Mitchel Cohen interviews radical journalist, author and philosopher John ‘Tito’
Gerassi in 2010. This remarkable, wonderful comrade and story teller died in July, 2012.

Gerassi was writing for the NY Times in 1962 and later Newsweek when he
was sent to cover Che Guevara shortly after the revolution in Cuba. He
and Che became friends, and here Gerassi gives riveting anecdotes of
those times, including the CIA’s attempt to poison Fidel Castro, and why
one ended up poisoning him and 5 other journalists but left Fidel

Gerassi, whose godfather was none other than famed French philosopher
Jean-Paul Sartre and whose parents were participants in the Spanish Civil
War (his father became a General conducting the defense of Barcelona
against the fascists), discusses all aspects of his life with Mitchel
Cohen, Robert Gold, Linda Zises, and college students Malika and Joe.


ON PINOCHET’S CAPTURE (song by Mitchel Cohen & Victor Jara)

Song by Mitchel Cohen and Victor Jara
click here to listen



Words & Music by MITCHEL COHEN

I awoke one day it was early September
A prisoner in my own land
For fighting against the war that my country
Was waging against Vietnam
How sad I remember it came over the news
Jangling the bars to my cell
That Chile had fallen, the great eagle’s talons
Had gauged out its insides, 10,000 slaughtered
And Chile, O Chile fell to the fascists
Socialist Chile fell.

I leaped from my bunk to the bars like a madman
Desperate to bend them escape
Riverhead prison had hold of my body
But my heart Santiago did take
As Pinochet swept through the gray streets at dawn
And murdered all who’d protest
“I protest. I protest, you bastards let me out”
I screamed and a guard sneered: “You’re next.”

Continue reading »


Nelson Mandela is now widely seen as a hero, exemplifying what is best in the human spirit. But some of those same folks today extolling Mandela’s virtues are also the ones who locked him in South Africa’s dungeons and condemned him for taking up arms against the vicious Apartheid regime.

One of Mandela’s equally heroic comrades was Dennis Brutus, the great poet, thinker and revolutionary. CLICK HERE to hear Mitchel Cohen’s interview with Dennis Brutus, who died four years ago.

Right near the beginning, Dennis reflects on the time that Nelson Mandela while underground came to his apartment to hide out from the apartheid death squads funded by the United States government and multinational corporations.

Below is a photo of Dennis Brutus with our hearty band of n’er-do-wells at dinner in Park Slope, Brooklyn, following the radio interview in July 2008. Dennis died on December 26, 2009 at 85 years of age.

Dinner in Brooklyn (July, 2008) with Dennis Brutus. From Left (clockwise): Robert Gold, Dennis Brutus, Shaune Velasquez, Murray Gordon, Alison Cichowski, Cathryn Swan, Frank LeFever, Mitchel Cohen


Detroit: Night of The Wolves [CLICK HERE] — Class war against the working class. (December 5, 2013)



WBAI radio’s Robert Knight writes:

Wednesday night on WBAI’s “Earthwatch with Robert Knight,” a tribute to the late Father Paul Mayer:

Civil rights leader, environmentalist and global humanitarian, The Rev. Paul Mayer, passed away on November 22nd. Tonight we shall hear Father Paul in conversation with WBAI’s “Earthwatch” and “Five O’Clock Shadow.” So please join us on WBAI-99.5 / at Midnight Wednesday-Thursday for an Earthwatch celebration of a Conscience for the Generations!  LISTEN HERE.

Hear Fr. Paul Mayer’s own words, CLICK HERE, while being arrested at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

Paul Mayer’s more than half century of service to the earth has included eighteen years as a Benedictine monk, involvement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement in the South, work in the barrios of Central America, participation in the effort to end the war in Vietnam as well as co-founding peace and environmental organizations.

Mayer’s childhood experience as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany inspired him to co-found Children of War, a youth leadership organization that helped transform the lives of teenage survivors of international and domestic wars.

