CIA Director Pompeo Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

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You would think that by the time a person becomes the Director of the CIA, he would have a correct understanding of the Constitution, which is the founding document of the federal government, which the CIA is part of. This should be especially true when the CIA Director is a former member of Congress, a graduate of West Point, and the holder of a law degree from Harvard.

Embarrassingly, such is not the case with CIA Director and former U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo. In a speech delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Pompeo demonstrated a woeful lack of understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment.

Referring to his belief that WikiLeaks official Julian Assange, who is a citizen of Australia, should be indicted and prosecuted by the U.S. government for revealing secrets of the U.S. national-security establishment, Pompeo stated:
Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen.
That is quite an amazing statement. It’s also a misleading and fallacious one.

What Pompeo obviously doesn’t get is that no one, including American citizens, has First Amendment freedoms. There’s a simple reason for that: Freedoms don’t come from the First Amendment. Or to put it another way, the First Amendment doesn’t give anyone, including Americans, any freedoms at all.

People’s freedoms also don’t come from the Constitution. They don’t come from the federal government. They don’t come from the troops, the CIA, or the NSA either.

Freedom comes from nature and from God. Even if the Constitution had never been approved by the American people — that is, even if the federal government had never been called into existence — people would still have their fundamental, natural,God-given rights. That’s because freedom and other natural, God-given rights preexist government and, therefore, exist independently of government.

Thomas Jefferson makes this point clear in the Declaration of Independence when he points out that people are endowed with unalienable rights by nature and God, not by government or by some document that calls government into existence.

There is something else that is important to note here: As Jefferson points out, everyone, not just American citizens, is endowed with these natural, God-given rights, including life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. That includes people who are citizens of other countries. Citizenship has nothing to do rights that are vested in everyone by nature and God.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, that includes Julian Assange. His freedom does not come from the Constitution or the First Amendment or by the Australian government. His freedom comes from the same source that your freedom and my freedom come from — from nature and from God.

So, what is the purpose of government? Jefferson makes it clear: Government’s job is to protect the exercise of natural or God-given rights, including liberty.

What about the First Amendment? If its purpose is not to give people rights, including freedom, what is its purpose?

The purpose of the First Amendment, in part, is to protect the preexisting, natural, God-given freedom of people to publish whatever they want, including the dark, illegal, illicit, immoral, and evil secrets of the federal government, including such dark-side, totalitarian-like nefarious activities as assassination, murder, disappearances, coups, torture, abuse, partnerships with dictators, rendition, kidnapping, illegal surveillance, rendition, destruction of incriminatory evidence, illegal invasions and wars of aggression, and secret prison facilities.

That’s what Pompeo and others of his ilk just don’t get: The purpose of the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights is to protect people from federal officials like him — officials who are hell-bent on destroying our lives, freedom, and prosperity, and well-being, all in the name of “keeping us safe” or protecting “national security.”

Our ancestors were wise people. They knew that the federal government would inevitably attract people like Pompeo. That’s why the Constitution brought into existence a government of extremely limited powers rather than a general power that would enable federal officials like Pompeo to just do the “right” thing.

That’s also why the Constitution didn’t empower the federal government to have a CIA, NSA, and standing army. Our ancestors knew that a national-security establishment would inevitably end up destroying people’s freedom in the name of “keeping them safe” and that it would inevitably try to punish people for publicizing and opposing its destruction of liberty.

That’s why our ancestors demanded the enactment of the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights as a condition for approving the Constitution. They wanted to protect people’s fundamental rights and liberties from federal officials like Pompeo, who they knew would be the biggest threats to people’s fundamental, natural, God-given rights and freedoms.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Comment by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the investigation launched by France into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun

A report by the French intelligence services containing France's conclusions about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province, Syria, has been released in Paris. France is the third country after Turkey and Britain to have conducted a probe into the chemical attack. The impression is that the above countries either do not trust the OPCW or are trying to steer its investigation in a particular direction. Even the initial analysis of the five-page French document (...)

On the Front Lines

Nhuận left the CIO/SOC in December 1963 to become Chief of the National Police in Quảng-Đức Province, headquartered in Gia Nghia City in the Central Highlands. Like his previous post in Darlac, Quảng-Đức was a mountainous province on the Kampuchea border, populated by Montagnards.

Nhuận maintained his CIO contacts, but there was less contact between the SOC and the Special Branch in the years after the 1963 revolution, as the CIA tightened its control of the CIO at the expense of the Special Police.

As a province police chief, Nhuận was now a manager. His office consisted of three bureaus: the Special Police, the uniformed police, and administration. His job was to work politically against the communists and dissidents; judicially against any criminal; and administratively to protect people by maintaining law and order. Nhuận supervised more than one hundred police officers in the province capital Gia-Nghĩa and in four districts; Đức-Lập, Kiến-Đức, Khiêm-Đức, and Đức-Xuyên.

The failure of the resettlements programs, for example, created chaos. “After the 1963 coup, almost all inhabitants of the Dinh Điền Zones felt that they were now liberated from the Ngô regime,” Nhuận explained. “They spontaneously left these zones to return to their native villages.”

At the same time, political groups pressured the Khanh government to release political prisoners jailed during the First Republic. Among those released were key figures of the North Vietnamese intelligence network. The coup also engendered the return of dissident South Vietnamese military leaders who had fled or been exiled, and some of these officers were now agents of North Vietnamese intelligence. These developments enabled North Vietnamese and Vietcong intelligence to regroup and resume activities.

Another big problem concerned the CIDG program, which had been transferred from the CIA to the US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). Under the US military, the program stopped focusing on village defense and refocused on border surveillance. The program was expanded far too quickly, however, and the Americans soon lost control of the ever-rebellious Montagnard CIDG units.

“One of my main concerns in Quảng-Đức in that period (1963-65),” Nhuận recalled, “was the Montagnard liberation organization FULRO (Front Unifié de Lutte de la Race Opprimée).”

