26 08 2015

This has been a difficult piece for me to write and share. I suspect it is similar to the internal process I might undergo if I were inquiring as to whether I had been molested as a child, or raped when I was unconscious.  It involves overcoming the urge to denial.  It involves difficult situations with long-time friends.  It involves doing my best to understand if I am recalling buried memories, or merely falling into paranoid fantasies.  The truth, as they say, is out there, somewhere, and the only way I know to find it is to keep asking questions.

In that spirit, here’s the latest chapter in my inquiry into whether the demise of “The old Farm” was an “oops!” or a “whodunnit?” This is very much a work in progress. I have learned a lot in the course of my investigation.  People handed me “puzzle pieces” that fit in with other sources’ “puzzle pieces” and created a picture that the individual puzzle piece holders could not have seen, and that I could hardly have anticipated. I suspect there may be further surprises awaiting me.  For that reason, this chapter is largely couched in “supposes,” “perhapses,” and questions, and I have chosen not to name names. New information is always welcome. (In case you’re wondering, no, this story is not part of the “Green Hour” radio show broadcasts, but it does have some great music links, mostly in the section dealing with the community’s musical outreach.)                                         (on  8-27-15, I added a paragraph to “The Plot Thickens section, making this v.3.0.1.  I have noted in the text that the paragraph is a later addition.)                            (further additions and corrections made 9-6-15, and enough material added 12-7-15 to rate changing the title number to “3.1.” A small, but significant, further addition was made 12-21-15, to the “Mystery Drums” section, moving the version number to 3.1.1.) (further additions made 1-15-16, bumping it to 3.2)

Here are links to my earlier efforts on this topic: 

EDWARD SNOWDEN AND THE FARM focusses on how a particular NSA document that Snowden released might relate to what happened on The Farm, recounts the community’s history of involvement with a number of other sociopolitical movements, and points out how those groups and others were demonstrably sabotaged by covert government action.

SNOWDEN AND THE FARM, PART TWO    is largely a response to the question, “why does it matter at this late date?”



In a speech in Seattle last March, Robert Scheer, author, investigative journalist, editor of the “Truthdig” website and former editor of Ramparts Magazine, had this to say:

I know why they were after King, because King was not staying put. King was a moral force. King said, I have to deal with poverty and I have to deal with war. And after Selma, I remember, because I published it in Ramparts, King’s speech at Riverside Church condemning the U.S. as the major purveyor of violence in the world today. He said, How can I condemn violence in the ghetto by young kids, and then you draft them and you send them off on to fight in Vietnam to kill and be killed? So King had become an irritant to people of power, a big irritant. When he died, he was there working with garbage collectors in Memphis who were on strike, dealing with poverty issue. So he wouldn’t stay put in his moral concerns…..

….if there is a King alive today, he will be destroyed and you won’t even know it. I’m not talking about the creepy stuff like you control his car and smash into a cliff or do all the other things that can be done with modern technology. I mean, all of us are vulnerable to people who want to smear us, whether they use true stuff or false stuff, whether they make it or they manufacture it. Scott Ritter, who was the most effective critic of the whole phony weapons of mass destruction, he gets entrapped by a police agent in some kind of Internet sex thing and serves time in jail. Elliott Spitzer, the most effective critic of the banks when he was attorney general in New York and then governor, suddenly it’s a big deal that he went to a house of prostitution or something, and he’s destroyed. So the ability to destroy people, like a Martin Luther King or anyone else, is out there. It’s in the hands of all these government agencies, all these police forces. Trust me, it’s going to be rampant.

I share Robert Scheer’s strong suspicion that King was not killed by a random nut with a gun, but by a concerted government effort, and I share his assessment that the government decided that it would be better to nip any possible King successors in the bud, without going to the extreme of murdering them, and thus turning them into martyrs.  Assassinating someone’s character or sabotaging their organization is a lot less messy, and leaves no martyrs. Stephen Gaskin, too, was “not staying put.” He was a major figure in a movement that was bringing together the back-to-the-land counterculture, Native Americans from the US and Central America, inner-city African-Americans, anti-nuclear power activists, and peace activists, among others, to challenge the dominant paradigm.  Why wouldn’t the government want him out of the way? Read the rest of this entry »


12 04 2009

TVA is a public utility–that means we the people  own it, and it’s responsible to us,  right?

