians in Iraq alone have lost their lives due to the conflict. The originally US/Saudi/CIA force of Al Queda (created and deployed to Afghanistan back in 1980 to fight the Soviets) have morphed exponentially into an astonishing array of Salafist/Wahhabist fanatics and others across the breath of the Middle and Near East and throughout Northern Africa.
The US and the world have been plunged into a Great Recession, second only to the Great Depression of the 1930s (which had further led to world war). Currently, the US/Israeli/Saudi axis is fanning and fighting a runaway blowback effect in Syria and beyond. Not having learned the lesson of Saddam (if, indeed, it was not a conscious strategic decision to begin with), the axis is now seeking to destroy what remains of the gov’t of Syria.
If there are galactic observers of humanity’s ruling wealthy elite, they are surely astonished at both the utter madness of the leadership and the pathetic lack of rational response by the masses. Small wonder that SETI is greeted by total silence.

Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), October 2014…

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Politics or Crime?

The morning of 9/11/2001, as America was learning about the terror attacks in NYC and Washington, DC, I was approached by three prison lieutenants and locked down in the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU, the “hole”) at FCI Jesup, GA. It wasn’t yet noon.

9/11, 2001

9/11, 2001

    I would be held there incommunicado for the next 50 days. I later learned I was one of 130+ political prisoners in the United State’s federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) locked down by a secret Justice Department directive that day.
    Upon my eventual release back to general population in November, I learned of the specifics of the attack and that a grab-bag of security-state powers had been enacted as the oxymoronic Patriot Act.
    The business partners of Bush & Cheney– the Saudis and bin Ladens—had been allowed to escape FBI interrogation and returned to their nation (even as all general and commercial aviation in the US had been shut down).
    The most astonishing fact was that wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were in preparation. The attack was obviously an international criminal act, not perpetrated by any nation (unless one considered the regime of Saudi Arabia who financed Al Qaeda and provided 15 of the 19 terrorists). As a former journalist in the Middle East, I knew that blaming Afghanistan or Iraq was pure folly.
    Millions have subsequently been murdered and displaced. The blowback continues. Only the military-corporatist complex has profited … which was obviously the intent following Day One of Ground Zero.
    The use of the military to combat terrorist groups that have sanctuary w/in national borders is understandable, but only w/in the context of an international criminal-justice context … not a war that can’t help but target the innocent population.
And that’s where we remain today…

“Political” propaganda is the default cloak of state and high crime. “Crime” itself is defined and legislated by those who rule and regulate it. (The Koch Brothers are today’s poster boys for political-criminal corporatism.) Civilization can be measured by how well the masses of a given society can assert political power over themselves.
When I was 14, I robbed my newspaper-route manager. I was given probation. (While the cops were writing me up, one of them said, “You gotta be pretty stupid knowing that you couldn’t get away w/this!

Without thinking, I replied, “YOU gotta be pretty stupid if you think that I did this knowing I’d be caught!” (Actually, I wasn’t “caught,” I was snitched out.) The cop behind me kicked out the chair and slapped the piss outta me. I learned a life lesson. Cops can say and do whatever they want, you can’t. That life lesson continues.
At 16, I was given a choice of going into the Army or facing charges for a number of business burglaries.

In the Army at 17, I found real crime and terror (1959-61; 101st Airborne, GA and TN). I was introduced to the KKK, their police allies (most often one and the same) and a post-bellum population that largely excused and enabled them. I managed to survive…barely.

How much have the times REALLY changed?

How much have the times REALLY changed?

