Thursday, August 1, 2019

`Free Julian Assange' protest folk song lyrics



A public domain protest folk song from July 2019 that calls for both the release of and dropping of all charges against Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange.

(chorus) 
Democracy requires 
That State secrecy be banned 
"Free Julian Assange!" 
People of the world demand. 

(verses) 
It's no crime to leak documents to reporters 
So what was hidden the press can tell 
Yet the journalist who started Wikileaks 
Is locked up now in a prison cell. (chorus) 

He shared information on the internet 
That politicians did not want exposed 
So they forced him to flee to an embassy 
And monitored all his emails and phones. (chorus) 

They charged him with all kinds of crimes 
And scapegoated him for election defeat 
They accuse him of being a "spy" 
And working for a fake "enemy". (chorus) 

He shared news of war crimes in Iraq 
And news that exposed corporate greed 
And the cables and emails he posted 
Showed diplomats deceive. (chorus)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's July 28, 2019 Letter


The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

"July 28, 2019

"Dear Comrades, 

"Hope you’re all OK and surviving the chilly weather. It’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the half-year mark. I reckon someone ‘up there’ is fiddling around with our time machine, or maybe it’s just that the older you get the quicker its gets and when you look around at our shitty little world, perhaps that’s a good thing. Especially when you look at what passes for leaders.

“In our worst nightmare we couldn’t invent Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, an unhinged crook and a weird Tory toff. At least Ukraine had the good sense to elect a professional comedian, not just a couple of dangerous clowns.

“Regardless of who inhabits the White House, Pine Gap and North West Cape will always implicate us directly in America’s war machine. A nasty thought, when only last week at a press conference with Pakistan PM Imram Khan, Trump spoke ‘casually’ of reviewing plans to ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth’, a blasé reference to hypothetical mass murder. But it wasn’t offhand. Such a policy of total destruction could only apply to Iran with the potential for nuclear weapons being used far from hypothetical.

“Reporters who dismiss his endless stream of hyperbole forget that this man is the commander in chief of the greatest military force in all time. Take a look at its history. Since the United States was founded in 1776, it has been at war for 214 out of its 235 years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 years when it wasn’t waging war.

“To put it into perspective, since 1776 there is a 91% chance that America was involved in some conflict, with not one US leader qualifying as a peacetime president. The US has never gone for a decade without fighting a war. The only time it had a five-year lull was during its isolationist period of the Great Depression. So we shouldn’t be surprised at the current outbreak of belligerence. It’s what passes for ‘normal’ in today’s crackpot society.

“In the latter half of the 20th century, two visionary books cast shadows over our future. One was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its horrifying vision of a brutal, mind-controlling totalitarian state that gave us Big Brother and thought crime and newspeak, along with the memory hole, torture palace called the Ministry of Love and the unpleasant spectacle of a boot grinding into our faces. The other was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, that offered a different and softer form of totalitarianism, one of conformity achieved through engineered and hypnotic persuasion, of endless consumption that keeps the wheels of production turning, and of officially enforced promiscuity that eliminates sexual frustration. A pre-ordained caste system ranged from a highly intelligent managerial class to a sub-group of dim-witted serfs programmed to love menial work and soma, a drug conferring instant bliss.

"During the Cold War (one) Nineteen Eighty-Four had the edge, but when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, shopping took off and there were already soma-type drugs circulating throughout our society. Promiscuity took a whack from AIDS, but on balance we seemed to be destined for a trivial, drug-enhanced spend-o-rama with Brave New World out in front. And then we had the attack on New York’s twin towers in 2001 and thought crime and the grinding boot could not be eliminated so easily, along with the Ministry of Love.

“But Brave New World hasn’t gone away. Shopping malls stretch as far as the eye can see and there are ‘believers’ prattling on about the gene-rich and gene-poor - Huxley’s alphas and epsilons - busily engaged in a world of genetically modified babies, boundless consumption, casual sex and drugs. I think we’re edging towards a combination of the two.

“Whatever your definition, we live in a political jungle, in an out-of-control, corrupt, brutal system that is run by and for powerful corporates, turning what most still think of as a democracy into a charade. Our votes conceal the reality that our so-called leaders are not there to represent us, but to promote the interests of large crooked global elites.