By September 1964, FULRO was armed to the teeth with American weapons, and FULRO forces under Y B’ham Enuol (who had been released from prison), staged a rebellion in pursuit of independence and their own separate nation. The rebellion began in Quảng-Đức Province.

“In the very early morning of 20 September 1964,” Nhuận recalled, “all the Mountaineer members of the CIDG station in Sarpa Camp, Đức-Lập District, revolted. They killed all their Vietnamese LLDB officers and took their American advisors hostage. When they got to the District Office, they grabbed and roped the District Chief, an army captain, as well as other officers. This happened in the presence of the US military advisors.”

Several more CIDG camps quickly fell, and the Montagnard liberation forces began marching on Ban Mê Thuột in neighboring Darlac Province. Khanh’s government and its American advisors intervened and persuaded the Montagnards not to attack Ban Mê Thuột, but Y B’ham fled to Cambodia with several thousand followers, where he continued to agitate for reforms. Another FULRO leader, Y Bih Alio, joined the insurgency and tried to bring the Montagnards under communist control.

“Prior to the FULRO uprising,” Nhuận recalled, “it had been unclear which RVN agency was responsible to monitor the Montagnards. The National Police and Special Branch thought it was the Military Security Service’s job, because the CIDGs were armed and under US and RVN military command. But the MSS did not take responsibility because the CIDGs were “civilian” militias under the CIA.”

As always, Nhuận stepped into the breach and took control. “After the uprising, I put the CIDG camps under National Police and Special Branch surveillance. I had my CIA advisor drive me to the CIDG camp on the frontier between Vietnam and Cambodia, to let them know that the RVN Police were backed by the CIA. But I was not involved in their cross-border operations until after the local CIDG men revolted and launched the FULRO movement. At that point I sent some Mountaineer Policemen into the jungle to infiltrate the FULRO ranks. One of them succeeded in contacting Mr. Y Bham, the leader (whom I had met years before in Ban Mê Thuột). The agent became one of Y Bham’s close advisors. He knew his activities, collected information, stole certain documents, and sent it all back to me.”

Nhuận distinguished himself as Chief of Police in Quảng-Đức Province in other ways as well. He knew that the US Military Advisory Group in Quảng-Đức had a fleet of helicopters, so he asked the MACV chief to organize a training course for his police forces. The policemen were given chopper tours over the hills and riverways surrounding Gia-Nghĩa so they could have a more realistic notion of the area, rather than just looking at the maps. A short time later in Sài Gòn, Nhuận noted with satisfaction, that particular kind of chopper-borne operation was adopted by the Armed Forces of the RVN.

Nhuận also helped to organize a paramilitary police force, which he led into armed operations, either by itself or together with the local Regional Force (Địa-Phương-Quân) units. This was dangerous work and in one clash with the VC outside Gia-Nghĩa city, Lt. Colonel Đặng Hữu Hồng, the Province Chief and Sector Commander, was shot and killed while standing ten meters from Nhuận.

The Special Branch

In 1965, General Khanh was overthrown in a bloodless coup and his successors – featuring Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ – turned the government’s attention to fighting the flood of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers pouring into the Central Highlands. The first of tens of thousands of US combat forces arrived in South Vietnam in the autumn of 1965 to help. The “main force” war had begun in earnest.

At this critical juncture, Nhuận received his next promotion. As he recalls, “In December 1965, I was made Chief of Special Police in the Central Vietnam Highland Region. My region office was in the same building as it had been three years before in Ban Mê Thuột. Seven provinces were now under my control: Kontum, Pleiku, Phú-Bổn, Darlac, Quảng-Đức, Tuyên-Đức, and Lâm-Đồng, plus the independent city of Đà-Lạt.

“I do not remember how many people I supervised. There were many. Besides those working at the region Special Police office, there were officers under my supervision at the province, city, district, and village levels. Thomas Burke (a mid-career Foreign Intelligence officer) was my CIA adviser.”

The CIA began referring to the Special Police as the Special Branch, and a major effort was made to expand and professionalize the organization.

As the RVN’s lead agency in charge of secret intelligence and counter-intelligence operations, the Special Branch focused on the communist organization in South Vietnam. But it also had a mandate to watch every domestic political party, organization, society, alliance, movement, and intellectual force.

The Special Branch received its secret operating funds, including salaries, directly from the CIA, which also provided jeeps, motorcycles, gadgets, and facilities including interrogation centers. To ingratiate themselves, CIA advisors lavished gifts upon Special Branch officers; things like cameras, TV sets, and tape recorders. The CIA even attempted to offer a special monthly allowance to Special Branch members, but withdrew the offer when the uniformed police objected.

As American assistance increased, Vietnamese officials became “like a needy person,” Nhuận observed. “Any gift given to him or her was precious and heartily welcomed.” But the dependence was unhealthy and led to irresponsibility. “The officials saw that there were always newer and better things, so they willingly followed the corresponding instructions from their US advisors.” Even when those instructions were ill-advised.

“A proverb in the economic and financial circles applied, particularly when US suggestions were accompanied by money: He who pays, governs.”

As the centerpiece of its program to professionalize the Special Branch, the CIA in 1965 began offering courses for Special Branch personnel at the Central Intelligence School (Trường Tình-Báo Trung-Ương). The CIA conducted courses for case-officers, as well as in leadership and command, and specialties like counter-intelligence and interrogation. The CIA officers who trained and advised Special Branch personnel were, theoretically, expert in everything.

According to Nhuan, “the Special Police engaged in both “tactical” or Xâm-Nhập (infiltration) intelligence operations designed to discover and watch enemy agents moving into communist organizations; as well as “strategic” Nội-Tuyến (Penetration) operations to persuade agents already inside the communist (or other targeted) ranks to defect and work for us. Tactical information was about what people could see and know; strategic intelligence uncovered and documented the enemy’s secret programs, plans, and deceptions, as well as their viewpoints, strengths and weaknesses, all of which we needed to analyze and understand.”

