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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Billions and Billions

I wasn't really a Cosmos fan, but I found Sagan's mind a writings remarkable, if you were a fan you'll probably enjoy this:

Supernovae may Drive Evolution on Earth

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 6:00 am

Image credit: ESO

On Earth, we have an almost incomprehensible array of life. It comes in millions of different forms (the best estimate puts the figure at 8.7 million species, not counting bacteria). What’s more, these organisms are only an addition to the species that have long been extinct. What causes such diversity?

The answer seems rather simple — seemingly random genetic mutations drive evolution. These mutations are the raw materials of genetic variation; without them, evolution could not occur. But what actually drives these random mutations? Well, this is where things get a little complicated; however, new light has been shed on one possible factor – supernovae.

Cosmic rays are an assortment of sub-atomic particles that reach Earth travelling at great speeds (sometimes near the speed of light). These fast moving particles continuously bombard the Earth, and they are thought to primarily come from supernovae explosions.

As these cosmic rays reach our atmosphere they collide with other molecules, producing a shower of other particles that rain down on the surface of Earth. Most of these pass harmlessly through an organism, but some researchers think that some of the the particles may strike through the genetic material inside biological cells and slightly alter their codes. This may produce a direct mutation in the living organism, or produce a mutation in any descendants that it may produce. If this theory is true, then cosmic ray particles will be one of the biggest drivers of evolution, not just on Earth — but everywhere in the Universe!

However, this unusual relationship between distant stellar explosions and evolution on Earth doesn’t end here. In the words of Henrik Svensmark, who heads the research into the relationship between supernovae and evolution, “The biosphere seems to contain a reflection of the sky, in that the evolution of life mirrors the evolution of the Galaxy.” The findings – based on geological and astronomical data – suggest that nearby supernovae have strongly influenced the development of life over the last 500 million years.

Svensmark began by studying open star clusters where there is intense star formation and supernovae activity. He was able to map when supernovae occurred near the solar system over time, and when he compared this with the geological record, he found a remarkable correlation. It seems that when the Sun passed through the spiral arms of the Milky Way, where large stars are most common, life appeared to prosper. Combined with the tectonic activity, these two factors appear to correlate with nearly all of the variations in the diversity of life of the past 500 million years.

Marine fossils (typically invertebrates such as trilobites, as well as plants and microbes) are a very good indicator of what conditions were like, and the diversity of any life that existed at a certain point in time. When the rate of nearby supernovae is high, the level of carbon dioxide is low, and this points to the thought that plant life may have been very high – as it would use up the carbon dioxide. But plants also ‘dislike’ carbon 13, and they leave it behind. This isotope can be seen in the geological record, and the changes in the level of which further provides quantitative data to back up the theory.

There has also been a match between the patterns of particular geological periods – as they start and end with either an increase or decrease in the supernovae rate. Supernovae are thought to cause sea levels to drop, as they appear to coincide with ‘ice ages’ or glacial periods. During this time, a lot of water is stored on the land as snow and ice – so the sea level stops (we call these changes glacial-eustatic). As a result the species that dominate a certain period (be it warmer or colder) changes as each passes.

Overall, the data supports the idea that cosmic-rays are linked to climate change in the long term, and it is these climatic alterations that lead to the biological effects. The link is actually even larger than that between our climate and our own Sun’s activity! It goes to show the extent to which the Universe is intertwined; just because objects are situated many light-years away from one another, they can still have an impact in extremely significant ways.

Gotcha! Photons Seen Without Being Destroyed in a First

Scientists have used a single atom trapped in an optical resonator to detect the presence of a reflected photon without destroying that packet of light.
Scientists have used a single atom trapped in an optical resonator to detect the presence of a reflected photon without destroying that packet of light.
CREDIT: MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division.
If you want to see a packet of light called a photon, you have to destroy it. Any device that picks up on the presence of light has to absorb its energy, and with it, the photons. At least, that was what scientists thought until now.
At the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, researchers found a way to detect single, visible-light photons without "touching" them and losing the photons themselves.
The work, detailed in the Nov. 14 issue of the journal Science Express, has important implications for quantum computing devices and communications. In an ordinary computer the presence of electrons — current — encodes the bits in logic circuits. Being able to keep photons around while still detecting them means photons could be used in a similar way. [Wacky Physics: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature]
Others have detected photons without destroying them, the most notable being Serge Haroche at the Coll├Ęge de France in Paris, who won a Nobel Prize in 2012 for the achievement. However, he detected photons comprising microwave wavelengths of light. The Max Planck team detected visible-light photons, which are more useful for quantum communications.
Seeing photons
To see the photons, Ritter and his colleagues, Andreas Reiserer and Gerhard Rempe, trapped a single atom of rubidium in a cavity, just a half-millimeter across, with mirrors on the sides. The atom was in two states. In one, it is in resonance, or "coupled," with the cavity — one can think of them as vibrating in time with each other. In the other state it isn't — the atom is "out of tune" with both the cavity and the incoming photon. Atoms and subatomic particles are governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, which allowed the rubidium atom to be in both states at once.
They then fired laser pulses that, on average, had less than a single photon in them. When the photon reached the cavity, it would either continue inside and get reflected straight back or it would just bounce off the cavity, never entering — which happened if the atom was coupled to the cavity. The key is that there is a difference in the state of the atom after each outcome. They confirmed that the photon had reflected from the cavity a second time with an ordinary detector.
The photon didn't interact with the atom directly, but it did alter the atom's phase — the timing of its resonance with the cavity. The scientists could use the difference between the superposition state — when the atom is in two states at once — and the atom's measured phase to calculate whether or not the photon entered the cavity. In that way they "saw" the photon without destroying it, without touching it.
Photon qubits
Not "touching" the photon also means that certain quantum properties are never observed, preserving them. An unobserved photon can be in a "superposition" state — any one of its quantum properties, called degrees of freedom, can have more than one value simultaneously. Observing the photon forces it to be one or the other. For example, if a photon is polarized either horizontally or vertically, it's impossible to know which one until the photon is observed. In quantum mechanics that means the photon can be in both states, until it is measured and takes on a definite value. [How Quantum Entanglement Works (Infographic)]
This ability matters for quantum computing devices. Quantum computers are powerful because the bits in them, called qubits, can be both 1 and 0 at the same time, whereas an ordinary computer has to have its bits set at 1 or 0 sequentially. Essentially, a quantum computer can be in many states simultaneously, speeding up calculations such as factoring prime numbers.
If a photon is encoding the qubit, observing that photon directly would spoil its superposition state, and, thus, its ability to function as a qubit. But one might need to detect that the photon reached a certain place in the network. "Let's say you encode the qubit into the polarization," Ritter said. "The detection of the presence of a photon tells you nothing about its polarization."
By measuring the photon's state indirectly, however, it's possible to see the photon without destroying the quantum state (or the photon), and use different quantum states — such as polarization — to store qubits.
Going forward, Ritter says his group plans to work on boosting the efficiency of the detection – so far they can detect about 74 percent of the photons released. Stringing several detectors together would improve that — and one would end up with a detector that could pick up single photons better than those currently available.
Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

Noam Chomsky on the Freedom of Expression

by Big Think Editors      
December 7, 2013, 5:00 AM
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
-Noam Chomsky (born on this date in 1928)
The EPA needs a Scientific Integrity Advocate?  Please, someone, tell me why?  Is this a backhanded way of labeling the agency lacking in scientific integrity.
Worse, if it does need one, why on Earth would it hire a long time employee of the so-called Union of "Concerned" "Scientists?"  This organization, like Greenpeace and "Friends of the Earth", has a multi-decade history of extremist environmental activism, particularly with regard to energy development in the US.  If you question my harsh judgment of the USC and similar organizations, for one, note the follow quote, taken from Kevin Mooney, of the Capital Research Center:
"Then there’s the so-called Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which is often quoted by the media as if it were a scientific, rather than political, organization. For one thing, UCS is in no sense an organization of scientists (unlike the EPA). Anyone willing to charge $35 on a credit card can join. One intrepid researcher even signed up his dog to drive the point home. The dog, Kenji, received a welcome kit and a signed letter from UCS President Kevin Knobloch."
The UCS's position on hydraulic fracking is clearly intended to fog over the mountainous scientific evidence of its safety and benefits by befuddling local residents and officials with open-ended questions that would make fracking appear unsafe whatever the evidence.  The quote below, taken from the UCS's web page:  Science, Democracy, and Fracking: A Guide for Community Residents and Policy Makers Facing Decisions over Hydraulic Fracturing (currently is a textbook example of this:
"Recent advances in hydraulic fracturing ( or “fracking”) technology leading to a rapid expansion in domestic oil and gas production.  The pace of growth is driving many communities to make decisions without access to comprehensive and reliable scientific information about the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on their local air and water quality, com­munity health, safety, economy, environment, and overall quality of life.
If you are an active citizen in a community facing decisions about fracking, this toolkit is for you. It provides practi­cal advice and resources to help you identify the critical questions to ask and get the scientific information you need when weighing the prospects and risks of shale oil or shale gas development in your region.
This toolkit can improve decision making on fracking by helping you to:
  • Identify critical issues about the potential impacts of fracking in your area, and how to obtain answers to your questions
  • Distinguish reliable information from misinformation or spin—and help your neighbors and local decision makers do the same
  • Identify and communicate with scientists, journalists, policy makers, and community groups that should be part of the public discussion
  • Identify and engage with the key actors in your community to influence oil and gas policy at the local and state level"
I suggest this passage, innocent on the surface, is about as deceitful a political tract as anyone could devise.  The fact is, anyone interested in the science supporting fracking -- and it is much more overwhelming than that supporting anthropocentric global warming -- can easily find it using a search engine or Wikipedia.  Talking with local people, even college scientists who will almost entirely have other specialties, is just going make a clear situation confused, leading to irrational opposition based on unfounded fears.  I suggest that an open-minded person can only come to one conclusion, that of Katie Brown's summary of situation (

"A report released today puts the folly of anti-fracking activism squarely in the spotlight. The report, authored primarily by University of California-Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller, comes to a sobering conclusion: “Environmentalists who oppose the development of shale gas and fracking are making a tragic mistake.”"

