Adisa Banjoko on the Warrior's Art
Adisa "I'm a Nice Guy Unless I Have to Choke You Out" Banjoko has been dropping a series of posts on his perspectives regarding peace, war, military strategy and martial arts.
In some cases, the entries are quotes and a picture, like this Jet Li quote
regarding the Chinese character for martial arts meaning to stop war.
In other cases they're a bit more indepth, such as this interview with UFC fighter Jeff "Snowman" Monson
from an anarchist website:What I have learned through traveling is that people really are products of their environment. Poverty, corruption and lack of freedom breeds discontent. The inequality between classes is the fuel for this discontent. The old saying goes "money is the root of all evil"; but really it is class inequality which leaves most unable to self-actualize (reach their potential) which I believe is the basis for human misery.
More importantly than all this meaninful talk, I get name-checked in the post's title!
If you're drawn to the concept of the warrior who battles for peace, you can check out the whole series to date in archives from last week
and this week
If you dig what he's up to, consider dropping Adisa a line at:bishop(at)lyricalswords(dot)com
You can also subscribe to his free newsletter
. You'll get each day's headlines the day after they're posted.Over at The Postmodern Anarchist:Jeff Monson Speaks About Anarchy
The Untold Story Behind The Infamous Pictures of Prisoner Abuse at Abu Ghraib That Rocked The World
Joe Darby, the American Soldier Who Exposed Mistreatment of Iraqi Prisoners, Gives His First-Person Account
NEW YORK, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- They are among the most disturbing and haunting images of the war in Iraq. And these pictures of prisoner torture and abuse at the U.S.-run military prison outside Baghdad were uncovered by one man -- Joe Darby. GQ magazine reveals the story of the American soldier who discovered the pictures and turned them over to military authorities to expose the prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib. Darby has never spoken publicly about the events at the Iraqi prison. This is his personal account of an act of conscience that had enormous personal implications and continues to influence perceptions of the war and America throughout the world.
In January 2004, Darby handed a CD full of incriminating photographs to the Army Criminal Investigation Division, setting off an unimaginable firestorm. The pictures depicted beatings, torture, and the sexual humiliation of prisoners that had taken place inside the now notorious prison. As a result of his courageous decision, Darby was vilified by fellow soldiers, friends, and neighbors back home. He tells his own story exclusively to GQ correspondent Wil S. Hylton in the September issue of the magazine (on newsstands nationwide August 22, 2006) and at GQ.com.
Among Darby's startling revelations:
- The American abuse "wasn't a conspiracy - it was negligence, plain and
"Nobody in command knew about the abuse, because nobody in command cared
enough to find out."
- The commander of the Abu Ghraib prison was Brigadier General Janis
Karpinski - "but that didn't mean she was ever there."
"She spent all her time in Kuwait or in the Green Zone Palace. She kept
her happy ass in the nice, safe places. The only time she'd come by was
when a dignitary was visiting. She'd fly in a half hour before they got
there, get briefed, lead the tour, and then fly back out. Other than
that, she had no idea what was going on ... In the five months I was at
Abu Ghraib, I only saw her twice."
- "The abuse started earlier than anybody realizes."
" ... there were things going on before our unit even got there. The
day we arrived, back in October of 2003, we were getting a tour of the
compound and we saw like fifteen prisoners sitting in their cells in
women's underwear. This was day one; nobody from our unit had ever set
foot in the prison. We asked the MPs in charge -- the Seventy-second,
out of Las Vegas -- why the prisoners were wearing panties. They told
us that it was a corrective action, that these guys had been mortaring
- "There were other (U.S.) government agencies who would come into the
prison and handle prisoners. I can't say which agencies, but you can
"One night, this Black Hawk landed at about 4 a.m., and a couple guys
came in with a prisoner and took him to tier 1, put sheets up so that
nobody could see, and spent the rest of the night in there. They told
us to stay away, so we did. Then a couple hours later, they came back
out. They were like, 'The prisoner is dead.' They asked for ice to
pack him, and then they said, 'You guys clean this up. We weren't here.
Have a good day.' Got back on the bird and took off, left the dead body
right there. Those guys can come in and kill a guy, and there's nothing
you can do. There's no record of them. They were never there. They
You've probably seen pictures of that prisoner with (Charles) Graner and
(Sabrina) Harman crouching next to his dead body, giving the thumbs-up.
Well, that's the guy. Everybody takes that picture at face value, but
the truth is, Graner and Harman didn't kill him."
- (When I handed over the pictures) " ... I was assured by the army that
nobody would know. I would remain anonymous."
"Well, it didn't work out that way. About a month after Graner and the
rest of them left Abu Ghraib, we were up in Camp Anaconda, and I was
sitting with ten other guys from my platoon in the dining facility.
