Mendocino County Today: Monday, Oct. 31, 2016
by AVA News Service, October 30, 2016
WOODHOUSE WON'T BE BACK
Noticeably missing from the local celebration of the Willits Bypass on Saturday was Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse. Odd feeling to witness one of the biggest moments in Willits history and no county supervisor there to bask in some of the limelight. Absolutely no mention of Woodhouse. It was as if he doesn’t exist. Attendees were unsure how many among the 250 or so people on hand were aware of yet another sad, and frightening twist in the Woodhouse saga. On Friday night (October 28), Woodhouse apparently suffered yet another psychotic snap. A taser was finally used by a sheriff’s deputy to subdue him at the family home. Woodhouse was naked, and had a hold on his wife when the decision was made to take him on an “electric ride.” Woodhouse has been hospitalized three times in recent months for his bipolar driven episodes. He convinces folks he’s okay, walks out the door and then stops taking his meds apparently. Woodhouse’s prolonged personal problems are raising serious questions about just how long the Third District will be without representation on the Board of Supervisors. It seems unlikely Woodhouse might resign, given his mental state and the reality that his county board paycheck, and likely even more important, medical benefits, are needed by him and his family. Yet it’s clear Woodhouse is not likely to return anytime soon to the board.
RAINFALL TOTALS that we saw for the local area on Sunday ranged from about three-quarters of an inch up to an inch and a half according to available on-line rainfall summaries for various Mendocino locations. Up to one more inch is expected on Halloween with rain likely during the hours when adults and children alike act like children with the chronological adults doing it indoors at “Halloween parties,” while the chronological youngsters find out how much rain their costumes can handle before they give up on their annual candy raids.
ALL QUESTIONS about the mouth of the Navarro lead to the redoubtable Paul McCarthy of MendocinoSportsPlus. Paul lives just up the road in Elk. I wanted to know if the deluge of the past two days had finally freed the Navarro: "Yeah," Paul writes, adding an interesting personal note, "it looks like it let go around 10:00 pm Saturday night. I had a friend call to confirm it Sunday morning. I couldn't make it down for photos as I was chasing down my hogs who rooted their way out of their pen - just about an all day affair. Three-hundred pound swine can go, and do, pretty much what they want - it took me a while to outthink 'em and get 'em back where they belonged."
Navarro mouth, a couple hours after high tide, 29 October 2016
NAVARRO RIVER REPORT
Sunday evening the River is flowing dark and murky — not cafe latte. Even though the USGS gauge at the five-mile mark says it was higher yesterday it wasn't in my neck of woods. In fact the gauge said flow rates were higher yesterday than the last two days by a 100 or more cubic feet per second. Yet at the Shenoa bridge to my eye it looked about the same as the day before at about 30 cubic feet/second. I don't know what to think of that government gauge. Admittedly the parking lot at the river mouth was flooded Saturday evening but the sand bar was still in place. One explanation might be that it rained a lot harder in the North Fork watershed north of the community of Navarro than it did in Anderson Valley proper. Anyway it has been a nice warm and much appreciated rain. I hope it is foretelling of a wet winter. Mallards and Mergansers seem to be happy diving in the murky water and mushrooms are popping up all over. I ate some chanterelles with my Sunday morning eggs and potatoes. Yum. (David Severn)
COME ONE, COME ALL
The following email invitation was forwarded by the Anderson Valley Food Shed people. While many of us are thoroughly disgusted with Blackbird Farm's surreptitious "monetization" tactics and are therefore disinclined to go, I feel it offers an excellent opportunity to discover just how perilous the roads are as well as being able to see close up how they use the "students" as a corporate logo. Their ridiculous Use Permit application for expansion has nothing to do with student experience and everything to do with for-profit enterprise. Like Donald Trump, John Hall is expert in commingling nonprofit gloss with lucrative and exploitive undertakings. Let's make November 18 a celebration of transparency — but be sure to drive very, very carefully.
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Hello Anderson Valley Community,
You are invited to attend the Blackbird Farm Fall Festival located in breathtaking Philo. The festival will be November 18th from 3pm-6pm and is free to the public. Our students will be leading games and activities that showcase the unique character of Blackbird Farms. Handmade food and treats will provided. We would be honored with your presence. No RSVP required, but if you have any questions, feel free to give me a call or send an email.
Office Administrative Assistant
Blackbird Farms — Pathways in Education
18601 Van Zandt Resort Road
Philo, CA 95466
THE GOOD NEWS: "One small change in the world has led to mind-blowing effects for Northern California, nature and the outdoor prospects for winter and the next year. That small change was a shift in mid-October in the location of the jet stream, the conveyor belt of storms. The deluges that have followed stopped a Tahoe fire, saturated soils, put many reservoirs at 100 percent of average for the date, fed wetlands in time for arriving waterfowl and shorebirds, and put ski parks in line for a chance at a big season. One of the best indicator sites is the weather station at the Blue Canyon airport, at 5,284 feet near Nyack along Interstate 80. Last year at this time, the start of an El Niño winter, it had received 1.88 inches of rain, and the average for the date is 3.44 inches. As of Saturday evening, it had received 14.88 inches, with snow forecast for Sunday. From another perspective, every 6 inches of rain is equal to 11 billion gallons of water in Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.
