In the studio all day today. Working on lead vocal tracks. Six songs almost completed. Just need sweetening. On Monday we start pre-production on the six more that will make the new CD. I played the guys a lot of new and old songs before these last six were chosen. It was interesting to watch how the process works, choosing the songs for the record. I made a list of about forty or so songs I wanted to put on the album. The first six were easy to choose. We just went for the songs that we were dying to lay down. But trying to narrow it down from there was getting to be a struggle. So every night I would sit in the studio by myself and just play a bunch of tunes, new and old, some of them ten or more years old, just to hear them again, see if the sparks were still flying, trying to feel which ones meant the most to me. I had it down to about ten to twelve. I would play them for the guys and sometimes when I was done singing them they would just stand there staring off into space or reading like I didn’t even play a song, and then other times they just flat out refused to consider other ones. And then I would play one and as I was playing it they would start to play along and then we would play it again and then again and we all would kind of agree, ‘O.K. that one can stay in.’
The process feels very much like sacrificing babies. You kill three to save one. You just keep telling yourself, ‘I’ll live long enough to record them, don’t worry. It’ll happen.’ So many songs and just so little time and money to get to all of them. That is the worst part about it. It’s not the lack of money or fame or the struggle. It’s not the old clothes or the beat up car that barely drives or the missing teeth, although none of those things are very much fun and certainly add to the general malaise that is being a struggling musician. But the evil, the real killer, is the constant nagging thought that you may never get to record the majority of your life’s work. That’s where the pain comes in. That’s the pills and the booze and the bad attitude and the chip on your shoulder… can you imagine writing non-stop all your life, every waking hour when you aren’t working at something else is spent writing songs, twenty to fifty songs a year, maybe more, as most songwriters do, and only being able to record a handful of them in your lifetime. It is the fucking horror. Only hearing a small minority make it to the finished state you hear in your mind. That’s the fucking curse.
Some chick told me last week over dinner when she heard that I wrote songs all the time, you know, that it wasn’t that big a deal to me, that it was just part of my life or whatever, she had this look of excitement on her face, like wow, you can’t take that for granted. I just looked at her. I didn’t answer her, played it off. I mean what was I going to tell her? Start telling her how I’ve sold everything I’ve owned and started over five times over to record albums and tour, to try to honor the fucking ‘gift,’ and how many relationships I’ve lost because after a while a girl can only take so much of the struggling and starving artist lifestyle. Maybe the songwriting singer musician thing is a gift. Maybe it is a great thing. But it is just as much a curse. When you are an artist you are in constant pain. And sometimes it is important to shift out of the artist mindset to remember how the other half lives, just to keep your sanity.
But it’s always there in the back of your mind, waiting to come back with a vengeance. I will never forget the day that Cleo told me over the phone that one of the reasons, from her perspective, that we were breaking up is because she couldn’t take the artist lifestyle anymore. The pain that ran through my body. I had heard that enough already in my life. And I had worked harder at that relationship than anything before. I was also working just as hard on my music career at the time. Working all night, coming home when she was already asleep. Sleeping till noon everyday. Spending all of our money on my music. I knew where she was coming from. But I am an artist. I mean I felt so cheated in that moment because I can’t do anything about it. I can’t just wake up one day and say “O.K. now I’m not going to be an artist anymore. Honey, I’ve decided I’m no longer an artist. I’m going to cut my hair off and sell all of my gear. I’ll be back in an hour.” Guys do that, but I would guess they were never really artists, more just musicians. And there is a difference.
I mean, you can’t just stop it. Being an artist is like being addicted to a drug, or having children. If you’re good anyway. It steals all of your time attention and money. It is something you are obsessed with. You wake up everyday and fall asleep every night thinking about it. About the mission. About the new boundaries you will cross or the new frontiers you will explore. You live for that passion and romance and joy that only comes from being a creator. Girls always think when they see you from the outside that it is such a great thing. And they can’t wait to be with you. I mean that’s half the lure of it when you’re young, because chicks do dig singers, but they just have no idea what it’s like once they are on the inside. An artist, if he is worth a shit, sleeps eats and breathe’s his art. His life’s work is his life. Everything else comes second. It’s not that we don’t care about the other stuff, the house the car the eventual family the friends the parties etc. We do. It’s just that there is a much bigger picture there, and that’s the art.