Mayer’s commitment to global peace, social justice, ecology, non-violent social change explores the link between spirituality and activism. He is a Yoga practitioner and teacher. He has an active wedding ministry as a non-canonical, formerly married priest.


WBAI's Michael G. Haskins welcomes the audience & speakers on behalf of WBAI radio.

Listen to STEAL THIS RADIO SHOW November 18, 2013. Benefit for WBAI. Recorded in NYC before a live and interactive audience. EXCERPT: Bill Ayers & President Barack Obama

Mitchel Cohen auctions off original copies the the Weather Underground's 1973 book, "Prairie Fire", to benefit WBAI radio.

Bernardine, Bill, Mitchel, & Rachel


Something fun to read with our families around the dinner table Thursday.

On Thanksgiving morning 2003, George W. Bush showed up in Iraq before sunrise for a photo-op, wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers. He cradled a platter with what appeared to be a golden-brown turkey. Washington Post reporter Mike Allen wrote that “the bird looks perfect, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.”

As the world was soon to learn (but quickly forgot), the turkey platter was a phony, a plastic decoration that Bush posed with for the cameras. Bush shook a few hands, said a few “God Bless Americas,” and scurried back to his plane as quickly as he had arrived.

Thus, in one fell swoop, the new Conquistador had tied to history’s bloody bough the 511-year-old conquest of the “New World” ­ whose legions smote the indigenous population in the name of Christ ­ with the U.S. government’s bombardment and invasion of Iraq and the torture-detentions of prisoners of war at U.S. military bases.

Read More of Mitchel Cohen’s Why I Hate Thanksgiving HERE

Also, Glen Ford, The End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing

and Robert Jensen,



This morning on WBAI (listener-sponsored, free-speech, non-commercial radio), Bob Hennelly advised listeners to “thank the veterans” for serving “our” country and protecting us.

What a crock!

It’s not “our” military, “our” war against Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s theirs. The rulers. The one-percent.

The fact is in this day and age, no one fights for their country. They fight for the interests of those in power (or hope to become one!), the capitalist class, who turn them into murderers and send them to war on a pocketful of broken promises and lies.

Why only our veterans? According to the media pundits, service in a country’s military is seen as a wonderful thing. Well, what about all those in other lands who fought for their countries? Is God on “our” side … only? What kind of God would be on the side of our country, only? our city, only? our white (or brown, or red) people, only? our team, only? our family, only?

Yayyy, GO TEAM!

When a baseball batter hits a home run, circles the bases and points “to God” in appreciation, should the pitcher who gave up the home run similarly look skyward and give God a different finger?

Since when did praying become a contest — a forum for lobbying God, bending his ear?

Where do these religious-infused petty nationalisms end?

There’s a reason why today’s holiday used to be known as Armistice Day – the day the PEACE was signed to end World War 1. They changed it to “Veterans Day”, just as the Department of War was changed (through various permutations) to the Department of Defense — to propagandize the masses into accepting war as natural and those who fight in it as what you do to become a “man”. To win, in military parlance, “the hearts and minds of the people,” at home as well as abroad. To conquer … us.

So — contra Hennelly — thank people in the military who resist orders to kill; thank them when they reject orders to steal resources and oppress others.

Thank those, in Marine Corps Commander Smedley Butler’s words, who refuse to be a hit man for Wall Street.

And, thank people when they refuse the call-up, dodge the draft, flea to Canada or Sweden, go to prison, turn the guns around (!) to protect the real values of America, the America that should be but never was.

Should we help our returning veterans, who have been so gratuitously thrown onto the rubble heap and left with physical and mental wounds festering, and who have become homeless, jobless, suicides? Well, yes we must — not because they’re veterans but because they’re human beings, same as for every human being who is suffering those horrible fates.

Thank those who spurn the twistories, and celebrate what it means to be human in an era of robots.

Forgive me if I now turn off the radio to start my day, so I can think about our great history of resistance, instead of the mealy mouthed glorification of the warrior offered this morning on WBAI (listener-sponsored, free-speech, non-commercial radio), and everywhere else.