“Take a gander at the election of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who is ‘clean’ but whose treatment is shameful. A handful of MPs nominated him to give the impression that the ballot was fair and open, not expecting him to win after the odious Tony Blair and his gang had done everything they could to remake Labor by eradicating any vestige of socialism, and who were furious when he won. Since Corbyn’s victory, the attacks have become even more virulent in an attempt to stop him from ever becoming prime minister. Like America’s attacks on Cuba.

“For almost 60 years, Cuba has successfully defended its revolution against a steady onslaught of US aggression, but Trump has upped the ante by blacklisting Cuba for ‘using its international medical program for human trafficking’, accusing it of ‘not doing enough’ to stop it.

“Trump should be frog-marched out of the White House and put into a padded cell. Political and economic events are telling us that justice is losing and greed is winning. Humanity has been asleep at the wheel or, more accurately, in an induced coma, for far too long. Is it too late for change? I hope not.

“WikiLeaks pushed everything forward, but we need to do a great deal more. Do we have enough journalists willing to stick their necks out and tell the hidden stories to a wide enough audience? The lawyers willing to suss out the evidence and build a case? I’m not holding my breath.

“The British Foreign Office has just banned two Russian outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik, from attending a Global Conference on Media Freedom to be held in London. It takes a special brand of hypocrisy and gall for a government that tortures journalists, bans inconvenient voices and slanders alternative media to advocate for freedom of the press.

“Viva Cuba!

“Joan Coxsedge”



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Conclusion

Nelson Mandela with Libyan government leader against whom Hawk Democrats launched 2011 war. 
The Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration ended its Operation Odyssey Dawn overt military attack on Libya on March 31, 2011. But, along with other NATO government administrations, it continued to wage its overt war for regime change in Libya under the code name “Operation Unified Protector,” after Apr. 1, 2011.

So Libyan government leader Qaddafi then sent a letter on Apr. 6, 2011 to Democratic President Obama requesting that the Democratic Party leader put an end to NATO intervention in Libya.

But instead of agreeing to end U.S. military intervention in Libya, on Apr. 7, 2011 the Obama-Biden-Clinton administration again demanded that Qaddafi abdicate power and live in exile; and it continued to wage its war for regime change in Libya until Qaddafi was finally murdered on Oct. 20, 2011, in violation of international law.

According to the 2015 RAND Project Air Force Precision and Purpose study, during the Operation Unified Protector phase that began in early April 2011, “U.S. forces flew more than 7,100 total sorties…which represented nearly 27 percent of the total sorties during the” NATO “operation.” But, according to the Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, “more than 2,000 residents” of the Libyan “city of Sirte,” were “killed in NATO air strikes;” and, by waging its war for regime change in Libya in 2011, “NATO handed over part of Libya’s territory to Al Qaida.”



In his 2016 Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, Paolo Sensini noted that “the jury is still out as to whether the war on Libya was fought” by the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration “on behalf of fossil fuel interests or on behalf of banking interests.” But Sensini also observed that “by means of Obama’s Executive Order 13566,” Libyan financial assets  belonging to “the Central Bank of Libya (CBS), the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the Libya Foreign Bank, and the Libyan National Oil Company (LNOC)” were “frozen,” prior to the start of its Operation Odyssey Dawn military attack; and “in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Qaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.”

What has been determined, though, is that the Libyan “rebels” who, with the military support of Democratic Party leaders (like Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton), were finally able to overthrow the Qaddafi-led government by the fall of 2011, were apparently illegally armed and trained by government of Qatar. As the 2015 RAND Project Air Force Precision and Purpose study revealed:

“…The U.N…raised concerns about…Qatar making arms transfers in violation of the arms embargo…The U.N….was `clearly informed that several countries, including Qatar, were supporting the [Libyan] opposition through the deliveries of arms and ammunition.’…Between the beginning of the [Libyan] uprising and July 2011, `approximately 20 flights had delivered military material from Qatar to…[the opposition] in Libya, including French anti-tank weapon launchers (MILANs)…

“…Qatar had personnel on the ground in Benghazi training the opposition. Rebel forces openly remarked…how Qatar had been with them from the beginning.

