Freedom is never more than a generation from extinction
former President of the U.S.A.
This missive is an open letter to Vic Toews, Joe Oliver, Stephen Harper and all RCMP and CISC spy boys and girls who likely have access to my e-mail. “Hi fellas; how are the coffee and Timbits?” Go ahead and download me. Come on over for tea and lets have a chat.
I’m writing to ensure your files are up-to-date on my radical status. I think you included me with child pornographers. If I miss anything, could let me know. Ill gladly bring you up to full speed.
First, I recently watched a 5 part documentary series, on PBS, concerning the fight for freedom in South Africa. I remember many key events in that fight, including the day the South African government finally released Nelson Mandela. Then I remember, not too long afterwards, watching millions of South Africans line up, waiting to vote for the first time in their lives. That is a vision I will not soon forget. One man, one woman and one vote. The arithmetic is simple; an equation that no theoretical physicist or mathematician could dispel. All are equal; its the basis of democracy.
As you know, Nelson Mandela went on to become president of South Africa. Still, the struggle for freedom did not happen overnight. Few in the democratic Western World, including Margaret Thatcher, in Britain, had any problem with a White racist government in Pretoria shooting Black schoolchildren in Soweto or Sharpeville.
Most Western governments were directly involved in building the South African military and surveillance operations. US President Ronald Reagan was quite vocal in resisting the imposition of economic and diplomatic sanctions against South Africa, claiming such methods didn’t work, would only further hurt the people everyone wanted to help and, heck, those good ole boys running the government had supported the Allies in the Second World War. Right, most of the goons running the South African Apartheid system were fascists who supported Germany.
Let me bold. Maggie Thatcher and Ronnie Reagan have a lot of blood on their hands my friends, all under the guise of "constructive engagement,” which basically is code for business as usual. As I always say, if you want to get to the truth behind the propaganda, follow the money; the glorious green.
Regime change finally evolved when protesters around the world, mostly at university campuses, began boycotting Shell Oil and Barclays Bank in England. The CEOs et al of those companies/financial institutions, symbolically hidden behind or under their Ku Klux Klan white sheets, finally caved to the political pressure, not out of any sense of moral justice but because "constructive engagement" had changed the situation from one of making money hand over fist to losing potential life-long customers in their own countries. Quickly, once the bottom-line started to bottom-out, the money bagging robber barons saw the light. Praise the Lord and pass the sanctions.
Eventually, even "The Iron Lady," herself, who had once called Mandela and his cohorts, communists and terrorists, was hobnobbing in front of the television cameras with Mandela. Not often, a former communist and terrorist becomes president of a democracy. Maggie wanted in on the photo-ops. It’s a funny old world boys and girls.
When Mandela went on a world tour, his first stop was Sweden to visit then Prime Minister Olof Palme who was the first Western leader to embrace ANC member and exile Oliver Tambo, the actual star behind the dismantling of Apartheid.
Olof Palme, as you may recall, as the grand Pooh-Bah of those dangerous "socialist hordes" from Sweden, was also the first Western leader to speak out against the US war in Vietnam. Martin Luther King had done the same thing. Talking about civil rights and non-violence was one thing but talking out against the industrial-military complex - a direct assault on making money - made the powers-that-bean extremely nervous, so in 1968, as many still believe, the CIA had him shot. Palme was assassinated in 1986, a rear view mirror? Whether it’s 1968 or 1986 get to work conspiracy theorists.
Absolved, posthumously, Olof’s murderer was substance abuser once convicted of manslaughter. Several others, from the far left to the far right, have had fingers pointed at them. The crime remains unsolved to this day. No matter who pulled the fatal trigger, one strong theory has it that Palme pissed-off the South African government when he spoke out against Apartheid and paid the ultimate price for his opinion. I suspect well never really know. There’s intelligence and counter-intelligence, over-the-counter intelligence, under-the-covers intelligence, counter-counter-intelligence, re-encounter counter-counter intelligence and so on. Ergo, it’s not impossible to speculate they hired a left-wing nut-bar, through several different channels, hard to track, by a right-wing organization or government, to put a bullet in poor ole Olof, whom like Abe Lincoln made the mistake of going out one night with his wife, to the theatre.
