Bookmark and Share
Comment and read the comments of others on the Blog.
Click to go to the home page.
Click to send us your comments and suggestions.
Click to learn about the publishers of and our mission.
Click to search for any word or phrase on our Website.
Click to sign up for an e-Mail notification only whenever we publish something new.
Click to remove your e-Mail address from our list immediately and permanently.
Click to read our pledge to never give or sell your e-Mail address to anyone.
Click to read our policy on re-prints and permissions.
Click for the demographics of the audience and our rates.
Click to view the patrons list and learn now to become a patron and support
Click to see job postings or post a job.
Click for links to Websites we recommend.
Click to see every cartoon we have published.
Click to read any past issue.
Click to read any think piece we have published.
Click to read any guest commentary we have published.
Click to view any of the art forms we have published.
Road Scholar - the world leader in educational travel for adults. Top ten travel destinations for African-Americans. Fascinating history, welcoming locals, astounding sights, hidden gems, mouth-watering food or all of the above - our list of the world’s top ten "must-see" learning destinations for African-Americans has a little something for everyone.
"Pleasant" Witchery: The Recycling Torturers and War Criminals - Represent Our Resistance - By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD - Editorial Board
Custom Search
He knew he had learned the lie by heart - the lie which they had wanted him to learn: only brown-skinned people were thieves; white people didn’t steal…The liars had fooled everyone, white people and Indians alike; as long as people believed the lies, they would never be able to see what had been done to them or what they were doing to reach other…[But] at dawn he stopped on a grassy ridge to watch the sun rise; he let the maze graze, part of the cycle of restoration… the design was still growing, but already long ago it had encircled him.
-Leslie Marmom Silko, Ceremony

In a world where governments operate under human rights laws, the naked child hugging the leg of a barely clad, homeless Ethiopian woman, would have a home, food, health care, school fees, and books.

In a world operating under human rights laws, President Obama would have told his White House guest that he will not talk unless Israel tears up the list of ban items, including milk, that can’t enter the West Bank and Gaza for fear these items might be used by terrorists!

In a world operating under human rights laws, and where poor and working class Blacks utilize cell phones to delimit their lives to the sayings and doings of “he” and “she,” neighborhood workers councils would instruct them to discuss and organize for safe and humane child care services.

In a world operating with determination under human rights laws, the Clintons, Bushes, Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and the 6 Bush administration lawyers would be writing their memos and books behind bars. Mumia would be released to write and teach. Troy Davis, Jamie and Gladys Scott, the Duka Brothers, Tartar Sedar, and Mohammed Shnewer would be home with their families.

U.S prisons would be filled with the truly guilty ruling class of corporate thieves and political enablers.

But we aren’t in that world because John Yoo has been hired to write a monthly column at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It is not enough that he, like Condi Rice at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, teaches at the University of California Berkeley. The people haven’t been punished enough!

There’s an exit door for academics and journalist who want to tell the truth about this world we live in, and there’s a welcome mat laid out for war criminals and torturers. Speak out on behalf of your community, as Rev. Pinkney does in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and you’ll find yourself behind bars - in this country!

What a world! What a world we live in when you are suspect and despised for being for the human rights of the people by “liberals” and “conservatives” alike, when you are anti-war, and anti-poverty, but blacklisted by the power structure, represented at every level, and that engages in the strategy of repression in keeping with the anti-human policies and laws of the ruling class.

Shout to the power structure that unions are bankrupting the corporations and you’re in; tell them the poor deserve their fate, and you’re in.

I don’t know Harold Jackson, the editorial manager at the Philadelphia Inquirer. I can’t begin to understand his “decision-making” process. I suppose I need lessons from Condi Rice. After reading his “Why I Hired John Yoo” article, I wanted to know how he rationalized hiring John Yoo.

Of course, he referred me to his article. Here’s a little from the article, “Why I Hired John Yoo”:

The decision to publish Yoo monthly came at the suggestion of The Inquirer's publisher, Brian Tierney, who cited Yoo's mutual roots in Philadelphia as well as his legal scholarship - he is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yes, if he is listed as a respectable professor in academia then he can be a respectable writer with the Philadelphia Inquirer!

According to the article, Jackson states he had “misgivings.” The paper “received letters and e-mails criticizing the hiring of Yoo. The criticism increased after his torture memos became public.” But Jackson trusts the readers of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I bet Jackson and other decision makers at the paper conjured images of those senders of these criticizing letters and emails! In opposition to these images are “readers” of the Philadelphia Inquirer, readers who would “place the move in context with the paper's clearly expressed criticism in numerous editorials of the Bush administration's use of torture.”

“It was exactly what you want to see newspaper opinion pages do - provide the catalyst for intelligent discourse.”

Selling papers, I think it is called, providing a megaphone for a set of horribly anti-human policies, and allowing the torturer to write his explanation and justification for state violence into the historical account of events after 9-11. Yoo told the OC Register, according to Jason Leopold, “John Yoo: UC Berkeley Is a Magnet for Hippies, Protesters and Left-Wing Activists,” that his torture memos lacked a “certain polish.” It “would have been better to explain government policy rather than try to give unvarnished, straight-talk legal advice.” “Government policy” was in favor of torture! You did just well, Yoo, with your “unvarnished, straight-talk legal advice.”