The Special Branch was composed of a Secret Services Section, an Interrogation Section, a Research Section, and a Support Section, among others. The chief of the Secret Services Section (SSS) was the pre-eminent officer; he managed informant networks in the hamlets and villages, as well as the recruitment and management of double agents. The SSS watched, tracked, investigated, arrested, and recruited agents, sympathizers, and informants.

To facilitate these penetration operations, the CIA in 1965 starting building an interrogation center in each of the RVN’s 44 provinces. The CIA paid local contractors to build the facilities and then donated them to the Special Branch. Many penetration operations began in a province interrogation center (PIC), after a Special Branch officer (a trained interrogator assigned as the PIC chief) had singled out relevant information and clues about and leads to potential agents.

Through the PICs, and with the help of local military forces, the CIA and Special Branch learned the identity and structure of the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) in each province.

To complement the Special Branch’s intelligence function, the CIA, through its Covert Action Branch, established “unilateral” counter-terror teams in every province. Starting in 1965, these CIA-advised counter-terror teams were called Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU).

As Nhuan explained, “The PRUs by themselves and apart from the Special Police launched operations capturing and eliminating VC [including VCI] members and destroying VCI organizations in VC-controlled areas. The PICs, however, did not run PRU operations, although members of the PIC chief’s staff and of a Secret Services Section sometimes joined in Allied Forces operations as indicators and/or interrogators.

“The PRU and PIC each had their own separate CIA advisors,” Nhuan continued, “and each of them, when making reports, would emphasize on their own [apparently separate] value. They both were good, but intelligence and operations were, unfortunately, two separate fields and phases.”

The lack of coordination between the CIA’s Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action branches created systematic problems that affected the performance of the PICs and PRU. When it was created in mid-1967, the CIA’s Phoenix program was designed specifically to improve performance by coordinating “intelligence” and “operations”.

Another serious problem was torture in the PICs.

Nhuan acknowledged that “In the interrogation rooms in general, there sometimes were hard measures used to make arrestees confess.” He cited the example of the murder of a female VC agent, Huỳnh thị Hiền, in Bình-Định Province. Nhuan was told to investigate the crime, and accompanied the commander of the National Police in II Corps, Colonel Cao Xuân Hồng, to Hoài-Nhơn District where the murder had been committed.

As Nhuan recalled, they found the dead girl, “with soap foam bubbling from her mouth hiding most of her face. She had been tortured to death. The two Special Branch interrogators involved were immediately removed and later indicted.”

Throughout the war, the CIA was content to blame the Vietnamese. But, in fact, CIA advisers were as likely to engage in rape and murder of arrestees as the Vietnamese they advised. Indeed, CIA-employed Americans working as PIC advisors often acted as interrogators (with interpreters) and often determined which detainees were the best leads to further actions. Exploitation and development were handled by the Special Branch advisor (a higher-ranking CIA official than the PIC advisor) and his Vietnamese counterpart. CIA case officers, acting outside the Special Branch apparatus, could also go to a PIC to do the needed interrogations, and then manage the ensuing clandestine operation.

Ultimately, torture in PICs continued unabated because the CIA considered the PICs essential in helping the Secret Services Section to single out potential leads for the Special Branch chief to exploit and develop.

  • Read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • Using Children for Israeli Propaganda

    On Tuesday thousands will gather to celebrate the most aggressive ongoing European settler colonialism. Organizers of Montréal’s annual Israel Day rally claim it is the largest event of its kind in the country.

    A significant proportion of the crowd will come from the city’s 15 Jewish day schools, which receive most of their funds from the public purse. Many of the kids bused downtown will carry Israeli flags and their faces will be painted in its colours. At the 2014 Israel Day rally a 12-year-old Herzliah student, Jon Frajman, told the Montréal Gazette, “if we didn’t support Israel, we wouldn’t have a place to call home.”

    (A few years ago I witnessed a similar type of child abuse at an anti-abortion protest in Ottawa packed with Catholic school students.)

    Herding students to a weekday rally is a visible form of activism, but it’s a small part of these schools’ crusading for Israel. A recent Canadian Jewish News cover story titled “What to teach Jewish students about Israel?” detailed the growing importance given to classes on Israel at Jewish day schools. While students have long been “taught from a young age to see Israel as the land of milk and honey”, in recent years Jewish day schools have ramped up their indoctrination in reaction to “anti-Israel student groups on campuses throughout North America.”

    Head of Winnipeg’s Gray Academy of Jewish Education, Lori Binder told CJN that Israel education is taught from junior kindergarten to graduation. But, “the crescendo I guess, is a full-year course for all our Grade 12 students in a course called Israel advocacy.”

    Gray Academy’s Israel advocacy course was set up eight years ago. Recently, the Combined Jewish Appeal Israel Engagement Initiative developed a program for Grade 10 students at Montréal schools called Israel Update and Vancouver’s King David High School organizes an annual trip to Israel for Grade 8 students.

    One of the five “Faces of Success” in a Federation CJA booklet promoting Montréal Jewish schools is a man named Oliver Moore, a graduate of McGill Law who works with NGO Monitor in Jerusalem. Moore is quoted stating: “My experience attending Jewish high school imprinted me with a Zionist ethic and a profound appreciation for Israel’s importance. It troubles me that Israel is under constant political threat and that its legitimacy is questioned. What I find especially disturbing is that the language of human rights has been distorted to dispute its right to exist. That is why I’ve decided to go to Israel and examine this issue in depth, and when I return to Canada, to contribute to Israel advocacy.”

    Day schools aren’t the only institutional setting in which the young are taught to support Israeli violence and expansionism. Some Jewish Community Centres and summer camps promote Zionism to kids.

    The Jewish National Fund has long tried to convince young minds of its colonial worldview. The registered Canadian “charity” offers various youth outreach initiatives to help build the “bond between the Jewish people and their land.” The JNF has produced puzzles and board games as well as organizing kids dances and a Youth Summer experience program. According to JNF Canada’s Education Department, the group “educates thousands of young people in Israel and abroad, helping them forge an everlasting bond with the Land of Israel.”

