Archive | June 9, 2017

Terror Attacks in Iran Were Joint Saudi-Israel-U.S. Project*

Terror Attacks in Iran Were Joint Saudi-Israel-U.S. Project*

By Carol Adl

The recent terror attacks in Tehran were the outcome of a joint project by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States according to a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s second-in-command, said the tripartite project was aimed at dealing a blow to Iran’s political and security power.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the assaults.

Press TV reports:

At least 17 people were killed and around 50 injured in Tehran on Wednesday, when gunmen attacked Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) and the Mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini.

Both attacks were, however, foiled by the Iranian security forces, who arrived on the scene in no time and prevented the terrorists from gaining access to the sensitive parts of the two complexes.

The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the near-simultaneous assaults.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry later identified the five terrorists involved in the attacks, saying they had a history of past terrorist activities and were linked to Wahhabi and Takfiri groups.

Salami further hailed the effective response to the attacks and said it “buried our enemies’ political dream alive, showing that Iran will be a graveyard for anyone seeking to endanger its security,” he asserted.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump went to Saudi Arabia in his first foreign visit, clinching a USD-110-billion arms deal with Riyadh, which U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said was aimed at “countering” Iran.

Trump then travelled to Israel. In both places, he referred to Iran as a purveyor of terrorism and urged the Persian Gulf Arab states to unite against the Islamic Republic, endorsing both Riyadh and Tel Aviv’s anti-Iran stance.

Tehran has consistently rejected such accusations of intervention in regional affairs, and urged dialog and convergence among the Persian Gulf’s littoral states

‘Attacks rooted in enemies’ frustration’

He said the acts of terror were perpetrated as a result of the enemies’ back-to-back defeats in regional disputes and proxy warfare over the past years.

“While the Americans, the Saudis, some reactionary regional countries and Westerners were trying to tip the regional equations in their own favour and threaten the Islamic Republic’s establishment, they didn’t manage to act out their plans in Syria and Iraq, and suffered defeat in regional political disputes,” he added.

“The Saudis’ regional policies have completely been defeated, while Daesh’s turf has dwindled and is on the verge disappearance,” he added in reference to accusations against Riyadh of funding and fueling Takfiri terrorism in the region.

When it comes to the country’s national security, Salami said, Iran does not “joke” with any side.


Related Topics:

London Attacks: Just a Camouflage

Rothschild Demands Western Nations Invade Syria*

Manchester Terror Attack: Rallying the Youth Around the Occult Elite*

Manchester attack: Love Conquers Fear as Didsbury Mosque Overwhelmed by Support*

German Soldier ‘posed as Syrian Asylum-seeker to Carry out Terror Attack and Blame it on Refugees’*

Putin: ‘95% of World Terrorist Attacks are Orchestrated By The CIA’*

Syrians Report U.S. Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K*

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Qatar for Not Wanting War with Iran*

Hacked Emails Show Top UAE Diplomat Coordinating With Pro-Israel Think Tank Against Iran*

Russia and Iran Escape the Petro-dollar*

Psychiatric Hospital Chain under Department of Defense and FBI Investigation*

Psychiatric Hospital Chain under Department of Defense and FBI Investigation*

Universal Health Services Psychiatric Hospital Chain under Department of Defence & FBI Investigation

CCHR Continues to Expose Patient Abuse & Fraud in a $50 Billion per Year For-Profit Mental Health Industry

By CCHR International

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have joined the multi-Federal agency investigations into the largest psychiatric hospital chain owned by Universal Health Services (UHS).  The agencies are “scrutinizing UHS’s billings to Tricare, the insurance plan for active military and their families,” according to the latest BuzzFeed News expose. Rosalind Adams, an award-winning journalist with BuzzFeedNews, conducted an independent investigation into UHS saying that investigators have cited “troubling reports suggesting a pattern of quality of care issues” or “harm to patients” in some UHS facilities operating in a dozen states.

