America’s Secret War in 134 Countries

Kill Anything that Moves

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Secret Wars and Black Ops Blowback

[Note for TomDispatch Readers in or around New York City: On Friday, January 17th at 7 pm, Nick Turse will be discussing his bestselling book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (just out in paperback), with TomDispatch regular Chase Madar at a favorite independent bookstore of mine — Brooklyn’s Book Court. For more details, click here. Tom]

These days, when I check out the latest news on Washington’s global war-making, I regularly find at least one story that fits a new category in my mind that I call: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Take last Saturday’s Washington Post report by Craig Whitlock on the stationing of less than two dozen U.S. “military advisers” in war-torn Somalia. They’ve been there for months, it turns out, and their job is “to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia.” If you leave aside the paramilitarized CIA (which has long had a secret base and prison in that country), those advisers represent the first U.S. military boots on the ground there since the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident of 1993. As soon as I read the piece, I automatically thought: Given the history of the U.S. in Somalia, including the encouragement of a disastrous 2006 Ethiopian invasion of that country, what could possibly go wrong?

Some days when I read the news, I can’t help but think of the late Chalmers Johnson; on others, the satirical newspaper the Onion comes to mind. If Washington did it — and by “it,” I mean invade and occupy a country, intervene in a rebellion against an autocrat, intervene in a civil war, launch a drone campaign against a terror outfit, or support and train local forces against some group the U.S. doesn’t like — you already know all you need to know. Any version of the above has repeatedly translated into one debacle or disaster after another. In the classic term of CIA tradecraft that Johnson took for the title of a book — a post-9/11 bestseller — send a drone over Yemen with the intent to kill, kick down doors in Afghanistan or Iraq, put U.S. boots back on the ground in Somalia and you’re going to be guaranteed “unintended consequences” and undoubtedly some form of “blowback” as well. To use a sports analogy, if since 9/11 Washington has been the globe’s cleanup hitter, it not only hasn’t managed to knock a single ball out of the park, it’s struck out enough times to make those watching dizzy, and it’s batting .000.

You would think that someone in the nation’s capital might have drawn a lesson or two from such a record, something simple like: Don’t do it! But — here’s where the Onion should be able to run riot — there clearly is no learning curve in Washington. Tactics change, but the ill-conceived, ill-begotten, ill-fated Global War on Terror (GWOT), which long ago outran its own overblown name, continues without end, and without either successes of any lasting sort or serious reconsideration. In this period, al-Qaeda, a small-scale organization capable of immodest terror acts every couple of years and, despite the fantasies of Homeland and Fox News, without a sleeper cell in the United States, managed, with Washington’s help, to turn itself into a global franchise. The more the Bush and Obama administrations went after it, the more al-Qaeda wannabe organizations sprang up across the Greater Middle East and north Africa like mushrooms after a soaking rain.

The earliest GWOTsters, all Onion-style satirists, believed that the U.S. was destined to rule the world till Hell froze over. Their idea of a snappy quip was “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran,” and they loved to refer to the Greater Middle East as “the arc of instability.” That, mind you, was before they sent in the U.S. military. Today, 12 years later, that long-gone world looks like an arc of stability, while the U.S. has left the Greater Middle East, from North Africa to Syria, from Yemen to Afghanistan, a roiling catastrophe zone of conflict, refugees, death, and destruction. As it happened, the Bush administration’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq proved to be the only genuine weapons of mass destruction around, loosing, among other things, what could prove to be the great religious war of modern times.

And the lessons drawn? As TomDispatch regular Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (just out in paperback), suggests in today’s post, the Obama administration has overseen the reorganization of the Global War on Terror as a vast secret operation of unrivaled proportions. It now oversees a planetary surveillance network of staggering size and reach (itself leading to historic blowback) and the spread of a secret military spawned inside the U.S. military and now undergoing typically mindless expansion on a gargantuan scale. What could possibly go wrong? Tom

The Special Ops Surge
America’s Secret War in 134 Countries
By Nick Turse

They operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America. They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa. They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific. They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia. All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed — until now.

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget.  Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally.  This presence — now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations — provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the backlands of Afghanistan, from training missions with African allies to information operations launched in cyberspace.

In the waning days of the Bush presidency, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed in about 60 countries around the world.  By 2010, that number had swelled to 75, according to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post. In 2011, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that the total would reach 120. Today, that figure has risen higher still.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Child Catchers: adoption is very far from perfect

Child Catchers

Joyce does an excellent job navigating the personal stories of adoption advocates, adoptive parents and adopted children. She traces the history of adoptions to the United States in the mid-20th century at a time when millions of children were taken from their mothers due to social attitudes about unwed mothers. Her previously religious reporting makes for an insightful guide to understanding the current motivations for increased activism surrounding international adoptions.

The work makes a good case for having appropriate structures and regulations on adoptions. Rwanda is used as an example where international adoptions number in the dozens each year. The country has an exhaustive process to determine whether a child is eligible for adoption. Instead, Rwanda emphasizes the need for in-country adoptions and reducing the problems that cause orphans in the first place (such as maternal mortality).


The story touches on the growth of orphanages in developing countries. Time and again, people have proven that orphanages are one of the worst development investments. Kathryn Joyce’s work shows how the proliferation of orphanages is connected to a supply and demand curve that bends as adoption advocates swoop down onto a new country. The book is an important read. So much of the energy behind the adoption movement could be better spent on sustainable development programs.


