Letters to the Editor

(September 22, 2003)


Regarding Deck Deckert's It's All Nader's Fault, And Other Fairy Tales

To the Editor:

I read with interest the article refuting the ridiculous claims that Bush is Nader's fault. Everything said in the article was true. Everything -- except the conclusion.

You ended by criticizing Dean for wanting to send more troops to Afghanistan and implying that Dean is too moderate.

You know the great danger posed by Bush to this country. For many working families the danger has a direct impact: if Bush is allowed to end overtime pay protections these families will be hit immediately. These working families do NOT have the luxury (and it is a luxury) of voting for Nader next year. We MUST get rid of Bush.

I admit -- I will not be able to vote for Lieberman. But any of the other candidates (even Clark, for the simple fact that his candidacy makes Karl Rove wet his pants) will at least protect working families.

Right wing evangelicals know darn well that Bush, as Nader pointed out in 2000, will not end Roe vs. Wade -- Republicans would lose Congress and the White House for a generation. Bush winks and nods and this group goes right on voting for him, knowing they are getting a lot of other things they want. The left needs to be as pragmatic in this coming election.

I voted for Nader in 2000 (I live in Kansas -- so no harm done). But I will be voting for the non-Lieberman Democratic nominee in 2004, hopefully Dean. We need to unite to get rid of Bush.

Sean Swindler
Olathe, Kansas, USA - September 1, 2003


To the Editor:

Just read the very interesting article on Ralph Nader and the 2000 election. Thought the following article, "The Blame Game: the real problem behind the 2000 election," (Boston Review, April/May, 2003) might be of interest to your readership.

George Scialabba
Boston, Massachussets, USA - September 2, 2003


Regarding Philip Greenspan's A Genocide Museum For The U.S.

To the Editor:

Your readership might be interested in the following links on Genocide in America.


Also, taking the following test can help education those interested. The answers may surprise most readers, even those familiar with American-Indian history.


We might also ask, how do we start a NA Holocaust Museum? In 1995, I wrote a proposal for a Native American Holocaust Museum, got nominal support from the World Peace Organization, and even wrote several letters asking for funding. For several years the WPO maintained a web-page calling for a holocaust museum for America. I've maintained a webpage calling for such a museum since 1996. At Clark College, we held several Native American Holocaust Weeks, and still hope to create momentum to start a national week-long observance.



One certainly can't expect the federal government to fund such a museum, but I have often argued that foreign investment would pour in once an organization was developed. My proposal didn't call for one museum, but called for a museum in each State to be managed by the indigenous peoples of that region. Now that Philip Greenspan has called for a Native American Holocaust Museum, what can we do -- what can Swans do -- to facilitate such a project? Would Swans consider hosting a permanent web page dedicated to that end? Virtually, the Native-American Holocaust is well-documented, in recent historical texts it is well-documented, now should we build the monuments?

Gerard Donnelly Smith
Clark College
Vancouver, Washington, USA - September 2, 2003

Racism toward Indians, courtesy of 'Understanding Prejudice.' Click on the picture to visit their Web site.   Ed.  So long as we receive expert and committed help for the content we will be glad to host a permanent Web page or section dedicated to that end. For the record, Gerard Donnelly Smith is a frequent contributor to Swans. We've endeavored for quite some time to bring this issue up on Swans. We contacted a few Americans of Indian descent (aka, Native Americans), members of the many Indian Nations that still inhabit this land. One cannot understand the USA and the inveterate and insanely destructive policies of its government without investigating the horrific, unspeakable crimes committed against the Indian Nations by the White Men, and the abject conditions under which the descendents of the survivors of what should legitimately be called "The American Holocaust" keep living. Indeed, we were gratified when Philip Greenspan took on the issue in his characteristic straightforwardness; and, beside the Native Americans themselves, who is most qualified to comprehend both instinctively and intellectually the plight, past and present, of the Indian Nations but an American of Jewish descent? We will bring more articles and information on this issue as we receive them. Meanwhile, beside Gerard Donnelly Smith's piece in the current edition and his resources listed above, inquisitive people should read Sharon Johnston's "The Genocide of Native Americans: A Sociological View," and absolutely take the "What's Your Native IQ?" test on the Understanding Prejudice Web site (this editor took it and scored a poor 4 out of 10 correct responses!).


Regarding Ed Herman's The Cruise Missile Left, Part 4: The Nation Magazine's Forum on "Humanitarian Intervention,"

To the Editor:

My only dispute with Edward Herman is that what was happening is not stated clearly enough.

The U.S. did not "help" the KLA, did not "aid" them, and was not "expected by them" to act as its military arm.

It was entirely a CIA Front-Organisation, created to carry out a Covert Action operation of the classical type. Indeed it was a return to the classical Covert Action operation we had not seen for several years. The name of "Operation Roots" is well known. It's just that Plausible Deniability was abandoned when the correct stage of the operation was reached.

Incidentally, the CIA's Islamic fundamentalist paramilitaries -- you know, the ones the Power-Elite are now waging their ludicrous "war against terrorism" against -- were also used as one section of the KLA. The promise being that a series of Islamic fundamentalist states across S.E. Europe -- a promise they could not fulfil.

