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There’s Something Very Wrong with the Official Story About the Boston Bombings

There are gaping holes in the story about the largest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 Russ Baker An exclusiveWhoWhatWhy investigation has found serious factual inconsistencies...

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with murder in Boston bombings

Kevin JohnsonUSA TodayJune 27, 2013 A federal grand jury in Boston has returned a 30-count indictment...

FBI kills man related to Boston bombings

An FBI agent has shot dead a man during interrogations connected with the Boston Marathon bombings in April. NBC News reported that the suspect was...

FBI kills man connected to Boston bombings

An FBI agent has shot dead a man during interrogations connected with the Boston Marathon bombings. This article originally appeared on : Press TV

FBI shoot Chechen dead in Florida, suspect questioned in Boston bombings – report

An FBI special agent has shot dead a Chechen man in Orlando, Florida who had previously been questioned in connection with the Boston Marathon...

The Boston Bombings and the CIA Connection. Graham Fuller and Uncle Ruslan Tsarnaev

One of the many unexplained (at least not officially) anomalies of the persons claimed to have carried out the Boston Marathon bombings is the...

Wig-wearing ‘CIA spy’ in Russia ‘was investigating Boston bombings’

The Telegraph May 15, 2013 The alleged CIA spy caught red-handed by Russia was likely interested...

US House Representative Says Government Planned Boston Bombings

US State Republican Stella Tremblay of New Hampshire has accused the American government of being responsible for the Boston bombings, labeling the attack as a black op.

Boston Bombings: Tamerlan Tsarnaev And The Naked Man

"Maret Tsarnaeva the aunt of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the suspected Boston marathon bombers has revealed to me that she can positively identify the oldest nephew Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the.."

Judge Limits Evidence on Role of Main Perpetrator of Boston Marathon Bombings

Barry Grey The federal trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got under way Wednesday amid extraordinary security surrounding the Boston courtroom, which was...

Six Questions the FBI Should Answer to Ease Public Skepticism About the Boston Marathon...

A glib article published in the Boston Globe on July 27 suggested that those who question the opaque law enforcement narrative about the Boston...

Boston Marathon Bombings Suspect Featured On Rolling Stone Cover

CBS BostonJuly 17, 2013 Rolling Stone is stirring up controversy with its new cover. The August issue...

Are the Boston Marathon Bombings Tied to a New American Campaign into the Caucasus?

Many questions remain unanswered about the Boston Marathon Bombings that took place on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and two hundred and sixty-four others...

London Parsons Green IED 'similar to Boston Marathon bomb,' only partially detonated

Police have confirmed the explosion on a packed rush hour tube train at Parsons Green...

FBI uncovers Boston Marathon-style NYC bomb plot, charges NJ man

A New Jersey man arrested for trying to kill his family dog has been charged with...

Boston Marathon bomber denied extremist views in FBI interview

The FBI has released an interview with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, conducted before the 2013 attack. In it, he denied...

9 Americans among nearly 230 wounded in Brussels bombings

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Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death: The Boston Bombing and the Tsarnaev Trial — Lies, Anomalies...

Today, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death on some counts, including “the use of a weapon of mass destruction (pressure cooker bomb #2)...

Obama Is Ending The War? US Bombings In Afghanistan At Two Year High

Central Command reveals US military carried out 436 air strikes on the country during August alone Just months away from what President Obama refers to...

Friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber faces 25 years in prison

Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and one count...

FBI arrests acquaintance of Boston Marathon bombing suspect

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Attorneys for accused Boston bomber move to suppress statements taken by FBI

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The Boston Marathon Bombing’s Constructed Reality

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The Boston Bombing Web of Lies

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Media Narrative: Witnessing Boston’s Mass Casualty Event

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Report whitewashes government’s role in Boston bombing

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New evidence of US intelligence links to Boston Marathon bomber

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Department of Homeland Security invests $6.9 million to spy on Boston commuters

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“One Fund Boston” and the Boston Mass Casualty Event

By James F. Tracy

An integral and by now much-anticipated element of a spectacle such as the Boston Mass Casualty Event (BMCE) of April 15, 2013 involves establishment of charities through which the incident may gain legitimacy in the public mind. Such entities provide fiscal channels by which event participants may be compensated and are also vital for public participation via charitable offerings.

Here, perhaps predictably, one find the unusually swift development of “The One Fund Boston,” a now celebrated aid organization whose very name oddly resonates with the new agey themes of “resilience” and “unity” promoted by mass grief and woe maven John Woodall.[1] “We are one Boston. We are one community,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is quoted as saying on “One Fund’s” website. “As always, we will come together to help those most in need. And in the end, we will all be better for it.”[2]

One Fund is in fact the sole creation of the 2013 Boston Marathon’s chief corporate sponsors—the John Hancock corporation and the Hill Holliday advertising firm. Website captures from the Internet Archive indicate the entity was up-and-running with a logo and web presence on April 16, less than twenty four hours after the incident, just as the dreaded Tsarnaev brothers still roamed free and long before the professed bombing’s fatalities could be laid to rest.

The rapid-fire creation of the relief fund is an example of how individuals, politicians and businesses in Boston unite in a crisis,” Advertising Age gushed, referencing an interview with Michael Sheehan, Chairman of Hill Holliday. “Communicating mostly by text-message, about a dozen key players at Hill Holliday, Hancock and the Mayor’s Office managed to create the foundation from scratch.[3] Within a week One Fund had raised over $23 million from corporate and individual donors [4] including John Hancock, Bank of America, and Bain Capital. The charity has to date raised a total $71.3 million.[5]

On April 17 at 9:29AM One Fund filed its articles of organization [6] with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. Yet One Fund’s quickly-drafted articles list only two individuals fulfilling the roles of president, treasurer, clerk, and board members—James D. Gallagher, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of John Hancock, the US subsidiary of Canadian-based Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“ManuLife”), and Hill Holliday’s Sheehan. “If you can think it,” one of Hill Holliday’s mottoes reads, “we can make it real.”

Sheehan recently left Hill Holliday to become a consultant to the Boston Globe.[7] Examination of existing photographic and video evidence of the bombing’s aftermath combined with amateur videos taken from the scene now suggest how the Globe was likely given exclusive rights to photograph and videotape the BCME, as the video below tends to demonstrate. The paper has also been direct role in propagating inflated injury tallies following the event.[8]

The One Fund even proffers a referral service to BMCE martyrs, many of whom sustained grievous “hearing issues,”[9] needing advice on how to manage their newfound wealth. Because of The One Fund contributors’ “unprecedented generosity,” a document on the charity’s site reads,

many victims and families may be receiving very large monetary gifts. To help address the management of the gifts that you may receive, the One Fund is happy to connect you with financial advisory firms that have volunteered to consult with you at no cost. If you are interested in learning more about this free consultation, please contact One Fund Boston at …[10]

John Hancock and the broader insurance industry’s benefit from the BCME and its influence in the intertwined public opinion and policy-making processes shouldn’t be underestimated. Both stand to profit greatly from the enhanced risk environment brought about by the renewed specter of international terrorism, the supposed cause of the BCME itself.

