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Vietnam Was About Liberation!

Thomas Friedman Comes In From the Cold War

 
Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has discovered that the Vietnam War was not really about stopping communism. That was an emotional delusion. The Vietnam War, he writes, was about anti-colonial nationalism, what the Vietnamese called liberation from a French/American military yoke. When the Vietnamese beat the French, its patron, the United States of America, took up that militarist yoke. Then it took the Vietnamese 21 more years of terrible slaughter before the Americans gave it up.

That’s the narrative Friedman has recognized. The pathetic irony is that the Vietnamese admired America and loved the Americans they fought with during World War Two against the Japanese. The 1945 decision to turn against our WWII ally has to be one of the saddest betrayals in world history.

Recently "love-bombed by Vietnamese," Thomas Friedman (insert) and modern Saigon, AKA Ho Chi Minh CityRecently "love-bombed by Vietnamese," Thomas Friedman (insert) and modern Saigon, AKA Ho Chi Minh City

I’m a Vietnam veteran. I was a young radio direction finder in the military operations in the mountains west of Pleiku along the Cambodian border. My job was to locate radio operators so our forces could use all available means of mechanized death to destroy entire Vietnamese units and anyone else who got in the way. I didn’t discover what Friedman has discovered until the late seventies, after maturing and reading a host of highly respected books of history. Before that, I had been a good American and had dutifully accepted the national narrative lie that the evil North Vietnamese had without provocation invaded the innocent nation of South Vietnam.

As a good, pliant soldier I learned to hate the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong guerrillas. We called them gooks, dinks, zips and slopes. We treated all Vietnamese like dogs. We killed them up close and in great numbers. We killed between two and three million of them. They managed to kill 58,000 of us. More on both sides were maimed; families were destroyed; and in Vietnam many thousands simply went missing, doomed to wander as improperly buried ghosts. We destroyed without a thought; we ecologically poisoned much of the land. The legacy is horrible.

Prof. Boyle may be wrong, but he may be right

With a Government this Vile and This Secretive We Need to Ask Questions

 

A few days ago, I published a short story linking to a PRN.fm radio interview I did with noted international law attorney Francis Boyle, whom I pointed out was a drafter of the US Biological Weapons and Anti-Terrorism Act passed into law in 1981, which act supposedly barred the United States from continuing to keep or to develop new germ warfare weapons.

Boyle told me, on last Wednesday’s radio program “This Can’t Be Happening!,” that he believes the Zaire Ebola strain that is wracking Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in west Africa, originally came from one of several BSL4-level bio-research labs operated in those countries and funded by a combination of the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the US Defense Department, perhaps because of testing of Ebola being conducted there, or because of some containment breach.

Boyle pointed out the oddity that the epidemic is the Zaire strain, which has in the past been limited to Zaire in central Africa, and not a local strain found in fruit bats in west Africa -- the alleged vector that news reports have claimed is being suspected of initiating the outbreak of the disease. As he noted, fruit bats don’t migrate, and certainly didn’t fly 2200 miles from central Africa to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

For running this alarming interview with Boyle, I have received some criticism from readers who suggest that Boyle’s facts are weak.

Since then I have been checking out some of his claims and suspicions.

One particularly interesting one is his claim that a BSL4 lab handling Zaire Ebola in Kenema, Sierra Leone, was shut down in July by order of the Sierra Leone government.

Ebola virusEbola virus
 

Expert traces outbreak to a US bio-weapons lab

Why is This Ebola Pandemic in West Africa so Virulent and Hard to Contain?

International law professor Francis Boyle is not just an expert on germ warfare. He wrote the book on it (Biowarfare and Terrorism, Clarity Press, 2005). But Boyle also drafted the US Biological Weapons and Anti-Terrorism Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. That's important, because as Boyle tells Dave Lindorff, host of the Progressive Radio Network program "This Can't Be Happening!" associated with this news site, the Ebola epidemic that is wracking countries in west Africa, is a product of US three BSL-4 level bio-weapons labs that operate in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Boyle says that his research shows that the Pentagon, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have for years been developing weaponized Ebola virus variants and other dread diseases, using genetic modification techniques -- including even merging Ebola germs with the virus for the common cold!. He also says that the initial outbreak of Ebola in west Africa occurred in the environs of one of those US bio-weapons labs located in Kenema, Sierra Leone, a situation which led the government of that country to actually shut down the US-owned facility.

