Thursday, October 28, 2010

USA Fascist Freedom of Information (wikileaks FOX)

Pack Assange off to Guantanamo, US conservatives tell Obama

By David Usborne in New York Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been described in the US media as a 'threat to national security' Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been described in the US media as a 'threat to national security'

The White House and the Pentagon have failed to confront and contain the threat to national security posed by WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange who should be arrested as an "enemy combatant", voices on the US conservative right insisted yesterday.

Frustration with the failure of President Barack Obama to combat WikiLeaks has grown since the release of almost 400,000 secret documents that exposed the extent of abuse of prisoners in Iraq by US and Iraqi personnel.

One Fox commentator went so far as to call for the WikiLeaks figurehead to be treated as a prisoner of war. Christian Whiton,a former State Department official, demanded that America seize Mr Assange and deal with him and other WikiLeaks staff as "enemy combatants". Calling for "non-judicial action" against them, he implied that they should be in Guantanamo Bay with Taliban inmates.

Nor was Whiton alone in his stance. "The government also should be waging war on the WikiLeaks web presence," an editorial in the conservative Washington Times railed this week. Other infuriated conservative commentators made similar demands on websites of such august institutions as the neoconservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

However, the right is not united in its response to the latest paper blizzard. Before the cries for muscle-flexing began, some on the right thought they saw snippets in the new documents to stand up the discredited theory at the centre of the 2003 invasion – that there were weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq. "There were weapons of mass destruction after all," was a weekend headline in the New York Post, also Murdoch-owned.

Closer inspection of passages referring to the discovery of equipment by coalition forces in Iraq reveal they were left over from early efforts by Saddam Hussein to build a deadly arsenal and do not point to his concealing hardware when the invasion was ordered.

But it is the inability of America to silence WikiLeaks that is stirring the greatest passion among conservatives. On the AEI website, Marc Thiessen, a former spokesman for the late Senator Jesse Helms, noted a Twitter post from Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying that the leaks put lives at risk.

"Mullen is right – the release of these documents was irresponsible and dangerous. But, with all respect to the chairman, a Twitter posting is not exactly the cyber response that these WikiLeaks disclosures warrant," he wrote.

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posted by u2r2h at 1:11 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"No better friend, No worse enemy."

After killing the two Iraqis, he left a placard inscribed with the Marine motto "No better friend, No worse enemy."

All charges against Pantano, who was facing a possible death sentence, were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

The number of rounds, changing the clip and posting the sign suggest...

ah ... what's the words I am looking for?

The basic facts are undisputed: on 15 April 2004 Ilario Pantano, then a second lieutenant with the US marines, stopped and detained two Iraqi men in a car near Falluja. The Iraqis were unarmed and the car found to be empty of weapons.

Pantano ordered the two men to search the car for a second time and then, with no other US soldiers in view, unloaded a magazine of his M16A4 automatic rifle into them, before reloading and blasting a second magazine at them . some 60 rounds in total.

Over the corpses, he left a placard inscribed with the marine motto: "No better friend, No worse enemy."

Six years later Pantano is on the verge of a stunning electoral victory that could send him to the US Congress in Washington. He is standing as Republican candidate in North Carolina's 7th congressional district, which was last represented by his party in 1871.

With the help of the right-wing Tea Party movement, and with the benefit of his image as a war hero acquired from what happened on that fateful day in 2004, he has raised almost $1m (£630,000) in donations and is now level-pegging with his Democratic opponent, Mike McIntyre.

"We are in complete contention. We are certainly neck-and-neck. And we are feeling terrific," he said at a Tea Party rally outside Wilmington.

Pantano is one of the new breed of hardline Republicans thrown up by the turmoil of the economic meltdown and the ensuing Tea Party explosion. He served in the first Gulf war, then worked for Goldman Sachs before rejoining the marines days after the 9/11 attacks.

He was charged with premeditated murder. At a pre-trial military hearing, prosecution witnesses testified that the detainees, Hamaady Kareem and Tahah Hanjil, were unthreatening and that their bodies were found in a kneeling position having apparently been shot in the back.

The defence countered that weapons had been found in the house from where the Iraqis were fleeing. The men had turned on Pantano unexpectedly as he was guarding them. He shouted "Stop!" but they didn't respond and he opened fire in self-defence.

Defence lawyers highlighted inconsistencies in the accounts of the prosecution witnesses and portrayed the main witness, who had been demoted by Pantano, as a soldier with an axe to grind. Forensic evidence was said to conflict with the prosecution case.

In the event, all charges against Pantano were dropped on grounds of insufficient evidence. But the officer presiding over the hearing recommended that Pantano be given non-judicial punishment for having displayed "extremely poor judgment", adding that by desecrating the Iraqi's bodies with his placard he had brought disgrace to the armed forces.

Pantano declined to be drawn on the specifics of his case. "I'm running for Congress. I'm not defending myself for something that happened five years ago," he said.

But what about that placard? "I don't need to explain anything to people. If folk are alarmed, well war is alarming. All of my men that are alive are grateful for my service."

Neither Pantano nor McIntyre, who has held the seat for the Democrats for the past 12 years, have raised the shooting incident in their campaigns. The only criticism, paradoxically, has come from the Republican who Pantano beat in the primary election, Will Breazeale.

"I myself was a veteran of Iraq. I've detained Iraqis, and in my view Pantano is no war hero," he said.

But in this district, which has a large military population due to its proximity to Camp Lejeune, the marine base where Pantano's pre-trial hearing took place, most voters know Pantano's story intimately. "He's a war hero," said a top local Republican official who declined to give his name. And the placard? "Doesn't bother me."

Arthur Plante, a veteran of the US coastguard, said: "If I had been in his situation over in Iraq I would have done the same thing." His wife, Cynthia, also a veteran, said: "I would follow Pantano to war any time, any place. He did what had to be done."

recently spoke at Ground Zero in New York where he opposes plans to build an Islamic cultural centre nearby.

An article 32 hearing found no credible evidence or testimony for the accusation and declined to prosecute Pantano, dropping all charges.

Shortly thereafter, Pantano was offered another platoon command back in Iraq. Due to terrorist threats against his family, he resigned his officer's commission and was honorably discharged. These events and his other experiences as a combat Marine during the Persian Gulf War and in Iraq in 2004 are the subject of his successful memoir, Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.

Pantano was born in New York City and grew up in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. His father was an Italian-born tour guide and his mother was a Kansas native who is now a literary agent.

He worked as an energy trader for Goldman Sachs. From 1995 - 1998, he was a member of the start-up team that integrated top-tier investment bank culture (GS) with utility business (BG&E) in Constellation Power, an electricity trading joint venture that was acquired for $11 billion by FPL. Shortly thereafter, he became a movie producer with a New York firm called The Shooting Gallery and co-founded a company specializing in interactive television, Filter Media.

Pantano married Jill Chapman, a fashion model and entrepreneur, who had appeared in Italian Vogue.[2] The couple has two sons


His men grumbled.enlisted men call officers like Pantano "motarded"--motivated to the point of retardation.

On June 12, 2006, Pantano's autobiographical account of his experiences, Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy,[16] was released by Threshold Editions, Mary Matalin's Simon & Schuster imprint. On July 10, 2006, he appeared as a guest on The Daily Show to promote the book.

Do you know Michael SAVAGE???

Pantano received support from talk radio personality Michael Savage who spent day after day ...
The Savage Nation has an audience of 8 to 10 million listeners on 400 stations across the United States, making it the 3rd most listened to radio talk show in the country

Some, including Savage himself, have characterized his views as conservative nationalism,[9] while critics have characterized them as "fostering extremism or hatred. he supports the English-only movement and argues that liberalism and progressivism are degrading American culture.

He is Banned from entering the United Kingdom
The then UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced on May 5, 2009 that Savage was on a list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom as he is "considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence"

During his radio broadcast on that same day, Savage declared that he would sue Smith personally for defamation, calling her a "lunatic"

Savage also called on his listeners to support him by canceling travel and business in Britain as well as by boycotting British-made goods.

When a caller challenged Savage about his talk-show rhetoric, Savage called him a "foaming lunatic... someone in pajamas in a mental asylum... nobody and I.m not going to talk to you!"

"It's quite ironic that someone like Michael Savage sees no hypocrisy in strongly defending his right to the First Amendment only to show outrage and intolerance a few minutes later toward the views of someone else he doesn't agree with."

Sam Leith wrote: "Barring this shock-jock from Britain risks turning a rabid blabbermouth into a beacon for free speech."

On July 12, 2010 the new Conservative Party-led government of Prime Minister David Cameron announced that it will continue to ban Savage from entering the UK

In total Savage has written 29 books. Under the name Michael Savage he has written eight books, including a #1 New York Times bestseller.

In January 2004, Savage published his second political book The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith, and Military. His next book, Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder, was released on April 12, 2005

In October 2010, Savage released "Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama.s Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security".

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posted by u2r2h at 8:11 AM 0 comments

Failure of Nuclear Missiles Accidental Launch?

Remote takeover by a virus like Stuxnet???

Oct 26 2010, 4:36 PM ET 141

President Obama was briefed this morning on an engineering power failure at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming that took 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), one-ninth of the U.S. missile stockpile, temporarily offline on Saturday.

The base is a main locus of the United States' strategic nuclear forces. The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. They're on full-time alert and are housed in a variety of bunkers across several states.

On Saturday morning, according to people briefed on what happened, a squadron of ICBMs suddenly dropped down into what's known as "LF Down" status, meaning that the missileers in their bunkers could no longer communicate with the missiles themselves. LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline.    In LF Down status, the missiles are still technically launch-able, but they can only be controlled by an airborne command and control platform like the Boeing E-6 NAOC "Kneecap" aircraft, E-4B NAOC aircraft or perhaps the TACAMO fleet, which is primarily used to communicate with nuclear submarines. Had the country been placed on a higher state of nuclear alert, those platforms would be operating automatically because the frequencies used to transmit nuclear codes would be interfacing with separate systems, according to officials.