SLIDE SHOW: Adoption and all that comes with it

Who were the Suala Indians?

December 29, 2013

Can you tell me something about the Suala Indians in North Carolina? I saw them on an old map. I looked them up in Wikipedia and it said that they were the same as the Joara Indians and lived near Morganton, North Carolina. However, a few websites said that the village of Suala was just north of Greenville, SC and made no mention of Joara. That location is pretty close to where I live. One internet article on the Joara Indians said that they were Cherokees. Another article said that they were Catawba Indians. I can’t find either Suala or Joara listed now as a tribe. After reading all the articles on the internet, I am totally confused. Where exactly did the Suala live? Who were they really? C. Mundy – Weaverville, NC.

In the late spring of 1540 the Hernando de Soto Expedition was traveling northwestward in South Carolina in order to reach the large town of Kusa (Coça in Spanish.) According to chroniclers, who wrote about his expedition afterward, the Spaniards stopped at a village named Xuala or Xuale for a couple of days. When the De Soto Chronicles were translated into English the name was changed to Suala, but is actually pronounced like Shū :ä :lë. It means Buzzard in several Southeastern indigenous languages.

De Soto’s chroniclers tell us very little about this village. We know that it was not particularly large or culturally advanced. It was at the foot of some high mountains, probably the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The most likely location of this village was on the Saluda River in South Carolina or at the location of present Saluda, NC. That’s 245 miles southwest of Morganton, NC. The reason is explained below.

The word, Xuala or Xuale, continued to appear on European maps of North America for at least another 150 years, but no other explorer mentioned visiting a village by that name. Captain Juan Pardo explored extensive areas of South Carolina and western North Carolina, but didn’t mention a word similar to Suala. In 1670 explorer Johann Lederer explored the entire length of the Blue Ridge Foothills to the edge of the Jocasee River, but made no mention of Suala. John Lawson explored the Foothills and Blue Ridge Escarpment of South Carolina in 1700 and also made no mention of Suala.

Etymology of Saluda

Saluda is probably the Anglicization of the Itsate Creek word, Suale-te, which means Buzzard People. Itsate was the predominant language spoken in the Piedmont and western Coastal Plain of South Carolina. All of the names of the original “Lower Cherokee towns” in South Carolina are actually Itsate Creek words. Europeans generally wrote a Muskogean “te” sound as a “da.” The Muskogee “t” sound is roughly halfway between an English “t” and “d”. Itsate Creeks had three “t” sounds.

Local histories in the region claim that it Saluda is derived from the Cherokee word for “Place of the green corn,” Tsaludi-yi. The facts are not even close and the location is outside the region where the Cherokees occupied villages. The Cherokee words for green corn – place are “i’-tse-yu’-s-di-yi.

It is quite possible that the Xuale People were descendants of the Hopewell Culture and a division of the Shawnee. The buzzard was considered especially sacred to the participants in the Hopewell Culture. It is believed by some anthropologists that the “Hopewell” fed their deceased love ones to semi-domesticated buzzards. This macabre tradition is still practiced by some Tibetan Buddhists. If true, it certainly would explain why the buzzards return each year to Hinckley, Ohio!

Misinterpreted Native words are a common problem in the Southern Highlands. Even in North Carolina, the vast majority of Native American place names are Creek words, not Cherokee. In the past, local historians or newspaper reporters started with Anglicized words, grossly inaccurate understandings of early Native American history and not a clue how Native American words are pronounced. They then thumbed through inaccurate Cherokee dictionaries to find a word that if pronounced like English was similar to their town name. Once the inaccurate interpretations were printed, the myths became facts. As will be seen below, the problem is even more intractable when college professors create myths.

The Xuala Indians were a West Virginia tribe

There actually was a large, culturally advanced tribe, living along the Kanawha River in northern West Virginia, named variously the Xuale, Xuala or Xualae. Many anthropologists in the Lower Southeast seem to be totally unaware of their existence. They were devastated by an enemy tribe in the late 1600s, at about the same time that the indigenous people of the Shenandoah Valley were exterminated by slave raiders. The two peoples may have been the same or culturally related.

Portions of the Wikipedia article on the Xualae should be ignored. It states that the Cherokees, who (th article says) controlled the southern half of West Virginia, conquered the northern half between 1671 and 1685. European maps did not mention a word similar to Cherokee until 1717. Maps between 1671 and 1685 show several tribes occupying West Virginia, but not the Cherokees. Southwestern Virginia was occupied by the Tamahiti Creeks, the Shawnee and the Rickohockens during that era.

The word, Xuala, disappeared from the maps . . . both in present day South Carolina and West Virginia after 1700 AD, but that does not mean that the ethnic group was completely extinct. Large numbers of Shawnee Indians continued to live in the vicinity of Saluda and Asheville, NC until evicted by the British government in 1764. Those Shawnee could have been descendants of the people met by de Soto.

How Xuala became mixed up with Joara

The “fact” that the small village visited by de Soto named Xuale in 1540 had grown to become the only Native American community labeled a city by Juan Pardo in 1567 has an interesting history. In the mid-1980s, a group of professors from the Universities of North Carolina and Georgia traveled to Asheville, NC to promote their interpretation of the route taken by Hernando de Soto. At an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast they announced that de Soto had traveled through Asheville and stayed for several days at the principal Cherokee town of Guaxule at the site of a mound on the Biltmore Estate.