In light of the manifestly dubious nature of the Boston Marathon bombings [11] the active and multi-faceted solicitation of contributions to address the event’s aftermath suggests a fraud of extravagant proportions, even by today’s threadbare standards.

The true beneficiaries of the BMCE include not only the American police state that has grown by leaps and bounds since September 11, 2001, but more importantly the global corporatist class that likewise benefits from the quickening demise of a critical citizenry. Those select few with the control to shape public consciousness now recognize more than ever that the masses will accept as genuine almost any tragic domestic event, provided it is presented within the infotainment formulas to which the population has grown so accustomed.

Notes

[1] James F. Tracy, “New World Order Religion,” memoryholeblog.com, April 14, 2013.

[2] The One Fund Boston, “About,” n.d. Accessed January 16, 2014.

[3] “How Hill Holliday Created Relief Effort One Fund Boston in Seven Hours,” Advertising Age, April 19, 2013.

[4] Lindsey Tanner, “One Fund Boston Raises More Than $2o Million, But Will It Be Enough For Injured Marathon Victims?Huffington Post, April 25, 2013.

[5] “Thank You,” The One Fund Boston, n.d. Accessed January 16, 2014.

[6] “Articles of Organization,” The One Fund Boston, n.d. Accessed January 16, 2014. Accessed January 16, 2014.

[7] Beth Healy, “Globe Hires Former Hill Holliday CEO as Consultant,” Boston Globe, January 3, 2014.

[8] James F. Tracy, “The Boston Marathon Bombing’s Inflated Injury Tallies,” memoryholeblog.com, May 11, 2013.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Memo re Financial Advisory Services,” The One Fund Boston, n.d. Accessed January 16, 2014.

[11] James F. Tracy, “Witnessing Boston’s Mass Casualty Event,” memoryholeblog.com, April 22, 2013.

Republished at GlobalResearch.ca on January 17, 2014.

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Father of Slain Boston Bombing Witness, Ibragim Todashev, Accuses FBI of Murder

Nick Barrickman and Barry Grey Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of slain Boston Marathon bombing witness Ibragim Todashev, released an open letter to President Obama last week pleading...

Boston Bomber Believed He Was a Victim of Mind Control

Tamerlan Tsarnaev feared he had been brainwashed to act on trigger phrase Paul Joseph Watson Suspected Boston marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev believed that he was a...

JFK Assassination and Boston Marathon Bombing: A Tale of Two Manhunts

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Boston bombing suspect Tsarnaev’s lawyers protest conditions of his detention

By Nick Barrickman15 November 2013 On Tuesday, federal prosecutors and defense attorneys representing Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev met to discuss the conditions...

Family of Boston Marathon bombing witness killed by FBI denounces federal harassment

 

By Nick Barrickman
18 October 2013

Since the killing last May of Ibragim Todashev, a witness to the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred in April, family and friends of the deceased man have been subjected to threats, imprisonment and other forms of intimidation by federal officials.

On October 1, Tatiana Gruzdeva, the former live-in girlfriend of Todashev, was seized by federal agents and deported back to her native Moldova in eastern Europe. She had recently been granted a work visa with a year’s extension, but she was taken from immigration offices by FBI officials during a standard meeting.

Gruzdeva, 20, had spent several months in detention in the immediate aftermath of Todashev’s killing, having been detained on suspicion of an expired work visa on May 30 of this year. During that time, she had been repeatedly threatened and intimidated by FBI officials, including being subjected to several days of solitary confinement.

According to representatives from the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group working closely with Todashev’s father, Abdulbaki Todashev, on the case, Gruzdeva was deported on the pretext of an interview she had given to a Boston-based web magazine last month.

“They told her ‘You have been talking to the reporters...and you have been saying that Ibragim was a good guy,’ ” said spokespeople from CAIR, in a transcript taken from Gruzdeva after she had been detained for the last time. CAIR officials also noted that Gruzdeva had been denied access to a lawyer while in custody.

The deportation comes in the immediate aftermath of the deportation of another close acquaintance of the Boston Marathon bombing witness last month. In late September, Ashurmamad Miraliev, 23, was detained by local authorities in Osceola County, Florida, on suspicion that the latter had made attempts to intimidate a witness in an unrelated battery case from last year, also involving Todashev.

Though spokesmen from the county sheriff’s office have stated that the two cases were not connected, Allen Moore, the public information officer of Osceola County Corrections, said that Miraliev had been jointly detained by both the county and a federal agency, which he declined to identify. Miraliev, too, was denied an attorney.

“There’s been a pattern and practice right now of the FBI intimidating and bringing perpetual charges and harassing many, many individuals who are associated with Ibragim,” said Hassan Shilby of CAIR to reporters. “They’re trying to teach her that if you speak out about injustice, they will make your life a living hell,” he stated.

“People who had anything to do with [Ibragim] are being put behind bars. I don’t know why. It’s supposed to be America, it’s supposed to be a democracy,” Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of the slain witness, told reporters from the Guardian. The elder Todashev noted that an independent investigation, slated to be conducted by Florida state attorney Jeff Ashton last August, when Todashev visited the region, had not yet taken place. “They promised it would be an honest and just investigation, but so far there has been no information at all,” he said.

The thuggish attempts to intimidate associates of the younger Todashev are of a piece with the behavior of federal officials nominally put in charge of the investigation of events surrounding the bombing of the Boston Marathon last April.

Todashev was shot multiple times and killed in his home while being questioned about his ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. To this day, no official accounting of the exact circumstances leading to his death have been produced by officials. It was initially claimed that Todashev had suddenly “flipped out” and attacked officials with what was first described as a “sword” or a “knife,” or even a “broomstick.” Later, the authorities acknowledged that the witness may have been unarmed.

In connection with this, all information pertaining to Todashev’s autopsy report and medical records has been sealed and denied a public release. Similarly, independent investigations into the events by local Florida agencies have been stonewalled.

In June, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, was arraigned in a Massachusetts court on 45 charges for his potential role in the April events that killed three and wounded several hundred others. Seventeen of the charges carry the possibility of a death penalty. Attorneys for the suspect have often complained of being stonewalled by the prosecution in obtaining evidence that might help to reduce the charges against Tsarnaev. Later this month, the prosecution will announce whether it intends to proceed with the death penalty.