    An explicitly racist institution, the JNF promotes an expansionist vision of “Eretz Yisrael”. The mainstay of their youth outreach, JNF Blue Boxes’ include a map that encompasses the illegally occupied West Bank. Over the last century millions of Blue Boxes have been distributed around the world as part of “educating Jewish youth and involving them in these efforts in order to foster their Zionistic spirit and inspire their support for the State of Israel. For many Jews, the Blue Box is bound up with childhood memories from home and the traditional contributions they made in kindergarten and grade school.”

    The best way to reverse Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession is to educate and mobilize the broad public about an issue removed from most people’s daily lives. But, there’s also a need to challenge Israeli nationalist opinion within the Jewish community. One way to do so is by criticizing the indoctrination of children. One means might be to respectfully picket JNF events targeted at kids or perhaps by plastering posters about Israeli violence and expansionism around Jewish schools.

    While pro-Israel groups would likely denounce such efforts as “anti-Semitic”, children at these institutions deserve to hear an alternative, universalist, anti-racist perspective. They need to know that not all Jews, Montrealers, Torontonians, Canadians, etc. support the most aggressive ongoing European settler colonialism. They need to learn to think for themselves, instead of blindly accepting the Israeli nationalist propaganda aimed their way.

    “You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation

    “With TPS, it’s like you live under fear,” thirtysomething aspiring nurse Michaëlle explained. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. I live with stress because of that.”

    Michaëlle’s situation just got worse on April 20, when Trump’s immigration agency recommended ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 50,000 Haitian people living in the U.S.

    After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, President Obama granted temporary relief status to undocumented Haitians who had arrived in the U.S. before 2011. Given the slow pace of recovery efforts and subsequent disasters – notably the cholera epidemic that has killed over 10,000 and counting, and Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti last October – TPS has been extended several times. The latest TPS is set to expire on July 22, 2017.

    In essence, the Trump administration’s policy would amount to kicking out 50,000 people who have, despite their fear, put their faith in the U.S. government to legalize, like fiftysomething child care provider Wideline. She recalls that “[We were told to] tell all fellow Haitians they don’t need to fear because they are going to give Haitians who are illegal in this country papers so they can work.”

    Wideline specifically acknowledged fear that TPS would become, in effect, a pipeline to deportation: “people spread fear, arguing that the papers were so that the U.S. government can identify Haitians living in the country in order to deport them. And this is why some people didn’t do it.”

    Given the switch in administration, TPS, like registering for DACA for many undocumented Mexican families, has meant that it places a target on people’s heads. TPS, like DACA, makes people visible to the State and thus more “deportable,” like undocumented rights activist Jeanette Vizguerra, who sought sanctuary in a Denver church this February.

    While this particular threat to the Haitian American community has gone largely unreported, it represents a betrayal for some. Unlike Mexican Americans, specifically targeted by then-candidate Trump, Haitian Americans, particularly in Florida, were actively courted by Republican strategists and Breitbart News.

    In 2000, the fate of the free world hung on 537 dimpled chads in the Sunshine State, home to an estimated 424,000 people of Haitian descent per the 2010 Census. This number is low not only because of undocumented but because people have to self-select as “Haitian.”

    Many Haitian community leaders and organizations were solid and early backers of Obama, the country’s first African American president. Compared to the Cuban community in South Florida, the Haitian Diaspora wields less political power because of the lack of dual citizenship. As the first and only slave revolt to beget a free nation, Haiti has long symbolized Black pride. As scholars such as Nina Glick Schiller and Georges Fouron and others argue, Haitian Diaspora keep their Haitian citizenship while sending remittances, representing a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

    Following the earthquake, organizations within the Haitian Diaspora such as the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti pushed for both TPS in the U.S. and dual citizenship in Haiti. Both were won in 2011.

    Why would this solid Democratic voting bloc help push the needle towards a candidate who openly expressed hostility toward immigrants?

    While the Haitian community is large and diverse, and therefore complex, an important factor was the role the Clintons – the “king and queen of Haiti” – played following the earthquake.

    On April 11, the United Nations announced the end of its controversial military force. MINUSTAH belatedly apologized for infecting Haiti with cholera, but it was too little, too late. And the UN is still attempting to dodge responsibility for a rash of sexual assault cases. The Clintons were involved in no-bid contracts for shoddy homes, high-end tourism, an apparel factory outside of Port-au-Prince, and gold prospecting.

    Some in the Haitian community might have forgiven this disaster capitalism if Haiti was “built back better” as Bill Clinton promised.

    It wasn’t.

    However, at least in the capital of Port-au-Prince, an argument can be made for at least some economic institutions and physical infrastructure being rebuilt. Much of this is unrecognized initiative by Haitian people themselves, such as in Canaan, an informal settlement created to house the displaced after the earthquake.

    Following Trump’s election, proponents for ending TPS suggest that Haiti has recovered enough to support the return of these undocumented.

    It seems that yet again when officials speak of Haiti, they mean Port-au-Prince, where recovery efforts have been targeted. But Port-au-Prince is not Haiti. And Haitian TPS holders have origins all over the country, including the Grand’Anse that is still reeling from Hurricane Matthew. But people living outside of the capital are moun andeyò, “outsiders.” As the lackluster international response suggested, these people who live far from the NGO offices and high-end hotels don’t count. Their lives don’t matter.

    Like many community leaders here legally, people like Michaëlle who don’t have legal status define both as “home.” Professors Shannon Gleeson and Kate Griffith at Cornell University lead a study of TPS holders in NYC. This research documents that Haitian TPS holders tend to have significant ties to this country, not the least having had children and raising them here.

    Of the 30 respondents in the Cornell study so far, most report being in the U.S. for decades, particularly beginning in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Being Haitian in the 1980s was to endure ridicule and stigma, as Haiti was incorrectly blamed for AIDS. U.S. actions like the destruction of local pigs, rural bank accounts, as well as free-trade policies it imposeddestroyed Haiti’s economy, triggering this migration in the first place. These actions benefited large U.S. agribusiness and other corporations.