After the breakfast meeting, the good professors were grilled by local and state cultural preservation officials and told that the three feet high mound at the Biltmore Estate was probably a Woodland Period mound, over 1000 years older than de Soto. No 16th century Spanish artifacts have been found in the French Broad River Valley that flows through the Asheville Region. There were no occupied Mississippian Culture towns in the French Broad River Valley during the period when de Soto and Pardo were exploring. A very large Shawnee town stood, where Biltmore Village now was located, until 1763.

Nevertheless, the professors gave a press conference that afternoon and repeated their statements from the breakfast meeting. Soon a historical marker was placed near Biltmore Village that replicated what the professors said: “Asheville was the location of the original capital of the Cherokee Nation.” For the next 15 years the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce launched marketing campaigns that promoted Asheville as “The Ancient Heart of the Cherokee Nation.”

The “Desoto Slept Here” historical marker and tourism marketing campaign were terminated after archaeologists excavated the Biltmore Mound and found it to be the ruins of a round communal building, dating from about 250 AD to 500 AD. Unfortunately, by the time the Biltmore Mound was excavated, several prominent archaeologists in the Southeast had published books that took both the de Soto and Pardo Expeditions through Asheville.

The mythological Asheville route would have added about 400 miles to de Soto’s journey to reach the great town of Kusa that cannot be accounted for in his chronology. Nevertheless, faces and careers had to be saved. The solution was to locate Suala in the North Carolina Piedmont 254 mile northeast of its probable location. In contrast, the real location was on a direct line between Kofitachiki and Kusa. However, the Morganton location gave a reason for de Soto to “change his mind” and then start heading westward back toward northwest Georgia through present day Asheville. Followers of these professors make sure that their myths permeate open access internet references, such as Wikipedia, so that the myths can be replicated across the internet.

English: A map showing the de Soto expedition ...
English: A map showing the de Soto expedition route through the future U.S. states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tenesse, and Alabama. Based on the Charles M. Hudson map of 1997. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur’s famous speech to the West Point cadets, “Old anthropological myths don’t die. They just fade away.”

Readers wishing to ask Richard Thornton questions concerning architecture, urban planning or Native American history may contact him at

Polaris Project Releases Report on Human Trafficking Trends in the US


Since 2007, we have worked closely with local partners to help tens of thousands of callers connect with the help and services they need. As a result of the calls, emails, and online tip reports fielded by the hotline over the course of our first five years of operation, the NHTRC maintains one of the most extensive data sets on the issue of human trafficking in the United States.

From December 7, 2007, through December 31, 2012, the NHTRC answered 65,557 calls, 1,735 online tip forms, and 5,251 emails — totaling more than 72,000 interactions. This report is based on the information learned from these interactions during the first five years of the hotline’s operation by Polaris Project.

Read more and download the report at:

Reality Check: Human Trafficking=Baby Selling=Adoption

Open Records emblem used in Adoptee Rights Pro...
Open Records emblem used in Adoptee Rights Protest, New Orleans, 2008, artist: D. Martin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Trace A. DeMeyer

I am an adoptee and an author and I read blogs all the time to see what other people are thinking and writing… The topic of adoption and human trafficking is slowly becoming a bigger discussion. And we need that.

This comment (below) and original article happened last year. It’s worth your time to read. There are people today who view adoption as coercive baby-selling and human trafficking. Why? Money. If money is exchanged for babies, it’s human trafficking. (Yes, this idea will be debated.)

Being silenced as an adoptee was something I experienced, partly out of a sense of gratitude for being adopted and not living in an orphanage – and I was not remotely aware of the greater truth about the adoption industry growing up….

We are not aware as children how we were orphaned and abandoned… or how some women were gaslighted into giving up their babies…nor were we told as adoptees we’d need therapy for our emotional damage (primal pain).. or how we’d eventually need to find out the truth about why or how we were adopted out… and if we knew the truth and met natural (birth) relatives, we might live healthier lives…

For many years I was in a fog, denying the damage adoption had caused in my life… it’s time we looked at the injustice of closed adoptions and sealed records, the damage to mother and child, and understand why some of us believe “stranger adoptions” are indeed baby selling and a form of human trafficking…

The following comment was posted in response to this article: Despite Progress, ForcedAdoption Practices Persist Throughout the United States (See this story at:

[PAP means potential adoptive parents.]

COMMENT from the blogger at

This is a very serious topic concerning the safety of families, ending the baby-selling industry (which is very much legal in the US when labeled “adoption”) and just all around basic human rights.

It is very important that the general public (society) understand the truth, so I’m just going to go ahead and cover everything in one post then be on my way. Let me start by saying this is STILL happening TODAY in record numbers. It is not rare. Also, yes, this includes egg “donations” and sperm “donations”. That egg and those sperm will one day be a human being. It’s disgusting to use someone else’s egg/sperm, paying ungodly amounts of money to grow SOMEONE ELSE’S BABY inside you (or your “gestational carrier” – ick). That’s nothing less than human trafficking as is any adoption not done through foster care, especially infant adoption.

No human being on this planet should have ANY of their basic human rights ripped from them. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager, unmarried or poor. All people deserve every chance to raise their children and all children deserve every chance to grow up in a happy, healthy home with their own flesh and blood. All people need is honesty and a chance. All they need is support and guidance. Ripping babies away from their mothers is not in any way humane or ethical or moral. No one owes some richer married couple their child just because said-couple is infertile. No one deserves to lose their baby just because they are poor.