Man is the master of his destiny always, but an artist is a slave to his art. So far I have found that most girls can take about five years of it tops. After that they start to lose it. The last relationship I was in lasted about four months. Pretty soon she started to feel like the studio time, the photo shoots, the guitar always around my neck, the gigs, the traveling, and the laptop were getting between us. And I know she absolutely loves me. All of them did, still do. And I love them, but I think it kind of makes them crazy. She said, ‘it’s like you can never just relax and have fun, because you are always attached to that guitar or running to your laptop to write something down. It’s like you are obsessed. But I want you to be obsessed with meeeee. I need someone who values meeeee more.’ I looked at her and couldn’t say anything. It felt like she was talking to me and to God at the same time. It was like God came in the room for a moment and held my hand during that moment and it was like we both smiled at each other because we had heard that so many times before in my life and it hurt, and he knew it, and it sucked, and it made me mad and sad, and frustrated, but I just sat there not saying anything because as much as I wanted to try to work it out I knew it was a bigger picture thing going on.
I mean I’m not an asshole. I’m not going to pretend or lie or act like everything is going to change and one day we will be able to have this normal life together. I have a lot of respect for her and the kind of life she wants to have and I don’t want to take good time away from any girl when she could be finding her Mr. Right. So I let her go. After Cleo and I broke up, she went out and found some attorney in less than six months and now she’s married to him. I mean girls just reach this point. Your big dream is this conquering the world, writing the next Moonlight Sonata, or creating some small revolution or movement, and their big dream is, well you know… marriage and a house and babies. These girls, they don’t realize how much you do value them. How they are everything to you. They are the inspiration for a lot of the art in the world. I would do anything for the girls I have been with. Without love and romance I would dry up. I just think that most girls would rather appreciate their art from the outside rather than be so close to the artists. They can turn it on and off if it’s on the stereo or hanging on the wall.
A lot of girls resent when every word they say to you could end up in a song or a story. I just keep looking towards the future and to one day meeting a girl who is as busy and motivated and passionate as I am with her own life’s work and the two of us perhaps can have this deep passionate undying love and respect for each other as people and for each others work. But not necessarily need to be together every waking hour. That way we both can stay focused on our life’s work and not feel like we are compromising anything. But still hold the safe warm loving space for each other as a couple. Still have kids and big beautiful homes and all that, but keep it in perspective. A super-hero-girl. You know, that’s the dream.
Last Movie: Man of the Century. Twenties type thing set in modern-day Manhattan. Cool flick. Dug it.
Current Spin: Anthony Robbins, “Get The Edge.”
I cannot believe how much great unknown music is out there. Everywhere I turn there is some great band or artist that I had never heard of somewhere on the planet making some great music.
Current Read: Fast Food Nation
Current Spin: PHOENIX, a French band, their 2000 release entitled UNITED. I love this CD I think more than anything else I have heard this year so far. Also AIR, another French group, more electronica meets Brit-Pop.
Last Good flick: Monsters Ball. Halle Berry got the role of a lifetime and took it to the limit. Billy Bob Thornton was amazing. I cannot believe he didn’t get the Oscar. He has a gift for character exploration. This is one of the saddest disturbing movies I have ever seen. I hope I never see it again.
Just read that the average Hollywood movie costs approximately 75 million dollars to make. Some like Titanic have made as much as 1.3 billion dollars or the Star Wars Phantom Menace film that grossed 930 million. It occurred to me how much that money could help our species in other ways besides just sitting in the banks of super rich movie studios of Hollywood. Even if they gave say a third of the money away that they made, say three hundred million, it could take a huge chunk out of the homeless situation here in the States or really help with the AIDS crisis in Africa or so many other dire needs we have as a people.
