An Interview with John Trudell


 

The following article originally appeared in Newtopia Magazine?

At the beginning of Trudell the documentary there is a quote from an FBI memo that says as much about our dysfunctional government as it does about John Trudell: "He is extremely eloquent…therefore extremely dangerous." John is a great poet, not just because of his eloquence, not only because of his personal history (much of the tragedy of which the FBI caused), but because of the depth of his philosophy and consciousness. John has talked for many years about how law enforcement are the security force for corporations, allowing them to take natural resources at the lowest possible economic cost but at a very high price in terms of human life and environmental destruction. If you don't believe it, read Derrick Jensen's books about the horrifying history of man's war against nature you weren't taught at school.

John reminds us the war against the natives has never stopped either, from the bullets of the cavalry and devastating poverty of the Sioux reservations, to the native deaths caused by working and living amid the toxic effects of industrialization. He points out that nuclear war isn't just Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the depleted uranium poisoning of Iraq. It's Three Mile Island, the deaths of miners in Navaho uranium mines, and Fukushima, too. But it isn't a war; it's a massacre.

Speaking truth to the hypocrisy of Christianity, John compares Christopher Columbus to a virulent virus that caused an epidemic we all are now suffering. He asks: "How did my land become someone else's country?" He warns us of the "confined distractions of democracy." As we all face the unprecedented environmental consequences of industrialization and globalization John Trudell's vision wins however we react. Either we embrace his truth or his truth stands over the ruins of what we naively called civilization.

John Trudell was born in 1946 in Omaha Nebraska and raised on the Santee Sioux reservation. John's grandmother was kidnapped from the Chihuahua tribe by his grandfather who rode with Pancho Villa. John's mother grew up Mexican in Kansas. She died when he was six years old. At seventeen he dropped out of high school and volunteered for the Navy, the only way he could escape the schools that were "hollowing him out," that told him because of his intelligence he could be someone, someone other than he was. He served two tours in Vietnam on a destroyer, a relatively peaceful area of the conflict since the Vietnamese had no navy.

John was a married father going to college in San Bernardino, California when he heard about the Indians of All Tribes (IAT) occupation of Alcatraz in November 1969. "Occupy Alcatraz" claimed territorial rights under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty between the United States and the Sioux, which returned all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land. In December 1969, with his training in radio and communications, John naturally became one of the principal voices of the occupation, broadcasting daily as Radio Free Alcatraz.

At its peak more than 5,600 Native Americans participated. In May 1971 negotiations with the U.S. government reached a climax with an offer to lease half of Alcatraz Island to the occupiers in return for caretaking plus $250,000. The occupiers turned down the offer. They wanted rights for all natives. Their electricity and telephone service were cut off. The government promised no removal while negotiations continued but in June, nineteen months after the occupation began, when a meeting was set up to talk about the deed to the island, the occupiers were forcibly removed by a large contingent of Federal marshals. Since then every Columbus Day and Thanksgiving natives have commemorated the occupation with a sunrise service at Alcatraz.

In 1971 John met Tina Manning, a member of the Shoshone tribe. She was a student of psychology at Tulsa University. Theirs is a rare and tragic love story. Tina joined John as an activist working for native rights. Tina eventually settled down with her parents on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada where she and John had three children: Sunshine Karma, Ricarda Star and Eli Changing Sun. Tina was known for visiting the elders, caring for them, and listening to their stories, gathering up the traditions of her people.

In October 1972 John, with other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), along with seven other native rights organizations, participated in the Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan march on the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. By bus, van, and car the caravan traveled from the west coast reaching their destination the week before the presidential election. From Nov. 3-7 they occupied the Department of the Interior. Their tents on the lawn and twenty-point position paper brings to mind OccupyWallStreet. Their effort to revive native sovereignty was rejected by the Nixon administration, which instead authorized $66,000.00 cash for gas money to send the caravan back where it came from. Nixon was reelected only to resign in disgrace in 1974.