It was and still is society and a lack of regulation in human rights/human protection (ie: baby napping and baby selling) that causes such atrocities as coerced adoption. This is about the TRUTH finally being told. This is about justice. This is about change to a better world where families stay together and citizens have a chance to prosper happily, thereby creating a happier, healthier, more productive, more humane and civilized world for everyone.

Have you ever had sex? Ever been in love? Ever gotten pregnant? Have you ever had sex with no protection but got “lucky” in not getting pregnant? Have you ever been separated from your parents, your family, your history, your roots? Have you ever had your baby taken from your arms while you cry and beg to keep him/her? While your heart shatters in the despair that you didn’t have the support or help to be the mother you longed to be? (while simultaneously being beaten down with coercion & emotional blackmail for the sole purpose of taking your child)

Have you ever had to go through your whole life not knowing who you are and having those basic human rights (and primal human needs) marginalized and dismissed? Have you ever had to spend 20, 30, 50 years aching for your child, worrying about your child, suffering depression day in and day out for the LOSS of that child?

The majority of mothers who lost (and lose) their infants to adoption were forced in one way or the other (usually many more than one way). This is also true today, which I cannot stress enough. It is the very rare minority that actually want to “give up” their baby to strangers and who have done so with fully informed consent. THAT is illegal and a major human rights violation on so many levels.

The “burden” on the welfare system is simply not a valid argument. Any burden on the system is due to the way the system is designed and the lack of support/resources that can make a lasting difference for families for generations to come and in that, less burden on the system as time goes on.  It’s really rather simple.  However, I will not detour much into that since the most glaring issue with this argument is the underhanded assertion that poor people (or young or unmarried) are not entitled to raise their own children; as if by being poor one is somehow subhuman or unworthy to parent his/her offspring. This is not a new view, especially in the adoption industry, however repugnant.

There are far too many lies, deceit and secrets in the adoption industry. And it is all surrounded by big business (then and now). The PAPs haven’t dealt with their infertility so they want to live in denial of it. They want to live in rainbow-farting unicorn land where they pretend the adoptee is born to them (breeds need for INFANTS=coercive tactics to make that sale!) If the adoption agency can’t promise them they are 100% legally the parents (including altering the OBC & sealing files from the rightful owners of said files) and the natural family can’t/won’t “interfere” then those PAPs won’t pay upwards of $30,000 (FACT & nothing short of baby-selling on the backs of poor/frightened/ beaten down young mothers) for their pretend offspring.

Please note: Sealing these adoption records does not now and NEVER HAS had anything to do with promising mothers confidentiality of any kind. The idea that natural parents have ever been promised confidentiality is a FALSEHOOD. It’s just another smokescreen to get the ignorant masses into a political frenzy about something they know nothing about though it is high time people start paying attention because you are all perpetuating  (and I dare say complicit in) the abuse of power, human rights violations out the wazoo, and a blight on our country as ugly as slavery and (yes I said it) even genocide.

In the event that an adoption absolutely HAS to take place (that is a child in the foster care system who is TRULY an orphan), the child’s name should not be changed, nor should the child’s birth certificate be altered and most certainly no files should be sealed from the child once he/she is an adult.

Government MUST get involved in this – conduct a thorough inquiry and make serious changes to protect its citizens/families. $$$ should be taken out of the equation. No one should be able to run a business where they profit from the sale of human beings! Hello? Is this thing on?

Adoption should be outlawed completely and a kind of guardianship or permanent custody used in the cases that are absolutely 100% unavoidable. There is zero reason for secrecy when all is on the up and up, as they say.

And in closing, 3 other points I’d like to note:

1) no one wants to have a child just to hand it over to someone else. it is devastating. any woman who has given birth knows this. Abortion and adoption have NOTHING to do with each other so let’s nip that one too while I’m at it. *This is NOT about the abortion debate.

2) another issue with all this baby-selling secrecy is the need to know if you are about to marry and procreate with your sibling!

3) Losing your mother is devastating…losing your child is devastating. This is a life-long trauma that is rarely healed, ESPECIALLY when it comes to forced adoptions. How anyone can be blind to this is beyond my comprehension. No legal hoops jumped through or loss of a “potential” adoption comes anywhere near to the damage and trauma caused to mothers and children who are unnecessarily separated. An adopter (PAP) should take that “heartache and disappointment” and multiply it by infinity and will STILL not come close to experiencing the destruction caused by such myopic selfishness.

There’s plenty of information and facts there in the form of links in the sidebar. Better yet, don’t trust me, do some research on your own. We all must educate ourselves before we go judging others and participating in atrocious injustices we’d never want to experience ourselves.

Sex Trafficking Children (boys, too)

Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States

  • Report Brief (PDF, HTML)
  • Myths and Facts (PDF)
  • Briefing Slides (PDF)

Every day in the United States, children and adolescents are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Despite the serious and long-term consequences for victims as well as their families, communities, and society, efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to these crimes are largely under supported, inefficient, uncoordinated, and unevaluated.

The IOM and National Research Council studied these crimes as they affect U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States under age 18. The IOM/NRC report offers recommendations concerning strategies for responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States, new legislative approaches, and a research agenda. The report concludes that efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States require better collaborative approaches. These efforts need to confront demand and the individuals who commit and benefit from these crimes. The recommendations in the report have the potential to advance and strengthen the nation’s emerging efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.

Although victims themselves, children and adolescents may
be subject to arrest, detention, adjudication or conviction,
commitment or incarceration, and having permanent records
as offenders.

