Friday, September 29, 2006

Shock & Awe Revisited

"While it may have appeared to American T.V. viewers that 'Shock and Awe' was merely a catchy media label for the U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq, its actual origins, and a whole theory of warfare, are found in a 1996 advisory report published by the National Defense University. Authored by Harlan Ullman of the National War College, it argues that the aim of modern warfare is not merely to achieve military victory but also, by means of sheer intimidation, to inflict a deep psychological injury, to scare and terrorize potential rivals into submission. It is, in effect, the practical application of the Wolfowitz Doctrine of global domination through force. Describing 'Shock and Awe' as 'massively destructive strikes directly at the public will,' Ullman writes, '... intimidation and compliance are the outputs we seek to obtain ... The intent here is to impose a regime of Shock and Awe through delivery of instant, nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction directed at influencing society writ large ... through very selective, utterly brutal and ruthless, and rapid application of force to intimidate,' Ullman continues, '... The aim ... is to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary ... Without senses, the adversary becomes impotent and entirely vulnerable.'"

That was copied from this website. When I first heard that the intent was to inflict deep psychological injury, many things came to mind. I thought of Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological reaction to an oppressor in which a person actually develops an attachment, even admiration for those that injure him or her. I also thought of trauma based psychological imprinting, a practice utilized by cults (and some claim intelligence agencies) to program people. In the throes of trauma, the mind is very impressionable. Most of all, however, I thought about just how warped these people must be, to read something like that in a defense report and say to themselves, "This sounds good. Let's go with it." In lieu of recent events, in which these people have made no bones about their true colors, in lieu of what some claim was a 9-11 inside job, do you really think they WOULDN'T try to tamper with electronic voting? It would be as if to say that a bank robber wouldn't dare snatch a purse.

Here are some more links on "Shock & Awe":

A film: Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire

A snip from this important film

An Acrobat Rendition of Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire

Military Theory and The Force Of Ideas

The "Revolution in Military Affairs"

Legislation To Reopen Hearings Into Cointelpro

Friday, 29 September 2006, 9:04 am
Press Release: US Congressional Representative
Press Release
September 24, 2006

REP. McKINNEY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO RE-OPEN CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS INTO COINTELPRO PAST AND PRESENT

(Washington, DC) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA 4^th ) has introduced legislation calling for a re-opening of the investigations of the 1970's by the United States Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities chaired by Senator Frank Church which led to startling revelations concerning federal, state and local intelligence and law enforcement agency violations of Constitutional rights of privacy, limits on search and seizure, surveillance, wiretapping and disruption of dissent and protected activities, and massive collection of dossiers by FBI, CIA, NSA, Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agencies and other local agencies, targeting the civil rights, Native American and anti-war movements of the period and "neutralizing" their leadership and discrediting the efforts for social change over decades.

The most infamous of these abuses was the FBI's COINTELPRO operations, or counter intelligence program, and victims of those attacks remain wrongfully imprisoned to this day. CHAOS, GARDEN PLOT, CABLE SPLICER, LANTERN SPIKE, REX 84 and other programs were carried out by agencies ranging from the CIA to FEMA, including planning for massive arrests and martial law, suspending the Constitution. New laws countered many of these excesses and abuses following from the Church Committee revelations, but not all. Surveillance and disruption, as well as planning and exercises for detention and suspension of civil liberties continued through the 1980s and 1990s against legal domestic organizations supporting democratic movements abroad.

Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, there were immediate calls to renew COINTELPRO-style surveillance, go to Continuity of Government, release intelligence agencies from the restrictions of the Church Committee era laws (which included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to pre-approve Presidential surveillance programs), calls to end the principle of Posse Comitatus, which separates police and military functions, and renewed surveillance and disruption by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and by certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT and related.

