Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A lesson coronavirus is about to teach the world--[Jonathan Cook Has This Right]

A lesson coronavirus is about to teach the world:


In fact, there is nothing unique about the coronavirus crisis. It is
simply a heightened version of the less visible crisis we are now
permanently mired in. As Britain sinks under floods each winter, as
Australia burns each summer, as the southern states of the US are
wrecked by typhoons and its great plains become dustbowls, as the
climate emergency becomes ever more tangible, we will learn this truth
slowly and painfully.

Those deeply invested in the current system – and those so
brainwashed they cannot see its flaws – will defend it to the bitter
end. They will learn nothing from the virus. They will point to
authoritarian states and warn that things could be far worse.

They will point a finger at Iran’s high death toll as confirmation
that our profit-driven societies are better, while ignoring the terrible
damage we have inflicted on Iran’s health services after years of
sabotaging its economy through ferocious sanctions. We left Iran all the
more vulnerable to coronavirus  because we wanted to engineer “regime
change” – to interfere under the pretence of “humanitarian” concern – as
we have sought to do in other countries whose resources we wished to
control, from Iraq to Syria and Libya.

Iran will be held responsible for a crisis we willed, that our
politicians intended (even if the speed and means came as a surprise),
to overthrow its leaders. Iran’s failures will be cited as proof of our
superior way of life, as we wail self-righteously about the outrage of a
“Russian interference” whose contours we can barely articulate.

Valuing the common good

Those who defend our system, even as its internal logic collapses in
the face of coronavirus and a climate emergency, will tell us how lucky
we are to live in free societies where some – Amazon executives, home
delivery services, pharmacies, toilet-paper manufacturers – can still
make a quick buck from our panic and fear. As long as someone is
exploiting us, as long as someone is growing fat and rich, we will be
told the system works – and works better than anything else imaginable.

But in fact, late-stage capitalist societies like the US and the UK
will struggle to claim even the limited successes against coronavirus of
authoritarian governments. Is Trump in the US or Johnson in the UK –
exemplars of “the market knows best” capitalism – likely to do better
than China at containing and dealing with the virus?

This lesson is not about authoritarian versus “free” societies. This
is about societies that treasure the common wealth, that value the
common good, above private greed and profit, above protecting the
privileges of a wealth-elite.

Monday, March 16, 2020

From @The_Red_Nation: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Capitalism in Crisis


The Red Nation

These are frightening times. As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies in North America, the current system disastrously fails to meet basic needs and cultivate human decency. There are two aspects to the crisis currently unfolding. On one hand, there is the real threat of illness and death from the outbreak of COVID-19. On the other, capitalism has proven biologically unsuitable for life.

Based on the current science available and the examples drawn from the hardest hit places, in the coming weeks we can expect the outbreak in North America to get worse before it gets better. Therefore, our response must address the immediate urgency of stopping the spread and harm of COVID-19, especially for Indigenous nations and those who are already most vulnerable, who will undoubtedly bear the greatest casualties.

Weeks before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, China’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Wuhan province provided the entire world with an opportunity to prepare. How did the United States respond? Instead of preparing the American public for an impending catastrophic health crisis, President Donald Trump derided the virus as a “hoax” and ramped up anti-Chinese and racist rhetoric. 

Scientists predicted climate change decades ago. They warned us of superstorms, mass extinctions, droughts, floods, forced migrations, hunger, and widespread misery — the current definition of ‘normal’ for billions. The US government has done almost nothing to address this growing crisis. Much like climate change, scientists and health experts have warned us for months of the magnitude of the COVID-19 outbreak. Other than patting the backs (and padding the pockets) of the capitalist ruling class with a $1.5 trillion buyout, the US government has done very little to address this pandemic.

The United States refuses to collaborate internationally. The tests and treatments developed by Chinese and Cuban doctors are not being utilized. The United States insists on going at it alone by developing its own medical technology despite evidence of the effectiveness of the tools already being used abroad. Contrary to its arrogant claims, the US government is not prepared to deal with this type of pandemic, and the rapid growth of COVID-19 cases is exacerbated by the government’s refusal to stop the cogs of the capitalist machine. 

Instead, as Dr. Deborah Burx stated in the March 13 during a White House press conference where Trump declared a national state of emergency, the US government’s “innovative approach” centers “fully on unleashing the power of the private sector.” Flanked by CEOs from some of the world’s wealthiest corporations—Google, Roche, Wal-Mart, LabCore, and Target—Trump gave the capitalist ruling class a blank check to turn public health into a profit margin. 

In this time of great danger, we need human solidarity — the politics of love, not the politics of hate. The crisis has exposed the capitalist system for what it is: anti-life. 

It is morally irresponsible and downright dangerous to leave the fate of humanity in the hands of corporate politicians and billionaires who only care about their own power and wealth, who are taking this crisis as a chance to demean and deride the rest of the world while proclaiming that the United States is still the “best.” 

