Trump Is Our Imperial Vulture Come Home to Roost – We Must Repent
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
13 February 17
s the nightmare reality of Donald Trump sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective.
There’s no need here to list what he is doing and is prepared to do to what remains of our rights, freedoms, economy, ecology, human dignity, sense of justice, the future of our children and much, much more. Donald Trump appears at this point to be our worst national nightmare.
For many of us, it will be the challenge of a lifetime to solve this problem. Millions of words will be written about it in the months to come.
But we might start by comparing him to the kinds of leaders our nation has forced on other countries, and by making some kind of amends. Trump is, in fact, our own imperial vulture come home to roost.
Indeed, he’s actually (so far) a moderate compared to scores of murderous dictators the US has installed in other countries throughout the world. Especially since World War II, our imperial apparatus has constantly subverted legitimate attempts by good people to elect decent leaders.
In all such cases, people no different from most of us have suffered terrible, tangible consequences. No matter how much pain we may now feel in America, it pales before the horrors we’ve imposed with Trump-style dictators in other nations.
To get them installed, the Central Intelligence Agency and other imperial organs have often merely subverted elections. As was done here in 2016 and for countless elections before (and perhaps to come), substantial portions of the population have been systematically stripped of their right to vote. Where that’s proven insufficient, vote counts have been flipped by electronic and other means to guarantee a secure corporate outcome.
But where even that’s not been enough, our imperial minions have simply exiled, killed outright, invaded, employed mass violence, concocted civil wars and done whatever else necessary to remove those popular leaders that have not suited the American corporate interest.
One recent instance has been in Honduras, where the elected president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup and the military took over from 2009 to 2013. Honduras became the most violent non-war zone on Earth in those years.
Here is a partial list of other duly elected leaders the United States has had removed, disappeared and/or killed to make way for authoritarian pro-corporate regimes. In each case, their demise resulted in death, denial of democratic rights and massive suffering to individuals within those countries who stood in the way of America’s imperial agenda:
Lumumba, Congo; Allende, Chile; Aristide, Haiti; Mossadegh, Iran; Arbenz, Guatemala; President Joao Goulart, Brazil; Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Greece; Sukarno, Indonesia; Tecumseh, John Ross, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Sealth and countless other indigenous Americans; and too many more.
Here is a very incomplete list of violent, torture-prone kleptocrats the US has installed to serve its corporate interests:
Pinochet, Chile; Duvalier, Haiti; Somoza, Nicaragua; Marcos, Philippines; Suharto, Indonesia; Diem, Ky, Thieu, Vietnam; Pol Pot, Cambodia; Batista, Cuba; Saddam Hussein, Iraq; the Shah, Iran; the Regime of the Colonels, Greece; and too many more.
Taken in sum, the horrors these coups have imposed on innocent people throughout the planet comprise a terrible karmic debt our nation owes the rest of humankind.
The idea that such retribution would come home to roost may have been best stated by our 16th president. It is chiseled on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital, for all to see.
At the end of the Civil War, in his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln mourned that this “terrible war,” which killed more than 620,000 Americans, had come “as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”
The offense, of course was slavery. To pay for it, Lincoln warned, we would see the war “continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.”
Are we, as modern Americans, now being called to pay for the blood drawn and the pain imposed by our imperial armies? And for all the wealth and comfort and dignity unjustly stolen from innocent peoples around the world?
As we squirm and mourn and march and organize, we might keep in mind the image of Donald Trump as imperial payback.
We might remember that as we work to overcome this homegrown vulture of our own making we must make right what we’ve imposed on so many others.
And that the restoration of sanity, dignity, and democracy to this nation can only come with a genuine sense of perspective … and with the resolve to never again impose any such suffering anywhere else in this world.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
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On September 14, two candidates for Franklin County Prosecutor answered questions about how they would respond to officer-involved shootings, if elected. As the candidates’ forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church proceeded, only one mile away 13-year-old Tyre King was pursued and shot multiple times by Columbus police. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after the candidates’ forum ended.
Adrienne Hood spoke at the beginning of the forum. Her son Henry Green was killed by Columbus police on June 6. “It’s unfortunate that the person who can give me the justice that my son deserves is not here,” she said, indicating the empty chair reserved for Ron O’Brien, the incumbent County Prosecutor candidate. O’Brien has not responded to demands by Green’s family to indict the officers who shot him and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.