Click also on: For Each & Every Warrior Whose Strength Is Not to Fight.


I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps.

I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers.

In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical of everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for the American oil interests in 1914.

I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.

I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912.

I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.

I helped make Honduras ‘right’ for American fruit companies in 1903.

In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.

Statement of Gen. David Shoup, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1960-63), winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor


I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own … and if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the “haves” refuse to share with the “have-nots” by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don’t want and above all don’t want crammed down their throats by Americans. (1968)

REMEMBERING CHE GUEVARA (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967)

Guided by Great Feelings of Love:

The Revolutionary Legacy of Che Guevara, on the 46th anniversary of his assassination.

by Mitchel Cohen

Che was captured, tortured and murdered in Bolivia under the direction of the CIA on October 9, 1967. Forty-six years have passed. Still Che is remembered, not as some ancient and hazy patriarch, but vividly, as one who exemplified the spirit of liberation … and the ideals of our own youth. He inspired so many ordinary people to commit themselves to their vision of a different world and called on us to persevere even in the face of bureaucratic intransigence and the enormous power of U.S. imperialism, against all odds.

Che Guevara, sans beard.

Che Guevara did not concern himself with “elections” as a means for transforming capitalist or authori­tarian states, unlike many in the U.S. and European “Left” today. But he was extremely concerned about finances, and how to fund the revolution.


There is a piece in the documentary film, “Ernesto Che Gue­vara: The Bolivian Diary,” which is eerie in that it shows Che as part of a Cuban delegation in Moscow begging for funds for Cu­ba. In the film, the 34-year old Che Guevara is barely able to bite his tongue and check his scathing sarcasm for the Russian bu­reaucrats, in order to gain funding from them.

I.F. Stone revealed that in 1961, at a conference in Punte del Este, Uruguay, Che Guevara — born in Argentina and a student of medicine there — huddled in discussion with some new left­ists from New York. A couple of Argentine Communist Party apparatchiks passed. Che couldn’t help shouting out: “Hey, why are you here, to start the counter-revolution?”

Like many in the emerging new left around the world, Che had first-hand experience with party apparatchiks and their attempts to impose their bureaucracy on indigenous revo­lutionary movements. He hated the Cuban revolution’s uneasy reliance on the Soviet Union. As the only one among the victorious guerrilla leadership in the Cuban revolution who had actually studied the works of Karl Marx prior to the Revolution’s victory in 1959, Che inspired New Left activists to take a critical stance towards the “socialism” of the Soviet Union and the local parties that blindly followed the Soviet line.

Indeed, contrary to the conceptions of many in the U.S. to­day, the revolution in Cuba was made independent of, and at times in opposition to, the Cuban Communist Party. It was not until several years after the revolution succeeded in taking state pow­er that an uneasy working relationship was established leading to a merger of the revolutionary forces and the Party — a merger that provided no end of problems for Che, and for the Cuban revolution itself.

We can learn something for our situation in the US today — particularly with regard to the role of non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations within progressive circles — by ex­amining Che’s strategies in Latin America. Fundamental to Che’s understanding was that “Yankee imperialism is like an octopus; its tentacles reach across the globe. We must cut them off: create two, three, many Vietnams.” Continue reading »


Here’s a thorough refutation of attempts in the corporate media to criminalize the 1980s Latin America solidarity movements and tar Democratic Party candidate for NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, for being supportive of them. It almost makes me want to vote for de Blasio as a thank you for his old efforts — however weak they might have been (he later became Hillary Clinton‘s campaign manager in NY, barf!). But sentiments aside, hatred for U.S. imperialism and its apologists are best materialized by building a truly independent Green Party, and voting for its mayoral candidate Tony Gronowicz, not the Dems.

- Mitchel Cohen


This Update is available, with links, at:

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Special Supplement, September 30, 2013

1. NYC Mayoral Frontrunner Was Nicaragua Activist: NY Times
2. The Right Reacts: Anti-Semitism and the “Marxist Playbook”
3. “Purely and Nobly American”: Times Writers
4. Solidarity Activists Deconstruct the Media Coverage
5. Who Were the Real Anti-Semites?

