Archive for August, 2013

50th Anniversary of March on Washington, Breakfast, Syria

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Been busy with school, so the blog is going to be less than what it was during the summer break when I put several hours into each post. I will be lucky if I can get an hour in here and there.

Lettuce wrap

Somebody else had the same idea for a lettuce wrap,
Breakfast was sweet. Poached eggs on sourdough toast with sour cream and turkey bacon. The bacon had been cooked with canola oil with cumin and lemon grass powder on it. For my side I had sauteed 1/2 a chayote chopped with the skin pealed off, 1/2 a Roma tomato chopped, a small preboiled potato sliced, two green onions white part first, green part added later, then a quarter of a yellow onion chopped, and a jalapeno pepper chopped. Later I added a quarter of a bell pepper chopped, 4 pieces of garlic chopped, and cilantro stems chopped. For spice I had cumin, rosemary and chili powder, later I chopped up a couple of sprigs of fresh basil and added that. I dumped in a little sweet chili sauce, and some Japanese soy sauce, and a couple dollops of sour cream, I poured a little hot sauce on top, sprinkled a good amount of black pepper on and a dash of sea salt. I sometimes wrap in lettuce, sometimes in tortillas, sometimes not at all.

In a bowl I had some fiber cereal, with kefir and prune juice, lots of fresh blueberries and a bit of water. I made some tea but tossed it, too bitter.

Syria, its complicated

Syria, a complicated place.

Events, well Obama is going to bomb Syria, maybe, since he said that he would consult with Congress. The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech was last Monday or Tuesday. I was too young at the time to go or even be aware of, and since it was in the summer, it was not mentioned in school, unlike the Kennedy assassination which was a major event of that year for even a nine year old such as I was at the time.


Martin Luther King “I Had A Dream” Speech in Washington, DC. 1963

Images from Google Images.

Computer Been On The Blink

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

My computer has been out of service for a week. I am back in school, recovering from butt surgery and watching the US get sucked into another war. Seems that the military industrial complex is working overtime to keep the USA embroiled in one conflict after another. Syria, now there is a real boondoggle for you. Neither side is worth supporting, anything we do will make matters worse but what the hell, lets destroy some more expensive armaments and infrastructure to increase profits for defense and clean up contractors.

Got lots of stuff to catch up on food wise but later for that.

Obama Administration Flounders In Palestinian Peace Talks And Middle East

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Protests of Settlements

A Palestinian protester holds a placard in front of Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank village of al-Masara near Bethlehem, marking the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by the United Nations. Friday Nov. 30
(photo credit: AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

US Policy In Middle East Caught Between Idealism and Real Politik, Results in Confusing and Mixed Messages

Immediately before the peace talks were about to start, Israel announced plans to build more settlements, immediately threatening the peace talks, which even if the Palestinians want to continue, would have to give up even the pretense of being an equal player. This seems to be a deliberate effort at sabotage, or if that is not the case then at least rubbing the Palestinians noses in their lack of power and playing up the American’s lack of sincerity in attempting to give the Palestinians a fair break.

I am not exactly saying that is the game plan, but well, what else can it be. The US is taking hits all over the Middle East as Obama’s policies are proven to be just verbiage from Libya, to Syria, most significantly in Egypt and even the propaganda ploy in Palestine is being shown up almost immediately as little more than pretense. It is hard to understand what exactly Kerry is planning here unless the US is going to use some real leverage and remove military aid to all these players. But Obama has claimed to want to try a soft diplomatic effort, which becomes mired in the Gordian knot of the politics of the region. If the US wants to pursue some wings of Al Qaeda in say Yemen, support for others such as in Syria seems to be the price that the Saudi’s extract for the US to play on their turf.

The sad thing is that Obama with his speech in Cairo lifted expectations of the peoples of the Middle East and then the real politics of the US long term politics would leave these people high and dry, or as in the case of Egypt in a descending spiral of violence and the Syrian people engaged in a civil war that will probably end in the partition of the nation. Libya has become an Al Qaeda base for moving into the West Africa, and leading to destabilization in Mali, Nigeria, Chad and others to be seen.

Unintended consequences or simply the result of the on going game of chess that is international politics? Lives are at stake and the conclusion is still that the US should withdraw or completely change from a capitalist exploiter to some kind of a socialist people’s republic and even then there is no guarantee that national interests won’t trump international solidarity. There simply are too many factors and factions in the world today. It would behoove the US policy makers to attempt to pull back as much as possible and let international policy to be made through the UN, but that would take real change. Right now we have a muddling policy after an aggressive and pointless one under the Bush administration.

The USA when it was clearly pro Israel and pro dictators was at least consistent. Now that it is giving lip service and pseudo support to democracy, it is confusing people and causing unneeded misery throughout the region. Capitalist priorities make it impossible to implement a true democratic policy. We need to reject the control of the elite interest groups and work seriously for change or not pretend and cause people’s unwarranted deaths.

From Electronic Intifada

Quit meddling, Kerry, leave the Israel problem to the proper authorities

by Stuart Littlewood

No sooner had peace talks restarted under the warped patronage of the United States than Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu published bids for the construction of more than 1,000 new housing units in Palestinian East Jerusalem and existing illegal West Bank squats.

This and all the other unpunished illegal squatter building by Israel should have caused any sensible Palestinian to walk away from the ‘peace’ table, and never to have sat down in the first place. Of course, no sensible Palestinians are taking part in this latest peace pantomime. Instead we have to suffer the antics of Abbas and Erekat, the most obliging negotiators on the planet, who think nothing of holding talks without a popular mandate and while the thieving, blockading, lethal military force and trashing of their country continue unchecked.!+Mail

Kerry and Netanyahu

Wikimedia Commons
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, May 23.

From the Middle East Monitor

Kerry was aware of latest settlement plans

Friday, 16 August 2013 12:04

Israeli newspaper Maariv has revealed that US Secretary of State John Kerry scolded Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s latest plans to expand settlements; they will, Kerry said, reduce the country’s legitimacy in the international arena. The secretary of state’s telephone call was an attempt to deflect Palestinian criticisms of settlement expansion.

Maariv portrayed this news as if the US is capable of being an honest broker in the conflict, but the truth of the matter is entirely different. In reality, Secretary Kerry was well aware of Israel’s plans to expand settlements in Jerusalem prior to resuming negotiations and he did not object.

According to the newspaper, Thursday’s telephone call came after a three-way conversation between Kerry, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu on Monday. Kerry is alleged to have urged Netanyahu to halt all settlement expansion for the first nine months of negotiations. This, said Maariv, was despite the fact that he already knew about the Israeli plans for 1,200 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem as well as another 920 units in the Gilo colony-settlement.

According to Israeli officials, Kerry’s criticism of settlement expansion was lip service for the Palestinians’ benefit.

- See more at:

Netenjyahu Approves New settlements

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel announced Sunday that he has given final approval for the construction of 1,187 apartments in settlements
Photo: AP

From the Independent

Peace talks at risk as Israel approves 900 more settlement homes despite Palestinian prisoners release

Long-awaited negotiations near collapse before they start - even as release of Palestinian prisoners begins

Ben Lynfield


Wednesday 14 August 2013

Close to 560,000 Israeli nationals now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel occupied those areas in the 1967 war and considers its rule of East Jerusalem as reflecting a “liberation” of the area and its Jewish holy sites.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the approval of thousands of homes for Jewish settlers could bring about the “collapse” of the talks. “This settlement expansion is unprecedented,” Mr Abed Rabbo said. “It threatens to make talks fail even before they have started.”

The surge in construction plans is intensifying Palestinian criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to return to peace negotiations with Israel without securing a freeze on further settlement.

The 900 homes will include an extension of East Jerusalem’s Gilo settlement towards the West Bank town of Beit Jala. Israel considers Gilo, which is built on land expropriated from the Palestinians of Beit Jala, an integral part of its capital.

Palestinians believe the new buildings will reinforce a wedge of settlement that separates Arab areas of East Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area in the West Bank. “This [move] means that Israel is determined to force its position,” said Jad Ishaq, director of the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem, a non-governmental organisation that monitors settlement activity. “There is a shortage of land in Beit Jala and this should be land on which Beit Jala expands.”

Efrat Orbach, a spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry, confirmed that approval had been given to expand Gilo. She said more approvals were needed and it could be years before building began. But Israel’s Peace Now organisation disputed this, saying that construction could begin within weeks.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Palestinians should not be surprised by the plans since Israel had rejected Mr Abbas’s demand for a freeze on settlement building as a precondition for talks. “They knew that a freeze was unacceptable and they entered the talks nevertheless,” he added.

Israel Makes Palestinian homeland a non-starter

Map shows Disappearing Palestine

From the International Middle East Media Center

Israeli-Palestinian Officials Meet In Budapest

Sunday August 18, 2013
by IMEMC & Agencies Report post

Israel and Palestinian officials held a meeting, last week, in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and discussed the efforts to ensure the continuation of the recently resumed direct peace talks, mediated by the United States.

Israeli daily, Maariv, reported Sunday that members of Knesset (MK’s) of the Yesh Atid Party (There is Future) Dov Lipman, Boaz Toporovsky, and Yifat Kariv, in addition to MK Moshe Mizrahi of the Labor Party, and David Tsur of the Hatenua Party, met with Fateh officials Qaddoura Fares and Sameeh Al-Abed, legislators Abdullah Abdullah, and Jamal Zaqqout.

MK Kariv stated that the meeting was held to help boost direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
“The sooner we achieve the two-state solution, the better it is for both sides”, she said, “I left the meeting knowing we can talk with them”.

“Any support to a one-state solution from the river to the sea harms the peace process”, Kariv added, “The Israeli government also needs to make some responsible and brave decisions”.

Responding to a question regarding the effects of political stances of her party on the coalition with the Jewish Home Party, she said that “the two parties helped form the current government in Israel”, and added that “whenever a difference in political stances emerge, we need to find common ground”.

The convening Palestinian and Israeli officials agreed on issuing a joint statement that would “pressure Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach an agreement”, and expressed support to the Geneva Initiative for peace.

On his part, Fares confirmed the meeting took place, but did not give any further statements or details.



Netanyahu: “Israel Will Always Maintain Sovereignty On Settlements, New ‘Jewish Neighborhoods”
Saturday August 17, 2013 by IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated during his recent meeting with UN General-Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, that Israel will continue to build and expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and that settlements, and what he labeled as “new neighborhoods”, and settlement blocs will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.

During his meeting with Ki-moon two days ago, Netanyahu said that there is nothing to discuss or negotiate on regarding Israel’s settlements.

“Everybody knows new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, all settlement blocs, will always remain under Israeli control”, he said, “There is nothing to talk about, there will be no discussion on the issue”.

The Israeli Prime Minister also claimed that “it is clear everybody known that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the core source of tension in the Middle East”, and alleged that “the fundamental issue, the core problem in the region, is not recognizing Israel is a state for the Jewish people”.


After taking a break from describing my meals, I have decided to add them again. I would really like to figure out how to transfer images from my cell phone to my wordpress account. It would make this a lot more graphic.

I had an egg free breakfast August 18th. Chorizo, plantain, nopales, onion, garlic, two strips of Turkey bacon with hing and ginger, half a potato, a decent chunk of Panela cheese, chili powder, basil, Thai sweet chili sauce and turmeric. Corn Tortillas, fresh lettuce pieces, cilantro and New Mexican Salsa. Tastes good and has plenty of protein.

Update-Egypt and Me

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Morsi Supporters

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi carry a wounded man during clashes with security forces in Cairo. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

I am very concerned about the situation is Egypt, as I predicted the Morsi supporters have not backed down and the country is rapidly approaching a civil war situation, if the Muslim Brotherhood can get access to the weapons for taking on the military, or if enough of the military defects, this could make Syria look like small potatoes. Egypt is the most populous country in the region and outside of the Nile valley is largely unpopulated desert. It would be a sad state of affairs and as a person with a great interest in history, would hate to see a war ruin some of the ruins. But the military seems intent on taking a hard line and that is alienating backers on both the right and the left. The foreign powers are crying crocodile tears for the poor Egyptians while they continue to support the military there. Obama needs to do more than deplore the situation and cancel a few military games. He needs to cut military aid altogether and impose sanctions in coordination with Europe and get the Saudi’s and other supporters of Egypt on board.

It was largely with Saudi backing that the coup was initiated and succeeded. The Muslim Brotherhood must be seen by them as a populist version of Islam that they find a threat to the House of Saud control of their own nation. They continue to buy off their own population but an Islamic republic in Egypt that supports Hamas, would be too much for the Saudi’s to have concerns over. They like having a reliable partner in the Egyptian military and will support as bloody a crackdown as is needed. It will take some serious arm twisting to get them to reject that alliance and it is conceivable that the US simply will only be able to do that by removing the US fleet from the Persian Gulf, something that is not likely to happen. As we saw in Bahrain, the US was perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to Saudi intervention to suppress democracy advocates there.

Egyptian liberals and secularist forces have backed the whirlwind by supporting the military coup. This is not going to end well.

Egypt Days of Rage protests

REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Days of Rage protests

From the Guardian

Egypt: scores killed in ‘day of rage’

At least 60 reportedly killed amid fierce street fighting in Cairo and elsewhere as Morsi supporters protest against massacre

Ian Black and Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
The Guardian, Friday 16 August 2013

New violence erupted in central Cairo and across Egypt on Friday on a “day of rage” called by the Muslim Brotherhood to protest against the removal of President Mohamed Morsi and the killings of hundreds of his supporters by the military-backed government.

By nightfall, at least 20 and as many as 45 people had been reported shot dead in fierce street fighting in the centre of the capital, where machine gun fire was heard as a military helicopter flew overhead. Security officials said the death toll rose to at least 60 people killed across the country: 52 civilians and eight police officers. The latest death toll also included eight people confirmed killed in Damietta, four in Ismailia, and 13 elsewhere in the country.

TV cameras caught unidentified gunmen in civilian clothes firing automatic rifles on the May 15 bridge that crosses Zamalek in the heart of Cairo, where many foreigners and wealthy Egyptians live. People jumped off the bridge to escape the shooting. Uniformed police were nowhere to be seen. Firing also broke out outside a luxury hotel on the banks of the Nile near Tahrir Square.

On Friday night the Brotherhood called on its supporters to continue daily protests across the country, but it urged its supporters to protest peacefully. “The struggle to overthrow this illegitimate regime is an obligation,” it said in a statement.

The interior ministry had warned that security forces had been authorized to fire live ammunition at anyone targeting police and state institutions.

Military ready

AP Photo / Hassan Ammar

Egyptian Military Ready For Showdown with Muslim Brotherhood

The Guardian saw dozens of bodies lying on the bloodstained floor of Cairo’s al-Fath mosque on Ramses Square, which had been turned into a field hospital. Medical volunteers were overwhelmed by the scale of the blood-letting.

Over Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday a standoff was taking place at the mosque. Dozens of protesters remained in the mosque and military and police forces surrounded the area, giving rise to a state of siege and raising fears a raid could lead to more bloodshed.

Gehad al-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, denounced what he called “military coup criminals” after the group said 45 people had been killed in Ramses Square and urged supporters to withdraw to avoid further casualties.

On another day of high drama and now routine bloodshed, it was often hard for observers to keep up with the sheer pace of events. “It’s impossible to follow up on everything that is taking place,” tweeted commentator Bassem Sabry. “It is happening too fast, and everywhere.”

Man with cross and Koran

Source Google images, from deleted article in Japan Times

Man with Koran and Cross.

Amid rising international concern, the French president, François Hollande, and German chancellor, Angela Merkel, called for a meeting of EU foreign ministers to co-ordinate a response. The EU tried but failed to mediate between the Egyptian government and the Islamist movement to secure a peaceful end to the two mass protest sit-ins that were broken up in Cairo on Wednesday, leaving at least 580 dead.

The Foreign Office (FCO) said it remained “deeply concerned” about the situation, and deplored the latest loss of life. “The UK continues to call for an end to violence and for a return to peaceful dialogue,” a spokesman said.

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday the cancellation of joint US-Egyptian military exercises, scheduled for next month. But he failed to react to demands that Washington should cut its $1.3bn (£831.2m) in aid to the powerful Egyptian armed forces.

“Our traditional co-operation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Obama said. The Egyptian presidency retorted in a statement that Obama’s words were “not based on fact” and would “embolden armed groups”.

The presidency defended its actions as being in the spirit of the 2011 revolution, which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Critics argue that the emergence of Egypt’s new military-backed regime, and a corresponding return to favour of the country’s once-hated police force, represents a return to the Mubarak era.

State media called for a new “external campaign” to resist international pressure for dialogue and reconciliation with the Brotherhood. Several newspapers lambasted Mohamed El Baradei, the liberal figure who resigned as vice-president in protest at Wednesday’s bloodshed. In one caricature, El Baradei was portrayed as stabbing Egypt in the back.

Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the anti-Morsi National Salvation Front, followed El Baradei and announced his departure on Friday, citing the failure of the NSF to condemn state violence against the Brotherhood.

Saudis and Mubarak
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah (L) meeting with Hosni Mubarak days before the Egyptian revolution. - See more at:

Saudi Arabia, evidently delighted at the demise of the Islamists, called on Arab countries to resist attempts to destabilize Egypt. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people and government, stood and stands today with its brothers in Egypt against terrorism,” King Abdullah said in a message read out on national television. “All those who meddle in Egypt’s internal affairs are inflaming strife.”

The UN said its under-secretary general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, would visit Egypt next week to meet officials including Brotherhood representatives.

Anti-Brotherhood sentiment has deepened since Wednesday after several reports of revenge attacks on policemen and Christians across the country – reinforcing the image of Islamists as terrorists. Morsi’s removal had broad backing, but some of his supporters have scapegoated Egypt’s Coptic Christian community – which forms about 10% of the population – for supporting his overthrow.

The Brotherhood denied responsibility despite the sectarian rhetoric of many members. A spokesman said the Iman mosque in north-east Cairo, which had been filled with the rotting corpses of people who died on Wednesday, was stormed by armed security officials during the new overnight curfew imposed along with restored emergency laws.