According to the official, engineers believe that a launch control center computer (LCC), responsible for a package of at least five missiles, usually ten of them, began to "ping" out of sequence, resulting in a surge of "noise" through the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence, so if they begin to send signals out when they're not supposed to, receivers on the missiles themselves will notice this and send out error codes.

Since LCCs ping out of sequence on occasion, missileers tried quick fixes. But as more and more missiles began to display error settings, they decided to take off-line all five LCCs that the malfunctioning center was connected to. That left 50 missiles in the dark.  The missileers then restarted one of the LCCs, which began to normally interrogate the missile transceiver. Three other LCCs were successfully restarted. The suspect LCC remains off-line.

Commanders at the Air Force Base sent warning notices to colleagues at the country's two other nuclear missile command centers, as well as the to the National Military Command Center in Washington.  At that point, they did not know what was causing the failure, and they did not know whether other missile systems were experiencing similar symptoms.

According to the official, engineers discovered that similar hardware failures had triggered a similar cascading failure 12 years ago at Minot AFB in North Dakota and Malmstrom AFB in Montana. That piece of hardware is the prime suspect.

The defense official said that there had not been a power failure, though the official acknowledged that that explanation had made its way through public affairs channels. Engineers working on the system presented a draft of their initial findings late this afternoon, the official said.

An administration official, speaking about the president's ability to control nuclear forces, said: "At no time did the president's ability decrease," an administration official said. "

Still, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, was immediately notified on Saturday, and he, in turn, briefed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

"We've never had something as big as this happen," a military officer who was briefed on the incident said. Occasionally, one or two might blink out, the officer said, and several warheads  are routinely out of service for maintenance. At an extreme, "[w]e can deal with maybe 5, 6, or 7 at a time, but we've never lost complete command and control and functionality of 50 ICBMs."

The military contends that command and control -- "C2" in their parlance -- was not lost.

An Air Force spokesperson, Christy Nolta, said the power failure lasted less than an hour. "There was a temporary interruption and the missiles themselves were always protected by multiple, redundant, safety, security and command and control features. At no time was there any danger to the public," she said.

Another military official said the failure triggered an emergency inspection protocol, and sentries were dispatched to verify in person that all of the missiles were safe and properly protected.

When on alert, the missiles are the property of the U.S. Strategic Command, which controls all nuclear forces. When not on alert status, the missiles are under the control of a subordinate organization, the Global Strike Command,

A White House spokesperson referred questions about the incident to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and to the Air Force. A spokesperson for the Global Strike Command did not immediately respond to questions. 

The cause of the failure remains unknown, although it is suspected to be a breach of underground cables deep beneath the base, according to a senior military official.

It is next to impossible for these systems to be hacked, so the military does not believe the incident was caused by malicious actors. A half dozen individual silos were affected by Saturday's failure.

There are about 450 ICBMs in America's nuclear arsenal, some of them bearing multiple warheads. 150 are based at Minot and about 150 are housed at Malmstrom AFB in Montana. The chessboard of nuclear deterrence, a game-theory-like intellectual contraption that dates from the Cold War, is predicated upon those missiles being able to target specific threat locations across the world. If a squadron goes down, that means other missiles have to pick up the slack. The new START treaty would reduce the number of these missiles by 30 percent, but the cuts are predicated upon the health of the current nuclear stockpile, from warhead to delivery system to command and control.

An administration official said that "to make too much out of this would be to sensationalize it. It's not that big of a deal. Everything worked as planned."

Senate Republicans have been pressing Senate Democrats to spend more money ensuring the current strategic nuclear arsenal, which dates to the early 1980s, is ready to go. The treaty requires the vote of two-thirds of the Senate to be ratified.

In 2008, Gates fired the Secretary of the Air Force and its chief of staff after a series of incidents suggested to Gates that the service wasn't taking its nuclear duties seriously enough. At one point, a B-52 bomber flew across the continental U.S. without realizing that its nuclear weapons were "hot."

National Journal's Megan Scully contacted a spokesperson for Sen. Jon Kyl, a top GOP critic of START, who said that "We don't know what happened and why."  The spokesperson refused to comment on "media reports."

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posted by u2r2h at 7:01 AM 1 comments

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wikileaks evidence of war crimes

The major revelations contained in the documents include:

* Reports of thousands of previously undisclosed civilian causalities. The Iraq Body Count, which has kept a conservative estimate of the number of deaths based on reports in the media, has found in the military logs some 15,000 civilians deaths not included in its earlier count. This is despite the fact that the documents report no civilian deaths in connection with major US atrocities, including the US assault that reduced much of Fallujah to ruins in 2004. The documents lend credence to other reports giving a much higher death toll, including one study by the medical journal Lancet estimating over one million killed.

* Clear evidence of specific war crimes. This includes the killing of two Iraqis seeking to surrender to a US helicopter gunship in February 2007. The soldiers in the helicopter spoke by radio with an army lawyer who advised them that people cannot surrender to aircraft.a falsehood.and they proceeded to kill the individuals in cold blood. The soldiers were part of the same crew that was involved in the July 2007 killing of 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, captured in a video released by WikiLeaks earlier this year.

* The killing by US forces of 834 people at military checkpoints, including at least 681 civilians and 30 children.

* Systematic torture carried out by the Iraqi stooge army and police, with the de facto sanction and complicity of the American military. US soldiers reported more than 1,300 claims of torture between 2005 and 2009, including beatings, burnings, electric shocks, sodomy and rape.similar to the atrocities carried out by the US at Abu Ghraib. The US military was also aware of cases in which the Iraqi puppet regime murdered detainees. A March 25, 2006 report on one prisoner kept by the Iraqi Ministry of Justice is typical: .His hands were bound/shackled and he was suspended from the ceiling; the use of blunt objects (pipes) to beat him on the back and legs; and the use of electric drills to bore holes in his leg..

* US soldiers were ordered not to investigate prisoner torture carried out by the Iraqi stooge forces on the grounds that these incidents did not involve American troops. More than 180,000 people were detained at some point between 2004 and 2009, or one in 50 Iraqi males.

There will no doubt be further revelations as these documents are examined. They include a trove of information that has been withheld from the population of Iraq, the United States and the world.

The US-led conquest of Iraq stands as one of the most barbaric war crimes of the modern era. Writing in April 2003, one month after the invasion, the World Socialist Web Site noted that during the buildup to World War II .it was common to speak of the Nazis. .rape of Czechoslovakia,. or .rape of Poland.. What characterized Germany.s modus operandi in these countries was the use of overwhelming military force and the complete elimination of their governments and all civic institutions, followed by the takeover of their economies for the benefit of German capitalism. It is high time that what the US is doing is called by its real name. A criminal regime in Washington is carrying out the rape of Iraq.. (See, .The rape of Iraq.)

The devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people has only intensified over the past seven-and-a-half years. The US has engaged in sociocide.the systematic destruction of an entire civilization. In addition to the hundreds of thousands killed, millions more have been turned into refugees. There has been a staggering growth of disease, infant mortality and malnutrition. The US military has destroyed the country.s infrastructure, leaving an economy in ruins, with an unemployment rate of 70 percent.

To the horror of the world.s population, the Iraqi people have been made to suffer an unimaginable tragedy at the hands of the most powerful military force on the planet. And for what? To establish US domination over the oil-rich and geostrategically critical country.

Every major institution in the United States is complicit in this crime. In the face of broad popular opposition within the US, both Democrats and Republicans authorized the war and have supported it ever since, expending hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. The American people have sought repeatedly to end the war through elections, only to be confronted with the fact that the war continues regardless of which corporate-controlled party is in office.

Obama, elected as a result of popular hostility to Bush and the Republicans and their policies of war and handouts to the rich, has continued the same policies. Running as a critic of the Iraq War, he now praises the US military occupiers as .liberators..

The Democratic administration has expanded the war against Afghanistan and Pakistan, vastly increasing the use of drone attacks and targeted assassinations. The Obama White House asserts the right to kill anyone it chooses, including US citizens, merely on its say-so that the victim is a terrorist.

The US media, including its liberal wing, promulgated the lies used to justify the war and, as .embedded journalists,. covered up the atrocities committed by the US military. Its response to the WikiLeaks revelations compounds its complicity in war crimes. On the one hand the US media downplays the significance of the documents, echoing the Pentagon line that they reveal .nothing new,. and on the other they witch-hunt WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange for helping to bring these atrocities to light.

The absence of any significant protest within the political or media establishment in the face of these enormous crimes testifies to the wholesale descent of the American ruling class into lawlessness and criminality.

The architects of these war crimes remain at large. Those who planned and oversaw the illegal invasion of Iraq.including all the top officials of the Bush administration and the US military.have yet to be held to account. Obama and his top officials.Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates.have added their own expanding list of crimes to those of the preceding administration.

The release of the WikiLeaks documents coincides with an upsurge in the class struggle. Millions of workers.including most recently in France.are coming into direct conflict with the corporations and their political representatives, who are demanding unprecedented austerity measures to pay for the economic crisis. The struggle against imperialist war must be made a central component of this offensive of the working class, above all in the United States.

The interests of workers throughout the world are the same, and workers of every country face the same class enemy. Imperialism, Lenin noted, is reaction all down the line.

The corporate aristocracy that has unleashed such violence on Iraq will not hesitate to use violence and terror against the American working class to protect its wealth and power. The forces turned into hardened killers and sociopaths in colonial wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually be flung against those fighting within the US against unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

To succeed, the struggle of the working class against war and social reaction must be guided by a new political perspective and strategy. To end imperialist war the international working class must wrest power from the blood-soaked hands of the capitalists and their political representatives and establish democratic control over the world economy.

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posted by u2r2h at 12:20 AM 0 comments

Monday, October 25, 2010

James Steele US atrocities

amazing how one cannot read in US newspapers how
the atrocities in iraq played out.

They mention the crimes of iraqis on iraqis, but
omit that the US was handing them the victims,
and attending the crimes.


the wikileaks reports provide months of investigative
journalists sources...

while I don't think it will be investigated for 1 year
like the Clinton Lewinski affair ... we should hear about
it all for a month, right?