Nevertheless, here it is:
Integral player. Francesca Grifo, here testifying before a congressional panel earlier this year, has been named to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to implement policies designed to protect scientific integrity.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology/Democrats
Integral player. Francesca Grifo, here testifying before a congressional panel earlier this year, has been named to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to implement policies designed to protect scientific integrity.

For more than a decade, Francesca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) advocated for improving scientific integrity policies at government agencies. When she commented on a draft of the policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011, she wrote: “These are great principles but how will this happen? Who will monitor? Who will detect problems and enforce these strong words?”
Well, it turns out, she will. EPA announced today that it has hired Grifo to oversee its new policy on scientific integrity. “It’s great news,” says Rena Steinzor of the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, who studies environmental regulation and the misuse of science in environmental policy.
Grifo is charged with overseeing the four main areas of EPA’s policy: creating and maintaining a culture of scientific integrity within the agency; communicating openly to the public; ensuring rigorous peer review; and encouraging the professional development of agency scientists.
It sounds like a gargantuan task, but Grifo won’t actually be checking the integrity of every committee, scientific document, and peer review. Instead, she will be focusing on improving the process, says Michael Halpern, her former colleague at UCS. Part of the job will be educating staff members. Last week, EPA launched an online training guide for its staff members to make them aware of the policy and its protections. “It’s a cultural change so that [EPA] scientists feel they can participate in public life and the scientific community,” Halpern says, and better prepare them to deal with political pressure.

If problems come to light, Grifo will help investigate. She will work with an internal Scientific Integrity Committee, as well as the inspector general. Her job is not a political appointment, so it comes with civil service protections. She will report to Glenn Paulson, EPA’s science adviser. Grifo will also issue an annual report about any incidents with scientific integrity at the agency.
UCS has ranked EPA’s policy, which was finalized about a year and a half ago, as one of the stronger ones in the U.S. government. Unlike most other agencies, EPA’s plan called for a full-time position. “While strong improvements have been made on paper, we recognize that the agency is challenged in fully realizing those improvements” Halpern wrote in a blog post.
Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in Washington, D.C., says he is hopeful for progress. “She is coming from an organization that is probably responsible for the adoption of scientific integrity policies,” he says. “We think that these policies are potentially revolutionary. But progress has been slow and uneven.” It’s not clear, he says, what power she would have to bring relief in individual cases.

Hillary Clinton Touts Benefits of Oil, Natural Gas


Often times in media reports, the subject of natural gas development may come off as a bit of a partisan issue. Here in Pennsylvania, Democrats like State Senator Jim Ferlo have even pushed for a moratorium. Spanning out nationally, the topic is far from partisan, however – with Democratic Governors like Pat Quinn in Illinois, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, and even Jerry Brown in California rejecting the claims of anti-fracking activists and openly discussing the benefits of development.
Add to that list former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who showed during a speech at Hamilton College in New York on Friday that responsible development is something we can and indeed should embrace.
From the Democrat and Chronicle:
Late into the lecture portion of Clinton’s Oneida County appearance, she referenced a report that the U.S. in on track to surpass Russia in domestic oil-and-gas production.
That’s good news, Clinton said.
What that means for viable manufacturing and industrialization in this country is enormous,” she said to the crowd of 5,800 in Hamilton’s athletic field house.
As IHS highlighted last month, shale is helping to transform the U.S. economy, and bringing manufacturing back to America after a decade of decline.
EID has also been following the U.S. and Russian oil and gas production race for the past year, and the United States has likely surpassed Russia to become the largest oil and gas producing country in the world – thanks in large part to shale development.
Needless to say, the former U.S. Senator from New York was spot on with her comments on the implications this can have for U.S. economic growth, as well as in other markets.
As many of you will remember, the State Department under Mrs. Clinton’s leadership actually promoted Gasland as part of its Annual Film Showcase. It’s good to see that she has evolved in her view of responsible oil and gas development.

Report: Environmentalists Opposing Shale Gas Are Making a ‘Tragic Mistake’

A report released today puts the folly of anti-fracking activism squarely in the spotlight. The report, authored primarily by University of California-Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller, comes to a sobering conclusion: “Environmentalists who oppose the development of shale gas and fracking are making a tragic mistake.”
The reason is because natural gas provides a solution for two major worldwide environmental concerns: air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. For its ability to provide an affordable energy source that can also address these problems, the authors conclude that “shale gas is a wonderful gift that has arrived just in time.”
The report focuses heavily on the local air quality benefits of shale gas, which could be especially effective in places like China that have rapidly growing economies, and by extension a great need for affordable and abundant energy.  As the repot notes, shale gas “provides a solution to the pollution,” observing it’s “amazing” that local air quality benefits are “not more widely addressed by environmentalists.”
The report focuses mostly on shale gas and local air quality, but the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions made possible by shale gas is also addressed. The authors find that “both global warming and air pollution can be mitigated by the development and utilization of shale gas,” owing to the fuel’s ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as low methane leakage rates (more on that later).
In addition to firmly establishing the environmental benefits of natural gas, the also report addresses a number of anti-fracking activists’ objections to responsible shale development, concluding that they are not credible: “These concerns are either largely false or can be addressed by appropriate regulation.”
While the authors express some concern about the volumes of water required for hydraulic fracturing, they explain that “viable alternatives exist,” including the fact that “most of the water that flows back from the well can be treated and reused.”  As an example, the report points to Apache, a company that has made news recently for its dramatic reduction in water use:
“[T]hey [Apache] eliminated fresh water use in fracking operations in Irion County, Texas; this year they have used only recycled produced water from fracking operations and oil fields together with brackish water obtained from the Santa Rosa formation at 800 to 900 feet depth [Reuters 2013]. In all of Apache’s hydraulic fracturing operations in the Permian Basin, more than half the water is sourced from non-fresh water sources, about 900 wells” (p. 6-7).
Of course, as we’ve pointed out many times, water recycling is quickly becoming standard operating procedure. In Pennsylvania alone, Marcellus producers are now recycling 90 percent of their flowback water, and that’s a trend we’re increasingly seeing elsewhere across the country.
Regarding anti-fracking activists’ claims on flaming faucets and the fraud of Gasland, the authors offer a scathing but entirely justified critique:
“The famous ‘flaming faucets’ shown in the movie Gasland (and on YouTube) were not due to fracking, despite what that movie suggests. The accounts were investigated by state environmental agencies, and in every case traced to methane-saturated ground water produced by shallow bacteria. Indeed, the movie FrackNation includes a clip in which the Gasland producer, writer, and star Josh Fox admits that flaming faucets were common long before fracking was ever tried” (p. 7).
The report states that any risk of leakage is “not particularly linked to shale gas wells.” It’s also clear that whatever risks there may be to drinking water supplies, they are manageable: “The solution lies in regulating shale at least as stringently as conventional oil and gas,” the report states.
As for activists’ claim that methane emissions during development cancel out the climate benefits of natural gas, the report says that’s simply wrong:
“The initial scare of the danger of ‘fugitive’ (leaked) methane came from mistaken use of the fact that its ‘greenhouse potential’ is 83 times that of CO2, kilogram per kilogram. That makes it seem that even 1% leakage would undo its advantage over coal. But if you take into account the fact that methane is rapidly destroyed in the atmosphere (with a much shorter lifetime than CO2), then the potency is reduced to about 34 times. And the fact that methane weighs less (molecule per molecule) than CO2 means that leaked methane is only 12 times more potent for the same energy produced.  Because natural gas power plants are more efficient than those of coal, even with leakage rate of up to 17% (far higher than even the most pessimistic estimates), natural gas still provides a greenhouse gas improvement over coal for the same electricity produced” (p. 8).
This is yet another rebuke of the research of Cornell anti-fracking activist Anthony Ingraffea, who has bizarrely claimed that natural gas is a “gangplank” to irreversible global warming.  Dr. Muller has offered harsh criticism for Ingraffea’s work before (in the New York Times, no less), so it’s unsurprising that he identifies a series of flaws in the infamous Howarth/Ingraffea methane paper:
“However, Howarth’s original work made assumptions for parameters that were not directly measured, and many of these were ‘conservative estimates’ – which means prejudicial against natural gas. It took two years, but finally a calibrated study of 190 wells showed that the leakage from shale gas production averaged about 0.4%. [Allen, 2013; Hausfather & Muller 2013]. If we add in leakage in pipelines and storage, the maximum is still only 1.4%, and the greenhouse advantage over coal is large. A recent report by Miller et al. [2013] suggests the rate could be twice that; but even if this new report is more accurate than the EPA value, fugitive methane is still a vast greenhouse gas improvement compared to coal” (p. 8).
On seismicity, the Muller report notes, ”No large earthquakes have been associated with fracking but rather with ‘disposal wells’.” Further, such seismic activity from wastewater disposal is already being mitigated by the surge in water recycling: “We can prevent disposal earthquakes by recycling water to minimize injection volumes and by taking care in the choice of disposal well locations.”
Finally, the report offers yet another blow to anti-fracking activists who contend that natural gas will somehow ‘crowd out’ renewables:
“Yet cheap natural gas can also make it easier for solar and wind energy to further penetrate electricity markets by providing the rapid back-up that those intermittent sources require. In addition, natural gas is the only base load fuel that can be downscaled into microgrids and distributed generation networks to provide that same flexibility and reliability for solar energy on rooftops and in buildings, expanding the market for urban solar systems. Particularly for areas focusing on distributed generation, natural gas can be an enabler of wind and solar” (p. 9-10).
To sum up: the report finds that shale gas “can be the solution” for addressing air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the numerous objections to fracking put forth by activists are simply not credible.  As the report puts it, environmental groups should “recognize the shale gas revolution as beneficial to society – and lend their full support to helping it advance.”