Why, you might ask, would the US, which with the passage of the 1989 law banning bio-weapons research, put the US in compliance with the Biological Weapons Geneva Convention banning germ warfare, be then setting up and germ warfare labs in African countries? Boyle explains that Liberia, a former US colony still dominated by the US, and Guinea, are conveniently not signatories of the convention.
Boyle points that the particular strain of the disease that has struck in west Africa is Zaire Ebola, which occurs naturally in Zaire, a full 2200 miles away. He calls official reports claiming it may have come from bats in the West African jungle "twaddle," and says that the virus could not, on its own, have jumped from a non-outbreak in Zaire to cause an outbreak in west Africa.

To hear Professor Boyle's full half-hour interview, as broadcast this past Wednesday on PRN.fm, please click here.

On the same program, during the second half of the one-hour, TCBH!'s own Linn Washington talks about how the state of Pennsylvania has passed, with no debate, a law that bars the state's prisoners -- both inmates and those who have completed their jail sentences and returned to society -- from talking or writing about their cases if a "victim" of their crime complains to a state or county prosecutor that doing so is causing that person "mental anguish."

Ft. Detrick, MD, the US military's main site for researching germ warfare. Attorney Frances Boyle says the US uses the excuseFt. Detrick, MD, the US military's main site for researching germ warfare. Attorney Frances Boyle says the US uses the excuse of needing to produce weaponized viruses in order to create vaccines for them as a way to continue developing ever more dangerous bio-weapons, like the virulent Ebola strain now decimating west African communities.

New Poem:

Exclusive: Gary Lindorff, resident poet for ThisCantBeHappening, interviews Gaia.

 

GL: Well, here we are. I don’t know where to start. What should I call you? Mother? Earth?

Gaia: Either one. Mother is fine. Or Gaia.

GL: OK Gaia. I was going to start by asking if you are really alive but I guess you’ve already answered that. But my guess is that people are anxious to hear it directly from you. So, are you alive?

Gaia: Yes. I know that is hard for your kind to grasp. I am more alive than you because your life depends upon my aliveness. You partake of my aliveness.

GL: Wait a second. So, if the human race migrated to another world, we wouldn’t survive?

Gaia: Well, not exactly, but you would eventually metamorphose into something different than you are now.

GL: So what you are saying is, if we colonized Mars, and those colonists stayed on Mars in isolation, after a certain number of generations, those settlers would start to become Martians?

Gaia: If Mars came back to itself and was able to support human life, their DNA would gradually become Martian DNA.

GL: Oh, our scientists will have fun with that! So, how do you feel about the human race? What we have done to you.

Law Shreds Rights

New Pennsylvania Legislation Sucker Punches Inmate Speech

 

Part II of II
 

The serious injustice endured by Pennsylvania prison inmate Lorenzo ‘Cat’ Johnson, detailed yesterday in Part I of this series, is the subject of a website and numerous other postings on the Internet. Those Internet postings detail gross misconduct by police and prosecutors that have kept Johnson imprisoned for a murder that evidence indicates he neither committed nor had anything to with.

Johnson served 16-years of a life sentence before a federal appeals court ordered his release in October 2011 after ruling insufficient evidence existed to maintain his conviction. Prosecutors never claimed Johnson was the killer only that he was present when the killing occurred.

However, a perverse appeal by Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office prosecutors forced Johnson’s return to prison in June 2012 –- following six-months of freedom.

Those websites supporting Johnson’s release, which contain documents and other evidence detailing Johnson’s wrongful conviction, are in danger of being wiped under terms of legislation recently approved by Pennsylvania’s Republican-dominated House and Senate.

That legislation, fast-tracked through the legislature in an election-timed attempt to boost the hugely unpopular Republican Gov. Corbett's flagging re-election bid, allows victims of crime to go to court for an injunction against the conduct of convicts “which perpetuates the continuing effects of the crime on the victim.” This new law applies to all convicts: those currently incarcerated and even those who have completed their sentences.

This law gives prosecutors (state and country) the power to act on behalf of victims who simply claim they are suffering “mental anguish.”

In the case of Lorenzo Johnson, the state AG’s office whose misconduct perpetuates his unjust incarceration is empowered under this new law to silence the websites that detail the misconduct of AG office prosecutors.
Successful pressure by the Fraternal Order of Police to get Pennsylvania's Republican-led government to pass legislation gaggingSuccessful pressure by the Fraternal Order of Police to get Pennsylvania's Republican-led government to pass legislation gagging imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, threaten the First Amendment rights not just of all prisoners and ex-prisoners, but of all Americans
 

Pennsylvania's for lovers...of convictions

The Scandal Hidden Inside a State's Porn Email Scandal

 

(Part I of II)
 

Obscured by a current scandal involving pornographic emails currently rocking the top reaches of Pennsylvania’s state government, a scandal that has cast a shadow over embattled Pennsylvania Governor and former state's attorney general Tom Corbett and the state’s judiciary, including a state Supreme Court member, is another explosive scandal.