House Resolution 1056, introduced on September 21, provides for release of all undisclosed government files on similar past and present abuses which do not compromise an existing intelligence, agent, source or method, for judicial relief for the past victims of COINTELPRO and other programs, and for the re-opening of Congressional hearings into the historical abuses as well as the current renewal and expansion of similar programs that violate human, civil and Constitutional rights. The bill has been referred to both House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

"We still to this day do not know the full scope of the abusive surveillance, targeting, discrediting and disruptive tactics and plans of the past," said Representative McKinney, "and a look back the Nixon era Tom Charles Houston plan, referred to as Œfascist' by Congressional investigators, shows us it is being implemented in full since 9/11. Congress has a responsibility to open oversight hearings into the new abuses as well as their historical context, and to acknowledge and give relief to its victims then and now."

SOURCE: Scoop - New Zealand News

So your listserv has a troll (or five)...

This was posted to a mailing list about a year ago:

Totalitarians use misfits to disrupt free speech on the internet. This procedure will destroy the totalitarian's most effective method of disrupting free speech on the internet. Please pass this around. Permission to add this to web pages is granted.

What is a troll?

An Internet "troll" is a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He tries to start arguments, and upsets people.

Trolls see internet communications as convenient venues for their bizarre game. They are actually afflicted with a form a sadism; in that, they take joy in hurting people. A sadist gets sexual pleasure from causing pain. The troll is engaging in "cyber sex" for the sadist. Many trolls are bigots. Bigotry is a good cover for sadism.

Trolls feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause; the greater their joy. For the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise).

Arguing with a troll is like playing Russian roulette with a dead man.

The troll's usual reaction to a response will be amazingly similar to the adolescent phrase:

"I know you are, but what am I?"

When the trolls become very desperate, they will resort to insulting the normal member; by name, AND IN THE SUBJECT LINE, OF THE MESSAGE.

Trolls are quite predictable. Within a few hours of the first time, that that this message was posted , one of the internet's most active trolls posted a message, with my name in the subject line, saying that I am the ultimate troll.

After this message was first posted, many people asked if there was a web page; which gave a list of known trolls. If you want the trolls to identify themselves, just post this message, and see who takes offence, and pops in to comment.

It is safe to conclude that if one were to throw a rock into a pen full of pigs, and one of them squealed, that the one that squealed, would be the one that you had hit.

You cannot negotiate with trolls. You cannot cause trolls to feel shame or compassion. You cannot reason with trolls. Trolls cannot be made to feel remorse. You can say:

"Why don't you take your silly bickering to the chat room, and stop filling up everyone's mail box with drivel?"

BUT THEY NEVER WILL.

The reason that the trolls refuse to take their silly bickering to the chat room is that then everyone would see how few people are interested in what they have to say, by the fact that NO ONE would go with them to the chat room. NO ONE, BUT THE TROLLS, WOULD BE THERE! ALSO, then they would not be filling up everyone's mail box,
with drivel; which is their real goal.

Trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Perhaps this sounds inconceivable. You may think, "Surely there is something I can write that will change them." But a true troll can not be changed by mere words.

The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls.

When you try to reason with a troll, he wins. When you insult a troll, he wins. When you scream at a troll, he wins. The only thing that trolls cannot handle is being ignored.


Taking out the trash:

There is a scenario which repeats itself continuously on the internet egroups.

A group, which was originally formed for a specific purpose, loses it moderator, and is taken over by trolls. The trolls bully the normal members, and drive many of them out, with insults and personal attacks. You could put the troll into your "blocked sender" list, but then you would not know what he is saying about you. If the normal members leave then they have turned the list OVER to the trolls.

There is a simple solution:

The list decides on one "Designated Driver for the garbage truck". The "garbage truck" is for hauling away the trash, from list trolls.

All but ONE member, of the list, puts the troll into their "blocked sender" list. The "Designated Driver" for the garbage truck reads the troll's garbage, and notifies the list, or notifies any individual members PRIVATELY, of anything that might interest them. Then the rest of the list can operate at peace. No one is worried about what the troll in writing about them, AFTER they put him into the blocked sender list..

No one EVER responds to the troll's message.

If you think that someone might have read the troll's insults and slander, then just make a general post, that does not mention the troll, but addresses his slander. This should NEVER be posted as a reply. Replying TO THE TROLL will cause those who have put him into their blocked sender list, to have to see his message.