— Tom Stienstra
COFFEE SHOP STALKER. There's a Peets near where I live in San Anselmo. I live in Marin on an average of three days a week. How I got there is a short but still boring story. (If you send me a self-addressed envelope and five dollars I'll tell you.) It's quiet. Sepulchral, you could say. In the morning, people leave for work. In the late afternoon they come back. They all have big cars and their kids all wear helmets. Marin has a reputation as an enclave of the rich, but it's my observation, at least in my neighborhood, only the elderly are at home during the day. Everyone else is out there on the job, whatever it is. The houses are modest, among them a lot of Prop 13 properties, meaning the son or daughter inherited them and can stay in them because property taxes have been frozen at 3% of their 1978 value. When I was a kid, they went for about 20k. Young families buying in now pay a million dollars for these three bedroom, two bath houses on small lots. The young families vie for these homes because the public schools are good, or are assumed to be good. But just like in San Francisco, the truly wealthy in Marin send their children to private schools. Peets is an easy walk at a little over a mile away at the Red Hill Shopping Center, which is not a high end retail array. The anchor store is a Safeway. There's a cat rescue operation and a chicken pot pie shop. The high end shopping centers are in Corte Madera. Sometimes I'm at Peets when the schools let out. As in Boonville and, I guess everywhere, young girls of high school age, are improperly dressed for school. (Soooooo judgmental, this man from another time.) It's as if Madonna or some other media siren has dressed these girls for, of all things, a day of learning. The old man says, "In my day girls who dressed in see-through outfits would have been arrested, not that anybody did dress like this. What are parents of these 2016 girls thinking? I didn't let my daughter look like this even when she was inside the house, let alone out the door anywhere. How can adolescent boys even sit still surrounded by all these half-clad nymphs?" Then you see the parents ordering their decaf fol de rols and you understand that the parents aren't thinking. They look and act like keen teens themselves, a lot of them. So, I'm sitting in Peets waiting for a friend to show up, thinking dark thoughts about where all this mindlessness and vulgar display is taking us when he shows up carrying a free magazine called Common Ground. "Gimmee that thing, son. Let me see what you're reading," I demand. The cover says it's "The Bay Area's magazine for conscious community since 1974." The cover promises "Starhawk's ecofeminisn; Gender healing as a path to the beloved; and the inner patriarch — an invisible force holding women back." I'm sure I'd qualify as inner and outer patriarch. I snarl at my pal, "You're not reading this nonsense, are you?" Friend said he grabbed it off the free rack in case I was late. We discuss the prevailing narcissism in which these Common Ground charlatans swim, "Up in Mendo," I say, "our local radio station has several programs a week with these ninnies rattling on. There must be armies of them out there." "There are," Pal says, "and Marin is world headquarters." He asks me if I've voted. "Yep. You betchum. I'm with the proud One Percent who have voted for Jill Stein." At which the guy at the table next to us pipes up like we've invited his opinion and launches into a monologue about how the Clintons have been crooks all the way back to Arkansas, how they murdered Vince Foster and on and on with the nutball rant we've all heard a million times from the outpatient types. When Mr. Buttinski is out of Clintonia I know we'll get a load of 9-11 stuff, including Why Building 7 Really Collapsed. I don't like the Clintons either, but jeezus h, let's keep them in some kind of reasonable perspective. (The internet has been very, very bad for the credulous.) As he's talking the guy is combing his greasy hair straight down into his coffee. I whisper to my friend, "You should never sit inside a coffee shop. Too easy for the chronophages to trap you." Wherever I'm accosted by strangers, at coffee shops or on the bus or just sitting some where minding my manners, and I can't help but notice it happens more and more often with advancing age, when I'm approached by a grinning passo-agresso like this guy or his female equivalent, I pretend I'm deaf. Or I grin back like maybe I'm nuts myself. But the persistent, like Mr. Dandruff-In-His Peets don't care. All they need is a more or less human body to talk at. And they're everywhere. I finally broke in. Brandishing the rumpled copy of Common Ground, I ask, "Dude, on page 64 of this fine and absolutely essential magazine there's a wonderful article about a lady offering 'visionary re-mothering for unmothered women and men.' You might find it useful, helpful even." For the first time in many whole minutes he stopped talking. He looked from me to my friend, back to me, trying real hard to assess us. "I'm not into that bullshit," he finally said, and he got up and left. Common Ground. The best pest control since tasers. Don't go out in public without one.
YES ON MEASURE AF
Dubbed the Mendocino Heritage Act, Measure AF is a citizen sponsored initiative placed on the Mendocino County ballot to regulate and tax the medical cannabis industry. The reason citizens mobilized to put Measure AF on the ballot is because the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has fumbled around for two years without producing any rules to regulate this burgeoning industry that is the lifeblood of our County's economy.
While I have certain reservations about Measure AF that I'll get to later, the environmental concerns expressed by Supervisor John McCowen, and Paul Trouette, President of the Blacktail Deer Association, are not among them. When McCowen, a strong supporter of the Wildlife Services lethal wildlife management program, and Trouette, an avid hunter who gets his kicks by killing wildlife, start crying crocodile tears over wildlife, it's time to laugh out loud. The real reason McCowen is against Measure AF is because he resents his Supervisorial authority being usurped by a citizens' initiative.
Time and time again McCowen and his Board of bumbling bureaucrats have forced citizens to take civil matters into their own hands. The Board's failure to do an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the lethal Wildlife Services program necessitated a citizens' lawsuit against the County to force it into compliance with the law. The Board's failure to do an EIR on the Cherry Creek asphalt plant has forced local residents to sue the County over grievous environmental impacts to their watershed. The Board's failure to address the County's mental health crisis has even forced Sheriff Tom Allman to spearhead a citizens' initiative (Measure AG on your ballot) to fund a new mental health facility instead of warehousing mental patients in the County jail. Our embarrassingly incompetent Board of Supervisors is a laughing stock around the State.
McCowen claims that by allowing cannabis cultivation in all zoning classifications Measure AF will open the floodgates to marijuana madness inundating our County. This is classic McCowen dissembling. Measure AF only applies to unincorporated areas of the County; more densely populated residential areas within incorporated municipalities will still be subject to regulation by their own city councils. For the County's unincorporated areas, Measure AF establishes clear restrictions on the size of grow operations depending on zoning and other specific characteristics of individual properties.
McCowen complains that Measure AF hasn't undergone adequate public scrutiny through government process, but when County government is as dysfunctional as ours is, citizens are left with no other option than to take their case directly to the voters.
It is important to understand that the scope of Measure AF is to set-up rules for legal commerce in what was up until now a black market. The rules in Measure AF for cultivating cannabis reflect industry wide Best Management Practices (BMPs) that are consistent with State laws governing water usage and forestry. In California it is State agencies that take the lead in enforcing violations of water and timber regulations, not local authorities. The rules in Measure AF regulating cannabis cultivation are much stricter than for any other agricultural crop in the County and are enforceable by the County's Agricultural Commissioner. Under Measure AF, unpermitted commercial grows are still considered illegal and are subject to eradication by the Sheriff's Department and State and Federal law enforcement agencies. No matter how cannabis is regulated, environmental protections will only be as good as their enforcement.
One of my reservations about Measure AF is that the penalties for noncompliance are not high enough to act as a deterrent to flagrant violators of the law. Another of my concerns is that the one acre maximum grow size is too large. Properties that can support one acre grows in the County will be snatched up by venture capitalists who will drive out the small mom & pop growers who have made Mendocino County bud famous throughout the world. Such a corporate take-over of the cannabis industry is exactly what the drafters of Measure AF want to avoid, but by allowing one acre grows, Measure AF plays right into corporate hands. There is, however, a provision in Measure AF that allows the Board of Supervisors to adjust these numbers if they prove to be counterproductive.
