09 August 2006

Censorship: An American Tradition...?

With each passing day, our country seems to travel further back in time. I have no doubt that shit like this is going on today under the Bu$h Administration...


Buffy Sainte-Marie's Censored Sounds

Posted: August 09, 2006
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

PHOENIX - Nearly two decades after Cree singer and songwriter Buffy
song ''Universal Soldier'' was released and shipments
of her records mysteriously disappeared, the truth of the censorship
and suppression by the U.S. government became public.

Now, in federal court, Charles August Schlund III stated he is a
covert operative and supports Sainte-Marie's assertions that the
United States took action to suppress rock music because of its role
in rallying opposition to the Vietnam War.

Sainte-Marie says she was blacklisted and, along with other American
Indians in the Red Power movements, was put out of business in the

''I found out 10 years later, in the 1980s, that [President] Lyndon
Johnson had been writing letters on White House stationary praising
radio stations for suppressing my music,'' Sainte-Marie said in a
1999 interview with Indian Country Today at Dine' College.

''In the 1970s, not only was the protest movement put out of
business, but the Native American movement was attacked,'' Sainte-
Marie said.

In an affidavit to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit against President
George W. Bush and others, Schlund alleged he has been tortured in
his attempts to reveal the truth about the Bush family's
manipulation of U.S. voting results and the Drug Enforcement
Agency's covert drug supplies to black communities.

Detailing the assassinations of the Kennedys and exposing the ''Don
Bolles'' papers, named after the murdered Phoenix news reporter,
Schlund said he remains alive today because of FBI protection.

Schlund, who said he previously worked in the covert drug operations
in Phoenix, said rock music posed a threat to the United States and
played a role in opposition to the Vietnam War.

In his federal court affidavit, Schlund said he has knowledge
of ''the detailed plans for the break-up and destruction of rock n'
roll music including the assassinations of many people to achieve
their goals. The detailed plans to replace rock n' roll music with
all-American music called country western.''

''This massive CIA and DEA covert operation was being conducted to
stop political overtones in the rock n' roll music and to stop
foreign influences on Americans caused by the exposure to foreign
music. This operation was conducted because the Rockefellers had
lost the Vietnam War because of the protest that was in part
directly linked with rock n' roll music. In these files, the
Rockefellers had needed the natural resources of Vietnam for the
expansion of their corporate empire and they blamed the loss of the
war in part on rock n' roll music.

''The assassinations started long before Vietnam but the plans to
replace rock n' roll with country western music started during the
Vietnam War and have continued to the present,'' Schlund stated to
the court.

In his federal court affidavits filed in Maricopa County in Arizona,
Schlund also stated that singer Buddy Holly, killed in an airplane
crash in 1959, was considered a threat to the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, Sainte-Marie said she cut a singular path as she was
being censored in the '60s and '70s.

''I usually didn't do what other people did. You didn't find me at
peace marches. I was out in Indian country.''

Earlier, a young Bob Dylan heard Sainte-Marie sing in Greenwich
Village and recommended she perform at the Gaslight, another hangout
of the avant garde. Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and Tracy Chapman
were among those soon recording her lyrics. On the road, she
traveled the world and received a medal from Queen Elizabeth II.

During this time, Sainte-Marie was selling more records than ever in
Canada and Asia. But in the United States, her records were
disappearing. Thousands of people at concerts wanted records.
Although the distributor said the records had been shipped, no one
seemed to know where they were. One thing was for sure: They were
not on record store shelves.

''I was put out of business in the United States.''

Later, Sainte-Marie discovered the censorship and pressure applied
to radio stations by Johnson during the Vietnam era, particularly
toward ''Universal Soldier'' during the anti-war movement.

Sainte-Marie said Native people were put out of business, not just
because they were succeeding in Indian country, but because they
were succeeding in the broader community. She and others were a
threat to the moneymakers of concert halls, uranium and oil, she

Then, fellow activist and Santee poet John Trudell's wife, mother-in-
law and children were burned to death in a mysterious house fire
shortly after Trudell burned an American flag in Washington, D.C.,
Feb. 11, 1979.

''I was just one person put out of business. John Trudell is just
another person whose life was put out of business. Anna Mae Aquash
and Leonard Peltier were put out of the living business - we were
made ineffective,'' Sainte-Marie said of slain American Indian
Movement activist Aquash and imprisoned Peltier.

But Sainte-Marie continued with her music and efforts with children
after becoming a familiar face on ''Sesame Street.'' In the 1990s,
from her home in Hawaii, she created the Cradleboard Teaching
to link American Indian students with other students online
around the world.

Remembering the 1970s and Trudell, Sainte-Marie said, ''We just kept
chugging on. We kept coming to Indian country. We didn't worry about
the fortune and fame because we went with our sincerity, our hearts
and with our friends.''

Those years, however, were filled with pain.

''It was hard - seeing people hurt,'' she said


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