Wednesday, May 30, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: The US-French-Canadian Axis Against Haiti

6 pm
CJSRFM-88.5 Edmonton live or archive

Of all the nations in the western hemisphere, none is more impoverished than Haiti. Many in the West may assume that such poverty is the result of an intrinsic Haitian backwardness, corruption, criminality or ignorance.

Such racist assumptions ignore the realities. Haiti, the second republic in the hemisphere, never escaped the crushing effects of imperialism and White supremacy. France, its forever occupier, subjected the newly liberated state to a debt of what in today’s money would be nearly $22 billion. France described this ransom as “reparations.”

Haiti’s people, who had so recently freed themselves, found that the French revolution’s ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood did not apply to them; the extortion money was to “repay” the people who claimed to have owned them. No French thought was given to the idea that reparations should have flowed in reverse. Without the payment, France would refuse diplomatic recognition and trade. As the Haiti Action Committee writes in its report “The US War Against Haiti,” To make the first payment, Haiti closed all its public schools in what has been called the hemisphere’s first case of structural adjustment."

The first US invasion of Haiti was in 1915; the subsequent and brutal occupation lasted 19 years. But the American war on freedom had begun far earlier, with its leadership of “a worldwide boycott against Haiti and [the refusal] to recognize the new nation until 1864, fearing that its freedom would pose a danger to the U.S. system of slavery."

The US, as the world’s supposed champion of democracy, championed dictatorships in Haiti including the infamous Duvalier regimes. The chief motive in such repression, as always, was economic. As War reports, “In the early 1980s, U.S. policymakers picked Haiti as a showcase for the neoliberal economic programs—tariff reduction, deregulated markets and privatization—that constitute part of what is now usually referred to as ‘globalization.’ Under the control of the ruthless Duvalier family dictatorship since 1957, Haiti seemed ideal for testing out the new policies....

"As has happened throughout the developing world, the application of neoliberal policies quickly disrupted the small-scale farming that formed the base of the economy, driving many Haitians out of the countryside. Some ended up in the new low-wage assembly plants that were churning out everything from clothes to major league baseballs for the U.S. market under the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) trade legislation; others sought economic refuge in the United States itself.”

Haitians developed a new pro-democracy movement to counter their oppression; finally overthrowing the Duvaliers in 1986, though, they were soon under siege by five years of coups and counter-coups. American attempts to install Marc Bazin as a more permanent collaborator failed with the landslide election of charismatic populist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was initially hailed—at least in public—by the United States, but his enemies soon overthrew him. The parallel to Pinochet’s US-backed regime in Chile is striking; between 1991 and 1994 the new regime murdered somewhere between three and five thousand people.

US support for Aristide’s enemies was clear.

As Noam Chomsky said in a speech in Chicago in 1994, despite supposed US sanctions against Haiti, the US Treasury Department instructed Texaco to ignore the sanctions and their legal punishments--in Chomsky’s words, “Shell and Exxon shipped oil there from their foreign subsidiaries, but Texaco was doing it directly from the U.S. They asked if it was OK to set up a blind trust, and were told that was illegal, but again not to worry about it. Chomsky also reports that US-Haiti trade actually increased under the sanctions.

So much for the myth that Bill Clinton had an affinity for Black people.

If it were possible, things went downhill after that. Despite invading Haiti with the supposed aim of restoring Aristide and his populist revolution, the US spent years actively undermining him and his government’s plans for development. The Haiti Action Committee notes that "Since 2000, the Bush Administration has effectively blocked more than $500 million in international loans and aid to Haiti. This included a $146 million loan package from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) intended for healthcare, education, transportation and potable water. Under the terms of the loan agreement, Haiti paid fees and interest totalling more than $5 million long before seeing any money. Since December 2001, the Haitian gourde has lost 69% of its value and Haiti’s foreign reserves have shrunk by 50%, largely due to the embargo.”

The dramatic end to the Aristide revolution came in spring 2004, when the United States, France and Canada colluded to overthrow the government of Haiti and remove its president, exiling him to the Central African Republic. The coup was filled with what US Congresswoman Maxine Waters called Duvalier-loyalists and led by a former US Special Forces soldier who is an alleged drug lord. Aristide was removed from his homeland on a “Pentagon plane” in what many, including Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, reported as a US kidnapping. Not surprisingly, things haven’t gone well for Haiti under its new US-approved regime, and UN occupation troops have been accused of numerous atrocities.