As the caravan made its way home, at Pine Ridge Reservation they were opposed by the corporate friendly government of tribal chairman Dick Wilson and his infamous goon squad of enforcers. More than sixty opponents of the tribal government would die violently over the next few years. In February 1973 the 71-day siege at Wounded Knee began at the place where in December 1890 the 7th Cavalry slaughtered 150 surrendering Sioux, mostly elders, women and children. Around 200 natives, including John, participated in the occupation; gunshots were frequently exchanged with the surrounding federal, state and local forces. Talks with government lawyers centered around the 27 multinational corporations invading the sacred Black Hills for oil drilling and uranium mining. The FBI declared AIM dangerous, justifying paramilitary actions against domestic terrorism, a clever way to undermine public sympathy for the native cause. After thirty days, electricity, food and water were cut off, but the occupiers survived the harsh South Dakota winter. In May after the gunshot deaths of two occupiers the occupation was called off. The natives disarmed and walked through the federal lines in tense silence. From 1973 to 1979 John was national chairman of AIM.

In June 1975, two FBI agents were shot at close range and killed during a shootout near Wounded Knee at the Jumping Bull Ranch where AIM activists were living. A family with small children was trapped in the cross fire and a young Native American man was killed. More than thirty native men, women, and children were then surrounded by over 150 FBI agents, SWAT, Bureau of Indian Affairs police, and local vigilantes. They escaped despite heavy gunfire. Three members of AIM were charged. One of them, Leonard Peltier, fled to Canada.

During the trial of the two natives in government custody the media broadcasted scare stories that AIM were planning terrorist attacks. To counter this, natives held press conferences, and met with churches and community groups in Grand Rapids, site of the trial. The defendants were acquitted; the jury decided their actions had been self-defense.

In December 1975 the highest-ranking female member of AIM Anna Mae Aquash was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Unlike John who had always been supportive of the women involved with AIM there were members who strongly disagreed with Anna's feminism. Contradictory rumors swirled: she had been killed by a faction of AIM, or by Wilson's goon squad, or by the FBI.

In 1976 Peltier was extradited. He was not allowed to argue self-defense; he was sentenced to two life terms and he remains in prison.

John continued his activism traveling across America inspiring others to share his commitment to native rights. From 1969 to 1979 the FBI collected a 17,000-page file on John. Back home, Tina and her father Arthur were working for a local campaign to preserve Shoshone tribal water rights at Wildhorse Reservoir, an effort opposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, county and state officials, the local water recreation industry, white ranchers, and the tribal chief of police, a former member of Dick Wilson's Pine Ridge goon squad.

In February 1979 Tina was pregnant with their fourth child Josiah Hawk. John participated in a protest in front of FBI headquarters. He burned an American flag. When flags are desecrated they are burned. John was symbolizing the desecration of the flag by the actions of the U.S. government. On that same day the U.S. supported government of the Shah of Iran collapsed.

Twelve hours later around 1:30 A.M on February 12th, Lincoln's birthday, four days before John's 33rd birthday, Tina Trudell, her mother, and all four children were killed in a fire at their home. Only Arthur survived. The official explanation from the Bureau of Indian Affairs was that the fire had been an accident. But an arson specialist John hired proved the alleged cause cited in the report could not have happened. Tina had complained of men in suits driving by daily. An eyewitness said he saw a line of flame across the roof of the house, an obvious sign of arson. The United States of America owes John Trudell an apology that can never be accepted.

John withdrew from AIM. He sought asylum in Canada, where he struggled with shock and post-traumatic stress. Lines of words began arriving in his thoughts, lines he would cling to during his dark night of the soul. He considers them a gift from Tina. The lines turned into poems. In 1982 John published Living in Reality: Songs Called Poems with Haymarket Press/Society of People Struggling To Be Free, a 71-page booklet for which book collectors now pay $100 to $300. The book became a spoken word cassette with traditional music featuring John's now long time collaborator Hopi singer Quiltman.

In 1985 John formed the Graffiti Band with Jesse Ed Davis, a guitarist of Seminole and Kiowa descent from Oklahoma City. Jesse had already contributed his artistry on the Fender Telecaster to recordings with Taj Mahal, John Lennon, Gram Parsons, George Harrison, Willie Nelson, Jackson Brown, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, Leonard Cohen, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Albert King and many other stellar musicians. Jesse died in 1988 but John continues the musical vision they created together.

Jimmy Looks Twice, John's role in the 1992 film Thunderheart was based on Leonard Peltier. From1989 to 2003 John acted in seven other films.

