S. Brian Willson

This site contains essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.

*everything is at the center of the cosmos at every moment


Brian's Blog

All blog entries and essays posted on this site are authored by S. Brian Willson.

Root Causes of War

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Introduction: The Trauma of Civilization

The human invention of urban “civilization” about 3500 BC (5,500 – 6,000 years, 250-300 human generations) coincides with the advent of patterns of systematic violence previously unknown. The development of massive civil obedience to the vertical authority structures that first ushered in civilization, originally in the form of kings, has witnessed a reported 14,500 major wars. This obedience has become a habit, generally void of any memory of the autonomous freedom of pre-urban civilization tribal groups.

Power became and has remained an abstraction as an end in itself, utilizing the first megamachine comprised of human parts in support of statehood – kings and their elite team of priests and scribes overseeing huge projects using organized human labor. Civilization’s features:

* centralization of control with hierarchy overseeing bureaucracy

* separation of classes – stratification and lifetime division of labor

* slavery, and forced labor for industrial, agricultural, military purposes

* mechanization for massive production (pyramid tombs, irrigation, palaces, grain storage, etc.)

* magnification of power via a military expanding into adjacent territory, enforcing more labor

* secrecy

* human sacrifice, direct or disguised (as in the West)

SEE Mumford, Lewis. (1966). The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

Root Causes of War

Psychological

            *Massive complicity with vertical authority structures (rigidly adhered to belief systems) that emerged with the passing of Neolithic Goddess period of small, tribal units; consent became and remained a habit from losing memory of pre-urban civilization freedom, and the corresponding insecurity and fears arising therefrom, setting the foundation for living with “protection” of defense mechanisms (deferring freedom to authority structures, mythologies, ideologies, obsessive controlling) instead of living authentically; [Etienne De La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, Circa 1553, Black Rose, 1997; Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, Harper & Row, 1987]

            *Many successive generations of shame-based child upbringing (ignored, routine put downs, physical or sexual violence, authoritarian versus nurturing atmosphere, etc.) [Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983]; shame-ethics lead to generations of patterns of violence unless the insecure authoritarian parenting habit is interrupted by more secure nurturing (James Gilligan, Violence: Reflections On A National Epidemic, Vintage, 1997)

            *Arrogance rather than humility, and Denial rather than awareness, became major “defense mechanisms” to override deeply felt insecurities [Michael A. Milburn and Sheree D. Conrad, The Politics of Denial, MIT, 1996]

            *Changes from hunter-gatherers to Neolithic and beyond, to urban “civilization” has removed people from their visceral and experiential integration and oneness with Mother Earth – perhaps such removal has created a primordial breach resulting in severe trauma and insecurity within the human psyche that has manifested in consenting to defer freedom to vertical authority as a substitute. [Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes, Allen D. Kanner, Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, Sierra Club, 1995]

            *The ancient memory of the high of a “rush” from critical social experiences such as rallying collective defense to a common enemy (Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: The History of Origins and Passions of War, Henry Holt, 1997) and search for a meaning of life in a culture of void suggests “war is a force that gives us meaning” (Hedges)

            *The need to Believe in a mythology directly associated with a sense of well being keeps us intact, since the ancient grounding experience of being integrated with the earth has been lost, at least for the moment; when belief collapses or is intentionally withheld, systems collapse.

            *Tyranny is inherent in concentration of political, social, economic power, whether achieved through elections, force of arms, or inheritance.  The method of ruling is essentially the same — achieving massive consent either through fear or propaganda/myth (Etienne De La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, Circa 1553, Black Rose, 1997).

Structural – political-economic systems that are based on preservation of privilege and class through exploitation, require forceful expansion (for workers, resources, markets), which has been mysteriously supported by the masses (psychological-see above); AWOL (4.6% consuming 25% to nearly half the world’s resources) is the mother of all structural problems – requiring constant theft by force or its threat; AWOL resides within the context of 500 years of colonialism by Eurocentric powers enriching 20% on the impoverishment of the other 80%.

