Lab work to identify 2,800-year-old mummy of shaman: scientists
People's Daily Online
December 25,2006

Chinese scientists are conducting laboratory work hoping to identify a 2,800-year-old mummy presumably of a shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The well-preserved mummy of a seemingly Caucasian man with a Roman nose and deep-set eyes was unearthed from a cluster of ancient tombs in 2003 and research work has been going on ever since.

Archeologists found the mummy most intriguing because a sack of marijuana leaves was found buried alongside the corpse.

The mummy remains intact in its original outfit despite the passage of time: leather hat, heavy coat and boots, huge earrings of copper and gold, a turquoise necklace, a copper laced stick in the right hand and a bronze ax in the left, according to Li Xiao, head of the heritage bureau in Turpan.

Inside the leather coat, the man was wearing a dainty brown and red mantle, and his hands were crossed in front of his chest, said Li.

"From his outfit and the marijuana leaves, which have been confirmed by international specialists to be ingredients for narcotic, we assume the man had been a shaman and had been between 40 and 50 years old when he died," said Li, a noted historian in Xinjiang.

He said the corpse is about 1.2 meters long and its legs are at least 80 centimeters.

Li and his colleagues are taking fabrics from the mummy's clothes for laboratory work, hoping to identify the mummy and unravel more mysteries of shaman clothing, culture and religion.

The mummy was the best preserved one among some 600 excavated in 2003 from a cluster of 2,000 tombs in Turpan. Archeologists assume the tombs, which dated from the Bronze Age to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), belonged to several big clans.

The tombs also produced a wide variety of stone implements, bronzeware, color chinaware pieces and knitwear.

Source: Xinhua
from URL: http://english.people.com.cn/


Bombs Over Baghdad
by John Trudell

Bombs over Baghdad, Bombs over Baghdad
Bombs over Baghdad, Dancers of Death
Murder in the air, with the next breath
Macho Queens selling war-makers toys
Raining Destruction, Good Old Boys
Death bringer In Queen George's Eyes
Read his lips, war-maker lies
Religious Rights revenging sword
Thou shalt kill in the name of the Lord
The Sheep and the Cattle can't keep from milling
Some are more than ready some aren't willing
Volunteering in what they're not dying for
The Young Republican Guard crying for war.
Free speech as free as its thought
Controlled behavior reacts as its taught
Fighting for Peace can't comprehend
Hate out of love is violent pretends

Bombs Over Baghdad, Bombs Over Baghdad
Bombs Over Baghdad, Bombs Over Baghdad

Vampires drinking blood and oil cocktails
Their violence works it hardly ever fails
When blind man can't see he believes blind
Blind obedience is the child of mindless minds

New world order is an old world lie.
Fighting for peace, see how they die.
Dragging in God, as they turn violent.
God says nothing, he just remains silent.

Stop madmen from running loose.
Mother earth woman cant take the abuse
living right now is living for tomorrow
Time is saying there's no more time tomorrow

Vampires drinking blood and oil cocktails
Their violence works it hardly ever fails
Bombs over Baghdad Dancers of Death
Murder in the air with the next breath

Macho Queen war-maker toys
Raining destruction Good Old Boys
New world order is a whole world lie.
Fighting for peace, watch them all die.
Dragging in God, as they turn violent.
God says nothing, he just remains silent.

Bombs over Baghdad, Dancers of Death
Bombs over Baghdad, Dancers of Death
Bombs over Baghdad, Dancers of Death
Bombs over Baghdad, Dancers of Death
Bombs over Baghdad


All God's Names
by Kathleen Ferrick Rosenblatt

What will I call you today, Lord?
Allah, Yahweh, Dios, Apollo, Indra, Holy Ghost?
What languages are you speaking today?

It is said that you are Creator and Linguist of all planets.
You speak Mandarin, Nahuatl, Sanskrit, Pharsi,
Latin, Arabic, and all 300 dialects in India.
For every culture--- a sacred language,
To speak ceremonies, formulas,
prayers to invoke you.

Certainly the Lord of the Universe is just as sacred
in Arabic as in English.
If we believe in your omnipresence,
Why can't we accept that the You is You, in everything,
Everywhere, in all times---with Moses, and Mohammed.

Surely you would have contacted someone in North America.
Why not Black Elk or Mormon Joseph Smith?
We say you are all-powerful, and yet,
We can't accept your sending a messenger
to any culture but our own.

In our superiority, we reject pantheists as primitive,
Those who feel your presence in the stars and oceans.
The Native American rites were so innately spiritual,
Honoring your presence in every blade of grass,
Yet we called them "pagan".

Can't we all be part of "the Grand Old Religion,"
"The Chosen Few," or "the One True Church" in this larger sense?
After all, our entire planet spins out from your finger.
Did you set the world in motion with one spark of astral fusion?
The big bang vibrates still as we blast through space.

Are we not linked tightly enough in our DNA
to be woven together as a blanket,
A sacred garment around the earth---
Parishes, conclaves, synagogues, minarets,
chuppas, stuppas, Eucharist, Kabah, Torah,
Calvary, Mount Ararat, Mount Sinai,
the Mound of the Rock, Mount Merou,
All the holy mountains of the earth?

We breathe in, "inspirer",
to pull in YOU, Espiritu,
to inspire ourselves with this cosmic energy,
Chi, prana, mana, this You.
Einstein says we are 98% empty space filled with
bubbles of energy. We can feel this energy is You.

So we reach out to thank you for having touched
All our cultures in such personal ways through time,
making each group feel like your special favorites.
We thank you for allowing us to know your names.
URL: http://mujca.com/poetry.htm


"Peace" grannies on trial in NY for Iraq protest
by Christine Kearney
April 20, 2006

Some hobbled in on canes, others walked gingerly, but a group of grandmothers remained defiant as they faced trial on Thursday after being arrested while protesting against the Iraq war.

Joined by dozens of anti-war activists including Cindy Sheehan, 18 members of a group called the "Granny Peace Brigade" pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct for protesting outside a Times Square military recruitment center in October.

Sheehan, who has become a leading voice against the war since her son was killed in Iraq, said the grannies spoke "for the people in Iraq who don't have voices."

"When women like grannies are punished for trying to save lives, this country is in a terrible mess," she said.

The group of women aged 50 to 91 were supported by others such "Raging Grannies" from Canada, whose members wore badges, chanted and held banners that read "Arrest Bush, Free the Grannies" and "Can't whip the Insurgents? Whip Grannies."

Assistant District Attorney Amy Miller it was a simple case. "It's not about the war, it's about disorderly conduct," she said in an opening statement, adding the group blocked pedestrian traffic and did not obey police orders to disperse.

Attorney Norman Siegel told the court the group, which includes teachers and nurses, had been locked out of the recruitment center and staged a sit-in protest, although one elderly woman was unable to sit and two other women remained standing to support her.

The "grannies," as Siegel repeatedly called them, were eventually placed in a police van, fingerprinted and held for more than four hours after their arrest.

"We should be praising these grandmothers, not prosecuting them," he said outside the courtroom. "If the DA wants to put the grannies on trial, we will put the war on trial."

While the case will hinge on whether the Siegel can prove the women did not block traffic, many of the women said the trial was a second chance to voice their protest against the war and recruitment methods.

"There was no point arresting us, we were simply trying to make a statement," said former assemblywoman Marie Runyon, the oldest of the group at 91, who held herself steady using two walking sticks.