In 2004 John testified in the trial of a Lakota AIM member for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. A mutual acquaintance had told John about that tragic day in a conversation in a car not long after. The suspect was convicted and sentenced to life. The record of John's testimony helped convince a Canadian judge to order the felon's extradition in 2005. A month later the Native Youth Movement Vancouver announced a boycott of John's music and poetry. Earth First Journal published a poorly researched smear article accusing John of involvement with the FBI, the details of which were refuted in an essay by Michael Donnelly in Counterpunch. The controversy continues. I've chosen not to ask John about this unfortunate example of the kind of chaos that always occurs in the wake of cointelpro infiltration. It seems to me his lifelong integrity speaks for itself.

John is still following the lifelines Tina drops into his mind. They have led him on an extraordinary journey including collaborations with Jackson Browne, Angelina Jolie, Robbie Robertson, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Redford, and Bonnie Raitt. Paul McCartney wanted to take him on his international tour but when Sir Paul tried to dictate John's set list John turned down the opportunity. When asked what artist he likes to listen to most Bob Dylan always mentions John. In 1995 Heather Rae began working on her documentary about John. In 2005 the film won the best documentary award at Sundance. Six years later it still receives screenings all over the world.

I was honored to have a conversation with him at my kitchen table once, and I'm honored to interview him now.

 

In your book Lines from a Mined Mind (Fulcrum, 2008) you use mining as a metaphor for the way industrialization has turned human beings into products or dehumanized resources for exploitation. You compare the resulting fear and alienation to the toxic waste left behind by uranium mining. Please explain to our readers your concept of the Great Programming.

Everything is about energy. Everything that ever goes on in this dimension of reality that we are in is about energy. This whole idea of the great programming I think that this has got to do with the planetary industrial ruling class. The programming has got to do with how they channel our energy, the energy of being, being human, to feed their technological needs. The programming takes place in how we're civilized, educated, to see reality. Programming is about how to get our energy.

You've said whites have been allowed a couple centuries of prosperity so they could exploit the land and develop industrialization. Now that national sovereignity is subservient to the WTO the reality of forced wage cuts, loss of right to protest, and loss of environmental protections is obvious to almost everyone. In fact, the US Senate just passed a bill that further erodes the rights of American citizens that were already undermined by the U.S Patriot Act. Oligarchs like Prescott Bush financed Hitler, and the Bush family manipulated eleven presidential administrations since WWII. Tell us about the thousand year-reich and your statement that America is as close to Nazi Germany as it can get.

The thousand year reich, I look at it as an industrial reich. It's evolved into the form of a corporate reich. The industrial reich started emerging in the 1800?s, especially once they had found fossil fuel. When they found ways to mine and tap this energy. As the technology evolves it's spreading through the generations. As the technology evolves the generation of change and the terminology changes. The behavior pattern of the mining process of feeding off of the larger energy of the human being, that pattern basically remains the same, because that's what the civilization has been all about. Once they found new forms of energy such as fossil fuel then this is when what I call the industrial reich started to emerge. And it's been around a hundred forty or a hundred and fifty years.

I think that the industrial reich is really the industrial ruling class. So I want to look at the industrial ruling class because they created the industrial reich. They created the corporate nazi-ism, so let's talk about the industrial ruling class. They created the different industrial governing patterns. They created industrial socialism, they created industrial communism, they created industrial fascism, they created industrial capitalism.  They created all these industrial isms, each for a period of time, figuring out which one served them best. Which one was most efficient for their energy accumulation. 

I think Nazi Germany was an experiment. They created a nationalistic boundary to advance their programs. World War II took the world into the jet age, the atomic age, and it advanced antibiotics. Leaps forward were made industrially, technologically because of that war. They sacrificed the nationalistic reich so they could make the technological advances in order to further the needs of the global industrial reich. They created communism to see how efficient that would be. So they created these different controlling mechanisms to mine the energy. And now we're coming to the period, historically speaking, where they are now taking the parts of these different systems, fascism, nazi-ism, communism, they're taking the parts of these different systems that were the most efficient for their industrial needs. We talk about FEMA camps now, in the Soviet Union they had gulags.  They're now consolidating it. But it's all about mining the energy of the human being. So I think we're about 150 years into the industrial reich. I'm trying to clarify the terminology. There is an industrial ruling class on this planet. The thousand year-reich is part of that industrial ruling class's plan. In this generation the corporate nazi has emerged.

Tell us about how the power of creative intelligence is wasted on blame.