I spent most of the day thinking about this, really moved at the thought of shifting us in the direction of helping humanity get to a new level of civilization. It is always beyond me when I encounter individuals who make ungodly amounts of money and who don’t give a large portion of it away to causes that will help the greater good of humanity. I am certainly not a socialist and would never propose that anything like this should be government mandated. And I’m the last person who would sacrifice my own personal comfort and the luxuries of life for anything; regrettably but still resolutely this is just the way I am, but I do believe that once we get to a certain level, say where many film stars and sports figures are, where you’re making twenty million a film or ten million a year, then yea, we should really start giving in a big way, say you get to the point where you’ve got ten to twenty million in the bank, start giving away a few million.
So these are the thoughts that occupied most of my day. And then I get this little post card about how for 26 dollars a month we can sponsor a child in an impoverished country. So I called up and started talking to the lady about it. It turns out that it’s true. You get updates about your child and their picture and you really become their sponsor. I’m on the phone with this lady out in Washington state and I’m listening to her talk about how far that 26 dollars can go and I tell her that I feel like crying because last night I spent 40 dollars on my dinner and I feel like such a schmuck. And she says to me, “listen, you are having the same reaction a lot of people do when they first start to discover this. Don’t worry about it,” she tells me, “the important thing is that now you are going to do something about it.” And I’m thinking of the irony of it, me in my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited which is costing me almost six-hundred dollars a month (that’s a lot of children you can feed) driving down the highway in Miami, Florida talking on my cell phone to this lady sitting in a little booth in Washington State trying to help me feel better about not giving enough. You could taste the irony. It was right out of a Hollywood movie.
So it gave me hope. There is plenty to be done to rise up the whole of our species to a new level, a greater good for the whole of humanity level that we have never achieved as of yet. Half the reason why the rich are so reluctant to give is because they are so afraid of being like the poor. I understand this fear having grown up poor. But if the top half of us started giving to the bottom half we would meet somewhere in the middle and there wouldn’t be so much poverty to be frightened of. We would all be much happier and healthier.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine tonight at dinner and she said that I was crazy. That the world doesn’t want to help each other. That people are basically selfish and the world is getting worse. I was intrigued by her pessimism and cynicism and how it has blinded her from seeing all the positive change going on in the world today. People like Oprah Winfrey with how she has revolutionized television and turned it into one big self improvement love fest and Bono and his using his public influence to help fight disease and famine in Africa and Mother Theresa and Anthony Robbins and even Bill Gates and his 20 million dollar donation to education and health care charities. (When you think about it, Bill Gates who it is estimated is worth some forty billion dollars could give away a lot more than twenty million.) My idea is that we as a people should demand it. Not just from him but from everyone of us. Again, the idea is to make it very cool and trendy to give away money time and resources. And those that don’t give, just totally ignore them. Make them feel like losers. We need to break the mold of what is a celebrity in our society.
“Things are changing,” I told her, “You can feel it. Don’t let the few old timers blind you from seeing all the new revolutionaries that are working among us everyday. You can always find something wrong in the world. Try to focus on all the good things happening. And when you do happen to notice something wrong, do something to right it.”
Today it came upon me as an epiphany. The single most important thing we can all do with our short lives here on earth is to help each other. It is the key to the next step for the evolution of mankind. If you make 20 million on your next picture give five million of it away. Just go for it. Be a man. Be a warrior. Be brave. Be a soldier. Be a revolutionary. Fight for the evolution of man. Demand that the world become a better place. Demand that every man woman and child in the world is healthy happy and secure. And don’t stop till this mission is accomplished. This should be the motto of all living humans on the planet.
When we interview famous people on TV, that should be the first question we asked them. So how much did you give last month? And to what charities? If someone shows up like Britney Spears or whoever and just wants to talk about themselves or their last album, kick them off the show unless they gave big. Turn it into a worldwide mission. Make it grossly objectionable not to give away some of your money to help out your fellow man. We need to turn charity into celebrity. Make it the “in-thing”. Make it a contest. Who can give the most? Who helps out the most? The average salary for a CEO in America is 4 million per year. And that figure is understated due to some CEOs who don’t take home that much. Some make as much as 40 million per year. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the world after forty years of substantial giving by the top earners. That’s the dream.
