Saturday, February 26, 2005



[Editor’s Note: A reader’s response to the commentary “The Wounds of Wounded Knee” posted on CounterPunch 2/26/05 triggered the following interchange.]

GREG BROOK 2/26/05 at 10:16 am:

Subject: Wake up

Your essay about Wounded Knee was another example of self-imposed guilt that no rational person would take part in. What's done is done. Native Americans do not have any sort of "birth right" to the Americas simply because their ancestors lived there, just like you don't have any sort of birth right to Europe or wherever your ancestors were from. The land belongs to the people who were born to it. People have been living on American soil for generations and had nothing to do with its stealing. Telling them that it is isn't really their land is like telling the Palestinians that none of Palestine is really their land because it used to belong to the Jews about 2,000 years ago, or telling all of the Hispanic Cubans to get lost because [they’re] on conquered land, or the Mexican Hispanics or any other of a hundred displaced and reconquered peoples/terroritories. Native Americans aren't still stewing over Wounded Knee, so speak for yourself and stop pretending like you speak for them, because no one is owed an apology for something that wasn't done to them, wasn't done by anyone living today, and to state the opposite is pure arrogance. Grow up.

RANDOM RESPONSE 2/26/05 at 12:05 pm:

In all sincerity, the quickest way to short circuit reasoned discourse is to punctuate your argument with personal insult. You are clearly a rationale person with a distinct point of view so please take it as a constructive criticism: Your case would be more persuasive without the last two words.

That said, I would offer the following points of contention:

> However I might feel personally, I do realize that giving the nation back to the Indians is not on the table. Does it follow that the indigenous peoples have forfeited equal justice under the law? Given the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty, that is precisely what is at stake in the land of the Lakota. Moreover, the mismanagement of BIA funds is the finding of a court of law, the resolution of which is pending the government's refusal to comply with a court order.

> There is a world of difference between ancestors who left the land of their birth and those who were dispossessed.

> You must have miswrote when you stated: "The land belongs to the people who were born to it." As Crazy Horse said, "My land is where my people lay buried." I couldn't agree more.

> I'm not asking for guilt, only for justice and the nation's misdeeds (genocide) are a part of the equation.

> Where do you draw the line of accountability? A hundred years? Fifty years? Twenty years? It seems an arbitrary delineation.

> Are you sure about your history? Were not the Palestinians there as well?

> Did I give the impression that I was speaking for anyone but myself? I am not.

> Apologies are neither called for nor particularly important: It is a matter of justice.

> Arrogance? I'm afraid I don't see it.

I do wish to thank you for taking the time to to set down your thoughts and forward them. Despite our disagreement, I appreciate the interchange.


P.S. With your permission, I may wish to post this exchange on my site.

GREG BROOK 2/26/05 at 1:01 pm:

"There is a world of difference between ancestors who left the land of their birth and those who were dispossessed."

Right, and that's unfortunate, however you seem to be missing the word of critical importance here: ANCESTORS. It doesn't matter where your ANCESTORS were displaced from, since that has no bearing on who you are or where you grew up. My ancestors were forced to flee Ireland because of British oppression and apathy towards the potato famine, which is arguably equal to being dispossessed, yet I don't rant on about how the British owe me reparations, nor has the Irish government ever done the same, nor do I hold some insane belief that I own a little crop of land in some corner of Ireland.

You must have miswrote when you stated: "The land belongs to the people who were born to it." As Crazy Horse said, "My land is where my people lay buried." I couldn't agree more."

Our ancestors are buried in Africa from generally 10 - 20 thousand years ago, does that give us a right to African land. Tell me, when was the last time you brushed up on your Zulu? No one has a right to claim that because their ancestors are buried in a certain land that it is theirs. You offer no reasonable argument, you simply say it is.

"I'm not asking for guilt, only for justice and the nation's misdeeds (genocide) are a part of the equation."