Carried off: abduction-adoption in China

Français : Adoption Days

Read human trafficking story here:

…It is true that many in America’s adoption community do not want to talk about trafficking in China. I contacted nearly a dozen American adoption agencies that specialize in China adoptions for this story; all but one of them refused to comment or ignored the request entirely. The one person who did respond was Lisa Prather, executive director of A Helping Hand Adoption Agency, who said that “the term trafficking should never be used in the description of an adoption [and by using this term] the media is perpetuating erroneous propaganda,” since adoptions don’t meet the TVPRA definition of the term.

Of course, another reason the issue isn’t widely discussed is money. U.S.-China adoption is big business; U.S. Adoption agencies make thousands—Candis said it cost her nearly $20,000, and many adoption agencies publicly list prices in this range—for each child adopted from China, and Chinese orphanages generally receive a donation of at least $5,000 from the adoptive parents; Candis paid $3,000 but the mandatory fee has since been raised to $5,000 nationwide. On the American side, shutting down the China adoption program would lead to a big drop in revenue for many adoption agencies, and would shut down others completely. In China, orphanages make money for each child placed with adoptive parents, and since trafficked children often cost an orphanage around $500 to purchase, a quick overseas adoption can bring in a tidy profit.

…The U.S. State Department estimates that every year, around 20 thousand children are kidnapped in China, and some independent estimates are much higher. Tens of thousands of resolved cases, and the fact that many of those kidnapped are boys but very few boys are adopted internationally, indicate that many of those children are sold into domestic adoption. But we know that at least a few of them do end up getting adopted internationally. We know that of the children adopted internationally, many of them (like Erica Candis) may arrive overseas with doctored paperwork or origins that are otherwise unclear.

“I would say that fraud or trafficking is involved in more than three-quarters of all adoptions from China,” says Brian Stuy. Stuy is a controversial figure in the adoption field—parents have accused him of having an agenda (they think he wants the China adoption program shut down), and Research China does produce paid reports on the background of adopted children whose parents are interested in looking into it and have $50 (the average research fee) to spare. But he is also one of the only people who has done extensive statistical analysis and investigative fieldwork within China to determine which orphanages are involved in baby-buying, and to what extent. Stuy says cases like Candis’ are quite common, and that despite China’s proclamations in official media that it has dealt with the problem behind the trafficking in Hunan and other high profile scandals, baby buying and selling continues. In mid-January, a Chinese whistleblower posted shocking allegations about an orphanage in Guixi, Jiangxi province in Southeast China, that places many children internationally, accusing it of corruption, baby buying, and abuse. The case is still under investigation and it is not yet clear whether the allegations are true, but Susan Morgan, a mother to two adopted children from China including one who came from the Guixi orphanage, was still saddened when she read the news. “I’ve known for years that corruption is rampant in international adoption,” Morgan said, “[But] suddenly being faced with an anonymous whistle blower who cites corruption in your own child’s orphanage is still shocking, especially when you’ve met some of the people accused.”

But Morgan fears interest in the story will peter out before long, in part because there are a lot of people who simply don’t want to hear it. “Most adoptive families, I feel sure, do not understand how serious the issue of baby buying is in China, and the ties it can have to child trafficking and kidnapping,” Susan said. “Of course, this is an issue that most adoptive parents do not want to explore, for obvious reasons.” They fear losing their children, and they fear the nightmarish legal battle their children could be dragged through if it was ever discovered that their children had biological parents who hadn’t truly given them up and actually wanted them back. That fear is both understandable and warranted—no one really seems to be sure what would happen in such a case if both sets of parents were unflinching in demanding the child stay with them—but American adoptive parents’ general disinterest in investigating corruption and baby buying in Chinese orphanages may be part of the reason why Chinese parents like Liu Liqin are still losing their children at a rate of dozens per day…

Outstanding New Paper on Federal Trust Land Acquisitions

South Dakota has a number of large Indian rese...
South Dakota has a number of large Indian reservations (shown in pink). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frank Pommersheim has published an important new paper titled “Land Into Trust: An Inquiry into Law, Policy, and History” in the Idaho Law Review. A PDF is here:

49 Idaho Law Review 519

Here is the introduction:

The land-into-trust policy of the Indian Reorganization Act (“IRA”) is an express legislative attempt to undo, or at least ameliorate, the massive loss of Indian land that resulted from the federal government’s allotment policy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The allotment policy occasioned a severe reduction in the national Indian land estate without any benefit to the affected Indians and tribes including the vaunted goals of assimilation and the reduction of poverty in Indian country. The extensive loss of land produced much economic hardship, cultural strain, and erosion of tribal governing authority.

The subsequent attempt of IRA law and policy to reverse this process of severe land loss raises significant questions about the ability of law, and Indian policy in particular, to repair history without creating new conflict that reprises, even deepens, old animosities. This article will survey and analyze this process from both a policy and empirical point of view. In addition, this piece will review the nitty-gritty administrative procedures for putting land into trust, the various procedural challenges to this process, as well as substantive legal challenges to the validity of the land-into-trust portions of the IRA, especially in the state of South Dakota. Finally, the article will tally the empirical results to date, and conclude by examining non-litigation strategies and solutions with an eye on their ability to meet the needs of all concerned.

HIGHLY recommended.

