Saturday, April 16, 2005

Strange Bedfellows: Big Industry and Big Enviro Embedded in B.C.

Big Industry and Big Enviro Embedded in BC
Ingmar Lee, April 14, 2005

Two weeks ago, the Campbell government and American logging giant, Weyerhaeuser announced that 140 hectares was being added to Cathedral Grove park. Not mentioned: most of the acquisition is a logged-out stumpfield, basically a tax-burden wasteland for Weyerhaeuser, now unloaded onto BC tax-payers.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Southeastern Vancouver Island’s ancient fir forest has been 95% exterminated in 150 years of logging. The second pass is even more voracious, with Weyerhaeuser and TimberWest logging 30 year-old trees to supply their scandalous 1,000,000 cubic-metre raw-log exports annually.

Deer populations are down 80% in the last decade, salmon runs are at a trickle and Canada’s most endangered specie, the Vancouver Island marmot is virtually extinct, while wolves, cougar and Golden eagles take the blame. Does anyone care about Vancouver Island’s fir forests?

Well, not our biggest professional environmental institutions, namely Greenpeace, the BC Sierra Club, Forest Ethics and the Rainforest Action Network, known collectively as the Rainforest Solutions Project (RSP).

Vancouver Island was abandoned for a behind-closed-doors deal with the logging industry over the ‘Great Bear Rainforest’ (GBR). In spite of an independent scientific panel conclusion that 40 – 60% of the largest remaining tract of temperate rainforest must be protected, RSP has settled for just 21% of the GBR. RSP members won’t criticize Weyerhaeuser, Interfor, Canfor, Norske Skog and Western anywhere else in the province in exchange for the deal. Which explains what is happening to our island.

The logging industry has done their homework and has been reading from Burson-Marstellar-type PR manuals about “How to Co-opt your Pesky Local Enviro-org” and they are following the advice to the letter.

The results are astounding.

Last year at Weyerhaeuser’s AGM, CEO Steve Rogel flashed up the RSP member logos on his power-point, describing them as “Weyerhaeuser’s BC Partners.”

Last week, RSP members stooped to accept a “ForestLeadership Award” at a gala Toronto event key-noted by the notorious logging and fish-farm apologist, Patrick Moore himself. This week, the Conservation Voters of BC, which is advised by senior members of the same groups, endorsed SRM Minister George Abbott, apparently for his services on the GBR file.

Anyone watching BC’s enviro-scene knows that Abbott is as green as an oil slick.

Compromise-collaborationist environmentalism is taking British Columbia by storm. Big Industry and Big Enviro are firmly embedded. BC’s professional enviro’s stand by on the sidelines and watch while volunteer grass-roots citizens take action and do the dirty work. Charitable status, agreements with funders and backroom arrangements with industry preclude involvement by BC’s environmental institutions in any direct action or civil disobedience. Now they await the final fate of their GBR deal.
Campbell’s environmental record is in the toilet, but shovelling money just isn’t greening up what's in there. People know that the global ecological catastrophe is driven by his style of government. He badly needs a green announcement. Will Gordon Campbell buy into the Great Bear Rainforest compromise as yet another pathetic pre-election goody? Will he be endorsed by the Conservation Voters of BC?

Meanwhile, demoralized, horrified and heartbroken BC nature lovers look north with admiration to Haida Gwaii, where Guujaw and the Haida Nation, with widespread community support are demonstrating exactly what it takes to expunge our province of the Weyerhaeusers and TimberWests of the world, and their government lackeys. Three cheers to the Haida! Would that we had that kind of leadership.

Ingmar Lee is a Student of Asian and Environmental Studies at UVic. He has planted trees in BC's coastal clearcuts for 21 years.

Backup referrences:

RAN statement on GBR:

RSP GBR website:

Conservation Voters of BC website:

ForestLeadership Awards:


Ingmar Lee is a Vancouver-based environmental activist of uncompromising severity. Anything he says is accepted by the author of this blog as verifiably urgent! - {ape}

Peeling the White Wash: Uncovering the Sgrena Cover-Up


Debating Giuliana, the War and Us

Yesterday, Media For Democracy sent our an action alert urging members and others to support the call for an independent probe into the Giuliana Sgrena incident in Iraq. Our concerns provoked an avalanche of letters raising important questions. Some are just knee jerk "faith based" defenses of the government's "investigation." Others question our own response. I want to share the letter if you missed it and some of the responses as well as my own. - {Danny Schechter}

of Giuliana Sgrena
By Danny Schechter

NEW YORK, April 14, 2005 -- When Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena's car was fired upon near the Baghdad airport by U.S. soldiers, resulting in her wounding and the death of intelligence agent Nicola Calipari, press freedom groups demanded an impartial and independent international investigation. The Pentagon rebuffed the call.

Instead, the United States military investigated itself -- amidst reports that an Italian invited to join the probe was denied access to the vehicle that was involved in the incident. This is consistent with earlier U.S. responses to demands by Reuters and the International Federation of Journalists for independent inquires into earlier shootings of journalists. In every case, the Pentagon rejected outsiders from the process.

Last night on CBS's "60 Minutes Two," Sgrena denied the official story and accused the United States military of lying about the details.

Sgrena says she was less than a half-mile from the airport, when the shooting began: "Seven hundred meters more, and we are in the airport, and we will be safe and we will be in the airport. And in the same moment, started the shooting."

Sgrena says that as the car rounded a turn, driving no faster than 30 miles an hour, it was hit by gunfire and at the same time, a bright light. She and Calipari were in the back seat. "He [Calipari] pushed me down and with this, the body, covered me," says Sgrena. "He pushed me down in the car. And I was asking, 'Why?' Nicola doesn't say, he doesn't speak it, doesn't say nothing."

Other reports based on earlier interviews and another eyewitness account insisted: They lied about the checkpoint, speeding, hand and arm signals, warning shots, etc. There was no "checkpoint" where the shooting incident took place. The car was not "speeding", there were no "hand and arm signals", there were no "warning shots", and there were no "engine block" shots. The shooters ambushed the car from behind. There were earlier reports that an "elite combat unit," a CIA contingency of personal body guards for new national intelligence chief John Negroponte, may have been involved.

These are serious charges, yet a military-led investigation is poised to exonerate the soldiers and dismiss the critics once again. The pro-war Murdoch-owned New York Post reports today:

"April 14, 2005 -- U.S. soldiers reportedly have been cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting of an Italian journalist and an intelligence agent last month in Baghdad. "U.S. military officials told NBC News that a joint American-Italian investigation found the soldiers acted properly in firing on a car bearing a just-freed hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, and an intelligence officer, Nicola Calipari.

"The car was about 130 yards from a checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights to get it to stop. They fired warning shots when the car was within 90 yards of the checkpoint, but at 65 yards, they used deadly force. Calipari was killed and Sgrena wounded."

MediaChannel/Media for Democracy is calling on its members and supporters as well as media colleagues to join us in protesting this latest outrage and cover-up. Support press freedom -- denounce the suspicious killings and harassment of journalists in Iraq. Since the invasion in March 2003, more than a dozen journalists and media staff have been killed in Iraq by U.S. troops. Tell the Pentagon and the White House that the United States needs to act to defend its traditions of liberty and justice by addressing the concerns of journalists and citizens around the world over the failure to conduct credible investigations into the deaths of journalists and media staff in Iraq.

We Demand the Truth. Please speak up and speak out.

Danny Schechter
Director, "WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception)"

If you do write, send us a copy of your letter and any response.


Our letter calling for independent investigations into incidents in which journalists have been shot and killed has ignited a storm of protest and concern, Some question the need, believing in the government claims as if we have not seen a stream of contradictory reports on other issues that rarely satisfy critics or release key evidence and information.

There is a valid debate on the utility of writing to the President and Defense Department which is waging this war. Yes, of course, it is unlikely to do any good, win any admissions, or result in positive response.

But, that is not the point.