The trial is expected to last several days. If found guilty, the women could be fined $250 or sentenced to a maximum of 15 days in jail.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters
from URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060420/us_nm/iraq_usa_grannies_dc


Viva la Mexico
By Brenda Norrell / Today staff
April 08, 2006

Support for immigrant rights emerges

TUCSON, Ariz. - Waving American flags and Mexican flags, protesters opposed anti-immigration legislation in Washington, called for the ouster of President George Bush and celebrated renewed pride in their Mexican heritage during weeklong protests in Tucson.

More than 1,300 middle and high school students walked out of their classes and marched to the downtown Federal Building to protest proposed U.S. anti-immigration bills.

Pablo Molinar, 18, wore a T-shirt that read, ''Mexican, I'm not Latino, I'm not Hispanic.'' Pablo's sister, Jessica Molinar, 19, wore a T-shirt that proclaimed the indigenous message: ''We didn't cross the borders, the borders crossed us.''

''This country is made of immigrants,'' said Jessica Molinar, voicing opposition to House Bill 4437, which would make undocumented workers felons.

On a bullhorn, protesters supported the La Raza movement and First Amendment rights. Students were linked by e-mail and cell phones to thousands of other student protesters in California, Texas and Nevada.

Outside the Federal Building, student protest signs proclaimed, ''No Somos Criminales!'' (''We are not criminals!'') and ''We are not part of the problem, we are part of the solution.'' School officials arrived with buses, hoping to entice student marchers back to classes with the offer of rides.

On the street, Patricia Flores praised the students for the spontaneous protest against anti-immigration legislation. ''They are picking up where their parents left off.''

The weeklong protests culminated on April 2, with 7,000 to 10,000 marchers joining the Cesar Chavez March through the streets of South Tucson, which borders the Pascua Yaqui Nation and the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Celebrating the 79th anniversary of the birth of the late Cesar Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union and champion of the poor, marchers continued their protests through South Tucson barrios waving American flags.

Among those participating in the Cesar Chavez March was Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham and Humane Borders volunteer, who alone places water on tribal land in hopes of preventing migrant deaths in summer when temperatures reach up to 118 degrees.

Meanwhile, the Minutemen, known as ''armed vigilantes'' patrolling the border for migrants, arrived at Three Points and set up camp near the eastern border of the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Chris Simcox, the Minuteman group's national leader, told The Associated Press that four water stations placed by Humane Borders, to keep migrants from dying in the desert, will be among the sites under surveillance.

Back in Tucson, the ''No More Deaths'' campaign held a 40-day fast to remember more than 4,000 migrants who have died along the border of the United States and Mexico.

At the No More Deaths prayer vigil at the El Tiradito Shrine in downtown Tucson, the names of migrants who died on the border were read, with the crowd saying, ''presente,'' to recognize and honor their memory. On the shrine were their names, including those who died as a result of violent assaults and hanging.

''Every day we honor 100 people who died along the border,'' volunteer Sara Launius told Indian Country Today. She was holding the sign that has become widespread on homes and businesses throughout the Southwest: ''Humanitarian aid is never a crime.''

During the weekly vigil, volunteer Mary Ada Vallet relayed the message of migrants: ''We built your homes, we grow your food; why do you treat us like criminals? We are immigrants, offering much for very little.''

In the prayer vigil circle, Roy Goodman said when he hears that a migrant has died in the desert at the border, he thinks of the person's mother and the dreams she once had for her child. Some families never know how or where their children died. Some migrants traveling on foot are abandoned in the desert.

''If you don't keep up, you die,'' Goodman said.

No More Deaths volunteer Shanti Sellz, 23, attended the vigil. Sellz was arrested with Daniel Strauss, 24, by the U.S. Border Patrol on July 9, 2005, for transporting three migrants in the desert to Tucson for emergency medical treatment. Emil Hidalgo-Solis, among the three migrants who were also arrested, was vomiting with bloody diarrhea and collapsed in a ditch.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are urging that charges be dismissed against Sellz and Strauss, now facing up to 15 years in prison for rendering aid in the case now in federal court.

Isabel Garcia, attorney and co-chair of Derechos Humanos (Human Rights), told those gathered at the No More Deaths vigil that immigrant labor has served the United States. While U.S. dollars are poured into agents and weapons, Garcia said residents along the border see little benefit from such congressional allocations.

In Tucson, where there is a long history of the Sanctuary Movement and other humanitarian movements aiding indigenous victims of torture and those fleeing political and religious persecution in their own countries, the anti-immigration legislation protests continue.

Opposing H.R. 4437, Derechos Humanos volunteers pointed out that the bill would make every immigration violation a federal crime. The new crime of ''illegal presence'' would become an ''aggravated felony'' and bar ordinary undocumented immigrants (including those with pending applications for relief) from many forms of discretionary relief and greatly restricts judicial review.

''Smuggling,'' defined in section 202, could criminalize the work of churches or refugee organizations acting in good faith. Harboring or helping anyone who is illegally present would be made a crime. An asylum-seeker with a valid claim may be illegally present for some period, which would make it a crime for churches or refugee organizations to try to help them, according to Derechos Humanos.

© 1998 - 2006 Indian Country Today
From URL: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412795


Hero or criminal?

by Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today
April 03, 2006

O'odham man works to save lives

BABOQUIVARI DISTRICT, Ariz. - Tohono O'odham Mike Wilson's truck is loaded with water - plastic gallons and huge jugs of it. Wilson is delivering water alone, as he has been doing for the past five years, for dehydrated migrants that he will likely never see - migrants crossing the desert on foot on Tohono O'odham tribal land and struggling to survive.

Along this stretch, in the valleys of the Tohono O'odham's sacred Baboquivari Mountains, migrants die every summer when temperatures soar up to 118 degrees in the Sonoran Desert.

Overhead, a helicopter marked ''police'' hovers; and within earshot on the dirt road, 17 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border, a group of a dozen migrants, who appear to be young indigenous men and women from the south, are being detained and deported by the U.S. Border Patrol.

''I call the Border Patrol an occupying army on borderlands,'' Wilson said of the Border Patrol agents on tribal land.

Wilson is carrying out his weekly routine, replenishing his water stations in hopes of saving lives. In some areas he leaves gallons of water; in others, there are barrels which he fills. He is not harassed this day, but when he began his humanitarian effort in 2001, he was threatened.

Federal and tribal police officials, non-Indians, demanded that Wilson desist from leaving water in the desert on tribal land or face reprisal from the Tohono O'odham Legislative Council and banishment from the tribe.

Wilson did not back down. Wilson contacted Edward Manuel, then-chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Manuel told him, ''No one can banish you. You are O'odham.''

Still, the moral issue remains. Wilson questioned why the Tohono O'odham Nation has taken no action to prevent the deaths of men, women and children from dehydration.

''We know what oppression is; now the oppressed are the oppressors - that is what bothers me.''

When Wilson was the lay minister of a Presbyterian church on Tohono O'odham tribal land, the church's governing body voted in 2002 to forbid Wilson from leaving water in any of the tribe's 11 districts.

''I left and said, 'I will continue to put out my water.''' Wilson also told them, ''I do not know what you are, but you are not Presbyterians. You had rather let God's children die in the desert than for me to put out water?''

In the beginning of his effort, Wilson left gallon containers along washes, the well-traveled routes of migrants, and under bridges. At first, he spent about eight hours pushing the gallons of water in a wheelbarrow to select spots on migrant footpaths. Now, with the paths worn, he drives past the stiff thorns and prickly cactus that scrape his truck. It takes half a day now for him to replenish his water stations.

Wilson doesn't see those who benefit. ''The reality is they would rather not see anyone, and that is fine with me.''

Some, however, he does see: like the 7-year-old girl who was so badly dehydrated that she was passing blood through her kidneys. ''The mother and daughter could not keep up, so the coyote abandoned them out there,'' Wilson said, using the term for those who lead migrants across the border for profit.