Political – Economic – centralized vertical structures from the origins of “America” in first “bourgeois” revolution (American Revolution) which initially “preserved inherited property (over human rights) as it destroyed inherited government” shrouded in language describing it as “republican” when in fact they were and remain oligarchic in nature forcefully protecting privilege and what emerged as monopoly capitalism, but mysteriously supported by the masses (psychological) despite hurtful policies; the second “bourgeois” revolution (Civil War) enhanced property in factories and railroads as it abolished property in man.” [Staughton Lynd, Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism, Harvard, 1982].  Corporations as legal persons usurps the Bill of Rights (especially 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments); The military-industrial-intelligence complex makes huge sums of money on war.

Technological – myth of progress through large technologies (rather than small and local ones), capital technologies (rather than labor intensive ones), violent technologies (versus nonviolent ones), and complex technologies (versus simple ones), pre-empt intermediate technologies, local ingenuity, and real democracy enabled by bioregional economic and cultural sufficiency independent from external inputs.

Cultural – AWOL/WWOL after 500 years of colonialism created a spoiled rotten 20% while impoverishing 80%, rationalized with a racist ideology and Eurocentric arrogance that enabled the “West” taking a holiday from history, a holiday from an accounting (virtual total impunity), living in a bubble of make-believe; militarization of culture in entertainment, language, Humvee vehicles, clothes, etc. [Ashley Montagu, Ed., Learning Non-Aggression: The Experience of Non-Literate Societies, Oxford, 1978: “Why are some people aggressive and others gentle?…The answer lies primarily in child-rearing, particularly in the treatment of infants…..”  Central Theme: “That non-aggression rests on a foundation of loving maternal care. In each non-aggressive society, infants’ basic needs are continuously satisfied without obstacle, and young children learn without punishment to cope with angers, fears, and hostilities.” “The peaceful component in human nature is as strong as the aggressive impulses and that it only awaits the proper set of cultural conditions to flower into a way of life for people everywhere.”  “Non-aggression is culturally taught in … studied non-literate societies.”] 

The US Civilization

The U.S. “Founding Fathers” had a vision for an “empire of liberty” (Jefferson), “imperial republicanism” (Madison) and a mercantile, expansive nation, but NOT a vision of democracy or popular freedom.  U.S. historian William Appleman Williams has described U.S. America – “Empire As A Way of Life” – what author Derrick Jenson describes as “The Culture of Make Believe,” a fantasy which SBW describes as having been built on 3 unrecognized, incomprehensible holocausts that stole land, labor and global resources at gun point, killing millions (billions?) with virtual total impunity.  The U.S. has been on a holiday from history, as if it suffers from the convenience of virtual total amnesia. Some call it the United States of Amnesia. The United States has been built and sustained by TERRORISM from our origins. And the people, believing in their “exceptionalism” have eagerly paid for it, allowed it, and have often directly participated in it. The 1787 Constitutional Convention pre-empted the vision and values of the original U.S. American revolution of 1774 emerging from farmers and small communities in MA that did not seek nor want a strong central authority structure.

The United States origins and continued growth as a “civilization” occurred and continues to occur in the context of 500 years of colonialism that has enriched 20% of the world’s “White” nations while impoverishing 80% of the “Colored” based on racial ideology and technology conducting grotesque patterns of terrorism, but even within the 20%-nations, the stolen riches are not distributed equally due to the continued oligarchic, selfish nature of vertical structures. Globalization began 500 years ago, not in the 1970s. Modern civilizations (since 1500) have participated in some 3,000 serious military wars with substantial casualties, and about 250,000 battle encounters in maintaining its colonial ambitions.

AWOL (American Way Of Life) is the most dangerous force in the world, far more threatening then WMD, because its government and collective population insist on continuing grotesque overconsumption maintained by military aggression or its threat, bully diplomacy, and massive lying to preserve at ANY cost its make-believe mythology and the ideology of racism that makes it possible.  AWOL requires war and grand theft and virtually all of us are implicated to varying degrees. It is our collective responsibility to correct this unjust result of a history of manifest destiny and imperialism, because justice for all is the precondition for our survival – for all of us.  Equity IS survival.