    The people in the Cornell study tend to have children here, and some report having left children back in Haiti. Many people report having worked in the undocumented labor force, but after receiving TPS they could apply for better paying jobs, albeit still below minimum wage. But these jobs require that their TPS be current, which costs $400 every eighteen months.

    Ending TPS would cause a deep wound in the Haitian community, ripping apart families, and punishing people who endure sub-minimum wage jobs because they believed the government would be fair.

    Especially because of the causes of the migration – not to mention exploitative working conditions –benefit U.S. companies in the first place, justice demands that the U.S. own its accountability to these temporary status holders.

    But TPS also affirms humanity and human decency. Michaëlle reported “I feel grateful because I am in this country. I have the ability to go to school and to work.”

    Michaëlle, like other TPS holders from Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador, contribute to this country through their labor and the pursuit of their dreams.

    The least we can do is act, before the final ruling on TPS is handed down. There is a petition calling for Secretary Kelly to renew TPS.

    Darlene Dubuisson is a PhD Candidate in the joint Applied Anthropology program at Columbia University. Her research interests include black intellectualism, academic culture, diaspora, and transnationalism. She has conducted research in the US and Haiti on issues ranging from diaspora involvement in higher education to the impact of humanitarian aid in Haiti to Haitian temporary workers in NYC.

    Mark Schuller is Associate Professor at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the State University of Haiti. Schuller has thirty scholarly publications on NGOs, globalization, disasters, and gender in Haiti. Schuller wrote or co-edited seven books, including Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti and co-directed documentary Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy. Recipient of the Margaret Mead Award, Schuller is active in several solidarity efforts.

    The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space

    Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe—containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device—was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekend—on Earth Day—the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.

    The $3.27 billion mission constituted a huge risk. Cassini with its 72.3 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel was launched on a Titan IV rocket on October 17, 1997 despite several Titan IV rockets having earlier blown up on launch.

    At a demonstration two weeks before in front of the fence surrounding the pad at Cape Canaveral from which Cassini was to be launched, Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, warned of widespread regional damage if this Titan IV lofting Cassini exploded on launch. Winds could carry the plutonium “into Disney World, University City, into the citrus industry and destroy the economy of central Florida,” he declared.

    Four months before, at an earlier demonstration at the same site,  Allan Kohn, a NASA career official from 1964 to 1994 who had been the emergency preparedness officer at the Kennedy Space Center, noted that “we were told by NASA that the odds against the Cassini blowing up and releasing radiation [are] 1,500 to one. These are pretty poor odds. You bet the lottery and the odds against you are one in 14 million.” As to NASA’s claim that the plutonium system was “indestructible,” he said it is “indestructible just like the Titanic was unsinkable….It’s time to put a stop to their freedom to threaten the lives of people here on Earth.”

    And, indeed, on an Earth “flyby” by Cassini , done on August 18, 1999, it wouldn’t have been a regional disaster but a global catastrophe if an accident happened.

    Cassini didn’t have the propulsion power to get directly from Earth to its final destination of Saturn, so NASA figured on having it hurtle back to Earth in a “sling shot maneuver” or “flyby”—to use Earth’s gravity to increase its velocity so it could reach Saturn. The plutonium was only used to generate electricity—745 watts—to run the probe’s instruments. It had nothing to do with propulsion.

    So NASA had Cassini come hurtling back at Earth at 42,300 miles per hour and skim over the Earth’s atmosphere at 727 miles high. If there were a rocket misfire or miscalculation and the probe made what NASA in its “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission” called an “inadvertent reentry,” it could have fallen into Earth’s atmosphere, disintegrating, and releasing plutonium. Then, said NASA in its statement, “Approximately 7 to 8 billion world population at a time … could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure.”

    The worst accident involving space nuclear power occurred in 1964 when a satellite powered by a SNAP-9A plutonium system failed to achieve orbit and fell to Earth, breaking apart and releasing its 2.1 pounds of Plutonium-238 fuel, which dispersed all over the planet. According to the late Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, that accident contributed substantially to global lung cancer rates.

    In her book, Nuclear Madness, Dr. Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of Physicians for Social Responsibility, writes about plutonium: “Named after the god of the underworld, it is so toxic that less than one-millionth of a gram, an invisible particle, is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth.”

    Further, the Plutonium-238 used in space devices is 280 times more radioactive than the Plutonium-239 used in nuclear weapons.

    Cassini finally reached Saturn and took excellent pictures and provided scientific information about Saturn, its rings, and moons including Enceladus and Titan.

    NASA sent it crashing into Saturn on April 22, 2017 “to make sure Cassini is incinerated at the end of its journey to ensure that any of its earthborn microbes do not contaminate the biotic or prebiotic worlds out there,” wrote Dennis Overbye in his front-page story in The New York Times on April 22. (The article didn’t mention plutonium at all.)

    “When I heard that NASA would be dive-bombing Cassini into Saturn with 72 pounds of deadly plutonium-238 on-board, I thought of the Army handing out smallpox laden blankets to Indians on the reservations,” comments Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, which has been in the lead in protesting NASA nuclear space missions. “NASA readily admits that ‘biotic or prebiotic’ life very possibly exists on Saturn—are they trying to kill it?”

    Said Gagnon: “We are told that NASA is out searching for the origins of life in the universe but they seem to have forgotten the prime directive from Captain Kirk on Star Trek to ‘do no harm.’”

    Felton Davis, an activist with the Catholic Worker movement in New York City, who participated in anti-Cassini protests through the years, said NASA “should face the environmental reality that other celestial bodies are not garbage dumps.”

    After the 1964 accident involving the SNAP-9A plutonium system, NASA moved to develop solar photovoltaic panels to energize satellites, and now all are powered by solar panels—as is the International Space Station.