The girl lived, but others were not so lucky.

Wilson was cast in the spotlight this year at the Sundance Film Festival during the screening of the new documentary ''Crossing Arizona,'' which includes his efforts. During the festival, he answered questions and was featured in the national media. So far, harassment has not increased for him locally, he said.

In fact, Wilson said, it is the media that saves him from law enforcement pressure and makes it possible for him to continue putting out water: ''It is the only thing that saves my butt.''

Wilson said his water containers have been confiscated.

''It is a crime against humanity,'' Wilson said of the seizure of water containers that could save lives, including those of children and elderly. ''This is not vandalism; it is sacrilege. Confiscating life-saving water is a sacrilege.''

Delivering water alone in the remote desert, which is heavily militarized with aircraft and patrolled by agents in vans, trucks and on horseback, Wilson does not have the option of allowing intimidation.

Wilson is retired from the Special Forces in the U.S. Army. As Wilson drove across the desert, he halted and turned his attention to his water station. All of the 50 gallons of water he left the previous week were gone without a trace. ''I think they have been confiscated.''

There are no signs of the ''slasher,'' the unknown person who slices the water gallons with a knife to let the water drain out. The slasher began when Wilson began his efforts.

''My water stations are positioned to minimize migrant deaths,'' Wilson said.

The drought in the Southwest is obvious here. Somehow, bees have made it into the sealed blue barrels marked ''agua'' and must be flushed out. There is another sign of drought: animals have been chewing on the barrel spigots.

''It is a sign of drought. The small animals have been gnawing on the faucet, and I haven't seen that before.''

As Wilson delivered water, overhead a helicopter bearing the word ''police'' hovered and then left. Apparently Wilson is easy to identify now as an O'odham and he is not harassed. Agents in trucks and on horseback pass by. One uniformed Border Patrol agent with blond hair drove by in an old pickup truck, obviously undercover.

Wilson, a high school teacher at a downtown charter school in Tucson, is teaching Spanish this year. Still, each week he delivers hundreds of gallons of water, repairs spigots, fills the barrels, picks up trash and drives back to Tucson.

When Wilson's water containers were all emptied and the gallon jugs delivered, he stopped along the dirt road to pick up trash. It is the third week of March, and he has already put out 800 gallons of water this month alone. The temperature is nearing the 90s and soon the water could be the difference between life and death for migrants.

Meanwhile, all day federal agents search out, detain and deport migrants. The misery on the agents' faces reveals their job satisfaction.

Wilson, however, smiled. He is at peace. When asked what discourages him, he replied that he is not discouraged.

''I've come to realize I can do just so much. Once I put the water out, I can't control what happens. I do what I can. If it helps one person, then it is worth it.

''It feels good,'' he said as he left the water stations on tribal land. Pointing in the distance 20 miles to the north, he motioned toward the next water station for migrants in the distant mountains. With summer heat soaring to 118 degrees in July and August, the Humane Borders water station off tribal land is nearly 40 miles north of the border. Many migrants do not even know it exists.

© 1998 - 2006 Indian Country Today
From URL: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412756


This explains it…
8 March 2006

From my erstwhile daddy-in-law, comes this missive/poem that I did not write but thought was funny.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him,
a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him,
a good guy when Cheney did business with him
and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist,
but trade with China and Vietnam is vital
to a spirit of international harmony.
(…..and good business)

A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own
body, but multinational corporations can make
decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you and shares your hatred of
homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise
the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’
benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools,
adolescents won’t have sex.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy.
Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMO’s and insurance companies have the best interests
of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk
science but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair
is an impeachable offense.
A president lying to enlist support for a war
in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in
the Constitution,which include banning gay marriages
and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades,
but George Bush’s cocaine conviction is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime,
unless you’re a conservative radio host.
Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960’s is of vital
national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80’s is irrelevant.
From URL: http://sue.polinsky.com/?p=1686


Killing Women & Children:
The “My Lai Phase”
Of The Iraq War

By Mike Whitney

03/20/06 "ICH"
-- -- What goes through George Bush’s mind when he sees the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children loaded on the back of a pickup truck like garbage? Is there ever a flicker of remorse; a split-second when he fully grasps the magnitude of the horror he has created? March 15 was another defining moment in America’s downward moral-spiral in Iraq. Eleven members of an Iraqi family were killed in a wanton act of slaughter executed by American occupiers. Photos taken at the scene show the lifeless bodies of young children, barely old enough to walk, lying motionless in the back of a flatbed truck while their fathers moan inconsolably at their side. What parent can look at these photographs and not be consumed with rage? The US military openly admits it attacked the house in Ishaqi where the incident took place. Reuters reports that, “Major Ali Ahmed of the Ishaqi police said US forces landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including five children.” “After they left the house they blew it up”, he said. “The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed,” (policeman) Hussein said. Police had found spent American issue cartridges in the rubble.” (Reuters) The autopsy report at the Tikrit hospital said, “All the victims had gunshot wounds to the head”. Iraqi policeman Farouq Hussein noted, “It is a clear and perfect crime without any doubt”. The evidence provided by Reuters suggests that we have entered the “My Lai phase” of the Iraq war, where the pretensions about democracy and liberation are stripped-away and replaced with the gratuitous butchery of women and children. The carnage in Ishaqi illustrates the growing recklessness and desperation of Washington’s failed crusade. Military spokesman Major Tim O’ Keefe justified the attack saying they were searching for “a foreign fighter facilitator” for Al Qaida in Iraq. He added, “Troops were engaged by enemy fire as they approached the building. Coalition Forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets….Two women and one child were killed. The building was destroyed.” In fact, 11 women and children were killed and there’s no evidence to verify that the house was being used as an Al Qaida safe-house. The US military made similar claims after bombing raids in January and December when a total of 17 family members were killed. The grim fact is that is that the lives of Iraqi women and children are of no real consequence to US officials. As General Tommy Franks boasted, “We don’t do body counts”. The victims of American aggression are simply dismissed as collateral damage undeserving of any further acknowledgement. The story has received scant attention in the establishment media, which prefers to highlight the stumbling oratory of our Dear Leader as he reaffirms our commitment to western “pro-life” values. In truth, George Bush is as responsible for the deaths of those children as if he had put a gun to their heads himself and shot them one by one. At present, we have no way of knowing how frequently these attacks on civilians are taking place. The Pentagon strategy of removing independent journalists from the battlefield has created a news-vacuum that makes it impossible to know with confidence the extent of the casualties or the level of the devastation. The few incidents like this that find their way into the mainstream create a troubling picture of military adventurism and brutality that is no longer anchored to any identifiable moral principle or vision of resolution. It is simply violence randomly dispersed on a massive scale; traumatizing the Iraqi people and bringing the United States into greater disrepute. There were no Al Qaida fighters in the home in Ishaqi. The attack was just another lethal blunder by a blinkered military fighting an invisible enemy. “The killed family was not part of the resistance; they were women and children,” said Ahmed Khalaf. “The Americans promised us a better life, but we only get death.”
URL: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12404.htm#one


will(2)(wil)v., pt. would an auxiliary used:1.to express simple futurity 2.in formal speech, to express determination, obligation, etc. in the first person and futurity in
the second and third persons 3.to express:a) willingness [will you go?] b)ability or capacity [it will hold a pint]-vt.,vi.to wish; desire [do as you will]

"The Will of the People"