EPILOGUE

The folly of “progress” – human evolution has not been linear or “progressive” but like a twig on the hominid (bipedal primates of which humans are a part) bush with happenstance a major determinant as to which twig survived; the theory of “punctuated equilibria” suggests that rather than a process of Darwinian gradualism the evolution of a typical species is most accurately characterized by periods of geologically rapid change followed by lengthy periods of stasis (equilibrium) with most of the change occurring at point of speciation (original formation of new species).  The present is the product of countless contingent events like “wandering across a landscape of possibility” governed primarily by happenstance.

 – Stephan Jay Gould

The Obsession with and Lies about NICARAGUA

The intense focus on the “ills” of Nicaragua completely misses the deep issues of continued US intervention – imperial neocolonialism – into the sovereign lives of other countries, as here with Nicaragua. Whether you love or hate Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, their personalities and personal lives are not the issue, whatsoever.

For US Americans to be so closely scrutinizing clearly the most progressive government in Central America, ignoring the new US friendly but unpopular president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the systematic violence in the streets of El Salvador which is directly related to the US funded death squad governments of the 1980s; the repressive and illegal President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez; and the repressive and corrupt government of Guatemala under President Jimmy Morales, is very interesting, and disturbing.

The elaborate, well-planned conspiracy behind the April-July 2018 US-orchestrated coup attempt against Nicaragua, included most of the church hierarchy, many wealthy ex-Somocistas, many NGOs including the European-funded CENIDH, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, and a couple thousand young Nicaraguans trained over 4 years in the use of social media to blitzkrieg an agenda-loaded propaganda campaign when the right opportunity arose. It had been in the works since at least 2011 when Nicaraguan Felix Maradiaga teamed up with Colombian narco-trafficker Julio Cesar Paz Varela to develop a drug distribution network in Nicaragua, many of the proceeds of which were to be devoted to overthrow the Sandinista government.

The facts are that the few NGOs (of over 4,000 NGOs in the country) who have recently been curtailed by the Nicaraguangovernment, is because of their support of various criminal activities designed to overthrow the government. Their accountability to the law was long overdue. The same goes for several TV stations (funded largely by NED), the internet news outlet Confidencial (funded by the NED), and La Prensa (funded by NED) which have openly supported opposition “terrorist” activities (yes, that is correct), something that would never be tolerated in the US or in virtually any country. Many of the hundreds participating in dozens of murders, arsons, destruction of buildings, tortures, and destruction of equipment (including over 50 ambulances), etc., committed by Opposition members, are fortunately now on trial or in jail. Over 200 fugitives remain in Costa Rica.

It is also ironical, that those people in the US who are so condemnatory of the Nicaraguan government, remain comfortably removed from the terror campaign, April-July, which was awful as I can attest as a resident, while I was forced to read and view, with rage and anger, the spew of scripted lies days after day on social media, and major media outlets, not based on any actual investigative reporting. Ironic, because the US is one of the most oligarchic, non-democratic countries on the planet, and its citizens possess no legal or moral authority to judge others. The US possesses the largest prison per capita population in the world, with 80,000 of prisoners in solitary confinement; it produces the most waste and pollution; it has military troops in 150 countries, and war  planes and ships everywhere; it is the wholesale terrorist force on the Planet; it has on average 3 citizens a day murdered by US police; it has a president who has been accused by over 15 women of sexual misconduct/assault, a president who lies multiple times each day; it is a country where student debt keeps graduates in a kind of servitude for life to the banks; it has thousands of homeless living in tents and abandoned cars in virtually every city; it is a country without accessible health care for millions of its citizens; etc. It has a political election process unreliable due to systematic voter suppression, gerrymandered Congressional districts every ten years, privatization of the voter counting process, while the process itself is literally owned by the millions and billions of dollars of the rich and mighty, headed by the military industrial complex that makes obscene profits on intervening everywhere.

So, Nicaragua is an easy center of focus. If any one of us, or any other Central American government, was subjected to the intense efforts to destroy us, or any country, then one can predict the likely consequences. Neighboring Honduras has not yet recovered from the 2009 US sanctioned coup of President Zelaya. The fear and the repression there is horrendous, but it seems that with those in the US, including in the government, nobody gives a shit? The NICA Act should be the HICA Act for Honduras instead of Nicaragua. But Honduras is a safe Cry Uncle government, despite the fact that the people live in constant fear.