Larry Ellison, the mega-tycoon of the Oracle company decided he was going to do something about aging. So far he has given away 17 million dollars of his own money to start funding anti-aging research. Impressive. Imagine a celebrity coming on TV like Elton John or Michael Jackson or even Madonna or Elizabeth Taylor have done but even to a greater degree, saying, “today I have decided to donate twenty million dollars to end domestic violence in America.” Or “today I have decided to donate 100 million dollars to end child poverty in America.” This kind of stuff is already happening here. We just need to kick it into overdrive. We need to make a radical and conscious decision as a people to end suffering and bring about a new world of enlightenment and joyful living for all men and women around the globe. This is our future. We can sit around and dream about it and talk about it, or we can start right now, today, to do something about it.
Ted Turner announced plans to donate $1 billion to the United Nations for humanitarian (i.e., not administrative) programs in a move he hoped would encourage philanthropy in other wealthy individuals. This went down in 1997, but I just read about it today again. Now this is a New-Transcendentalist move. If every one with a little money did this, we would well be on our way to curing the pains that are ailing us.
Peace, Love, Freedom, Justice, Equality & Opportunity for all,
Current Read: “Power versus Force.” Study of muscle testing—kinesiology—if you’re interested it is fascinating.
Current Spin: amnesiac by Radiohead—one day this will be looked as their most underrated masterpiece. I can’t get enough of it.
In order to get stronger you have to continuously lift weights that are heavier than what you normally are accustomed to lifting. One week you cannot even think about curling fifty pounds. Two weeks later you are curling fifty-five. You just got stronger baby. And more toned. Lucky you. Deep realizations lately on this concept of challenging myself to do things that I don’t want to do. Once you force yourself to do something that you at one point could not because you are afraid or because you just don’t feel up to it then you really start to flex and test your strength and character.
The key is to force yourself to do it. Just dive in and make it happen. This can become addictive—becoming the master of yourself. Becoming a warrior. Someone who refuses to say no. This is the difference between the strong and the normal person. We hear about strong people everyday. They are strong because they are able to do things that themselves and others don’t want to.
Current Spin: High llamas — Gideon Gaye.
Current Read: Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. Really funny.
Last Good Flick: Bourne Identity. Cool, very cool. What James Bond movies wish they were.
The Adventures of Fishy is a voluminous collection of diaries and journal entries—almost five thousand pages in various form, from typed manuscripts to many little hardbound journals — that were found in a box in the back of the once famous but now defunct South Beach rock club called Washington Square in Miami, Florida.
The box was found by a local concert promoter named Nasti a few days before a New Years Eve party in 2043. The box is believed to contain the original writings of the infamous singer, songwriter, and general raconteur known as Fishy, also known as the Ambassador, and several other names throughout his short lived but exciting life and career. He disappeared in the late two-thousands and has not been heard from since. He had lived in Miami during the late nineties and early two thousands before his disappearance. He had then moved to New York City. This was a fact. The question of the box of manuscripts found that fateful night is not so easily answered though.
No one who worked at the club knew where the box of writings came from, nor who put them there, nor how long they had rested there before being found. Along with his music, Fishy was also the subject of countless headlines for his own brand of very original and quite radical social and political activism.
Besides being an admired and beloved singer and songwriter in both the rock bands Shattered and Transcendence for a period that spanned more than twenty years, Fishy was also known as the prolific writer of two popular novels, his first The Cosmos is Great and Large, Darnright, which is where we first are introduced to the character Tobias Guess, and the second being the highly controversial The Blue Mask.
During his final years he had also posted his own brand of lunatic rantings and ravings online in what came to be known as the Transcendence Diaries. Sometimes social or political commentary, sometimes disturbingly personal and gut wrenchingly honest. Many believe it was the Transcendence Diaries that led to his eventual and mysterious disappearance.