Are We ...
"A government of the People,
by the People,
for the People ...?!...
Or Rather..." A government of the rich, special lobbys,
military-industrial co-operations and elitist profiteers
of the plan-it!"
These thieves are raping Our Mother Earth
and the on-going theft of Her wealth.
While they feed us all a die-it of self-fish systems.
Just another cult of the rat-race?
Maximize the profit for the short term, knee-jerk, miss-guided,
clones, fools,and all the droids...
whose only goal is the golden cow!
Welcome to the New World Oder of controllers
and exploitation specialists.
They'll greet You at the door of the church of greed
and offer You a host
of the flesh of Our Mother Nature
and a chalice of petro-salvation -
Her blood.
Drink up Your future ancestors...
radiating the Planet with the power
and glory of the bar-code.
Our legs are bound by restrictions;
as to Balance with our Environment!
Our hands are tied by courts and laws;
written to bind Our Freedom of movement
both without and within!...
Our hearts are torn out to sacrifice at the altar
that feeds Us into the machinery
of Our common destruction.
We cry out at the loss of the country lands of Our birth,
awakening to dreams end.
Our heads are clouded;
as We suffocate in the stench of perversion
away from Common Truth.
Our Inner Spirit is not blind
nor tricked by the demons
wearing the masks of delusions.
They want Us, yet do not care for Us!
This will all fade into Nothing...
as the Light In Us All Is Lit!
We are All One People,
One Mind,
One Heart.
Look InSide for Sight...
and You Will Hear Truth!
The Moon Reveals; the Light of Wisdom
to dis-spell the darkness that bind Our progress...
the Light has come in Peace.
We are many People...
held together by a Common Link...
The Love Lines of One Heart, One Aim, One Destiny.

May The Great Spirit Bliss You All
Sun-Rise Ceremony
Alcatraz Island...On Liberated Native American Land!
UnThanksGiving...28 November 1991
nobody from nowhere doin' nuthin'
a.k.a. your own self


Rhode Island Legalizes
Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island has legalized medical marijuana, the first state to do so since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2005 that patients who use marijuana can still be prosecuted under federal law.

The new Rhode Island law permits patients with illnesses such as AIDS and cancer to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana to ease their symptoms. Patients who use medical marijuana are required to register with the state and obtain an identification card, the Associated Press reported.

Other states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

In passing the new law on Tuesday, the Rhode Island House voted 59-13 to override a veto by Gov. Don Carcieri. He complained that the law doesn't provide patients with ways to buy marijuana legally and leaves them open to federal prosecution, the AP reported.

While the Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana users can be prosecuted under U.S. law, federal authorities say it's unlikely that many will actually be charged.
URL: http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2006/01/04/hscout530026.html


George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably
by John W. Dean
from: FindLaw.com
December 30, 2005

Both claimed that a president may violate Congress's laws to protect national security

On Friday, December 16, the New York Times published a major scoop by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau: They reported that Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans without warrants, ignoring the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

It was a long story loaded with astonishing information of lawbreaking at the White House. It reported that sometime in 2002, Bush issued an executive order authorizing NSA to track and intercept international telephone and/or email exchanges coming into, or out of, the U.S. - when one party was believed to have direct or indirect ties with al Qaeda.

Initially, Bush and the White House stonewalled, neither confirming nor denying the president had ignored the law. Bush refused to discuss it in his interview with Jim Lehrer.

Then, on Saturday, December 17, in his radio broadcast, Bush admitted that the New York Times was correct - and thus conceded he had committed an impeachable offense.

There can be no serious question that warrantless wiretapping, in violation of the law, is impeachable. After all, Nixon was charged in Article II of his bill of impeachment with illegal wiretapping for what he, too, claimed were national security reasons.

These parallel violations underscore the continuing, disturbing parallels between this Administration and the Nixon Administration - parallels I also discussed in a prior column.

Indeed, here, Bush may have outdone Nixon: Nixon's illegal surveillance was limited; Bush's, it is developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope. First reports indicated that NSA was only monitoring foreign calls, originating either in the USA or abroad, and that no more than 500 calls were being covered at any given time. But later reports have suggested that NSA is "data mining" literally millions of calls - and has been given access by the telecommunications companies to "switching" stations through which foreign communications traffic flows.

In sum, this is big-time, Big Brother electronic surveillance.

Given the national security implications of the story, the Times said they had been sitting on it for a year. And now that it has broken, Bush has ordered a criminal investigation into the source of the leak. He suggests that those who might have felt confidence they would not be spied on, now can have no such confidence, so they may find other methods of communicating. Other than encryption and code, it is difficult to envision how.

Such a criminal investigation is rather ironic - for the leak's effect was to reveal Bush's own offense. Having been ferreted out as a criminal, Bush now will try to ferret out the leakers who revealed him.

Nixon's Wiretapping - and the Congressional Action That Followed

Through the FBI, Nixon had wiretapped five members of his national security staff, two newsmen, and a staffer at the Department of Defense. These people were targeted because Nixon's plans for dealing with Vietnam - we were at war at the time - were ending up on the front page of the New York Times.

Nixon had a plausible national security justification for the wiretaps: To stop the leaks, which had meant that not only the public, but America's enemies, were privy to its plans. But the use of the information from the wiretaps went far beyond that justification: A few juicy tidbits were used for political purposes. Accordingly, Congress believed the wiretapping, combined with the misuse of the information it had gathered, to be an impeachable offense.

Following Nixon's resignation, Senator Frank Church chaired a committee that investigated the uses and abuses of the intelligence derived from the wiretaps. From his report on electronic surveillance, emerged the proposal to create the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Act both set limits on electronic surveillance, and created a secret court within the Department of Justice - the FISA Court - that could, within these limits, grant law enforcement's requests to engage in electronic surveillance.

The legislative history of FISA makes it very clear that Congress sought to create laws to govern the uses of warrantless wiretaps. Thus, Bush's authorization of wiretapping without any application to the FISA Court violated the law.

Whether to Allow Such Wiretaps Was Congress's Call to Make

No one questions the ends here. No one doubts another terror attack is coming; it is only a question of when. No one questions the preeminent importance of detecting and preventing such an attack.

What is at issue here, instead, is Bush's means of achieving his ends: his decision not only to bypass Congress, but to violate the law it had already established in this area.

Congress is Republican-controlled. Polling shows that a large majority of Americans are willing to give up their civil liberties to prevent another terror attack. The USA Patriot Act passed with overwhelming support. So why didn't the President simply ask Congress for the authority he thought he needed?

The answer seems to be, quite simply, that Vice President Dick Cheney has never recovered from being President Ford's chief of staff when Congress placed checks on the presidency. And Cheney wanted to make the point that he thought it was within a president's power to ignore Congress' laws relating to the exercise of executive power. Bush has gone along with all such Cheney plans.

No president before Bush has taken as aggressive a posture - the position that his powers as commander-in-chief, under Article II of the Constitution, license any action he may take in the name of national security - although Richard Nixon, my former boss, took a similar position.

Presidential Powers Regarding National Security: A Nixonian View

Nixon famously claimed, after resigning from office, that when the president undertook an action in the name of national security, even if he broke the law, it was not illegal.

Nixon's thinking (and he was learned in the law) relied on the precedent established by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Nixon, quoting Lincoln, said in an interview, "Actions which otherwise would be unconstitutional, could become lawful if undertaken for the purpose of preserving the Constitution and the Nation."

David Frost, the interviewer, immediately countered by pointing out that the anti-war demonstrators upon whom Nixon focused illegal surveillance, were hardly the equivalent of the rebel South. Nixon responded, "This nation was torn apart in an ideological way by the war in Vietnam, as much as the Civil War tore apart the nation when Lincoln was president." It was a weak rejoinder, but the best he had.