And the idea of name calling people as usual is not helpful in the discussion. Catherine Cusic, who has called Camilo Mejia a liar, has called me several times as an idiot – then, in the past, and now.  Not too constructive for healthy debate.

When will the issue of US imperialism be taken seriously, and a recognition that the US political economy is so destructive it is on a path to destroy the planet? And, yet, the most progressive country in Central America (where there really is NOT repression) – Nicaragua –  with no friends in the Senate or House of Representatives, very little support in the solidarity community, and only supported by the ALBA countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, is targeted for destruction. Lies, lies, more lies. Disgusting beyond disgusting. The truth as I have documented is virtually the exact opposite of what most social media and major media organs spew as if reading from a script. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, is famous for saying that a lie told enough times becomes the truth. Goebbels principle has come once again to haunt Nicaragua. And the US govt. has spent millions of dollars through NED, US AID, NGOs, etc., at least since 2014, getting ready for the overthrow of a progressive government, primarily because it IS progressive compared to the other Central American governments. It is not a Cry Uncle government. And despite the lies, the Sandinista government remains popular with a majority of the people, similar to Assad in Syria despite intense western media propaganda against him.

So, Libya, The Ivory Coast, the Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia, and on and on, are touted as enemies, subject to the “exceptional” US to seek their overthrow to “correct” matters,  if they haven’t already succeeded. It is interesting that Trump’s fanatical security adviser, John Bolton, has identified the Troika of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua (and soon Bolivia) to be targets as threats to the national security of the US. So preposterous yet it is official US policy.

Astonishing, absurd, and criminal. So continue, folks, focusing on the issues you have with Ortega-Murillo, while the US continues on an uncontrolled imperial savagery. Meanwhile, feel smug with your support of “humanitarian intervention” by the most dangerous country on Earth.

 

 

 

The Grotesque Immorality of The US War Against Viet Nam

Celebration of Memorial Day in the US, originally Decoration Day, commenced shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War. This is a national holiday to remember the people who died while serving in the armed forces. The day traditionally includes decorating graves of the fallen with flowers.

As a Viet Nam veteran, I know the kinds of pain and suffering incurred by over three million US soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen, 58,313 of whom paid the ultimate price whose names are on The Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC. The Oregon Vietnam Memorial Wall alone, located here in Portland, contains 803 names on its walls.

The function of a memorial is to preserve memory. On this US Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, I want to preserve the memory of all aspects of the US war waged against the Southeast Asian people in Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia – what we call the Viet Nam War – as well as the tragic impacts it had on our own people and culture. My own healing and recovery requires me to honestly describe the war and understand how it has impacted me psychically, spiritually, and politically.

Likewise, the same remembrance needs to be practiced for both our soldiers and the victims in all the other countries affected by US wars and aggression. For example, the US incurred nearly 7,000 soldier deaths while causing as many as one million in Afghanistan and Iraq alone, a ratio of 1:143.

It is important to identify very concretely the pain and suffering we caused the Vietnamese – a people who only wanted to be independent from foreign occupiers, whether Chinese, France, Japan, or the United States of America. As honorably, and in some cases heroically, our military served and fought in Southeast Asia, we were nonetheless serving as cannon fodder, in effect mercenaries for reasons other than what we were told. When I came to understand the true nature of the war, I felt betrayed by my government, by my religion, by my cultural conditioning into “American Exceptionalism,” which did a terrible disservice to my own humanity, my own life’s journey. Thus, telling the truth as I uncover it is necessary for recovering my own dignity.