I take it you are one of the cult followers of the belief that the Native American people were purposely "massacred". Indeed, there were many massacres. However, if you truly believe that 15 million (Yes the actual number of Native Americans living in North America was 15 million not 10 million, you should conduct better research) Native Americans were exterminated by lethal force, then you must not have gone to college. Disease wiped them out. Yes, their land was robbed, congratulations on knowing something so fundamental about American history that it would qualify you for a second grader's student of the month award (indeed the other 99% of America is ignorant of this because they teach us in school that Native Americans left on a flying saucer). The only argument you can put up that they were "genocided" as it were, is the [fictitious] rant forwarded by Ward Churchill about American soldiers purposely giving infected blankets to Native Americans, which has been discounted by credited sources across the academic board.

"Where do you draw the line of accountability? A hundred years? Fifty years? Twenty years? It seems an arbitrary delineation."

I found this question particularly odd. Aren't you supposed to be the one who answers this? What is your proposal? That every civilization [in] history suddenly be held to account for the mistakes of its ancestors? That Italy step up for the misdeeds of the Roman Empire? That Turkey step up for the Hittites? How about Mongolia [paying] reparations for Ghengis Khan's rampages? Japan for Korean and Chinese colonization? England for half the planet? While we're at it, let's loot the Vatican's banks because those sons-of-bitches launched the crusades and set up the Inquisition.

To answer your question though, in order to be rational, you HAVE to draw the line somewhere, and I personally say 80 years seems an appropriate time. I don't care how arbitrary that number is, you HAVE to set some number or you can't just start randomly deciding who deserves this and who deserves that. I personally supported reparations to the Japanese-Americans wrongfully interred in camps during WWII because when they were paid many of them were still alive and their children certainly were (and of course that was a monetary transaction and they weren't asking for half the West Coast).

"Are you sure about your history? Were not the Palestinians there as well?"

Yes, there were no Palestinians. Everyone living in Israel was either a Pagan Roman or a Jewish Israelite. In 33 AD the Jews were finally massacred and the temple destroyed, and in the years afterward Semitic Animists began to drift in in nomadic tribes until the coming of Islam centuries later. So yes, the Jews were there first.

RANDOM RESPONSE 2/26/05 at 2:23 pm:

There is a concept in rhetoric known as bird walking. Your argument runs all over the map and each step takes you further from the point.

What is your point? That Native Americans do not deserve reparations but interned Japanese Americans and Holocaust victims do? That indigenous peoples do not deserve equal justice under the law because the original crimes predate an arbitrary line of delineation? How about the crimes of the last eighty years? That Native American genocide was an accidental manifestation of European destiny (and not official US policy for some forty years: "Nits make fleas.") and therefore all crimes must be deleted from the national conscience?

No mention of John Graham, Leonard Peltier, [the Fort Laramie Treaty], BIA mismanagement (very deliberate), or Wounded Knee? Apparently, your pool of knowledge is limited after all. By the way, even a second grade teacher knows that early estimates of native populations vary widely. My source is Native American History (Ballantine Books 1996) by that famous radical Judith Nies. What's yours?

As a conservative once said to me, "You have acquitted yourself well." I say the same to you. You rant with the best of them.

Meantime, permission to post your comments? Yes? No?


GREG BROOK 2/26/05 at 3:25 pm:

Post away, since you didn't actually answer any of my points. Regarding the mismanagement of Native American funds, I have no interest in that and if it is true then yes, they deserve reparations, but only for that, because that has happened recently in history according to you, and is still happening. Perhaps you should answer my question if you want to continue pretending that you are the one who isn't drawing an arbitrary line in the middle of history: how far back is too far? When do we stop going back into history trying to "make right" the wrongs of the past? If you're going back a full two and a half to four centuries, then should we also set right all of the other wrongs committed by all the peoples all across the world in that time span? Should we go even further? Should the Church take financial responsibility for the crusades? Should all of the countries of North/South America pay reparations to their respective Indigenous populations, and Australia? Should all of the whites be forced to leave Africa? Where do you personally draw the line, because you have obviously drawn it somewhere, and why?

RANDOM'S LAST COMMENT: Justice has no bounds. Estimates of BIA mismanagement include 5.8 billion in uncollected funds from oil and gas extraction since 1979. The BIA admits 1.97 billion in “unreconciled transactions.” Meantime, free Leonard Peltier, give the Black Hills back to the Lakota and we’ll call it a good beginning. Let the reader decide.