Lets see how many prosecutors launch investigations and
how many prosecutions will result.

Fresh evidence that US soldiers handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad has emerged in army logs published by WikiLeaks.

The 400,000 field reports published by the whistleblowing website at the weekend contain an official account of deliberate threats by a military interrogator to turn his captive over to the Iraqi "Wolf Brigade".

The interrogator told the prisoner in explicit terms that: "He would be subject to all the pain and agony that the Wolf battalion is known to exact upon its detainees."

Within the huge leaked archive is contained a batch of secret field reports from the town of Samarra. They corroborate previous allegations that the US military turned over many prisoners to the Wolf Brigade, the feared 2nd battalion of the interior ministry's special commandos.

In Samarra, the series of log entries in 2004 and 2005 describe repeated raids by US infantry, who then handed their captives over to the Wolf Brigade for "further questioning". Typical entries read: "All 5 detainees were turned over to Ministry of Interior for further questioning" (from 29 November 2004) and "The detainee was then turned over to the 2nd Ministry of Interior Commando Battalion for further questioning" (30 November 2004).

The field reports chime with allegations made by New York Times writer Peter Maass, who was in Samarra at the time. He told Guardian Films : "US soldiers, US advisers, were standing aside and doing nothing," while members of the Wolf Brigade beat and tortured prisoners. The interior ministry commandos took over the public library in Samarra, and turned it into a detention centre, he said.

An interview conducted by Maass in 2005 at the improvised prison, accompanied by the Wolf Brigade's US military adviser, Col James Steele, had been interrupted by the terrified screams of a prisoner outside, he said. Steele was reportedly previously employed as an adviser to help crush an insurgency in El Salvador.

The Wolf Brigade was created and supported by the US in an attempt to re-employ elements of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, this time to terrorise insurgents. Members typically wore red berets, sunglasses and balaclavas, and drove out on raids in convoys of Toyota Landcruisers. They were accused by Iraqis of beating prisoners, torturing them with electric drills and sometimes executing suspects. The then interior minister in charge of them was alleged to have been a former member of the Shia Badr militia.

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posted by u2r2h at 2:04 PM 0 comments

Friday, October 22, 2010

Russian Revolution - was is a Soviet Republic??

Great interest in lecture by Professor Rabinowitch in Berlin

Professor Rabinowitch at the podium
16 October 2010

The American historian Alexander Rabinowitch introduced his new book The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Bolshevik Rule in Petrograd at a meeting Thursday evening at Humboldt University in Berlin.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the book's German publisher, Mehring Verlag, and the International Students for Social Equality, the student organization of the Fourth International.

There was an overflow audience in the auditorium, which holds 300 people. Many of those who came to hear the historian had to sit on window sills or stairs, while others had to stand.

Ulrich Rippert, chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG), welcomed this leading expert on the history of the Russian Revolution. Professor Rabinowitch is a supporter of the document-based study of history, Rippert said, adding, "Every detail of his work is supported by verifiable documents."

Rippert said that the scientific basis of Rabinowitch's work stands in contrast to the ideologically distorted interpretations of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union that are widely found today. While many historians claim there is no such thing as objective truth and no relationship between cause and effect, declaring history to be purely subjective perception and personal interpretation, "Professor Rabinowitch represents a fundamentally different approach to history," the PSG chairman told the audience.

The lecture hall at Humboldt University

David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and national chairperson of the Socialist Equality Party (US), spoke on the importance of the American historian.

North said that he himself was part of the generation that had been and continued to be inspired by the social developments of 1968. "The question of the Russian Revolution was then the main question. We were against Stalinism and did not want such a form of socialism. So what was the Russian Revolution?"

In the United States, it was hard to find an answer. The historians of the Cold War presented the revolution as a conspiracy by the Bolsheviks, who had no influence among the masses.

"Professor Rabinowitch was the representative of a new generation of historians in America," North said, "who, with his first book on the Russian Revolution, which appeared in 1968, showed that the Bolsheviks enjoyed mass influence." Rabinowitch also showed the prominent role played by Trotsky in the Bolshevik's seizure of power, while the Stalinists did everything to eliminate Trotsky from the history books.

Forty years later, Rabinowitch has now produced The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Bolshevik Rule in Petrograd. At a time when "many had thrown their principles overboard," he remained true to his and continued the work contained in his previous books. He is an exceptional representative of the school that is dedicated to uncovering historical truth. "His work is extremely important for us all," North concluded.

Professor Rabinowitch

Rabinowitch began his contribution by describing how he had come to study the Russian Revolution.

His father, Eugene Rabinowitch, a noted biophysicist, had fled St. Petersburg in August 1918 and had studied from 1921 to 1926 at the University of Berlin, now Humboldt University. Via Copenhagen, he made his way to Boston, where the family settled and remained in close contact with other Russian émigrés. The young Alexander Rabinowitch had "vivid memories of endless debates with famous émigrés such as Kerensky, Nicolaevsky, Tsereteli and many others on history, literature and current developments in the Soviet Union," Rabinowitch said.

Despite their differences, all were agreed on one point—namely, that the Russian Revolution was a military coup organized by a band of conspirators under Lenin and financed by the Germans. The political climate in the McCarthy era after the Second World War and during the Korean War (1950-53) reinforced this negative perception of the Russian Revolution, with which he had grown up. In his time as a student while serving in the Army reserves, the Soviet Union had been described as the "incarnation of evil."

Rabinowitch began his study of Russian history at the University of Chicago, in part under the historian Leopold H. Haimson. "But as a graduate student, I had not yet changed my perspective on the October Revolution," he said.

He first thought about writing a dissertation, a biography of Irakli Tseretelli, the Georgian Menshevik and implacable opponent of the Bolsheviks, whom he had known in his youth. When he realised that in order to write a comprehensive biography he would have to acquaint himself with the Georgian language, he decided instead to investigate Tseretelli's role in the period from February 1917 until the summer of that year.

In carrying out this work, however, his interest shifted to the role of the Bolsheviks. Why was this so? Rabinowitch asked. There was a simple answer: "Under Haimson, I had learned to study the facts and to interpret them as objectively as possible. The study of the sources, as limited as they were in the early 1960s, had prompted me to adopt a different perspective on the revolution of 1917."

He described how, in the original documents then available—Bolshevik newspapers and minutes of the Bolsheviks' St. Petersburg Committee—he discovered both the prominent role played by Lenin and the fact that deep divisions prevailed within the Bolshevik Party.

Rabinowitch then wrote his doctoral dissertation on the development of the Bolsheviks between the February Revolution and the July uprising of 1917. This formed the basis for his first book, Prelude to Revolution—The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising. In it, he shows how the Bolsheviks, from being a small group working primarily underground, had in fact been transformed into a mass party after the February Revolution. The party was deeply rooted in the workers' and sailors' soviets, and had a highly democratic culture of discussion among different currents.

The July uprising was, according to Rabinowitch, a result of the fundamental mass discontent with the results of the February Revolution. It was supported by radical sections of the Bolsheviks, especially the military organizations, against the will of the Central Committee.

At that time, Rabinowitch still thought that the party, which only a few months later would take power, had been restructured after the July debacle along the lines of the so-called "autocratic Leninist model"—the predominant view amongst contemporary historians. "This view turned out to be wrong," said Rabinowitch. "The opposite was the case." There were many different viewpoints and violent disputes in the ranks of the Bolsheviks, showing that the party "was close to the masses."

He then provided several examples of these conflicts.

The party rejected Lenin's proposal to abandon the slogan "All power to the soviets." After the July uprising in 1917, Lenin no longer believed in the possibility of bringing about the revolution via the soviets, in which the moderate socialists were in the majority, and proposed the slogan "All power to the working class, led by its party, the Bolsheviks." The party should focus its work in the factories and soldiers' committees, he insisted. In practice, however, there was no deviation from the slogan "All power to the soviets." This corresponded to the attitude of the workers and sailors.

After the failed Kornilov coup in late August 1917, the Bolsheviks gained the majority in the Petrograd Soviet due to their crucial role in the repulsion of the attempted coup. Lenin then urged the party to move towards the immediate seizure of power, but could not impose his line directly. "I've often asked the question whether a seizure of power in September would have been possible," said Rabinowitch. "But I have come to the conclusion that this would have led to an even greater defeat than the July debacle."

Lenin's letters from his hiding place near St. Petersburg had the same significance as his April Theses. Lenin urged the Bolsheviks to the left, towards removing the provisional government and carrying out an independent seizure of power. At a meeting of the Central Committee on October 10 a vote was taken at which the majority supported the armed seizure of power, with Kamenev and Zinoviev voting against.

However, little had been undertaken to actively implement this decision. This became possible only with the so-called defensive strategy. The dismissal of the provisional government of Kerensky was to come about as the consequence of a defensive strategy to defend the revolution and the soviets. The Second National Soviet Congress set for October 25 would sanction the removal of the government.

Between October 21 and October 24, this plan was vigorously put into practice. "It was above all due to Leon Trotsky, who could be heard and seen everywhere as a brilliant orator," Rabinowitch said. "In the end, the provisional government was removed without a shot being fired, with Trotsky as the central figure, as head of the Military Revolutionary Committee and chairman of the Petersburg Soviet." Only then, a month later, were Lenin's demands realised.

In conclusion, Rabinowitch said: "There is just as little justification for describing the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 as a successful coup by Lenin as there is for describing the July uprising as an unsuccessful coup by Lenin. Although, in both cases, they did not constitute classical mass uprisings, historical sources show clearly that they were the result of widespread disillusionment on the part of the working classes in Petrograd with the results of the February Revolution and the enormous appeal of the Bolshevik program for the broad population."

"But," he asked, "why did the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet Union end as they did?" This cannot be explained merely by examining the period before the October Revolution and the structure of the party at that time, he said. The guiding principle in his book The Bolsheviks in Power is, he said, how to explain the contradiction between the original, open process of discussion and the democratic structure of the soviets and party and their later centralized, authoritarian character.