Well, I look at our intelligence as human beings; life is a gift. Our intelligence is the gift that makes this life possible for us. Our intelligence is a very sacred power.  It is power, our creative imaginations. Human beings, being spirit, being energy, the human carries the being in a physical sense and in an energy sense the being carries the human. The human part of us has intelligence. Through our intelligence this is how we create our reality. The reality of being is created through our intelligence as we take physical form. The power of our intelligence, because of this mining process I'm talking about, mining the energy of the human being, it's through intelligence that the human being is programmed to perceive reality. So the energy of being is generated and manifested in how we perceive reality with our intelligence.

The power of our intelligence is creative, it's a creative energy.  It's how we create. Have you ever had the experience of feeling powerless? And while you're feeling powerless how bad can you make yourself feel, with your fears, your doubts, and your insecurities? And then how does this affect the people in your community? So, see, the irony there is that obviously if people can do that they have power. The worse you make yourself feel, the more power you have.  This is what power is really about, the energy that we generate through our intelligence. The majority of the people in this society feel powerless. Their lives are dominated by their fears, their doubts, their insecurities, and they splash it all over on the people around them. If that creative intelligence was used more coherently and clearly then we could generate a different kind of energy, energy of clarity and coherence, and that would affect the people we interact with.

Each individual human being is given intelligence to participate in this life with.  Before we go around blaming we should take responsibility individually, which helps it to happen collectively, we should take responsibility to respect our intelligence, to think as clearly and coherently as we can. And this will start to change the energy shift because being free is about responsibility. Having someone to blame turns into a convenience. If we're not taking responsibility to use our intelligence clearly and coherently we're not in a position to be blaming anybody for anything. We're not fulfilling our end of the deal. We use it as a convenience to have someone to blame so that we don't have to respect our own intelligence.  And if we don't respect our intelligence we don't respect ourselves. And if we don't respect our intelligence and we don't respect ourselves then obviously we don't really respect the Creator. But it's not because we don't want to, it's because we don't know how to. And the reason we don't know how to is because we're not using our intelligence clearly and coherently.

As I watched footage of the nearly two-year IAT occupation of Alcatraz I felt a sense of deja vu. Your efforts were years ahead of the current wave of occupations. Many Native Americans are alienated by the occupy movements very use of the term since this land is occupied by Europeans and other non-natives. Does the term bother you? Did you learn anything that could help those in the Occupy movement?

The term doesn't really bother me. But my mind is having a hard time grasping how you occupy something that is surrounding you because I learned that at Alcatraz. We occupied Alcatraz but we were still surrounded. My real observation about that is that I think this was anticipated by the industrial ruling class.  They've been anticipating public reaction to the shift in economics. This whole occupy thing when it first emerged, they didn't take anybody by surprise. I think that the industrial ruling class is using this occupy situation to kind of control the energy.

What I was saying earlier about using the creative intelligence clearly and coherently versus emotionally and fearfully. When I look at the occupy movement right now I don't know that it's actually motivated by clarity and coherency. I think it's more motivated by emotional frustration and fear. This means they cannot use their intelligence clearly and coherently because the fear and emotional frustration distort the ability to see with clarity. So emotionally it may feel good to be out there in the streets. And I understand that it's necessary. Something must be expressed about what's going on. It's serving a point of raising consciousness.  But the occupy movement itself is not going to change the situation. I think the industrial ruling class is using this as an opportunity to identify who to send to the FEMA camps that everyone knows exist.

I think the Occupy Wall Street people need to have a more clear and coherent understanding that they believe in a different democracy than the industrial ruling class believes in. I think they need to think this thing through. On one level it feels good that people are out expressing themselves, their voices, or this or that, but when I look there's a contradiction to it.  What's going on at OWS, the people expressing themselves as the 99%, well, on Black Friday the 99% set new sales records buying junk for Christmas. There's a basic contradiction here that doesn't make sense. Eleven billion dollars was spent.  The 99% that are part of Occupy Wall Street have to find a way to communicate with the 99% that were at Walmart.

The industrial elite are controlling the energy whether it's coming from the Occupy Wall Street people or the Walmart people.  On an emotional level what they're doing is all fine and dandy, but how clearly and coherently is this movement being thought out by the occupiers? The industrial ruling class, they're thinking this out. I don't want to put down [OWS's] efforts because I know the sincerity of the people who call themselves the 99% but if you go to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, if you look from inside those boundaries, the people calling themselves the 99% are part of the 1%. So there's a lot of stuff there to be sorted out.

