Patrice Lumuba: the most important assassination of the 20th century
The US-sponsored plot to kill Patrice Lumumba, the hero of Congolese independence, took place 50 years ago today
Eric Trump couldn’t stop raving about this, characterizing it as some kind of moral triumph. “That was a big moment for me,” he told an Iowa radio station yesterday, adding his father’s reluctance to attack a woman over her husband’s adulterous past “will be something I’ll always remember.”Donald Trump doesn’t think he’s gotten enough credit for not talking about Bill Clinton’s history of sexual misconduct in Monday’s debate.
Just ask his son, Eric Trump, who said it took “a lot of courage” for the Republican nominee not to attack the former president. Or his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who told MSNBC on Tuesday that Trump showed “presidential virtue” by not talking about the Clinton scandals.
Perhaps now would be a good time to note that “That makes me smart” and “That would make me smart” are not the same sentences.O’REILLY: Now, they are going to come after you, they being the Clinton campaign, on the statement that you made that you were as smart for paying as few taxes as you could possibly pay. You know it’s going to be in the next debate, it’s going to be on campaign ads. Do you have any defense for that right now?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that. What she said is maybe you paid no taxes. I said, “Well, that would make me very smart.” … I never said I didn’t pay taxes. She said maybe you didn’t pay taxes and I said, “Well, that would make me smart because tax is a big payment.” But I think a lot of people say, “That’s the kind of thinking that I want running this nation.”
“I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.
“I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table.”
The New York Times’ David Sanger added this week that, during the debate, Trump “appeared somewhere between contradictory and confused” on the nuclear issue.In May, Trump even suggested he could support South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia, who are not currently nuclear powers, arming themselves with nuclear weapons for their own defense.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the Republican presidential nominee, “So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?”
“Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time,” Trump insisted, despite a 25-year trend in which numerous nations – Libya, South Africa, Iraq, and former Soviet republics – have been denuclearized.
In fairness, Clovis added that he cares about “specificity,” but the campaign has chosen not to get into policy details because these kinds of campaign debates are of no interest to the electorate.Sam Clovis, Donald Trump’s national policy adviser and campaign co-chair, said Monday before the debate that voters don’t care about policy specifics and would be “bored to tears” by them.
“Our approach has been to provide outlook and constructs for policy because if we go into the specific details, we just get murdered in the press. What we’re dealing with [is] we’re chasing minutia around,” Clovis said on the Alan Colmes Show on Fox News’ radio network.
Note, Chris Matthews started naming specific countries and continents, apparently hoping to help Johnson focus. The Libertarian nevertheless came up empty. Johnson said he was having a “brain freeze.”Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson struggled to name a single foreign leader when asked who his favorite was during an MSNBC town hall Wednesday night.
“Any one of the continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that your respect and look up to. Anybody,” host Chris Matthews pushed during the event, causing Johnson to sigh loudly as his VP pick Bill Weld tried to jump in.
“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson finally said.
WINONA LADUKE: It’s time to end the fossil fuel infrastructure. I mean, these people on this reservation, they don’t have adequate infrastructure for their houses. They don’t have adequate energy infrastructure. They don’t have adequate highway infrastructure. And yet they’re looking at a $3.9 billion pipeline that will not help them. It will only help oil companies. And so that’s why we’re here. You know, we’re here to protect this land.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened to the Sandpiper pipeline, the one that you protested, the one that you opposed.
WINONA LADUKE: What we opposed, yeah. So, for four years, the Enbridge company said that they absolutely needed a pipeline that would go from Clearbrook, Minnesota, to Superior, Wisconsin. That was the critical and only possible route. They proposed a brand-new route that would go through the heart of our best wild rice lakes and territory, skirting the reservations, but within our treaty territory. They did not consult with us, and they made some serious errors in their process. They underestimated what was going to happen there.