Against a background of concern about the spreading and escalating violence, security officials said explosives were detonated on railway tracks between Alexandria and the western Mediterranean Sea province of Marsa Matrouh. There were no injuries and no trains were damaged in the attack.

As can be seen the Muslim Brotherhood is not backing down and as liberals back away from the military it will be relying more on support from the Saudi’s and the USA in particular. It is time for Americans to register their disgust with a foreign policy that will allow such outrages to continue under our name. Especially when we take the opposite position in Syria where we back an essentially fundamentalist opposition against a secular regime. Simply to deny the Russians and the Iranians an ally in the region. We are reaping the whirlwind there and may lose Turkish support as the Turkish government has strong ties to the Morsi regime although their military is probably looking to the Egyptian military and using that as an implied threat against their own Islamic leaning government.

The Muslim Brotherhood has taken care of the interests of the poor in Egypt while the secularists have mostly represented the interests of the urban upwardly mobile and commercial interests. Although I am not in favor of Shariah law and repression of women’s rights, I am not in favor of pushing through a capitalist materialist agenda as an alternative. People have a right to chose and to live in dignity in their own way. The Muslim Brotherhood was willing to act in a democratic manner and they gave it their best try. Now with their repression, what are their options, to turn to the bullet…

As for me

My computer power plug is failing. I may not be able to use this thing for a few days.

Personally I am recovering from surgery, see previous posting for some of the graphic details. I have finally begun eating some decent food again but am suffering for every meal on the other end. Oh and I am 59 today. Old as the hills and still not done yet.

Japanese Nuclear Disaster Impact on Pacific Fish, My Surgery (Not for Squeamish)

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Destroyed reactor

Destroyed Reactor building Fukushima

The Japanese are dumping nuclear waste into the Pacific ocean at rates of some 300 tons a day. This was recently acknowledged as the Japanese government finally admitted the private company in charge of the clean up was failing.

This is from Bloomberg News

Abe Pledges Government Help to Stem Fukushima Water Leaks
By Jacob Adelman & Isabel Reynolds - Aug 7, 2013 1:23 AM PT

Japan’s government will step in to help the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant deal with the tons of radioactive groundwater spilling into the Pacific Ocean.

The government isn’t content to leave the matter to Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and will draw up its own strategy to tackle the problem, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a ministerial meeting in Tokyo today.
Enlarge image Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “It is an urgent problem. We will not leave this to Tepco, but put together a government strategy. We will direct Tepco to make sure there is a swift and multi-faceted approach in place.” Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Enlarge image Abe Pledges Government Help to Stem Fukushima Water Leaks

Tepco said two weeks ago that the radiated water had been flowing into the sea at Fukushima, backtracking on previous comments that it couldn’t be confirmed. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Abe’s comments echo those of Greenpeace campaigners who called yesterday for authorities to intervene, saying Tokyo Electric, also known as Tepco, is incapable of resolving the leaks. The prime minister’s stance underscores the escalating seriousness of the matter, which has been called an emergency by officials at the nation’s nuclear regulator.

“It is an urgent problem,” Abe said. “We will not leave this to Tepco, but put together a government strategy. We will direct Tepco to make sure there is a swift and multi-faceted approach in place.”

Officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimated today at a briefing in Tokyo that the Fukushima facility is leaking at least 300 tons of radioactive water a day into the ocean. [emphasis mine]

Activist groups will tomorrow meet with the Nuclear Regulation Authority to urge it to shift focus from evaluating atomic plants’ safety for restart to the growing crisis of the radioactive water flowing into the sea from the Fukushima plant.

This is from Reuters

Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an ‘emergency’

Destroyed Roof Nuke reactor

A view of the destroyed roof of the No.3 reactor building of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen in Fukushima prefecture February 20, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito

TOKYO | Mon Aug 5, 2013 10:43pm EDT

(Reuters) - Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an “emergency” that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.

Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) are only a temporary solution, he said.

Tepco’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone” to grapple with the ongoing disaster.

“Right now, we have an emergency,” he said. [My emphasis]

Tepco has been widely castigated for its failure to prepare for the massive 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated its Fukushima plant and lambasted for its inept response to the reactor meltdowns. It has also been accused of covering up shortcomings.

Fish supplied from the Pacific ocean may not be safe, testing has not been done sufficiently by the USA. Japanese testing of fish show extremely high levels of radiation in some species of fish. People are now calling for the FDA to test fish from the Pacific. Some scientists were discounting the problem but with the recent acknowledgement of TEPCO’s failure to contain the radiation at Fukushima, there is mounting pressure to do something.

Coming to a Store Near You: Radioactive Fish?
Posted on June 27, 2011 by WashingtonsBlog

As I pointed out in April, the FDA is refusing to test fish for radioactivity, even though water currents will eventually bring debris from Fukushima:

The debris mass, which appears as an island from the air, contains cars, trucks, tractors, boats and entire houses floating in the current heading toward the U.S. and Canada, according to ABC News.The bulk of the debris will likely not be radioactive, as it was presumably washed out to sea during the initial tsunami – before much radioactivity had leaked. But this shows the power of the currents from Japan to the West Coast.

Of course, fish don’t necessarily stay still, either. For example, the Telegraph notes that scientists tagged a bluefin tuna and found that it crossed between Japan and the West Coast three times in 600 days.

Fish migration

Fish migration

That might be extreme, but the point is that fish exposed to radiation somewhere out in the ocean might end up in U.S. waters.

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen doesn’t think there will be a risk within the next year. But as the plume spreads across the Pacific, and as small fish get eaten by bigger fish (i.e. bioaccumulation), it would be prudent to measure radiation in fish caught off the West Coast of the U.S. (and Hawaii), and Gundersen suggests we contact our representatives and demand measurement.

This is from MSN News By Matt Kwong of MSN News

Scientists previously reported higher-than-expected concentrations of radiation in fish off Japan. Now there are calls for testing of seafood sold in the U.S.

Japanese fishing boats

Fishermen take part in a census of fish near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on May 27, 2013. American nuclear experts say Pacific seafood sold in the U.S. should be tested for contamination from the crippled plant.

Nuclear experts are calling on the U.S. government to test West Coast waters and Pacific seafood sold in the U.S. in the wake of Japan’s alarming admission about an ongoing radiation leak.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged last week that 300 tons of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has been seeping daily into the ocean since a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Although contaminated air, rainfall and even radioactive debris from Japan have drifted toward the U.S. West Coast since the disaster occurred 2 1/2 years ago, scientists are unclear about how the contaminated waters could impact the health of Americans.

Click link to see video: Long-term spread of Cesium-137 released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima.
August 12, MSN News

“A leak of 300 tons is about 80,000 gallons, but the Pacific Ocean is pretty large compared to that,” said Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. “So there’s a big dilution effect.”

While he tamped down fears that the water is an immediate concern for Americans, Makhijani added: “We still don’t know how contaminated the water is, and some sampling of the U.S. West Coast waters would be useful, as well as making the sampling of some fish public.”

For now, he said, the concern is mostly for locals in Fukushima — fishermen, residents and cleanup crews working on-site — particularly due to the recently discovered spike in the levels of strontium 90, a radioactive material that bio-concentrates in the bones of fish as well as algae.

NYC restaurants

Restaurants in NYC are testing fish for radiation, Stockbrokers need to be protected.

Google Images

Scientists last year first reported higher-than-expected concentrations of radiation found in fish caught off the coast of Japan.

Makhijani has noted that the bioaccumulation effect of strontium 90 could be devastating for a pregnant mother who ingests aquatic foods or drinks that have been contaminated, as the child could be born with a weakened immune system.

“I definitely would recommend that the FDA and EPA increase their vigilance in terms of the monitoring of food,” he said.

Joseph Mangano, executive director of the nonprofit Radiation and Public Health Project, said “a cocktail of more than 100 radioactive chemicals” from the Fukushima reactors presents hazards when the material is ingested into the body through the food chain or by breathing tainted air.

Potential health risks include birth defects and thyroid cancer, he said.

In March, the organization published a report indicating that the number of West Coast babies born with a condition called hypothyroidism — underactive thyroid glands — rose by 28 percent within nine months of the Fukushima disaster, compared with the previous year.

Mangano noted that the American Medical Association has already called for the testing of all fish sold in the U.S. for radiation contamination, but that the FDA has so far resisted.

“We’ve had such enormous releases already, we need to vigorously monitor how much radiation is in our environment and bodies, not just in Japan but in the U.S.,” he said.

The Japanese government has vowed to take “firm measures” to stop the leaks from Fukushima and will consider building a multibillion-dollar containment wall of frozen ground to surround the reactor buildings. That project would be completed in July 2015.

This is from National Geographic a strong start but then what I consider to be a whitewash at the ending telling people not to worry about the fish, I think that is wrong headed of them to not call for government action.


Tanks of radioactive water tower over workers at the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2013. Tokyo Electric Power admits contaminated water has long been leaking into the Pacific Ocean, defying containment efforts. Japan’s government views the situation as “urgent.”

Photograph from Kyodo/Reuters

Patrick J. Kiger

National Geographic News

Published August 7, 2013

Tensions are rising in Japan over radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a breach that has defied the plant operator’s effort to gain control.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called the matter “an urgent issue” and ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up, following an admission by Tokyo Electric Power Company that water is seeping past an underground barrier it attempted to create in the soil. The head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force told Reuters the situation was an “emergency.”

It marked a significant escalation in pressure for TEPCO, which has come under severe criticism since what many view as its belated acknowledgement July 22 that contaminated water has been leaking for some time. The government now says it is clear that 300 tons (71,895 gallons/272,152 liters) are pouring into the sea each day, enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every eight days. While Japan grapples with the problem, here are some answers to basic questions about the leaks:

Q: How long has contaminated water been leaking from the plant into the Pacific?

Shunichi Tanaka, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, has told reporters that it’s probably been happening since an earthquake and tsunami touched off the disaster in March 2011. (See related: “Photos: A Rare Look Inside Fukushima Daiichi.”) According to a report by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, that initial breakdown caused “the largest single contribution of radionuclides to the marine environment ever observed.” Some of that early release actually was intentional, because TEPCO reportedly had to dump 3 million gallons of water contaminated with low levels of radiation into the Pacific to make room in its storage ponds for more heavily contaminated water that it needed to pump out of the damaged reactors so that it could try to get them under control.

But even after the immediate crisis eased, scientists have continued to find radioactive contamination in the waters off the plant. Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who has analyzed thousands of samples of fish from the area, said he’s continued to find the high levels of cesium-134, a radioactive isotope that decays rapidly. That indicates it’s still being released. “It’s getting into the ocean, no doubt about it,” he said. “The only news was that they finally admitted to this.”


Alaska Seafood Commercial report shows little, as they don’t want to impact sales.

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Q: How much and what sort of radiation is leaking from the plant into the Pacific?

TEPCO said Monday that radiation levels in its groundwater observation hole on the east side of the turbine buildings had reached 310 becquerels per liter for cesium-134 and 650 becquerels per liter for cesium-137. That marked nearly a 15-fold increase from readings five days earlier, and exceeded Japan’s provisional emergency standard of 60 becquerels per liter for cesium radiation levels in drinking water. (Drinking water at 300 becquerels per liter would be approximately equivalent to one year’s exposure to natural background radiation, or 10 to 15 chest X-rays, according to the World Health Organization. And it is far in excess of WHO’s guideline advised maximum level of radioactivity in drinking water, 10 becquerels per liter.) Readings fell somewhat on Tuesday. A similar spike and fall preceded TEPCO’s July admission that it was grappling with leakage of the radioactive water.

Scientists who have been studying the situation were not surprised by the revelation, since radiation levels in the sea around Japan have been holding steady and not falling as they would if the situation were under control. In a 2012 study, Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Toyko University of Marine Science and Technology, calculated that the plant is leaking 0.3 terabecquerels (trillion becquerels) of cesium-137 per month and a similar amount of cesium-134. While that number sounds mind-boggling, it’s actually thousands of times less than the level of radioactive contamination that the plant was spewing in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, estimated to be from 5,000 to 15,000 terabecquerels, according to Buesseler. For a comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima released 89 terabecquerels of cesium-137 when it exploded.

Another potential worry: The makeup of the radioactive material being leaked by the plant has changed. Buesseler said the initial leak had a high concentration of cesium isotopes, but the water flowing from the plant into the ocean now is likely to be proportionally much higher in strontium-90, another radioactive substance that is absorbed differently by the human body and has different risks. The tanks (on the plant site) have 100 times more strontium than cesium, Buesseler said. He believes that the cesium is retained in the soil under the plant, while strontium and tritium, another radioactive substance, are continuing to escape.

But most experts seem to think that ordinary movement of groundwater probably is the real culprit. An estimated 400 tons (95,860 gallons/ 362,870 liters) of water streams into the basements of the damaged reactors each day. Keeping that water from continuing to flow into the ocean is crucial. As the IAEA noted in its report, “the accumulation of enormous amounts of liquids due to the continuous intrusion of underground water into the reactor and turbine buildings is influencing the stability of the situation.”

“Big surprise—water does flow downhill,” said Dr. Janette Sherman, a medical expert on radiation and toxic exposure who once worked as a chemist for the Atomic Energy Commission, the forerunner of today’s U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “If you’ve ever had a leak in your house during a storm, you know how hard it is to contain water. There’s a lot of water going into the plant, and it’s got to go someplace. It’s very hard to stop this.”

March 2012 US Dept. of State Geographer Radiation map

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Q: What are the potential risks to humans, and who might be affected by the contamination?

This is a murky question, because it’s not that easy to determine whether health problems that may not show up for decades are caused by exposure to radioactive contamination. A report released in February by the World Health Organization, which was based upon estimates of radiation exposure in the immediate wake of the accident, concluded that it probably would cause “somewhat elevated” lifetime cancer rates among the local population. But figuring out the effect of years of exposure to lower levels of radioactive contamination leaking into the ocean is an even more complicated matter.

Minoru Takata, director of the Radiation Biology Center at Kyoto University, told the Wall Street Journal that the radioactive water doesn’t pose an immediate health threat unless a person goes near the damaged reactors. But over the longer term, he’s concerned that the leakage could cause higher rates of cancer in Japan.

Marine scientist Buesseler believes that the leaks pose little threat to Americans, however. Radioactive contamination, he says, quickly is reduced “by many orders of magnitude” after it moves just a few miles from the original source, so that by the time it would reach the U.S. coast, the levels would be extremely low.

Salmon range

Alaska Salmon range from State of Alaska

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Q: Will seafood be contaminated by the leaks?

As Buesseler’s research has shown, tests of local fish in the Fukushima area still show high enough levels of radiation that the Japanese government won’t allow them to be caught and sold for human consumption—a restriction that is costing Japanese fishermen billions of dollars a year in lost income. (But while flounder, sea bass, and other fish remained banned for radiation risk, in 2012 the Japanese government did begin allowing sales of octopus and whelk, a type of marine snail, after tests showed no detectable amount of cesium contamination.)

Buesseler thinks the risk is mostly confined to local fish that dwell mostly at the sea bottom, where radioactive material settles. He says bigger fish that range over long distances in the ocean quickly lose whatever cesium contamination they’ve picked up. However, the higher concentration of strontium-90 that is now in the outflow poses a trickier problem, because it is a bone-seeking isotope. “Cesium is like salt—it goes in and out of your body quickly,” he explains. “Strontium gets into your bones.” While he’s still not too concerned that fish caught off the U.S. coast will be affected, “strontium changes the equation for Japanese fisheries, as to when their fish will be safe to eat.”


Checking for Contamination

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A slight change of subject from one horror story to another.

Ok, three days after surgery and I had the hardest, most painful bowel movement in my life. It took two tries, lots of pain medication and still hurt like hell. Drinking a ton of water and taking a sitz bath at the same time helped, but man, it knocked me out. I was going to try a stroll outside today, but that wiped me out. This surgery to remove anal warts has kicked my butt, literally. I have been told in a week or so I should be feeling better, and the bleeding has stopped for the most part, but I have to wear maxi pads to catch any leftover blood still. It is not fun. Get your kids immunization against HPV, the known source for these warts. I don’t know when I got HPV, it could have been anytime since I started being sexually active. Normally people don’t show symptoms of it, but the immunosuppressants from the kidney transplant has caused the warts to rise up and spread because my white blood cells are suppressed. They would normally have this under control, at least that is what I have read in the literature. As was confirmed by the surgeon who did the operation Monday.

Anal Warts

Anal Warts, not mine, but just to give the reader a visual

Google Images

Six months ago, I was recovering fine from my kidney transplant of November 20th, back in school, doing great, carrying a full load of classes and optimistic about the future. That was last February. In April I started noticing growths in my rectal area. I thought they were hemorrhoids, and my doctor told me to use cream for it. They got worse, I mentioned it to the doctors at the Kidney transplant center at Cedar Sinai in May, wondering if the medications I was taking might be aggravating the problem, they had nothing to say about it. They also lost the paperwork I submitted to the financial social worker but that is another issue.

It was getting difficult to clean up after defecating, and painful. I complained to my doctor again, he set up an appointment with a specialist who told me in early June it was Anal Warts. I looked them up and found out it was a type of STD that is extremely common and normally shows no symptoms, it is also hard to detect. He prescribed a cream and lidocaine to ease the pain. The cream was supposed to bring my immune response to the region and the lidocaine burned like hell but after a few moments would work. I had a summer school class and suffered tremendously especially if I had a bowel movement at school. Access to water is vital when you are in that condition, you can’t use toilet paper normally, you have to soak it in water and gently daub away the residue, it might take an hour after each movement. Showers help, but the essence is getting in there and digging it out. I discovered the true meaning of the middle finger during that time. Needless to say my grades suffered, as the course progressed and the pain got worse I went from B’s to C’s and barely passed the class. It was Algebra, luckily the teacher was cool and allowed me to disappear when things got too painful.

