Thursday, January 31, 2008
I have continued reading through all of my old journals, re-living past memories, and gaining new insight into how I've become the "me" I am today. There's just one more thing I wanted to share here from my old journals. It's a speech I transcribed of a Zapatista community leader who was welcoming a solidarity group that I was a part of, during my visit to southern Mexico in 2002. He focusses for one reason or another on the educational aspect of the Zapatista movement. Really great stuff! Anyway, here it is:
"Welcome comrade brothers and sisters. We are happy because we know that we exist in your hearts. Our fight is not just for us, but for everyone. We want to be an example for our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world; To overcome oppression with education. In Aguascaliente, you can do anything: You can dance and you can dream. It is a cultural centre. We offer you the pure air of nature, the cold nights, and the hot sun. My internationalist brothers and sisters, you have come from far. History does not forget anything. You are visiting places where the people fight. We can share our words, and languages, and experiences with you. Today we tell you, Aguascalientes is yours. There is always a place for you here. We thank you for your company and we hope you can take our word to all the kids and adults back in your countries.
It is our obligation to transform society. We need to end the oppression, marginalisation, and injustice of humanity against humanity... for us Zapatistas, it is as if we didn't exist. Our women were not considered part of Mexican society and they were excluded from history. We want to create an alternative education to create a new world. We know that in any fight, education is important to our formation and to construct new worlds. The new worlds are in each of us. When we speak of revolution and of our fight, we are speaking of the need to create one world in which the many worlds of humanity can all fit. We need to save humanity, even as its ship is sinking... and to protect our natural resources. We want to create a new society where there are no poor people and no rich people. We don't believe in taking power, like in previous revolutions. It's a new way of thinking. And we want liberation not just for Indians, but for the workers, and for everyone. And we don't want the wealth of the rich. They are lost, and poor in spirit and in their vision of the world... They are slaves.
We need new ways of educating ourselves, and it needs to be a collective effort: the peasants, the indigenous, the students, the workers, the housewives... We have an obligation to educate each other. We Zapatistas are not here to educate you. We are all here to educate each other in communion. We need to transform the world. And all the internationalists from every country need to have in their mind that we need to transform our individual realities as well as our collective realities, for the emancipation of all humanity - to bring us back to being human. We are trying to raise up something new that we had lost; living it and learning it in practice. That is important. Not always do we know how to go about constructing such a society, but we do know that it is necessary. We need to search for our common humanity - of all cultures, languages, colours. We are constructing new trails and paths and new lights for our people and all people. With you, we are creating history, and we speak in truth.
And here you are now, with us in solidarity. This place is for all of us - Zapatistas, foreigners, everyone... and for future generations. We need to build our consciousness. We need to dream, and build solidarity. What is happening with humanity? If there's no democracy in the world, let's create democracy between all of us. We also need to remember history... We know that we indigenous were the first ones here. Do not believe the history that the pedagogues tell us of Latin America. We know our identity. We have roots. The Mayans were and are a great people, but so much has been taken away from us. We are immersed in a culture of capitalist thinking... and perhaps it's better not to exist than to exist and not do anything. With our word, we have the obligation of continuing our fight and supporting each other...
Our leaders and presidents have just met in Monterrey. We too can organise and meet and talk about how to create new systems of living. And don't believe what these powerful men say about us. We are against terrorism - especially the everyday terror of the rich against the disadvantaged. We are not terrorists. Terrorists kill civilians, children, women... but we are constructing something that is for everyone. We give you our simple word to take back to your countries. The more we construct solidarity with each other, the stronger we feel. If it wasn't for that, Zapatismo wouldn't exist. We need to fight, and we do not care about the media... All we need to do is to continue to fight. Zapatismo will continue, in our education, in our work, and in the ecology... Zapatismo dreams of creating universities of the people, for the people, and completely autonomous... We know that our kids of today will be the teachers and leaders of the future, with new programs and plans for the good of all...
Do not leave us alone. Do not let the government destroy our schools. Thank you for your support my internationalist brothers and sisters. Education to us is not just having an eraser, a ruler, a pencil... it is to hear, to listen, to see... We need to learn to educate ourselves in the field and in practice, not just with theory. The word "consciousness" [conciencia] is grand and means so much. And "comrade" [companero] is an even bigger word, beyond capability of being defined. In our revolution, the most important aspect is comradeship [la camaderia]. We Zapatistas will be with you, and we ask that you also will always be with us, in our fight for a new world. We thank you... And amongst all of us here, none of us need permission from anybody to construct something that already belongs to us. Thank you for being here and reaching this beautiful moment with us."
From: Redlands High School and Beattie Middle School
Rounding out the top statistics for presidential candidates at RHS: former North Carolina Senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards, who was expected to drop out of the race today, and five-time presidential Green Party candidate Ralph Nader both won 20 votes; Army veteran and retired Michigan schoolteacher Mad Max Riekse received 14 votes on the American Independent Party ticket; former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee garnered 13 votes, as did Ralph Nader when Nader was tied to the Peace and Freedom Party; California chiropractor and American Independent Party candidate Don J. Grundmann received 10 votes; California attorney and three-time American Independent Party presidential candidate Diane Beall Templin got seven votes; and African American Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney received five votes.
All other candidates received four votes or less, according to Fieldhouse.
At Beattie, 222 votes were cast. Obama received 60 votes, and Clinton received 40; McCain had 36; Huckabee had 13; and Romney had 12. Edwards got five votes and Paul landed four.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"I voted for - I can't remember her name," said Kara Takashige Boehm, a sophomore in Erin Pope-Garcia's world history class with Castillo. "Someone from the Peace and Freedom Party. It was a woman, Gloria something."
Takashige Boehm said she wanted to vote for a woman (Gloria E. La Riva, to be precise) from a party other than the Democratic or Republican factions.
Marin students pick Obama in mock election
Article Launched: 01/29/2008 11:24:00 PM PST
Most may be too young to vote in Tuesday's California primary election, but students at Terra Linda High School this week found a way to make their voices heard.
The school was among more than 400 schools with a total 240,000 students in California to participate Tuesday in the MyVote student mock election staged by the California secretary of state's office. San Rafael High School, Kent Middle School, Madrone High School and Marin Oaks High School also participated in the election.
Students voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who received nearly 51 percent of the county's 1,750
tallied votes. Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., finished second with just more than 15 percent of the vote. At 3.8 percent, Democrat John Edwards the only other candidate to garner more than 2 percent of the vote.
At Terra Linda, three-quarters of the school's 1,200 students participated in the election, which included presidential candidates and three ballot measures aimed at students.
"We're always trying to connect history with the present, with current events," said Randy Baker, chairman of the Terra Linda social studies department, who organized theevent for his school. "This is a no-brainer for us to offer to kids."
The school submitted its results to the secretary of state's office; final statewide election results and school-by-school breakdowns were to be released Wednesday.
The mock election allowed students to vote for any presidential candidate regardless of party affiliation, but was otherwise handled like a real primary.
Among the students excited about the chance to vote was Cesar Castillo, a sophomore who voted for
Senior Genevieve Macmillan joins other Terra Linda HIgh students in voting during Tuesday s statewide mock election. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)
"We can't vote yet, but we have that urge to vote," said Castillo, 15. "People are like, 'I want to turn 18 so I can vote.' Everyone's talking about it, asking, 'Who did you vote for?'"
Baker said he and the rest of the social studies department geared lesson plans to the mock election for weeks in advance, trying to provide the students as much current information as possible. He said the students showed a good deal of interest.
"The students here are very aware of the issues," Baker said. "They've been very responsive."
The secretary of state's office has staged mock elections since 2006, but this was the first for a presidential primary vote.