Friday, February 25, 2005


(Went to See the Doctor)

the price of admission
to see the good Dr. R
just on the other side
of that thin wall

I had $80 in my pocket
to cover the day's half-hour

but, No, she said
we need the 150,
that's the deductible

I said, I'll pay it off
a little at a time
say, $25 a month
you can add a finance charge

"I'll have to ask 'Her,'" she said
and she walked away behind a wall
where the omniscient 'Her'
could not be seen or heard

She came back with "No."
so 'Her' had declared
(though I never heard a word)
it was 150 today, right now,
or I'd not see the doctor

That impenetrable wall
That thin thread of hope

I offered every penny
in my bank account
all $120 of it

No, again, said Invisible 'Her'
and that was the end of it

I guess without cash up front
you might as well be dead

Oh, that'll cost you, too
The undertaker said

Jake Berry 2.25.05

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


(for Hunter and Jack Random)
by Chris Mansel - The Mansel Report

We were somewhere near Crawford, Texas when the bullshit began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”Terror cells could camp out in the brush by that ditch over there.” Then what looked like strange gothic entanglements of James Dobson started swooping around the car! The radio was blasting the BBC and my friend Jack Random was hanging out the window trying to shoot the Dobsons with a shotgun we had bought at the truck stop before we left Wyoming.

Between the two of us we had the severed heads of several Ohio delegates, twenty-three photos from Abu Ghraib, four sheets of the state of the union, a filing cabinet of the Mansel Report, and a entire Gigabyte of Jack Random’s writings, two copies of Jake Berry’s Brambu Drezzi. Also, we had affidavits of testimony from Florida vote counters, the depositions of detainees, and secret documents sent to us anonymously from a Congressman from the hill proving the existence of Karl Rove’s secret vault of Nazi memorabilia. It wasn’t as if we needed all this to make our case against the Bush regime, but you never can tell when you are faced with a dozen drooling Republicans.

- Chris Mansel. See

Monday, February 21, 2005


By Jack Random

Tornadoes in California, twice the rainfall of Seattle in Los Angeles, melting glaciers in Alaska, a triple slam of hurricanes, the harshest weather in recorded time, and you still don’t believe in global climate change? You don’t believe that filling our atmosphere with more contaminants in the last decade than in the previous history of human life on earth has any impact on the climate?

“Standing knee deep in garbage, throwing rockets at the moon.” Pete Seeger.

We are stoking the fires and stripping the brakes, like a bat out of hell on a train to nowhere, headed straight for an environmental Armageddon that (surprise!) will make no distinction between the righteous and the heathens.

“There ain’t no time to wonder why, whoopee! We’re all going to die!” Country Joe MacDonald.

While we were watching the latest in the Jeff Gannon saga or the give-and-take on the secret tapes of GW Bush (did anyone fail to notice they are nothing less than a promotional for the president?), the world’s scientific community reached absolute consensus that global warming is real, that its effects are happening now, and that human pollution is a prominent cause.

While we were watching the spectacle of a royal wedding (how can anyone possibly care about the rituals of a feckless and antiquated monarchy?), the presumptive American Emperor lectured Russia before a European audience on the prerequisites of democracy: a free press, a strong opposition, shared power and respect for international law. Curiously, he omitted any reference to free and fair elections (and no, I do not concede that Bush won in Ohio when the evidence is compelling that he did not). He did not mention government or corporate-government controlled media (hello Italy), corporate control of political parties, government sponsored propaganda, the Kyoto Accords, the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter, or the International Criminal Court.

As he demanded an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, he seemed unable to appreciate the irony. As he praised “the world’s newest democracy,” he seemed oblivious to the obvious: There can be no democracy in an occupied land and an election does not a democracy make.

There was an election in Vietnam: remember when?

The French opposition is slowly eroding. What was that nasty business in the Gold Coast and how about democracy in Haiti? No training for the Vichy agents! Remember the Bastille!

Ukrainian troops are still in Iraq! Where is the sea of orange protesters now?

The Canadians are giving up John Graham after all these years and the wounds of Wounded Knee will never heal!

Gerhard Schroeder, hold the line! The captain is drunk and the ship is going down!

Another injection! The patient is dead. Give him comfort in his passing!