That hidden scandal involves the persecution of Lorenzo ‘Cat’ Johnson. a Pennsylvania inmate, by prosecutors from the state's attorney general’s office -– the same office that has exposed the chain of pornographic emails dating from Corbett's tenure as AG.

The Johnson had won a court-ordered release from a deeply flawed murder conviction after having wrongfully served 16-years of a life sentence. But he was nonetheless forced to return to prison due to actions by state’s current Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, a Democrat who succeeded Corbett in that office.

Gov. Corbett had headed the state AG’s office when that office handled initially handled Johnson's prosecution in this badly tainted murder trial. Corbett later served as AG when that office vigorously opposed Johnson's appeal of that his verdict and sentence..

This hidden scandal exposes a pattern of state government officials who blithely tolerated this and other outrageously unjust criminal convictions. This hidden scandal also exposes the penchant of prosecutors to fight to preserve convictions they know to have been tainted by official misconduct.

Too many false convictions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the US involve documented misconduct by police and/or prosecutors –- misconduct often covered-up for decades by courts and prosecutors. This misconduct includes authorities improperly withholding evidence of innocence at trial –- a gross violation of constitutional fair trial rights as well as professional conduct standards. Withheld evidence is a core issue in the case of this particular inmate persecuted by the AG's office.

The porn scandal, initiated by AG Kane's office, and now rocking state government in Pennsylvania, involves emails containing sexually explicit images (often accompanied by raunchy commentary by email senders and recipients) exchanged over state-owned computers by then ranking members of the state’s Attorney Generals office as well as several state judges, including one member of the state's Supreme Court.

Conservative Republican Gov. Corbett headed the AG’s office when ranking subordinates in that office engaged in enthusiastic exchanges of those pornographic emails. (No evidence released to date links Corbett himself to the pornographic emails.)

Two Pennsylvania Attorneys General, Tom Corbett and Kathleen Kane, have conspired to unjustly keep Lorenzo Johnson in jailTwo Pennsylvania Attorneys General, Tom Corbett and Kathleen Kane, have conspired to knowingly keep prisoners like Lorenzo Johnson (left), wrongfully convicted by AG's office prosecutors, unjustly locked up and facing life sentences
 

It won't protect you at all

Default Encryption: Apple and Google's Latest Marketing Ploy

A couple of weeks ago, the mere mortals who lead the voracious giants of technology -- Google and Apple -- announced that they were striking a blow for protection against NSA spying by making "encryption" the default on Google cell phone software (which is used on most cell phones) and THEY software used on Apple mobile devices.

This affects equipment like the ubiquitous cell phone, although it is also relevant to some handheld computers and similar portable equipment.

The idea would be that your data on these devices would always be encypted -- appearing as unintelligble nonsense to anyone looking at it without a key to "decrypt" it. You use a password and, bingo!, you can read what you stored. Without the password, it looks like a bunch of bizarre symbols. This would now be the "default". While you could encrypt if you chose to up to now, you will now have to consciously choose not to; encryption will be automatic unless you turn it off.

They are still connected!They are still connected!

The point of all this is that, since these companies would not be able to read your encrypted data, they can't turn over legible data when the government orders them to. Since the government orders them to turn over data constantly, that's a pretty big change.

But how real is it? Such concern for user data seems to conflict with the history of both behemoths. For exampple, the National Security Agency has long taken advantage of Google's remarkable policy of reading its users' email and data, purportedly for marketing purposes and to "make users' experience easier". That stored data has been a plum for the NSA which gets it with the company's cooperation via court order or by using sneaky programs to intercept messages and search data on-line.

Although not a data storage company, Apple's programs move data and interact with storage services. Its iPhone, one of the world's most popular hand-held devices, uses a lot of Google software as well as much of its own programming. Through cell phone technology, these two companies are the major sources of NSA-gathered information. Google gives the government copious information stored on most cell phones and Apples does the same for its powerhouse iPhone.

So savvy critics are wondering if this latest announcement is really a pledge to privacy or the latest in the long string of cynical marketing ploys that have made these outfits the powerhouses they are.

Karmic payback for selfish Americans

Dickensian US Working Conditions Almost Guarantee Ebola Catastrophe

 

Ebola is coming! Ebola is coming! America is doomed!