And so, for four years, we battled them in the Minnesota regulatory process, which is a process which is more advanced and slightly more functional than North Dakota’s regulatory process, which, from what I can see, is largely nonexistent. And in that process, we attended every hearing. We intervened legally. We rode our horses against the current of the oil. We had ceremonies. And they cancelled the pipeline. That’s what they did, after four years’ very, very ardent opposition by Minnesota citizens, tribal governments, tribal people, you know, on that line.
And that pipeline, you know, big problem—we still have six pipelines in northern Minnesota to go to Superior, the furthest-inland port. But their new proposals are not going to happen there. Enbridge has said that they still want to continue with their proposals for line three. The first pipeline they want, they want to abandon. The beginning of a whole new set of problems in North America, the abandoning of 50-year-old pipelines, with no regulatory clarity as to who is responsible. And so we are opposing them on that, that they cannot abandon, and they cannot—they still cannot get a new route.
But when they announced that, you know, in my area, I could have said, "Hey, good luck, y’all. We beat it here. Good luck." You know? But, no, we said we’re going to follow them out here, too, because we believe that—you know, we could spend our lives fighting one pipeline after another after another, but someone needs to challenge the problem and say, "This is not the way to go, America. This is not the way to go for any of us." So, we came out here to support these people.
AMY GOODMAN: So talk about everyone who’s out here.
WINONA LADUKE: There are a lot of people out here, you know? It’s very funny, because I feel like I’ve been like the Standing Rock switchboard, the travel guide, for the past two weeks. You know, everybody hits me up on Facebook, calls me up: "Hey, LaDuke, I want to bring out this. I got some winter coats. You know, what should I do?" I was like, "Oh, my gosh!" You know?
So, a lot of people are coming here, united. You know, so what I know is out here is like—you know, I go walk in here, and I’ve seen people from the—you know, from Wounded Knee in 1973. I’ve seen people I worked with in opposing uranium mining in the Black Hills in the 1970s and '80s, you know, out here. I mean, I've been at this a while. You know, it’s like Old Home Week out here. I’ve seen people from Oklahoma that opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, and Nebraska. And I’ve seen people from, you know, out in our territory that are opposing the pipelines here. The tribal chairman of Fond du Lac is here, and, you know, a whole host of Native and non-Native people. And there are a lot of people that just do not believe that this should happen anymore in this country, that are very willing to put themselves on the line, non-Indian people, you know, as well as tribal members, and they are here. And it is a beautiful place to defend.
AMY GOODMAN: For people who are watching in New York and Louisiana, in California and India, China and South Africa, why does this matter to them?
WINONA LADUKE: This matters because it’s time to move on from fossil fuels. You know, this is the same battle that they have everywhere else. You know, each day or each week, there’s some new leak, there’s some new catastrophe in the fossil fuel industry, as well as the ongoing and growing catastrophe of climate change. The fact that there is no rain in Syria has directly to do with these fossil fuel companies. You know, all of the catastrophes that are happening elsewhere in the world has to do with the fact that North America is retooling its infrastructure and going after the dirtiest oil in the world—the tar sands oil and the oil out of North Dakota, the fracked oil—rather than—you know, they were working with Venezuela’s—it also has to do with crushing Venezuela, because Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. And rather than do business with Venezuela, they were bound and determined to take oil from places that did not want to give it up, and create this filthy infrastructure. So, this carbon—this oil is very heavy in carbon and will add hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 to the environment, if these pipelines are allowed through. So, that is—you know, it affects everybody.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, some tribes are for the pipeline. Can you describe the division?
WINONA LADUKE: You know, I don’t know that I would say some tribes are for it. I would say some interests in Indian country have been for the pipeline. I mean, historically, the Three Affiliated Tribes is an oil-producing tribe, but they came down here to support the opposition to the pipeline. They came down there. Their whole tribal council came down here a couple of days ago. You know, but the fact is, is that, you know, some tribes have been forced into production of fossil fuels. Eighty-five percent of the Navajo economy, for instance, is fossil fuel-based. About the same percentage of the Fort Berthold economy is fossil fuel-based.