In April 2017, Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called for a federal probe into UHS’s behavioral facilities, describing one Tulsa, Oklahoma facility, Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health, as having “a pattern of conduct that is extremely concerning and casts a dark cloud over UHS’s ability to properly care for its patients.”

In 2010, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), a 48 year mental health watchdog, began documenting abuses that employees and former employees of UHS psychiatric facilities, patients and their families reported to it. CCHR has filed more than 4,000 complaints to law enforcement, health officials, state FBI agencies, Federal and State legislators, and to the state branches of Tricare. These also disclosed numerous psychiatrists affiliated with UHS and other for-profit behavioral health care facilities as top national and state prescribers of psychotropic drugs. The psychiatrists have billed millions of dollars each year to Medicare Part D (prescriptions).

Concerned by the use of psychotropic drugs on military personnel and veterans, CCHR’s complaints noted that UHS developed a Patriot Support Program, providing treatment for active duty members in the Armed Forces. Veterans and their families are also treated in UHS behavioral facilities. Shadow Mountain accepts Tricare and VA insurance. CCHR welcomes any DOD investigation into potential fraudulent Tricare billing.

Senator Grassley also wrote to the Joint Commission, an accrediting organization that conducts surveys of healthcare facilities, asking to explain how it came to award a “Gold Seal of Approval” to Shadow Mountain.

In response, the Joint Commission sent inspectors to Shadow Mountain who found “evidence of non-compliance of standards” in at least eight areas, including provision of care, treatment and services. Senator Grassley wasn’t happy about this and sent another letter calling on The Joint Commission for more transparency about what the surveyors had found, including releasing the hospital’s full accreditation reports to the public.

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-HHS) have been investigating UHS’s behavioral facilities. Currently, there are 26 of these facilities under investigation for potential billing fraud in nine states—Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia. In 2015, UHS’s headquarters in Pennsylvania was also added to the investigations.

Five years after the Federal investigations began UHS’s track record hasn’t changed.  On April 10, 2017, the state of Massachusetts filed a suit against UHS in federal court, accusing it of illegally charging Medicaid for outpatient mental health care by unqualified staff. As Modern Healthcare reported, “UHS this year has faced scrutiny” over allegations that the “for-profit hospital operator kept psychiatric patients longer than necessary to milk their insurance.” Massachusetts has asked for treble damages on the just over $94.2 million in reimbursements it made to UHS between 2005 and 2013, as well as civil penalties, or a total of more than $282 million.

UHS has continued to receive annual Medicaid revenues in excess of $100 million from each of California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Washington, D.C., Nevada, and Virginia—or greater than $800 million a year, according to UHS’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing in December 2016.

Overhaul Needed of For-Profit Behavioral Industry

CCHR has also pointed out in its many complaints that there needs to be an overhaul of how for-profit behavioral facilities are able to repeatedly be investigated for patient abuse and poor conditions by state health care agencies and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and be continually funded by CMS, because they only need submit CMS “Correction Plans” and/or Corporate Integrity Agreements (CIAs), and are able to continue operating—only to repeat the offenses.

In August 2015, CMS said it would cut Medicare and Medicaid funding to UHS’s Timberlawn hospital in Dallas, Texas. The hospital had flunked multiple safety inspections, including the monitoring of suicidal patients, and had failed to make promised improvements. CMS inspectors also found Timberlawn workers had falsified records to avoid scrutiny in a patient-harm case. Timberlawn had already come under investigation in April 2013 for allegations of Medicare fraud and improper treatment of Medicaid patients. There were allegations then that suicidal patients were not properly monitored.

Despite this and CMS terminating Timberlawn’s contract on August 31, 2015, CMS subsequently allowed UHS and Timberlawn to reapply for the CSM program. In March, 2016, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) moved to close Timberlawn, revoke its license and impose a $1 million fine over safety breaches that included a suicide and violent fights among patients. As of August that year, DSHS had not enforced the fine.