OF COURSE, the list trolls can create new ID's, that are not blocked, as long as they like, but that is fine. It only takes one click, with the mouse, to put the new ID in "blocked sender" also. The troll will get ONE POST PER ID. IF YOU REPORT THE TROLL, eventually he will lose each of those ID's.

Trolls are a way of destroying freedom of speech.

See Information Warfare on the Internet

Muhammad's Sword: Benedict XVI Joins Forces With Bush II

By Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom, September 25, 2006


Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes.

Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306 - exactly 1700 years ago - encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine. Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept his superiority.

The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, "walked to Canossa", standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the Pope's castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope, Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a wonderful harmony. Last week's speech by the Pope, which aroused a world-wide storm, went well with Bush's crusade against "Islamofascism", in the context of the "Clash of Civilizations".

IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the logic of God's actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the actions of Allah.

As a Jewish atheist (Avnery could by more accurate if he described himself as an atheist of Jewish background. One cannot be a believer and atheist at the same time - Al-Jazeerah), I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope. But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli living near the fault-line of this "war of civilizations".

In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

To support his case, the Pope quoted - of all people - a Byzantine Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At the end of the 14th century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a debate he had - or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt) - with an unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

"Show me just what Mohammed (Peace and blessings of God be upon him - Al-Jazeerah) brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

These words give rise to three questions: (a) Why did the Emperor say them? (b) Are they true? (c) Why did the present Pope quote them?

WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire. He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish threat.

At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the Danube. They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece, and had twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern Empire. On May 29, 1453, only a few years after Manuel's death, his capital, Constantinople (the present Istanbul) fell to the Turks, putting an end to the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world against the mainly Muslim "Axis of Evil". Moreover, the Turks are again knocking on the doors of Europe, this time peacefully. It is well known that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

IS THERE any truth in Manuel's argument?

The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he admitted that the Qur'an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 which says: "There must be no coercion in matters of faith" (In Yousuf Ali's translation: "Let there be no compulsion in religion" - Al-Jazeerah).

How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an order does not exist in the Qur'an. True, Muhammad called for the use of the sword in his war against opposing tribes - Christian, Jewish and others - in Arabia, when he was building his state. But that was a political act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the spreading of the faith.

Jesus said: "You will recognize them by their fruits." The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to "spread the faith by the sword"?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus (Peace be upon him - Al-Jazeerah). At that time, 400 years with Palestine under Muslim rule, Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith - and they were the forefathers of most of today's Palestinians.

THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the Prophet decreed the "spreading of the faith by the sword"?

What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith, escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim countries. The Sephardi ("Spanish") Jews settled all over the Muslim world, from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, from Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition, the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the "peoples of the book". In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service - a trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by gentle persuasion - because it entailed the loss of taxes.

Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times "by the sword" to get them to abandon their faith.

THE STORY about "spreading the faith by the sword" is an evil legend, one of the myths that grew up in Europe during the great wars against the Muslims - the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of "Islamofascism" and the "Global War on Terrorism" - when "terrorism" has become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush's handlers, this is a cynical attempt to justify the domination of the world's oil resources. Not for the first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers' expedition becomes a Crusade.

The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire consequences?


SOURCE: Al Jazeera

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Magna Carta and the Betrayal of America

by Thom Hartmann

Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham were presented with an opportunity to uphold the fundamental human right known as habeas corpus, or flinch and write a law that would retroactively make sure that George W. Bush could not be prosecuted for violations of habeas corpus in our overseas concentration camps and prisons. It was a contest between protecting the President and protecting the Constitution.

The Republican senators flinched, and in last week's so-called "compromise" chose Bush over the Constitution. In doing so, they turned their backs on a rule of law that stretches back over nearly eight centuries to an epic moment in 1215 on a meadow by the River Thames in the United Kingdom.

The modern institution of civil and human rights, and particularly the writ of habeas corpus, began in June of 1215 when King John was forced by a group of feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede.

