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Sunday, September 30, 2012

BLACK 1970

    Today being Sunday (somewhere, even in space), this is the near-perfect time to provide our Tonstant Weeders with a happy list. After all, the ink is black, the page is white, ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony gee I really love you and I want to love you forever. . . 
    Seriously.
    So, I'm constructing a list, as I write, of the blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Why not? I mean, I was awakened by the call of a frequent reader who wanted to know what was up with all these African-American films I keep talking about. I have no idea what the caller meant by that. I do know, however, that I feel very comfortable watching these movies, very much at home, even though the reality is probably not the same.
    Here, then, is the truth: There is no difference among us. Sure, you might be able to trace your DNA markers back to the original humans, according to one theory being the Bushmen of Namibia, an idea I quite like. Race, as the wonderful Melissa Harris-Perry points out, is socio-economic rather than genetic. We are all Africans. Read a book,  specifically The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells. 
    Here, then, is the promised list in question. (BTW, you know perfectly well we'll never be able to get all this completed in one article, so you can anticipate a continuance. What we'll likely do is lay these out one year at a time, probably on the weekends.)

. . . tick. . . tick. . .tick (1970). Directed by Ralph Nelson. This wasn't the first blaxploitation film. That honor goes to either Up Tight! (1968) or The Black Klansman (1966). It was, however, the first such movie to star Jim Brown, one of the big stars in the field.

The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970). The final film directed by William Wyler and one written by the same person who wrote In The Heat of the Night. It's hard to imagine a black movie that starred Lee J. Cobb, Lee Majors, and Barbara Hershey. On the other hand, the subject matter was a wealthy black man who encounters white racism as a result of divorcing his white wife. Roscoe Lee Browne kicks ass, as does Lola Falana (there's a name we don't see much any more), and the typically amazing Yaphet Kotto. 

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970). For a brief period of time, Godfrey Cambridge, who stars here as Gravedigger Jones, threatened to become the face of Black America. Cambridge wasn't quite as safe as Flip Wilson. But he was close. 

Watermelon Man (1970). Cambridge gets edgy in this Melvin Van Peebles directed film about a white bigot who turns black over night. There's a lot more art to this presumed comedy than the movie posters indicated. Estelle Parsons plays the struggling wive.

They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970). More of a spin-off than a sequel to In the Heat of the Night, this is largely a gathering of well-intentioned liberals (Ed Asner, Martin Landau, etc) trying to blend drama with white resistance. Starring Sidney Poitier. 

Right On! (1970). Anyone who think anything new of a cultural nature has happened in the 21st century should disabuse that notion by watching this very cool hip hop documentary about The Last Poets, being Gylain Kain, Felipe Luciano, and David Nelson.

The Red, White and Black, aka Soul Soldier (1970). A black Civil War western, starring Cesar Romero. Bad idea gone wrong, unless you love cliches.

The real kick off for African-American-oriented and black consciousness movies was in 1971. We'll be there over the weekend. See you on the inside.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

GEORGE AND LENNIE GET PISSED OFF

    Stars: Four of five.
    It may be true, as a bearded and barefoot philosophy professor once told me, that you cannot understand existentialism without first studying Aristotle. Okay, Doc. That'll work. It is also true that it is difficult to comprehend just how occasionally magnificent some of the movies that labored under the genre-title "blaxploitation" really were without exploring the films of the 1960s. Perhaps that is so. Then how are you going to grok that decade, or any other, without cogitating on the one that came before? For that matter, who's to say one can understand the 1950s without enduring the war-torn 1940s, or the forties without surviving the desperation of the 1930s, or the presumed abundance of the 1920s? Indeed, how can we understand our current era without knowing something about the Mesozoic? 
    You have to begin somewhere. If we are going to get to the bottom of this thing called blaxploitation movies, then the fairest place to begin, according to that wise and weird philosophy professor of mine, is with a dynamite movie based on the 1938 flickola The Informer. The movie in question came out in 1968. It was directed by Jules Dassin, a child of Russian-Jewish immigrants to Amereeka. Some of the great early blaxploitation films were framed by Jewish directors, an entirely understandable situation given the shared heritage of strangers in a strange land, plus the inescapable fact that the Hollywood studio system was far more open to Jewish directors than to African Americans exercising the same trade.
    Anyway, this movie that we're talking about was called Up Tight! Yep, just like the name of that Stevie Wonder record. Unlike that 45 rpm, there was not much jolliness in this movie. On the contrary, this movie, which featured an all-African American cast starring Ruby Dee, remains one of the most affecting and tragic motion pictures I have ever seen.
    It is also the ideal leaping point for that thing that quickly became known as blaxploitation.
    This is a term with which I have often found myself uneasy. Etymologically speaking, the word suggests an exploitation of the hunger of the emerging class of African Americans for cheap and easy film fare. And while there can be no question that there were several tons of money to be made in the production and distribution of many of these films, not all of them were exploitive. Not by a long shot. Up Tight!, as the fountainhead, as it were, for these movies, might be better considered as Black Consciousness. I do not intend that somewhat trite expression as it has been attached to movies such as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner or other neat little vignettes stretched into a (you should pardon the expression) pale imitations of real life. What I am talking about is movies with ideas, movies with writers and players who are able to establish visual dialogues with their audiences. Up Tight! does this as well as any movie in the genre. 
    The film begins with the crowd reactions to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The opening sequences of personal and group response to this horrible murder drives everything else we will encounter. Tank (played to perfection by Jullian Mayfield), an experienced inebriate, is scheduled to accompany his friends in the black revolutionary movement to rob a gun and ammo supply warehouse. He begs off, in part because he's wasted and in larger part because he does not wish to tarnish the essence of Dr. King with a criminal act such as the one Johnny Wells and the other two men are planning. The three men leave without him. A guard is killed in the robbery. The police know the killer was Johnny. What they do not know is where he is.
    Enter one of the great character actors of our time, Roscoe Lee Browne, as Clarence, the mercenary traitor who tells the police that he will make sure that Johnny is turned over to them. The Cleveland (shot on location, incidentally) cops don't understand what all the fuss over King is all about, naturally. And they don't hold the prissy and well-dressed Clarence in much esteem, either. Yet they know he's leveling with them. He has no loyalty to anyone, not even to himself.
    Meanwhile Tank gets excommunicated from the Militant Brotherhood, much in the way they kick out a white guy named Teddy. This fight against the Caucasians is serious stuff and they are not going to be derailed by liberal guilt or well-meaning drunkards. These serious revolutionaries--all well-versed in the vernacular of the day--even distrust one of their own members who urges them to turn away from violence. All these rejections of former allies brings up one of the potent ideas in this film: Are the black solidarity radicals hell-bent on violence because they have learned that pacifism only gets you killed, or is it because they were always predisposed to that point of view from the outset, or even because peace is always the more difficult tact? Is the desire and willingness to kill a predictable response to the savagery of black oppression, perhaps not unlike a country's eagerness to go to war after the events of 9/11, despite all reason and faith to the contrary? 

    The moral issues are only beginning. They end, as we might expect, with whether Tank will tip off the cops to collect the thousand dollar reward on Johnny. Johnny Wells has been his friend. Johnny Wells is looked up to by his community. He is a hero. Tank is just a has been. When one of the leaders of the Brotherhood tells Tank that Johnny doesn't want Tank in the movement any longer--we never learn if this is an accurate reference--Tank is primed and pissed. 
    Nothing in this movie is played for cheap. People come and go just as in the real world. Some you see again. Most you do not. You haven't seen many movies as strong as this one. 
    The scene in the fun house with Tank's distorted yet accurate mirrored impressions of the white folks who laughingly want to know if the revolution is really going to happen and if so when is one of the greatest things I've ever witnessed on screen. "Thursday," Tank tells them. Then he tells them what it will be like. They don't think it's funny at all. The joke stops being funny when you become the punchline yourself. 
    