    But NASA has insisted that it needs nuclear power for missions into space—claiming for years that it could not use anything but atomic energy beyond the orbit of Mars. However, that has been proven incorrect by NASA itself. On July 4th, Independence Day, 2016, NASA’s solar-energized space probe Juno arrived at Jupiter. Launched from Cape Canaveral on August 5, 2011, it flew nearly two billion miles to reach Jupiter, and although sunlight at Jupiter is just four percent of what it is on Earth, Juno’s solar panels were able to harvest energy.

    Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Energy working with NASA has started up a new production facility at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to produce Plutonium-238 for space use. Other DOE labs are also to participate.

    Says Gagnon of the Maine-based Global Network (www.space4peace.org): “Various DOE labs are rushing back into the plutonium processing business likely to make it possible for the nuclear industry to move their deadly product off-planet in order to ensure that the mining operations envisioned on asteroids, Mars, and the Moon will be fully nuclear-powered. Not only do the DOE labs have a long history of contaminating us on Earth but imagine a series of rocket launches with toxic plutonium on board that blow up from time to time at the Kennedy Space Center. They are playing with fire and the lives of us Earthlings. The space and the nuke guys are in bed together and that is a bad combination—surely terrible news for all of us.”

    “The Global Network,” said Gagnon, “remains adamantly opposed to the use of nuclear power in space.”

    Venezuela Ablaze

    The title “Venezuela Ablaze” implies sinister forces at work. Whether those sinister forces are for, or against, or within the Bolivarian Revolutionary government of Venezuela is the crux of the matter. Which is it?

    Questions come to mind when news about Venezuela depicts a nation under siege. For certain, the mainstream press in America is not on the President Nicolás Maduro bandwagon. From coast-to-coast, American media claims Maduro is a horrible despicable dictatorial creepy monster that flogs his own people and stifles democracy, same as all tyrants throughout history.

    But, is that really the truth?

    After all, the United States has such a horrible fouled reputation of dastardly influence south of the border, whom to believe? For decades the CIA planted news stories and assassinated leaders and manipulated economies to benefit aristocratic landed interests over the interests of “the people” (Proof: John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Penguin Group, 2004).

    South America is a training ground for the CIA ever since Allen Dulles dreamed up the idea in the 1950s (Dulles likely ordered JFK’s assassination – Read: David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, HarperCollins Publishers, 2016).

    It’s easy to imagine sinister forces at work in Venezuela. After all, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela easily fits the script of Costa-Gavras’ historical film drama Missing (Universal Pictures, 1982) starting Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek based upon the true story of a conservative God-fearing father (superbly played by Lemmon) traveling to Chile to find his “missing” son during the U.S.-backed Chilean coup of 1973, when socialist President Salvador Allende was tossed out of office (likely murdered but supposedly shot himself whilst in the presidential palace under fire by Pinochet’s henchmen) in a bloody coup, including cameo appearances by the irrepressible Henry Kissinger & CIA operatives in darkened shadows.

    In subsequent years, the Freedom of Information Act clearly shows Kissinger playing footsy with brutal dictator Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, authorizing covert work via CIA goon squads, disrupting the socialist government with killings galore, American kids not excluded, which, post factum, turns Missing into a true life documentary. At the time, and in the spirit of defending democracy, America was on a “killing spree of anything that moved, so long as it was shades of red.”

    So, 44 years after the United States sponsored a bloody coup in Chile, and also intervened, including death squads and caches of armaments, in countless countries south of the border, the big mondo question is whether it’s happening again in Venezuela. After all, ever since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, the United States has furtively claimed protector ship over every inch of ground south of the border. By now, it’s part of U.S.A. DNA.

    Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, World News Tonight, wherever a breaking story of Venezuela appears nowadays, it’s bloodshed, protests, no food, people starving, and worse… Venezuela ablaze! President Maduro is reviled time and again as a brute.

    On the other hand, that’s strange in the face of the principles of Chavismo, established by Hugo Chávez, including nationalization, social welfare programs for all citizens, and opposition to neoliberalism, especially policies of the IMF and World Bank. Chavismo promotes participatory democracy and workplace democracy. For example, Chávez invested the nationalized oil income in the development of social programs in favor of the most impoverished of the country. Which all sounds kinda okay. The question therefore: Does Maduro violate those principles or uphold them?

    Still and all, tens-upon-hundreds and thousands of poets, writers, artists, international analysts, journalists, social and political activists have joined in supporting the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro and the revolutionary Chavista legacy. They also speak of condemning an alleged coup attempt by right wing forces operating both inside and outside of Venezuela, surprise!

    Intellectuals from around the world have signed onto “IN VENEZUELA, THEY SHALL NOT PASS,” an international movement to speak the truth and preserve the Bolivarian Revolution.

    Why do so many intellectuals, writers, journalists, and analysts from around the world support Maduro and condemn the OAS and the U.S. as well as allege that right-wingers are undermining Maduro in Venezuela, ‘planting demonstrations’, and so forth?

    Do intellectuals, in general, support strong-armed tactics or the principles of equality and democracy and evenhandedness? Do they see the latter or the former in Maduro? In fact, thousands upon thousands from sea-to-sea claim to see the latter.

    After all, the battle for the soul of Venezuela is at hand, and the battle for South America’s incipient Bolivarian Revolution is at great risk, a revolutionary movement that the great masses in Venezuela embrace with fervor under Chávez. He lifted them out of the gutter.

    But then again, it’s the same old story with South & Central America, whom to believe is the major issue regarding stuff that happens, whether reported by American media and department of state or a broad coalition of the world’s intelligentsia. Whom to believe?

    Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone

    “Policing is broken… It has evolved as a paramilitary, bureaucratic, organizational arrangement that distances police officers from the communities they’ve been sworn to protect and serve. When we have shooting after shooting after shooting that most people would define as at least questionable, it’s time to look, not just at a few bad apples, but the barrel. And I’m convinced that it is the barrel that is rotted.”

    — Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief

    Please.

    Somebody give Attorney General Jeff Sessions a copy of the Constitution.

    And while you’re at it, get a copy to President Trump, too.

