Saturday, October 14, 2017

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's September 24, 2017 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.
“September 24, 2017

“Dear Comrades

“I want to thank everyone who supported me during this difficult time. Cedric died on Sunday September 10. After a difficult year health-wise, he’d been in hospital for almost three weeks fighting yet another infection, perhaps multiple infections, and been given hefty doses of antibiotics and subjected to numerous tests, but it became clear he wasn’t responding, so we faced the heartbreaking decision of removing all life support and letting him die in peace.

“We sent him off in great style, celebrating his life at the Unitarian Church. It was warm and personal and a fitting tribute to this man who was my soul mate. We had been married for 64 years. I’m so thankful he didn’t end up in a nursing home.

“But life goes on. And while the world stands on the brink, with devastation and loss of life across the Caribbean and Mexico, Trump made his debut speech before the United Nations General Assembly, a 40-minute rant attacking socialism and communism and ‘rogue states’ Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. He openly threatened to wipe North Korea off the face of the earth, a nation that can barely feed its people and yet has to defend itself against an onslaught of Western hostility, ferocious UN sanctions and ongoing US/South Korean war games.

“America’s historical destruction of North Korea and today’s ongoing threats should be considered in the context of the living memory of its older generation. Pyongyang, a city of half-a-million people before 1950, at the end of hostilities had only two buildings left intact.

“Trump’s UN tirade was tailored for Americans who were born yesterday. It will go down in history as a marker of the final collapse of a terminally corrupt and rotten regime where any pretense of global co-operation has gone. And yet our local media hacks felt it was more important to treat his words with amusement and then headline a stupid story about a Tasmanian who shoved Abbott in the guts.

“But Trump is merely a ventriloquists’ dummy who read from a teleprompter transmitting to Americans words written by the Generals, all of them a distortion of historical fact. In a sane world, UN delegates should have handcuffed Trump and hauled him before a criminal court and shouted him down or walked out instead of listening to his litany of lies.

“The US has become the 4th Reich and we question whether the world can survive its brutal foreign policy. To our great shame, Australia supported his psychopathic threats, already up to our neck in America’s war crimes around the world. No wonder we’re on the skids. Amongst the world leaders, there was one who almost exceeded Trump in its mendacity and malignancy. Benjamin Netanyahu. For Israel’s leader, lying has become a creed.

“Robert Fisk honed in on Trump’s warped view of WW2 pointing out that it was Russia that bore the brunt of Hitler’s Wehrmacht and it was Russia’s destruction of Hitler’s military power that broke the Nazis. And it was Stalin who’d been pleading for a Second Front for two years. When Hitler marched into Poland and Norway and Holland and Belgium and Luxembourg and then France and threatened to invade Britain, the United States enjoyed a profitable period of neutrality - as it did for most of WW1 - until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, more than two years after WW2 began. We should also remember that it was Hitler who then declared war on the US, not the other way round.

“John Pilger writes about a heavily publicized recent TV series on ‘The Vietnam War’ shown on America’s highly corporatized PBS network (the ’P’ stands for Pentagon and Petroleum) directed by Lynn Novick and Ken Burns, experts at whitewashing the crimes of US imperialism. Their biggest backer, the Bank of America.

“The title itself is absurd. The Vietnamese called it ‘The American War’ which broadens the geographic lens to include Laos and Cambodia, when the world’s most powerful military empire invaded and assaulted a small peasant nation and its neighbors for more than a decade, spraying millions of tons of Agent Orange on to forests and crops ravaging and poisoning a once bountiful land, and frying human beings with napalm. No mention of Vietnamese dead, only Americans, justifying one of the great crimes of the 20th century, all too familiar to those who observe the close relationship between Hollywood and the Pentagon and the CIA (with 70 years of high crimes under its belt).

“The rewriting of history never stops and the blood never dries, it seems, with the bloodthirsty invader purged of guilt, legitimizing subsequent wars of aggression. As Pilger writes: ‘The true scandal is the insidious assumption of power by sinister warmaking vested interests for which no American voted’…an historic shift of power in Washington.

