Sunday, February 16, 2020

Hellfire from Paradise Ranch

It takes a Basque, with an intact moral center to write Hellfire from Paradise Ranch: on the front lines of drone warfare.  It takes an unimpaired moral compass to confront those ethical accommodations to which two-party-system Americans have become Pavlovized with moral corrosion over more than two centuries of temporizing with that old bugbear, “the lesser of two evils.” This book is dynamite. It names names, the names of the good, godly, American shibboleths—people like Obama, McNamara, Westmoreland, and Albright—we have come to enshrine, whose cynicism has raised their fiats to levels of criminal atrocity.

Joseba Zulaika has been a frequent participant in anti drone demonstrations at Creech AFB in Nevada along with Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, the Nevada Desert Experience, local people from Las Vegas and Indian Springs, and other groups, all Americans of conscience. He has been arrested there, and spent time in that notorious horror pit, the Clark County Jail, (see Brian Terrell) where as he writes, “Compared to [the] truly jailed, the homeless and defenseless, the poor of Las Vegas, the wretched whose freedom is uncertain at best…our [incarceration] was ritual….”


Although Zulaika is now emeritus, his day job was as a respectable Professor of Anthropology at the U. of Nevada, Reno, where he also taught Basque in the only American University to recognize the key importance of a language which may very well derive from once-peaceful Europe’s original language, before the Kurgan conquest of (mas o menos) 3000 BC whose depredations made of the “Europeans” the imperialist killers they became. In fact 1492 may very well be the extension of that first invasion, when sailing ships made it technologically possible to spead it’s genocidal depredations into the New World.

Hellfire is a virtuoso performance both as ethnography and documentation of horror that nauseates; at the same time it’s a well documented text that seethes with the good, ethical Basque outrage of its author. It quotes a bloodied butcher-aproned Obama with a “Yes, we can.” With its glance at assassination porn, it encounters a level of atrocity the depth of which defies encounter. And Zulaika brings it off dressed in the words of great poets Garcia Lorca, and in a final coup de théatre, Homer himself. As Zulaika meets the horror of our epoch full square, at the same time he celebrates years of resistance at Creech and at the Nevada test site.


The narrative strategy of the Epilogue is quite astonishing. It takes an original mind to see the points of tangent in Obama‘s and Al-Awlaki’s lives, initially parallel, eventually vastly unconverging. The comparison raises the narrative to the level of Greek tragedy, implying that both killer and victim are blinded by delusion and their lack of clarity makes of the them the stuff of tragedy.

While Zulaika accepts unquestioningly the received narratives of 9-11 and the Boston marathon, he rejects that of the burial at sea of bin Laden, a  mythology it took the journalism of Seymour Hersh to explode. But these reservations become all but irrelevant in the larger scope of the narrative.

The major omission I find, although skirted in the Epilogue with discussion of ritual burial, would have addressed how drone warfare destroys a civilization, what Zulaika refers to as “what holds everything together,” the dailyness of planting crops, tending sheep, or weaving rugs, or going to school, or market, or to the well for water, or to celebrate a wedding, or bury a friend, or attend the Friday mosque—to observe the rituals of a society by which it describes itself.

Because the constant buzzing overhead implants fear in the heart, and inhibits the basic contact  and the very acts of human cohesion which allow us to remain alive; under the constant surveillance by drones, one by one, they die, paralyzed by fear.

This is genocide.

Zulaika has written a colossus of a book, and much as I found his earlier Bilbao Moon interesting for its multi-leveled narrative, this book clamps the heart in a vise.

Hellfire From Paradise Ranch: on the front lines of drone warfare. 2020, Oakland, CA,  University of California Press, 289 pages.

Read the article about drone resister Brandon Bryant published by the Independent, UK at
Please sign this appeal to east Bay Community Energy to shun nuclear energy powered by Diablo Canyon at:

In all probability, Arizona and Nevada are the key states that decide the next election because a million of their residents are being purged from the voter rolls. If you are a resident of one of those states, the time is now to canvass door to door, verifying that folks are registered to vote.

Morales and Arce bid to outperform right-wing forces and undo regime change in Bolivia.

Switzerland halts rollout of 5G over health concerns, and why can’t we?

Korea ramps up anti-Japan propaganda ahead of nuclear Japanese Olympics.

Cross-Canada passenger and freight trains shut own by Mohawks  in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en  land defenders.

Venezuela accuses U.S. of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Senate passes war powers resolution to stop #45 from launching attack on Iran.

Ilhan Omar unveils bold proposal for U.S. foreign policy deeply rooted in justince.

Nevada State Democratic party officials say they’ll abandon the use of two different apps from  the same vendor that failed in Iowa, and are looking to revert to paper-based voting and counting process.

Polling shows Sanders extending lead among Hispanics ahead of Nevada caucuses.

Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses show medicare for all and climate crisis top all other issues for Democratic voters in 2020.

Federal Appeals Court strikes down #45 “work-or-die" Medicaid requirements in Arkansas.

Facing skyrocketing rents, Sta. Cruz CA students go on strike.