Nixon took the same stance when he responded to interrogatories proffered by the Senate Select Committee on Government Operations To Study Intelligence Operations (best know as the "Church Committee," after its chairman Senator Frank Church). In particular, he told the committee, "In 1969, during my Administration, warrantless wiretapping, even by the government, was unlawful, but if undertaken because of a presidential determination that it was in the interest of national security was lawful. Support for the legality of such action is found, for example, in the concurring opinion of Justice White in Katz v. United States." (Katz is the opinion that established that a wiretap constitutes a "search and seizure" under the Fourth Amendment, just as surely as a search of one's living room does - and thus that the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirements apply to wiretapping.)

Nixon rather presciently anticipated - and provided a rationalization for - Bush: He wrote, "there have been - and will be in the future - circumstances in which presidents may lawfully authorize actions in the interest of security of this country, which if undertaken by other persons, even by the president under different circumstances, would be illegal."

Even if we accept Nixon's logic for purposes of argument, were the circumstances that faced Bush the kind of "circumstances" that justify warrantless wiretapping? I believe the answer is no.

Is Bush's Unauthorized Surveillance Action Justified? Not Persuasively

Had Bush issued his Executive Order on September 12, 2001, as a temporary measure - pending his seeking Congress approval - those circumstances might have supported his call.

Or, had a particularly serious threat of attack compelled Bush to authorize warrantless wiretapping in a particular investigation, before he had time to go to Congress, that too might have been justifiable.

But several years have passed since the broad 2002 Executive Order, and in all that time, Bush has refused to seek legal authority for his action. Yet he can hardly miss the fact that Congress has clearly set rules for presidents in the very situation in which he insists on defying the law.

Bush has given one legal explanation for his actions which borders on the laughable: He claims that implicit in Congress' authorization of his use of force against the Taliban in Afghanistan, following the 9/11 attack, was an exemption from FISA.

No sane member of Congress believes that the Authorization of Military Force provided such an authorization. No first year law student would mistakenly make such a claim. It is not merely a stretch; it is ludicrous.

But the core of Bush's defense is to rely on the very argument made by Nixon: that the president is merely exercising his "commander-in-chief" power under Article II of the Constitution. This, too, is a dubious argument. Its author, John Yoo, is a bright, but inexperienced and highly partisan young professor at Boalt Law School, who has been in and out of government service.

To see the holes and fallacies in Yoo's work - embodied in a recently published book - one need only consult the analysis of Georgetown University School of Law professor David Cole in the New York Review of Books. Cole has been plowing this field of the law for many years, and digs much deeper than Yoo.

Since I find Professor Yoo's legal thinking bordering on fantasy, I was delighted that Professor Cole closed his real-world analysis on a very realistic note: "Michael Ignatieff has written that 'it is the very nature of a democracy that it not only does, but should, fight with one hand tied behind its back. It is also in the nature of democracy that it prevails against its enemies precisely because it does.' Yoo persuaded the Bush administration to untie its hand and abandon the constraints of the rule of law. Perhaps that is why we are not prevailing."

To which I can only add, and recommend, the troubling report by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, who are experts in terrorism and former members of President Clinton's National Security Council. They write in their new book The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting It Right, that the Bush Administration has utterly failed to close the venerable loopholes available to terrorist to wreak havoc. The war in Iraq is not addressing terrorism; rather, it is creating terrorists, and diverting money from the protection of American interests.

Bush's unauthorized surveillance, in particular, seems very likely to be ineffective. According to experts with whom I have spoken, Bush's approach is like hunting for the proverbial needle in the haystack. As sophisticated as NSA's data mining equipment may be, it cannot, for example, crack codes it does not recognize. So the terrorist communicating in code may escape detection, even if data mining does reach him.

In short, Bush is hoping to get lucky. Such a gamble seems a slim pretext for acting in such blatant violation of Congress' law. In acting here without Congressional approval, Bush has underlined that his Presidency is unchecked - in his and his attorneys' view, utterly beyond the law. Now that he has turned the truly awesome powers of the NSA on Americans, what asserted powers will Bush use next? And when - if ever - will we - and Congress - discover that he is using them?
John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.
URL: http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/dean/20051230.html
EDITORS NOTE: Special thanks to Ken Norton with http://www.commonsenselaw.com/


Upholding peace

Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalize War

by Najmuddin Najib
December 18, 2005
From: Malay Mail online

The four-day Perdana Global Peace Forum 2005 concluded yesterday, with a declaration from the participants to strive for the pursuit of peace worldwide.

The declaration, “Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalise War”, was drafted by the 12-member committee, made up of the forum’s speakers.

It was announced by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after summing up the event’s proceedings at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur.

He later handed over the declaration to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Among others, the declaration called for the international law to recognise killings in war as a criminal act.

“Since killings in peace time are subjected to domestic law of crime, killings in war must likewise be subjected to international law of crimes,” said Dr Mahathir.

“This should be done irrespective of whether these killings in war are authorised or permitted by domestic law,” he said.

The declaration also called for the outlawing of activities which are seen as aiding war activities.

“All commercial, financial, industrial and scientific activities that aid and abet war should be criminalised,” said the former Prime Minister.

Among the other points in the declaration are:

* All national leaders who initiate aggression must be subjected to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court;

* All nations must strengthen the resolve to accept the purposes and principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter and institute methods to settle international disputes by peaceful means and to renounce war;

* Armed force shall not be used except when authorised by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of the total membership of the UN general assembly;

* All legislators and all members of the government must affirm their belief in peace and pledge to strive for peace;

* Political parties worldwide must include peace as one of their principal objectives;

* Non-governmental organisations committed to promoting peace should be set up in all nations;

* Public servants and professionals particularly in the medical, legal, educational and scientific fields must promote peace and campaign actively against war;

* The media must actively oppose war and the incitement to war, and consciously promote the peaceful settlement of international disputes;

* Entertainment media must cease to glorify war and violence, and should instead cultivate the ethos of peace; and

* All religious leaders must condemn war and promote peace.

Dr Mahahtir said a permanent secretariat will be established to implement the declaration’s goals.
URL: http://www.mmail.com.my/Current_News/MM/Sunday/National/20051218120316/Article/index_html


Why Must Congress Nazify America?
by Ted Lang
December 16, 2005

Why is the Nazification and conversion of our former republic to full blown fascism so important to GOP "republican," Congressman James Sensenbrenner? It was he who chaired and then stormed out of a meeting convened to debate the "merits" of the Hitlerian USA PATRIOT Act. Didn't his tyrannical act deliberately prevent debate in order to ram this godammed fascist legislation down Americans' throats? Obviously, just like his fascist leader, G. Bush, he sees the Constitution as "just a godammed piece of paper" and this wonderful police state authorization as manna from heaven! Gott Mitt Uns Komrade Sensenbrenner! Heil Bush!

Standing with neo-Nazi Sensenbrenner at the PATRIOT press conference, was fascist Francisco Franco wannabe, Alberto Gonzales, who clearly obtained his shyster-at-law diploma as a surprise from a box of Crackerjacks. My apology for this analogy citing Crackerjacks ­ I intend no aspersion to that wonderful product. Franco, I mean Gonzales, is the neo-Nazi crackpot who created the word puzzle allowing United States laws, international treaties, and international agreements to be unilaterally suspended. They were agreed upon intending compassion, humanitarianism and moral guidance for application during those times of inhumanity termed "war." Who elected this Nazi moron? We are now the most targeted and hated nation on planet Earth, thanks to Bush, Sensenbrenner, Cheney, crackpot Gonzales, the Israeli Pentagon, and the entire godammed Nazi GOP! Heil Sensenbrenner!

