Alternet: World´s Most Evil and Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government

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AlterNet [1]             /               By Fred Branfman [2]

         Please, read whole, very Long article with ALTERNET; LINK ABOVE.

World’s Most Evil and Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government


June 26, 2013  |

  Editor’s Note: The following is the latest in a series [3] on the Executive Branch of the United States

America has a secret. It is not discussed in polite company or at the dinner tables of the powerful, rich and famous.

Parents do not teach it to their children. Best-selling authors do not write about it. Politicians and government officials ignore it. Intellectuals avoid it. High school and college textbooks do not refer to it. TV pundits do not comment on it. Teachers do not teach it. Journalists from the nation’s most highly regarded TV news shows, newspapers and magazines, do not report it. Columnists do not opine about it. Editorial writers do not editorialize about it. Religious leaders do not sermonize about it. Think tanks and professors do not study it. Lawyers do not litigate it and judges do not rule on it.

The courageous few who do not keep this secret, who try to break through to their fellow citizens about it, are marginalized and ignored by society at large.

To begin to understand the magnitude of this secret, imagine that you get into your car in New York City, and set out for a drive south, staying overnight in Washington DC, a four-hour drive. As you leave, you look out your window to the left and see a row of bodies, laid end to end, running alongside you all the way to DC.

You spend the night there, and set out early the next morning for Charleston, South Carolina, an 11-hour drive. Again, looking out your window, you see the line of bodies continues, hour after hour. You are struck that most are middle-aged or older men and women, younger women, or children. You arrive in Charleston, check into your hotel, have a good meal, and get up early the next morning to drive to Miami, another 12-hour drive. And once again, hour after hour, the line of bodies continues, all the way to your destination.

If you can imagine such a drive you can begin to get a feeling for former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara‘s mid-range estimate of 1.2 million civilians killed by U.S. firepower in Vietnam. (The U.S. Senate Refugee Committee estimated 430,000 civilian dead at the end of the war. Later estimates as more information has become available, e.g. by Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Movesput [4] the number as high as 2 million.)

And the secret that is never discussed is far larger. To the 430,000 to 2 million civilians killed in Vietnam must be added those killed in Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other nations (see below), all those wounded and maimed for life, and the many millions more forced to leave villages in which their families had lived for centuries to become penniless refugees. All told, U.S. Executive Branch leaders – Democrat and Republicans, conservative and liberal—have killed wounded and made homeless well over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years, mostly civilians.  ….

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With 80.000 Prisoners in Solitary Confinement, the U.S. Holds More People inSegregation Than Other Countries Have In Their Entire Prison Systems

Root Of Evilblog-stopsoltry-iachr-500x280-v01Solitary Confinement Misused In Pennsylvania Prison: Feds

Check out this great video I am watching over at VIDEO

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal civil rights investigation has concluded that a state prison in western Pennsylvania kept inmates with serious mental illness in solitary confinement for months or even years at a time.

The State Correctional Institution at Cresson violated the constitutional rights of inmates with mental illness and intellectual disabilities by keeping them in their cells 22 to 23 hours a day, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. It said the prison used solitary confinement as a means of warehousing mentally ill inmates because of serious deficiencies in its mental health program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections plans to close Cresson, but the Justice Department said the misuse of solitary confinement could extend to prisons statewide. The department is expanding its probe to include all state prisons.

The administration of first-term GOP Gov. Tom Corbett said it will review the findings and continue to cooperate with the Justice Department probe.

Corbett’s Corrections secretary, John Wetzel, identified mental health as an area needing improvement early in the governor’s tenure, and has been working on improvements, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said Friday night.

Cresson’s misuse of solitary caused mental strain, depression, psychosis, self-mutilation and suicide, the investigation found. Cresson also denied the prisoners basic necessities and used excessive force, the federal agency said.

“We found that Cresson often permitted its prisoners with serious mental illness or intellectual disabilities to simply languish, decompensate, and harm themselves in solitary confinement for months or years on end under harsh conditions in violation of the Constitution,” Roy L. Austin Jr., deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement.

The Justice Department said Wetzel and his staff are cooperating fully with the probe and have been receptive to the agency’s concerns.

McNaughton said the staff has been trained in crisis intervention for mentally ill offenders, and that a new policy will place seriously mentally ill inmates in treatment when they first enter the system, among other improvements.