"The changes in policy and structure of the Bolshevik Party and the soviets in Petrograd observed during this first year," he summarized "are determined less by ideology than by the permanent crises and emergencies, in which the main task of the Bolsheviks was simply to secure their survival." He had originally considered calling his book "The Price of Survival."

Discussion from the audience

Professor Rabinowitch concluded with the announcement of plans to complete a new book dealing with the years 1919 and 1920.

Following the lecture, which was met with a great deal of applause, Rabinowitch answered a number of questions from the audience, including queries on the legitimacy of the soviets, the role of Kerensky, why the revolution ultimately failed to establish genuine socialism, and the significance of the Russian Revolution compared to other revolutions which had taken place in the twentieth century.

In his replies, Rabinowitch stressed the international perspective of Lenin and Trotsky, who regarded the Russian Revolution as a trigger for worldwide socialist revolution. The failure of revolutions in Germany and Finland intensified the pressure on an increasingly isolated Russia, he said.

Lively discussion amongst the audience continued long into the evening following the official end of the meeting, with a number of those attending taking the opportunity to buy the newly published German edition of The Bolsheviks in Power.

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posted by u2r2h at 1:16 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

History of USA Terror worldwide

There is a dark -- seldom acknowledged -- thread that runs through U.S. military doctrine, dating back to the early days of the Republic.

This military tradition has explicitly defended the selective use of terror, whether in suppressing Native American resistance on the frontiers in the 19th Century or in protecting U.S. interests abroad in the 20th Century or fighting the "war on terror" over the last decade.

The American people are largely oblivious to this hidden tradition because most of the literature advocating state-sponsored terror is carefully confined to national security circles and rarely spills out into the public debate, which is instead dominated by feel-good messages about well-intentioned U.S. interventions abroad.

Over the decades, congressional and journalistic investigations have exposed some of these abuses. But when that does happen, the cases are usually deemed anomalies or excesses by out-of-control soldiers.

But the historical record shows that terror tactics have long been a dark side of U.S. military doctrine. The theories survive today in textbooks on counterinsurgency warfare, "low-intensity" conflict and "counter-terrorism."

Some historians trace the formal acceptance of those brutal tenets to the 1860s when the U.S. Army was facing challenge from a rebellious South and resistance from Native Americans in the West. Out of those crises emerged the modern military concept of "total war" -- which considers attacks on civilians and their economic infrastructure an integral part of a victorious strategy.

In 1864, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman cut a swath of destruction through civilian territory in Georgia and the Carolinas. His plan was to destroy the South's will to fight and its ability to sustain a large army in the field. The devastation left plantations in flames and brought widespread Confederate complaints of rape and murder of civilians.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Col. John M. Chivington and the Third Colorado Cavalry were employing their own terror tactics to pacify Cheyennes. A scout named John Smith later described the attack at Sand Creek, Colorado, on unsuspecting Indians at a peaceful encampment:

"They were scalped; their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the head with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word." [U.S. Cong., Senate, 39 Cong., 2nd Sess., "The Chivington Massacre," Reports of the Committees.]

Though Smith's objectivity was challenged at the time, today even defenders of the Sand Creek raid concede that most women and children there were killed and mutilated. [See Lt. Col. William R. Dunn, I Stand by Sand Creek.]

Yet, in the 1860s, many whites in Colorado saw the slaughter as the only realistic way to bring peace, just as Sherman viewed his "march to the sea" as necessary to force the South's surrender.

The brutal tactics in the West also helped clear the way for the transcontinental railroad, built fortunes for favored businessmen and consolidated Republican political power for more than six decades, until the Great Depression of the 1930s. [See's "Indian Genocide and Republican Power."]

Four years after the Civil War, Sherman became commanding general of the Army and incorporated the Indian pacification strategies -- as well as his own tactics -- into U.S. military doctrine. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, who had led Indian wars in the Missouri territory, succeeded Sherman in 1883 and further entrenched those strategies as policy. [See Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide.]

By the end of the 19th Century, the Native American warriors had been vanquished, but the Army's winning strategies lived on.

Imperial America

When the United States claimed the Philippines as a prize in the Spanish-American War, Filipino insurgents resisted. In 1900, the U.S. commander, Gen. J. Franklin Bell, consciously modeled his brutal counterinsurgency campaign after the Indian wars and Sherman's "march to the sea."

Bell believed that by punishing the wealthier Filipinos through destruction of their homes -- much as Sherman had done in the South -- they would be coerced into helping convince their countrymen to submit.

Learning from the Indian wars, he also isolated the guerrillas by forcing Filipinos into tightly controlled zones where schools were built and other social amenities were provided.

"The entire population outside of the major cities in Batangas was herded into concentration camps," wrote historian Stuart Creighton Miller. "Bell's main target was the wealthier and better-educated classes. ... Adding insult to injury, Bell made these people carry the petrol used to burn their own country homes." [See Miller's "Benevolent Assimilation."]

For those outside the protected areas, there was terror. A supportive news correspondent described one scene in which American soldiers killed "men, women, children ... from lads of 10 and up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino, as such, was little better than a dog. ...

"Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to 'make them talk,' have taken prisoner people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down as an example to those who found their bullet-riddled corpses."

Defending the tactics, the correspondent noted that "it is not civilized warfare, but we are not dealing with a civilized people. The only thing they know and fear is force, violence, and brutality." [Philadelphia Ledger, Nov. 19, 1900]
In 1901, anti-imperialists in Congress exposed and denounced Bell's brutal tactics. Nevertheless, Bell's strategies won military acclaim as a refined method of pacification.

In a 1973 book, one pro-Bell military historian, John Morgan Gates, termed reports of U.S. atrocities "exaggerated" and hailed Bell's "excellent understanding of the role of benevolence in pacification."

Gates recalled that Bell's campaign in Batanga was regarded by military strategists as "pacification in its most perfected form." [See Gates's Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902.]

Spreading the Word

At the turn of the century, the methodology of pacification was a hot topic among the European colonial powers, too. From Namibia to Indochina, Europeans struggled to subdue local populations.

Often outright slaughter proved effective, as the Germans demonstrated with massacres of the Herrero tribe in Namibia from 1904-1907. But military strategists often compared notes about more subtle techniques of targeted terror mixed with demonstrations of benevolence.

Counterinsurgency strategies were back in vogue after World War II as many subjugated people demanded independence from colonial rule and Washington worried about the expansion of communism. In the 1950s, the Huk rebellion against U.S. dominance made the Philippines again the laboratory, with Bell's earlier lessons clearly remembered.

"The campaign against the Huk movement in the Philippines ... greatly resembled the American campaign of almost 50 years earlier," historian Gates observed. "The American approach to the problem of pacification had been a studied one."

But the war against the Huks had some new wrinkles, particularly the modern concept of psychological warfare or psy-war.

Under the pioneering strategies of the CIA's Maj. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale, psy-war was a new spin to the old game of breaking the will of a target population. The idea was to analyze the psychological weaknesses of a people and develop "themes" that could induce actions favorable to those carrying out the operation.

While psy-war included propaganda and disinformation, it also relied on terror tactics of a demonstrative nature. An Army psy-war pamphlet, drawing on Lansdale's experience in the Philippines, advocated "exemplary criminal violence -- the murder and mutilation of captives and the display of their bodies," according to Michael McClintock's Instruments of Statecraft.

In his memoirs, Lansdale boasted of one legendary psy-war trick used against the Huks who were considered superstitious and fearful of a vampire-like creature called an asuang.

"The psy-war squad set up an ambush along a trail used by the Huks," Lansdale wrote. "When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man on the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail.

"When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed the asuang had got him." [See Lansdale's In the Midst of Wars.]

The Huk rebellion also saw the refinement of free-fire zones, a technique used effectively by Bell's forces a half-century earlier. In the 1950s, special squadrons were assigned to do the dirty work.

"The special tactic of these squadrons was to cordon off areas; anyone they caught inside the cordon was considered an enemy," explained one pro-U.S. Filipino colonel. "Almost daily you could find bodies floating in the river, many of them victims of [Major Napoleon] Valeriano's Nenita Unit. [See Benedict J. Kerkvliet, The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines.]

On to Vietnam

The successful suppression of the Huks led the war's architects to share their lessons elsewhere in Asia and beyond. Valeriano went on to co-author an important American textbook on counterinsurgency and to serve as part of the American pacification effort in Vietnam with Lansdale.

Following the Philippine model, Vietnamese were crowded into "strategic hamlets"; "free-fire zones" were declared with homes and crops destroyed; and the Phoenix program eliminated thousands of suspected Viet Cong cadre.

The ruthless strategies were absorbed and accepted even by widely respected military figures, such as Gen. Colin Powell who served two tours in Vietnam and endorsed the routine practice of murdering Vietnamese males as a necessary part of the counterinsurgency effort.

"I recall a phrase we used in the field, MAM, for military-age male," Powell wrote in his much-lauded memoir, My American Journey. "If a helo [a U.S. helicopter] spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM, the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him.

"Brutal? Maybe so. But an able battalion commander with whom I had served at Gelnhausen [West Germany], Lt. Col. Walter Pritchard, was killed by enemy sniper fire while observing MAMs from a helicopter. And Pritchard was only one of many. The kill-or-be-killed nature of combat tends to dull fine perceptions of right and wrong."

In 1965, the U.S. intelligence community formalized its hard-learned counterinsurgency lessons by commissioning a top-secret program called Project X. Based at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School at Fort Holabird, Maryland, the project drew from field experience and developed teaching plans to "provide intelligence training to friendly foreign countries," according to a Pentagon history prepared in 1991 and released in 1997.

Called "a guide for the conduct of clandestine operations," Project X "was first used by the U.S. Intelligence School on Okinawa to train Vietnamese and, presumably, other foreign nationals," the history stated.

Linda Matthews of the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Division recalled that in 1967-68, some of the Project X training material was prepared by officers connected to the Phoenix program. "She suggested the possibility that some offending material from the Phoenix program may have found its way into the Project X materials at that time," the Pentagon report said.