Friday, September 28, 2012

A CONTROLLED CONFUSION

    "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."
Red State Blue State

    I'll give you the source of that quote in a minute or two. In the meantime, let's look at today's colossal version of contemporary Watergate. 
   Both major political parties have their own networks. The Republicans have Fox News. The Democrats have MSNBC. It's not quite a balance, in the sense that the fact of these two networks is based on the fallacious concept that there are only two parties that matter. That said, people who watch one of these two channels assume that the other side only tells lies. There is some value to that presumption. Yet both of these networks are unfathomably enormous corporate enterprises, and neither of them would ever consider questioning their economic base, unless a given "personality" decided to push ideology into one or other extremes on one of those rare occasions where his or her version of truth trumps politics. 
    You already know that, of course. What you probably also know about is the concept of the color-coded state. Some states presumably "go" a certain way during elections. Let's look at the Senatorial elections as a case in point. Texas is expected to go red, meaning they will elect a Republican Senator in 2012. California is blue, suggesting the inevitability of the state electing a Democrat to the Senate. Assuming this is accurate (and Real Clear Politics, the source in question, has no reason I can think of to lie about it), why would such be the case? Do Republicans have a genetic predisposition to living in a south central state famous for football and steaks? Do Democrats favor temperate climates with sexy beaches? Or is it perhaps possible that the two major political parties have simply permitted one another's organizations to take nominal control over certain regions, that acquiescence over time reinforcing a lackadaisical approach to opposition to gerrymandering? If I'm wrong about that, how do we explain Orange County, California? How do we explain Austin, Texas? Both of these locales are anomalies within their own states, bastions of reaction in the one case and facades of progressiveness in the other. 
    The ultimate consequence of this type of red-blue dichotomy is to sanction the individual states in their nationally orchestrated efforts at voter suppression, the current code words for stealing elections. 
   In most states, the Secretary of State is in charge of national elections in that state. The position of Secretary of State is a political position, albeit, an elected one. So in the state of Ohio, for example, the S of S gets to determine all kinds of rules about the process of voting opportunities in his state. Even though Jon Husted, the Secretary in question, has found his decisions to reduce voter access overruled by a federal judge (an appointed political position), he is determined to implement his restrictions unimpeded. Now, if you are a big states' rights advocate, you probably applaud Husted's ballsy behavior. You probably see this as very small d democratic in the sense that an elected official of a state is standing up to Big Brother. On the other hand, if you are suspicious of states' rights and interpret that slogan to be coded language for the ascension of a power-hungry cabal, you probably experience this news as large F Fascist, in the sense that it serves the aims of a corporatist agenda working from the base of klan-like ideologues. 
    There is some merit to both positions.
    As a small-a anarchist, I never much believed in the American system of elections in the first place. The whole electoral college system has been geared from its inception to favor the ruling classes and to work against the evolution of genuine populism. Nevertheless, the biggest problem the existing American voting system labors under is the fact that it is a corporate business entity. According to a recent report in the New York Times, President Barack Obama has raised $690 million towards his reelection campaign (a figure which includes his own contributions, those of the Democratic Party, and Priorities USA Super PAC), while challenger Mitt Romney has amassed $633 million (which includes contributions from himself, the Republican Party, and the Restore Our Future Super PAC). And these are only the figures that have been reported. There are many large corporations that would love to have that kind of combined cash flowing through their coffers. And where there is that kind of money, there is motivation. Imagine someone like the head of Las Vegas Sands (the largest corporate contributor to the presidential election) saying to himself, "You know what? There's not enough democracy in this country. Sure, I have billions and my casino provides relief for stressed-out housewives, but By Gum, what this country needs is for all those silly-ass housewives to get involved in presidential politics. Since that ain't gonna happen, I better show my support for the process and donate twenty million dollars [an accurate reference] to one or both of the major players in this here election!" I'm sure that's also the point of view of Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, two other institutions on the Top Ten Donors List. 
    So, yes, as a friendly anarchist, I favor very strong government that destroys itself. Personally, I was hoping for a more polite version of this rather than the kind in play at the moment. I was also hoping for something a bit less cynical, which is where the quote at the top of the page comes in. Joseph Stalin is the source of that remark. Because we often confuse access to technology with the freedom to think, I would not be surprised if some may have already Googled that quote and discovered the answer, whereas my own generation would simply have scanned the rest of the page looking for it. In any case, the point is, sadly, well-taken, because whether we like it or not, where we are in contemporary American politics--and this has been coming since at least the days of LBJ and Nixon--is a mindless momentum towards expunging access to the polls. If that does not work, we throw out the registration forms. If that doesn't work, we simply don't count the votes with which we disagree. 
   Oh, but that cannot happen here!
    Our cognitive dissonance resolution would not allow such a thing. After all, we're at war against terrorism and for the preservation of democracy. Therefore, the death of thousands/millions/billions of innocent people must mitigate the occasional evils that slip into the process, yet everything about the Process itself is really still just fine. 
    My own naivete (after all, I am an anarchist and you don't get much more Pollyanna than that) does not stretch quite that far. We have reached a point today where "if this-then that" formula thinking has become obsolete. The rules are out the window and everyone is standing on his or her own head. There is a controlled confusion brushing its way across the land and lots of people are building windmills. 
    Have you ever shouted "Stop!" at a tornado?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

GROWTH PANEL

    [To understand what's being talked about in this piece, you'll want to read the previous article, which you can access here.]

    Even though I was a man without a home, I did survive, in part because of my own instincts and in part because of certain people who were inherently decent folks who did not want me to die. As to my own instincts, I had managed to become part of the fourteen percent of survivors of Stage 1A pancreatic cancer, so I was not about to allow a little thing like homelessness beat me down. I'm sort of joking about it being a little thing, of course, but that was the way I initially tried to look at it, the reality, had I stared it in the face, being more than enough to drop me dead on the spot. But the real thanks goes, not to me, but to the beautiful women who truly saved my life. 
    There's a bit of irony to the fact of women having saved my life. It was my personal weakness for women that had gotten me into the ugly mess in the first place and yet, here were some truly beautiful women keeping me from an early grave.
    First came DeeAnn, whom, as I mentioned the other day, convinced me to take in Molly the Wonder Dog.
   Ruth Ann let me live in her guest room for several weeks and treated me to kindnesses I'll never be able to repay. 
    The anonymous lady in Phoenix who threw a twenty dollar bill out her car window when I was so hungry my ribs were dining on my spleen.
    Emily, who sneaked me into her parents house and who was so kind and tender that I still well up when I think about it.
   Hilary, who ran a transitional housing facility and--against all persuasive evidence against it, trusted me enough to keep the demons away when I was staring a graveyard in the eye.
   Danielle and Johanna, who helped me feel good about myself when, again, there was really no logical reason for me to do so.
   Jan, who gave me a chance to teach on the university level, something I had always yearned to do and something (according to the student reviews) I did relatively well. 
   
   I love each of these women with all my heart, mind and soul. If they asked me to crawl to Canada, I would wonder why, but the fact is I would get some knee pads and start eking my way along. 
    I'm whole now, or at least a lot more complete than I used to be. Part of that completeness comes from having survived being in the gutter, or whatever lies below the gutter. People sometimes tease me about trying to be perfect. That's not really accurate because I'm probably the most imperfect and flawed human being who ever lived. But I love my friends, the ones mentioned above and a lot of the ones I've discovered and rediscovered ever since, being it Tammy from high school, or Lisa Ann from American Express and Globe, et al., and Regenia and Joyce from Marshall. Love is the kind of word people throw around like a frisbee. In this case, the word is amazingly insufficient to convey how I feel. So I will just say "thank you," to them and to you, maudlin as this may be. Here's hoping we meet under happy circumstances.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

THE STUPID WRITER TURNS TO SONG AND DANCE.

   You will find yesterday's excuses right here. If you haven't read it yet, what follows may feel a bit incongruous. The whole true ugly story may sound incongruous anyway, but the thrill of watching Your Humble Narrator fall apart in public--indeed, getting to view him as he descends into the condition of a human blender--should at least make a tiny amount of what passes these days for sense.

    Seven hundred fifty thousand dollars. That was what the brown leather book that my father had left me said I had inherited. Some of it came from the bank. Some of it was in the form of an annuity that my parents had set up when they cashed in their stocks. Some of it came from very old Series E U.S. Savings Bonds. And some of it, Lord help us, came from inside a set of Glad sandwich bags my father had stored away in a lock box (He had taken out two hundred thousand in cash because he was trying to protect the family from the anticipated horrors and travails of the Y2K scare). Because all this was less than one million dollars, the process of probate took less than one week. In fact, there was no probate, per se. All that was required was for the attorney I hired to demonstrate this to the bank. The  deed to the house transferred to me. The Ford Taurus was now mine. What the hell was I going to do?
    An extremely smart lady named DeeAnn took me to the pet store to get an American cocker spaniel named Molly. The dog was seven years old and smart as a whip. I really loved that dog. DeeAnn was likewise brilliant because she realized long before I did that there was going to be an enormous hole in my life now that both my parents were gone, especially since I had quit my job and moved in with them nearly two years earlier so as to help them in their convalescence. 
    Before moving on to the travesty of humanity that my life became, a few words should be said about the time I spent as a caregiver. I do not regret one second of it. My relationship with Mom and Dad had always felt kind of strained. The opportunity to mend fences was even partly successful. Dad never did quite get around to accepting me for whatever it was that I had become. But I came around to accepting him. He always told me there would come a time when I would need his advice and I would wish that I had done a better job of listening. He was absolutely correct. I have no interest in sentimentalizing any of this. It's just a fact, that's all. As recently as this very day, I have wondered what my Dad would do in certain situations. I'm glad they didn't have to see what happened to me within nine short months of their passing and neglecting their advice.
    I thought, "Okay, this money is going to free me up creatively so that I can write." I sold the house and began renting a palatial joint a few miles farther east. Instead of reconnecting with the healthy people from my past, which is what I should have done, I instead called up the most Dionysian individuals I could think of: cocaine dealers, strippers, roustabouts, freeloaders--all manner of people who cared much more for my money than they did for me. Coming off the emotional overload of losing two people who had become my world--and having lost my wife two years earlier (that's another story in itself, probably for another time), I was a well-primed audience for the theatricality of these people. The dealers filled my head with snow. The strippers filled my bed with lust and not infrequent impotence. The roustabouts and sycophants laughed at my lame attempts at humor. The freeloaders stood nearby with one hand in their pockets and the other outstretched. Yet I cannot blame any of these people for what happened. There had been something inside me screaming for self-demolition for as far back as I can recall. All these people did was to help me help myself into complete destitution. And that's exactly what happened.
    I felt like a character in a Carly Simon song, walking into parties, nodding to the bashful, intoxicated ladies, wearing the latest in middle-age male fashion: leather boots, leather jacket, gaudy wristwatch, the whole schmeer. My vanity was so intense that one evening I was sitting in the VIP section of some stupid nightclub when the hostess mistook me for a certain actor who frequented the confines of the cocktail lounge. I think it was David Spade. Anyway, rather than correct the nitwit hostess, I just played along with it, impressing the hell out of everyone with my own gullibility. 