“Systemic improvements do not and cannot occur overnight, but we have a better system today than we did a year ago, and we are confident we will have a better system next year than we do today,” McNaughton said via email.


Suicide Rates Soar Among Middle-Aged US Adults

Suicide rate in Hungary (1950-2010)

Suicide rate in Hungary (1950-2010) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chart showing he circumstances for su...

English: Chart showing he circumstances for suicide in 16 states in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted by talesfromthelou on June 1, 2013

PressTVSuicide rates soar among middle-aged US adults.

PressTV -

Saturday Jun 01, 2013

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans has increased during recent decade.

The suicide rate among adults 35-64 in both white people and American Indians jumped from nearly 14 per 100,000 people in 1999 to almost 18 in 2010, the CDC reported.

The researchers also indicated that middle-aged people accounted for some 57% of suicides in the United States.

Suicides by American Indians increased 65% from more than 11 per 100,000 to almost 19 in the decade while the rate among white people rose 40%, from 16 per 100,000 to 22.

Other studies had earlier shown that the risk of suicide was substantially larger for unmarried than for married people.

The CDC experts also stressed that there was little change in the rate among middle-aged African American, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups.

They also noted that the rates in younger and older people held steady.

Though the causes behind suicide trend among middle-aged have not been investigated, “one factor may be cultural differences in willingness to seek help during tough times”, one of the authors of the CDC report Thomas Simon explained.


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Death penalty statutes in the united states

Death penalty statutes in the united states (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Death row survivors want meeting with governor; Legislation goal: Cut prison time prior to execution

In the wake of Elmer Carroll’s execution Wednesday, many who oppose the death penalty gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Carroll was sentenced to death for the 1990 rape and murder of 10-year-old Christine McGowan.

In the crowd of 2-dozen opponents were 2 of 24 men whom Florida sentenced to death, then released after they were found to be innocent.

“I am No. 24, Seth Penalver, exonerated last year in the state of Florida,” Penalver said.

“There are more innocent people on death row. It’s not something new. It’s ongoing,” said Mark Elliot, of Floridians Against the Death Penalty.

“For every 3 executed, you have 1 innocent,” Penalver said. “We have a problem here. I have a letter here from over 40 people exonerated from death row from across the United States of America.”

Penalver and another man who was exonerated went to the Capitol to tell their story to Gov. Rick Scott in hopes of convincing him not to sign legislation to speed up executions, but Scott was out of town.

The goal of legislation being sent to the governor is to cut the time on death row from 13 years to 10 years, but 8 of the people who have been exonerated were there more than a decade.

While the 2 men waited for a meeting, they questioned the state’s track record. Wednesday’s execution was the 76th in recent years, and 2 more executions are set for June.

A 27-year-old Tampa death penalty opponent, Kurt Wadsworth Jr., is walking 2,000 miles across Florida in an effort to convince Scott not to sign legislation speeding up the death penalty. The death penalty opponent says people have been reaching out since he began his walk a week ago.

“Instead of waiting for the right political moment or waiting for the right politician or waiting for the right piece of legislation, I have two feet, and I get up and I start walking and start talking to people,” Wadsworth said. “As I’m walking down the street, there are people pulling over to thank me. They bring food, sometimes they bring ice cream. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of support.”

Wadsworth began his walk in Pensacola a week ago. He traveled by car to Tallahassee on Thursday to take part in a protest of the death penalty and is being driven back to the Panhandle so he can resume his 2,000-mile walk.


Bertolt Brecht: “Es gibt viele Arten zu toeten….”

Bertolt Brecht „The victory of the reason can ...

Bertolt Brecht „The victory of the reason can only win the sensibles” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

„Es gibt viele Arten zu töten. Man kann einem ein Messer in den Bauch stechen, einem das Brot entziehen, einen von einer Krankheit nicht heilen, einen in eine schlechte Wohnung stecken, einen durch Arbeit zu Tode schinden, einen zum Suizid treiben, einen in den Krieg führen usw. Nur weniges davon ist in unserem Staat verboten.“
Bertolt Brecht

Hanna Arendt

Adolf Eichmann Younger 1916 Source 参照書籍; Adolf...