But the Transcendence Diaries were only one small part of the manuscripts that were found. They soon were revealed to be just chapters of a much larger work called Adventures of Fishy that the artist was working on.
Although occasionally Adventures of Fishy text sometimes does read like a novel, and indeed many of the entries refer to a novel entitled Adventures of Fishy, it is not a novel in the traditional sense. There is no form to the work and very little order. Ideas begin and end in the middle of a thought with no conclusion, never to be mentioned again. The dates of the writings seem random; in fact Fishy had a peculiar habit of dating all of his journal entries according to how old he was at the time rather than what the actual date was. Matching famous historical events referred to in the texts to certain entries has helped the process to a certain extent, but firmly dating each and every individual entry has been next to impossible. [note: the entries are being re-dated now as they are posted in-as-much as they can be.] Because Fishy was believed to be in his early thirties at the time of his disappearance, the work itself is thought to have been written from the late eighties into the late two-thousands. It is difficult to determine when the actual events took place, if at all. Many of the events Fishy wrote about have been corroborated by his family, friends, and band mates. While many more appear to be fictitious.
Adventures of Fishy and the Transcendence Diaries are a confusing work when taken as a whole. On the one hand it is a series of philosophical ramblings in someone’s private diaries. Very personal, and near trivial at times. To call the author neurotic or obsessive-compulsive would be stating the obvious and an understatement to say the least. Borderline insane would be a closer match. At this time, there are many university courses all over the world being devoted to studying the work and many who claim it a work of staggering genius. Others are equally adamant that it is entirely irrelevant in that it isn’t anything but the incoherent ramblings of a self-absorbed madman who happened to get lucky turning out a few hit songs.
Whoever actually wrote the majority of the manuscripts had a near obsession with taking notes on everything. From character traits and habits of his associates, family members, and friends, to countless ideas for future songs or films or books he wanted to make, to listing every movie he ever saw, every book he ever read, and everything that he ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday for months at a time, only to suddenly stop for no apparent reason. No rhyme or reason. Many of the pages just contain lists of food that he ate that day, or excerpts of conversations he may or may not have had with people living or perhaps not.
Indeed it appears that regardless of the final outcome, the various entries do read as though a novel is precisely what Fishy had in mind; the question of course is whether the journal entries are the novel itself, or just notes on a novel the author would eventually write, or was writing somewhere else. The text refers to the novel being published and released, although there is no record of it ever being published, and up to this point there has not been anyone who has come forward to announce that they have ever read the novel.
When reading the book one observes the singer struggle page after page to ‘write’ his manuscript and then abandon it in favor of just making notes about it instead. Or just notes about his day. It cannot be entirely ruled out that what was found was the author’s personal diaries and notes on the novel and nothing else and that somewhere out there is the actual manuscript for the novel itself. And it very well could be called The Adventures of Fishy. This chance cannot be ruled out. Although it is highly unlikely that it was ever published. At the time of his disappearance Fishy was too well known for a secret such as this to be so well kept for so many years.
The collection of over five-thousand pages does make for interesting reading nonetheless. It is a deep and penetrating look at not just the life of the artist himself, but over twenty years of the modern world’s history. It is a record of our time; a time that has now long since past. It is also a fascinating, if not somewhat exhaustive, account of one man’s inner vision and inner-most thoughts, weaving together at least some fact with some fiction; desires, repulsions, philosophies, and obsessions.
Today, almost fifty years later, there are just as many people who claim to have known Fishy personally as there are who attest that he never even existed at all, although his existence at least is a fact that can be corroborated by almost anyone who was alive at the turn of the century. Ironically the work as a whole, regardless of how sporadic and out of order it reads, is now being referred to as Adventures of Fishy anyway. We are all left to draw our own conclusions.