I am staggered by the amount of firepower the US used, and the incredible death and destruction it caused on an innocent people. Here are some statistics:

  • Seventy-five percent of South Viet Nam was considered a free-fire zone (i.e., genocidal zones)
  • Over 6 million Southeast Asians killed
  • Over 64,000 US and Allied soldiers killed
  • Over 1,600 US soldiers, and 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers remain missing
  • Thousands of amputees, paraplegics, blind, deaf, and other maimings created
  • 13,000 of 21,000 of Vietnamese villages, or 62 percent, severely damaged or destroyed, mostly by bombing
  • Nearly 950 churches and pagodas destroyed by bombing
  • 350 hospitals and 1,500 maternity wards destroyed by bombing
  • Nearly 3,000 high schools and universities destroyed by bombing
  • Over 15,000 bridges destroyed by bombing
  • 10 million cubic meters of dikes destroyed by bombing
  • Over 3,700 US fixed-wing aircraft lost
  • 36,125,000 US helicopter sorties during the war; over 10,000 helicopters were lost or severely damaged
  • 26 million bomb craters created, the majority from B-52s (a B-52 bomb crater could be 20 feet deep, and 40 feet across)
  • 39 million acres of land in Indochina (or 91 percent of the land area of South Viet Nam) were littered with fragments of bombs and shells, equivalent to 244,000 (160 acre) farms, or an area the size of all New England except Connecticut
  • 21 million gallons (80 million liters) of extremely poisonous chemicals (herbicides) were applied in 20,000 chemical spraying missions between 1961 and 1970 in the most intensive use of chemical warfare in human history, with as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese living in nearly 3,200 villages directly sprayed by the chemicals
    • 24 percent, or 16,100 square miles, of South Viet Nam was sprayed, an area larger than the states of Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island combined, killing tropical forest, food crops, and inland forests
    • Over 500,000 Vietnamese have died from chronic conditions related to chemical spraying with an estimated 650,000 still suffering from such conditions; 500,000 children have been born with Agent Orange-induced birth defects, now including third generation offspring
  • Nearly 375,000 tons of fireballing napalm was dropped on villages
  • Huge Rome Plows (made in Rome, Georgia), 20-ton earthmoving D7E Caterpillar tractors, fitted with a nearly 2.5-ton curved 11-foot wide attached blade protected by 14 additional tons of armor plate, scraped clean between 700,000 and 750,000 acres (1,200 square miles), an area equivalent to Rhode Island, leaving bare earth, rocks, and smashed trees
  • As many as 36,000,000 total tons of ordance expended from aerial and naval bombing, artillery, and ground combat firepower. On an average day US artillery expended 10,000 rounds costing $1 million per day; 150,000-300,000 tons of UXO remain scattered around Southeast Asia: 40,000 have been killed in Viet Nam since the end of the war in 1975, and nearly 70,000 injured; 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured since the end of the war
  • 13.7 billion gallons of fuel were consumed by US forces during the war
  • If there was space for all 6,000,000 names of Southeast Asian dead on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, it would be over 9 sobering miles long, or nearly 100 times its current 493 foot length

I am not able to memorialize our sacrificed US soldiers without also remembering the death and destroyed civilian infrastructure we caused in our illegal invasion and occupation of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. It has been 47 years since I carried out my duties in Viet Nam. My “service” included being an eyewitness to the aftermath of bombings from the air of undefended fishing villages where virtually all the inhabitants were massacred, the vast majority being small children. In that experience, I felt complicit in a diabolical crime against humanity. This experience led me to deeply grasping that I am not worth more than any other human being, and they are not worth less than me.

Recently I spent more than three weeks in Viet Nam, my first trip back since involuntarily being sent there in 1969. I was struck by the multitudes of children suffering from birth defects, most caused presumably by the US chemical spraying some 50 years ago. I experienced deep angst knowing that the US is directly responsible for this genetic damage now being passed on from one generation to the next. I am ashamed that the US government has never acknowledged responsibility or paid reparations. I found myself apologizing to the people for the crimes of my country.

When we only memorialize US soldiers while ignoring the victims of our aggression, we in effect are memorializing war. I cannot do that. War is insane, and our country continues to perpetuate its insanity on others, having been constantly at war since at least 1991. We fail our duties as citizens if we remain silent rather than calling our US wars for what they are – criminal and deceitful aggressions violating international and US law to assure control of geostrategic resources, deemed necessary to further our insatiable American Way Of Life (AWOL).

Memorial Day for me requires remembering ALL of the deaths and devastation of our wars, and it should remind all of us of the need to end the madness. If we want to end war, we must begin to directly address our out-of-control capitalist political economy that knows no limits to profits for a few at the expense of the many, including our soldiers.