"But where are the angry people? Where are the protests? Bishop Desmond Tutu put it this way. ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’

“Joan Coxsedge”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Does Cambridge's Draper Laboratory's Work For Trump's Pentagon Violate Nuremberg Accords and International Law?

According to Principle VI of the 1950 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunals, “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances” are “crimes against peace.” And according to Principle VII of the 1950 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunals, “complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

Yet at 555 Technology Square in the “Warmakers’ Republic of Cambridge” some of the folks at the “non-profit” Draper Laboratory who have apparently been personally enriching themselves by working for the U.S. military-industrial-university complex’s “permanent war machine” in the 21st-century are still being allowed by the “People’s Republic of Cambridge” to now do weapons technology development work for the Trump administration’s Pentagon in 2017—even if such war preparation research violates international law and helps prepare the Pentagon for a possible Trump administration military attack on North Korea.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Who Rules "Warmarkers' Republic of Cambridge"'s Draper Laboratory?

Sitting next to Scowcroft Group Principal Franklin Miller on the “non-profit” Draper Laboratory board of directors in recent years have been folks like the following people:

John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Director Emeritus Richard Roca, who was paid $45,000 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

Escalade Inc. Chairman of the Board, G-III Apparel Group Director and Oppenheimer & Co. Managing Director Richard D. White, who was paid $40,824 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

Former Lockheed Martin Space Systems Executive Vice-President and CommScope Holdings, Visteon and Tetra Tech Inc. corporate board member Joanne Maguire, who was paid $39,628 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

Former Lockheed Martin Vice-President and former Aerospace Corporation CEO and current OSI Systems Director William Ballhaus, Jr., who was paid $37,000 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer, former Fidelity Investments Vice-President and General Counsel and BlackRock Equity-Bonds Funds Director Lena Goldberg, who was paid $33,895 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

MIT Professor and Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology CEO/Director Daniel Hastings, who’s also a trustee of the Aerospace Corporation that “operates a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Air Force” which provides “engineering and acquisition management support as well as objective technical analyses and assessments to the Air Force,” according to the Aerospace Corporation’s website. And between June 2015 and July 2016, Aerospace Corporation Trustee and MIT Professor Hastings was paid $31,500 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors.

Former Central Intelligence Agency Operative and former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd, who was paid $7,625 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors;

Flybridge Captal Partners General Partner David Arnoff, of the Boston and New York-based speculation/venture capital investment firm, who was paid $6,125 between June 2015 and July 2016 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors; and

Lt. General Frank Kearney, a former Deputy Combatant Commander for United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) who “served in operational and command assignments at every level with combat tours in Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan” and “commanded all Theater Special Operations forces in the middle-east including OIF and OEF from March 2005 to June 2007”, according to the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point’s website, before setting up his own “consulting” company, Inside-Solutions-LLC, of which he is president. And between June 2015 and July 2016, Lt. General (Ret.) and Inside-Solutions President Kearney was paid $6,125 for sitting on Draper Laboratory’s board of directors. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cambridge's Draper Laboratory's Brent Scowcroft/Scowcroft Group Connection

Coincidentally, the Draper Laboratory Chairman of the Board since October 2013--a “Principal” of former Kissinger Associates Vice-Chairman Brent Scowcroft’s Scowcroft Group named Franklin Miller---previously worked “twenty-two years in the Department of Defense…and four years as a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush” before joining The Cohen Group of former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen for five years, according to The Scowcroft Group’s website. And between June 2015 and July 2016, Scowcroft Group Principal Miller was paid $71,625 for being Draper Laboratory’s board chairman, according to Draper Laboratory’s 2015 Form 990 financial filing.

Besides being Draper Laboratory’s chairman of the board, Scowcroft Group Principal Miller—who “provides clients both strategic and tactical advice on defense”—has also, coincidentally, been a member of the Defense Policy Board, the U.S. Strategic Command Advisory Group and the Council on Foreign Relations. And in addition, he has, coincidentally, sat on the board of directors of EADS North America (a subsidiary of Airbus Group that profits from its Pentagon war and homeland security government contracts), the Sandia Corporation (which develops more modern nuclear weapons for the Pentagon) and the Atlantic Council of the United States (whose board of directors and international advisory chairman emeritus is, coincidentally, Scowcroft Group President and Principal Brent Scowcroft).