Adolf Eichmann Younger 1916 Source 参照書籍; Adolf Eichmann Engineer of Death By Ruth Sachs; History of the SS By G. S. Graber; Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil By Hannah Arendt; Genocide: An Anthropological Reader By Alexander Laban Hinton; Author Ronald Leo Ricado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: 100. Geburtstag Hannah Arendt, Foto u...

Deutsch: 100. Geburtstag Hannah Arendt, Foto und Signatur Hannah Arendt: Hannah Arendt Bluecher Literary Trust, New York, USA; Manuskriptauszug: Georges Borchardt Inc., New York, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hannah Arendt, Guilty Pleasure

Thrill to the Jewish Philosopher Queen as she does battle with boring Nazis, The New Yorker, and Mossad

By J. Hoberman|May 24, 2013 12:00 AM

You can keep Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III. My guilty pleasure this week is Hannah Arendt (premiering [1] at New York’s Film Forum May 29), the latest collaboration between actress Barbara Sukowa and director Margarethe von Trotta. Guilt, of course, being the operative word.

How to characterize the movie’s protagonist? Hannah Arendt (1906-1976) was that German-Jewish wild child who embarked on a teenaged love affair with a married professor twice her age, the philosopher king (and future Nazi) Martin Heidegger; who wrote her dissertation on the concept of love in the writings of St. Augustine; who, costumed as a harem girl, met her first husband attending a Marxist-sponsored masquerade ball at Berlin’s Museum of Ethnology. The young Hannah smoked cigars and exhibited an intellect so dazzling that her mainly Jewish cohort nicknamed her Pallas Athena. She messed with future colleague Leo Strauss’ mind, was arrested only weeks after the post-Reichstag Nazi seizure of power for engaging in illegal Zionist activities, then smuggled herself out of Germany and into Paris (where she directed the local branch of the Youth Aliyah) only to be “interned” by Vichy before escaping again.

Arendt arrived in America carrying a cache of manuscripts entrusted to her by Walter Benjamin—appropriate in that, more than any other individual, she brought the culture of Weimar Jewish intellectuals to New York. She wrote for the German-Jewish press, worked for Schocken (where she edited the second edition of Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism as well as Kafka’s Diaries), introduced American readers to novelist Hermann Broch, contributed to Partisan Review and Commentary, and addressed the central political issue of her life with The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951—the same year that she, stateless since 1933, was allowed to become an American citizen.

A decade later, Arendt traveled to Jerusalem to report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann [2], the onetime Nazi “Administrator for Jewish Affairs,” captured by the Mossad in Argentina; in the late winter of 1963, nine months after Eichmann’s execution, she all but overshadowed the trial with five articles [3] in The New Yorker that were shortly thereafter collected as Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The most scandalous Jewish-American text to appear between Sholem Asch’s The Nazarene and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Arendt’s report made “the banality of evil” a world-renowned phrase and its author the most reviled Jewish thinker since Baruch Spinoza.

Delivering a robustly physical performance, Barbara Sukowa embodies the tension between Arendt’s pure reason and her concrete emotion. Here I feel obliged to admit my own irrational affection for the actress—not just because of her turns as a Fassbinder femme fatal (in Lola) and a good-hearted Weimar whore (in Berlin Alexanderplatz), although those performances certainly got my attention, but also because she left Germany in the early ’90s and has been since living among us in Brooklyn, mainly as a singer (even with a rock band [4], The X-Patsys).


It’s not every week that you get to see a movie about an intellectual contretemps, let alone one that rocked the Jewish world. Indeed, in a way, Von Trotta and screenwriter Pamela Katz have attempted something far more difficult and potentially absurd than making a documentary, namely setting out to dramatize an upheaval in the life of the mind. The only filmmaker who has ever really turned the trick is Roberto Rossellini in his early-’70s telefilms Socrates, Descartes, and Blaise Pascal. (Would that he had also essayed Spinoza!)

Von Trotta and Katz could not possibly do justice to the outrage—and outrageous abuse—that Arendt inspired, or to the breadth of her continents-spanning life and thought. A sprinkling of flashbacks notwithstanding, it’s Arendt in Jerusalem and on Eichmann that Von Trotta considers in her film.