In 2013, The Boston Globe reported on repeated citations for understaffing ad poor worker training at UHS facilities. Then on 9 February 2017, they reported that when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited UHS’s Arbour-HRI psychiatric hospital for lack of staff safety due to assaults on staff by patients (often prescribed psychotropic drugs that can induce or increase violent behavior), OSHA issued a five-page citation on January 19, but the facility was only fined $12,675.

In November 2016, the Service Employees International Union opposed UHS’s application to establish a psychiatric facility in Wilsonville, Washington County, Oregon, citing: “UHS has repeatedly been the subject of news reports, lawsuits, and state and federal regulatory citations for failing to provide a safe care setting to prevent suicide incidents within their facilities.” SEIU also pointed out that while “UHS touts Joint Accreditation as a marker of quality care, many of its Joint Commission-accredited facilities have had serious quality of care breakdowns, some of which even involved patient deaths.”

Expanding the Potential Abuse into the U.K.

The fact that UHS is allowed to acquire or establish any new psychiatric facility while under federal investigation is astonishing, CCHR says. It has also been allowed to expand its behavioral empire in the United Kingdom, where it acquired the Cygnet psychiatric hospital chain in 2014, then completed its acquisition of another chain, Cambian Group, PLC’s Adult Services Division in December 2016. UHS now owns 102 psychiatric facilities in the U.K. In November 2015, CCHR wrote the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the National Health Service (NHS) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) warning about the allegations against UHS’s psychiatric operations in the U.S.

Mental Health Fraud is Systemic

The private for-profit mental health system requires greater oversight. Governments must learn from the systemic abuse that was previously exposed. Over the past two decades, CCHR has documented over $3.7 billion in criminal and civil fraud settlements and fines in the behavioral hospital sector. It says existing investigations into the for-profit mental health industry should be widened, with accountability and results shown for funds expended on it.

In the 1990s, CCHR led a campaign to expose the shocking fraud committed in the private mental health sector, namely in National Medical Enterprises (NME) facilities and Charter Behavioral Health hospitals. It provided evidence then on fraud to law enforcement and the FBI.  In summary:

  • In 1993, in one of the biggest health care fraud investigations undertaken at that time, there were multi-Federal agency raids on NME. The company paid over $379 million in criminal and civil fines to the Federal government. NME became Tenet Healthcare in 1995.
  • Charter Behavioral Healthcare bought NME’s facilities in 1994, and following DOJ and HHS investigations, in 2000 Charter filed for bankruptcy. It also agreed to pay $7 million to settle allegations of overcharging Medicare and other federal programs. UHS then bought 12 of Charter’s mental health facilities.
  • In 2010, UHS also bought out Psychiatric Solutions Inc. (PSI), including its then legal liabilities. This included a lawsuit against PSI filed on September 21, 2009 on behalf of shareholders over allegations that “PSI failed to sufficiently staff its facilities, resulting in alarming incidents of abuse, neglect, and even death of its patients, and downplayed the significance of these events when they became public.”  The case settled for $65 million in 2015. All but one of the current corporate officers of another company that owns psychiatric facilities, Acadia Healthcare, is a previous owner and/or officer of PSI.
  • Hospital Corp of America (HCA) was originally Columbia Corporation. In 1997, HCA/Columbia was indicted for Medicare fraud and to settle the civil and criminal charges against it, it paid $1.74 billion in fines. The Chief Strategy Office of HCA (who up until recently was the president of its behavioral services) is the former co-chief operating officer of PSI.

A $50 Billion Industry Sets its Sights on More Patients

UHS, Acadia Healthcare, equity firms and consultants on behavioral health mergers saw the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, as a “mental health gold rush.” By 2014, IBIS World estimated the U.S. behavioral health market would be about $50 billion in revenues. The major players were (and remain): UHS, Acadia HealthCare, Tenet Healthcare and HCA Holdings. Globally, it is estimated that the behavioral “rehabilitation” market is expected to reach $313.9 billion by 2025. The major mergers and acquisitions include those U.K. acquisitions by UHS and Acadia Healthcare which acquired the U.K.-based Priory Group.