In the 1970s, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School moved to Fort Huachuca in Arizona and began exporting Project X material to U.S. military assistance groups working with "friendly foreign countries." By the mid-1970s, the Project X material was going to armies all over the world.

In its 1992 review, the Pentagon acknowledged that Project X was the source for some of the "objectionable" lessons at the School of the Americas where Latin American officers were trained in blackmail, kidnapping, murder and spying on non-violent political opponents.

But disclosure of the full story was blocked nearthe end of the first Bush administration when senior Pentagon officials working for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney ordered the destruction of most Project X records. [See Robert Parry's Lost History.]

Living Dangerously

By the mid-1960s, some of the U.S. counterinsurgency lessons had reached Indonesia, too. The U.S. military training was surreptitious because Washington viewed the country's neutralist leader Sukarno as politically suspect. The training was permitted only to give the United States influence within the Indonesian military which was considered more reliable.

The covert U.S. aid and training was mostly innocuous-sounding "civic action," which is generally thought to mean building roads, staffing health clinics and performing other "hearts-and-minds" activities with civilians. But "civic action" also provided cover in Indonesia, as in the Philippines and Vietnam, for psy-war.

The secret U.S.-Indonesian military connections paid off for Washington when a political crisis erupted, threatening Sukarno's government.

To counter Indonesia's powerful Communist Party, known as the PKI, the army's Red Berets organized the slaughter of tens of thousands of men, women and children. So many bodies were dumped into the rivers of East Java that they ran red with blood.

In a classic psy-war tactic, the bloated carcasses also served as a political warning to villages down river.

"To make sure they didn't sink, the carcasses were deliberately tied to, or impaled on, bamboo stakes," wrote eyewitness Pipit Rochijat. "And the departure of corpses from the Kediri region down the Brantas achieved its golden age when bodies were stacked on rafts over which the PKI banner proudly flew." [See Rochijat's "Am I PKI or Non-PKI?" Indonesia, Oct. 1985.]

Some historians have attributed the grotesque violence to a crazed army which engaged in "unplanned brutality" or "mass hysteria" leading ultimately to the slaughter of some half million Indonesians, many of Chinese descent.

But the recurring tactic of putting bodies on gruesome display fits as well with the military doctrines of psy-war, a word that one of the leading military killers used in un-translated form in one order demanding elimination of the PKI.

Sarwo Edhie, chief of the political para-commando battalion known as the Red Berets, warned that the communist opposition "should be given no opportunity to concentrate/consolidate. It should be pushed back systematically by all means, including psy-war." [See The Revolt of the G30S/PKI and Its Suppression, translated by Robert Cribb in The Indonesian Killings.]

Sarwo Edhie had been identified as a CIA contact when he served at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia. [See Pacific, May-June 1968.]

US Media Sympathy

Elite U.S. reaction to the horrific slaughter was muted and has remained ambivalent ever since. The Johnson administration denied any responsibility for the massacres, but New York Times columnist James Reston spoke for many opinion leaders when he approvingly termed the bloody developments in Indonesia "a gleam of light in Asia."

The American denials of involvement held until 1990 when U.S. diplomats admitted to a reporter that they had aided the Indonesian army by supplying lists of suspected communists.

"It really was a big help to the army," embassy officer Robert Martens told Kathy Kadane of States News Service. "I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment." Martens had headed the U.S. team that compiled the death lists.

Kadane's story provoked a telling response from Washington Post senior editorial writer Stephen S. Rosenfeld. He accepted the fact that American officials had assisted "this fearsome slaughter," but then justified the killings.

Rosenfeld argued that the massacre "was and still is widely regarded as the grim but earned fate of a conspiratorial revolutionary party that represented the same communist juggernaut that was on the march in Vietnam."

In a column entitled, "Indonesia 1965: The Year of Living Cynically?" Rosenfeld reasoned that "either the army would get the communists or the communists would get the army, it was thought: Indonesia was a domino, and the PKI's demise kept it [Indonesia] standing in the free world. ...

"Though the means were grievously tainted, we -- the fastidious among us as well as the hard-headed and cynical -- can be said to have enjoyed the fruits in the geopolitical stability of that important part of Asia, in the revolution that never happened." [Washington Post, July 13, 1990]

The fruit tasted far more bitter to the peoples of the Indonesian archipelago, however. In 1975, the army of Indonesia's new dictator, Gen. Suharto, invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor. When the East Timorese resisted, the Indonesian army returned to its gruesome bag of tricks, engaging in virtual genocide against the population.

A Catholic missionary provided an eyewitness account of one search-and-destroy mission in East Timor in 1981.

"We saw with our own eyes the massacre of the people who were surrendering: all dead, even women and children, even the littlest ones. ... Not even pregnant women were spared: they were cut open. .... They did what they had done to small children the previous year, grabbing them by the legs and smashing their heads against rocks. ...

"The comments of Indonesian officers reveal the moral character of this army: 'We did the same thing [in 1965] in Java, in Borneo, in the Celebes, in Irian Jaya, and it worked." [See A. Barbedo de Magalhaes, East Timor: Land of Hope.]

The references to the success of the 1965 slaughter were not unusual. In Timor: A People Betrayed, author James Dunn noted that "on the Indonesian side, there have been many reports that many soldiers viewed their operation as a further phase in the ongoing campaign to suppress communism that had followed the events of September 1965."

Classic psy-war and pacification strategies were followed to the hilt in East Timor. The Indonesians put on display corpses and the heads of their victims. Timorese also were herded into government-controlled camps before permanent relocation in "resettlement villages" far from their original homes.

"The problem is that people are forced to live in the settlements and are not allowed to travel outside," said Msgr. Costa Lopes, apostolic administrator of Dili. "This is the main reason why people cannot grow enough food." [See John G. Taylor, Indonesia's Forgotten War: The Hidden History of East Timor.]

Public Revulsion

Through television in the 1960-70s, the Vietnam War finally brought the horrors of counterinsurgency home to millions of Americans. They watched as U.S. troops torched villages and forced distraught old women to leave ancestral homes.

Camera crews caught on film brutal interrogation of Viet Cong suspects, the execution of one young VC officer, and the bombing of children with napalm.

In effect, the Vietnam War was the first time Americans got to witness the pacification strategies that had evolved secretly as national security policy since the 19th Century. As a result, millions of Americans protested the war's conduct and Congress belatedly compelled an end to U.S. participation in 1974.

But the psy-war doctrinal debates were not resolved by the Vietnam War. Counterinsurgency advocates regrouped in the 1980s behind President Ronald Reagan, who mounted a spirited defense of the Vietnamese intervention and reaffirmed U.S. resolve to employ similar tactics against leftist forces especially in Central America. [See's "Guatemala: A Test Tube for Repression."]

Reagan also added an important new component to the mix. Recognizing how graphic images and honest reporting from the war zone had undercut public support for the counterinsurgency in Vietnam, Reagan authorized an aggressive domestic "public diplomacy" operation which practiced what was called "perception management" -- in effect, intimidating journalists to ensure that only sanitized information would reach the American people.

Reporters who disclosed atrocities by U.S.-trained forces, such as the El Mozote massacre by El Salvador's Atlacatl battalion in 1981, came under harsh criticism and saw their careers damaged.

Some Reagan operatives were not shy about their defense of political terror as a necessity of the Cold War. Neil Livingstone, a counter-terrorism consultant to the National Security Council, called death squads "an extremely effective tool, however odious, in combatting terrorism and revolutionary challenges." [See McClintock's Instruments of Statecraft.]

When Democrats in Congress objected to excesses of Reagan's interventions in Central America, the administration responded with more public relations and political pressure, questioning the patriotism of the critics. For instance, Reagan's United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick accused anyone who took note of U.S.-backed war crimes of "blaming America first."

Many Democrats in Congress and journalists in the Washington press corps buckled under the attacks, giving the Reagan administration much freer rein to carry out brutal "death squad" strategies in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

What is clear from these experiences in Indonesia, Vietnam, Central America and elsewhere is that the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality embraced by counterinsurgency specialists.

Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. But sometimes the two competing visions – of a just America and a ruthless one – clash in the open, as they did in Vietnam.

Or the dark side of U.S. security policy is thrown into the light by unauthorized leaks, such as the photos of abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or by revelations about waterboarding and other torture authorized by George W. Bush's White House as part of the "war on terror."

Only then does the public get a glimpse of the grim reality, the bloody and brutal tactics that have been deemed "necessary" for more than two centuries in the defense of the purported "national interests."

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posted by u2r2h at 1:52 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CIA Red Cell - USA defends women's rights

Wikileaks has just published what it identifies as a CIA "Red Cell" report from February 2, 2010. The single, three-page document—much smaller than previous, highly-publicized leaks from Wikileaks— discusses the potential foreign policy consequences of perceptions that the United States "exports terrorism."

[The document] looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism; 'Contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon, nor has it been associated only with Islamic radicals or people of Middle Eastern, African or South Asian ethnic origin. This dynamic belies the American belief that our free, open and integrated multicultural society lessens the allure of radicalism and terrorism for US citizens.' The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or financed Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an "Exporter of Terrorism" together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States.

The CIA created al-Qaeda (1, 2, 3). Now, WikiLeaks reveals an allegedly leaked SECRET CIA document that perpetuates the boneheaded, mainstream al-Qaeda legend. The cave people are recruiting home grown American terrorists, don'tchaknow…

Does CIA's "Red Cell" know about OPERATION CYCLONE? Curiously, that, uh, unfortunate business isn't mentioned in the big leak below.

The document states, "This report examines the implications of what it would mean for the US to be seen increasingly as an incubator and 'exporter of terrorism.'" However, it doesn't go on to mention the U.S. state sponsored terrorist activities of the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG):

Specifically, the plan "recommends the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence and cover and deception. For example, the Pentagon and CIA would work together to increase human intelligence (HUMINT) forward/operational presence and to deploy new clandestine technical capabilities." The purpose of P2OG would be in "'stimulating reactions' among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction, meaning it would prod terrorist cells into action, thus exposing them to 'quick-response' attacks by US forces."[2] In other words, commit terror to incite terror, in order to react to terror.

