Roaming Charges: The Man From Quiet Room 4

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi.

He became known as Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. But his real name is Nashwan al-Tamir. Al-Hadi was born to a Sunni Arab family in Mosul, Iraq in 1961. He fought in the bloody Iran/Iraq war, then left Iraq, and the horrors of life in Saddam’s army, to join the Mujahideen’s campaign to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan, where he met Osama Bin Laden and later helped form al-Qaeda. Al-Hadi was a leader of the guerilla campaign against the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.  In 2003 and 2004, fighters under Al-Hadi’s command made several lethal attacks against US and coalition forces.

In 2006, Al-Hadi was captured in Turkey and turned over to the CIA, where he was held as a “high-value” detainee for the next six months at a black site in Afghanistan. Al-Hadi was repeatedly interrogated, tortured and confined in a cramped, soundproofed cell no larger than a closet.

For the past 17 years, he has been living in a cell at Guantanamo prison, nearly paralyzed by a degenerative spine condition that has been exacerbated by years of medical neglect and mistreatment. Al-Hadi was one of the last “enemy combatants” sent to Gitmo.

In 2014, after more than seven years in custody, Al-Hadi was arraigned on war crimes charges before a military commission. Four of the principal charges filed against Al-Hadi–that his troops killed humanitarian workers, fired on medical vehicles, killed civilians and used perfidy (civilian disguises) to attack US troops–are precisely the kinds of atrocities that Israeli troops have committed in Gaza with US weapons. His trial was delayed in 2017, after Al-Hadi was found lying on the floor of his cell in a pool of his own waste, paralyzed and incontinent.

Al-Hadi was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disc disease, which had worsened drastically during his time in US custody. Six spinal operations followed in less than a year, all conducted in the primitive operating room at Gitmo, at least two of them to correct mistakes made in the previous surgeries. Under the strictures of US law, Al-Hadi couldn’t be treated at a hospital in the states. At the time of his surgeries, Gitmo didn’t even have an MRI machine. When Al-Hadi returned to court a couple of years later, he was paralyzed, confined to a padded wheelchair and sometimes rolled in on a hospital bed.

In June 2022, Hadi pleaded guilty to war crimes charges in a secret deal with the Biden administration to expedite the long-stalled tribunals. “He pleaded guilty for his role as a frontline commander in Afghanistan,” said his lawyer, Susan Hensler. “He has been in custody for 16 years, including the six months he spent in a C.I.A. black site. We hope the United States makes good on its promise to transfer him as soon as possible for the medical care he desperately needs.”

Al-Hadi’s sentencing was postponed until 2024, in part to give the Pentagon time to find a nation that will accept him after his release and be able to provide him with appropriate medical care for the remainder of his life.

The charges Hadi ultimately pleaded guilty to were far less serious than those the Bush and Obama administrations originally accused him of, which included a role in the 9/11 attacks, a conspiracy to drive non-Muslims out of the Arabian peninsula, assassinating a French UN worker and blowing up the large carvings of the Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley of Afghanistan.  Ultimately, Hadi confessed to supervising fighters who fired on a medevac helicopter and dressed as civilians to plant IEDs that killed three allied soldiers–alleged crimes that the Bush administration wanted to punish with his execution, despite having denied of him of a lawyer for more than five years.

On June 17, Al-Hadi finally had the chance to tell the story of his capture, rendition to Afghanistan, interrogation and torture, and incarceration in Gitmo (at a cost of $13 million a year) where his health deteriorated sharply. Sitting in his padded wheelchair, Hadi described being snatched in Turkey, bound, hooded, shackled and gagged, then flown to another site where he was held in a cell without windows.

That site was one of the last of the CIA’s secret prisons in Afghanistan. The cell had a toilet and a stainless steel shower. Each day men dressed in black with masked faces came to interrogate him. Again and again, they probed him about the location of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders. Each day, Al-Hadi gave them the same answer: I don’t know.

After three months, Al-Hadi was moved to a different room, a cell called Quiet Room 4. As Al-Hadi spoke, his defense team introduced a virtual representation of the cell. It was smaller, more confining. There was no toilet or shower, just a bucket and a mat on the floor. There were three shackles on the wall and a bloodstain. 