It is no secret that Mendocino County's economy is driven by the cannabis industry; all other sectors of the economy including wine grapes, ranching, timber and tourism are small by comparison. Despite this present economic reality, our County Board of Supervisors seems to be stuck in a time warp of anti-drug hysteria. It appears to me that this Board has a deep seated moral objection to “marijuana” and that their prudishness is keeping them from acting reasonably and responsibly on this issue that is crucial to the future of this County. In the face of this Board's intransigence, I applaud the citizen activists who have taken the initiative to do something about it! I'll be voting Yes on Measure AF.
Jon Spitz, Laytonville
DON'T DO IT, MENDO
A huge Pandora’s Box was opened with the passage of Proposition 215. We are now reaping the consequences of that action. We have seen increases in crime, home invasions and increase in murder. We have seen an influx of transients flooding our streets with signs needing our support while many of them are fully able to work. We have not been in control of this situation and in many cases our law enforcement are being reduced to being counselors.
There has been an explosion of illegal marijuana grows in private and public lands. There has been injury to our environment affecting forestry lands and our water ways. All of this under the guise of “Mom and Pop” farms, supplying “medicine” to a needy population masquerading as patients under every bogus and imaginary illness under the sun. I do believe there are terminal cases and critical issues with some that the use of marijuana should be indicated and I would agree with its use however the practice of medicine, although not perfect, has been around a long time and has been successful without using marijuana. However, the medical profession has had a marijuana tablet on it’s formulary for over 50 years.
Now we are being asked to vote and open another giant Pandora’s Box by voting for Prop 64 and Measure AF. Measure AF is a measure drawn up to protect and advance the success of all marijuana growers and free up the use of its product so that all the protection by law goes to the marijuana industry giving the remainder of our citizens no say if we do not go along with all of the ramifications that will occur if we pass AF. Prop 64 is a blatant measure to legalize marijuana all over the state of California and if passed will cause all kinds of problems. It is greatly being promoted as enhancing our economy and prosperity largely by being taxed and increasing our revenue to help build all of our infrastructure, roads, build model schools, model hospitals, increase tourism by having marijuana bars and those wanting to see our thriving communities, perhaps being greeted with a sign “near by but far out.”
If marijuana healed everything it is stated to heal, we would not need to build model hospitals. What good is a model school if all of the students are stoned out? And, what do you do after you hang out at a marijuana bar? You could get in your vehicle DUI and perhaps kill someone on your way home. It could be you.
There are some compelling reasons why both AF and Prop 64 should receive a vote of no:
- Will children be involved if these measures were passed? Yes, they will! The graduating class of Laytonville has aptly demonstrated what they are going to do. A large, perhaps majority, of the class will end their education and go into the marijuana business. That is a local, state and national tragedy since it is our children that will be governing our national prosperity.
- Will it really improve the economy? Has it improved the economy of Mexico? Why are so many trying to cross the border into the United States if they have such a great economy? The economy may improve, but only if there is enough law enforcement to regulate those measures to be enforced. Thousands of tons of marijuana are being smuggled into this country every year. Our faithful border patrol can only capture a small percentage. Will this state have to form a special border patrol to monitor every vehicle that leaves the state smuggling marijuana to other states?
- Lawlessness: This is the key word. When you are dealing with the marijuana world you are dealing with lawlessness. Laws are made to govern society with an expectation that those laws will be obeyed. Has that happened with the marijuana industry? No! Marijuana is still illegal under federal law but the marijuana industry has pushed in every direction making sure that things go their way.
- Where we have water, we have life. Whether you know it or not your water rights in California are now owned by the state. Ground water is being monitored and every water system is now known. I suspect that sometime in the near future, there will be a meter attached to every well. We have been in a drought for the past few years and have had insufficient water. We have no promise for tomorrow, how many severe droughts we will have or even if the one we have now will ever end in our lifetime. This past week Fort Bragg had to issue their public warning about water scarcity. Are we, in this time of drought, really willing to open ourselves to a permanent water restriction because we will vote on marijuana to suck the state dry of water? Marijuana takes a lot of water. During this drought, while we were struggling with having enough water to flush our toilets, wash our dishes and clothes, trying to water our orchard trees or small gardens: there were over 200 illegal marijuana grows along the Eel River sucking it dry so that the water could not reach us.
- Property Values: If you are surrounded by noxious plants that you cannot stand the smell, and if you are on permanent water restriction, how is that going to affect your property value? If you do not like it, most likely, another buyer will not like it unless you sell way below value. If you have to sell your property below value, then how does that improve your economy?
James R. Cruise, MD
THE CHEMIST AT THE CENTER OF THE POT TRADE
MCDH DISTRICT BOARD ELECTION
The announcement of Dr. Lucas Campos’ employment in the Advocate/Beacon on October 27 appears to me to look suspiciously like an endorsement of Dr. Campos by the Hospital. Not only did the ad appear only 10 days before the election and when many vote by mail ballots are being completed, such a large ad is costly. Other candidates for the Board positions are not getting equal exposure. Basically we as taxpayers are funding a large virtual endorsement for one candidate. In my opinion this may be illegal. If anybody wishes to follow up on this here is the website for the FPPC.
Myra Beals, Fort Bragg
SHORTLY AFTER 4:30 P.M. on Saturday, October 29, 2016, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to Walgreen’s Pharmacy in the 2500 block Harrison Ave. in Eureka for a reported assault with a deadly weapon. Upon arrival, deputies learned that 40 year old Errica Stevens of Eureka had attacked an employee of the store with a hammer before being detained by bystanders. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. The reason for the attack is still being investigated at this time. Based on the investigation, Stevens was arrested for attempted homicide and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Stevens’ bail is set at $500,000.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
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AND ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY regarding the above:
Involved prescription pain meds, I'll bet. Pharmacy employees, and just about everyone else, have a bias against pain med patients. I used them legally for ten years and over and over I saw this bias first hand. They have a particular glee at being able to point out that your prescription can't be picked up today. Couple that with the fact that they are probably dealing with, what is pretty much a junkie in withdrawal, and you have potential for a hammer attack. That said, I recommend suboxone for anyone looking to break out if that horrible cycle.
