Thanks to Claire Mortimer for forwarding this.
*Open Letter on the Occasion of the Seating of the New York Session of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine*
This weekend, anti-war protests are taking place all over the world. I do
believe that the position of the vast majority of the world’s people is one
that is utterly tired of a hungry war machine ignited by gangster bankers
concomitantly devouring the money resources of the world’s people. There
is a growing awareness of exactly where the problem lies: it is not in the
millions of working people who struggle every month just to make ends meet;
it is not in the immigrant fleeing the intentional destabilization of her
homeland; it is not in the descendants of Africans imported from Africa for
enslavement; it is not in the right-wing White person misled to believe
that individuals from the foregoing groups are his enemy; it is not in the
group of people who pray to Allah; it is not in the people on the street
this weekend demanding peace and an end to war. It is clear that those who
helped construct this current society and now preside over it are also the
ones who benefit from having things as they are today. Increasingly, more
and more of us are paying an even higher price for them to continue their
privilege because enough is never enough for them. Real change, then,
requires not only changes in the names, color, ethnicities, languages
spoken, religion, or gender of those who preside over the current political
state of affairs. Real change requires dismantling the current political,
economic, and social structures that serve only the interests of an elite
to whom current elected office holders answer. In short, the kind of
change that people thought they were voting for in 2008. I have
consistently drawn attention to the need for this kind of deep, structural
change. Therefore, this Open Letter addresses what is happening to me as I
challenge a system that no longer serves the interests of the people and
push for the kind of change that will really make a difference.
As I write this, I note the irony that I am currently conducting research
in order to write a paper on the violent repression carried out by
individuals acting on behalf of the United States government against
certain political actors of the 1960s and early 1970s. It was during this
research that I came across the notion of “soft repression” and immediately
recognized myself in what I was reading. I said to myself as I read, “Hey,
that’s me.” So, I decided to write this Open Letter in order to blow the
cover off a secret that I have walked with for years.
“Soft repression” tactics include ridicule, stigma, and silencing. I have
experienced and continue to experience each one of these types of targeting.
I routinely receive hate mail and withstand very active organized attempts
to ridicule, stigmatize, and eventually silence me. I routinely experience
strange occurrences with my computer (typing by itself) and telephone
(answered by someone before it even rings on my end), and more. Strange
things happen to my friends and to the friends of my friends (like police
stops for nothing, and worse, calls to remote immigrant acquaintances
asking for information about me).
Not too long ago, I received a call from a lawyer with the ACLU who tracks
politically-inspired civil liberties violations and he told me that my name
came up in a Texas Fusion Center of the Department of Homeland Security
document as someone, associating with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark
and traveling to Lebanon with him, who should be surveilled for any
attempts engaged in by me to push Sharia law for the U.S. It’s ludicrous,
I know. It’s even more ludicrous that U.S. tax dollars are being spent to
surveil people for this stupidity. But there it is.
More recently, Congresswoman Maxine Waters courageously asked the head of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, at a
Congressional Hearing if the FBI was surveilling me because she had
documents that suggested that due to my political beliefs and inflammatory
words uttered by others after my 2006 campaign election theft that placed
blame for the unfortunate election results on Jewish Israel partisans
inside the U.S.
I have been stalked (unfortunately, the prosecution occurred under a false
identity as a Muslim Pakistani) and thank goodness to local authorities,
the perpetrator spent time in jail until his high-priced lawyer bailed him
out, and the individual with the false identity was convicted of
stalking. Upon my return to the U.S. from Cape Town, South Africa at which the Russell
Tribunal found that Israel practices its own unique form of apartheid, I
was notified by my local FBI office that I was the subject of a terroristic
threat, along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack
Obama, by some poor hillbillies from the north Georgia mountains. The FBI
offered to protect me from any other hillbillies who might get funny ideas.
Well, I’ve been through this before with the FBI, when a journalist called
for my lynching on my way to vote. My alarmed Congressional staff alerted the FBI–only for us all to learn, years later,
that this particular “journalist” was on the FBI payroll at the time that
he made those reprehensible remarks.
I have lived with this “soft repression” since, as a Member of
Congress-elect in 1992, I refused to sign the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pledge of support for Israel. I will begin to
document and make public what has heretofore been covert activity carried
out by bullies who pick on the weak. The members of my inner circle and I
are extremely weak compared to the power and resources of those
orchestrating and carrying out this “soft repression.”
What could they possibly be afraid of?
I will answer my own question: values whose time has come—truth, justice,
peace, and dignity. Not only for the elite few, but also for the rest of
us: everybody’s truth and everybody’s dignity.
I am honored to serve as a juror on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. I
am honored to serve with Angela Davis and Alice Walker and Dennis Means as
the U.S. contingent of jurors here in New York City. Davis, Walker, and
Means are giants in U.S. activism, demonstrating self-sacrifice, dignity,
and great love for community. I have been with this Tribunal from its
opening Session in Barcelona, where I was the only U.S. member. At these
New York Sessions so far, we have spoken of colonialism, oppression,
murder, and war with impunity. Therefore, I in no way want to equate the
unusual events occurring around me with the violence of the situation faced
by Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, the particular focus of
this Tribunal. I seek merely to expose covert actions directed at me, and
people close to me, that constitute bullying and soft repression that would
otherwise go unnoted and whose purpose I surmise is to punish me for my
values and political beliefs that favor justice and peace, and, most
probably, to dissuade me from future political activities.
Their plan will not work. I believe in hearing everyone’s truths,
especially from those whose voices have been shut down. I believe that we
can only achieve justice when we are willing to face everyone’s truths. I
believe that peace is achievable when justice is prevalent. And I believe
that human and planetary dignity will exist during such time as we all live
together in peace. My work, every day, is to advance this cause in the
best way that I know, using the tools at my disposal at this time.
I have already received some requests for these documents that have been
made available to me; I will make them available to anyone who asks.
Sunday, 7 October 2012