Monday, June 30, 2008

Peter Schiff vs. some frickin' tool!

In other news..."Songbird" McCain prevaricates once again!

An excerpt from Alex Jones' 9/11: Rise Of The Police State

An analogy for America the Beautiful!

We are numerous; the scumbags are NOT.

They are predators; we are not necessarily...but we don't NEED to be. We just have to use what we have, and we need to STAND TOGETHER against the scumbags who are attempting to send our great country into despair.

How can you watch this video...and still sit there on your couch, watching stupid HD television, brought to you by the same pieces of mierda who obfuscated all of the news that you required to make an INFORMED DECISION about the state of our LIVES.

Are you going to be shown up by a herd of WATER BUFFALO?

It's up to YOU.

There are no superheroes to come to our rescue...YOU MUST TAKE ACCOUNT.

Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter'

By Robert Parry (A Special Report)

June 29, 2008

As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs.

To understand this extraordinary development, historians might want to look back at the 1980s and examine the Iran-Contra scandal’s "lost chapter," a narrative describing how Ronald Reagan’s administration brought CIA tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world.

That chapter – which we are publishing here for the first time – was "lost" because Republicans on the congressional Iran-Contra investigation waged a rear-guard fight that traded elimination of the chapter’s key findings for the votes of three moderate GOP senators, giving the final report a patina of bipartisanship.

Under that compromise, a few segments of the draft chapter were inserted in the final report’s Executive Summary and in another section on White House private fundraising, but the chapter’s conclusions and its detailed account of how the "perception management" operation worked ended up on the editing room floor.

The American people thus were spared the chapter’s troubling finding: that the Reagan administration had built a domestic covert propaganda apparatus managed by a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist working out of the National Security Council.

"One of the CIA’s most senior covert action operators was sent to the NSC in 1983 by CIA Director [William] Casey where he participated in the creation of an inter-agency public diplomacy mechanism that included the use of seasoned intelligence specialists," the chapter’s conclusion stated.

"This public/private network set out to accomplish what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might attempt – to sway the media, the Congress, and American public opinion in the direction of the Reagan administration’s policies."

However, with the chapter’s key findings deleted, the right-wing domestic propaganda operation not only survived the Iran-Contra fallout but thrived.

So did some of the administration’s collaborators, such as South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon and Australian press mogul Rupert Murdoch, two far-right media barons who poured billions of dollars into pro-Republican news outlets that continue to influence Washington’s political debates to this day.

Before every presidential election, Moon’s Washington Times plants derogatory – and often false – stories about Democratic contenders, discrediting them and damaging their chances of winning the White House.

For instance, in 1988, the Times published a bogus account suggesting that the Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis had undergone psychiatric treatment. In 2000, Moon’s newspaper pushed the theme that Al Gore suffered from clinical delusions. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

As for Murdoch, his giant News Corp. expanded into American cable TV with the founding of Fox News in 1996. Since then, the right-wing network has proved highly effective in promoting attack lines against Democrats or anyone else who challenges the Republican power structure.

As President George W. Bush herded the nation toward war with Iraq in 2002-03, Fox News acted like his sheep dogs making sure public opinion didn’t stray too far off. The "Fox effect" was so powerful that it convinced other networks to load up with pro-war military analysts and to silence voices that questioned the invasion. [See Neck Deep.]

Seeds of Propaganda

The seeds of this private/public collaboration can be found in the 84-page draft Iran-Contra chapter, entitled "Launching the Private Network." [There appear to have been several versions of this "lost chapter." This one I found in congressional files.]

The chapter traces the origins of the propaganda network to President Reagan’s "National Security Decision Directive 77" in January 1983 as his administration sought to promote its foreign policy, especially its desire to oust Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

In a Jan. 13, 1983, memo, then-National Security Advisor William Clark foresaw the need for non-governmental money to advance this cause. "We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding," Clark wrote.

As administration officials began reaching out to wealthy supporters, lines against domestic propaganda soon were crossed as the operation took aim at not only at foreign audiences but at U.S. public opinion, the press and congressional Democrats who opposed funding Nicaraguan rebels, known as contras.

At the time, the contras were earning a gruesome reputation as human rights violators and terrorists. To change this negative perception of the contras, the Reagan administration created a full-blown, clandestine propaganda operation.

"An elaborate system of inter-agency committees was eventually formed and charged with the task of working closely with private groups and individuals involved in fundraising, lobbying campaigns and propagandistic activities aimed at influencing public opinion and governmental action," the draft chapter said.

Heading this operation was a veteran CIA officer named Walter Raymond Jr., who was recruited by another CIA officer, Donald Gregg, before Gregg shifted from his job as chief of the NSC’s Intelligence Directorate to become national security adviser to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.

[The draft chapter doesn’t use Raymond’s name in its opening pages, apparently because some of the information came from classified depositions. However, Raymond’s name is used later in the chapter and the earlier citations match Raymond’s role.]

According to the draft report, the CIA officer recruited for the NSC job had served as Director of the Covert Action Staff at the CIA from 1978 to 1982 and was a "specialist in propaganda and disinformation."

"The CIA official [Raymond] discussed the transfer with [CIA Director William] Casey and NSC Advisor William Clark that he be assigned to the NSC as Gregg’s successor [in June 1982] and received approval for his involvement in setting up the public diplomacy program along with his intelligence responsibilities," the chapter said.

"In the early part of 1983, documents obtained by the Select [Iran-Contra] Committees indicate that the Director of the Intelligence Staff of the NSC [Raymond] successfully recommended the establishment of an inter-governmental network to promote and manage a public diplomacy plan designed to create support for Reagan Administration policies at home and abroad."

Raymond "helped to set up an elaborate system of inter-agency committees," the draft chapter said, adding:

"In the Spring of 1983, the network began to turn its attention toward beefing up the Administration’s capacity to promote American support for the Democratic Resistance in Nicaragua [the contras] and the fledgling democracy in El Salvador.

"This effort resulted in the creation of the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of State (S/LPD), headed by Otto Reich," a right-wing Cuban exile from Miami.

Though Secretary of State George Shultz wanted the office under his control, President Reagan insisted that Reich "report directly to the NSC," where Raymond oversaw the operations as a special assistant to the President and the NSC’s director of international communications, the chapter said.

"At least for several months after he assumed this position, Raymond also worked on intelligence matters at the NSC, including drafting a Presidential Finding for Covert Action in Nicaragua in mid-September" 1983, the chapter said.

In other words, although Raymond was shifted to the NSC staff in part to evade prohibitions on the CIA influencing U.S. public opinion, his intelligence and propaganda duties overlapped for a time as he was retiring from the spy agency.

Key Player

Despite Raymond’s formal separation from the CIA, he acted toward the U.S. public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country. He was the go-to guy to keep the operation on track.

"Reich relied heavily on Raymond to secure personnel transfers from other government agencies to beef up the limited resources made available to S/LPD by the Department of State," the chapter said.

"Personnel made available to the new office included intelligence specialists from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. On one occasion, five intelligence experts from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were assigned to work with Reich’s fast-growing operation. …

"White House documents also indicate that CIA Director Casey had more than a passing interest in the Central American public diplomacy campaign."

The chapter cited an Aug. 9, 1983, memo written by Raymond describing Casey’s participation in a meeting with public relations specialists to brainstorm how "to sell a 'new product’ – Central America – by generating interest across-the-spectrum."

In an Aug. 29, 1983, memo, Raymond recounted a call from Casey pushing his P.R. ideas. Alarmed at a CIA director participating so brazenly in domestic propaganda, Raymond wrote that "I philosophized a bit with Bill Casey (in an effort to get him out of the loop)" but with little success.

The chapter added: "Casey’s involvement in the public diplomacy effort apparently continued throughout the period under investigation by the Committees," including a 1985 role in pressuring Congress to renew contra aid and a 1986 hand in further shielding S/LPD from the oversight of Secretary Shultz.

A Raymond-authored memo to Casey in August 1986 described the shift of S/LPD – then run by neoconservative theorist Bob Kagan who had replaced Reich – to the control of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, which was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, another prominent neoconservative.

Another important figure in the pro-contra propaganda was NSC staffer Oliver North, who spent a great deal of his time on the Nicaraguan public diplomacy operation even though he is better known for arranging secret arms shipments to the contras and to Iran’s radical Islamic government, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal.

