Season of the Weird & Letters
Top Ten Great Things About CrossRoads Turning 40


     If you're a reader of fine print, you may have noticed
that you are currently article-surfing through issue No. 40
of CrossRoads. And as the class clown in residence, it falls
on me to offer a few thoughts on this auspicious occasion.
     I have come to take these passages, especially these
multiple-of-ten milestones, very seriously. (Without
directly revealing my age, let me just say that 40 is not
the particular decade marker I have on my horizon, if you
get my drift.)
     In any case, here, from the Home Office, slightly to
the left of Red Square, are the Top Ten reasons to feel
swell about the fact that Xroads has turned 40:
     Number 10: Bigger circulation than the Guardian. In an
era when the alternative press in general and the left press
in particular has gone into ebb city, the fact that a new
publication has been able to keep its numbers and its income
steadily inching up is good news.
     Number 9: More accessible than Telos ever was. We may
not all remember our Capital too well around here anymore,
but the CrossRoads crew does still have a fondness for the
eleventh and last of the Theses on Feuerbach: "The
philosophers have only interpreted the world differently;
the point is to change it." The opinions expressed in these
pages may from time to time be goofy -- we are all
prisoners, after all, of a culture that sees fit to televise
the "Jackson Family Honors" -- but they aren't impossible to
     Number 8: Broader range of opinion than Workers
Vanguard or The New Republic. They said it couldn't be done,
but the fact is that the authors of the pieces in these
pages are all over the left political map: former Maoists
and Stalinists and Trotskyists, unrepentant social
democrats, independent activists of every stripe and
persuasion. What other progressive publication has Jeff "the
Squealer" Gillooly on its Advisory Board?
     Number 7: Better ties to the new generation of
activists than the Social Security Notch Baby News.
Realizing that nostalgia has its limits, CrossRoads has made
a genuine commitment to cross-generational coverage. Stay
tuned, for example, for the upcoming September back-to-
school issue, featuring a provocative symposium on "Young
Activists Debate Lenin's Legacy: Who Gives a Rat's Ass?"
     Number 6: Better graphics than the Daily Racing Form.
Without an Art Director, with a Managing Editor who once
described himself as "a cultural illiterate" -- a position
he has since repudiated -- CrossRoads still looks a whole
lot better than the grey old rags of yesteryear. Viva white
     Number 5: In almost four years of publication, not one
reprint from Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenora Fulani or Kim
Il-Sung Junior.
     Number 4: Not afraid to tackle the hard ones.
CrossRoads grapples with the thorny social questions issue
after issue -- most recently in Shane Stant's hard-hitting
series on the criminal justice system in America.
     Number 3: Prints way more poetry than Car and Driver
and Guns and Ammo combined.
     Number 2: Name still stupid after all these years. I
have always thought that the name of this periodical had
more than a whiff of the Branch Davidian to it. I am still
collecting signatures on a petition to change the name to
Beats Me: A Journal of Contemporary Left Analysis.
     And the Number 1 reason: Has a humor columnist. Yes,
I've saved the best till last. I don't know how many times
people have stopped me on the street and said, Tim, how do
you do it? How do you manage to combine two mortal enemies,
humor and the left? When are you going to get one of those
MacArthur Genius Grants?
     Maybe when CrossRoads turns 80...