Tonight we’ll hear from several sources on the subject. In the second half of the show, marchers in a February 7th mobilisation in San Francisco discuss aspects of the Western orchestration of Haitian oppression. But first we’ll go to Ginette Apollon, a leader in the Confederation of Haitian Workers, in Edmonton to educate Canadians about Western profit in Haitian misery, and what Canadians can do to promote peace, democracy and development in her homeland.

Apollon is the elected leader of the Women’s Commission of a trade union called the Confédération des Travailleurs Haitiens (CTH). Members of the CTH are generally so impoverished that the union is almost entirely volunteer-run, since few of its members can pay dues. Indeed, the daily legal minimum wage is a mere $1.20 US.

Still, despite labour repression, the CTH claims a membership of 110,000 among nurses, the ports and the garment industry, and is currently developing a series of social programs for health, education and economic development. Ginette Apollon rose to international prominence as a representative of the CTH following the US, French and Canadian-backed coup.

Despite a massive influx of Western money since the overthrow, Haitians are still suffering under local and imported brutality, and without sufficient education, health care or decent jobs. Canadians might ask why our government helps undermine and eventually overthrow others, and does little to nothing to help the poorest people in our hemisphere.

If the Liberal and Conservative governments have overseen Canadian money going into Haiti when its citizens are so oppressed, the logical questions might be, What are we investing in with all that blood money? and Who is profiting from it right now?

I spoke with Madame Apollon yesterday at the Varscona Hotel in Old Strathcona, prior to a speech she delivered that evening at Faculté St. Jean. Translation was provided by Marie Gervais of the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations. And now on The Terrordome, my conversation with Ginette Apollon of the Confederation of Haitian Workers.

Apollon’s speaking tour was organised by the Canada-Haiti Action Network and has been endorsed by scores of national, provincial and local trade unions across Canada including the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Public Service Alliance of Canada, and the National Union of Public and General Employees. It was sponsored locally by APIRG, the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).

For further information, check:

Canada Haiti Action
UN massacre caught on film

Haiti Timeline 1
Haiti Timeline 2 Audio of the 2007 February 07 Rally

The U.S. War Against Haiti, Haiti Action Committee, March 2004

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh on Iraq, Iran, Israel and the United States

6 pm Mountain Time
CJSR FM-88.5 Edmonton worldwide

The United States has been called the last remaining superpower, the hyperpower, the unipower, and even the global unibomber. As the uncontested supreme military power on the planet, the United States engages in policies that lead to widespread instability and long-term disaster for millions, in the pursuit of massive short-term corporate profits and temporary strategic advantage.

Such a reality is obvious in US Middle Eastern policy. Despite years of diplomatic overture from the government of Iran under its then-reformist president Mohammed Hatami, including a stated desire to rout Al-Qaeda, the White House refused to come to the table. That undermining of Hatami helped usher in the current hardline president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, providing a further pretext for an attack on Iran. Such an attack is no more likely to bring peace, stability, democracy or prosperity to the people of the region than has the illegal US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation.

To analyse the situation tonight we’ll hear from two critical voices: Scott Ritter, the former US marine intelligence officer and UN Special Commission weapons inspector in Iraq, acclaimed for his challenging of both Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush; he’s author of Iraq Confidential and Target Iran.

We’ll also hear from Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist who exposed the 1969 American massacre at My Lai and who reported famously in 2004 on the US torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. They spoke at an event sponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture on October 16th, 2006, just weeks before the US midterm elections which brought the Democratic Party to power in the US Congress.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


6 PM Mountain Time
CJSR FM-88.5

This Saturday, May 19, marks the 82nd anniversary of the birth of one of the foremost Pan-Afrikanists of the 20th Century: Malcolm X.

Born in 1925 in Omaha to parents active in Marcus Garvey’s 2-million member United Negro Improvement Association, Malcolm learned by age six the danger of living while Black in the United States. His father was murdered, apparently by Klansmen. Despite this trauma, in school he was a top student, even becoming class president. But his teacher dismissed his desire to be lawyer, saying that being a carpenter was more realistic for “a nigger.”