The draft chapter cited a March 10, 1985, memo from North describing his assistance to CIA Director Casey in timing disclosures of pro-contra news "aimed at securing Congressional approval for renewed support to the Nicaraguan Resistance Forces."

North’s Operatives

The Iran-Contra "lost" chapter depicts a sometimes Byzantine network of contract and private operatives who handled details of the domestic propaganda while concealing the hand of the White House and the CIA.

"Richard R. Miller, former head of public affairs at AID, and Francis D. Gomez, former public affairs specialist at the State Department and USIA, were hired by S/LPD through sole-source, no-bid contracts to carry out a variety of activities on behalf of the Reagan administration policies in Central America," the chapter said.

"Supported by the State Department and White House, Miller and Gomez became the outside managers of [North operative] Spitz Channel’s fundraising and lobbying activities.

"They also served as the managers of Central American political figures, defectors, Nicaraguan opposition leaders and Sandinista atrocity victims who were made available to the press, the Congress and private groups, to tell the story of the Contra cause."

Miller and Gomez facilitated transfers of money to Swiss and offshore banks at North’s direction, as they "became the key link between the State Department and the Reagan White House with the private groups and individuals engaged in a myriad of endeavors aimed at influencing the Congress, the media and public opinion," the chapter said.

In its conclusion, the draft chapter read:

"The State Department was used to run a prohibited, domestic, covert propaganda operation. Established despite resistance from the Secretary of State, and reporting directly to the NSC, the [S/LPD] attempted to mask many of its activities from the Congress and the American people."

However, the American people never got to read a detailed explanation of this finding nor see the evidence. In October 1987, as the congressional Iran-Contra committees wrote their final report, Republicans protested the inclusion of this explosive information.

Though the Democrats held the majority, the GOP had leverage because Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, the House chairman, wanted some bipartisanship in the final report, especially since senior Republicans, including Rep. Dick Cheney, R-Wyoming, were preparing a strongly worded minority report.

Hamilton and the Democrats hoped that three moderate Republicans – William Cohen of Maine, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire and Paul Trible of Virginia – would break ranks and sign the majority report. However, the Republicans objected to the draft chapter about Ronald Reagan’s covert propaganda campaign.

As part of a compromise, some elements of the draft chapter were included in the Executive Summary but without much detail and shorn of the tough conclusions. Nevertheless, Cohen protested even that.

"I question the inordinate attention devoted in the Executive Summary to the Office of Public Diplomacy and its activities in support of the Administration’s polices," Cohen wrote in his additional views. "The prominence given to it in the Executive Summary is far more generous than just."

Long-Term Consequences

However, the failure of the Iran-Contra report to fully explain the danger of CIA-style propaganda intruding into the U.S. political process would have profound future consequences. Indeed, the evidence suggests that today’s powerful right-wing media gained momentum as part of the Casey-Raymond operations of the early 1980s.

According to one Raymond-authored memo dated Aug. 9, 1983, then-U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick "via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds" to support pro-Reagan initiatives.

Raymond’s reference to Rupert Murdoch possibly drawing down "added funds" suggests that the right-wing media mogul was already part of the covert propaganda operation.

In line with its clandestine nature, Raymond also suggested routing the "funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center."

Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, publisher of the Washington Times, also showed up in the Iran-Contra operations, using his newspaper to raise contra funds and assigning his CAUSA political group to organize support for the contras.

In the two decades since the Iran-Contra scandal, both Murdoch and Moon have continued to pour billions of dollars into media outlets that have influenced the course of U.S. history, often through the planting of propaganda and disinformation much like a CIA covert action might do in a hostile foreign country.

Further, to soften up the Washington press corps, Reich’s S/LPD targeted U.S. journalists who reported information that undermined the pro-contra propaganda. Reich sent his teams out to lobby news executives to remove or punish out-of-step reporters – with a disturbing degree of success. [For more, see Parry’s Lost History.]

Some U.S. officials implicated in the Iran-Contra propaganda operations are still around, bringing the lessons of the 1980s into the new century.

For instance, Elliott Abrams. Though convicted of misleading Congress in the Iran-Contra Affair and later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush – Abrams is now deputy adviser to George W. Bush’s NSC, where he directs U.S.-Middle East policy.

Bob Kagan remains another prominent neocon theorist in Washington, writing op-eds for the Washington Post. Oliver North was given a news show on Fox.

Otto Reich now is advising Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Latin American affairs. Lee Hamilton is a senior national security adviser to Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Enduring Skills

Beyond these individuals, the manipulative techniques that were refined in the 1980s – especially the skill of exaggerating foreign threats – have proved durable, bringing large segments of the American population into line behind the Iraq War in 2002-03.

Only now – with more than 4,100 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead – are many of these Americans realizing that were manipulated by clever propaganda, that their perceptions had been managed.

For instance, the New York Times recently pried loose some 8,000 pages of Pentagon documents revealing how the Bush administration had manipulated the public debate on the Iraq War by planting friendly retired military officers on TV news shows.

Retired Green Beret Robert S. Bevelacqua, a former analyst on Murdoch’s Fox News, said the Pentagon treated the retired military officers as puppets: "It was them saying, 'we need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’" [NYT, April 20, 2008, or see’s "US News Media’s Latest Disgrace."]

Bush’s former White House press secretary Scott McClellan described similar use of propaganda tactics to justify the Iraq War in his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

From his insider vantage point, McClellan cited the White House’s "carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval" – and he called the Washington press corps "complicit enablers."

None of this would have been so surprising – indeed Americans might have been forewarned and forearmed – if Lee Hamilton and other Democrats on the Iran-Contra committees had held firm and published the scandal’s "lost chapter" two decades ago.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

:: Article nr. 45289 sent on 30-jun-2008 08:04 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Uruknet

Just finish the bloody thing, already!

Joe Lieberman is a war-mongering jackass.

Dear readers...enough already! Invoking the idea of EVENTS OCCURRING IN THE FIRST YEAR OF PRESIDENCIES?

Get the FUCK outta here with that bullshit!

Dear readers...that was some strong invective to use on a Monday morning...

...but it needs to be even stronger.

Don't you DARE attempt to make tragedies commonplace here, in the blessed UNITED STAES OF AMERICA.

Blessed, I say? Yes...

I want you to begin with this: Why do you need Health Insurance?

Now, having put that link there, I do NOT discount the idea of a force greater than we can fathom...but THAT IS THE WHOLE BLOODY POINT!

If there IS a greater force in the universe that was DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the creation of this universe...guess what?


Now...please...don't misunderstand my words...I'll tell you EXACTLY what I mean.

You have pets? You care for establish some sort of environment for them that is at least minimally conducive to their well-being, right? you REALLY care what they think?

I mean...REALLY?!?

I was gonna write a really nasty anecdote about Great Danes, peanut butter and nether regions, but I want you focused on this idea.

Okay...goldfish. The swim around, crap in the water and eat that flaky shite you drop into the tank, daily. Sounds like an ideal existence, eh?

Ponder this, then: what if...the goldfish wished that you NOT STARE AT THEM ENDLESSLY FOR MINUTES AT A TIME? What if the goldfish wished that you would actually feed it smaller fish? think that there's FISH FOOD out there in the wild? not going to do any such thing, are you?


That's what I'm saying...nothing more...and it IS just an idea.

But I think one should say...selah.

Look it up...if you know what this means, then please do so.

.., the planners of the Ground Zero Restoration Plan have overrun on costs and may not be able to meet the 10th Anniversary, if you can refer to it as such, of the events of September 11th, 2001. It's reported on 1010WINS that the PATH/Chambers Street Station costs over $50 million, yet they need to tear it down.


I'm used to the bloody thing, already...and not to pull a LIEberman or anything, but I believe that closing and renovating the center is the LAST bloody thing one should do, especially this close to the SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY of the events of September 11th, 2001.

So, I'm going to start a petition to LEAVE THE WTC ALONE- JUST BUILD IT ALREADY!

PATH you really want your travel disrupted?

NY/NJ it really worth the hassle?

I hope to have this done by tonight...I'll have to bang it out in between tasks this afternoon.