The Buchenwald


     In the slavery period Black people were used by medical
personnel to test various diseases; in the 1930s, treatment
for illness was withheld from scores of Black men in order
to observe the progress of venereal diseases. It was
disclosed that similar experiments were performed by Nazi
physicians on Jews and Poles and political prisoners; this
practice formed a central feature in the Nuremburg trials of
Nazi leaders after the war.
     Similar atrocities marked the treatment of Soviet
prisoners of war by Japanese Imperial troops.
     Now it is clear that abominations of this nature have
marked practice in the U.S. A summary of recent public
disclosures shows the following:
     Mentally retarded children attending a state school in
Massachusetts were used to test experimental blood-pressure
drugs as well as the effect of birth control pills during
the 1950s and 1960s. Involved -- according to the Boston
Globe, January 5, 1994 -- were 188 children, some as young
as three years of age. No effort was made to obtain
permission for such activity from any persons related to the
     In 1986, Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) had held
hearings which disclosed that the Atomic Energy Commission
had conducted experiments to determine the impact of atomic
energy radiation upon human beings. Congressman Markey
recently disclosed that early in January, 1994, he had met
with unnamed "senior White House officials" and discovered
that ill people (number and identity not disclosed) were
"injected with highly radioactive plutonium to see how
radiation works its way into the body" (A.P. dispatch,
January 3).
     The same source disclosed that radiation pills were fed
"to hundreds of pregnant women" to determine effects upon
fetal development. Exactly when all this occurred is not
clear, but it certainly took place after the Second World
War. Moreover, "newborn infants were given radioactive
iodine" allegedly to determine their effect upon thyroid
     Given by whom, with whose permission, with what
results? No reports are available.
     Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary reported that in late
1993 her office had received "tens of thousands of calls" --
as many "as ten thousand calls a day" -- from people
possessing or seeking information about such testing.
     The Associated Press report (January 4, 1994) that her
office had "promised to open all the test files [on such
activity] for public scrutiny." Why has it taken years for
such a decision to be reached? When will that promise -- now
several weeks old -- be implemented?
     Five days later, Melissa Healy published an account in
the Los Angeles Times of the subjection of Eskimos in Alaska
to tests "from the radioactive debris scattered across the
tundra by scientists." Again, just when was this done, who
ordered these tests and who were the scientists overseeing
     The same source revealed that cancer patients in
Cincinnati were subjected to "radiation experiments" by an
"unnamed researcher." The report added the victims were
"mostly poor, mostly Black" -- which will surprise no one.
What happened to the "eminent researcher"? This activity
continued, we are told, "until the mid-1970s." Has it
ceased? Ms. Healy stated that a Dr. Joseph Hamilton "oversaw
patient injections at the San Francisco campus of the
University of California." This Dr. Hamilton is here quoted
a thinking this "has a little of the Buchenwald touch." Yes,
and what happened to the "eminent researcher" in Cincinnati
and to Dr. Hamilton in San Francisco?
     Late in 1993, Secretary O'Leary appointed Dr. Ruth
Faden of Johns Hopkins University to investigate these
"Buchenwald touches." The Associated Press reported on
January 8, 1994 that Dr. Faden offered the opinion that
available data showed "a significant pattern of abuse of
vulnerable and dispossessed people" -- imaginative
adjectives for African American folk.
     Press reports continue to disclose horrors; thus the
New York Times (January 22) reported a "drug-testing
program" at the Medical University in Charleston, South
Carolina. Those tested were pregnant African American women.
No consent obtained, rather "some of the women" -- accused
of crime -- were handcuffed and put in leg irons.
     The Nation editorially noted (January 11) that Dr.
Frederick Goodwin, head of the National Institute of Mental
Health, had offered the opinion that manifestations of
unrest in ghettos were caused by inhabitants, of what he
called "jungles," and that they manifested the behavior of
"hyperaggressive" and "hypersexual" monkeys. Will Secretary
O'Leary investigate this doctor who is in charge of
something dealing with mental health.
     Professor Harvey Weinstein of Stanford University, in a
recent column in the San Francisco Chronicle (January 21,
1994), suggested that the experimentation and behavior
summarized above reflected "misguided patriotism." He
bravely suggested that we must "acknowledge our
vulnerabilities." Alas, Goering et al did not have Professor
Weinstein defending them at Nuremburg.
     President Clinton and  his appointee Secretary O'Leary
should face a flood of outraged public opinion demanding the
exposure, trial and punishment of the characters responsible
for these "experiments." Such action would help assure that
Nazi-like atrocities no longer besmirch the United States.
     Herbert Aptheker's most recent book, Anti-Racism in the
U.S. -- the First 200 Years, is now available in paperback
from Praeger/Greenwood, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881.
                      *    *    *    *

     We're determined to keep CrossRoads' price as low as
possible, but faced with rising costs we're forced to
implement a small price rise beginning June 1. The price of
a regular one-year subscription will go up from $24 to $26;
two-year subs will go from $42 to $48; our special $19
student rate will become a $20 student and senior citizen
rate; and three-month trial subs will go from $7.95 to $9.
The magazine's cover price will stay at $3. Between now and
June 1 you can still get your sub at the lower rates, so why
not renew with a regular or two-year sub today? Better yet,
help keep CrossRoads price accessible to activists by
signing on as a monthly sustainer? Send you pledge of $10 or
more each month to CrossRoads, P.O. Box 2809, Oakland, CA