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Reportage Prompting Establishment of Church Committee

Seymour Hersh-IPS.jpgBy James F. Tracy

On December 22, 1974 the New York Times carried on its front page “Huge CIA Operation Reported in US Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years,” by Seymour Hersh. The piece chronicled the rampant abuses and crimes committed by the Central Intelligence Agency against the American citizenry. “An extensive investigation by the New York Times,” Hersh wrote, “has established that intelligence files on at least 10,000 American citizens were maintained by a special unit of the C.I.A. that was reporting directly to [then Director] Richard Helms.”

Later deemed “the son of Watergate,” by the Times, and at least as significant as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Washington Post reportage that aided in bringing down the Nixon administration, Hersh pressed the issue of CIA overreach with several followup articles reporting on outrage and calls for explanation from Capitol Hill.[1]

The series of stories resulted in concerted Congressional investigation of the federal intelligence community through establishment of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, otherwise known as the “Church Committee,” overseen by Idaho Senator Frank Church. A central finding was that the CIA had violated its charter by interceding in the Constitutionally-protected private affairs of Americans–something now routinely done by an alphabet soup of agencies, all under the guise of “fighting terrorism.”

The hearings also extended to crimes committed by domestic government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to the CIA’s plots to assassinate leaders abroad while disrupting the lawful activities of citizens at home, “the IRS had maintained for nearly four years a unit–the Special Services Staff–whose purpose was to investigate political activists,” political scientist Loch K. Johnson observes.

The SSS compiled a secret “watch list” of some eleven thousand individuals and groups classified as “extremist” or “radical.” Among the names of the list were columnist Joseph Alsop; singer and antiwar activist Joan Baez; writers Jimmy Breslin and Norman Mailer; rock star James Brown; performer Sammy Davis Jr.; former United States Senator James Goodell (Republican, New York) and Ernest Gruening (Democrat, Alaska); civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Coretta King; actress Shirley M[a]cLaine; the American Library Association; the American Civil Liberties Union; the NAACP; Rolling Stone and Playboy magazines; and hundreds of others.[2]

The revelations emerging from this important era of governmental reform served to temper the Agency’s behavior, albeit briefly, yet they could scarcely limit the continued growth of the national security state, particularly in the longer term. Nor can the episode be solely attributable to a period where elite journalists and news outlets were any less sycophantic to establishment power than they are today. As historian Kathryn Omlstead notes, media barons were concerned that reportage along the lines of Woodward, Bernstein, or Hersh, would “damage the legitimacy and credibility of their industry.” Further, “many elite reporters did not seem to want to believe that Hersh’s reporting was accurate,” instead “preferr[ing] to trust the ‘honorable men’ of the CIA rather than their colleagues.”[3]

The episode is nevertheless redolent of more recent actions by journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and intelligence whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, both of whom have found it necessary to leave their countries for fear of reprisals by their own government. Indeed, one may ask themselves whether the New York Times and its prestigious journalistic peers would deem such investigative reportage on similar government crimes and wrongdoing “fit to print,” especially in light of the paper’s complicity in uncritically “selling” 9/11, the Iraq War, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon bombings to the American people. Moreover, would any US congressional leaders today see fit to act so forcefully on such malfeasance?

Notes

[1] Kathryn Olmstead, “‘An American Conspiracy,’ The Post-Watergate Press and the CIA,” Journalism History 19 (Summer 1993): 51-58.

[2] Loch K. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry: The Senate Intelligence Investigation, Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1985.

[3] Olmstead, “‘An American Conspiracy.’” See also Olmstead, Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

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Mass Roundups: “Men, Women and Children Will Be Taken From Their Homes”

Editor's Note: What you are about to read comes from Dave Hodges of The Commons Sense Show and deals with a topic that most...

The Sandy Hook School Massacre: A Compendium of Research and Analysis

Beginning in the late 1960s Operation Gladio and its corollary maneuvers proceeded throughout Europe, spanning over two decades. Researchers and even the testimony of public officials have since proven that the series of seemingly random orchestrated bombings and shootings was intended to cultivate the necessary degree of anxiety and “tension” that would keep the populace tethered to police state authority and supportive of the right wing regimes preferred by Western powers.

The events of September 11, 2001 have their attendant punctuation marks that reverberate through the body politic. The Sikh Temple. Aurora. Sandy Hook. Navy Yard. And most recently the Arapahoe School in Colorado. For over one year the American public has been subject to a steady mass-mediated drumbeat of school shootings and “active shooter drills.” The breathless corporate coverage of such events often blurs the line between contrivance and reality. While federal agencies clamor for resources to keep the public “safe” from “terrorists and other bad guys,” the undue hysteria has served to keep families on edge over the welfare of their school age children.

Over the past twelve months Memory Hole Blog has published a variety of stories and commentaries seeking to probe behind the corporate media’s overly sensationalistic, and in many cases terrifying, headlines and soundbites related to “school safety” in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

In early January 2013 such analyses caught the attention of the national media, especially since some of the unanswered questions concerning Sandy Hook were being raised or echoed by an academician–indeed, by a member of the establishment who might be intimidated (or embarrassed) into silence. Such efforts have resulted in Memory Hole building its list of followers by several thousand, and making it a destination where those so inclined often engage in vigorous debate via their commentaries on posts. This is another (albeit modest) example of intelligent and discerning citizens exhibiting warranted skepticism toward public events and condemning the disinformation and make believe corporate media offer as a regular diet to their reader/viewerships.

The following is a collection of posts written by James Tracy and MHB guest contributors over the past year specifically addressing one of US history’s more recent controversial events–one that has broad implications for public safety, health, and education-related policies: the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre.-JFT

False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence
August 10, 2012
The news media’s readiness to accept official pronouncements and failure to more vigorously analyze and question government authorities in the wake of “domestic terrorist” incidents including mass shootings and bombings contributes to the American public’s already acute case of collective historical amnesia, while further rationalizing the twenty-first century police state and continued demise of civil society.

Analyzing the Newtown Narrative: Sandy Hook’s Disappearing Shooter Suspects
December 20, 2012
It is now beyond question that the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. all involved patsies, additional gunman and perhaps most importantly, mass media complicity to achieve their political ends. Along these lines and in a fashion now characteristic of how such public executions are framed, the observations and analyses of citizen journalists and alternative media suggest how coverage of the Newtown Connecticut school shooting was substantially altered in the several hours and days following the event.

The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information
December 24, 2012
Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre. The public’s general acceptance of the event’s validity and faith in its resolution suggest a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled.

James Tracy on the Kevin Barrett Show
January 2, 2013
James Tracy’s  recent article The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information has gone viral, suggesting that more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that the “deep state” or “dual state” is behind almost all “terrorist attacks,” school shootings, and massacres of civilians. If you doubt that, please study the history of Operation Gladio, which appears to be alive and well in the USA.