    I never went home alone and I seldom woke up that way. The names have blended into a tapioca fog, as have the conversations, at least to the extent that those conversations even existed. I was, to put it in three neat little words, a fucking mess.
    The very last week I remember clearly. S.E. and T.F. had come over to do the horizontal with me, once we'd powdered our shiny noses. When we ran out of blow, I made a phone call. Some guy named Sky showed up. I paid him, he left his deposit, and we added that rock to the mix. A couple days later the girls left. I crawled over to the computer just to check my bank balance. I was down to two hundred dollars. Yes. You read that right. Where did it all go? Strippers and coke dealers, fake friends and car  salesmen all have expensive tastes. I had been happy to help. And I had only two hundred bucks left to my name.
    But hell's bells! I still had the Audi. So I sold it for a fraction of what it was worth. I still had my computer, my drum set, my 8000 albums, my books, my expensive clothing, my. . . my. . .God. All this was gone within the week and because I wasn't psychologically tough enough or just plain smart enough, I continued on the joy ride to destruction for a few more days. Then I woke up, lying naked on the floor of my rented house, hungry, empty, and very much alone. 
   There's no need for sympathy here and there's no real need for blame. No one ever got hurt except me. Wait. That's not entirely true, is it? The people who got hurt were the people I had abandoned in my haste to destroy myself. For that I am more sorry than I can ever say. My friends from high school, my friends from college, my friends from different jobs--I could have reached out to any of them. But I was ashamed. I was also very stupid. 
    That's all I have in me for today. But come back tomorrow, won't you? Hey, it'll be a hoot as we watch Phil Mershon crawl through his own vomit trying to get a job, trying to find shelter from the Phoenix sun, trying to snuff out a meal here and there. Damn. I wouldn't miss it. Why should you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BROWN LEATHER BOOK

    
   I'm sure you know how it goes. One day you're sitting at your desk, keying vast Promethean imagery into your yak-sack machine, thinking that all is right with what you write, and the next thing you know you're on the phone with a certain young woman from high school who says, "What happened to the $750,000?"
    She was perfectly justified in requesting that information. After all, she had placed her finger on  one of the key questions of my life. As such, she had done me an enormous favor. She had identified one of the questions I've been known to duck ever since that considerable fortune slipped away from my powder-dry fingers. That is the key question because it is the clue to why I was driving a taxi, and before that why I was living in the park, and why before that I traveled all the way across the country to visit people I hadn't seen in many years, and before that why I had been sleeping on the floor of what had been my own house, and after all that, why I had such a long and tortured climb up out of the hole that I had unwittingly dug for myself. That question pokes and prods my mind even to this day. It picks at me like an inquisitive high school freshman examining the sticky eyeball of a dead toad soaked in Formaldehyde. Seeing as how I can dodge that bastard question no longer, I might as well provide a narrative explanation. So if you are ready, I'm as prepared as I'm ever likely to be. Grip the sides of the car tightly, my friends. It's apt to be a bumpy ride.
    My parents died. 
    Dad went first. He developed lung cancer and lived only three months beyond the initial diagnosis. Learning of his condition and knowing something about my mother's physical limitations, plus feeling a lot of guilt that Dad and I had not been as close as either of us might have preferred, I moved in with my parents in order to help take care of him and to help support Mom throughout her time of grief.
    Dad didn't quite understand what was going on, at least not until the last couple weeks of his life. Part of his confusion was likely to have been simple denial, a facet of his condition that neither Mom nor I did much to discourage inasmuch as we did not inject the subject into conversations. After all, we didn't want him to die any more than he wanted to die himself. So we didn't say much immediately after Dad sneaked out of bed early one morning, secured himself in the motorized wheelchair scooter, and cruised up and down the streets in their neighborhood, at least until I caught up with him in my housecoat and flip-flops. We didn't make any remarks when we found him sitting in that same scooter with a garden hose in his hands, watering the barren desert landscape that was their backyard. We didn't even say anything the afternoon that I went with him to the oncologist's office where, to provide a bit more comfort, the doctor drained two pints of syrupy fluid from his malignant lungs. 
   A few fast weeks after this, my father passed away. Before he died, my father handed me a leather-bound book that had an accounting of the family finances. He whispered that I was to use however much of this money was necessary to help take care of my mother over the rest of her life. I told him I would. And that's exactly what I did.
    Mom did not grieve, at least not publicly or in my presence. That really hurt me a lot. I was simply devastated and I could not understand why she was pretending to be so strong. My God, they had been married fifty-six years! And now they were no together at all. That had to have affected her terribly. She didn't let on, though, and I was furious about that.
    Nevertheless, I did as I was told and would have done the same in any case. Over the next fourteen months, I stayed at their home and brought her anything and everything she wanted. I was especially pleased with the garden I put together for her. I even built a concrete runway for her so that she could ride out into the backyard and survey the progress from the comfort of her scooter. 
    I have seen photographs of my mother and me from this period. If you were to ask a stranger, I suspect he would assume that I was the one who was dying.
    And then one evening the doctor came over and pulled me aside. He said Mom had something called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The valve leading out of her heart was not opening as far as necessary. 
    Within another week, she too was gone.
    And I was left very much alone.
    Over those two years, I had spent all my time with my parents as they convalesced. As an only child and with all their other relatives thousands of miles away in Ohio, there was no one else to do the job. But one consequence of my actions was that I had lost touch with almost everyone I had known before. Another problem was that I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life, a fact that made me look like an unappetizing advert for Death. But the worst problem facing me was my inheritance. 
    That leather-bound accounting book kept beckoning me. I dreaded opening its cover. There was something about pulling back that brown leather, donning my eyeglasses, and going through the list. Oh, I knew it was going to be a substantial amount. Dad had been a marvel at managing their money. What I didn't want to see was his handwriting. I didn't want to read those perfectly formed cursive letters because I knew that when I did, my parents would really and forever be gone. 
    If you stop by these electronic pages tomorrow, we can look in that book together. I wouldn't leave you to do this by yourself. And I could use the company myself. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

AMAZING TAXI SCAM

    
    We were talking about scams yesterday, talking about them right here, specifically those scams that often take place in the confused world of the taxi driver. During my three years (which, as Jesus Himself would tell you, seemed like thirty) driving a hack in the land of the enslaved and the home of the cowards proved enlightening in most of the wrong ways. 
    One of the worst aspects of the job--a job I often enjoyed--was being on the look-out for contrived and deliberate criminality. A lot of people who would toss about in the back of my Lincoln Town Car or Dodge Caravan would ask me to access all sorts of illegal substances for them, connect them with members of one sex or another, or even assist them in interstate trafficking of things that should not really be trafficked. But the scam, the con, the rip that I want to tell you about today is the one perpetrated by and initiated by the driver him or herself. 
    There was a guy named Tea. He drove a Crown Victoria death trap for a company of swindlers named Allstate Taxi. It was an unusual job for a man with a cleft palate that was so severe that his own mother could not have understood a word he said. It was an odd job for a guy with a felony conviction. It was a curious job for a guy who never once drove with his own drivers license in his wallet. [Incidentally, I should perhaps insert a word to potential litigants here that I have in my possession all kinds of physical evidence substantiating my claim that Allstate Taxi was a company of swindlers, that Tea had a much-deserved felony record, and that he held a fake license; but if anyone wants to challenge this in a court of law, I would very much welcome the opportunity to expose those people to full disclosure, including last names, photographs, dates, etc. Just dare me. Please.] Here's a guy who frequently was called upon to transport small children at the behest of the state's Child Protective Services, a guy who was certainly no stranger to narcotics, in or out of his taxi. Here's a guy who often pulled a very big knife on the company dispatcher when that dispatcher refused to take bribes in return for the good fares. And, more to the point, here's a rancid little scumbag prick who used to make most of his money by stopping short on the freeway and getting unsuspecting motorists to plow into him. Usually those motorists were out-of-towners in heavily-insured rental cars.
    As anyone who has ever had the misfortune of rear-ending someone else can attest, it was your fault, even if it wasn't. The car in the rear is required to maintain assured clear distance between himself and the vehicle ahead. In practice, this quite reasonable rule gets disregarded, particularly by people unfamiliar with an area, and most especially in one part of our humble little Phoenix Town. The absolute most dangerous part of our Interstate highway system is The Tunnel. The Deck Park Tunnel.
    Again, this is Phoenix, the sunniest freaking place in America. You're driving along, squinting against the hideous glare, when all of a sudden you enter this abyss of a tube where everyone else drives seventy-five miles an hour, despite the disappearance of two lanes of roadway while an off-ramp urges new cars into the heavy merge. 
    One thing that most tunnels have in common is that they are not especially well lit. The notorious Deck Park is no exception. 
    So there you are, cruising along, wondering where the hell the stadium is, following a cab because "Those guys know where everything's at," when the stupid bastard in the taxi slams his brakes for absolutely no other reason other than to have your sorry ass wind up in his backseat. 
    This was Tea's specialty. He was very good at it. Sure, he got banged up a few times, but he didn't care. He didn't care because the financial payoff was huge. 
    How huge was it?
   When a taxi in Arizona is involved in an accident, the law requires that the driver be pulled off the road for five business days. The innocent driver's insurance company will then be required to compensate the taxi driver for his lost wages. Tea would invariably claim that he cleared five hundred dollars a day, a statement the manager of the cab company, at that time a guy named Dennis, would happily substantiate, in exchange for a piece of the action. So Tea would get a fat check from the insurance company for two thousand five hundred dollars, peel off five hundred of that to Dennis, and stay high for a week or two. 
    After which, the dance would repeat itself.
    Sometimes Tea would have to wait a month or more to find the right victim. But he always found one.
    And yet Tea was hardly the worst offender in the taxi racket in Phoenix. Manager Dennis (who made Louis DePalma look virtuous) was the absolute worst, and not only because he himself profited from this criminality.
    Another layer of the scam is that Dennis used to steal the petty cash the owners brought in every two weeks, cash that was supposed to go toward incidentals, such as toilet paper for the restroom, office supplies, coffee, donuts, and that sort of thing. The people who worked in the Allstate Taxi office had to bring their own toilet paper from home or else do without. Why? Because Dennis was a fan of the casinos. 
   His roommate was a driver for the same company and you can rest assured that the roommate and Dennis made out quite well. They did, that is, until the day the extremely old and somewhat avaricious owner got wise to Dennis' bag of tricks and threw him across the parking lot on his face. The last time I saw Dennis, he was being tossed out of a casino by three very big and pissed off security personnel. Seems his line of credit had dried up in the summer sun. Aw. 
    I am sharing these anecdotes of cab lore with you so that you may take heed to give those ugly vehicles on the road a wide girth. I am also hoping that you will take a few seconds to find a bit of sympathy for the less larcenous among them, such as a man named Ali. Ali was originally from the country of Iraq. He has lived here twenty years. When he was in the business, he kept his vehicle spotless inside and out, knew his way around the city better than the people who built the place, and was courteous to a fault. One night he had the misfortune of picking up four Arizona State University students at a fraternity house. They wanted to go to a bar. During the trip, one of them asked Ali where he was from. He told them his country of origin. The four men in the back of his cab whispered among themselves. Some giggling was heard. When Ali stopped in front of the bar, he hopped out to open the door for the passengers. The four men beat him bloody and ran away. He still carries a scar on his face from the attack.
    There's a lot of bastards out there. Some of them drive taxis. Some of them ride in taxis. Others are still slouching toward Bethlehem waiting to be born. Here's hoping you and I don't encounter them anytime soon.
    