I mention all this, somewhat as preamble because I once was a member of the local Oxfam Committee in Ottawa. South Africa was always a main concern for Oxfam but during my volunteer time with that organization, South Africa and Apartheid became Oxfam’s major international campaign one year. As part of that campaign, our local committee - revolutionaries inside the tent, hosted Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Mpho, who was on a speaking tour in North America, along with her boyfriend Joseph. My role was as media liaison person. Not a huge historical moment for sure but I’m covered if any of my younger relatives ever ask, "What did you do during the war on Apartheid Uncle Bob."
The experience with Oxfam also exposed me to, and made me a sympathizer with, Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. There was El Salvador and other area in that region; let’s not forget the other 9/11, when Hank Kissinger and the CIA offed Chilean president Allende and we got Pinochet. Just to tie the knots, a right wing Chilean is on the list of suspects regarding the Olof Palme murder.
Now, you may also remember Ollie North and the "Iran-Contra" affair, which was a ruse to get arms to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua. Ronnie Reagan, yes, him again, the Newt and other Republicans love to emulate and quote, was worried that if the communists were allowed to survive there. Well, in no time at all, every American would be wearing gray uniforms and singing Kumbaya, while plotting to take over Canada. You may recall then that Ronnie compared the contra rebels to America’s founding fathers, as they stormed little villages killing Nicaraguan children. It wasn’t much different from what the Marines did in Vietnam.
Digging deeper in my past, I think my first radical act was when I was circa 17 years old and went to Parliament Hill to march in support of Selma, Alabama and the Civil Rights Movement. Have you any pictures, of me. If yes, might you post these photographs on Facebook, as you can?
As a hummer and a strummer of folk tunes, I performed at various Ottawa coffee houses, Le Monde, The Wasteland, Le Hibou, Roosters, each a denizen of reactionary weirdoes, ready to blow up the government with their foreign-made guitars and other instruments. Lord save you, if you played Kazoo, it was truly the Devils horn.
I sang folk songs written or sung by commie pinkos, such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. The powers-that-bean had their army; we had ours. The only difference in the two armies, a huge one, in the eyes of the CIA, like Hollywood, came down to hats, in this case berets. The Marines aka the good guys wore green-coloured ones and killed Vietnamese children; us dangerous radicals wore black-coloured berets, while we marched and protested the killing of said Vietnamese children.
The US war machine, under the direction of Robert McNamara, engaged in a fog of war; meanwhile, we hippies were too busy waving our hands trying to make our way to the fridge thru a fog of marijuana when the munchies hit. Who was more dangerous?
We had fingers split flashing the peace sign; the US military had handfuls of Agent Orange. So there you go again ladies and gentlemen; definitely a threat; I was against the Vietnamese War.
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that I was in support of Malcolm X, the Weathermen or the Black Panthers, all of whom spoke of armed or other types of, resistance. Since history suggests there was more killing by the American government against leaders and associates of those groups than the other way around. In addition, J. Edgar Hoover once opined that the Black Panthers free breakfast programs in Oakland and elsewhere were the greatest threat to internal security in the USA; feeding kids. Now that can’t be allowed; not in a democracy.
Angela Davis was accused, but, fortunately, acquitted of any connection to a murder on the trumped-up suspicion she owned the guns used. In an interview, with Swedish TV journalists, damn those socialist hordes people again, during her incarceration, Davis said that having seen many of her Black brothers and sisters brutally attacked and murdered in her home town, all her life, anyone, who asked why the Blank Panthers didn’t disavow violence, obviously had no understanding of black peoples history in the US. Her comment remains powerful after 30 years.
No wonder the US Government condoned the brutal suppression of blacks in South Africa. At yet another point, in my early radical days, I was a member of Operation Dismantle, run by James Stark, who is no relation. He tirelessly worked towards having a world referendum on banning nuclear weapons. Who knows what George Dubya was doing at the time, other than drinking his face off and stuffing nose candy in his ears at university, pretending to be John Belushi, in “Animal House,” or was it the other way around; ? He supposedly had a thing about weapons of mass destruction. Maybe he signed the petition we circulated.
No referendum, no real curb on the development of or the discombobulating nuclear weapons, and, hey, the world remains on the edge, if not the eve, of destruction. As well, more people will die in Iran or Israel because some little nimrod leader in Iran wants in on the bomb your dead party. Put down that double double and sing along; "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn."
BTW, for the record, I support the existence of the Israel State, but if Harper really believes in peace in the Middle-East, maybe he could tell the Israelis to stop building settlements in the West Bank and dismantle the ones that are already there; .