Christian Alliance works to end federal law ICWA

CAICW Issues Statement on South Carolina Supreme Court Decision: Court Rules in Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl; Clears Way to Finalize Adoption

Contact: Elizabeth Morris, Chairwoman, Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare, 701-430-9210,

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court gave Matt & Melanie Capobianco a victory in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl in remanding to Family Court for prompt entry of an order approving and finalizing Adoptive Couple’s adoption of Baby Girl.  The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare is relieved that Veronica will be returned to the parents chosen by her birth mother, who, according to the SCOTUS, was the only legal parent and had sole right to decide her child’s best interest.

SCOTUS has confirmed that State law determining abandonment trumps the Indian Child Welfare Act. In doing this, the Court has slightly limited ICWA. This is a good first step in the effort to stop the hurt ICWA is causing children and families across the United States.

We have a long way to go to unshackle other families asking for help. To meet their varied concerns, we need the “best interest of the child,” the rights of non-tribal extended family, the “Existing Indian Family doctrine,” and the wishes of all parents who reject tribal jurisdiction to be held in higher regard than the wishes and demands of governments. Our children are not chattel for tribal government.

CAICW continues to appreciate the June 25th concurring opinion of U.S Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his citing of the work of Rob Natelson, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Independence Institute & Montana Policy Institute, concerning the unconstitutionality of the ICWA.

The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW) is both a ministry and advocacy group. CAICW has been advocating since February 2004 for families at risk of harm from the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Our advocacy has been both judicial and educational, as well as a prayer resource for families and a shoulder to cry on.

Elizabeth Sharon Morris is Chairwoman of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare and author of ‘Dying in Indian Country.’


NOTE: This is the same woman who dominated the Washington Post with her comments after the birthmother Christy posted her Op-Ed and she attacked anyone who expressed their opinion that Veronica stay with her father Dusten…. Read more at American Indian Adoptees: – in response to this group who wishes to disband ICWA… Trace

A conversation with adoptee Rhonda Noonan Churchill

Rhonda Noonan, adoptee and granddaughter to Winston Churchill
Rhonda Noonan, adoptee and granddaughter to Winston Churchill

By Trace A. DeMeyer

Rhonda, your new memoir The Fifth and Final Name is captivating in so many ways. It reads like a mystery suspense novel and you are a detective. As an adoptee, you show such courage and persistence; your search to find answers and family has taken 28+ years and really still hasn’t ended. What part of your journey has been the most difficult?

RHONDA NOONAN: Without a doubt, the hardest part was looking, running into dead ends, and continuing forward; many times with absolutely no clue what to do next. I commanded myself to think, look at it all again, and think some more. It certainly didn’t help when I was lied to by the “system” and treated as though I was “troubled” because I had the audacity to ask for my own identity!  Praying was involved… and good friends were called upon to cheer me up when times were rough.

In three decades, are you surprised how many states do not help adoptees by releasing their birth records and original birth certificates?

RHONDA: Because of my work, over the years, as a therapist to many adopted kids, I knew all too well the “rules of engagement” with the record holders. I have never truly been surprised, as adoption has become such an enormous  money-maker and keeping records closed, and secrecy looked at as a matter of “procedure,” if you will –  assists those who would use children for profit.  If you can keep perpetuating lies to the ignorant masses, that birthmothers were promised anonymity, or that open records increase abortion rates, taking babies away from their mothers will continue to line the pockets of adoption agencies and attorneys. My personal experience with adoption was a good one. I was certainly a child in need of a family! Sadly, however, it is often the case that birthmothers and babies would benefit much more from assistance aimed at keeping that child with their mother. In a better world, we will come to understand that.  At the very least, that child’s knowledge of their identity should NEVER be compromised in the process.

Has the genealogy of your birthmother Pat revealed any surprises for you? I was thinking of the one psychic who revealed you may have Native American ancestry.

RHONDA:  Actually, the Native American blood would have to be on the Churchill side, as it is believed that Sir Winston’s grandmother was Iroquois. My birthmother was not Native American.

Has your work in adoption and attachment disorder treatment changed, knowing what you know about adoption, being an adoptee yourself? Are you still the Clinical Director of Shadow Mountain Hospital, an in-patient psychiatric facility in Oklahoma?

RHONDA: It would be more accurate to say that learning about attachment disorder explained ME.  Even as a very young person I knew what it FELT LIKE to have those struggles with intimacy and relationship but didn’t know why. My work and education has provided those answers, for which I have been very grateful.  Attachment disorder, because of the cellular trauma that often sets it in motion, is difficult to address, and change or work on, EVEN IF you know all about it!  What you know cognitively is one thing, but who you are through experience is quite another.  For me, it has been a life-long work in progress.

I am no longer working in in-patient facilities and left Shadow Mountain some time ago. I prefer outpatient work and continue to see children and families in my practice.

In Chapter 10 “The Equal Sharing of Miseries” you shared your riveting presentation with Chicago’s Cook County DHS departments. How did they respond to your “Truth in Adoption” presentation?

RHONDA: It was a great day. The response was wonderful and interactive. The “front-line” workers- those who deal with the naked realities of our human services organizations every day – know all too well the importance of children being with their parents. All one has to do is ask about their toughest cases…and how many of them are adopted kids, or kids living away from their parents. The general public needs to come to realize that children know, internally, what has happened to them when they lose a mother. They KNOW. They were there. They experienced it. They were not an unconscious blob of matter with no incoming stimuli! You can give them another mother but you can never erase that experience or its impact.