Friday, September 21, 2012

A WORLD OF SCAMS

    Every time that I believe myself divested of all my stories of driving a taxi, I find myself yakking it up with a friend or two about those bizarre three-and-a-half years and out pops a story I'd forgotten. I realize that for a few of you, my forgetfulness may be a blessing. The rest of you, to all appearances, find these vignettes of real life highly digestible. It is to that group of readers that I address today's post.
    For the benefit of anyone unaware of my sordid past, the long and short it is that from 2005 until early 2009, I drove a taxi cab here in the twisted city of Phoenix, Arizona. My first few months found me in the employ of a grimy little company called Allstate Taxi. The remaining time, which was a tad less than three years, and substantially less grimy, I worked for myself, even occasionally enlisting a few other gypsy boys and girls to help me out. I was connected with ten or eleven hotels here in the Valley of the Sun. They called me whenever a guest of theirs needed a ride. During the day, the transportation typically involved taking the guest to a sales meeting, a seminar, or to something business related. At night, the tone of the destinations changed a bit, our town's casinos and strip clubs holding more interest than our zoos and botanical gardens. 

    As I was relaying this trivia to a wonderful friend from way back in my high school days, somehow or other we started discussing the fact that here in Phoenix most of the taxi drivers are originally from the country of Somalia. This is not an opinion. It is a fact. Phoenix is a big refugee city. Many of the folks who need rescuing are from Somalia. And one of the easiest jobs for a person to get, if he or she is a bit undernourished and unable to do manual labor, is to drive a taxi cab. 
   If you laid every cab in Phoenix end to end, they would stretch the length of the city, that length being, north to south, eighty miles, and east to west, sixty miles. Lots of cabs and lots of city for them to drive around in equals more competition than could possibly be warranted. And yet I did compete. And I usually won. When I did win, it was almost always for the exact wrong reason, that reason being that most of the hotels did not want their customers riding in a death trap driven by a fellow who in all likelihood did not speak English and who in greater likelihood would not know how to find the hotel. Due to a bit of bias on the part of the hotels, along with some genuine and practical concerns, I had those hotels' business locked up. Any time, day or night, if they called, my ass was behind the wheel en route. Whee. 
    I was regaling my friend with the horrors that often befall an out of town visitor who happens to get the wrong Somalian behind the wheel. You see, a few of these guys (and it's really only a few) cannot or will not pry their cell phones from the side of their heads no matter what is happening. 
    So you say to the driver, "Oh dear, perhaps you should consider slowing down a wee bit so that we do not run over those nuns and orphans." The driver will lean his mouth away from the phone and reply, "اننى سوف بالسيارة فى الطريق التى انا عودت لك الخنزير الكلب," which means "I will drive the way to which I am accustomed, you dog of pig."
    Look, there aren't many laughs behind the wheel of a taxi and those poor bastards have to get their jollies somehow. 
    What should concern an out of town passenger to this or any other city is the possibility that you might find yourself the victim of a nasty scam.
   I am not referring, as you might expect, to getting screwed on the fare. Getting screwed on the fare is a given and not because the driver is actively trying to rip you off. He simply will have no idea whatsoever where you want him to take you and if he stopped to check a map or tune up his GPS, he might miss a few words being yelled at him over his phone. So you tell him to take you to the Devil's Martini (a Scottsdale bar) and he nods while you take a nap in the back. You wake up three hours later to find that the driver made a couple of wrong turns and was halfway to Colorado before he realized not everything was kosher. Your bill? $10,649.25. The fact that you got there at all? Priceless.
    Again, though, this is not really the scam to which I refer. Naturally, I have gone on at such ridiculous lengths that I will have to save until tomorrow to elucidate upon a much more serious problem than may befall you, either as a passenger or simply as another motorist on these here Interstate highways and intercity byways should you have the misfortune of encountering the Scam Man. He's out there. His name is Tea. And he's looking for you. 
    See you tomorrow.
    If Tea doesn't see you first.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MR. HOLLAND'S ABOMINATION

    Stars: Zero of five.
    Because I have spent the last couple days recovering from the experience of watching the movie Stephen King's Thinner (1996), the only way I'm going to get over it is to write it out of my system by way of an overview of the movies that have been made from the writings of our Mr. King and with luck tie the whole matter together by eviscerating the specific film in question, while in the process offering praise where such is due. 
    Subtracting the short films as well as the portions of his works that were anthologized, we are left with fifty-two motion pictures, most of which were originally displayed in cinema theaters, the rest either going straight to DVD/Netflix or being aired originally on that newfangled device known as the TEE-vee. 
    First, we have the A-List.
    Carrie (1976). No less a personage than the glorious Pauline Kael interpreted the Brian DePalma movie of King's book as something of a dark comedy. I can't agree with that assessment--at least not totally--because I found the movie's overwhelming accuracy in its psychological understanding of adolescence to be painful and mesmerizing, two absolute criteria for a perfect horror film.
    The Shining (1980). The novelist and some among his stone fans disapproved in the strongest terms this outstanding Stanley Kubrick film. From occasional flairs of Jungian imagery to false suspense (as when we follow the child up and down the halls on his Big Wheel, expecting the worst, and nothing happens--until it does), this is Kubrick's all-time best movie and often pushes the notion of the horror movie into completely new terrain.
    Cat's Eye (1985). Three stories drawn together by the adventures of a tabby. James Wood was never better than as the man who quits smoking. The "message" of this film confused certain filmmakers into believing you could make a scary film without a good-guy protagonist, when in reality there were good guys a-plenty here. They simply weren't perfect. And that made them real. 
    Silver Bullet (1985). Gary Busey played the perfect drunken, good-natured, cynical uncle and even though this was mostly a kid's movie, it still packed enough verisimilitude to work on multiple levels.
   Stand By Me (1986). It's hard to believe such an  excellent movie is more than twenty-five years old since this Rob Reiner creation remains as fresh as the day it was released. Four boys on a journey that is as wide and as deep as that of life itself, in this case, a life that has been snuffed out and left to be displayed. Amazing.
    Misery (1990). Another gem from Reiner, this being one of the rare cases where the movie stands superior to the novel that inspired it. Kathy Lee Bates was thoroughly convincing as the deranged fan and even James Caan came across as the perfect victim-foil.
    The Shawshank Redemption (1994). King's best book has always been Different Seasons, a collection of four novellas. "Rita Hayworth and the Shankshaw Redemption" was the story that made this brilliant movie possible. The movie may have been low on logic, but it made up for that and more with the unflinching emotional courage as conveyed to perfection by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, as well as by a formidable list of support players. 
    The Green Mile (1999). As difficult as it is for me to sit down and praise a film that stars Tom Hanks, I must admit that director Frank Darabont transformed his own screenplay into a project that worked. It worked, essentially, because of the tragic performance of the late Michael Clarke Duncan. 

    Now let's look at the B-list.
   Salem's Lot (1979). There was only one thing wrong with this otherwise marvelous Tobe Hooper-directed film, but that one thing was enough to banish it to permanent B-film status. The problem was in the casting. James Mason, outstanding as he was, could not carry a four-hour movie all by himself. With Lance Kerwin as the kid and David Soul (of "Starsky and Hutch") as Ben Mears, the adaptation of this scariest of all Stephen King books became a major disappointment for that nation of fans. 
   Cujo; Christine (1983). 
    Firestarter (1984). 
    Maximum Overdrive (1986). 
    All four of the above movies have something going for them, although we can rule out good acting, smart screenplays, and competent editing. I suppose the main feature--and this is true of all King product that works--is the acknowledgement of the essential nature of friendship, be it between two high school friends, a mother and son, a father and daughter, or a pair of teenage misfit lovers. 
    Needful Things (1993). Any movie that features both Ed Harris and the late J.T. Walsh has to be at least good enough to make the B-list. Max von Sydow is fair enough as the villain and the plot works--even though far too much of the secondary characters are missing from the novel. But Harris and Walsh are really all that's happening here.
    Hearts in Atlantis (2001). There was nothing essential wrong about this movie. Anthony Hopkins carried the day and William Goldman was his usual brilliant self with a commercial screenplay. That's about all that can be said. 

    The C-List are films that don't really warrant any special comment, a fact which, paradoxically, is why these movies are listed here. Suffice it to say, one can at least endure these movies and possibly even find a few brief moments in which to enjoy them. But that's about all. 
    Creepshow (1982).
    The Dead Zone (1983). [And it kills me, you should pardon the expression, because the novel was amazing!]
    The Running Man (1987). 
    It (1990). 
    The Stand (1994).
    Dolores Claiborne (1995).
    The Mist (2007). 
   
    The D-List? There's no such thing as a D movie.