Sandy Hook School Massacre Part II: Continued Ambiguity and Augmented Realities
January 4, 2013
As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends. A considerable amount of evidence has been withheld by authorities, who in a telling move have successfully postponed public disclosure of items culled from Nancy and Adam Lanzas’ residence and vehicles for an additional ninety days.

Sandy Hook School Massacre Timeline
January 6, 2013
The following timeline of the December 14 mass killing of 20 children and 8 adults in Newtown Connecticut attempts to demonstrate how the event was presented to the public by corporate news media. The chronological assemblage of coverage is not comprehensive of all reports published on the incident but rather seeks to verify how the storyline was to a substantial degree constructed by federal and state law enforcement authorities and major media around the theory that 20-year-old Adam Lanza was the sole agent in the massacre.

James Tracy on KPFA’s Guns and Butter
January 10, 2013
“Sandy Hook: Unanswered Questions” with Professor James F. Tracy. Discrepancies in media coverage; coroner’s press conference; political fallout.

Anderson Cooper’s Anti-Conspiracy Tirade
January 12, 2013
CNN anchor spends two segments of “AC360″ giving James Tracy’s photograph a nasty finger-wagging. Cooper also “interviews” establishment anti-conspiracists Alex Seitz-Wald and Jonathan Kay concerning Tracy’s alleged derangement.

January 10 Infowars Nightly News with Rob Dew
January 15, 2013

Taft Union High School Drill Becomes “Real Life”
January 16, 2013
Was the tragic January 10 shooting at Taft Union High School part of a drill that “went live”? This is the impression one gets when analyzing media reports of the incident, such as those from CNN correspondent Khung Lah. Taft School District Superintendent Bill McDermott stated that on the morning of January 10 at 7:30AM PST Taft Union High School staff participated in “lockdown training.” The public school, located roughly two hours northwest of Los Angeles, encompasses grades nine through 12 with about 935 students and 64 faculty members.

Higher Education and Academic Freedom Under Attack
January 19, 2013
James Tracy discusses the Sandy Hook media frenzy and academic freedom on KPFA’s The Morning Mix with Project Censored’s Mickey Huff and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Robert Shipley.

CIA Document 1035-960: Foundation of a Weaponized Term
January 20, 2013
“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate.

An Open Letter In Support of Dr. Tracy and Academic Freedom
January 25, 2013
Dear Florida Atlantic University administrators: I am writing to express support for Dr. Tracy’s right to express his views and pose his questions. Indeed, as an associate professor, he has a professional responsibility to do so. Sadly, voicing unpopular views is a responsibility that is largely neglected in the academy. And even if Dr. Tracy has made some misjudgments regarding the present case (about which I reserve judgment), at least he has demonstrated an uncommon degree of courage in voicing opinions that risk engendering personal troubles.

The Sandy Hook Controversy: James Tracy on GRTV
January 28, 2013
After writing a series of articles documenting the discrepancies and outright lies in the official narrative of the Sandy Hook shooting, Professor James Tracy of Florida Atlantic University shot to international attention when the establishment media began covering his work. Now, Dr. Tracy is left trying to explain the misinterpretations, lies and soundbites that the mainstream media is using to discredit his work.

An Inquisitive Couple’s Visit to Newtown Connecticut
January 28, 2013
My partner and I became fed up with the mainstream media’s depiction of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. So on January 20 we traveled there from our home in Ottawa Canada in an effort to visit the sites and respectfully approach the locals.

Live Shooter Drill Hoax Played on Nation’s Most Vulnerable Children
February 2, 2013
On the morning of December 18, 2012 administrators at New York City Public School 79 (the Horan School) in East Harlem conducted an entirely unannounced “active shooter drill.” The event, which took place just four days after the high profile Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown Connecticut, terrified the school’s 300 special needs adolescent and young adult students and the 100 teaching and counseling staff members.

An Open Letter to FAU Faculty, Staff, and Administration About Sandy Hook
February 6, 2013
All, Because James Tracy and I have been attacked as faculty members–I am now retired, while he is not–for speaking out about  Sandy Hook, I would observe that this is a very messy case and that serious questions are being raised about it from a wide range of perspectives.   It is clearly complex and controversial but also falls squarely within Dr. Tracy’s areas of professional competence, which include conspiracy theories and culture, malfeasance by the media and related issues. Tenure was created to protect faculty from the political consequences that might otherwise attend addressing complex and controversial matters of this very kind.

Corporate Media’s Lone Gunman Storyline Losing Ground
February 9, 2013
A cross section of kill-to-injury ratios of major mass shootings suggests that if Adam Lanza acted alone in carrying out the Sandy Hook Elementary School carnage he was among the most accurate killers in modern history, exceeding even the lethal damage meted out by Al Capone’s machine gun-wielding henchmen in the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The Sandy Hook Massacre Versus the Dorner Rampage: Corporate Media Double Standard
February 16, 2013
It’s no secret that journalists working for the bulk of mainstream news outlets seek to uncover and exploit every facet of gruesome events such as ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner’s apparent rampage or the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown Connecticut.

PBS Defies Basic Journalistic Standards to Push Sandy Hook Official Narrative
February 23, 2013
This past week the Public Broadcasting Service presented its viewership with a flurry of reportage and commentary on the Newtown tragedy, taking special care to closely associate the incident with the issues of gun control, mental health, and school safety. Specific programs have included Washington Week, PBS NewsHour, NOVA, and FRONTLINE.

Open Letter to FAU Administration by Filmmaker Adnan Zuberi
February 28, 2013
I have examined Professor James Tracy’s writings regarding the Newtown, Conn., massacre and I am briefly presenting a case-study to you on how a university can deal with this situation. I was awarded by the University of Toronto for my documentary entitled 9/11 in the Academic Community which examines how academia treats critical perspectives of media or governmental narratives.

“Extremist” Publicity and Historical Reality
March 13, 2013
The Southern Poverty Law Center[1] is advising the US government of the alleged “domestic terror threat” posed by political conservatives, “conspiracy theorists,” and others skeptical of their government’s policies and behavior. A March 5, 2012 letter to the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security points to the group’s recent report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism.” The study uses SPLC data to point to an almost one thousand percent upsurge in “militias and radical antigovernment groups … from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012.”