After the Army I remained in the Old South, re-trained as a draftsman, taught roller-dancing and sold encyclopedias door-to-door. I was also active in civil rights throughout GA, FL, AL, MS and TN. I served a brutal year+ on a rock-quarry, chain-gang, and Finally Got the News.
In September of ’65, they took me outta their hole–after patching up my bones and an operation to remove a soup spoon handle from my stomach—took me down to the Trailways bus station to the first bus going north, removed my chains, and warned me, “Don’t let your goddamn yankee, ‘nigger-lovin’ ass, step foot south of the Mason-Dixon again, boy!
I left them with a gift. I blew the whistle on their criminal-terror system in a series of articles in the Nashville Tennessean, helped get the rock-quarry gang closed down and place the workhouse under federal receivership. At least for awhile…
Trailways took me to Detroit. I got a factory job that exposed me to old-time radicals from the 1930s and soon acquired a comprehensive class-consciousness (Local #212, UAW). In the summer of ’66 I had a conversion experience and have since considered myself a revolutionary socialist.
Turning to political activism, I was elected Chairman of the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam (DCEWV), co-founder and chair of the Veterans Against the War (VAW) and an Executive Committee member of the Young Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Workers Party (YSA/SWP).
In ’68, I took the SAT and was accepted at Wayne State University (despite my 9th grade education, I had passed the GED in the Army). I attended school on the GI Bill. In my freshman year, I became the Managing Editor of the daily student newspaper, The South End. The skids were well-greased for several years as a journalist in the Middle East, 17-yrs in criminal/civil investigations out of Detroit, and eventually a doctorate (PsyD) in Forensic Psychology. I also learned some of the finer merits of capitalism … at least the truly free enterprise side.
Coming out of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, in addition to rock ‘n roll and free-love, were a variety of drugs … especially reefer. Whenever the state prohibits a popular product or service they in fact create a profitable market for it.

Make Love -- Not War!

Make Love — Not War!

The reality is that a significant portion of the US economy is based on under-the-table entrepreneurship … a cash economy. What? You thought all that $$ went into backyard PVC tubes? The real deal is that 99% of illicit cash is either recirculated into the economy and/or “trickles up” into the coffers and pockets of the wealthy elite (the reverse of Stockman/Reagan’s dictum.)
For some of us (on main-street), rather than continuing to seek drugs from a stone-criminal market, we developed independent sources. Why let our money keep flowing to external and criminal orgs? We could finance our own ops.
The market and purchases continued to escalate reaching higher into wholesale suppliers. Mid-level business developed and the standard market-pyramid was created. I was soon marketing lots of 100 lbs and up. I recall one delivery of 2,000 lbs. People major in Harvard business for this shit.
I was not much into personally profiteering … most of the funds went into progressive causes. (Right-wing orgs do the same, but of course they’re criminal predators to begin with and focused on personal wealth.)

In 1974, pursuing a defense witness in a drug case I was investigating, I traveled to Colombia, South America. Long story short, I was on the cusp of a marketing revolution in cocaine…a product that had also become ubiquitous in the student/grad/professional community (including cops, lawyers, teachers, doctors, judges, politicians, etc.).
A kilo of coke (2.2 lbs.) in ’74 in Colombia went for $1500-to-$5000. It flipped in Detroit (wholesale) for $50,000! ($275,000 in today’s $$) I was also a pilot by then, so the transition was logical. Returning vets from ‘Nam were quite ubiquitous in their entrepreneurial skills … yachts, ships, subs … you name it.
But things changed big-time in 1983 when the CIA and its ultra-right contractors got into the drug and arms trade. Reagan had a war to finance (Congress denied him funding after Vietnam.) Col. Oliver North and Admiral John Poindexter actually testified to Congress in the Iran-Contra Hearings that they didn’t inform Reagan because, they “knew what he wanted and what needed to be done,” and that it was their duty to give the President “plausible deniability.” In addition to arms, the DEA, CIA and other ops opened up new coke markets in the US (starting in LA) by creating crack. The whole episode is documented in a new film coming out on the subject, “Kill the Messenger.”
Unlike powder coke, usually sold by gram weight, snorted and costing about $100, rocks of crack (free-base coke) was smoked, having a greater and immediate rush-high and affordable rocks at $5, $10 and $20 sizes.
As a marketing strategy, it was brilliant. It was also deadly. It was remarkably cheap, instantaneous, and psychologically, addictively devastating. And it had the dual benefit of financing both the war and providing unending fodder to the prison-industrial complex. (The mirth in gov’t and corporate club rooms must have been quite hilarious.)
Practically every progressive/left org in the US that I had contact w/had at least one op who handled “underground fund-raising.” Discussions concerning the social devastation being created upon a susceptible mass of the population led to our decision to suspend all sales related to cocaine.