The UHS scandal is symptomatic of a system that there are insufficient controls and accountability, where fraud can be committed against government programs, and those responsible continue to operate, including the psychiatrists treating hundreds of thousands of Americans in such facilities.

When patients’ welfare and lives are potentially put at risk, it shouldn’t take CMS officers being forced to threaten to terminate contracts to get one of the largest psychiatric hospital chains in the nation to do the right thing—ensuring their subsidiary hospitals maintain CMS standards at all times. It shouldn’t take more than one Plan of Correction to ensure safeguards to prevent sexual assault of patients—by fellow residents or staff. Or to ensure that patients are never neglected to the point that they commit suicide or are restrained to the point of being harmed and even killed.

CCHR continues to call for not only Federal and State investigations but effective action that shuts down a failed and abusive psychiatric-behavioral system that seems to put profit before patients.


Related Topics:

Psychiatry is Misleading Public about Mental Disorders*

Forced Psychiatric Treatments Expanded under Fast Track Bill Before Senate*

U.S. Govt Exposed for Forcing Foster Kids, Even Toddlers to Take Dangerous Psychotropic Drugs*

Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants*

Australia Pre-Drugging Kids and Psychosis Risk Syndrome*

NYPD a Law unto Themselves Forces Photographer Shaun Thomas into a Psych Ward Again*

Study Finds Antipsychotic Drugs Shrinks the Brain*

Psychology Research Really Is Just ‘Psycho-Babble’*

‘She went on to Prove Psychiatry Wrong and became a U.N. Advisor*

Three Senior Psychologists Fired After US Torture Scandal*

For Trying to Protect his Children from Wi-Fi, Father is Given Psychotic Drugs*

FBI Psychiatrist Forcibly Committed for not Fulfilling NWO Agenda*

Drug Free Psychiatry and Beyond Globalized Eugenics

Psychiatry as Torture of the Mentally Ill

Catalonia Independence Vote Rejected by Spanish Government*

Catalonia Independence Vote Rejected by Spanish Government*

People hold “Estelada” flags, a symbol of Catalan pro-independence, at the Catalonia Parliament in Barcelona, Spain, January 10, 2016 | Photo: Reuters

Regional head, Carles Puigdemont, is calling for a secessionist referendum in October.

In an increasingly bitter dispute, the Spanish government says it will block any attempt to further an independence process in Catalonia.

The northeastern region has called for a secession referendum on October 1.

A Spanish government spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo said

“Any move that evolves from an announcement to a fact will be appealed …that referendum will not take place because it is illegal.”

Catalonia is a populous, wealthy region with its own capital of Barcelona and its own Catalan language

Previous independence challenges have been blocked by Spain’s conservative government and the Constitutional Court.

The Catalan government has yet to formally sign off on its announced referendum.

“The question will be: ‘Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic’,” Carles Puigdemont, president of the government of Catalonia, said.

Puigdemont added that attempts to agree to the date and the wording of the question with the Madrid government had failed and left him with no other choice than to move unilaterally.

“We have always made very diverse offers and all of them have been rejected without any exception,” Puigdemont said.

Some 2 million people voted in favour of secession in a 2014 non-binding ballot, though turnout was relatively low.

It is not clear how far the legal wrangling may go this time as the Catalan regional government has said it would throw all its weight behind the vote.

Under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene directly in the running of Catalonia’s regional government, forcing it to drop the referendum.

This could involve sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s authority as a last resort.


Related Topics:

Why Catalonia Is Formally Breaking Up With Spain*

Spanish Banks, Obama et al Threaten Financial Meltdown if Catalonia Votes for Independence*

1.8mn Catalonians Rally for Independence from Spain*

Syrians Report U.S. Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K*

Syrians Report U.S. Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K*

The same entities that condemned the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons have become eerily silent in the face of reports that suggest a U.S.-backed coalition committed the same crime.