    The F-List bears some explanation. Many of these movies came and went so fast at the cinema--if they appeared there at all--that most people never really got a look at them in their early days. It is fair to say, however, that none of these have improved with age. Ripened, they may have done, to the extent that without exception, each of these movies stinks to hell.
    Children of the Corn (1984). The Ishtar of horror films. When a movie starts out with children in a small town diner slicing open the throats of the adults in the room, a facet the camera sees fit to linger upon in the way that pictures are taken prior to an autopsy, then things are not likely to lift off well from there. They do not. This is the absolute worst of the bunch. And that is really saying something.
    Creepshow 2 (1987). I know! Let's pay homage to the great George A. Romero by having him write--but not direct--this collection of three stories that didn't even work all that well on the printed page. That way we can show all those hoity-toity big shot real film school directors how things can be done. Or, maybe we should just flush this rancid bit of gross-out back down the cesspool where it came from. 
    A Return to Salem's Lot (1987). Once again we have TV actors appearing outside their natural medium and once again the product reeks of arrogance without a cause. Michael Moriarty (who actually is a fine thespian) simply couldn't hold the story together, despite his superhuman attempts to do so. The real abomination here is the disservice done to Tobe Hooper's admirable adaptation of King's wondrous novel. 
   Pet Sematary (1989). The release of the novel that inspired this dreck was the beginning of a long downward slope for the writing of Mr. King. Not even the music of The Ramones could shake the dirt off this corpse. 
   The Tommyknockers (1993). The problem with the novel was that just about every time the writer brought a character along far enough to make that person interesting--even compelling--the subject got changed and when we next encountered that character, he or she had lost all the pizzazz. The movie can't even lay claim to being that good. The acting was tolerable, but the storyline about UFOs commanding people to build projects and power them from batteries, coupled with a soundtrack that I imagine was intended to distract the audience from the nonsensical storyline--well, let's just say that television may not be the proper venue for a movie this bad. Perhaps the garbage disposal?
    The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999). Answers the musical question: Whatever happened to Sue Snell, one of the survivors of the original movie? Answer: She made the mistake of getting hooked up with director Katt Shea, the latter being the mind behind such twists of fate as Stripped To Kill, Stripped To Kill II (Live Girls), and Dance of the Damned. The only significance of this film is that it furthered the trend of omitting any characteristics with which an audience member (at least the ones who are not sociopaths) could identify favorably. A piece of shit is what this is. And so it shall remain.

    I can make no comment as to the merits or lack of same regarding any other Stephen King-cinema-related product because I have either forgotten everything about them or apparently neglected to see them. 
    There is one exception to the above statement. That exception is the original reason for this over-long piece. That movie is a bit of nastiness called Stephen King's Thinner. It is a movie I very much wish I could forget. 
    I can think of no better scene than to display just what a lousy job of acting goes on in this movie. If you have ever seen a high school play, then this will look familiar.
    Gosh, I wondered why the old bag was lugging around that drink. Turns out she was just waiting for some lawyer to come over and fall down the steps on his way out of her house.      Everyone in this movie is an evil layer of rancid detritus. In some movies--even bad ones--a neutral person will become tragic or a good person will weaken or a bad person will turn good. But in Thinner, everyone is rotten from the get-go and they only become worse as time drags on.      A lawyer gets a professional criminal off on a murder rap. After celebrating this victory, the lawyer runs down an old gypsy woman, killing her. We don't care about the lawyer because he's rotten. We don't much like the criminal, except that he's Joe Montegna. The gypsies, led by Michael Constantine, are an arrogant and tortuous bunch, so we don't sympathize much when the old lady bites it. After the coroner's inquest--a fixed affair--the lawyer gets off and Michael Constantine puts a curse on him, causing the obese attorney to lose thirty-to-forty pounds a week--forever.      So we have a stinking lawyer, the lawyer's adulterous wife, an adulterous personal physician who is banging the wife, a corrupt sheriff, a nasty mob boss, a lecherous law partner, a young gypsy woman who has no mercy for anyone, her mother (who gets offed before we find out what kind of person she is), a murderous 106-year-old king who threatens to die with the curse still in his mouth, and the lawyer's kid, the latter being the only remotely likable person in the film and we can't even be sure of that because she is, after all, the lawyer's kid.      When the only way for an a member of the audience to enjoy a movie is to relish in the suffering and cruelty of the actors on screen, then what we have is an inherently evil movie. Not since I Spit On Your Grave (1978) or maybe Caligula (1979) have I seen a movie with such monumentally horrid acting, idiotic storyline, and inherent evilness.      Director Tom Holland's movie should be kept in a transparent time-capsule and set on display at the Center for Science and Industry as a permanent example of just how unrepentantly obnoxious white people can be when they try. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

COUNTING DOWN BEDLAM

    Stars: Three of five--all due to Robert Shaw.
    Three different movies have called themselves The Taking of Pelham 123. Heck, it's a great title, suggesting a count-off to something foreboding, which in an unintended way is appropriate. Most recently there was the Washington-Travola version from 2009, written as it was by Brian Helgeland, usually a good thing, but not in the hands of director Tony Scott. Far worse was the made-for-Canadian-TV version that starred Edward James Olmos and Vincent D'onfrio, two very fine actors who did not work particularly well together. But the best version of this presumed classic remains the first, the one released in 1974, starring the universally excellent Walter Matthau, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, and most especially the beautiful and brilliant Robert Shaw. 
    Two points require mention in any discussion of this disturbing movie. The first, as you may have guessed, is Mr. Shaw. Shaw was a Shakespearean actor as far back as the early 1960s. But his resume is even more interesting than that. Before becoming something of a household name, Shaw was both a popular novelist, a news reporter and world traveler. A lot of people got their first impression of the man in his role as Quint in Jaws. However, the tough guy image he carried in that film was mild compared to his role as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting and most especially in tonight's classic.
   Most of the time the remainder of the movie is every bit as compelling as this clip would indicate. Shaw as Mr. Blue (and yes, this movie was the inspiration for the character names in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs) chills us to the marrow as he matter-of-factly discusses with Messrs. Green, Grey and Brown how they will shoot the hostages if necessary, as he looks up from his crossword puzzle book.      No, the problem with The Taking of Pelham 123 is not the acting. The problem--and it's a big one--is the extent to which filmmakers in the early 1970s would often go to try to make their product "edgy." In this case, the effort was to appear as if many of the characters are racists. This was tied to a much-deserved tendency in films of the day to shun the Pollyanna approach and to give audiences some realism. Peckinpah gave us a new style of violence, Russ Meyer gave us titillating sexuality in the occasionally ridiculous form of double-D chested women, Polanski gave us psychological horror that often surpassed Hitchcock in its intensity. And even racism managed to find its place, especially in the social exploration we encountered in Joe and of course in The French Connection. In these two movies, the racism was presented and identified with characters who, in the context of issuing forth their vile epithets, were disgusting pig people. But in Pelham, the racism is far more overt and lands somewhere between Black Hawk Down and The Birth of a Nation     Matthau, as Transit Police Lt. Garber, gets the plum assignment of escorting some Japanese visitors throughout the New York City Subway System. Convinced that they cannot understand a word he says, he patronizes them and even refers to them as "monkeys." Okay, so maybe that's just what his character would have done. And maybe a bad guy like Mr. Grey really would have called one of his victims a "nigger." I don't know. I do know that in this particular film the use of racist and sexist terminology and attitude was gratuitous rather than realistic. How do I know that? For one thing, director Joseph Sargent's credits were almost exclusively in TV cop shows such as "Longstreet" and "Kojak," none of which were exactly what one thinks of as enlightened" viewing and all of which were notorious in their use of tags to gain viewer identification. Kojak was a bald cop with a love of lollipops and Longstreet was blind. These are the tags. In Pelham, the tag is incipient racism, which is de facto gratuitous. The only reason for doing it is to blow us away with the realism, which is bullshit.      The other reason I know it is gratuitous and quite despicable is because of the closing credits. We have The Maid, The Mother, The Homosexual, The Hooker, The Spanish Woman, The Pimp, The Hippie, The WASP, and so on. Now, I was able to figure out that the maid was The Maid. Same with The Mother. As to who the other characters were, I have no idea. The woman who gets called a hooker doesn't conform to my mental stereotype. I didn't see any pimp, and I was looking, believe me. And who the hell was the homosexual?      The use of these word-ideas in the closing credits announces quite clearly what the intent of the director was: to cast characters with whom the audience could get off a few cheap laughs. The movie already had more than enough inexpensive merriment, mostly in the form of Matthau. It did not need--and was never unburdened by--the idiotic use of forced hatred to carry the suspense. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

