Historical Revisionism

Number of drug addicts in Iran doubles in six years

TEHRAN, Iran — The number of drug addicts in Iran has more than doubled in six years, with opium the country’s most popular narcotic, local media reported Sunday.

“There are about 2.8 million people regularly consuming drugs” in the country of 80 million people, Drug Control Organization spokesman Parviz Afshar told the ISNA news agency.

Citing experts from the health ministry, Iran’s Welfare Organization and his own agency, Afshar said the number of drug users was up from 1.3 million six years ago.

He said opium made up 67 percent of consumption, with marijuana and its derivatives accounting for 12 percent and methamphetamine around 8 percent of the total.

“Opium is still the most popular (drug) and methamphetamine use has dropped significantly,” he said.

In this Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 photo, drug addicts sleep in their chairs at drop in center and shelter, south of Tehran, Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran’s neighbor Afghanistan produces some 90 percent of the world’s opium, which is extracted from poppy resin and refined to make heroin.

Iran is a major transit point for Afghan-produced opiates heading to Europe and beyond.

Opium production surged significantly after the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and overthrew the ruling Taliban.

By its last year in power, the Taliban had slashed opium output to just 185 tons a year, according to United Nations estimates.

But the UN says Afghan production has since rocketed, hitting between 4,800 and 6,000 tons in 2016.

Last year’s bumper crop, aided by better weather, pushed world opium output up by a third on the previous year and helped fund an intensifying Taliban insurgency.

That is despite a decade of international efforts to stabilize the country and billions of dollars spent on persuading Afghan farmers to grow other crops.

The UN’s crime and drugs agency said Thursday that the global narcotics market is “thriving” with opiates causing tens of thousands of avoidable deaths a year.


The Damnation Of Confederate Memory



The new crusade in America is the damnation of national memory, and the elimination of significant blocks of American history from the public sphere.

Everyone was reconciled to the chronicling of the Civil War and the Reunion—including its memorials and symbols—but now Confederate flags, monuments, and name-places, have become the new heresy.

The recent removals of the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the monument of Robert E Lee in Louisiana are just the beginning of our national disintegration.

Behind it all are two powerful Jewish organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (the ADL.)

The SPLC amassed a huge hit list of 1500 Confederate Memorabilia that they’re just itching to take down.

Memorials on private property aren’t safe either.

And while the ADL calls Confederate displays ’symbols of slavery,’ their real scheme is to erase the Jews’ historical predominance in world and domestic slave trade.

The evidence is damning.

In America alone, Jews, in both the South and North, were very active in the “negro” slave trade.

Jews such as Mordechai Cohen, Eliezer Marks, Isaiah Moses, the Levy clan of Mississippi, along with David Franks and Benjamin Levy—who as “Merchants Of Philadelphia”—petitioned to halt a pending duty levied on the heads of their imported slaves.

Yet with all of Jewry’s attempts to erase their participation in the slave trade,

not a peep out of them to take down the statue of Judah Benjamin, the Jewish Secretary of State of the Confederacy.

Their line on Benjamin is he wasn’t a ‘contemptible white slave owner.’

Rather, in a rags-to-riches story, his 213 slaves on his sugar cane plantation, was simply a “clever investment.”

The more things change the more Jews protect their own.

And, as Rahm Emanuel said, never let a crisis go to waste.

That’s exactly what the SPLC and the ADL did with Dylann Roof who killed 9 people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and it set the whole thing off.

You see, they took a really sick white kid on drugs, scraped up a photo of him holding a semi-automatic and Confederate flag, and turned him into a ‘white supremacist.’

The Jews finally got the ammunition to launch their war on Confederate memory, and to further push “White guilt” on the majority of Americans.

Politically correct politicians, and the Jew-owned main stream media, jumped right in.

“Take down the symbol of hatred,” screeched the New York Times.

“It’s the American Swastika!” shrieked another headline.

And one of the first out of the gate to launch the assault after the shooting was Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen.

His demand?

That the name of legendary cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, be removed from Forrest Park in Memphis and his bust gone from the capital.

Will he have the park renamed Cohen Park? That’s where we headed with all of this.

And Jewry’s shill, Nikki Haley, quickly signed into law the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the State Capitol grounds.

Look. The confederate flag is not a symbol of hatred, it’s an object of hatred.

The flag doesn’t belong to Dylann Roof, nor to the Jews to dispose of as they wish.

Rather, it was a ‘military’ flag used in battlefields to distinguish the Southern Greys from the Union Blues, just like the uniforms.

It belongs to all Americans in general, and the Southerners in particular, which includes the whites, the blacks, and the Cherokee Indians, who fought in the Confederate army.

But, the Jews decide what Americans can have and what they should be denied.

What’s next?

Smash Mount Rushmore?…since Washington and Jefferson were ’slave holders,’ which was an accepted, lawful institution at that time.

They’re prosecuting stones and fabrics of the past with the ‘politically correct’ BS of today.

Politically-correctness is one thing.

But when it’s weaponized, only Jewish culture survives.

Trump: Obama ‘did nothing’ about Russia election meddling

(CNN)President Donald Trump questioned former President Barack Obama’s response to Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election in an interview airing Sunday morning, saying Obama didn’t do enough to address the situation.