Finally I got the surgery and was knocked out for a couple of hours while the surgeon had her way with me. I was told that bowel movements would be painful. How right she was. The first one, after 48 hours was not as bad as I thought it would be, but by the third one today, when I decided to forgo pain medication before hand, it was excruciating. And it wouldn’t come out. I did everything short of getting a trowel to dig it out. It finally did after drinking a liter of water, and sitting in sitz baths and taking a codeine. The pain killers make bowel movements harder, I take stool softeners, and fiber powder and eat high fiber food, but these are coming out like little rocks. Hard and rough. I survived, with some bleeding but man, I do not recommend this to anyone. I guess it is better than the torture I had before the surgery, but this is one tough summer for me.

Anybody want to read about what I am eating? No I didn’t think so.

Surgery and Snoring.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Had another surgery Monday. Been taking pain killers since. Slept most of the day, made some miso soup, threw in some Tanarind that I got from the Cambodian market. It made the miso more citrus flavored. I used less seaweed than usual and threw in a lot of new ingredients like tomato, garlic, onion, along with regulars like bell pepper, and tofu. Last night had small salad and toast with yogurt and peanut butter. Yesterday only ate some sunflower seeds.

Not much to say, except my old buddy who has been visiting for a month now is getting on my nerves. You know the old saying about guests and fish, well, this guy snores like a truck and even a room away it sounds like a Sherman tank approaching. I told him maybe if he didn’t drink every night it might not be so bad. But some people have got to have a six pack before they feel right in the head. I have started charging him rent, but it looks like he won’t take the hint and leave gracefully. Oh well, I guess I will get to play the asshole soon.

CIA Infiltration Of US Non-Profits: National Student Association Story

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

The article is a reprint from the 1967 Ramparts magazine article on CIA infiltration of an American Student organization that had overseas affiliations. This is a tale of the corruption of youth seduced by the power, money and connections the CIA offered.

Although it is old, and some of the references dated, the article provides a detailed analysis of how the CIA operates. Even though there have been some reforms since the Church Hearings in the 1970’s, this is still a valid tale in this time of Drones and torture of civilians and even overseas execution of US citizens without due process. In some respects the things described seem quaint, hardly even criminal by today’s standards. But it was a cause for outrage at the time and still should be in today’s less desperate and yet more harrowing environment.

(Please excuse the poor word breaks, the transfer from the original double column pdf, to Word, to this format is almost impossible to make come out right as there is no indication when I go into the working program on Wordpress where the sentences are breaking).

A Short Account of International Student Politics & the Cold War with Particular Reference to the NSA, CIA,Etc.

By Sol Stern
With the special assistance of Lee Webb, Michael Ansara and Michael Wood.


THE CHILL OF THE COLD WAR was already in the air in August of 1946, when some 300 students from
38 countries assembled in the flag-bedecked Artists’ Hall in Prague for the first World Student
Congress. Among the delegates were 24 American students, many of them World War II veterans, representing
various youth and student organizations and ten prominent universities. The communists were in the
majority at the Congress, and disputes arose as to the proper role of international student organizations. Still,
the Congress ended on an amicable note, with a call for further cooperation and the building of a truly representative
international student organization—which came into existence shortly afterwards, and was named the International
Union of Students (lUS). The American delegates, who came to be known as the Prague 25, returned
home, fully convinced that a new, truly representative national organization had to be created which could
fittingly represent the U.S. student community in the international student world.
Establishing themselves as an organizing committee, the Prague 25 issued a call for a national conference of student
leaders to organize a new national union of students. They were remarkably successful. In the summer of 1947,
a new body known as the United States National Student Association (NSA) held its Constitutional Convention in
Madison, Wisconsin. By the time of this convention, the atmosphere of the US had become even more openly procommunist
than it had been in Prague. However, it was not until the communist coup had taken place in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and the
US had failed to condemn the communists’ mishandling of Czech students that the break
between NSA and US became official. Finally, in 1950, NSA met in Stockholm with 18 other
national student groups to form a new international student body which was ultimately called the International
Student Conference (ISC). During the first meetings, the overwhelming majority of the delegates were opposed to
the conception of the ISC as a “rival,” set up to fight the US and international communism. The delegates to the
first ISC wanted to avoid controversial political questions and any further schism of the international student world.
The new international organization grew quickly and impressively. By the middle ’50s, over 55 national student
unions were participating, more than half of which were from the underdeveloped “Third World,” and the ISC had
a huge budget providing for many programs of technical assistance, education and student exchanges. The ISC
became the pacesetter for international student politics and NSA was on its way to becoming the most powerful
force within the new international organization.
As the ISC grew the students of the underdeveloped world pressed the hardest for it to take
political stands on controversial issues such: as colonialism and racism. And as the “Third
World” student unions started to press political issues in the ISC, it was usually the NSA delegation that played
the moderating role, trying to keep the ISC focused on the problems of “students as students.”
In a sense, the very growth of the ISC engendered its problems. Most student unions, originally attracted to the
organization out of resentment against the strictures imposed by the US, became alienated from it when, partly
under NSA’s prodding, the ISC began to set forth its own tight Cold War positions. By the 1960’s, the situation had
begun to reverse itself: the US was making gestures for consultations that might lead to a reunification of the
world student movement, while the ISC—with NSA in the lead—kept to a rigid Cold War line and put out most
of these overtures. At its peak in 1960, over 400 schools were affiliated with NSA. Its staff operations and budget grew every year.

Though there was little income from the dues of its constituent members, NSA picked up financial support for its
operations from a number of foundations. Most of this went entirely to NSA’s international operations. NSA was
able to sponsor yearly international relations seminars, foreign student leadership training projects, scholarships
for foreign students, and still maintain a large travel budget for its international commission staff and its
overseas representatives. Despite the formal democracy in NSA, there was little
relationship between its overseas operations and it’s on campus base. NSA Congresses were massive affairs attended
mostly by students sent as delegates from the student governments of NSA’s member schools. They had
little knowledge of NSA’s year-round staff operations. International affairs and the operations of NSA’s international
staff were debated by a select few who could usually move the rest of the Congress on the basis of their
esoteric expertise. Overseas representatives of NSA and delegates to the ISC were never elected by the NSA Congress.
NSA has always shown two faces. Its domestic programs, its Congresses and its regional meetings have always
been open and spontaneous. If NSA national leaders were occasionally over-cautious, they still moved with
the liberal currents of opinion among American students. In the ’50s, NSA took even more liberal stands than the
prevailing apathy among students might have suggested. And in the ’60s, NSA responded to the new militant protest
mood on the campuses. It supported students against the draft, opposed the war in Vietnam, and participated
in civil rights struggles. It played a crucial role in the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
and was one of its staunchest supporters, a position which cost it the affiliation of many schools in 1961.
Yet NSA’s overseas image has been very different. Despite its liberal rhetoric, NSA-ers abroad seemed more
like professional diplomats than students; there was something tough and secretive about them that was out of
keeping with their openness and spontaneity back home. In the light of all this, it is not surprising that a number
of NSA’s critics have pointed a suspicious finger at its international operations. Nor is it a shock to discover that
some people in the left wing of NSA, like Paul Potter, who was elected national affairs vice president in 1961 and
went on to become president of Students for a Democratic Society, revealed that they had always suspected NSA’s
international operations of being tightly tied in with the State Department. Very few ever seriously raised the more
sinister spectre of CIA involvement.


It is widely known that the CIA has a number of foundations which serve as direct fronts or as secret “conduits”
that channel money from the CIA to preferred organizations. An intimation of the scope of this financial web was
afforded the public on August 31, 1964, when Texas Congressman Wright Patman, in the course of an investigation
into the use of foundations for tax dodges, announced that the J. M. Kaplan Fund of New York was
serving as a secret conduit for CIA funds. As soon as Patman made his announcement, representatives of the
CIA and Internal Revenue came scurrying to his office for a hasty conference. Patman apparently was satisfied with
the results. Without retracting his allegations about the Kaplan Fund he announced: “. . . The CIA does not belong
in this foundation investigation.” Before bringing down the curtain of secrecy, he did, at least, reveal one fact of substance.
It turned out that a number of other foundations had contributed to the Kaplan Fund during the crucial years of 1961-63 when
the Fund had been serving the CIA. Five of these foundations were not even on the Internal Revenue Service’s list
of tax-exempt foundations. They were the Borden Trust, the Price Fund, the Edsel Fund, the Beacon Fund and the
Kentfield Fund. The implication was clear that some or all of these were the channel through which the CIA
money passed into the Kaplan foundation coffers. Ramparts was provided with an unusual insight into
the manner in which the CIA uses legitimate foundations with liberal interests, such as the Kaplan Fund, in a recent
conversation with the president of a prominent New England foundation who asked to remain anonymous:
“I didn’t want my foundation dragged through the CIA mud.” In 1965 he was approached by what he described
as “two nice middle-aged Irish cop types who flashed CIA cards at me.” The men asked the foundation president
if they could look over the list of organizations that his foundation supports. He volunteered the list to them and
after looking it over, the agents said that there were organizations on the list that they would also be willing to
support. The CIA men explained, “We are trying to pose an alternative to communism and want to back third force
programs, which we could not do if it was known that this support comes from a government source.”
The agents then proposed to support some of the organizations already on the foundation’s list as well as suggesting
new prospective recipients. The agents promised that if this arrangement was accepted, they would be able to
channel CIA money into the foundation without it ever being traced back to the CIA. They said that they were
very skilled at these manipulations. The president, however, took the proposal directly to
the board which rejected it by a vote of four to one, out of what the foundation president called “a 19th century
sense of morality. We just did not like the secrecy of it.” The CIA-suspect Funds mentioned in the Patman
investigation are a key to understanding part of NSA’s finances. Conveniently, they are spread
all over the country (Borden in Philadelphia, Price in New York, Beacon in Boston, Kentfield in Dallas
and Edsel, whose last known address was in San Francisco). When a Ramparts reporter checked out the
addresses officially listed by the foundations, he usually found himself in a law office where no one was willing to
talk about the Funds. Two foundations that have supported the international programs of NSA—the J. Frederick Brown Foundation
and the Independence Foundation—have received regular contributions from four of these CIA-linked Funds:
Price, Borden, Kentfield, and Edsel. Both the J. Frederick Brown and the Independence Foundations list the same
address, 60 State Street, Boston, which is also the address of the prestigious law firm of Hale and Dorr. Paul F. Hellmuth,
a well-known Boston attorney and a member of Hale and Dorr, and David B. Stone, a Boston businessman
and philanthropist, are the trustees of the Independence Foundation. Hellmuth alone is the trustee of
the J. Frederick Brown Foundation. Of the two, J. Frederick Brown is less important as a
source of NSA funds. It made only $3300 in contributions to NSA, in 1963. It also made contributions to the
American Friends of the Middle East, among other organizations with overseas interests. In an article in the
May 9, 1966 issue of The Nation, Robert G. Sherrill implied that the American Friends had CIA ties. No official
of the organization denied the allegations. As far as NSA is concerned, the Independence Foundation
is the more important of Mr. Hellmuth’s two interests. Independence got its tax-exempt status in 1960. Since
then, most of its funds have come from other trusts and foundations. In 1962, for example, the Independence
Foundation received a total of $247,000, of which only $18,500 came from individuals or corporations; all the
rest came from other foundations. Of the total, the four Funds cited in the Patman investigation gave $100,000.
Between 1962 and 1965, NSA received $256,483.33 in grants for its international programs from Independence.
Much of that sum went to pay for NSA’s International Student Relations Seminars, yearly extravaganzas which
served as effective training grounds for future NSA international leaders. NSA is still coasting on Independence’s largesse. The
building which houses NSA’s present headquarters is occupied under a 15-year rent-free agreement with the
Independence Foundation. Originally, NSA purchased the building with a down payment and a yearly mortgage
payment to be secured from Independence. But Independence suddenly changed its mind and bought the
property back from NSA. Deeds on file with the clerk of the District of Columbia reveal that NSA sold the property
on October 20th, 1965, to the First National Bank, but that the bank was acting as a “trustee under an undisclosed
trust.” The undisclosed party is Paul Hellmuth, who secured the property, and leased it to the Independence Foundation
which turned it over to NSA for the 15-year free rent agreement. Shortly after NSA moved into its new, plush Washington
offices in the fall of 1965, a reporter from the Washington Post, who was doing a feature article on NSA, asked NSA
President Phil Sherburne who was paying the rent on the building. Sherburne refused to divulge this information.
This secrecy in protecting the names of NSA’s benefactors was not unusual. In fact, NSA has never made a full
financial accounting to its own Congresses. The Independence Foundation has serviced NSA ‘ s
overseas operations in other indirect ways. It has provided a number of scholarships for former NSA officers, usually
in the neighborhood of $3000 per year. The purpose of these scholarships was to enable former NSA officers to function as overseas
representatives where they were free to make contacts with foreign student unions and roam as free operatives
for NSA, sending back periodic reports. Ostensibly, the overseas representatives were supposed to be in overseas
universities, but this was entirely pro forma. Independence has not restricted its largesse exclusively
to NSA. In the period between 1961 and 1965 it spent $180,000 in financing an interesting operation known as
the Independent Research Service (IRS). This was the organization that made life so miserable for the organizers of
the communist-leaning world youth festivals in Vienna in 1959, and in Helsinki in 1962. The Independent Research
Service actively recruited a delegation of hundreds of young Americans to attend the festivals in order to actively
oppose the communists. The travel expenses of all the delegates were fully paid for and the bill was footed
as well for a jazz group, an exhibition of famous American painters and a daily newspaper printed in five languages,
all of which accompanied the delegates. Although the official position of the NSA Congress was
not to participate in the youth festivals, important NSA officers and ex-officers were very active in the Independent
Research Service activities in Vienna and Helsinki. The director of the IRS during the Helsinki Youth Festival
was Dennis Shaul, who was elected NSA president shortly thereafter. Shaul has also been the recipient of one of the
Independence Foundation’s “scholarships” in 1964. When questioned by a Ramparts reporter about some
of the activities and sources of funds for his Independence Foundation, Mr. Hellmuth, a normally outgoing man,
became guarded and curt. He refused to divulge the addresses or any other information about the money which
had been donated to both of his foundations. However, he was quite voluble about his close friendship with the
officers of NSA. Still another foundation which has given to NSA is the Sidney and Esther Rabb Charitable Foundation of Boston.
The similarities between the Rabb Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund are striking. Rabb, like Kaplan, is a
Jewish businessman, prominent in liberal democratic circles. The records show that up until 1963 the Rabb
Foundation’s only source of income was from Rabb himself. And up to that year, the Rabb Foundation’s contributions
were minimal and only to local charities. Then, in 1963, two contributions to the Rabb Foundation
flowed in from the Price Fund of New York—one of the Funds named in the Patman investigation, and a
contributor to the J. Frederick Brown and Independence Foundations. The contributions were for $25,000 and
$15,000 respectively. Strikingly, in the same year, the Rabb Foundation itself made two unusual and large contributions
in precisely the same amounts—one for $25,000 to Operations and Policy Research Incorporated, a Cold
War-oriented strategy organization; and $15,000 to the Fairfield Foundation. Fairfield, in its turn, has been a
frequent contributor to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, previously identified in The New York Times as
having received CIA funds. During 1964, the Rabb Foundation again received unusual contributions, from three Funds, and also made
three matching disbursements. It received $25,000 from the Tower Fund, and turned over the exact sum of $25,000
as a grant to the International Development Foundation which has been engaged in organizing anti-communist
peasant unions in Latin America. It was particularly active in the Dominican Republic during that country’s
period of revolution and American intervention. The Rabb Foundation also received a $20,000 contribution
from the Appalachian Fund, and during that year made a disbursement of $20,000 to the American Society of
African Culture. Finally, the Rabb Foundation received $6000 from the ubiquitous Price Fund, and during the
same year it turned over—would you believe—$6000 to the United States National Student Association to help
retire an NSA deficit. Rabb made at least one other contribution to NSA in 1965 in the amount of $5000.
It is not always easy to obtain information on the foundations which have sustained NSA’s international
operations. Take the San Jacinto Foundation, for example. In the past, San Jacinto has not only funded important
portions of NSA’s international program, but it has also given huge sums of money to the program budget of the ISC.
In particular, it has been overly generous in supporting The Student, an ISC publication printed in five languages and
distributed all over the world as an anti-communist weapon. One other interesting fact about the San Jacinto Foundation
is that, like the J. Frederick Brown Foundation, it has contributed to the CIA-suspect American Friends of
the Middle East. No one at NSA, or ISC for that matter, appears to have the vaguest notion of what the San Jacinto
Foundation is, who is on its board of directors or where its money comes from. San Jacinto has also apparently
managed to avoid the reporting procedures required by law of all tax-exempt foundations. No records
for it have been entered at the district office of the Internal Revenue Service in Austin, or with the secretary of
the State of Texas, or with the county clerk. San Jacinto’s mailing address is the offices of F. G. O’Conner in the
San Jacinto Building in downtown Houston. Mr. O’Conner is the secretary of the foundation. When asked by
Ramparts’ peripatetic reporter for some information about the foundation, Mr. O’Conner, a graying,
distinguished-looking man in his sixties replied, “It is a private, closed foundation, never had any publicity
and doesn’t want any.”
As far back as anyone can remember, the mainstay of NSA’s overseas operations has been the Foundation for
Youth and Student Affairs of New York City, founded in 1952. In contrast to the likes of Independence and San
Jacinto, FYSA has a for-real office, a full-time staff” and an eminently respectable board of directors.
In recent years, FYSA annually pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars per year into NSA’s treasury. The
figure for October 1965 to October 1966 was $292,753.60. It provided a general administrative grant of up to
$120,000 per year and funded projects such as NSA’s magazine. The American Student, foreign student participation
at NSA Congresses, technical assistance projects; and its funds paid NSA’s dues to the ISC. In addition,
FYSA could be relied upon to pick up any operating deficit that NSA incurred during the year, and FYSA gives
“scholarships” to ex-NSA officers for overseas study. FYSA has also been the chief U.S. source for channeling
money overseas to national unions of students favored by the NSA leadership. And FYSA has been practically
the only external source of support, except for the mysterious San Jacinto Foundation, of the programs of the
ISC. Between 1962-1964, ISC records show that these two foundations provided over 90 per cent of ISC’s program
budget (most of it from FYSA)—a gargantuan total of $1,826,000 in grants completed or in progress. The ISC
would be literally impotent as an international organization without the support of FYSA, having been unable to
establish any sizable alternative sources of funding. The executive secretary of FYSA is Harry Lunn, a tall,
ruddy-faced, balding man in his middle thirties, himself a past president of NSA, who used to make applications for
grants to the foundation which he now directs. Lunn vehemently denied the suggestion that his foundation
might be channeling CIA money for NSA, although he would not release a financial statement to this magazine.
After his presidency of NSA (1954-55) had terminated, Lunn became a member of an ISC delegation to Southeast
Asia. Then, following a short stint in the Army, he went to the Department of Defense as a research analyst. From
there he went on up the ladder to the political desk of the American embassy in Paris and then on up to the Agency
for International Development, where he worked on the Alliance for Progress. It was from this last position that
Lunn came to FYSA in 1965. Lunn also took part in the activities of the militantly anti-communist Independent
Research Service at the Vienna Youth Festival in 1959, while he was attached to the Department of Defense.
Lunn’s career is a case study in the intimate relationship between NSA, international student politics and the Cold
War. It is living documentation of a slogan that used to hang in NSA’s old Philadelphia headquarters; “The
student leader of today is the student leader of tomorrow.”


