News Release Archive - 2017

Vietnam War and “The Killing of History”


JOHN PILGER, [in London] jpilger2003 at, @johnpilger
Available for a limited number of interviews, Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. He covered the Vietnam War for a decade. His latest film is “The Coming War on China.” He recently wrote the piece “The Killing of History,” which states: “One of the most hyped ‘events’ of American television, ‘The Vietnam War,’ has started on the PBS network. … I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war ‘was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings.’

“The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of ‘false flags’ that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record — the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971. …

“I thought about the ‘decency’ and ‘good faith’ when recalling my own first experiences as a young reporter in Vietnam: watching hypnotically as the skin fell off Napalmed peasant children like old parchment, and the ladders of bombs that left trees petrified and festooned with human flesh. General William Westmoreland, the American commander, referred to people as ‘termites.’ …

“The ‘meaning’ of the Vietnam War is no different from the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the leveling of every city in North Korea. …

“Nothing has changed. When Donald Trump addressed the United Nations on Sept. 19 — a body established to spare humanity the ‘scourge of war’ — he declared he was ‘ready, willing and able’ to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea and its 25 million people. …

“His rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, had boasted she was prepared to ‘totally obliterate’ Iran, a nation of more than 80 million people. This is the American Way; only the euphemisms are missing now. …

“Returning to the U.S., I am struck by the silence and the absence of an opposition — on the streets, in journalism and the arts, as if dissent once tolerated in the ‘mainstream’ has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground.

“What is known in the U.S. as ‘the left’ has effectively allied with the darkest recesses of institutional power, notably the Pentagon and the CIA, to prevent a peace deal between Trump and Vladimir Putin and to reinstate Russia as an enemy, on the basis of no evidence of its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The true scandal is the insidious assumption of power by sinister war-making vested interests for which no American voted. The rapid ascendancy of the Pentagon and the surveillance agencies under Obama represented an historic shift of power in Washington. Daniel Ellsberg rightly called it a coup. The three generals running Trump are its witness.”

Harvard Faced with Petition and News Conference Protesting Chelsea Manning’s Disinvitation


A petition organized by the group with more than 15,000 signers is scheduled to be presented to the Harvard Kennedy School on Friday, a week after the university revoked its invitation to U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow.

VICTOR WALLIS, zendive at

Wallis, a member of the Harvard College class of 1959, will be among several Harvard graduates who will be presenting the petition in Cambridge at the office of the Kennedy School’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf.
Wallis said today: “Harvard’s motto is Veritas — Truth. Chelsea Manning’s revelations gave evidence of war crimes that the U.S. ruling class committed in furtherance of its imperial agenda — a truth that its operatives naturally find embarrassing. … We should honor those who help us understand the atrocities rather than those who perpetrate or rationalize them.”

“Respecting the decisions of the Kennedy School administrators who annually choose these Fellows would show collegiality, avoid the negative publicity of rescinded invitations, and also support freedom of speech,” noted Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Radcliffe ’62, Harvard Ph.D. ’75, Bunting Institute Fellowship, ’87, who worked in Harvard administration for many years.

The presenters of the petition will hold a news conference outside the Kennedy School, at 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, on Friday, September 22, at 11 a.m.

The Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics cancelled the invitation to Manning after intense pressure from top CIA officials. The cancellation came shortly after the acting director of the Institute, Bill Delahunt, had publicly declared: “We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media.”

The RootsAction petition being presented on Friday says: “By revoking Chelsea Manning’s fellowship, you have disgraced the Harvard Kennedy School. By caving in to pressure from present and former top officials of the CIA, you have jettisoned academic freedom. By deciding that it is appropriate for Sean Spicer but not Chelsea Manning to retain a fellowship, you have failed to fulfill Harvard’s responsibility to be independent of government power and coercion. During his stint at the Trump White House, Mr. Spicer earned a reputation for lying. As a whistleblower, Ms. Manning earned a reputation for truth-telling. It is a sad day when a record of facile mendacity is more revered at Harvard than a record of revealing difficult truths.”

More Than 40 Nations Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty in First Hour


Reuters reports today: “Dozens of countries signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons on Wednesday amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, although the United States, Britain, France and others boycotted the event at the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders.

“The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. …

“‘There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,’ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said as he opened the treaty for signing.