Turning up heat for integration, N.Y.C. students plan  city-wide school boycott.

Sanders and Warren join writing letter to AG Barr to resign immediately over Roger Stone case.

Nine Senate Dems call on Barr to resign over violation of duty.

Rank and file teachers’ movement takes on asbestos and lead in schools.

Progressive  DC candidate Jessica Cisneros picks up union endorsements.

Civil rights groups file federal free speech lawsuit against State of Georgia’s unconstitutional Israel boycott law.

Rising Tide reports local Boca Raton organizers and allies shut down the GEO group private prisons headquarters.

North Dakota’s GOP settles voter ID lawsuit in huge victory for Native American voting rights.

Georgia to stop discriminating against Puerto Rican U.S. citizens apply for licenses.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


cacerolazo (n.) – earsplitting demonstration where millions bang on their pots and pans. Used by intelligent people who don’t attend the super bowl, and know fascism when they see it raise its ugly horns.


fascism (n.) – "right wing" (Barbara Lee), "mistruths" (Nancy Pelosi), "cover-up" (Robert Reich).
Try the F word.  

F-A-C-S-I-S-M. Say it. Say it so your mouth gets used to saying it. Form the syllables one by one to make it easier. Try.

FA  FA  FA  FA  That’s right.  Try again Fascism.

FA  SH  SH  SH SH (like in Shut up). Say it. (don’t shut up)


FA – SH –I (soft i) i. i. as in itchy.
FA-SH-i- ZM(as in zoom without the oo’s because it comes on quickly when you’re not looking.)

No. Not FASCIzoom. Fascism. Try again.  It’s not hard.

Except fascism is a bitch: kids in cages, Muslims banned, LGBTQ hit upon relentlessly, women trashed, high crimes and misdemeanors in high places, asylum seekers excluded, correctional plantations, Iranian citizens assassinated (by drone), American citizens assassinated (by drone). Tents for the housing crisis. Troops deployed to the Russian border (not  “humanitarian aid”).

If you feel like a f(asicst) hydrant, get out there with your pots and pans. And your ear plugs, but not your head in the sand.

You’ve nothing left to lose but your chains.

 (Slovanian newspaper)

READ: (for comic relief): today’s Information Clearing House at

READ: “What Happens When a Society Can’t Speak the Unspeakable? (and it’s not the F word you think) at



Sunday, February 2, 2020

Bibi’s “peace deal” is a blueprint for America’s apartheid

The US press has it wrong: The Trump’/Kushner peace deal is not so much Israel’s apartheid blueprint; it’s the other way round. Here in the U.S., brainwashed by the corporate state organ press, we still imagine Israel to be our colony. The reverse is the case: the U.S. is a colony of Israel.

Gaza City under 2017 Israeli bombardment

It’s even hypothesized that that trillion or so still unaccounted for at the Pentagon (the books were kept in the Pentagon section that sustained all that unfortunate damage from an  airplane crashing into it without burning up the outside lawn) went directly to Israel to defend itself against the bad reputation it’s getting for shooting to blind, kneecap, or kill all those uppity Palestinians who still think that Palestine belongs to them. 

I used to suspect (silly me) that Israel was blackmailing the US over 9/11 because it knew too much (like why Building 7 collapsed even though no plane managed to hit it) but lately I have come to understand that a luxury mansion in New York’s East 70s with hidden cameras in every room, fueled by the Lolita Express, are much more powerful forms of blackmail than an insignificant event like 9/11 ever could be, because boys just love their toys, especially when they are underage and nubile, and two of those boys just happen to be Presidents of the U.S. (Other world figures like Prince Andrew rate fewer points.)

Anatomy of a peace deal

But why dwell on the camouflage of scandal? Such distraction obscures the more important facts such as:

•The so-called peace plan was cobbled together by Jared Kushner without any consultation with Abbas, or any Palestinian input.
•It conveniently puts an end to the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged war crimes committed against Palestinians in the  Occupied Territories.
•The Palestinians will be granted limited autonomy within a Palestinian homeland that consists of multiple non-contiguous enclaves scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza, which have been compared to the apartheid South African system of Bantustans.

What Palestinians think of Bibi 's peace

•The government of Israel will retain security control over the Palestinian enclaves and will continue to control Palestinian borders, immigration, security, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, and the electromagnetic spectrum. 
•Israel will be allowed to annex vast stretches of the Palestinian West Bank (which has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967) into Israel, including all of the illegal Jewish-only settlements in areas colonized by Israeli settlers as well as Arab East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.
•The Palestinians will be allowed to select the leaders of their new homeland but will have no political rights in Israel, the state that actually rules over them.

Meanwhile back at the (colonized) ranch:

At the same time, the Israeli-owned corporation, Elbit Systems , a defense contractor, has been hired by the U.S. government to turn the Tohono O’odham reservation  (4,460 square miles) into a total surveillance prison camp. They tout their products are “field proven” on Palestinian people.
And municipal police of countless American Cities, among them D.C.,  go to Israel for “law enforcement” training, or Israel sends their “law enforcement” IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) experts, whose skills-to-kill have been honed in the practice shooting ranges of Gaza and the West Bank, to the U.S. to train them in population control.