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in an excerpt of his interview on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” released Friday. “But nobody wants to talk about that.”
“The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election,” Trump said. “And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing. To me, in other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don’t read that. It’s quite sad.”
The President also tweeted his concerns Friday night.
The Washington Post reported earlier Friday on the Obama administration’s efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for trying to sway the presidential election in Trump’s favor, quoting a former Obama official saying the administration “sort of choked.”
“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” the former senior Obama administration official told the Post. “I feel like we sort of choked.”
The Post report details how the CIA’s assessment that Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US presidential election in an effort to help Trump prompted the Obama administration to debate dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia. Those included proposed cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and economic sanctions, the newspaper reported.
Before the election, the Obama administration issued several warnings to Moscow about its activities, including one delivered by the President to Putin in September, the Post reported.
Ultimately, Obama approved only modest punitive measures: the expulsion of a few dozen diplomats, the closure of two Russian compounds, and narrowly targeted economic sanctions that some who designed them described as largely symbolic, the Post said. Another measure, the planting of cyberweapons in Russia’s infrastructure, was still in the planning stages when Obama left office.
While some closest to Obama defend the response, saying that by late summer it was already too late to prevent troves of hacked emails from transferring to WikiLeaks and other groups, others expressed regret, the newspaper said.
Tony Blinken, Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, said Friday that the administration took significant action to prevent Russia from interfering with the electoral system itself.
“We made massive efforts so they couldn’t do that,” Blinken, who is now a CNN global affairs analyst, told the network’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour.” “This led to two things: President Obama issued a very stark warning to President Putin in September at the G-20 conference in China. What we saw, or thought we saw, after that, it looked like the Russians stopped their efforts. But the damage was already done.”
The report, which features three-dozen high-level officials, confirms what many Democratic lawmakers already believed about Putin, Sen. Jeff Merkley said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“Nothing like the extensive hacking effort and manipulation effort could occur without his involvement,” the Oregon Democrat told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “Now we actually know: Yes, Putin directed it.”
“He had a specific goal to defeat (Democratic nominee) Hillary Clinton and that explains the huge coordinated effort from the botnets to the trolls,” Merkley added.
Merkley and other Democratic lawmakers said Russia used extensive methods in the cyber campaign, including 1,000 trolls, hacking and bots to generate fake messages on social media.
Officials in the Post article suggested Obama struggled to find a way to respond to Putin without being so aggressive that he would be perceived as trying to influence the election in Clinton’s favor — a point Merkley echoed Friday.
“It is such a dilemma, because if he had acted aggressively, in a way that he had gone public and said, ‘This is why we’re doing this,’ it would have been seized upon as an attempt to bias the election,” Merkley said. “So, there was enormous bias in the election because of the Russians, but how do you balance that out without further damaging it? It is an extremely difficult problem.”
Sen. Ron Wyden expressed disappointment Friday that the administration wasn’t more aggressive.
“I am troubled learning this new information, that the Obama administration didn’t do more,” the Oregon Democrat told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Friday. “And I think the standard has got to transcend one particular administration, Democratic or Republican.”
“It has got to be to protect our institutions first, and politics to the wind,” Wyden added.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday that he didn’t find the Post report shocking.
“I think President Trump was legitimately elected by people who voted for him, but this is a very serious issue about defending democracy and our country and integrity of the election system,” he told CNN’s David Gregory on “New Day.” “So we have to go back to countering Russia disinformation. Congress has to work with the White House to give them tools to push back. This is a very serious issue.”
The Illinois Republican, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Republicans must take the intelligence about Russia’s involvement in the election very seriously to protect future elections.
“The reality is, in two or four years it will serve Vladimir Putin’s interest to take down the Republican Party,” Kinzinger said. “If we weren’t upset about it, we have no right to complain in the future.”
Also speaking Friday morning on “New Day,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed the idea that Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election.”I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do in the actual election result,” Conway said. “Really the only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton.”
“You’ve got everyone saying that there is no nexus, that not a single vote was changed and we’re going to stand by that,” Conway added. “We know that Donald Trump won fairly and squarely 306 electoral votes. It had nothing to do with interference.”

Polish human rights official under fire for saying his ‘nation’ took part in the Holocaust (LOL….)

(JTA) — Poland’s human rights commissioner is being urged to resign after saying the “Polish nation” took part in carrying out the Holocaust — a controversial statement in a country whose government increasingly emphasizes that Poland never collaborated with the Nazis.

Speaking Wednesday on the state-run TVP Info, Adam Bodnar said, “There is no doubt that the Germans were responsible for the Holocaust, but many nations took part in its implementation. Among them — and I say this with regret — the Polish nation.”

Members of Poland’s conservative government say he should resign, The Associated Press reported. Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Dziedziczak called Bodnar’s comment “scandalous,” untrue and added it “disqualifies him from public life,” according to the AP.

Bodnar, who frequently criticizes the government on human rights issues, quickly apologized for the remarks, saying he meant only to note that some Poles had committed crimes against Jews.

The German occupation of Poland was exceptionally brutal, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A Polish government-in-exile was established in London. In addition to at least 3 million Jewish Poles murdered by the Nazis, the Germans killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians during World War II. Hundreds of thousands more were imprisoned or expelled.

Still, the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party has been seen as especially assertive in trying to suppress scholars and journalists who have discussed the culpability of individual Poles in the persecution of Jews.