“Allowing Yoo to have his say has not changed our editorial board's opinion that torture can never be justified.”

Really? To any child it seems as if Yoo has been pardoned, certainly not punished for justifying torture.

“I have met Yoo and found him to be very pleasant, even though we disagree on issues other than what constitutes torture.” Referring to Yoo as a “pleasant” torturer is similar to saying you have met a “good” slaveholder. “Pleasant” and “good” can’t describe torturers and slaveholders.

The readers of the Philadelphia Inquirer have complained over “the last two years” that the daily op-ed page and the Sunday opinion section editorials and columns were “always lean left.”

So just throw Yoo in the mix as if it is all merely a game. Yoo’s columns will reflect “conservative commentaries.” And that means, Jackson writes, that “we aren't afraid to let people hear what the other side has to say.

We think most of our readers aren't afraid either.”

Maybe your readers aren’t afraid, but angry.

“I wrote a column to address these issues,” Jackson answered when I tried to ask why? I wanted to know what was not mentioned in the article. Why? How do you, Harold Jackson, a Black man in America, come to hire John Yoo, the architect of the U.S. torture policy that circumvented the Constitution and the Convention Against Torture?

I didn’t remind him of the countless number of Black and Brown people in prison and on Death Row, innocent but proclaimed guilty by carefully crafted laws to target certain individuals and populations. Yoo and other lawyers for the Bush administration have written away our civil liberties while Yoo and every other war criminal in the regime has been awarded with positions in journalism, academia, and Wall Street.

As his article states, Jackson said he disagrees with John Yoo’s position on torture. But what? Right there! Jackson recognizes that Yoo is “a controversial figure.” But Mr. Jackson, he’s a torturer! Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture “prohibits torture” of any kind by anyone in the world, Mr. Jackson. John Yoo used his skills, used his ability to write legal text, to VIOLATE national and international laws against torture. How do you move from John Yoo, a war criminal, a torturer, a man responsible for enabling this country to cause the suffering of “detainees” and their mothers, wives, fathers, husbands, and children, and the countless deaths of others to - welcome, sir? Welcome, John Yoo. It is okay.

Then it happened.
These witch people got together.
Some came from far far away…
Some had slanty eyes
Others had black skin.

As Jackson told me, Yoo will write on “legal issues.” His legal opinions will matter? Now, after what we know about Yoo and the administration he served? That John Yoo is a torturer does not matter, to us the enablers and the ruling class!

Fear produces enablers of all stripes for the bidding of the ruling class. Silence decries helplessness.

It is baffling for a moment, until I remember this is 1984! I expect the hiring of George Bush Jr. as Special Envoy to Iraq.

And speaking of Special Envoys - the United Nations believes former President Bill Clinton can do the best job as UN Special Envoy to Haiti. Clinton as president once punished Haiti for wanting a democratic nation and for electing a democratic leader instead of the usual dictator favored by the United States. Haiti can’t be punished enough! It will now have Bill Clinton snooping about the country, sniffing for the dangers of democratic fervor in the wind.

As Jeremy Scahill writes in “Bill Clinton Named New UN Envoy to ‘Stabialize’ Haiti,” Clinton destabilized Haiti while he was president! “In September 1991, the US backed the violent overthrow of the government of Haiti’s democratically-elected leftist priest President Jean Bertrand Aristide after he was in power less than a year…When Clinton came to power, he played a vicious game with Haiti that allowed the coup regime to continue rampaging Haiti and further destabilized the country.

Clinton’s policies, writes Scahill, helped systematically destabilize Haiti. The expulsion of Aristide placed Haiti under the tyranny of paramilitary, CIA-backed “thugs” who “hacked the limbs off of Aristide supporters.”

The corporate Western news media drew the public’s attention to the violence of the Haitian people.

We only have to remember 2004, when the peoples’ grassroots movement, Lavalas, called for the return of President Aristide. The U.S. Marines rolled in and stood alongside UN troops as the Haitian National Police slaughtered people who had come in the streets to peacefully protest. According to the Haiti Action Committee, some 8,000 people were killed and 35,000 girls and women were raped in Port-au-Prince by the “Washington-backed government.” After the slaughter, Haitians were interviewed, and some “fourteen per cent of the interviewees accused ‘foreign soldiers including those in UN uniform of threatening them with sexual or physical violence, including death.’”

“When Clinton came to power, he played a vicious game with Haiti that allowed the coup regime to continue rampaging Haiti and further destabilized the country.” He sided with Bush I and denied the Haitians legal rights and refused, writes Scahill, to “support the swift return” of Aristide.

It was Clinton’s interference with the democratically elected President Aristide that opened the door for the Bush regime, in conjunction with the UN, to over see this display of torture and death. Scahill refers to a Los Angeles Times report at the time that explained the challenges Haiti and the duly elected Aristide faced with its democratic and liberty for all neighbor to the north.

