People Magazine highlights book by former human trafficking victim

  • People Magazine highlights book by former human trafficking victim - Photo credit: People Magazine

Now working as an assistant manager at a luggage store, Shyima Hall hopes to go back to school and become an ICE agent.

– Feb. 24 edition of People Magazine

An Egyptian human trafficking victim enslaved as a girl in southern California wrote an autobiography that details her ordeal and subsequent life in the U.S. after being rescued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and the local police department.

Shyima Hall shares details from her book, “Hidden Girl,” which was published last month, in this week’s edition of People Magazine.

She dedicates the book to HSI Supervisory Special Agent Mark Abend “for helping me navigate life in the United States, for his assistance in helping me raise awareness of basic human rights, and for his dedication to end slavery in our world,” she writes in the book.

Abend calls it the proudest moment of his career, he said, because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles the 24-year-old Hall has overcome throughout her life.

“I’ve never seen someone that very well could have had a broken spirit, stand up and say ‘I’m not taking this,’ and become such an example of strength to others,” Abend said.

Hall was sold by her family into slavery in Egypt when she was 10 years old. The Egyptian couple who enslaved her moved to Irvine, Calif., and smuggled Hall with them.

She spent two years living in squalor while caring for her new family around the clock with no pay, until HSI special agents and Irvine police officers rescued her after receiving an anonymous tip.

“This was a shining example of how the work we do at ICE helps families,” Abend said.

He has stayed in touch with Hall through the years, the relationship providing a sense of stability for her as she built her life in the U.S., he said. She aims to become an ICE special agent because of how the agency helped free her from slavery, she told Abend.

“There is so much she has done and still so much she wants to do, she is so full of life,” Abend said.

She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011.

 Full Story

In the News: Vermont, Slavery, Haiti

Readex collection
Readex collection

What the Modern World Owes Slavery (It’s More Than Back Wages)

The Huffington Post

February 24, 2014

By Greg Grandin, Professor of History, NYU

Many in the United States were outraged by the remarks of conservative evangelical preacher Pat Robertson, who blamed Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake on Haitians for selling their souls to Satan. Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble — as many as 300,000 died — when Robertson went on TV and gave his viewing audience a little history lesson: the Haitians had been “under the heel of the French” but they “got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

A supremely callous example of right-wing idiocy? Absolutely. Yet in his own kooky way, Robertson was also onto something. Haitians did, in fact, swear a pact with the devil for their freedom. Only Beelzebub arrived smelling not of sulfur, but of Parisian cologne.

Haitian slaves began to throw off the “heel of the French” in 1791, when they rose up and, after bitter years of fighting, eventually declared themselves free. Their French masters, however, refused to accept Haitian independence. The island, after all, had been an extremely profitable sugar producer, and so Paris offered Haiti a choice: compensate slave owners for lost property — their slaves (that is, themselves) — or face its imperial wrath. The fledgling nation was forced to finance this payout with usurious loans from French banks. As late as 1940, 80% of the government budget was still going to service this debt.

 Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-grandin/slavery-reparations_b_4846078.html

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In This State: Historian finds imprecise end to slavery in Vermont

VTDigger.org

February 23, 2014

Vermonters have long prided themselves on their state’s enlightened stance on race relations. The fact that the first state constitution in 1777 prohibited slavery is often cited as evidence that Vermont led the nation in establishing universal human rights.

But a new book by a University of Vermont history professor makes it clear that Vermont should stop patting itself on the back.

“The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810” by professor Harvey Amani Whitfield challenges one of Vermont’s most firmly held myths: that slavery was ended here in 1777. The book, published by the Vermont Historical Society this month, documents the inescapable truth that racism and even slavery were much a part of this state’s formative years, and lasted well after 1777.

Read more at: http://vtdigger.org/2014/02/23/state-historian-finds-imprecise-end-slavery-vermont/

DUWAMISH TRIBE CELEBRATES THE FIRST NATIONS

Saturday, 12 October 2013—4-7p.m  At the Longhouse, 4705 West Marginal Way SW, Seattle, WA

 The Duwamish Tribe in association with PoetsWest will host a program of poetry and storytelling by Native Americans.  Other local tribes are invited to participate in this inaugural event.  An open mic will follow featured readers for those who have poems dealing with the indigenous peoples.  The program will be recorded for radio and TV.