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. NYC Mayoral Frontrunner Was Nicaragua Activist: NY Times

On Sept. 23 the New York Times ran a 2,000-word front-page article by reporter Javier Hernandez about New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio‘s work in solidarity with Nicaragua during the late 1980s and early 1990s. De Blasio, the Democratic candidate and the current frontrunner in the Nov. 5 election, has spoken a number of times about his activist past, but the Times article was the first lengthy treatment of the subject. It highlighted his work with Quest for Peace — a program of the Quixote Center, a faith-based Maryland social justice organization — and with the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York (NSN). The NSN was formed in 1985 as a coalition of local Nicaragua solidarity groups and sister city projects; its only activity now is the sponsorship of the Weekly News Update on the Americas.

Although the facts in the article were generally accurate, the tone revived the dismissive attitude toward solidarity activism that was common in US mainstream media during the 1980s, when the US government was sponsoring a war of attrition in which rightwing fighters known as “contras” tried to wear down support for Nicaragua’s ruling party, the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). Hernandez described the young de Blasio as “scruffy,” characterized the Quixote Center by its offices “filled with homegrown squash and peace posters,” and referred to the NSN as “a ragtag team of peace activists, Democrats, Marxists and anarchists.”

Hernandez also recycled, with some qualifications, several of the charges that rightwing commentators made against the solidarity movement. “In the mid-1980s, the Treasury Department investigated whether the center had helped smuggle guns, but the claim was never substantiated, and the group’s leaders said the inquiry was politically motivated,” he wrote of the Quixote Center. The NSN’s primary focus was getting out accurate information on Nicaragua and protesting US government support for the contras, but instead Hernandez emphasized the group’s occasional sponsorship of dances and other activities promoting Friends of the Frente, a group that raised money for the FSLN after its candidates lost the February 1990 elections. De Blasio was “an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries,” Hernandez wrote, and he quoted longtime NSN activist and Update co-editor Jane Guskin as saying: “People who had shallow party sympathies with the FSLN pretty much dropped everything when they lost. Bill wasn’t like that.” (NYT 9/23/13)

*2. The Right Reacts: Anti-Semitism and the “Marxist Playbook”

Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota, who was trailing badly in the opinion polls, quickly picked up on the Cold War-style innuendos in the Times article. “Bill de Blasio needs to explain himself — and explain himself now — to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who escaped Marxist tyranny in Asia, Central America, and from behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe,” Lhota said in a statement released on Sept. 23, the day the article appeared in print. “Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why.” (Politico 9/24/13)

Rightwing media had a similar reaction. Andrew Kaczynski, a former Republican National Committee intern and now a BuzzFeed editor, visited the NSN archives at New University’s Tamiment Library and photographed what he called “the 19 most revealing documents from Bill de Blasio’s socialist past” — mostly drafts of NSN fundraising letters and fliers against US military interventions. Only one of the documents appeared to have any connection to de Blasio: a fund appeal letter for which he was one of the signers. (BuzzFeed 9/24/13)

“De Blasio ignored Nicaragua anti-Semitism,” according to a Sept. 26 headline in the New York Post, which is part of Rupert Murdoch‘s tabloid empire. The article resurrected claims made by US president Ronald Reagan (1981-89) about what Post reporter Beth DeFalco called “the hatred spewed by the Sandinistas at Jews.” (NY Post 9/26/13) FrontPage, the website of leading neoconservative David Horowitz, himself a former leftist, claimed the Sandinistas attacked a synagogue and made its president sweep the street in “a scene reminiscent of Nazi behavior in occupied Europe.” The piece’s author, Daniel Greenfield, made it clear that he hoped to weaken de Blasio’s support among New York’s large number of Jewish voters, who generally vote for the Democratic ticket. (FrontPage 9/24/13)

*3. “Purely and Nobly American”: Times Writers

Articles in other media undercut the thrust of Hernandez’s Times piece. Two of these come from writers with strong connections to the same newspaper.