BOSCH AND POSADA

    
    What with all the recent talk about foreign policy and terrorism plaguing our borders and such recently, I think this is an appropriate to time to cull together some info from a few earlier Philropost episodes so we can all see from where a lot of the trouble originates. Good luck with this. It is a tad unpleasant.
    Terrorists have a higher success rate than almost any other type of despicable criminal. Consider the case of Orlando Bosch, born in 1926, died earlier this year. A prominent Cuban militant is how he was often described. A psychotic mad bomber might have been a more accurate description of this friend to many presidents over the years. Here is the list of the known terrorist activities of the late and dubious legacy of Orlando Bosch.
  • January 8, 1968: A bomb explodes in a suitcase in Havana 
  • January 25, 1968: Bombs placed in various commercial establishments in the United States 
  • February 1, 1968: Mexican Consulate in Miami bombed 
  • February 2, 1968: Bomb placed in British consul’s house in Miami 
  • March 12, 1968: Bomb placed in restaurant belonging to Cuban immigrants in the United States 
  • March 13, 1968: Bomb placed in Chilean Consulate in the United States 
  • April 2, 1968: Bomb placed in pharmaceutical company in United States 
  • April 22, 1968: Bomb placed in Mexican Consulate, United States 
  • April 22, 1968: Bomb placed in Spanish Tourism Office in the United States 
  • May 5, 1968: British ship Greenwood bombed in the United States 
  • May 25, 1968: Bomb placed aboard the Japanese ship Aroka Maru in the United States 
  • June 21, 1968: Bomb placed in Spanish Tourism Office in the United States 
  • June 23, 1968: Bomb placed in Mexican Tourism Office in the United States 
  • June 27, 1968: Bomb explodes in the garage of Mexican consul to the United States 
  • July 4, 1968: Bomb placed in Cuban Consulate in Canada 
  • July 4, 1968: Bomb placed in Canadian Tourism Office in United States 
  • July 7, 1968: Bomb placed in Japanese Tourism Office in the United States 
  • July 11, 1968: Bomb explodes near Cuban Mission to the UN, causing damage to the Yugoslavian mission 
  • July 11, 1968: Bomb placed aboard the Japanese ship Michagesan Maru in Mexico 
  • July 14, 1968: Bomb placed in Mexican Tourism Office in the United States 
  • July 15, 1968: Bomb discovered in a French government office in the United States 
  • July 16, 1968: Bomb discovered in the Mexican Consulate, United States 
  • July 17, 1968: Bomb placed in Cuban diplomat’s home in the United States 
  • July 19, 1968: Bomb placed in French Tourism Office in the United States 
  • July 19, 1968: Bomb placed in Shell Petroleum Company building in England 
  • July 19, 1968: Bomb placed in Japanese travel agency in the United States 
  • July 26, 1968: Bomb placed in Mexican Tourism Office in the United States 
  • July 31, 1968: Bomb placed in British Consulate in United States 
  • August 3, 1968: Bomb placed in British bank in the United States 
  • August 5, 1968: Bomb placed in offices of the Communist Party in the United States 
  • August 7, 1968: Bomb placed aboard the Bahamas ship Caribbean Venture in the United States 
  • August 9, 1968: Mexican representatives in the United States bombed 
  • August 9, 1968: Bomb placed in Mexican consul’s home in Miami 
  • September 11, 1968: Bomb placed aboard British ship in Mexico 
  • September 16, 1968: Bomb explodes aboard the Spanish ship Satrustegui in Puerto Rico 
  • September 16, 1968: Bazooka attack on Polish ship in Miami 
  • September 17, 1968: Bomb placed aboard Mexican airplane in United States 
  • September 19, 1968: Bomb placed in home of Mexican consul to the United States 
  • October 18, 1968: Bomb placed in Canadian travel agency 
  • October 20, 1968: Gas bomb placed in a theater where a Cuban actress was performing 
  • October 24, 1968: Attempts to assassinate Cuban ambassador to the UN 
  • July 26, 1969: Bomb placed in Mexican Tourism Office in the United States 
  • August 6, 1969: Bomb placed in British-owned Shell Oil offices in the United States 
  • August 6, 1969: Bomb placed in Air France offices in the United States 
  • In 1972, Bosch traveled to Chile with his friend Guillermo Novo Sampol and puts himself at the disposal of General Augusto Pinochet’s fascist junta. He subsequently participated in a series of attacks on prominent Chileans in exile. 
  • In 1974, Bosch created the terrorist organization called Cuban Action, with the support of the Chilean junta and Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza’s secret police. 
  • January 21, 1974: Bomb placed in Cuban diplomatic office in Canada 
  • January 21, 1974: Bomb placed in Cuban diplomatic office in Argentina 
  • January 21, 1974: Bomb placed in Cuban diplomatic office in Peru 
  • January 21, 1974: Bomb placed in Cuban embassy in Mexico 
  • February 13, 1974: Bomb placed in Cuban embassy in Madrid 
  • April 4, 1974: Prensa Latina representatives bombed in Mexico 
  • October 1, 1974: Bomb placed in Panamanian embassy in Caracas 
  • October 30, 1974: Bomb placed in Venezuelan-Cuban Friendship Institute in Venezuela 
  • November 11, 1974: Bomb placed in hotel where Cuban officials were staying in the United States 
  • March 19, 1974: Assassination of General Carlos Prats, former officer of the Chilean Armed Forces, and his wife, in Argentina 
  • May 10, 1975: Attempt in Rome to kill Bernardo Leighton, vice president of the Chilean Democratic Party in exile, and his wife 
  • July 1975: Shots fired on the resident of a Cuban official in the United States
  • August 3, 1975: Assassination attempt on Cuban Ambassador Emilio Aragonés, in Argentina 
  • November 17, 1975: Bomb placed in Venezuelan tourism company, in Venezuela 
  • November 30, 1975: Bomb placed in USSR commercial office in Mexico 
  • March 1976: Bosch is arrested by Costa Rican police for suspicion of trying to assassinate exiled Chilean leader Andrés Pascal Allende 
  • September 21, 1976: Assassination of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the United States, and his secretary Ronnie Moffitt 
  • In 1976, Bosch founded the Command of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), most of whose members had worked for the CIA. He ordered another series of attacks. 
  • June 6, 1976: Bomb placed in Cuban diplomatic mission at the UN 
  • July 1, 1976: Bomb placed in Cuban-Costa Rican cultural center in Costa Rica 
  • July 8, 1976: Bomb placed in Cuban mission in Spain 
  • September 7, 1976: Bomb placed in Cubana de Aviación warehouse in Kingston, Jamaica 
  • July 10, 1976: Bomb placed in Cubana de Aviación office in Barbados 
  • July 11, 1976: Bomb placed in Air Panama offices in Colombia
  • July 23, 1976: Attempt to kidnap Cuban consul in Mérida, Mexico, resulting in the death of Cuban fishing technician D’Artagnan Díaz Díaz 
  • September 8, 1976: Kidnapping of two Cuban diplomats in Argentina 
  • September 9, 1976: Bomb placed in Guyanese embassy in Trinidad and Tobago 
  • September 18, 1976: Bomb placed in Cubana de Aviación office in Panama 
  • October 6, 1976: Mid-flight explosion of a Cubana de Aviación passenger plane, causing the deaths of all 73 persons on board 
  • As a result of the plane bombing, Bosch was arrested in Venezuela and accused of masterminding the horrible crime. Nevertheless, from his cell he continued to dream up and order other attacks, against Venezuelan targets, in order to pressure the Venezuelan justice system to let him go.
  • March 30, 1977: Bomb placed in Venezuelan Consulate in Puerto Rico 
  • August 30, 1977: Bomb placed aboard a Venezuelan airplane in Miami 
  • December 23, 1977: Bomb placed in Viasa airline office, United States 
  • December 30, 1977: Bomb placed in Venezuelan Consulate in Puerto Rico 
  • In 1978, also from his cell, he ordered attacks on Mexican interests, in response to the measures taken by that government following the death of Cuban fishing technician D’Artagnan Díaz Díaz. 
  • February 7, 1978: Bomb placed in Mexican Consulate in the United States 
  • February 7, 1978: Bomb placed aboard the Mexican ship Azteca, resulting in two deaths and seven injuries 
  • Later, still from his cell, he directed and maintained the actions of Omega-7, consisting of a long chain of terrorist attacks. 
  • September 9, 1978: Bomb placed in Cuban mission at the UN 
  • October 5, 1978: Bomb placed across from Madison Square Garden, where Cuban boxers were supposed to fight 
  • October 6, 1978: Bomb placed in offices of Girasol tourism company, belonging to the Socialist Party of Puerto Rico 
  • October 6, 1978: Bomb placed in offices of Antillana tourism company of Puerto Rico 
  • October 6, 1978: Bomb placed in offices of the Record Public Service company, owned by a Cuban immigrant in Puerto Rico 
  • October 23, 1978: Bomb placed in La Prensa newspaper in the United States 
  • November 18, 1978: Bomb threats made against TWA, due to its flights to Cuba 
  • December 28, 1978: Bomb placed in office of Varadero Travel in Puerto Rico 
  • December 29, 1978: Bomb placed in Cuban mission at the UN 
  • December 29, 1978: Bomb placed in Lincoln Center, New York 
  • March 26, 1979: Bomb placed in TWA offices at New York’s JFK Airport 
  • March 26, 1979: Bomb placed in office of Weehawken company of New Jersey, headed by Cuban Eulalio J. Negrín, a member of the Committee of 75, which was negotiating with Cuba 
  • April 4, 1979: Murder of Carlos Muñoz Varela, member of the Antonio Maceo Brigade and director of Varadero Travel in Puerto Rico 
  • November 25, 1979: Eulalio J. Negrín murdered 
  • September 11, 1980: Murder of Félix García Rodríguez, Cuban diplomat to the United Nations 
  • In 1987, thanks to Otto Reich, Bosch was freed and entered the United States, where he was granted asylum and even a presidential pardon. 
  • By the start of the 1980s, the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) was in existence, and its leader, Jorge Mas Canosa, directed counterrevolutionary and terrorist attacks.
  • Bosch continued advising the most fanatical elements of the Miami mafia. Even within the terrorist gang directed by Luis Posada Carriles that planned to assassinate Fidel Castro in Panama, there are several of the old terrorist’s friends. Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo, Pedro Remón and Guillermo Novo Sampol were guilty of numerous terrorist actions against Cuba and other countries, among them the machine-gunning of Félix García Rodríguez in New York; the killing of Cuban fishing technician D’Artagnan Díaz Díaz by terrorist Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo; and the kidnapping of two diplomats in Argentina.
   Chances are you did not see or read the news about Bosch's dear friend Luis Posada Carriles earlier this year. The news was that he finally went on trial and was acquitted of the charge leveled at him. What was the charge? Lying to immigration authorities. What should the charges have been? Being a big time terrorist. What should the verdict of that yet-to-happen trial be? Guilty as a mutha.
    They don't report it much on Fox and they don't know who he is on CNN, but you'd think the presumed progressives at MSNBC, Current TV and Link TV would get on the stick. Well, maybe this will motivate them. Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch are two of the most notorious murderers of the twentieth century, responsible as they are for more bombings than the Weather Underground and the SLA combined and multiplied by 100. It should come as no surprise that they are anti-Castro Cuban exiles, the carefree roustabouts involved in everything from the Bay of Pigs invasion to the anti-Sandinista pro-contra Nicaraguan mess, from the bombing of Cubana flight 455 in which 73 people died to the hidden horrors of Iran-Contra. Naturally, the sagging teat that is the city of Miami, Florida, loves them. The rest of the world holds them in much lower esteem.
    The not guilty verdict on the perjury charge was pooped out rather than handed down in federal court in El Paso back in April of 2011. That verdict marks the end of the US government’s prosecution of Posada, begun four years ago when he was accused of entering the United States illegally. Now the only pending legal action remaining against him is Venezuela’s extradition request to try him on seventy-three counts of murder, as he is accused of organizing the most serious terrorist attack in Latin America. The US Justice Department expressed that it was “disappointed by the decision” of the jury in El Paso. But José Pertierra, the attorney who is representing the Venezuelan government in its efforts to extradite Posada Carriles, told La Jornada: “I suggest that the United States government not feel so disappointed and extradite him instead.”
    In addition to working for the CIA, readers should know that Posada participated in the US-supported invasion of the Bay of Pigs and that he was an officer in the US Army and that in 1976 he moved to Venezuela to head the intelligence service in that country. That same year he was arrested after being accused of being the mastermind of the attack on the Cuban airliner. He conveniently escaped before facing a civil trial for what was at the time the worst terrorist act in the hemisphere. In 2001, he was arrested in Panama for planning to kill Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite and C-4 explosives in a university auditorium filled with students, but was pardoned by then–Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso in 2004, showing up a short time later in the United States, a not unusual haven for international terrorists.
    Some fascinating reading exists on the National Security Archive and if you have the time you can click HERE. If you do not have time, at least consider these three section headings which themselves suggest one hell of a lot about Mr. Posada and his handlers.