 

FEATURED:

Duwamish Tribe

Representatives from the Duwamish Tribe’s heritage group “Singing Feet” will share traditional Duwamish teachings through story and song.  TilibSedeb (Singing-Feet), the Duwamish tribe’s language and culture group was recently honored as a recipient a 2012 Mayor’s Arts Awards from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.  In January 2009, the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center was opened to promote and share the heritage of Chief Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe–Seattle’s First People and only native tribe.  Duwamish tribal leadership continues unbroken since Chief Seattle.  Cecile Hansen is the great, great, great, grand-niece of Chief Seattle and has served as the Chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe for 37 years.  The Longhouse provides a home for the Duwamish people and visible place to declare, “We are still here.” Like traditional potlatch houses, it is a gathering place to which the Duwamish can invite guests.

 

Peter Ali

Is a talented and self-taught Native flutist creating his music not from notes, but from spirit within so each performance is unique and special. He plays a variety of native flutes and shares their stories as well as stories of his rich ethnic heritage. Listen to the sounds of eagle, running river, nature and spirit in the flute’s song.

 

Thomas Hubbard

Comes from a rich heritage of Cherokee, Miami, Irish and English ancestry and grew up among factory workers.  He earned a teaching degree in English, Education and Sociology from Ball State University in 1969.  Over the next thirty years he worked as a teacher, a carpenter, blues musician and freelance writer. He attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas, St. Edward’s University, East Texas State University and Indiana University.  He won the Seattle’s Grand Slam in 1995. He has written three chapbooks, Nail and Other Hardworking Poems, Junkyard Dogz, Injunz and published an anthology Children Remember Their Fathers.  His poetry, fiction and reviews have been published in numerous journals.  Hubbard has recently served as vice president of the board of directors for the Washington Poets Association.  He currently serves on the editorial staff of two magazines: Raven Chronicles and Cartier Street Review.

 

Philip Red Eagle

Philip H. Red Eagle is a born and raised Northwest writer, artist, metal smith and carver.  He is the author of Red Earth: A Vietnam Warrior’s Journey; styled in mythical realism and now in 2nd Edition (saltpublishing.com).  He is also the originator and a cofounder of The Raven Chronicles:  A Journal of Art, Literature & The Spoken Word (1991-Present), currently based in Seattle.  Philip is an “occasional poet” who, these days, spends most of his time working with Tribal Journeys, a cultural movement using the canoe as a vessel for cultural renewal.

 

J. Glenn Evans

Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma, founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally-syndicated weekly radio show.  Evans is author of a book of poetry, Window in the Sky, and three chapbooks, Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress and Seattle Poems.  Author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers, numerous political essays, several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market and he has been published in many literary journals.  A former stockbroker-investment banker, Evans has lived in Seattle since 1960, worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller, and co-starring Slim Pickens.

 

Following the poetry and storytelling the movie on Princess Angeline

and the history of the Duwamish Tribe will be shown along with a tour of the Longhouse.  Authentic Fry bread will be available for sale along with selected free refreshments.  Free event, but more info and tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/481431!

 

Princess Angeline

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS CONCERNING BRADLEY MANNING

Rally in support of Bradley Manning on August ...
Rally in support of Bradley Manning on August 8, 2010, in Quantico, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Congress truly represented the American people, you would award Bradley Manning the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery against the enemy within.  He is a true American hero who risked his life and possible life imprisonment for making the American people aware of criminal acts and war crimes committed in their names.

Yet you have allowed the military that is subject to your control because it is you and you alone who appropriate the funds for their existence and continued operation, to demonize, torture and prosecute this young patriot who made the American people aware of crimes committed in their names.

There has been no outrage on your part for the crimes and criminal acts exposed by Bradley Manning.  Instead of investigating the crimes and prosecuting the criminals, you have allowed military and executive branch to make a scapegoat of this young patriot instead of going after the real criminals within our government and military.

Each of you has sworn an oath to defend our Constitution.  If you, who are supposed to represent the American people, allow the military and executive branch of this nation to execute or imprison this young patriot, then 10 million Americans should storm his place of imprisonment and demand his release and compensation for his unjust detention and torture.  We recall the rebuke made by Joseph Welch in the 1950s to Senator McCarthy: Have you no sense of decency, sir?”  We say: “Has the United States Government lost its humanity?”