Und Unser Fuhrer, Herr Bush, needs das PATRIOT Act zo alle die Welt can be enrolled! "Ver ze hell are your godammed papers, Komrade Citizen?!"

"Und bitte, remember please zu turns in alle godammed firearms und Knurers zu de local Polizei precinct, ja? Ameika uber alles! Heil Feinstein und Schumer!"

Why did we declare independence and assemble a ragtag army of sorry-assed farmers defying our mother country Britain? Why did we defy King George III if we now worship and obey King George II? Aren't we going backwards? Why did we fight Hitler, and then use his 1938 Gun Control Act and to create our 1968 Gun Control Act through the efforts of the late Senator Thomas Dodd? Why does Congress hate America and Americans so much? What did we ever do to them?

It is becoming increasingly evident that the Bush regime has a clearly defined set of political objectives for our former free and independent republic. In fact, the regime's step-by-step Nazification of America is so effectively and rapidly being deployed, it actually surpasses the speed and precision employed by Adolf Hitler.

Reflecting upon this brings into focus as well the fact that Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was indeed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party's banker and financial advisor. The patriarch of the Bush family established its wealth in 1951 when Congress purportedly began bringing pressure through its Trading with the Enemies Act, causing Prescott to withdraw $ 1.5 million from Union Banking. This launched the Bush/CIA Empire. And Bush II's Skull and Bones satanic connection coincidentally aligns with Hitler's membership in the Thule Society. Sure, all "coincidences" ­ Not!

Once we begin aligning these coincidences, why not go the whole route?! Go ahead ­ make my day! What event fits in perfectly with the Reichstag fire used by Hitler and Goering to launch Nazi tyranny? If it isn't "9-11," then what is it? The more I examine the Nazi efficiency of the criminal Bush regime, the more I am convinced that 9-11 was indeed an "inside job."

How could our domestic Air Traffic Control radar system AND our NORAD radar system BOTH have been down and not detect FOUR incoming bogies with no identification for those blips due to turned-off transponders? What of Cheney's barking at an aide when informed that one bogey was only thirty miles out on that morning? The aide asked: "Is the drill still on, or has it been called off?" Cheney angrily replied: "Did anyone tell you it was off?"

And what of the MOSSAD agents captured on New Jersey's Route 3 by the Bergen County Police and documented in the Bergen Record that day? Why did "our" Department of Justice quietly release them and then send them back to Israel? Traces of explosives found in their van pointed to involvement in the controlled "implosion" demolition of both WTC towers AND Building 7, confirming suspicions of an inside job similar to the Reichstag hoax.

Why aren't members of Congress asking these questions? If someone of political stature conjured up true patriotism and loyalty for America, perhaps we could all really enjoy a refreshing repeat of good history: The Nuremburg Trials!

© 2005-6 THEODORE E. LANG All rights reserved
Ted Lang is a political analyst and freelance writer.


Post Thanksgiving thoughts
from Leonard Peltier

Aho my relations,

I again write to you on this day of mourning as I approach the end of
3O years of deprived freedom. I am here to appease a vengeful
government that has come onto our lands, committed genocide and
continues to rob us of our history and culture while giving away our
land, murdering, and torturing our people.

I am held here because of the corruption of two countries (Canada and the United States) which illegally extradited me, and which led to an illegal conviction and imprisonment. Despite the incessant claims of this being a country of laws and an example to the world of justice, freedom, and democracy, it is obvious that this Government protects whoever it wants, and imprisons and kills whoever it wants.

My imprisonment is one key example of what lengths this Government
will go to in order to achieve its goal of repressing indigenous
dissent. The United States Government continually seeks to imprison
all indigenous peoples on our land. The US Government has been
increasing its oppressive and tyrannical tactics. All peoples rights
are being eroded and fears are heightened as a tool to keep the war
machine alive and increase the destruction of Mother Earth. Innocent
people are dying, not only in this country, but all over the world in
the name of "democracy and freedom."

My elders before me said, and I tell you now, "The earth does not
belong to us, we belong to the earth." And I want to say, this earth
belongs to Tunkashala, the creator of all that is. There has already
started a time of great cleansing upon the earth and this Government
has begun to crumble. The fabric of the constitution is soiled and

We as human beings can give thanks or mourn, but if all that happens
is no more than lip service, very little will happen to correct
things. In the traditions of my native people we barely had words of
thanks. It was something that was shown by action of giving or doing.
We all breath the same air, are made of the same earth, and drink of
the same water. We are all more relative than we sometimes
acknowledge. We need to do more than just what is right. We need to
join together and right what is wrong.

It is time we all unite to stop the ma! dness threatening the whole
planet, and stand together with those who go beyond words and deliver
on the promise of freedom and justice, and against those guided by
greed, arrogance, and prejudice. Stay true, work in unity, confront
the traitors, don't be afraid, and don't let our struggle die. And
finally, I mourn the loss of so many of our relatives over the past
year and especially my brother Steve Robideau. I appreciate you each
and every one. Now, please organize and set out to correct the wrongs
so that this day of mourning will become a relic of the past.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier Mitakuye Oyasin

posted by Leonard @ 8:04 PM, Nov. 24, 2005 http://www.leonardpeltier.org/

Special Thanks to Ken Norton of


by James W. Loewen

Over the last few years, I have asked hundreds of college students, "When was the country we now know as the United States first settled?"

That is a generous way of putting the question. Surely "we now know as" implies that the original settlement happened before the United States. I had hoped that students would suggest 30,000 BC, or some
other pre-Columbian date. They did not. Their consensus answer was "1620."

Part of the problem is the word "settle." "Settlers" were white. Indians did not settle. Nor are students the only people misled by "settle." One recent Thanksgiving weekend, I listened as a guide at
the Statue of Liberty told about European immigrants "populating a
wild East Coast." As we shall see, however, if Indians had not
already settled New England, Europeans would have had a much tougher
job of it.

Starting with the Pilgrims not only leaves out the Indians, but also
the Spanish. In the summer of 1526 five hundred Spaniards and one
hundred black slaves founded a town near the mouth of the Pedee River
in what is now South Carolina. Disease and disputes with nearby
Indians caused many deaths. Finally, in November the slaves rebelled,
killed some of their masters, and escaped to the the Indians. By now
only 150 Spaniards survived, and they evacuated back to Haiti. The
ex-slaves remained behind. So the first non-Native settlers in "the
country we now know as the United States" were Africans.

The Spanish continued their settling in 1565, when they massacred a
settlement of French Protestants at St. Augustine, Florida, and
replaced it with their own fort. Some Spanish were pilgrims, seeking
regions new to them to secure religious liberty: these were Spanish
Jews, who settled in New Mexico in the late 1500s. Few Americans know
that one third of the United States, from San Francisco to Arkansas
to Natchez to Florida, has been Spanish longer than it has been
"American." Moreover, Spanish culture left an indelible impact on the
West. The Spanish introduced horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and the
basic elements of cowboy culture, including its vocabulary: mustang,
bronco, rodeo, lariat, and so on.

Beginning with 1620 also omits the Dutch, who were living in what is
now Albany by 1614. Indeed, 1620 is not even the date of the first
permanent British settlement, for in 1607, the London Company sent
settlers to Jamestown, Virginia. No matter. The mythic origin of "the
country we now know as the United States" is at Plymouth Rock, and
the year is 1620. My students are not at fault. The myth is what
their textbooks and their culture have offered them. I examined how
twelve textbooks used in high school American history classes teach
Thanksgiving. Here is the version in one high school history book,

After some exploring, the Pilgrims chose the land around Plymouth
Harbor for their settlement. Unfortunately, they had arrived in
December and were not prepared for the New England winter. However,
they were aided by friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed
them how to grow corn. When warm weather came, the colonists planted,
fished, hunted, and prepared themselves for the next winter. After
harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated
the first Thanksgiving.