Are there issues about health care, about a living wage, about free speech? The issues are real and they seriously need to be addressed with clarity and coherence. But this emotional behavior reaction I don't know that it's going to get results. Right now they're identifying people with the occupy movement. With the technology that exists today, the state is using this to identify people. They're using it to accumulate identities. They're using it to exercise police paramilitary maneuvers. This is training for them. They will learn something from it. The occupiers, will they learn something from it? This remains to be seen.

Remember, everything is about energy. The sixties were known for rebellion and change the system but the system absorbed all that energy, because the situation is what it is now. The thousand year-reich is built in such a way that it absorbs the energy of opposition, it feeds off the energy of the opposition. That's not being challenged. You can go out and protest and occupy all you want and you're just feeding them your energy. They absorb that energy and over a period of time they co-opt it. Some real philosophical things need to be looked at here. One of them is if we're in opposition to what's going on, how do we find a way to show that opposition without feeding them all of our energy? Civil disobedience is just a big lie. Civil disobedience is there as a way of confining and absorbing the energy of opposition. So whether civil disobedience is violent or nonviolent it is just guided in a way to absorb all that energy of opposition. This is the historical reality.

Look what we went through in the sixties and the state has much more authoritarian control now than it had in the sixties. So lessons need to be learned, and I don't know if the occupiers have learned. Is there a need to make things more balanced and fair? There is definitely a need to do that. But we need to think in new terms. We need to really think with our intelligence about finding solutions, instead of basing our solutions on our emotional reaction.

Yet another alleged end of the world is supposed to happen in 2012 on the day before my birthday. Personally, I think it's a conspiracy to deprive me of presents. It's no wonder that Americans are fascinated by predictions of horrific alien invasions and the end of the world given our denial of our own history and actions. Often native prophecy is used to support these predictions of doom. Please talk about how apocalyptic propaganda only undermines practical approaches to improving the world.

Apocalyptic propaganda is the basis of western religion. It's a control mechanism by instilling fear. You instill the fear so people won't think clearly. Everything is there to disrupt the creative intelligence so it doesn't flow with clarity and coherence. So fearing the apocalyptic is just a mining tool they've been using since they came up with the concept of the male dominator god. But what I will say about this thing they call the Mayan calendar is it ends in 2012 because they ran out of stone. Look at it, there was no more room. Basically all the apocalyptic stuff is based on Christian interpretation of reality. Of course, apocalyptic propaganda is used to keep people off balance, to keep them from thinking clearly. It's a mining tool.

As someone who shares controversial information ignored by the mainstream media, and sometimes gets attacked for it, I find myself having to fight through fear and a cumulative exhaustion. How have you kept going? How do you renew yourself?

It is what it is. When I just look at reality it is what it is. I figure there's no point in fearing it. If fear is going to be the center of our perceptual reality, that sucks. It's there, it has to be dealt with. Things just are as they are. I don't know about renewing myself. I don't do anything more than I have to. If I don't have to be freaking out I don't freak out. I don't do anything I don't have to do. I can't define what have to means to me, but I know that I don't have to get exhausted by the lie.  I know I don't have to freak out because of the lie. I don't have to do that, because it's a waste of my energy.

To me the older I get the more I understand about balancing my own energy. Why would I freak out, as a native person, but even as a non-native person, the media ignores us. What the hell? It's nothing new. There's nothing going on right now that's new. It's only being made more obvious. To me the believing in the lie, wanting the lie to pay attention to me, that's exhausting.  I'm just me. The simplest way to put it: I erase the days. Every day when I get up my objective is to erase that day.

You've spoken of the "drunken indian" as a form of rebellion whereby natives were able to refuse the reprogramming of white incorporation being forced on them, thereby preserving enough native identity to allow the native activist generation to follow. Today on the one hand pharmaceuticals are used to suppress dissent and encourage indifference while some illegal drugs are used for consciousness exploration, such as Ayahuasca for healing post-traumatic stress. Where is the line drawn between avoidance and vision?

Common sense.

You remind us of the time when Caucasian pagans understood the living Earth, respect and balance. What happened here to the Native Americans happened there: brainwashing by war and inquisition. As you have said "the purpose of the inquisition was to alter the perceptual reality of the tribes of Europe." Since there is "something wrong with us for being born, we submit to the chain of command." Tell us how we can regain our own as you call it "personal synchronization with the Creator."