See also: Two British SAS Soldiers Dressed as Arabs, Shoot at Iraqi Police.

Look into the CIA-ISI-al-Qaeda nexus and P2OG before you move on to the PSYOP payload from the CIA below.

Via: WikiLeaks:

This CIA "Red Cell" report from February 2, 2010, looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism; 'Contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon, nor has it been associated only with Islamic radicals or people of Middle Eastern, African or South Asian ethnic origin. This dynamic belies the American belief that our free, open and integrated multicultural society lessens the allure of radicalism and terrorism for US citizens.' The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or ?nanced Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an "Exporter of Terrorism" together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States.

New WikiLeaks Publication - CIA worried about US terror

AL-CIA-DA - US created terror ... Oil Wars
Anti-Masturbation Candidate
USrael Afghanistan War - BECAUSE OF ?????

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posted by u2r2h at 2:38 PM 0 comments

Monday, October 18, 2010

News from the USA

U.S. Still Leads World in Two Major Industries

Porn and spam

Crimes of Violence, Property Crimes Drop

Economy so bad many criminals have given up looking for victims

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posted by u2r2h at 4:13 PM 0 comments

Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy

Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy

by Donald Gutstein (Key Porter, 2009; $22.95)

The Fraser Institute launched a program in 1988 that would have far-reaching impact on advancing the corporate agenda. This program, aimed at students, is actually a half-dozen initiatives through which the institute "is cultivating a network of thousands of young people who are informed and passionate about free-market ideas and who are actively engaging in the country's policy debate," as the organization's publication Frontline puts it. The initiatives are separately funded but work together as a comprehensive package of recruitment and intellectual grooming. These programs outgun in magnitude, scope and longevity anything that the progressive left has mounted through unions and social justice organizations.

Over 17,000 students have come in contact with at least one of the student programs, the institute claims. "Developing talented students sympathetic to competitive markets and limited government" through these programs "is one important way that the Fraser Institute is working towards changing the climate of opinion in Canada." Graduates have spread into politics, academia, other think-tanks and the media.

They're especially proud of Ezra Levant, who was a student of the Calgary School's Tom Flanagan and attended his first student seminar in 1992. He was asked to join the student leaders' colloquium in Vancouver and became an intern, where he wrote the book Youthquake, which was distributed and publicized by the institute. Levant tapped into the American conservative movement as a Koch Foundation Summer Fellow in Washington, D.C., and attended various Institute for Humane Studies and Liberty Fund events. After graduating from law school and articling, he worked for several years as a parliamentary assistant to Preston Manning and Stockwell Day. From there he did a two-year stint on the editorial board of Conrad Black's National Post, which was dominated by conservative ideologues. Next, he entered electoral politics and was nominated for the Canadian Alliance in the riding of Calgary Southwest. He attracted national attention when he initially refused to resign his nomination so that party leader Stephen Harper could run. After some high-profile deliberation, Levant resigned. He practiced law briefly at a libertarian law firm in Calgary and wrote a weekly column for the Calgary Sun and Winnipeg Sun. In January 2004, along with other Fraser Institute alumni, he started the socially and economically conservative magazine Western Standard, which took over the mantle from the defunct Alberta Report.

Another star graduate of the Fraser's student program is Danielle Smith, who started her career at a Calgary student seminar. She went on to a year-long internship at the institute, publishing some of her attacks on environmentalism in the institute's Canadian Student Review. She then worked for the short-lived Canadian Property Rights Research Institute and was hired as an editorial writer for Conrad Black's Calgary Herald, arriving in the editorial office just as the workers went on strike for a collective agreement. She later became host of CanWest Global's Sunday talk show for several years. Smith was subsequently appointed the Alberta director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. (The Fraser Institute's former environmental director is the B.C. director.)

Other student program graduates include Rob Anders, Conservative MP for Calgary West, who ran the National Citizens Coalition's Canadians Against Forced Unionism project and was considered to be among the most right-wing members of the Conservative caucus. Sonia Arrison was a program officer at the Donner Canadian Foundation and then worked at the Fraser Institute where she specialized in deregulation and privatization. She then became director of technology studies at the California-based Pacific Research Institute, where former Fraser Institute staffer Sally Pipes runs the organization. Marc Law attended the student leaders' colloquium and went on to work for the Fraser as an economics researcher until he started Ph.D. studies in the United States. He became an assistant professor of economics at the University of Vermont, where he specializes in historical studies of regulation. Craig Yirush is a professor of history at UCLA, where he studies early American history. Yirush worked his way through the ranks at the Fraser Institute, attending student seminars and the student leaders' colloquium. He volunteered at the 1992 Mont Pèlerin Society general meeting, was a Fraser intern and attended workshops and sessions at the Institute for Humane Studies.

The student seminar has become the Fraser's initial recruitment tool. The net is cast wide for promising candidates, with up to a dozen day-long seminars held each year in cities across Canada on the full range of libertarian topics: how the market protects the environment; how smaller government leads to greater prosperity; and why we need to privatize health care to save it. A big draw is that the seminars, including coffee and lunch, are free and held in prominent downtown hotels. Seminars are free because they are sponsored by corporate and foundation backers: Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation (B.C. seminars), W. Garfield Weston Foundation (Toronto), EnCana Corp. (Calgary and Edmonton), CanWest Global (Winnipeg). Individuals and companies can sponsor specific components: one student costs $120, lunch is $1,875, coffee break, $500, speakers' travel and accommodation, $4,000. An entire seminar costs a tax-deductible $17,000.

The seminars mix lectures and small-group discussions, presented from a narrow ideological perspective. Discussion groups are led by staffers from the Fraser or its sister libertarian think-tanks like the Montreal Economic Institute. Lecturers are senior fellows at the institutes or executives from the National Citizens Coalition or the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Featured guest speakers run the gamut from Tony Clement, then minister of health in the Mike Harris government, to National Post columnist Colby Cosh, to Brian Day, president of the private Cambie Surgery Clinic in Vancouver. In short, the range of expertise presented at the seminars runs from right to far right.

Students, in contrast, cover the political spectrum; there is no way the institute can weed out college and high school students with progressive views who come, often out of curiosity. But that doesn't matter. The skeptical ones can participate and enjoy a free lunch. At the end of the day they are offered a warm "thanks for coming and participating," and are never contacted again. Those whose views are approved by the institute, in contrast, are identified for further orientation, writes journalist Patti Edgar, who attended a seminar as a University of Victoria student in 2000. They might be asked to enter the student-essay competition, which is sponsored by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. Recent topics have ranged from "How can property rights protect the environment?" to "Eliminating world poverty: what is the best approach?" and to the 2008 topic, "The Canadian healthcare system: Why is it broken and how can it be fixed?"

The best essay receives $1,000, second prize is $500 and there's a separate $250 prize for the best high school essay. The winners of the 2008 contest argued that health care is in crisis, not because of inefficiencies in the system or underfunding, but because it is run by a government monopoly that insulates economic activity from the efficiencies and innovations of competition. The winning essay argued that by adding more private sector services and private insurance to health care incrementally, political opposition to demonopolization by "statists" and "chauvinists" can be overcome. The winning high school essay was titled "The case for capitalist healthcare." That all winning entries are similar should not be surprising, given that to ensure that students come up with the right answer, the institute provides lists of sources, which are restricted primarily to libertarian publications and web sites. Students, apparently, receive no credit for critiquing the topic.

The 2009 topic is the positive relationship between economic freedom and global prosperity. Students are asked if economic freedom is the most effective way to pull a nation out of extreme poverty. To make sure students are on the right track, they are urged to start by exploring the Fraser's Economic Freedom of the World project, which ranks governments around the world in terms of how friendly they are to business and investment.

Winning essays are published in the institute's Canadian Student Review. This 12- to 24-page quarterly publication showcases short articles by conservative students, Fraser Institute staffers and some academics. In 2007, 68,000 copies were distributed free of charge -- thanks to the Hecht Foundation -- to campuses across Canada through a network of sympathetic professors and student organizations.

The long-standing student colloquium re-emerged in 2007 in a new format sponsored by the Liberty Fund of Indianapolis. Over two days of intensive discussion, students examined the topic "Liberty and Free Markets." A basic reading for the 2008 colloquium, entitled "Liberty and Public Choice," was the Fraser Institute's annual Government Failure in Canada report.

The linchpin program is the internship. About 400 university and college students apply each year for ten intern positions in the Fraser's Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto offices. Successful applicants are paid $2,000 a month for four months to train as junior policy analysts. They work on specific projects with institute analysts that will lead to publishable reports. The program, which costs about $100,000 a year, is financed partly by the Donner and Bell foundations. Interns participate in policy briefings and a weekly discussion club, develop their presentation skills and plug into networks of conservative experts in their field of research. Interns work on projects such as the school report card, the annual mining survey and new products, like the Regulatory Process Transparency Index for states and provinces, which will measure the"burden of regulation" and undoubtedly find that Canadian provinces rank dead last in North America, with Alberta being the best of a bad lot. One intern worked on an economic sustainability index, while another worked on a project to prove private schools are better for the poor than public schools. In 2007, a new product, funded by the Max Bell Foundation, was open to internship applications; this will profile successful private sector school chains.

A recent addition to the student programs is teacher-training workshops on economic principles. This program is designed "to enlighten high school teachers on the principles of economics." But only principles of economics that support a property-rights, market-based approach to economic activity are presented. Each year, more than 50 teachers participate in the one-day program in Toronto and Vancouver. The Fraser Institute estimates that 90 students are influenced by the participation of each teacher who uses the material in his or her lesson plans. The program is financed by three foundations: London Drugs (chairman Brandt Louie is a Fraser Institute trustee), Weston and Donner.

The Fraser Institute's school report-card program is merely the opening salvo in a campaign to strip public education of its funding and direct the resources to the private and nonprofit sectors.

Every year the institute spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to compile and disseminate its rankings of elementary and secondary schools. It has undreamed-of support from corporate media, which turn over dozens of pages each year for school rankings in the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Sun, Toronto Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, and Quebec newsmagazine L'Actualité.