We must respond with our hearts and all of our humanity, not just to stop the most catastrophic effects of COVID-19, but to end this inhumane and criminal capitalist system once and for all. 

Why does mass confusion, panic, and anxiety ensue when a predicted catastrophe strikes? Because preparedness and human solidarity are not profitable in a global economic system that sees disaster as an opportunity for the ruling class to hoard even more wealth.

Meanwhile, there are millions who are uninsured and millions who are underinsured. Some are rationing insulin, using GoFundMe as their main healthcare provider, or accepting the reality that they will die early from preventable and curable medical conditions. Many workers are forced to choose between working and paying rent or taking a day off to rest when sick. Hardest hit are workers who are also care providers for children or family members.

This crisis has also brought to the forefront the reality of life for billions around the planet. For countries like Iran and Venezuela, sanctions initiated by the United States have already compromised their infrastructure and are placing huge strains on their ability to combat the virus, which is leaving millions vulnerable. This is inhumane and morally reprehensible.

Among the most susceptible to COVID-19 are those who are already the most vulnerable. Unsheltered people, incarcerated people, those in ICE detention camps, the poor, and those living in rural isolated Indian reservations, will be among those most likely to be impacted and least likely to receive swift, competent medical attention. 

The poor and working class do not have the option of self-quarantine when they are already forced to continue working through illness, potentially exposing themselves more to the virus. Private companies are refusing to offer paid sick leave even in the midst of this crisis. Medical insurers are refusing to waive fees for people to get tested and treated for COVID-19. And the response by state governments and the federal government has been to suggest — not require — that these companies offer paid leave and waive fees, while also offering little-to-no material support for workers to eat, pay their bills and rent, receive proper treatment, and even just survive. 

If faced with the choice of getting tested and going into quarantine or being able to work and put food on their tables, many workers will choose to keep working out of necessity. This is the reality for the majority of people in the United States.

We have to plan for a long-term struggle and use the current momentum of a stumbling giant against itself.

While we must organize to support one another materially and emotionally–perhaps at a scale we have never seen–we must also see this crisis for what it is: a moment to advance a global workers’ struggle. The ruling class of the United States has already shown us they are shoring up power and circling the wagons in response to this pandemic. They are worried, and they should be: the stock market has crashed twice; blockades in solidarity with the Wetsuwet’en nation have immobilized Canada’s economy; OPEC is falling apart; and exports from China have come to a halt. 

As we build working-class power, we make the following demands:
  • Implementing universal healthcare
  • Providing equitable and free access to healthcare for urban and rural Native communities
  • Offering unrestricted resources to Indian Health Service and tribal health clinics and hospitals
  • Ending US sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and all countries
  • Making COVID-19 testing universally available
  • Providing free healthcare and access to treatments at the point of service
  • Providing free healthcare and housing to unsheltered relatives
  • Ending all new arrests, detentions, and caging
  • Providing free healthcare to the currently incarcerated
  • Providing care for the quarantined and medically isolated
  • Providing special care for our elders
  • Closing all schools and providing free lunches and paid leave and childcare for parents
  • Closing all universities and providing food and housing for students 
  • Ending all evictions
  • Ending all utility shutoffs
  • Canceling all student debt
  • Ending all deportations
  • Providing universal paid sick leave to all workers in all sectors
  • Freezing all rent payments
  • Implementing price and supply controls on all commodities to prevent profiteering
  • Implementing controlled rationing on all food and essential commodities to prevent hoarding
  • Implementing the Red Deal. Instead of taking funds from social security to boost the private sector, we should reallocate resources from the military, police, and prisons into a mass public health campaign to combat COVID-19
  • Prioritizing special protections and resources to frontline caretakers like nurses, mothers, doctors, and teachers (see National Nurses United Response to COVID-19: https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/covid-19)

We also call for members in our community to take precautions for themselves, their families, neighbors, and everyone they come into contact with. COVID-19 is passed primarily from person to person via coughing, sneezing, or touching someone after wiping nose and mouth, as well as on surfaces. Washing our hands, wrists, and arms with soap is the most effective way to kill the virus yet we also know that under the conditions of capitalism there are millions without access to clean water with which to wash their hands, either due to lack of shelter or neglect of rural, urban, or reservation communities. The fight for clean water then is essential to fighting COVID-19, as is the right to housing, food, healthcare, and what we’ve demanded above.

In these terrible times, we must work collectively to keep ourselves safe by taking precautions, covering our mouths and noses when we cough or sneeze, and washing our hands. But COVID-19 isn’t an individual problem. How we respond must be collective, with human dignity and love. We urge people to share both materially and emotionally with those who are more vulnerable. Just as regular people have responded to crises in the past, we must reach deep beyond what capitalism has forced us to become and come together, physically distant but socially united.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be posting and sharing COVID-19 resources on how to effectively respond to the crisis through social media, this website, and our weekly podcast.
We love you all and will weather the uncertainty and danger as comrades and relatives by building the collective capacity to fight back — and win.