The point is that we have to find a way to stand up, all of us, for a journalism of truth. We need to support the calls by respected press freedom groups for the principle of independent investigation, not whitewashes by parties with an interest in the outcome of the investigation. I don't know Guilana or her politics. I do respect her reporting or at least what I have read in English. My understanding is that her newspaper is an independent left publication, not a Communist Party organ. That, too, is besides the point.

The point is that after so much bloodshed and deception -- and so many unanswered questions about whether journalists have been targeted -- explored in my film WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) and by press freedom groups, it is clear that the full story is not being disclosed. News agencies like Reuters -- hardly a political group -- have demanded independent probes of the killings of their staffers. The Pentagon has told them to get stuffed. So this is not a partisan issue or a political one.

Why is is it so hard for some people to recognized that governments -- all governments -- lie and cover up, and cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.

Will writing emails help? I don't know. But as citizens of the US and the world, we have some duty to speak up when outrages occur even if its not clear if we will be able to change things. What "works?" Protests of millions of people have not stopped the war. Elections have been fiddled with in this country and others. That doesn't mean we shouldn't vote or protest.

In point of fact, public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans are turning against President Bush. I remember how in the days of the Vietnam War that the public first rallied around the war until it didn't. I haven't given up on hopes that we can influence public opinion.

I have been writing almost every day about incident after incident of deception by the government and the media. I have written books about it and made films. Why bother? The deception continues. Should I just throw in the towel? Call me na?ve but I know from experience that persistence matters and that the truth will set us free, or at least help to, hopefully.

Besides, I don't know what else to do.

So, by all means, let's debate and discuss better tactics and strategies. Let's stand up for the values and principles we believe in. Is my letter perfect? Will Bush and Rummy turn their policies around because of it? No, not at all. They are losing as it us.

But at least I am trying to something and hopefully this discussion is worth having.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Undermining Civil Society

David Horowitz's Corrosive Projects

Little Horror Horowitz

"A smear is among the simplest of propaganda techniques. It can take the form of repeated, unapologetic, systematic name-calling, or otherwise implying or asserting that opponents are bad, evil, stupid, untrustworthy, guilty of reprehensible acts, or part of some undesirable category.

A smear might be conducted subtly or vaguely so the target cannot seek legal action against a slander or libel, which must be specific and believable to be legally actionable. False implications can be masked by otherwise truthful statements."[1]

David Horowitz's Corrosive Projects

April 11, 2005
London, England

n a democratic and civil society, one expects a free exchange of ideas, respect for the opinion of others, and it is taken for granted that all members of society are able to air their views without fear. It is also assumed that most members of the society have the potential to remain well informed [2]. Without this basis, the notion that a society can make the least-worst collective decisions or retain a modicum of civility will be undermined.

Although the United States used to trumpet the glory of its democracy and the related freedoms, it is disconcerting to find many developments that are hostile to the aforementioned assumptions. All of the following are detrimental to a civil society: truculent right-wing radio-talk shows, the sensationalist Springer-type talk shows, Fox News, , and David Horowitz's projects. This article examines the pernicious nature of some of Horowitz's projects, and it attempts to explain what role they may play in the United States today. An evaluation of these projects should also put into context Horowitz's campaign for an "academic bill of rights".

An overview

Horowitz, a self-declared former Marxist, is now engaged in a variety of projects ranging from promoting an "academic bill of rights", writing books [3], a database on "leftists" and "jihadists", and the FrontPage "magazine" [4]. FrontPage (FP) is primarily a platform for extreme Zionists to smear leftists, to attack academics who may be critical of Israel or the current US imperial proclivities, and to hurl ritual abuse against "jihadists" ­ in reality, a thinly-veiled racist attack on Muslims or Arab people. Denigrating and insulting labels are flung around in FP, and its writers often brand anyone near the left with such labels as "racist", "jihadist", "anti-semite", etc. The American progressive broadcaster Al Franken's photo appears with a "racist" label juxtaposed; Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old ISM volunteer who was killed by the Israeli army, is portrayed as "matron martyr saint for the pro-terrorism Left, the Joan of Arc of Palestinian terrorism" FrontPage also loves to denigrate: Prof. Juan Cole, Prof. Ward Churchill, Prof. Noam Chomsky Simply put, civility and integrity are in short supply at FP.

A new Horowitz "project" is the DiscoverTheNetwork database that monitors "leftists"; it applies the same McCarthyite Campus-Watch formula to a wider group of activists. It draws on the "research" of the articles that have appeared in FP, Campus-Watch, and liberally insults and denigrates those it has chosen to track. There is no place in a democratic society for such corrosive databases like DiscoverTheNetwork ­ these amount to databases of libel [5].

With friends like these...

One of FrontPages's most pernicious writers is Steven Plaut, a man who "could be thought of as Israel's Daniel Pipes" (Pipes is the instigator of Campus-Watch), and is someone who "launched an Internet site on which he publishes articles that typically espouse far-right positions" [6]. Given that Plaut was born and raised in the US, educated at top US universities, one would have hoped that he had learned the finer points of living in a democracy; however, he now lives in Israel, and this may have dulled his sensibilities.

For an insight into Plaut's integrity and civility the following incidents should warn anyone about the character of this person:

" a young political philosopher and human rights campaigner from Ben Gurion University, Dr. Neve Gordon, was accused by an extreme right-wing polemicist from Haifa University, Dr. Ste[v]en Plaut, of being a supporter of Norman Finkelstein, whose book, The Holocaust Industry, led many on the Right to associate him with Holocaust deniers. When Gordon decided to sue him for libel, Plaut subsequently disseminated articles attacking Gordon on the Internet, including on some extreme right-wing Kahanist sites. Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization in America, also weighed in against Gordon by writing to the President and the Rector of Ben Gurion University questioning the continued employment of Gordon and protesting his libel case which, Klein argued, was an intervention in the civil liberties of Plaut because it denied Plaut's right to freedom of expression! [...] Writing under assumed names, Plaut has a long history of attacking, labeling, and targeting left-wing scholars in Israel. One anonymous article appeared under the name of Socrates in the Middle East Review of 2001. " [7] (emphasis added)

Here is a recent example where Plaut savages Jonathan Cook, an important free-lance journalist who frequently writes on Palestine and the Middle East. Plaut easily brandishes the "anti-semite" slur and here he demonstrates hyperbolic tendencies:

Cook is a self-proclaimed "freelance journalist". He is in fact a vicious anti-Semite openly endorsing Palestinian mass murder of Jews. The very fact that he has never been deported nor jailed by Israel speaks volumes about the extent to which the Israeli government is really willing to defend the country and Israelis. Cook writes anti-Israel propaganda for the Egyptian anti-Semitic daily al-Ahram the anti-Semitic British daily The Guardian, al-Jazaara [sic], and just about any other anti-Semitic outfit you can think of.[8]

In 2004, Plaut lifted the email list of an electronic discussion forum based at the Univ. of Haifa [9]. Then, using this list, a co-conspirator called "Rocky" proceeded to send hateful emails to the forum posing as someone called Yusuf, a "Zionist Palestinian", who also was "your token Arab who adores Israel". "Rocky" then made the mistake of using CC instead of BCC to forward one of his diatribes. The ensuing email exchange between "Rocky" and Plaut discussing the faux pas was revealed when "Rocky" repeated the mistake by sending it to the entire distribution list! It would make amusing reading were it not for such a sordid attempt at deception, the smearing of others, and interfering in a discussion of Israeli academics on how to obtain a modicum of justice for the Palestinians [10]. Furthermore, one could well imagine the furor if a Palestinian academic were to pose as a malevolent prankster in a Zionist website posing as Moshe "your token Jew who adores Palestine." Plaut's activities demonstrate a lack of integrity and honesty. Perhaps one would expect higher standards from a Princeton educated professor, but maybe in Israel, in a business school, this is considered par for the course. These facts notwithstanding, he is a regular contributor to FrontPage!