Somalia-Mogadishu, Sudan-Darfur, everyone is dead and dying!

East Timor and the avian flu, dead and dying!

Earthquake-tsunami, dead and dying!

Ramadi, Mosul, dead and dying!

Starvation, hunger, dead and dying!

Pharmaceutical killers, dead and dying!

Peace and freedom, dead and dying!

Sandra Dee (whatever happened?)… Kerouac, Arthur Miller, dead and dying!

The Gonzo is dead! Long live the Gonzo!

We loved you, man, even when we shot you down.

We loved your fearless loathing.

We loved the way you hated Nixon, the way we could never hate Bush.

The old man is dead. The most irreverent of them all.

May you rest in peace.



As the great writer against all names seemed to say this morning
There goes a southern gentleman
Deep, deep into the light
Swinging a lantern at the gates of hell he ascended to heaven
The death of Hemingway, a bullet roaring through his mind
These hallowed halls know only bloodshed now
The windows open, the mountain air rushing in
He is dead and I am alive
My eyes are sore and my tears have fallen
I’ll forever miss what I may not have ever really known.

- Chris Mansel


Sunday, February 20, 2005


The Ramblings of ANNA PAGES

There will be no changing of minds, or hearts, just because a gun is held to their heads. Or a bible is thrown at them. There is no way to win the argument over whose god is right or wrong. This is a losing proposition for both sides.

Forget the oil, forget Halliburton, and forget the fool in office who thinks he's shown the Iraq people freedom. It's a religious quagmire that is causing the "insurgents" to continue fighting the invading troops into their domain. It's not about oil for them; it's about the sovereignty of their land and religion (just as it would be for us if someone were coming into our borders, telling us their way of life/religion was better).

I am SO happy for the Iraq women who get to come out from underneath their burkas and vote. But why wasn't this an issue when we knew the Taliban were killing women in the Soccer Field, forcing all to come to the stadium to watch them being shot in the head. BEFORE 9/11? America/president Bush was not worried about these people then. They were on the golf course, leisurely putting their TEAM together, taking vacations from the harsh politics of "winning" a presidential election.

And what has happened to the search for Ben Laden? Or is he in witness protection system at this point? He was and probably still is their (CIA, FBI) own stooge... and is being comfortably held in some country club on a remote continent. After all, he created the means for our government to abolish privacy, and create a police state. They are in deep to him.

Valentine was jailed for his love for the Queen. He wrote he love letters from prison.
And they've turned it around, commercialized this sad tale, and made it a billion dollar industry. Commercialism is grand. All the pagan lore now brings billions to the coffers of huge packaged food venders......Easter, the eggs and the bunny (fertilization and proliferation has nothing to do with Jesus on the cross, it has EVERYTHING to do with Beltane fires, and pagan earth worshipping).

These religious zealots would be horrified if you brought this up to them face to face...but as long as no one says anything, their children participate in the old world magic. Halloween. CHRISTmas is nothing about CHRIST, ALL about commercialism.

THINK ABOUT THE COMMERCIALISM of our children. The ads on TV and radio that are twice as loud as the program... screaming at you about the deals, "buy now!!!"

After 9/11, for two weeks, we had our silence and thoughts handed back to us. NO commercialism on TV or radio, only coverage of the events. Not one company could advertise their product, with the possibility of seeming careless, hard-hearted to what was going on. No commercials for two weeks. There was a clearing of the air, and minds, an easing out from under a blanket of audible assaults on the publics' collective thoughts. We could actually come together and talk about what was happening. The radio and TV were on purpose. Then they snuck the commercials back on with apologies and well wishes to the families of the victims...then the commercials started selling again, yelling again, and we shut down, again.

The children's songs that we sing to them from the time they are tiny...
"Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posy
Ashes we all fall down" was about the plague...

"Rock a bye baby in the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock, when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all"

"...and if I die before I wake...."

"Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...."

What are we feeding our children's bodies and heads? Prepackaged processed food...dead. No live nutrients in "fast food"...and then we are drugging them to keep them quiet, when their blood sugar goes through the ceiling or floor (Ritalin). And we think we know enough to go into another country and tell them how to live and worship?

Anna Pages