Kate Folmar, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, said Bowen wanted to take advantage of the interest and importance of this presidential election by getting students interested early. Participation was open to all secondary schools, she said.
"(Bowen) believes strongly in nurturing a culture of young voters, and this was a perfect way to reach them at an early stage," Folmar said.
The Marin County Registrar of Voters Office provided the school with official voting booths, which were stationed in the cafeteria throughout the day.
Baker said the battle between Clinton and Obama was a major point of interest for students at Terra Linda. The school has more than 31 percent minority students, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
"The gender-versus-race issue is a very interesting one, and one that the kids have been talking about a lot," Baker said. "The kids seem to be leaning toward Obama, but that's very premature."
Castillo was among a collection of students interested in Tuesday's event, but some students showed considerably less enthusiasm.
"I voted for - I can't remember her name," said Kara Takashige Boehm, a sophomore in Erin Pope-Garcia's world history class with Castillo. "Someone from the Peace and Freedom Party. It was a woman, Gloria something."
Takashige Boehm said she wanted to vote for a woman (Gloria E. La Riva, to be precise) from a party other than the Democratic or Republican factions. She had a different take than Castillo on the students' reaction to the event.
"I feel like kids don't care very much," said Takashige Boehm, 15. "There's a small percentage of kids that really got into it, but not many."
Baker knew the response to Tuesday's event wouldn't be unanimously positive.
"I wish I could say the kids are vibrant and excited, but I can't say that," Baker said. "It's not the most exciting stuff in the world, but it's important for the kids to learn. It's a good approximation of a real election day, and a lot of the kids find that fascinating."
GET THE RESULTS
With 250 of 450 California schools reporting, Barack Obama had 27,845 votes statewide in the open election, nearly seven times that of the leading Republican, John McCain, who had received 3,773 votes.
- Download a PDF of how Marin students voted in Tuesday's mock election: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/student_mock_election/2008/marin.pdf
- Full statewide results: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/studentmockelection.htm
In a letter dated December 31, 2007, Lynn Rozar and his wife, from Greeneville, Tennessee, want to know my position on some issues concerning the average person: WITH JUST SOME STRAIGHT SIMPLE ANSWERS FOR A CHANGE.
Stewart A. Alexander
Socialist Party USA Nominee for Vice President
and candidate for nomination Peace and Freedom Party
Lynn Rozar, Greeneville, TN
Mr. Stewart Alexander,
To make up our minds as to whom we are going to vote, my wife and I would like to know how you stand on some issues concerning the average person:
WITH JUST SOME STRAIGHT SIMPLE ANSWERS FOR A CHANGE.
It is all well and good that each candidate has their own agenda for ending the war in Iraq and a multitude of other international events. But what I want to know is what you are going to do for us average everyday run of the mill individuals. Though we want to know about international affairs they are relatively unimportant to our everyday lives. I personally feel that we should be out of Iraq and let them handle their own issues. The Iraq's believe that they are fighting a religious and cultural war. There is no way to win a war like that.
As a potential commander and chief what do you think about the policy says don't fire until fired upon? As a veteran with three tours of duty in Viet Nam I feel that this policy is a loosing proposition. Our service men and women should be given the opportunity to defend themselves by any means necessary to survive, without having to think about going to jail if I accidentally make a mistake. This is a war and sometimes situations escalate in the heat of battle. We also need to ensure that our military has all the latest and best equipment available (at their disposal and not sitting in a warehouse) to get the job done. What is your position?
A. The precise policies regulating when soldiers may fire their weapons are not the real problem - the real problem is that our government keeps sending our soldiers into harm's way in places they should not be sent, under circumstances in which we should not be involved. If U.S. soldiers had not been sent to Vietnam, the question would not have come up for you. Looking back, it is clear to most that they should not have been sent to Vietnam. They should not have been sent to Iraq, either. There is nothing our soldiers can do in Iraq that will make things better, and almost everything they do (no matter how well or how bravely they do it) actually makes the situation worse. My policy on this war is simple: bring them home now. Not when convenient, not when the politicians can claim a victory, not when thousands more have died, but NOW.
This is the one that really bothers me. I hear about sending Billions to other countries to help their government and population and when it comes time to help us U.S. Citizens it is like pulling teeth to get a dime. What is all this money for and why is it not being spent to help ourselves first. I can only imagine what the money given to foreign countries could do for our educational system to make us world class again.
A. One problem with foreign aid is that the bulk of it is not intended to help people abroad, but to suppress them. Most such aid is military and military-related aid, and some of the governments we give it to are pretty nasty. I favor ending all military aid abroad. Some aid is good, not only for the people of other countries, but for the people of our own country as well. For example, eradicating diseases abroad can protect our own people from disease, especially when a sick person can fly between continents in hours. I favor giving carefully-targeted aid abroad that helps people become more healthy and prosperous, thus helping our own people by reducing the risk of disease and by eliminating low-wage havens to which employers move their factories. As for helping Americans, see some of my answers below.
Can you do anything about gas prices and if so what?
We can't afford to invest for our futures if we have to make a decision every day to buy gas to get to work or buy food for our children.
A. The damages to American families from the high cost of oil and gasoline are severe, and they have several causes. First, because our government is obedient to the big oil and automobile companies and keeps our mass transit systems undeveloped and expensive to ride, most people must use cars even when they would rather not. This increases demand for gasoline. Second, the government policy has been to keep the prices high to keep oil company profits high, and they have made record profits. There are many things that can be done to improve this situation, and I favor a number of them:
1. Place the oil industry under public ownership and democratic control of our people. Eliminate the big oil companies, and eliminate their influence on our government.
2. Encourage the use of mass transit, not by making gasoline expensive, but by providing convenient transportation at minimal or no cost.
3. Establish a full-employment economy in which all can work and earn a decent living, and hard choices about necessary spending will recede into memory for most families.
4. We need to end government subsidies for ethanol production; eventually this will sharply increase the future cost of fuel and food. It is time that we mass produce electric automobiles here is the U.S. before the end of this decade. This will greatly reduce our dependency on oil and create jobs for hundreds of thousands of people that need good paying jobs.
Something is not right when we see that we can make a better living on welfare than trying to have and hold a job. At $10.00 an hour and we have to pay $4.00 to $5.00 an hour for child care I can make a better living on welfare. I work but I think about this everyday. Why should I work when I can make more money from the government just sitting on my behind?
A. Actually, it is impossible to make a decent living on welfare, despite the stories. But I favor several policies that would answer parts of your question. First, I favor doubling the minimum wage and indexing it to the cost of living, so that no one would again have to work for terribly low wages and fail to make ends meet. Second, I favor making all education, from pre-school through the university, free for all. (We used to have this in some states - it is certainly not impossible.) Now refigure how well you could make a living, with a minimum wage of $15 per hour or higher and no child care expenses. Also, a recent study has shown that the federal government needs to assist working families with child care expenses; it would require a serious U.S. investment of $30 billion annually. Today, child care is costing many families more than the cost to send there children to college; this is a national crisis that must be dealt with today.
What are you going to do about health insurance? I guess I am one of the lucky ones I am a VET and can go to the VA if I have problems and my children can get some state assistance but my wife is uninsured.
A. I believe that our medical care system, devoted to making profits rather than delivering care, is broken and needs to be completely redone. I favor a program of free medical and dental care for all - kind of like Medicare was supposed to be, but extending the age limit downward, so everyone qualifies at birth. Most industrialized countries have this, and despite the stories you hear from the TV stations and newspapers that are owned by billionaires, it works quite well. In actual fact, we would probably spend less on medical care as a nation than we do now, with much better results. No money would go to the predatory insurance corporations.