People’s Justice Project organizer Tammy Alsaada posed the first question to Democratic candidate Zach Klein and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis. “Would you keep families together by expanding diversion programs for youth, for addiction, and for mental health issues in underserved and overlooked communities?” she asked. “And how would you help keep people out of the system and get the treatment they need?”
“Yes,” Zach Klein said. “I’m a firm believer that the cycle of incarceration breeds a cycle of poverty, which breeds a cycle of incarceration. I think we need to be aggressive in expanding our diversion program to ensure that there is treatment” for drug addiction and mental health issues. “We also need a diversion program that recognizes when some people turn to crime to make ends meet. It may be a small number of people, but there are people who lack opportunity. Jail is for people that we’re afraid of, not for people we don’t know what to do with.”
There is currently “no rhyme or reason or policy directive out of the prosecutor’s office for who is eligible for diversion,” Klein said. “It’s all at the whim of whether the prosecutor knows the defense attorney. That’s not fair, open, or transparent.”
Bob Fitrakis also responded “yes” to Alsaada’s question. “As prosecutor I will not arrest anyone for drug possession,” he said. “It’s a medical problem, and that’s how it will be handled.” Instead, he would go after the people involved in heavy drug trafficking. “Many of these are connected with legitimate businesses. The people who fueled the crack epidemic in this town in the 1990’s were Southern Air Transport. They were bringing heroin and other drugs into this country. Instead of going after someone with ten balloons in their stomach, let’s go after the large aircraft that are coming in by the planeload, contaminating these communities.”
Fitrakis cited the recently revealed admission by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman that the War on Drugs was started not to curb drug use, but to marginalize blacks and the hippies who opposed the Vietnam War. “This has been a systematic campaign against the poor community, against the black community,” he said. “We need to redefine the problem.”
Equal protection under the law
“Research shows that mass incarceration disproportionately affects low-income people, and people of color,” said Jasmine Ayres, field director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “We need more information to make evidence-based decisions on policies and practices. For example, black people in Franklin County are 3.8 times more likely to be in jail than whites.
“Will you collect and share demographic data — including race, gender, and income level — on who is charged, what they are charged with, what plea is offered, and what bail is recommended? And how would you set alternative metrics to evaluate your staff?”
“Will I comply with the open records law? Yes,” Bob Fitrakis responded. “There needs to be full transparency. For many years, before the Free Press went after the judges, they were double-bonding people. The bondsmen were running the court until they were exposed.
“I’m going to remove the jump-out boys,” he said, referring to plainclothes police officers who patrol so-called “crime hot-spots,” a code word for neighborhoods with many poor, black, and Latino residents. “They post white police, walking around with money, pretending they’re on drugs, acting like bait. They should be removed or charged criminally, because they’re causing the violence. They need to get off the streets.”
Fitrakis recalled teaching police officers about the U.S. Constitution in 1980. “They weren’t really receptive to it, but we were able to work out certain things,” he said. “We should pay our police well, and we should make sure they know our fundamental principles.”
Zach Klein responded, “Yes, as someone who’s running for prosecutor, trying to get that information that you seek. It doesn’t exist. We should have an open, transparent system in the prosecutor’s office that uses the best practices and technology, that’s not only available, but easy to understand.
“In 2014, which is the last year this data was available, there were 12,000 criminal filings in Franklin County. 190 went to trial. Think about the 11,810 cases that never went to trial, that fall squarely within the programs and opportunities that you’re talking about. But outside of knowing they didn’t go to trial, we don’t know anything about the defendants, the pleas, or the cases.
“Having an open and transparent prosecutor’s office restores the community’s faith in the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “We need to have a prosecutor’s office that is outward-facing, that is engaged in the community, that doesn’t just go home to the suburbs, that looks like the community,” Klein said. “What do I know about Ron O’Brien’s office? Four percent of his lawyers are African American. I think that’s abysmal. We need to have a more aggressive approach to recruiting African American, Latino, LGBT, and female lawyers.”
Trying juveniles as adults
“Youth should not be tried as adults. Research shows that if you send youth to adult prison, they are more likely to re-offend. They are more likely to be sexually abused,” said Candice Williams-Bethea, a grassroots educator with the People’s Justice Project. “How will you handle the practice of trying minors in adult court? And how will you use developmentally-informed decision making appropriate to youth?