And another dubious operator

A book review is a critical assessment of a book and a means of highlighting its importance to a wider audience. However, there is another type of book "reviewer" who uses the medium to denigrate books they don't agree with, or to praise books they agree with; book reviews become a means to propagate their ideological stance. The Amazon book review sections have given rise to a breed of reviewers who use this resource for ideological ends. Alyssa A. Lappen, another FrontPage and Campus-Watch "journalist", is a prolific Amazon book "reviewer". Her reviews tend to have the following defining characteristics: if the book is favorable to Israel it is generally issued glowing remarks, if the book is critical of Israeli policies it is denigrated, and books that present the Palestinian narrative are similarly savaged. Books like Joan Peter's From Time Immemorial are issued such glowing praise as "This monumental and fascinating book." Note that Prof. Norman G. Finkelstein and Prof. Yehoshua Porath have demonstrated that this book is a "threadbare hoax", a product of the shoddiest "scholarship", and a book written for propaganda purposes [11]. Lappen issued glowing reviews of dubious texts published by Encounter Books, an enterprise run by Peter Collier, Horowitz's longtime buddy [12]. Lappen's activities undermine what could be a valuable resource of bona fide book reviews; instead her propaganda imperatives transforms the book review section to just another ideologically debased space. Amazon may well want to implement a more stringent policy to avoid dragging its website further into the mud.

In her FrontPage articles, Lappen often demonstrates a similar lack of intellectual integrity to that found in her book "reviews". Some of her articles deal with the professors of Middle East Studies at Columbia Univ. (MEALAC), a current Zionist pet hate. Another favored target for smearing is the ISM, the non-violent volunteer group opposing the Israeli occupation. To smear the ISM she quotes Walid Shoebat, a dubious "Zionist Palestinian" who broadcasts from a settler radio station and wears a kippa [13]. To score cheap propaganda points, Zionist organizations have put Shoebat on tour around the US, and Lappen quotes him extensively. Her technique amounts to the journalistic equivalent of quoting the village idiot. Shoebat often talks about the hateful nature of "jihad theology", and Lappen uses this to smear the ISM and its founders:

"Not surprisingly, Beit Sahour is also home to Ghasson [sic] Andoni and George Rishmawi, are the co-founders of the Rapprochement Center. They also co-founded the International Solidarity Movement with Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro. Both organizations appear to be driven by the malevolent jihad ideology that Walid Shoebat describes."

Now, even a group advocating non-violent resistance and dialog with the Israelis is smeared with Lappen's favorite term of abuse. Never mind that most of the leading Palestinian activists of the ISM are Christians and that roughly a third of the overall ISM membership is Jewish (including one of the co-founders, Adam Shapiro) -- they still deserve Lappen's "jihadist" scurrilous smear. It is too much for Zionists to acknowledge that there are sensible and courageous Palestinians seeking to defend their rights using non-violent means. Lappen and her FrontPage ilk smear Palestinians in the ISM and all other Palestinians with wide brushstrokes, and in the process demonize and dehumanize all Palestinians.

Interpreting Horowitz's various projects

Several foundations pour millions ($13.7m through 2003) into the Horowitz projects, and these range from ultra-right-wing The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, to the notorious extreme-right-wing Scaife Foundations [14]. Why would these foundations support Horowitz's hateful and corrosive operations? There is one clue in the funding list where one finds the John M. Olin Foundation contributing $15,000 to "support a public opinion study directed by Frank Luntz." Now, Frank Luntz is a pollster and propagandist for the Republican Party and Fortune 100 companies, but in addition, one of his main preoccupations is defending Israel's image abroad. Luntz is a proponent of what Zionists call hasbara, i.e., an aggressive propaganda campaign to whitewash Israel's image in the US [15]. So, from the funding sources we can surmise that pro-Israeli propaganda is one of the purposes of Horowitz's projects. Furthermore, given the nature of the right-wing funding groups behind his projects one can theorize about the projects' purposes, and these can be categorized as: (1) pushing the envelope and narrowing the political spectrum; (2) an echo chamber effect; (3) smearing critics of the US imperial role and Israel; (4) a ratcheting of smears, and (5) "mirror flak".

i. Pushing the envelope and narrowing the spectrum

Some right-wingers want to transform the political scene by narrowing the political spectrum, and undermining their opponents on the "left". In order to accomplish this "radical" right-wing dream, projects are promoted to push the political discourse envelope. Twenty years ago, the American public would have had no stomach for Bill O'Reilly or similar corrosive talk show hosts [16]. In the meantime, an array of increasingly extreme rightwing propaganda and media were unleashed on the US public. These projects first appeared on the margins, and then moved towards the mainstream; the right-wing radio talk show format moved into the mainstream. This process continues today and explains the purpose of the various Horowitz endeavors, that is, to push the envelope, narrow the political spectrum, and move the entire political discourse to the right. FrontPage makes FoxNews look respectable, and thus serves to legitimize media like Fox. The implication is that if there are players to the right of Fox News, then Fox can't be all that bad.

ii. Echo chamber effect

A message is amplified and legitimized when several players repeat it. If Campus-Watch was alone railing against critical academics, then Daniel Pipes' frothing could easily be dismissed as deranged diatribes. When several players repeat the message, then one propagandist lends legitimacy to the other; the more players, the stronger the legitimizing effect [17]. This seems to be the reason that a Campus-Watch-type clone has emerged ­ these organizations even share personnel!

iii. Smearing of critics

The Hasbara Manual, a 131-page propaganda manual, was distributed to US-zionist campus organizations; it lists many techniques to whitewash Israel, and to defuse the message of its critics [18]. Two of its key recommendations are to: (1) "attack the messenger and not the message", and (2) to "gain points" with the public targets by "manipulating," and diverting them from "rationality," "real examination," and "thinking critically". Well now, this is a splendid explanation for the role FrontPage and Campus-Watch play in the US today. Much of what these organizations do is smearing and undermining rational discussion of a range of issues.
Both FrontPage and Campus-Watch have targeted Prof. Juan Cole, and they seem to be particularly incensed by Prof. Cole's Informed Comment, a popular and important news analysis blog [19]. Prof. Cole is critical of the US war in Iraq, of US policy in the region in general and of US-foreign-policy subservience to Israel in particular. FrontPage devotes copious resources to smearing Cole in an attempt to discredit Informed Comment. Prof. Cole has on occasion lambasted the FP libelous attacks on him, but of more interest is his explanation for some of these activities. Cole suggests that one of the purposes behind the repeated smearing operations is to obtain what he called a "Google Smear". This is Cole's explanation:

"It seems to me that David Horowitz and some far rightwing friends of his have hit upon a new way of discrediting a political opponent, which is the GoogleSmear. It is an easy maneuver for someone like Horowitz, who has extremely wealthy backers, to set up a web magazine that has a high profile and is indexed in google news. Then he just commissions persons to write up lies about people like me (leavened with innuendo and out-of-context quotes). Anyone googling me will likely come upon the smear profiles, and they can be passed around to journalists and politicians as though they were actual information "[20].

iv. Ratcheting of Smears

It is instructive to read Prof. Joseph Massad's statement to the Columbia Univ. ad hoc committee examining the complaints against him [21]. Massad describes in detail the ordeal he has been through and the attacks seeking to destroy his academic career. In his description, it is clear that the smears ratchet in virulence; they build on one another. The right-wing New York Sun may produce a smear that is then regurgitated with further elaborations in other newspapers and so on. If all the defamations appeared in one article or in a few accusations, then it would be easy for Prof. Massad to obtain legal redress. However, how can one sue for libel if the accusations ratchet over time and are attributable to various sources? FrontPage, Campus-Watch, and New York Sun just regurgitate smears, elaborate them and compound what amounts to libel. Prof. Massad documents one case where the New York Sun misquoted him, and while he asked for a correction at the Sun, Jonathan Calt Harris (associated with Campus-Watch) wrote an article amplifying the offending smear [22]. Steven Plaut quotes Calt Harris and the pernicious cycle continues. When nefarious organizations work in tandem, it is difficult for anyone who has been libeled or smeared to defend themselves. FrontPage contributes to undermining one of the key assumptions of a civil society, the basic respect for the opinion of others.

v. Mirror flak

Sporadically one finds leftist critiques of different news media, human right groups, NGOs and so forth. For example, one often finds critical studies of the BBC or CNN output issued by leftist groups, and this author has written several critical articles about Amnesty International (AI) [23]. Right-wing groups aim to counter or neutralize these critiques by what one could refer to as "mirror flak". While I have repeatedly criticized AI for its dubious record on reporting human rights abuses in Israel-Palestine, one suddenly encounters an article by the notorious Steven Plaut claiming the opposite [24]. That is, Plaut claims that AI is biased against Israel. So, by attacking AI, or any organization that has been criticized by the left, the effect of the original critique is neutralized. AI can claim that it is being attacked by both "left" and "right", and thus must be doing something right. The same thing happens with the critical studies of the BBC or CNN. On a regular basis, various groups will produce mirror flak, thus helping these organizations avoid having to confront accusations about their biased stance. Several articles in FrontPage fall into this category.

