Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
JOHN ASHCROFTS IMMUNITY AND THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
Now Playing: The criminal - Ashcroft - and the US double standards
JOHN ASHCROFT’S IMMUNITY AND THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM – DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON26. Oct, 2010
by Dr. Lawrence Davidson
Court Rules Ashcroft Can Be Held Liable For U.S. Citizen’s Post 9/11 Detention
One of the cases the Supreme Court of the United States will take up in its 2011 session is Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd. John Ashcroft was the Attorney General under President George Bush Jr. In that capacity he appears to have knowingly violated the U.S. Constitution (as well as periodically forced his employees to listen to his horrendous singing voice). Abdullah al-Kidd is a Muslim American citizen who Ashcroft illegally ordered detained through the illicit use of a material witness warrant. Kidd was one of 70 detained in this manner. He was picked up at Dulles International Airport after the FBI lied to a judge in order to get the warrant for his seizure. Al-Kidd was subsequently held for long periods in a security cell where the lights never went out.
That John Ashcroft is the criminal and al-Kidd his victim is certain. That is how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sees it. That court has refused to dismiss al-Kidd’s lawsuit against Ashcroft noting that the former Attorney General can be held personally responsible for action “repugnant to the Constitution.” That he knowingly and criminally acted to “arrest and detain American citizens for months on end, in sometimes primitive conditions, not because they have committed a crime, but merely because the government wants to investigate them for possible wrongdoing.” Ashcroft’s lawyers avoid the question of the illegality of his actions and simply say that he is immune from lawsuits for actions he took as Attorney General. On that basis they have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. The Justices have now decided to consider Ashcroft’s request.
Certainly John Ashcroft is not the first high U.S. official to reveal himself as an alleged criminal. Nor is it the first time that high government officials have acted in an unconstitutional manner. Right out of the starting gate , so to speak, the young United States created the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) through which the Federalist party sought, quite unconstitutionally, to jail its political opponents. Andrew Jackson spit in the eye of both the Supreme Court and the Constitution by evicting the Cherokee Indians (1838), James Polk should have been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors for lying to the Congress in order to start the Mexican-American War (1846), Abraham Lincoln probably violated the Constitution by some of his police actions during the Civil War, the raids and deportations that took place as a result of the Red Scares of the 1920s were at least in part unconstitutional, then you have Watergate, Irangate and now multiple potential Bushgates. Few of the politicians who ordered these criminal actions, or those who carried out those orders, ever faced punishment. [NOT TO SPEAK OF COINTELPRO]
The Position of the Obama Administration
What is interesting about the present case of Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd is that the Obama administration has decided to make illegality acceptable by institutionalizing the concept of immunity for highly placed men like Ashcroft. The administration will try to do this not through legislation, but through precedent– by defending Ashcroft’s claim to immunity before the Supreme Court. At first it seems strange that a professed liberal president such as Barack Obama would do this. But unfortunately, it is quite consistent with the illiberal stance he has maintained on the question of the constitutional responsibility of his predecessors in the Bush White House. From the beginning of his presidency, Obama decided to shield them from the consequences of their crimes. This position was initiated by the president’s “we should look forward” statement in January of 2009. In this statement he made it clear that he did not want to pursue those who had ordered or implemented (in this case) torture under the Bush administration. When popular pressure forced the president to allow his attorney general , Eric Holder, to open an investigation of the issue of torture it was arranged so the inquiry would have no teeth. Publically and up front we were told that no one would be prosecuted whatever the outcome of the probe. That is the last anyone has heard of Holder’s investigation of torture American style. The long and short of this is that the principle set down at Nuremberg, to wit following orders is no excuse for criminal behavior, will not be applied. Nor will giving the orders incur a penalty. The decision to defend Ashcroft’s claim of immunity is in solid accord with this position.
The logic of this position, and its likely consequences, warrants close examination. If we were to ask President Obama why he has decided to defend the immunity of alleged criminals who happen to be high government officials, and if he were to be perfectly candid in his reply, here is what he might say:
1. President Obama – It would be difficult for the president, or those who carry out his orders, to act freely and as needed if they had always to worry about litigation after the fact. This is particularly true in time of war and emergency.