LITTLE DOG: "This is my great-grandfather sitting with Lady Phileaux. We were aristos back then, but we moved to Boonville and…”
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER RIGHT ON THE MONEY
In Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal
Spending Millions to Not Solve Homeless Problem
It’s election time so it was inevitable that someone like Mike McGuire (D-Self) would show up to brag about how he’s curing Ukiah’s homeless problem a million dollars at a time.
He was here last week shoveling taxpayer money around, and from the way he was bragging about it you’d think he was giving us his money instead of our own.
Homeless shelters. As if.
Part of the problem is that the people who come up with these “solutions” to various social ills only stay around long enough to make a few headlines and get their pictures in the papers. Then they go home. Mike McGuire and Jim Wood and all the other phony elites who keep telling us they’re making things better are lying to us and kidding themselves.
The people with the plans and the programs aren’t the people who have to live among the wreckage they produce and then casually leave behind. It’s easy for the political class to drop a homeless shelter into a Ukiah neighborhood and then go back to Sacramento.
The homeless issue isn’t going to be solved in Ukiah by building free motel units for wandering lazy drunks and burnt-out thieving druggies. All McGuire and his cohorts are doing is providing more high-paying jobs for people who run these agencies and shelters, and creating more warm, welcoming nests for drifters to congregate.
Throw in free catered meals and an open bar and yeah, I guess you’d say the homeless situation was being cured, so long as you kept building more motel units and kept hiring chefs and bartenders.
Spending money on problems is not the same as solving problems.
(TWK sez: If you’ve always hoped you’d someday get to know Kip, the unofficial mayor of Willits and one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever known, now is your chance. He just had shoulder surgery and is probably feeling sorry for himself. Please mail him a get well card at P.O. Box 1086, Willits, CA 95490. A postcard will do. When his boo-boo feels better he’ll get in touch and invite you to coffee, and that’s when you’ll get to know him. He’ll also pay for the coffee. Tom Hine thanks you.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 30, 2016
Alcala, Hensley, Maldonado-Mata, Mansfield
ROGER ALCALA JR., Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
RAFAEL MALDONADO-MATA, Ukiah. Criminal threats.
GEORGE MANSFIELD, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, resisting.
Myers, Orr, Pacheco
SCOTT MYERS, Redwood Valley. Court order violation, failure to appear.
WILLIAM ORR, Clearlake/Fort Bragg. Driving on DUI-suspended license, probation revocation.
BETHANY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
Rodriguez, Saucedo, Thomas, Walker
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ, Chicago/Ukiah. Pot cultivation.
JUAN SAUCEDO, Under influence.
STEPHEN THOMAS, Ukiah. Possession of silencer, probation revocation.
WILLIAM WALKER, Willits. Honey oil extraction.
A BRIEF RANT ABOUT FEAR MONGERS
Juanita made her own wedding ring out of the gold from my grandmother's teeth, and there's been rain every winter since then. Also, one time late at night, she lost her phone, running between her car and one of those time-travel hoop-skirt dances she goes to in the Bay Area, and when she noticed the phone was gone and went back looking for it, it was in the middle of a rain-swollen gutter river but safe on top of a tiny island made of trash.
GRATIFYING THAT NURSES aren't jumping on the Hillary bandwagon. The California Nurse's Association endorsed Nader in 2000 because, as Nurse Idelson, their spokesman put it, “He embodies the same values our nurses do: single-payer health care — and boy do we need that now — curbing the enormous power of Wall Street and corporate America over the lives of working people, economic justice, a humane foreign policy, and so much more.” Same-Same in 2016. The nurses seem poised to support Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president.
DEPT OF HOLLOW LAUGHTER: Corporate media's description of the FBI as non-partisan. The G-Men have been interfering with the political life of the country ever since J. Edgar Cross-Dresser.
PARDON THE AMERICAN TALIBAN
by Paul Theroux
In the mid-1960s a young American teacher in a small central African country became involved with a group of political rebels — former government ministers mostly — who had been active in the struggle for independence. They had fallen out with the authoritarian prime minister, objecting to his dictatorial style. The country was newly independent, hardly a year old. The men advocated democratic elections and feared that the prime minister would declare himself leader for life in a one-party state.
Fluent in the local language, obscure because he was a teacher in a bush school, and easily able to travel in and out of the country on his United States passport, the American performed various favors for the rebels, small rescues for their families, money transfers, and in one effort drove a car over 2,000 miles on back roads to Uganda to deliver the vehicle to one of the dissidents in exile. On that visit he was asked to bring a message back to the country. He did so, without understanding its implications. It was a cryptic order to activate a plot to assassinate the intransigent prime minister.
Within months the plot was set in motion, but it was quickly foiled, all of the intended assassins captured and hanged; other suspects were arrested, imprisoned and tortured. The American was threatened with detention, then expelled from the country as an undesirable alien and prohibited immigrant.
I was that American. I was 24. The country was Malawi, the prime minister, Hastings Kamuzu Banda. My expulsion meant that I was kicked out of the Peace Corps (“early termination”), heavily fined by it for engaging in covert political activity (“unsatisfactory service”) and compelled to undergo an extensive interrogation (“debriefing”) at the State Department. This interrogation took place in the Bureau of African Affairs, where the scowling Jesse MacKnight scolded me before a roomful of bureaucrats, and then rather touchingly softened his tone and implored me to give him details about the underground rebel movement in Malawi.
I explained that the country was badly governed, and I felt the rebels would have provided wiser leadership and free elections. Mr. MacKnight reminded me of the assassination plot. It was obvious to the State Department, and to me, that I was in way over my head.
Within a few weeks I was back in Africa, in Uganda, with a teaching position at Makerere University, as a reward from the exiled Malawians there for my having played a part in their cause. In the event, Mr. Banda ruled Malawi for three decades longer and died peacefully at the age of 99.
I was a failure, and I was lucky in my escape. Over this past summer I read Michael Korda’s “Hero,” his excellent biography of T.E. Lawrence. Mr. Korda writes that Lawrence’s verdict for his efforts, his risk, his idealism, was that he’d failed, and that his subtitling “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” as “A Triumph” was self-mockery. But “Seven Pillars” (to me a masterpiece) shows how Lawrence is a classic example of self-radicalization.
You become radicalized when you think that the world has ceased to care, and that in joining a shadowy band of zealots you might make a difference. Consider the Boston Irish who with “Noraid” helped fund the Irish Republican Army, which bombed innocent civilians in Ulster and elsewhere in Britain in the 1970s and ’80s. Or the young American Jews wishing to attach themselves to a cause, becoming passionate Zionists, going to Israel to patrol the West Bank as the so-called hilltop youth (No’ar HaGva’ot), brandishing Uzis, building illegal settlements and terrorizing Palestinians. Emboldened by his faith, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago served as a civilian volunteer in 1991 not in the United States Army, but in the Israel Defense Forces.