After joining former Nixon Administration Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s for-profit Kissinger Associates “consulting”/influence-peddling firm in 1982, Draper Laboratory board chairman Miller’s business partner at the Scowcroft Group, Brent Scowcroft, was hired by the government of Kuwait’s Kuwait Petroleum Corporation [KPC] to sit alongside Ali Jabar Al Ali Al-Sabah on the board of directors of KPC’s U.S. subsidiary at that time, Santa Fe International; and Scowcroft sat on the Kuwait government’s Santa Fe International corporate board in 1984, 1985 and 1986, according to Poor’s & Standard’s Register of Corporations. Yet in the early 1990’s the former director of Kuwait’s major U.S. subsidiary at that time—Scrowcroft Group President Scowcroft—was allowed to sit in a White House office as then-President H.W. Bush I’s National Security Affairs advisor. As the Scowcroft Group “consulting”/influence-peddling firm’s website notes:

“As President of The Scowcroft Group…Brent Scowcroft provides clients with unparalleled strategic advice and assistance…Brent Scowcroft served as the National Security Advisor to both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, the only individual in U.S. history appointed to the position under two different Presidents. From 1982 to 1989, he was Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. In this capacity, he advised and assisted a wide range of U.S. and foreign corporate leaders on global joint venture opportunities…His…twenty-nine-year military career…included… Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Military Assistant to President Nixon….Out of uniform, General Scowcroft...formerly served as the Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board...”

And not surprisingly, when the Iraqi troops of the now-executed Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, it was the presentation of Scowcroft-- the former member of the corporate board of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s Santa Fe International U.S. subsidiary-- -- at a National Security Council meeting on Aug. 3, 1990, “that made clear what the stakes were, crystallized people’s thinking and galvanized support for a strong response” to the Iraqi military occupation of Kuwait, according to a Feb. 2, 1991 New York Times article;  and, at this meeting, “Scowcroft stated that..he believed the United States had to be willing to use force” and “that Saddam had to be toppled…covertly through the CIA, and be unclear to the world,” according to Bob Woodard’s 1991 book The Commanders. But after the United States began “to use force” in Iraq in January 1991,  U.S. military forces apparently killed around 100,000 Iraqis people in the 1991 Gulf War to restore Al-Sabah family monarchical rule in Kuwait, while at least 849 U.S. troops were either killed or wounded in the same war; and during the next 10 years more than 9,600 of the U.S. soldiers involved in the first Gulf War, who “were often required to enter radioactive battlefields unprotected and were never warned of the dangers of Depleted Uranium” weapons, reportedly also died, according to Project Censored’s Censored 2004 book.

Coincidentally, Draper Laboratory Chairman Miller’s 91-year-old Scowcroft Group business partner also currently is a “Strategy Partner” at Torch Hill Investment Partners, whose for-profit investment portfolio includes stock in Zephyr Photonics, which “is a US-based…photonics company that is focused on providing solutions to the Department of Defense, aerospace, and intelligence markets” that “has developed its unique technology over 60 contracts from US Government agencies…and defense prime contractors,” according to the Torch Hill Investment Partners website. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

`New York City Refugee' folk song lyrics

A folk song about how real estate developers, landlords, and their political allies gentrified New York City after 1971; and created a native New Yorker refugee population.


I was born in the Bronx
And I grew up in Queens
But then I became
A New York City refugee.

The millionaires came
From all over the globe
And bought up Manhattan
And drove me from my home.

I was born in the Bronx
And I grew up in Queens
And when forced out of Brooklyn
Became a New York City refugee.

They gentrified Brooklyn
And part of the Bronx
They co-oped Manhattan
And Queens apartments.

I was born in the Bronx
And I grew up in Queens
On Staten Island I lived
But now I'm a New York City refugee.

Landlords and their lawyers
De-controlled rents
And with Wall Street developers
Ripped-off their tenants.

I was born in the Bronx
And I grew up in Queens
Many native New Yorkers
Are now New York City refugees.

But on the Lower East Side
These words are now heard:
"New York City refugees
Have the right to return!"