Condemn the Netanyahoo/Trump/Kushner/ “peace is war” plan which paves the way for even more apartheid and land theft at

The U.S. Senate (and Judge Roberts) is an insult to the democracy we never had: If you agree, please sign at

Signatures needed: We refuse to live in  police state under the “Patriot” Act at

Pass the Asylum Seeker Protection Act. Now at

Please sign the NO War petition  at

Tell the IEA: Big Oil companies belong in court, not around International policy-making tables at

Editor’s note: If you are asked to donate to Act Blue, please make sure you verify that if you do not intend to click on the “make it monthly” button, your credit card statement does not show mistaken deductions.

Another word from your editor: We have entered the everything’s up for grabs no-exit zone where the “Commander in Chief’ can do as he likes, because full fascism is for the benefit of your country, like it or not.

Please don’t let the “Roses this Week” section lull you into a false sense of security.

Even if there are a few roses to count, our bed is made of nails.

Press blackout: Protesters swarm DC demanding end to GOP cover up and demanding witnesses.

Global Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign promotes nuclear weapons divestment.

Because it loves to eat, and eat well,  France becomes first country to ban all 5 pesticides linked to bee death.

Canada erupts in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Republics of Trinidad, Tobago and Barbados reject Pompeo Jamaican visit.

Brazil Petrobras workers call indefinite strike after it fires 396 fertilizer plant workers.

Venezuela Embassy Protectors’ pretrial hearing adjourned as Judge Beryl Howell takes relevant ideas under advisement.

Activists plan boycott of U.S. companies backing India’s anti-Muslim policies.

Marine vet lawmaker tells military to question the orders they are given.

New bill would take needed steps toward curbing mass surveillance.

House requires congressional OK for using force against Iran, and votes to repeal 2002 Iraq AUMF used  by #45 to justify Soleimani’s murder. 

Detroit-area bishop calls for Catholics to refuse to participate in U.S. wars.

Amnesty International USA and partners to brief press on #45 administration’s Muslim Ban expansion.

Pelosi says House Dems will take up legislation reversing #45’s Muslim ban.

Sanders takes aim at corporate polluters with bill cleaning up toxic “forever chemicals” from drinking water.

Democrats finally grapple with Bernie surge in Iowa “Oh, my God, Sanders can win!”

Plan would scale back U.S. military budget by just 3% to end world starvation.

Over 40 press freedom and civil liberties groups denounce Brazil’s charges against Glenn Greenwald.

#WeWantWitnesses trends as protesters demand fair trial and end to GOP cover up.

Demand Justice ads target Chief “Justice” John  Roberts failure to see to a fair impeachment trial. (The millions banging pots and pans are watching the Superb Bowl.)

DC billboard slams Snake McConnell’s “Total Coordination with #45.”

DC cops to stop handcuffing!!!! children 12 and under after incidents involving innocent boys.

Hundreds of activists descend on Senators’ offices in home states to call for “fair” impeachment “trial.”

Key part of 2017 GOP tax scam, the “Opportunity Zone” program, is being investigated by Treasury’s internal watchdog group.

Defending Rights and Dissent teams up with Institute for Policy Studies for a people’s briefing on FBI abuse.

Blocking trains and removing coal, climate activists fight to close one of New England’s largest power plants.

Watershed moment as Guardian is applauded for banning fossil fuel company ads.

After court defeat, climate justice lawsuit youth vow to keep fighting.

Black farmers embrace climate-resilient farming.

EWG applauds Kellogg for pledge to end pre-harvest use of weed killer glyphosate

Energy Justice Program fights for “electricity future that words for people and planet.

New Harvard study shows even those with private insurance can’t afford care: Medicare for All is what patients need.

ICE contractor finally fires captain who posed on neo-Nazi site and tried to start hate group.

LA City Council unanimously passes temporary ban  on private detention facilities.

Migrant teens abused at detention facility gain powerful allies in ongoing litigation.

Utah finally bans conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth, but is only the 19th state to do so.

Ellen DeGeneres rewards Texas teen after school penalizes him for wearing long dreads.

Group calls on citizens to blow the whistle on  Motorola cell-phone “safety” studies.

California AG Becerra wins $344 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson for deceptive marketing targeting women, a first-in-the-nation ruling.

Of especial relevance to race-based mass incarceration Alaska becomes first state to allow marijuana public use establishments.

Chesa Boudin, just elected in S.F., eliminates cash bail.

Virginia and Colorado legislatures restricting state executions clear significant hurdles.

Volunteering for salary men: public polled on what Senators should ask in last 8 hours of impeachment Q & A.

Commerce Secy. Wilbur Ross opines coronavirus could be boon to American Business bringing much needed jobs to workers (when they’re dead?)

In the face of climate disaster, Australian PM, who once carried lump of coal into Parliament shilling for the coal lobby, plans to open coal mine.

‘Nobody can build like I can  build” sez #45 as gale opposes wall. 

Wind storm in Mexicali