The scene was the Sirloin and Saddle, a plush, dimly-lit, continental style restaurant on Washington, D.C.’s
Connecticut Avenue. It was lunchtime, the third week of March 1966, and over a table an earnest conversation
was taking place that eventually resulted in the exposure of the CIA’s 15-year infiltration of the National Student Association.
There were two people there that day. One of them was Phil Sherburne, NSA president for 1965-1966. Athletic looking,
blonde, self-possessed, his NSA post was his latest stop in a meteoric career in student politics. Sherburne’s luncheon
companion that eventful day was 23-year-old Michael Wood, NSA’s director of development,
or fund raising chief. Wood, too, had risen rapidly in student politics. He left Pomona College during his
senior year to become a civil rights worker in Watts, where one of his projects had caught the eye of an NSA officer.
He became an NSA consultant in the spring of 1965, and was soon promoted to the post of director of development.
Besides raising money for NSA, he helped Sherburne work out new programs, and had even been consulted by the
White House staff on possible Presidential proposals about the draft and the lowering of the voting age. He had
received a letter from Douglass Cater, special assistant to the President, commending him for his excellent reports.
Wood was talking to Sherburne because he was troubled. He had been running into irritating roadblocks
in trying to raise money for NSA. He had encountered a curious lack of concern among other members of the
Association’s international staff about the rigorous preparation usually required for foundation fund raising. The
amount of money needed often ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet the proposals being submitted to the
foundations funding the international program were ill prepared, perfunctory and brief. Furthermore, President
Sherburne was negotiating with the foundations without Wood’s participation. After six months of this confusion,
Wood told Sherburne, with whom he had grown quite close, that he either had to be given full responsibility for
the fund raising program or he would have to resign. It was at this time that Sherburne invited him to a heart-to-heart
lunch conference.
The following is Wood’s account of what transpired during this and subsequent conversations:
Sherburne began by telling Wood that NSA had “certain relationships with certain government agencies engaged
in international relations” which Wood didn’t know about. This, explained Sherburne, was why Wood couldn’t
have full responsibility for NSA’s fund raising. Wood was astonished. “You mean the CIA?” he asked. Sherburne
nodded yes. Sherburne then told Wood that he was supposed to have been informed of the CIA relationship
after he was appointed director of development, but that other NSA staff members and CIA contacts had decided
he was politically unreliable. As well as having been a civil rights worker, Wood had gained a reputation as something
of a radical. Because he couldn’t be told of the CIA relationship, it was necessary to keep him in the dark
about certain aspects of NSA funding. Sherburne told Wood he hoped that everything said
over lunch that day would be kept secret. He was divulging the information only because he did not want Wood
to leave NSA. Later he explained that he wanted a friend he could trust with whom to discuss the CIA relationship,
other than staffers who were already involved. The CIA, said Sherburne, had managed to inject itself
into the Association’s international operations in the early 1950’s. Since that time, virtually every president and international
affairs vice president of the organization had been aware of the CIA relationship and had cooperated.
Sherburne went on to say that most of the foundations that had funded NSA’s international operations were
merely passing along CIA money. Moreover, some of them had made up NSA’s yearly deficits, and had financed
the purchase and renovation of NSA’s new offices in Washington. This explained the mystery surrounding the
acquisition and the rent for NSA’s new national offices.
Among the CIA-front foundations specifically mentioned, according to Wood, were the Independence Foundation,
the San Jacinto Foundation, the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs, the Sidney and Esther Rabb Foundation,
and the J. Frederick Brown Foundation. To the best of Sherburne’s knowledge, CIA money did not pass
through the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Asia Foundation, and other groups which had
also funded NSA international programs in the past. Sherburne presented the Agency’s involvement in international
student politics as a fait accompli; he argued that the CIA’s vast supply of money was absolutely essential.
Although he had serious doubts about the desirability of the relationship, he felt that NSA could not get as much
money from any other source; moreover, the Agency had supported many worthwhile and liberal overseas programs.
In any event, Sherburne felt that a sudden termination of the relationship would leave NSA in disastrous
financial straits. The CIA was interested almost exclusively in NSA’s international programs. Over the years no staff member
who worked exclusively on NSA’s national program was involved in a CIA relationship, and few, if any, even knew
about it. Keeping the CIA connection secret was made easier by the fact that NSA’s national and international
departments were in different cities from 1947-1960.
During their frequent conversations, Sherburne gave Wood a partial glossary of “black” language that was
used by NSA’s CIA operatives whenever they discussed the relationship in a semi-public place. They referred to the CIA
as the “firm” and not the Agency; people were not described as operatives or agents but as being “witty”; those who worked
inside the Agency bureaucracy were referred to as the “fellas” or the “boys.” Frequently, important NSA-ers were given
code names for their contacts with the Agency. Sherburne’s code name was “Mr. Grants” (based on his facility for fund raising).
Sherburne told Wood that normal procedure involved a careful evaluation by former NSA international officers
of international staff members for their reliability—as well as a full national security check by the CIA. If a
member passed the test, he was made “witty.” The prospective “witty” staff member would usually
be taken out to lunch by another already “witty” staff member, and a representative of the CIA. NSA’s dealings
were with Covert Action Division No. Five of the CIA’s Plans Division, and the personnel they dealt with there
were themselves former NSA officers. Thus, when the new officer was taken to lunch, he at first assumed that he was
merely going out with another staff member and an NSA alumnus. The prospective “witty” staff member was told
at lunch that there was information relating to work on the international staff which affected national security
and which he should know about, but which required him to sign a national security oath. If he signed the oath,
which pledged him to keep secret any information that was then divulged, he was then told about the CIA relationship
and asked to cooperate.
The implication was clear that if the international staff member ever divulged any of the information about the
relationship, there could be severe legal penalties. Thus the international officers were placed in a position in
which they could not acknowledge the existence of the relationship, even to other “non-witty” NSA-ers. Sherburne
made the first breach in a 15-year wall of secrecy. The typical “witty” international staff member would
first consult with an Agency representative about his overseas programs. Grants for international programs, travel
allowances and expense accounts for NSA members going to overseas student conferences, would then all be supplied
by CIA-front foundations.
So intimately was the CIA involved in NSA’s international program, that it treated NSA as an arm
of U.S. foreign policy. The point is illustrated by a story that Sherburne told Wood. At one point
during his tenure in office, Sherburne was to attend the International Student Travel Conference in Istanbul.
There had already been much talk in NSA circles of opening up some bilateral contact with student unions in
Soviet-bloc countries. Sherburne felt his trip to Turkey would provide a good opportunity to meet with Soviet
students and discuss possible student exchanges. Sherburne sent off a cable to the Soviet National Union of
Students saying that he would be in Istanbul and requesting permission to travel on to Moscow for a meeting with
the Soviet student organization. But the CIA got wind of Sherburne’s cable and admonished him for doing such
things without first consulting the Agency. A CIA agent explained to Sherburne that since KGB (the Soviet
“CIA”) assumed that NSA took its cues from the U.S. government, Sherburne’s gesture might be interpreted as
an official change in CIA policy on bilateral student contacts. Sherburne, even though he was president of the
United States National Student Association, was enjoined against making such diplomatic overtures without first
requesting permission from the Agency. The Soviet Union has always spent a good deal of money working with
student and youth groups, especially in underdeveloped countries. The CIA’s instrument for countering Soviet
efforts was NSA, working through the International Student Conference. Former “witty” NSA
staffers were always in the Secretariat of the ISC. And NSA, with the CIA’s aid, was able to play a major
role in cooperating with favored national unions of students all over the world. No other union of students in the
Western world has the kind of financial backing as NSA. The Canadian Union of Students, for example, operates
on a budget of about 514,000 a year for its international programs, all of which comes from the dues of member
schools. NSA, with its almost unlimited funds, was able to conduct a full program of foreign diplomacy.
Of course, the CIA was also interested in intelligence. “Witty” NSA international staff members would pass along
reports on foreign student leaders directly to the Agency. This information helped the CIA in evaluating the political
tendencies of prospective political leaders in critical areas of the world. One of the lures the CIA dangled before
NSA was the assurance that this intelligence gathering role did not seem to require NSA to violate its foreign policy principles.
The CIA is interested in alternatives to communism in the underdeveloped world, even if the only alternative is a
moderate left. “Witty” staff members were told that, in working with the CIA, they would be providing the information
that would help get a more enlightened foreign policy presented in high Washington circles.
Thus an NSA international staffer, while on an overseas assignment cleared with the CIA, visited student
groups in Spain that were militantly protesting against the Franco dictatorship’s suppression of free student unions.
This NSA-er, a genuine supporter of the Spanish students, joined a protest meeting and was roughed up by the
Spanish police, jailed, and held incommunicado for three days. The same staff member had previously gone to the
Dominican Republic shortly after the American intervention there. He brought back a report on his contacts
with university students who had participated in the civil war on the side of the constitutionalists.
To NSA the CIA relationship was a comfortable one. It meant lots of money, a sense of doing important work,
overseas travel, and, perhaps most important of all, very little feeling of having sold out one’s political convictions.
The CIA relationship meant something more personal, too. For years elected (and appointed) officials and staffers of
NSA have been getting draft deferments. The deferment given for having an “occupation vital to the national interest”
would last as long as the member worked for NSA; it was then possible for him to go on to graduate school
and receive a student deferment again. The standard practice was for the president of NSA to
send a letter to the local draft board stating that the staff member’s services were required in an area that affected
the national interest. Always included was a Cold War paragraph about how NSA was combatting communism.
In what had become almost a form letter, the NSA president, asking for an occupational deferment for his staff
member, wrote: “NSA is largely responsible for the creation and maintenance of the International Student
Conference, which was established in 1950 to combat the communist-controlled International Union of Students.
More than 50 countries—almost every state with a national union this side of the Iron Curtain—now participate
in the International Student Conference.” During 1965-66 the war in Vietnam escalated, and a
panic developed in the NSA office when staff members suddenly found themselves re-classified I-A under the
impact of the increased draft quotas. Sherburne took the matter of the office staff’s status to the Selective Service
Presidential Review Board, and also went directly to General Hershey. No NSA staff members, “witty” or “nonwitty,”
were drafted. The Agency looks after its own.


When the CIA made Phil Sherburne “witty” it got more than it bargained for. Sherburne
has a tough-minded, gritty independence that soon led him into conflict with those who were paying NSA’s bills.
Not only did Sherburne break the CIA cult of secrecy, but he also began fighting for NSA autonomy in international
programming. Sherburne’s initial attitude to the Agency was friendly but reserved. He was willing to take CIA money for NSA
projects and to consult with the Agency on matters of common interest, but he was the first NSA president who
demanded full control of international programs. Previously, international programs—scholarships, student exchanges,
conferences and the like—had all been worked out by NSA staff members and their CIA contacts.
But the Agency resisted Sherburne’s reforms and applied pressure through their foundations. For the first
time in years there were delays in the granting of funds from foundations such as FYSA and San Jacinto. But
Sherburne fought back. He refused to release the funds (paid for by FYSA) that would have paid the dues of NSA
to the International Student Conference. Finally, most of the money was released to NSA and a modus vivendi of
sorts was reached. Eventually, Sherburne told Wood, Covert Action Division No. Five became so upset at its errant
child, it considered severing ties with the NSA altogether.
Sherburne’s effort at establishing some independence left its financial marks. Previously, any year-end operating
deficits were quickly picked up by FYSA or some other foundation. In 1962-63 NSA had blundered into a disastrous
financial venture with a book cooperative and wound up with approximately a $70,000 deficit. After
NSA made a pro forma appeal to alumni that brought in practically nil, several key CIA foundations and individuals
came through with the cash and the debt was miraculously retired in two years. The cost of NSA’s move
from Philadelphia and at least $35,000 worth of furniture and renovations for the new Washington offices were just
as easily absorbed. Among others, FYSA put up $15,000 and two men, Thomas Millbank and George Baker, put
up $10,000 and $5000 respectively. Millbank and Baker are both well-established New York corporate executives
and fellow members of the Racquet and Tennis Club. These two men once joined with FYSA in making an
$18,000 grant to the ISC for a Latin American student conference. When asked about his interest in NSA and
international student politics by this magazine, Mr. Millbank, once an assistant naval attache in Cairo, said: “It is
none of your business,” and promptly hung up the phone. At the end of a year of relative independence, Sherburne
was faced with approximately a $35,000 deficit that no one picked up. The deficit has remained, despite staff
cutbacks. The “firm” doesn’t like rebellious children. By the end of a year of wrangling with the CIA, Sherburne
was convinced that it was impossible to maintain an independent but friendly relationship. In an attempt
to find new funds that would free NSA of its financial dependence on the CIA, Sherburne went to see Vice
President Humphrey in July of 1966. Humphrey had been friendly to NSA, had addressed its National Congress
in 1965, and had met Sherburne once previously. Sherburne told the Vice President about the CIA ties
and NSA’s financial predicament. Humphrey promised to help NSA get other, independent sources of financing.
Humphrey kept his word and wrote to Roger Blough, Chairman of the Board of U.S. Steel, David Rockefeller
of the Chase Manhattan Bank, and Henry Ford, among others. In a typical letter (the one to Roger Blough),
Humphrey said:

I have been very much impressed by the work done
over the past few years by the National Student Association.
I know the officers of the Association well.
As with other such groups the NSA has had a continuing
financial difficulty.
I believe that this organization should be able to find
support in the private sector, which will enable it to
continue its work independently and in the best spirit
of private initiative.

Despite Humphrey’s entreaties, only a few hundred dollars rolled in from “the private sector.” Thus NSA
went to its 1966 Congress, the deficit still on its back, and its relationship with the CIA badly damaged. Sherburne
continued to resist Wood’s suggestions that he make a thoughtful public statement about the relationship and
have it openly discussed as a public issue. Yet what Sherburne had accomplished was considerable.
For the first time in years, new national officers were elected without apparent commitments to the CIA relationship.
The only problems bothering the new officers were their knowledge of the past, and the large financial deficit—for
it appeared that Humphrey’s friends in the “private sector” were not as interested in supporting NSA
as a rather un-public part of the “public sector” had been.