Many times I hear “but (so and so) is adopted, and they don’t want to search…they are just fine without it!” That, of course, comes with the insinuation that I must NOT be fine (whatever that means). The hundreds, if not thousands of adoptees I have worked with over the past thirty years, in mental health settings, taught me one thing: it is most healthy to want to know something of your past; to have a curiosity and openness, rather than  pushing  it aside as though it never happened. It is a sign of resilience and strength, confidence and hope.

You learned your birthfather is Randolph Churchill. Do you think he met you prior to your being placed in a closed adoption? Is it possible he checked on you when you were growing up?

RHONDA: Based on what the state employee shared with me about her meeting with Randolph, I suppose it is quite possible he saw me as an infant. There are many unanswered questions about that period of time. I still hold hope that someone may emerge with some knowledge about the particulars but I know that time is running out. After all, it was 57 years ago! As for checking on me later, I would have no idea. It is all possible, as there were several people who knew about me and they certainly knew my adoptive grandfather, so it would have been easy to do. I have learned that NOTHING is impossible!

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the Unite...
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. Deutsch: Winston Churchill, 1940 bis 1945 sowie 1951 bis 1955 Premier des Vereinigten Königreichs und Literaturnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1953. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For adoptees like me, hearing “your grandfather loved you” is so terribly important. How did this message affect you, knowing how important a man Winston Churchill was?

RHONDA: My discovery, that Winston Churchill was the Grandpa I had so wanted to find, didn’t happen until 2009. So, I had “known” him, internally, if you will, as an ordinary man up to that point; certainly not a world leader. The belief that he cared about me was, literally, the only thing that mattered to me for many years. I always find it a bit difficult to explain how I look at him now. He is still “just” my Grandpa; not to minimize in any way, but the fact that he saved Britain (and possibly the world as we know it) has little to do with my feelings for him. I have boundless pride and admiration for his accomplishments. I am just thankful to have him in my life, and I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he has worked “behind the scenes,” to not only help me find him, but also to forward the cause of truth in adoption. Winston Churchill was a force to be reckoned with. I suspect he still is.

A significant constant in your life, and such a supportive woman, is your adoptive mom Jean.  What can adoptive parents learn from Jean?

RHONDA: Courage. Even in the face of something she did not understand, my mom assured me she would always be there for me. I knew it scared her for me to search but she never showed it to me. Instead, she assured me that she knew our relationship would never be “less than” because of my need to know. She did not personalize it or try to make it about her. Mom saw it for what it was…my right to know who I am.  My dad, Jim, passed away in 2005 so he didn’t see me find my family. The whole idea scared and worried him and nothing I said ever seemed to help that. In my case, with my parents, their responses to my need to search had everything to do with the status of our individual relationships. If the relationship was open and honest, things were not as scary. If the relationship was not as solid, the search was scarier. Mom and I were closer and had more open communication. I think it was really that simple.

Rhonda, your writing is perfection! Are you planning to write a sequel, about making your connections to relatives in England?

RHONDA: Thank you, but unlike my illustrious grandfather, or my father who was also quite an artist with the English language, I do not fancy myself as any sort of master! As is obvious from my writing, I am a rather plain-spoken, to-the-point kind of person. If you had asked me, even five years ago, if I would ever write a book, I would have assured you I would not! This story is too important, however. I had to put the pen to paper.

As for another book, it is too soon to tell! I cannot imagine it, but this tale is certainly not over. We’ll see how things unfold. Neversay never…

Visit Rhonda at her website:  Her new book (ISBN: 978-0-9886597-0-4, Chumbolly Press) is available online (at and in other fine bookstores.

This was also posted at Lost Daughters:

 Trace A. DeMeyer (Lara Hentz) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. She lives and writes in western Massachusetts. Her email is  Her website:


America’s Slaves Were More Valuable Than All Its Industrial Capital Combined

Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman have a new paper out (PDF) about the historical evolution of wealth in a number of different prominent countries, and it features this chart for the United States that really drives home the amazing reality of America’s antebellum slave economy. The “human capital” consisting of black men and women held as chattel in the states of the south was more valuable than all the industrial and transportation capital (“other domestic capital”) of the country in the first half of the nineteenth century. When you consider that the institution of slavery was limited to specific subset of the country, you can see that in the region where it held sway slave wealth was wealth.

In their discussion, the point Piketty and Zucman make about this is that slave wealth was the functional equivalent of land wealth in a country where agricultural land was abundant. The typical European wealth-holding pattern was of an economic elite composed of wealthy landowners in a environment of scarce usable land. In America, land was plentiful since you could steal it from Native Americans. That should could have led to an egalitarian distribution of wealth, but instead an alternative agrarian elite emerged that did happen to own large stocks of land but whose wealthy was primarily composed of owning the human beings who worked the land rather than owning the land itself.


Wealth in America

Adoption Rights Hearing in PA

Open Records emblem used in Adoptee Rights Pro...
Open Records emblem used in Adoptee Rights Protest, New Orleans, 2008, artist: D. Martin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not everyday that you get to witness or even watch a taping of an Adoptee Rights hearing.  The video is here, look for the hearing dated July 17, 2013.  The bill is HB 162.  It seeks to restore the right of adult adoptees who were born in Pennsylvania to access their original birth certificates the same way that everyone else enjoys.

It’s a very important hearing so please listen!

Thanks to Amanda at Declassified Adoptee for her testimony:

It Only Took 50 Years: CDC Admits Polio Vaccine Tainted with Cancer Causing Virus

by Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on July 15, 2013

Polio Vaccine Poster from 1963This is one of the most outrageous vaccination stories I’ve ever come across. The CDC posts on its own website that as many as 30 million Americans could be at risk for developing cancer due to polio vaccines tainted with Simian Virus 40 (SV40) found in some species of monkey.