It was faith that induced John Walker Lindh to travel to the Islamic world. A Californian, raised as a Catholic, he converted to Islam at age 16. A year later he studied Arabic and Islam in Yemen, and subsequently, still a teenager, he relocated to Pakistan, where he studied at a madrasa. In the spring of 2001, stimulated by his faith, he volunteered for the Afghan Army. As his father, Frank Lindh, explained in The Nation in 2014: “John’s motivation was based on youthful idealism: He felt it was his religious duty to help defend civilians against Russian-backed warlords, the so-called Northern Alliance, which was seeking to displace the Taliban government. He was deeply moved by stories of horrific human rights abuses by the Northern Alliance.”
It was almost unimaginable then that the United States would declare Afghanistan an enemy. The George W. Bush administration, far from antagonistic, provided the country, which was led by the Taliban, with a $43 million grant in support of an opium growing ban in May 2001. Mr. Lindh was a foot soldier fighting the Northern Alliance when, after Sept. 11, the United States invaded Afghanistan on a punitive mission. Baffled by this turn of fortune’s wheel, Mr. Lindh fled on foot to Kunduz, was taken prisoner by the Northern Alliance, imprisoned and interrogated, and suffered severe physical harm. He was still only 20 years old when he was handed over to the United States military.
Ultimately remorseful, he accepted a plea agreement at a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2002, was sentenced to 20 years and is now in a federal penitentiary. He has been brutalized in prison; he spends his time studying and trying to avoid the attacks of his fellow prisoners.
His mission — like mine, like the volunteer Sinn Feiner and the ultra-Zionist — was to be useful, taking risks to help people perceived as oppressed; and like me, he did not fully understand the bigger picture, was in over his head, and was overtaken by events.
Hillary Clinton called Mr. Lindh a traitor on national television. I think that far from being traitorous, the idealism of Mr. Lindh is deep in the American grain.
A traitor, to my mind, would be someone Mrs. Clinton might be more familiar with, such as the international commodities trader Marc Rich, who defied American sanctions on Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, making secret deals with the ayatollah, buying and selling oil on the world market and becoming a blood-money billionaire. He was wanted for income-tax evasion, wire fraud and racketeering as a fugitive by the F.B.I. But, in 2001, President Bill Clinton, whose library had received considerable funds from Mr. Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, pressured by Israel, where Marc Rich was regarded as a patriot and benefactor, pardoned him on his last day in office.
“The supreme manifestation of power is the granting of a pardon at the last moment,” Elias Canetti writes in “Crowds and Power.” This puts the Clinton pardon of Mr. Rich in perspective. “A pardon has the appearance of new life.”
Dubious figures are not unknown as guests in President Obama’s White House. He has welcomed moralizing mountebanks like Al Sharpton — who along with his for-profit business was found in 2014 to owe more than $4.5 million in taxes — sententious celebrities and movie stars, and rappers with a history of violence. Clearly, President Obama is a forgiving man.
With that in mind, those of us who have been no nearer to this White House than a picket line would appreciate it if the president, in his last months in office, reviewed the case of John Walker Lindh with a view to commuting his sentence on compassionate grounds.
(Paul Theroux is the author, most recently, of “Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads.”)
WINE COUNTRY BRAWL
by Peter Fimrite
A supervisors race between two liberal candidates in Sonoma County has turned into a good ol’ Wine Country brawl amid fear that the region is too quickly transforming into a pricey, water-sucking theme park for the almighty grape.
The tug-of-war over the seat being vacated by disgraced Supervisor Efren Carrillo is billed by some as a choice between forests and vineyards, farmlands and event centers, conservation and industry.
But the election pitting organic farmer Lynda Hopkins against former state Sen. Noreen Evans for supervisor of the Fifth District, which covers western Sonoma County, including the entire coastline, is more complicated than that.
Both candidates purport to want the same thing — to protect the environment, particularly the Russian River; create affordable housing to counter skyrocketing prices; improve roads and other infrastructure; and prevent the county from turning into a wine monoculture.
The argument over which candidate can achieve those things has turned into a mud-slinging imbroglio, mainly over the alleged influence of special-interest groups.
At stake, if you believe the two candidates, is the future of bucolic Sonoma County, which has seen an explosion of winery development and a population increase of almost 4 percent since 2010.
“The major issue is the influence of wineries and agriculture,” said Ernie Carpenter, a former supervisor who is supporting Evans. “We are having a corporate buyout of many old family vineyards and wineries.”
Evans and her supporters say Hopkins is bankrolled by mineral extractors, real estate developers, and dozens of vineyard and winery owners worried about the government restricting tourist-friendly projects that would, in turn, clog already over-tapped roads.
Hopkins, a 33-year old Stanford graduate who, with her husband, owns Healdsburg’s Foggy River Farm in the Russian River Valley, has raised about $440,000 in donations, much of it from the farming and wine industries, records show.
Among her supporters is attorney and former Supervisor Eric Koenigshofer, who once lobbied for Preservation Ranch, a development plan by Premier Pacific Vineyards to cut down hundreds of redwood trees and plant 1,800 acres of grapevines east of Annapolis. The ridgetop plan was thwarted in 2013 when the nonprofit Conservation Fund purchased the property.
Koenigshofer, who started an independent expenditure committee for Hopkins, said the complaints about wine industry support are ironic, given that Premier Pacific was one of Evans’ contributors when she was in the Legislature.
“Noreen took money from the wine industry like there was no tomorrow when she was in Sacramento,” he said.
Among the other supporters of Hopkins’ campaign are John Dyson, a former deputy mayor of New York City who owns Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.
Evans, a former state senator with 20 years of experience in state and local politics, has collected about $350,000, including contributions from the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the North Bay Labor Council and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 551. She is endorsed by environmental groups as well, including the Sierra Club.
With more than 430 wineries and 60,000 acres of vineyards, wine is big business in Sonoma County. In 2012, TripAdvisor named the county — which produces 6 percent of all the wine in California — the best wine destination in the U.S.
The business generates 54,000 jobs and draws more than 7.4 million tourists each year, according to Moody Analytics. But the industry has come under fire in recent years for opening more than 220 event centers, where dinners, concerts, weddings and other events create traffic that jams roadways.