Phil Sherburne finally went to Harvard Law School after his year of escapades with the CIA.
He was in Cambridge when Ramparts called him early last month to get his reaction to Mike
Wood’s revelations. In a subdued voice he said: “I think I would prefer not to say anything until I have had a
chance to look at the article pretty carefully. . . . I think the article should be discussed by the current administration
of NSA, and that anything that I would say would be resolved in discussions with them.”
Then he was asked, “Did you sign a national security oath?” Sherburne paused a few moments and said, “At
this point I don’t want to make any comment.” Sherburne was under enormous pressure, not only out
of a remaining loyalty to NSA, but also from the CIA. That “enlightened” organization had viciously turned on
him for talking to Wood, and was trying hard to intimidate him into publicly denying Wood’s story.
Sometime in the middle of January, the NSA officers and Sherburne heard that Michael Wood had passed his
information along to Ramparts. Sherburne called Wood and asked him to fly to Boston, where Sherburne pleaded
with him for an entire day to retract his story. Then they both flew to Washington for four more days of intense
and harrowing discussion with two of the current NSA national officers, an NSA staff member, and a former
national affairs vice president.
In the Wasliington conversations with Wood, the officers of NSA desperately tried to dissuade him from giving
the information to this magazine. Wood refused and instead urged the officers to affirm the story publicly, which
would be the only way of salvaging NSA’s dignity. The officers would not commit themselves. There followed two weeks
of hectic caucusing and emergency meetings at NSA headquarters. NSA officers visited a number of well-known NSA
alumni, including Douglass Cater of the White House staff, to ask their advice. At least one of the officers also went straight
to the Agency. The current CIA operative whom he contacted is a former NSA president. He is officially employed by the Agency
for International Development in Washington. At one point the officers assembled the staff, told them of the impending story
and flatly denied that it was true. They suggested that Wood was making up the story to revenge NSA for having lost his job as
director of development. Finally, another staff meeting was called and it was admitted that the story was true.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, two Ramparts editors were talking to Ed Schwartz, NSA’s current national
affairs vice president. Schwartz, talkative and quick-witted, had been the leader of the liberal caucus in NSA. He was
in Berkeley, working as a behind-the-scenes student political advisor-negotiator during the University of California
campus crisis precipitated by the firing of Clark Kerr. It seems a direct, ironic result of Cold War politics that
Schwartz had to drop his liberal Berkeley activities and cross the Bay to discuss his organization’s cooperation
with the CIA. Through a long and tiring discussion that lasted most of one night, Schwartz did not deny NSA’s •
relationship to the CIA. Instead, he pleaded that great damage would be done to the good works of NSA by the
revelation of this relationship. As the discussion ended, he muttered something about losing his draft deferment.
A few days later, in Washington, D.C., a Ramparts editor had an almost identical conversation with two other
NSA officers. The talk began in NSA’s national headquarters, a four-story colonial-style brick building in a
quiet residential section. On the desk in President Gene Groves’ office there was an autographed picture of Hubert
Humphrey. With Groves was Rick Stearns, the international affairs vice president. During the conversation neither
Stearns nor Groves denied NSA’s CIA connections in the past but stated that “all of our current financing comes
from legitimate sources which observe the normal legitimate reporting procedures.” And yet NSA’s current budget records
grants totaling $56,673.30 from FYSA. Stearns was asked, “Will you flatly say you have had no contact with the
CIA during your time in office?” He shook his head. Stearns and Groves pleaded that disclosure of the CIA
relationship would be disastrous for NSA. It would put them in an awful political predicament. If they publicly
admitted past CIA connections, it would tarnish NSA’s image badly at home and abroad, and hurt its chances
of receiving grants from other government agencies. NSA staff members also feared CIA retaliation, especially the
loss of their draft deferments.
Having kept quiet about the CIA since their election, the officers now went into action to minimize the effects
of the forthcoming disclosures. NSA President Gene Groves flew off to Leiden, Holland for an emergency
Summit meeting with the leaders of the ISC. Groves came back convinced that NSA must make some acknowledgment
of the CIA relationship—but at the urging of his colleagues in Leiden there would be as few details as possible admitted.
If older Americans have been a little put off by the style of the draft card burners or the Mario Savios, there has
always been somewhat of a consensus about the good works of the young men and women of the United States
National Student Association. The NSA seemed to mix the idealism of the community organizers, the FSM
activists and the Peace Corps with the buttoned-down practicality of young junior executives.
The quality which rank and file NSA-ers have cherished most about themselves is independence, especially independence
from government controls. It was this quality that was supposed to distinguish their organization from
national unions of students in the communist world. The quality for the most part was genuine, for the rank and
file never knew of the CIA connection. There were many arguments put forward by NSA’s
current officers as to why the CIA-NSA relationship should be kept secret, and many similar arguments desperately
made to Mike Wood as to why he should not have given the information to anyone. Of all the reasons
given—by Stearns and Groves to Ramparts’ editor in Washington, and by others who pleaded with Wood—the
most pathetic, which appeared again and again, was this: exposing the story would not only hurt NSA, it would
hurt the CIA. Covert Action Division No. Five, after all, was not in the business of assassinating Latin American
leftists, it was supporting liberal groups like NSA, groups with international programs in the best tradition of
cultural exchanges between countries. NSA might be anticommunist, but certainly no one could ever argue that its
anti-communism was more militant or more narrow minded than that of the average American. Rather, it was
less so. Thus the exposure of the NSA-CIA tie would deeply hurt the enlightened, liberal, internationalist wing
of the CIA. Conservative congressmen, such as L.Mendel Rivers of the House Armed Services Committee, would
cut off Agency funds for these purposes, and the hardliners in CIA’s “core” would be proven right in their contentions
that the Agency shouldn’t give large sums of money to support liberal students, no matter what intelligence
it was getting in return. The twisted sickness of this Orwellian argument should speak for itself. Yet it is extraordinary, and frightening,
that it could be so easily made by the talented young liberals at the head of NSA. One would think the idea of
“an enlightened wing of the CIA” would be an obvious contradiction in terms. But the idea’s acceptance and support
by a generation of student leaders indicates how deeply the corruption of means for ends has become ingrained
in our society, and how much dishonesty is tolerated in the name of the Cold War.


The decision to tell this story was the most agonizing of my life. Phil Sherburne, whose personal trust I have betrayed, was a close friend.
Though we disagreed on many subjects (especially on how to handle the CIA), in seeking to terminate NSA’s relationship he acted with a dignity
rare among those who knew the facts. Moreover, I still believe in NSA, and deeply respect the progressive stance it has taken among American students
for 20 years. Yet the issues involved are larger, and my public trust as a citizen of the United States must transcend my private trust.
For years the United States National Student Association has stood for “a free university in a free society.” Its resolutions on academic, political and social
freedoms are clear. Its constitutional commitment to free and open democracy is of long standing. Its defense of civil liberties has been staunch and consistent.
Yet because of NSA’s relationship to the CIA, its leaders have for 15 years undermined those principles.
This story is only a case study in CIA corruption. When I was told of Covert Action No. Five’s infiltration of NSA, I was also told of numerous
other organizations similarly infiltrated. A few have been named in this article; many others have had to be omitted. In an age when the average man’s
only access to the centers of decision is through private institutions, the responsiveness of those institutions to his wishes is critical to the healthy workings
of a democracy. The spectre of CIA infiltration of domestic institutions—and the covert creation of coordinated leadership among them—must horrify
those who regard unfettered debate as vital to representative democracy. Those of us who worked for NSA during 1965-66, experienced
an unusual sense of personal liberation. While actively involved in many of the insurgent campus and political movements of the day, we were also able to
move freely through the highest echelons of established power.If those who occupied the command posts didn’t always sympathize with our goals,
they listened nonetheless and were sometimes affected. We felt like full citizens, able to move freely without compromising our principles. It gave
us a heady feeling and a sense of power beyond our years. The mobility and influence was as it should be for a national union of students; to learn
that it had been bought with so terrible a compromise made me realize how impotent we really were. Because of the pain involved in public
discussion of so sensitive an issue, I have often wished that I had never learned the truth. Yet to avoid the truth, however painful,
would be irresponsible. There have always been staff members of the international commission who were entirely unaware of the relationship.
It is unfortunate that all of them could not be protected, and that many of them may suffer the onus of NSA’s guilt. I should like to note, however,
that Gregory Delin, Gilbert Kulick, and Marcia Casey were in no way aware of the relationship. I am similarly sure that Mrs. Isabel Marcus Welsh,
international affairs vice president in 1959-60 had no knowledge of the CIA’s presence in NSA.
For those individuals in NSA who—like myself for a time—knowingly allowed themselves to be part of the relationship with the CIA,
the worst consequences are internal. Very few staff members so involved were callous Cold Warriors who cynically appreciated their work with
the CIA. Most of them, rather, were deeply committed liberals, whose consciences had no rest while they served two masters. All of them,
I am sure, have at times felt horribly trapped in the conflict between their actions and their liberal principles. Perhaps worst of all is the everyday
dishonesty, the need to clam up when in the presence of “non-witty” staff members, to fudge, to make excuses and deflect embarrassing
questions. Perhaps a professional intelligence operative, who sincerely believes in anti-communism at any price, can learn to suppress with
not too much damage that most basic instinct of youth—to be open, frank, questioning of all things, in communion with his friends.
But for the typical NSA staff member, part of a generation whose instinct is to unmask hypocrisy, the compromise comes very hard
indeed. Many of them have suffered as a consequence the most agonizing sort of emotional schizophrenia—part of the human toll
in an otherwise impersonal and cynical international intelligence operation.
San Francisco, February 1967


In Simone de Beauvoir’s roman a clef, The Mandarins, there is a passage where the State Department tries
to “help” Henri Perron (supposedly Camus) by offering him newsprint if his journal holds to an independent, neutralist line.
Perron construes the offer to mean that the magazine should not criticize the fundamental methods of American foreign policy, and turns
down the “aid.” To protect the magazine’s independence he also turns down aid from communist sources. But the gods play with
men and their ideals. For a period of time the magazine receives its funds from a man who took gold from dentists who collaborated with the
Nazis. Living in the world makes it hard to avoid dirty hands, perhaps because we are egocentric and overvalue the work we do.
When we try to bring our projects into being they become more important to us than the reason we initiated them.
For example, it is not written in the Torah or the Constitution that educational institutions had to become fronts
for the government, places where the rhetoric for the Cold War is supplied and the equations and technology
for hydrogen bombs are manufactured. Nobody forced them into this position. Nor did the small, cliquish groups
who ran the National Student Association have to take money from the CIA. Perhaps 15 years ago it was easier
that way. For the young college graduate who was a “student leader” there was nothing quite as flattering as
being approached by the CIA to help in the National Effort. Furthermore, it was the way up the status ladder,
to success, travel, excitement, money, and government or foundation jobs. By foUowing that road the student leaders
of my generation—a decade ago—played it safe. As a result, they became instruments of the Cold War.
I have tried to figure out why the CIA would bother attempting to get to American students. After all, it takes
a good deal of trouble and expense to set up front organizations and all the other tools that used to be the monopoly
of the communists. The best way to understand the CIA’s motives is to see it as primarily a commercial institution
which deals in buying, renting and selling people.
Yet after we examine the CIA’s motives and purposes, we are left with Cold War wreckage as serious and immoral
as the Bay of Pigs operation, the U-2 overflights, or the Guatemalan caper. We are left with the fact that one
generation attempted to corrupt the young by paying them off, buying and renting them on the installment plan.
(Now that there is a crack in the door isn’t it about time that we have a public accounting of CIA funds? How
much of that loot sticks in the pockets of the CIA operatives themselves?) We are left with the fact that the CIA
made patsies out of thousands of young Americans who went abroad to conferences or who studied under NSA
auspices, but who unknowingly were being paid for, and were used by the CIA as contacts, covers and mail drops.
Furthermore, how do we now face other nations who took us at our word that our students were “free” and therefore
different from the communist-run youth groups? The CIA owes an apology to the innocent college students of
this last generation.
Co-Director, Institute for Policy Studies
Washington, D.C.

Tex-Mex Border Economy In US Civil War, German Texan Socialists, Cortina, French Intervention and Cooking

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Blockade Runner Advance

Blockade Runner the Advance

Tales From The Tex-Mex Border During the Time of the US Civil War and French Intervention in Mexico

This is an interesting but sort of obscure story of what might be the original Bagdad by the Sea. It was a port on the north coast of Mexico on the mouth of the Rio Grande river, near the city of Matamoros across the river from Brownsville. The region became a boom town during the American Civil War and was the original Bagdad by the Sea. Mexican Republicans allied with President Benito Juarez and the Conservatives aligned with the French backed Austrian Maximilian vied for control of the Mexican side and the Union and Confederate forces battled over the American side with some crossing over from one side to the other of the various parties. This is an example par excellence of a fluid border region and how international affairs can affect even the most remote seemingly insignificant places.

There is almost no anarchist connection here but I do have the German connection in Texas. On August 10 1862, Germans living in the hill country in Texas who opposed the Secession were massacred by Confederate troops while trying to escape to Mexico attempting to make their way to join the Union. Many of them were socialists who had left the various principalities that became Germany when the Revolution of 1848 failed. See the story below.

This is an excerpt from a short piece by Terry Hogan

Bagdad and the American Civil War

On November 3, 1863, the 91st Illinois Infantry became part of the North’s efforts to block the shipment of cotton across the Rio Grande. On that date, it arrived at Point Isabell, Texas, via the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. On November 6, the unit began moving across land from Point Isabell to Fort Brown at Brownsville, Texas on November 9. In the unit’s published Adjutant General’s Report, a brief mention is made of the report of French troops crossing the Rio Grande to support Confederate troops in battle with the 91st. The battle occurred near Bagdad on September 11, 1864. The report records:

“until the 11th day of September, 1864, when the Regiment had quite a fight with the rebels near Bagdad, on north side of Rio Grande River, and it was said at the time a squadron of French troops forded the Rio Grande to help the rebels, but all to no use, for they were driven back and over the old battle field of Palo Alto of 1846. Rebel loss, 20 killed and left on the field. Our loss, two wounded.”

This is a fascinating detail, French and Confederates battling together against Union troops on the border. What were the French doing there? Remember the French set up Maximilian as the Emperor of Mexico, taking advantage of the US being distracted by the Civil War. But then why did they join the Confederate forces? Well that is an interesting tale and that is what I propose to write about now.

French Cavalry in Mexico

French Heavy Cavalry in Mexico

The French intervention in Mexico was an invasion of the Republic of Mexico by the army of the Second French Empire in 1862. It resulted in the establishment of the Second Mexican Empire in 1864, which was supported by many conservative Mexicans, under the Austrian Maximilian I of Mexico. Although the Empire established control of the center of the country, the republicans held out in the North and South. With the end of the American Civil War, the USA lent its support to the republicans and put pressure on the French to withdraw in 1866. The Imperial forces fought on, but were defeated in a series of battles, with the republicans regaining control of the City of Mexico on 15 May 1867. Maximilian was captured and then executed on 19 June 1867. History records show that there were all in all 1,020 minor or major battles and sieges in the intervention

French Intervention in Mexico

French Intervention in Mexico: Battle of Puebla May 5, 1862 Mexican Victory celebrated as Cinco de Mayo

But the story, like most Civil War stories, is more complex than this. Neither the North nor the South wanted France in Mexico. Mexico didn’t want French troops in Mexico. There was even a trial balloon floated to create a cease fire between the North and the South so that they could join forces and fight the French in Mexico. Advocates of this plan hoped it would bind the American wounds by fighting a common enemy and bring an end to the American bloodletting. Obviously, this did not happen and the loss of life continued for a couple more years. In fact, the Rio Grande saw a battle between the North and the South occur over a month after Lee surrendered to Grant.

The Union forces repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to blockade or capture the Confederate access to the Mexican Port of Bagdad. Union forces would capture one location and the Confederates would find a new route, or recapture another. This went on up to the last battle of the Civil War.

This is from a site of Austin/San Antonio Civil War Antiquities

On May 13, 1865, more than a month after the surrender of Gen.Robert E. Lee, the last land action of the Civil War took place at Palmito Ranch near Brownsville. Early in the war the Union army had briefly occupied Brownsville but had been unable to hold the city. They established a base at Brazos Santiago on Brazos Island from which to blockade the Rio Grande and Brownsville. They were, however, unable to blockade the Mexican (and technically neutral) port of Bagdad, just below the river. The Confederates landed supplies at Bagdad and then transported them twenty-five miles inland to Matamoros to be shipped across the Rio Grande into Brownsville.

Palmito Ranch

Battle of Palmito Ranch, last battle of US Civil War

This is an excerpt from a book written by a participant during the Civil War.

Landing at Bagdad Mexico in 1864

From “Three Months in the Southern States” by Lieut. Col Freemantle – Published 1864

1st April. —Anchored at 8. 30 p. m. , three miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo del Norte, which is, I believe, its more correct name, in the midst of about seventy merchant vessels.

2d April. —The Texan and I left the Immortality, in her cutter, at 10 a. m. , and crossed the bar in fine style. The cutter was steered by Mr. Johnston, the master, and having a fair wind, we passed in like a flash of lightning, and landed at the miserable village of Bagdad, on the Mexican bank of the Rio Grande.

The bar was luckily in capital order—3½ feet of water, and smooth. It is often impassable for ten or twelve days together: the depth of water varying from 2 to 5 feet. It is very dangerous, from the heavy surf and under-current; sharks also abound. Boats are frequently capsized in crossing it, and the Orlando, lost a man on it about a month ago.

Seventy vessels are constantly at anchor outside the bar; their cotton cargoes being brought to them, with very great delays, by two small steamers from Bagdad. These steamers draw only 3 feet of water, and realize an enormous profit.

Bagdad consists of a few miserable wooden shanties, which have sprang into existence since the war began. For an immense distance endless bales of cotton are to be seen.

Landing in Bagdad

Landing at Bagdad 1864

This tells you little about the port of Bagdad, but a lot about the hazards of getting there, and the fact that a lot of people seemed very interested in the place. I became interested in this piece of border history and I decided to dig a little further.

This is from an article called Bagdad

by Mike Cox

“It was a small village consisting of a few thatched-roof and mud-plastered jacales which served as the homes of ranchmen, fishermen and pilots for the few merchant ships that came to the port,” Teresa H. Clark Clearwater, daughter of the founder of Bagdad’s sister city [Clarksville], recalled years later.

Prior to the Mexican War, the nearest port to Matamoras, Mexico was Brazos Santiago, a small spit of sand just south of Padre Island. But when the Rio Grande became the undisputed U.S.-Mexico boundary in 1848, Mexico established a port on its side of the river’s mouth.

The last outpost of what could be called civilization on the 1,200 mile-long Rio Grande, Bagdad - located 50 miles downstream from Matamoras, Mexico - slumbered on what seemed like a never-ending siesta until the outbreak of the Civil War and the federal blockade of Southern ports.

Cotton, the economic life blood of Texas and the Confederacy, soon made its way to Bagdad by riverboat, ship or ox-drawn wagons. From the Mexican port, it could be shipped to Britain and other European markets.

As Clearwater put it, with cotton bringing a dollar a pound, Bagdad “grew to be a village of more than 20,000 souls,” many of them “refugees from the invaded Southern cities.”

Though technically in Mexico, Bagdad may as well have been in Texas. It had more southerners living in it than Mexicans. To add more spice to the mix, the town teemed with French sailors and soldiers [with the U.S. preoccupied, the Emperor Maximilian, aided by the French, had occupied Mexico] as well as men of other European nations.

Isolated and awash in money, Bagdad with its bars and brothels soon drew comparisons to the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and other famously sinful venues.

Map of mouth of Rio Grande

Mouth of Rio Grande with Bagdad

With stevedores and other working men bringing in $5 or more a day, and owners of skiffs and other vessels capable of hauling people or freight from the riverside docks to the ships lying at anchor in deeper water fetching up to $40 a day, money flowed through Bagdad with far greater volume than the Rio Grande.

Father Parisot [local priest in Brownsville], “The saloon and hotel keepers were reaping an abundant harvest. The Gulf, for three or four miles out, was literally a forest of masts. Ten stages were running daily from Matamoras to Bagdad.”

Melinda Rankin, a Presbyterian missionary who had been operating a school for girls in Matamoras, arrived in Bagdad in March 1863.

“It was not unfrequently the case that a hundred vessels were lying off the bar,” Rankin later wrote in her memoir, “Twenty Years Among the Mexicans.” “Not only were they discharging goods, but were receiving large quantities of cotton for foreign ports.”

The southern states were extremely low in many essential resources such as coal, gunpowder and their industrial production was limited, blockade runners and shipping through the Mexican port of Bagdad became essential source of supplies. Monterrey in Mexico became an industrial center in part because of the economic boost from supplying the Confederate war effort as the Confederate cotton, and other mostly raw materials flowed through Matamoros, wealth generated locally was used to develop fledgling industries in Monterrey to supply the South but also became the financial basis for further development of the Monterrey economy. (Haber, Stephen H. Industry and Underdevelopment: The Industrialization of Mexico, 1890-1940. P 81).