Make the decision to do it. That's what it comes down to. Make the decision to be as real as we can be. If we don't show respect for our intelligence how can we make the decision to respect creative intelligence. Respect ourselves, our intelligence, that is how we synchronize with the Creator. It's as simple as this: be wary of people who don't like themselves. I figure when we synchronize with the Creator we begin to understand how to like ourselves. Make the decision to use the power of our creative intelligence to accomplish that. That's self-healing.

This week news came out about the soaring suicide rate among farmers in India who have been seduced into terrible debt by using Monsanto hybrid seeds that they can't afford and that don't grow well there. I see Monsanto as a death cult, much like the religion that uses for its symbol of love that emaciated rabbi hanging off of a couple of two by fours. You've described our society as "the place where spirits get eaten, the reality of the already dead, the spiritually disconnected from life." How can each of us protect our own individual spirit?

Use common sense. Like our selves. It all comes back to how we use our creative intelligence. The sixth sense is the common sense. We all have it. I think that's the best way that we protect our spirit. To protect our individual spirit always comes down to can we use our intelligence clearly and coherently. Can we use our intelligence to recognize reality and not to judge it? Use the power of our intelligence to think more and believe less. Use the power of our creative intelligence to recognize reality, not to judge it, and that's how to protect our individual spirit.

On the one hand we have the explosion of surveillance, military and other suppressive technology, on the other we have moments like the Arab Spring where tech like CIA "friendly" Facebook provides a way for people to educate and organize themselves. You've said good can be found in even the worst situations. Do you think it's possible the DARPA created internet could help us evolve beyond the police state?

Anything's possible in theory, is it probable? Let's talk about probability. The probability can go either way, because it can help if we recognize that's what it's about. That's why it's there. The military had the internet for years. They never gave it to us. They sold it to us. They didn't give us access to it for the purpose of us having access to it. They're identifying people, they're identifying the opposition. We need to have that understanding about what we use. Can it help us to evolve past a police state? I think it doesn't have to get in our way. The only thing that can help us evolve past the police state is to use our intelligence clearly and coherently. That's the thing that can help us. People want to say that the internet has helped create the police state, but everything they've given us is helping them to create the police state, it's not just the internet. Fake options help them create the police state. The schools help them maintain the police state.  Everything we do is helping them maintain the police state, as long we don't respect our intelligence. We allow them to manipulate our intelligence. But when we make the decision to no longer allow the manipulation of our intelligence then we can use any of these tools in a way that can be beneficial to us.

In history it's not unusual for empires of conquest after a few hundred years to adopt the spiritual beliefs of the conquered. It happened to the Romans with Greek culture and in India when the invaders eventually embraced yoga and other indigenous belief systems. Is there any hope that the same might happen in America since Americans have been taking bits and pieces of native beliefs ever since colonization began?

Well, I have my questions as to how. I don't know that the Romans absorbed the spiritual beliefs of the Greeks because I don't know that the Greeks had spiritual beliefs. They had gods and mythology. Spiritual beliefs aren't about human deities.  What the British took out of India were more religious themes than spiritual. But these are fine lines so I'm not going to categorize, this is observational. The whole point of western technological industrial civilization is to eliminate spiritual knowledge and turn it into religious beliefs.

Dealing with America, the Americans are taking bits and pieces of beliefs not taking any knowledge. So, no I don't think it could help with America, they're too scared, too confused.

Though we're hoodwinked to believe we can do whatever we want and have infinite choices, as Guy Debord pointed out in his The Society of the Spectacle we have only the illusion of choice, typified by the supermarket product aisle filled with many variations of the same thing, usually made by the same company. You've pointed out that free plus dumb equals freedom, which as you say feels like the past tense of being free. How does responsibility make us free?

We do have choice. We have a choice to use our intelligence clearly and coherently. We have a choice to stay connected to what makes sense to us. We do have infinite choices around that. That is its own infinity, respecting our intelligence and all the results that produces. What makes sense. So we do have choice. Internally we have choice. Externally maybe not as much choice. If we understood the internal choices that we have, if we understood what clear and coherent intelligence is all about, it will help us to deal with the external delusion of choice. And that's about taking responsibility. We have choice when we take responsibility for the gift of our intelligence, or not. Let's make that choice.  Then all the rest of it starts to fall into place.

Hope, as you've pointed out, was in Pandora's box with all the other evils that plague human beings. As you've said, believe has lie in the middle of it, and in our society we emotionally react to what we believe in, because we "believe believing is thinking." Please explain how prayer is better than hope and why "coherency is the enemy of the predator energy?"