By Rachel Blevins

The outrage and empathy on behalf of the civilians in Syria that was expressed by politicians and media personalities alike when they found an opportunity to blame a chemical attack on Assad’s government was a distant memory this week. Instead, reports that a U.S.-backed coalition dropped a cluster of airstrikes containing illegal chemicals on a city housing 200,000 people was almost completely ignored by western media.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) broke into the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa for the first time on Tuesday. While popular outlets such as Reuters reported that “as artillery and coalition aircraft pounded targets in the city, SDF fighters moved in small groups into the district,” there were some key aspects they appeared to leave out.

International outlets and witnesses on Twitter noted that some of the airstrikes resembled cluster bombs or white phosphorus, both of which are internationally banned on residential areas.

Xinhua News, China’s state press agency, reported that

 “Tens of civilians were killed on Thursday when the U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syria’s northern city of Raqqa with white phosphorus,” citing a report from Syria’s Sham FM radio.

Russia’s reported that

Coalition forces led by the United States of America shell Raqqa and suburbs of white phosphorus munitions,” citing reports on Twitter, which said the U.S.-backed coalition conducted 20 air raids.

Although the total number of civilian deaths has not been confirmed, early reports suggest that nearly 50 people were killed. The U.S. has yet to acknowledge whether white phosphorus was used during the raids.

White phosphorus is described as an “incendiary and toxic chemical substance used as a filler in a number of different munitions that can be employed for a variety of military purposes.”

The chemical was banned internationally after the 1980 Protocol on Incendiary Weapons restricted the “use of incendiary weapons as a means or method of warfare during armed conflict.”

The use of chemical weapons is clearly prohibited in international armed conflicts. The International Committee of the Red Cross noted that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

If the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are successful in regaining control of Raqqa from ISIS, then the question remains of who will control the city moving forward. The SDF announced plans in April to run the city using a civilian council—with the help of more than 3,000 U.S. ground troops—which would further a divided Syria, and would keep the U.S. is at odds with Assad’s government.

The same president who claimed to be heartbroken over the “innocent babies” who were reportedly killed in April in a chemical attack that was immediately blamed on Assad’s government—despite evidence that suggested otherwise—has said nothing about the reports that suggest his country could be guilty of the same crime he condemned.

While it is not likely that the United States will fully address the reports, it should be noted that by remaining silent, the mainstream media is also reminding the public of its hypocritical nature.

The same MSM that provides obsessive coverage of everything President Trump posts on Twitter, has seemingly ignored the flurry of Tweets from various users suggesting the use of chemical weapons by a U.S.-backed coalition.


Related Topics:

ISIS Launches 2nd Chemical Attack in Mosul in 2 Days, Injures 6 Iraqi Soldiers*

Israeli Submarine Set-up for Syrian Gas Attacks*

Attacks on Damascus Population Described by Resident British Journalist*

Syrian chemical False Flag use of Dummies Identified*

U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS Chemical Weapon Facilities to Cover-up their Tracks*

Nun Exposes Syrian Chemical Hoax*

U.N. Confirmed Syrian Rebels, Not Assad, Were Using Sarin*

German Paper Admits Ghouta Sarin Attack in Syria Committed By U.S.- backed Al-Qaeda*

Turkish MP Faces Treason Charges after Admitting ISIS Used Turkey for Transiting Sarin*

The Day after the U.K. Election*

The Day after the U.K. Election*

Related Topics:

U.K.’s Conservative Party are now facing Criminal Charges for Election Expenses Fraud*

U.K. Brexit Election 08 June 2017*

Scottish Parliament defies U.K. and Backs Independence Referendum*

U.K.’s Overhaul of Official Secrets Act Will Give Journalists 14 years in Jail for Publishing Sensitive Info.*