TVA takes our welfare seriously, can be depended on to do reliable monitoring of any potential pollution it creates, and therefore should have no objections to any third-party verification of those results, right?

Our District Attorneys are public servants–that is, they defend the public good when it is violated by private interests, right?

Wrong, Jack, wrong on all three counts.  United Mountain Defense volunteer Matt Landon found that out when he was arrested for trespassing on newly-purchased TVA land, even though the residents (and former owners)  had given him permission to be there.   It just so happens that he was on this land to check on air monitoring equipment that UMD had set up there, near the Kingston coal ash spill.  This was not an informal arrangement; UMD had entered into a legal, contractual agreement with the landowner to monitor air quality.  In a truly Orwellian turn, TVA had forbidden the former landowner from informing Landon that TVA had purchased the property.  In other words, TVA was acting to entrap Mr. Landon.

It seems to me that any District Attorney who took his “public servant” designation seriously would tell TVA to get lost for this kind of corporate bullying, but NOOOO!  DA Russell Johnson was only too happy to kiss TVA’s fat, well-funded corporate ass.  His office threatened Landon with a year in jail…for putting up an air monitor.  Gag me with a spoon, folks, does it get any plainer than this?

Landon wisely demanded a pre-trial hearing instead of knuckling under, and got a plea bargain offer in return:  some of the charges would be dropped, and he could plead guilty to the rest and just pay a fine.  “Guilty” of setting up and maintaining an air monitor where he believed he had every right to do so?  Again, he said “no way,” and got another plea bargain offer.  In his words:

…for the next six months I cannot travel on the Clinch or Emory River from Interstate 40 to mile marker 4 on the Emory River.  I cannot enter the 750 foot elevation (100 year flood plain) near these two rivers.  I cannot interact with any TVA employees or any other company workers employed by TVA to work on the Coal Ash Disaster.   The $3,000 bond will be held for the next six months until a follow up trial date of Sept 21, 2009 at which time I will have to pay court costs of nearly $600.  If at any time I break any of these clauses I will be pulled back into court and all bets are off probably meaning jail time.

On advice of his public defender, Matt took this deal.  After all, it shouldn’t be that hard to find somebody else to do what he has been doing, and anyway TVA’s hostile attitude about independent monitoring indicts itself.

Fortunately, UMD is not the only outfit keeping an eye on TVA.  Appalachian Voices, a group dedicated to “protecting our mountain heritage,” used the very modern technology of GPS to precisely locate TVA’s own monitoring sites, and found an easy explanation for why TVA kept coming up with such “reassuring” results.  In the words of Appalachian Voices spokeswoman Donna Lisenby,

“You can skew the data by putting testing points in odd locations, such as behind a sandbar or far upriver away from the spill.  The GPS locations show that that is what the TVA has been doing.”

Bob Gadinski, a former hydrologist for the state of Pennsylvania, concurred, saying…”TVA isn’t interested in properly mapping the contaminants in that river,” and that ” the locations were intentionally biased for nonsignificance.”

Hey, TVA’s got a bottom line to protect…oops, sorry, it’s government owned, well, hey the gov has gotten adept at CYA’ing, after all, it’s not like it has to be responsible to us little people, is it?

A government agency run amuck (literally!), a district attorney more than happy to help defend them against public scrutiny.  This is why we need a strong, viable Green Party here in Tennessee.  It’s not just about statewide and national races, or even the state legislature.  Local toadies like Russell Johnson should be challenged, repeatedly if necessary, by witty, well-informed opponents with a broad base in the community.  Victory is not going to come overnight,  but as long as we’re still coherent enough to be holding elections, it’s not too late to begin.  Volunteers?

music: Brother Martin and the Intangibles, “Terrorists in the Heartland

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