  • CIA, Cable, "Plan of the Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow Up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico," July 1, 1965.
  • CIA, Personal Record Questionnaire on Posada, April 17, 1972. This "PRQ" was compiled in 1972 at a time Posada was a high level official at the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, in charge of demolitions. The CIA was beginning to have some concerns about him, based on reports that he had taken CIA explosives equipment to Venezuela, and that he had ties to a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. The PRQ spells out Posada's personal background and includes his travel to various countries between 1956 and 1971. It also confirms that one of his many aliases was "Bambi Carriles."
  • CIA, Secret Intelligence Report, "Activities of Cuban Exile Leader Orlando Bosch During his Stay in Venezuela," October 14, 1976.

    I thought we'd also include excerpts from a U.S. Justice Department Memo dated May 16, 1990. "Since May, 1987, the Miami, Florida metropolitan area has been the site of at least 25 bombings or attempted bombings. Fifteen attacks have been directed against similar targets, i.e., persons or businesses with alleged sympathies or ties to the Government of Cuba. The 15 bombings have involved the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), mostly pipe bombs. Some bombing components have been positively linked through forensic analysis. Only one of the 15 bombings has been claimed - by the Organization Alliance of Cuban Intransigence (or Intransigent Cubans) (AIC) - and is listed as a terrorist incident by the FBI. Of the remaining 14 bombings, 12 have been designated as suspected terrorist incidents."
    I bring this up for a couple compelling reasons. First, it may be nice to invalidate the hypothesis that the majority of terrorist attacks in the United States are perpetrated by Arabs or Muslims. Second, The fact that Bosch is dead and Posada is 83 in no way lessens the potential for continued violence against the greater part of the United States that does not live in Dade County, Florida.
    But it is not only the United States that is at risk from these crypto-fascists. To again quote from the Justice Department: "On September 16, 1968, an attack was conducted against a Polish vessel, 'Polanica,' in Miami Bay, with a 57 millimeter recoilless rifle. Less than a month later, Bosch and eight others were arrested and charged with this assault. They were also charged in connection with the mailing of extortion letters to the three heads of state and with conspiracy to damage ships of foreign registry.
    "Bosch was convicted of the charges against him on November 15, 1968, and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. On December 15, 1972, he was released on parole from the United State Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois. In April, 1974, he left the United States for South America in violation of his parole.    "Bosch's arrest and departure from the United States did not end the anti-Castro terrorism. In late 1974, another militant, anti-Castro group, Omega 7, was founded by Eduardo Arocena. His reason for organizing this group was his belief that the anti-Castro movement was not active enough in seeking the violent overthrow of the Castro Government. The membership of Omega 7 was drawn from the (Jose) Marti Insurrectional Movement, an anti-Castro group.    "During an eight-year period beginning in 1975, Omega 7 members were reportedly responsible for between 30 and 50 bombings and two assassinations. The exact number of these attacks cannot be determined because other anti-Castro groups, such as the Cuban Nationalist Movement (CNM), issued false claims of credit on behalf of Omega 7 which confused law enforcement. Omega 7-claimed acts occurred in the New York City metropolitan area, the Miami metropolitan area, and Washington D.C. Among these acts were attacks against individuals sympathetic to or businesses dealing with Communist Cuba, Cuban Government interests, and interests of other countries dealings with Cuba.    "Omega 7 was neutralized when Arocena was arrested during July, 1983, in Miami. He had in his possession automatic weapons and bombing paraphernalia. He was convicted on a 25-count indictment which included charges of first degree murder, Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations and bombing and explosives violations. More than a dozen Omega 7 members or their associates were also charged and convicted, mostly on criminal contempt violations for failure to testify before a Federal grand jury. Two Omega 7 members cooperated with Federal prosecutors. A third, Jose Ignacio Gonzalez, fled the country before he could testify. He remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Guatemala.    "Arocena was sentenced to a term of life in prison plus 35 years. Prison sentences for other convicted Omega 7 members ranged from four to nine years. In 1984, Arocena was also convicted in two trials on charges involving weapons violations, bombings and conspiracy. He was sentenced to an additional 20 years' imprisonment to run concurrent with his earlier sentence. Furthermore, in 1986, three Omega 7 members, Pedro Remon, Andres Garcia and Eduardo Fernandez, each of whom had been sentenced previously to 5 years' imprisonment on contempt charges, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to murder a foreign official and conspiracy to bomb or destroy property of a foreign government. Each received a 10-year prison sentence.    "Of the Omega 7 members who were imprisoned, only four - Arocena, Garcia, Fernandez and Ramon - remain in jail. All of the others have been paroled. Omega 7 has never been able to recover from these arrests. Even after those who were imprisoned were released, the group was not reestablished to the extent that it had been. Perhaps the fact that the leader, Arocena, remains in custody has had some bearing on this."
    According to the Organized Crime Bureau of the Metro-Dade Police Department, of the 119 bombings that took place in the Miami area between 1975 and 1983, 57 of those bombings were the result of terrorist activities. Those terrorists were in fact the members of Omega 7, not a fish oil, but real life active terrorists against the Castro regime, taking out their anger on local businesses. How many hard line anti-Castro organizations have operated in the United States? Here is the list:
ACCION CUBANA
ALIANZA CUBANA
ALPHA 66
AMERICAN STUDENTS PRO-ALPHA 66
ASSAULT BRIGADE 2506
INDEPENDENT AND DEMOCRATIC CUBA (CID)
CUBAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
CUBAN INDEPENDENT PARTY
CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY PARTY
COMANDOS "L"
COMISION GESTORA PRO-UNIDAD (PRO UNITY COMISSION)
COMANDO MARTIANO MRD
CUBAN AMERICAN NATIONAL FOUNDATION
CUBAN ASSISTANCE LIBERATION PARTY
CUBAN DEFENSE LEAGUE
CUBAN DEMOCRATIC COALITION
CUBAN INTERNAL FRONT
CUBAN NATIONAL COMMISSION
CUBAN NATIONLIST ASSOCIATION
CUBANOS DESTERRADOS
CUBANOS UNIDOS
CUMBRE PATRITICA CUBANA
EX-CLUB
FUNDACION VALLADARES
JUNTA PATRIOTICA CUBANA
MOVIMIENTO DE RECUPERACION DEMOCRATICA
PRESIDIO POLITICO HISTORICO CUBANO
PARTIDO UNIDAD NACIONAL DEMOCRATICA (PUND)
VETERANS OF SPECIAL MISSIONS
    Impressive, huh? Especially if you're psychotic.