What about long term care for elderly parents? When they can't afford nursing homes and we can't afford to have them at home because we both have to work to make ends meet.
A. In most industrialized countries, care for the elderly is recognized as a responsibility for the whole society, and is funded through taxes or other government income. I believe priority should be given to keeping older Americans active and happy in their own families, neighborhoods and communities whenever possible, rather than warehousing them in institutions (which are presently very profitable to run). But well-run retirement homes also have a place in a system of care for the elderly, and they should be freely accessible to all who need them.
What will you do about prescription drugs? We make them in the US and it is cheaper to buy them in Canada or Mexico but it is illegal to try to save a few bucks.
A. Prescription drugs should be provided at no or nominal cost as needed, as part of a universal health plan. The present influence of the drug corporations on our government is a shame that must be ended.
What is your stand on securing the boarders and how? Here's an idea. Take your reserve units on their two week training and place them in camps along the boarders. With a constant rotation of troops you won't have to worry about bribe and maybe we can stem the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants.
A. It is impossible to fully secure all our borders, and even the politicians who rant and rave about it know this. A "great wall" would work no better here than it did in China, or the Berlin Wall in Germany, or the walls that were built by the Roman Empire to secure borders throughout Europe. We definitely need a better immigration policy, because the need for immigrant labor is a simple fact, and current policies make it impossible for enough people to enter legally to meet the demand. In general, much smuggling can be ended by sensible economic policies, and a sensible drug policy would take the huge profits away that feed corruption of those who are supposed to enforce the laws. Also, we need to end trade agreement that create starvation for millions south of the boarder and create more wealth for the billionaires here in the U.S. We need trade agreements that are designed to benefit working people within and beyond our borders.
What about education? We have students that have excellent grades that can't get into college due to financial issues? It seems that unless you have money or are an excellent athlete school financing is hard to come by. At $10.00 an hour with a house payment everyone wants you to put your home up. That is all good for the 1st child but what happens when the second one wants to go to college? I know that there are student loans and government grants available but when you look at the long term repayment plan is it ever going to get paid back with the job market in its present condition?
A. I strongly favor free public education from pre-school through the university. Yes, it can be done, and when the people demand it, it will happen. Today, education has become a tax on the young people of America and their families and many are faced with college expenses that are in the tens of thousands of dollars upon graduating; and unfortunately due to cost, there are millions that must sacrifice a good education. We need to break the powers of great wealth that distorts our society and our laws and hurts the working class at every turn.
What is your stand on outsourcing jobs? I know more than one person that went totally under when his job was outsource; took a half cut in pay for his next job and lost his home.
A. Exporting jobs is just one of the ugly things the wealthy owners of the big corporations do to keep down the working class. Actually, they get government aid in doing this, and their factories abroad are insured through a government program! I favor a full employment economy, in which there are jobs for all - the wealthy oppose this because they want to keep wages down. Another side of this question is how to help improve conditions, and workers rights in other countries, which would keep them from being "low-wage havens" for factory owners.
Another issue on our minds is other countries, citizens of other countries or business of other countries owning land in the USA. If they can't beat us in a war they will just buy us; very unfair to US citizens trying to start a business if they have to compete against a whole country for funding. To my knowledge, though limited on this subject, US citizens can't own land in a lot of countries. This takes lots of money out of our country. What is your position?
A. I have nothing against the person from France, China, Japan, South Africa or Kenya owning a house in the US. But I do not want them, or anyone else, owning our factories, our banks, our railroads, and so on. Keep in mind that rich Americans who own these also constantly underpay and mistreat their workers, and abandon them and take their factories abroad any time they can make higher profits doing so. I am a Socialist, which means that I want the factories, the banks, the mines and the ports to be owned by all the people, and democratically run by the people. This would prevent anyone, foreign or American, from exploiting American workers.
Then there is the issue of housing or more to the point the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage. Why is the government trying to bail out lenders? These people had the money to loan to start with. If they made a bad loan or business investment, live with it and suffer the consequences. (Just about any other business would have to suffer their loss) We should be trying to help the person who probably did not understand the terms of his commitment (granted he should have read and understood) but there are a lot of lenders just looking to take advantage of anyone.
A. Yes, it is curious that the high interest rates are justified on the basis of risk, and the risk is taken away by government bailouts that never seem to bail out the little guy, just the big corporations. Did you know that in many countries, there are government agencies that provide low-interest loans for workers to buy houses, and the prices are subsidized so that they are in reach of ordinary people? No reason we can't do that here, except that the very wealthy who benefit from the current system don't want us to. I believe that we need a set of government programs that will make it possible for every American to live in decent housing, whether a city apartment or a suburban or rural house.
My next issue of concern is illegal drug use amongst our children. As a wrestling coach I constantly talk nutrition, physical capability, team work and against the use of sports performing drugs and illegal drugs. Do you have a plan to combat illegal drugs?
A. My plan is, first, to stop the destructive "war on drugs" that outlaws adult use of marijuana, etc., and helps the drug lords make huge fortunes, while low-level users get stuck in prison for years instead of getting the medical treatment they need. We need free and freely-available treatment for drug problems, and to recognize (as some European countries now do) that this is first of all a medical problem. As for the performance-enhancing drugs that are used by foolish athletes, the profit motive is very important there, and if needed prescription drugs were provided to those who need them at nominal cost, with the big profits taken out of the drug trade, much of this would recede. The enforcement of rules against drug use within each sport are mainly a matter of sportsmanship for that sport's governing body to regulate, rather than a federal concern, but there are certainly federal actions that could help. If every young athlete could look forward to a decent life of secure work and available housing and medical care, some of the desperation to succeed in sports in order to have a chance at a decent living would no longer be a factor.
My final question is: What makes you different than all the other candidates that promise us everything and after getting into office delivers virtually nothing.
A. I am not a Republican or Democrat and I am not an opportunist politician. I am running as a Socialist Party candidate with Socialist Party USA, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate, and a candidate of the Liberty Union Party for Vice President, with my running mate Brian Moore for President. I am serious about taking on the big-money politicians who represent the big corporations. When we can build a movement that puts candidates like us in the White House, and real representatives of working people in the House and Senate, believe me - we will deliver for working people! Socialism and socialists will empower working people to benefit themselves.
Please remember that most of your votes come from average people that are just trying to make a living, put food on the table for our children, own a small piece of America and maybe stay healthy enough to do it all again tomorrow.
A. As someone who has had to work all his life to put food on the table, working as a retail clerk for Safeway Stores, working as a janitor in Los Angeles, working in warehousing as a forklift operator with Inter-American Public Distribution, in construction working 15 hour daily, in aerospace working for Lockheed Aircraft as a plastics fabricator, mortgage lending, cleaning houses for 10 hours a day, six day a week, to help my wife build a housecleaning business, and automobile sales, believe me, I remember that every moment! Thank you for your questions that gave me this opportunity to speak my mind on so many important issues.
homepage: homepage: http://StewartAlexanderCares.com
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Posted by J A G U A R I T O
The Philosopher's Cellphone, by Mark Silcox
"I've often thought that Plato's Cave was rather an exaggeration -
Mankind's fate is not a mere" - brring brring - "oh, damn, the phone -
Hello Imelda. Yes I did pick up the tickets at the station.
What? The dog? The carpet?? - soul-confining house of stone."
"It seems almost quixotic - use a dishcloth! Soap and lots of water!
Dishcloths, dishcloths... there should be one in the lavatory.
She's crying? Well, give her a bone! - The world around us seems to offer
More than just the dance of shadows in that allegory."
"And furthermore, methinks that while in Ancient Times - no peanut butter?
Right, I'll add it to my list. We're also out of floss.