I will end this posting with a name that you should know well...Dr. Philip Zack

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is asked by MSNBC anchor Brian Williams to clarify his statements about the Holocaust. (September 2006)

Brian got 0wn3d!

Craig Ferguson at the White House Correspondents' Dinner 2008

I love this guy! If you haven't yet seen it...go rent The Big Tease! It's a screamer from beginning to end!

A video montage - In Search of Tim Osman

Message from the Iraq resistance

Osama bin Laden was Murdered!

What Really Happened

Zionists loyal to Jews in Israel Kill Americans

Is this why ObL's dead now ?

Secrets Uncovered: J. Edgar Hoover - Passing For White?

Revealed: Hoover's Dark Secret

Sunday 25 June 2000

J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI who worked relentlessly to undermine Martin Luther King and others in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, had black ancestors whose existence he desperately tried to keep secret, according to a new book.

Millie McGhee, the author of Secrets Uncovered, J Edgar Hoover - Passing For White?, is an African-American who says she was told as a little girl in McComb, Mississippi, of her family's links with Hoover.

She writes in the book that her grandfather told her of this "very powerful" man in Washington who was related to the family but did not want the links to be known and passed himself off as white.

Ms McGhee, a former teacher in Los Angeles, explains that she contacted a genealogist in Salt Lake City, Utah, for help in tracing her family's history back 200 years.

She says her research shows that Hoover's grandfather and great-grandfather lived in a segregated black area of Washington and were classified in a census as "colored".

Hoover, who was born in 1895 and died while still head of the FBI in 1972, was apparently anxious that no one should know of his origins.

According to Ms McGhee, relatives were warned of dire consequences if they spoke publicly of his background. As a little girl she believed that they would be killed if they mentioned the secret.

"Is this man so ashamed of his race that he would spend his whole life passing for white?" she asks. "How has our race offended him?"

She believes that his obsession with King and other black civil- rights leaders stemmed in part from his repressed anger about his secret life.

She said this week that members of the Hoover family who had contacted her had not been angry about the disclosures, but that her own family were unhappy with her decision to go public. "They're very upset. I never wanted to be related to him," she said. "I never even liked him."

Hoover came from a family that had always worked in government service in Washington. He entered the Justice Department after graduating in law, became acting director of the FBI in 1929 and was confirmed as director shortly afterwards.

He was associated throughout his career with a fierce paranoia about the left and the civil-rights movement, and an obsession with pursuing what were seen to be enemies of the United States. A powerful figure during his life, he became the subject of much mockery after his death when it was claimed that he had enjoyed cross-dressing.

Hoover's wire-tapping and hidden surveillance practices took the FBI's involvement in the private lives of US citizens to new levels.

After his death it was accepted that no FBI director should ever have such power again.

Ms McGhee says that the book is not an expose of Hoover's dishonesty, but more of a cross between "Roots and Danielle Steel", in that it catalogues her search to discover the family's secrets.


Yes...I actually have the book - this is going to be fun reading on the train...

Just found a blog dedicated to this topic - Native Son

And more - The Millie L. McGhee Story

Celebrating Juneteenth: The Untold Story of Neo-Slavery in the United States (repost)

This looked rather interesting:

Did you know that the so-called Emancipation Proclamation issued by Commander-in-Chief Abraham Lincoln legally did not free one slave?

Did you know that the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not totally abolish slavery, but presented a way for it to legally continue?

Did you know that up until the 1980s there were still Blacks being held in the Deep South by private families as slaves?

Did you know that the American Gulag/Prison Industrial Complex is legally considered slavery?

Did you know that the treatment of the unlawful detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay is very similar to the treatment of slaves in America?

Well, now you know and knowing is only have the battle. Read on:


A Different Kind Of Slavery: New Atlanta Museum Will Honor Wealthy Citizens Who Used Water Boarding, Whipping, False Imprisonment, Forced Labor & Prisoner Murder To Rebuild The City After The Civil War

"Guards Had Recently Adopted For Punishment Of The Workers The 'Water Cure,' In Which Water Was Poured Into The Nostrils And Lungs Of Prisoners"

"Guards Holding Long Horse Whips Struck Any Worker Who Slowed To A Walk Or Paused"

"If You Ain't Dead, I Will Make You Dead If You Don't Go To Work,"

"Forced Workers In His Coal Mines Could Never Be Whipped Too Much"

March 29, 2008 By DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON, Wall St. Journal

At the center of a massive new real-estate development in Atlanta, an $18 million monument designed to honor 2,000 years of human achievement is nearing completion.

When it opens this summer, a museum inside the Millennium Gate also will pay special tribute to the accomplishments and philanthropy of some of the founding families of modern Atlanta.

Organizers say plans for the exhibit don't include one overlooked aspect of two of the city's post-Civil War leaders: the extensive use of thousands of forced black laborers.

The builders of the 73-foot archway say the museum is too small to convey every aspect of the city's founders and that it's appropriate to focus on the positive aspects of these men.

In this adaptation from his new book, "Slavery by Another Name," Douglas A. Blackmon, Atlanta bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, chronicles how companies owned by these two men used forced labor to help rebuild Atlanta -- a practice that was widespread through the South.

Millions of bricks used to make the sidewalks and streets of Atlanta's oldest neighborhoods -- many of them still in use today -- came from a factory owned by James W. English, the city's former mayor, and operated almost entirely with black forced laborers.

Many had been convicted of frivolous or manufactured crimes and then leased by the city to Mr. English's company, Chattahoochee Brick Co.

Between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of World War II, millions of African-Americans were compelled into or lived under the shadow of the South's new forms of coerced labor.

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands were arbitrarily detained, hit with high fines and charged with the costs of their arrests.

With no means to pay such debts, prisoners were sold into coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroad construction crews and plantations.

Others were simply seized by southern landowners and pressed into years of involuntary servitude.

At the turn of the 20th century, at least 3,464 African-American men and 130 women lived in forced labor camps in Georgia, according to a 1905 report by the federal Commissioner of Labor.

Beginning in July 1908, a commission established by the Georgia Legislature convened a series of hearings into the state's system of leasing prisoners to private contractors. Meeting early every day and late into the night to escape the city's excruciating heat, the panel called more than 120 witnesses over three weeks to give testimony in the state Capitol's regal Room No. 16.

Joel Hurt, who one guard said believed the forced workers in his coal mines could never be whipped too much, was also chairman of Atlanta's Trust Company Bank. Leveraging his interests in real estate and mines worked by prisoners, Mr. Hurt was Atlanta's most energetic deal maker and buyout artist.

Accounts of Brutalities

Witness after witness -- ranging from former guards to legislators to freed slaves -- gave vivid accounts of the system's brutalities.

Wraithlike men infected with tuberculosis were left to die on the floor of a storage shed at a farm near Milledgeville.

Laborers who attempted escape from the Muscogee Brick Co. were welded into ankle shackles with three-inch-long spikes turned inward -- to make it impossibly painful to run again. Guards everywhere were routinely drunk and physically abusive.

Testimony described hellish conditions at Chattahoochee Brick and other operations owned by Mr. English, a luminary of the Atlanta elite and a man hardly anyone in the reviving city would have associated with human cruelty.

But by 1908, Mr. English -- despite having never owned antebellum slaves -- was a man whose great wealth was inextricably tied to the enslavement of thousands of men.

Born in 1837 near New Orleans and orphaned as a teenager, he served as a young man in the Confederate army, rising to become a captain in a prominent Georgia brigade. After the South's defeat, he went to Atlanta to establish himself in the business and politics of the bustling new capital of southern commerce. He led a drive to make the city the state capital of Georgia, cementing its foundation as an economic center. In 1880 he was elected mayor.

Presiding from an elegant home, Mr. English, a portly man with a thick shock of white hair and a matching mustache, fostered a collection of enterprises that grew as Atlanta emerged from its Civil War ruin.

Chattahoochee Brick

The base of his wealth, Chattahoochee Brick, relied on forced labor from its inception, in 1878, and by the early 1890s, more than 150 prisoners were employed in the wilting heat of its fires.

By 1897, Mr. English's enterprises controlled 1,206 of Georgia's 2,881 convict laborers, engaged in brick making, cutting crossties, lumbering, railroad construction and making turpentine.