Video: Sandy Hook News Coverage
March 20, 2013
“Sandy Hook: Do You Believe That America?” includes several important clips, many of which have been overlooked or disappeared from the web since December 14. The selection and sequence overall highlight the inconsistent and contradictory news coverage of that day. Produced by insanemedia.net

In Search of the Last Liberal Intellectual
March 27, 2013
In the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting public incredulity with the official version of events led to numerous speculations on what really happened. In short order corporate media marshaled pundits to disparage such alternative interpretations as “conspiracy theories” and the work of deranged and even malevolent Sandy Hook “truthers.”

A Remarkable Confluence of Events
March 29, 2013
Recent entries on the Sandy Hook Massacre Timeline suggest how March 28, 2013 was an especially important date coordinated to bring together the United Nations-led campaign to address the conventional weapons trade and accelerate gun control-related public relations efforts directed toward the American people.

Crisis Actors at Sandy Hook?
April 11, 2013
A Memoryholeblog reader who wishes to remain anonymous has submitted the following Internet Archive captures of previously-published profiles from the CrisisActors.org website. These have been juxtaposed by the contributor with stills from news interviews with individuals appearing in various footage of the Sandy Hook massacre aftermath.

Higher Ed Outlets Address Reprimand of Professor for Blog
April 12, 2013
Two notable professional academic publications examine disciplinary measures taken against James Tracy for media attention given to articles appearing on memoryholeblog that questioned the official Newtown narrative.

Newtown World Order Religion
April 14, 2013
The Sandy Hook School massacre of December 14 has no doubt been seized upon by the present police state as a raison d’être for heightened gun control measures. Yet a more subtle element of the event is the promotion of a political worldview under the cloak of psychiatry and an increasingly prominent notion of “community building.”

“The Most Crucial of All Human Rights”
April 22, 2013

AAUP Letter to FAU President Mary Jane Saunders
April 25, 2013
In a letter to the president of Florida Atlantic University, the AAUP defended a communication professor’s right, under principles of academic freedom, to speak on matters of public concern without fear of institutional discipline.

“Why James Tracy Should Resign”
May 15, 2013
In a recent letter to local newspapers I have been publicly accused by colleagues of being a “conspiracy theorist.” The statement’s authors are asking that I resign my university post because my extracurricular commentary is deemed offensive and allegedly interferes with my ability to properly assess and articulate complex ideas in a scholarly manner.

Secret Government, Deep Events, and the Emerging Police State
May 18, 2013
Most will likely agree that 9/11 is a qualitatively different event from the Sandy Hook massacre and Boston bombing. Nevertheless, with such highly questionable events the first question that must be asked is, “Did something happen?” The second question is, “What happened?” These questions lead us to ask why such events happen, what parties are behind the events and what are their possible rationales.

Media Disinformation and the Conspiracy Panic Phenomenon
May 24, 2013
To posit that one’s government may be partially composed of unaccountable criminal elements is cause for serious censure in polite circles. Labeled “conspiracy theories” by a corporate media that prompt and channel emotionally-laden mass consent, such perspectives are quickly dispatched to the memory hole lest they prompt meaningful discussion of the political prerogatives and designs held by a global power elite coordinating governments and broader geopolitical configurations.

A Memorial Day Trip to Sandy Hook
June 1, 2013

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Letter to FAU President Mary Jane Saunders
June 5, 2013
… FIRE is concerned with the threat to freedom of expression presented by Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU’s) sanctions against Professor James Tracy due to the content of his personal blog. FAU’s actions violate Tracy’s right to freedom of expression and threaten the academic freedom of all FAU faculty. FAU must recognize its moral and legal obligations under the First Amendment and immediately reverse its disciplinary actions.

What Time Are Newtown Schools in Session
June 12, 2013
A central assumed data point of the December 14 2012 Newtown Connecticut shooting as evidenced on the Sandy Hook Timeline and through government pronouncements and press reports is that at 9:30AM a deranged Adam Lanza, dressed for combat and wielding several firearms, gained entry into Sandy Hook Elementary School and slaughtered 26 students and educators.

An Open Letter to the South Florida Sun Sentinel
June 20, 2013
On June 3 James Tracy sent a letter to Sun-Sentinel editor-in-chief Howard Saltz citing the paper’s repeated attacks on Tracy for publicly questioning government pronouncements and overall news coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre and Boston Marathon bombing. In a June 17 response to the letter Saltz maintains that the Sun-Sentinel‘s coverage is defensible given its newsworthiness and under the tenets of free speech.

Video: “No Blood” and “The Watcher is Back”
June 22, 2013
In a conference call of Sandy Hook researchers earlier this month, one individual explains her unanswered queries to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Lieutenant J. Paul Vance concerning what parties were responsible for cleaning up the gruesome crime scene at the Sandy Hook school last December. DEEP deferred to the State Police. “What blood?” Vance responded, before deferring to yet another state agency.

Mass Traumatization and the Body Politic
July 2, 2013
A long-held desire of the technocratic worldview involves manipulation and control of a national and even international body politic. “This planetary consciousness,” Zbigniew Brzezinski observes, brings into closer view a single indivisible humanity united by the soft tyranny of depersonalized and omnipresent coercion.

James Tracy on The Power Hour, July 17, 2013
July 18, 2013
James Tracy discusses the latest investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting and related topics on GCN with Joyce Riley.

Nationwide Post-Sandy Hook Terror Drills: Real or Fake?
August 22, 2013
With the school year now underway a flurry of federally-coordinated “active shooter drills” are taking place across the country. The exercises are part of a broader program the FBI is carrying out as a result of an Obama’s directive following the December 2012 Newtown school massacre.

US Public Schools Train to Finger Mental Cases
August 26, 2013
An appendage of the world’s foremost advocate of psychiatric treatment, the American Psychiatric Association, is actively promoting a “teacher training program” that will enlist public school staff to identify “troubled thought patterns” of teenage students, NBC news reports.[1] The campaign is being pushed by the American Psychiatric Foundation, the “philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association,” according to APF’s own website.

Obama DOJ in $2.5 Million Sandy Hook Payout
September 3, 2013
As the nation’s attention turned to potential US military aggression in the Middle East, the Obama administration has made an unusual $2.5 million payout to Connecticut law enforcement and emergency response agencies for their participation in the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre event.

Video: Over 30 Sandy Hook Homes “Gifted” in 2009?
September 13, 2013
Newtown property records suggest that on December 25, 2009 a total of 35 properties located on and around Yogananda Street in Sandy Hook were transferred at zero value to new owners.

Video: James Tracy Responds to Latest MSM Assault
September 20, 2013
Early on September 18 James Tracy posted several videos, photos and other materials, most of which were emailed to him by MHB readers concerning the September 16 DC Navy Yard shooting incident. No discernible claims or arguments were made regarding what took place at Navy Yard, only attempted descriptions of the items posted.