“Operating in the range of 50 to 150 personnel on the ground at any one time, Qatar’s Special Forces (SF) were used to train the opposition in a variety of small arms and tactics…The SF provided…the means for rebel forces to successfully engage pro-Qaddafi forces. On the ground direct assistance…was conducted with the main rebel brigades. These advisory teams…provided the main link between rebel ground units and NATO’s air power…This was used to supplement NATO targeting…

“The first official admission of Qatar’s involvement in training the opposition forces came in late October [2011]…Qatari Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major-General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiya remarked, `We were among them [the Libyan opposition forces] and the number of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region.’ He also noted that Qataris had been `running the training and communication operations’ and that `Qatar had supervised the rebels’ plans…`We acted as the link between the rebel and NATO forces.’…A team of 60 Qataris assisted the opposition in setting up command centers in Benghazi, Zintan, and Tripoli…Opposition forces were also flown back to Qatar for training…”

The pretext for launching the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration/NATO and Qatari governments’ 2011 “humanitarian military intervention” in Libya, despite the African Union’s March 11, 2011 call for no external foreign intervention in Libya, was that this war for regime change in Libya was needed to save the lives of Libyan civilians. Yet, as Seumas Milne observed in an op-ed column, titled “If The Libyan War Was About Saving Lives It Was A Catastrophic Failure,” that appeared in the Oct. 26, 2011 issue of the London Guardian, prior to the launching of the U.S./NATO’s “Operation Odyssey Dawn” on March 19, 2011 and “operation Unified Protector” after Apr. 1, 2011, “the death toll in Libya” was “perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by U.N. estimates).” But, according to the same column, during the 8 months that followed the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration/NATO’s overt “humanitarian” military intervention in Libya, “as NATO leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations,” estimates of the numbers of new dead “range from 10,000 up to 50,000;” and “of these, uncounted thousands will be civilians, including those killed by NATO bombings and NATO-backed forces on the ground.”

In addition, in his Oct. 26, 2011 London Guardian column, Seumas Milne also, for example, noted:

“On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Qaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed—with their hands tied—by former rebel militia.

“Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and NATO bombing…

“That has followed a 2-month-long siege and indiscriminate bombing of a city of 100,000 which has been reduced to a Grozny-like state of destruction by newly triumphant rebel troops with NATO air and Special Forces support…

“…African migrants and black Libyans have been subject to a relentless racist campaign of mass detention, lynchings and atrocities on the usually unfounded basis that they have been loyalist mercenaries. Such attacks continue, says Bouckaert, who witnessed militias from Misrata this week burning homes in Tawerga so that the town’s predominately black population—accused of backing Qaddafi—will be unable to return…”

Nearly 5 years after Democratic Party leaders like Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton launched their war for regime change in Libya, Chris Stephens noted in a Feb. 16, 2016 London Guardian article, titled “Five Years After Qaddafi, Libya’s Torn By Civil War And Battles With ISIS,” that “civil war” in Libya “has raged since the summer of 2014;” and “it is a war that has left 5,000 dead, the economy in ruins” and “half a million homeless.” So, not surprisingly, a Libyan medical student then told the London Guardian reporter that in Libya “some people say they want to go back to the time of Qaddafi.”

And as recently as July 9, 2019, even Al Jazeera now reported that “the battle between rival groups for the Libyan capital has killed more than 1,000 people since” April 2019, “the United Nations said;” and “the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a brief statement on Tuesday that 1,048 people, including 106 civilians, have been killed” in Libya since April 2019 and an additional 5,558 have been “wounded, including 289 civilians.” The same July 9, 2019 Al Jazeera article also noted that:

“Fighting has emptied entire neighborhoods of civilians. Thousands of African migrants captured by Libyan forces funded and trained by the European Union are trapped in detention centers near the front lines. An air raid on one facility last week killed more than 50 people mainly migrants held in a hangar that collapsed on top of them. Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprisings…”


2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate Sanders and 2016 Democratic Party presidential Nominee Clinton at 2016 Democratic National Convention
(end of article)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Part 2


In his 2016 book, Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, Paolo Sensini noted that as early as Feb. 28 [2011], “Hillary Clinton made her first reference to the prospect of exile for Qaddafi.” The same book also indicated how the media was apparently used by the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration to apparently fabricate a “humanitarian” justification for its late March 2011 Operation Odyssey Dawn military attack in support of regime change in Libya:

“On Feb. 23 [2011]…the [anti-regime Libyan] rebels killed a number of loyalist civilians and military personnel. The video images of the bodies were falsely presented by the Western media as evidence of the massacre of 10,000 unarmed civilians, carried out by Qaddafi’s black mercenaries. More lies would soon be disseminated. Another video showed `mass graves’ on Tripoli’s beach. These alleged shocking images, it was discovered, recorded a routine task—the shifting of remains at the Sidi Hamed cemetery. These two stories were clearly propaganda stunts. This didn’t prevent Obama from thundering against intolerable levels of violence on Qaddafi’s part…