    In fact, you might want to share a copy with the nation’s police officers, as well.

    I have my doubts that any of these individuals—all of whom swore to uphold and defend the Constitution—have ever read any of the nation’s founding documents.

    Had they actually read and understood the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, there would be no militarized police, no mass surveillance, no police shootings of unarmed individuals, no SWAT team raids, no tasering of children, no asset forfeiture schemes or any of the other government-sanctioned abuses that get passed off as law and order these days.

    We’ve got serious problems in this country, and they won’t be solved on the golf course, by wining and dining corporate CEOs, giving local police forces more military equipment, locking down the nation, or pretending that the only threats to our freedoms are posed by forces beyond our borders or by “anti-government” extremists hiding among us.

    So far, Trump’s first 100 days in office have been no different from Obama’s last 100 days, at least when it comes to the government’s ongoing war on our freedoms.

    Government corruption remains at an all-time high.

    Police shootings and misconduct have continued unabated.

    The nation’s endless wars continue to push us to the brink of financial ruin.

    And “we the people” are still being treated as if we have no rights, are entitled to no protections, and exist solely for the purpose of sustaining the American police state with our hard-earned tax dollars.

    Just take the policing crisis in this country, for instance.

    Sessions—the chief lawyer for the government and the head of the Justice Department, which is entrusted with ensuring that the nation’s laws are faithfully carried out and holding government officials accountable to abiding by their oaths of office to “uphold and defend the Constitution”—doesn’t think we’ve got a policing problem in America.

    In fact, Sessions thinks the police are doing a great job (apart from “the individual misdeeds of bad actors,” that is).

    For that matter, so does Trump.

    Really, really great.

    Indeed, Sessions thinks the nation’s police forces are doing such a great job that they should be rewarded with more military toys (weapons, gear, equipment) and less oversight by the Justice Department.

    As for Trump, he believes “the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong” and has vowed to “end it.”

    Excuse me for a moment while I flush what remains of the Constitution down the toilet.

    Clearly, Trump has not been briefed on the fact that it has never been safer to be a cop in America. According to Newsweek, “it’s safer to be a cop than it is to simply live in many U.S. cities… It’s safer to be a cop than it is to live in Baltimore. It’s safer to be a cop than it is to be a fisher, logger, pilot, roofer, miner, trucker or taxi driver. It’s safer to be a cop today than it’s been in years, decades, or even a century, by some measures.”

    You know what’s dangerous?

    Being a citizen of the American police state.

    Treating cops as deserving of greater protections than their fellow citizens.

    And training cops to think and act like they’re soldiers on a battlefield.

    As journalist Daniel Bier warns, “If you tell cops over and over that they’re in a war, they’re under siege, they’re under attack, and that citizens are the enemy—instead of the people they’re supposed to protect—you’re going to create an atmosphere of fear, tension, and hostility that can only end badly, as it has for so many people.”

    Frankly, if there’s a war taking place in this country, it’s a war on the American people.

    After all, we’re the ones being shot at and tasered and tracked and beaten and intimidated and threatened and invaded and probed.

    And what is the government doing to fix this policing crisis that threatens the safety of man, woman and child in this country?

    Not a damn thing.

    Incredibly, according to a study by the American Medical Association, police-inflicted injuries send more than 50,000 Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year.

    Yet as Slate warns, if you even dare to criticize a police officer let alone challenge the myth of the hero cop—a myth “used to legitimize brutality as necessary, justify policies that favor the police, and punish anyone who dares to question police tactics or oppose the unions’ agendas”— you will be roundly denounced “as disloyal, un-American, and dangerous.”

    As reporter David Feige concludes, “We should appreciate the value and sacrifice of those who choose to serve and protect. But that appreciation should not constitute a get-out-of-jail-free card for the vast army of 800,000 people granted general arrest powers and increasingly armed with automatic weapons and armored vehicles.”

    Vast army.

    Equipped with deadly weapons.

    Empowered with arrest powers.

    Immune from accountability for wrongdoing.

    What is this, Hitler’s America?

    Have we strayed so far from our revolutionary roots that we no longer even recognize tyranny when it’s staring us in the face?

    The fact that police are choosing to fatally resolve encounters with their fellow citizens by using their guns speaks volumes about what is wrong with policing in America today, where police officers are being dressed in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making.”

    Mind you, the federal government is the one responsible for turning our police into extensions of the military, having previously distributed billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment to local police agencies, including high-powered weapons, assault vehicles, drones, tactical gear, body armor, weapon scopes, infrared imaging systems and night-vision goggles—equipment intended for use on the battlefield—not to mention federal grants for militarized training and SWAT teams.

    Thus, despite what Attorney General Sessions wants you to believe, the daily shootings, beatings and roadside strip searches (in some cases, rape) of American citizens by police are not isolated incidents.

    Likewise, the events of recent years are not random occurrences: the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers.

    Rather, these developments are all part of a concerted effort to destabilize the country, institute de facto martial law disguised as law and order, and shift us fully into the iron jaws of the police state.

    So, no, the dramatic increase in police shootings are not accidents.

    It wasn’t an “accident” that 26-year-old Andrew Lee Scott, who had committed no crime, was gunned down by police who knocked aggressively on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed Scott when he answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Police were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when Levar Edward Jones was shot by a South Carolina police officer during a routine traffic stop over a seatbelt violation as he was in the process of reaching for his license and registration. The trooper justified his shooting of the unarmed man by insisting that Jones reached for his license “aggressively.”