Two of the most critical parts of the Magna Carta were articles 38 and 39, which established the foundation for what is now known as "habeas corpus" laws (literally, "produce the body" from the Latin - meaning, broadly, "let this person go free or else give him a trial - you may not hold him forever with charging him with a crime"). The concept of habeas corpus in the Magna Carta led directly to the Fourth through Eighth Amendments of our Constitution, and hundreds of other federal and state due process provisions.

Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta said:

"38 In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

"39 No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

This was radical stuff, and over the next four hundred years average people increasingly wanted for themselves these same protections from the abuse of governmental power that the feudal lords had gotten at Runnymede. But from 1215 to 1628, outside of the privileges enjoyed by the feudal lords, the average person could be arrested and imprisoned at the whim of the king with no recourse to the courts.

Then, in 1627, King Charles I overstepped, and the people snapped. Charles I threw into jail five knights in a tax disagreement, and the knights sued the King, asserting their habeas corpus right to be free or on bail unless convicted of a crime.

King Charles I, in response, invoked his right to simply imprison anybody he wanted (other than the rich feudal lords), anytime he wanted, as he said, "per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis."

This is essentially the same argument that George W. Bush makes today for why he has the right to detain people without charges for as much as their entire lives solely on his own say-so: because he's in charge. And it's an argument now supported on the record by these Republicans who have chosen to betray America's founding principles in exchange for peace with the White House.

Legal scholars had expected that George W. Bush's decree to the "renegade" Republicans would meet true resistance.

After all, King Charles' decree wasn't well received. The result of his overt assault on the rights of citizens led to a sort of revolt in the British Parliament, producing the 1628 "Petition of Right" law, an early version of our Fourth through Eighth Amendments, which restated Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta and added that "writs of habeas corpus, [are] there to undergo and receive [only] as the court should order." It was later strengthened with the "Habeas Corpus Act of 1640" and a second "Habeas Corpus Act of 1679."

Thus, the right to suspend habeas corpus no longer was held by the King. It was exercised solely by the people's (elected and hereditary) representatives in the Parliament.

The third George to govern the United Kingdom confronted this in 1815 when he came into possession of Napoleon Bonaparte. But the British laws were so explicit that everybody was entitled to habeas corpus - even people who were not British citizens - that when Napoleon surrendered on the deck of the British flagship Bellerophon after the battle of Waterloo in 1815, the British Parliament had to pass a law ("An Act For The More Effectually Detaining In Custody Napoleon Bonaparte") to suspend habeas corpus so King George III could legally continue to hold him prisoner (and then legally exile him to a British fortification on a distant island).

Now, the third George to govern the United States, 191 years later, isn't even bothering with the civilized step that King George III of England took, of asking Congress for a temporary suspension of habeas corpus for a particular situation. Instead, he's demanding that his Republican colleagues give him the sole power to do away with habeas corpus altogether - and Bill Frist is insisting that they will push it through even over a filibuster.

It's a virtual repeat of Charles I's doctrine that a nation's ruler may do whatever he wants because he's the one in charge - "per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis."

Article I of the Constitution outlines the powers and limits of the Legislative Branch of government (Article 2 lays out the Executive Branch, and Article 3 defines the Judicial Branch). In Section 9, Clause 2 of Article I, the Constitution says of the Legislative branch's authority: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

Abraham Lincoln was well aware of this during the Civil War, and was the first president to successfully ask Congress (on March 3, 1863) to suspend habeas corpus so he could imprison those he considered a threat until the war was over. Congress invoked this power again during Reconstruction when President Grant requested The Ku Klux Klan Act in 1871 to put down a rebellion in South Carolina.

But there is no "Rebellion or Invasion" going on in America right now.

Nonetheless, our President has locked people up, "per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis." Some of their names are familiar to us - US citizens Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, for example - but there are over ten thousand whose names we are not even allowed to know. It's a state secret, after all. Per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis.

The Founders must be turning in their graves. Clearly they never imagined such a thing in their wildest dreams. As Alexander Hamilton - arguably the most conservative of the Founders - wrote in Federalist 84:

"The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus ... are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it [the Constitution] contains. ...[T]he practice of arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny. ...