Current Times columnist Michael Powell derided Lhota’s claims about de Blasio’s “class warfare strategy.” “As a resident of haute bourgeois Park Slope and the owner of a rapidly appreciating row house, the middle-aged Mr. de Blasio seems unlikely to embrace property expropriation,” Powell wrote.

“[A]s to those Sandinistas: This was a complicated revolutionary movement. A remarkably diverse coalition at first, it overthrew a cruel dictator. The leadership included some Communists, as well as social democrats and priests. … Whatever their failings, the Sandinistas did not impose a repressive regime on their impoverished Central American nation. There was no mass jailing of opponents nor mass execution of opposing soldiers.” People who supported revolutionary movements in Central America in the 1980s “may have been more than a touch naive about the nature of these movements, but they at least realized that these nations had suffered terribly at the hands of United States-supported dictators.” (NYT 9/25/13)

Writing in the British daily The Guardian, former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer suggested that the attacks on de Blasio were part of a national Republican effort to “block the rise of a Democratic candidate in a strongly Democratic-leaning city.” Kinzer was frequently critical of the Sandinistas from 1983 to 1990, when he worked as the Times’ Nicaragua bureau chief, but in the Guardian piece he wrote favorably about de Blasio’s work with Nicaragua.

Solidarity activists “saw violent injustice and sought to oppose it,” Kinzer wrote. “No impulse is more purely and nobly American.” Instead, he criticized de Blasio for “reticence” about his past activism. What de Blasio should say now, according to Kinzer, is: “Yes, I worked against the contra war, and I’m proud to have done so because that war was wrong. Did I turn a blind eye to the excesses of the Sandinistas? Maybe, and I regret that. But I saw poor people being killed and made to suffer because of decisions made in Washington, and I used my rights as an American to oppose that policy in a legal way.” (The Guardian 9/25/13)

4. Solidarity Activists Deconstruct the Media Coverage

Former Nicaragua solidarity activists also responded to Hernandez’s article, although the mainstream media have generally ignored their comments.

Lou Proyect, who headed the New York chapter of the technical aid group TecNica in the 1980s, questioned the idea that de Blasio was ever a serious solidarity activist. Writing on the CounterPunch website, Proyect described de Blasio’s “occasional appearance[s] at NY Nicaragua Solidarity steering committee meetings nearly 25 years ago” as “an investment that could pay future dividends.” Later, de Blasio “was careful to retain his liberal coloration even though he became an ally of Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn pol who once belonged to Meir Kahane‘s terrorist Jewish Defense League,” Proyect claimed. (CounterPunch 9/25/13)

Proyect didn’t work closely with de Blasio, and there was less doubt about de Blasio’s sincerity among people who knew him from the solidarity organizations where he was active. Instead, these activists responded to what they considered the media’s misleading representations of the Nicaragua revolution and the US solidarity movement.

Times reporter Hernandez found out about the Treasury Department’s investigation of the Quixote Center from documents in the center’s archives at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Current Quixote director Tom Ricker initially couldn’t find staffers from the 1980s who remembered such an investigation, but eventually he uncovered documentation of at least one case: an inquiry that the US Customs Service, then under the Treasury Department, started in late 1986. But the Quixote Center never took the investigation seriously. “The Customs Service, after barreling in just before Christmas looking for ‘gun shipments to Nicaragua,’ closed its review of our humanitarian shipments in February, finding no fault,” the center wrote in its June 1987 newsletter.