Every year teachers-union executives and education experts write op-ed pieces pointing out the serious deficiencies in the rankings. And every year the media play the rankers and their critics as a debate between two equally valid viewpoints.

Lost in the debate are the goals of universally accessible, publicly funded education, such as preparing children for citizenship, cultivating a skilled work force, and developing critical-thinking skills.

For its part, the Fraser Institute couldn't care less what the teachers say. It knows the report-card program is working the way it intends, which is to undermine public confidence in the public system. The wealthy, who send their children to private schools, ask, "Why should I pay for the public system, especially the failing parts?" And the poor ask, "I'm not getting a fair deal from the public system. Is there something else?"

Families are already buying houses near high-ranked public schools if they can afford to, or bussing their kids if they're fortunate enough to gain access to "better" schools. And divorcing parents fighting in the courts for custody of their children are citing the school rankings as a reason why the parent who lives near a high-ranked school should get custody.

The institute's Peter Cowley, who manages the report cards, and whose background is marketing, not education, is clear about the goal of school ranking: to "establish one of the conditions necessary for a free market in education; namely the availability to consumers, in this case parents, of reliable information on the comparative value of services provided by competing suppliers, in this case schools," he wrote in the September 2007 issue of Fraser Forum, the institute's magazine.

Other conditions are necessary for a free market in education, the think tank says, and it is working to establish these, too. Most important is to create a system in which government or private entities provide vouchers so that children from disadvantaged families can attend private schools. The Fraser Institute already has a program dedicated to this activity in Ontario and Alberta. Children First is bankrolled by the deep pockets of Canada's third-wealthiest family, the Westons, to the tune of $2 million to $3 million a year. Poor families compete for these vouchers, which can be used to attend religious or private schools.

And once one provincial government offers its own taxpayer-financed vouchers, for-profit school chains will flood into that province. This dismal prospect is most likely to occur first in Alberta, where Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose Alliance, stands a good chance of becoming the next premier.

Smith has advocated vouchers since she was a Fraser Institute intern in the mid-90s. While in the think-tank's employ, she coauthored a study with Vancouver Sun editorial pages editor Fazil Mihlar (then the institute's director of deregulation), which concluded that "schools must be given the freedom to innovate," and that making schools compete through a voucher scheme was the way to do this.

To prepare for the day when taxpayer-funded vouchers become a reality, the Fraser Institute already has a website promoting for-profit school chains.

"The intended effect of the report cards," Cowley wrote in 2007, is "to encourage multi-faceted competition among schools, both public and private."

It is indeed true that high-priced private schools do compete for students from wealthy families. When the Calgary Herald publishes the Fraser Institute's Alberta school rankings, twice each year, Cowley notes, private schools are prominent advertisers in the paper. The March 21 Herald, for instance, gave prominent placement to the institute's annual Alberta elementary rankings, leading with a front-page story and 14 pages in the B section. Clear Water Academy, an independent Catholic school, Glenmore Christian Academy, Menno Simons Christian School, and Master's Academy and College all paid the Herald for ads in the rankings section, while Webber Academy took out a half-page colour ad trumpeting the fact that "the Fraser Institute has ranked Webber Academy as one of the top schools in Alberta." Webber can easily afford the ad: it charges elementary students $14,000 a year in tuition.

But private schools have always competed for the children of the elite and the nouveau riche, so the Fraser Institute has not actually encouraged competition here.

Public schools are the real target. Competition should not be relevant to public schools, which must educate children from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Public schools must take everyone in the catchment area who shows up at the door, while private schools can screen their students based on testing, report cards, letters of reference, and interviews, to determine if a potential student will "fit in" with the school's culture.

So what is the point of claiming that poor inner-city schools, where parents may have two or three jobs and kids go to class hungry, are competing with wealthy schools, where parents have the time and resources to support their children's education?

The point of the exercise is to undermine public confidence in the system as a whole, to frame education as a market composed of hundreds of individual schools where the improvement or deterioration of a school's ranking is due to the effort of principal, teachers, and students.

The Fraser Institute already has a program to make this point. It hands out awards -- with a little cash (also financed by the Westons) -- in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, to schools whose rankings topped the list over five years, schools whose rankings went up the most, and schools whose rankings are higher than they should be, given their socioeconomic status.

Conclusion: education is improved through the efforts of individual schools. Government officials and teachers' unions play no part in this endeavour. In fact, as free-enterprise guru Milton Friedman insisted, they are the enemy, resisting improved education because they promote their own agendas, which are not those of parents and children. (Note the name of the Fraser's voucher program: Children First.)

Friedman launched the project to turn education into a market with an article he wrote in 1955. He was alarmed by "the trend toward collectivism" and worried about an "indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility" into education through government-run schools. Friedman proposed vouchers, which local governments would give to each child through the child's family to pay for a general education at any type of school the family deemed appropriate.

"Competition is the most effective way to improve quality, whether in computers, in automobiles, in suits, or in schooling," Friedman once told an interviewer.

Forty years later, Friedman was still railing at public education. "Public schools," he wrote in 1995, three years before the Fraser Institute started ranking schools, "are not really public at all but simply private fiefs of the administrators and the union officials."

The Fraser Institute hews closely to Friedman's line. Institute founder Michael Walker was a close friend of Friedman's, and Friedman was an early Fraser Institute adviser and author. Walker is still a director of Milton and Rose Friedman's voucher-advocacy organization, the Foundation for Educational Choice, based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Friedman's efforts to apply market principles to education and other areas of social and cultural life have been seen as so extreme that they have been labelled as "market fundamentalism". The Longview Institute, a progressive think tank in California, defines market fundamentalism as "the exaggerated faith that when markets are left to operate on their own, they can solve all economic and social problems". Faith, not fact; ideology, not economics.

Thanks to massive corporate backing and to the work over many decades of the Fraser Institute and similar think tanks around the world, market fundamentalism has extended its grip on much of public-policy debate in Canada and the United States.

Privatizing public schools is a key priority. A 2007 study by the progressive National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found that conservative foundations in the U.S. were pumping about US$100 million a year into organizations advocating for vouchers and school choice.

The Walton Family Foundation, whose money comes from Wal-Mart, provided the lion's share of the money, more than US$140 million over the five years of the study.

Even U.S. president Barack Obama is veering toward school choice. The Obamas chose Sidwell Friends School, a private Quaker school, for daughters Sasha and Malia. Vice-President Joe Biden's grandchildren also attend the school, where tuition is upward of US$28,000 per child.

And Obama's selection of Arne Duncan, CEO of the Chicago public-school system, as his secretary of education also raises concerns. Duncan is a strong advocate of measuring schools through comprehensive testing, shutting down underperforming schools and replacing them with charter schools where policies are set by parents, and where teachers' unions are normally not certified.

Obama created a US$4.35-billion Race to the Top fund to encourage cash-strapped states to expand the presence of charter schools and to punish -- and perhaps even fire -- teachers who fail to lift student scores on standardized tests in reading and math.

Teachers must face the fact that the deep pockets of the report-card sponsors -- and increasing political support -- will ensure rankings continue to be produced for as long as it takes to privatize K-12 education.

The Fraser Institute and its market-fundamentalist allies are in the war for the long haul. In 1998, the institute produced its first report card on B.C. secondary schools. Expansion was rapid, encompassing Alberta secondary schools in 1999; Quebec secondary schools in 2000 (with the collaboration of the Montreal Economic Institute); Ontario secondary schools in 2001; Alberta elementary schools in 2002; B.C. and Ontario elementary schools in 2003 (the same year that the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a market-fundamentalist think tank in Halifax, started ranking all secondary schools in Atlantic Canada); B.C. aboriginal education in 2004; and Washington-state elementary, middle, and high schools in 2009 (with the help of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation).

In 2010, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, another market-fundamentalist think-tank in Winnipeg, served notice they will be ranking all secondary schools in Western Canada. Their target is the NDP government of Manitoba, which has refused to turn test scores over to the think-tanks.

School report cards put teachers and education experts in a difficult spot. They know the rankings are false and misleading, but they do their cause no good when they refute the rankings. University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz found that repeating falsehoods and slogans helps lodge them in people's minds. Refuting them can lead people to remember the falsehoods better. It doesn't seem to matter if the falsehood comes from several sources or from one source repeating it multiple times, Schwarz found. "A repetitive voice sounds like a chorus," Schwarz contends.

Adolf Hitler held a similar view. He wrote in Mein Kampf that "only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd."

Constant repetition is a hallmark of Fraser Institute studies. It has produced hospital waiting lists for 19 years; "Tax Freedom Day" for 34 years; an "Economic Freedom of the World" index for 13 years; and B.C. secondary-school report cards for 11 years and counting.

Teachers respond to the report cards with accurate information, pointing out limitations in the ranking system, such as the narrowness of the criteria. But the studies done by Schwarz suggest that denials and clarifications, even though they seem like the correct thing to do, can actually increase the impact of the report cards. Rather than refuting a false claim, Schwarz and his colleagues found, it is better to put forward a completely new claim that makes no reference to the original falsehood.

University of California cognitive scientist George Lakoff makes a similar point when he explains that conservatives are winning the war of ideas because they have managed to frame public debate on just about every issue. Lakoff defines a frame as a mental structure that shapes the way we see the world. Once a frame has been clamped on an issue of public concern, denying the frame merely reinforces it.

Two frames, or fundamental values, dominate western democratic societies: freedom and justice. In the 1960s they merged in the civil-rights movements of African-Americans, students, women, and other oppressed groups.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his stirring "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.: "I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice."

But half a century later, the oasis of freedom and justice remains a speck on the horizon. For that unhappy state of affairs we can thank the work of market fundamentalists, who captured control of public policy by driving a wedge between freedom and justice, sanctifying the former and demonizing the latter.

The lofty value of individual freedom was debased into shabby advocacy for the free market. Freedom of speech, of association, and of choice became freedom to exploit and freedom to be greedy, as Austrian philosopher Karl Polanyi warned.