When we think we project electromagnetic energy out into the universe. Praying is active. When we pray we're thinking. When we pray we're projecting electromagnetic energy out into the universe. We are flowing with the universe.  When we hope we're not projecting that energy anymore, because there's no thinking connected to it. We're just waiting for the world to deliver to us. When we're praying we're participating with the universe. The difference is about how the energy is used. The predator energy feeds on incoherency and chaos. It can't feed off of coherency. So predator energy feeds off of the chaos and incoherency generated from our unleashed fears. With coherency the predator energy wouldn't have that to feed off.

Tell us about Project H.E.A.R.T. and the power of industrial hemp to address our energy needs.

Project H.E.A.R.T. stands for Hemp Energies Alternative Resources Technology.  The website is: http://hempsteadprojectheart.com. On that website we explain our position about what hemp is. Any thing anybody could ever want to learn about hemp is linked on that site. We want people to look at it and make their own decisions about whether it makes sense to them. If it makes sense to them then we would like them to act on it. But they don't need to come back to us to act on it.  We encourage individual thinking. We encourage using our creative intelligence and imagination. We encourage people to initiate doing that instead of being told what to do. Because if we're going to make any significant change in the long run evolutionarily speaking people need to start initiating their thought processes. So we put the website up there so people could come and look at it and if it makes sense to them they can do something to support that.

The benefits of hemp as an alternative energy? Up until the mid 1800?s hemp was the most cultivated plant on the planet, the largest cultivated crop on the planet, because it was used for everything. Human beings have historically had a relationship with hemp forever.  Human evolution wouldn't have happened the way it did without hemp. They needed hemp to make sails when they started making boats. They used hemp to make clothes. They used hemp for food to eat. It played a very important role in the evolution of human beings up until the mid 1800?s until around the time that oil was discovered and the technology to consume oil was refined, then the emphasis was put on suppressing the use of it.

Look at hemp. From an acre of natural seed you can get three hundred gallons of hemp oil that you can run a vehicle with.  You get tonnage of fiber. From the inner and outer fiber of hemp you can make rope, fabric, paper and hemp bricks harder than concrete to build houses. Hemp doesn't need pesticides, it grows on its own. It creates oxygen for our carbon monoxide filled sky. It's renewable. You can chop it down and use it for your industrial needs, and replant it, and you've got a renewable energy resource, for the sky and for the people.

If this happened jobs and a whole new economic reality would open up. It would save the farmers, save the family farms, take the farms out from under the banks. In this time that we're in now when we're talking about alternative energy and the green energy economy, and all of this being tossed around out there, hemp would help us to meet those needs. So we want people to seriously consider hemp. But we're up against it because people who want to hear about solar energy, they don't want to hear about hemp. People who want to hear about wind energy don't want to hear about hemp. Nobody really wants to hear about it. It's like they've already decided, everyone has to compete, instead of collectively cooperatively working together.

So we're asking people to think about hemp and include it in what you're doing. It would be the most practical. Our ancestors used it. It was used for thousands of years. It helped us to maintain a balance, so let's look at it again. By the early 1900?s hemp was a threat to the petrochemical society. Because what they could do with oil they could do with hemp. It was a threat to William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper man who owned all these forests. What they could do with trees they could do with hemp. That's why hemp got shut down. This whole medical marijuana issue, they weren't after the medical marijuana, they were after the hemp. They used the marijuana and the Mexicans as diversionary tactics so they could shut down the hemp. Because hemp is what was the threat. So they went after the marijuana and then they backdoor included the hemp.

You know the first grow law in America was a must grow law; they had to grow hemp. We're not talking about pot. I do think the medical marijuana people have played this hand as far as they can take it. They're not going to get it fully legalized the way situation is now but if they would expand their horizons and put an emphasis on hemp, then they will enlarge their base, because there are many people who would support it, like farmers who see the connection to hemp. They could enlarge their ally base. So our whole notion on this is to get people thinking about hemp.

You've been touring this year and you performed in France in January 2012. Are you working on new songs?

Yes. I have an album that's almost ready for release. I ran out of money. But it will be released some time next year, we have some backing vocals to add to it, then we're ready to mix it. That will happen some time, maybe by spring. And then the next album after that we have ideas about where we want to go with that, too. So there's more stuff coming.