Hadi described being blindfolded, stripped naked and his beard roughly shaved. Then photographed. This happened twice at the black site. Gratuitous acts of humiliation meant to shame him.

Pork was routinely mixed in his meals. So Al-Hadi went on a hunger strike and eventually became too weak to walk. The black-masked guards force-fed him with bottles of Ensure, until he regained some of his strength so that he could once again endure the same kind of ritualized torture, day after day, month after month.

The entire time Al-Hadi was held in Afghanistan he never saw the sun, never knew what time it was, when to say his prayers or in which direction to say them. Unlike many other CIA prisoners, who were blasted with loud music, Al-Hadi was condemned to six months of silence. From his Quiet Cell, he couldn’t hear street noises, bird songs or human voices. He was living in a void.

Unlike many US war criminals, such as Eddie “the Blade” Gallager, who unapologetically stabbed to death a wounded young Iraqi and posed for a photo with his corpse, Al-Hadi seems genuinely remorseful about the carnage his fighters inflicted during the cruel war in Afghanistan. During his testimony, he told the father of one of the US soldiers killed in an IED attack, “I know what it is to watch another soldier die or get wounded, I know this feeling and I am sorry. I know you suffered too much. I know what it is to be a father of a son. To lose your son — your sadness must be overwhelming. I am sorry.  As the commander, I take responsibility for what my men did. I want you to know I do not have any hate in my heart for anyone. I thought I was doing right. I wasn’t. I am sorry.”

Ultimately, Al-Hadi’s contrition, remorse and failing body, crippled by years of torture and confinement, did little to sway an 11-member, anonymous U.S. military jury, which on Thursday handed down the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for committing the same kind of war crimes the US and its allies have committed with impunity for decades, including crimes against Al-Hadi himself.


+ You can believe whatever you want to but …. the two-year increase in the Keeling Curve of peak carbon dioxide levels is the largest on record.

+ Why are CO2 levels continuing to soar? Because industrial nations are still burning massive amounts of fossil fuels. In fact, last year the global consumption of fossil fuels hit a record high last year, producing emissions to more than 40 gigatonnes of CO2 for the first time, according to a report by the the Energy Institute.

+ More than 1000 people have died of heat-related causes during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, where temperatures in Mecca hit 51.8°C (125°F).

+ Here in the US, an Associated Press investigation calculated that there were 2,300 heat deaths last summer, a new record, and the report admitted that the number was almost certainly a dramatic undercount of the actual number of heat-related deaths.

+ A study of the 1995 Chicago heatwave showed that 28% of those admitted to hospital for heatstroke died within a year. Most of the rest had ongoing organ dysfunction and brain damage.

+ India last week, Florida in July: “At the SMS hospital in Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, so many bodies of casualties of the heat have arrived at the mortuary that its capacity has been exceeded. Police in the city say many of the victims are poor laborers, who have no choice but to work outside, and homeless people.”

+ A new study finds tiny particles emitted by wildfire smoke may have contributed to at least 52,000 premature deaths in California over a decade. By 2050, cumulative excess deaths from exposure to wildfire smoke globally could exceed 700,000, a two-thirds increase over current numbers.

+ From a study on the environmental impacts of wildfire smoke on lake ecosystems published in Global Change Biology: “From 2019 to 2021, we found that 99.3% of North America was covered by smoke. An incredible 98.9% of lakes experienced at least 10 smoke-days a year, with 89.6% of lakes receiving 30 smoke-days, and some lakes experiencing up to four months of smoke.” We’re fucked, might be the phrase you’re looking for…

+ A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that average homeowners insurance premiums have increased by 33% from 2020 to 2023, largely driven by climate-related disaster risks.

+ The record rainfall in south Florida last week, which dumped as much as 15 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of Sarasota, Naples and Miami, normally occurs only once every 500 to 1,000 years.

+ Mario Ariza: “Eventually, Florida’s policies of agnostic adaptation will have to deal with this looming reality, where adaptation is clearly impossible, and retreat may be the only option left.”