There was a fairly short path from the stars straight down into the gutter,
Our Modern Age provides us with no corresponding loss,"
"When we turn our gaze from sunlight to - my indigestion's better; thanks,
It must have been that Egg Foo Yong, or p'raps the Chinese Tea
Be home in time for Jeopardy! - life's illusions in all their ranks
Our eyes will not be blinded to the aspect of eternity."
[Thanks to grischa for this link]
By Bruce E. Levine
For a generation now, disruptive young Americans who rebel against authority figures have been increasingly diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric (psychotropic) drugs.
Disruptive young people who are medicated with Ritalin, Adderall and other amphetamines routinely report that these drugs make them "care less" about their boredom, resentments and other negative emotions, thus making them more compliant and manageable. And so-called atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa -- powerful tranquilizing drugs -- are increasingly prescribed to disruptive young Americans, even though in most cases they are not displaying any psychotic symptoms.
Many talk show hosts think I'm kidding when I mention oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). After I assure them that ODD is in fact an official mental illness -- an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers -- they often guess that ODD is simply a new term for juvenile delinquency. But that is not the case.
Young people diagnosed with ODD, by definition, are doing nothing illegal (illegal behaviors are a symptom of another mental illness called conduct disorder). In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created oppositional defiant disorder, defining it as "a pattern of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior." The official symptoms of ODD include "often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules" and "often argues with adults." While ODD-diagnosed young people are obnoxious with adults they don't respect, these kids can be a delight with adults they do respect; yet many of them are medicated with psychotropic drugs.
An even more common reaction to oppressive authorities than overt defiance is some type of passive defiance.
John Holt, the late school critic, described passive-aggressive strategies employed by prisoners in concentration camps and slaves on plantations, as well as some children in classrooms. Holt pointed out that subjects may attempt to appease their rulers while still satisfying some part of their own desire for dignity "by putting on a mask, by acting much more stupid and incompetent than they really are, by denying their rulers the full use of their intelligence and ability, by declaring their minds and spirits free of their enslaved bodies."
Holt observed that by "going stupid" in a classroom, children frustrate authorities through withdrawing the most intelligent and creative parts of their minds from the scene, thus achieving some sense of potency.
Going stupid -- or passive aggression -- is one of many nondisease explanations for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show that virtually all ADHD-diagnosed children will pay attention to activities that they enjoy or that they have chosen. In other words, when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control, the "disease" goes away.
There are other passive rebellions against authority that have been medicalized by mental health authorities. I have talked to many people who earlier in their lives had been diagnosed with substance abuse, depression and even schizophrenia but believe that their "symptoms" had in fact been a kind of resistance to the demands of an oppressive environment. Some of these people now call themselves psychiatric survivors.
While there are several reasons for behavioral disruptiveness and emotional difficulties, rebellion against an oppressive environment is one common reason that is routinely not even considered by many mental health professionals. Why? It is my experience that many mental health professionals are unaware of how extremely obedient they are to authorities. Acceptance into medical school and graduate school and achieving a Ph.D. or M.D. means jumping through many meaningless hoops, all of which require much behavioral, attentional and emotional compliance to authorities -- even disrespected ones. When compliant M.D.s and Ph.D.s begin seeing noncompliant patients, many of these doctors become anxious, sometimes even ashamed of their own excessive compliance, and this anxiety and shame can be fuel for diseasing normal human reactions.
Two ways of subduing defiance are to criminalize it and to pathologize it, and U.S. history is replete with examples of both. In the same era that John Adams' Sedition Act criminalized criticism of U.S. governmental policy, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry (his image adorns the APA seal), pathologized anti-authoritarianism. Rush diagnosed those rebelling against a centralized federal authority as having an "excess of the passion for liberty" that "constituted a form of insanity." He labeled this illness "anarchia."
Throughout American history, both direct and indirect resistance to authority has been diseased. In an 1851 article in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, Louisiana physician Samuel Cartwright reported his discovery of "drapetomania," the disease that caused slaves to flee captivity. Cartwright also reported his discovery of "dysaesthesia aethiopis," the disease that caused slaves to pay insufficient attention to the master's needs. Early versions of ODD and ADHD?
In Rush's lifetime, few Americans took anarchia seriously, nor was drapetomania or dysaesthesia aethiopis taken seriously in Cartwright's lifetime. But these were eras before the diseasing of defiance had a powerful financial ally in Big Pharma.
In every generation there will be authoritarians. There will also be the "bohemian bourgeois" who may enjoy anti-authoritarian books, music, and movies but don't act on them. And there will be genuine anti-authoritarians, who are so pained by exploitive hierarchies that they take action. Only occasionally in American history do these genuine anti-authoritarians actually take effective direct action that inspires others to successfully revolt, but every once in a while a Tom Paine comes along. So authoritarians take no chances, and the state-corporate partnership criminalizes anti-authoritarianism, pathologizes it, markets drugs to "cure" it and financially intimidates those who might buck the system.
It would certainly be a dream of Big Pharma and those who favor an authoritarian society if every would-be Tom Paine -- or Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Emma Goldman or Malcolm X -- were diagnosed as a youngster with mental illness and quieted with a lifelong regimen of chill pills. The question is: Has this dream become reality?
Bruce E. Levine, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy (Chelsea Green, 2007).
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
Monday, January 28, 2008
[Thanks to Kevin
for this link]
'The amount of work that we put into the O2 [concert] ... was probably what you put into a world tour,' he told Reuters.
By Gil Kaufman and Kurt Orzeck
Led Zeppelin might not be headed over the hills and far away quite yet — the recently reunited rock legends have let it slip that they may actually perform together again after all, but not before September.
Guitarist Jimmy Page revealed the scenario over the weekend, according to Reuters,
saying that the legendary band's one-off, strongly received December reunion gig in London,which sparked rumors of a world tour, was likely a precursor to more shows.
"I can assure you the amount of work that we put into the O2 [concert], for ourselves rehearsing and the staging of it, was probably what you put into a world tour," Page said, adding that more shows are off for the moment because of singer Robert Plant's commitments to touring with bluegrass star Alison Krauss in support of their Grammy-nominated joint album, Raising Sand.
"Robert Plant also [has] a parallel project running, and he's really busy with that project, certainly until September, so I can't give you any news," Page added.
In an interview with New York's Madison Square Garden Network during halftime at a Knicks game on Friday, Plant also opened the door to more shows, saying, "You never know what is around the corner. It's just nice to play with those guys," when asked about Zeppelin tour rumors.
That's a sharp contrast from what Plant said in late September, when he shot down claims of a potential tour outright. "There'll be one show and that'll be it," he told British music mag Uncut.
Plant's remarks had come days after Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl apparently volunteered his services for a potential Zep tour. After saying that he had planned to sneak his way into the long-sold-out London show, the former Nirvana drummer added that he wouldn't mind manning the kit for Led Zeppelin if needed. "[I am] at their beck and call," he told British music weekly the New Musical Express.
[Thanks to grischa for this post]
By JENNIFER VAN BERGEN
With Kucinich out of the race, there are NO viable candidates left.
I'm sorry, I will not vote for somebody who compromises his or her morals and betrays his/her constituents and the US Constitution, not to mention international laws.
We are at a point in history where we cannot accept half measures any longer. Our world is in grave danger , we are torturing people, we are violating every law of humanity there is, our economy is so bad -- we don't realize -- the U.S. could very well go the way the Roman Republic did . . . and we are talking about whether Obama or Hillary is worse than the other . . . or significantly better than who, Huckabee, Ron Paul?
Sorry, not me. I'm not buying anymore. I'm with Kucinich all the way. I'm going the way he goes. He is the only one willing to tell the truth and keep on fighting for it. He is the only one with integrity or morals left.