“…The satellite TV station, Al Arabiya, spread the news of 10,000 dead and at least 50,000 wounded or maimed in Libya…Reports appeared about Libyan airstrikes against Tripoli and Benghazi. There was talk also of `mass graves.’…Have we seen any photographs or video footage of the February [2011] massacre of thousands of people in Tripoli? None. Images of the Libyan air force bombing three districts of Tripoli? Not one witness was produced…The Russian armed forces monitoring the skies of Libya reported that they had no evidence of any Libyan airstrikes against civilians…

“What about the seaside mass graves story? What we saw was a cemetery, Sidi Hamed, with individual (!) graves. The contents of the graves had been moved well before the crisis erupted. It was a routine operation…The remains are shifted to make room for new graves. Such operations take place every one or two decades…What of the massacres that Qaddafi is said to have ordered in eastern Libya in February [2011]? No evidence of these either. Not one image of these alleged massacres (not even a shaky, blurred shot) has been produced…When the revolt broke out, the police resisted the attack on their buildings…Some of the `rebel’ groups…used heavy arms to attack police stations…

“We owe the military action to a media campaign on a grand scale…The lies had to be repeated incessantly…Ghassan Bin Jiddo—director of Al Jazeera’s office in Beirut--…was disgusted at the conduct of his colleagues. He submitted his resignation on Apr. 23, 2011, accusing Al Jazeera of conducting a massive campaign of falsification of the facts…Bin Jiddo’s complaints above all addressed the manner in which the reports coming out of Libya were distorted and manipulated…Following Bin Jiddo’s lead, other colleagues quit their jobs…The Western press failed to relay this story…

“…The story of the 10,000 protesters slaughtered by Qaddafi went mainstream globally. The impression for most people was that the story was true, despite the absence of video footage, photographs or other tangible proof.

“Despite the lack of convincing evidence…the European Union and the United States immediately…called for military intervention to halt the slaughter.

“They had not even a second’s worth of footage to back them up. The reports were pure propaganda…”

Yet on March 3, 2011, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Democratic President Obama issued a statement which asserted that “Colonel Qaddafi needs to step down from power and leave.”

But even after the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration ended the “Operation Odyssey Dawn” phase of its 2011 war for regime change in Libya on March 31, 2011, the Libyan “rebels” that it was illegally supporting were still unable to overthrow the Libyan government that Qaddafi still led.So, not surprisingly, according to Paolo Sensini’s Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, “American government officials told the Washington Post (March 30, 2011) on condition of anonymity that, `President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.'”

Yet the same book also observed that “a FOIA document reveals” then-U.S. Secretary of State and later 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary “Clinton was aware in March 2011 that, on a routine basis, the rebel militias in Libya summarily executed captured fighters as pro-government mercenaries,” in violation of international law.
Nelson Mandela and Libyan leader whose regime Democratic Party leaders helped overthrow 
(end of part 2)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Part 1

Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power: Pushed For War For Regime Change in Libya in 2011
As Paolo Sensini recalled in his 2016 Book, Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, “on March 11 [2011], the African Union, meeting in Addis Ababa, rejected all external intervention in regard to the Libyan crisis” and “in just a few days” Libyan troops loyal to the Qaddafi regime in Libya “had retaken control of most of the country.” And the same book also observed that in the middle of March 2011 “pro-Qaddafi demonstrations were to be seen in many” Libyan “cities” and “to all appearances, Qaddafi’s victory was at hand.”

Yet despite the African Union’s March 11, 2011 rejection of external foreign overt military intervention in regard to the Libyan civil war, after Libyan troops loyal to the Qaddafi regime regained control of Brega on March 13, 2011 and regained control of Ajdabiya on March 16, 2011, the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration and its NATO allies began to overtly intervene militarily in Libya; and to overtly launch a 2011 war for regime change in Libya in the following way, according to the Sowing Chaos book:

“The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on March 17 [2011], imposing a no fly zone upon Libya…Soon after, the American Odyssey Dawn operation commenced. Naval units in the Mediterranean launched hundreds of Tomahawk missiles…”

As the 2015 RAND Project Air Force study, titled Precision and Purpose (which Johns Hopkins University Adjunct Professor and RAND Arroyo Center Strategy, Doctrine and Resources Program Director Karl P. Mueller edited), also noted:

“By March 14 [2011], Qaddafi’s troops were bearing down on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi…On March 19 [2011]…the United States fired over 100 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs) at central nodes of Qaddafi’s air defense system along the Libyan coast…With Libya’s air defenses crippled, the coalition proceeded to fly multiple air strikes…including some B-2 bomber sorties launched from bases in the continental United States…The United States flew the vast majority of strike sorties…By midweek, the United States, added A-10 `Warhogs’ and AC-130 Spectre gunships to further enhance coalition capabilities against regime forces on the ground…

“…Operation Odyssey Dawn…was the code name for U.S. operations…Although the Defense Department named the U.S. intervention Operation Odyssey Dawn, Congress never endorsed the intervention…During Odyssey Dawn, the 603/617 Air Operation Center enabled more than 2,000 sorties and identified more than 1,400 targets…


“…The heaviest concentration of Tomahawk strikes took place near Tripoli and Misrata…U.S. Navy FA-18 G Growlers providing electronic warfare support, took place some 10 miles south of Benghazi…In the early hours of March 20 [2011], three B-2 Spirit bombers flying from Whiteman AFB targeted…near Sirte…The next day, Air Force F-15E strike Eagles…conducted strikes against fixed targets near Sirte…

“As many as 3,123 USAF personnel and 153 aircraft deployed to support Operation Odyssey Dawn; those aircraft flew…2,132 sorties. U.S. aircraft had employed 764 weapons and fired an additional 2,169 rounds of ammunition…On March 31 [2011], Odyssey Dawn drew to a close, and military operations in Libya continued under Operation Unified Protector…Of the 199 sea-launched cruise missiles fired in the first 10 days, 192 were American…”
Air Force Major General Who Planned 2011 Operation Odyssey Dawn Aerial Attack ON Libya
Secret planning of the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration’s initial Operation Odyssey Dawn aerial attack on Libya to overthrow the Qaddafi regime (in apparent violation of both international law and the U.N. Charter, and without the authorization of the U.S. Congress) was apparently begun in mid-February 2011, around the time that the first street protests by Libyan opponents of then-existing Libyan government were held in Benghazi on Feb. 15, 2011. According to the 2015 Rand Project Air Force’s Precision and Purpose study, “in mid-February [2011],” the U.S. Major General who was the Operation Odyssey Dawn Air Component Commander, a woman named Margaret Woodward, “directed [AFAFRICA Director of Space Forces] Colonel [Vincent] Jefferson and her Air Operations Staff to begin planning for possible operations in Libya…”

At least four other women apparently also played significant historical roles in urging that U.S. Major General Margaret Woodward’s Operation Odyssey Dawn aerial attack on Libya plan be implemented in late March 2011. As the same 2015 RAND Project Air Force study, for example, recalled:

“In the weeks following the outbreak of fighting in Benghazi…Samantha Power, an aide on the national Security Council, and Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, were early and outspoken advocates of intervention within the U.S. government. Michele Flournoy, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, worked more quietly behind the scenes…They gained traction with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the second week of March [2011]…President Obama agreed to authorize action…On March 17 [2011], the President authorized intervention…The willingness of the President…to assist with the overthrow of Qaddafi was clear well before his March 18 [2011] speech…On March 28 [2011], Obama raised Qaddafi’s downfall to the level of public policy…Three senior Obama administration officials (National Security Council staff member Samantha Power, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Clinton) played important roles in convincing the President to go beyond the…approach…advocated by those reluctant to see America engaged in another war…”


Michelle Flournoy: Pushed For War For Regime Change In Libya In 2011


(end of part 1)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Confronting Ivy League Racism 101: A Review of Stefan Bradley's `Upending The Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League'


After providing readers of his 1935 book, Black Reconstruction in America, with "a sketch," in chapters 10 to 13, "of the part which Negroes took in the reconstruction of various Southern states, together with some indication of their action along the border" states following the 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War, 20th-century historian W.E.B. Du Bois observed that "it is only the Blindspot" in U.S. academic "historians that can overlook and misread so clear and encouraging a chapter of human struggle and human uplift." And in his book's final chapter, titled "The Propaganda Of History," Du Bois recalled the role that some professors employed at Ivy League elite universities apparently played in presenting a false and racially biased account of how the Southern states were actually governed during Reconstruction in that region:

"The Columbia school of historians and social investigators have issued between 1895 and the present time sixteen studies of Reconstruction in the Southern States, all based on the same thesis and all done according to the same method: first, endless sympathy with the white South; second, ridicule, contempt or silence for the Negro...We shall never have a science of history until we have in our college men who regard the truth as more important than the defense of the white race, and who will not deliberately encourage students to gather thesis material in order to support a prejudice or buttress a lie..."