Twitter: @The_Red_Nation
Instagram: @therednationmovement
Facebook: Facebook.com/therednation

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Chelsea Manning Released from Jail ... with a Massive Fine--NEXT UP: #FreeJulianAssange

Chelsea Manning Released from Jail ... with a Massive Fine | emptywheel:

from EmptyWheel

Judge Anthony Trenga just ordered
Chelsea Manning released from jail, a day before her attempt to be
released based off a claim that coercion would never get her to testify.

Trenga declared that motion moot, though. The reason he released her is because the work of the grand jury has finished.

By Order dated March 12, 2020, after finding that the
business of Grand Jury 19-3 had concluded, the Court dismissed Grand
Jury 19-3.

Upon consideration of the Court’s May 16, 2019 Order, the Motion, and
the Court’s March 12, 2020 Order discharging Grand Jury 19-3, the Court
finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer
needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive
purpose. The Court further finds that enforcement of the accrued,
conditional fines would not be punitive but rather necessary to the
coercive purpose of the Court’s civil contempt order.
Her total fine amounts to $256,000.

I have no idea, yet, what this means. But I’m glad she has been released.

Update: Jeremy Hammond has also been released back to federal prison.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

“My Best Friend and Brother”: A Profile of Guantánamo Prisoner Khalid Qasim by Mansoor Adayfi


Best Friend and Brother
By Mansoor Adayfi

"We like Khalid to represent all the detainees. He talks like a poet when he speaks on behalf of the detainees, and he’s an easy man to deal with."

Navy Commander and Camp 6 officer-in-charge (OIC), 2010
"Here is our Soundcloud! I love your voice; it shifts me out of here to my own world."

A female guard
"If you want things done in the best way, and in a creative way, Khalid is your man."

Omar, a former detainee at Guantánamo
 "Brothers, please take it easy on Khalid, don’t ask too much of him. He doesn’t know how to say no."

Suhail, a detainee at Guantánamo
My brother and best friend, Khalid Qasim. I first met him in 2002, Camp 1, Golf Block. The situation in the camp was like hell, fear of the unknown, intensive interrogation, torture, and confusion. You need someone to assure you that you will be okay. The words "you will be okay" wasn’t enough. Khalid has his own creative way to tell you that everything is going to be okay, and you will be okay, through his beautiful voice and singing. He started singing songs in the camp, and those words, his rhythm, and his beautiful voice brought us hope and took us to another world that's not Guantánamo. In no time he was well known as Khalid the singer.

Khalid the singer
Khalid is a caring person. He wants to make everyone feel good and happy, and always tries to make our life less miserable in the camp, either by singing, by his sense of humor, poetry, essays, or by his paintings. Besides singing in Arabic, he learned to sing in English, Russian, Pashto, Urdu, and Farsi. He makes all the nationalities (48 nationalities) who are detained at Guantánamo feel happy and to connect them to themselves. This is Khalid’s special touch.

We had one night a week when we sang and told stories and shared our culture with each other, as men from all over the world, and on that night Khalid would sing for us all, in different languages. it was so beautiful to listen to his singing, I could appreciate how he changed the situation, how detainees called him from other blocks to sing for them. I could see how those detainees loved him when he sang in their language. Even the guards liked and admired him. Some called him "The Star." They also enjoyed listening to his singing, especially in English.

In no time Khalid was one of the most famous detainees in our Guantánamo world. The camp administration would punish him sometimes for singing, but Khalid never quit. When they moved him to solitary confinement for punishment, he would continue singing there.
In solitary confinement, we were in boxes made of steel — dark, cold, brightly lit, hot, with noise, sleeplessness, and hunger. Here Khalid’s beautiful voice would free us every day and would tell us there is hope. Some detainees would try to meet in the recreation area to ask him to sing for them. He was always busy making others happy.

His handsome face and his kindness, his beautiful voice and his creativity would attract anyone to him.

Khalid the teacher

Khalid started early with poetry, essays, short novels, depending on his memory, and started writing things down as soon as he had a chance to get a pen and paper. He also started drawing using a pen and paper. He learned English and became proficient in writing and speaking. He became a writer in Arabic in English.

Khalid is a good teacher with patience. After learning English, he started teaching. He gave me classes in English when I started learning and would always motivate me. He held classes in Arabic and English, poetry, composing, soccer ball coaching, singing, and painting. He taught both detainees and guards. A guard we nicknamed "Khalid’s student" or "Khalid’s kid" spent nine months learning Arabic with Khalid, and started talking to us in the Arabic language. He taught me how to play soccer. This is a long and funny story, but I got better in the end.

Khalid the player

After ending our hunger strike in 2010, we were moved to Camp 6 to the communal living blocks. The brothers started playing soccer, and each group was looking for a good player so they could win the match. When Khalid played his first match, he scored seven goals. Detainees and guards who were watching the match started cheering for him. Guards always bet on our matches and players. Khalid had his own team and was the team captain. He won many tournaments, and had a lot of fans amongst the detainees, the guards and the camp staff. Navy guards said, "Man! This man is a pro. When he touches the ball, his playing is like a piece of music."