“Earlier this month North Korea conducted its sixth and largest nuclear weapons test. U.S. President Donald Trump told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that if threatened, the United States would ‘totally destroy’ the country of 26 million people and mocked its leader, Kim Jong Un, as a ‘rocket man.’

“The treaty was adopted in July by two-thirds of the 193 U.N. member states after months of talks, which the United States, Britain, France and others skipped.”

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons states: “Forty-five nations have now signed the UN #nuclearban. Three of these nations have also ratified it.”

Meanwhile, NPR reports “Stanislav Petrov, ‘The Man Who Saved The World,’ Dies At 77.” “In 1983, he was on duty when the Soviet Union’s early warning satellite indicated the U.S. had fired nuclear weapons at his country. He suspected, correctly, it was a false alarm.”

The following analysts are among the speakers at the No War 2017 conference in Washington, D.C. which begins Friday and will be live streamed.

SUSI SNYDER, snyder at, @susisnyder
Snyder is nuclear disarmament program manager at the group Pax in the Netherlands and just wrote the piece “42 countries sign the nuclear ban treaty.” She said today: “Forty-two states signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the first hour after it opened for signature. This demonstrates the overwhelming urge of the international community to outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons without delay.”

She said today of Petrov: “I think that is one of the best descriptions written about him: ‘Few people know of him… Yet hundreds of millions of people are alive because of him. The actions of Stanislav Petrov, a retired Soviet military officer, prevented the start of a worldwide nuclear war and the devastation of much of the Earth.” See trailer for documentary, “The Man Who Saved the World” with Kevin Costner.

ALICE SLATER, alicejslater at
Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War. In July, she wrote the piece “Democracy Breaks Out at the UN as 122 Nations Vote to Ban the Bomb” for The Nation.

U.S.-Trained Warlords Committing Atrocities in Afghanistan


This morning, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the United Nations proclaiming his commitment to peace and sovereignty.

MAY JEONG, may.s.jeong at, @mayjeong

Jeong wrote the piece “The U.S.-Trained Warlords Committing Atrocities in Afghanistan” — just published today by In These Times magazine.

She is a magazine writer based in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is also a Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

The magazine reports: “Drawing on two years of on-the-ground investigation in Afghanistan, Jeong reports on an Afghan village that alleges dozens of civilian murders at the order of a single U.S.-trained strongman — Abdul Hakim-Shujayi.”

Key findings include:

“Eyewitness accounts describe the American military protecting Shujayi from arrest by Afghan officials.

“Seven of the murders allegedly occurred within earshot of U.S. advisors.

“The U.S. military admits Shujayi was on its payroll, but says it has no records beyond that to confirm or deny these charges.

“Reports from human rights groups and witness testimony collected by Jeong show that these atrocities are not a one-off occurrence; rather, they are typical of the results of the U.S. approach in Afghanistan — training local militias to execute the war with impunity.

“This hands-off approach to warmaking in Afghanistan was started under the presidency of George W. Bush and continued under Obama. Now, President Trump is using the same buzzwords of ‘an Afghan-led’ conflict, and recently called for funds to escalate the war.

“As Afghan civilians face the deadly consequences of this U.S. military tactic, the American public has remained largely in the dark. This new investigation by Jeong finally shines light on the decade-old scandal.”

Jeong writes: “In 2010, at the behest of the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai forced the militias to reorganize themselves under a more respectable-sounding name: the Afghan Local Police (ALP).

“The name is misleading. The ALP, or arbeki as it is called in Afghanistan, is neither a local nor a traditional police force. … Trained and supervised by U.S. Special Operations Forces in conjunction with the Afghan government, and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Afghan interior ministry, the ALP operates independently of the national, more structured, police force and army.”

Does Burns-Novick PBS Vietnam Doc Let U.S. Government Off Hook?


Jeff Stein of Newsweek writes in “Ken Burns’ New PBS Doc Wades Into Vietnam’s Big Muddy” a review of the latest from “Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, directors of The Vietnam War, a much-heralded 10-part, 18-hour epic series that debuted Sunday night [yesterday] on PBS.”

ROBERT BUZZANCO, Buzzanco at, @bobbuzzanco
Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. He has written extensively about the Vietnam War, including the books Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era, and Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life. He also co-edited A Companion to the Vietnam War with Marilyn B. Young.

He said today: “Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, America’s best known documentarians, are back with an 18-hour examination of the Vietnam War. Liberals and establishment media are praising it, with George Will calling it a ‘masterpiece’ and corporations like Bank of America as well as the Pentagon are promoting it. Burns and Novick promote an equivalency about Vietnam — both sides wanted war, both sides caused destruction, both sides are to blame.