Sandy Hook School Slated for Demolition
October 5, 2013
Connecticut political leaders are moving decisively to destroy the site of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. On September 24 Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced the state’s $50 million commitment to tear down the 57-year-old Sandy Hook School structure and replace it with a new high-priced facility.

Sandy Hook Actors’ Elite Political Connections
October 13, 2013
Francine Wheeler (Lobis), the mother of 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler who authorities say was killed alongside 25 others at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, is also a professional musician and actor.

The AR15 Dog and Pony Show
October 18, 2013
As someone who has followed the Sandy Hook story and the subsequent push for increased gun control quite closely, imagine my surprise to learn from a June 2013 article published in the literary magazine Harper’s that the hue and cry around having the public’s access to weapons reined in may indeed be an ongoing dog-and-pony show intended for perception management only.

Sandy Hook Demolition Crew Sworn to Silence
October 15, 2013
Employees of a construction company contracted by Newtown to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary School must sign non-disclosure agreements before commencing work on the project, scheduled to begin October 21.

Video: Brendan Hunt Returns to Sandy Hook
October 22, 2013
On Sunday, October 20 New York-based videographer and independent researcher Brendan Hunt visited Newtown to further document the Sandy Hook Elementary School and its surroundings. The School is scheduled for demolition this week.

Demolition Underway at Sandy Hook
October 25, 2013

Unraveling Sandy Hook in 2, 3, 4, and 5 Dimensions
November 7, 2013
In this ninety-minute video independent researcher Sofia Smallstorm presents a thoroughgoing examination of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre event.

Smallstorm and Fetzer on Sandy Hook, Fukushima, Radiation
November 20, 2013
Sofia Smallstorm offers a detailed discussion of her recent video presentation, Unraveling Sandy Hook, on Professor Jim Fetzer’s The Real Deal radio program.

Newtown 911 Calls Released
December 5, 2013

CT State Emergency System Hijacked on December 14, 2012
December 9, 2013
We can now prove that the entire CT State emergency communications system was ‘hijacked’ and ‘unplugged’ on December 14th., 2012, per an elaborate frequency change plan implemented merely 5 hours in advance on that morning, effectively supplanting and replacing normal police and EMS with FEMA / DHS ‘shadow’ command center personnel, where it turns out that they (the HOAX perpetrators from FEMA) made one critical mistake that they hoped nobody would catch.

Sandy Hook One Year After
December 12, 2013
As the nation approaches the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, mainstream media are predictably excluding from their tragedy porn any substantive analysis of the idiosyncratic, misleading, and in some cases flagrantly propagandistic reportage of the event that might call the official story into question.

Video: Sandy Hook Child Victims at 2013 Super Bowl
December 14, 2013
The words might be more fitting as a banner on the National Enquirer. Yet according to this brief (2:33) video, several of the first graders slain in Newtown Connecticut on December 14, 2012 are not only alive and well, but rather famously performing the US National Anthem at Super Bowl XLVII.

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Congress scares the people

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The Subtle Mechanics of Unfree Speech

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”—Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

A cascade of managerial and public relations blunders has prompted Florida Atlantic University administrators to introduce The Agora Project, a broad initiative intending to promote “the practice of civility and civil discourse in an environment of free speech, academic freedom and open dialogue.”

Faculty valuing free speech and academic freedom whose persistent efforts at cultivating such through their teaching and research will likely be intrigued in hearing of the Agora Project, an endeavor proffering “forums on the importance of academic freedom, academic responsibility, and freedom of expression;” the program even promises to “create workshops on how best to practice civil and respectful interaction with others; and provide opportunities to discuss, dialogue and debate matters relevant to FAU and to our world.”

One is to conclude that, left to their own devices, faculty members and students may never arrive at a rational approach toward civility. Moreover, they may even become suspicious in the event that they are force-fed such an agenda. Indeed, after the Delphi-style exercise was presented at a recent faculty meeting, a colleague quietly pulled me aside and remarked, “This isn’t about civility. It’s about control.”

Will this individual soon be vociferously questioning Agora? Likely no. Wouldn’t want to “rock the boat” and draw attention to her/himself. Could s/he perhaps be on to something? Likely yes.

Not coincidentally, Agora was unveiled by university administrators in August 2013, a few short weeks after a speech code issued by FAU’s Division of Student Affairs was condemned by the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and subsequently revised. “Here at FAU,” the original speech code reads,

we encourage our campus community to exercise this cherished freedom in lively debate. In fact, we protect and promote that right. What we do insist on, however, is that everyone in the FAU community behave and speak to and about one another in ways that are not racist, religiously intolerant or otherwise degrading to others. (Emphasis added.)

FIRE countered that such a policy could impinge on constitutionally-protected speech and expression, possibly quashing not only academic discussion and inquiry, but also protest and debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict under the guise of “religious intolerance.”

In addition, an injunction on “racist” speech might be used to discipline vibrant exchanges on immigration and affirmative action. “And the prohibition on ‘otherwise degrading’ speech could apply to speech on virtually any topic that offends another person,” FIRE contends.

 A cynic might conclude that The Agora Project is a backdoor effort to provide the basis for extending such criteria across each of the University’s constituencies—faculty, students, staff—with their implicit approval given the plan’s professed effort of consultation and engagement.

Along these lines, perhaps the endeavor is an effort to assuage certain communities who for some reason aren’t comfortable with or seek to discontinue open discussion, debate, and social protest—all of which are to be anticipated in a space devoted to the expansion of intellectual horizons.

Of course, those in the upper echelons of university oversight—the administrators and trustees—who are pushing for prospective speech protocols are exempt from such measures, as their actions and behavior are apparently beyond reproach.

For example, last spring then-president Mary Jane Saunders ran into a protesting student with her Lexus sedan, fled the scene down the wrong way of a one-way street, and was subsequently defended by FAU trustees while the police investigating the incident discounted Saunders’ clear commitment of one or more felonies.

In the wake of the “conspiracy theory professor” and “stomp on Jesus” controversies, and protests surrounding a deal that would name the university’s new football stadium after a transnational for-profit prison outfit, dental industry entrepreneur and Republican Party functionary Jeffrey Feingold remarked, “I don’t want hear any more people say they think the lunatics have taken over the asylum.”

Feingold went on to criticize continued use of a headhunting firm that identified administrative candidates including Saunders because it allegedly produces “losers.” He went on to suggest a remarkably bizarre and insulting conspiracy theory that nonviolent campus protests by FAU students—the very children of Florida taxpayers who’ve elected to attend FAU–may culminate in violent terrorist attacks comparable to the Boston Marathon bombings! Unsurprisingly, no media attention or faculty outrage is afforded Feingold’s truly wacko theory.