“I do wonder why of all the things that could have been mentioned about the Center ($100 million in humanitarian aid collected and delivered in one year is a pretty good tidbit as well) this was the item chosen” for the Times article, Ricker wrote. (Quixote Center blog, updated 9/26/13) Another question would be why the Customs Service would suspect that a humanitarian organization founded by Jesuits would be smuggling guns to Nicaragua, or why anyone would even think of smuggling guns to the Sandinista government at a time when the Soviet Union was massively supplying firearms and missiles. In fact, the Reagan administration regularly accused the Sandinistas of smuggling their excess weapons to the rebel Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) in El Salvador. “The alleged Sandinista support [for the FMLN], dating back almost a decade, is a principal reason for the US decision to provide generous military support for the Salvadoran government,” the Associated Press wire service noted in November 1989. (AP 11/20/89)

NSN member Guskin challenged Hernandez’s characterization of the NSN’s attitude toward the FSLN. She wrote in a Sept. 23 Facebook post that Hernandez had misquoted her, making de Blasio look like

“a party hack for the FSLN. What I actually said — at great length, several times, so I don’t think the reporter could have misunderstood — was that the people whose commitments were shallow, and who were focused on supporting the FSLN as a party, dropped out when [the Sandinistas] lost. Those of us who stayed involved–including Bill, I believe–cared more about the PEOPLE, and the grassroots base of the Sandinistas who had been struggling for a better world while our government tried to crush their dreams, than we did about the party.” (Facebook 9/23/13)

5. Who Were the Real Anti-Semites?


The claims about Sandinista anti-Semitism were conclusively refuted in the 1980s. Rabbi Balfour Brickner of New York’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue “investigated charges of anti-Semitism by the Sandinista Government during a visit in July 1984,” the Times wrote in March 1986, but found no evidence that Nicaragua’s tiny Jewish community was being persecuted. (NYT 3/19/86) The claims were also “refuted by five separate (Jewish and non-Jewish) fact-finding investigations — as well as by the US State Department, former US ambassador to Nicaragua Anthony Quainton and ex-contra Arturo Cruz,” according to Robert Siegel, who investigated the issue while working with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) in the 1980s and early 1990s; he was quoted in a media alert released by the national Nicaragua Network on Sept. 26 about the New York Post article on “Nicaragua anti-Semitism.”

“This lie originated at a spring 1983 meeting in Coral Gables, Florida, attend[ed] by contra leader Edgar Chamorro and three CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] agents,” Siegel wrote. “The CIA plan called for inviting two Jewish exiles from Nicaragua, Abraham Gorn and Isaac Stavisky, to the White House to denounce the Sandinistas for persecuting them.” The three CIA agents at the meeting “knew full well” that Gorn and Stavisky left Nicaragua because they were allies of the 1937-1979 Somoza family dictatorship, “not because they were victims of anti-Semitism.” According to Siegel, “the CIA agents said to Chamorro: ‘The American media is controlled by Jews, and if we could show that Jews are being persecuted in Nicaragua, it would help a lot.’”

The Nicaragua Network’s media alert advises activists to “[u]se your own knowledge and experience in Nicaragua plus the information [from Siegel] to write a letter to the editor of the Post at and send a copy to the Nicaragua Network at” (Nicaragua Network media alert 9/26/13)


For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


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by Mitchel Cohen

So they came for her one morning
It was not a dark and stormy night
The air was crisp and the smell
of tortillas and fried beans
raked the leaves. A newspaper,
unopened, she used to smack
an occasional fly. Up North
a centerfielder tried to catch them.

So that is what it was like, a warm
late summer morning awash
in detail. For the writer
every detail is a prism, is power:
Change from “Mary” to “Malika”
and the constellations whirl,
from “John” to “Romero” and lambs
thunder like wild horses.
What are their names?
Write down their names!

What else do you need, drinking coffee,
reading the papers before going to work?
Why they came? What happened?
And what if it was not sunny?
If there was no smell of beans?
If the electric cattle-prod
they shoved up her vagina
bought with “humanitarian aid”
was 110 volts and not 220?
If The Times reported nothing
of the day’s actual events? If
the centerfielder missed the ball?

These details ― Why do we crave them
in the morning
refrying the news?


Please sign the NEW petition for Lynne Stewart. Click HERE.

Your signature will send a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Samuels and to Attorney General Holder requesting that they expedite Lynne Stewart’s current application for compassionate release.

A Message from Lynne Stewart:

From Deep in the Belly of the Beast … that is, Texas.