This technology could reduce the travel time to Mars to just 39 days

Science Recorder | Kramer Phillips | Saturday, December 07, 2013

Scientists now say it may be possible to travel to Mars in just over a month, reducing the one-way six-month journey to just under three months.  The advancement could have major implications for startups aiming to travel to Mars in the coming years, part of an increasingly competitive bid to put the first humans on Mars.

“VASIMR stands for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, which makes use of argon gas (one of the most stable gasses known to man) and a renewable source of energy found in space, radio waves in the form of light.

The rocket will allow for a mission to Mars with a travel period of just 39 days, which is almost 6 times faster than current methods. With speeds estimated at 35 miles a second, the rocket system will make quick work of the distance between Earth and Mars. NASA rates a new system on a scale of one to ten based on its readiness to be deployed. The VASIMR system is at a six currently, which means that it is ready to be tested in space. It would seem that it won’t be much longer before the new rocket system is employed in all space missions.”

Read more:

Evolutionary biologist Alice Roberts was denounced by a very silly Christian as a "fanatical evolutionist" who peddles "vacuous subjective claims that our ape-like ancestors apparently miraculously (something in which perhaps only a minority at the BBC would believe) decided to walk upright in search of food".

This is from Atheism on Facebook, author currently unknown:
Evolutionary biologist Alice Roberts was denounced by a very silly Christian as a "fanatical evolutionist" who peddles "vacuous subjective claims that our ape-like ancestors apparently miraculously (something in which perhaps only a minority at the BBC would believe) decided to walk upright in search of food".

She has written an eloquent rebuttal, which to date (quelle surprise) has not met with a response:

//I wanted to register my disquiet at the paragraph in which I am d...escribed as a "fanatical evolutionist". Like most biologists, I think that evolution through natural selection best explains the diversity of life on this planet; this is not a minority view and not necessarily incompatible with religious belief: many Christians accept evolution.

However, I felt moved to respond to the criticisms of the series Origins of Us, and set the record straight. Firstly, the criticisms do BBC Science an injustice. Even if I wanted to present my own opinions and speculation (in any other way than clearly flagging them as such) the BBC would not allow me to do this in a science programme. Secondly, the criticism levelled at me brings my own academic integrity into question. Every hypothesis and fact discussed or presented in the programme is already "out there", in peer reviewed scientific publications. BBC Science (and I myself) are very careful about the factual basis of such programmes, and extremely careful to differentiate between fact and opinion.

The "vacuous subjective claims" to which Mr Stephen Green alludes are facts based on peer-reviewed scientific research. I am also surprised that Mr Green suggests I presented the extremely outdated "savannah hypothesis" as current science - this is something that was critically appraised and research suggesting, instead, an arboreal origin for bipedalism was put forward. The idea that tool-using and tool-making may have influenced the shape of our hands is, again, not idle speculation but based on published research. Any change in anatomy which leads to a survival advantage (whether that's an adaptation helping survival in a particular natural environment or an adaptation which makes you better at making technology which helps you to survive) is likely to be selected for.

I realise that few readers of this website will read my response objectively, but I object strongly to the criticism that my programmes with the BBC have lacked objectivity and include "idle speculation". That can only be true if you believe that the numerous academic papers which form the backbone of such a series are also "idle speculation".

Regards, Professor Alice Roberts
John Hobbs
Shared publicly  -  Dec 5, 2013

Columbus discovers Hispaniola (12-5-1492)
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts.....
....The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.
...From his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were "naked as the day they were born," they showed "no more embarrassment than animals." Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."
What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas, Cortes did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots.
* A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

A “Buddy Bench” Makes Recess More Inclusive

Posted by Rohmteen Mokhtari, December 06, 2013
Christian on Buddy BenchFor many elementary students, recess can be a highlight of the school day. A chance to run and play after hours of sitting still behind a desk.
But it can also be an isolating experience for students who feel left out.
At Roundtown Elementary School in York, PA one 2nd grader is doing his part to make sure all students are included in the fun.
With his family considering a temporary move to Germany, Christian began researching German schools. That’s when he noticed that one German school had a “buddy bench” for students who felt lonely or excluded during recess.
With this idea in mind he took action to support the students at his school who he noticed were being left out recess. He went to his principal and got a “buddy bench” at his school.
Now when students feel alone or excluded they can go to the bench where they’ll be invited by other students to talk or play.
This “buddy bench” allows more students to share in the joys of recess.
But just as importantly, it helps create a school culture of caring and inclusion. It challenges students to support their fellow classmates and empowers them to be a part of the solution.
As Christian puts it, “we show we care about others when we ask others to play.”
Christian and the “buddy bench” teach us a lot about what it takes to make schools more safe and welcoming for all students.
Christian exemplifies the power of upstanders willing to take action when they see students being excluded or teased.
In order to become upstanders, students need to know there are many ways to constructively support a classmate who is being bullied or teased. Options include talking to an adult when they see a student being teased, speaking up in the moment, supporting a student who has been bullied and causing a distraction in the moment that takes the attention away from a student who is being targeted.
Welcoming School’s new film, What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying and Bystanders shows how two schools are using Welcoming Schools materials to help students be upstanders. Learn more about the film and find many more resources to stop name-calling and bullying.

The Problem of Antimatter

    When in contact, matter and antimatter can annihilate one another to produce pure energy―that’s why there is extremely little naturally occurring antimatter in the world around us. — Brian Greene (1999) Mass is made of certain kinds of particles. The Standard Model lists them all. In its scheme each particle is paired up with an antiparticle. One way to think about an antiparticle is that it is the particle but travels back in time. Another is its charge is opposite. When a particle meets its antiparticle they annihilate immediately. They make two photons whose energies are equal to the masses in accordance with: E = mc2. So the Problem of Antimatter’s not: Why is so little of it left? It’s: Why is there any matter left? Which is to say: It seems that the original proportion wasn’t half and half. How come? Physics has a symmetry it calls CP. It says exactly 50-50 is the way it has to be. Physical cosmology contrives an answer to the Problem. It says CP Symmetry was violated when particles were born in the Big Bang. There are some suggestions as to how this happened but they look like little more than stirring up the same old Problem, like the beat cop saying to the beach bum: Move along. More recently it turns out that the weak force doesn’t follow CP Symmetry. At last, there is a way to have more particles than antis. The celebration is a short one. CP violation, as it’s called, covers just a trillionth of the matter that we see. Back to square one: Why were there more particles than antiparticles? - See more at:

Fossils Yield Oldest Known Human DNA

By Gemma Tarlach | December 4, 2013 12:00 pm
Researchers have successfully sequenced the oldest known human DNA, and it points to unexpected relationships between hominid populations scattered across the length of Eurasia.
The genetic material came from a 400,000-year-old femur of Homo heidelbergensis, an early hominid considered to be the ancestor of both Neanderthals and modern humans. The achievement pushes back the age of the oldest hominid DNA sequencing by 200,000 years.
The site of the fossil’s discovery, Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”) in northern Spain, has yielded remains of more than two dozen individuals dated to older than 300,000 years. The skeletons found at Sima de los Huesos exhibit Neanderthal-derived traits, leading researchers to anticipate a strong relation to Homo neanderthalensis.

Denisovan Connection

But after sequencing an almost complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome from the femur, researchers discovered the individual was more closely related to Denisovans, eastern Eurasian hominids known only from a few fragments found at sites in Siberia. Although related to Neanderthals, Denisovans are considered genetically distinct, and are thought to have dispersed from Siberia to southeast Asia. By way of comparison, Neanderthals and modern humans are more closely related in their mitochondrial makeup than are Neanderthals and Denisovans.
Ancient DNA that can still be sequenced is usually found only in permafrost conditions; it typically degrades much faster in temperate and tropical zones, where early hominids lived. But the Sima de los Huesos cave site’s humidity and naturally controlled temperature created an environment conducive to mtDNA preservation of both early hominids and their contemporaries, including a cave bear, which researchers successfully sequenced earlier this year.

Mixing Populations

femur-groundThe team obtained about two grams of bone samples — less than a tenth of an ounce — from the femur and performed a number of tests to rule out contamination with modern genetic material. They then sequenced the mitochondrial DNA, because retrieving usable mtDNA is easier than collecting nuclear DNA from such an old specimen because several hundred copies of mtDNA exist in each cell. This makes it possible to piece together the mitochondrial genome even if many of the copies are degraded. Mitchondrial DNA is passed down from the individual’s mother, however, and does not provide as complete an evolutionary picture as nuclear DNA.
In light of the individual’s unexpected relatedness to Denisovans, the team proposed a number of possible scenarios for how the genes from a population known only in Siberia ended up in Spain. One of the most plausible, researchers suggested, was gene flow from another, as-yet-unknown but Denisovan-like hominid into the Sima de los Huesos group.
To support this theory, the team noted in their paper published today in Nature that a number of early hominid fossils found from the same time period across Asia, Europe and Africa have been classified as H. heidelbergensis, in many ways a catch-all lacking precise definition. It’s possible that some or all of these individuals may be an early hominid population as yet unclassified by science.