Following the father’s death, the family disintegrated. Teenaged Malcolm drifted away to New York and Detroit, and into a life of crime. Finally arrested and convicted in 1946, he was sentenced at age 21 to eight to ten years in prison where, ironically, he found new life.

Through letters and visits from his brother, he became entranced with the Nation of Islam, a small American-born mixture of Garveyist self-determination, clean living, Islam, Black Freemasonic teaching and mysticism. Rejecting a surname forced on him by American apartheid, but lacking any means of knowing the names of his ancestors, he adopted the mathematical short-hand for “unknown,” and thus would one day be known to the world as Malcolm X.

Between 1952 and 1963, Malcolm became a juggernaut of an orator and organiser. He built the Nation of Islam from a few hundred members to tens of thousands, becoming its best known speaker and the unofficial second-in-command after its leader, Elijah Muhammad. His key message was the need for Afrikans to determine their own destiny and lift themselves up through collective political, economic and cultural action.

Despite minimal formal education, Malcolm was vastly-read, conversant in countless topics and a frequent guest on television; he debated at universities across the United States and even at Oxford. For his defense of self-defense in the face of racial domination and terrorism, White America labeled him a threat. But to much of Afrikamerica, he was already a hero.

But behind the scenes, Malcolm’s monk-like lifestyle and unshakable integrity drove his anti-corruption agenda inside the NOI. By 1963, jealousy over his fame and prowess and fear about his potential command and house-cleaning inside the NOI caused a major split between him and the ruling circle. Karl Evanzz’s brilliant book The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X argues convincingly that proven police and FBI infiltration of the NOI manipulated the existing conditions to clear the way for Malcolm’s expulsion and eventual extermination.

But Malcolm didn’t stop forging ahead after being excommunicated. He formed the non-religious Organisation of Afro-American Unity, modeled after the newly-formed Organisation of African Unity, at which he and his group were granted observer status. Although Malcolm’s pilgrimage to Mecca is legendary, Malcolm’s acceptance of Whites did not hinge on that visit; he’d already visited Saudi Arabia a decade previous and witnessed Islam’s multiracialism. But now that he was free of NOI control, he was free to make his own alliances. And most of his work on that front was not with other Muslims, but with Afrikans around the continent and in the New World.

Evanzz’s book demonstrates that in the final year of Malcolm’s life, Malcolm’s two major tasks were to bring the United States before the World Court on charges of genocide, and developing a behind the scenes alliance with Dr. Martin Luther King.

Despite his awesome organising abilities, Malcolm was able to complete neither project, because on February 21st, 1965, assassins associated with the Nation of Islam murdered him in Harlem. Yet several events preceding that day indicated attempts on his life far greater than the NOI’s reach, including an attempt to poison him in Egypt and the denial of his entrance to France. As well, even one of his own bodyguards was later revealed to be an infiltrator from the NYPD, despite the fact that police had received numerous warnings of intentions on Malcolm’s life, and had done nothing to stop them.

Nevertheless, despite character assassination, despite outright murder, in the decades since 1965, Malcolm’s name and ideas have become inseparably linked with the struggle for Afrikan independence and self-determination.

Tonight’s presentation is from a speech archived at, the premier Malcolm X research site on the internet and accessible via the Bro-Log. Malcolm spoke on January 7, 1965 at the NYC Labour Forum put on by the newspaper of the Socialist Workers' Party, The Militant. His topic was "The Prospects for Freedom in 1965." Along the way, Malcolm cites the Mau Mau, the British epithet for the KLFA, or the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, a national liberation struggle against British colonialism. He also discusses Moshe Tshombe, the reactionary separatist who proclaimed Katanga's secession from the newly liberated Congo, which hastened the disintegration of federal government authority and laid the path to the capture and murder of liberationist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm’s final words in tonight’s speech eerily prefigure his own death, less than six weeks from that day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

U. Manchester: Egyptians, Not Greeks Were True Fathers Of Medicine

Science Daily reports: "Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.

"The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC -- 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born. “Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier,” said Dr Jackie Campbell.

“'When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit.'”