+ According to Swiss Re, one of Europe’s largest reinsurers, insurers have dramatically underestimated the annual damages from climate-related disasters and warned that some areas of the continent may become “uninsurable.” Lloyd’s of London’s John Neal: “You’ll never find an insurer saying, ‘I don’t believe in climate change.’”

+ India’s monsoon season delivered 20% less rainfall than usual, especially concerning given the extended heat wave that has gripped the sub-continent.

+ The use of swimming pools and video games in California consume more energy than some entire countries.

+ China’s solar module production, which has tripled since 2021, hit 1,000 GW last year, nearly five times the rest of the world combined.

+ Worldwide the average price for photovoltaic panels is 11 cents per watt, a global price largely based on the market of the leading producer, China. The average price for panels in the United States was 31 cents per watt.

+ Nearly one-third of all oceangoing ships are carrying fossil fuels.

+ More than 500 pieces of plastic waste wash ashore on Easter Island every hour

+ The populations of flying insects in the UK have declined by 60 percent from 2004-2021. Meanwhile, Britain’s earthworm populations have fallen by a third over the same time period.

+ The UK is expected to become 8% less self-sufficient for food this year.

+ The use of drainage tiles by farmers to divert water from croplands has contributed to the loss of up to about 100 million acres of wetlands in the U.S.

+ Researchers at Oregon State University used gray wolves as a case study for how the presence of apex predators shifts the ecological landscape. “There is this big and important signature that wolves have had on the landscape, and when we take them out … it’s a big deal,” said Robert Beschta, professor emeritus at Oregon State University and one of the study’s co-authors. “You lose the apex predator, and the native ungulate populations take over. They heavily impact plant communities and have all kinds of other effects.”

+ Wolf  Family Values: Wolf 907, the current leader of the Junction Butte pack in Yellowstone National Park and the oldest wolf in the park, has lived almost four times longer than the average wolf. She gave birth to another litter of pups this year.

+ Populations of salmon, trout, and other migratory fish have shrunk by 81 percent on average over the last half-century, a new report finds.

+ Gray whales in the Pacific Feeding Group, a population of 200 whales often seen off the Oregon Coast, are 13 percent smaller than their predecessors 20 years ago. Warming ocean temperatures are the likely cause.

+ GreenScam 2024: Oil production and national forest logging both up under Biden. According to a study by Citizens for a Sustainable Economy, national forest logging has increased by 24 percent under Biden.

+ Little Sister is waking up…Since February 1, Mount St. Helens has been rumbled by 350 earthquakes.

Image: USGS.


+ In the last five years, global spending on nuclear weapons has increased by 34%, or $23.2 billion. Over that period, nuclear spending by the US increased by 45% and by 43% in the UK. At the current pace, global spending on nuclear weapons will eclipse $100 billion by the end of the year.

+ The Sun Never Sets on British Arrogance or Ignorance…

+ Biden at the D-Day celebration in Normandy today: “They’ve [Ukraine] inflicted on the Russian aggressors, they suffered tremendous losses Russia. The numbers are staggering: 350,000 Russian troops dead or wounded.”  What a demented way to celebrate D-Day–a much-delayed invasion that was only possible because the Soviets–repeatedly lied to by Churchill & FDR on when a 2nd front would be opened–held off the Nazis, at a cost of millions of lives, then began to defeat the Wehrmacht in the East. The Russians weren’t even invited to celebrate the beginning of the end of the war they did so much to win. Could the average American, Bidenite or MAGA, even name the Allied Nations in WWII?

+ A new study by Brown University’s Cost of War project estimates that more than 7.6 million children under the age of five in post-9/11 war zones are suffering from acute malnutrition.

+ Life expectancy in China has now surpassed the USA…An incredible achievement for China and a dubious one for the US, where the mortality rate for the 45-54 demography has been on the rise since the mid-90s, while the rate in France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden has fallen dramatically.

+ A new report warns that millions Britons are facing a ‘timebomb’ of avoidable health conditions. The report says that “children across the UK are getting shorter, fatter and sicker amid an epidemic of poor diets, food insecurity and poverty.”