Greatly simplified, Arendt’s three great sins were 1) suggesting that the “desk murderer” Eichmann was a mediocre opportunist rather than the devil incarnate (and thus all the more frightening); 2) publicly discussing and denouncing the role of Nazi-appointed Jewish Councils in the Final Solution; and 3) examining the judicial basis for the trial itself. Arendt, however subtle in her analysis, was not given to understatement; still, to a large degree the tumult she inspired was a case of blaming the messenger. (For a pithy, reasoned historical contextualization of the reaction to Arendt’s report, see Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life.)

As a film, Hannah Arendt is a sort of hybrid and not just because it is half in German. The movie is a didactic docu-drama, part old-school Soviet “publicist” film in its idealized, ideological representation of historical figures, and part Hollywood biopic in its entertainingly kitschy notion of how they might have interacted in real life.

Even more fun that the introductory repartee between chain-smoking Hannah and her BFF Mary McCarthy (Janet McTeer)—with McCarthy’s reference to “wild Berliners” and Arendt’s amused, heavily accented, snort: “Wild, because we don’t marry all of our lovers?”—is the consternation caused at The New Yorker by her offer to cover the Eichmann trial. While the magazine’s circumspect editor William Shawn (Nicholas Woodeson) is intrigued, his blasé assistant Francis (Megan Gay) is unimpressed: “Philosophers don’t make deadlines.” A teenage intern (revealed in the end credits as none other than Jonathan Schell) can’t restrain himself, excitedly piping that “Hannah Arendt wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism!” “Catchy title,” Francis drawls. Cut to: Hannah, political philosopher and happy hausfrau, slicing a cabbage to make sauerkraut for her beloved second husband, Heinrich Blücher (Axel Milberg, who, unlike Sukowa or McTeer, has a strong physical resemblance to his character).

Hannah is also, as we will discover, a courageous hausfrau who is unafraid to wash her dirty laundry in public. Arriving in sunbaked Israel where she is reunited with her old friend and erstwhile Zionist mentor Kurt Blumenfeld (Michael Degen), she first worries that the Israelis are essentially staging a show trial and then has her eagerness to see Nazi evil in the flesh dashed by Eichmann’s equivocating performance: “He’s a nobody!” she tells Blumenfeld, greatly compressing the detailed descriptions of Eichmann given throughout her report, all predicated on her recognition of the gap between “the unspeakable horror of the deed and the undeniable ludicrousness of the man.”

Continue reading: The most forbidding of intellectuals [5]

The trial gets a few scenes, with Von Trotta’s use of reaction shots amid archival footage cueing Hannah’s dismay when confronted with testimony regarding the Jewish Councils that were forced or obliged to cooperate with Eichmann, although this is information that she was far more likely to have absorbed from Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews. In any case, her Israeli friends are concerned. “Your quest for truth is admirable but this time you’ve gone too far,” one says, while Blumenfeld uneasily defends her by explaining that it is Hannah’s nature to make people angry. Flashback to Heidegger (Klaus Pohl) telling the young Hannah (Friederike Becht) that “thinking is a lonely business.” (Were Hannah Arendt true socialist realism, that mantra could serve as the movie’s subtitle.) Back in the USA, The New Yorker is shaken by Hannah’s report. Shawn questions her over-the-top characterization of the Jewish Councils; snooty Francis turns abruptly ethnic. Playing pool with Mary, Hannah wonders if her tone was too “ironic”—which is one way to characterize it.

For all its studied objectivity, Eichmann in Jerusalem reads as a highly personal, even traumatized, work. What some described as Arendt’s “arrogance” was a mind-blown absence of self-censorship. The author outs herself in the book’s very first paragraph by citing the “old [Israeli] prejudice against German Jews.” She seems to regard Eichmann’s incapacity for thought as his worst crime, and, in the book’s notorious 11-page section on the Jewish Councils, effectively popularized Hilberg’s then-shocking research. (Hilberg who, like Arendt, was a Central European Jew who escaped to America on the eve of the Holocaust, never forgave her for stealing his thunder even as she replaced him as a target for the ADL, the New York Times, and Dissent alike.)