"The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Public reading Sunday 2 pm

I'll be giving a reading from From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain at the Whitemud Crossing branch of the Edmonton Public Library at 2 pm on Sunday, and speaking with audience members on writing, publishing, satire, SFF and whatever else pops up.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: James Baldwin on Race and Justice in the United States


CJSR FM-88 Edmonton

Or on the web

One of the most celebrated American novelists of the 20th century was the brilliant Afrikan-American James Baldwin. Born poor in 1924, Baldwin grew up in Harlem in the unofficially segregated confines of New York City. Bristling against the borders of racial power and also against the restrictions of the Black church, Baldwin, who was gay, threw himself into the power of writing in order to understand himself and later to change the country in which he lived. He became famous for his debut novel Go Tell It On the Mountain, and chose to live for ten years in Europe where he had completed the manuscript in 1953. But in 1957 he returned to his birth country to aid in the struggle to desegregate schools.

Later, as Baldwin articulated in 1963’s The Fire Next Time, he became fascinated with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, and like many prominent Afrikans in the US, he became the target of FBI surveillance. He continued writing throughout his life, authoring novels, collections of essays, plays, and the screenplay One Day When I Was Lost that although uncredited at his estate’s request, was the basis of Spike Lee’s screenplay for 1992’s Malcolm X. Eventually Baldwin became a professor, and in his writing continually warned that the threat and instability of Whitesupremacy would eventually bring down the United States. Baldwin died of stomach cancer on November 30, 1987.

Tonight’s discussion is a speech by James Baldwin in Berkeley, California, and was recorded April 19, 1979, for a lecture and open forum in his role as Regents Lecturer of the University of California at Berkeley. Professor William Banks, Chair of the Afro-American Studies Department in the U.C. Berkeley, begins the programme by explaining how Baldwin came to be a guest; he’s followed by academic and activist Angela Davis who introduces Baldwin and explains her relationship with him. Along the way, Davis refers to SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a major civil-human rights organising group in the 1960s.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Nigeria: Lesbian women flee Sharia, go into hiding

"Fri. April 27, 2007 04:03 pm.- By Aaron Kirunda. (SomaliNet) A Nigerian lesbian who 'married' four women last weekend in Kano State has gone into hiding from the Islamic police, with her partners.

"Under Sharia law, adopted in the state seven years ago, homosexuality and same-sex marriages are outlawed and considered very serious offences."

How White pop culture corrupted America and hip hop

Brother Joseph Anderson writes magnificently on Konch, which is Ishmael Reed's online hang-out, a critique of a documentary I enjoyed greatly called Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. Anderson's critique is called "PBS: Blaming Blacks, Again," and it's insightful and just plain delightful.

"[I]t appears that no one is going to make any money – or get paid doing a TV documentary – examining misogyny, homophobia or glorified violence in American society and popular culture across the racial board. Nor will anyone get paid and win Hollywood film awards (like the 2006 Academy Award-winning “Best Song” rap ‘minstrel show’ performance, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”) for doing a nationally-aired documentary on sociopolitically conscious rap music on any of the major television networks. Tell me that song wasn’t singled out and awarded by purposeful white design – that’s how the white media want to see young Blacks, as wanna-be pimps and “video ho’s” – rather than film songs like “Fight the Power,” or even “New Jack Hustler.” I’d vote for “Burn Hollywood Burn” in a hypothetical Black film.

"Rather, such documentary or news producers constantly have to pander to white prejudices and stereotypical fears about "the predatory, violent Black man." Ironically, such documentary makers are also pimping out such visions of Black pathology (of pervasive violence, misogyny or homophobia) to whites the same way various Black rappers (are often coerced to) sell glorified, fictionalized, or vicarious tales of their hoo-ridin,’ megagangsta lifestyles to white listeners. Such supposedly informed documentary stereotypes are also fed to white authority figures like the police, the employers or the teachers who would use that to, literally or figuratively, at their whim, beat down Black males.

"These stereotypes are constant media fodder on heavy rotation, rather than to portray rap music about political, social consciousness or reality rap (which would even include authentic forms of gangsta rap) whose messages, after all, would be critical of the system that produces or reinforces violence, poverty, racism, sexism and economic exploitation at home and abroad. This would give regular white society a more honest window into those aspects of Black society and the world – and the rich white men who make money off of this.

"The documentary includes a few token references to violence in white popular culture, such as action movies, but breezes past the fact that entertainment media created by whites, aimed at predominantly white male audiences, is, if anything, far worse across the board: for example, in video games (often a serial pornography of point-scored lethal violence, even car-jackings and often rape) – and especially when it comes to the sexual commodification and exploitation of, or violence against, women.