♪"Bringin' in a couple of keys..."♫

♪”Bringin’ in a couple of keys…”♫

By 1988, I became personally aware of a mail-cover, wiretaps and surveillance by the FBI (they got their spies; we had plenty of our own … still do). Being long out of the drug trade, I ignored them and continued my investigation work for Detroit area law firms.
Well, as the ancient Chinese Curse goes, “May you live in interesting times…” A series of incidents, occurred that put me back on the burner. I shot a former client in self-defense who later turned out to have been a confidential informant (CI) for the FBI. Opps… He was a part of their entrapment scheme.
While the state ruled it justifiable homicide, the FBI set me up for charges w/a crew they had just busted (a criminal group; no one I ever worked with). It was a pressure tactic to recruit me. I refused to “cooperate.” They gave several of those conspirators a free ride if they testified against me (putting me in their conspiracy). Three did.
I was tried, convicted and sentenced to 25-yrs. Long story. From 1990 thru 2010, I attended the American Gulag University (the federal Bureau of Prisons) “grad-school” for advanced criminal “justice.” (Hey! What can I say… It’s not like I can get too bent outta shape. Come the revolution, they’ll have no complaints when THEY TOO will pay for their PAST miss-deeds…)
During the same period as my trial, August of 1990, I was amused to watch former US ally Iraq roll into Kuwait for a 7-month occupation. They systematically looted numerous banks of $billions in foreign currency and notes, 3,216 gold bars (30#s each), 1,500 sets of commemorative gold coins, 120,000 valuable and historical books and documents from the National Library, numerous art and archaeo-antiquities from the National Museum, cars, planes…etc. The heist caravan of loot stretched for over 300 miles back to Baghdad.
I did my time honorably, serving in over a dozen US prisons, mostly clerking for staff, UNICOR (prison factories), eventually even being assigned to the Air Force at Maxwell AFB as an animal trainer, and the Navy as a Haz-Mat officer at Pensacola NAS. (Fed time can be different than state time.)
When several US banks and Wall Street financial manipulators busted the economy in 2008, they had their bribed elected officials loot the public treasury in turn to “bail them out.” They were “too big to fail.” Ponzi taken to the nth power…  Back in ’33 FDR signed the Glass-Steagall Act to prevent that bank theft; in ’99 the banks “bought” enough Congressmen to have it gutted.  (Economists like Richard Wolff have proposed rational alternatives.)
I have had lots of interesting cellmates (including Chelsea Clinton’s father-in-law, Congressman Ed Mezvinsky). Another cellmate was “Hans,” a Deutsche Bank exec. He taught me another aspect of high crime. He devised his own heist system—based upon the international scams he was daily observing/handling in NYC. Thru a not-so-complicated scheme, he grafted a scam-w/in-a-scam and sucked in Citibank, Goldman-Sachs and others (not his own bank).
Attributed to P.T. Barnum is the quote, “You can’t cheat an honest man.” His point was that the foundation to most scams is a touch of larceny; the sucker goes w/it because they think they’re getting away w/something.
The NY bank/financial syndicates thought they were routinely heisting several pension funds. Hans took them for $200 million. Of course, these corps were “connected,” so they got their gov’t pols to arrest Hans.
Hans laughed as he related it to me. He took an 11-yr rap. The banks never did recover the funds. Hans did his time and, last I heard he was on his yacht in the Carib. Let’s see … would you trade 11-yrs in Club Fed for $200 million? Sounds like a great retirement plan to me. While I was celling w/Hans, he even received a letter from Deutsche Bank assuring him that his job awaited his release.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Watergate. A president was forced to resign (the first in history), a US Attys General and a number of others were convicted and sent to prison. (Could you imagine that happening today?) The reporters for the Washington Post, Woodward and Bernstein, got much of their info from an inside source they called “Deep Throat.” That turned out to be Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI.