Playing soccer at Guantánamo was our "Game of Thrones," and was very competitive between detainees. There were many teams, and good players, and each had their own fans. And there were many injuries too, but not in a bad way.

Khalid the leader

In 2010, in Camp 6, the communal camp, each block had a block leader. Khalid was ours. The Navy Commander who was in charge of Camp 6 (the officer-in-charge, or OIC) liked Khalid, and would always try to get problems solved through Khalid, because of his good English, his understanding, and the way he handles issues.

And like other detainees who speak English, Khalid always translates between detainees and guards, camp staff, and medical staff. This is not an easy job to do because it takes a lot of time and energy.

Khalid the artist

Khalid started making art early, before the art class even started. I don’t recall him going to the art class. He was already a gifted and talented artist. He started using a pen and paper, and his art is powerful and very expressive. Khalid would talk beautifully about his artwork. He gave most of his artwork to detainees, camp staff, and guards. He didn’t like to turn them down. I would always argue with him that he should keep his artwork, but this is Khalid, a kind person, who loves to make others happy.
An example of Khalid Qasim's artwork, literally made from Guantánamo (from the gravel in the recreation yard), commemorating the three men who died at Guantánamo in June 2006.

Nevertheless, Khalid is an ambitious man, who has beautiful dreams and ideas about how to start a family, and get a degree in English literature and art. He works hard at Guantánamo to prepare himself for college and to build his life when leaves. Unfortunately, the camp administration took the little he had. They took the laptop from the class, and stopped his art from leaving Guantánamo.

I don’t know what the camp administration is trying to accomplish by depriving the men there from learning. I don’t know what kind of men they want those detainees to be when they eventually leave Guantánamo. I hope the U.S. government will understand that it needs to help the men there to prepare themselves for the difficulties they will face after Guantánamo. From my experience, I can’t escape Guantánamo. I face difficulties and hardship every day, but learning English at Guantánamo has helped me in my daily life.

I really miss Khalid. We lived years and years together and developed a strong bond of brotherhood and friendship.

I pray to Allah to hasten Khalid’s release and the release of the other men detained there.
Mansoor Adayfi
Belgrade, Serbia
February 21, 2020

Please also feel free to make a donation to the fundraiser to support Mansoor’s writing in Serbia.
- Andy Worthington

Saturday, March 07, 2020

The US ways of waging war, then and now – Stephen Gowans

The US ways of waging war, then and now – Stephen Gowans:

Seventy-five years ago Monday, the United States scorched, boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo than went up in vapor at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the single greatest terrorist attack in history. Three quarters of a century later, Washington wages war in less dramatic ways, relying on sanctions—economic firebombings—that are carried out silently by the Treasury Department and which kill civilians in even greater numbers than were incinerated in the infamous March 9-10, 1945 raid on Tokyo.

[please go to link to read this excellent analysis]

"A Son Speaks Out" -- by Moses Farrow [posting inspired by the canceling of Woody Allen's book deal by Hachette]


I’m a very private person and not at all interested in public attention. But, given the incredibly inaccurate and misleading attacks on my father, Woody Allen, I feel that I can no longer stay silent as he continues to be condemned for a crime he did not commit.

I was present for everything that transpired in our house before, during, and after the alleged event. Now that the public hysteria of earlier this year has died down a little and I have some hope that the truth can get a fair hearing, I want to share my story.


August 4, 1992 was a warm, sunny day in Bridgewater, Connecticut, but in our family’s country home, Frog Hollow, there was a chill in the air. My mother, Mia Farrow, was out shopping with her close friend since childhood, Casey Pascal. I was 14 at the time, and home that day with my little sister Dylan, who had just turned seven, my four-year-old brother Satchel (who now goes by the name Ronan) and Casey’s three kids. We were being supervised by our nanny, Kristi, as well as Casey’s nanny, Alison, and our French tutor, Sophie. It was a full house.

There was another grown-up in the TV room that day, sitting on the floor, watching “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” with the rest of us – Woody Allen. On the surface, it was not unlike his previous visits to our country home. But my mother had put all of us on notice not to let him out of our sight. She was understandably furious: seven months earlier she had learned that he was in an intimate relationship with my 21-year-old sister Soon-Yi, after discovering Polaroids of her in Woody’s apartment. For months now, she had been drilling it into our heads like a mantra: Woody was “evil,” “a monster,” “the devil,” and Soon-Yi was “dead to us.” This was the constant refrain, whether or not Woody was around. (So often did she repeat it that Satchel would announce to one of our nannies, “My sister is fucking my father.” He had just turned four.) My mother was our only source of information about Woody – and she was extremely convincing.