My Reply – This assertion has been made by leaders of states from time immemorial. It is a variation on the raison d’etat argument that has historically allowed all manner of bad behavior under the guise of state interests. On the other hand, it is true that following the law can prove inconvenient under wartime or emergency conditions. Nonetheless, in the long run, lawlessness is much worse than inconvenience. It is to be noted that, in the American case, appointed and elected high officials (particularly attorney generals!) are sworn to uphold the law not to transgress it.
2. President Obama – While I have stopped the more egregious policies of the Bush administration, I am still responsible for the safety of all American citizens and, in our modern age, I have to be able to use all the methods, high tech and otherwise, to achieve this goal. Some of these methods might very well prove unconstitutional (warrantless wiretaps, for instance) and yet I must be free to use them because another 9/11 style attack must be prevented. And, if I am to use these methods, then I can not prosecute those who have done so before me. Otherwise I would be accused of being a hypocrite by my political foes.
My Reply – This argument juxtaposes unattainable 100% security against the traditional freedoms that makes America the country its founders intended. Do we want to sacrifice the latter for the illusion of the former? As James Madison once observed, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.” That is the slippery slope President Obama seems willing to take us down. It also prioritizes the president’s political interests over the Constitution. This latter point of view can be carried further.
3. President Obama – You have to understand, that if I do not do all that is possible, be it constitutional or otherwise, to protect the nation I put myself in mortal political danger. I open myself to the accusation by my political rivals that I am “soft” on security or terrorism. And, if something does happen, such as another terrorist attack, then I am politically dead.
My Reply – Well, yes, this is so. However, what is also true is that prioritizing politics above law always leads us in the direction of corruption, or worse. By defending Ashcroft isn’t President Obama saying it is all right to break the law if you are highly placed and so lacking in imagination that you can not figure out a legal way of dealing with an emergency? For let us be clear, there is no evidence that after 9/11 the unconstitutional route was the only possible route to defend the country. Were the legal options and their constitutional variants ever seriously itemized and discussed? The Obama administration, like the Bush operatives, have never publically addressed this question.
If the Obama Justice Department proceeds with its plans to defend Ashcroft’s immunity claim and if, as is likely, the Supreme Court upholds that claim, we will be left with a politically based two tier legal system. It will set free to break the law every highly placed federal official every time he or she can claim an emergency situation. Then, after the fact, they will cite the immunity precedent. In the meantime, the fact that high federal officials are sworn to uphold the laws of the land will be rendered worthless, just another bit of political hypocrisy.
So what is it that we want for America? Do we want a two tier legal system where presidents and their appointees can break the law with impunity? Do we want a legal system where it is accepted that citizens and residents can disappear into federal dungeons? Is it all right with us that our fellow citizens, following the orders of the president, will torture, detain, shackle and otherwise abuse others without any regard for law – and they too will be immune? Because, whether they realize it or not, that is what the Obama Justice Department is arguing for when it defends John Ashcroft.
Dwight Eisenhower once asked the question, “how far can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” It is time for us to ask this question about the heinous “security” tactics of President George Bush Jr. as well as President Barack Obama’s unfortunate willingness to defend them.
Department of History
West Chester University
West Chester, Pa 19383
"FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!"
The Jericho Movement for Political Prisoner Amnesty
P.O. Box 17420
Portland, Oregon 97217
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:45 PM PDT
SOA - Take It To The Streets PROTEST!
Now Playing: Close the School of Americas
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the SOA/WHINSEC
Para información en español ver abajo clíc aquí
November 19-21, Vigil to Shut Down the SOA
Gather at the gates of Ft. Benning in nonviolent resistance to let our voices be heard.
This year there will be different ways for people to be involved in the Saturday action including crossing the line of the base of Fort Benning which risks federal arrest, or a city side action, outside the permitted area. But note that you may also participate without risking arrest. SOA Watch has permits for the activities in front of the base, and the acts of civil disobedience for those risking arrest will be clearly marked.
Want to participate in nonviolent direct action, but can’t risk a federal arrest? This year some in our community are inviting interested individuals and groups to join in an action of civil disobedience in Columbus Georgia on Saturday. This will be an action on city property, not the base, and carries different legal risks. Individuals who participate in the action could expect after arrest to
a) be in jail until they are bonded out and to have to appear in court, and bond money may be applied to possible fine. The jail schedule lists $1000 bond for misdemeanors and city offenses for out-of-staters and $300-500 for in-staters;
b) stay in jail longer without paying a bond and appear in court and possibly pay a fine.