Horowitz and his "Academic bill of rights"

A creative writing course at the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, assigns some New York Times articles as part of its readings, but there are students who object to this, and assigning reading materials is a constant struggle [25]. Their objection has nothing to do with the dubious nature of the NYT, but with its "liberal bias"! Horowitz's "academic bill of rights" would "protect" students from having to read materials that weren't compatible with their ideological outlook [26]. While purporting to be a "bill of rights", in reality, it aims at politicizing and introducing ideological monitoring into academia. Prof. Massad's experience with disruptive students makes salutary reading to determine what this would imply [27].

Perhaps Prof. Rashid Khalidi indicates a basic objection to Horowitz's bill of rights:

"If students were coming to be told ideas that they arrived at university with they would be getting nothing of value here. If they were not to be challenged, if there were not to be forced to rethink the things that they come here as 18 year olds [...] with, what on heavens sake would be the point of a university, what would in heavens name be the point of teaching. We would just arrive with monolithic conventional ideas, and we would leave with monolithic conventional ideas. This is why academic freedom is absolutely vital." [28]

And who does Horowitz think he is to have the stature to call for an "academic bill of rights"? Perhaps this intellectual and moral pipsqueak should first crawl out of the sewer before pontificating about this topic. Horowitz's dubious projects, his shady past, and his far-right-wing connections suggest that what he is proposing is a frontal assault on academic freedom. His call for this bill is a bit like a pyromaniac urging safe usage of fireworks.

Caveat Lector

We are supposed to be living in a democracy, and therefore, by all means, read FrontPage magazine. However, while enjoying the benefits of democratic rights and civil society one should be aware of the nature of FrontPage and related projects ­ these aim to undermine these very rights that we may be taking for granted. This article has just sought to raise awareness about the nature of our contested ideological space and urge a vigorous defense of real participatory democracy, academic freedom and civil society. It is not enough to shrug at yet more right-wing invective, because much of this poisons our society and must be rejected and uprooted. Civility in our societies is not an on or off precondition for democracy ­ it can be poisoned and severely degraded unless it is defended.

FrontPage is not merely a contributor to the "marketplace of ideas," it is a wrecking operation comparable with the book-burners of yesteryear. It is also a mistaken conception to think that we just encounter a "marketplace of ideas", but a more accurate understanding of our society is that we are confronted with a "battleground of ideas", and here there is no room for complacency and neutrality.

What would Illich have made of this

Ivan Illich, the radical philosopher and social thinker, once described his childhood years when he was living in Brac, a small island off the Dalmatian coast [29]. Illich lamented the arrival in 1926 of a loudspeaker that upset harmonious and horizontal relationship, and stated that: "up to that day, all men and women had spoken with more or less equally powerful voices". After the loudspeaker was installed, there was a scramble to control the microphone and the communication emerged with a distinct vertical bias; many were silenced. One wonders what Illich would have made of the wonders of the internet. Certainly, he would have regarded projects like Horowitz's FrontPage rag as the equivalent of the village idiot gaining control of the megaphone.

Paul de Rooij can be reached at (NB: all emails with attachments will be automatically deleted.)
Paul de Rooij © 2005


[1] For a discussion of smears as a propaganda techniques refer to this article

[2] Individuals have the choice of not informing themselves about their society ­ that is fine. However, what is corrosive is the situation where individuals want to inform themselves and encounter deception, manipulation, and outright lying/smearing.

[3] Horowitz has published several of his books with Encounter Books, the publishing project of Peter Collier, his longtime buddy and co-founder with Horowitz of Center for the Study of Popular Culture -- the umbrella group of all Horowitz's projects. The duo also has co-authored some books. Encounter Books denies that the organizations are related, but they obtain funds from the same right-wing foundations.

[4] For a detailed list of Horowitz's endeavors see: SourceWatch on Horowitz.

[5] There are several reasons why this type of "database" is not legitimate in a civil society. First, the persons smeared do not have recourse to rectify what is stated about them. Most of the "research" on which the articles are based is abusive and libelous. The intention of the database is clearly political, to hound the individuals or to tarnish their reputation. The aims of such databases are deceptive at best and harmful in general. In a democratic society the main ingredients are open arguments and an element of respect; the DTN "database" doesn't apply such simple standards.

[6] Aviv Lavie, Not for the faint-hearted, Haaretz, May 5, 2004. Note that Plaut only publishes in English and most Israelis don't read his articles or blog. His output is mostly meant for US consumption.

[7] David Neuman, "The Threat to Academic Freedom in Israel-Palestine", Tikkun, July 2004.

[8] Steven Plaut, Cooking up Calls for Mass Murder, Sept. 2, 2004.

[9] A copy of email where Plaut boasts that he stole the list can be found here.

[10] Further documentation see:here.

[11] Yehoshua Porath, Mrs. Peters's Palestine, NYRB, Vol. 32, No. 21 & 22 · Jan. 16, 1986. Norman G. Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Second Edition, Verso 2003. Finkelstein states: "So disturbing (and bizarre) was the book's main argument ­ that Palestinians had, individually and en masse, fabricated their genealogies ­ that I read it with more than the usual care. It quickly became obvious that the said author, Joan Peters, had concocted ­ and, more revealingly, that the American intellectual establishment had lent its name to ­ a threadbare hoax". (P. 1)

[12] In the 1960s, Peter Collier and Horowitz edited the "anti-war" magazine Ramparts. Since then Collier co-wrote several books with Horowitz, and co-founded the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, the umbrella organization of all Horowitz's projects.

[13] Alyssa A. Lappen, "The Ravages of the Jihad-Occupied Mind", FrontPage, Feb. 17, 2004.

[14] here. For a discussion of Luntz see: Bill Berkowitz, Luntz on the Loose, DissidentVoice, Oct. 26, 2004.

[16] O'Reilly telling interviewees to "shut up" in his TV program is certainly a corrosive influence in a civil society-there is no place for this type contemptible behavior.

[17] In several articles, Steven Plaut quotes Jonathan Calt Harris ­ one dubious propagandist quoting another to "prove a point". Similarly, Lappen quotes Steven Emerson.

[18] This manual will soon be made available online. However, this article contains a discussion of the manual: Fadi Kiblawi , Israel's Campus Concerns, Palestine Chronicle, Oct. 23, 2003.

[19] Informed Comment

[20] Juan Cole, The GoogleSmear as Political Tactic, Informed Comment, March 27, 2005

[21] Joseph Massad, Statement to the Ad Hoc Committee, March 14, 2005.

[22] Massad, ibid.

[23] Paul de Rooij, Amnesty International: Say it isn't so, CounterPunch, Oct 31, 2002. Paul de Rooij, Amnesty International: The Case of the Rape Foretold, CounterPunch, Nov 11, 2003. Paul de Rooij, Amnesty International: A False Beacon?, CounterPunch, Oct 13, 2004.

[24] Steven Plaut, "Amnesty International - Not a Reliable Source", FrontPage, June 2, 2003.

[25] Personal communication with professor of this course.

[26] The "academic bill of rights" deserves a longer discussion. Prof. Juan Cole presents good analysis of it and its implications. Furthermore, see Bill Berkowitz's Horowitz's Campus Jihads, DissidentVoice, October 9, 2004.

[27] Massad, ibid.

[28] Rashid Khalidi, DemocracyNow, April 6, 2005.