As the oldest child at the house that summer day, I took Mia’s warnings very seriously. I thought my job was to support my mother and I desperately wanted her approval, as did all of her children. I had also learned repeatedly that to go against her wishes would bring horrible repercussions. I would keep my eyes on Woody until she returned. But secretly, I was torn.

To help explain why, I want to give you a little background about our family.

Even though Woody and Mia never married – and he never lived with us or even stayed the night at our apartment in the city – he would often come over around 6:30 in the morning, bringing two newspapers and a bunch of muffins. I would wake up before the others, and so he and I would sit at the kitchen table together for breakfast. While he read The New York Times, I’d grab the Post and go straight to the comics and word puzzles. We’d spend this peaceful time together before waking Dylan. He’d make her a couple of slices of toast with cinnamon or honey and be there as she ate her breakfast. He hardly seemed like a monster to me.

My older siblings were all either biological or adopted children of Mia and her ex-husband André Previn. In 1985 Mia adopted Dylan. Two years later she and Woody had their only biological child, Satchel. At the age of 49, Woody seemed to delight in his new role of father.

Mia had adopted me, her seventh child, as a single parent in 1980. In 1992 she successfully petitioned to allow Woody to co-adopt both Dylan and me, writing to the adoption agency, detailing what an excellent father he was. I was thrilled when Woody officially became my father, since he had already taken on that role in my life. We played catch and chess, fished, and shot hoops. As the years went by, Satchel, Dylan and I were frequent visitors to his movie sets and his editing room. In the evenings, he’d come over to Mia’s apartment and spend time with us. I never once saw anything that indicated inappropriate behavior at any time.

Then, of course, the news of Woody and Soon-Yi went public – and everything changed. My mother insisted that we remove both of them from our lives, and we had no choice but to accept.

Even people who doubt Dylan’s claims of assault, often cling to Woody’s relationship with Soon-Yi as justification for their skepticism about him. The public attacks on Soon-Yi by complete strangers still stagger me, as does the general misinformation that so many people consider fact. She is not Woody’s daughter (adopted, step, or otherwise), nor is she developmentally challenged. (She got a master’s degree in special education from Columbia University!) And the claim that they started dating while she was underage is totally false.

In truth, Woody and Soon-Yi rarely even spoke during her childhood. It was my mother who first suggested, when Soon-Yi was 20, that Woody reach out and spend time with her. He agreed and started taking her to Knicks games. That’s how their romance started. Yes, it was unorthodox, uncomfortable, disruptive to our family and it hurt my mother terribly. But the relationship itself was not nearly as devastating to our family as my mother’s insistence on making this betrayal the center of all our lives from then on.

But the fatal dysfunction within my childhood home had nothing to do with Woody. It began long before he entered the picture and came straight from a deep and persistent darkness within the Farrow family.

It was common knowledge in Hollywood that my grandfather, the director John Farrow, was a notorious drinker and serial philanderer. There were numerous alcohol-fueled arguments between her parents, and Mia told me that she was the victim of attempted molestation within her own family. Her brother, my uncle John, who visited us many times when we were young, is currently in prison on a conviction of multiple child molestation charges. (My mother has never publicly commented on this or expressed concern about his victims.) My uncle Patrick and his family would often come by, but those visits could end abruptly as Mia and Patrick would often wind up arguing. Patrick would commit suicide in 2009.

My mother, of course, had her own darkness. She married 50-year-old Frank Sinatra when she was only 21. After they divorced, she moved in to live with her close friend Dory Previn and her husband André. When my mother became pregnant by André, the Previns’ marriage broke up, leading to Dory’s institutionalization. It was never spoken of in our home, of course, and not even known to me until a few years ago. But, as I look at it – as a licensed therapist as well as an eyewitness – it’s easy to see the seeds of dysfunction that would flourish within our own home.

It was important to my mother to project to the world a picture of a happy blended household of both biological and adopted children, but this was far from the truth. I’m sure my mother had good intentions in adopting children with disabilities from the direst of circumstances, but the reality inside our walls was very different. It pains me to recall instances in which I witnessed siblings, some blind or physically disabled, dragged down a flight of stairs to be thrown into a bedroom or a closet, then having the door locked from the outside. She even shut my brother Thaddeus, paraplegic from polio, in an outdoor shed overnight as punishment for a minor transgression.

Soon-Yi was her most frequent scapegoat. My sister had an independent streak and, of all of us, was the least intimidated by Mia. When pushed, she would call our mother out on her behavior and ugly arguments would ensue. When Soon-Yi was young, Mia once threw a large porcelain centerpiece at her head. Luckily it missed, but the shattered pieces hit her legs. Years later, Mia beat her with a telephone receiver. Soon-Yi’s made it clear that her desire was simply to be left alone, which increasingly became the case. Even if her relationship with Woody was unconventional, it allowed her to escape. Others weren’t so lucky.