Folks that are interested should:
Form an affinity group Get in touch with Charity Ryerson from the Direct Action Working Group at email@example.com Attend a nonviolence training on Friday, November 19th in the morning or afternoon. If you are not able to attend either time periods please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for things to do prior to coming to vigil. Attend the Direct Action preparation meeting on Friday night 7:30-9:30pm, Convention Center 207; or Saturday after the plenary at 10:45am Attend the Saturday Morning Plenary 9-10:30 at Convention Center For last minute nonviolence training please meet on Saturday, November 20th, at 1:30pm near the Food Not Bombs tent on Ft. Benning road. For Legal advice please consult Alison at email@example.com or Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People willing to risk federal arrest by crossing the line onto the base of Fort Benning, please contact Judith Kelly at silverdove(at)verizon.net. People cross the line of the base in order to get closer to the School of Americas, the place where many abuses throughout Latin America begin.Join human rights activists from religious communities, unions, student groups, among others, in non-violent direct action. We look to the thousands before us, who have participated in civil disobedience by "putting their bodies on the line" leading to 297 different people serving time in federal prison leading to almost 100 collective years. These Prisoners of Conscience are part of the inspiration and strength of the movement. Click here for more information on last years Prisoner of Conscience.
Brian DeRouen and Meagan Doty arrested in 2004, prisoners of Conscience crossing the line to the base in 2004
"While these brave peacemakers have been incarcerated and sentenced to probation for their courageous acts, those responsible for the use of the torture manuals at the SOA and for training human rights abusers have never seen a jail cell from the inside. We are here to change that." -Father Roy Bourgeois
Due to our presence at the gates of Fort Benning every year, SOA Watch has become known as one of the largest, grassroots movements in the U.S. We gather in the diverse traditions of nonviolence of those who walk before us. It is one of our strongest strategies of defiance to U.S. militarism that is increasing throughout the Americas. This direct action is also what keeps pressure on the Department of Defense and Congress to SHUT DOWN THE SOA/WHINSEC.
See you at the gates of
Fort Benning, Georgia!
|We appreciate your interest! |
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:18 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:46 PM PDT
Monday, 25 October 2010
Wikileaks - documents released (links)
Now Playing: U.S./NATO occupiers worry under their own trumped up fear mongering
Thanks to the heroic leakers in the US military and to Julian Assange and the hundreds of Wikileaks staffers and volunteers: Iraq War Logs was released Friday. Its 391,000 records reveal the standard operating procedures of a huge military occupation over the years 2004 - 2009.
Ray McGovern writes that Assange was presented the Sam Adams Award for integrity from Veteran Intelligence Professions for Sanity Saturday in London by Daniel Ellsberg and Craig Murray. The New York Times reported Sunday that Assange is a "hunted man," having been denied residency in Sweden, or in any country where the U.S. government's influence is significant enough to endanger him. The Robert Gates (Defense) and Robert Gibbs (Obama's Press Secretary) team repeats the same threat they did in July when Afghan War Diary came out: Wikileaks somehow "may have blood on their hands," for letting the truth out.
But who is the more dangerous force with blood on its hands? The U.S./NATO occupiers, whose presence destroyed civil society in Iraq, and fueled the sectarian violence, based on aggressive war, planned to last a generation by Bush and Cheney! See They Hate Us for Our Occupations by Glenn Greenwald.
The major news media, including the NY Times, is spinning their own messages, consistent with their unquestioning reportage of the unjust, immoral US war -- based on lies -- these many years. World Can't Wait is coompiling the best analysis we can find on our site, and will keep digging for what people living in this country need to know.
Key themes in the Iraq War Logs show:
Abuse, rape, torture, murder of detainees: Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. These are so egregious that the UN is calling for further investigation.
Civilians are dying in greatest numbers: Rumsfeld always said "we don't do numbers" on civilian deaths. Iraq War Log reveals that they kept some numbers. The US & allies killed civilians much more frequently than those they identified in the Log as "insurgents." Still, we'll never know the total.
Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints: Robert Fisk says, "Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents."
Private contractors non-uniformed, unsupervised, wreak havoc: Blackwater (now Xe) and the thousands of civilian "security" operatives got away with murder, over and over again. And there are even more contractors in Afghanistan now than the larger troop force Obama sent in.