An example of how the American Civil War benefited Mexico business is the example of the Milmo family. This is from their corporate site The Milmo Group.

1845 - Patricio Milmo O’ Dowd left Ireland to come to America in pursuit of fortune.

1848 - He established the first banking agency in the north of Mexico under the name Casa Milmo with branch offices in Matamoros, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Texas and later Torreon.

1861 - Patricio Milmo married Miss Pudenciana Vidaurri daughter of General Santiago Vidaurri and Dona Juana Vidaurri, descendants of Vasquez Borrego, one of the founders of Laredo, Texas.

1862 - Patricio Milmo expanded his businesses to cotton, mining, transportation, steel production, cattle and sheep raising. He acquired several ranches and shares in the furniture factory “La industrial” and in the soap factory “La Esperanza” of Villa Lerdo. Also, he gained a partial interest
in the National Railway to transport his coal and became “coal partner” in La fundador steel company.

1863 - Patricio Milmo opened the Milmo Bank of Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

Don Patricio Milmo O'Dowd

Don Patricio Milmo O’Dowd (Patrick Mullins) Irish Mexican Businessman

The specific context is the expansion during the 1860’s, money made during the American Civil War was used to expand the family and corporate business interests. Gun powder, copper, tin, coffee and sugar was produced in Monterrey for sale to the Confederacy. Patricio Milmo having been established in the textile trade made many uniforms for the Confederate army and was one of the primary capitalists in Monterrey (Contreras, Joseph, In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico p. 191-192).

Milmo smartly moved to invest in the La Laguna, which became a major Mexican cotton growing region, after the cotton trade collapsed at the end of the Civil War in 1865, based in Parras, Coahulia and Laredo, Texas and was one of the few capitalists in Mexico with money to invest after the French were defeated in 1867. Milmo was among a few families that had made money in Matamoros and Monterrey from money lending, the cotton business and commerce (Mora-Torres, Juan, The Making of the Mexican Border: The State, Capitalism, and Society in Nuevo León, 1848-1910 P. 66-67)

Investing in the South during the war paid off for the lucky few. It provided the basis for large fortunes of families that still dominate in Mexico.

USS South Carolina off Galveston

USS South Carolina Blockades Galveston August 1861

This is from the Wikipedia article about blockade runners..

Prior to the actual battles of the war John Fraser & Company had already begun negotiations for steamship service between England and points along the southern coast of the Confederacy. Taking advantage of the fact that neither side was fully prepared for war Trenholm and his partners began shipping arms from Liverpool and New York to Charleston. The state of South Carolina was the buyer for these first shipments which in turn sold them to the Confederacy for a substantial profit.

Before war broke out military arms for the Confederacy were in short supply. There was also little gunpowder stored among the seceded states and the availability of fuses and percussion caps was also in very limited supply, the caps in the south amounting to only a half a million. There was no machine to produce them in any of the Confederate States. Powder supplies in Florida were so low that in April 1861 General John B. Grayson warned Jefferson Davis in Richmond:

“As sure as the sun rises, unless cannon powder, etc, be sent to Florida in the next
thirty days, she will fall into the hands of the North. Nothing human can prevent it.”

The same urgent demand for military ordnance and supplies was dispatched to Richmond from every military center throughout the south. Because of the incursions of the Union Army the Confederate navy was also in very short supply of coal, the only sources being located in North Carolina and Alabama.

Brownsville transport hub to Mexico

Confederates prepare to Evacuate Brownsville as Union Troops approach November 1863

This is from an article By Damon C. Sasser

The Doomed City of Bagdad, Mexico

In 1846, Clarksville sprang from a temporary U.S. Army camp used during the Mexican War. The town was named for William Clark, a civilian who established a country store and was an agent for the various steamship lines that used the small Texas port. During the early days of the Civil War, the town prospered on the trade of the Southern blockade-runners However, in 1863 the strategic port was captured by Union soldiers who held it until the end of the war.

Bagdad, Tamaulipas, Mexico was established in 1848 on the south bank of the mouth of the Río Grande. The port city was major player in the Civil War and of vital importance to the Confederacy in its struggle against the Union, even though few people realize it even existed. Suffering greatly under the Union blockade, the Southerners needed a way to get their valuable cotton crop to Europe where it commanded a high price.

By routing their cotton through Bagdad, the Southerners could keep a steady stream of revenue flowing. The Union dare not start a war with Mexico and did not want to interfere with their trade with the Europeans even though they were fully aware of how Southern cotton was getting to European buyers. Bagdad may as well have been in Texas. It had more Southerners living in it than Mexicans, many of them refugees from invaded Southern cities.

Cotton from East Texas and other parts of the South was transported across the Rio Grande to Bagdad. At Bagdad, the cotton was loaded on to shallow draft boats that carried the cotton to the mouth of the Rio Grande, which was choked with sand bars and shallow waters. Once there, the cotton bales were loaded on to waiting ships in the Gulf. It has been reported that as many as 300 foreign ships were anchored waiting for the South’s cash crop.

Until cotton times, Bagdad had been a deplorable collection of fishermen’s shanties. In just a few months, all this changed. To this town a motley group of the dregs of the world found their way in great numbers, augmented by the intermittent visits of soldiers from the French, Austrian, Belgian and Mexican armies. The town was filled with peddlers, gamblers, swindlers and smugglers, prostitutes and thieves.

Belgian Legion in Mexico

Belgian Legion in Mexico (from ‘history in 1/72 scale’ blog site, they have a nice batch of pictures)

Business was so good that simple laborers made up to $10.00 per day in cash and the owners of skiffs and lighters (small craft carrying cargo through the treacherous surf to large ocean going vessels anchored offshore) could demand upwards of $40.00 per day in pay.

The New York Herald described Bagdad as:

. . .an excrescence of the war. Here congregated . . . blockade runners, desperadoes, the vile of both sexes; adventurers . . . numberless groggeries and houses of worse fame. [Where the] decencies of civilized life were forgotten, and vice in its worst form held high carnival . . . while in the low, dirty looking buildings . . . were amassed millions [in] gold and silver.” A blockade runner once described Bagdad as a place where everyone was trying to grab what he could by using whatever scheme possible to make money out of crisis.


Father Parisot

In fact, Father P.F. Parisot wrote in his Reminiscences of a Texas Missionary, “The cosmopolitan city of Bagdad was a veritable Babel, a Babylon, a whirlpool of business, pleasure and sin.” The reverend was an Oblate priest who ministered to the citizens of south Texas during the 1850s – 1860s.

In 1865 Bagdad had over 200 structures inside a northward bend of the river. The port was large and it was not unusual to see over 100 vessels waiting offshore for entry to the harbor to deliver or load goods. In April of 1865, Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox ended the port’s usefulness. The next few years were very tumultuous for the city, with bandits, deserters from both armies and desperadoes roaming the area at will. Banks were not safe and most of the citizens hid their valuables close at hand.

Interesting details pop up on different sources along with repetitions of some of the same themes. This is from Wikipedia:

Camels in Texas

Camels in Texas

To speed up this process, the Confederacy decided to utilize camels, first brought to Texas at the recommendation of secretary of war, Jefferson Davis, in 1857. Each carried two bales of cotton to Matamoros where it was then unloaded and shipped on to Bagdad. The camel caravans would return to Camp Verde carrying six hundred pounds of salt from El Sal del Rey and Sal Vieja. The camels could carry twice the load of that of a mule. However, Brownsville citizens soon complained when some camels created havoc. The Brownsville Commission immediately enacted an ordinance prohibiting anyone from walking camels in the streets.

German Unionists Resist Confederate Conscription

German Unionist Resistance to Confederate Conscription

German Unionists and Socialists escape Texas To Mexico

Unionist Germans who did not want to join the Confederacy found that they were in trouble and fled south to Mexico, and Bagdad to find passage to the North by ship.

On 10 August 1862, Confederate soldiers massacred a band of German Texans along the Nueces River. The German population around Austin County, led by Paul Machemehl, was successful in reaching Mexico [from Wikipedia article about Texas in Civil War]. This is where my socialist tie in comes. Many socialists from Europe moved to Texas, as this excerpt below indicates.

From Texas’ History of Class Struggle (Part 1)

Written by David Harding

Several Texas communities were settled in part by European socialists. Under the influence of utopian ideas and often on the run from authorities for participation in the revolutions of 1848, these socialists sought the open land and relative political freedom of the American frontier.

French utopian socialist Étienne Cabet set up an “Icarian Colony,” or utopian socialist commune—one of several across the country—near Denton, TX in 1848. Socialists also settled in Bettina, Boerne, Castell, Cometa, Comfort, Justin, Leningen, La Reunion, and Sisterdale. Although many of these communes never entirely came together, some did last a couple of years. The rest collapsed during the Civil War under ruthless Confederate rule. In Comfort, TX, for example, after the Battle of the Nueces, Confederate soldiers executed utopians for insurrection and draft-dodging. Today Comfort has the only German-language Civil War monument, commemorating those socialists.

Along with the development of industry came the growth of the working class, and with it the ideas of socialism. Workers have been organizing and striking in Texas at least since the days of the Texas Republic (1836–46). In the fall of 1836, the Texas Typographical Association—the first union in the state—went on strike against Houston publishers and won a 25% wage increase.

From the Houston Institute for Culture there is this article excerpt.

Hin’ nach Texas! Off to Texas!

By Sheena Oommen

The ‘48ers, a scholarly, wealthy class of Germans, arrived in Texas amidst the German Revolutions of 1848. Some of these settlers, known as the Freethinkers, formed experimental colonies like the communistic town of Bettina. They were commonly atheistic or agnostic. Carl Postl’s glorified Texas in his 1841 novel The Cabin Book, although it is unclear whether Postl ever visited Texas. Frenchman Henri Castro’s pamphlets spread the word about Texas across Europe in the 1840s and aided in the colonization of Castroville. Although most German publications wrote favorably of Texas immigration, some opposition existed. Georg Franz wrote editorials questioning the lack of adequate preparation for the large, expensive endeavor over the Atlantic and into a strange territory.

“Their general aversion to slavery distinguished the Germans from their Anglo neighbors. Dr. Carl Adolph Douai, a Freethinker and editor of the San Antonio Zeitung, candidly criticized slavery in the newspaper.”

Interestingly Karl Marx’s brother-in-law was among those who settled in Texas as part of the move to the Hill country in the 1840’s. According to one article listed Karl Marx even considered moving to Texas himself and one of his major influences moved to Texas, Victor Considerant.

Victor Prospere Considerant

Victor Prospere Considerant

From a site called Labor History From Texans is this piece:

Socialism Settled in Texas

Socialism is nothing new in Texas, it has been here almost as long as in Europe.

A communistic society in Bettina, one of several, collapsed in 1848. Others lasted longer and made a more enduring mark in Texas history. During that period, several utopian communities were started. Comfort and Sisterdale in the Hill Country near Fredericksburg and La Reunion just outside Dallas were examples.

A leading European socialist, Victor Considerant, came to North Texas in 1853. Considerant had been an early influence on Karl Marx. He wrote Manifeste de la Democratie Pacifique in 1843 and Marx read it, as he read all of Considerant’s writings. Five years later, Marx co-authored The Communist Manifesto. Parts of the earlier work are covered without disagreement in the later one. Thus Considerant and Marx had broad agreement on their diagnosis of the ills of capitalism, even though they differed greatly on the prescription.

Considerant had been active in French politics. When Louis Bonaparte III became President, Considerant joined a rebellion against him. For that, he was driven into exile in Belgium. From there he came to the U.S. to meet with a co-thinker and famous American socialist, Albert Brisbane. They toured the country and ended up riding horseback into North Texas.

Considerant was what Marx termed a “utopian socialist.” He believed that capitalism could be coaxed into changing by providing good examples of functional socialist enterprises. His elaborate plans for experimental communities were tried in many places in Europe and America. They were not economically successful. However, many of the Europeans stayed even after their original settlements collapsed. They made great contributions in the sparsely settled areas where they finally raised their families.

In Texas, the Civil War put a final end to all of the communities. The slave-holding Confederacy could not tolerate the free thinking Europeans. A number of them were massacred at the “Battle of the Nueces” as they tried to escape conscription by fleeing from Comfort, Texas, to Mexico.

It has been suggested that Karl Marx himself once considered coming to Texas. Or, possibly, he only mentioned the idea as a ruse to throw authorities off his trail.

IF Marx Came to Texas

Imagine Karl Marx in Texas

This is from a Wikipedia article about Sisterdale, TX.

Sisterdale was settled in 1847 by German surveyor and free thinker Nicolaus Zink. Originally part of Comal, Sisterdale became part of Kendall County when the latter was formed in 1862.

Among the settlers were German pioneers Fritz and Betty Holekamp, geographer Ernst Kapp; Anhalt Premier progeny Baron Ottmar von Behr; journalist Dr. Carl Adolph Douai; August Siemering who later founded the San Antonio Express News; author, journalist and diplomat Dr. Julius Fröbel;future Wall Street financial wiz Gustav Theissen; and Baron Edgar von Westphalen, brother to Jenny von Westphalen who was married to Karl Marx.

This is from the Texas State Historical Society

On this day in 1862, Confederate soldiers attacked a force of Hill Country Unionists camped en route to Mexico beside the Nueces River in Kinney County. The skirmish is known as the battle of the Nueces. The sixty-odd Unionists, mostly German intellectuals, had camped without choosing a defensive position or posting a strong guard. Nineteen of them were killed and nine were wounded The wounded were executed by the Confederates later in the day. Two Confederates were killed and eighteen wounded. Of the Unionists who escaped from the battle, eight were killed on October 18 while trying to cross into Mexico. After the war the remains of the Unionists were gathered and interred at Comfort, where a monument commemorates them.

Harpers Story About Germans in Texas

Harper’s story about German Patriots

When Texas aligned itself with the Confederacy, Union loyalists were persecuted. Many German-American residents of the Hill Country, in particular, and other Union loyalists found it necessary to flee for their lives. Many of these Union loyalists made harrowing journeys through territory strange to them in the South Texas country. Matamoros was their destination, but their hope was to eventually make their way by sea, through Bagdad, back to the Northern States.

Texan Confederate residents of Brownsville were aware that Union loyalists were hiding in Matamoros. These refugees were chased and were not safe in Matamoros. Texan Confederates were free to roam Matamoros, a city where they enjoyed long-established and friendly relations with many of the locals, and they actively hunted Union loyalists.

This situation greatly concerned the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, and he sent dispatches on behalf of the refugees, via ship, to Washington. There were numerous pleas imploring Washington to send a military naval vessel to Bagdad to provide safe passage. The consulate gave assurances that were this to occur these men would make loyal soldiers in the service of the Union.

The Naval Blockade of Southern ports took priority, however, and response was slow. A U.S. naval ship did eventually make its way to just north of Bagdad and a party of long-suffering German-American refugees were at last rescued.

The Consulate also complained bitterly in his dispatches about the cotton trade and implored Washington to find some way to stop it. But as Mexico was a neutral party, there was little Washington could do.,_Tamaulipas



From the Wikipedia article on Matamoros

At the beginning of the American Civil War, the city of Matamoros was simply a sleepy little border town across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas. It had, for several years, been considered a port, but it had relatively few ships arriving. Previous to the war, accounts mention that not over six ships entered the port each year. Nevertheless, in about four years, Matamoros, due to its proximity to Texas, was to assume state as a port, and multiply its inhabitants in number. Following is a quote from a Union General in 1885 describing the importance of the port in Matamoros:

“Matamoros is to the rebellion west of the Mississippi what New York is to the United States—its great commercial and financial center, feeding and clothing the rebellion, arming and equipping, furnishing it materials of war and a specie basis of circulation that has almost displaced Confederate paper…The entire Confederate Government is greatly sustained by resources from this port.”

Romantic View

Romantic view of Matamoros, ships that large may not have been able to get past the sand bars

The cotton trade brought together in Bagdad, Tamaulipas and Matamoros over 20,000 speculators from the Union and the Confederacy, England, France, and Germany. Bagdad had grown from a small, seashore town to a “full-pledge town.” The English-speaking population in the area by 1864 was so great that Matamoros even had a newspaper printed in English—it was called the Matamoros Morning Call. In addition, the port exported cotton to England and France, where millions of people needed it for their daily livelihood, and it was possible to receive fifty cents per pound in gold for cotton, when it cost about three cents in the Confederacy, “and much more money was received for it laid down in New York and European ports.” Other sources mention that the port of Matamoros traded with London, Havana, Belize, and New Orleans. The Matamoros and New York City trade agreement, however, continued throughout the war and until 1864, and it was considered “heavy and profitable.”

By 1865, Matamoros was described as a prosperous town of 30,000 people, and Lew Wallace informed General Ulysses S. Grant that neither Baltimore or New Orleans could compare itself to the growing commercial activity of Matamoros. Nevertheless, after the collapse of the Confederacy, “gloom, despondency, and despair” became evident in Matamoros—markets shut down, business almost ceased to exist, and ships were rarely seen. “For Sale” signs began to sprout up everywhere, and Matamoros returned to its role of a sleepy little border town across the Rio Grande.

Cortina’s War

The next piece is about the state of relations between Anglos and Mexicans on the eve of the American Civil War. Resentment remained over the results of the Mexican American War and as the story below indicates the Matamoros border region was in the heart of these tensions.

Juan Cortina

Juan Cortina Leader of Mexicans Unhappy with American Presence in Border Region Eve of Civil War

The US Army on the Mexican Border:A Historical Perspective
by Matt M. Matthews

According to Utley, “Mexicans of every station on both sides of the border hated the gringos for the Mexican War and for the oppression that followed.” Clendenen, on the other hand, wrote that “many Americans, with their point of view warped by the memories and myths of the recent war and the Texas rebellion, were fully convinced that all Mexicans were treacherous, undependable and cruel.”