“Vietnam was a war of aggression caused by the United States. It created a ‘country’ below the 17th parallel, sent billions of dollars and weapons and hundreds of thousands of troops there, dropped over 6 million tons of bombs on an area the size of New Mexico, and led to the deaths of 2-3 million Vietnamese. Trying to rehabilitate the war with a false equivalency does a historical disservice and lets the U.S. government off the hook politically for what amounted to a huge war crime. As the U.S. government considers further military involvement in the Middle East and Korea, it is essential to understand the truth behind the war in Vietnam.”

Harvard Called “Disgraceful” Following CIA Pressure on Manning Fellowship



The New York Times reports: “Facing harsh criticism, a Harvard dean said early morning that he was revoking his invitation to Chelsea Manning, a former United States soldier convicted of leaking classified information, to be a visiting fellow at the university. …

“Michael J. Morell, a deputy director at the intelligence agency under President Barack Obama, resigned as a fellow on Thursday, calling the invitation to Ms. Manning ‘wholly inappropriate.’ He said it ‘honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.’ …

“Later, the director of the CIA., Mike Pompeo, withdrew from a Harvard forum he was scheduled to participate in that night, citing Ms. Manning’s fellowship as the reason.”

Fox News reported Thursday: “Liz Cheney: Cut off Harvard’s federal funding over Chelsea Manning appointment.”

RootsAction just launched a petition: “Tell the Harvard Kennedy School: Revoking Chelsea Manning’s Fellowship Is Disgraceful.”

JESSELYN RADACK, jess at, @JesselynRadack

Radack is director of the Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts. She stated today: “It is ironic that Michael Morell, a former CIA leader involved in torture and drone killings, had a crisis of ‘conscience’ that prompted Harvard’s Kennedy School to withdraw its invitation to humanitarian Chelsea Manning.

“Harvard obviously offered Chelsea Manning a visiting fellowship because of the valuable contribution she could make, and revoked it under pressure from the CIA. So much for academic freedom.”

JOHN KIRIAKOU, jkiriakou at, @johnkiriakou
A former CIA analyst, Kiriakou spent 23 months in prison after helping expose the CIA’s torture program. His most recent book is Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison.

He said today: “Harvard should be ashamed of itself. Chelsea Manning exposed evidence of U.S. war crimes. Mike Morell was an instrumental player in the CIA’s torture, rendition, and secret prison programs. And the University casts its lot with the torturer. CIA officers with crimes against humanity in their pasts know they have a home at Harvard.”

MATTHEW HOH, [currently in North Carolina; in NYC starting Monday], matthew_hoh at
In 2009, Hoh resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the war there by the Obama administration. See 2009 Washington Post piece about Hoh: “U.S. official resigns over Afghan war.” He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is now a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy.

He said today: “The Harvard Kennedy School’s incredibly fast and virulently shameful rescinding of its offer of a visiting fellowship to Chelsea Manning due to the complaints of the CIA director and former deputy director should not be a surprise to anyone who has witnessed the increased impact of federal funding on private universities. In 2014 Harvard received over $600 million in grants and subsidies from the federal government. I am quite certain that funding was on the mind of the Harvard deans as they bowed and scraped to the CIA and did their best to remedy their problem before President Trump had time to tweet any threats.

“Understanding Harvard’s desire for federal funding is the simplest way to understand how and why moral and intellectual honesty has been abrogated so willingly and consciously by Harvard. Mike Morell, the former CIA deputy director who resigned his fellowship in protest of Chelsea Manning receiving hers, directed, oversaw and covered-up the torture and murder of prisoners, drone assassinations, mass domestic spying and the spying on and hacking into U.S. Senate computers. Chelsea Manning’s crimes were to let the world know of the U.S. government’s crimes, crimes in violation of U.S. and international law that Morell and the CIA committed. Reviews done by the U.S. Department of Defense attested that Chelsea Manning’s actions resulted in no one being killed and no one being put at risk, what they actually did was to show the world the U.S. and CIA’s war crimes and failings. For causing that embarrassment and exposure, and for letting the world know the truth, the CIA will always hate her.”

Hoh notes the New York Times story from 1986: “Scholar to Quit Post at Harvard Over CIA Tie.”

Also see from Ray McGovern: “Mike Morell’s Kill-Russians Advice.”