Like Socrates who stood firm against a corrupt government, Bradley Manning’s name will live on long after you, holed up in your citadel of corrupted wealth, have all been forgotten.

J. Glenn Evans and Barbara Evans

Copyleft 2013 J. Glenn Evans

(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

 

J. Glenn Evans  Former card-carrying Republican and stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma. Earned a BS in Business from East Central University (Ada, OK). Has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller starring Slim Pickens. Award-wining poet and founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a syndicated weekly radio show through Pacifica’s AudioPort.org. Author of four books of poetry: Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems, two novels, Broker Jim and Zeke’s Revenge, essay book, Uncommon Common Sense and several local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Widely published in literary journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

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Dancing the World into Being

A Conversation with Idle No More’s Leanne Simpson

Leanne Simpson collecting wild rice.

 

In December 2012, the Indigenous protests known as Idle No More exploded onto the Canadian political scene, with huge round dances taking place in shopping malls, busy intersections, and public spaces across North America, as well as solidarity actions as far away as New Zealand and Gaza. Though sparked by a series of legislative attacks on indigenous sovereignty and environmental protections by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, the movement quickly became about much more: Canada’s ongoing colonial policies, a transformative vision of decolonization, and the possibilities for a genuine alliance between natives and non-natives, one capable of re-imagining nationhood.

Throughout all this, Idle No More had no official leaders or spokespeople. But it did lift up the voices of a few artists and academics whose words and images spoke to the movement’s deep aspirations. One of those voices belonged to Leanne Simpson, a multi-talented Mississauga Nishnaabeg writer of poetry, essays, spoken-word pieces, short stories, academic papers, and anthologies. Simpson’s books, including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Protection and Resurgence of Indigenous Nations and Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence, have influenced a new generation of native activists.

At the height of the protests, her essay, Aambe! Maajaadaa! (What #IdleNoMore Means to Me) spread like wildfire on social media and became one of the movement’s central texts. In it she writes: “I support #idlenomore because I believe that we have to stand up anytime our nation’s land base is threatened—whether it is legislation, deforestation, mining prospecting, condo development, pipelines, tar sands or golf courses. I stand up anytime our nation’s land base in threatened because everything we have of meaning comes from the land—our political systems, our intellectual systems, our health care, food security, language and our spiritual sustenance and our moral fortitude.”

On February 15, 2013, I sat down with Leanne Simpson in Toronto to talk about decolonization, ecocide, climate change, and how to turn an uprising into a “punctuated transformation.”

READ THE INTERVIEW: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/06

Activists for a Better World

Rise Up! The System Is Broken!
Rise Up! The System Is Broken! (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

LET’S GET ABOARD

By J. Glenn Evans 

Now that most of us have voted or will have done so shortly, what comes next? You may not have gotten aboard for this election, but let’s grab the future.  Most likely, unless we do something ourselves, there won’t be any change but more of the same downhill ride with the two 1% parties. Many people hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils, thinking they had little choice but to do so. But, we truly do have an alternative if we will unite and accept the responsibility for changing things.

The people selected by the two major parties and put in power by our rigged election system are not going to change anything except make things worse until they feel threatened. If this happens, they will throw us a few crumbs until things settle down, then it’s back to the same old business of doing the bidding of the 1%.

Our politicians have the power, right now, to take the money out of the elections, to limit the amount of money and time spent on elections, and even to make the elections public-financed. They could require the broadcast companies to devote 20% of their broadcast time 30 days before the elections as a royalty due the citizens for the free use of our airwaves. This time would be for the free and equal use of candidates running for office. They could enact a fair tax code and close the loopholes that benefit only the 1%. But as long as big money is involved in our politics, these changes won’t happen.

As long as they are able to deny the vote to many of our citizens, the 1% rule, and we have lost the sovereignty of the people.  This loss of citizen sovereignty is why we all need to get aboard. We must unite and organize to make the changes that will save our nation and reclaim our democracy from the claws of the predatory 1%.  Let’s all get aboard and make it happen. When they utilize their money to rule us that is when we say “NO MORE.”