“Those statistics are real, which is why any prosecutor should be careful about charging any juvenile as an adult, or as a juvenile,” Zach Klein responded. “A prosecutor’s office should be working with faith and community leaders to play quarterback on this issue and others, to give juvenile offenders a chance to pull themselves out of the cycle. A proactive prosecutor will bring the parties together with a mentor program that can give kids an opportunity to make a difference, not just treat them like a number.”
“I’m not charging any juvenile as an adult if I am prosecutor,” said Bob Fitrakis. “Social science states the obvious: the amount of lawbreaking between affluent suburban white kids and inner-city kids is about the same. The only difference is who gets charged, who gets a record, and who ends up doing time and being profiled for the rest of their lives.”
As an attorney, Fitrakis sees “more justice when I go to mayor’s court in Worthington, Grandview, and Hilliard, when youth are charged with a minor misdemeanor because they’re good boys and girls and about to go off to a private school.” For the same offense a young person in Columbus might be given a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, he said. “That must end in the prosecutor’s office.”
Independent prosecutor for police-involved shootings
“Recently the Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the bias of the grand jury process when it comes to indicting police,” said Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, statewide organizing director for the People’s Justice Project. “Will you appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate all police-involved shootings in Franklin County? And if not, how will you handle police-involved shootings?”
“If you appoint an independent prosecutor, who do you hold accountable?” Zach Klein responded. “When I am prosecutor, I want you to hold me accountable for decisions I make, not only in police-involved shootings, but in any issue of crime.”
Klein cited Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who lost a re-election campaign when he failed to indict police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice. “He was held accountable and got fired,” Klein said. “If we appoint independent prosecutors, I’m afraid that we might lose the accountability. You can’t vote an independent prosecutor out of office.”
“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Bob Fitrakis said. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.
“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor; we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”
At a Columbus City Council candidates’ forum last fall, Zach Klein went on record as opposing a civilian review board with subpoena power.
Both candidates agreed to meet with the groups who held the candidates forum’ 100 days after the election.
For each of the questions posed, the audience applause was consistently louder and longer for Bob Fitrakis than for Zach Klein.
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From Nicole’s youtube channel:
“Streamed live on Jun 10, 2016
This week, the video of a meeting about election integrity in California in which attorneys Bob Fitrakis & Cliff Arenbeck explain why they’ve filed lawsuits demanding the release of exit polling and returns to show that fraud is inherent in our system. This morning, Bob Fitrakis joins in to tell us of their concerns, give an update on the lawsuit, and what comes next.
Find out more and watch the full video of the 5-27 meeting at trustvote.org
In hour two, we’ll open the phones to get your reaction at 954-889-6410 or via Skype to nicolesandler.”
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Segment starts at 34:45 or listen to Del Perry With His Six One Fo Music from the start!
Are you a Green Party member who is excited about Jill Stein’s campaign for President? Then we need to hear from you! 1-877-932-9766
Listen and call in to Bob Fitrakis’ Wednesday night radio show between 7:30-8pm (eastern time) this Wed. night July 25.
Anita Rios and Bob Fitrakis, the Ohio Green Party Co-Chairs, will discuss Jill’s nomination, how we are getting her on the ballot in Ohio, and why she is the best choice!
Please call in to tell us why you will vote for Jill!
http://www.talktainmentradio.com/ Listen Live! – “Fight Back!”
Call in number – 1-877-932-9766
Recent events in northern Ohio underscore the new COINTELPRO assault on activism. On Tuesday, May 1, federal authorities arrested five “anarchists” charging them with conspiracy in trying to bomb property used in interstate commerce, according to the Associated Press (AP). The target of this alleged plot was a bridge running through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 15 miles south of downtown Cleveland.
Media immediately identified the men as linked to the nonviolent anti-corporate Occupy Cleveland movement. The next day, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson refused to renew the permits for Occupy Cleveland’s downtown encampment site. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio questioned why the Mayor would revoke the permit the day after the arrests. “Individuals are responsible for their own actions, not the groups they affiliate with,” said James Hardiman, ACLU’s Ohio Legal Director.
An undercover employee of the FBI later identified as an ex-convict sold the Cleveland “anarchists” fake explosives to blow up the bridge, according to the AP. As an axiom in activist politics, if anyone approaches a demonstrator and suggests violent activities and offers to procure guns or bombs – they are in all probability a cop or working for law enforcement.