Most media sources claim my sister Tam died of “heart failure” at the age of 21. In fact, Tam struggled with depression for much of her life, a situation exacerbated by my mother refusing to get her help, insisting that Tam was just “moody.” One afternoon in 2000, after one final fight with Mia, which ended with my mother leaving the house, Tam committed suicide by overdosing on pills. My mother would tell others that the drug overdose was accidental, saying that Tam, who was blind, didn’t know which pills she was taking. But Tam had both an ironclad memory and sense of spatial recognition. And, of course, blindness didn’t impair her ability to count.

The details of Tam’s overdose and the fight with Mia that precipitated it were relayed directly to me by my brother Thaddeus, a first-hand witness. Tragically, he is no longer able to confirm this account. Just two years ago, Thaddeus also committed suicide by shooting himself in his car, less than 10 minutes from my mother’s house.

My sister Lark was another fatality. She wound up on a path of self-destruction, struggled with addiction, and eventually died in poverty from AIDS-related causes in 2008 at age 35.

For all of us, life under my mother’s roof was impossible if you didn’t do exactly what you were told, no matter how questionable the demand.

The summer between first and second grades, she was having new wallpaper installed in the bedroom I slept in, across the hall from hers on the second floor of the Connecticut house. I was getting ready to go to sleep, when my mother came over to my bed and found a tape measure. She gave me a piercing look that stopped me in my tracks and asked if I had taken it, as she had been looking for it all day. I stood in front of her, frozen. She asked why it was on my bed. I told her I didn’t know, that perhaps a workman had left it there. She asked again and again and again.

When I didn’t give the answer she wanted, she slapped my face, knocking off my glasses. She told me I was lying and directed me to tell my brothers and sisters that I had taken the tape measure. Through my tears I listened to her as she explained that we would rehearse what should have happened. She would walk into the room and I would tell her I was sorry for taking the tape measure, that I had taken it to play with and that I would never do it again. She made me rehearse it at least a half-dozen times.

That was the start of her coaching, drilling, scripting, and rehearsing – in essence, brainwashing. I became anxious and fearful. Once, when I was given a new pair of jeans, I thought they would look cool if I cut off a couple of the belt loops. When Mia saw what I had done, she spanked me repeatedly and had me remove all my clothing, saying, “You’re not deserving of any clothes” and making me stand naked in the corner of her room, in front of my older siblings who had just returned from dinner with their father André. (After I spoke to People magazine in 2014 about how I was treated, Dylan called it a “betrayal” and said that I was “dead to” her. She later publicly dismissed my recollections of my childhood as “irrelevant.” This from a woman who now styles herself an “advocate for abuse victims.”)

Fighting back was not a viable option. One summer day, Mia accused me of leaving the curtains closed in the TV room. They had been drawn the day before when Dylan and Satchel were watching a movie. She insisted that I had closed them and left them that way. Her friend Casey had come over to visit and while they were in the kitchen, my mother insisted I had shut the curtains. At that point, I couldn’t take it anymore and I lost it, yelling, “You’re lying!” She shot me a look and took me into the bathroom next to the TV room.  She hit me uncontrollably all over my body. She slapped me, pushed me backwards and hit me on my chest, shouting, “How dare you say I’m a liar in front of my friend. You’re the pathological liar.” I was defeated, deflated, beaten and beaten down. Mia had stripped me of my voice and my sense of self. It was clear that if I stepped even slightly outside her carefully crafted reality, she would not tolerate it. It was an upbringing that made me, paradoxically, both fiercely loyal and obedient to her, as well as deeply afraid.

In short, it was not a happy home – or a healthy one. Which brings us back to August 4, 1992.

Strangers on Twitter pose me this question all the time: “You weren’t there to witness the assault, so how do you know it didn’t happen?” But how could anyone witness an assault if it never happened?

As the “man of the house” that day, I had promised to keep an eye out for any trouble, and I was doing just that. I remember where Woody sat in the TV room, and I can picture where Dylan and Satchel were. Not that everybody stayed glued to the same spot, but I deliberately made sure to note everyone’s coming and going. I do remember that Woody would leave the room on occasion, but never with Dylan. He would wander into another room to make a phone call, read the paper, use the bathroom, or step outside to get some air and walk around the large pond on the property.

Along with five kids, there were three adults in the house, all of whom had been told for months what a monster Woody was. None of us would have allowed Dylan to step away with Woody, even if he tried. Casey’s nanny, Alison, would later claim that she walked into the TV room and saw Woody kneeling on the floor with his head in Dylan’s lap on the couch. Really? With all of us in there? And if she had witnessed that, why wouldn’t she have said something immediately to our nanny Kristi? (I also remember some discussion of this act perhaps taking place on the staircase that led to Mia’s room. Again, this would have been in full view of anyone who entered the living room, assuming Woody managed to walk off with Dylan in the first place.) The narrative had to be changed since the only place for anyone to commit an act of depravity in private would have been in a small crawl space off my mother’s upstairs bedroom. By default, the attic became the scene of the alleged assault.