Use of scarce groundwater has also become an issue. Agriculture uses 32 to 55 percent of the groundwater in the county, depending on the area. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which Evans helped pass when she was a state legislator in 2014, would limit the use of groundwater and require farmers to measure and report the water they pump.
People in the wine business, many of whom support Hopkins, are pressing Sonoma County supervisors to give them a greater say in how the new law is carried out on the local level.
Evans said wine industry power brokers are “fighting against everything I stand for, and they are willing to put in big bucks to stop it.
“This campaign is about whether the real people living in Sonoma County will elect a person who will protect our river, our coast, our forests, or elect someone who is being brought to them by industries that could potentially ruin the county,” she said.
Hopkins, running her first political campaign, called Evans’ assertions “ludicrous” but effective in Sonoma County’s political climate. She said her email inbox has been filled with hate mail from people who believe the “misinformation” coming from the Evans campaign.
Misrepresentations were repeated so much, Hopkins said, that she was compelled to make a video in a field strewn with cow patties where she referred to the narrative from the Evans side as “bulls—.”
Hopkins said she opposes event centers on agricultural land and has fought against monoculture by, among other things, converting the vineyard she and her husband bought nine years ago into a food farm.
“We are very passionate about diversification of agriculture and believe that Sonoma County should be a food producer,” she said, promising to work to restore flood plains and habitat along the Russian River. Gravel mining, she said, will not resume on her watch.
On the whole, there are more similarities than differences in policies espoused by Evans and Hopkins, though Hopkins is set apart by her support for county pension reform.
Hopkins’ supporters, too, have been on the offensive, criticizing Evans for missing meetings when she was a member of the legislative oversight committee for the California Coastal Conservancy and for taking special-interest money, including donations from casino operators, during previous campaigns.
Evans branded the attacks a “smear” campaign. She noted she was not expected or required to attend the oversight committee hearings, which conflicted with some of her legislative duties.
“I have 20 years of fighting for the environment, fair treatment of workers, affordable housing, and have proven myself capable of enforcing regulations,” Evans said. “While she may say she believes the same things ... she has never done it and doesn’t know the first thing about doing it. Not only that, but she is being funded by the very people she is supposed to regulate.”
Hopkins, who started her run for supervisor with no money, said she was surprised to see how her campaign has taken off, especially against an experienced politician like Evans.
“I thought I would be the long-shot hippie farm-girl candidate, but I have been to every small-town breakfast, crab feed and spaghetti dinner over the past year telling about my ideas,” she said. “There is a need to bring people to the table because so many people feel left out of the process. I think people saw that I can bring together diverse coalitions of people to get things done.”
Whoever wins will take over from Carrillo, who was recently sued for $2.5 million for allegedly showing up at a neighbor’s Santa Rosa home early one morning in July 2013 wearing only socks and underwear, hoping to have sex with her.
The 33-year-old supervisor was acquitted of misdemeanor peeking charges in April after testifying that he was drunk when he made the advance.
(The San Francisco Chronicle)
77,000 ACRES OF THIRSTY NEW CALIFORNIA ALMOND ORCHARDS PLANTED OVER PAST YEAR
by Dan Bacher
California growers expanded water-intensive almond orchards by 77,000 acres over the past year, continuing the increase in new acreage during one of the worst droughts in the state’s history.
The expansion in acreage for almonds, as well as for walnuts, pistachios and other nut crops, took place as Governor Jerry Brown mandated that urban users statewide conserve water by 25 percent.
The increase also occurred as massive state and federal water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta continued to drive Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species closer and closer to extinction. (www.dailykos.com/...)
In addition, the groundwater pumping during the drought to sustain increased nut tree acreage caused sections of the San Joaquin Valley to subside even further.
California nurseries have sold at least 14.51 million almond trees since June 1, 2015, according to the 2016 California Almond Nursery Sales Report. Plantings from 2012 to 2016 were used to calculate an average trees per acre of 135, based on the Almond Acreage Survey,
“Almost 108,000 acres of almonds have been planted since June 2015,” according to the USDA report. “A little over 71 percent of the total trees sold, 77,000 acres, are new almond orchard acres and 25 percent (27,000 acres) replaced existing almond orchards. The remaining trees sold replaced trees within existing almond orchards.”
California bearing almond acreage has increased from 442,000 to 900,000 from 1997 through June 2016, according to report figures. When you add the non-bearing almond acreage of 220,000, the total acreage comes to 1,120,000.
Almonds use about 3.29 million acre-feet of water in a year, or about 9.5% of California’s agricultural water, based on findings from the California Almond Sustainability Program. (www.almonds.com/...)
During the latest drought from 2012 to 2015, the bearing acreage increased from 820,000 in 2012 to 890,000 in 2015, a total of 70,000 acres. The non-bearing acreage went from 110,000 in 2012 to 220,000, a total of 110,000 acres.
That’s a total of 180,000 acres in new almond tree acreage. When you add the 77,000 acres added over the past year, that amounts to a total of 257,000 acres.
Ironically, Rabobank N.A., an agricultural lending group, on October 25 released a report revealing that agricultural land prices in the Central Valley will decline by as much as 30 percent between now and the end of 2017, following several years of big increases. (www.rabobankamerica.com/...)
“Agricultural land prices are giving back some of their increases, particularly in regions where tree-nut prices have had an impact on previously rising valuations,” said Roland Fumasi, a senior analyst with Rabobank’s FAR unit. “Nut prices have since plummeted from their highs in the past year to 18 months.”
Almond prices have declined by approximately 50 percent over the past year, spurring a drop in rural land values. For example, values for almond orchards in Tulare County are expected to drop from $34,500 in 2015 to $26,000 by the end of next year. That’s a decline of almost 25 percent.
The report, “California Land Values: Outlook 2016,” analyzed USDA cropland values and rural land sales data from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). Rabobank also interviewed rural real estate appraisers, and used a set of econometric equations based on crop prices and macroeconomic variables to estimate likely changes in the average economic value of rural land in each California region.
The report looked at agricultural land land values in the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, North Coast, Central Coast and Southern California.
“Agricultural land values in the Sacramento Valley have soared in recent years compared to all other regions in the state,” according to Rabobank. “From 2010 to 2015, the region’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) based on ASFMRA data was 18.2 percent, vastly higher than the CAGR of 5.0 percent between 1999 and 2010. The biggest increases were fueled in part by specialty crops including tree nuts, some of which are now experiencing significant price declines. Accordingly, falling walnut prices could drive some land values down 31 percent in 2016 and 15 percent in 2017.”