If he's not on the ballot, I don't vote. But if I can join his wagon train, I will.
I don't recognize what I thought was my country, my homeland -- in the best sense of the word. I have spent many years, both as an adult and as a young child, living overseas, but it was always THIS country that was my home.
But I don't know if I want to be here any longer.
The dollar is dying. Does anyone here realize what that means for you and me? It means that if you are struggling now, you may well be in abject poverty soon. If you think you are powerless now, what then? Who listens to a person begging for food? Who listens to the disenfranchised? Who listens to a person who is suffering?
It means if you have health problems now, you may well die from lack of medical care sometime in the next few years. (See here about what's happening in the Congo. Most of the 45,000 deaths PER MONTH are medically preventable.)
I'm not even bringing up what's happening in Gaza.
Who do we think we are?! Who ARE we?
It is not enough to wave a sign on a street corner. It is not enough to vote -- especially when we don't even know if the votes will be counted. It is not enough to write op-eds or articles, letters to the editor, letters to our congress-persons, to speak before crowds, big or small, to march through the streets or travel to march in D.C. or elsewhere.
It is not enough to circulate news we already innately know or views we already agree with. Not enough even to argue face-to-face with our opponents or to cry out for impeachment. It's not enough to save electricity, grow our own food, stop driving a car. None of it really matters now. It's too little, too late.
Believe it or not, I'm not a pessimist. I am inherently an optimistic person. I believe that out of the ashes can come a brave new world.
But I also believe that there is such a thing as FINALITY. Stars can explode. Planets can die. Species can cease to exist. Forever. Obama and Hillary are going to be swallowed by this, just as well as Bush and Cheney. And the rest of us sorry and weary souls.
The only thing left is to be true to yourself and to your highest values. Live as honorably and as truthfully as you can, as one lone individual. Do what good you can and spend time with people who have integrity. Do no harm to others or to the environment; protect and preserve the Good, the True, and the Beautiful as best you can.
Because when the shit hits the fan, the laws our officials flagrantly violate now in our name, for the benefit of the national security state, will no longer matter on a day-to-day basis.
Jennifer Van Bergen, a journalist with a law degree, is the author of THE TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACY: THE BUSH PLAN FOR AMERICA (Common Courage Press, 2004). She writes frequently on civil liberties, human rights, and international law and Archetypes for Writers: Using the Power of Your Subconscious (Michael Weise Productions, 2007).. She can be reached at email@example.com.
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.
Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?
That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.
What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
by Chuck Thomas
Saturday, January 26, 2008
We can only imagine what it must have been like, decades ago, when the California secretary of state — whose office is in charge of elections — first discussed this phenomenon with the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state Legislature.
State: "We have encountered a new problem in printing the ballots. There are a lot of people registering to vote who refuse to identify themselves as either Democrats or Republicans."
Demo: "Is that legal?"
State: "Yes, the courts say it's legal."
Rep: "They're neither Republican nor Democrat, and they still expect us to let them vote?"
State: "Yes. If they meet the other requirements — residency and age and the like — they're entitled to vote. Our problem is how to identify them on the ballot."
Demo: "If they're neither Democrat nor Republican, they must be idiots."
Rep: "Or illiterate. Do we have to let illiterates vote?"
State: "I'm afraid so. The U.S. Supreme Court has banned literacy tests for voters. The logical thing to call them is independent,' but that would just cause confusion, because there's now an American Independent party that has qualified for the ballot."
Rep: "A whole new party? Can they do that?"
State: "Yes, and that's not the only one. There's also a Green Party, a Libertarian Party and a Peace and Freedom Party."
Demo: "Four new parties? Really?"
State: "Yes, making a total of six. Only in California. And even with a choice of six parties, there are still some voters who refuse to be identified with any party."
Demo: "Can't we just label them weirdos'?"
State: "I'm afraid the courts would find that pejorative."
Rep: "How about undecided'?"
State: "But they're not undecided. They have decided they don't want to be identified with any political party."
Rep: "With independent' out, why don't we call them nonpartisan'? That's accurate."
Demo: "But it makes them sound too rational, the snobs."
Rep: "How about something that labels them for the weasels they really are? Since they're wimping out on picking a party, let's list them as decline to state.' "
State: "The courts shouldn't object to that."
Which is a rather fanciful explanation of how people like me got the ballot designation "decline to state" — with its implication that we have some deep, dark political secret that we're trying to hide. All we're trying to do, really, is opt out of the whole rat race of partisan politics. When it comes to politics, we're simply not party animals.
So in the national presidential primary Feb. 5, we won't be agonizing over whether to vote for John McCain or Mitt Romney or anyone else on the Republican ticket. The Republicans won't allow decline-to-state voters to participate in the party primary. It is, after all, their primary and we aren't one of them.
However, the Democrats will let us agonize over whether to vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, by asking for a Democratic Party ballot at the polls. (Decline-to-state voters can also request an American Independent Party ballot.)
For whatever reason, Ventura County is more tolerant of nonpartisan voters than the state of California is. In county election material, we're not listed as "decline to state" — with all its implications of hiding in the closet — but as what we really are, "nonpartisan."
Whether or not we can vote for some candidates in the primary election, we generic, unbranded voters have the consolation of knowing that we will decide the final outcome — the winner of the presidential Super Bowl on Nov. 4.
Says every voting survey I've seen in recent elections. According to those statistics, more and more voters — old and new — aren't signing up as Democrats nor Republicans, but in some other party or as decline to state.
Ventura County is typical of the country politically: Just fewer than 40 percent of the registered voters are Democrats and just fewer than 40 percent are Republicans. So the party faithful cancel out each other's votes — leaving the election to be decided by which party attracts the most votes from among the remaining 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the party primaries consist mainly of bickering over who is the most avid Republican and who is the most avid Democrat. Somehow overlooking the fact that, in order to be elected, the candidates from both major parties will have to attract votes from us political mongrels — whatever we're called.
— Chuck Thomas is a Star columnist whose column appears on the Opinion pages each Saturday. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, January 25, 2008
She kisses the wind in a cemetery.
So deranged but such a beauty.
Carving her skin with broken glass.
Sprawled out naked on fresh, green grass.
Silence is her best friend.
Seems the voices must have their say.
Nude beauty in the cemetery...
On a bright and sunny day.
Nude Beauty, by Lance Carthen
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Star-Telegram staff writer
Have the flying objects -- at least half of them -- over Stephenville been identified?
The military now says that 10 F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron were training between 6 and 8 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Brownwood military operating area, which includes Stephenville and Erath County.
Dozens of people in the area reported seeing UFOs -- and fighter jets -- around dusk on that date. Initially, Air Force Reserve officials said no jets were in the area.
"There was an internal error in communication," said Maj. Karl Lewis, a spokesman for the 301st Fighter Wing at Naval Air Station Fort Worth.
Lewis said he had no information about how or why the error occurred. He also said he did not know whether any of those pilots spotted anything unusual.
The statement adds credibility to witnesses interviewed Saturday in Dublin, near Stephenville, by the Mutual UFO Network, said Kenneth Cherry, the group's state director. He said Wednesday's revelation by the military may have been the result of a request the group made under the Freedom of Information Act.
"They knew they were eventually going to have to tell the truth," Cherry said. "They concocted a ridiculous cover story in the beginning, but now they are coming closer to the truth with another cover story."
Several of the approximately 50 witnesses said they saw fighter jets trying -- and failing miserably -- to catch up to the strange aircraft.
Some said the unidentified flying object was up to a mile long and hundreds of yards high. Others described seeing two to eight lights that flew in formation, changed color and shined with an intensity greater than a welding flame.
One witness who reported seeing military jets chasing a UFO was Steve Allen, a pilot and owner of a freight company in Glen Rose.