One might ask, how is anyone given license for such behavior and remarks? Well, in January the ever-modest Feingold gave FAU $250,000 to name the university’s Board of Trustees room after him. “From those to whom much is given, much is expected,” he dictated.

With the above in mind, one’s imagination needn’t work overtime to identify the likely proponents of The Agora Project and its velvet-gloved implementation of “free speech and civility.” When FAU’s head honchos recently sat down to discuss selection of a new president, FAU Foundation Board Vice Chair and former Virginia “super lawyer” Jay Weinberg observed,

Because we are a diverse university … that doesn’t mean that we tolerate bigotry or prejudice. You have to draw a keen distinction between free speech and hate speech. I think that [in light of] recent events at this university, we need a president that understands that and who will act decisively with respect to it.

In other words, a principal holders of the institution’s purse strings asserts that the ideal chief administrator should reprimand and perhaps even fire faculty and staff who articulate extraordinary perspectives—ones that may fulfill the arbitrary and Kafkaesque notion of “hate speech.” In Agora-speak, this would inevitably involve violation of proposed “respectful” and “civic” discourse with-a-twist etiquettes.

In the subtly forced conversation on “civility,” “academic freedom,” and “respectful interaction,” a more clear-cut definition of what exactly constitutes meaningful exchange has been wholly lost, or, perhaps more fittingly, supplanted. In reality, couldn’t such a discussion be targeting the ideals that provide the basis for better understanding “something important, something real” that “really bothers” certain individuals … thus challenging them to consider an issue, an event, or a problem at a far deeper level?

When a university ceases to be a place where a wide expanse of “controversial” ideas and dialogues can be spontaneously ruminated on, one can safely conclude that it has made the transition from sanctuary and laboratory of free thought and ideas to a mere appendage of the consciousness industry and workhouse of the mind.

-JFT

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vietnam

Pham To looked great for 78 years old. (At least, that’s about how old he thought he was.) His hair was thin, gray, and receding at the temples, but his eyes were lively and his physique robust — all the more remarkable given what he had lived through. I listened intently, as I had so many times before to so many similar stories, but it was still beyond my ability to comprehend. It’s probably beyond yours, too.

Pham To told me that the planes began their bombing runs in 1965 and that periodic artillery shelling started about the same time. Nobody will ever know just how many civilians were killed in the years after that. “The number is uncountable,” he said one spring day a few years ago in a village in the mountains of rural central Vietnam. “So many people died.”

And it only got worse. Chemical defoliants came next, ravaging the land. Helicopter machine gunners began firing on locals. By 1969, bombing and shelling were day-and-night occurrences. Many villagers fled. Some headed further into the mountains, trading the terror of imminent death for a daily struggle of hardscrabble privation; others were forced into squalid refugee resettlement areas. Those who remained in the village suffered more when the troops came through. Homes were burned as a matter of course. People were kicked and beaten. Men were shot when they ran in fear. Women were raped. One morning, a massacre by American soldiers wiped out 21 fellow villagers. This was the Vietnam War for Pham To, as for so many rural Vietnamese.

One, Two… Many Vietnams?

At the beginning of the Iraq War, and for years after, reporters, pundits, veterans, politicians, and ordinary Americans asked whether the American debacle in Southeast Asia was being repeated. Would it be “another Vietnam”? Would it become a “quagmire”?

The same held true for Afghanistan. Years after 9/11, as that war, too, foundered, questions about whether it was “Obama’s Vietnam” appeared ever more frequently. In fact, by October 2009, a majority of Americans had come to believe it was “turning into another Vietnam.”

In those years, “Vietnam” even proved a surprisingly two-sided analogy — after, at least, generals began reading and citing revisionist texts about that war. These claimed, despite all appearances, that the U.S. military had actually won in Vietnam (before the politicians, media, and antiwar movement gave the gains away). The same winning formula, they insisted, could be used to triumph again. And so, a failed solution from that failed war, counterinsurgency, or COIN, was trotted out as the military panacea for impending disaster.

Debated comparisons between the two ongoing wars and the one that somehow never went away, came to litter newspapers, journals, magazines, and the Internet — until David Petraeus, a top COINdinista general who had written his doctoral dissertation on the “lessons” of the Vietnam War, was called in to settle the matter by putting those lessons to work winning the other two. In the end, of course, U.S. troops were booted out of Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan continues to this day as a dismally devolving stalemate, now wracked by “green-on-blue” or “insider” attacks on U.S. forces, while the general himself returned to Washington as CIA director to run covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen before retiring in disgrace following a sex scandal.

Still, for all the ink about the “Vietnam analogy,” virtually none of the reporters, pundits, historians, generals, politicians, or other members of the chattering classes ever so much as mentioned the Vietnam War as Pham To knew it. In that way, they managed to miss the one unfailing parallel between America’s wars in all three places: civilian suffering.

For all the dissimilarities, botched analogies, and tortured comparisons, there has been one connecting thread in Washington’s foreign wars of the last half century that, in recent years at least, Americans have seldom found of the slightest interest: misery for local nationals. Civilian suffering is, in fact, the defining characteristic of modern war in general, even if only rarely discussed in the halls of power or the mainstream media.

An Unimaginable Toll

Pham To was lucky. He and Pham Thang, another victim and a neighbor, told me that, of the 2,000 people living in their village before the war, only 300 survived it. Bombing, shelling, a massacre, disease, and starvation had come close to wiping out their entire settlement. “So many people were hungry,” Pham Thang said. “With no food, many died. Others were sick and with medications unavailable, they died, too. Then there was the bombing and shelling, which took still more lives.

They all died because of the war.”  Leaving aside those who perished from disease, hunger, or lack of medical care, at least 3.8 million Vietnamese died violent war deaths according to researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Washington. The best estimate we have is that 2 million of them were civilians. Using a very conservative extrapolation, this suggests that 5.3 million civilians were wounded during the war, for a total of 7.3 million Vietnamese civilian casualties overall. To such figures might be added an estimated 11.7 million Vietnamese forced from their homes and turned into refugees, up to 4.8 million sprayed with toxic herbicides like Agent Orange, an estimated 800,000 to 1.3 million war orphans, and 1 million war widows.

The numbers are staggering, the suffering incalculable, the misery almost incomprehensible to most Americans but not, perhaps, to an Iraqi.

No one will ever know just how many Iraqis died in the wake of the U.S. invasion of 2003. In a country with an estimated population of about 25 million at the time, a much-debated survey — the results of which were published in the British medical journal The Lancet — suggested more than 601,000 violent “excess deaths” had occurred by 2006. Another survey indicated that more than 1.2 million Iraqi civilians had died because of the war (and the various internal conflicts that flowed from it) as of 2007. The Associated Press tallied up records of 110,600 deaths by early 2009. An Iraqi family health survey fixed the number at 151,000 violent deaths by June 2006. Official documents made public by Wikileaks counted 109,000 deaths, including 66,081 civilian deaths, between 2004 and 2009. Iraq Body Count has tallied as many as 121,220 documented cases of violent civilian deaths alone.