Southern Hemisphere polar ice extent set new records this week, combining with fairly average Northern Hemisphere polar ice extent to set the final stages of a year marked by above-average global polar ice extent. Polar ice caps, apparently, are global warming deniers, attacking the science of alarmist global warming predictions.
Average Southern Hemisphere polar sea ice extent during November 2013 was nearly 1 million square kilometers above the long-term average.
When polar ice happens to be below average in a given year, global warming alarmists cite the annual departure from the long-term mean as proof of a human-induced global warming crisis. During years like 2013, when polar ice extent is above the long-term average, global warming alarmists are largely silent on the topic.
Importantly, even if the years with below-average polar ice extent began to form a meaningful trend, this in itself would not constitute a global warming crisis. Polar ice retreat would merely reflect warming temperatures, even if the warming is modest and benign. During recent years when global polar ice extent has been below normal, it has been Northern Hemisphere polar ice – floating in the Arctic Ocean – driving the global trend. When floating sea ice melts, it does nothing to raise global sea levels.
Southern Hemisphere polar ice, resting primarily on the Antarctic continent, has been consistently expanding during the 30-plus years since NASA/NOAA satellites first began precisely measuring polar ice extent.

Friday, December 6, 2013

If you really care about the environment you should love fracking. Here's why

A report released on Friday by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has found that increasing use of shale gas can massively reduce some of the world's deadliest air pollution.
As well as slashing carbon emissions and providing enticing economic prospects the findings of the report should present a compelling case for those who value the environment to embrace fracking.
Reduce deadly PM2.5
PM2.5 are microscopic dust particles created from burning fuel. These tiny particles can penetrate the lungs where they are absorbed into the blood and lead to cardiorespiratory disease and are one of the major contributors to air pollution.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that PM2.5 is responsible for about 75,000 premature deaths per year in the US. The use of coal for energy is a major source of rising levels of PM.25.
In the US, shale gas production has grown by a factor of 17 over the past 13 years. Shale now supplies 35 per cent of US natural gas. Compared to coal, shale gas results in a 400-fold reduction of PM2.5, a 4,000-fold reduction in sulphur dioxide, a 70-fold reduction in nitrous oxides, and more than a 30-fold reduction in mercury. Air pollution is still major killer globally with the Health Effects Institute estimating that air pollution led to 3.2m deaths in the year 2010.
Slash CO2 emissions
While shale gas is a fossil fuel, most of the increases in CO2 are coming from increasing coal use in developing countries. The CPS report estimates if their increased energy needs could be met from natural gas instead of coal, global warming could be slowed by a factor of two to three.
This would mean that instead of having 30 to 50 years before the world reaches twice the preindustrial carbon dioxide levels the we may have 60 to 100 years. If developing countries continue to use coal their PM2.5 and greenhouse emissions will also continue to grow.
The authors also highlight the need for energy conservation, especially in China. However, they emphasise that this will be far from sufficient to tackle the enormous environmental challenges facing the planet.
Europe and China both pay a high price for imported natural gas, typically paying $10m (£6m) British Thermal Unit. With such high prices Europe and China are in a strong position to exploit vast deposits of shale gas at greatly reduced cost compared to natural gas imports.
The report suggests that Europe could be the testing and proving ground where innovative technology can be trialled and improved while still profitable. If the same technology and expertise is brought to developing countries they can also enjoy a more environmentally friendly energy mix.
The report also addresses many of the objections to fracking such as the increased frequency of earthquakes and the dangers to water supply. It documents how these concerns have been wildly exaggerated and in some cases are wholly spurious.
The report was written by Richard Muller, professor of physics at the University of California Berkeley since 1980 and Elizabeth Muller, co-founder of Berkeley Earth a non-profit working on environmental issues. 
- See more at:

Time warp: Researchers show possibility of


( —Popular television shows such as "Doctor Who" have brought the idea of time travel

into the vernacular of popular culture. But problem of time travel is even more complicated than one

might think. LSU's Mark Wilde has shown that it would theoretically be possible for time travelers to

copy quantum data from the past.

It all started when David Deutsch, a pioneer of quantum computing and a physicist at Oxford, came up with

a simplified model of time travel to deal with the paradoxes that would occur if one could travel back in

time. For example, would it be possible to travel back in time to kill one's grandfather? In the Grandfather

paradox, a time traveler faces the problem that if he kills his grandfather back in time, then he himself is

never born, and consequently is unable to travel through time to kill his grandfather, and so on. Some

theorists have used this paradox to argue that it is actually impossible to change the past.

"The question is, how would you have existed in the first place to go back in time and kill your

grandfather?" said Mark Wilde, an LSU assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of

Physics and Astronomy and with the Center for Computation and Technology, or CCT.

Deutsch solved the Grandfather paradox originally using a slight change to quantum theory, proposing that

you could change the past as long as you did so in a self-consistent manner.

"Meaning that, if you kill your grandfather, you do it with only probability one-half," Wilde said. "Then,

he's dead with probability one-half, and you are not born with probability one-half, but the opposite is a fair

chance. You could have existed with probability one-half to go back and kill your grandfather."

But the Grandfather paradox is not the only complication with time travel. Another problem is the

no-cloning theorem, or the no "subatomic Xerox-machine" theorem, known since 1982. This theorem,

which is related to the fact that one cannot copy quantum data at will, is a consequence of Heisenberg's

famous Uncertainty Principle, by which one can measure either the position of a particle or its momentum,

but not both with unlimited accuracy. According to the Uncertainty Principle, it is thus impossible to have a

subatomic Xerox-machine that would take one particle and spit out two particles with the same position and

momentum – because then you would know too much about both particles at once.

"We can always look at a paper, and then copy the words on it. That's what we call copying classical data,"

Wilde said. "But you can't arbitrarily copy quantum data, unless it takes the special form of classical data.

This no-cloning theorem is a fundamental part of quantum mechanics – it helps us reason how to process

quantum data. If you can't copy data, then you have to think of everything in a very different way."

But what if a Deutschian closed timelike curve did allow for copying of quantum data to many different

points in space? According to Wilde, Deutsch suggested in his late 20th century paper that it should be

possible to violate the fundamental no-cloning theorem of quantum mechanics. Now, Wilde and

collaborators at the University of Southern California and the Autonomous University of Barcelona have

advanced Deutsch's 1991 work with a recent paper in Physical Review Letters. The new approach allows

for a particle, or a time traveler, to make multiple loops back in time – something like Bruce Willis' travels

in the Hollywood film "Looper."

"That is, at certain locations in spacetime, there are wormholes such that, if you jump in, you'll emerge at

some point in the past," Wilde said. "To the best of our knowledge, these time loops are not ruled out by the

laws of physics. But there are strange consequences for quantum information processing if their behavior is

"Time warp: Researchers show possibility of cloning quantum information from the past." 6 Dec 2013.

Page 1/3

dictated by Deutsch's model."

A single looping path back in time, a time spiral of sorts, behaving according to Deutsch's model, for

example, would have to allow for a particle entering the loop to remain the same each time it passed

through a particular point in time. In other words, the particle would need to maintain self-consistency as it

looped back in time.

"In some sense, this already allows for copying of the particle's data at many different points in space,"

Wilde said, "because you are sending the particle back many times. It's like you have multiple versions of

the particle available at the same time. You can then attempt to read out more copies of the particle, but the

thing is, if you try to do so as the particle loops back in time, then you change the past."

To be consistent with Deutsch's model, which holds that you can only change the past as long as you can do

it in a self-consistent manner, Wilde and colleagues had to come up with a solution that would allow for a

looping curve back in time, and copying of quantum data based on a time traveling particle, without

disturbing the past.

"That was the major breakthrough, to figure out what could happen at the beginning of this time loop to

enable us to effectively read out many copies of the data without disturbing the past," Wilde said. "It just


However, there is still some controversy over interpretations of the new approach, Wilde said. In one

instance, the new approach may actually point to problems in Deutsch's original closed timelike curve


"If quantum mechanics gets modified in such a way that we've never observed should happen, it may be

evidence that we should question Deutsch's model," Wilde said. "We really believe that quantum mechanics

is true, at this point. And most people believe in a principle called Unitarity in quantum mechanics. But

with our new model, we've shown that you can essentially violate something that is a direct consequence of

Unitarity. To me, this is an indication that something weird is going on with Deutsch's model. However,

there might be some way of modifying the model in such a way that we don't violate the no-cloning


Other researchers argue that Wilde's approach wouldn't actually allow for copying quantum data from an

unknown particle state entering the time loop because nature would already "know" what the particle

looked like, as it had traveled back in time many times before.

But whether or not the no-cloning theorem can truly be violated as Wilde's new approach suggests, the

consequences of being able to copy quantum data from the past are significant. Systems for secure Internet

communications, for example, will likely soon rely on quantum security protocols that could be broken or

"hacked" if Wilde's looping time travel methods were correct.

"If an adversary, if a malicious person, were to have access to these time loops, then they could break the

security of quantum key distribution," Wilde said. "That's one way of interpreting it. But it's a very strong

practical implication because the big push of quantum communication is this secure way of communicating.