"We're on the money 100 percent," Allen said after learning of the military's statement. "Something is going on, and we know about it. It's time for the government to start talking about it."
The group expects to investigate the reports for several months before releasing its findings.
It’s scary. People in our great nation say they are frustrated. They say they want change. Even in a recent poll, people said they would rather give someone new a chance at serving in Congress rather than an incumbent. The primaries and polls, however, are not reflecting any real change, except maybe a change in the President’s name. One has to ask, do they even check the voting records of the candidates for which they support?
I read an article that hammered Dr. Ron Paul because he cannot write legislation that he can get passed. Someone wrote me recently and asked why one would consider voting for Kucinich. He, after all, is as left as they come. Cynthia McKinney is running, but you hear almost nothing about her. These are just a few of the people that could change the status quo!
These candidates, one Republican, one Democrat, and one former Democrat now a Green, have voted more consistently FOR our Constitution, in turn for us and the values our Founding Fathers brought to the table, than any of the major candidate running in this election. If you want real change, you better look past the top candidates running and re-evaluate the bottom few. Case in point, here are the voting records of some of the current Presidential candidates with regards to two damning pieces of legislation:
In the interest of fairness, people make mistakes. So…as for supporting votes for the first USA PATRIOT Act in a seemingly desperate time, let us mull over giving a little leeway. BUT consider this, those who voted for the first “PATRIOT Act” voted for something that was a last-minute exchange, “hot-off-the-press,” something no one had a chance to review. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio tried to make congress well aware of that fact:
“…it just came off the Xerox machine. This isn’t the bill that was adopted by
a unanimous 36-vote majority of the Democrats and Republicans of the Judiciary Committee…these are critical issues, this is what we are fighting for, these are
our civil liberties!”
Did anyone heed his “warning?” Only one Senator, and sixty-six Representatives voted against the original PATRIOT Act. This act, allowing, among other things, for invasion of our privacy via sneak and peek provisions and wiretapping in the name of fighting terrorism, encroaches on some of our very fundamental civil liberties. How could the people we send to represent us let us down so egregiously? Then, to rub salt into an already sore wound, notice those, in the above summary, who supported the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization bill.
It is clear that some of these people are not representing “change.” It is just more of the same rhetoric we have heard a thousand times before.
Obama has garnered the “Obama for Change” title, but does he really represent change? He wasn’t in office to vote for the 2001 PATRIOT Act, but he did vote in favor of its reauthorization. Clinton wants us to believe she stands for change, but she hasn’t changed much since she was our First Lady, reintroducing Universal Health Care. She, too, voted for both versions of the PATRIOT Act.
And what of McCain? He also voted for both PATRIOT Acts. Throw in Hunter and Edwards, since they voted for one, or both, versions of this bill and it looks like no real change is imminent from these few, especially in view of the fact that they all voted to trash our freedoms via their support for these two invasive acts.
Let us take a look at another damning piece of legislation, The Real ID Act. While the original version passed the House, but died out, the clever author, Representative James Sensenbrenner (author of the bill and sponsor of both USA PATRIOT Acts), attached it, as a rider, to H.R. 1268, a Military Spending bill. Let’s take a look at that vote, shall we?
Again we see that Clinton, Hunter, McCain, and Obama voted to throw our freedoms away by voting for a bill that included both the Real ID Act and military spending for this illegal war.
On top of this, since only the Senate can declare a war, the Senate, as a whole, should be voting against everything that pertains to any military spending to support a war they never authorized. Likewise, the House of Representatives should do the same, as there really isn’t a war to fight, since its counterpart in the Legislative Branch has not declared it.
At the writing of this article, there are approximately one hundred thirty-eight people running for President of these United States. Yes, one hundred thirty-eight different people. Have we seen any coverage of any of these people? In addition to the large number of Independent and Third Party candidates, there are thirty-two other Republicans and twenty-one other Democrats running.
Many of the not-so-well-known candidates are relying on the Internet to reach their supporters. Ron Paul’s campaign has done well raising awareness, and money, via the Internet. He had to resort to something, as the mainstream media ignores him almost completely. Dennis Kucinich has to rely on something else, as well, as the print and television media are consistently leaving him out of the news and debate circuit. How are US citizens going to make an informed decision if they can’t hear the other candidates?
And what about Cynthia McKinney? Did you know she was running? While some of the other possible candidates are relatively unknown, she is a former Representative. She has an excellent voting record, when it comes to Constitutional issues. Does she get to debate?
It seems a shame the Presidency of the United States is now, more than ever, a popularity contest. It seems to be more about name recognition than anything else.
Secondly, to be a candidate for the people, you must have millions in funds to run your campaign if you expect to get any exposure. On these two points, alone, our country leaves out many of “we-the-people.”
It is time we recognize, first and foremost, that by allowing the mainstream media to “pick” our candidates, we are not getting the choices we deserve. Secondly, by allowing the GOP and the Democratic parties to keep some of their candidates from debating, we are allowing them to guide the vote, again robbing us from choices we deserve. We-the-People need to speak out or We-the-People will not be heard.
The time has come for you to get involved. If you do not, you will only be getting the status quo. Write or call the networks and the GOP and Democratic offices. Let them know you are unhappy.
Let them know it’s time for real change. Let them know that YOU know there are other possibilities running and it’s about time we heard from some of them. Let’s see if we can’t get a real candidate for the people on the ballot this year!
2008 Presidential Candidates
HR 3162 (107th) Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001
HR 3199 (109th) USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool
Can You Hear Me Now?
Sneak and Peek Search Warrants and the USA Patriot Act
Should Ron Paul be allowed at Sunday's debate?
Ron Paul Debate: New Hampshire Diss Fair?
NBC To Appeal Judge Over Kucinich Debate Participation http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/1/14/23166/2701
Peace Please - Thanks For The Posts, Lucille
Submitted by Star Vox on Thu, 01/24/2008 - 12:14am.
peace please my brada
Submitted by Lucille on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 9:36am.
DR Congo set for ceasefire deal
Submitted by Lucille on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 12:35pm.
The war in Congo did not end today.
Just as important, a critical study was released which, hopefully, will jar the mainstream press into abandoning its defense of gorillas and focus on the human beings who are being ignored, abandoned and betrayed in the DRC.
A new International Rescue Committee (IRC) survey has found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998. The study does not mince words and terms the war “the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II.”
Please peace for humanity.
Do you remember the media talking about the gorillas in Rwanda during the genocide? I do.
Many of those responsible for the atrocities in Rwanda fled to the Congo. Then they continued to use their weapons of mass destruction.
The atrocities are truly unspeakable. I have heard people stop speaking and start crying -- when there were no words.
How do you describe the raping and torturing of babies? How do you describe what is done to the babies after they are tortured?
How do you describe man's inhumanity?
From Heart of Darkness -
The horror! The horror!
I highly recommend the reports and information available at the International Rescue Committee.
I also support the work of the International Rescue Committee.
(It is not permitted to show the faces of young girls. Both of these girls were raped. Although they need surgery to mend their bodies, they are too young to have the required surgery. Along with many other women and girls, they need the surgery so that they can control their bodily functions.)
For more information:
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
"One of the greatest detriments to mental and physical well-being is
the unfortunate belief than any unfavorable situation is bound to
get worse instead of better. That concept holds that any illness
will worsen, any war will lead to destruction, that any and all
known dangers will be encountered, and basically that the end result
of mankind's existence is extinction. All of those beliefs impede
mental and physical health, erode the individual's sense of joy and
natural safety, and force the individual to feel like an unfortunate
victim of exterior events that seem to happen despite his own will
"These ideas I have just mentioned are all prominent in your
society, and now and then they return to darken your senses of joy
~ Seth-Jane Roberts
The Way Toward Health, Chapter 1, January 9, 1984 (pg. 20).