Felt’s advice to the reporters: Follow the Money. For corporatist-political-crime, that’s about as clear as one can get. Where are all those surviving players today? Working for big $$ finance firms, and being interviewed for their current “political and economic” opinions on Fox News, CNN, et al. So you tell me … does crime pay?
When Bush & Cheney were (s)elected to the White House by the Gang-of-Five co-conspirators on the US Supreme Court (having heisted the election), one of the first things they did is gut Clinton’s anti-terror/Al Qaeda/bin Laden initiatives.

Just business...

Just business…

The Bushes & Cheney had considerable history and business w/the Saudis and the bin Ladens … thick as thieves. They ignored all evidence—it was considerable and ongoing—that these Salafist fanatics were also terrorists. To the Bushes & Cheney it was all simply business… Enter 9/11.
I presume they thought at first: Holy Shit ! WTF!! But they soon recovered … “Oh well, how we gonna profit from this and keep our asses outta the line of fire?!?” (Hey! When you control the gov’t and its police, intel, military, etc., what’s the problem?)
When 9/11 occurred, there was a missed opportunity that we and the world are paying for to this day… The corporateers couldn’t afford to regard terrorism as a “criminal” offense, per se. Who knows where that could lead? People might actually start “following the money.”
When we sanction individual/group criminal actions as war, and corporations as “too big to fail,” we empower them and their “ideology.” I could go on w/examples all the long day…
The people, corporations, their political allies … the very system itself: It’s not just an “ideology.” It’s a CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.
Maybe it just takes one to know one

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Tennessee Deliverance–1963…

Here’s an ancient incident w/a lesson for today’s budding activists. It happened to me back in ’63 (I was 21). I won’t be around much longer, so pay attention. CountryStore-001

My Nashville bride didn’t like her New York stay. So, as agreed, she and the kids moved back to Tennessee.

I soon followed with a few belongings along with my old family photo album and other memorabilia.

Stopping my tricked-out ’57 Pontiac at a country store just outside Springfield, TN, I got some gas and a used tire at a cost of $11. more…

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Raff Ellis: “The Bishop’s Curse”…

America is a wholly colonial creation of emigrants from all over the world, the American ideal view is one of a Camelot-like shining castle on the hill…if it wasn’t for all those pesky natives, darkies, Asians, Arabs and the clamoring poor washing up upon our shores.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course, when the mytho-conservative veneer is penetrated, there’s a base foundation that few are routinely taught. more…

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Amanda Lindhout—Free Spirit…

Small world  It’s been demonstrated that there are 4.74 degrees of separation between everyone on Earth. I can believe it. This is one of those stories that touch upon myself, Marion Delgado, Evo Morales and Amanda Lindhout…albeit, a tenuous one.

Coca Museo, La Paz, Bolivia

Coca Museo, La Paz, Bolivia

   Marion Delgado is a journalist friend of mine from back in the early ‘70s. The name is a nom de guerre. I’d say de plume, but he’s as much an activist as a chronicler of his adventures. A trait we share. more…

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Jim Crow Has an Open Visa in Israel…

A young American woman received an Israeli visa in August of 2012 allowing her to teach English in a Quaker Friend’s School financed by USAID in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. After spending a short Christmas visit to Amman, Jordan, some 40 road miles away, she was refused reentry.

Nour Joudah, 25

Nour Joudah, 25

   Nour Joudah is an American raised by Palestinian parents in Clarksville, TN. (I used to live there myself when I was a young paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, Ft. Campbell, KY.) more…

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Inverted Totalitarianism & Conservative Reaction…

I imagine that if zombies were real there would probably be a transitional period whereby they could still animate some of their former living characteristics. That could be an apt metaphor for America’s state of politics today.

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Click on image to enlarge)

Former President Jimmy Carter recently declared his support for NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden. He also  said that the revelations show that, “America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time.” more…

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“Work Will Make You Free…”

The fascist-corporatists of Nazi Germany performed an invaluable service for the corporate elite who rule the planet today. Their motto of “Arbeit Macht Frei” was emblazoned over all of their concentration camps…forever revealing the fundamental nature of capital-corporatism.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

   Perhaps some of you may have noticed that I’ve taken a brief hiatus from this blog as we enter the dog-days of summer. Myself and my co-editor, Boo (pictured here), didn’t really plan this. more…