U.K. PM Bows to Pressure to Spell out ‘Brexit Plan’ Details*

London Attacks: Just a Camouflage

Manchester Terror Attack: Rallying the Youth Around the Occult Elite*

Proof That Britain’s E.U. Brexit Referendum Was Rigged*


Syrian Army, Hezbollah Reaches Border with Iraq for the First Time in Years*

Syrian Army, Hezbollah Reaches Border with Iraq for the First Time in Years*

By Chris Tomson

Late on Friday afternoon, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah and allied Iraqi paramilitary contingents dashed through southeastern Homs and reached an Iraqi border point, thus slicing adrift the frontline between rebel forces based in the Al-Tanf region and ISIS militants in the neighbouring Deir Ez-zor governorate.

Unopposed by the U.S. Airforce and its vetted Syrian proxies, the SAA and its allies drove through over 40 kilometres of abandoned desert territory and managed to link up with an Iraqi garrison across the border.

The advance was confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense and an Hezbollah-linked outlet moments ago.

Effectively, the SAA is now able to reopen trade between Damascus and Baghdad. Government forces have not controlled any parts of the largely ISIS-controlled border with Iraq since 2014.

In addition, Hezbollah is now able to be supplied with weapons from Tehran via an all-important land route. Previously, the Lebanese group relied on complicated airlifts for new armaments.


Related Topics:

Iraqi Army Temporarily Bans Burqa, Niqab to Protect Civilians in Mosul*

Torturers, Plunderers, and Looters Are Back in Iraq*

Life returns to Hammar Marshes, Iraq*

U.S. Tax Dollars and Companies Support Sex Traffickers in Iraq*

Trump Authorizes the Pentagon to Manage Troops on the Ground in Iraq and Syria*

West Finds New Pretext to Interfere and Extend the Syrian Conflict*

U.S.-led Coalition Destroys pro-Government Forces within Deconfliction Zone in Syria – Pentagon*

Syria Opens Its First Solar-Powered Hospital*

Syrian Army Encircles ISIS Last Stronghold in Aleppo*

America’s New Syrian Army*

Int’l Coalition’s Strike on Syrian Forces is Flagrant Violation of Syria’s Sovereignty*

First Recorded Song about Racism is Absolutely Bone Chilling*

First Recorded Song about Racism is Absolutely Bone Chilling*

By Dylan Charles

With such a great deal of concern over racism, hate and division these days, it seems that the human race is so terribly fractured that it will take a miracle of sorts to unite us before we kill each other off entirely. We are in need of healing, and music is the one force of nature that has the power to inspire the awakening of humanity within even the most callous of souls.

Even the saddest of songs can make a painful truth universally bearable, and in America’s dark history of slavery, segregation and injustice, one remarkable composition has achieved just that. Strange Fruit, as performed by renowned jazz musician Billie Holliday was America’s first recorded song about racism, and is a haunting reminder of why we still struggle to understand our relationship with one another in this melting pot.

“Billie Holiday’s ‘strange fruit’ is part of the jazz singers lexicon for good reason. I’ve sung it in nightclubs and, ironically at fancy brunches in 5-star hotels where African Americans used to have to enter through the back door. People respond to its weight, its sadness. It touches them even when they don’t know what the song is about. The lyrics – ‘strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees’ and ‘bloody roots and bloody leaves’ are hard to ignore.

If Rosa Parks helped to unsettle the apple cart that day on the bus, Billie Holiday’s rendition of this song reminds us Southerners just how crooked our past was every time we hear it. In my opinion nothing keeps us accountable like music. It’s emotions don’t lie.” ~Christina Sarich

Billie Holiday was considered by many to be the finest female jazz vocalist ever to live, although she died of the spiritual disease alcoholism in 1959. She carried herself with a moving, lonely, solemnity, clearing bearing the weight of tremendous suffering.

Revered as one of songs that actually did change history, Strange Fruit was one of Ms. Holiday’s most famous recordings, directly addressing the horrors of racism, and still stands as one of the most harrowing and painful musical journeys ever published.