[29] There are several versions of this account, and there is a longer one in one of his books. However, a shorter version can be found in this speech.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Drums for Tehran

Drums for Tehran

The drum has been long for Tehran beating in Washington and Jerusalem, but the beat is growing tiresomely familar. Phony photographic proof enough to start another bloodbath, anyone? -{ape}

Israeli Blackjack with Iran
Sharon Tries to Pawn Off Fake Photos of Iran's "Nuclear Installations"

April 13, 2005
Las Cruces, New Mexico

It's really sad when you have to read newspapers and web sites in the Middle East to find out what is happening in the United States. For instance, al-Jazeera was about the only site outside of Israel to report that General Yoav Gallan, war criminal Ariel Sharon's "military advisor" (that is, he tells Arik the Butcher the best way to kill Palestinians and other Arabs), "has reportedly handed Bush documents and aerial photos of Iranian nuclear installations during the Israeli prime minister's Monday meeting with the U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli public radio reported on Tuesday."

In short, the Israelis have devised a few fake photos to lay on Bush since Iran does not actually have "nuclear installations," as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported late last year. Israel wants the United States to bomb the daylights out of Iran, a possibility that will grow more and more remote as time passes, a fact that really freaks out Sharon and his Jabotinskyite partners in international crime who want every Arab or Muslim nation in the Middle East bombed or at least cowed by the same sort of shock and awe Bush used against Iraq.

Gallan, who accompanied Sharon in his summit with Bush at his Texas ranch, presented the photos together with information the Israeli intelligence services gathered on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, the Israeli radio added, without mentioning how the photos were taken. It just said that the images showed that the Iranian nuclear programme was at a "very advanced" stage.

It is amazing what you can do with computers these days -- entire alternate universes can be ray traced into existence. No doubt Iranian nuclear programs can be likewise devised with a relatively inexpensive computer and a little bit of software. Scott McClellan, who usually does Bush's talking for him, more or less admitted the above, although he did not give any details and the slavish corporate media did not ask for any.

Israeli defense officials asked Sharon to raise the option of military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities during talks with President Bush. On the other hand, U.S. defense officials had so far refused Israeli entreaties to discuss the military option against Iran as a last resort if diplomatic pressure fail.

Here's a novel idea... if the flipping Israelis are so hot to invade (or at minimum bomb) Iran, let them do it themselves. Of course they will not do this since there are around 66 million Iranians and about 6 million Israelis, including a couple hundred thousand rabid settlers in the West Bank, Gaza, and the land Israel filched from Syria. Better to get the stupid Americans to do it, although it appears the Pentagon is not exactly chomping at the bit to invade Iran considering the mess in Iraq.

So here we have Sharon and his mass murder advisor presenting Bush the Dumber with photos, obviously contrived since nobody can find nukes in Iran except the Israelis and their Neocon buddies, who are, just like the Likudites, demonstrated and practiced liars and deceivers, well tutored in making up fake "intelligence," as the Neocon lie factory, the Office of Special Plans, did in the lead up to mass murdering around 100,000 innocent Iraqis.

Israel has previously made clear it considers all options legitimate for preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Analysts say that the Jewish state wouldn't resort to force unless being supported by its chief ally the United States. Of course not -- the Iranians would wipe them off the map. "We are not managing to get the Americans to talk about what will happen if the diplomatic efforts fail and Iran resumes enriching uranium, putting it on track to an atomic bomb."

Seriously, this is a no-brainer -- stop messing around with folks and maybe they will live and let live. Of course, Israel and the United States are unable to stop messing around with people, and such behavior is apparently pathologically ingrained -- Iran remembers well the CIA overthrowing its democratically elected government and installing a brutal shah and his personal Gestapo, Savak -- and this sort of nasty behavior is more than often not the reason small countries in the third world have a hankering to go nuclear, to ward off the neocon and neolib wolves, as the example of North Korea illustrates (notice how Bush and the Neocons are not saber-rattling much in North Korea's general direction as of late). Naturally, according to the Likudites and their Neocon buddies, Muslims and Arabs have a genetic predisposition to kill Jews and if they are allowed to have even one measly Hiroshima-grade atom bomb they will immediately nuke Tel Aviv.

It is a bullshit story, entirely racist and irrational, the sort of nonsense the Zionists have pedaled for decades in an effort to get their way, that is to say de-Palestinianize Palestine and demonstrate their mercilessness to the Arabs and Iranians. Moreover, when history is examined, the indisputable fact emerges that it is Israel, under the leadership of a number of rabid Zionist serial offenders such as Sharon and Begin, that is responsible for much of the trouble in the region, from starting a couple major wars to killing scads of otherwise peace-loving people and blaming it on the Arabs (viz., the Lavon affair and Mossad's planting of a radio device in Libya, resulting in the U.S. bombing Libya, to name but two of a number of murderously deceptive events engineered by rabid and remarkably sociopathic Zionists). Hell, if I was Iranian with a neighbor like Israel I'd want a couple nukes of my own too, especially considering the Israelis have about 200 of them.

Although Israel has never publicly acknowledged that it maintains a nuclear arsenal, foreign experts assert it has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads.

Big time double standards -- but then most Israelis are white people and white people wouldn't think about nuking other people... that is unless they are non-white, for instance, Japanese civilians. Obviously, Sharon visited Bush at his fake cowboy ranch in Texas for one reason and one reason only -- to convince him to bomb the heck out of Iran, something Bush now seems reluctant to do considering the intractable situation in Iraq. Sharon is likely to have a tizzy and no doubt his options are slim to none in regard to Iran, a nation admittedly run by a clique of medieval mullahs not particularly liked by most Iranians. Of course, the average Iranian distrusts Israel and the United States even more and will support the mullahs if push comes to shove and the United States invades or does a number on their country with cruise missiles and other mass murder hardware, about the only industrial product America still manufactures. Is it possible somebody, somewhere, possibly a bit saner and not connected at the hip to the Neocons and their Israeli taskmasters, is whispering in Bush's ear?

If sanity -- or a modicum of sanity -- is to rule, we will find out by June, supposedly when the Iranian window closes, according to the Israelis. If Bush does not attack Iran by June, the odds the U.S. will attack at all will probably end up about as promising as a Saturday night spent at a blackjack table in Las Vegas.

Kurt Nimmo is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair's, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.

He can be reached at:

Killer Flu Virus Distributed Worldwide by U.S. Company
C. L. Cook news

April 13, 2005

Cinncinati-based, Meridian-Bioscience has admitted to sending a deadly virus to more than 4000 labratories worldwide. The H2N2 flu virus strain killed millions in 1957 before being effectively wiped out through a vaccine campaign. But, samples of the strain were preserved.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out an urgent call to all labs receiving the virus to immediately destroy the bug and provide documentation verifying that action. The great fear is: Because H2N2 has been, treated as extinct, no immunization against it has been provided since 1968. That leaves those born after that year particularly vulnerable.

For its part, Meridian-Bioscience says the massive distribution of the killer flu strain was accidental, a claim CDC Director, Dr. Julie Gerberding says is, "almost impossible to believe." While senior World Health Organization scientist, Dr. Klaus Stohr criticized Meridian's decision to include this particular viral agent with others routinely sent out to labs, as "unwise."

In a statement released today, Meridian-Bioscience denied culpability saying, "Such samples are used by professional laboratories accustomed to handling viral agents. The company has a long history of supplying samples to the [College of American Pathologists] and believes it has been and is in compliance with all applicable regulations."

Dr. Stohr says he believes the risks of an outbreak are remote and "should not lead to a big scare."

Laboratories receive these types of viruses and bacteria to better help them to detect and identify new, naturally occuring strains. Meridian Bioscience says it sent the material as part of a contract to the College of American Pathologists.

The particulars of that "contract" are still unclear. The CDC's Gerberding says the company did not immediately respond to calls for information, adding that they were still trying to find out what exactly happened.

"The explanation for why H2N2 was used in proficiency panels by Meridian Bioscience ... is not something that was clarified."It is almost impossible to believe they did not know they were dealing with H2N2," she said.