We believe that this is the strongest form of encryption that is out there because it's based on physical


Today, when you log into your Gmail or Facebook, your password and information encryption is not based

on physical principles of quantum mechanical security, but rather on the computational assumption that it is

very difficult for "hackers" to factor mathematical products of prime numbers, for example. But physicists

and computer scientists are working on securing critical and sensitive communications using the principles

"Time warp: Researchers show possibility of cloning quantum information from the past." 6 Dec 2013.

Page 2/3

of quantum mechanics. Such encryption is believed to be unbreakable – that is, as long as hackers don't

have access to Wilde's looping closed timelike curves.

"This ability to copy quantum information freely would turn quantum theory into an effectively classical

theory in which, for example, classical data thought to be secured by quantum cryptography would no

longer be safe," Wilde said. "It seems like there should be a revision to Deutsch's model which would

simultaneously resolve the various time travel paradoxes but not lead to such striking consequences for

quantum information processing. However, no one yet has offered a model that meets these two

requirements. This is the subject of open research."

More information: DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.190401

Provided by Louisiana State University

Nelson Mandela: An ideal for which I am prepared to die

  • I am the first accused. I hold a bachelor's degree in arts and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for a number of years in partnership with Oliver Tambo. I am a convicted prisoner serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961.At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion made by the state in its opening that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or communists is wholly incorrect. I have done whatever I did, both as an individual and as a leader of my people, because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said.In my youth in the Transkei I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland. The names of Dingane and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhuni, were praised as the glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this case.Having said this, I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe, and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962.In the statement which I am about to make I shall correct certain false impressions which have been created by state witnesses. Amongst other things, I will demonstrate that certain of the acts referred to in the evidence were not and could not have been committed by Umkhonto. I will also deal with the relationship between the African National Congress and Umkhonto, and with the part which I personally have played in the affairs of both organisations. I shall deal also with the part played by the Communist Party. In order to explain these matters properly, I will have to explain what Umkhonto set out to achieve; what methods it prescribed for the achievement of these objects, and why these methods were chosen. I will also have to explain how I became involved in the activities of these organisations.I deny that Umkhonto was responsible for a number of acts which clearly fell outside the policy of the organisation, and which have been charged in the indictment against us. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, but to demonstrate that they could not have been authorised by Umkhonto, I want to refer briefly to the roots and policy of the organisation.I have already mentioned that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto. I, and the others who started the organisation, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. We who formed Umkhonto were all members of the African National Congress, and had behind us the ANC tradition of non-violence and negotiation as a means of solving political disputes. We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute. If the court is in doubt about this, it will be seen that the whole history of our organisation bears out what I have said, and what I will subsequently say, when I describe the tactics which Umkhonto decided to adopt. I want, therefore, to say something about the African National Congress.The African National Congress was formed in 1912 to defend the rights of the African people which had been seriously curtailed by the South Africa Act, and which were then being threatened by the Native Land Act. For thirty-seven years - that is until 1949 - it adhered strictly to a constitutional struggle. It put forward demands and resolutions; it sent delegations to the Government in the belief that African grievances could be settled through peaceful discussion and that Africans could advance gradually to full political rights. But white governments remained unmoved, and the rights of Africans became less instead of becoming greater. In the words of my leader, Chief Lutuli, who became President of the ANC in 1952, and who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:"Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all."Even after 1949, the ANC remained determined to avoid violence. At this time, however, there was a change from the strictly constitutional means of protest which had been employed in the past. The change was embodied in a decision which was taken to protest against apartheid legislation by peaceful, but unlawful, demonstrations against certain laws. Pursuant to this policy the ANC launched the Defiance Campaign, in which I was placed in charge of volunteers. This campaign was based on the principles of passive resistance. More than 8,500 people defied apartheid laws and went to jail. Yet there was not a single instance of violence in the course of this campaign on the part of any defier. I and nineteen colleagues were convicted for the role which we played in organising the campaign, but our sentences were suspended mainly because the judge found that discipline and non-violence had been stressed throughout. This was the time when the volunteer section of the ANC was established, and when the word 'Amadelakufa' was first used: this was the time when the volunteers were asked to take a pledge to uphold certain principles. Evidence dealing with volunteers and their pledges has been introduced into this case, but completely out of context. The volunteers were not, and are not, the soldiers of a black army pledged to fight a civil war against the whites. They were, and are, dedicated workers who are prepared to lead campaigns initiated by the ANC to distribute leaflets, to organise strikes, or do whatever the particular campaign required. They are called volunteers because they volunteer to face the penalties of imprisonment and whipping which are now prescribed by the legislature for such acts.During the defiance campaign, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. These statutes provided harsher penalties for offences committed by way of protests against laws. Despite this, the protests continued and the ANC adhered to its policy of non-violence. In 1956, 156 leading members of the Congress alliance, including myself, were arrested on a charge of high treason and charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. The non-violent policy of the ANC was put in issue by the state, but when the court gave judgement some five years later, it found that the ANC did not have a policy of violence. We were acquitted on all counts, which included a count that the ANC sought to set up a communist state in place of the existing regime. The government has always sought to label all its opponents as communists. This allegation has been repeated in the present case, but as I will show, the ANC is not, and never has been, a communist organisation.In 1960 there was the shooting at Sharpeville, which resulted in the proclamation of a state of emergency and the declaration of the ANC as an unlawful organisation. My colleagues and I, after careful consideration, decided that we would not obey this decree. The African people were not part of the government and did not make the laws by which they were governed. We believed in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that 'the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of the government,' and for us to accept the banning was equivalent to accepting the silencing of the Africans for all time. The ANC refused to dissolve, but instead went underground. We believed it was our duty to preserve this organisation which had been built up with almost fifty years of unremitting toil. I have no doubt that no self-respecting white political organisation would disband itself if declared illegal by a government in which it had no say.In 1960 the government held a referendum which led to the establishment of the republic. Africans, who constituted approximately 70 per cent of the population of South Africa, were not entitled to vote, and were not even consulted about the proposed constitutional change. All of us were apprehensive of our future under the proposed white republic, and a resolution was taken to hold an all-in African conference to call for a national convention, and to organise mass demonstrations on the eve of the unwanted republic, if the government failed to call the convention. The conference was attended by Africans of various political persuasions. I was the secretary of the conference and undertook to be responsible for organising the national stay-at-home which was subsequently called to coincide with the declaration of the republic. As all strikes by Africans are illegal, the person organising such a strike must avoid arrest. I was chosen to be this person, and consequently I had to leave my home and family and my practice and go into hiding to avoid arrest.The stay-at-home, in accordance with ANC policy, was to be a peaceful demonstration. Careful instructions were given to organisers and members to avoid any recourse to violence. The government's answer was to introduce new and harsher laws, to mobilise its armed forces, and to send saracens, armed vehicles, and soldiers into the townships in a massive show of force designed to intimidate the people. This was an indication that the government had decided to rule by force alone, and this decision was a milestone on the road to Umkhonto.Some of this may appear irrelevant to this trial. In fact, I believe none of it is irrelevant because it will, I hope, enable the court to appreciate the attitude eventually adopted by the various persons and bodies concerned in the National Liberation Movement. When I went to jail in 1962, the dominant idea was that loss of life should be avoided. I now know that this was still so in 1963.I must return to June 1961. What were we, the leaders of our people, to do? Were we to give in to the show of force and the implied threat against future action, or were we to fight it and, if so, how?We had no doubt that we had to continue the fight. Anything else would have been abject surrender. Our problem was not whether to fight, but was how to continue the fight. We of the ANC had always stood for a non-racial democracy, and we shrank from any action which might drive the races further apart than they already were. But the hard facts were that fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights. It may not be easy for this court to understand, but it is a fact that for a long time the people had been talking of violence - of the day when they would fight the white man and win back their country - and we, the leaders of the ANC, had nevertheless always prevailed upon them to avoid violence and to pursue peaceful methods. When some of us discussed this in May and June of 1961, it could not be denied that our policy to achieve a non-racial state by non-violence had achieved nothing, and that our followers were beginning to lose confidence in this policy and were developing disturbing ideas of terrorism.It must not be forgotten that by this time violence had, in fact, become a feature of the South African political scene. There had been violence in 1957 when the women of Zeerust were ordered to carry passes; there was violence in 1958 with the enforcement of cattle culling in Sekhukhuniland; there was violence in 1959 when the people of Cato Manor protested against pass raids; there was violence in 1960 when the government attempted to impose Bantu authorities in Pondoland. Thirty-nine Africans died in these disturbances. In 1961 there had been riots in Warmbaths, and all this time the Transkei had been a seething mass of unrest. Each disturbance pointed clearly to the inevitable growth among Africans of the belief that violence was the only way out - it showed that a government which uses force to maintain its rule teaches the oppressed to use force to oppose it. Already small groups had arisen in the urban areas and were spontaneously making plans for violent forms of political struggle. There now arose a danger that these groups would adopt terrorism against Africans, as well as whites, if not properly directed. Particularly disturbing was the type of violence engendered in places such as Zeerust, Sekhukhuniland, and Pondoland amongst Africans. It was increasingly taking the form, not of struggle against the government - though this is what prompted it - but of civil strife amongst themselves, conducted in such a way that it could not hope to achieve anything other than a loss of life and bitterness.At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force.This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of Umkhonto published on 16 December 1961, which is exhibit AD, we said:"The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom."This was our feeling in June of 1961 when we decided to press for a change in the policy of the National Liberation Movement. I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.We who had taken this decision started to consult leaders of various organisations, including the ANC. I will not say whom we spoke to, or what they said, but I wish to deal with the role of the African National Congress in this phase of the struggle, and with the policy and objectives of Umkhonto we Sizwe.As far as the ANC was concerned, it formed a clear view which can be summarised as follows: It was a mass political organisation with a political function to fulfil. Its members had joined on the express policy of non-violence.