So, you know, just to give a little historic picture: You come out here with your smallpox, and you wipe out 95 percent of the people, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people, in the early 1800s. They live along these villages, you know, just trying to hang in there. Then you come out here, and you flood their lands. And the agricultural crops that they produced are now owned by Monsanto and Syngenta as trademarked varieties that they created. Right? And then you’re out here in North Dakota, and everybody in the country flies over North Dakota and looks down and says, "Well, that’s North Dakota." Nobody comes out here. And so stuff continues out here for a hundred years, where these people are treated like third-class citizens, you know, where they have no running water in their houses, and they have oil companies coming out here. And you have high rates of abuse and violence against women and children, and it accelerates and increases in the oil fields, until you have an epidemic of drugs, which now hits this community. This community doesn’t get any benefit from oil, but the meth and heroin that came out of those fields is here, you know? Because those dealers came up here, and then they saw these Indian people, and they said, "Well, we’ll just go there." And so these reservations are full of it. You know? And then you say, you know, to that tribe up there, the BIA cuts some backyard deals and starts oil extraction. And so, then you—
AMY GOODMAN: The Bureau of Indian Affairs.
WINONA LADUKE: Bureau of Indian Affairs. And then you end up with oil—you end up with haves and have-nots in the oil fields. And you end up with a tribe that now has oil revenues that are coming in. And they look out there, frankly, and they say, "You know? Things haven’t been going too well for us, so we’re going to sign a few more of these leases, because, after all, you know, nothing has ever worked out well for us. And so, we’re going to get a little bit of money." And that’s how you get—you know, you force people into that, with a gun to their head, and then they end up destroying their land, you know, which is what is happening up there on that reservation. And they’ve had huge investigations into corruption at the leadership. But, you know, you force poor people. You force people into that situation, and that’s a perfect storm.
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve talked and written about Native Americans having PTSD, post-traumatic stress syndrome.
WINONA LADUKE: Yeah, we have ongoing; I didn’t finish it, I still have it. You know, you say "Enbridge," and I get this little like quirk, you know, and because the Indian wars are far from over out here. But, you know, what you get is intergenerational trauma, is what it is known as, historic trauma. And other people have it. But you have a genetic memory, and you look out there, and you see—every day you wake up, and you see that your land was flooded. And that big power line that runs through this land, that doesn’t benefit you. You still have to—you know, everything that is out here was done at your expense, but you still have to pay for it. And every day you go out there, and some—you know, you got a roadblock, that the white people put up, coming into your reservation. And every day you go out there, and you look at your houses, and you see that you’ve got crumbling infrastructure, and nobody cares about it. And you’ve got a meth epidemic, and you’ve got the highest suicide rates in the country, but nobody pays attention. You know, and so you just try to survive. That’s what you’re trying to do. Like 90 percent of my community, generally, I would say, is just trying to survive.
You know, I mean, in my community, we have rice. We still have our wild rice. And we can go, and we can harvest wild rice. And we can be Anishinaabe people. You know, we can still live off of our land. You know, these people have a much tougher time living off of their land. The buffalo were wiped out, you know? But this year is their stand. This is their stand. They’ve got a chance to not have one more bad thing happen to them. And from my perspective, my perspective is, is that $3.9 billion pipeline, these guys don’t need a pipeline. What they need is solar. What they need is wind. Look at this wind. You know, what they need—they have like class 7 wind out here. What they need is solar on all their houses, solar thermal. They need housing that works for people. They need energy justice. This is this chance, America, to say, "Look, this community does not need a pipeline. What this community needs is real energy independence." They call this energy independence, you know, shoving a pipeline down people’s throats, so that Canadian oil companies can benefit, and, you know, a bunch of people can—the world can worsen. That is not energy independence. Energy independence is when you have solar. Energy independence is when you have wind. Energy independence is when you have some control over your future. That’s what these people want.AMY GOODMAN: That was Winona LaDuke, longtime Anishinaabe activist from White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.