+ In a Harvard School of Public Health poll of how Americans feel about public health policies during the Covid pandemic, 70 percent think requiring masks was a good idea, 65% think requiring healthcare workers to get vaccinated was a good idea, 63% think a ban on indoor dining was a good idea, and 56% think closing public schools for 6 six months was a good idea.

+ Even though federal funds for testing dairy milk for avian flu are available, not a single farm has signed up for voluntary on-site milk testing, according to the USDA, and less than a dozen farms have applied for separate financial aid in exchange for boosting biosecurity measures.

+ In the U.S. alone, according to a USDA database, bird flu has resulted in the death of more than 96 million birds in commercial and backyard flocks since February 2022.


+ Neuralink, the neurotechnology outfit owned by Elon Musk which is developing computer chips to implant in the human brain, has been sued by a staffer who says she was scratched on the face by a herpes-carrying monkey, then was fired a day after she said she was pregnant.

+ This week Tesla shareholders voted down a proposal not to use minerals excavated through deep-sea mining. Hardly the green enterprise it once marketed itself as…

+ According to a study by Redfin, people need to earn $150,000 to afford the typical home in LGBTQ+-friendly communities, nearly 50% higher than in areas without LGBTQ+ protections.

+ The gap between CEO compensation and worker pay continued to widen in 2023 and is now at 200-1.

+ In the New Orleans metro area, the median net worth of white households is $185,000, but for Black households, it’s just $14,000. (Much of the wealth held by whites is a product of low-paid labor by Blacks.)

+ In 1774 among free Americans, the top 1% got only 7.6% of the total income. Among all Americans – including enslaved Americans – the richest 1% got only 8.5% of total income in 1774. Today, the top 1% gets > 20% of total income. 

+ Renters in Seattle and Portland reside in the smallest apartments in the country. And they’re getting even smaller and no less expensive.

+ If teachers were compensated for their unpaid overtime they would collectively earn $77.5 billion more, according to a new analysis from My eLearning World. The average US teacher works 540 hours more than they’re contracted for. That’s 1.74 billion hours of unpaid overtime. If teachers worked the amount they were contracted for, they would earn $42 an hour. Instead, because they’re working more unpaid hours than they contracted for they only earn an average of $31 per hour.

+ Of the more than 255,000 Congolese mining for cobalt, at least 40,000 of them are children.

+ On May 1, four child laborers were found working the kill floor at an Alabama poultry plant that supplies Chick-fil-A with meat. A 16-year-old died at the same plant last summer after being pulled into a deboning machine. Three of the four minors were working the overnight shift. Rita Resarian: “Chick-fil-A being closed on Sunday but using child labor is what virtue signaling actually looks like.”

+ $1.7 trillion: current value of land in Colorado stolen from Native Americans. $546 million: value of minerals extracted from those lands.

+ The Justice Department fined a tech company based in Ashburn, Virginia, after it advertised that it was seeking “white” candidates for an open job posting.

+ A lawsuit alleges American Airlines kicked a group of Black men off a plane, citing body odor, following a complaint by a flight attendant. The three men did not know each other and were not seated together.

+ Joanna Maciejewska: “I want AI to do my laundry and dishes so that I can do art and writing, not for AI to do my art and writing so that I can do my laundry and dishes.”


+ It’s stunning how bad Biden is at the things he’s supposed to do best, like foreign policy, politics and being a relatable human being.

+ Lies Biden tells…

– claimed he was selected for the Naval Academy

– claimed he was arrested as a civil rights activist

– claimed to have driven an 18-wheeler

– claimed he was the first in his family to go to college

– claimed a scholarship he didn’t have

– claimed a degree he didn’t have

– claimed to have been arrested trying to see Mandela

– claimed to have been asked by Golda Meir to be her liaison to Egypt

– claimed to have an uncle eaten by cannibals

+ In his Time interview, Biden confused Putin with Xi, Russia with Ukraine (several times), South Korea with Japan, NATO with Finland, the Soviet Union with Russia, Iran with Iraq, forgets the name of his intel chief, confuses an oil pipeline with a rail line & Cornwall with London…and then at the end of this embarrassingly incoherent interview when asked about whether he’ll have the mental capacity at 85 to deal with complex foreign policy issues, Biden threatens to “take” the Time reporter.