In a series of private meetings, Administration officials admonished Aristide to put aside the rhetoric of class warfare … and seek instead to reconcile Haiti’s rich and poor. The Administration also urged Aristide to stick closely to free-market economics and to abide by the Caribbean nation’s constitution - which gives substantial political power to the Parliament while imposing tight limits on the presidency. … Administration officials have urged Aristide to reach out to some of his political opponents in setting up his new government … to set up a broad-based coalition regime. … the Administration has made it clear to Aristide that if he fails to reach a consen sus with Parliament, the United States will not try to prop up his regime. Almost every aspect of Aristide’s plans for resuming power - from taxing the rich to disarming the military - has been examined by the U.S. officials with whom the Haitian president meets daily and by officials from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other aid organizations. The finished package clearly reflects their priorities. … Aristide obviously has toned down the liberation theology and class-struggle rhetoric that was his signature before he was exiled to Washington.

Now the World powers are back in Haiti in the person of Bill “the first Black President” Clinton!

How much has Haiti suffered? How much more punishment must the people endure from the United States, the UN, and the world body of influential opinion?

In An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President, Randall Robinson has written that few Blacks and Americans in general understand how the “white and mixed-race ruling class in Haiti hid behind its black puppet dictators, so successfully that few in the outside world knew that Haiti has countless powerful families and interests that were not Black.”

Bill Clinton’s interests are not Black either!

They see no life
When they look
They see only objects.

Bill Clinton waged war against Lavalas, the poor and working class of Haiti!

Who will hold Clinton accountable for the many dead Haitians and the many impoverished Haitians suffering now?

Clinton in Haiti as Special Envoy is practicing slow torture on a people struggling for freedom from the tyranny of corporate rule. No doubt, there will be photos of Clinton surrounded by little Haitian children. There’s Clinton with his hand on the shoulder of a poor Haitian woman. The photo will freeze a caring-looking Clinton. But he’ll hire from the middle and professional classes, a grateful lot, who will hear Clinton assure them that he will do the best for the people. And there will be pay checks flowing toward banks and homes purchased away from the masses, and this grateful lot will lift Clinton, I am sure, a very “pleasant” man, to great heights above the rights of the people to think for themselves and pursue freedom.

What a world - when Affirmative Action is scrapped for Black people, but Affirmative Action is in full bloom for torturers and war criminals!

Remember what Malcolm said, step by step “they’ll grab your mind.” They are doing it!

Listening to educator Dr. Deborah Meier, New York University, on Democracy Now!, May 21, 2009, referring to an educational system in this country that is increasingly operated by those “who know how to manipulate money,” I couldn’t help but agree. I would add that we all live under a corporate agenda operated by liberals / conservatives, whites and accommodating Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow people, who know how to manipulate ideas, thought, to focus on the production of profits for the ruling few.

Dr. Meier’s disappointment with the “very narrow definition” of “success,” what “we mean by merit, and what we mean by leadership,” points to the decision makers, those determined to maintain control by grabbing minds - first!

As Tolu Olorunda writes in “‘Our Schools Suck’: A Book Review,” “standardized tests are deemed ‘important’ but the pursuit of intellectual freedom, critical thinking, and independent reasoning can be grounds for punishment.”

They are doing it! They are doing it one step at a time, not by what you see, the re-hiring of John Yoo or Condi Rice or Jay Bybee or Bill Clinton. It is being done in the nation’s classrooms, in the remaining mainstream newspapers, on corporate-owned television stations, that is, in places where the majority of the American public congregate everyday to absorb the message that “intellectual freedom, critical thinking, and independent reasoning” will be punished!

The One Corporate ruled world under President Obama is continuing to coalesce with the resurfacing of these war criminals and torturers. Who has Obama’s ear? Who told him to release only 44 of the thousands of torture photos and why? It is not just that we are concerned about the lawyers and politicians who wrote and then enforced illegal and anti-human laws. But what of the hundreds of soldiers, military officials, private contractors, CIA personnel, psychologists, and doctors - Americans - who will or who have already come back into the mix after engaging in sadistic and cruel behavior on human beings?

We had better support the campaign for an investigation of war criminals and torturers before the current President at the reigns decides that his policy of “looking forward” is hiring Darth Vader (Cheney) to serve as Chief of World Security! Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer, for over thirty years of commentary, resistance criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she has served as a coordinator of student and community resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an equalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher communities behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.


Any article may be re-printed so long as it is re-printed in its entirety and full credit given to the author and If the re-print is on the Internet we additionally request a link back to the original piece on our Website.

Your comments are always welcome.

eMail re-print notice

If you send us an eMail message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.

Your comments are always welcome.


May 28, 2009
Issue 326

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield
Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
Printer Friendly Version in resizeable plain text format or pdf format.
Frequently Asked Questions
Comment and read the comments of others on the Blog.
click here to buy & benefit BC
Cedille Records Sale