"The rational approach, as it is now used, carries a basic
assumption that anything that is wrong will get worse. That belief
of course is highly detrimental because it runs *against*
(underline) the basic principles of life. Were this the case in your
terms of history, the world would never have lasted a century. It
is interesting to note that even before medical science, there were
a goodly number of healthy populations. No disease rubbed out the
~ Seth-Jane Roberts
The Magical Approach, Session 3 (pg. 28).
"When you fear the worst will happen, you are often showing quite
real faith, but in a backwards fashion. For with no direct evidence
of disaster before your eyes, you heartily believe that it will
occur. You have faith in it. (This last was delivered with emphasis
and irony.) That is, indeed, misplaced faith."
~ Seth-Jane Roberts
The God of Jane, Private Seth Session, October 24, 1977
"I am not saying that anyone should pretend that unfavorable
circumstances do not sometimes exist, or that they may not be
encountered in the past, present, or future. It is also true,
however, that *advantageous* events occur with a far greater
frequency than do negative ones otherwise the world that you know
simply would not exist. It would have disappeared in the throes of
destruction or calamity.
"In a basic way, *it is against nature's purposes* to contemplate a
dire future, for all of nature operates on the premise that the
future is assured. Nature is everywhere filled with promise not
only the promise of mere survival, but the promise of beauty and
fulfillment. Once again, the keen sense of promise is innate within
each portion of the body. It triggers the genes and chromosomes
into their proper activity, and it promotes feelings of optimism,
exuberance, and strength..."
"... Live each day as fully and joyfully as possible. Imagine the
best possible results of any plans or projects. Above all, do not
concentrate upon past unfavorable events, or imagined future ones."
~ Seth-Jane Roberts
The Way Toward Health - Chapter 2, p. 81
Seth On Problems:
[Pg. 241, May 31, 1984:]
". . . remind yourself that any situation can be changed for the
better. Remind yourselves constantly that the most favorable
solution to a problem is at least as probable as the most
unfortunate `solution'. Remind yourselves also that despite all of
your worrying, the spirit of life is continually within your
experience, and forms your physical body."
[Pg. 265, June 9, 1984:]
"... do remind yourself that it is far more natural and probable for
any problem to be solved, and that every problem has a
solution . . . "
~ Seth-Jane Roberts
The Way Toward Health (see book details above)
"Whenever possible, minimize the importance of a problem. Forget a
problem and it will go away. Dumb advice, surely, or so it seems.
Yet children know the truth of it. Minimize impediments in your
mind and they do become minimized. Exaggerate impediments in your
mind and in reality they will quickly adopt giant size."
~ Seth-Jane Roberts The Individual
and the Nature of Mass Events,
Note No. 3 for Session 824, p.119-20 AE.)
All quotes: (c) Robert F. Butts
[Thanks to Lucille for this link]
January 28, 2008 Issue
, The American Conservative
Found in Translation
by Philip Giraldi Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.
But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Edmonds’s case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. According to the Department of Justice, such an investigation “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the foreign policy and national security of the United States.”
After five years of thwarted legal challenges and fruitless attempts to launch a congressional investigation, Sibel Edmonds is telling her story, though her defiance could land her in jail. After reading its November piece about Louai al-Sakka, an al-Qaeda terrorist who trained 9/11 hijackers in Turkey, Edmonds approached the Sunday Times of London. On Jan. 6, the Times, a Murdoch-owned paper that does not normally encourage exposés damaging to the Bush administration, featured a long article. The news quickly spread around the world, with follow-ups appearing in Israel, Europe, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Japan—but not in the United States.
Edmonds is an ethnic Azerbaijani, born in Iran. She lived there and in Turkey until 1988, when she emigrated to the United States, where she received degrees in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University. Nine days after 9/11, Edmonds took a job at the FBI as a Turkish and Farsi translator. She worked in the 400-person translations section of the Washington office, reviewing a backlog of material dating back to 1997 and participating in operations directed against several Turkish front groups, most notably the American Turkish Council.
The ATC, founded in 1994 and modeled on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was intended to promote Turkish interests in Congress and in other public forums. Edmonds refers to ATC and AIPAC as “sister organizations.” The group’s founders include a number of prominent Americans involved in the Israel-Turkey relationship, notably Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and former congressman Stephen Solarz. Perle and Feith had earlier been registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith’s company, International Advisors Inc. The FBI was interested in ATC because it suspected that the group derived at least some of its income from drug trafficking, Turkey being the source of 90 percent of the heroin that reaches Europe, and because of reports that it had given congressmen illegal contributions or bribes. Moreover, as Edmonds told the Times, the Turks have “often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract attention.”
Over nearly six months, Edmonds listened with increasing unease to hundreds of intercepted phone calls between Turkish, Pakistani, Israeli, and American officials. When she voiced concerns about the processing of this intelligence—among other irregularities, one of the other translators maintained a friendship with one of the FBI’s “high value” targets—she was threatened. After exhausting all appeals through her own chain of command, Edmonds approached the two Department of Justice agencies with oversight of the FBI and sent faxes to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy on the Judiciary Committee. The next day, she was called in for a polygraph. According to a DOJ inspector general’s report, the test found that “she was not deceptive in her answers.”
But two weeks later, Edmonds was fired; her home computer was seized; her family in Turkey was visited by police and threatened with arrest if they did not submit to questioning about an unspecified “intelligence matter.”
When Edmonds’s attorney filed suit to obtain the documents related to her firing, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft imposed the state-secrets gag order. Since then, she has been subjected to another federal order, which not only silenced her, but retroactively classified the statements she eventually made before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the 9/11 Commission.
Charismatic and articulate, the 37-year-old Edmonds has deftly worked the system to get as much of her story out as possible, on one occasion turning to French television to produce a documentary entitled “Kill the Messenger.” Passionate in her convictions, she has sometimes alienated her own supporters and ridden roughshod over critics who questioned her assumptions. But despite her shortcomings in making her case and the legitimate criticism that she may be overreaching in some of her conclusions, Edmonds comes across as credible. Her claims are specific, fact-based, and can be documented in detail. There is presumably an existing FBI file that could demonstrate the accuracy of many of her charges.
Her allegations are not insignificant. Edmonds claims that Marc Grossman—ambassador to Turkey from 1994-97 and undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2001-05—was a person of interest to the FBI and had his phone tapped by the Bureau in 2001 and 2002. In the third-highest position at State, Grossman wielded considerable power personally and within the Washington bureaucracy. He had access to classified information of the highest sensitivity from the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon, in addition to his own State Department. On one occasion, Grossman was reportedly recorded making arrangements to pick up a cash bribe of $15,000 from an ATC contact. The FBI also intercepted related phone conversations between the Turkish Embassy and the Pakistani Embassy that revealed sensitive U.S. government information was being sold to the highest bidder. Grossman, who emphatically denies Edmonds’s charges, is currently vice chairman of the Cohen Group, founded by Clinton defense secretary William Cohen, where he reportedly earns a seven-figure salary, much of it coming from representing Turkey.
After 9/11, Grossman reportedly intervened with the FBI to halt the interrogation of four Turkish and Pakistani operatives. According to Edmonds, Grossman was called by a Turkish contact who told him that the men had to be released before they told what they knew. Grossman said that he would take care of it and, per Edmonds, the men were released and allowed to leave the country.
Edmonds states that FBI phone taps from late 2001 reveal that Grossman tipped off his Turkish contact regarding the CIA weapons proliferation cover unit Brewster Jennings, which was being used by Valerie Plame, and that the Turk then informed the Pakistani intelligence service representative in Washington. It is to be assumed that the information was then passed on to the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network.