· Because of all this, it could not and would not undertake violence. This must be stressed. One cannot turn such a body into the small, closely knit organisation required for sabotage. Nor would this be politically correct, because it would result in members ceasing to carry out this essential activity: political propaganda and organisation. Nor was it permissible to change the whole nature of the organisation.· On the other hand, in view of this situation I have described, the ANC was prepared to depart from its fifty-year-old policy of non-violence to this extent that it would no longer disapprove of properly controlled violence. Hence members who undertook such activity would not be subject to disciplinary action by the ANC.I say 'properly controlled violence' because I made it clear that if I formed the organisation I would at all times subject it to the political guidance of the ANC and would not undertake any different form of activity from that contemplated without the consent of the ANC. And I shall now tell the court how that form of violence came to be determined.As a result of this decision, Umkhonto was formed in November 1961. When we took this decision, and subsequently formulated our plans, the ANC heritage of non-violence and racial harmony was very much with us. We felt that the country was drifting towards a civil war in which blacks and whites would fight each other. We viewed the situation with alarm. Civil war could mean the destruction of what the ANC stood for; with civil war, racial peace would be more difficult than ever to achieve. We already have examples in South African history of the results of war. It has taken more than fifty years for the scars of the South African War to disappear. How much longer would it take to eradicate the scars of inter-racial civil war, which could not be fought without a great loss of life on both sides?The avoidance of civil war had dominated our thinking for many years, but when we decided to adopt violence as part of our policy, we realised that we might one day have to face the prospect of such a war. This had to be taken into account in formulating our plans. We required a plan which was flexible and which permitted us to act in accordance with the needs of the times; above all, the plan had to be one which recognised civil war as the last resort, and left the decision on this question to the future. We did not want to be committed to civil war, but we wanted to be ready if it became inevitable.Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision.In the light of our political background the choice was a logical one. Sabotage did not involve loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Bitterness would be kept to a minimum and, if the policy bore fruit, democratic government could become a reality. This is what we felt at the time, and this is what we said in our manifesto (exhibit AD):"We of Umkhonto we Sizwe have always sought to achieve liberation without bloodshed and civil clash. We hope, even at this late hour, that our first actions will awaken everyone to a realisation of the disastrous situation to which the nationalist policy is leading. We hope that we will bring the government and its supporters to their senses before it is too late, so that both the government and its policies can be changed before matters reach the desperate state of civil war."The initial plan was based on a careful analysis of the political and economic situation of our country. We believed that South Africa depended to a large extent on foreign capital and foreign trade. We felt that planned destruction of power plants, and interference with rail and telephone communications, would tend to scare away capital from the country, make it more difficult for goods from the industrial areas to reach the seaports on schedule, and would in the long run be a heavy drain on the economic life of the country, thus compelling the voters of the country to reconsider their position.Attacks on the economic life-lines of the country were to be linked with sabotage on government buildings and other symbols of apartheid. These attacks would serve as a source of inspiration to our people. In addition, they would provide an outlet for those people who were urging the adoption of violent methods and would enable us to give concrete proof to our followers that we had adopted a stronger line and were fighting back against government violence.In addition, if mass action were successfully organised, and mass reprisals taken, we felt that sympathy for our cause would be roused in other countries, and that greater pressure would be brought to bear on the South African government.This then was the plan. Umkhonto was to perform sabotage, and strict instructions were given to its members right from the start, that on no account were they to injure or kill people in planning or carrying out operations. These instructions have been referred to in the evidence of 'Mr X' and 'Mr Z.'The affairs of the Umkhonto were controlled and directed by a national high command, which had powers of co-option and which could, and did, appoint regional commands. The high command was the body which determined tactics and targets and was in charge of training and finance. Under the high command there were regional commands which were responsible for the direction of the local sabotage groups. Within the framework of the policy laid down by the national high command, the regional commands had authority to select the targets to be attacked. They had no authority to go beyond the prescribed framework and thus had no authority to embark upon acts which endangered life, or which did not fit into the overall plan of sabotage. For instance, Umkhonto members were forbidden ever to go armed into operation. Incidentally, the terms high command and regional command were an importation from the Jewish national underground organisation Irgun Zvai Leumi, which operated in Israel between 1944 and 1948.Umkhonto had its first operation on 16 December 1961, when Government buildings in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban were attacked. The selection of targets is proof of the policy to which I have referred. Had we intended to attack life we would have selected targets where people congregated and not empty buildings and power stations. The sabotage which was committed before 16 December 1961 was the work of isolated groups and had no connection whatever with Umkhonto. In fact, some of these and a number of later acts were claimed by other organisations.The Manifesto of Umkhonto was issued on the day that operations commenced. The response to our actions and manifesto among the white population was characteristically violent. The government threatened to take strong action, and called upon its supporters to stand firm and to ignore the demands of the Africans. The whites failed to respond by suggesting change; they responded to our call by suggesting the laager.In contrast, the response of the Africans was one of encouragement. Suddenly there was hope again. Things were happening. People in the townships became eager for political news. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated by the initial successes, and people began to speculate on how soon freedom would be obtained. But we in Umkhonto weighed up the white response with anxiety. The lines were being drawn. The whites and blacks were moving into separate camps, and the prospects of avoiding a civil war were made less. The white newspapers carried reports that sabotage would be punished by death. If this was so, how could we continue to keep Africans away from terrorism?Already scores of Africans had died as a result of racial friction. In 1920 when the famous leader, Masabala, was held in Port Elizabeth jail, twenty-four of a group of Africans who had gathered to demand his release were killed by the police and white civilians. In 1921 more than one hundred Africans died in the Bulhoek affair. In 1924 over two hundred Africans were killed when the Administrator of South-West Africa led a force against a group which had rebelled against the imposition of dog tax. On 1 May 1950, eighteen Africans died as a result of police shootings during the strike. On 21 March 1960, sixty-nine unarmed Africans died at Sharpeville.How many more Sharpevilles would there be in the history of our country? And how many more Sharpevilles could the country stand without violence and terror becoming the order of the day? And what would happen to our people when that stage was reached? In the long run we felt certain we must succeed, but at what cost to ourselves and the rest of the country? And if this happened, how could black and white ever live together again in peace and harmony? These were the problems that faced us, and these were our decisions.Experience convinced us that rebellion would offer the government limitless opportunities for the indiscriminate slaughter of our people. But it was precisely because the soil of South Africa is already drenched with the blood of innocent Africans that we felt it our duty to make preparations as a long-term undertaking to use force in order to defend ourselves against force. If war were inevitable, we wanted the fight to be conducted on terms most favourable to our people. The fight which held out prospects best for us and the least risk of life to both sides was guerrilla warfare. We decided, therefore, in our preparations for the future, to make provision for the possibility of guerrilla warfare.All whites undergo compulsory military training, but no such training was given to Africans. It was in our view essential to build up a nucleus of trained men who would be able to provide the leadership which would be required if guerrilla warfare started. We had to prepare for such a situation before it became too late to make proper preparations. It was also necessary to build up a nucleus of men trained in civil administration and other professions, so that Africans would be equipped to participate in the government of this country as soon as they were allowed to do so.At this stage it was decided that I should attend the conference of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for central, east, and southern Africa, which was to be held early in 1962 in Addis Ababa, and, because of our need for preparation, it was also decided that, after the conference, I would undertake a tour of the African states with a view to obtaining facilities for the training of soldiers, and that I would also solicit scholarships for the higher education of matriculated Africans. Training in both fields would be necessary, even if changes came about by peaceful means. Administrators would be necessary who would be willing and able to administer a non-racial state and so would men be necessary to control the army and police force of such a state.It was on this note that I left South Africa to proceed to Addis Ababa as a delegate of the ANC. My tour was a success. Wherever I went I met sympathy for our cause and promises of help. All Africa was united against the stand of white South Africa, and even in London I was received with great sympathy by political leaders, such as Mr Gaitskell and Mr Grimond. In Africa I was promised support by such men as Julius Nyerere, now President of Tanganyika; Mr Kawawa, then Prime Minister of Tanganyika; Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; General Abboud, President of the Sudan; Habib Bourguiba, President of Tunisia; Ben Bella, now President of Algeria; Modibo Keita, President of Mali; Leopold Senghor, President of Senegal; Sekou Toure, President of Guinea; President Tubman of Liberia; and Milton Obote, Prime Minister of Uganda. It was Ben Bella who invited me to visit Oujda, the Headquarters of the Algerian Army of National Liberation, the visit which is described in my diary, one of the exhibits.I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them. Notes of lectures which I received in Algeria are contained in exhibit 16, produced in evidence. Summaries of books on guerrilla warfare and military strategy have also been produced. I have already admitted that these documents are in my writing, and I acknowledge that I made these studies to equip myself for the role which I might have to play if the struggle drifted into guerrilla warfare. I approached this question as every African nationalist should do. I was completely objective. The court will see that I attempted to examine all types of authority on the subject - from the east and from the west, going back to the classic work of Clausewitz, and covering such a variety as Mao Tse Tung and Che Guevara on the one hand, and the writings on the Anglo-Boer War on the other. Of course, these notes are merely summaries of the books I read and do not contain my personal views.I also made arrangements for our recruits to undergo military training. But here it was impossible to organise any scheme without the cooperation of the ANC offices in Africa. I consequently obtained the permission of the ANC in South Africa to do this. To this extent then there was a departure from the original decision of the ANC, but it applied outside South Africa only. The first batch of recruits actually arrived in Tanganyika when I was passing through that country on my way back to South Africa.I returned to South Africa and reported to my colleagues on the results of my trip. On my return I found that there had been little alteration in the political scene save that the threat of a death penalty for sabotage had now become a fact. The attitude of my colleagues in Umkhonto was much the same as it had been before I left. They were feeling their way cautiously and felt that it would be a long time before the possibilities of sabotage were exhausted. In fact, the view was expressed by some that the training of recruits was premature. This is recorded by me in the document which is exhibit R.14. After a full discussion, however, it was decided to go ahead with the plans for military training because of the fact that it would take many years to build up a sufficient nucleus of trained soldiers to start a guerrilla campaign, and whatever happened, the training would be of value.