Then there are those 3.2 million Iraqis who were internally displaced or fled the violence to other lands, only to find uncertainty and deprivation in places like Jordan, Iran, and now war-torn Syria. By 2011, 9% or more of Iraq’s women, as many as 1 million, were widows (a number that skyrocketed in the years after the U.S. invasion). A recent survey found that 800,000 to 1 million Iraqi children had lost one or both parents, a figure that only grows with the continuing violence that the U.S. unleashed but never stamped out.

Today, the country, which experienced an enormous brain drain of professionals, has a total of 200 social workers and psychiatrists to aid all those, armed and unarmed, who suffered every sort of horror and trauma. (In just the last seven years, by comparison, the U.S. Veterans Administration has hired 7,000 new mental health professionals to deal with Americans who have been psychologically scarred by war.)

Many Afghans, too, would surely be able to relate to what Pham To and millions of Vietnamese war victims endured. For more than 30 years, Afghanistan has, with the rarest of exceptions, been at war. It all started with the 1979 Soviet invasion and Washington’s support for some of the most extreme of the Islamic militants who opposed the Russian occupation of the country.

The latest iteration of war there began with an invasion by U.S. and allied forces in 2001, and has since claimed the lives of many thousands of civilians in roadside and aerial bombings, suicide attacks and helicopter attacks, night raids and outright massacres. Untold numbers of Afghans have also died of everything from lack of access to medical care (there are just 2 doctors for every 10,000 Afghans) to exposure, including shocking reports of children freezing to death in refugee camps last winter and again this year. They were among the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have been internally displaced during the war. Millions more live as refugees outside the country, mostly in Iran and Pakistan. Of the women who remain in the country, up to 2 million are widows. In addition, there are now an estimated 2 million Afghan orphans. No wonder polling by Gallup this past summer found 96% of Afghans claiming they were either “suffering” or “struggling,” and just 4% “thriving.”

American Refugees in Mexico?

For most Americans, this type of unrelenting, war-related misery is unfathomable. Few have ever personally experienced anything like what their tax dollars have wrought in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia in the last half-century. And while surprising numbers of Americans do suffer from poverty and deprivation, few know anything about what it’s like to live through a year of war — let alone 10, as Pham To did — under the constant threat of air strikes, artillery fire, and violence perpetrated by foreign ground troops.

Still, as a simple thought experiment, let’s consider for a moment what it might be like in American terms. Imagine that the United States had experienced an occupation by a foreign military force. Imagine millions or even tens of millions of American civilians dead or wounded as a result of an invasion and resulting civil strife.

Imagine a country in which your door might be kicked down in the dead of night by heavily-armed, foreign young men, in strange uniforms, helmets and imposing body armor, yelling things in a language you don’t understand. Imagine them rifling through your drawers, upending your furniture, holding you at gunpoint, roughing up your husband or son or brother, and marching him off in the middle of the night. Imagine, as well, a country in which those foreigners kill American “insurgents” and then routinely strip them naked; in which those occupying troops sometimes urinate on American bodies (and shoot videos of it); or take trophy photos of their “kills”; or mutilate them; or pose with the body parts of dead Americans; or from time to time — for reasons again beyond your comprehension — rape or murder your friends and neighbors.

Imagine, for a moment, violence so extreme that you and literally millions like you have to flee your hometowns for squalid refugee camps or expanding slums ringing the nearest cities. Imagine trading your home for a new one without heat or electricity, possibly made of refuse with a corrugated metal roof that roars when it rains. Then imagine living there for months, if not years.

Imagine things getting so bad that you decide to trek across the Mexican border to live an uncertain life, forever wondering if your new violence- and poverty-wracked host nation will turn you out or if you’ll ever be able to return to your home in the U.S. Imagine living with these realities day after day for up to decade.

After natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, small numbers of Americans briefly experience something like what millions of war victims — Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans, and others — have often had to endure for significant parts of their lives. But for those in America’s war zones, there will be no telethons, benefit concerts, or texting fund drives.

Pham To and Pham Thang had to bury the bodies of their family members, friends, and neighbors after they were massacred by American troops passing through their village on patrol. They had to rebuild their homes and their lives after the war with remarkably little help. One thing was as certain for them as it has been for war-traumatized Iraqis and Afghans of our moment: no Hollywood luminaries lined up to help raise funds for them or their village. And they never will.“We lost so many people and so much else. And this land was affected by Agent Orange, too. You’ve come to write about the war, but you could never know the whole story,” Pham Thang told me. Then he became circumspect. “Now, our two governments, our two countries, live in peace and harmony. And we just want to restore life to what it once was here. We suffered great losses. The U.S. government should offer assistance to help increase the local standard of living, provide better healthcare, and build infrastructure like better roads.”

No doubt — despite the last decade of U.S. nation-buildingdebacles in its war zones — many Iraqis and Afghans would express similar sentiments. Perhaps they will even be saying the same sort of thing to an American reporter decades from now.

Over these last years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of war victims like Pham Thang, and he’s right: I’ll probably never come close to knowing what life was like for those whose worlds were upended by America’s foreign wars. And I’m far from alone. Most Americans never make it to a war zone, and even U.S. military personnel arrive only for finite tours of duty, while for combat correspondents and aid workers an exit door generally remains open. Civilians like Pham To, however, are in it for the duration.

In the Vietnam years, there was at least an antiwar movement in this country that included many Vietnam veterans who made genuine efforts to highlight the civilian suffering they knew was going on at almost unimaginable levels. In contrast, in the decade-plus since 9/11, with the rarest of exceptions, Americans have remained remarkably detached from their distant wars, thoroughly ignoring what can be known about the suffering that has been caused in their name.

As I was wrapping up my interview, Pham Thang asked me about the purpose of the last hour and a half of questions I’d asked him. Through my interpreter, I explained that most Americans knew next to nothing about Vietnamese suffering during the war and that most books written in my country on the war years ignored it. I wanted, I told him, to offer Americans the chance to hear about the experiences of ordinary Vietnamese for the first time.

“If the American people know about these incidents, if they learn about the wartime suffering of people in Vietnam, do you think they will sympathize?” he asked me.

Soon enough, I should finally know the answer to his question.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute. An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and regularly at TomDispatch. He is the author most recently of Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books). Published on January 15th, it offers a new look at the American war machine in Vietnam and the suffering it caused. His website is NickTurse.com. You can follow him on Tumblr and on Facebook.

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