In his second intellectually ground-breaking book, Upending The Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League, Loyola Marymount University Professor and Chair of American American Studies Stefan Bradley (who previously authored the 2009 book, Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s) also shows readers that until the black students who attended Ivy League institutions became "willing to join in collective agitation on particular issues affecting black people" and protest against injustice on campus in the 1960s, "institutional white racism" still "lived within the policies and culture of those elite institutions." And, as Professor Bradley observes in his book, "the isolation, embarrassment, mistreatment, benign neglect, and outright segregation that black students experienced at some of these schools was as bad as that experienced in many southern institutions," during the first half of the 20th-century (and even subsequently).

Ivy League universities like Harvard, for example, "propagated and accommodated segregation in housing and social activities;" and a black Harvard student, Roscoe Conkling Brule Jr., "was denied housing at Harvard in 1922"despite "the fact that his grandfather" was "the first black person to serve a full term as a U.S. Senator."

Before providing his readers with a sketch of "how young black people became a conduit of Black Power in white spaces" on each of the Ivy League university campuses (in a much more detailed way than most other previously-written academic book and mass media historical accounts of 1960s student protests on U.S. campuses) in Upending The Ivory Tower 's later chapters, Professor Bradley first explores the lives of Black students in the Ivy League from the early 20th century through World War II in his initial chapter, in an interesting, ground-breaking way.

Although, after 1828, a few individual black students had attended and graduated from Ivy institutions during the 19th-century, as late as 1939, only "35 black students" had "graduated from Columbia, 28 from Penn, 25 from Cornell, 25 from Harvard and 10 from Yale;" and during the first half of the 20th-century "informal quotas for black students" still "existed at...Harvard and Yale." In addition, prior to World War II "the entire curriculum at Harvard and throughout the Ivy League glorified white civilization and supremacy and perpetuated racial dominance and racist ideology;" while "at mid-century, there were still few black students at Brown."

In chapter 2 of Upending The Ivory Tower, Professor Bradley presents a history of institutional and interpersonal racism at Princeton University that most readers (and even some 21st-century Princeton students, perhaps) might not have been aware of prior to reading his book; since, as Professor Bradley notes, "surprisingly little has been written about Princeton and its historic relationship with black people," although, despite Princeton being located in the northern state of New Jersey, "African American students could not attend Princeton...until the middle of the 20th century." And as well as no black applicants being accepted by Princeton in 1953, 1954 and 1959, "of the 1,202 applicants who were accepted" by Princeton "for the 1963-1964 academic year," still "only 10 were black."

But later in this same chapter, Professor Bradley describes how, after establishing an Association of Black Collegians on Princeton's campus in 1967, black students at Princeton "took it upon themselves to ensure that Princeton became an option for other black students;" and also demonstrated in opposition to the Princeton administration's initial failure to divest the university's $127 million investment in "companies associated with apartheid-sanctioning governments of South Africa and Mozambique," during the late 1960s--although "as it is, Princeton University is still an elite and exclusive primarily white institution" in the 21st-century.

Moving on from his examination of late 1960s Black student activism and protests on Princeton's campus, Professor Bradley then shows, in subsequent chapters, how what Black student activists "did on campus in the name of black freedom" at Brown, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Columbia in the late 1960s "was just as significant as what advocates for black liberation did off campus." One historical result of this late 1960s wave of Black student campus protest and activism on these campuses, for example, as Professor Bradley noted in his introduction to Upending The Ivory Tower, was that "by 1975, each of the Ivies had revised its admission policies to better accommodate black candidates" and "all but one of the eight Ivies had Black Studies programs, departments, or Centers by then as well" (despite their continued lack of tenured black faculty members in 2019).

Given the continued failure of most Ivy League university administrations at places like Columbia to hire more tenured black professors, to admit more black students from black working-class families who graduated from New York City's non-elite public high schools and to stop expanding their Ivy League campuses in ways that push black working-class tenants out of the surrounding neighborhoods they gentrify in the 21st-century, some Movement readers might tend to feel Upending The Ivory Tower overestimates the degree to which institutional and interpersonal racism has been upended on Ivy League campuses.