This volatile state of affairs ignited on 13 July 1859 when Juan Nepomuceno Cortina shot and wounded the Brownsville city marshal who had beaten one of Cortina’s former employees…After gunning down the marshal, Cortina fled to Matamoros. By the time he arrived in Mexico, his violent encounter with the Anglo establishment had transformed him into a champion of oppressed Mexicans.

Cortina remained in seclusion for more than 2 months, but on 28 September, he raided Brownsville, murdering four men and liberating the Mexicans held in the local jail. After running roughshod over the terrified Anglo population for nearly 24 hours, prominent citizens in Matamoros, perhaps fearing American reprisals, persuaded Cortina to leave Brownsville. Late in the afternoon, Cortina, accompanied by approximately 80 men, headed north. To ensure the protection of American citizens in Brownsville, a Mexican militia force from Matamoros crossed the Rio Grande and occupied the vacant Fort Brown. It was a surprising turn of events indeed. A Mexican military force crossed over onto US soil and occupied a fort abandoned by the US Army to protect xenophobic American citizens from a vengeful Mexican insurgent

View from Fort Brown

Matamoros from Fort Brown

From Trouble along the Rio Grande: The First Cortina War
by Jeffery Robenalt

Alarmed by the continued chaos on the border, Governor Runnels ordered John Salmon “Rip” Ford to take control of the situation. The formal orders caught up with Ford on November 17. He was to assume overall command of the Rangers on the border. According to Governor Runnels, “The service required is to protect the western frontier against Cortina and his band and to arrest them if possible.

Fierce skirmishing on both sides of the Rio Grande continued unabated until early spring, with the Rangers crossing the border in pursuit of Cortina whenever the opportunity presented itself. Both sides suffered casualties, and property damage was extensive. However, the situation changed abruptly in April 1860. Texas elected a new governor, Sam Houston, and with the possibility of a civil war looming on the horizon, Houston ordered Ford to disband his Rangers and return to Austin.

Texas Ranger John Salmon Ford

Texas Ranger John Salmon Ford in Confederate Uniform was tasked to capture Cortina and failed.

More from Matthews book, interesting appearance of Robert E. Lee on the border.

In February 1860, Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee temporarily replaced Twiggs as the Commander of the Department of Texas. Lee arrived in Texas with two letters from the Secretary of War, granting him wide discretion in his dealings with the Mexicans. One letter authorized Lee to go “beyond the limits of the United States” in pursuing Cortina. The other letter authorized him to attack the “banditti” in Mexico if the Mexican military authorities failed to break up Cortina’s band. In March, Lee allowed about 200 soldiers and Rangers to cross into Mexico in search of Cortina. When the local military commander protested the incursion, Lee informed him that he “had been directed by the honorable Secretary of War . . . to notify the Mexican authorities that they must break up and disperse the bands of banditti concerned in the outrages. . . . I shall, therefore consider it my duty to hold them [the Mexican officials] responsible for its faithful performance.”

Lee in Texas

Robert E. Lee in Texas

Unfortunately, neither Lee nor the Mexican Government could do [much] to stop the continued raids across the border. According to James Arnold, “Lee concluded that Indians, Mexicans, and Americans would commit crimes when it could be done with impunity. He judged that it would require twenty thousand troops to defend adequately the region’s isolated ranches and small towns.”

General Sheridan Helps Mexicans Against French

After the Civil War General Grant sent General Sheridan to the Texas border to both intercept escaping Confederates and to aid the Mexican forces of Benito Juarez against the French and their Mexican allies.

Again from Matthews The US Army on the Mexican Border:A Historical Perspective

By the time Sheridan arrived at his headquarters in New Orleans, Confederate forces in Texas and Louisiana had already surrendered. Concerned that former Confederates were attempting to cross into Mexico, Sheridan ordered George Armstrong Custer’s cavalry division to Houston, Texas, and Wesley Merritt’s cavalry division to San Antonio in an effort to “make a strong showing of forces in Texas.”10 In combination with Custer’s and Merritt’s movements, an infantry division was sent to Galveston and another to Brazos Santiago. The IV Corps was ordered to Victoria, Texas, and a large portion of XXV Corps moved directly to Brownsville. “The object being,” Sheridan remarked, “to prevent, as far as possible, the escaping Confederates from joining Maximilian.

On 1 June, Sheridan arrived in Brownsville, determined, as he put it, “to impress the Imperialist, as much as possible, with the idea that we intended hostilities.”13 Without delay, Sheridan sent scouts and spies into northern Mexico and ordered his troops on the lower Rio Grande to brandish their warlike intentions. To further inflame imperialist angst, Sheridan demanded the return of Confederate munitions that ex-Confederates gave the Mexican imperialist commander at Matamoros. Not wanting to anger the Americans, the commander of Matamoros quickly complied with Sheridan’s demands. “These demands,” Sheridan recalled, “backed up as they were by such a formidable show of force, created much agitation and demoralization among the Imperial troops, and measures looking to the abandonment of northern Mexico were forthwith adopted by those in authority.”

By October 1865, Sheridan’s provocative maneuvers on the Rio Grande had produced the desired effects. “These reports and demonstrations,” Sheridan stated, “resulted in alarming the Imperialist so much that they withdrew the French and Austrian soldiers from Matamoras, and practically abandoned the whole of northern Mexico as far down as Monterey, with the exception of Matamoras where General [Tomas] Mejia continued to hold on with a garrison of renegade Mexicans.” With the withdrawal of most of the French and Austrian soldiers from northern Mexico, Sheridan began leaving large quantities of “condemned” small arms, ammunition, and other military supplies at various points along the American side of the Rio Grande. These supplies soon fell into the hands of Juarez’s liberal army.

Juarez symbol of resistance

Benito Juarez President and leader of Mexican Resistance to French Incursion

There is more, lots of details about battles between the French allied factions and the Juarez forces, Confederate and Union dealings with the various factions, then there is the Mexican American war and the Battle of Matamoros, also the Texan Independence war. There were filibusters that attempted to take over the city and even a post civil war US troop sack of the city involving Black soldiers. Ultimately Bagdad was destroyed by hurricanes, but it had fallen on hard times after the war boom years. I could do another whole blog, hell I could do a book on this fascinating area and it’s history.

General Sheridan

General Sheridan

“15 May 1866, Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman (Boise, ID), pg. 7?, col. 3:
GEN. SHERIDAN does not have a very exalted opinion of Texas as a place of resident. Said he lately, “If I owned hell and Texas, I would rent Texas and live at the other place.” In former times, before Texas was “re-annexed,” Texas and the other place were made to stand as opposites. Thus, when Col. Crockett was beaten in his Congressional district, he said to those who defeated him, “You may go to hell, and I’ll go to Tex!” which he did, and found a grave.”

My initial conclusion is that the border region is fascinating and the history is rich with constant crossing from one side to the other, the idea that the US and Mexico are separate, especially on the border is simply false. These cultures and histories are intermingled and always will be. The idea of building a wall to separate them is simply absurd and counter productive. Cultures thrive when they are in contact and freely become what they will be organically. Imposing barriers merely stems the tide and makes the eventual change all the more traumatic. As then Colonel Lee concluded it would take massive amounts of troops to secure the border, a task that is even less necessary today than it might have been then. The example of the time of Cortina is a case in point. He was Mexican raised on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, fought for Mexico in the Mexican American War and was tired of being mistreated by the arriving Yankees, but the Matamoros citizenry defended their brethren in Brownsville from his assaults when the US military was unable or unwilling. Brownsville and Matamoros had been the same municipal region before the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 caused a final separation as the Mexicans had claimed the river Nueces as the border not the Rio Grande upon Texan independence and there were still ties of family on both sides of the border, as there are to this day.


Last night August 9th I made a salad with toast. The salad was my usual romaine lettuce, with slice of chopped onion, a whole Roma tomato, a third of a bell pepper and a whole jalapeno pepper, with a dollop of humus, a whole small avocado, a dollop of sour cream, two fingers of sharp cheddar cheese cubed and wheat germ. On top I put my sesame dressing with apple cider vinegar, canola oil, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and a squeezed lime slice. I put some hot sauce and black pepper on top.
The toast was covered with peanut butter and vanilla yogurt. A fairly normal dinner but tasty and good.

This morning, Aug. 10th or I should say afternoon I had breakfast of two pork sausages, fried in canola oil with nopales, third of a bell pepper chopped up, a jalapeno chopped up, some soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, and basil, with a little powdered lemon grass, and two fried eggs over medium with some cilantro stems thrown in. On the side I chopped up a slice of onion, a Roma tomato, cilantro with the stems removed, and the remains of a package of Oaxaca cheese pulled into pieces. I heated in the microwave some basmati rice, fresh made moist style pinto beans and corn tortillas. I served with some hot sauce and black pepper thrown on top. This made a good breakfast but I think I would have preferred a salad tomato since it was uncooked, Roma tomatoes are better cooked unless they are really ripe.

Palestine Peace Talks, Iranian Sanctions, More Food Stuff

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Peace Talks Between Israel and Palestine to begin again

From the Jerusalem Post:

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talks in Jerusalem on Aug. 14, the US State Department said on Thursday.

The sides held their first peace negotiations in nearly three years in Washington on July 30 in US-mediated efforts to end the conflict of more than six decades.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said last week that Israel was expected to release 26 Palestinian prisoners on August 13 to constitute the first of four stages of prisoner releases as a gesture for resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said last week that the parties had agreed on alternating venues for talks in initial meetings with the first to be held in Israel.

“We and the Palestinians both determined that the first meetings would be held once in Israel and once in the Palestinian Authority … we want to do it directly (and close to home). The next meeting will be in the second week of August in Israel,” she said in a broadcast interview.
Palestine is a new focus for Secretary of State Kerry. He claims to be working for a new peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians. The chances of success seem fairly slim but Kerry seems to be adamant about moving things forward. Kerry would certainly like it in his legacy that he was the one to crack this nut. Interesting how fundamentalist Christians are so interested in the goings on over there. They are constantly seeking signs of the coming end of the world as the video below with its weird music indicates.

Report from Arise TV and JN1 on Kerry Peace Plan for Palestine and Israel

Former President Carter has lambasted Israel and called what they are attempting to impose on the Palestinians as being a form of apartheid. This has been unpopular to say the least among the pro Israel members of Congress.

Hardball interview with Carter on his book about Palestine, note how MSNBC host tries to change subject to Rwanda.

Iran Sanctions

The election of a new more moderate government in Iran should lead to renewed negotiations but the reaction of Congress seems to be one of increased sanctions. But with the exemptions allowed by the State Department, and others who seem to simply be ignoring the US sanctions, it seems that Iran will be able to continue exporting oil and maintaining an independent policy. Below are criticisms of the US policies by Webster Tarpley and Congressman Ron Paul as well as a report on sanctions from an Iranian opposition group.

Webster Tarpley on Press TV calls new US Congressional Sanctions impotent

This is from the People’s Mojahedin an Iranian opposition socialist group in exile. But the article itself seems to be straight from the AP wire.

US House approves tough new Iran sanctions
AP, Washington, 31 July 2013 - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved tough new sanctions on Iran’s oil sector and other industries.
The Obama administration fears the measures could undercut the Islamic republic’s incoming, more moderate president ahead of new nuclear negotiations.
No date has been set for such talks, which would include other world powers Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The bill makes no mention of Hasan Rouhani’s recent win or his pledge to improve Iran’s relations with the world.
He will assume office this weekend.
The bill adopted Wednesday blacklists any business in Iran’s mining and construction sectors and commits the United States to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015.
Petroleum sales are the biggest source of money for Iran’s nuclear program. Washington fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran says its program is for energy and research purposes.
The bill builds on U.S. penalties that went into effect last year that have cut Iran’s petroleum exports in half and hurt its economy.
Still, China, India and several other Asian nations continue to buy billions of dollars of Iranian oil each month.
That provides Tehran with much of the money it spends on its weapons and nuclear programs.
President Barack Obama and his national security team are gauging whether Rouhani is willing to slow some of his country’s uranium enrichment activity.
The administration wants to give him a chance to make concessions before Iran reaches nuclear weapons capacity.
Obama has given Iran until sometime next year to prove that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful energy and research purposes.
He prefers diplomacy to the alternative of a military intervention by the U.S. or Israel, which sees an Iranian atomic arsenal as a threat to its existence.
“We believe crippling sanctions are a key part of the pressure we put on Iran,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Wednesday.

Ron Paul critique of Iran Sanctions and US ignoring of civil liberties

I don’t usually find myself agreeing with Ron Paul, but his foreign policy ideals are right on. He wants to pull US troops back from our over extended foreign presence. Obama has given some credence to this by pulling out of Iraq rapidly but he replaced that with Afghanistan and seems about to do the same in Syria or Iran, depending on which way the wind blows.

It is interesting to see Kerry pushing so hard on the Palestinian issue, reflecting what I see as an outdated view that the lynchpin to US problems in the Middle East stem from the Arab Israeli conflict. That was the case up until recently, but now with the Arab spring, what is really going on is a massive uprising of the people of the region and it can no longer be pinned to the Palestinian struggle, it is now everyone’s struggle for freedom.

More culinary delights

I have been remiss in not reporting my daily doings in the kitchen for a day or so. Let us recap, I am doing what I am calling loosely an anarchist cookbook. As a former anarchist myself, and something of a low budget gourmet, well really more of a semi health conscious comfort food eater, one who tends to throw the kitchen sink into every meal, I have developed my own style of cooking, something rather anarchistic in that I tend not to follow recipes, and I add foods together that often are not thought to belong together.

Mr Peabody and his boy Sherman

Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman going into the Wayback Machine.

Lets take the way back machine to the evening of July 7th, my meal was miso soup and salad. Miso soup included a medium-large turd sized dollop of white Miso in a smallish pan half filled with boiling water, add a slice of chopped onion, half an El Serrano pepper, a third of a bell pepper chopped, cube up a fifth of a block of firm or extra firm tofu and at the end a decent sized wad of Korean sea weed, and one twist of rice pasta. This cooks fast and is ready in ten minutes.

The salad was romaine lettuce broken into pieces, a slice of onion chopped, the other half of the El Serrano pepper chopped, a small Roma tomato chopped, a dollop of humus, a two finger sized slice of sharp Cheddar cheese, a ripe avocado, sprinkle wheat germ on it, pour the dressing on, and it is done. The dressing was made from sesame oil, canola oil, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and that is it, I left out the vinegar this time and it was delicious.

Yesterday morning, July 8, I had errands to run so I grabbed a meaty breakfast burrito at Jack in the Box.

Meaty Breakfast Burrito

Jack In the Box Meaty Breakfast Burrito

Dinner was more pasta, my visiting roommate from Mexico likes pasta. So it was some thin spaghetti, sauce made of canned plum tomatoes and tomato paste on top of a third of a chopped onion sauteed in olive oil, with basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf and leftover sauce from my last pasta. On the frying pan I sauteed another third of a chopped onion, added a Mexican (white) squash chopped, a jalapeno pepper chopped, two links of pork sausage, three strips of pork bacon with fat left in, a Roma tomato chopped, and a chayote with skin peeled off, and pit, or in this case the white area where there would have been a pit, sliced up and added last to the pan. This was very fruity almost like an unripe honeydew. I added basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and some chili powder. Lastly I boiled up three chopped carrots. I put the left over carrot juice into the frying pan, simmered it down. The pasta I put in the strainer, added leftover pasta from the last meal, it was heated by the new pasta, poured the rest of the carrot juice on top, and then served pasta, with sauteed veges and meats and tomato sauce, grating Pepper Jack cheese on top, on the side were the carrots with Mexican Oaxaca cheese chunks melted on top helped by a minute in the microwave. A slice of lime on the side and it was done.

This morning August 9 Nagasaki day, I sauteed in olive oil two pork sausages, chopped up a slice of onion, a jalapeno pepper, washed and included a handful of nopales, sliced up a small prebaked potato and added it and spiced with basil, lemon grass powder, a slice of lime squeezed in with the rind thrown in, chili powder, and some cumin. I then added some sweet chili sauce and slices of Mexican Oaxaca cheese. In the microwave I heated left over rice, leftover pancake, and tortillas. I poached a couple of eggs and then served with fresh cilantro, hot sauce and black pepper on top. I put a dollop of vanilla yogurt on the pancakes. This was a great breakfast, too much in fact, I had to put about a third of it back in the fridge for future meals. I especially liked how the sunflower seeds in the pancakes had mellowed and softened over time and tasted really nice giving the pancakes a nice crunchiness.

There you have it, I am going to try and get those pictures figured out this weekend so I can add them.

Why Did The USA Drop The Atomic Bombs?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Nagasaki moments after bomb dropped

Nagasaki August 9, 1945

There are questions about the rationale for dropping the Atomic Bombs and also whether they were necessary or not. Further there is the question of whether or not a deliberate fabrication was created to justify the bombings in the wake of criticism that was being made publicly by scientists and military leaders especially. Secretary Stimson was the point man for the justification for the bombings in an article published in Harpers Magazine in 1947. Below is an introduction from Columbia University to the article and a link to it. Later I quote from Stimson after quoting some interesting documents, including the diaries of President Truman.

T H E D E C I S I O N T O U S E T H E A T O M I C B O M B( F E B R U A R Y 1 9 4 7 )
B y H e n r y L e w i s S t i m s o n

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) remains among the
most controversial events in modern history. Historians have actively debated whether the bombings were
necessary, what effect they had on bringing the war in the Pacific to an expeditious end, and what other options
were available to the United States. These very same questions were also contentious at the time, as American
policymakers struggled with how to use a phenomenally powerful new technology and what the long-term impact
of atomic weaponry might be, not just on the Japanese, but on domestic politics, America’s international relations,
and the budding Cold War with the Soviet Union. In retrospect, it is clear that the reasons for dropping the atomic
bombs on Japan, just like the later impact of nuclear technology on world politics, were complex and intertwined
with a variety of issues that went far beyond the simple goal of bringing World War II to a rapid close.
Former Secretary of War Henry Lewis Stimson’s article “The Decision to Use the Bomb” appeared in Harper’s Magazine
in February 1947. The piece was intended as a response to mounting public criticism of the decision to use atomic
weapons against Japan, including from highly respected public figures such as Albert Einstein.