This story is not new – many of of us who thoroughly researched the vaccination issue before choosing whether or not to immunize were already aware of this fact years ago.

I became aware of the tainted polio vaccines from 1955-1963 in the late 1990′s and it was one of the primary motivators for me to choose a “no shots, no way” approach for my children.

What is new is that the CDC is finally admitting it.

What took you so long CDC? Many of the folks vaccinated with the tainted polio stock are already dead from cancer with many more getting diagnosed each and every day!

Here’s the exact language from the CDC Fact Sheet.  I am reprinting it here in it’s entirety in case the CDC decides to take it down:

  • SV40 is a virus found in some species of monkey.
  • SV40 was discovered in 1960. Soon afterward, the virus was found in polio vaccine.
  • More than 98 million Americans received one or more doses of polio vaccine from 1955 to 1963 when a proportion of vaccine was contaminated with SV40; it has been estimated that 10–30 million Americans could have received an SV40 contaminated dose of vaccine.
  • SV40 virus has been found in certain types of cancer in humans, but it has not been determined that SV40 causes these cancers.
  • The majority of scientific evidence suggests that SV40-contaminated vaccine did not cause cancer; however, some research results are conflicting and more studies are needed.
  • In the 1950s, rhesus monkey kidney cells, which contain SV40 if the animal is infected, were used in preparing polio vaccines. Because SV40 was not discovered until 1960, no one was aware in the 1950s that polio vaccine could be contaminated.
  • Not all doses of IPV were contaminated. It has been estimated that 10–30 million people actually received a vaccine that contained SV40.
  • Some evidence suggests that receipt of SV40-contaminated polio vaccine may increase risk of cancer. However, the majority of studies done in the U.S. and Europe which compare persons who received SV40-contaminated polio vaccine with those who did not have shown no causal relationship between receipt of SV40-contaminated polio vaccine and cancer. (Editor’s note: Oh really? SV40 has already been detected in some human tumors. That is far and beyond “some evidence”.)

polio vaccine Possibly more shocking than the fact that it took 50 years for the CDC to admit to this is that it took 3 years once SV40 was discovered in 1960 to finally recall the tainted stock and reformulate the vaccine. Over 100 million Americans were vaccinated with the contaminated polio vaccine before action was taken.

30 million seems like a very lowball number of the true extent of the problem!

With baby boomers suffering from cancer, by some estimates, at the mind boggling rate of 1 in every 3 individuals (up from 1 in 8,000 only a few decades prior and the highest rate of any age group), it would seem that something is terribly amiss, don’t you think?

The government has a penchant for doling out bad news a little at a time to minimize public outrage. Even if the CDC does finally admit that SV40 is a cause for this enormous explosion in cancer of boomers in their late 40′s, 50′s and 60′s, can these folks or their grieving families do anything about it?

Nope. Can’t sue anyone my friends. Big Pharma is immune from prosecution from any injuries or deaths caused by their mad scientist vaccination creations.

One parting thought. The CDC insists that current polio vaccines no longer contain SV40. Should this give us some level of comfort?

Not for me it doesn’t! Just because SV40 is not in the polio vaccine stock today doesn’t mean that there aren’t other viruses lurking that science doesn’t even know about yet.  Remember that SV40 was in the polio vaccine for several years before it was even discovered!

Even if there were other viruses in the polio or any other vaccine, would the CDC admit it? Probably not – at least for 50 years or so after the affected population was already sick, incapacitated or dead.

I’ll take my chances with a strong immune system maintained with Traditional Diet and the fact that epidemics were already on their way out before vaccines were introduced anyway (see chart to the right – other communicable diseases follow the same graphical pattern regardless of whether there was a vaccine for them or not). Getting horses out of the streets, improved sanitation, clean running water in the home, availability of produce year round and other improvements of modern technology and food distribution provide more protection from widespread epidemics than tainted vaccines, thank you very much.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Cancer, Simian Virus 40 (SV40), and Polio Vaccine Fact Sheet

Some oral poliovirus vaccines were contaminated with infectious SV40 after 1961.

CDC Admits as Many as 30 Million Americans Could be at Risk for Cancer Due to Polio Vaccine

Polio Poster from 1963

Overparenting, Emotional Availabilty and Suppressed Violence.

Overparenting, Emotional Availabilty and Suppressed Violence..

..The violence we experience as children is so easily passed on to our children and we adoptees need to be particularly careful to address our primal wound and it’s ramifications well before we have kids, if we are able. So few of us are and do and that empty space, the void left by our missing mother, the violence done to us by our removal from her or our abandonment by her, leaves scars which make it hard for us to parent as effectively, lovingly and connectedly as we might wish. We may not even be aware that the hole in our hearts, the empty space which is never filled, will affect our ability to parent, to bond with our child and to attach in loving, healthy ways.

Indigenous Radio you have to hear!

Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time
Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time

“First Voices Indigenous Radio” rebroadcasts on more than 40 FM radio frequencies/stations around the country for the week following each live program ( Listen to MariJo Moore discuss our new anthology UNRAVELING THE SPREADING CLOTH OF TIME on April 4 in the archive!

Tomorrow at 1 pm EST, I will be a guest on the Jay Winter NightWolf show: discussing my latest publishing efforts and the anthology!