Currently there are several projects underway to edit, categorize, and index the approximately fifteen-hundred different chapters and/or journal entries that comprise the collection of writings that was found. Coming in at just over five thousand pages, it is not an easy task. Here at Transcendent Television we are honored to be a part of this project. What is currently posted on various places on the internet and on this website is about one-fifth of the total, with new chapters and installments being added almost daily as they are sorted and edited. You can start reading from the beginning or skip around. The most recently uploaded chapters are added under a link titled NEWEST INSTALLMENTS. They are dated according to the date they are posted, and not related to the dates of the actual writings themselves.
Recently Updated Information. More on the origin of the Transcendence Diaries: The Transcendence Diaries were written at some point between the transformation of Fishy into Tobias Guess—-it appears that this metamorphosis does indeed occur, although it is still argued by some whether it was literal or simply metaphorical. Tobias Guess disappears entirely from the story for a period of six or seven years just before the transformation—-not even existing in Fishy’s imagination, and Fishy for a brief time at least starts calling himself The Ambassador, which under normal circumstances would be cause for some alarm except for the fact that he had done this on several occasions before throughout his life. As many readers will know, he used to refer to himself as Guess or Eddie Darling at various times a decade earlier, for a brief time the Duke, the Blue Mask, and several other aliases. He begins the Transcendence Diaries one assumes due to the fact that during this time period he was singing in the infamous rock band Transcendence.The Transcendence Diaries, like the Acid Diaries and the Delivery Diaries before them were simply a collection of journal entries spanning a few years in the artist’s life at that time. In the case of the Transcendence Diaries, it was his late twenties to early thirties. This is the time that is considered the singer’s most creatively fertile and artistically inspired period, the time just before his disappearance. Or transformation. Depending on what you believe. The eccentric time-traveling business tycoon, inventor, and philanthropist Tobias Guess himself has not been heard from now in many years and so is not available for questioning concerning Fishy or his whereabouts. As more information becomes available we will certainly post it here.
Blowback Strikes – Shocked and Horrified
By Larry Mosqueda
Like all Americans, on Tuesday, 9-11, I was shocked and horrified to watch the WTC Twin Towers attacked by hijacked planes and collapse, resulting in the deaths of perhaps up to 10,000 innocent people.
I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16, 1991, when then President Bush attacked Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq and began killing 200,000 people during that “war” (slaughter). This includes the infamous “highway of death” in the last days of the slaughter when U.S. pilots literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers. I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has stated that their deaths “are worth the cost”.
Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of U.S. governmental actions, such as the U.S. sponsored coup against democracy in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 Guatemalan peasants by U.S. installed dictatorships over the course of four decades.
Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the horror I felt when the U.S. overthrew the governments of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including U.S. citizens.
Last Tuesday’s events reminded me of the shock and horror I felt in 1965 when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over 800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975 of over 250,000 innocent people in East Timor by the Indonesian regime with the direct complicity of President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war (the World Court declared the U.S. government a war criminal in 1984 for the mining of the harbors) against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the U.S. government used to call them before the term “collateral damage” was invented–“soft targets”).
I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war against the people of El Salvador in the 1980s, which resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000 people, or “soft targets”.
I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terror war against the peoples of southern Africa (especially Angola) that began in the 1970’s and continues to this day and has resulted in the deaths and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt as the U.S. invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989 and killed over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George H. Bush’s CIA partner, now turned enemy, Manuel Noriega.
I was reminded of the horror I felt when I learned about how the Shah of Iran was installed in a U.S. sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the continuing shock as I learned that the Ayatollah Khomeni, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who was the U.S. public enemy for decade of the 1980s, was also on the CIA payroll, while he was in exile in Paris in the 1970s.
I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as I learned about the how the U.S. has “manufactured consent” since 1948 for its support of Israel, to the exclusion of virtually any rights for the Palestinians in their native lands resulting in ever worsening day-to-day conditions for the people of Palestine. I was shocked as I learned about the hundreds of towns and villages that were literally wiped off the face of the earth in the early days of Israeli colonization. I was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of Sabra and Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct Israeli complicity and direction. The untold thousands who died on that day match the scene of horror that we saw last Tuesday. But those scenes were not repeated over and over again on the national media to inflame the American public.