Freedom came to mean being free to choose between competing consumer products, such as higher- and lower-ranking schools. As the Fraser Institute puts it, the purpose of the Children First voucher program is to help "families afford the school of their choice."

Justice, in its many manifestations -- social, economic, environmental -- was attacked mercilessly, while the two institutions most capable of promoting justice, government and unions, were cast as enemies to be crushed.

For Fox News Channel resident demagogue Glenn Beck, social justice is a threat to freedom. He recently defined it as "forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice," perpetrated by progressives, socialists, and Marxists.

Unions have a long history of promoting justice. The B.C. Teachers' Federation, for example, engages in many social-justice initiatives that "focus on poverty, child and youth issues, race relations, gender equity, homophobia and heterosexism, bullying, environmental issues, globalization, and violence prevention," as well as on aboriginal education.

The task for progressives is to condense social-justice programs into a frame that can be clamped onto education and can challenge the hateful rhetoric of the Glenn Becks of the world.

If public-education supporters hope to counter the success of market fundamentalism, they must stop denying the free-market frame and start constructing a frame based on social justice, and they must be prepared to do this consistently for many years.

Postscript: On June 1, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Atlantic Canada's market fundamentalist think-tank, will host former Florida governor Jeb Bush at the institute's 15th anniversary dinner in Moncton. Bush will recount how he imposed school choice and rigorous testing on Florida's school children. He probably won't talk about the seven decades-long relationship between the Bush and McGraw families. The McGraws own CTB McGraw-Hill, one of the largest developers of school tests in the U.S. and a prime beneficiary of Jeb's brother, George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind law, which mandated universal testing and healthy profits for the testing companies.

Donald Gutstein is adjunct professor in the School of Communication and co-director of NewsWatch Canada, a media-monitoring project. His book, Not A Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy (Key Porter), was published in October, 2009.

Why would big-time global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss how miniscule Canadian media tycoon Pierre-Karl Péladeau could set up a Quebecor Media television knock-off of Murdoch's Fox News channel?

The answer is that he wouldn't -- and didn't. Even Kory Teneycke, who was Harper's chief spokesperson at the time and was at the lunch meeting in New York on March 30, 2009, claims the Quebecor venture was not discussed.

That hasn't stopped Teneycke, the huckster for the project, from piggybacking on the Fox News brand. Four months after the meeting with Murdoch, he left the Prime Minister's Office and almost immediately obtained a contract with Quebecor to develop a conservative television channel. Teneycke, who has worked for the Reform party, Mike Harris's Ontario Tories and the Saskatchewan Party, may have coined the phrase "Fox News North" to attract attention and put it on the political agenda.

And he certainly did. Mainstream media and the blogosphere are humming with strident commentary, both for and against. Google "Fox News North" and you'll come up with over 750,000 hits.

But, like Victor Frankenstein in the Mary Shelley thriller, Teneycke created a monster that in the end consumed him. The controversy became too hot for his corporate masters and he resigned, replaced by public relations executive and former Brian Mulroney spokesperson Luc Lavoie.

But back to Murdoch. A clue to the real reason for the Harper-Murdoch lunch was provided -- inadvertently -- by libertarian ideologue Tasha Kheiriddin in an open letter she wrote to Margaret Atwood in the National Post. She berated the Canadian literary icon for signing a petition calling on the government not to allow Fox News North to proceed.

"FYI," Kheiriddin hectored Atwood, "Mr. Murdoch routinely meets with politicians. He granted US President Barack Obama an audience in 2008... Mr. Murdoch has also met with other politicians, including former Australian PM Kevin Rudd and current UK PM David Cameron. How he found the time to add Stephen Harper to his schedule I don't know, but it's more a compliment than a plot."

Kheiriddin is wrong. Think plot, not compliment. There's one big difference between Harper and the other politicians Kheiridden mentions. Murdoch owns media properties in their countries -- Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. He owns none in Canada -- so far.

It is well-known that Murdoch meets with national leaders to advance his corporate interests. In a blog posting in December 2008, Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith reported on a biography of Murdoch that focused on "how the media baron ingratiated himself with political leaders, who helped him build his empire.

"Don't be surprised if Prime Minister Harper pays a quiet visit to Murdoch the next time Harper happens to pass through New York City, where Murdoch spends most of his time," Smith presciently wrote.

Four months later Harper paid the quiet visit. And the visit would have remained quiet except for the diligent digging of a resourceful Canadian Press reporter who searched mandatory disclosures filed with the U.S. Justice Department by Ari Fleischer, media consultant and former George W. Bush press secretary. As a result, the get-together hit the front pages.

The Fox News North story received the ink, but what Murdoch wants from the prime minister -- and can give him by way of support -- may be a more important story.

Murdoch -- along with other non-Canadian media owners -- has so far been stymied in his quest to penetrate the lucrative Canadian media market. One roadblock is Section 19 of the Income Tax Act, which allows advertisers to deduct their costs of advertising in Canadian newspapers only when the paper is 75 per cent owned by Canadians. Since newspapers obtain about 80 per cent of their revenues from advertising, this requirement effectively kills foreign control of Canadian newspapers.

As well, Broadcasting Act regulations exclude non-Canadians from owning radio or television stations. A non-Canadian is defined as any broadcaster whose foreign ownership exceeds 33.3 per cent of voting shares at the holding-company level.

A country's restrictions haven't stopped Murdoch in the past. He gave up his Australian citizenship to become an American so he could own American television stations. He divorced his wife of 30 years and married a Chinese national half his age, which seemed to give him leverage in prying open the Chinese satellite-TV market.

What will he do to get into Canada? Whatever he has up his sleeve, don't expect it to happen overnight. Murdoch is patient and persistent.

Working in his favour is the fact that neither Section 19 nor the Broadcasting Act regulations are as much of an impediment to foreign ownership as they once were. Lock enough lawyers and financiers together in a room and they'll soon find a way to subvert the goals of the legislation.

That's what happened to the CanWest Global media empire, which was owned by the Asper family -- all lawyers themselves. The company opened the door to significant foreign control with its 2007 deal to buy the 13 specialty cable channels of Alliance Atlantis Communications for $2.3 billion.

CanWest put up only $262 million of the purchase price, with the balance coming from the notorious Wall Street financial dealer Goldman Sachs. The company promised not to exert control. Right!

Perhaps forgetting Lord Chesterfield's dictum that "he who pays the piper calls the tune," the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission believed them and allowed the deal to proceed.

Then, after the company crashed and burned, the newspaper holdings were sold to a company called Postmedia Network, which now controls most of Canada's major metropolitan dailies, including the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal and Vancouver Sun, as well as the National Post. Its influence on public opinion is probably greater than anything Fox News North will ever achieve.

In defiance of Section 19, Postmedia Network seems to be owned by New-York-based GoldenTree Asset Management and other vulture funds. Their basic strategy is to look for troubled media companies and then scoop up the company debt -- usually bonds -- at a depressed price. The private equity firms snapped up CanWest's risky bonds and in May 2010 they received court approval to take over the newspaper chain for $1.1 billion.

Their interest is in speedy, double-digit returns, not quality, balanced newspapers.

Here, too, the federal government is likely to believe the company's claim it is Canadian-owned and controlled. Postmedia has a majority of resident Canadians on its board and gives legal assurances (the lawyers again) that the foreign owners will not be able to dictate company policies. But the Canadian directors are not likely to make decisions that will run contrary to the interests of the foreign owners, who are represented on the board.

Meanwhile the Sun TV monster lumbers on. Quebecor's newspaper chain already has a long list of social and economic conservatives writing on a regular or guest basis, such as Ezra Levant, Mercedes Stephenson, Michael Coren, Monte Solberg, John Snobelen (Mike Harris' education minister) and Salim Mansur. Far-right shock-jock Charles Adler has been recruited from Corus Radio. They're being primed to sprint into the Sun TV studio.

The main threat is that Sun TV will magnify the already substantial Canadian right-wing echo chamber. The Harper Tories issue talking points that are picked up by the conservative media -- Sun TV, National Post, talk radio, Maclean's, Sun newspapers, Postmedia commentators -- and bounced back and forth in the blogosphere until they become accepted as facts.

And Harper moves his agenda forward.

Worries that Sun TV will be a Conservative attack dog were fuelled by the hiring of Jason Plotz from the Prime Minister's Office. Plotz was in charge of issues research and provided the material the government needed to go after the opposition.

Lurking behind the Fox hysteria is an even bigger threat to democratic media. Rupert Murdoch waits patiently as Stephen Harper sets out to create Murdoch-friendly ownership regulations and a more compliant regulator. Perhaps he'll be meeting again soon with Murdoch in New York City to report on how things are going.

This time, though, we're not likely to find out.


Vancouver Ltd. (1975)

"Capitalism means making capital out of anything and everything. This little refresher course should get you in the mood for Vancouver Ltd., a nasty little book that tells it like it is.. The results of Gutstein.s labours are couched in a tough, let-the-blue-chips-fall-where-they-may stuyle, and he leaves no doubt about his message: the city is being run by and for the developers and the interlocked directorates. The people have little, if any, chance.... Gutstein has done his homework, and has unearthed some very smelly deals...Should be required reading for any interested citizen." "The Province

The New Landlords (1990)

"Possibly because it was published by one of the smaller presses, this essential study of Asian investment in Canadian real estate hasn.t received the attention it deserves. In an evenhanded and well-written assessment of the impact of East Asian wealth on this country, Gutstein documents the startling case that without our becoming aware of it, we have become squatters in our own land. This is unfortunate. But don.t blame the Oriental investor. They only did what we invited them to do." --Peter C. Newman, Business Watch "Best Business Books of the Year" Roundup

About the Author

DONALD GUTSTEIN teaches in the school of communication at Simon Fraser University and is the author of three acclaimed but controversial books: e.con: How the Internet Undermines, The New Landlords, Democracy and Vancouver Ltd. He has studied the media for more than ten years as co-director of Project Censored and NewsWatch Canada and has written many articles for magazines and online sites devoted to media and social policy. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

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