Chilean police made public on Thursday archive documents relating to its investigation during World War Two that uncovered how Nazi supporters aided the Third Reich, including supplying information and plans to bomb mines in Chile.

Young members of families of German descent in southern Chile underwent paramilitary training, while Nazi supporters in the country routinely sent Germany information about the routes of Allied merchant vessels, the documents showed.


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The discovery comes the same week that a cache of Nazi artifacts was found hidden behind a bookcase in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital.

There was significant support within Chile and Argentina of the Axis powers during World War Two. After the war, many leading Nazi officials fled justice in Europe to hide out in South America.

Chilean police had arrested around 40 people as a result of their investigation, the documents showed, and found code books, radios and weapons, as well as plans to bomb mines in northern Chile.

The 80 files of documents were officially handed over to the country’s national archives office on Thursday and will be available for public viewing.

“Until yesterday, this was a state secret,” center-left lawmaker Gabriel Silber said after a ceremony to hand over the files. “Maybe, from today, we are going to recognize an uncomfortable truth that unfortunately some political and business figures in Chile supported the Nazis.”

One year on, Brexit vote casts specter of anti-Semitism over UK Jews

LONDON — As political earthquakes go, that which Britain experienced on June 23 last year can justifiably be said to register high on the Richter scale. The vote to leave the European Union was the most significant and consequential event in the UK’s post-war history. Its tremors continue to convulse Britain’s body politic and will do so long after Brexit is scheduled to occur in 2019.

A poll for the Jewish Chronicle on the eve of the referendum suggested that Britain’s Jews were slightly more in favor of the UK remaining in the EU than Britons in general. Forty-eight percent planned to vote “remain,” while just over one-third — 34% — intended to vote “leave.” At the same time, divisions within the community — much higher support for the EU among the young, the north leaning more towards “leave” with London heavily backing “remain” — mirrored those in the country as a whole.

However, given the widespread view that, albeit narrowly, Britain would not turn its back on its 40-year membership of Europe, few predicted a particular impact on Jews if the country did vote to leave.

Like much else about Brexit, that forecast has been turned upon its head. The steep rise in hate crimeswhich followed the referendum result unsettled many Jews, including those who had voted to leave.

Broadcaster and journalist Angela Epstein, for instance, backed Brexit after deciding that, with the specter of the far right on the march across Europe, British Jews would be safer off out of the EU. She soon came to regret her decision, writing last August that “in voting Brexit as a kind of preemptive and protective move against European anti-Semitism and bigotry, I neglected to foresee the fallout in my own country.”

“How long will it take for the searchlight of racism to sweep across other minority communities, like, well, the Jews?” she asked.

UK Independence Party Leader (UKIP) Nigel Farage in front of a 'Breaking Point' billboard that has been called racist on June 16, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-Olivas)

One year on, that fear remains for many. Economic uncertainty — a prolonged “phony war” after the referendum when the British economy cruised smoothly onwards now appears to have come to a shuddering halt — has been compounded by political instability in the wake of this month’s inconclusive general election result.

Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust views Brexit as “a fundamental part of the deepening mood of uncertainty and division pervading Britain.” He believes that it is “hard to imagine that this overall climate will do anything other than help fuel anti-Semitism, especially where Jews and Zionists are blamed or hated as somehow being part of the establishment, much as we have seen in France in recent years.”

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, accompanied by her husband Philip, leaves after delivering a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London on June 9, 2017 as results from a snap general election show the Conservatives have lost their majority. (AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL)

However, Stephen Pollard, the “leave-voting” editor of the Jewish Chronicle, disagrees that Brexit is responsible for nurturing an atmosphere of bigotry that poses risks for Jews. EU membership, he contends, renders voters in its nation states “powerless to change many of the basic aspects of their governance.” The resulting frustration — the perception that “voters are [being] ignored and told they have to do what their betters demand” — has fed the rise of the far right.

‘As Jews we know who bears the brunt of “saviors” who promise to represent the views of the hitherto ignored’

“As Jews we know who bears the brunt of… ‘saviors’ who promise to represent the views of the hitherto ignored,” Pollard argues. “Brexit is not the progenitor of intolerance but its antidote.”

Nonetheless, just as the referendum sparked an outpouring of anti-immigrant sentiment, so the triggering of Article 50 in March — the formal notification of Britain’s intention to leave — and the increasingly hard line stance adopted by Prime Minister Theresa May provoked an anti-Brexit backlash at the polls two weeks ago.

The aftermath of the general election

The general election — “the revenge of the ‘remainers,’” in the words of political scientist Robert Ford — allowed Labour to make unexpected gains and deprive May of her majority in parliament.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators, calling on the British government to invoke article 50 immediately, and urging them not to hold a second referendum, shout slogans and hold placards as they protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London, September 5, 2016. (AFP/JUSTIN TALLIS)

Ironically, given Jeremy Corbyn’s lackluster performance during the referendum campaign — the result, many suspected, of his own longstanding hostility to the “capitalist” EU — the Labour leader has now emerged as the principal and undeserving beneficiary of this revolt by young, urban and liberal Britons appalled by May’s Brexit plans.

As has been widely noted, the so-called “Corbyn surge” during the general election unsurprisingly stalled when it reached the “bagel belt” of North London seats. Indeed, new researchby Dr. Daniel Allington of Leicester University indicates that constituencies in London with the highest number of Jewish voters showed the lowest increase in the Labour vote.