DEBRA WHITE PLUME: What it means to me is that it pushes us further over the tipping point of not only fossil fuel extraction, but the desecration of Mother Earth and the exploitation of Native peoples in the area, as well as the threat to drinking water. Where I live, six hours from here, when I turn on my tap, the water that comes out is from the Missouri River. It’s a 50-50 mix with the Ogallala Aquifer and the Missouri River, because at home our aquifer is badly contaminated by decades of uranium mining. So, there’s only portions of the aquifer on the Pine Ridge Reservation that pass the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level for alpha emitters. So we have to mix half and half with the Missouri River water.
AMY GOODMAN: And what would happen to the Missouri River water?
DEBRA WHITE PLUME: Well, if the pipeline is put in, it’s going to leak or spill or burst or explode, and that oil is going to get into the water. And Dakota Access pipeline says they’re going to bury it 30 feet under, and they’re assuring everybody that it’s going to be safe. But I think Western science doesn’t really know everything it thinks it knows. And we need to make our decisions based on what’s best for Mother Earth and our coming generations. And that includes protecting our water. Water is under threat all over the world. Right now, there are people who have no access to clean drinking water.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you call yourself a protester?
DEBRA WHITE PLUME: No, I call myself—first and foremost, I’m just a regular human being. I’m a mother and a grandmother, a great-grandmother. I’m Lakota. I’m a woman. And it’s—water is the domain of the women in our nation. And so, it’s our privilege and our obligation to protect water. So, you know, if somebody wants to label me, I guess it would be water protector.
AMY GOODMAN: You go way back to the Pine Ridge Reservation, where you live today, 1973. Could you describe what happened then?
DEBRA WHITE PLUME: Sure. What happened then was the Indian Reorganization Act government, which is an act of Congress, in place in 1934, governs most Native nations in the United States. Well, our IRA government at that time was very oppressive to Lakota people. They were keeping us from having jobs or homes or whatever few services the federal government provided, because we held onto the Lakota way of life, and we also wanted to reclaim not only our identity, but our lands and the care of our land and the responsibility of caring for our land.
And at that time, the tribal president was Dick Wilson, and he had been working with the federal government to sign away one-eighth of our homeland to the federal government. And it just happened to be where there was a lot of what the fat taker calls resources, and they want to mine it—you know, coal, gas, oil, uranium, whatever it may be, water. And so, we put up a ruckus, and we said, "No, you’re not going to do that, because our coming generations need that."
And so, there were a lot of shootouts and armed struggle going on in those days. And in the so-called border towns around us, which we call occupied territory, Indians were getting killed, and their murderers were not being held for justice. They were like charged with the lowest felony there could be, doing two years of probation. And it was just enough was enough. You know, it was a moment in time there was the women’s movement, there was the civil rights movement, there was the Vietnam War stuff going on. And we just said, "That’s enough for us, too. We’re not going to take this anymore." And we stood up, and we fought. You know, we had to fight our own government, and they called in the FBI and the Marshals and the Army. Basically, it was a military occupation of our homeland.
AMY GOODMAN: And what happened then?
DEBRA WHITE PLUME: Well, Wounded Knee was liberated by relatives from the Four Directions. And the military came in and surrounded the little tiny village of Wounded Knee. And the rest is history. But we were able to get our spiritual way of life removed as a criminal act in American law. Prior to that, it had been a crime to practice our way of life. We have many people that went to prison in those days or were committed to, held in and died at state mental institutions for having a sacred pipe or conducting any of our ceremonies.AMY GOODMAN: Lakota leader Debra White Plume of the Pine Ridge Reservation, speaking from Red Warrior. Special thanks to Laura Gottesdiener, John Hamilton, Denis Moynihan.