True, Arendt’s judgment on the Jewish Councils was harsh. Accused, in the movie, by one old friend of insufficient love for the Jewish people, hard-hearted Hannah logically replies that as she had “never loved any ‘people’ ” in the abstract, she cannot love the Jews. “I only love my friends—that’s the only love of which I’m capable.” Meanwhile, friends are dropping like overripe fruit amid the piles of hate mail, some of it sent by her neighbors via the doorman in her Upper West Side apartment building. Colleagues excommunicate her. She is savaged in the journals for which she used to write. Lionel Abel contributes a hatchet job for Partisan Review. Norman Podhoretz publishes an attack called “The Perversity of Brilliance” in Commentary. Both men are represented—although not named—in the movie to be dressed down by loyal Mary McCarthy. (Arendt was hardly a feminist but it’s impossible to miss the sense of a gender-based gang-up of incensed, self-righteous mansplainers.)

Meanwhile, even more dramatically, a car filled with Mossad agents stops Hannah on a country road to lay a vicious guilt trip on the plucky writer: Her report has effectively killed Kurt Blumenfeld. While it is true that Blumenfeld died, refusing to speak with Arendt, and that Eichmann trial prosecutor Gideon Hausner flew to New York to denounce her, the role of the Mossad would seem to be poetic license. Hannah Arendt is, after all, a movie.

It’s also a vehicle. With regards to Arendt’s lecture style, Mary McCarthy called her “a magnificent stage diva” and so she is here, defying her department chairman and shunned by the faculty at the (unmentioned) University of Chicago, and delivering a stirring defense of her position to a rapt audience of students. This grand finale returns the movie to the realm of courtroom drama even as it leaves us with Hannah still pondering the contradiction in her thinking—how can the “radical evil” she analyzed in The Origins of Totalitarianism also be “banal”? (Hegelians have decided that they are identical. See the third appendix of Slavoj Žižek’s Plague of Fantasies.)

Hannah Arendt is ultimately a pleasure, because Sukowa plays the most forbidding of intellectuals as a fabulous, passionate doll. Sometimes clueless, sometimes kittenish, and always, always thinking, her Hannah is not only admirable but lovable. Sukowa’s vitality succeeds in bringing at least some of Arendt’s ideas to life—it should be interesting to see the degree to which, a half century after the controversy she inspired, its embers will be rekindled.


For more of J. Hoberman’s film criticism for Tablet magazine, click here [6].

J. Hoberman, the former longtime Village Voice film critic, is a monthly film columnist for Tablet Magazine. His new book, Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema? was recently published by Verso.

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Tablet Magazine is a project of Nextbook Inc. Copyright © 2013 Nextbook Inc. All rights reserved.

12-year old little girl hangs herself after being ciberbullied by classmates



May 24, 2013

12-Year-Old Girl Hangs Herself After Being Cyberbullied By Classmates

See on – up2-21

Gabrielle Molina, 12, hanged herself in her Queens, New York home after being viciously cyber-bullied by her middle school classmates, reports the New York Post.

The pre-teen was found hanging by a belt from a ceiling fan, according to police.

See on

The Denver Post: “Colorado asks Pharmacists…”

Natasha Minsker @nminsker

CO can’t find drugs for executions, asks pharmacies for help #DeathPenalty…

13 Mar

Colorado asks pharmacists for help in securing lethal injection drug

Struggling to obtain quantities of a lethal injection drug in order to carry out the states first execution in 15 years, the Colorado Department of Corrections is now turning to pharmacists

Australia´s Aboriginal Children – The World´s Highest Suicide Rate


Australia’s Aboriginal children – The world’s highest suicide rate

by Gerry Georgatos

I reblogged this article from (THANK YOU):

February 27th, 2013

Photo – Brian Cassey

2012’s total spend on Aboriginal communities reached $25 billion yet Australia’s Aboriginal youth suicide rates remain high – cruelly disproportionate to the rest of the Australian population.

This horror is played out the world over for Indigenous peoples but Australia’s Aboriginal peoples are at the top of this tragic list.

In 2011 the United Nations State of Indigenous Peoples report found that the World’s Indigenous peoples made up one-third of the world’s poorest peoples.

Some of the reports alarming statistics include, “In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. In Australia, an Indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11. In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average. Suicide rates of indigenous peoples, particularly among youth, are considerably higher in many countries, for example, up to 11 times the national average for the Inuit in Canada.”

The Stringer has visited Aboriginal communities throughout north-western Australia –visiting the towns and communities with the worst suicide rates. The despair is evident throughout these communities.

In the Kimberley region – Western Australia’s tourist mecca, the Aboriginal homelessness rate is sky high – and in some of its towns the suicide rates are up to 100 times the national average.