Mr. English parlayed his industrial wealth to become one of the South's most important financiers as well. In 1896, he founded Atlanta's Fourth National Bank and became its first president.

Mr. English strenuously denied to the Georgia committee that any "act of cruelty" had ever been "committed upon a convict" under the control of himself or any member of his family. He insisted that he and his son were essentially absentee owners of the brick factory, having little to do with its daily operations.

"If a warden in charge of those convicts ever committed an act of cruelty to them," Mr. English said, "and it had come to my knowledge, I would have had him indicted and prosecuted."

Yet his testimony affirmed how Chattahoochee Brick -- like so many other Southern enterprises -- forced laborers to their absolute physical limits to extract modern levels of production using archaic manufacturing techniques.

Once dried, the bricks were carried at a double-time pace by two dozen laborers running back and forth -- under almost continual lashing by Mr. English's overseer, Capt. James T. Casey.

Witnesses testified that guards holding long horse whips struck any worker who slowed to a walk or paused.

By the end of the century, the forced laborers churned out 300,000 hot red rectangles of hardened clay every day. Millions were sold to the Atlanta City Council to pave streets and line the sidewalks of Atlanta's flourishing new Victorian neighborhoods, according to company and city records.

The prisoners of the brickyard produced nearly 33 million bricks in the 12 months ending in May 1907, generating sales of $239,402 -- or about $5.2 million today. Of that, the English family pocketed the equivalent of nearly $1.9 million in profit -- an almost-unimaginable sum at the time.

A string of witnesses told the legislative committee that prisoners at the plant were fed rotting and rancid food, housed in barracks rife with insects, driven with whips into the hottest and most-intolerable areas of the plant, and continually required to work at a constant run in the heat of the ovens.

On Sundays, white men came to the Chattahoochee brickyard to buy, sell and trade black men as they had livestock and, a generation earlier, slaves on the block. "They had them stood up in a row and walked around them and judged of them like you would a mule," testified one former guard at the camp.

Another guard told the committee that 200 to 300 floggings were administered each month. "They were whipping all the time. It would be hard to tell how many whippings they did a day," testified Arthur W. Moore, a white former employee.

A rare former convict who was white testified that after a black prisoner named Peter Harris said he couldn't work because of a grossly infected hand, the camp doctor carved off the affected skin tissue with a surgeon's knife and then ordered him back to work.

Instead, Mr. Harris, his hand mangled and bleeding, collapsed after the procedure.

The camp boss ordered him dragged into the brickyard and whipped 25 times. "If you ain't dead, I will make you dead if you don't go to work," shouted a guard. Mr. Harris was carried to a cotton field. He died lying between the rows of cotton.

Similar testimony emerged from camps owned by Joel Hurt, the rich Atlanta real-estate developer and investor most remembered as the visionary behind the city's earliest and most-elegant subdivisions. Mr. Hurt was also the founder of Atlanta's Trust Company Bank -- the city's other pre-eminent financial institution.

The 'Water Cure'

In 1895, Mr. Hurt bought a group of bankrupt forced-labor mines and furnaces on Lookout Mountain, near the Tennessee state line. Guards there had recently adopted for punishment of the workers the "water cure," in which water was poured into the nostrils and lungs of prisoners. (The technique, preferred because it allowed miners to "go to work right away" after punishment, became infamous in the 21st century as "waterboarding.")

An elderly black man named Ephraim Gaither testified during the state's hearings as to the fate of a 16-year-old boy at a lumber camp owned by Mr. Hurt and operated by his son George Hurt.

The teenager was serving three months of hard labor for an unspecified misdemeanor.

"He was around the yard sorter playing and he started walking off," Mr. Gaither recounted.

"There was a young fellow, one of the bosses, up in a pine tree and he had his gun and shot at the little negro and shot this side of his face off," Mr. Gaither said as he pointed to the left side of his face. The teenager ran into the woods and died.

Days later, a dog appeared in the camp dragging the boy's arm in its mouth, Mr. Gaither said. The homicide was never investigated.

Called to testify before the commission, Mr. Hurt lounged in the witness chair, relaxed and unapologetic for any aspect of the sprawling businesses.

Another witness before the commission, former chief warden Jake Moore, testified that no prison guard could ever "do enough whipping for Mr. Hurt."

"He wanted men whipped for singing and laughing," Mr. Moore told the panel.

In response to the revelations, Gov. Hoke Smith called a special session of the state Legislature, which authorized a public referendum on the fate of the system. In October 1908, Georgia's nearly all-white electorate voted by a 2-to-1 margin to abolish the system as of March 1909. Without prison labor, business collapsed at Chattahoochee Brick. Production fell by nearly 50% in the next year. Total profit dwindled to less than $13,000.

The apparent demise of Georgia's system of leasing prisoners seemed a harbinger of a new day.

But the harsher reality of the South was that the new post-Civil War neoslavery was evolving -- not disappearing.


The World War II Effect:

"On The Eve Of World War II, Across The South, Many African-Americans Were Still Toiling As Coerced Laborers"

"There Still Existed No Federal Statute That Made Holding Slaves A Punishable Crime"

March 29, 2008 By DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON, Wall St. Journal

On the eve of World War II, across the South, many African-Americans were still toiling as coerced laborers.

Though states such as Georgia and Alabama no longer were leasing convicts to corporations, thousands of men still were forced to work for private enterprises.

But now, the practice was mainly carried out through informal arrangements with city and county courts.

Abusive sharecropping arrangements and the peonage system -- which allowed farmers to use bogus debts and the threat of violence to keep workers on their land indefinitely -- hung over millions of African-Americans.

Federal investigations into peonage, also known as debt slavery, were rare and ineffective. Although the antebellum version of slavery had been unconstitutional for decades, there still existed no federal statute that made holding slaves a punishable crime.

On Oct. 13, 1941, a man named Charles E. Bledsoe pleaded guilty in Alabama federal court to peonage. Mr. Bledsoe didn't resist the charge and trusted that officials wouldn't deal harshly with a white. He was correct. His penalty was a fine of $100 and six months of probation.

Less than two months later, Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Caught unprepared for war, U.S. officials frantically planned for a massive national mobilization and a crash propaganda effort.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed to advisors his worry that the mistreatment of blacks would be used in propaganda by Japan and Germany to undercut support for the war by African-Americans.

Attorney General Francis Biddle shared the president's concerns with his top assistants. Mr. Biddle was informed that federal policy had long been to cede virtually all allegations of slavery to local jurisdiction -- effectively guaranteeing they would never be prosecuted. Mr. Biddle, who hailed from an elite Northern family in Philadelphia, was shocked.

Mr. Biddle said that in an all-out war, in which millions of African-Americans would be called upon to serve, the U.S. government needed to take a stand: Those who continued to practice any form of slavery, in violation of 1865's Thirteenth Amendment, had to be prosecuted as criminals.

Five days after the Japanese attack, on Dec. 12, 1941, Mr. Biddle issued a directive -- Circular No. 3591 -- to all federal prosecutors acknowledging the history of unwritten federal policy to ignore most reports of involuntary servitude.

He wrote: "It is the purpose of these instructions to direct the attention of the United States Attorneys to the possibilities of successful prosecutions stemming from alleged peonage complaints which have heretofore been considered inadequate to invoke federal prosecution."

The Justice Department recently had formed its Civil Rights Section, created primarily to investigate cases related to anti-organized-labor efforts. It began shifting its focus to discrimination and racial abuse -- issues more commonly associated with the term "civil rights" today.

Mr. Biddle wrote: "In the United States one cannot sell himself as a peon or slave -- the law is fixed and established to protect the weak-minded, the poor, the miserable. ...Any such sale or contract is positively null and void and the procuring and causing of such contract to be made violates [the] statutes."

He ordered all Department of Justice investigators to entirely drop reference to peonage in their written reports. Instead, they were to label every file "Involuntary Servitude and Slavery."

In August 1942, a letter from a 16-year-old black boy arrived at the Department of Justice alleging that Charles Bledsoe -- the Alabama man who had received a $100 fine for peonage -- still was holding members of the teen's family against their will.

Despite Mr. Biddle's strong directive, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover initially saw no need to pursue the matter. The U.S. attorney in Mobile, Ala., Francis H. Inge, was similarly uninterested.