It's a big facility, packed with like 400 other soldiers, and I'm
sitting there eating when Donald Rumsfeld comes on during the damned
congressional hearings. It was like something out of a movie. I'm
sitting there, and right next to me there's a TV, and Rumsfeld is on it
when he drops my damned name. Almost nobody in my unit knew what I'd
done until he dropped my damned name. On national TV. I was sitting
midbite when he said it, and I was like, Oh, my God. And the guys at
the table just stopped eating and looked at me. ... And I got up and
got the hell out of there."
"Ever since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke more than two years ago, Joe Darby has been unable to tell his story," says Andy Ward, GQ's executive editor. "Now he is speaking publicly for the first time. Joe has been denigrated and condemned for doing the right thing, for acting courageously. It wasn't a simple decision, but it is the choice he felt he had to make."
"Being the guy who blows the whistle is never easy -- and especially during wartime," says GQ's Hylton. "Having gotten to know Joe during the past two years, I believe he should be honored for his guts and conscience. Sometimes doing the right thing involves great sacrifice."
In the September 2004 issue, GQ correspondent Hylton also reported on the painful impact of the Abu Ghraib scandal on Joe Darby's family for the article entitled, "The Conscience of Joe Darby."
For a copy of the story or to arrange interviews with Joe Darby, Wil S. Hylton, or Andy Ward, please contact:
Dan Scheffey Sianne Garlick or Sabrina Tanenbaum
GQ Goodman Media International, Inc.
(212) 286-4622 (212) 576-2700
Jeff "Apostle" Campbell On The Decline of Hip Hop
The Black House has a lengthy interview with Jeff "Apostle" Campbell on the topic of The Decline of Hip Hop.
To be honest, I don't necessarily agree with everything Mr. Campbell presents but I do think he makes some great points and articulates a view held by many with the added experience of having made it past 30!The following is an excerpt entitled Hip hop then and now:
(BHN) - When you look at how you developed a love for hip hop back in the day and compare that to where hip hop is now – do you have the same love for it? Do you feel it's declined? Are you disappointed in how things have developed?
(JC) - We were talking about 1984. Now I'm 36 years old and a lot of
the reasons I was involved in hip hop have changed, they have evolved as I've evolved as a person. I'm no longer in love with hip hop for the reasons of being on stage and receiving applause. Hip hop has empowered me to be my own boss. I run the Hip Hop Coalition and [have] successfully run youth programs for six years now, teaching the fundamentals to kids who don't have access to it. That motivates me and fulfills me.
In terms of what hip hop has become, to mainstream media and pop culture it's so far away from the root, it's so watered down from what inspired me, I can't look to the 50 cents and, I don't even know who they are. I can't look to Lil Jon, for that same inspiration that Chuck D and KRS-One gave me because that's not what they're doing and that doesn't feed me.
What is happening in the progression of this distortion of what hip hop culture is, and I think the word you used is “decline,” is that hip hop, I would argue, hasn't gone anywhere. It was underground from the beginning and you had to go to specific record stores to find it. You had to dig around and had to listen to find [the kind] that would have some sort of integrity, accountability, and social relevance to it. It wasn't on pop radio. I'll argue that, in 1984, by the time Fight the Power was number one on commercial, pop radio, and it was part of the number one movie of the year, Do the Right Thing, “...1989 the number, another summer....,” by the time that had dropped and you had 20,000 White kids in an arena with their fists in the air screaming “Fight the Power,” I believe the powers that be began to look at what it was and began to change the course of it.
When I was coming up the audience was all Black and the message was very different. Now you go to a show and the majority of your audience is White. You check the sound scan numbers and 80% of who's going to the record store buying and downloading it is White. The community in which the culture finds its origin is no longer the main consumer of that culture or products that hip hop culture creates. When that happens, it is bound to have the dominate culture dictate the course of it so they have subsidized it, threw a lot of money in it and at that point it becomes a contest on who can kill more Black people on a record. 50 cent, he got shot nine times so he's harder and it's this contest you subsidize. When you subsidize it, it's like, let's explore every option. What can sell, what is the bottom line? Sex and violence, we know that sells. How raunchy and dirty can you get?
As they throw this money in it and fluff it up, then it's just fluffed out and it becomes what pop music always was when [it] was Good Golly Ms. Molly or I Want to Hold Your Hand by the Beatles. It's the same. Whatever those cats are singing about now, “...unbutton your clothes just a little bit....” that's the equivalent of what was going on then and pop music has always been pop music. Hip hop has always been underground, you still gotta search for good hip hop but pop music is accessible. Why? Because it's fluffy, it has no value, it's just bullsh*t.Please visit The Black House for the complete text of The Decline of Hip Hop.