Sanders’ Single-Payer Plan: “Politicians Must Take a Stand”


ROBERT WEISSMAN, via Nadia Prupis,; Angela Bradbery, abradbery at, @Public_Citizen
Weissman is president of Public Citizen. The group notes that: “Today at 2 p.m., ET, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is scheduled to introduce single-payer legislation. Tune into Public Citizen’s Facebook page to watch it live and hear our reaction.”

Weissman said today in a statement titled “Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Legislation Is the Right Thing to Do – Politically, Economically and Morally; Now Politicians Must Take a Stand”: “It is past time for America to join the rest of the industrialized world and ensure that health care is a guaranteed right for everyone.

“That’s why today’s introduction by Senator Bernie Sanders and 16 colleagues of single-payer, Medicare-for-All legislation is so vital.

“The moral, policy and economic case for single-payer is overwhelming. Under our current system, we pay far more for far less. The United States spends far more per capita on health care than other rich countries and has the worst health outcomes and the most severe inequality in access to needed care, by far. It is disgraceful that one in three Americans had a cost-related access to health care problem in the past year.

“With single-payer, everyone is covered as a matter of right, solving the access problems. And while, yes, it will be expensive – health care is expensive – it will yield hundreds of billions in savings annually, by eliminating wasteful corporate bureaucracy and slashing drug prices, among other means.

“Today’s introduction signifies the beginning of a new phase in the campaign for Medicare-for-All.

“The broad senatorial support for the Sanders legislation — along with majority support in the House Democratic caucus for H.R. 676, the single-payer legislation in the House — is a political landmark because it moves single-payer from the edge to the mainstream of policy debate. Starting today, it is no longer possible for elected officials to avoid answering questions about single-payer or to dismiss it out of hand on the grounds that it is not politically viable. Now, they have to take a stand based on the merits. And the evidence makes an overwhelming case for single-payer.”

Sanders’ move did come in for criticism — including by some who have advocated for single-payer. See from Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet: “Bernie’s Big Healthcare Solution Has a Major Flaw…and It’s an Open Invitation for Critics to Sabotage the Movement.”

Also see series of tweets from Lee Fang of The Intercept: “I think the single payer momentum is great but Dems have long used the issue to rile up base (i.e. CA in 2006) and no action when it matters.”

With Children Heading Back to School, Educators Say Politicians Should Too


As children across the country return to school, much is on the docket in both Congress and at the U.S. Department of Education that many educators say threatens public education.

Protesting the rhetoric and actions coming out of Washington, and pressing instead for research-based policies and democratic ideals, over 200 education deans last Wednesday released “Our Children Deserve Better: A Call to Resist Washington’s Dangerous Vision for U.S. Education.” Endorsed by 17 national education organizations, the statement reminds us that, “A half-century ago, in one of the most significant periods of education reform in the United States, the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty envisioned the federal government as a protector of civil rights and an advocate of funding equity. Tragically, since the 1980s both Democratic and Republican administrations, with bipartisan support in Congress, have increasingly betrayed this legacy and focused instead on deregulation, privatization, and the rapid expansion of school choice.” The deans call for three things:

– Protect and nurture our children, do not abandon them
– Empower our educators, do not undermine them
– Invest in our public schools, do not privatize them

KATHY SCHULTZ, Katherine.schultz at, @kathyschultz22
Schultz is dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is currently completing a book on distrust and educational change. She said today: “It is imperative that we change the direction our country is going in terms of supporting schools and school systems that serve our children well. As a country, we have lost sight of the role of public schools as a democratizing force in this country. We continue to move toward privatizing K-12 education and teacher education at our peril.”

TIMOTHY D. SLEKAR, TSlekar at, @slekar
Slekar is dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College in Madison, WI, who recently blogged, “No Student Teaching? No Problem: Wisconsin Wants You”[]. He said today: “Let’s be honest: There is a war being waged on public education and the profession of teaching. Strong leadership is needed at this time in history. Education Deans for Justice and Equity have stepped up to provide that leadership, and this document simply elaborates the convictions of those determined to not only protect public education but also challenge all of us to envision a system of public education that is committed to justice and equity.”

KEVIN KUMASHIRO, [in D.C.] kevin at, @kevinkumashiro
Kumashiro is former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, and author of the book, Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. He is also founder and chair of Education Deans for Justice and Equity, which organized the statement.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858, David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

September 12, 2017

Florida and “How the World Breaks”


STAN COX, cox at, @CoxStan
Cox is co-author of the 2016 book How the World Breaks: Life in Catastrophe’s Path, from the Caribbean to Siberia. He is research coordinator at The Land Institute.