+ One recent poll showed that only 33% of Black voters aged 18 to 40 said they would vote for Biden if the election were held today. Only 15% of Black voters thought Biden could handle Israel’s war in Gaza.

+ It took Clinton to destroy welfare, Obama to assassinate American citizens abroad, and Biden to end the right to asylum….”President Biden will sign an Executive Order that will allow the U.S. Government to deny asylum and deport immigrants who cross the border illegally. Reminder, Republicans voted against the toughest border security legislation in decades.”

+ There’s no compromise (moral, legal or political) Biden won’t make to hold onto power and nothing Trump won’t promise (immoral, illegal or political) to regain it. It’s a system on auto-self-destruct.

+ Joe Biden seems intent on becoming the first incumbent president to lose reelection to a convicted felon.

They call me the Meanderer
Yeah, the Meanderer
I meander around, around, around

+ Trump on Fox & Friends: “I’m gonna do the big deportation. The biggest ever … you’ll get rid of 10 really bad ones. And one really beautiful mother … it’s always gonna be tough, it’s not gonna be easy … the way you get rid of them is the local police.”

+ Ramin Setoodeh: “Joan [Rivers] said she was a Republican. Did you know that?”

Trump: “I thought she might have been a Republican. I know one thing. She voted for me, according to what she said.”

+ Joan Rivers died in 2014, two years before anyone cast a vote for Trump.

+ During Trump’s visit to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017, he boasted to then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló: “‘Nature has a way of coming back. Well, it does until it does not. Who knows with nuclear warfare what will happen…I tell you what, if nuclear war happens, we won’t be second in line pressing the button.”

+ Has the political landscape in the US ever been this void of competent, one is tempted to say, sentient leadership? It’s pretty vacant out there.

+ Mark Ames: “A corpse vs. a felon vs. a guy with brain worms. Greatest system on earth.”

+ Between 2006 and 2023, trust in national institutions increased in all of the G7 nations except the US, where it collapsed.

+ Coming soon…

+ Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Rectenwald confirmed that he ate an edible prior to his speech at the party convention, saying “This was not some sort of a major political scandal, okay. I wasn’t found in bed with Stormy Daniels. I’m at a Libertarian Party convention. Somebody offered me something.”

+ Latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll:

— Trump 50%
— Biden 32%
— RFK Jr. 9%
— Libertarian 2%
— Other 3%

In 2012, Obama beat Romney in Iowa by 52% to 46%. No Democrat has ever gotten less than 40% in Iowa.

+ GOP pollster Patrick Ruffini: “Amazing how young voters went from cult-like devotion to Obama in 2012 to absolutely zero allegiance whatsoever to the Democratic Party in just 12 years.”

+ Biden is not Obama. Hillary is not Obama. Pelosi is not Obama. Schumer is not Obama. And it turned out that Obama wasn’t even “Obama.”

+ Pollster Evan Smith: “Young voters do not look at our politics and see any good guys. They see a dying empire led by bad people.” Has anyone proved them wrong?


+ In 2019, the number of people traveling to Oregon from Idaho to seek an abortion was so small it didn’t register in the data. Last year, more than 400 people made the trip.

+ In his majority opinion legalizing DIY machine guns (bump stocks), Clarence Thomas appears to have copied and pasted materials from an extremist gun rights group called the Firearms Policy Coalition, known for their violent rhetoric.

+ Oklahoma Schools Superintendent Ryan Walters says he supports a bill that allows students to leave school during the day to go to church and receive school credit for it, but not if they go to a church that worships Satan. (NB: I did most of my Satanic devotions during calculus.)

+ Texas’ abortion ban prevented doctors from providing an abortion to a woman with a failing pregnancy—forcing her to instead push out the dead fetus on her own. She spent days in agonizing pain, vomiting and bleeding, until she passed out from blood loss and nearly died.

+ New data from Fix The Court on the value of gifts Supreme Court justices received and reported over the past two decades.