Now another month has passed and I am getting increasingly irritable that these jokers are so cavalier with my life and what time I have left. (I also am getting weaker.)

My application for compassionate release is moving but glacially (Are there any glaciers left? Only in the bureaucracy…). We learned that the request has left the General Counsel’s office of the Bureau of Prisons in Washington and is now being considered by an “Independent Committee” (whatever that means). From there it will ostensibly go to the Director, Mr. Samuels, for the final recommendation and request for a motion to the Judge.

As you can appreciate there is still plenty of room for slips between cup and lip. I truly understand that I, with the strong and consistent support of all 30,000+ of you, do constitute a “threat” in their small universe. That is to say that, the will of the People cannot be ignored forever.

With that in mind, I want to urge everyone to come on out on OCTOBER 8, TUESDAY, MY 74th BIRTHDAY FOR A LOCAL SHOW OF OUR COLLECTIVE WILL IN OPPOSITION TO THE ‘”DEATH PENALTY.”



If you can do this please notify Ralph [Poynter] of your location by sending an email to my web site or to this site. We hope this will be nationwide and we can spread the word of the senseless cruelty in the way the Bureau of Prisons administers a program that is supposed to be compassionate.

I may be the “poster child” but this is done on behalf of all the prisoners who are languishing, in pain or worse, trying to go home.

Be out there on October 8. It is already an historic day. Let’s make it More So!!! Let’s Win.

- Lynne Stewart

This message was sent by Ralph Poynter using the system, and posted here by Mitchel Cohen.



CLICK HERE to listen to a 2008 edition of “Steal This Radio,” where Mitchel Cohen interviews Lynne Stewart & Ralph Poynter, updated to include Lynne’s current health crisis and the petition to release her from jail on compassionate grounds.

I am making this publicly available to for broadcasting, and for rallying listeners to sign the petition at

The show is quite DIFFERENT than you might expect! CLICK HERE to download it, but BE CAREFUL — It’s 600mb as a WAV file and runs 58 minutes: 25 seconds, so only download it if you’re prepared to receive such a large file. And, if you’re planning to broadcast it, please let me know so I can get the word out.

Thank you!

Mitchel Cohen
Secretary, WBAI (99.5 FM in NYC) Local Station Board, and
Author, “What Is Direct Action: Lessons from (and to) Occupy Wall Street” (Preface by Richard Wolff) (596 pages).

CLICK HERE for book.


I Ain’t Gonna Fight Obama’s War No More (to tune of “Maggie’s Farm”)

I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

No I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

He hands me a nickel

He’s lookin’ kinda strange

Then he asks me with a grin

How I like that kind of “change”

The NSA kicks down my door

No I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more


I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more

No, I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more

Can’t afford to pay for college

So I joined the brave and few

Went from New York University

To Depleted U.

Then they took my home and foreclosed on the store

I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more.


I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more

No I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more

His Secretary of State

Who was once against the war

Now says “let’s bomb Syria”

From submarines off shore

Kerry’s a clone of Colin Powell — been down this road before

No I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more


I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

No, I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

Overseas they loved him

Now they open up their eyes

And wonder if it’s too late

To take back the Nobel Prize

Be careful of world leaders you adore

No, I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more


- by Mitchel Cohen, Sandy Ure Griffin, and Joel Landy


Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, & Larry Summers were part of the President’s Working Group, a financial policy committee that stifled the regulatory efforts of Brooksley Born, who headed the Commodities Future Trading Commission during the Clinton-Gore administration and was among the first mainstream financiers to see the danger of Over-the-Counter (OTC) derivatives trading.


With President Obama about to appoint Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve, it’s worth remembering that Summers was also the U.S. government’s chief economics adviser for years. He left Obama’s cabinet just as rebellions against the neoliberal, austerity and anti-democratic programs he authored washed over Tunisia, Egypt, and Europe. But hopes for a shift in government policy were dashed, as President Obama continued to pursue Summers’ corporate and bank-friendly policies, accelerating the global ecological and economic crises.