“Like its Sacramento Valley neighbor to the North, recent declines in tree nut prices are creating a general downward expectation. The severity of the drop will depend on the specific area of the valley, crop type and water access. Between 1999 and 2010, the valley’s agricultural land values rose at an average CAGR of 6.5 percent, and 15.5 percent between 2010 and 2015," Rabobank stated.
For more information, go to: www.rabobankamerica.com/...
During the peak of the drought In March 2015, Stewart Resnick, Beverly Hills billionaire and the largest tree fruit grower in the world, revealed his efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage at the annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms (now renamed The Wonderful Company).
At the event covered by the Western Farm Press, Resnick boasted about the increase in his nut acreage over the previous ten years, including a 118-percent increase for pistachios, a 47-percent increase for almonds, and a 30-percent increase for walnuts. (westernfarmpress.com/...)
Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have a huge impact on water supplies in California. The Resnicks use more water than every home in Los Angeles combined, according to Mother Jones magazine. (www.motherjones.com/...)
The Resnicks are among the most avid proponents of the governor’s California WaterFix, the new name for Brown’s controversial plan to build two giant water tunnels underneath the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — a project that conservationists, Tribal leaders, Delta farmers, fishermen and environmental justice advocates say will potentially be the most destructive public works project in California history.
The tunnels would divert water from the Sacramento River for export to agribusinesses on the arid west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies that engage in fracking and other environmentally damaging oil extraction methods in Kern County.
So let’s get this right — the Brown administration demanded that urban users slash their water use by 25 percent and sacrificed economically and ecologically valuable San Francisco Bay-Delta and ocean fisheries so that politically powerful billionaires like Stewart and Lynda Resnick could expand their acreage in almond and other nut crops to make themselves even wealthier?
Now the apparent saturation of the almond market fueled by agribusiness greed has spurred the drop in almond prices and the devaluation of Central Valley farm land.
Meanwhile, Governor Brown is relentlessly promoting the construction of his environmentally devastating “legacy” project, the Delta Tunnels plan, to export massive quantities of water to these growers and Southern California water agencies. You just can’t make this stuff up!
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW About The Dakota Access Pipeline Protest
by Nick Bernabe
A small Standing Rock Sioux site in North Dakota called the Sacred Stone Camp has been propelled into the national news narrative following their stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Due in part to independent media coverage of the ongoing standoff, the Sacred Stone camp has grown into a formidable opposition against the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile long pipeline.
Due to misinformation coming from law-enforcement, political favoritism toward the pipeline builders, and the media’s blatant reluctance to report on the pipeline, it’s hard to tell truth from fiction. Anti-Media, along with our partners in the independent media and our embedded journalist at the opposition encampment, have been covering the unfolding standoff continuously. Here are five things you need to know.
- Who is opposing the pipeline — and why?
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is leading the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. They have been joined by the largest tribal coalition in over 100 years in their stand against the pipeline. The coalition is also comprised of activists, allies, and environmentalists, collectively known as “water protectors,” at the Sacred Stone Camp, an encampment close to the location where the pipeline is planned to cross the Missouri River in North Dakota. According to the Sacred Stone camp website, they are opposing the pipeline because “[t]he Dakota Access threatens everything from farming and drinking water to entire ecosystems, wildlife and food sources surrounding the Missouri.”
The Standing Rock Sioux also say the pipeline is violating treaty land, Sioux territory that was established many years ago by the federal government. “We will not allow Dakota Access to trespass on our treaty territory and destroy our medicines and our culture.”
The opposition to the pipeline spreads across several states and is not opposed solely by Native Americans. Farmers, ranchers, and landowners are also opposed to the pipeline. Many of them have had their land taken from themagainst their will and given to the pipeline via eminent domain.
- The US government and the pipeline corporation are continuing a long tradition of disrespecting Native Americans
The United States has a very bad reputation for treating Native Americans, the original inhabitants of this land, as less than human. In many instances in the past, the land where Native Americans lived was deemed to be of higher value than the Natives’ lives.
Such has been the case in North Dakota — not only now, but in the past as well. According to The Atlantic:
“The land beneath the pipeline was accorded to Sioux peoples by the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. Eleven years later, the U.S. government incited and won the Great Sioux War, and ‘renegotiated’ a new treaty with the Sioux under threat of starvation. In that document, the tribe ceded much of the Laramie land, including the Black Hills of South Dakota, where many whites believed there to be gold.”
After the federal government relegated the Sioux people to the “Great Sioux Reservation” in 1851, the treaty was re-written and “renegotiated” by force whenever resources were discovered or when the U.S. government wanted land. Essentially, the Sioux people were victims of U.S.-sanctioned murder, and their land was stolen because gold was discovered on it.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Sioux people are once again making a stand on land that was once — and still is, according to the tribe — theirs. How is the government reacting to this stand? By brutally arresting the Native American water protectors for trespassing. If that is not a miscarriage of justice, I don’t know what is.
Further, Energy Transfer Partners, the company pulling the strings behind the DAPL, has deep pockets, and its lobbyists have cozied up to federal, state, and local governments with jurisdiction over the pipeline route. This could explain why the company began its construction of the pipeline on Army Corps of Engineers land without even securing an easement, which is required by law. Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, has also used the strong-arm of government to force farmers and landowners to hand over their land to the pipeline against their will.
- Violent acts are being carried out in North Dakota, but not by the water protectors
Violence is breaking out at the Dakota Access Protest site, but the protesters have nothing to do with it. Pipeline police, bolstered by the North Dakota National Guard and sheriffs imported from around the country, have turned the standoff into a war zone. Water protectors are regularly pepper sprayed, tear gassed, and violently arrested. Over the weekend, 127 people were detained in the biggest mass arrest to date.
Militarized police at the Dakota Access Pipeline site are decked out in riot gear, armed with military grade weapons, use armored cars or MRAPs with snipers on top of them, and have regularly used LRADs, a type of mass crowd dispersal weapon that uses a high pitched noise to hurt people’s ears —sometimes permanently.
Early reports of protesters being armed and violent have proven to be instances of misinformation spread by law enforcement apparently seeking to demonize the opposition. No credible reports of violence by the protesters have been confirmed or prosecuted. Nearly all arrests stem from trespassing charges or crimes of journalism.