+ In the Alito household, Sam wants us to believe he plays the role of TradWife, silently putting up with anything Martha-Ann, the flag-loving insurrectionist, does. When he protests meekly that perhaps the upside-down flag should be lowered, she slaps him down and he retreats into his manwife cave to research the originalist case for overturning the 19th Amendment…

+ Louisiana became the first state to require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments.

+ Not in the original Hebrew? (As for that Thou Shall Not Kill part, the State of Louisiana has executed 659 people–not counting the 451 lynchings–and just legalized execution by electrocution and suffocation with nitrogen gas.)

+ Nowhere in the Hebrew (or early Christian) Bible are the 10 Commandments called the 10 Commandments, they are variously known as “the ten words”, “the ten sayings”, “the ten matters” or “the ten verses.” They aren’t referred to as “Commandments” until the Geneva Bible of 1557, which some might mark as the beginning of the religious police state. You’d think the “originalists” and “textualists” down in Baton Rogue would know this. Maybe Mrs. Alito will set them straight by raising her Appeal to Heaven flag again.

+ Next, each classroom will be required to display and maintain its own Burning Bush…


+ Since Eric Adams became mayor of New York City complaints against the NYPD have spiked to a 12-year high, according to the city’s Citizen Complaint Review Board. Among the as NYC’s police watchdog agency cracks down on officers wearing ‘white supremacist’ morale patches on duty. Among the complaints investigated by the watchdog agency are reports of NYPD cops wearing white supremacist patches on their body armor: “The skull patch on subject officer 2’s uniform was a specific imagery commonly used by white supremacist groups. Subject Officer 2 stated that the patch was a gift, and the skull insignia did not have offensive connotations. The investigation found that the display of the patch on subject officer 2’s uniform was discourteous and offensive.”

+ Kudos to the NYPL for taking a direct shot at NYC’s ridiculous mayor, Eric Adams, who wants to shovel more and more money to the police at the expense of the city’s libraries…

+ Meanwhile, the NYPD spent $22 million for “ShotSpotter” surveillance technology that was supposed to detect incidents of gunfire in the city. However, an audit of 8 months of ShotSpotter alerts found that 87% of the time NYPD officers were dispatched to a scene, there was no evidence of a shooting.

+ For decades, prosecutors in Alameda County, California (Oakland) have sought to exclude Jews and blacks from juries in death penalty cases. The handwritten records show numerous examples of DAs marking down when jurors appeared to be Jewish, disparaging Black women and using explicitly anti-gay slurs.

+ Last year saw the lowest rate of violent crime in the US in 50 years. So far this year the violent crime rate has fallen by another 15%.

+ There were only 13 homicides in Baltimore in all of May. From 2015 to 2022, the city averaged more than 32 victims each May. 13 is one of the lowest number of victims for the month of May in the city’s modern history (since 1970). Homicides in Charm City are down by more than 48% since 2022

+ More people were killed by US Customs and Border Patrol (171) in 2022 than died at the Berlin Wall in its entire 28-year existence (136).

+ Biden: “What do you think Trump would have done on January 6 if Black Americans had stormed the Capitol? I don’t think he would be talking about pardons. This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd’s murder.” Uh, the Portland Police Department, in one of the most “liberal” cities in the US, drenched so many protesters and nearby neighborhoods in tear gas that a war crimes team was called in to investigate it…

+ The price of freedom!  The first five months of U.S. gun violence in 2024, as of June:

•7,038 gun deaths

•13,154 gun injuries

•195 mass shootings

•322 children shot

•1,864 teenagers shot

•530 incidents of defensive gun use

•593 unintentional shootings

•286 murder-suicides

+ Psychological torture by cop in Fortuna, California: After Thomas Perez reported his elderly father missing, Fortuna cops hauled him in for a 17-hour interrogation, during which they threatened to kill his dog, and badgered him into falsely confessing to having murdered his dad. But unbeknownst to the cops, Perez’s dad was alive.

+ At least 20 elementary school children in San Bruno, California were sickened by a San Francisco Sheriff’s Office training a half-mile away from ingesting decades-old chemical weapons after officers were invited to bring and use up outside munitions.