It seems more and more likely that the entire story behind the necessity of dropping the Atomic Bomb to save lives was simply a spin to cover the facts. At the end of the war, Japan was bombed out.

This is from article by Brett Wilkins Op-Ed: The truth about Hiroshima

Japan was so bombed out by the summer of 1945 that dropping the atomic bomb would be of little practical use. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson knew this. On June 6, he told President Harry S. Truman that “the Air Force would have Japan so bombed out that the new weapon would not have a fair background to show its strength.” Stimson later said that the American leadership made no attempt to induce a Japanese surrender in order to avoid using the atomic bomb. He knew unconditional surrender was mere propaganda and that the bombs would be used no matter what.

“The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” -Supreme Allied Commander and, later, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Read more:

US Army Photo Devastated Hiroshima

US Army photo of Hiroshima devastation from Digital Journal

This is from Harry Truman’s Diaries and Papers as selected and annotated by Doug Long on his website devoted to the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

7/18/45 Diary Entry:

“P.M. [Prime Minister Winston Churchill] & I ate alone. Discussed Manhattan [atomic bomb] (it is a success). Decided to tell Stalin about it. Stalin had told P.M. of telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace. Stalin also read his answer to me. It was satisfactory. Believe Japs will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland. I shall inform Stalin about it at an opportune time.” [The closest Truman came to doing that was on 7/24/45 when “I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of unusual destructive force.” (Harry Truman, “Memoirs, 1945″, pg. 416). No mention was made by Truman that the weapon was an atomic bomb.]

[A positive response or inquiry to Japan regarding their request for peace was avoided on the grounds that the purpose of Japan’s request was not “clear”, as Stalin put it. For the request, see U.S. Dept. of State, “Foreign Relations of the U.S., The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. 1″, pg. 875-876 and 879-880. For Stalin’s response to Japan, see U.S. Dept. of State, “Foreign Relations of the U.S., The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. 2″, pg. 1250-1251 and 1587-1588.]

[The following diary entry is not found in “Off the Record”. It appears to refer to the meeting between Truman and Stalin on 7/17/45 at the Potsdam Conference. It may have been written by Truman in the Fall of 1951 for his aide Eben Ayers (Gar Alperovitz, “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb”, pg. 558-559).]

Truman had earlier met with the military and decided to invade Japan.

Letter from Harry Truman to filmmaker

Truman Letter to Mr. Bohnen regarding his Atomic judgement.

5/17/45 Truman Appointment Sheet Entry - meeting with Sec. of the Navy James Forrestal:

“Held a session in projection room to outline the proposed campaign in Pacific for the Japanese war. Apparently a very detailed plan worked out with the idea of invasion of Japan.”

[The meaning of this passage is unclear. Forrestal had seen many Americans killed at the battle of Iwo Jima during his trip there in February 1945. He was horrified, and upon returning implored, “We cannot go from Iwo to Iwo. We must find a formula to gain peace without this frightful bloodshed.” (Ellis Zacharias, “The Forrestal Enigma”, United Nations World, March 1949). Yet in the week before the 5/17 meeting with Truman, Forrestal had questioned the wisdom of having Russia participate in an invasion of Japan. The Dept. of War believed that Russian entry would help save American lives. Forrestal, on the other hand, feared control of additional occupied territory by Russia. He also hoped that postwar Japan might become a counterweight to Russia in the Far East. The Navy favored their blockade as the primary means of defeating Japan. A psychological warfare plan, focusing on non-military methods of winning the war, that Forrestal had backed had been largely rejected. (Ellis Zacharias, “How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender”, Look, 6/6/50).]

6/17/45 Diary Entry:

“I have to decide Japanese strategy - shall we invade Japan proper or shall we bomb and blockade? That is my hardest decision to date. But I’ll make it when I have all the facts.”

[The next day Truman met with military representatives to discuss how the war against Japan should proceed. Truman decided at that meeting to have the Joint Chiefs of Staff go ahead with plans to invade Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four major islands. The planned invasion date was Nov. 1, 1945].

[7/16/45: The first atomic bomb was successfully tested. That night Truman, who was in Potsdam, Germany at a conference with Churchill and Stalin, received a brief secret notification that the atomic bomb test had “exceeded expectations”. It’s likely that Truman’s diary reference on 7/17/45 to his “dynamite” refers to the a-bomb news, of which he had not told Stalin, from the 16th.]

Truman had determined to bring the Russians on board as had been agreed at Yalta despite knowing that he had the bomb and the problems that many had with the inclusion of the Russians in the final struggle with Japan.

7/17/45 Diary Entry:

“I told Stalin that I am no diplomat but usually said yes & no to questions after hearing all the argument. It pleased him. I asked him if he had the agenda for the meeting. He said he had and that he had some more questions to present. I told him to fire away. He did and it is dynamite - but I have some dynamite too which I’m not exploding now.”

“He’ll [Stalin and Russia] be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini Japs when that comes about.”

[Did this mean that Truman thought Russia would be the final element in bringing Japan’s defeat? Or Russia plus the atomic bomb? Truman did not receive word of when the first atomic bomb would be ready for use on Japan until July 22nd.]

[7/18/45: Truman received another brief message confirming the success of the a-bomb test. Later that day he wrote his wife a letter.]

7/18/45 Letter to Bess Truman:

“…I’ve gotten what I came for - Stalin goes to war [against Japan] August 15 with no strings on it. He wanted a Chinese settlement [in return for entering the Pacific war, China would give Russia some land and other concessions] - and it is practically made - in a better form than I expected. [Chinese Foreign Minister] Soong did better than I asked him. I’ll say that we’ll end the war a year sooner now, and think of the kids who won’t be killed! That is the important thing.”

Atomic Bomb victim

Victim of Atomic bomb

From an article by David Krieger Were the Atomic Bombings Necessary?

He describes how many of the scientists involved in the project were appalled at the idea of using the bomb on Japan and attempts to stop the president from dropping the bomb, preferring a demonstration to the Japanese.

The end of the war was a great relief to those who had fought for so long. There were nuclear scientists, though, who now regretted what they had created and how their creations had been used. One of these was Leo Szilard, the Hungarian émigré physicist who had warned Einstein of the possibility of the Germans creating an atomic weapon first and of the need for the US to begin a bomb project. Szilard had convinced Einstein to send a letter of warning to Roosevelt, which led at first to a small project to explore the potential of uranium to sustain a chain reaction and then to the Manhattan Project that resulted in the creation of the first atomic weapons.

Szilard did his utmost to prevent the bomb from being used against Japanese civilians. He wanted to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt, but Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. He next tried to meet with the new president, Harry Truman, but Truman sent him to Spartanburg, South Carolina to talk with his mentor in the Senate, Jimmy Byrnes, who was dismissive of Szilard. Szilard then tried to organize the scientists in the Manhattan Project to appeal for a demonstration of the bomb rather than immediately using it on a Japanese city. The appeal was stalled by General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, and did not reach President Truman until after the atomic bombs were used.

The use of the bomb caused many other scientists to despair as well. Albert Einstein deeply regretted that he had written to President Roosevelt. He did not work on the Manhattan Project, but he had used his influence to encourage the start of the American bomb project. Einstein, like Szilard, believed that the purpose of the U.S. bomb project was to deter the use of a German bomb. He was shocked that, once created, the bomb was used offensively against the Japanese. Einstein would spend the remaining ten years of his life speaking out against the bomb and seeking its elimination. He famously said, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

“Little Boy” Bomb dropped on Hiroshima

Admiral William Leahy, Truman’s chief of staff, put it this way: “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to barbarians of the Dark Ages. Wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

Bomb used on Nagasaki

“Fat Man” Bomb used on Nagasaki

The question comes up as to why would the US drop a second bomb, after the first. After all the US had demonstrated to the Japanese that the Atomic Bomb was devastating.

This is what a British history site has to say:

Two senior American military figures - General Groves and Admiral Purnell - were convinced that two atomic bombs dropped within days of the other would have such an overwhelming impact on the Japanese government that it would surrender. Scientists at Los Alamos were also intrigued as to which type of bomb was the better - a uranium or plutonium based bomb. ‘Little Boy’ showed its effectiveness at Hiroshima but another bombing mission was needed to see what damage a uranium bomb could do.

Nagasaki was a major shipbuilding city and a large military port. But it was not a favoured target as it had been bombed five times in the previous twelve months and any damage caused by an atomic bomb would have been difficult to assess. Also, the way Nagasaki had grown as a port meant that the impact of a powerful bomb might be dissipated as the city had grown across hills and valleys. The city was also broken up with stretches of water. Nagasaki was not America’s primary target. This was Kokura. By the time ‘Bockscar’ [nickname of bomber assigned to task] got near to its primary target, Kokura, it became clear that the weather had saved the city. The city was covered by cloud. Sweeney [pilot] made three runs over the city but could find not break. With lack of fuel an issue, he decided to move to his only other target - Nagasaki.

This site indicates the situation among the Japanese authorities after the Potsdam Decree announced by Truman.

‘…We call upon the Government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurance of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.’

The Potsdam Declaration was debated vigorously at the highest levels of the Japanese government. A delegation was sent to Moscow to request that the Soviet Union, then still at peace with Japan, act as mediator. It was hoped that if the Soviets would agree to that role, it might be possible to negotiate terms that would be the most favorable to Japan.

There was great dissension among the Japanese military leaders, for few wanted to submit to a demand for unconditional surrender. Senior diplomats and influential citizens, however, privately urged Marquis Koichi Kido and members of the Japanese cabinet to take advantage of the offer in order to bring a prompt end to the war. On the other hand, War Minister Korechika Anami and the chiefs of the army and navy staffs adamantly refused to accept the terms of the Potsdam agreement. The result was that the Japanese government appeared to ignore the Allied declaration. There was no suspicion that the declaration itself constituted a warning that the most devastating weapon ever devised would be forthcoming.

Announcing the Surrender

Japanese Radio broadcast of surrender

Gar Alperovitz, historian and author had determined that the Bomb was largely dropped not to end the war with Japan but due to considerations regarding the Soviet Union, Truman’s diaries and papers notwithstanding.

This work began with my 1965 book, Atomic diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam : the use of the atomic bomb and the American confrontation with Soviet power, in which I argued that the then available evidence available pointed to three major conclusions: first, that the first use of these terrible weapons was unnecessary; second, that this was understood by decision makers at the time; and third that there was very substantial though not absolutely definitive evidence that by the late summer of 1945 the decision was primarily influenced by diplomatic considerations related to the Soviet Union.

Stalin and Truman at Potsdam

Stalin and Truman at Potsdam

Alperovitz further came to believe that the idea of saving millions of soldiers lives was a later interpolation invented after the war.

This is described in an article by John V. Denson, The Hiroshima Myth, in which he describes briefly the arguments made by Alperovitz in his 1995 book The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth.

question that Alperovitz answers in the last half of the book is how and why the Hiroshima myth was created. The story of the myth begins with the person of James B. Conant, the President of Harvard University, who was a prominent scientist, having initially made his mark as a chemist working on poison gas during World War I. During World War II, he was chairman of the National Defense Research Committee from the summer of 1941 until the end of the war and he was one of the central figures overseeing the Manhattan Project. Conant became concerned about his future academic career, as well as his positions in private industry, because various people began to speak out concerning why the bombs were dropped. On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publically quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a “toy and they wanted to try it out….” He further stated, “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it.”

James Conant came to the conclusion that some important person in the administration must go public to show that the dropping of the bombs was a military necessity, thereby saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, so he approached Harvey Bundy and his son, McGeorge Bundy. It was agreed by them that the most important person to create this myth was Secretary of War, Henry Stimson. It was decided that Stimson would write a long article to be widely circulated in a prominent national magazine. This article was revised repeatedly by McGeorge Bundy and Conant before it was published in Harper’s magazine in February of 1947. The long article became the subject of a front-page article and editorial in The New York Times and in the editorial it was stated “There can be no doubt that the president and Mr. Stimson are right when they mention that the bomb caused the Japanese to surrender.” Later, in 1959, President Truman specifically endorsed this conclusion, including the idea that it saved the lives of a million American soldiers. This myth has been renewed annually by the news media and various political leaders ever since.

It is very pertinent that, in the memoirs of Henry Stimson entitled On Active Service in Peace and War, he states, “Unfortunately, I have lived long enough to know that history is often not what actually happened but what is recorded as such.”

Denson also goes on using the Alperovitz book to argue that is was largely the influence of one man in particular who had been Truman’s mentor when he became a senator, James Byrnes.

James Byrnes and Harry Truman

Byrnes and Truman en route to Potsdam Conference

Alperovitz makes it very clear that the main person Truman was listening to while he ignored all of this civilian and military advice, was James Byrnes, the man who virtually controlled Truman at the beginning of his administration. Byrnes was one of the most experienced political figures in Washington, having served for over thirty years in both the House and the Senate. He had also served as a United States Supreme Court Justice, and at the request of President Roosevelt, he resigned that position and accepted the role in the Roosevelt administration of managing the domestic economy. Byrnes went to the Yalta Conference with Roosevelt and then was given the responsibility to get Congress and the American people to accept the agreements made at Yalta.

When Truman became a senator in 1935, Byrnes immediately became his friend and mentor and remained close to Truman until Truman became president. Truman never forgot this and immediately called on Byrnes to be his number-two man in the new administration.

Truman asked Byrnes immediately, in April, to become his Secretary of State but they delayed the official appointment until July 3, 1945, so as not to offend the incumbent. Byrnes had also accepted a position on the interim committee which had control over the policy regarding the atom bomb, and therefore, in April, 1945 became Truman’s main foreign policy advisor, and especially the advisor on the use of the atomic bomb. It was Byrnes who encouraged Truman to postpone the Potsdam Conference and his meeting with Stalin until they could know, at the conference, if the atomic bomb was successfully tested. While at the Potsdam Conference the experiments proved successful and Truman advised Stalin that a new massively destructive weapon was now available to America, which Byrnes hoped would make Stalin back off from any excessive demands or activity in the post-war period.

Truman secretly gave the orders on July 25, 1945 that the bombs would be dropped in August while he was to be in route back to America. On July 26, he issued the Potsdam Proclamation, or ultimatum, to Japan to surrender, leaving in place the unconditional surrender policy, thereby causing both Truman and Byrnes to believe that the terms would not be accepted by Japan.

This is from Stinson’s article justifying the use of the Atomic bomb.

On July 28 the Premier of Japan, Suzuki, rejected the Potsdam ultimatum by announcing that it was “unworthy of public notice.” In the face of this rejection we could only proceed to demonstrate that the ultimatum had meant exactly what it said …
… Had the war continued until the projected invasion on November 1, additional fire raids of B‑29’s would have been more destructive of life and property than the very limited number of atomic raids which we could have executed in the same period. But the atomic bomb was more than a weapon of terrible destruction; it was a psychological weapon. … The bomb thus served exactly the purpose we intended. The peace party was able to take the path of surrender, and the whole weight of the Emperor’s prestige was exerted in favor of peace. When the Emperor ordered surrender, and the small but dangerous group of fanatics
who opposed him were brought under control, the Japanese became so subdued that the great undertaking of occupation and disarmament was completed with unprecedented ease.‎

More Atomic Bomb victims

Atomic Bomb victims

Now For Something Completely Different

If that photo doesn’t make you a bit squeamish, then you may want to read my latest adventures in culinary anarchism.

Yesterday, August 6th, Hiroshima anniversary, I made another tortilla breakfast, with mostly vegetables. I fried up two pork sausage links, a third of a bell pepper chopped, one El Serrano pepper chopped, a slice of onion chopped, about 4 pieces of garlic chopped, a white or Mexican squash chopped, cooked in olive oil with some chili powder, cumin, basil and turmeric thrown in. I added a couple of eggs at the last minute and stirred them in. Separately I boiled up some basmati rice, and heated up more pinto beans and corn tortillas in the microwave, 2 minutes for the beans, add tortillas and give them another minute in the microwave. I put everything on a plate with the rice and beans separate, added a dollop of vanilla yogurt to the top of the eggs, meat and vegetables, put fresh cilantro on top and then a little black pepper and hot sauce with a couple slices of lime on the side. There you have it. Combine as you wish. I tend to put a layer of rice, layer of beans, mixed veges and meats, then cilantro and a squeeze of lime in my tortilla, making them fat and full.

Last night I made pasta, using thin spaghetti, boiled and put aside for a few minutes, left over sauce from my last pasta heated for about three minutes in the microwave, sauteed in olive oil three strips of turkey bacon, two pork sausage links, half a bell pepper chopped, a slice of onion, a whole garlic clove chopped, a Mexican or White squash chopped, an El Serrano pepper chopped, I added basil, chili powder, thyme, and turmeric. I added a couple pieces of baked boneless and skinless chicken breast at the last minute, they had been in the oven so were still warm, cut them up into small pieces and to double check that they were cooked, then took this combo put it on top of the pasta on a plate, added sauce and then grated a good sized amount of Mexican Oaxaca string cheese on top, I didn’t have any Parmesan and my guest objected to using cheddar. The pasta dish was good, with the left over sauce thick and complex (sauteed onion, garlic, peeled canned Roma tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaf and thyme).

Today for breakfast, the 7th of July, I had more tortillas with two strips of turkey bacon to which I added cumin and powdered ginger (I was out of white pepper), an onion slice chopped, 4 pieces of garlic chopped, a handful of nopales, a chopped El Serrano pepper, a Mexican or white squash chopped, and half a potato chopped in chili powder, basil, turmeric, a dash of oyster sauce, more sweet chili sauce, less soy sauce, which made the dish smell like celery for some reason. I then chopped up and added a ripe peach, and sauteed it all in olive oil, adding a generous slice of Oaxaca cheese cut into pieces with two eggs added at the last moment scrambled in. Separately I microwaved precooked rice and beans for a couple minutes, added my corn tortillas and microwaved for another minute. I chopped up cilantro, put the stems in the frying pan, cut off a couple slices of lime and put it all on the plate, rice and beans separate, put the cilantro on top and served with a good amount of hot sauce and black pepper. I made the tortillas pretty much as the day before, this being sweeter and with that faintly oriental taste, it was delicious.

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