In the Kimberley last year 40 young Aboriginal people took their lives.

Six of Mowanjum’s people took their lives – Mowanjum’s population is just under 300.

The tragedy is endemic throughout Australia – Last year a Northern Territory Select Committee on Youth Suicides tabled its report into youth suicide and found the obvious; that there are significantly higher rates of Aboriginal suicides when compared to the national average.

Between 2001 and 2006, the Northern Territory suicide rate for those aged 15 to 24 was 3.5 times that in the rest of the nation. The report highlighted the young ages at which Aboriginal youth were committing suicide – and the rise of young Aboriginal women suiciding.

“The suicide rate for Indigenous Territorians is particularly disturbing, with 75 per cent of suicides of children from 2007 to 2011 in the Territory being Aboriginal,” stated the report.

“For too many of our youth there is not enough hope to protect them from the impulse to end their lives.”

The suicide rate doubled for youth between ages 10 and 17 – up from 18.8 per cent to 30.1 per cent per 100,000 – in contrast to non-Aboriginal youth suicides which dropped from 4.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

The report highlighted the underlying causes to Aboriginal youth suicide as mental illness, substance abuses and sexual abuse trauma but failed to highlight acute poverty and a suite of rights denied to this day to Aboriginal peoples in many of these troubled communities – What is missing in many of these communities are the pathways and access to opportunities and to the benefits of education and hard work which the rest of Australia does have access to. These communities continue to be neglected by State and Federal Government jurisdictions and their agencies – services and layers of community infrastructure have not been grafted into these communities and instead they are dilapidated third-world environments.

The report found the rate of suicide among Aboriginal girls had increased- with girls now up to 40 per cent of suicides of children under 17.

Well known educationalist and researcher, Kabi Kabi Elder and Central Queensland University Bundaberg campus coordinator Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian said she is devastated by the rising disenfranchisement of Aboriginal youth, and the world’s highest suicide rate – of Australia’s Aboriginal children.

“Across my desk came a study that reported ‘the number of completed Indigenous suicides (in the Kimberley) last year exceeded the Australian Defence Force fatalities in Afghanistan.’ I cannot comprehend this statement. It is too much,” said Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian.

Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian has a Bachelors in Applied Sciences, Indigenous and Community Health, with a major in mental health and counselling, and a Masters in Criminal Justice.

She asks what motivates our young people to disconnect from themselves and what motivates “our brothers and sisters to disconnect from themselves and then move into that helpless hope of perhaps finding themselves in their sleep of death.”

Western Australian Aboriginal communities, challenged only by communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, have the highest suicide rates not only in the nation but in the world. Mowanjum and Derby have the highest Aboriginal youth suicide rates in Australia.

Mowanjum Council chairman, Gary Umbagai despairs at the rising death toll. “There is something dreadfully wrong in our community but what can we do?”

In Mowanjum alone, in January a 20 year old took his life while inebriated, and in March a 44 year old retrenched Aboriginal mine worker hung himself. Weeks later a young girl was found in the bush having taken her life.

In the Kimberley during those 12 months there had been 25 suicides, 21 in and around Derby and Mowanjum. More than the Australian Defence Forces fatalities in Afghanistan during the same period.

Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian said, “All around this community (Mowanjum) there is so much progress, production, affluence. What is this progress, this production, this affluence stealing from our people?”

“To read about this painful crisis, to recognise the layers of disconnection, the internal anguish, community sorrow, pain, trauma, suffering is like a microcosm of the inherent legacy of pain, torment, and suffering that our people are immersed in.”

“This is a culturally collective crisis, and it impacts upon all of us who say we are First Nations peoples. To think that his tiny little community possibly has the highest rates of suicide not just in Australia but in the world is insanity,” she said.

“I remember a beautiful strong Aboriginal woman from up Bardi Country way, Wendy, I respectfully do not use her surname here, mid 1990s, who developed for the first time in my lifetime, a great understanding of alcohol and its use and abuse amongst our people.”

“I remember her words of warning then, that because of the use of alcohol amongst our people, alcohol users would begin using at a younger and younger age. Her gravest concern way back then was about the rise in suicide,” said Mrs Yavu-Kama-Harathunian.

“We are now picking up the pieces of our loved ones.”