In the context of the strong correlation between voting “remain” in the referendum and Labour in the general election, Corbyn’s lack of appeal to Jewish voters is graphically illustrated by the party’s failure to capture Finchley and Golders Green, where only 31% of voters backed “leave” last June, or Hendon, where nearly 60% of the electorate voted to stay in the EU.

Satirical artist Kaya Mar poses with a Brexit-themed artwork depicting British Prime Minister Theresa May, as he stands outside the Supreme Court, opposite the Houses of Parliament, in central London on January 24, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Jonathan Brady)

None of that escapes the fact that, in the aftermath of the general election, Labour — just weeks ago dogged by allegations of tolerating anti-Semitism in its ranks under a far-left leader who counts Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” — now looks closer to power than at any time since it lost office in 2010.

As one senior Jewish Labour source suggests: “Brexit has upended British politics. The anger many young people rightly feel about it has been captured and exploited by Corbyn. It’s one of the main reasons he might now end up in No.10 [Downing Street, the prime minister’s office]. That once-unthinkable consequence is one of Brexit’s many pernicious effects.”

Boston event commends Nazi-era citizens’ acts of virtue, even as their judges abetted genocide



BOSTON — The role of judges in facilitating the Nazi regime’s march toward genocide was probed during a presentation hosted by justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week.

The gathering was tied to an exhibit currently on display in Boston’s John Adams Courthouse, called “Reflections on Law, Justice and the Holocaust.” Created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the installation is part of the museum’s outreach to legal professionals around the country.

“Indeed, law was part of the Holocaust,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard University’s Law School, during the June 12 gathering attended by 50 legal professionals, including the court’s chief justice, Ralph Gants.

Illustrating the power of judges to erode or — conversely — green-light a genocidal regime’s policies, Minow referenced the courts in Nazi-occupied France. To please the Nazis, Vichy legal authorities implemented racial laws with unprecedented speed. As Minow put it, “judges raced to create even more onerous laws” than were practiced in Germany.

An expert on military justice, Minow spoke about serving on the Kosovo post-conflict peace commission 18 years ago. Time and again, said Minow, people in the region told her that “independent courts” were needed if the former Yugoslavia was to heal. In addition to restoring public confidence, courts can punish the perpetrators of atrocities, set up “truth commissions,” and ensure victims receive reparations, said Minow.

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow speaks about law and the Holocaust at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

Apart from due process, Minow said that all societies need “upstanders” – people who resist injustice by attempting to correct it.

“The responsibility for justice is in the hands of the people, said Minow. “The willingness of bystanders let’s bad things happen. That permits something like the Holocaust to happen.”

Minow recommended focusing on “the banality of virtue” — a spin on philosopher Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil” assertion, wherein Nazi perpetrators were motivated not by ideology, but by ordinary social needs. Examples of wartime virtue are found in the Holocaust museum’s 13-panel exhibit, including some of the individuals, groups and countries that rescued Jews from Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution,” in which 6 million Jews were murdered.

Ruins of a gas chamber-crematorium facility at Auschwitz-Birkenau, known as Krematorium II, photographed in November 2015. (Matt Lebovic/The Times of Israel)

Appearing in the courthouse until November 17, the exhibit frames German judges and courts as the key rubber-stamps for Hitler’s policies. Years before Germany’s descent to genocide, Third Reich citizens with dissenting opinions were sent to concentration camps. The legal framework for those camps, along with Nazi racial laws, was upheld by thousands of law professionals.

“Judges were among those inside Germany who might have changed the course of history by challenging the legitimacy of the Nazi regime and hundreds of laws that restricted political freedoms and civil rights,” according to the USHMM website.

‘Close communal ties’

Like Harvard’s Minow, Boston-based attorney Mike Ross believes in the power of upstanders to alter history — or at least the trajectory of a family.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Ross’s father, Steve Ross, was hidden by Polish farmers for several months. Despite being captured and surviving atrocious camps for the war’s duration, the now 90-year-old Ross has always framed the Holocaust in terms of people’s basic decency, his son told the courthouse gathering.

Boston attorney and former City Council head Mike Ross, the son of Holocaust survivor Steve Ross, speaks about the Shoah at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

Recently, 45-year-old Mike Ross visited Poland to locate sites related to his father’s past. The former Boston City Council head was particularly curious about the Polish farmers who hid his father during the start of the Nazi occupation. By the end of 1943, most of Ross’s family had been murdered at the death camp Treblinka, where up to 900,000 Jews were killed in 15 months. In occupied Poland, the penalty for sheltering Jews was far harsher than in Germany, and sometimes included the murder of the rescuer’s entire family.

The other prominent example of upstanders changing Steve Ross’s life, explained his son, came at the end of the war, when Dachau was liberated by US forces. Emaciated but elated to have survived, Ross was greeted by a soldier who embraced him with a hug and food. The G.I. also handed Ross a piece of cloth to dry his tears, which turned out to be a 48-star American flag.

“That just changed his life,” said Mike Ross of his father’s first encounter with American freedom during the liberation of Dachau.

In recent months, a film about Steve Ross has been screening in New England. Titled, “Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross,” the documentary begins with the survivor’s seven-decade search for the soldier who embraced him that day in Dachau. Ross’s long career as a social worker with at-risk youth is probed, as is his campaign to erect the New England Holocaust Memorial, where quotes from Shoah victims are literally etched in glass.