My students also learned that the Pilgrims were persecuted in England
for their religion, so they moved to Holland. They sailed on the
Mayflower to America and wrote the Mayflower Compact. Times were
rough, until they met Squanto. He taught them how to put fish in each
corn hill, so they had a bountiful harvest.

But when I ask them about the plague, they stare back at me. "What
plague? The Black Plague?" No, that was three centuries earlier, I


The Black Plague does provide a useful introduction, however. Black
(or bubonic) Plague "was undoubtedly the worst disaster that has ever
befallen mankind." In three years it killed 30 percent of the
population of Europe. Catastrophic as it was, the disease itself
comprised only part of the horror. Thinking the day of judgment was
imminent, farmers failed to plant crops. Many people gave themselves
over to alcohol. Civil and economic disruption may have caused as
much death as the disease itself.

For a variety of reasons --- their probable migration through
cleansing Alaskan ice fields, better hygiene, no livestock or
livestock-borne microbes --- Americans were in Howard Simpson's
assessment "a remarkable healthy race" before Columbus. Ironically,
their very health now proved their undoing, for they had built up no
resistance, genetically or through childhood diseases, to the
microbes Europeans and Africans now brought them. In 1617, just
before the Pilgrims landed, the process started in southern New
England. A plague struck that made the Black Death pale by comparison.

Today we think it was the bubonic plague, although pox and influenza
are also candidates. British fishermen had been fishing off
Massachusetts for decades before the Pilgrims landed. After filling
their hulls with cod, they would set forth on land to get firewood
and fresh water and perhaps capture a few Indians to sell into
slavery in Europe. On one of these expeditions they probably
transmitted the illness to the people they met. Whatever it was,
within three years this plague wiped out between 90 percent and 96
percent of the inhabitants of southern New England. The Indian
societies lay devastated. Only "the twentieth person is scare left
alive," wrote British eyewitness Robert Cushman, describing a death
rate unknown in all previous human experience. Unable to cope with so
many corpses, survivors fled to the next tribe, carrying the
infestation with them, so that Indians died who had never seen a
white person. Simpson tells what the Pilgrims saw:

The summer after the Pilgrims landed, they sent two envoys on a
diplomatic mission to treat with Massasoit, a famous chief encamped
some 40 miles away at what is now Warren, Rhode Island. The envoys
discovered and described a scene of absolute havoc. Villages lay in
ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn
with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died
and none was left to bury them.

During the next fifteen years, additional epidemics, most of which we
know to have been smallpox, struck repeatedly. Europeans caught
smallpox and the other maladies, to be sure, but most recovered,
including, in a later century, the "heavily pockmarked George
Washington." Indians usually died. Therefore, almost as profound as
their effect on Indian demographics was the impact of the epidemics
on the two cultures, European and Indian. The English Separatists,
already seeing their lives as part of a divinely inspired morality
play, inferred that they had God on their side. John Winthrop,
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague "miraculous."
To a friend in England in 1634, he wrote:

But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for
300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the small
pox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared
our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in
all not fifty, have put themselves under our protect....

Many Indians likewise inferred that their God had abandoned them.
Cushman, our British eyewitness, reported that "those that are left,
have their courage much abated, and their countenance is dejected,
and they seem as a people affrighted." After all, neither they nor
the Pilgrims had access to the germ theory of disease. Indian healers
offered no cure, their religion no explanation. That of the whites
did. Like the Europeans three centuries before them, many Indians
surrendered to alcohol or began to listen to Christianity.

These epidemics constituted perhaps the most important single
geopolitical event of the first third of the 1600s, anywhere on the
planet. They meant that the British would face no real Indian
challenge for their first fifty years in America. Indeed, the plague
helped cause the legendary warm reception Plymouth enjoyed in its
first formative years from the Wampanoags. Massasoit needed to ally
with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages
that he feared the Narragansetts to the west.

Moreover, the New England plagues exemplify a process which antedated
the Pilgrims and endures to this day. In 1492, more than 3,000,000
Indians lived on the island of Haiti. Forty years later, fewer than
300 remained. The earliest Portuguese found that Labrador teemed with
hospitable Indians who could easily be enslaved. It teems no more. In
about 1780, smallpox reduced the Mandan’s of North Dakota from nine
villages to two; then in 1837, a second smallpox epidemic reduced
them from 1600 persons to just 31. The pestilence continues; a fourth
of the Yanomamos of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela died in the
year prior to my writing this sentence.

Europeans were never able to "settle" China, India, Indonesia, Japan,
or most of Africa because too many people already lived there.
Advantages in military and social technology would have enabled
Europeans to dominate the Americas, as they eventually dominated
China and Africa, but not to "settle" the New World. For that, the
plague was required. Thus, except for the European (and African)
invasion itself, the pestilence was surely the most important event
in the history of America.

What do we learn of all this in the twelve histories I studied? Three
offer some treatment of Indian disease as a factor in European
colonization. LIFE AND LIBERTY does quite a good job. AMERICA PAST
AND PRESENT supplies a fine analysis of the general impact of Indian
disease in American history, though it leaves out the plague at
Plymouth. THE AMERICAN WAY is the only text to draw the appropriate
geopolitical inference about the importance of the Plymouth outbreak,
but it never discuses Indian plagues anywhere else. Unfortunately,
the remaining nine books offer almost nothing. Two totally omit the
subject. Each of the other seven furnishes only a fragment of a
paragraph that does not even make it into the index, let alone into
students' minds.

Everyone knew all about the plague in colonial America. Even before
the Mayflower sailed, King James of England gave thanks to "Almighty
God in his great goodness and bounty towards us," for sending "this
wonderful plague among the savages." Today it is no surprise that not
one in a hundred of my college students has ever heard of the plague.
Unless they read LIFE AND LIBERTY or PAST AND PRESENT, no student can
come away from these books thinking of Indians as people who made an
impact on North America, who lived here in considerable numbers, who
settled, in short, and were then killed by disease or arms.


Instead of the plague, our schoolbooks present the story of the
Pilgrims as a heroic myth. Referring to "the little party" in their
"small, storm-battered English vessel," their story line follows
Perry Miller's use of a Puritan sermon title, ERRAND INTO THE
WILDERNESS. AMERICAN ADVENTURES even titles its chapter about British
settlement in North America "Opening the Wilderness." The imagery is
right out of Star Trek: "to go boldly where none dared go before."

The Pilgrims had intended to go to Virginia, where there already was
a British settlement, according to the texts, but "violent storms
blew their ship off course," according to some texts, or else an
"error in navigation" caused them to end up hundreds of miles to the
north. In fact, we are not sure where the Pilgrims planned to go.
According to George Willison, Pilgrim leaders never intended to
settle in Virginia. They had debated the relative merits of Guiana
versus Massachusetts precisely because they wanted to be far from
Anglican control in Virginia. They knew quite a bit about
Massachusetts, from Cape Cod's fine fishing to that "wonderful
plague." They brought with them maps drawn by Samuel Champlain when
he toured the area in 1605 and a guidebook by John Smith, who had
named it "New England" when he visited in 1614. One text, LAND OF
PROMISE, follows Willison, pointing out that Pilgrims numbered only
about thirty-five of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower. The rest
were ordinary folk seeking their fortunes in the new Virginia colony.
"The New England landing came as a rude surprise for the bedraggled
and tired [non-Pilgrim] majority on board the Mayflower," says
Promise. "Rumors of mutiny spread quickly." Promise then ties this
unrest to the Mayflower Compact, giving its readers a uniquely fresh
interpretation as to why the colonists adopted it.