The events and images of last Tuesday have been appropriately compared to the horrific events and images of Lebanon in the 1980s with resulted in the deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no reference to the fact that the country that inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with U.S. backing. I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream commentators refer to “Israeli settlers” in the “occupied territories” with no sense of irony as they report on who are the aggressors in the region.
Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of the second half of the 20th century was the U.S. assault on Indochina from 1954-1975, especially Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed, napalmed, crushed, shot and individually “hands on” murdered in the “Phoenix Program” (this is where Oliver North got his start). Many U.S. Vietnam veterans were also victimized by this war and had the best of intentions, but the policy makers themselves knew the criminality of their actions and policies as revealed in their own words in “The Pentagon Papers,” released by Daniel Ellsberg of the RAND Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our Presidents from Truman to Nixon continually lied to the U.S. public about the purpose and conduct of the war. He has stated that, “It is a tribute to the American people that our leaders perceived that they had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we were so easily misled.”
I was continually shocked and horrified as the U.S. attacked and bombed with impunity the nation of Libya in the 1980s, including killing the infant daughter of Khadafi. I was shocked as the U.S. bombed and invaded Grenada in 1983. I was horrified by U.S. military and CIA actions in Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these actions ran into the hundreds of thousands.
The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive. It is merely a list that is easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the economic and intellectual elites. It has just been conveniently eliminated from the public discourse and public consciousness. And for the most part, the analysis that the U.S. actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number for those who have been killed by U.S. terror and military action since World War II is 8,000,000 people. Repeat–8,000,000 people. This does not include the wounded, the imprisoned, the displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, “My government is the world’s leading purveyor of violence.” Shocking and horrifying.
Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this week’s events. It is not meant to “justify” any action by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context. If we believe that the actions were those of “madmen”, they are “madmen” who are able to keep a secret for 2 years or more among over 100 people, as they trained to execute a complex plan. While not the acts of madmen, they are apparently the acts of “fanatics” who, depending on who they really are, can find real grievances, but whose actions are illegitimate.
Osama Bin Laden at this point has been accused by the media and the government of being the mastermind of Tuesday’s bombings. Given the government’s track record on lying to the America people, that should not be accepted as fact at this time. If indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of this action, he is responsible for the deaths of perhaps 10,000 people-a shocking and horrible crime. Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any terrorism but points out that states often engage in “wholesale” terror, while those whom governments define as “terrorist” engage is “retail” terrorism. While qualitatively the results are the same for the individual victims of terrorism, there is a clear quantitative difference. And as Herman and others point out, the seeds, the roots, of much of the “retail” terror are in fact found in the “wholesale” terror of states. Again this is not
to justify, in any way, the actions of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and suggest an explanation.
Perhaps most shocking and horrific, if indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of Tuesday’s actions; he has clearly had significant training in logistics, armaments, and military training, etc. by competent and expert military personnel. And indeed he has. During the 1980s, he was recruited, trained and funded by the CIA in Afghanistan to fight against the Russians. As long as he visited his terror on Russians and his enemies in Afghanistan, he was “our man” in that country.
The same is true of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was a CIA asset in Iraq during the 1980s. Hussein could gas his own people, repress the population, and invade his neighbor (Iran) as long as he did it with U.S. approval.
The same was true of Manuel Noriega of Panama, who was a contemporary and CIA partner of George H. Bush in the 1980s. Noriega’s main crime for Bush, the father, was not that he dealt drugs (he did, but the U.S. and Bush knew this before 1989), but that Noriega was no longer going to cooperate in the ongoing U.S. terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. This information is not unknown or really controversial among elite policy makers. To repeat, this not to justify any of the actions of last Tuesday, but to put it in its horrifying context.
As shocking as the events of last Tuesday were, they are likely to generate even more horrific actions by the U.S. government that will add significantly to the 8,000,000 figure stated above. This response may well be qualitatively and quantitatively worst than the events of Tuesday. The New York Times headline of 9/14/01 states that, “Bush And Top Aides Proclaim Policy Of Ending States That Back Terror” as if that was a rationale, measured, or even sane option. States that have been identified for possible elimination are “a number of Asian and African countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and even Pakistan.” This is beyond shocking and horrific-it is just as potentially suicidal, homicidal, and more insane than the hijackers themselves.