When protesters initially began using civil disobedience to physically shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline site, they were confronted violently by security guards from British mercenary firm G4S. The mercs sicced dogs and used pepper spray on the protesters in an assault that went viral and helped catalyze even more support for the water protectors.
- Independent media is under attack at the Dakota Access Pipeline — and the corporate media is ignoring it
Independent media’s broadcasts over the Internet are basically the only reason people around the country and the world now know about the struggle at Standing Rock. Unfortunately, journalists are not immune to the police crackdowns in North Dakota. Dozens of journalists have now been arrested, and an arrest warrant was issued for high-profile journalist Amy Goodman. One independent media outlet, Unicorn Riot, saw four of their journalists arrested in one day in North Dakota. One filmmaker is facing up to 45 years in prison for filming acts of civil disobedience against the pipeline.
Anti-Media’s journalist on the ground, Derrick Broze, was tased by law enforcement while covering the protests on Thursday as this article was being written.
Meanwhile, the national corporate media ignored the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline as long as they could. For months, despite the DAPL emergence into the national narrative, ABC and NBC refused to air any coverage about it. A woman was arrested for protesting the pipeline on her own farm after Dakota Access LLC gained access to it against her will via eminent domain — yet there was still no corporate media coverage on the incident.
- How you can help the opposition
Now that you see what water protectors are up against in North Dakota, here’s what you can do to help.
Get yourself to the Sacred Stone Camp. The water protectors need reinforcements as people are regularly arrested. The bigger the stand, the more likely the pipeline’s construction will be halted. Here’s how to get there.
Send supplies or donations. Water protectors need your help with supplies and funding. Go to this link to send supplies. Go to this link to donate to the cause.
Support independent journalists that risk arrest to bring you the news from the front lines. Follow Sacred Stone Camp on Facebook. Share this article.
For 10 more ways to get involved, click here.
JILL STEIN SAYS AMERICA IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME.
by Manuel Vicent
(Translated by Louis S Bedrock)
Pope Francisco has just beatified the priest Jacques Hamel, who was beheaded by jihadists while celebrating Mass in a church in France. Beheading, a ritual act of religious fanaticism, gets lost among the darkness of the times, but even today the Christian faithful prostrate themselves and pray before the butchery to which some martyrs were subjected. And paintings of saints with their bodies thoroughly drenched in blood are exhibited in museums for aesthetic consumption.
Caravaggio was the most inspired artist when it came to painting these atrocities. No one has surpassed the quantity and quality of his beheadings: Holofernes beheaded by Judith. Clytemnestra by Orestes. Goliath by David. Isaac by Abraham--with the dagger in the air. And above all, *The Beheading of John The Baptist*, which is kept in the Cathedral of Malta, his masterpiece in which for once the painter didn't hesitate to sign his name on top of the blood next to the dagger of the killer.
Caravaggio adorned these atrocities with naked angels clothed by nothing more than their wings using as models young lads discovered in the lower depths of Naples whose faces often radiate malice.
In Baroque painting, this form of naturalism was often labeled chiaroscuro: light above a dark background, the expression of the faces and dramatic contortions of the bodies reflecting an ecstasy between pain and pleasure--a task that the sadistic Cardinals assigned to the artists.
Caravaggio himself was no model of virtue: in fact his life is an example of chiaroscuro given that on certain occasions he expertly wielded the murderous knife and that, perhaps, is the reason for his attraction to and his experience in painting beheadings as he was fleeing from the law.
Caravaggio was a specialist in converting the bright red blood of the headless neck into supreme art before which the faithful pray and aesthetes weep with emotion.
(All works of Caravaggio may be seen at http://www.caravaggio-foundation.org/home-7-12-1-0.html)
BILL BINNEY ASKS, "IS HAROLD MARTIN A SECOND EDWARD SNOWDEN?"
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported in an article titled, “N.S.A. Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets”, that “The F.B.I. secretly arrested a former National Security Agency contractor in August and, according to law enforcement officials, is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed by the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments."
The New York Times article continued, “The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, a contractor for the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton managed to steal highly damaging secret information while working for the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a Booz Allen contractor, took a vast trove of documents from the agency that were later passed to journalists, exposing surveillance programs in the United States and abroad."
The article went on to say, "“The contractor was identified as Harold T. Martin III of Glen Burnie, Md., according to a criminal complaint filed in late August and unsealed Wednesday. Mr. Martin, who at the time of his arrest was working as a contractor for the Defense Department after leaving the N.S.A., was charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents."
The article concluded, “Mr. Martin, 51, was arrested during an F.B.I. raid on his home on Aug. 27. A neighbor, Murray Bennett, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that two dozen F.B.I. agents wearing military-style uniforms and armed with long guns stormed the house, and later escorted Mr. Martin out in handcuffs.”
On Monday, 31 October, KMEC Radio examines this new leak.
Join hosts John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider with guest Bill Binney
Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications.
Snowden has said: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules.”
About the possible new theft of NSA secrets, Binney told KMEC Radio: “When the first public reports of the source code for hacking developed in the TAO [Tailored Access Operations] of NSA hit, I immediately thought there was a second Snowden. This one in the TAO. That’s the only way all this source code could come out. Now, looks like that was right."
Binney continued, "My main problem with NSA in this area is that they knew these weaknesses existed and made no move to fix them. That’s because they needed these weaknesses to be able to look into what people were doing. I have said for a number of years that this was short sighted thinking that put us all at risk. And, that’s exactly what has happened. OPM [Office of Personnel Management] and many others got hacked. Well, maybe now with this compromise, they will move to fix these problems and make us all more secure; instead of allowing these vulnerabilities to continue to exist so that hacks can occur and they can fear monger for more money, pointing to the dangers of cyber attacks that they knew could happen. What a swindle.”
Our show with Binney on 31 October is the third time that Binney has been interviewed by us at KMEC Radio.
MORE ABOUT BINNEY
Along with Edward Snowden, Binney was featured in the 2014 Academy Award-winning documentary, "Citizenfour". See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenfour
Bill Binney is also the subject of the new documentary, "The Good American". See: http://agoodamerican.org/
TAKE 'EM BOTH
Please know that I have paid for yet another week at The Plumeria alternative travel hostel in Honolulu. I have no idea what is going to happen in the near future. Frankly, I am given up to the spiritual Absolute (dualistically speaking). I will go where I need to go, and do what I need to do. This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Have an enjoyable Halloween, and take both the apples and the chocolate. They go well together. ;-)
Craig Louis Stehr