Rocky Anderson of the new Justice Party is the rising star to lead and help us rebuild a new United States of America that we can once again be proud of.  Join the Justice Party and let’s fill up our Senate, House of Representatives, the state houses, and local community offices with real patriots who will support the American people. Then let’s put Rocky Anderson in the White House in 2016.  Let’s start talking and acting like WE MEAN BUSINESS.

Click here to see who really stands with you at voterocky.org.

http://www.youtube.com/user/rockyanderson1Vote Rocky YouTube

http://www.voterocky.org/

Copyleft 2012 J. Glenn Evans  (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

We Highly recommend these links: TO HELP REGAIN OUR DEMOCRACY

http://www.peoplescongress.org

The National Initiative for Democracy

VoteSawant | A Voice for the 99%  Taking on the establishment if you are in Washington State

OPEN LETTER TO THE 1%

 

WEALTH IN THE USA
WEALTH IN THE USA (Photo credit: er00mb0b)

CHANGE UNLESS YOU WANT AN EQUALIZATION TAX

by J. Glenn Evans

Look, folks, I’m happy that you are comfortable and do not have to worry about your daily bread about which so many millions of our fellow humans must be concerned.  I do not envy your wealth and don’t want to take it for myself.  But when you use your wealth to take control of our government of the people and for the people, when you control the airwaves to dumb down our people, monopolize the banks and our industrial operations, lock up our prisoners in privatized institutions for profit, pollute our environment, ignore global warming that may destroy all life, create wars to enhance your wealth and destroy our youth, take away the social network for the poor and keep them ignorant by allowing our educational institutions to atrophy, then you step on all our toes and the world cries out for an equalization tax.

Unless you rein in the greeds among you who are creating so much havoc, tying up all the vital resources and enslaving the people of the world, corrupting our governments and institutions to enhance their wealth even further, then it’s time that we the people of the world take action and create an equalization tax that takes into common ownership all wealth that exceeds $10 million per any single individual and $100 million under the control of any single institution. The resources of this planet are here for the benefit of all life, not only for a few greedy grabbers.  Why should one person be allowed accumulate enough for a thousand lifetimes while thousands of their fellow citizens go hungry and unsheltered.

So fess up, back down or face the ultimate consequences.  Unfortunately, those in control often see no need for change until they are in sight of the guillotine and then it is too late.  No one wants to see another French Revolution, where a lot of innocent people on all sides suffer.  Those who hold the reins of power will, unfortunately, kill a lot of people by use of their technology, police and armies, but the jig will be up for them when the police and soldiers in the army realize that they have taken an oath to defend our Constitution and they are part of the 99% and not the 1%.  It is time for a re-examination of our institutions and make the necessary changes to bring about social and economic justice for all.  Every single adult of sound mind must be given an unhampered vote and anyone or group who tampers with this right must be brought to justice.

Copyleft 2012 J. Glenn Evans  (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

Show Them Who’s Boss

By J. Glenn Evans

 Let’s show Wall Street, CEOs of mega-corporation, the international banksters and their lapdogs the Democrat and Republican Parties just who are the real bosses in this country.  Both the Democratic and the Republican Parties smugly rest assured knowing that you will vote for one party or the other because they have set the stage to keep all others out.  Each party knows they will have their turn, because the same 1% control both parties.  They have become the two-headed corporate party.  Because the same groups control our state legislatures, they have been able to create obstacles limiting ballot access to newly formed parties and essentially disenfranchise many of our citizens by their rules and regulations.  Using the corporate media and celebrative distractions they have been able to put many of our citizens to sleep as to what has really been happening in our country.

WE THE PEOPLE should knock them off their smug pedestals by not voting Democrat or Republican.  The Democratic Party knows that you will vote for them as the lesser of two evils, so they don’t need to listen to you.  Voting for the lesser of two evils has become an addiction that allows both parties to control you.  Vote for progressive independents, third party candidates or write in the third party candidate’s names if he or she is not listed on the ballot of your state.  In fact, in my opinion, a vote for any other party, or progressive independent that denies a vote to these two rogue parties is an act of true patriotism. 