Also, qualitatively, these actions will be even worse than the original bombers if one accepts the mainstream premise that those involved are “madmen”, “religious fanatics”, or a “terrorist group.” If so, they are acting as either individuals or as a small group. The U.S. actions may continue the homicidal policies of a few thousand elites for the past 50 years, involving both political parties.
The retail terror is that of desperate and sometime fanatical small groups and individuals who often have legitimate grievances, but engage in individual criminal and illegitimate activities; the wholesale terror is that of “rational” educated men where the pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are contemplated, planned, and too often, executed, for the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept called the “national interest”. Space does not allow a full explanation of the elites Orwellian concept of the “national interest”, but it can be summarized as the protection and expansion of hegemony and an imperial empire.
The American public is being prepared for war while being fed a continuous stream of shocking and horrific repeated images of Tuesday’s events and heartfelt stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those who lost family members. These stories are real and should not be diminished. In fact, those who lost family members can be considered a representative sample of humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost previously. If we multiply by 800-1000 times the amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt by the American public, we might begin to understand how much of the rest of the world feels as they are continually victimized.
Some particularly poignant images are the heart wrenching public stories that we are seeing and hearing of family members with pictures and flyers searching for their loved ones. These images are virtually the same as those of the “Mothers of the Disappeared” who searched for their (primarily) adult children in places such as Argentina, where over 11,000 were “disappeared” in 1976-1982, again with U.S. approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina deserved our respect and compassion, so do the relatives of those who are searching for their relatives now. However we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and U.S. government into turning real grief and anger into a national policy of wholesale terror and genocide against innocent civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in military terms is called “softening the target.” The target here is the American public and we are being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the slaughter that may commence soon.
None of the previously identified Asian and African countries are democracies, which means that the people of these countries have virtually no impact on developing the policies of their governments, even if we assume that these governments are complicit in Tuesday’s actions. When one examines the recent history of these countries, one will find that the American government had direct and indirect influences on creating the conditions for the existence of some of these governments. This is especially true of the Taliban government of Afghanistan itself.
The New York Metropolitan Area has about 21,000,000 people or about 8 % of the U.S. population. Almost everyone in America knows someone who has been killed, injured or traumatized by the events of Tuesday. I know that I do. Many people are calling for “revenge” or “vengeance” and comments such as “kill them all” have been circulated on the TV, radio, and email. A few more potentially benign comments have called for “justice.” This is only potentially benign since that term may be defined by people such as Bush and Colin Powell. Powell is an unrepentant participant in the Vietnam War, the terrorist contra war against Nicaragua, and the Gulf war, at each level becoming more responsible for the planning and execution of the policies.
Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our power to prevent a wider war and even greater atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if it starts, and hold those responsible for their potential war crimes during and after the war. If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not catastrophic (a real possibility), the crimes of that war will be revisited upon the U.S. over the next generation. That is not some kind of religious prophecy or threat, it is merely a straightforward political analysis. If indeed it is Bin Laden, the world must not deal only with him as an individual criminal, but eliminate the conditions that create the injustices and war crimes that will inevitably lead to more of these types of attacks in the future. The phrase “No Justice, No Peace” is more than a slogan used in a march, it is an observable historical fact. It is time to end the horror. CP
Larry Mosqueda teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington
50 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and we still don’t know who did it, nor how or why it was done. Though the U.S. government continues to promote and push their prevailing myth that it was committed by James Earl Ray, even though the evidence has never supported that theory.
Dr. Kings’s family also believed Ray was innocent and sued the U.S. government for more than 30 years to get the charges against Ray dropped and reopen the case to discover who really killed King.
Since it was most likely people in various government agencies responsible for the murder of King, the U.S. government never allowed the case to be reopened.
Learn more below…. #MLKtruth