"Nor does the misogyny found in some rap videos compare to the suggestively violent visuals against women in many heavy metal videos. This is aside from the serial, pornographized, cat-&-mouse, sadistic torture-murder of often scantily attired females that’s sensationalized in popular horror-slasher films as entertainment. In fact, nowadays, ironically, it’s middle-class, affluent and rich white people in real life, or in movies, TV dramas, sitcoms (even little white kids), or on talk shows, who can’t seem to resist saying 'bitch' – or even the more emphatic and colorful 'BEEYATCH' – all the time.

"The video segment of young Black males on a spring break beach shown in the rap documentary doesn’t even begin to compare to the wild open all-but-intercourse sexual exhibitionism, sexually explicit catcalls, sexual palming, and the show-everything prancing strip-offs at some beach or marina in any spring break Girls Gone Wild video.

"If anyone really wants to see rampant white sexual behavior, all they have to do is to take a trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or Padre Island, Texas, to see the corporate (usually beer company) sponsored wet t-shirt contests and strip shows for and by white college students, the de rigueur wild drunkenness and carefree drug use, let alone the promiscuous stranger pick-ups and sexual free-for-alls back at the hotels. This involves mostly white late-teen and 20-something kids – male and female.

"And one can’t avoid the giant Hooters ad at a certain San Francisco ballpark – and a ball park trip is supposed to be wholesome family entertainment. What does this say about the ballpark and team owners’ respect for women, or teach boys about respect for girls, or girls about respect for their identity?"

How the BPP accidentally produced what became the Crips

Cle Shaheed "Bone" Sloan, gang member and TV producer, speaks in the LA City Weekly on fake gang crime numbers, the LAPD’s racist history, and cop crime:

"Out of the ashes of the Black Panther Party, Crips was born – Community Revolutionary Party Services, or the earliest term was Continuous Revolution In Progress. They wanted to continue the revolution. That was the beginnings of black gangs of that era. If you go back before the Crips and Bloods, all the way to the 1940s, the first gangs in South Central were white gangs called Spook Hunters. As a result of that, other gangs were born, black gangs – the Farmers, the Gladiators, the Slausons, the Businessmen.

"At that time, blacks were coming from the South, the whole black migration to Los Angeles. When they got here they were faced with a bunch of racism, and most of the high schools were controlled by white gangs. You had black parents putting their kids into schools and integrating them, and that was when they met resistance from the Spook Hunters, and that led to black gangs being formed to fight off attacks by the white gangs. It was totally self-defense.

"Then the whole political agenda came in in ’65, with the Civil Rights movement, the Black Liberation movement. Most of the gangs who were born out of the resistance to the Spook Hunters got politicized. A lot of Slausons went into the Black Panther Party, a lot of your Gladiators went into the Us Organization, [who were] cultural nationalists. You’ve got to understand, we had white flight at this time, too, so that’s how some of these gangs turned on each other – not killing each other, but they had a rivalry, with the whites leaving and blacks remaining as the dominant force in the area.

"From where I stand, the LAPD have always had a hand in this whole situation. I’m not crying victim or saying that’s why we’re banging, but they definitely have a hand in it. You can trace that back to the history of the LAPD; they were recruiting from the South straight to Los Angeles, because they had such an influx of blacks coming in from down South. They did a projection of how many blacks were going to be here by ’65 or ’67, and they felt they really needed to have a stronghold on the black population here. That’s probably the origin of a lot of the racism that’s part of the LAPD’s tradition.

"The FBI also definitely had a hand in it. [Former FBI agent] Wes Swearingen explained to me that his job was to come in and neutralize and discredit black leaders. 'Neutralize' means put in jail or even kill, and that wasn’t good enough. He said, 'We had to discredit them, also.' That’s what the whole Bunchy Carter thing was about. He explained to me they were going to kill Bunchy [of the Black Panther Party] down in the Watts area and make it look like a drug deal gone bad, but some of the infiltrators jumped the gun. Bunchy was later killed up on the campus of UCLA, him and [fellow Panther] John Huggins, but the original hit was going to go down in Watts and they were going to leave drugs around.

"That was one of the smoking guns for me, and really confirmation of some of the dirty tricks the LAPD as well as the government was doing...."