"No active investigation will be instituted," Mr. Hoover wrote to Assistant Attorney General Wendell Berge.

But seven months into World War II, with the nation anxious to mobilize every possible soldier and counter every thrust of Japan's and Germany's propaganda machines, Mr. Berge directed Mr. Hoover to look further.

"In accordance with the request of the Attorney General that we expedite cases related to Negro victims, it will be appreciated if this matter is given preference," Mr. Berge wrote in a terse letter ordering Mr. Inge into action.

"Enemy propagandists have used similar episodes in international broadcasts to the colored race, saying that the democracies are insincere and that the enemy is their friend," Mr. Berge continued. "There have been received from the President an instruction that lynching complaints shall be investigated as soon as possible; that the results of the investigation be made public in all instances, and the persons responsible for such lawless acts vigorously prosecuted. The Attorney General has requested that we expedite other cases related to Negro victims. Accordingly, you are requested to give the matter your immediate attention."

Mr. Biddle's civil-rights lawyers began to reassess the legal breadth of the constitutional amendments ending slavery, the Reconstruction-era statutes passed to enforce them and other largely forgotten laws, such as the antebellum Slave Kidnapping Act. That pre-Civil War measure made it illegal to capture or hold forced laborers in U.S. territory where slavery was prohibited.

As World War II progressed, the Department of Justice vigorously prosecuted U.S. Sugar Co. in Florida for forcing black men into its sugarcane fields. Sheriffs who colluded with the company were brought to trial.

Early in September 1942, a team of FBI agents, highway patrolmen and deputies descended on a remote farm near Beeville, Texas. There they arrested a white farmer, Alex Skrobarcek, and his adult daughter, Susie Skrobarcek.

The two initially were charged in a state court with maiming a mentally retarded black worker named Alfred Irving.

But a month later, lawyers at the Department of Justice drew a federal indictment alleging that the pair had held Mr. Irving in slavery for at least four years. They were accused of repeatedly beating the man with whips, chains and ropes -- so much so that he was physically disfigured from the abuse.

Signaling the significance of the case, a special assistant to Mr. Biddle actively participated in prosecuting the trial. The defendants were found guilty and sentenced to prison. Federal officials made clear that the case was intended to send a message: The U.S. government was finally serious about ending involuntary servitude.

"The Skrobarczyk trial and its conclusion undoubtedly will be have given a decisive setback to the enemy propaganda machine...urging...negroes that their proper place in this conflict is with the yellow race," editorialized the Corpus Christi Times.

Two years later, President Truman's Committee on Civil Rights recommended bolstering the antislavery statute to plainly criminalize involuntary servitude. In 1948, the entire federal criminal code was dramatically rewritten, further clarifying such laws.




June 20, 2008

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice rose to power and influence against odds that must have seemed insurmountable at the time to a young black woman from Birmingham, Alabama. She was only eight years old when, in 1963, four young girls, including Rice's friend Denise McNair, were killed in her hometown by a bomb planted in their church by white supremacists. This week Secretary Rice pronounced herself, "...gratified, but not surprised", by Senator Obama's victory in the Democratic presidential primaries. She said, "As an American, it's a great thing. As a black American, it's a great thing." And she went on to express her belief that America is slowly but surely overcoming what she calls the country's "birth defect" of "racial inequality."

BILL MOYERS: But we're not there yet. Despite the success of Americans like Rice and Obama, we're still coping with the legacy of slavery and segregation. That's the subject of this broadcast, with my guests who think we may be at a defining moment in our history.

We begin with a preview of a moving film that will premiere next week on the public television series P.O.V. Be sure to watch it. You will see a story of how the descendents of one of America's first families discovered their own kin's complicity in the slave trade. "Traces of the Trade" is narrated by its producer and director, Katrina Browne.

KATRINA BROWNE: Every year my family would get together for July Fourth in Bristol, Rhode Island. It was a big deal 'cause Bristol boasts the longest running Fourth of July parade in the country. We'd watch the parade from the lawn of Linden Place. This big white mansion used to belong to my relatives. It's right in the center of town. This is me age two with my mother and grandmother. Here's me age three bossing my brother around.

KATRINA BROWNE: My DeWolf ancestors were known as the "Great Folk" in Bristol. There were professors and writers, artists and architects, and many Episcopal ministers. I was proud to be related to them. It never occurred to me to ask how we got so established.

KATRINA BROWNE: What no one in my family realized was that the DeWolfs were the largest slave-trading family in US history. They brought over 10,000 Africans to the Americas in chains. Half a million of their descendants could be alive today.

BILL MOYERS: Katrina Browne asked members of her extended family to meet at Bristol's Episcopal church to begin a journey into the past.

KATRINA BROWNE: The church was pretty much new to me because I grew up in Philadelphia, where I was steeped in America's democratic ideals. In Bristol, it seems like the DeWolfs were the founding fathers. They were everywhere in the church; they even paid for the stained glass.

BILL MOYERS: Some in the family and even the town itself were reluctant for the story to be told.

KATRINA BROWNE: Linden Place was also concerned about our journey. The mansion was built in 1810 by George DeWolf, one of the two most prominent slave traders in the family. Linden Place stayed in family hands until 1989 when it was turned into a museum. Some museum board members were worried about advertising this connection of Linden Place to slavery. They didn't let us film inside. So we just passed by.

KATRINA BROWNE: Down at the harbor is James DeWolf's warehouse. This is where rum went out and sugar and molasses came in. James is the one who really masterminded the family take-over of all aspects of the trade. By the end of his life in 1837 he was supposedly the second richest man in the United States.

KATRINA BROWNE: At the Bristol Historical Society, tucked away in a corner on the second floor, there was a file cabinet, full of DeWolf papers. These eerie records revealed the details of the logical economic model that the DeWolfs developed from 1769 to 1820. Here's how they made it work.

KATRINA BROWNE: First they got the financing together. They recruited fellow townspeople to buy shares in their voyages and eventually started their own bank. They also started an insurance company to cover the risk. Rum was the prime currency of the slave trade, so James acquired a distillery from his father-in-law. The DeWolfs also purchased ships, mostly from builders in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The ships took rum to the Guinea Coast to trade for Africans. "July 4th, 1795, bought nine prime slaves, one woman and eight men and paid for them tobacco, rum, hats, bread, mackerel." Many of the enslaved Africans were brought to work on plantations that the DeWolfs established in Cuba. These plantations supplied sugar and molasses needed to make the rum back in Bristol. They also served as holding places for Africans while the DeWolfs waited for slave prices to go up at auction. "Havana, Sept. 11, 1806, John DeWolf of Bristol, Sale of 121 Negroes." Total income: 36,300 dollars, which today equals 553,000 dollars.

KATRINA BROWNE: The largest number of slaves were sold in Havana and Charleston. But Rhode Island slavers did business in more than 40 markets in the West Indies, North and South America. Rhode Island became the state most complicit in the American slave trade. Rum, Africans, sugar, rum. The efficient wheels of the Triangle Trade were set in motion again and again.

KATRINA BROWNE: And then there's one more detail. The slave trade was illegal for most of the time the DeWolfs were practicing it. To maneuver around the law, they secured a political favor from none other than President Thomas Jefferson, whose campaign they'd supported. Jefferson appointed their brother-in-law as Bristol's customs official. This man always happened to be looking the other way as DeWolf ships went in and out of harbor.

BILL MOYERS: That was just a portion of the film. When "Traces of the Trade" airs on P.O.V. next week, Katrina Browne and several of her kinfolk follow the path of those ships to the West Coast of Africa, on to Cuba, where the DeWolfs owned a huge slave plantation, and then back again to new England, where an orderly economy run by pious, church-going people prospered from their bargain with the devil. You'll hear those modern DeWolfs struggling to come to terms with what they've learned about their "crazy partnership" with silence between the present and the past. Denial of course was not unique to the DeWolf family. Every time I walked downtown where I grew up in Texas, I passed the statue of Johnny Reb, facing east toward Richmond, the capitol of the Confederacy, reminding us of the bravery of gallant men who fought and died to protect a way of life . Tragically, it was a way of life built around slavery.