    I wish to turn now to certain general allegations made in this case by the state. But before doing so, I wish to revert to certain occurrences said by witnesses to have happened in Port Elizabeth and East London. I am referring to the bombing of private houses of pro-government persons during September, October and November 1962. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, nor what provocation had been given. But if what I have said already is accepted, then it is clear that these acts had nothing to do with the carrying out of the policy of Umkhonto.
    One of the chief allegations in the indictment is that the ANC was a party to a general conspiracy to commit sabotage. I have already explained why this is incorrect but how, externally, there was a departure from the original principle laid down by the ANC. There has, of course, been overlapping of functions internally as well, because there is a difference between a resolution adopted in the atmosphere of a committee room and the concrete difficulties that arise in the field of practical activity. At a later stage the position was further affected by bannings and house arrests, and by persons leaving the country to take up political work abroad. This led to individuals having to do work in different capacities. But though this may have blurred the distinction between Umkhonto and the ANC, it by no means abolished that distinction. Great care was taken to keep the activities of the two organisations in South Africa distinct. The ANC remained a mass political body of Africans only carrying on the type of political work they had conducted prior to 1961. Umkhonto remained a small organisation recruiting its members from different races and organisations and trying to achieve its own particular object. The fact that members of Umkhonto were recruited from the ANC, and the fact that persons served both organisations, like Solomon Mbanjwa, did not, in our view, change the nature of the ANC or give it a policy of violence. This overlapping of officers, however, was more the exception than the rule. This is why persons such as 'Mr X' and 'Mr Z,' who were on the regional command of their respective areas, did not participate in any of the ANC committees or activities, and why people such as Mr Bennett Mashiyana and Mr Reginald Ndubi did not hear of sabotage at their ANC meetings.Another of the allegations in the indictment is that Rivonia was the headquarters of Umkhonto. This is not true of the time when I was there. I was told, of course, and knew that certain of the activities of the Communist party were carried on there. But this is no reason (as I shall presently explain) why I should not use the place.I came there in the following manner:· As already indicated, early in April 1961 I went underground to organise the May general strike. My work entailed travelling throughout the country, living now in African townships, then in country villages and again in cities. During the second half of the year I started visiting the Parktown home of Arthur Goldreich, where I used to meet my family privately. Although I had no direct political association with him, I had known Arthur Goldreich socially since 1958. . In October, Arthur Goldreich informed me that he was moving out of town and offered me a hiding place there. A few days thereafter, he arranged for Michael Harmel to take me to Rivonia. I naturally found Rivonia an ideal place for the man who lived the life of an outlaw. Up to that time I had been compelled to live indoors during the daytime and could only venture out under cover of darkness. But at Liliesleaf [farm, Rivonia,] I could live differently and work far more efficiently.· For obvious reasons, I had to disguise myself and I assumed the fictitious name of David. In December, Arthur Goldreich and his family moved in. I stayed there until I went abroad on 11 January 1962. As already indicated, I returned in July 1962 and was arrested in Natal on 5 August.· Up to the time of my arrest, Liliesleaf farm was the headquarters of neither the African National Congress nor Umkhonto. With the exception of myself, none of the officials or members of these bodies lived there, no meetings of the governing bodies were ever held there, and no activities connected with them were either organised or directed from there. On numerous occasions during my stay at Liliesleaf farm I met both the executive committee of the ANC, as well as the NHC, but such meetings were held elsewhere and not on the farm.· Whilst staying at Liliesleaf farm, I frequently visited Arthur Goldreich in the main house and he also paid me visits in my room. We had numerous political discussions covering a variety of subjects. We discussed ideological and practical questions, the congress alliance, Umkhonto and its activities generally, and his experiences as a soldier in the Palmach, the military wing of the Haganah. Haganah was the political authority of the Jewish National Movement in Palestine.· Because of what I had got to know of Goldreich, I recommended on my return to South Africa that he should be recruited to Umkhonto. I do not know of my personal knowledge whether this was done.Another of the allegations made by the state is that the aims and objects of the ANC and the Communist party are the same. I wish to deal with this and with my own political position, because I must assume that the state may try to argue from certain exhibits that I tried to introduce Marxism into the ANC. The allegation as to the ANC is false. This is an old allegation which was disproved at the treason trial and which has again reared its head. But since the allegation has been made again, I shall deal with it as well as with the relationship between the ANC and the Communist party and Umkhonto and that party.The ideological creed of the ANC is, and always has been, the creed of African nationalism. It is not the concept of African nationalism expressed in the cry, 'drive the white man into the sea.' The African nationalism for which the ANC stands is the concept of freedom and fulfilment for the African people in their own land. The most important political document ever adopted by the ANC is the 'freedom charter.' It is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state. It calls for redistribution, but not nationalisation, of land; it provides for nationalisation of mines, banks, and monopoly industry, because big monopolies are owned by one race only, and without such nationalisation racial domination would be perpetuated despite the spread of political power. It would be a hollow gesture to repeal the gold law prohibitions against Africans when all gold mines are owned by European companies. In this respect the ANC's policy corresponds with the old policy of the present Nationalist party which, for many years, had as part of its programme the nationalisation of the gold mines which, at that time, were controlled by foreign capital. Under the freedom charter, nationalisation would take place in an economy based on private enterprise. The realisation of the freedom charter would open up fresh fields for a prosperous African population of all classes, including the middle class. The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society.As far as the Communist party is concerned, and if I understand its policy correctly, it stands for the establishment of a state based on the principles of Marxism. Although it is prepared to work for the freedom charter, as a short term solution to the problems created by white supremacy, it regards the Freedom Charter as the beginning, and not the end, of its program.The ANC, unlike the Communist party, admitted Africans only as members. Its chief goal was, and is, for the African people to win unity and full political rights. The Communist party's main aim, on the other hand, was to remove the capitalists and to replace them with a working-class government. The Communist party sought to emphasise class distinctions whilst the ANC seeks to harmonise them. This is a vital distinction.It is true that there has often been close cooperation between the ANC and the Communist party. But cooperation is merely proof of a common goal - in this case the removal of white supremacy - and is not proof of a complete community of interests.The history of the world is full of similar examples. Perhaps the most striking illustration is to be found in the cooperation between Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union in the fight against Hitler. Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such cooperation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into communists or communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a communist world.Another instance of such cooperation is to be found precisely in Umkhonto. Shortly after Umkhonto was constituted, I was informed by some of its members that the Communist party would support Umkhonto, and this then occurred. At a later stage the support was made openly.I believe that communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements. Thus communists have played an important role in the freedom struggles fought in countries such as Malaya, Algeria, and Indonesia, yet none of these states today are communist countries. Similarly in the underground resistance movements which sprung up in Europe during the last World War, communists played an important role. Even General Chiang Kai-Shek, today one of the bitterest enemies of communism, fought together with the communists against the ruling class in the struggle which led to his assumption of power in China in the 1930s.This pattern of cooperation between communists and non-communists has been repeated in the National Liberation Movement of South Africa. Prior to the banning of the Communist party, joint campaigns involving the Communist party and the congress movements were accepted practice. African communists could, and did, become members of the ANC, and some served on the National, Provincial, and local committees. Amongst those who served on the National Executive are Albert Nzula, a former Secretary of the Communist party, Moses Kotane, another former Secretary, and J. B. Marks, a former member of the central committee.I joined the ANC in 1944, and in my younger days I held the view that the policy of admitting communists to the ANC, and the close cooperation which existed at times on specific issues between the ANC and the Communist party, would lead to a watering down of the concept of African nationalism. At that stage I was a member of the African National Congress youth league, and was one of a group which moved for the expulsion of communists from the ANC. This proposal was heavily defeated. Amongst those who voted against the proposal were some of the most conservative sections of African political opinion. They defended the policy on the ground that from its inception the ANC was formed and built up, not as a political party with one school of political thought, but as a parliament of the African people, accommodating people of various political convictions, all united by the common goal of national liberation. I was eventually won over to this point of view and I have upheld it ever since.It is perhaps difficult for white South Africans, with an ingrained prejudice against communism, to understand why experienced African politicians so readily accept communists as their friends. But to us the reason is obvious. Theoretical differences amongst those fighting against oppression is a luxury we cannot afford at this stage. What is more, for many decades communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with us, and work with us. They were the only political group which was prepared to work with the Africans for the attainment of political rights and a stake in society. Because of this, there are many Africans who, today, tend to equate freedom with communism. They are supported in this belief by a legislature which brands all exponents of democratic government and African freedom as communists and bans many of them (who are not communists) under the Suppression of Communism Act. Although I have never been a member of the Communist party, I myself have been named under that pernicious act because of the role I played in the defiance campaign. I have also been banned and imprisoned under that act.It is not only in internal politics that we count communists as amongst those who support our cause. In the international field, communist countries have always come to our aid. In the United Nations and other councils of the world the communist bloc has supported the Afro-Asian struggle against colonialism and often seems to be more sympathetic to our plight than some of the western powers. Although there is a universal condemnation of apartheid, the communist bloc speaks out against it with a louder voice than most of the white world. In these circumstances, it would take a brash young politician, such as I was in 1949, to proclaim that the communists are our enemies.I turn now to my own position. I have denied that I am a communist, and I think that in the circumstances I am obliged to state exactly what my political beliefs are.I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot. After all, I was born in Umtata, forty-six years ago. My guardian was my cousin, who was the acting paramount chief of Tembuland, and I am related both to the present paramount chief of Tembuland, Sabata Dalindyebo, and to Kaizer Matanzima, the Chief Minister of the Transkei.Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organisation of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation.It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent states. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.Indeed, for my own part, I believe that it is open to debate whether the Communist party has any specific role to play at this particular stage of our political struggle. The basic task at the present moment is the removal of race discrimination and the attainment of democratic rights on the basis of the Freedom Charter. In so far as that party furthers this task, I welcome its assistance. I realise that it is one of the means by which people of all races can be drawn into our struggle.From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the west as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system.The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world.I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country's system of justice. I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fails to arouse my admiration.The American Congress, that country's doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouses in me similar sentiments.I have been influenced in my thinking by both west and east. All this has led me to feel that in my search for a political formula, I should be absolutely impartial and objective. I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism. I must leave myself free to borrow the best from the west and from the east ...There are certain exhibits which suggest that we received financial support from abroad, and I wish to deal with this question.Our political struggle has always been financed from internal sources - from funds raised by our own people and by our own supporters. Whenever we had a special campaign or an important political case - for example, the treason trial - we received financial assistance from sympathetic individuals and organisations in the western countries. We had never felt it necessary to go beyond these sources.But when in 1961 the Umkhonto was formed, and a new phase of struggle introduced, we realised that these events would make a heavy call on our slender resources, and that the scale of our activities would be hampered by the lack of funds. One of my instructions, as I went abroad in January 1962, was to raise funds from the African states.I must add that, whilst abroad, I had discussions with leaders of political movements in Africa and discovered that almost every single one of them, in areas which had still not attained independence, had received all forms of assistance from the socialist countries, as well as from the west, including that of financial support. I also discovered that some well-known African states, all of them non-communists, and even anti-communists, had received similar assistance.On my return to the republic, I made a strong recommendation to the ANC that we should not confine ourselves to Africa and the western countries, but that we should also send a mission to the socialist countries to raise the funds which we so urgently needed.I have been told that after I was convicted such a mission was sent, but I am not prepared to name any countries to which it went, nor am I at liberty to disclose the names of the organisations and countries which gave us support or promised to do so.As I understand the state case, and in particular the evidence of 'Mr X,' the suggestion is that Umkhonto was the inspiration of the Communist party which sought by playing upon imaginary grievances to enroll the African people into an army which ostensibly was to fight for African freedom, but in reality was fighting for a communist state. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the suggestion is preposterous. Umkhonto was formed by Africans to further their struggle for freedom in their own land. Communists and others supported the movement, and we only wish that more sections of the community would join us.Our fight is against real, and not imaginary, hardships or, to use the language of the state prosecutor, 'so-called hardships.' Basically, we fight against two features which are the hallmarks of African life in South Africa and which are entrenched by legislation which we seek to have repealed. These features are poverty and lack of human dignity, and we do not need communists or so-called 'agitators' to teach us about these things.South Africa is the richest country in Africa, and could be one of the richest countries in the world. But it is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. Forty per cent of the Africans live in hopelessly overcrowded and, in some cases, drought-stricken reserves, where soil erosion and the overworking of the soil makes it impossible for them to live properly off the land. Thirty per cent are labourers, labour tenants, and squatters on white farms and work and live under conditions similar to those of the serfs of the middle ages. The other 30 per cent live in towns where they have developed economic and social habits which bring them closer in many respects to white standards. Yet most Africans, even in this group, are impoverished by low incomes and high cost of living.The highest-paid and the most prosperous section of urban African life is in Johannesburg. Yet their actual position is desperate. The latest figures were given on 25 March 1964 by Mr Carr, manager of the Johannesburg non-European affairs department. The poverty datum line for the average African family in Johannesburg (according to Mr Carr's department) is R42.84 per month. He showed that the average monthly wage is R32.24 and that 46 per cent of all African families in Johannesburg do not earn enough to keep them going.Poverty goes hand in hand with malnutrition and disease. The incidence of malnutrition and deficiency diseases is very high amongst Africans. Tuberculosis, pellagra, kwashiorkor, gastro-enteritis, and scurvy bring death and destruction of health. The incidence of infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. According to the medical officer of health for Pretoria, tuberculosis kills forty people a day (almost all Africans), and in 1961 there were 58,491 new cases reported. These diseases not only destroy the vital organs of the body, but they result in retarded mental conditions and lack of initiative, and reduce powers of concentration. The secondary results of such conditions affect the whole community and the standard of work performed by African labourers.The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and the whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation. There are two ways to break out of poverty. The first is by formal education, and the second is by the worker acquiring a greater skill at his work and thus higher wages. As far as Africans are concerned, both these avenues of advancement are deliberately curtailed by legislation.The present government has always sought to hamper Africans in their search for education. One of their early acts, after coming into power, was to stop subsidies for African school feeding. Many African children who attended schools depended on this supplement to their diet. This was a cruel act.There is compulsory education for all white children at virtually no cost to their parents, be they rich or poor. Similar facilities are not provided for the African children, though there are some who receive such assistance. African children, however, generally have to pay more for their schooling than whites. According to figures quoted by the South African Institute of Race Relations in its 1963 journal, approximately 40 per cent of African children in the age group between seven to fourteen do not attend school. For those who do attend school, the standards are vastly different from those afforded to white children. In 1960-61 the per capita government spending on African students at state-aided schools was estimated at R12.46. In the same years, the per capita spending on white children in the Cape Province (which are the only figures available to me) was R144.57. Although there are no figures available to me, it can be stated, without doubt, that the white children on whom R144.57 per head was being spent all came from wealthier homes than African children on whom R12.46 per head was being spent.The quality of education is also different. According to the Bantu Educational Journal, only 5,660 African children in the whole of South Africa passed their junior certificate in 1962, and in that year only 362 passed matric. This is presumably consistent with the policy of Bantu education about which the present Prime Minister said, during the debate on the Bantu Education Bill in 1953:"When I have control of native education I will reform it so that natives will be taught from childhood to realise that equality with Europeans is not for them ... People who believe in equality are not desirable teachers for natives. When my Department controls native education it will know for what class of higher education a native is fitted, and whether he will have a chance in life to use his knowledge."The other main obstacle to the economic advancement of the African is the industrial colour-bar under which all the better jobs of industry are reserved for whites only. Moreover, Africans who do obtain employment in the unskilled and semi-skilled occupations which are open to them are not allowed to form trade unions which have recognition under the industrial conciliation act. This means that strikes of African workers are illegal, and that they are denied the right of collective bargaining which is permitted to the better-paid white workers. The discrimination in the policy of successive South African governments towards African workers is demonstrated by the so-called 'civilised labour policy' under which sheltered, unskilled government jobs are found for those white workers who cannot make the grade in industry, at wages which far exceed the earnings of the average African employee in industry.The government often answers its critics by saying that Africans in South Africa are economically better off than the inhabitants of the other countries in Africa. I do not know whether this statement is true and doubt whether any comparison can be made without having regard to the cost-of-living index in such countries. But even if it is true, as far as the African people are concerned it is irrelevant. Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with the white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance.The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority. Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this notion. Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans. When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man will look around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. Because of this sort of attitude, whites tend to regard Africans as a separate breed. They do not look upon them as people with families of their own; they do not realise that they have emotions - that they fall in love like white people do; that they want to be with their wives and children like white people want to be with theirs; that they want to earn enough money to support their families properly, to feed and clothe them and send them to school. And what 'house-boy' or 'garden-boy' or labourer can ever hope to do this?Pass laws, which to the Africans are among the most hated bits of legislation in South Africa, render any African liable to police surveillance at any time. I doubt whether there is a single African male in South Africa who has not at some stage had a brush with the police over his pass. Hundreds and thousands of Africans are thrown into jail each year under pass laws. Even worse than this is the fact that pass laws keep husband and wife apart and lead to the breakdown of family life.Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects. Children wander about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to, or no money to enable them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy, and to growing violence which erupts not only politically, but everywhere. Life in the townships is dangerous. There is not a day that goes by without somebody being stabbed or assaulted. And violence is carried out of the townships in to the white living areas. People are afraid to walk alone in the streets after dark. Housebreakings and robberies are increasing, despite the fact that the death sentence can now be imposed for such offences. Death sentences cannot cure the festering sore.Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the government declares them to be capable of. Africans want to be allowed to live where they obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because they were not born there. Africans want to be allowed to own land in places where they work, and not to be obliged to live in rented houses which they can never call their own. Africans want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in their own ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children to live with them where they work, and not be forced into an unnatural existence in men's hostels. African women want to be with their menfolk and not be left permanently widowed in the Reserves. Africans want to be allowed out after eleven o'clock at night and not to be confined to their rooms like little children. Africans want to be allowed to travel in their own country and to seek work where they want to and not where the labour bureau tells them to. Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society.Above all, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy.But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs it will not change that policy.This then is what the ANC is fighting. Their struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. · With thanks to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.