Stop the Crimes of Your Government: Collateral Murder and Targeted Assassination
Below are clips from the enlightening and informative webcast World Can't Wait produced October 20 with Pardiss Kebriaei and Ethan McCord. Stay tuned for more from Ethan McCord.
Watch "Collateral Murder and Targeted Assasination:"
Introducing the event: we are about to learn more about the crimes we denounced in the Crimes Are Crimes statement (printed in the NY Times 10/7/10)
Pardiss Kebraei speaks about "targeted assassination" - the Obama administration authorizing the extrajudicial killing of a US citizen without trial or even charges.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:21 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:48 PM PDT
Wikileaks Just Releases Iraq Documents - Oct 22 2010
Now Playing: Wikileaks Did It Again 400, 000 documents on Iraq
Wikileaks did it again:
400,000 documents on Iraq. Make sure you make a donation to Wikileaks - their
source of funding was recently cut by the US Government.
Here's the release on their site:
At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports ('The Iraq War Logs'), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a 'SIGACT' or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.
The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians';
23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi
government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the 'Afghan War Diaries', previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:12 AM PDT
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Video: Charlie Rose Interviews Robert Reich
Now Playing: A 20 min video about the economy by Robert Reich
Topic: Economy and Labor
Globalization and automation undermined mindless work
Robert Reich is a professor of economics at UC Berkeleyand former Labor secretary under Clinton. Many of his articles are available at www.truth-out.org
"We are nearly at the end of our coping mechanisms.. Globalization and automation undermined mindless work.. We deregulated and privatized according to the myth of trickle down.. The top 2% don't need a continuance of the Bush tax cuts..
Consumers don't have money..
Wall Street should help distressed homeowners and small business.. TARP was another example of trickle down that doesn't.. From 1947-73, the economy was working for everyone.."
to hear the 20-minute interview broadcast on The Charlie Rose Show October 21, 2010, click on
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:54 PM PDT
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Hope and Change its more like "Lies and Everything Stays the Same"
Now Playing: More of the Obama smear campaing - and a Portland protest on Oct 20 2010
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
On October 20, President Obama will speak at the Oregon Convention
Center to stump for Democrats only.
A counter protest is planned for 3:30!
Meet at the NE corner of NE Oregon St (800 Block NE) and Martin Luther
King Jr Blvd, across the street from the entrance to the Convention
Saying we are disappointed in the current administration would be a
We've been short-changed and hope-winked.
Whether it's the continued wars, enlarged occupations, Wall Street
bailouts, or rearranging the deck chairs on various sinking ships (the
economy, healthcare, global warming, and others too numerous to
mention)--we all have something that needs to be said.
Come out to the Oregon Convention Center and let the President know
how you feel. Raise awareness that there is a choice other than the
corrupt ways of the Democrats and Republicans who consistently bow to
their corporate paymasters and ignore the will of the people.
Obama now complains that corporations are funnelling hundreds of
millions of dollars, from secret sources, into Republican campaigns.
But the Democrats could have prevented that by using their majorities
in the House and Senate to require disclosure or even to add 2 more
members to the Supreme Court and reveerse the Citizens United
decision. But they did not, because the Democrats thought they would
be the ones riding the corporate gravy train. After all, they got
more corporate money than the Republicans in 2008 (reported the Wall
Street Journal). But the corporations know better. They are buying
Congressional seats for real Republicans who openly adhere to their
But doesn't action in the Senate require 60 votes? No. The Justices
curcial to the Citizens United decision were themselves confirmed by
52 votes (Thomas) and 58 votes (Alito). Action requires 60 votes only
when the majority party Senators want to fool people into believing
they are impotent to protect the public interest. Impotence allows
them to argue, "Make us stronger with a bigger majority." But the
problem is not impotence. It is their allegiance to big money, which
bigger majorities would not change.
Many groups are coming together for this one: See the note below from
Dan Handelman of Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group.
(I received this from the Progressive Party on 10/19/2010)
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:17 PM PDT
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith - ADL just named the top ten
Now Playing: The Arab Defamation League - A.K.A. as Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith)
(Zebra 3Report Readers, the following is an email I recieved from a Human Rights Newsletter that I get)
The Arab Defamation League
(A.K.A. as Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith)
is an American Zionist organization which focuses on defending Israeli
apartheid policies even when those are harming Jews by attacking Arabs and
Muslims and anyone who speaks for human rights.