The "betrayal" in not honouring the promise has been a major factor on their turning on their former Imperial Masters. I was amazed when I heard about this "Ottomanism" at a conference but it proved to be true.

As I similarly have a dispute with Diana Johnstone and her amazing claim -- she should know better -- that there were two revolutions going on in Belgrade in the October of 2000. This of course was not the case since the whole of "DOS" was later proved to be bought and paid for by Washington, and shock! horror! someone in Britain has leaked the story in a book ("Shadow Warfare") that the coup was entirely orchestrated by the British intelligence services, being regarded as a more sophisticated set of intelligence services, acting on behalf of the CIA.

We should realise that the rabble of Humanitarian Intervenor propagandists are not new and go back into the middle of the nineteenth century.

They were recruited by the British to secure support for the war in Britain in WWI,as well as ensuring the vital American intervention -- "the war to end all wars" was their slogan at the time I recall.

Then there was the campaign -- it failed -- to intervene in the American Civil War against Lincoln, or as it may be termed "the Confederacy Affaire." Similar arguments were made by similar people, whilst the liberal readers of British liberal newspapers were being told by tame liberal writers that "it isn't a war about slavery." Meanwhile Lincoln was being made the object of what we now term "demonisation." Who was the original victim of "demonisations" of this type? Abe Lincoln!

Richard Roper
Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK - September 2, 2003


Regarding Gilles d'Aymery's Disquieting Green Politics

To the Editor:

We too have been taking strong issue with Norm Solomon's recent columns on the Green Party and 2004. Here are our two reprints of Solomon along with our "embedded" responses (from our own alternative daily news web site):

"Scolding the Green Party"

"The 2004 Presidential Race: Green Dreams"

I hope you might find these interesting.

Thanks for continuing to send the Swans' Release to us.

Hanno T. Beck
Banneker Center for Economic Justice
Baltimore, Maryland, USA - September 2, 2003


Regarding e. e. cummings's poem, i sing of Olaf glad and big

Dear Editor:

I believe that if you check your sources -- or the scansion -- for line 4 of "I sing of Olaf glad and big," you will see that the word is "belovéd" (with the acute accent indicating a slack rather than a silent e), not "belov'd."

Thanks for your time and attention.

All the best,
Douglas Michael Massing
Oakland, California, USA - September 10, 2003

Ed. We thank Mr. Massing for his keen eyes. He's correct and we have corrected the typo.


Regarding Gilles d'Aymery's Naked Jan, or How to Get Read on the Web, conspiracy theories and 9/11 on Swans

To the Editor:

Of course I realize, that the story about "naked Jan" is supposed to be humour, especially since you write so on top of it. However, since I'm German and have been told on discussion-boards that Germans have not the slightest humour whatsoever and I have to live up to that national phenomena, I'm giving it serious thought.

And being a heterosexual female, a naked Jan doesn't appeal too much to me, nor do rumours about transvestites or transsexuals, but there might be other ways of being read in the male and female web-community:

Well, the way I came to your web-site, was over different links and it started out over a 9/11 sceptic-site.

In Germany, right now, there is a bitter battle going on between 9/11 sceptics and the mainline mass-media. There are a few book-authors, who wrote about all the unanswered questions concerning the 9/11 attacks. Some only researched in mainline-media archives and online, others went and talked to witnesses. What they found out is nothing new to the internet-community, whose members are interested in the subject. But those authors, 2 journalists, former well-respected slightly left mainline journalists and one former member of parliament and respected expert for security and secret agencies for the SPD are now smeared as nazi-sympathizers, anti-American hatemongerers, disrespectors of victims, antisemites, greedy money-makers and just plain idiots. Idiots are also their readers and all internet-users who have any doubts in the official 9/11 story (it's not quite clear which one of these official stories we are supposed to believe in order to not be called idiots, since there are quite a few changing versions).

Well anyway, after every single one of those hate-spewing TV-magazines, calling everyone who dares to think for him/herself stupid fools falling for some frauds, there was an outcry on the internet discussion boards. And while in an earlier poll only 20% of all Germans (30% of people under 30) believed in some foul-play by the US-government, in internet polls there are 95% who believe that there was some complicity of US officials by deliberately not preventing the attacks; some 75% even believe it was worse than that.

I'm one of them and I don't think that this is just a German phenomena. My guess would be that in all of Europe most internet-users, interested in politics, have probably come to similar conclusions.

I've never before been a loony conspiracy-freak myself. I had been kind of a lefty politically, but mostly from a gut-feeling. I was not well-read (Marx is still too difficult for me); but since the Iraq-war-discussion and when the American government claimed it was part of the war against terrorism, I started to have doubts about the 9/11-attacks. So I began to read, both online and offline, first only about 9/11, then about recent American history, foreign politics and all the brutal dictatorships that came into power just for American intervention and stayed in power because of American military and financial aid.