In the assessment of Mike Ross, ordinary Americans could have made more of a difference during Nazi Germany’s lead-up to genocide. Specifically, Americans were widely opposed to allowing more Jewish refugees to enter the country, said Ross, who was appointed in 2014 to serve on the USHMM Council. Even after the harrowing “Kristallnacht” pogrom in Germany, explained Ross, most Americans were against letting a mere 10,000 Jewish children into the country.

From Polish farmers risking their lives to hide Jews, to Danish sailors ferrying Jews to safety, Holocaust research shows that most upstanders were motivated more by what Minow called “close communal ties,” than by ideology or religious beliefs. In other words, people stood up for Jews because they knew and interacted with them on a daily basis.

Created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, an exhibit on the role of judges in Nazi Germany is on display in the Great Hall of the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

“[Jews] who were better integrated and had more contacts with non-Jews were more likely to pursue the evasion strategy and had a higher likelihood of survival than those who had no friends or spoke broken Polish,” wrote researcher Evgeny Finkel in his 2017 book, “Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust.”

Despite the presence of upstanders in occupied Poland, there were not enough of them to save 3 million Polish Jews. An additional 3 million ethnic Poles were murdered by the Nazis, beginning with the liquidation of Polish leaders. Under these circumstances, attempting to rescue Jews was not a snap decision for most people.

“The rescuers, even if guided by altruism, tended to help Jews they knew personally,” wrote Finkel. “It is unclear if they would have gone to the same lengths to help complete strangers.”

Attendees at a presentation on the role of judges in Nazi Germany, held at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

NJ college recalls hosting US-Russia summit after Six Day War

AP — As relations between the US and Russia make daily headlines over election meddling and Moscow’s growing global influence, a New Jersey town is marking the 50th anniversary of when leaders of the world’s two superpowers gathered at a small liberal arts college to talk through similarly turbulent times.

Soviet Premier Alexi Kosygin sent a message to President Lyndon Johnson as the Six Day War between Israel and Arab states raged in 1967, in hopes of ensuring the conflict did not escalate into world war. The leaders decided to meet, but the Cold War atmosphere required negotiations for picking the site.

They looked for a spot nearly equal distance between New York and Washington, selecting what was then Glassboro State College to host the hastily arranged summit 50 years ago this weekend in the college president’s mansion called Hollybush.

“It was one of the most quickly arranged summits,” said Professor Jeremi Suri, of the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. “The majority of the planning was aimed at controlling events from spinning out of control.”

The talks from June 23-25, 1967, were the first meeting between the two leaders and the first between US and Soviet leaders since President John F. Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1961.

While it didn’t lead to any important agreements on the Mideast conflict, nuclear arms control or the Vietnam war, historians believe the “Spirit of Glassboro” offered lessons for future summits.

“When nations have deeply different positions, as we do on these issues, they do not come to agreement merely by improving their understanding of each other’s views,” Johnson told the nation in a televised address after the summit. “But such improvement helps.”

Retired ambassador and arms negotiator William Courtney sees parallels between the summit at Glassboro and current relations between Washington and Moscow, pointing out there’s not the slightest hint the Russians are ready to adjust their positions on Ukraine or Syria.

“There is a new, untested US president and both sides are dug into their positions. It’s hard to find any progress for success,” added Courtney, who is also an adjunct senior fellow with nonprofit think tank, the Rand Corporation.

Courtney said it’s vital for President Donald Trump and his administration to be as prepared as possible before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Hamburg summit next month.

Glassboro State College is now known as Rowan University, and the community on Saturday will remember the summit with tours, memorabilia displays and a dinner with food inspired by the summit’s menu.

“The word that comes to mind is ‘astonished,’” said university vice president emeritus Thomas Gallia, a graduate student at the time.

The school was transformed overnight, including the installation of 16 air conditioners in school president Thomas Robinson’s home, Gallia said. Media also descended, including an Associated Press reporter who convinced the owner of a home across from the mansion to let the news service use it as an office.

The home belonged to the parents of Nick Petroni, who was 18 years old at the time and had just returned home from the University of Notre Dame. His father allowed some 20 reporters, photographers and technicians to set up shop for no charge.

“They put all kinds of phone lines in our home and set up a darkroom in our basement. I got enlisted as a film carrier,” Petroni said.

His mother fed the team and Petroni received a $100 savings bond for his help.

After the summit ended, the college president returned to find that the chairs used by Johnson and Kosygin, and which belonged to his wife, were missing.

Gallia said Johnson soon told Robinson that he had White House carpenters make replicas, which were shipped to Hollybush, while the originals were sent to the LBJ Library.

National Socialism Set to Music



The Bayreuth Festival symbolises Europe’s centuries old struggle for its existence. Richard Wagner, (1813 – 1883) the great German composer, chose Bayreuth for a number of sound reasons. Primarily, the maestro believed that his unique works should not share the same stage with the music of others. The Bayreuth Festival was destined to showcase only Wagnerian epics.

Attracting funding to finance the project was problematic. The Bayreuth Festival was unlikely to be other than an unfulfilled dream. Finally, the almost estranged King Ludwig II of Bavaria stepped in and provided the necessary resources. Bayreuth theatre was finally opened in August 1876 much to the relief of the great German composer and others who shared his vision. The first performance was Das Rheingold.