ADL just named the top ten
groups in the US that they say are most organized in their "anti-Israel"
stances in the US (see http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/5875_62.htm;
they even included Jewish Voice for Peace). I am proud to have been a
co-founder of one of those organizations and to have served on the board of
two others as well actively involved in supporting five others (via
donations, consulting, advise etc). I of course do not agree with ADL on
anything including on the idea of measuring impact of particular
organizations (I believe grassroot work is critical). For example, some
organizations like the Council For National Interest have significant impact
while remaining out of the limelight and also one would have to point out
that different time frames in the life of one organization (and longevity)
should be taken into consideration. I had my own run-in's with the ADL.
Many years ago we even held a demonstration in front of their offices in
Connecticut. They did me the honor of writing a report targeting me
personally (http://www.adl.org/israel/qumsiyeh ) as well as targeting my
employer (Yale University at the time) to pressure them about having me on
their medical school faculty. In other words, yes, I think those
organizations mentioned by ADL (and those not mentioned but doing similar
things) should be proud and redouble their efforts to challenge Israeli
apartheid in the US.
We just had a three day conference in Ramallah organized by the
International Center on Non-Violent Conflict (
http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/ ) where both Academics and Activists
(and people like me who are both) gathered to discuss and strategize on best
ways to educate the masses on power, forms, and structures of popular
resistance. I led a workshop based on my upcoming book "Popular Resistance
in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment".
Gaza monologues: Performances worldwide to break the siege on Gaza on Sunday
October 17. Join one of the events near you. Two of these events are in
the Bethlehem area http://www.theatrewithoutborders.com/node/1778
Other Actions: Olive picking Um Salamona, 9:30 AM Sunday October 17, contact
Excellent report on Ahmedinujad's visit to Lebanon
Is Israel an apartheid state? A south African study
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
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Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:54 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 October 2010 5:56 PM PDT
Balckwater , Bill Gates, and Monsanto pool their resources and cash
Now Playing: Monsanto Now "Owns" Blackwater (Xe)?
Topic: BIG MONEY PLAYERS
Monsanto Now "Owns" Blackwater (Xe)?
A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation (Blackwater’s Black Ops, 9/15/2010) revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State “security services,” that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.
Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.
One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.
Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to
keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater.”
However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become “Monsanto’s intelligence arm,” spying on activists and other actions, including “our people to legally integrate these groups.” Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009.
No wonder that a company engaged in the “science of death” as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.
Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of “philanthropy.” Another association that is not surprising.
It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of “market competition” of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.
Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really “donating” anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their “donations” finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.
Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.
Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.
* The author is a researcher at ETC Group
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:01 AM PDT
Monday, 11 October 2010
Media, Chomsky, Kevin Report, corrupt Government complexity
Now Playing: The Kevin Report (A blog I ran across reading about the media and about Noam Chomsky)
I found this interesting blog and wanted to share it with Z3 Readers... I believe it is written by Kevin.
The Kevin Report
Recently it dawned on me that one of the things I most like doing is acting as a filter for people. I like going out into the worlds of information, music, and technology and picking out samples that I think will appeal to people I know, or anybody for that matter. In this way, I'm a human aggregator.
This site will be focused on current news stories that I feel offer a departure from the general agenda of the mainstream media. The term "mainstream media" is loaded, though, and many if not most of the articles I post will come from established, mainstream sources.
In any institution there will be outliers. There will be stories in the (typically mainstream) New York Times that go against the grain of the US media as a whole, for example. The problem is that many of them get buried under the din of the other stories, as their antithetical counterparts get more attention, more repetition.
Choosing stories largely from established news outlets, but which don't conform to what we might call the overall narrative of the mainstream media, gives us the ability to rely on rigorous journalistic practices while still allowing a different picture to emerge. Rarely will an established news outlet publish an out-and-out lie. Usually they skew the picture of reality by omission, by suggestion of what constitutes an acceptable range of opinion across the imaginary Left-Right spectrum, and by exaggerating the extent to which certain ideas are accepted in the worlds of science and academia, and minimizing the extent to which certain ideas are actually largely agreed upon in these worlds.