I was shocked and I got more and more angry, and my Weltbild (picture of the world) changed dramatically. When I tried to talk to Americans online about their foreign policies, I was also very shocked of how most of them justified those policies as necessary, without the slightest compassion towards the victims. And some of the arguments they use are so close to what was used by the mass-murdering Nazis we learned about in our history classes in school, that it is just eerie and sickening for me. (And still our own mass-media and our politicians tell us that we have common values with America. It can't be common ethical values, that's for sure, since I've never ever heard any European, not even a right-wing one, talking in such callous way about killing people from other countries. In Nazi-times they talked like this, but not now, not any more.)

Well anyway, just like me, there are probably thousands, maybe millions of people, who have started to think for themselves and disbelieve what the mass-media feeds them. If they lied to us on the 9/11 issue, which is the most publicized event in decades, and the supposed reason for 2 wars already, then those media most probably have lied to us in many other areas as well. We lost our innocence and our trust in politicians and the media. We will question whether Castro or Mugabe are really the monsters the media tells us they are, or whether the monsters aren't sitting in whole different places... And in the long run we might even question the system.

I tell you this, because I think, that 9/11 scepticism is a very good starting point to a lot more scepticism. And so, if you had 9/11 sceptical articles in every edition, the readers you would draw from being a 9/11 site would probably start to read more and start thinking about political issues in a more sceptical way.

Maybe you think there was no foul play, but for me like for many others -- between the hundreds of forewarnings from all over the world, the missing interception from NORAD air-defense-planes, the Norwood files from the sixties, where air-attacks were planned on American cities, which would be blamed on Cuba and the PNAC plans, which according to their authors (Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, et al.) needed a new Pearl Harbour to get instant public support -- there is not much room for a belief in the innocence of the Bush-administration, its top military commanders and their secret agencies.

Those attacks aren't the worst crimes, that have been committed after WWII. There have been far worse mass-murders in Indonesia, in South-America, Iraq, Jugoslavia and Afghanisthan, and in many other countries, but it's the only one everybody in the world with a TV could witness live or endless times as reruns. And that's why billions of people are emotionally involved. And this is why that event can be more of a starting point to a change of mind and a new thinking than most other events that haven't happened directly in your own neighbourhood.

You said in another article that the non-ostriches are dying out. Maybe you are wrong, they might even be breeding. Maybe those PNAC-gangsters have dug their own grave. Or maybe I'm too optimistic. But you need hope to not despair.

Many greetings from a German living in Iceland.

Ortrud Gessler
Reykjavik, Iceland - September 18, 2003

Ed. At the time "Naked Jan" was written, some 16 months after our first article ever was published on Swans, we still only had, if memory serves, about 10 or 15 requests a day -- a rather frustrating situation (to create a new magazine from scratch, without much wherewithal, if any, was -- and remains -- a real challenge!). We now have 3 to 5,000 a day and many more regular contributors. It was also a time when pornographic sites were exploding all over the Internet and the beginning of its crass commercialization, two developments that we have been regretting ever since. For the little story, this rather innocent and mildly provocative piece drew the ire of one of the 10 or 15 readers, a former acquaintance, then Senior Scientist at Hewlett-Packard, who shot an e-mail asserting that had we been an employee of the venerable company we would have been fired on the spot. What we will never know is whether, his lust whetted, he had clicked on the link and been disappointed-annoyed-angered by what he saw (there evidently was never a pic of "naked Jan") -- Senior Scientists are generally known for their intellectual curiosity but not necessarily for their humor -- or whether HP's policies were that stupid! We also heard from a Texas AOL user, but never verified, that AOL had blocked the site due to its "adult content!" As we like to repeat here and there, only in America... (For those familiar with the period, the character of Paul in the story referred to Paul Segala who was an adviser (communications, PR?) to Bill Clinton. We obviously never met Mr. Segala!)

It is indeed possible that we would attract more visitors if we were publishing articles focusing on the conspiracy theories that mushroomed in the wake of 9/11. We did publish a series of articles on this issue, but then came a time to move on as we explained at length. In addition, we would arguably submit that, if readers/visitors were our only goal, porn would indubitably attract more people than conspiracies -- simply not the same visitorship (and this is questionable!).

What is not questionable, however, is the need for a healthy scepticism in regard to the benevolence and trustworthiness of the American construct. More than any conspiracy, Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States, 1492—Present" (HarperPerennial) is a formidable eye-opener. The increasingly authoritarian nature of the American polity should not be particularly surprising to students of history. It essentially is a repetition of what occurred in Europe and all the way back to the Roman Empire. Bertrand de Jouvenel, who was a Libertarian thinker (in the US meaning) and not a Marxist sympathizer, explained in detail the growth of power driven by fear and the inescapable disastrous consequences in his 1945 book, "On Power" (Du Pouvoir). This historical march toward authoritarianism is not unique to the USA. What's unique is the degree of destructiveness the U.S. can unleash (is unleashing?) upon the world, indeed the planet. Whether a) its hyperpower, as the French call it, can be restrained and b) its increasing authoritarianism can be kept in check by the American people are of utmost importance for the future of humanity. The jury is out on both accounts.


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Published September 22, 2003
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