Recorded in 1939 for Commodore Records and eventually selling over a million copies, it was actually written by a Jewish white man from the Bronx named Abel Meeropol who wrote a poem after being inspired by one of the most iconic and gruesome photographs ever taken of the human rights struggle for blacks in America, the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith.

“Eighty years ago, two young African-American men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched in the town center of Marion, Ind. The night before, on Aug. 6, 1930, they had been arrested and charged with the armed robbery and murder of a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and the rape of his companion, Mary Ball.

That evening, local police were unable to stop a mob of thousands from breaking into the jail with sledgehammers and crowbars to pull the young men out of their cells and lynch them.

News of the lynching spread across the world. Local photographer Lawrence Beitler took what would become the most iconic photograph of lynching in America. The photograph shows two bodies hanging from a tree surrounded by a crowd of ordinary citizens, including women and children. Thousands of copies were made and sold. The photograph helped inspire the poem and song “Strange Fruit” written by Abel Meeropol — and performed around the world by Billie Holiday.” [Source]

The first time Ms. Holliday sang the song it was clear that it would become an American icon.

“The night that she first sang ‘Strange Fruit’ [at Cafe Society in New York] ‘there wasn’t even a patter of applause when I finished,’ she later wrote in her autobiography. ‘Then a lone person began to clap nervously. Then, suddenly, everybody was clapping.’ The applause grew louder and a bit less tentative as ‘Strange Fruit’ became a nightly ritual for Holiday, then one of her most successful records, then one of her signature songs, at least in those places where it was safe to perform.” ~David Margolick, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song

It’s the kind of song that inspires people to write whole books, as David Margolick did in Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Songwhere he tells the story of how this one song so deeply affected an entire nation, even stirring some to commit violence.

Regarding the cultural atmosphere of the times Margolick notes:

“Lynchings — during which blacks were murdered with unspeakable brutality, often in a carnival-like atmosphere, and then, with the acquiescence if not the complicity of local authorities, hung from trees for all to see — were rampant in the South following the Civil War and for many years thereafter. According to figures kept by the Tuskegee Institute — conservative figures — between 1889 and 1940, 3,833 people were lynched; ninety percent of them were murdered in the South, and four-fifths of them were black.

Lynchings tended to occur in poor, small towns — often taking the place the famed newspaper columnist H.L. Mencken once said, ‘of the merry-go-round, the theater, the symphony orchestra.’ … And they were meted out for a host of alleged offenses — not just for murder, theft and rape, but for insulting a white person, boasting, swearing or buying a car. In some instances, it was no infraction at all; it was just time to remind ‘uppity’ blacks to stay in their place. …” ~David Margolick, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song

The national atmosphere was so charged with violence at the time, but Strange Fruit today offers a historical compass for our current times as it serves as an agonizing reminder that things could definitely be worse than they are today.


Lyrics to Strange Fruit

 Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Final Thoughts

My hunch is that more compassion is needed from all sides as the human race moves into an evermore integrated and compassionate future, and music is the one force of nature that has the inexplicable power to inspire the awakening of humanity within even the most callous of souls. The voice of Billie Holliday is truly one of the greatest treasures ever gifted to human ears, as haunting as it is.


Related Topics:

‘No to racism’: Around 30K in London March against Discrimination*

Trump Blocked From Addressing U.K. Parliament for ‘Racism and Sexism’*

Filmmaker Ken Burns Delivers a Brilliant Explanation about Why Racism Dominates U.S. History*

A Giant on the Topic of Black Identity and Racism Dies at 80*

Black-Palestinian Alliance Emerges to Confront Global Violence and Racism*

My Journey from Racism*

The Black Madonnas of Europe: Between Racism and Hidden Adoration*

The Innate Racism of Israel: Ashkenazi Jews Exterminating Arab Jews*

“THAT Would be Reverse Racism”

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: 12 Years a Slave, Racism & Black Cowardice