The ideas I'm putting forth here are not new or original in any way. I make no secret that most of my inspiration comes from Noam Chomsky, who along with others, has provided compelling evidence of systematic distortions of reality by the mainstream media. I consider Noam Chomsky to be the great genius of our time with respect to moral/political philosophy. He has already earned the reputation of a genius in the field of Linguistics, where his work has been undeniably groundbreaking.
Unfortunately, Professor Chomsky is all too often ignored. His works are very widely read around the world, yet in the US media, he is conspicuously absent from the discussion, unlike in the media elsewhere. But if we're interested in the reducing of human suffering, not to mention the very survival of the human race, we ought to pay more attention to this genius in our midst, an Einstein of our time, always willing to speak up and offer his opinion in the here and now, though nobody knows for how much longer, as he is getting on in years.
So it is, in general, the narrative offered by Chomsky and others that I will try to present on this blog. And the narrative goes something like this:
As citizens of the United States we have a shared responsibility for the actions of our government. Many if not most of us have little inkling of some of the injustices carried out in our names. Most of these injustices are uncontroversially accepted and well known to those who bother to do the research. The problem is that most people don't and perhaps can't bother. Most of us are too busy chasing the American dream, or just scraping by, to carefully research any topic, let alone get a wide range of news sources on current events.
For most of us, it's simply enough to get a headline here and there, or maybe to watch 30 minutes of news with commercials and fluff pieces interspersed. Couple this with the general sense we have about our country's unerring goodness, and a picture emerges of a government which values freedom, always goes to war with the right intentions, and does its best to take care of its own.
Unfortunately things are worse than this. Much worse. While it's impossible to paint the entire US government with the same brush (especially when you consider that in a democracy we're all part of the government), what we can say is that if the average citizen were truly willing to accept the reality of some of the things done in our name, there would be radical change.
We live in a time when nuance is seldom embraced. You're either in this camp or that, with no in betweens. Either America is a great force for good in this world or it's not. Either you support the troops or you don't. Either your government is good or it isn't.
Well there's a descriptor for this kind of thinking, and it's "childish". As we grow older, we learn to see more nuance. We're more willing, for example, to accept that it's ok to break the pharmacy store window to get medicine for a dying person who needs it, whereas a four year old will simply tell you it's wrong to break a window and to steal.
Embracing nuance and complexity, we can see that to attack a government which is only partially democratic - and therefore does not always speak for us - is not to attack the American people as a whole. We can see that our government is capable of carrying out the greatest good and the greatest evil. We can also let go of the notion that if our government does evil that we're doomed and that we're stripped of the soothing illusions necessary to be happy and carry on in life.
For any willing to accept reality, know this: Our government has and continues to carry out and participate in some very awful atrocities. From wars waged directly and indirectly over the years in Latin America, Indochina, The Middle East, and elsewhere, we have been complicit in the deaths and suffering of millions. Our media is to a certain extent subservient to our government, as well as the general public, who are often unwilling to accept these realities. Therefore they have done a fairly awful job at presenting the truth.
As if this weren't enough, we are in a dangerous era of nuclear capability. As our actions continue to inflame extremism throughout the world, the stakes are getting higher and higher in the US's game of global domination. Not only this, but the crisis of climate change has also received shamefully little attention and has not been presented in a truly balanced way in our media.
We very well may be on the verge of extinction as a species. And in the shorter term, with the erosion of constitutional rights in this country, the US government is on the verge of becoming an extremely tyrannical regime, its people racked with extreme poverty and inequality between the upper and lower classes, leading to less democracy, less control over what our government does, and therefore less ability to slow or stop the atrocities committed in the name of power and greed by a few bad but powerful apples.
I believe that when people are properly informed, and when they're honest with themselves, they can act to make the world a better place. This is why I spend my time finding and presenting news stories to others. In addition, I believe in the value of humor, even in the darkest of times, so I will sometimes post articles which are funny, often in an illuminating way, but sometimes just for a good laugh. And then there is the occasional randomly interesting article.
Here's hoping this does some good for somebody out there.
(Kevin, well I read it and it did, do some good - thanks! ~joe anybody)
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:52 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 11 October 2010 5:57 PM PDT
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Professor! - Liar! - and a 911 Truth denier!