In her widely-circulated 2014 open letter in The New York Times, the adult Dylan suddenly seemed to remember every moment of the alleged assault, writing, “He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”

It’s a precise and compelling narrative, but there’s a major problem: there was no electric train set in that attic. There was, in fact, no way for kids to play up there, even if we had wanted to. It was an unfinished crawl space, under a steeply-angled gabled roof, with exposed nails and floorboards, billows of fiberglass insulation, filled with mousetraps and droppings and stinking of mothballs, and crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes.

The idea that the space could possibly have accommodated a functioning electric train set, circling around the attic, is ridiculous. One of my brothers did have an elaborate model train set, but it was set up in the boys’ room, a converted garage on the first floor. (Maybe that was the train set my sister thinks she remembers?) Now, whenever I hear Dylan making a public statement about what allegedly happened to her that day when she was barely seven, I can only think of that imaginary train set, which she never brought up during the original investigation or custody hearing. Did somebody suggest to the adult Dylan that such a specific detail would make her story more credible? Or does she really believe she remembers this train “circling around the attic” the same way she says she remembers Woody’s whispered promises of trips to Paris and movie stardom (kind of odd enticements to offer a 7-year-old, rather than a new toy or a doll)? And all this apparently took place while those of us who promised to have our eyes trained on Woody were downstairs, seemingly oblivious to what was happening right above our heads?

Eventually, my mother returned with Casey and her newest adoptees, Tam and baby Isaiah. There were no complaints by the nannies, and nothing odd about Dylan’s behavior. In fact, Woody and Mia went out to dinner that night. After dinner, they returned to Frog Hollow and Woody stayed over in a downstairs bedroom – with, apparently, no abnormal behavior by Dylan, and no negative reports from any of the grown-ups.

The next morning, Woody was still at the house. Before he left, I briefly wandered into the living room and witnessed Dylan and Satchel sitting with him on the floor by a wall with a big picture window. The kids had a catalogue from a toy store and were marking off the toys they wanted him to bring back on his next visit. It was a cheerful, playful atmosphere – which would soon seem jarring compared to what Mia would allege happened less than a day before. Many years later, I once mentioned my recollection to Woody, and he said that he, too, remembered it quite vividly, telling me how he had told Satchel and Dylan to mark one or two toys each, but they had laughingly managed to check off virtually every toy in the catalogue. He remembers bringing it back to the city with him, with the intention of purchasing a few of the items they had checked. He told me he wound up holding onto that catalogue for years, having no idea that he would never see his daughter again.

Interestingly, it was only after Woody returned to the city that Mia would receive a phone call that would change our lives forever. It was from her friend Casey, who reported that her nanny Alison had witnessed Woody supposedly placing his head in Dylan’s lap on the sofa in the TV room.

When Monica, our long-term nanny who was out that day, returned to work the next day, I confided to her that I thought the story was made up. Monica, who had been with us for six years, would quit her job a few months later, saying that Mia was pressuring her to take her side and support the accusation.

It was Monica who later testified that she saw Mia taping Dylan describe how Woody had supposedly touched her in the attic, saying it took Mia two or three days to make the recording. In her testimony she said, “I recall Ms. Farrow saying to Dylan at that time, ‘Dylan, what did daddy do... and what did he do next?’ Dylan appeared not to be interested, and Ms. Farrow would stop taping for a while and then continue.” I can vouch for this, having witnessed some of this process myself. When another one of Dylan’s therapists, Dr. Nancy Schultz, criticized the making of the video, and questioned the legitimacy of the content, she too, was fired immediately by Mia. (My mother, for whom “loyalty” was hugely important, would also fire another long-term caretaker, Mavis, claiming that she was making statements against her.)

During the custody hearing, my mother kept stressing how we needed to stick together as a family. Frightened and beaten down, I, too, played my part. I even wrote a letter condemning Woody, saying that he had done something horrible and unforgivable, and had broken my dreams. I even read the letter for the news media that were now regularly gathered at the end of our driveway, knowing that doing so would earn my mother’s approval. That public denouncement of my father remains the biggest regret of my life.

Later that year, I remember many meetings with lawyers and an evaluation I went to in New Jersey. I am naturally shy and kept quiet until I finally felt the need to speak up. I told the evaluator that I felt stuck between my parents. Afterwards, I returned to my school and my mother called, screaming. “Do you realize what you’ve done? You’ve destroyed my case! You need to call your lawyer and tell her you take back what you said, tell her that you recant your statements and want them stricken from the record.” I felt my stomach drop. When I next spoke to the lawyer, I repeated her words verbatim, “I take back what I said, I recant my statements and want them stricken from the record.” Again, the pattern held: I was forced to follow my mother’s script to prove my loyalty.

Even though she still lectured us about “staying together as a family,” at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, my mother sent me to boarding school in Connecticut against my wishes. I objected that I wanted to stay in New York; she didn’t care. My usefulness in the family drama had played itself out. I had made my statement against my father, my role was done, and I was sent away.