Artistically the pioneering venture was a fabulous success. It would be difficult to identify a single head of state, let alone accomplished musician, who failed to make the pilgrimage to the Bayreuth Festival. Unfortunately, the annual event fell short of being a box office success. Rescue was at hand; the doyens of great music and culture were generous. The show goes on and on and on.

Wahnfried was the name given by Richard Wagner to his villa in Bayreuth. The name is a German compound of Wahn (delusion, madness) and Fried (e), (peace, freedom). The house fascia reveals Wagner’s motto Hier wo mein Wähnen Frieden fand, Wahnfried, sei dieses Haus von mir benannt. (Here where my delusions have found peace, let this place be named Wahnfried.)

Siegfried Wagner (1869 – 1930) followed in his father’s footsteps and excelled as both composer and conductor. Siegfried served as artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival from 1908 to 1930. The Bayreuth Festival’s orchestral conductor was the maternal grandson of Franz Liszt. From the Hungarian-born German composer Siegfried received some instruction in harmony.

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Winifred Williams (1897 – 1980) born in Hastings, England, was destined to marry both Siegfried Wagner and the festival of Bayreuth.

It was an unusual destiny for an English-born orphan. Winifred lost both her parents before she was two-years old. The child was initially raised in a number of homes. When she was eight-years old Winifred was embraced by a distant German relative of her mother, Henrietta Karop; her adoptive mum was married to musician Karl Klindworth: Winifred’s adoptive parents were friends of Richard Wagner.

Siegfried Wagner was 45-years of age when on September 22, 1915 he placed the wedding ring on the finger of his 17-year old bride. The couple were to have four children; two sons and two daughters: Wieland (1917 -–1966), Friedelind (1918 -1991), Wolfgang (1919 – 2010) and Verena (born 1920)

After Siegfried Wagner’s passing on in 1930 Winifred Wagner took over the management of the Bayreuth Festival and she maintained the position until the war’s end. Winifred’s respect and admiration of Adolf Hitler over many years developed into a close relationship that many thought might end in marriage.

The Führer, dressed in gala, on the way to the Opera Theatre in Bayreuth.

The spirit of the Bayreuth Festival infused the National Socialist German Workers Party’s (NSDAP). Symbolic of Europe’s traditions, culture, virtues and struggles, Wagnerian epics encapsulated the divine purpose and enduring nobility of National Socialism.

Of Richard Wagner, Adolf Hitler said; “Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner.”

During the 1930s until its military defeat in May 1945 the National Socialist religion was universally acclaimed as a harbinger of peace and a force of salvation from collaborating Capitalism and Communism (Bolshevism). Throughout the world, National Socialism was embraced as a religious phenomenon. Adolf Hitler was perceived by many as evidence of the Second Coming.

Adolf Hitler accompanied by the Wagner family. Wolfgang Wagner (second left) with his brother Wieland (right), his mother Winifred at Bayreuth, 1937.

The relationship between the Führer, Winifred Wagner and Richard Wagner’s music is intense. The German President and Chancellor from 1933 to 1940 attended all Bayreuth festivals.

The German leader stayed on average ten days at each Bayreuth festival. However, on the occasion of the 1940 Festival the Führer said: “This year, unfortunately, due to the demands of the war that England does not want to end, I will only remain in Bayreuth today.” The Führer on another occasion said; “In Bayreuth I have lived some of the most beautiful moments of my life.”

At Wagner’s residence, where he has been received as a guest year after year, the poet, artist and visionary enjoyed authentic family life.

Adolf Hitler with Verena and Friedelind Wagner in 1938.

Hitler treated Winifred and Siegfried’s children as family. The siblings knew their mentor and patron as Uncle Adolf. Neither of the Wagner sons would serve in the armed forces. It had already been decided that “Germany could not be allowed to lose Richard Wagner’s heritage on the battlefields.”

August Kubizek was a boyhood friend of Adolf Hitler. Having much in common the teenage idealists were absorbed by great classical music. Their taste however was consumed by the works of the Leipzig born musician, Richard Wagner.

During his short stay in Bayreuth during 1940 the Führer had occasion to meet again his childhood companion. To his friend he entrusted the following words:

Left the young Hitler and to the right Kubizek.

“This war is depriving me of my best years. You know how much I still have to do, what I still want to build. You know better than anyone all those plans that kept me busy from my youth. I have only been able to carry out a small fraction of it. I still have a lot of things to do. Who would if not?”

The Führer, an idealist, poet and lover of the arts, constantly yearned to create a great German social state. He held the view that the pseudo-democratic plutocracies, envious and fearful of someone demonstrating that things can work otherwise, imposed upon him a war of annihilation.

During their youth the two friends shared rooms on the same student floor in Vienna. It was the Führer who at 18 years of age had convinced Kubizek’s father to let his son go to the city and study in the conservatory. This act of wisdom and true friendship changed the life of August Kubizek and allowed the dreamer to fulfil his dream of becoming orchestra director.

Recommended: Odyssey Adolf Hitler: The Remarkable Life of Europe’s Redeemer.