Friday, May 4 was the 42nd anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Recall that the shootings only occurred after the mysterious burning down of the Kent State ROTC building on May 2, 1970. Numerous accounts of the event indicate that the Kent State police never attempted to stop the arsonist and the University’s own investigative study reported: “The persons involved in the actual incendiarism were few, were separated from the main crowd, and could easily have been apprehended by the police.”
The Ohio National Guard would have never been called to the Kent State campus without the ROTC arson.
William A. Gordon’s book “Four Dead in Ohio” noted that the Kent State University police made no attempt to prevent the ROTC fire despite the fact that their own intelligence warnings alerted them to the impending arson. One detective even admitted telling a TV camera crew, “Don’t pack your cameras. We’re going to have a fire tonight.”
The special grand jury report done under the auspices of Portage County Common Pleas Judge Edwin W. Jones concluded that, “It is obvious that the burning of the ROTC building could have been prevented with the manpower then available.”
In 1976, Senator Frank Church and his Senate investigation committee exposed the government’s Counter Intelligence Program (CONINTELPRO). The FBI admitted to the Church Committee that on May 7, 1970 they deliberately set fire to an ROTC building in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Six pages concerning ROTC fires were redacted in the Church Committee report.
As Alan Canfora, one of the students shot on May 4, said “some of the students there did try to light the building on fire. It was like the Three Stooges trying to burn the ROTC building. When we left, that fire was completely out.”
In his book, Gordon noted that a biker showed up with a can of gasoline and gave it to a high school student, George Walter Harrington, who then burnt the building. Gordon and others have speculated as to whether the biker worked for the FBI or federal authorities. Despite the presence of fire and police officials, neither the biker nor Harrington were every prosecuted.
The original COINTELPRO ran between 1956 and 1971. Its purpose was to discredit any peace and social justice movements. The tactics they used were those of psychological warfare. Tactics included smearing the reputations of individual activists and organizations through planting false stories in the media; forging documents; planting evidence leading to wrongful imprisonments, sending in undercover agents and snitches to promote illegal activities and violence; and even assassination.
The initial evidence in Cleveland, as in Kent State 42 years earlier, points to a rejuvenated COINTELPRO movement designed to destroy the reputation of the highly successful Occupy Wall Street movement.
David K. Shipler, the author of “Rights and Risks: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America,” pointed out in an April 29, 2012 New York Times op-ed that most recent terrorist plots in the United States have been hatched by the FBI. Shipler wrote “But dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naively play their parts until they are arrested.”
Two days after Shipler’s words, the five anarchists are arrested with fake C-4 in Cleveland. As Shipler points out, “Some threats are real, others less so. In terrorism, its not easy to tell the difference.”
Shipler should have added, some terrorist threats are manufactured by the government to destroy social justice movements.
It has already been widely reported that Homeland Security was involved in harassing the Occupy movement. (See, Free Press, January 5, 2012)
A little known but highly influential private organization, The Police Executive Research Forum, an international non-governmental organization with ties to law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, emerged last November as coordinating the crackdown on the Occupy movement. They were coordinating conference calls with major metropolitan mayors and police chiefs.
It should come as no surprise that five so-called anarchists, with no capacity to blow up a bridge on their own, were sold or given fake C-4 from an ex-convict working with federal law enforcement. And then, a big city mayor uses it to attack the Occupy movement. From the Kent State killings to Occupy Cleveland, this is the face of the new COINTELPRO, same as the old COINTELPRO. The 1% are still protected by the illegal activities of the security industrial complex that routinely violate the civil liberties of U.S. citizens seeking nonviolent change.
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Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: Michael Parenti
Bob interviews Michael Parenti, author, scholar, activist, currently on the advisory boards of Independent Progressive Politics Network, Education Without Borders, and the Jasenovic Foundation; as well as the advisory editorial boards of New Political Science and Nature, Society and Thought. He is the author of twenty-three books
Listen and call in this Wednesday, April 11
7 – 8 PM
Bob’s WVKO 1580AM radio show Saturday, April 14 – 11am-12noon
Call in @ 1-614-821-1580
Talking about the OSU project on the near east side including Poindexter Village with Deborah Steele of Jobs with Justice and others.
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