At the time, of course, I knew nothing about the six-month criminal investigation conducted by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale/New Haven Hospital, ordered by the Connecticut state police. But since this allegation was renewed a few years ago, I’ve seen the results of that investigation. It specifically concluded that “Dylan was not abused by Mr. Allen,” that her statements had a “rehearsed quality” and that they were “likely coached or influenced by her mother.” Those conclusions perfectly match my own childhood experience: coaching, influencing, and rehearsing are three words that sum up exactly how my mother tried to raise us. I know that Dylan has recently referred to this brainwashing theory as “spin” by our father – but it was nothing of the sort. It was not only the conclusion reached by a state-ordered investigation, it was the reality of life in our household.

That report put an end to any chance of criminal charges being brought against my father. A second, 14-month investigation by the New York State Department of Social Services, reached the same conclusion as Yale/New Haven: “No credible evidence was found that [Dylan Farrow] has been abused or maltreated.” Nevertheless, when a judge granted custody of Satchel and Dylan to Mia, at 15, I chose the path of least resistance, and also stayed with my mother.

In my mid-twenties, shortly after I graduated from my master’s program, I felt that I wanted to reach out to Woody, and communicated this to Mia. I’ll never forget how happy I felt when I received her return email saying she would support it, understanding my need for a father figure. That happiness was short-lived. Less than 24 hours later, she reconsidered, and wrote back, saying that she forbade me from making contact with “that monster.”

Several years later, I became estranged from my mother, but it has taken years of self-reflection, professional help and support from those I love – and who love me in return – for me to appreciate the sad truth of my childhood and of what my mother did to my siblings and me. I am grateful to have awakened to the truth of what happened to us – but disappointed that it took me this long to get here.

Meanwhile, though, my father continues to face wave after wave of unfair and unrelenting attacks from my mother and her surrogates, questioning why he has been “given a pass” all these years. But Woody was not given a pass. Quite the opposite. Mia’s accusation was fully investigated by two separate agencies and charges were never brought. Mia reached the end of the legal runway after it was determined that the abuse never occurred. But trial by media thrives on the lack of long-term memory and Twitter requires neither knowledge nor restraint.

To those who have become convinced of my father’s guilt, I ask you to consider this: In this time of #MeToo, when so many movie heavyweights have faced dozens of accusations, my father has been accused of wrongdoing only once, by an enraged ex-partner during contentious custody negotiations. During almost 60 years in the public eye, not one other person has come forward to accuse him of even behaving badly on a date, or acting inappropriately in any professional situation, let alone molesting a child. As a trained professional, I know that child molestation is a compulsive sickness and deviation that demands repetition. Dylan was alone with Woody in his apartment countless times over the years without a hint of impropriety, yet some would have you believe that at the age of 56, he suddenly decided to become a child molester in a house full of hostile people ordered to watch him like a hawk.

To the actors who have worked with my father and have voiced regret for doing so: You have rushed to join the chorus of condemnation based on a discredited accusation for fear of not being on the “right” side of a major social movement. But rather than accept the hysteria of Twitter mobs, mindlessly repeating a story examined and discredited 25 years ago, please consider what I have to say. After all, I was there – in the house, in the room – and I know both my father and mother and what each is capable of a whole lot better than you.

To my sister Dylan:  Like you, I believe in the power of speaking out. I have broken my silence about the abuse inflicted by our mother. My healing began only after getting away from her. And what she has done to you is unbearable. I wish you peace, and the wisdom to understand that devoting your life to helping our mother destroy our father’s reputation is unlikely to bring you closure in any kind of lasting way.

Finally, to my mother: One thing you always said you appreciated about me was my ability to listen. I listened to you for years and held your truth above all others. You once said to me, “It’s not healthy to hold onto anger.” Yet here we are, 26 years later. I’m guessing your next step will be to launch a campaign to discredit me for speaking out. I know it comes with the territory. And it’s a burden I am willing to bear.

But, after all this time, enough is enough. You and I both know the truth. And it’s time for this retribution to end.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2020

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Wet'suwet'en Solidarity: "This Movement Wouldn't Exist Without Everything That Preceded It" | PopularResistance.Org

Wet'suwet'en Solidarity: "This Movement Wouldn't Exist Without Everything That Preceded It" | PopularResistance.Org:

EXCERPT below bfrom interview with Gord Hill, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation, an artist, the author of the 500 Years of Resistance comic book and the Antifa comic book, as well as the editor of Warrior Publications.

"This movement wouldn’t exist without everything that preceded it. So the [campaign against the] 2010 Olympics, the anti-tarsands campaign, the anti-Northern Gateway Pipeline campaign, Idle No More, the Elsipogtog anti-fracking struggle in New Brunswick, Six Nations in 2006, I think all these things inform the present and what this movement is. All those different movements contributed to the movement that we’re seeing on the streets today. All the work that was done by Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people building solidarity and all this work that’s been done over the years"