The appearance of the H2N2 virus was first detected by Canadian health officials March 26, but is believed to have been dispersed as long ago as September, 2004 throught the U.S. and countries including: Canada, Italy, Brazil, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Jamaica.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

lex obsolesco: Death be to the Word

ex obsolesco: Death be to the Word
lex obsolesco

Republican Vigilantism
The Laura Flanders Show
Monday, April 11, 2005

Laura Flanders with Steven RosenfeldIt’s easy to gripe about the single-story media coverage of the past few weeks --like those short, spring showers, the papal burial went on for hours and hours, and when it was over, the channels switched to Charles and Camilla.

From the papacy to the monarchy – what’s going on?It’s been easy to let the old world distract from what’s going on right here, but it’s time to refocus.

Back home, a new political campaign is underway and at stake is nothing less than the rule of law.I mean it. It’s not just that the White House and the Senate Right are gearing up to do whatever it’ll take to pack the judiciary.

There’s a campaign going on against the rule of law itself. A week ago Tom Delay was threatening political retribution against judges who disobeyed. Last Monday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested that violence against judges and their families was an understandable reaction to the decisions those judges make.

In Washington, a new outfit calling itself the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration held a two-day meeting on what they called “the Judicial Threat to Faith.” Two House members attended, aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; Frank Pavone, the Vatican envoy who represented Terri Schiavo's parents; Alabama's "Ten Commandments" judge, Roy Moore; Tom Delay sent a message by video.

Dana Milbank reported in Saturday’s Washington Post that the conference agreed that Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, should be “impeached, or worse” for his opinion forbidding capital punishment for juveniles.

The embrace of unlimited executive power has its echo in our international policy too. In the National Defense Strategy released last month, Donald Rumsfeld links courts and the United Nations together with international terror threats to the state.

Describing U.S. vulnerabilities “The National Defense Strategy” declares that “our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak focusing on international fora, judicial processes and terrorism.”

All in one neat, package.Will someone please tell me what’s the difference between that sort of talk and Eric Rudolph?Rudolph, the former fugitive, was charged with bombings that killed two and injured more than 150 others at family planning clinics, a gay club and the Atlanta Olympics. He copped a plea last week and will be sentenced to life.Rudolph bombed the Atlanta Olympics to attack the federal government.

Tom Delay wants to take out judges whose views he doesn’t like. Rudolph was willing to kill and maim because he doesn’t like women’s power and gays and human equality. Delay and Bush are willing to throw the Constitution out for what look like similar reasons.

They all say they act in the name of god. Rudolph’s bombings were accompanied by letters claiming they were the work of the Army of God. First Strike Bush has said he believes he is God’s agent too.

There’s something going on that’s more dangerous than saturation coverage. It’s Republican vigilantism. The vigilantes are back, and if Delay is anything to go by, they’re hell-bent on vengeance. The qualities that apparently made Eric Rudolph a folk hero to some --- his ability to strike and evade the law, to become judge, jury and executioner -- sound to me a whole lot like qualities the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration would go for.

The Xtreme Right haven’t always disliked judges. They’ve only started disliking the courts since judges started defending the environment against corporations and workplace regulations for working people, and women’s choices, and civil rights. Jailing Dr. King was just fine, when Jim Crow courts were in charge. It’s only now that lawbreakers are right-wing heros.

I call it taking the law into one’s own hands and it’s a direct threat to our state. What else do you call Jeb Bush’s order to state police to seize Terri Schaivo’s body?

What else do you call Tom Delay’s threats to sack the bench? What else do you call licensed pharmacists who fill Viagra prescriptions but not birth control? And those old-west vigilantes right now stalking border crossers?

For that matter, what do you call the corporations who tempt those migrants here, regardless, so they can pay them slave wages and skim the profits?At the top of the heap is W. (A fish rots from the head.)

When he wanted Bin Laden “dead or alive” he went for it; when he wanted control of Iraq’s oil, he went for that too, international law be damned. Interrogators follow his lead from Abu Graib to Guantanamo.No Mr. Rumsfeld, the rule of law is not a “strategy of the weak.”

It is a strategy that protects the weak from exploitation by the strong. It is the strategy of a civilization: ours.

See that dollar bill?

See the slogan written there?

Novus Ordo Seclorum -- an old language, but a new idea: the "New Order of the Ages."

It’s one of this country’s great founding statements. It means nothing less than the ever-so revolutionary sentiment that by dispensing with kings and semi-gods whose rule was autocratic and based on force, these here United States would be a republic based on reason, balance of powers, and self rule.

Do you hear that Tom Delay? George W?

John Cornyn?

Reason, balance of powers and the rule of people, not God.

This country is run by a mob whose faith is closer to Eric Rudolph’s than “novus ordo seclorum.” Maybe it’s time for a revolution rerun.

Laura Flanders is host of The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio and the author of BUSHWOMEN; How they won the White House for Their Man.Steven Rosenfeld is Senior Producer of the Laura Flanders Show.

From the Saturday, April 9 2005
Laura Flanders Show.
© 2005 The Laura Flanders Show

Monday, April 11, 2005

Pandemic in the Making?

Pandemic in the Making?

WHO Teams Attacked as Suspicions Grow in Angola Marburg Outbreak - {ape}
Marburg Virus

Pandemic in the Making?

C. L. Cook
April 11th, 2005

On March 23, the World Health Organization released reports officially naming the mysterious illness plaguing Angola. Marburg, the deadly virus first identified in the late sixties, was tagged as the culprit in the deaths of over 150 people since October. The viral haemorrhagic fever cousin to the more famous ebola fever has now spread to seven of Angola's 18 provinces, and the capital, Luanda.

The WHO's official diagnosis has prompted international crisis response.

Until a month ago, cases were sporadic, mostly occuring in very young children, but last month the first of 17 health care workers to become infected and die heightened concerns that this, the largest outbreak of its kind, could become a pandemic.

The spread of Marburg is creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

The WHO suspended mobile surveillance efforts in the wake of stone-throwing attacks. Rumours have implicated foreign medical aid missions with creating the crisis through tainted child immunization programs. While locals say they are upset that friends and relations diagnosed and isolated in hospitals who died were quickly buried without next of kin notification, or ceremony.

Coming Like a Thief in the Night: Sharon Crosses the Pond

Kurt Nimmo
April 11, 2005

For more than fifty years the Palestinians have endured the duplicitous Zionists who have no intention of ever allowing them to form their own state. Ariel Sharon, the international war criminal—most notably for his actions resulting in the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon and more recently the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank—has told the world from Bush’s fake ranch in Texas the Israelis have no intention of ever giving an inch to the Palestinians.

“President Bush cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday against West Bank settlement growth but Sharon gave no commitments and pressured Palestinians to act on terrorism,” reports Reuters. In other words, Bush mouthed a few useless words and Sharon said what Sharon always says—the Palestinians will never realize a state, no matter what happens. In the meantime, the Israelis will continue building illegal “settlements” on stolen land, actions most civilized people consider criminal behavior.

“Looking ahead to prospects for peace after the July pullout, Sharon also said at a news conference with Bush that negotiations on a Palestinian state could begin only after President Mahmoud Abbas mounted a ‘real war’ against militants.” Translation: so long as Palestinians insist on self respect and harbor dreams of their own state and maintaining a cultural heritage—in other words, so long as they refuse to pack up and leave or remain behind as “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for the racist Israelis (as predicted by Lord Curzon), they will be engaging in terrorism. In essence, what Sharon is asking for is a civil war—his capo Mahmoud Abbas and his CIA-trained paramilitaries against Palestinian nationalists, or those not yet rubbed out in targeted assassinations—a cataclysmic event that would put a smile on the face of every Jabotinsky Zionist in Israel.

Sharon’s vision for the Arabs is Ma’ale Adumim, the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank. “Ma’aleh Adumim was established on lands taken from Palestinians, from the villages of Abu Dis, Al Izriyyeh, Al Issawiyyeh, Al Tur and Anata. Other lands had been inhabited for dozen of years by the Jahalin and Sawahareh Bedouin tribes,” explains Eitan Felner of Le Monde diplomatique.