BILL MOYERS: At one time there were thousands of slaves in our county. And after Richmond fell to Union troops, my home town became, briefly, the military headquarters of the Confederacy. But in twelve years of public schools I cannot remember one of the teachers I deeply cherished describe slavery for what it was. Nor did they, or anyone I knew, talk about how our town's dark and tortured past in restoring white supremacy after the Civil War, prevented the emancipated slaves from realizing the freedom they had been promised. Across the South, from Texas and Louisiana to the Carolinas, thousands of freed black Americans simply were arrested, often on trumped up charges, and coerced into forced labor. And that persisted right up into the 1940s, when I was still a boy.

BILL MOYERS: Look at these pictures. Those photographs are from one of the most stunning new books you'll read this year, Slavery by Another Name. The author is Douglas Blackmon, the Atlanta bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. His articles on race, wealth and other issues have been nominated for Pulitzer Prizes four times. His reporting on U.S.Steel and the company's use of forced labor was included in the 2003 edition of Best Business Stories, and his contribution to the Journal's coverage of Hurricane Katrina received a Special Headliner Award in 2006. Welcome.
This is truly the most remarkable piece of reporting I have read in a long time. I honestly cannot recommend it highly enough. What you report is that no sooner did the slave owners, businessmen of the South, lose the Civil War, then they turned around, and in complicity with state and local governments and industry, reinvented slavery by another name. And what was the result?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, the result was that by the time you got to the end of the 19th century, 25 or 30 years after the Civil War, the generation of slaves who'd been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and then the constitutional amendments that ended slavery legally this generation of people, who experienced authentic freedom in many respects tough life, difficult hard lives after the Civil War but real freedom, in which they voted, they participated in government.

BILL MOYERS: They farmed?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: They farmed. They carved out independent lives. But then, this terrible shadow began to fall back across black life in America, that effectively re-enslaved enormous numbers of people. And what that was all about, what that was rooted in, was that the southern economic, and in a way, the American economy, was addicted to slavery, was addicted to forced labor. And the South could not resurrect itself.

And so, there was this incredible economic imperative to bring back coerced labor. And they did, on a huge scale.

BILL MOYERS: You said they did it by criminalizing black life.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, and that was that was a charade. But the way that happened was that, of course, before the Civil War, there were Slave Codes. There were laws that governed the behavior of slaves. And that was the basis of laws, for instance, that made it where a slave had to have a written pass to leave their plantation and travel on an open road.

Well, immediately after the Civil War, all the southern states adopted a new set of laws that were then called Black Codes. And they essentially attempted to recreate the Slave Codes. Well, those that was such an obvious effort to recreate slavery, that the Union military leadership that was still in the South, overruled all of that. Still, that didn't work. And by the time you get to the end of Reconstruction, all the southern legislatures have gone back and passed laws that aren't called Black Codes, but essentially criminalized a whole array of activities, that it was impossible for a poor black farmer to avoid encountering in some way.


DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Vagrancy. So, vagrancy was a law that essentially, it simply, you were breaking the law if you couldn't prove at any given moment that you were employed. Well, in a world in which there were no pay stubs, it was impossible to prove you were employed. The only way you could prove employment was if some man who owned land would vouch for you and say, he works for me. And of course, none of these laws said it only applies to black people. But overwhelmingly, they were only enforced against black people. And many times, thousands of times I believe, you had young black men who attempted to do that. They ended up being arrested and returned to the original farmer where they worked in chains, not even a free worker, but as a slave.

BILL MOYERS: And the result, as you write, thousands of black men were arrested, charged with whatever, jailed, and then sold to plantations, railroads, mills, lumber camps and factories in the deep South. And this went on, you say, right up to World War II?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: And it was everywhere in the South. These forced labor camps were all over the place. The records that still survive, buried in courthouses all over the South, make it abundantly clear that thousands and thousands of African-Americans were arrested on completely specious claims, made up stuff, and then, purely because of this economic need and the ability of sheriffs and constables and others to make money off arresting them, and that providing them to these commercial enterprises, and being paid for that.

BILL MOYERS: You have a photograph in here I have literally not been able to get this photograph out of my mind since I saw it the first time several weeks ago, when I first got your book. It's a photograph of an unnamed prisoner tied around a pickaxe for punishment in a Georgia labor camp. It was photographed some time around 1932, which this is hard to believe was two years before I was born.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, that picture was taken by a journalist named John Spivak, who took an astonishing series of pictures in these forced labor camps in Georgia in the 1930s. He got access to the prison system of Georgia and these forced labor encampments, which were scattered all over the place. Some of them were way out in the deep woods. There were turpentine camps. Some of them were mining camps. All incredibly harsh, brutal work. He got access to these as a journalist, in part, because the officials of Georgia had no particular shame in what was happening.

BILL MOYERS: That's a surprising thing.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, and but what the picture also demonstrates was the level of violence and brutality, the venality of things that were done. And so, this kind of physical torture went on, on a huge scale. People were whipped, starved. They went without clothing. There were work camps where people reported that they would arrive looking for a lost family member, and they would arrive at a sawmill or a lumber camp where the men were working as slaves naked, chained, you know, whipped. It was it's just astonishing, the level of brutality.

BILL MOYERS: You have a story in here of a young man who a teenager who spilled or poured coffee on the hog of the farmer he was working for. He was stripped, stretched across a barrel, and flogged 69 times with a leather strap. And he died a week later. But that's not a unique story in this book.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: No, that was incredibly common. And there were on the there were thousands and thousands of people who died under these circumstances over the span of the period that I write about in the book. And over and over again, it was from disease and malnutrition, and from outright homicide and physical abuse.

BILL MOYERS: You give voice to a young man long dead, whose voice would never had been heard, had you not discovered it, resurrected it, and presented it. He's the chief character in this book. Green Cottenham, is that is.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Yes, that's right.

BILL MOYERS: Tell me about Green Cottenham.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Green Cottenham was a man in the 1880s born to a mother and a father who, both of whom had been slaves, who were emancipated at the end of the Civil War. Imagine, a young man and a young woman who've just been freed from slavery. And now they have the opportunity to break away from the plantations where they'd been held, begin a new life. And so, they do. They marry. They have many children. Green Cottenham is the last of them.

He's born in the 1880s, just as this terrible curtain of hostility and oppression is beginning to really creep across all of black life in the South. And by the time he becomes an adult, in the first years of the 20th century, the worst forces of the efforts to re-enslave black Americans are in full power across the South. And in the North, the allies, the white allies of the freed slaves, have abandoned them. And so, right at the before of the 20th century, whites all across America have essentially reached this new consensus that slavery shouldn't be brought back. But if African-Americans are returned to a state of absolute servility, that's okay.

And Green Cottenham becomes an adult at exactly that moment. And then, in 1908, in the spring of 1908, he's arrested, standing outside a train station in a little town in Alabama. The officer who arrested him couldn't remember what the charge was by the time he brought him in front of the judge. So he's conveniently convicted of a different crime than the one he was originally picked up for. He ends up being sold three days later, with another group of black men, into a coal mine outside of Birmingham. And he survives there several months, and then dies under terrible circumstances.

BILL MOYERS: You write, 45 years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Cottenham was one of thousands of men working like a slave in these coalmines. Slope 12, you call it.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Slope number 12.

BILL MOYERS: What was slope number 12?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Slope number 12 was a huge mine on the outskirts of Birmingham, part of a maze of mines. Birmingham is the fastest growing city in the country. Huge amounts of wealth and investment are pouring into the place.
But there's this again, this need for forced labor. And the very men, the very entrepreneurs who, just before the Civil War, were experimenting with a kind of industrial slavery, using slaves in factories and foundries, and had begun to realize, hey, this works just as well as slaves out on the farm.

The very same men who were doing that in the 1850s, come back in the 1870s and begin to reinstitute the same form of slavery. And Green Cottenham is one of the men, one of the many thousands of men who were sucked into the process, and then lived under these terribly brutalizing circumstances, this place that was filled with disease and malnutrition. And he dies there under terrible, terrible circumstances.

BILL MOYERS: And you found the sunken graves five miles from downtown Birmingham?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: It's just miles away. In fact there are just two places there, because all of these mines now are abandoned. Everything is overgrown. There are almost no signs of human activity, except that if you dig deep into the woods, grown over there, you begin to see, if you get the light just right, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of depressions where these bodies were buried.