Edmonds also claims that Grossman was instrumental in seeding Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students into major American research labs by godfathering visas and enabling security clearances. She says that she reviewed transcripts in which the moles in the U.S. military and academic community involved in nuclear technology reportedly carried out several “transactions” involving the sale of nuclear material or information relating to nuclear programs every month, with Pakistan being a primary buyer. In the summer of 2000, the FBI recorded a meeting between a Turkish official and two Saudi businessmen in Detroit in which nuclear information stolen from an Air Force base in Alabama was offered: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000,” the wiretap allegedly recorded. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” Edmonds told the Times.
She further reports that beginning in 1999, the FBI was investigating senior Pentagon officials who were assisting agents of foreign governments, including Turkey and Israel. Edmonds has not publicly named names at the Pentagon, but a website linked to her appears to be a non-incriminating instrument for identifying suspects without doing so directly. Its “rogues gallery” includes photos of Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. Perle was chief of the Pentagon’s prestigious Defense Policy Board when Edmonds was working at the FBI, and Feith was undersecretary of defense for policy. If either were being investigated, it would be a matter of record, as would any reasons for dropping the investigation. “If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” Edmonds told the Times.
She claims to have also learned that corrupt officials in the Turkish and Israeli Ministries of Defense falsified end-user certificates on weapons purchased in the United States to enable sales to third countries not allowed access to the technology. Principal recipients include the five “Stans” in central Asia—Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.
Furthermore, Edmonds says that former House speaker Dennis Hastert and at least two other congressmen were investigated as suspected recipients of illegal political contributions or even bribes from Turkish sources. Her website gallery includes photos of Congressmen Roy Blount, Dan Burton, and Tom Lantos, though she has not otherwise implicated any of the three directly.
A low-level contractor might seem poorly positioned to expose major breaches of national security, but the FBI translators’ pool, riddled with corruption and nepotism, was key to keeping these secrets from surfacing. Edmonds’s claims that the section was infiltrated by translators who should never have received security clearances and who were deliberately failing to translate incriminating material are supported by the Justice Department inspector general investigation and by an FBI internal investigation, which concluded that she had been fired after making “valid complaints.” One translator, Melek Can Dickerson, who had worked for three Turkish front organizations under investigation—she failed to reveal this when applying for employment—allegedly stamped many documents of interest “not pertinent,” removed classified documents from FBI premises, and forged signatures on classified documents relating to 9/11 detainees. An Urdu translator was the daughter of a Pakistani Embassy employee who worked for Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of the Pakistani intelligence service who is accused of authorizing a $100,000 wire transfer to Mohammed Atta’s Dubai bank account immediately before 9/11. The Justice Department IG report confirmed Edmonds’s charge that translators’ section managers issued a go-slow order shortly after the terrorist attacks to create an artificial backlog that would justify an increase in budget and manpower. Those managers are reportedly still in place. Some have been promoted.
Edmonds’s revelations have attracted corroboration in the form of anonymous letters apparently written by FBI employees. There have been frequent reports of FBI field agents being frustrated by the premature closure of cases dealing with foreign spying, particularly when those cases involve Israel, and the State Department has frequently intervened to shut down investigations based on “sensitive foreign diplomatic relations.” One such anonymous letter, the veracity of which cannot be determined, cites transcripts of wiretaps involving Marc Grossman and a Turkish Embassy official between August and December 2001, described above, in which Grossman warned the Turk that Brewster Jennings was a CIA cover company. If the allegation can be documented from FBI files, the exposure of the Agency cover mechanism took place long before journalist Robert Novak outed the company in his column on Valerie Plame in 2003. The anonymous informant conveniently provides the FBI file number containing the transcripts of the recorded conversations: FBI Washington Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, Turkish Unit File 203A-WF-210023. According to the source, the FBI also recorded a subsequent conversation in which a Turkish official contacted the Pakistani Embassy to inform an ISI officer of Grossman’s warning. The FBI also reportedly informed the CIA of the Grossman conversations to determine if there was any “conflict of interest,” presumably to determine if the CIA was running its own operation that might be compromised as a result of the phone tap.
Curiously, the states-secrets gag order binding Edmonds, while put in place by DOJ in 2002, was not requested by the FBI but by the State Department and Pentagon—which employed individuals she identified as being involved in criminal activities. If her allegations are frivolous, that order would scarcely seem necessary. It would have been much simpler for the government to marginalize her by demonstrating that she was poorly informed or speculating about matters outside her competency. Under the Bush administration, the security gag order has been invoked to cover up incompetence or illegality, not to protect national security. It has recently been used to conceal the illegal wiretaps of the warrantless surveillance program, the allegations of torture and the CIA’s rendition program, and to shield the telecom industry for its collaboration in illegal eavesdropping.
Both Senators Grassley and Leahy, a Republican and a Democrat, who interviewed her at length in 2002, attest to Edmonds’s believability. The Department of Justice inspector general investigation into her claims about the translations unit and an internal FBI review confirmed most of her allegations. Former FBI senior counterintelligence officer John Cole has independently confirmed her report of the presence of Pakistani intelligence service penetrations within the FBI translators’ pool.
Edmonds wasn’t angling to become a media darling. She would have preferred to testify under oath before a congressional committee that could offer legal protection and subpoena documents and witnesses to support her case. She claims that a number of FBI agents would be willing to testify, though she has not named them.
Prior to 2006, Congressman Henry Waxman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee promised Edmonds that if the Democrats gained control of Congress, he would order hearings into her charges. But following the Democratic sweep, he has been less forthcoming, failing to schedule hearings, refusing to take Edmonds’s calls, and recently stonewalling all inquiries into the matter. It is generally believed that Waxman, a strong supporter of Israel, is nervous about exposing an Israeli lobby role in the corruption that Edmonds describes. It is also suspected that Waxman fears that the revelations might open a Pandora’s box, damaging Republicans and Democrats alike.
Edmonds’s critics maintain that she saw only a small part of the picture in a highly compartmentalized working environment, that she was privy to only a fragment of a large operation to penetrate and disrupt the groups that have been stealing U.S. weapons technology. She could not have known operational details of what the FBI was doing and why.
That criticism is serious and must be addressed. If Edmonds was indeed seeing only part of a counterintelligence sting operation to entrap a nuclear network like that of A.Q. Khan, the government could now reveal as much in general terms, since any operation that might have been running in 2002 has long since wound down. Regarding her access to operational information, Edmonds’s critics clearly do not understand the intimate relationship that develops between FBI and CIA officers and their translators. Operations run against a foreign target in languages other than English require an intensive collaboration between field officers and translators. The translators are invariably brought into the loop because it is up to them to guide the officers seeking to understand what the target, who frequently is double talking or attempting to conceal his meaning, is actually saying. That said, it should be conceded that Edmonds might sometimes have seen only a piece of the story, and those claims based on her own interpretation should be regarded with caution.
Another objection is that Edmonds would only have seen “raw intelligence” that does not provide nuance and does not really indicate whether someone is guilty. That argument has merit, and it is undeniable that many intercepted communications lack context. But it ignores the fact that someone recorded in the act of taking a bribe or interceding to have a suspect in a criminal investigation released is behaving with a certain transparency. One either takes money or does not. There is very little interpretation that can change that reality.
Sibel Edmonds makes a number of accusations about specific criminal behavior that appear to be extraordinary but are credible enough to warrant official investigation. Her allegations are documentable: an existing FBI file should determine whether they are accurate. It’s true that she probably knows only part of the story, but if that part is correct, Congress and the Justice Department should have no higher priority. Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, an international security consultancy.
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