Capitalist planners such as Summers hop from administration to administration. Republican or Dem­ocrat – it makes little difference. The competition among corporations to increase market share and maximize profits remains constant, as does the government’s protection of corporate interests regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. In times of economic crisis such as the one in which the U.S. – and indeed, the world – is currently mired, the space for av­oiding the worst aspects of unemployment, ecological devastation, poverty, vast reductions in public services and expansion of imperialist wars are circumscribed by the urgency, for capitalism, of stripping down to essentials, controlling natural resources and labor, and repressing all forms of organizing and resistance.

Law­rence Summers is Capitalism’s chief economist. He was, as we shall see, a major influence on Bill Clinton and Al Gore, whose approach to economics and the environment is continued by Obama. While Gore powerfully illustrated the planetary devastation underway via Global Climate Change in his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth,” it was Summers who provided Gore’s nonsensical consumer-driven approach about “what to do” to halt and repair the global ecological crisis. Here is where the ecological and the economic intersect.

To get us out of the crises, President Obama has turned to the same coter­ie of economic advisers who got us into them. They have brought the U.S. (and world) economy and ecology to the brink of collapse.

Continue reading »



Photo by Cathryn Swan
Attorney Joel Kupferman, of the New York Environmental Law & Justice Project, speaking at press conference at NY City Hall against Brookhaven National Laboratory’s gas experiments on NYC subways, July 23, 2013. Joel announces filing of Freedom of Information request, and calls for oversight by the NY City Council and for an Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Updates: Gary Null interviews Curtis Cost & Mitchel Cohen about the gassing of NYC’s subways (WBAI, 99.5 FM in NY, July 11, 2013, 12 noon): Click HERE.
  • WBAI Radio News report, click HERE.
  • WRHU morning show report, click HERE.


To: Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E.), Governor Cuomo, and all elected city, state and federal officials of New York.

I do not consent to the gas experiments that will take place in the subways, buses, and streets of the five boroughs of New York City over a three day period during the month of July 2013, beginning on Tuesday July 9, with the other two days taking place sometime before the end of the month.

While the stated goal of these experiments — tracking airflow patterns in the subways and on the streets to best predict what might happen if terrorist released deadly chemical, biological or radiological agents in the city — may have some merit, this does not justify the potential health and environmental risks of the perfluorocarbon gases that will be used in these experiments, the meager information to and review by the public, the failure to inform the unions of workers (transit; police; emergency services) who will be exposed to these gasses, nor the lack of proper oversight and approval by local and national health agencies.

There are already enough studies and models of air dispersions; this study is not needed.

Scientific studies have linked Perfluorocarbons to infertility in women, menopause, birth defects, liver damage and thyroid damage among other conditions.

I do not consent to myself or my family being exposed to gases that can potentially cause such harms. The city and state have many other options such as using computer models, studying the gas attack that took place in Japan, installing air monitors in every subway station, etc.

I object to the fact that there have not been any public hearings on the health and environmental risks of perfluorocarbons, which are also greenhouse gases. I object to the fact that there has been no environmental impact statement prior to beginning this project. I object to the fact that the names of the specific 7 perfluorocarbons to be used will not be made public. I object to the cloak of secrecy over how these gases will be released and at which subway stations and street locations.

BNL is releasing these gases under a $3.4 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and in conjunction with the New York City Police Department. United States Code (USC) 1520a, under the heading: Restrictions on use of human subjects for testing of chemical or biological agents, states the following:

“The Secretary of Defense may conduct a test or experiment described in subsection (b) of this section only if informed consent to the testing was obtained from each human subject in advance of the testing on that subject.

This law makes it clear that informed consent is required before any experiments can be conducted. This has not been obtained with respect to the tests planned for New York City subways and streets.

The public has not even been told which perfluorocarbons will be used, which makes informed consent impossible!

I demand that these experiments on the people of New York City cease immediately and public hearings be held regarding the safety of these gases, as part of a proper environmental and health review. I do not give my consent to being experimented on!

Signed, ________________________________

Address, telephone & e-mail address

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