That, in essence, is the message of the US corporate news media, always on the lookout for the next sensational story with which to stir up hysteria among the public in the interest of higher ratings.

But the thing is, this time, unlike Saddam Hussein’s supposed nuclear weapons and poison-gas-spewing drone aircraft, Al Qaeda’s non-existent “sleeper cells,” and now ISIS and its supposed army of infiltrators coming to separate our heads from our shoulders, the threat is real.

True to form though, the threat is not what the media are claiming it is.

Ebola is a certainly terrible scourge in poor countries in Africa, where a handful of doctors are expected to provide care to thousands of people and to keep persons who contract the disease isolated so that the infection doesn’t spread. Ebola has spread so rapidly in the war-ravaged little nation of Sierra Leone that doctors there have decided they have to surrender the high ground of bringing all infected people into medical facilities for treatment, and to fall back to advising families who have a member who contracts Ebola to treat them at home as best as they can.

In the US, we have plenty of doctors, and plenty of hospitals with the ability to initiate steps to avoid the spread of disease.

But we do not have universal access to health care -- especially to the kind of front-line health care that an epidemic calls for: access to a physician at the first sign of illness, access to affordable medication to treat disease, and even in many cases access to an emergency room.

Worse yet, are US labor policies, which are as if designed by some evil villain to hasten the spread of contagious disease.

Consider this: Most, if not virtually all waiters, busboys, chefs and cleaning staff at restaurants in the US do not get paid sick days--with the exception of those few who have union contracts and have managed to negotiate sick days in their contracts. If they feel like they are getting sick workers with no paid sick leave must do their best to hide their symptoms and go to work. Ditto for the maids and housekeepers who tend to the homes of the wealthy. And the same is true for the majority of the low-paid staff at privately run daycare centers.
Would madam like some Ebola with that order? (Without sick pay, many waiters have to come to work sick in the US)Would madam like some Ebola with that order? (Without sick pay, many waiters have to come to work sick in the US)

 

Ten Acres & A Yard Tractor

Plowing Under The Great Kansas Corpone Revolution

 

North Jefferson County, Kansas -- The Sept. 6, 2014 Kansas State Fair debates in Hutchinson, with a maximum arena crowd of 2500, had satellite trucks linked to MSNBC, CNN and reporters from as far away as New York. Certainly proof something was happening in Kansas, but for too many in the state that “something” remains unknown.

The “something” is easily found, though, by shaking any distracted screen grazer, instructing them to google “Traditional Republicans for Common Sense” and informing the techno-dummies that the holiest of holy, the Republican Party of Kansas, is split. Over 100 trusted, life-long members of the “Traditional Republicans” have stood up in name and print against Brownback’s Great Cornpone Revolution.

The True Believers’ Coup

The True Believers in the New Republican Party of Kansas are a mixed-blood group, part Tea Party, part “conservative” libertarian, with a sprinkling of government conspiracy freaks and “pro-life” religious zealots, many secretly funded by the infamous “non-profit” Wichita plutocrats like the Koch brothers. 

Invoking fear of “Big Government,” the New Republicans of Kansas, reliably stark raving mad about funding bigger war industries, have kept the Great Bush/Cheney Recession going here by letting every millionaire and billionaire run loose, mostly tax-free.

The New Republican Party was long in coming; I date it to before the abortion wars of former state Attorney General Phill Kline, but the 2010 elections parovided the decisive battle. That was when the True Believers took over and started targeting their own party members for political oblivion.

 Charles Koch and the man he's backing in Kansas, incumbent Gov. Sam BrownbackFair game: Charles Koch and the man he's backing in Kansas, incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback

The ThisCantBeHappening! news collective loses a founding member

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young (1951-2014)

 

The ThisCantBeHappening! collective has lost a friend and a perceptive and peerlessly witty analyst of the American political and cultural scene, while Rock& Roll has lost its leading critic. Charles M. Young (Chuck to his friends), has died, following a year and a half of battling an aggressive brain tumor.

When Dave Lindorff decided back in the Spring of 2010, to convert his thiscantbehappening.net blog into a collectively-owned and collectively-run news site, he immediately contacted three friends and journalistic colleagues--John Grant, Linn Washington, Jr. and Chuck Young. All three immediately jumped for the idea. But Chuck's response was classic Young. His lip curling up in a sign that cued a listener that he was about to crack a joke, he said, "Wait, let me get this straight: a newspaper that has no editor? It sounds like a dream come true! Sign me up!"

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!

 

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Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

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by Dr. Radut