“How many suicides, how many more deaths will it take to open our eyes, and open our ears to the silent screaming that is coming from the hearts, and souls of those who are gone, and of those who grieve and keep screaming ‘Help…’”

In NSW, with Australia’s largest Indigenous population, the youth suicide rate is one in 100,000. In the Northern Territory, the rate is 30 deaths in 100,000. In the Kimberley, with an Indigenous population at 15,000, the rate is at a rate of 1 death in 1,200, over 80 per 100,000.

Stephen Nulgitt is from the community of Mowanjum. He works with Mowanjum’s youth to deliver pride in their cultural identity despite the neglects of mainstream Australia towards them. Mr Nulgitt’s younger brother was one of those six who took their lives last year.

“He was a happy little boy. A beautiful smile.”

That night after another brother’s birthday party Darren was found hanging from a tree.

Such is the despair in Mowanjum that no-one can see who is suffering, who is next to die.

“When you hold a lot of things inside, and you hold things in and you don’t talk to anyone, it just builds up into depression and anger,” said Mr Nulgitt.

The tree Darren hung himself from was cut down.

“My uncle came with a chainsaw and just took it away, because it kept affecting my mother.”

The tragedies are not limited to the victims of suicides – for every suicide there many more suicide attempts and self-harms. In 2011 In nearby Derby there were more than 60 Aboriginal people from the town and nearby communities such as Mowanjum who were admitted into Derby Hospital after trying to hang themselves, who self-harmed and as a result of substance abuses.

Mowanjum’s Community Director Eddie Bear said every loss is felt right throughout the community. “Everybody feels hurt, we all go through it.”

He worries so much about Mowanjum’s youth that when his young grandson goes bush he’ll follow him.

“When he takes off into the scrub, I will follow him and have a talk with him, sit with him there and talk.”

“You got to live life. You are only a young bloke.”

Mowanjum and Derby are typical of many remote communities where many children are not in school – what they see around them is dejection and despair; joblessness and aimlessness among their young adults gives them little incentive to believe in a school education. What they see depicted on television about the affluent communities and cities around Australia is not what they see in their communities.

“Poverty is a big issue.”

Mr Bear often sees the communities youth out of school, including his grandson Angelo.

“I tell Angelo, come here, why are you not in school?”

Mowanjum Community CEO Steve Austin said more needs to be done by the Government.

“Family structures are breaking down and the government agencies are not here to help them.”

“We are doing what we can to employ our people.”

Government support is needed – but that support must include the full suite of funding that would rise communities out of third-word conditions. They do not need piecemeal funding or a Northern Territory Intervention – they certainly do not want Nanny State conditions.

Despite the deaths there is no effective suicide prevention strategy being funded and administered in the Kimberley. Mr Austin said that the West Australian Government last year spent $150 million on the Derby prison – an ‘Aboriginal prison’ – while applications by the organisation for a Youth Coordinator to work with Aboriginal youth have been rejected.

“We get no help,” said Mr Austin.

“It is as if the bureaucrats do not have any idea what we are up against. I wrote to Jenny Macklin (Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs) when we lost the CDEP (Commonwealth Development Employment Program) and we did not even get an acknowledgment letter.”

According to Mr Austin the CDEP cuts were followed by a spike in suicides. Aboriginal people employed fell from 140 to 30. A direct appeal to Mrs Macklin to have the funds restored “fell on deaf ears.”

Coordinator of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), Wes Morris, said there had been two key Coronial investigations into suicide, with one in 2008 after 22 deaths at Balgo and the other inquiry in 2011.

Photo – Gerry Georgatos

Balgo endured a youth suicide rate 89 times the State average.

The 2011 Coronial inquest into the string of deaths in Balgo heard that 43 per cent of children in the town missed school during 2010.

Solvent abuse and alcohol abuse were found as contributing stressors and factors and linked to domestic, sexual and public violence. Treatment centres for solvent abuse did not exist in some of these communities. Alcohol bans have been suggested as solutions.

Since 1979, more than 100 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have banned or restricted the consumption and proliferation of alcohol in their communities. Despite the alcohol dry communities most of them still continue impoverished and without adequate local job prospects and with low expectation values.

State Coroner Alastair Hope ripped into government agencies and the lack of provisions to disadvantaged communities.