    It wasn’t an “accident” when Francisco Serna, a 73-year-old grandfather with early-stage dementia, was shot and killed by police for refusing to remove his hand from his pocket. Police were investigating an uncorroborated report that Serna had a gun, but it turned out he was holding a crucifix and made no aggressive movements before he was gunned down.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when Nandi Cain, Jr., was thrown to the ground, choked and punched over a dozen times by a police officer after the officer stopped Cain for jaywalking.  Cain made no aggressive moves toward the officer, and had even removed his jacket to show the officer he had no weapon.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when 65-year-old Thomas Smith, suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, called 911 because of a medical problem only to have his home raided by a SWAT team. Smith was thrown to the ground and placed in handcuffs because his condition prevented him from following police instructions.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when John Wrana, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, died after being shot multiple times by a police officer with a Mossberg shotgun during a raid at Wrana’s room at an assisted living center. This, despite the fact that there were five police officers on the scene to subdue Wrana, who used a walker to get around and was “armed” with a shoehorn and not a knife, as police assumed.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when a 10-year-old boy was subdued by two police officers using a taser because the child became unruly at the day care center he attended.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when police in South Dakota routinely subjected persons, some as young as 3 years old, to catheterizations in order to forcibly obtain urine samples.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot by police as he was trying to help an autistic patient who had wandered away from his group home and was sitting in the middle of the road playing with a toy car. The officer who shot Kinsey was reportedly told that neither Kinsey nor the patient had a weapon.

    It wasn’t an “accident” when Frank Arnal Baker was mauled by a police dog and kicked by an officer for not complying quickly enough with a police order. Baker, who had done nothing wrong, spent two weeks in the hospital with fractured ribs and collapsed lungs and needed skin grafts for the dog-bite injuries.

    No, none of these incidents were accidents.

    Nor are they isolated, anecdotal examples of a few bad actors, as Sessions insists.

    Far from being isolated or anecdotal, police misconduct cases have become so prevalent as to jeopardize the integrity of all of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

    Unfortunately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is what happens when you allow so-called “law and order” to matter more than justice: corruption flourishes, injustice reigns and tyranny takes hold.

    Yet no matter what Trump and Session seem to believe, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Americans must obey the government.

    Despite the corruption of Congress and the complicity of the courts, nowhere does the Constitution require absolute subservience to the government’s dictates.

    And despite what most police officers seem to believe, nowhere does the Constitution state that Americans must comply with a police order.

    To suggest otherwise is authoritarianism.

    This is also, as abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted, the definition of slavery: “I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.”

    You want to know what it means to be a slave in the American police state?

    It means being obedient, compliant and Sieg Heil!-ing every government agent armed with a weapon. If you believe otherwise, try standing up for your rights, being vocal about your freedoms, or just challenging a government dictate, and see how long you last before you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded government-issued gun.

     

    One Hundred Years That Shook the World

    China Miéville is best known for his fiction.  His novels weave intricate worlds of fantastic architecture, complex politics and intimate personal relationships into tales that combine intrigue and the mundane; the lofty and the subterranean; and fear and its opposite.  The results of these efforts serve as metaphor for the current reality and as fictions sometimes too amazing to be believed.  His latest work shares all of these phenomena that make Miéville’s fiction so unique.  However, the tale he tells in this work, titled October: The Story of the Russian Revolution is not fiction, but historical fact.  This in itself makes it profoundly more breathtaking, and equally fantastic.  It is a story of the year 1917 in revolutionary Russia.

    As any student of Twentieth Century history knows, the year of the Russian revolution was one of those years that changed the course of human history.  World War One—an imperialist quarrel that ended up being an incomprehensible exercise in human slaughter and a precursor to another even deadlier conflict—was in its final throes.  Troops were dying, mutinying, and just walking away from the horror that was their octobermievillewar.  Civilians young and old struggled to survive; some became angels of mercy while others turned into barely human monsters.  In between these two extremes were the bulk of European and Russian humanity.  The nobility, generals and the bourgeoisie in all nations involved in the conflict were angling on how to keep their positions, their lands and their wealth.  Revolutionaries watched, waited and organized; they knew their moment was nigh.

    Given its momentous place in human history, there are numerous histories of the Russian Revolution told from a multitude of viewpoints.  The three-volume set written by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is probably the most complete and certainly the most inspiring of all of these histories.  It goes almost without saying that the revolution itself has been disparaged by capitalists and their cheerleaders ever since that first moment in February 1917 when the soviets took over in Petrograd.  Even more damaging then the aspersions of the capitalist media though, was the counterrevolution launched against the revolutionary government and the subsequent machinations of that government which caused its mutation and ultimate dissolution barely eighty years later.

    As I noted above, China Miéville just published a new history of the Russian Revolution’s first year—1917.  It is a fast-paced history that weaves in and out of the debates and discussions in the soviets, the various revolutionary and leftist political parties, the military and the provisional government.  At the same time, the readers is presented with vignettes of actions in the streets, at the battle front, in the apartments where Lenin is hiding and conspiring with other Bolsheviks for the revolutionary overthrow of a provisional government leaning further and further to the right.  As Miéville’s story unfolds, the momentousness of the history being told reveals itself in a manner similar to a new wave film.  The movements of individual revolutionaries, aristocrats, fearful but boisterous generals, wavering liberals, and angry worker and peasant masses play across the screen of the reader’s mind with a passion and clarity that defies rhetoric as surely as the revolution defied the arrogant assumptions of the Tsar and his sycophants.

    There are many who have claimed the legacy of the revolutions of 1917.  There will be many more who will attempt to do so in the future.  The reality though, is that that legacy is not a thing of the past, but is part of an ongoing struggle to define and change the human condition.  The fact of its existence as history serves as both a lesson and an inspiration.  Miéville’s book serves both functions.  Perhaps more importantly, it also serves as an introduction to the Russian revolution for those who might otherwise ignore it.  This latter group probably includes many fans of Miéville’s fiction; readers unaware of his socialist leanings and possibly apolitical in the extreme.  October is short on analysis, which is not a critique of the text.  Indeed, this is a work of historic journalism.  It’s as if John Reed, author of the classic piece of revolutionary journalism, Ten Days That Shook the World, woke from a decades-long sleep to tell the story of 1917 once again.  Although there is less personal detail, the sweep of Miéville’s story is equal to Reed’s in its breadth while matching it in passion.  It is Reed’s contention that the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers were at the front of the revolution.  One hundred years later, Miéville’s telling agrees.