S. Brian Willson, as a 1st lieutenant, served as commander of a US Air Force combat security police unit in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta in 1969. He is a trained lawyer who has been an anti-war, peace and justice activist for more than forty years. His psychohistorical memoir, “Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson” was published in 2011 by PM Press. A long time member of Veterans For Peace, he currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

More Thoughts About the US Flag

In April 1969, I witnessed the immediate aftermath of bombings of several inhabited, undefended Vietnamese villages, where virtually all of its inhabitants were napalmed, most very young children – burned to their death (murdered). A few days later, I read in the military newspaper, “Stars & Stripes”), of a young man in the US who was jailed for burning the US flag in protest of the US war.

I experienced a mind fuck because the pilots who dropped the napalm were commended and promoted, while the person who burned the US flag which represented the symbol of the bombing and burning of human beings, was jailed. What is wrong with this picture?

And the US bombed 13,000 of Viet Nam’s 21,000 villages, many napalmed, and in total when the US war ended, somewhere between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 Southeast Asians had been murdered by our (US) grotesquely illegal and criminal invasion and occupation of another country that simply wanted to be free to pursue their own sovereignty free of western colonial powers.

Where is the outrage about what the US does every day – every fucking day – as it continues to bomb 7 countries under Obomber? (Sorry, Mr. Barack Obama, but you have earned a new spelling of your name, managing every Tuesday your kill list from the air via drones, the ultimate terrorist machine).

The piece of cloth – the US flag – the symbol – is focused on, while the egregious policies continue unabated. When do we become outraged – really outraged – at the systematic US killing of humans? Burn the fucking flag if you want as a free speech protest, but all the folks who condemn that act just sigh over the fucking murders of countless human beings around the world DIRECTLY attributable to very intentional US policy. NONE of them deserve to be murdered, while our political and military leaders continue committing their Nuremberg-style crimes against humanity and war crimes, with absolute impunity.

The US is one big Fucking lie, since our origins, and the sooner we massively revolt and withhold our continued cooperation and complicity with it, the sooner it will collapse to the benefit of the earth and her many species.

 

2016 Presidential elections

On November 6, Nicaragua held its national elections, two days before the US electoral theater of the absurd. I was asked to be an official election observer for the Nicaragua elections, one of 63 total from 44 countries. My first exposure to Nicaragua occurred in early 1986, thirty years ago, during the Reagan Contra terrorist war (1981-1990) ravaging the entire society with murders, rapes, arsons, and assassinations, attempting to overthrow the Sandinista (FSLN) -led revolution.

It was a welcome relief to be outside the US during our elections. Despite a constant barrage from the US State Dept of the corruption in Nicaragua (pot calling the kettle black), the unsafe conditions in and danger to tourists (more hypocritical rhetoric, since Nicaragua is far safer than all the other countries in Central America, and safer than the US), and more than a million dollars of funding from the US’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to fund dissent against the Nicaraguan government (more imperial meddling), the FSLN (Sandinista Liberation Front Party) won 70 of the 92 seats (76%) in the National Assembly, and its Presidential candidate, the much maligned revolutionary fighter Daniel Ortega, won with 72.5% of the vote of 3.8 million registered Nicaraguans.

The polling stations were generally located in schools or community centers, were well organized with trained volunteer staff, extremely safe and nonviolent, and voting was by very colorful/pictorial paper ballots. There was no intimidation, and it was very orderly. As observers, we could watch wherever we wanted to, inside and outside the polling stations.

The Ortega-Murillo government has been systematically demonized by the US for years. Though there are genuine issues relating to political policies and personal behavior of some members of the Nicaraguan government, they pale in comparison to the grotesque behavior of US politicians, and the country is not bombing, intervening, or torturing people around the world. Its programs elevating the status of the poor, expanding land reform, improving education and health care for more people, building transportation and communication infrastructure, and committing itself to assuring a high percentage of the nation’s energy from renewables (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal), and its control of drug trafficking while experiencing relatively low crime levels, makes it a nation that is exemplary compared to most others.

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