VIDEO: Documentary about the Wagner family, memoirs of contemporaries about the Führer, documentary chronicle about the Festival in Bayreuth.  (German language but perfectly understandable)

‘Modern-Day Slavery’: Many Southern States Have Prison Inmates Working in Governor’s Mansions and Capitol Buildings

When activist Sam Sinyangwe was awaiting a meeting with the governor’s office at the Louisiana state capitol building in Baton Rouge, he noticed something odd. A black man in a dark-blue jumpsuit was printing papers while a correctional guard—with a badge and gun—stood watching over him. The pair stood out against the white, middle-aged legislators populating the building.

Sinyangwe said he did not know exactly what he was looking at, until he saw another black man in the same dark-blue outfit serving food at the capitol building’s cafeteria. This time, Sinyangwe noticed that the man had a patch on his chest labeling him a prisoner of the Louisiana State Department of Corrections, complete with an identification number.

Sinyangwe realized that the server, the man printing papers and the other people working in the lunch line were all prisoners.

Inmates working at the capitol building in Baton Rouge is a common sight. Prisoners work in the Louisiana governor’s mansion and inmates clean up after Louisiana State University football games as well. But the labor practice of having inmates work in state government buildings extends beyond Louisiana; at least six other states in the U.S. allow for this practice: Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Georgia.

The inmates allowed to work in the capitol or at the governor’s mansion are fairly low in number and are carefully screened. According to NOLA.com, about 20 to 25 people work daily in the capitol, and 15 to 18 other inmates work as groundskeepers outside the building. The inmates may not be serving a sentence for a sex crime or a violent offense like murder and must have a history of good behavior while incarcerated and display good work ethic. Furthermore, only inmates at the Dixon Correctional Institute (a men-only facility) can work at the capitol, as it is only 30 miles away.

A similar process occurs in Georgia, where inmates must receive a referral from the Board of Pardons of Parole or the Classification Committee within a state prison. Working at the governor’s mansion in Georgia is contingent upon an inmate’s criminal history, their behavior while incarcerated and their release date, among other factors.

The inmates perform janitorial tasks such as cleaning the floors or the offices of state legislators. In the Louisiana capitol, inmates also perform small tasks for legislators like grabbing lunch for them.

While inmates working in state government buildings are dutifully screened, they are not much better paid than prisoners with other jobs. In Louisiana, inmates in the capitol are paid between 2 and 20 cents per hour. They could opt for earning good-time credit toward early release, but only if they qualify. And with a normal workday of at least 12 hours—from 5 in the morning to at least 5 in the afternoon, barring legislative sessions when inmates work more than 12 hours—the prisoners make between 24 cents and $2.40 a day. Inmates working in the governor’s mansion in Missouri recently got a small pay raise to $1.25 an hour to make about $10 per day. With the previous arrangement, prisoners earned $9 a day. In Arkansas, the prisoners are not paid at all.

History of the practice

The practice of using prison inmates as laborers stretches back to the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. As more black people were freed from slavery, the plantation economy of the South began to falter with the loss of their primary form of labor. The result was the establishment of vagrancy laws, which specifically targeted black communities, in an effort to incarcerate more black people and force them to work once again.

Even the name given to prisoners who work as servants in governor’s mansions and capitol buildings in some states—trustee—is the same title that was given to prisoners who worked as overseers on infamous prison plantations such as Angola and Parchman. Prison plantations began replacing the convict lease system in the 1920s as a way for prisoners, an overwhelming majority of whom were black men, to work. Back then, it was considered a privilege to be an overseer on a plantation, and the same narrative goes for inmates working in governor’s mansions today.

“All of this, it looks very familiar: having black laborers toiling in the fields under the eye of overseers and having a white governor served by people drawn from that same forced labor pool,” said Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the ACLU.

Since then, prisoners have been used as underpaid and unpaid laborers, from private companies to state government buildings. The legal loophole that allows this practice to continue is the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. While the 13th Amendment is best known for abolishing slavery, a clause in the amendment stipulates for the continued legality of slavery within the criminal justice system.

The clause reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

“If somebody is being subjected to forced labor as part of their sentence in a criminal proceeding, then that is outside the scope of the 13th Amendment,” Takei said.

Modern-day slavery?

Hillary Clinton made waves for a passage in her 1996 book It Takes A Village when a Twitter user posted photos of a passage in the memoir where Clinton talks about the prisoners who worked in the governor’s mansion. The passage quickly spread through social media, with many people criticizingClinton and calling the practice a form of modern-day slavery.

Both Sinyangwe and Takei agree that the current system is exploitative in that inmates who work are barely paid.

“When you lock people up and force them to work without providing them a fair wage, that’s called slavery,” Takei said.

Despite scrutiny from criminal justice advocates, many corrections departments in states that still use this practice have justified it on the grounds that having inmates work reduces recidivism rates and is more beneficial to them overall.

Joseph Nix, director of executive security at the governor’s mansion in Mississippi, told the Los Angeles Times in 1988 that the inmates “tend to make the best workers.”

George Lombardi, the Missouri Department of Corrections director, defendedthe department’s work release program, in which one of the jobs includes working at the governor’s mansion. About 700 of the 30,000 inmates in the state’s prison system are part of the work release program.

Lombardi told Missourinet the program “instills great work ethic, pride, self-esteem and compassion in offenders.”

“It really cuts to the core philosophy of our department, which is in addition to the time you have to serve, you have another obligation to help your community if possible,” Lombardi said. “So we present you with opportunities to do that in the form of work release and/or our restorative justice efforts that we have throughout the system.”