+ An Indiana sheriff paid child support for his secret child with the county auditor by using the local volunteer firefighter association’s credit card.

+ Apache County, Arizona doesn’t have an animal shelter. So the cops round up homeless dogs, shoot them and dump the bodies by the railroad tracks.


+ He is Risen! After being pronounced dead Tuesday on Twitter (and in Jacobin, which just couldn’t wait for confirmation from his family!), on Wednesday Noam Chomsky walked out of Beneficiencia Hospital in São Paulo Brazil where he’s been recovering from a stroke…Yet, the welcome news that Chomsky lives has somehow spread much slower than the lie that he had died, which reconfirms pretty much everything Noam’s written about the nature of the mass media, even the insidious way it infects those who’ve read and (in theory) absorbed the meaning of his work.

+ Christian nationalist pastor Joel Webbon, who supports imposing the death penalty against homosexuals, ranted about the evils of Pride Month this week: “Don’t forget, the key characteristic of the gay community is butt sex. It’s feces. It’s AIDS. It’s disease.” Of course, given the coming prohibitions on birth control “people” like “Pastor” Webbon are pushing, anal intercourse will soon become a “key characteristic” of hetero sex as well…

+ Here’s Nathaniel St. Clair standing in front of the Alexander Cockburn Memorial Tree in the small rancher cemetery where Alex’s remains were planted, which local grandees–to the extent Petrolia has them–wanted to cut down because the giant eucalyptus sheds its bark–making it look “unkempt” and in need of, as every MAGAmoron knows, occasional “raking” A radical uprising of Alex’s friends has saved this beauty–so far…

+ There’s no conceivable future (or not one I’d want to exist in) where Françoise Hardy, who died last week, will not be considered an epitome of “cool”. She is, after all, the woman who told her lovesick stalker Bob Dylan to take a hike, a swatting down that probably drove him to become “born again.”

+ George Harrison on the Beatles after LSD: “A big change happened in 1966, particularly for John and myself, because a dentist we were having dinner with put this LSD in our coffee. Now people who’ve taken that will know what I’m talking about and people who haven’t taken it won’t have a clue because it transforms you. After that, I didn’t need it ever again. The thing about LSD is you don’t need it twice. Oh, I took it lots of times, but I only needed it once.”

+ Sonny Rollins: “There is in existence a fraternity of people who were all irrepressibly drawn to the ‘horn of horns,’ ‘the instrument of instruments,’ the saxophone. Within its proportions, we saw a better and more beautiful world.” From The Notebooks of Sonny Rollins (NYRB Books)

+ The free jazz trumpeter Don Cherry ascribed notes to colors:

Blue–A flat
Yellow–F sharp
Violet–E flat


RIP Donald Sutherland, full-time antiwar activist and sometime actor, who founded the Fuck the Army tour with Jane Fonda, Garry Goodrow, Peter Boyle and others.

+ Sutherland on his appearance in Kate Bush’s Cloud Bursting video: “She was such a stoner! She was great. She’d come out of this camper at 8 in the morning smoking a joint. And I said, ‘What are you doing?’ And she said, ‘I haven’t been straight in eight years.'”

+ Lucio Fulci (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, City of the Dead): “I am not a criminal because I make horror films. A lot of Italian genre directors are animal lovers. Mario Bava loved cats, Riccardo Freda loves horses, and Dario Argento loves himself.”

+ French philosopher Emil Cioran after Samuel Beckett won the Nobel Prize for Literature: “What a humiliation for such a proud man. The sadness of being understood!”

Je vois la prison, je vois la nuit, Je vois le prisonnier qui pleure sa vie

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Why Would Feminists Trust the Police: a Tangled History of Resistance and Complicity
Leah Cowan

The Knowledge Economy and Socialism: Science and Society in Cuba
Agustín Lage Dávila
(Monthly Review)

Otherworldly Antarctica: Ice, Rock and Wind at the Polar Extreme
Edward Stump

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Funeral for Justice
Mdou Moctar

Poptical Illusion
John Cale

Pull the Rope
Ibibio Sound Machine

Imagining the End

“Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.” – Frederic Jameson

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3