Now Playing: The truth about the "anti 911 truter" - Michael Shermer
Click here, and forward to the last ten minutes of today's show, to hear Professor Anthony Hall expose "Professor" Shermer on Truth Jihad Radio.
Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine, has been caught impersonating a professor. Oddly enough, Shermer - a leading 9/11 untruther - has been falsely claiming to be an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Claremont University, home of leading 9/11 truth scholar Dr. David Ray Griffin.
While pretending to be a professor, Shermer also travels around the lecture circuit impersonating a skeptic. Oddly, his skepticism does not extend to the official story of 9/11. As editor of Skeptic
magazine, he presided over a lame attack on genuine 9/11 skepticism
a few years back. (Anab Whitehouse schools Skeptic in skepticism.)
In addition to these impostures, Shermer apparently makes a habit of falsely claiming familiarity with books he hasn't read. At a recent talk at Lethbridge University, Shermer lumped 9/11 skepticism with UFOlogy and holocaust denial, and derisively claimed that he had read all nine of his alleged colleague David Ray Griffin's books. But when challenged, he was unable to name even one of them!
University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall, astounded that one of Griffin's fellow Claremont professors would behave this way, emailed Jean Schrodel, the Dean of Claremont's School of Politics and Economics. Professor Hall noted that Shermer had advertised himself as "Adjunct Professor of Economics at Claremont University," yet was not listed among professors at the university website. Quoting from Dr. Hall's email:I must say, (Shermer's) illustrated talk seemed to me to be far below even the minimal standards for a university presentation. His approach was professionally and ethically substandard. Dr. Shermer seems to specialize in efforts to demean colleagues through tactics of guilt by association. He equates, for instance, those who study the historical record of what did or did not happen on 9/11 with Holocaust Deniers and with those who study supposed aliens from outer space. He groups all the targets of his smear job together without distinguishing them as individuals with various specialties, disciplines, orientations, and theories. With his dehumanizing hate speech and psychobabble he seeks to arouse the antagonism of his audience towards a generic category he identifies as "conspiracy theorists."In the question and answer session I asked Dr. Shermer about his view of the work of Dr. David Ray Griffin, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Shermer claimed to have read all of Dr. Griffin's books on 9/11 and found them to be entirely without merit. Thus, the distinguished Claremont Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Ray Griffin, was lumped together by another Claremont professor (??) into a general pool of Holocaust Deniers and such. All of this was quite shocking to me and I said so publicly. I was therefore relieved to find that Dr. Shermer may not be associated with your well regarded school in the way he claims. I would appreciate an explanation.
The explanation, it turned out, was that Schrodel had never heard of Shermer. Whatever Shermer's connection with Claremont is - and it does appear that Shermer may have managed to milk some grant money through Claremont - he is NOT an adjunct professor.
Woody Allen's character Zelig
, who spends his life impersonating people, became a human chameleon on the day he falsely claimed to have read Moby Dick
. Did Michael Shermer - that impostor posing as a Claremont University professor - start pretending to be a Claremont professor on the day he first lied about having read David Ray Griffin's books? "Sure, of course I've read them all...and by the way, I'm actually a colleague of Dr. Griffin's at Claremont! I was telling him what an idiot he is in the faculty lounge the other day..."
Chewing on a cigar and blowing smoke from behind a greasepaint moustache, Shermer breaks into song:
(apologies to S.J. Perelman)
I don't care what you have to say
About what happened on that day
Whatever it is, I'm against it
Your thermate evidence is good
But let's have one thing understood
Whatever it is, I'm against it
Whether you've elaborated
Or condensed it
I'm against it
I'm opposed to it,
on general principles,
I'm opposed to it!
I've read all Dr. Griffin's books
They're pretty lousy by their looks
Whatever he says, I'm against it
No matter how he finished
or commenced it
I'm against it
No matter how much evidence
To me its all irrelevance
Whatever it is, I'm against it
"He's opposed to it,
on general principles,
He's opposed to it!"
My brain can't bear to hear the truth
I'd rather have you pull my tooth
Whatever the truth, I'm against it
So please tell that professor who dispensed it
I'm against it
"He's opposed to it,
He can't allow himself to be exposed to it
He's so opposed to it"
I love ad-hominem attacks
Don't ever bother me with facts
Whatever they show, I'm against it
I think by now you may have sensed it:
I'm against it
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:43 PM PDT
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