He co-wrote the piece “A Rising Tide: Miami is sinking beneath the sea — but not without a fight” for The New Republic.

In addition to writing extensively about Miami, he has also written in depth about Naples: “My parents retired in Naples at an RV park, so I spent a lot of time there. It’s a playground of the rich, who snatch up all the waterfront property and have the yachts, so you’ll see property damage for them, but there are also loads of low-income people and immigrants there to serve the construction, landscape, and service industries (and further inland, agriculture). They will suffer badly, and will have poorer recovery prospects than the affluent Neopolitans. I expect my parents’ former neighbors at the RV park are having quite a hard time right now.”

He just wrote the piece “100 Percent Wishful Thinking: The Green-Energy Cornucopia” and noted the new Wall Street Journal piece on the perils of maldevelopment: “Building Boom Puts Millions in Irma’s Path.”

He said today: “The way we ‘develop’ a place is part of the problem. Some economic stimulus is adding fuel to the fire, this is true for Miami because of its extraordinary vulnerability to sea level rise, as well as other parts of Florida. For decades, we’ve been building in places that should have remained as ecological buffers. Irma is showing that with the intensity of hurricanes being pumped up by greenhouse warming, threats are not just to places like Tampa, but to inland areas many thought were safe, like Orlando.

“In the immediate aftermath of such disasters, economists and Goldman Sachs types always tell us not to worry, that our economy is so big and resilient that the city or state that endured the disaster will quickly recover and return to its growth trajectory. In fact, we’re told, disasters provide economic stimulus: the construction and remodeling industries boom; car sales rise.

“We are already hearing this about Harvey, and will hear it even about Irma and the devastation it wreaked on an entire state.

“This idea — that in large economies, disasters of any size or ferocity can easily be folded into the cost of doing business — is a dangerous one.

“It ignores the toll in human misery that can never be undone by economic growth.

“It can lead people, including policymakers, to conclude that climate change won’t be such a big deal, that if we fail to rein in greenhouse emissions, we can just ride out the disasters that ensue.

“It fails to consider whose economy is going to recover and be just fine. The benefits of the economic stimulus will go to the top of the economy, where they always go. People and communities who were barely making ends meet before the disaster will find it difficult or impossible to recover.

“The way we ‘develop’ an area is critical. The real estate boom economy has always ignored the possibility of such disasters. But a disaster doesn’t befall a city, a city befalls a disaster.”

Cox wrote about the impacts of development in Naples in a previous book, Losing Our Cool.

Behind Clinton Book’s Attack on Sanders


Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened includes what a Washington Post headline calls a “subtly savage takedown of Bernie Sanders.” One passage of the book says that “because we agreed on so much,” Sanders couldn’t argue on policy grounds and “so he had to resort to innuendo and impugning my character.” Clinton adds that “his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at
Solomon was a Sanders delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention and the nationwide coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network.

He said today: “At first glance it may seem odd that Clinton has gone out of her way to rip open old wounds from a primary campaign that ended well over a year ago. But there’s a kind of perverse logic at play. Whatever aspects of score-settling or personal anger might be involved, what’s much more significant is the apparent political calculus.”

Solomon added: “If Clinton weren’t determined to boost the corporate wing of the Democratic Party for the future, her new book’s jabs at Bernie would be gratuitous and bereft of tactical logic. But those jabs are not mainly about the past. Looking ahead while recounting her version of what happened last year, Clinton is attempting to scapegoat not only Bernie Sanders but also his activist base. She’s trying to discredit the progressive wing that’s now ascendant in the party from the grassroots.

“By a thin margin, six months ago Clinton’s backers were able to shoehorn the uninspiring former Labor Secretary Tom Perez into becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee. But the DNC is close to floundering under the continuation of the same kind of leadership that led to the November 2016 disaster.

“After losing the presidential race, Hillary Clinton and the big-money elites behind her are fearful that they could lose control of the Democratic Party apparatus. Clinton’s decision to attack Bernie Sanders via her book is a reflection of that fear.”

Solomon is a co-founder of, an online activist group that now has 1.5 million active members. He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He recently wrote the piece “DNC Fraud Suit Exposes Anti-Democratic Views in Democratic Party.”