BILL MOYERS: You say that Atlanta, where you live now, which used to proclaim itself the finest city in the South, was built on the broken backs of re-enslaved black men.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: That's right. When I started off writing the book, I began to realize the degree to which this form of enslavement had metastasized across the South, and that Atlanta was one of many places where the economy that created the modern city, was one that relied very significantly on this form of coerced labor. And some of the most prominent families and individuals in the in the creation of the modern Atlanta, their fortunes originated from the use of this practice. And the most dramatic example of that was a brick factory on the outskirts of town that, at the turn of the century, was producing hundreds of thousands of bricks every day.The city of Atlanta bought millions and millions of those bricks. The factory was operated entirely with forced workers. And almost 100 percent black forced workers. There were even times that on Sunday afternoons, a kind of old-fashioned slave auction would happen, where a white man who controlled black workers would go out to Chattahoochee Brick and horse trade with the guards at Chattahoochee Brick, trading one man for another, or two men. And-

BILL MOYERS: And yet, slavery was illegal?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: It had been illegal for 40 years. And this is a really important thing to me. I was stunned when I realized that because the city of Atlanta bought these millions and millions of bricks, well, those are the bricks that paved the downtown streets of Atlanta. And those bricks are still there. And so these are the bricks that we stand on.

BILL MOYERS: Didn't this economic machine that was built upon forced labor, didn't these Black Codes, the way that black life was criminalized, didn't this put African-Americans at a terrific economic disadvantage then and now?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Absolutely. The results of those laws and the results of particularly enforcing them with such brutality through this forced labor system, the result of that was that African-Americans thousands and thousands of them worked for years and years of their lives with no compensation whatsoever, no ability to end up buying property and enjoying the mechanisms of accumulating wealth in the way that white Americans did. This was a part of denying black Americans access to education, denying black Americans access to basic infrastructure, like paved roads, the sorts of things that made it possible for white farmers to become successful.

And so, yes, this whole regime of the Black Codes, the way that they were enforced, the physical intimidation and racial violence that went on, all of these were facets of the same coin that made it incredibly less likely that African-Americans would emerge out of poverty in the way that millions of white Americans did at the same time.

BILL MOYERS: How is it, you and I both Southerners, how is it we could grow up right after this era, and be so unaware of what had just happened to our part of the country?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, I think there are a lot of explanations for that. The biggest one is simply that this is a history that we haven't wanted to know as a country. We've engaged in a in a kind of collective amnesia about this, particularly about the severity of it.

And the official history of this time, the conventional history tended to minimize the severity of the things that were done again and again and again, and to focus instead, on the idea, on a lot of false mythologies. Like, this idea that freed slaves after emancipation became lawless and sort of went wild, and thievery, and all sorts of crimes being committed by African-Americans right after the Civil War and during Reconstruction. But when you go back, as I did, and look at the arrest records from that period of time, there's just no foundation for that. And the reality was there was hardly any crime at all. And huge numbers of people were being arrested on these specious charges, so they could be forced back into labor.

BILL MOYERS: Another reason -- I just think, as you talk -- another reason is that anybody who raised these allegations or charges, or wrote about them when I was growing up, were dismissed as Communists. If it had been from The Wall Street Journal, it might have been a different take.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, I think there's some truth to that. Anyone who tried to raise these sorts of questions was at risk of complete excoriation among other white Southerners. But that's also what's remarkable about the present moment. And one of the things I've discovered in the course of talking about the book with people is that there's an openness to a conversation about these things that I think didn't exist even ten or 15 years ago.

BILL MOYERS: What has been the response to it? Americans don't like to confront these pictures, these stories.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: They don't. But over and over and over again I've encountered people who've read the book, who e-mailed me, or they come up to me after I talk about it somewhere, particularly African-Americans, who African-Americans know this story in their hearts. They may not know the facts. They may not know exactly what the scale of things were. But they know in their hearts that this is what happened. And so, people come up to me and say, "Gosh, the story that my grandmother used to tell before she died 20 years ago, I never believed it. Because she would describe that she was still a slave in Georgia after World War II, or just before. And it never made sense to me. And now, it does."

BILL MOYERS: It is amazing that this was happening at a time when many of the African-Americans retiring today, were children.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Were children, exactly. Exactly. And so, again, these are events unlike Antebellum slavery. These are things that connect directly to the lives and the shape and pattern and structure of our society today.

BILL MOYERS: Does it explain to you why there might be so much anger in the black community among, let's say, African-Americans who are my age, 73, 74, who were children at the time this was still going on?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Well, there's no way that anybody can read this book and come away still wondering why there is a sort of fundamental cultural suspicion among African-Americans of the judicial system, for instance. I mean, that suspicion is incredibly well-founded. The judicial system, the law enforcement system of the South became primarily an instrument of coercing people into labor and intimidating blacks away from their civil rights. That was its primary purpose, not the punishment of lawbreakers. And so, yes, these events build an unavoidable and irrefutable case for the kind of anger that still percolates among many, many African-Americans today.

BILL MOYERS: If people want to know more about not only your book, but about all of this, for research and so forth, where do they go?

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Go to my website, or the book's website,

BILL MOYERS: Douglas Blackmon, thanks for being with me.

DOUGLAS BLACKMON: Thank you for having me.
Currently reading: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
By Douglas A. Blackmon

Police: FEMA Inspector Assaults Flood Zone Resident

When called to slow down by the victim, the FEMA employee said "I don't have to slow down, I'm with FEMA!"
Saturday, June 28, 2008
By Paul Westcott
Clear Channel Online

(Cedar Rapids) According to police a contracted FEMA housing inspector nearly hit a Penford Products employee with his car and then got out of the car slamming the man with a golf club.

FEMA housing inspector Vincent Koley, 74, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after the 11:30 a.m. incident, the Cedar Rapids Police Department reported.

Koley stopped the car and jumped out, police said. Tom Kramer told him to slow down and that he was in the cross walk. Koley replied that "he didn't have to slow down, he was with FEMA," police said. The two argued for a minute, and when Kramer turned to walk away, Koley took a golf club out of his car and struck Kramer across the arm, breaking the golf club.

Koley got back into his car, but numerous Penford employees observed the incident and surrounded the car so Koley couldn't leave, police said. Koley then began to nudge his car forward, forcing Kramer, who was in front of the car, onto the car's hood.

Koley was booked into the Jones County Jail. He is an employee of Alltech, Inc., a Herndon, Va., housing inspection company contracted with FEMA. Alltech has provided housing inspection services in emergency or disaster areas to FEMA since 1995, according to the firm's Web site.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Utah GOP Congressmen SACKED! in Primary Election

Utah GOP Congressmen SACKED! in Primary Election [Voters reject open borders]

International PoliticsFriendsOfLiberty,

We have some great news to report from the battle front!

Notorious amnesty supporter and Open Borders fanatic, Chris Cannon has been ousted from Congress.

Our movement has been after him for the last four years because of his support for the Bush/McCain/Kennedy Amnesty legislation. Today is a good day.

Chris Cannon lost his race in the GOP Primary last night, after facing a challenger with prior political experience.

Mr. Jason Chaffetz criticized Chris Cannon on spending, energy, and most importantly immigration. Chaffetz made a strong comparison of his immigration stances compared to Cannon and criticized Cannon for supporting In-State Tuition for illegal aliens. It is also important to note that awareness on this issue has climbed rapidly in Utah this year, since the state legislature passed strong laws to crack down on illegal immigration.

Chaffetz beat Cannon 60% to 40%, which is considered a landslide!

While the candidate who spends the most wins the race over 94% of the time, Chaffetz was outspent by Cannon 7 to 1!

Cannon tried to cling to Bush because Bush's ratings have remained stronger in Utah than most of the rest of the nation, but over 80% of the people polled feel America is on the wrong track.

Chaffetz has stated he wants illegal aliens deported, the borders secured, and our existing immigration laws enforced. While Cannon supports a "guest worker program" for illegals inside America, Chaffetz wants to stop illegal aliens from exploiting birthright citizenship.

Chris Cannon was a 7 term incumbent and this is only the second time in thirty years that Utah voters have dumped an incumbent GOP Congressman!

Today our side has won an important victory and the ivory towers in Washington are buzzing with the news that one of their Globalist pawns in Utah has fallen.