Paula Earls, executive director of the governor’s mansion in Missouri, told the Los Angeles Times in 1998 that there have been no problems with inmates and touted the benefits of having inmates work at the mansion.

“We’re their last leg before they get out to society,” she said. “I treat them like staff. I appreciate the work they do. They are ready to go back out and make something of themselves and we hope we help with that.”

Sinyangwe said these justifications for using inmate labor share similarities with the justifications people used for slavery—that it helped civilize black slaves and increased their work ethic.

“When you read the history books about the Antebellum South, those are the same arguments being used,” he said. “So I’m not persuaded by them. I don’t think they’re original or new.”

Arguments that inmate labor can prepare prisoners for integrating into the outside world once they are released also lose weight because of how difficult it is for former prisoners even to get a job to begin with. The hiring practice of asking applicants to indicate their criminal history on job applications has a harmful effect on ex-convicts, as they are less likely to get called back. These results skew along racial lines, as a study by Harvard sociologist Devah Pager found that only 5 percent of black men with a criminal conviction hear back from potential employers. The research also showed that black men with no criminal convictions are less likely to get hired than white men with criminal convictions—14 percent for black men with no record compared to 17 percent of white men with a criminal record.

Wendy Sawyer, a policy analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative, said a larger issue than recidivism are the economic and racial barriers inmates face once they are released.

“Everyone’s upset about recidivism rates, and it’s all about trying to keep people out once they’re out,” she said. “But then we make it as impossible as we can for that to work for people….We set up all these barriers that make it difficult for people to get their lives back together.”

Arguments about recidivism and psychological benefits aside, another factor driving this practice is its cost-cutting benefits for the state. Because inmates are severely underpaid or not paid at all for their work, the state saves money on every prisoner working in the capitol or the governor’s mansion by not having to shell out the minimum wage to compensate them. This was the case in Louisiana when inmates began working in the capitol in 1990, as the state was experiencing a financial crisis. Inmates working at the governor’s mansion were also employed as a cost-saving measure.

Takei said these arguments made to justify the practice do not excuse the fact that it is a deeply exploitative system.

“The fact that performing particular tasks may be part of a rehabilitation strategy doesn’t excuse the fact that the people in these positions are denied a fair wage and the labor protections they would be entitled to if they were performing the same work on the outside,” he said.

Sawyer noted that the greater underlying problem is that the prison system in the U.S. is hardly rehabilitative. “It’s really just punitive,” she said. “It’s just people sitting there, kind of locked out of society.”

Remembering the big picture

While the practice of using inmate labor in capitol buildings and governor’s mansions largely stays under the radar, it speaks to a larger issue in the prison labor system. As a whole, inmates who work while incarcerated, whether for a private company, for the state or even within the prison, make little to no money. This is despite the fact that in federal prisons, 100 percent of able-bodied inmates are required to work, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. In addition, the average rate of minimum wage for inmates paid by the state is 93 cents, while the average maximum wage is $4.73.

Takei said prisoners working in the governor’s mansion or the capitol building are caught between a rock and a hard place.

“If your choice is between getting paid zero dollars an hour or being paid 25 cents an hour, oftentimes you’ll choose 25 cents an hour because you need that money, ” he said.

Sinyangwe said that at the very least, prisoners who are working should get paid a minimum wage for their labor. He noted that reducing recidivism rates could be better accomplished if prisoners earned an adequate wage and could either save the money or spend the money while incarcerated on services like calling family members or buying commissary items. He added that in states like Louisiana—one of the poorest states in the country—families of inmates are often financially struggling and shoulder many of the costs their family member incurs while in prison.

“I think it would be incredibly impactful to reduce the recidivism rates by making sure that when people get out of jail, they actually have money to actually start a life,” he said. “That they are not forced to go back into the informal economy or committing crimes just to make a living.”

Takei echoed this sentiment. “I doubt that if you talk to any of the people who are working as servants in the governor’s mansion that they would object to the idea of actually being paid a fair wage for their work,” he said.

Takei acknowledged that reforming the prison labor system would be difficult, given the precedent set by the 13th Amendment that legalizes this form of modern-day slavery. A number of courts around the country have also affirmed that prisoners are not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act or the National Labor Relations Act.

There is also the complacency of state legislators and governors who interact with these inmates every day, but have not taken any action to better their circumstances.

“These were the legislators who had the power to change those dynamics, and yet who are benefiting by preserving them,” Sinyangwe said.

Sawyer added that the issue has become a missed opportunity for progressives in particular to draw more attention to a practice that is essentially hiding in plain sight.

“They’re in the state buildings. They’re in our places of government,” she said. “And we’re accepting that that’s how this country’s going to be.…Our state governments are going to benefit from that kind of labor. It feels like kind of a passive acceptance.”

Since witnessing the inmates working in the Baton Rouge capitol building, Sam Sinyangwe said he has been looking at methods of reform, whether that involves administrative regulation, a legislative change or even a constitutional amendment to revise the loophole in the 13th Amendment. But he has not lost sight of the broader goal: ending mass incarceration.

“What I would like to see, one, is that we are moving to end mass incarceration,” he said, “to repeal the policies and the draconian sentencing laws that got us to this place.”

Celisa Calacal is a junior writing fellow for AlterNet. She is a senior journalism major and legal studies minor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Previously she worked at ThinkProgress and served as an editor for Ithaca College’s student newspaper. Follow her at @celisa_mia.