    Back in 2006, Santiago Alvaerez of Alpha 66 and before that of the Bay of Pigs, was sentenced by a U.S. Federal District Court to four years for possession of a weapons arsenal. His associate, Osvaldo Mitat, ws granted only a three year sentence on the same charges. Imagine if the same charges were leveled against detainees in Guantanamo and those detainees pleaded guilty, as these two Cuban exiles have done. Would those "suspected" terrorists have received similar sentences?
    No one, least of all Philropost, is making the case that Muslim terrorism is more acceptable than any other type. What we are saying, however, is that no government, including that of the United States, should arbitrarily or calculatedly decide that "their" terrorism is bad and "our" terrorism is acceptable. It is that type of thinking that disguises fascism. And fascism is supposed to be the enemy, remember?
    Here are three people who have over the years been linked with terrorist activities within the United States. These are their own words. Personally, I think all three are pretty bad guys. Their words will speak volumes. An excerpt from a book by Kerry Wendell Thornley called Confession to Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK.
Needless to say, I was jubilant at the news of Kennedy's death -- something I made no attempt to conceal from anyone, much to the annoyance of most of the Bourbon House regulars. Besides that, I was extremely proud of Oswald for getting himself accused -- although I suspected he was innocent, since in the service he had displayed a talent for getting blamed of things.    As for me, I felt betrayed by most of my French Quarter friends, who were obviously grief-stricken. Hadn't they laughed in the past at my anti-Kennedy jokes? Where was their integrity? Here I had been thinking they were potential converts to the Objectivism of Ayn Rand and, instead, they were all turning out to be a bunch of whim-worshipers.    Then, Sunday morning, I learned that Oswald had been murdered. I was horrified. Irrational violence had won out over good sense once again. Why would anyone want to kill a pathetic little guy like Lee? Now everyone else was smug and I was in mourning.    Both the Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been to the restaurant by then to question me. A poll appeared in the evening paper indicating that most Americans now thought the assassination was the result of a conspiracy. As I moved about the French Quarter, it seemed to me I was being tailed by middle-aged men in suits. I decided to go to the F.B.I. office and volunteer my services in luring out the real assassins of John F. Kennedy. They could say Oswald had confided in me and use me as a decoy to trap the people who had silenced him. I spoke to an FBI agent in the Federal Building who kept pretending he didn't understand what I was talking about. Among his questions, and typical of most of them, was, "This Oswald - was he a homo of any kind?"    In the days that followed I quarreled with virtually every one of my friends to a greater or lesser extent. Mildest among these disputes were disagreements about questions of taste. Couldn't I have at least been silent, instead of offering to buy drinks for everyone in the Bourbon House? In the worst disagreements, tempers flared and fist fights almost resulted.
    Here's an excerpt from Gerry Hemming in International Education Forum. 
     Edwin Anderson Collins was murdered by Castro "fellow-travelers" upon their discovery of his identity, and just a few weeks after he was tasked to penetrate their "protest march" from Canada, down the east coast, and on to Havana, and GITMO. Steve Wilson and I identified his body at the Medical Examiner's morgue, and when I questioned an assistant there as to the severe lacerations, cuts and bruises on Eddy's face and scalp - he responded that: "This was most likely due to crabs and other critters munching on the corpse post-mortem!!"   Upon my questioning exactly how a corpse (in salt water) might continue to bleed, acquire bruises, and suffer contusions and edema after only 8 hours + in Biscayne Bay (400 yards off the docks of Dinner Key & City Hall) - police detectives Tony Fontana and Bill Cloy charged into the room demanding to know our purposes.    Eddy Collins was one of our best swimmers, as evidenced when he was blown overboard (sans UDT the same life jacket he is pictured wearing in the No Name Key pix) - along with Dickey Chappelle, Hargraves, and Felipe Vidal on a Cuba run during early 1964.   Wilson and I tracked down the now hiding boat crew a few days later, and with less than Abu-Ghraib measures, thoroughly "interviewed" them.    Their "official" story to the police was that Eddy was drunk and that he had dived overboard to recover a dinghy which had cast adrift that night. Despite witnesses ashore reporting screams beforehand - they had insisted that had he uttered one sound they could have turned the boat around, located and recovered him. (They admitted to the police that they had motored to the dock, and "immediately" called the police??) The live-aboard boaters and shrimpers who already knew Eddy over the years, wondered about the great discrepancies in timing, especially the police report (initial call) showing that this was made some 45 minutes after the boaters heard the screams and turned on their searchlights (evidenced in their official log books). They had asked the "hippies" what was going on only 5 minutes after the screams, and just after the "protestor" boat was being tied to the dock.   Eddy Collins had been recruited by FBI agents (MIA/FO), and John Evans of the "Johns Committee" (Red-Squad) in Tallahassee - to assist in monitoring the "peace marchers". The "Mounties" (R.C.M.P.) had inserted two assets into the group in Canada, and one of these had operated together with one of our guys, who, the year previous, had worked a joint CSS/RCMP/FBI operation involving Nicaraguans, Cubans, and other foreign nationals embarking on a mission to attend training camps inside Cuba.   The day of the JFK assassination, Jim Lewis was [as usual] playing Chess at "Little Joe's" apartment by the Miami River - together with Eddy Collins, "Skinny", Dick Whatley, Bobby Willis, and Bill Dempsey. When Garman started dancing in the street soon after hearing the news from Dallas, Jim chastised him severely (along with Cuban pissed-off neighbors); He reminded him that just four days before; he had been a member of our security detail for JFK at MIA (Monday, 18th Nov.), and that he had been prepared to "take-a-bullet" for the President!!
   Here is an interview with Ricardo Morales Navarette. 
Q. Have you ever... either fabricated or assisted in the fabrication of an explosive or placed or assisted in the placement of an explosive that blew up an airliner? Have you ever done that?
A. Say that again?
Q. Have you ever...
A. I'm going o cut it short for you. Yes.
Q. Oh how many different occasions?
A. One.
Q. When and where?
A. Barbados.
Q. When, please, sir?
A. 1976. Let me correct myself, so I won't have to do it tomorrow. The craft involved was a communist Air Force plane from the Republic of Cuba.
Q. How many people were on board?
A. There were, including North Korean spies, Gwyenas, Cadres, DGI personnel, and Air Force officers of the Cuban Air Force, and assorted members of the Cuban Communist Party. There is a big discrepancy, which I believe that the government of Cuba is the only one who can come up with the exact figure.
Q. What is the best information you have?
A. According to the Press, which is, to the best of my knowledge, is wrong, 73.
Q. Did you place that explosive device on the aircraft, or did you fabricate it?
A. No, I did not place it, and I did not fabricate it.
Q. What part did you have in that incident?
A. In that incident?
Q. Yes, what did you do?
A. Oh, I was part of the conspirators.
Q. What specific part did you play that resulted in the blowing up of that airplane?
A. Oh, surveillance of the regular flights of that Cuban Air Force plane, providing by a third party the explosives.
Q. Is that to say that you made available the explosives to the people who actually did the manual work through a third person as intermediary?
A. Yes...
Q. At the time that you furnished the explosives, did you know that they were going to be used to sabotage or blow up that airplane?
A. Not at the beginning, and the source of explosive, Mr. Williams, was a result of the search that was executed by agents of my division in a house that suspected of being used by foreign intelligence enemies, and there was a lot of material that was seized there, and there was some explosives that they were found there, which were, of course, turned over to the Explosives end and Disposal Division of the DISIP, and that's where - that's from where, later on, the explosives found their way into this Cuban Air Force plane.
Q. Were you responsible either directly or indirectly for the explosives finding their way eventually into the airplane?
A. I share.
Q. Did you know at the time that you -
A. I share the responsibility.
Q. I understand. Did you know at the time that you took whatever steps were necessary in order for the explosives to be put on their path that eventually wound up inside the airplane?
A. Of course.
Q. Did you know that they were going to be used to explode the airplane?
A. Of course.
Q. Dr. Bosch was specifically charged with either perpetrating that incident, himself, or having assisted in putting it together; wasn't he? Wasn't he charged with that in Venezuela?
A. He is still in jail.
Q. My question to you, sir, is whether he was charged with responsibility for that incident?
A. That is why he is still in jail...
Q. Did you ever come to have knowledge of the published passenger manifest indicating the people who, according to the public media, were passengers on that airplane?
A. Yes.
Q. Didn't you learn that there were on board several women who ostensibly were traveling as spouses or mates or partners to some of the men on board?
A. They fall in the category of assorted communist party members.
Q. Give me a yes or no? Yes, you did, but...
A. That there were women aboard?
Q. Yes.
A. Yes.
Q. Did you also learn, sir, that there were children under the age of eighteen on board that airplane?
A. I didn't know that there were any children on board.
Q. You haven't learned that?
A. No, I haven't learned that.
Q. If, in fact, there were children under the age of eighteen on board that airplane, would you still regard them as being communist sympathizers under any circumstances?
A. I will consider them - that is preposterous because I have no knowledge about that, but that is preposterous, but to please you, Williams, I will say that they will belong to the Youth Communist Organization, and in due time, they will become full-fledged communists.
Q. Not anymore.
    The Cuban American National Foundation is what a 21st century terrorist organization looks like.
Welcome to the world, baby!
    Here is what they say about themselves.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to a free and democratic Cuba. Pursuit of the Foundation’s mission is guided by three underlying principles:

  • Change should be both non-violent and meaningful, reflecting the natural will and inalienable rights of the Cuban people
  • Change must come from within the island, not forcibly imposed from abroad
  • Advocating change is the responsibility of all Cubans (those on the island and in exile), governments and organizations who share the goal of a free and democratic Cuba.
    As you might expect, that is all a load of rubbish.
    On June 22, 2006, Jose Antonio Llama, a former CANF director, revealed publicly that the CANF is a terrorist organization. Llama acknowledged that he, along with members of the organization´s hierarchy, had set up a paramilitary group to carry out attacks on Cuba and to assassinate Fidel Castro.
    According to Llama the CANF had a cargo helicopter, ten ultra-light remote-controlled planes, seven boats, a Midnight Express speedboat and an unlimited amount of explosives. "We were impatient about the survival of the Castro regime after the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist system. We wanted to speed up democratization in Cuba using any means to achieve it," he said.
   CANF gave money to Luis Posada to help finance the latter's bombing attempts against Castro and the Cuban people. This is not disputed, even by the CANF.
   According to Bacard: the Hidden War by Hernando Calvo Ospina, translated by Stephen Wilkinson and Alasdair Holden and published by Pluto Press, senior Bacardi Rum officials have been instrumental in the support for the 1996 Helms-Burton legislation which outlined what Cuba must do to be regarded as a democracy by the US and attain diplomatic recognition. The law made it an offense for foreigners to invest in properties that were nationalized by Castro and denied visas to the US to the directors of any firms that did so. In congressional circles, the legislation was referred to as the Bacardi bill. Leading Bacardi officials mounted fundraisers for the late and vituperatively demonic Senator Jesse Helms, one of the architects of the legislation. In 1975, the head of Bacardi's Miami subsidiary co-hosted a $500-a-plate fundraiser for Helms which netted $75,000 for the senator.