The ironic part is that Chris Cannon's next job is supposed to be traveling the country to help Republicans win elections. From the spanking Cannon just received, it would be better if they sent Jason Chaffetz out to advise GOP candidates instead.

We would like to congratulate Jason and we hope that his victory will be a trend setter. We hope to see an unprecedented sweep of incumbents out of office in 2008, while those aligned with the public on immigration prevail.

Best Wishes,

Tony Dolz

[Who Will YOU Vote For?: Take the poll:]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NJ Salutatorian has critical speech cut off

(Published: Friday, June 20, 2008)

A student intending to make a speech at her high school graduation criticizing school administrators was cut off in mid-sentence and told she had to leave the ceremony.

Jennifer Chau, the salutatorian at Mainland Regional High School, started to criticize school administration Thursday night for allegedly playing favorites among students. She began the speech, scrapping a text that was approved in advance by the school.

"I know this is a community that values education," she said. "That is why you need to know what is really going on behind the walls of Mainland's administrat-"

With that, a school employee cut off her microphone, and the principal, Robert Blake, told her she would have to leave.

She did, as students and some parents chanted "Let her speak!" and "Finish!"

"They never listen to us students," Chau told The Press of Atlantic City afterward. "All this school values is connections, not education. You have to know someone to be able to do anything."

Chau's dissatisfaction with the school involves a dispute over her not receiving credit for an honors class she took in her freshman year. She claims that was one of the reasons she finished in the second spot in her graduating class, behind a student whose mother is a Board of Education member.

Blake, the school principal, defended his decision to end Chau's speech.

"The student was regressing beyond what we worked with her on, and that's the end of it," he said. "I've met with her on a number of occasions, and I'd be glad to talk with her about her (complaints). This is certainly not the place. In this venue, we are responsible for what is said out here. This is not somebody's front yard."

Chau plans to attend Georgetown University in the fall.

I smell a rat...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why does Michael Reagan still have a bloody radio gig?

Ryan Dawson has a number of chalkboard videos at this link.

Now...let's get into this idiot.

So...he calls for the MURDER of Mark Dice. Mark is the creator of the Resistance Manifesto, and has been sending out 9/11 videos to our troops. Michael Reagan contends that he is committing treason by doing so.

I posit that Michael Reagan is the individual committing treason by going along with the farcical account that is known as the "official events" of September 11th, 2001.

Considering Don Imus is AGAIN in hot water for off-color commentary regarding Pac-Man Jones' various arrests, why does he still have his job, after clearly violating FCC standards?

Lest you, dear readers, not understand what the brouhaha is all is Mark Dice's MySpace page...give it a listen, and make up your own mind.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Place Dominik Suter in CUSTODY! He can answer the lingering questions of September 11th, 2001!

There has been a case filed against Urban Moving Systems and its owner, Dominik Suter.

Are any of you, dear readers, aware that Urban Moving Systems received nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS in a lump-sum federal assistance grant?!?

Someone grab that scumbags's passport before he disappears once again to Israel.

Remember these fine fellows?

They were employees of Urban Moving Systems.

"September 11, 2001, five Israeli men deliberately dressed in Arabic clothing were caught celebrating the attacks. After being caught by the police, the Israelis claimed it was their job to be there (in advance from Israel) to quote "document the event" unquote.

They even went on to say the same thing that Benjamin Netanyahu would repeat four years later on 07/07/05 after the London bombings-- that the attacks on America and London, were "good" because "It generates sympathy for Israel

Remember that ALL air traffic was restricted for AMERICANS? Well, ol' Dom was able to ESCAPE TO ISRAEL! How was that possible?!? Was he on the same plane as the bin Laden families?!? [Blogger's note: Wouldn't THAT be a kick in the tuchis to America?!?]

Understand this: if Dominik Suter is allowed ONCE AGAIN to flee the United States without answering questions in regards to his role in the events of September 11th, 2001, the individuals who aid in his ESCAPE are committing TREASON.

Read this document on Scribd: Rebuilding Americas Defenses - PNAC

Six nuclear missiles on B-52 bombers, Minot to Barksdale

Six nuclear missiles on B-52 bombers, Minot to Barksdale

Please subscribe to Tom's
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Must SEE Videos about Israel and 9/11 are here:

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Visit the NeoCon Zionist Threat blog:
Links to books "Collateral Damage" and "The Israel Lobby":

*** SEE the other videos in this playlist about Iran! ***:

Why Fallon's Resignation is Frightening

A Warmongering War President Catapulting the Propaganda
God Help Us All If We Don't Impeach Him Fast

"The capital's top neocons" insisted "the decision had been made." They informed him that all the Bush Administration talk about the UN was nothing more than "the obligatory charade we had to go through for world public opinion."
Help Tomas Young with his campaign to end the war:
Iran War, Real Fear Petraeus Beating War Drums for Attack

A nightmare is brewing within our own government involving a former Israeli military officer Lani Kass working with Brigadier-General Lawrence Stutzriem, it is called "Project CHECKMATE." This madness puts us all at risk, another illegal war could create ten times more horrors than we have seen so far.

Or just start with this video...this will take you through the chain of links above:

US Government Stopped Research After Finding That Marijuana Slowed Cancer Growth

US Government Stopped Research After Finding That Marijuana Slowed Cancer Growth

Posted in Chronicle Blog by Scott Morgan on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 10:15pm

NORML's Paul Armentano has a disturbing account of the history of government research regarding the benefits of THC as a potential cancer treatment: Not familiar with this scientific research? Your government is.

In fact, the first experiment documenting pot's potent anti-cancer effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest federal bureaucrats.

The results of that study, reported in an Aug 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana's primary psychoactive component, THC, "slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."

Despite these favorable preliminary findings (eventually published the following year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute), US government officials refused to authorize any follow-up research until conducting a similar - though secret - clinical trial in the mid-1990s.

That study, conducted by the US National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million, concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods had greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls

However, rather than publicize their findings, government researchers shelved the results, which only became public after a draft copy of its findings were leaked to the medical journal AIDS Treatment News, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media


They haven't studied the issue since. And because the U.S. government holds a monopoly on "legal" marijuana that could be used for research purposes, they've been able to prevent independent researchers from further investigating marijuana's promising anti-cancer properties.

Armentano notes that research overseas continues to produce very encouraging results

"Unfortunately, our government's blockade against marijuana/cancer research is so mindless and vindictive that it's almost impossible to convince anyone that they do things like this. It's a terrible and frequent conundrum for reformers that if we accurately describe the behavior of our opposition, we end up sounding crazy."

That was added by the original poster...I'd like to go a step further.

Marijuana is demonized simply because it is a natural crop, and NO COMPANY can patent it! I'm surprised that MONSANTO hasn't tried as of yet...

Also, I refer to a Discovery Channel documentary named HOOKED, where the "evil scourge marijuana" is blamed for "exciting Negroes to the point of raping every white woman they see."

So stupid.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Calling All NYC Voters!

Why Do We Need A New And Objective September 11th, 2001 Investigation?

Well, read the actual text on the page, but I am in TOTAL agreement with the first point the flyer brings up - BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T HAD ONE YET!!!

Link to Ballot Initiative Form

One of the signatories is one of my favorite politicians, a hero in my humble view, and one of the only candidates that should be currently running for the office of the President of the United States - Mike Gravel!

Of course, the others include Ron Paul, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich - barring none of these individuals, I will place in a vote for Barack Obama, because even as a staunch Republican, there's NO BLOODY WAY IN HELL that I'll vote for "Songbird" McCain!


Have you read the NORAD Papers yet?

Oh dear...I just heard that there were ISRAELIS shooting off Qassam rockets from a PALESTINIAN village...can you say FALSE-FLAG EVENT?!?

The War On Drugs - The Military Industrial Complex (1999)

From GOOGLE Video page: "The first few minutes are in dutch, but the rest is in english. The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you'll get the picture. According to the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of offenders under age 18 imprisoned for drug offenses increased twelvefold from 1985 to 1997. The group most affected by this propensity for incarceration is African-Americans. From 1985 to 1997, the percentage of African-American young people put in prison increased from 53 to 62 percent. Today, 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related search warrants, which usually involve no-knock entries into private homes."

Please take an hour and a half...and WATCH THIS.