I’ve done music benefits for Greenpeace and countless other radical groups, like Day Care Centers and Food Banks. It’s hanging material, for sure, aye Toews. I’ll take a lower bunk in one of your new prisons because I’m afraid of heights.
I walked on Parliament Hill to watch, greet and cheer the women who’d marched across the country against poverty. Heck, I’ve been on Parliament Hill probably more times than Michael Ignatieff, usually to protest something or other, although there was one night near the Eternal Flame with Teresa Peters that may trump them all; that’s another story. But, if you have any pics of that night, I’m really keen to have them in my collection.
What else can I tell my Internet tapping friends?
Oh God, how could I forget? I was also a member of ETAN, the group that campaigned for the independence of East Timor. You may have pictures of me carrying a sign and chanting outside the Prime Minister Chretiens house, on Sussex Drive. That’d be me, in the black beret.
I’d have been at several music benefits, on stage, wailing away about this and that, but you were there, weren’t you, you dogged devils, probably filing a report on the young East Timorese woman, Bella Galhos, singing her country’s National Anthem. You probably might want to check the film for that moment when upon finishing she collapsed of emotional exhaustion. Even Rene Rancourt, the anthem singer at the Gardens in Boston, could never match that performance.
East Timor finally got its freedom. Despite its problems, South Africa is a democracy. Daniel Ortega is once again president in Nicaragua; the Vietnamese finally removed the US from its land.
Quick calculation suggests I’m 4-0. I win. For the last several years, I’m afraid I’ve been rather quiet. I did vote against the Olympics coming to Vancouver but cheered when we won the gold medals. There may be hope for me yet. I may already be on the road to anywhere.
You know, there’s something a bit spooky about the timing of Toew’s new or revised legislation, allowing you spies was to have easier access to my private information; by the beginning of the AEC’s hearings, on the proposed Enbridge, pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, BC. Too paranoid?, do you think. Perhaps, as an acid flashbacks I’m afraid.
In any case, let’s make this simple. Befriend me on Facebook. Man, you wouldn’t believe how much information you can get there about my Facebook friends and me.
Well, all this is to warn you that Im warming up again. Now that Im retired, I have a lot of time on my hands; and idle hands are the devils play tools.
Moreover if the beret still fits.
So maybe you can have Harper clarify something that has me a bit confused.
Under his direction, Canada has decided not to honour any prior commitments under the Kyoto Treaty as well as not commit to any further hard and fast emission reductions in the near future, presumably until the Chinese and India come aboard. In some sense, that is a fair argument. In some sense, let’s not get too moderate and comfortable here.
What is confusing me is how the Cons are seemingly working very hard to change Chinas mind and get them on side.
Shipping the dirtiest oil on the planet, via the very sensitive and dangerous waters near Kitimat, for use in China, would not appear to be a very moral or prudent way to help China see the global warming/climate change light. Am I not right?
Its all starting to look like the asbestos situation whereby our government seemingly has no trouble washing its hands and shipping a dangerous product overseas as long as its mined here with great care. What happens to the stuff after that is someone else’s problem.
In that regard, I bet you know that somewhere there are many bad dudes preparing bags of cocaine thinking it’s not their fault if some poor doorknob stuffs the shite up his nose and dies, as long as they’re making tons-o-money in the process. Follow the money. We shouldn’t be too concerned about an increase in carbon into the atmosphere as long as it’s overseas and we protect our standard of living.
Not to give you h extra work to do, but maybe you can also ask Harper about aboriginal rights in the various territories over which the tar sands pipeline will travel and then end. Will he over-ride those rights for the greater good or in the name of Canada’s national interests? Is this why he didn’t ask the Chinese about burning monks in Tibet, when he recently, allegedly, raised human rights issues with Chinese leaders behind closed doors?
Is Harper advocating "constructive engagement"?
As I finish writing this note, they’re carrying Whitney Houston’s casket out of the church to "I Will Always Love You”; a worldwide telecast. Meanwhile Syrian troops have been shooting at people attending a funeral in Homs, Syria. Do you think there will ever be worldwide funeral coverage for an arms dealer?
Well, regardless, the good side, including the ones in the black berets, have always had better songs. With that, pass the Cheezies and strike up the band. "Love’s in need of love today."
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.