But to fully appreciate the cumulative, staggering consequences that Ma’aleh Adumim and the other settlements have had on the Palestinians, one cannot simply count those directly affected, those whose land was confiscated or house demolished for the construction of this or that settlement or by-pass road. Each dispossession cannot be properly appraised unless it is considered in the broader context of the national dispossession these policies brought about.

Reuters reports: “[Sharon] went a step too far for Washington earlier this month by pledging to pursue a plan for the construction of 3,500 homes for Israelis in a narrow corridor between the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim and Jerusalem…. Seeking to assure the United States no new building work was imminent, Sharon said it ‘might take many years’ before contiguity is achieved between the settlement and the holy city.” In other words, the Zionists will continue to dispossess—that is to say kill Palestinians (as three young Palestinians were killed in Gaza the other day for playing football in an “unauthorized zone” ) or at minimum demolish their homes—and continue to do what they do best: make worthless promises (i.e., tell lies and obfuscate their sincere intentions) and build “settlements” on stolen land.

As if to dispel any doubt, Sharon declaimed: “It is the Israeli position that the major Israeli population centers will remain in Israel’s hands under any future final status agreement,” in other words when the Israelis finally get around to making a deal with the Palestinians—in ten, twenty, or fifty years, if ever—they will keep all the land they have stolen, including the outrage Ma’aleh Adumim, the very crown jewel of Israeli apartheid scheme and grand theft larceny.

“Bush applauded Sharon’s ‘courageous initiative to disengage from Gaza and part of the West Bank’ and urged the Palestinian leadership to accept the prime minister’s offer to coordinate the withdrawal,” reports Reuters. In Bushzarro world, the steady and unrelenting theft of Palestinian land—as teenagers are killed for playing football on “unauthorized” (stolen) land—is not an outrage and a slap in the face but a “courageous initiative” of the sort that has in the past inspired Izz el-Deen al-Qassam (the armed wing of Hamas) to send home-made Qassam rockets screaming into Sderot or a kibbutz or two in the western Negev.

As usual, whatever the Zionists want, the Zionists get, and Bush really has no choice but to play along, not that he would actually do otherwise, being a good Christian Zionist or at least pretending to be one for the sake of his “base,” that is to say crackpot far right religious fruitcakes who believe they will sail out of their cars and clothes at any minute, float right up to heaven, leaving the rest of us behind to suffer their demented vision of Armageddon. Even the Zionists and Israeli apartheid settlers believe these guys are nuts, but then nut cases are often put to good use, especially if the (unelected twice in a row) president of the United States agrees with them.

Sharon’s visit to Dubya’s fake ranch in Crawford, Texas, was simply the latest insult directed not only against the Palestinians, but the American people who are now beginning to suffer the economic after effects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq—spawned by a brood of Zionists in the White House and the Pentagon at the behest of the Likudites in Israel—and who are paying billions to maintain the Zionist kleptocracy in the Middle East. One would hope that sooner or later the average American will wake up, smell the coffee, and see this for what it is and demand that the tiny outlaw state of Israel either cut a sincere deal with the Palestinians or short of that demand Congress sever the sugar daddy umbilical cord once and for all.


Incidentally, the latest Israeli outrage, emanating from Bush’s private property in probably the most regressive state in America, is especially outrageous since April 9 was anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre, an event completely ignored by the corporate media in the United States. “Early in the morning of Friday, April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents,” explains the Deir Yassin Remembered web site.

As if to explain the mentality of the average Israeli, the murderous and excessively racist Menachem Begin was elected to lead Israel, same as the serial killer Ariel Sharon was later elected by the “only democracy in the Middle East,” as the corporate press in the United States likes to muse. Of course, much the same can be said about the mentality of the average American who “elected” Bush.

Deir Yassin had a peaceful reputation and was even said by a Jewish newspaper to have driven out some Arab militants. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and one plan, kept secret until years afterwards, called for it to be destroyed and the residents evacuated to make way for a small airfield that would supply the beleaguered Jewish residents of Jerusalem…. By noon over 100 people, half of them women and children, had been systematically murdered…. Of about 144 houses, 10 were dynamited. The cemetery was later bulldozed and, like hundreds of other Palestinian villages to follow, Deir Yassin was wiped off the map.

By September, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland, Rumania, and Slovakia were settled there over the objections of Martin Buber, Cecil Roth and other Jewish leaders, who believed that the site of the massacre should be left uninhabited. The center of the village was renamed Givat Shaul Bet. As Jerusalem expanded, the land of Deir Yassin became part of the city and is now known simply as the area between Givat Shaul and the settlement of Har Nof on the western slopes of the mountain….

The massacre of Palestinians at Deir Yassin is one of the most significant events in 20th-century Palestinian and Israeli history. This is not because of its size or its brutality, but because it stands as the starkest early warning of a calculated depopulation of over 400 Arab villages and cities and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian inhabitants to make room for survivors of the Holocaust and other Jews from the rest of the world.

In other words, Deir Yassin served as a template of things to come—massive and unrelenting ethnic cleansing and brutality directed against a mostly defenseless people “to make room” for other people who either claimed a religious right to land they never personally owned (let alone set eyes upon) or felt they had no other choice but to steal, considering Hitler and the Holocaust (an excuse used to this day to blackmail Germans out of billions of deutschmarks, Germans who were not alive during the Holocaust and have no responsibility for it).

Is it possible Sharon steered the date of his meeting with Bush the Lesser as close to the anniversary of Deir Yassin as possible? It sure looks that way and considering the macabre nature of Likudite Zionists it certainly should not be ruled out.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Paul Martin: Canada's Last Prime Minister?
Too Funny?

CEOs Sell Out the Nation

Murray Dobbin
Georgia Straight

After almost three years of quiet lobbying and political manoeuvring, Canada’s corporate elite recently went very public with its future blueprint for Canada.

The initiative goes by various names: “deep integration”, the Big Idea, and now, in its formal political incarnation, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

That’s the name of the agreement signed by the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. on March 23 that would begin the process of economic, social, cultural, and security assimilation into the U.S. If it sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because Paul Martin simply took a Bay Street scheme—called the Security and Prosperity Initiative—and made it into Canadian policy without so much as thinking about what Canadians might want.

Martin knows what Canadians want, and that is almost certainly why he didn’t want to consult them. Poll after poll reveals that Canadians have different values than Americans, and those differences mean we want less integration with the U.S., not more.
"Mr. Canada" Tom D'Aquino

Bay Street’s annexation initiative is led by Tom d’Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, made up of the CEOs of Canada’s 150 most powerful corporations. It was called the Business Council on National Issues until the CEOs decided, given that they were all global operators, that there were no national issues and changed their name.

D’Aquino and his partners in a corporate task force, former deputy prime minister John Manley and former finance minister Michael Wilson, tell us that by integrating ever more into the U.S. we will somehow guarantee our prosperity, creating fortress North America to compete with China, Europe, and other competitors.
Takin' it to da Judge

The real story is a little different. It goes back to the “leap of faith” in free trade recommended by a federal commission in the 1980s. We took the leap and have been paying ever since. We suffer constant trade harassment. We lost 280,000 of our best jobs, forever. We “restructured” our economy to be competitive with the U.S. and now have the second-highest percentage of
low-paying jobs in the developed world. On top of that, Industry Canada tells us that 91 percent of our increased trade with the U.S. had nothing to do with the Free Trade Agreement but was driven by our cheap dollar and the U.S. boom.

The fact is that the FTA failed even from the point of view of Bay Street. Peter Nicholson, one of its principal gurus, a former Scotiabank vice president and a personal adviser to Paul Martin, summed up the failure.

Supporters of the FTA, Nicholson said, thought it would “cause Canadian firms to pull up their socks…and compete in the North American market”. Instead, many companies adjusted to the FTA “by simply moving across the border…taking the path of least resistance”.

Here, then, is the real story behind “deep integration”. Canada’s business class simply cannot compete with its U.S. counterpart. They refuse to pay for the necessary research and development, refuse to train their workers, are constantly begging for more tax cuts, and are notoriously risk-averse.