Rocky Anderson of the Justice party, running for president along with his vice president running mate, Luis Rodriguez, are in my opinion, the best candidates running for those offices.  Rocky Anderson, while serving two terms in the executive position of mayor of Salt Lake City, reduced the city’s pollution by 30 percent.  He also has a proven record of standing up for human rights and protection of the environment, so critical in these days of climate change.  Both Rocky and Luis have records of standing up for justice for all.  I encourage you to check the links below to see how they stand on the critical issues that WE THE PEOPLE are concerned about and how we can regain our Democracy.  Show the Democratic and Republican duopolies that WE THE PEOPLE are the true bosses of this country and show them the door.

Copyleft 2012 J. Glenn Evans      (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

J. Glenn Evans:  Poet, novelist, historian and political activist, Seattle resident since 1960, author of Peoples’ ManifestoThe Hour is Late, numerous other political essays and Little History of Pike Place Market, several local histories, two novels: Broker Jim and Zeke’s Revenge and four books of poetry: Window in the Sky, Seattle PoemsBuffalo Tracks, and Deadly Mistress.  Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma and graduate of Wewoka High School and East Central University, OK.  Produces and hosts a weekly radio show of poetry and stories made available to nonprofit radio stations worldwide through Pacifica’s AudioPort. JGE2@poetswest.com:  www.poetswest.com  

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THISE LINKS AS A HELP REGAIN OUR DEMOCRACY— J. Glenn Evans

a warm wind

A warm wind blows

Across the prairies

Up the mountains

Through the valleys

Among the towers

The farther it goes

The warmer it gets

Until it ignites a spark

That builds an eternal flame

In the hearts of those who cherish

Political justice

Economic justice

Criminal justice

For all peoples

Of this land and the world

We’re the Justice Party

We’re running Rocky Anderson

For president and in the next election

We’ll run senators representatives

In states counties and cities

The naysayers say

You won’t hurt our

Democrats and Republicans

We’re the 1% we’ll outspend you

With our corporate and banker money

But they gave us Homeland Security

They gave us the Patriot Act

They gave us the NDAA

They trashed our Constitution

Yeah, we remember all that

We are the 99%

We cherish our Constitution

We cherish our liberties

We cherish our freedoms

We cherish justice for all

By J. Glenn Evans  Copyleft 2012 (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

Background information on the new Justice Party:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Troy Davis – we are all Troy Davis

Activists for a Better World in Seattle WA
JGE2@poetswest.com
http://www.poetswest.com
23 September 2011
J. Glenn Evans
TROY DAVIS
September 21, 2011 was a sad day in America and for the world. The leaders of the state of Georgia, the US Supreme Court and the President of the United States all had the power to declare a stay of execution until a determination of the guilt or innocence of Troy Davis could be made. Much evidence existed that this man was innocent when seven of the witnesses recanted their previous testimony against him, stating that they had been under police duress. It is a sad state of affairs when government leaders fail to act to save the life of a person where there was reasonable doubt of his guilt, even when thousands of people all over the world including many prominent former government officials pleaded for his life. Such leaders by their failure to act in prevention of a state murder forfeit their worthiness to serve in a responsible position in a free country. The citizens at the next election should replace them and that includes those with the power of impeachment of the Supreme Court for their failure to act in the prevention of this state criminal act. Let us not forget Troy Davis and let him be buried and forgotten. Remember him on Election Day and each September 21st when our nations honor was tarnished.
J. Glenn Evans
Copyleft 2011 J. Glenn Evans

stuck on stupid in dc

Vision: Van Jones At Power Shift 2011: ‘While They’re Stuck On Stupid In DC, Your Generation Is Rising’