Each text offers just one of three reasons---storm, pilot error, or
managerial hijacking--to explain how the Pilgrims ended up in
Massachusetts. Neither here nor in any other historical controversy
after 1620 can any of the twelve bear to admit that it does not know
the answer---that studying history is not just learning answers--that
history contains debates. Thus each book shuts student shout from the
intellectual excitement of the discipline.

Instead, textbooks parade ethnocentric assertions about the Pilgrims
as a flawless unprecedented band laying the foundations of our
democracy. John Garraty presents the Compact this way in AMERICAN
HISTORY: "So far as any record shows, this was the first time in
human history that a group of people consciously created a government
where none had existed before." Such accounts deny students the
opportunity to see the Pilgrims as anything other than pious


Settlement proceeded, not with God's help but with the Indians'. The
Pilgrims chose Plymouth because of its cleared fields, recently
planted in corn, "and a brook of fresh water [that] flowed into the
harbor," in the words of TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN NATION. It was a
lovely site for a town. Indeed, until the plague, it had been a town.
Everywhere in the hemisphere, Europeans pitched camp right in the
middle of native populations---Cuzco, Mexico City, Natchez, Chicago.
Throughout New England, colonists appropriated Indian cornfields,
which explains why so many town names---Marshfield, Springfield,
Deerfield--end in "field".

Inadvertent Indian assistance started on the Pilgrims' second full
day in Massachusetts. A colonist's journal tells us:

We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the
corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found
some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In
all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was
with God's help that we found this corn, for how else could we have
done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. ...The
next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up.
We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow...We also found bowls
, trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the
prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.

A place "like a grave!"

More help came from a alive Indian, Squanto. Here my students are on
familiar turf, for they have all learned the Squanto legend. LAND OF
PROMISE provides an archetypal account"

Squanto had learned their language, he explained, from English
fishermen who ventured into the New England waters each summer.
Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, squash, and pumpkins.
Would the small band of settlers have survived without Squanto's
help? We cannot say. But by the fall of 1621, colonists and Indians
could sit down to several days of feast and thanksgiving to God
(later celebrated as the first Thanksgiving).

What do the books leave out about Squanto? First, how he learned
English. As a boy, along with four Penobscots, he was probably stolen
by a British captain in about 1605 and taken to England. There he
probably spent nine years, two in the employ of a Plymouth merchant
who later helped finance the Mayflower. At length, the merchant
helped him arrange passage back to Massachusetts. He was to enjoy
home life for less than a year, however. In 1614, a British slave
raider seized him and two dozen fellow Indians and sold them into
slavery in Malaga, Spain. Squanto escaped from slavery, escaped from
Spain, made his way back to England, and in 1619 talked a ship
captain into taking him along on his next trip to Cape Cod.

It happens that Squanto's fabulous odyssey provides a "hook" into the
plague story, a hook that our texts choose to ignore. For now Squanto
walked to his home village, only to make the horrifying discovery
that, in Simpson's words, "he was the sole member of his village
still alive. All the others had perished in the epidemic two years
before." No wonder he throws in his lot with the Pilgrims, who rename
his village "Plymouth!" Now that is a story worth telling! Compare
the pallid account in LAND OF PROMISE. "He had learned their language
from English fishermen." What do we make of books that give us the
unimportant details--Squanto's name, the occupation of his
enslavers--while omitting not only his enslavement, but also the
crucial fact of the plague? This is distortion on a grand scale.

William Bradford praised Squanto for many services, including his
"bring[ing] them to unknown places for their profit." "Their profit"
was the primary reason most Mayflower colonists made the trip. It too
came from the Indians, from the fur trade; Plymouth would never have
paid for itself without it. Europeans had neither the skill nor the
desire to "go boldly where none dared go before.|" They went to the


Should we teach these truths about Thanksgiving? Or, like our
textbooks, should we look the other way? Again quoting LAND OF
PROMISE. "By the fall of 1621, colonists and Indians could sit down
to several days of feast and thanksgiving to God (later celebrated as
the first Thanksgiving)." Throughout the nation, elementary school
children still enact Thanksgiving every fall as our national origin
myth, complete with Pilgrim hats made of construction paper and
Indian braves with feathers in their hair. An early Massachusetts
colonist, Colonel Thomas Aspinwall, advises us not to settle for this
whitewash of feel - good - history.

"It is painful to advert to these things. But our forefathers, though
wise, pious, and sincere, were nevertheless, in respect to Christian
charity, under a cloud; and, in history, truth should be held sacred,
at whatever cost."

Thanksgiving is full of embarrassing facts. The Pilgrims did not
introduce the Native Americans to the tradition; Eastern Indians had
observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Our modern
celebrations date back only to 1863; not until the 1890s did the
Pilgrims get included in the tradition; no one even called them
"Pilgrims" until the 1870s. Plymouth Rock achieved ichnographic
status only in the nineteenth century, when some enterprising
residents of the town moved it down to the water so its significance
as the "holy soil" the Pilgrims first touched might seem more
plausible. The Rock has become a shrine, the Mayflower Compact a
sacred text, and our textbooks play the same function as the Anglican
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, teaching us the rudiments of the civil
religion of Thanksgiving.

Indians are marginalized in this civic ritual. Our archetypal image
of the first Thanksgiving portrays the groaning boards in the woods,
with the Pilgrims in their starched Sunday best and the almost naked
Indian guests. Thanksgiving silliness reaches some sort of zenith in
the handouts that school children have carried home for decades, with
captions like, "They served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash.
The Indians had never seen such a feast!" When his son brought home
this "information" from his New Hampshire elementary school, Native
American novelist Michael Dorris pointed out "the Pilgrims had
literally never seen `such a feast,' since all foods mentioned are
exclusively indigenous to the Americas and had been provided by [or
with the aid of] the local tribe."

I do not read Aspinwall as suggesting a "bash the Pilgrims"
interpretation, emphasizing only the bad parts. I have emphasized
untoward details only because our histories have suppressed
everything awkward for so long. The Pilgrims' courage in setting
forth in the late fall to make their way on a continent new to them
remains unsurpassed. In their first year, like the Indians, they
suffered from diseases. Half of them died. The Pilgrims did not cause
the plague and were as baffled as to its true origin as the stricken
Indian villagers. Pilgrim-Indian relations began reasonably
positively. Thus the antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad
history, but honest and inclusive history. "Knowing the truth about
Thanksgiving, both its proud and its shameful motivations and
history, might well benefit contemporary children," suggests Dorris.
"But the glib retelling of an ethnocentric and self-serving falsehood
does no one any good." Because Thanksgiving has roots in both Anglo
and Native cultures, and because of the interracial cooperation the
first celebration enshrines, Thanksgiving might yet develop into a
holiday that promotes tolerance and understanding. Its emphasis on
Native foods provides a teachable moment, for natives of the Americas
first developed half of the world's food crops. Texts could tell
this--only three even mention Indian foods---and could also relate
other contributions form Indian societies, from sports to political
ideas. The original Thanksgiving itself provides an interesting
example: the Natives and newcomers spent the better part of three
days showing each other their various recreations.

Origin myths do not come cheaply. To glorify the Pilgrims is
dangerous. The genial omissions and false details our texts use to
retail the Pilgrim legend promote Anglo centrism, which only handicaps
us when dealing with all those whose culture is no Anglo. Surely, in
history, "truth should be held sacred, at whatever cost."

© : t r u t h o u t 2001