As well, Canadian companies are eager to simply sell out to U.S. corporations. Since 1989, more than 95 percent of foreign investment in Canada has gone to buying up Canadian companies. Head offices are pouring over the border.

The sheer lack of entrepreneurial vision is evident in Bay Street’s determination to tie itself to what more and more economists are declaring a declining economic power. The growing consensus is that smart countries and companies are getting in on the game where the growth is: China, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa. But not Canadian companies. Even retiring World Bank president James Wolfensohn recently expressed surprise that Canada sends only six percent of its exports to these rapidly growing markets.

Business writer David Crane says: “Canada’s future well-being will depend on companies with a global strategy, not a North American strategy.”

One of the reasons: The U.S. is now beginning to lose its technology-based competitive advantage. The countries of western Europe, Japan, Korea, and even China have set ambitious national goals and are building universities, inviting immigration, and have clear objectives regarding industrial development and new technologies. Ross Armbrecht, president of the U.S. Industrial Research Institute, says “more and more of the most far-reaching innovations will be going overseas, to India and China, in the near future.”
American Psycho

President Bush’s answer to these nation-building efforts? Tax cuts and a perpetual war economy. This is the economy and country to which Canada’s business leaders want us to tie our star. But even worse, d’Aquino actually believes he can negotiate a good deal with the current U.S. administration and Congress.

This is delusional, given the rapid devolution of the U.S. into an imperial theocracy. It’s time for Canadians to look elsewhere for leadership; our economy, not to mention our country, is far too important to leave to the failed imagination of Bay Street CEOs.

The Big Fix

Don't be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there's no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they'll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces.
- Jean-Paul Marat 1743 – 1793

The Big Fix
Global Eye
By Chris Floyd
April 8th, 2005

Let's face the facts. The game is over and we -- the "reality-based community," the believers in genuine democracy and law, the heirs of Jefferson and Madison, Emerson and Thoreau, the toilers and dreamers, all those who seek to rise above the beast within and shape the brutal chaos of existence into something higher, richer and imbued with meaning -- have lost. The better world we thought had been won out of the blood and horror of history -- a realm of enlightenment that often found its best embodiment in the ideals and aspirations of the American Republic -- is gone. It's been swallowed by darkness, by ravening greed, by bestial spirits and by willful primitives who now possess overwhelming instruments of power and dominion.

A gang of such spirits seized control of the U.S. government by illicit means in 2000 and maintained that control through rampant electoral corruption in 2004. The re-election of President George W. Bush last November was a deliberately shambolic process that saw massive lockouts of opposition voters; unverifiable returns compiled by easily hackable machines operated by avowed corporate partisans of the ruling party; and vast discrepancies between exit polls and final results – gaps much larger than those that led elections in Ukraine and Georgia to be condemned as manipulated frauds. Indeed, a panel of statisticians said last week that the odds of such a discrepancy occurring naturally were 959,000 to 1, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported.

The copious documentation of the Bush fraud keeps growing. Last month, experts using actual machines and returns from the 2004 election showed Congress how a lone hacker could skew a precinct's results by 100,000 votes without leaving a trace. More than 40 million votes in 30 states were cast on such computer systems, BlackBoxVoting noted.

Late last year, Congress heard sworn testimony from Florida programmer Clint Curtis, who created vote-rigging software in 2000 at the request of Tom Feeny, a Bush Family factotum. Feeny wanted Curtis (a fellow Republican) and his employer, Yang Enterprises, to produce untraceable programs that could "control the vote" as needed, investigator Brad Friedman reported. Feeny also told Curtis of Bush plans to "suppress the black vote" with "exclusion lists." This is exactly what happened. BBC investigator Greg Palast has shown that tens of thousands of legitimate African-American voters were deliberately "purged" from the rolls by a private Republican-controlled corporation hired by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Afterwards, Feeny -- who had been Jeb's running mate in his first gubernatorial campaign -- was rewarded for his dutiful service with a plum congressional seat.

In 2002, Raymond Lemme, a Florida state government inspector, took up Curtis' charges, which included other corruption allegations involving Feeny, Yang Enterprises and a Yang employee charged with peddling military technology to the Chinese. In June 2003, Lemme told Curtis he had "tracked the corruption all the way to the top" and that "the story would break in a few weeks." On July 1, 2003, Lemme was found dead in a Georgia hotel room, just across the Florida border.

Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his wrists. At first they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures turned up on the Internet and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report on several points -- presenting evidence, for example, that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was reopened after Curtis' Congressional testimony -- and then abruptly shut down after local police spoke to a never-identified "someone" in the Florida state government.

Needless to say, nothing has been done to clarify the murk surrounding Lemme's convenient death. Nor has there been any action toward rectifying the highly profitable degradation of the American electoral process -- beyond the appointment of yet another "blue-ribbon panel" of Establishment worthies to oversee "election reform." The seriousness of this endeavor can be seen in the man appointed to co-chair the effort: James Baker, the notorious Bush family fixer (and Saudi bagman) who spearheaded the sabotage of the 2000 vote in Florida. Baker's presence on the panel ensures that nothing will be done to lessen the ruling clique's chokehold on power.

So let's have no illusions about where we are. Gangsters are in charge, and nothing and no one will be allowed to challenge their dominion. They are waging aggressive war to cement their position and that of their allies: the energy barons, the arms merchants, the construction and services cartels, the investment bankers. These power blocs now command monstrous resources and unfathomable profits; they can buy out, buy off or bury any force that opposes them. Meanwhile, they use the loot of the stolen Republic -- its blood and treasure -- as fuel for their ever-expanding war machine: Bush now has a "secret watch-list" of 25 more countries ripe for military intervention, the Financial Times reported.

With more war crimes afoot, last month Bush issued an official "National Defense Strategy" that openly declares "judicial processes" as one of the enemies confronting the United States, actually equating them with terrorism, The Associated Press reported. Law is "a strategy of the weak," says the Bush Doctrine, in a chilling echo of Hitlerian machtpolitik: Might makes right. The judicial process must not be allowed to "constrain or shape" American behavior in any way, the gangsters declared.

Think of it: Law is now the enemy. Democracy, as we've seen above, is the enemy. This, the demented code of criminals and tyrants, has become the ruling doctrine of the United States -- replacing the Constitution, replacing the noble struggle for liberty and enlightenment with the howl of the beast, with a freak show of avarice and death.


The Death of Raymond Lemme, March 8, 2005

Clint Curtis Testifies Before Judiciary Committee Panel, Dec. 13, 2004

Report to Judiciary Committee: Diebold Machines Hacked
Black Box Voting, March 8, 2005

Exit poll analysis points to 2004 election corruption
Akron Beacon Journal, April 1, 2005

US Scatters Bases to Control Eurasia
Asia Times, March 30, 2005

US Draws Up List of Unstable Countries
Financial Times, March 28, 2005

Bush: U.S. To Bear Burden of Iraq Costs
Associated Press, April 4, 2005

Oil prices soar above 58 dollars for first time
Agence France Press, April 4, 2005

US Taxpayers Give Lion's Share To Military
PNN Online, April 4, 2005

National Defense Strategy: Legal Challenges, Terrorism Threaten U.S.
Associated Press, March 18, 2005

Defense Strategy OKs First Strikes
Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2005

The Bush-Cheney Media Enterprises
AlterNet, April 3, 2005

US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify Iraq war
The Observer, April 3, 2005

Long Before WMD Panel, Evidence Showed Bush Wanted War Despite Intelligence
A Tiny Revolution, March 31, 2005

If You Build It, They Will Kill
TomDispatch, April 1, 2005

Military Bases Abroad are Expanding
The Nation, March 31, 2005

Coordinated attack on your voting rights happening Now
Daily Kos, March 31, 2005

Bechtel Sees Record Revenue in 2004
San Francisco Chronicle, March 29, 2005

The New Aristocracy
Providence Journal, March 28, 2005

Top Bush Insider Joins Halliburton
Washington Examiner, March 22, 2005