But Professor Bradley's meticulously researched, well-written, passionate and inspiring Upending The Ivory Tower, which is written from a Black Liberation Movement intellectual political perspective (and also contains an interesting autobiographical foreword by the great 20th-century and early 21st-century historian Gerald Horne) synthesizes insightful historical analysis with a unique and fascinating historical narrative. So it's quite understandable why this great book has been praised by most reviewers. And for U.S. high school students who are considering whether or not to apply for admission to an Ivy League university, current Ivy League students and 21st-century Movement organizers and activists, especially, Upending The Ivory Tower should probably be required reading.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Did Hollywood Movie Producers Collaborate With Franco's Fascist Regime In Spain Historically?


In the 1950's and 1960's, some Hollywood movie producers apparently collaborated with the fascist regime in Spain of then-Spanish dictator Franco. As Neal M. Rosendorf recalled, for example, in his 2014 book, Franco Sells Spain To America: Hollywood, Tourism and Public Relations as Postwar Spanish Soft Power:

"...United Artists [UA]...had been...cultivating friendly relations with the Franco regime through its distribution operation in Spain. The company's representative in the country was George Ornstein, the son-in-law of UA co-founder and majority shareholder Mary Pickford...In the 1960s, he would be awarded both the Order of Civil Merit and Spain's highest civilian honor, the Order of Isabelle the Catholic, for his work in promoting U.S. film production in Spain...."

According to the same book:

"The first of the massive UA...productions was Robert Rossen's Alexander the Great...Robert Rossen flew to Spain in the winter of 1955, and UA trumpeted the start of filming in a full-page Variety advertisement that stressed the Spanish location shooting..."

Besides Robert Rossen, another Hollywood movie producer who apparently collaborated with Spain's fascist Franco regime in the 1950's was Stanley Kramer. As the Franco Sells Spain To America book also observed:

"The Pride and the Passion, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, was of importance to the Franco regime...

"Stanley Kramer was one of Hollywood's most noted liberals--Kramer's modus operandi provided a template for the long-term Spanish-based production efforts of Samuel Bronston that commenced a couple of years later.

"From the time that Kramer first proposed his project to the Franco regime in September 1955 the Spanish authorities were supportive...In October 1955, Kramer met with Minister of Information and Tourism Gabriel Arias Salgado, to whom he laid out his plan...Kramer went on to meet with Francisco Franco himself, in which he `explained in detail the project and the effort needed to realize this grand production'...The Spanish government quickly granted filming permission to The Pride and the Passion enterprise...The dictatorship kept close tabs on the developing script...In response to the Franco regime's demands, producer-director Kramer would order the necessary script changes..."

According to the same book, "the most important figure in the development of `Hollywood in Madrid' and the political and economic benefits that accrued to the Franco dictatorship, was film producer Samuel Bronston, who established a full-blown American studio in Spain." As the Franco Sells Spain To America recalled:

"From the late 1950's through the early 1970's, Bronston forged and maintained a uniquely intimate relationship with the Franco regime. Indeed, the Bronston-Franco partnership marks the closes ongoing political collaboration to date between a Hollywood film production operation and a foreign government...

"Bronston...established his studio with the close collaboration of the Franco regime. The Spanish government facilitated the producer's efforts at every turn with monetary aaid, materiel, logistics and special legal arrangements and concessions. The regime's estimation of Bronston's singular value was marked by its presentation to him of the Order of Isabelle the Catholic...High-ranking regime figures moonlighted as fixers, consultants and scriptwriters in the Bronston organization, including at least one serving Spanish ambassador to the U.S. And when international creditors...came after Bronston..., the Spanish government would for almost a decade provide him with cover and a safe haven...

"...Bronston, backed by the fortune of Pierre du Pont III, produced among other films...El Cid (1961)..., as well as King of Kings, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and several other epics...Bronston also made, gratis, a series of propaganda films for the Spanish government that were screened  both domestically in Spain and internationally, including in the U.S.."

The same book also observed:

.Spain had a dictatorship that was very open to collaborating with American producers, provided they toed the line set down by the government...In early 1966 MGM, fresh from filming most of Doctor Zhivago in Spain, was quietly but firmly warned that the MIT [Ministry of Information and Tourism] was offended by a planned epic about Francisco Pizarro and the conquest of the Incas, The Royal Hunt of the Sun...MGM took the hint and halted production..."