In a passionate keynote address, green jobs leader Van Jones exhorted the 10,000 youth climate activists at the Power Shift conference in Washington DC to “shift the power” and lead the clean power revolution. He argued that both parties need to be held accountable for their failures, and that activists must explain that the climate movement isn’t just about “hippie power” but that it is a vision of liberty and justice for all. Van Jones had harsh words for the national  political establishment. “You have to be wise enough to hold both parties to high standards,” he said: While they’re stuck on stupid in DC, your generation is rising.  Van Jones also discussed President Barack Obama, who hired him as a green jobs adviser but then let him go after Jones’ politics and person came under a relentless barrage from Fox News’ Glenn Beck. Jones argued that President Obama is like the friend who has the potential to be an A-plus student, but is only getting C’s and D’s. Jones told the assembled youth from campuses around the nation they can be a “hero for making sure your  friend gets an A-plus on his presidency.” Van Jones described how we have a  civilization “fueled by death” — fossil fuels from plants and animals that died millions of years ago: We pull out of the ground death. We burn death in our power plants. Why do we get shocked when we get death in our sky as
global warming, death in our oceans as oil spills, death in our children’s lungs as asthma and cancer? The strongest moments of his speech came when he discussed America’s basic principles, in the context of arguing with “your uncle Joe” who watches Fox News at the Thanksgiving table. “Don’t you believe in liberty?” Van asked. “Shouldn’t we have the right as Americans to be  energy producers?” he asked. “Shouldn’t we have the right and liberty to be free from energy companies who dictate how much we pay, what air we breathe?” Coal and oil companies try to divide us with cultural stereotypes and political ideology, when a green economy is actually the truly American economy: The stereotype is that solar power is just hippie power. But it’s also cowboy power, farmer power, rancher power, and Appalachian mountain power!

 Van Jones addressed the Tea Party movement that sees him as a “terrorist” and “communist.” “I’m glad our sisters and brothers in the Tea Party are talking about liberty,” he said. However, he said,
they’re missing something important. The Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t just talk  about liberty being integral to our nation: The Pledge of Allegiance says  liberty and justice for all!

With his voiced raised to the diverse crowd, Van Jones said “justice for all” includes justice for minorities, justice for women, justice for gays, and justice for the poor. “Shift the power!” Van Jones concluded to thunderous applause.

By Brad Johnson | Sourced from ThinkProgress Posted at April 16, 2011, 10:05 am

Standing Silent Nation (HEMP documentary)

 

]

Enough bases to sink the world

The Pentagon’s Planet of Bases … (America’s Pentagon? Yes!)

India, a rising power, almost had one (but the Tajiks said no). China, which last year became the world’s second largest economy as well as the planet’s leading energy consumer, and is expanding abroad like mad (largely via trade and the power of the purse), still has none. The Russians have a few (in Central Asia where “the great game” is ongoing), as do those former colonial powers Great Britain and France, as do certain NATO countries in Afghanistan. Sooner or later, Japan may even have one.

All of them together — and maybe you’ve already guessed that I’m talking about military bases not on one’s own territory — add up to a relatively modest (if unknown) total. The U.S., on the other hand, has enough bases abroad to sink the world. You almost have the feeling that a single American mega-base like Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan could swallow them all up. It’s so large that a special Air Force “team” has to be assigned to it just to deal with the mail arriving every day, 360,000 pounds of it in November 2010 alone. At the same base, the U.S. has just spent $130 million building “a better gas station for aircraft… [a] new refueling system, which features a pair of 1.1-million gallon tanks and two miles of pipes.” Imagine that: two miles of pipes, thousands of miles from home — and that’s just to scratch the surface of Bagram’s enormity.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room blog visited the base last August, found that construction was underway everywhere (think hundreds of millions of dollars more from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers), and wrote: “More notable than the overstuffed runways is the over-driven road. [The Western part of] Disney Drive, the main thoroughfare that rings the eight-square-mile base,[…] is a two-lane parking lot of Humvees, flamboyant cargo big-rigs from Pakistan known as jingle trucks, yellow DHL shipping vans, contractor vehicles, and mud-caked flatbeds. If the Navy could figure out a way to bring a littoral-combat ship to a landlocked country, it would idle on Disney.”

Serving 20,000 or more U.S. troops, and with the usual assortment of Burger Kings and Popeyes, the place is nothing short of a U.S. town, bustling in a way increasingly rare for actual American towns these days, part of a planetary military deployment of a sort never before seen in history. Yet, as various authors at this site have long noted, the staggering size, scope, and strangeness of all this is seldom considered, analyzed, or debated in the American mainstream. It’s a given, like the sun rising in the east. And yet, what exactly is that given? As Nick Turse, who has been following American basing plans for this site over the years, points out, it’s not as easy to answer that question as you might imagine.

Source: Tom Englehardt
http://www.tomdispatch.com/