"'To bereave a man of life,' says he, 'or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore A MORE DANGEROUS ENGINE of arbitrary government.''' [Capitals all Hamilton's from the original.]

The question these tragic Republican senators, ultimately, propose to decide is whether our nation will continue to stand for the values upon which it was founded. And they have chosen timidity and convenience - to trash habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions and the US War Crimes Act - instead of fulfilling their oaths of office to "defend the Constitution of the United States of America."

President Thomas Jefferson rebuked those who wanted America ruled by an iron-handed presidency that could throw people in jail without constitutional due process.

"I know, indeed," Jefferson said in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801, "that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong; that this government is not strong enough. ...

"I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth. I believe it is the only one where every man, at the call of the laws, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern."

The sum of this, Jefferson said, was found in "freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation."

When I was working in Russia some years ago, a friend in Kaliningrad told me a perhaps apocryphal story about Nikita Khrushchev, who, following Stalin's death, gave a speech to the Politburo denouncing Stalin's policies of imprisoning people without trial. A few minutes into Khrushchev's diatribe, somebody shouted out, "Why didn't you challenge him then, the way you are now?"

The room fell silent, as Khrushchev swept the audience with his eyes. "Who said that?" he asked in a reasoned voice. Silence.

"Who said that?" Khrushchev demanded angrily, leaning forward. Silence.

Pounding his fist on the podium to accent each word, he thundered, "Who - said - that?" Still no answer.

Finally, after a long and strained silence, the elected politicians in the room fearful to even cough, a corner of Khrushchev's mouth lifted into a smile.

"Now you know," he said with a chuckle, "why I did not speak up against Stalin when I sat where you now sit."

Apparently Senators Graham, Warner, and McCain have about as much spine as did the members of Khrushchev's Politburo. One wonders what sort of Stalin-like threats Bush made to get them to so completely compromise their principles and betray the trust of their country.


SOURCE: Common Dreams

Who the hell is this 'Agent Smiley' guy any way?

Since June 1, 1997 I have been an activist of sorts, both on the web and in the field. June 1, 1997 marked my introduction to the nonlethal form of coercion called teargas. That is a long story so I will save it.

By late 1998, I would be starting my first mailing lists, via the web, and it was my first headlong venture into the cybersphere and I have returned to it repeatedly over the years, taking breaks that would last from a month to two years at a time. That is where IN THE FIELD comes in.

Much of the time that I undertook to carry my view of the world into the public arena of the world wide web, I was houseless and for a portion of THAT time I was, as well, homeless. You, the reader, would do well to understand that during MOST of that time, despite whatever you may assume about "the average homeless person," I was extremely active with all of my energy and time in attempting to bring about a new world, one relationship at a time. I was an anarchist but I was also taugth by healers so my approach was, I'd link to think, both radical and compassionate.

From that time until the middle of 2004, I remained houseless, plugging in to various work-exchange situations from intentional communities to rainbow gatherings to organic farms. It was in the process of this that I attained my fire, my strategies, and my attitude toward activism.

You see, if you don't spend a good deal of time taking it to the streets then you will, eventually cease to know what you are talking about, both politically and otherwise. It just happens. There's no way of getting around it. Sometimes, in walking the walk, one's own talk becomes much easier to evaluate, at least accurately. Sometimes, it even gets to where talking won't do at all.

Today, I operate with housing and a home. This became absolutely necessary in order that I find refuge from three years of harrassment. Living outside makes one more vulnerable and not only to physical threat but to routines of destabilization such as psychological operations (COINTELPRO style). This stuff came at me for a variety of reasons but for the most part they are detailed here, here, here, here, and here. Unfortunately, much of the supporting material that is hyperlinked to there is no longer online but I do intend to retrieve that material some day and hopefully soon!

Check these out:

The Warren Buffet - Mitre Corp. - Chemtrail - 9/11 Connection

Jan. 25, 2003 - The Day of the Most Serious Death Threat I Received

Radar Matrix

Aeronet

Global Hawk

Weather Modification

Jam Echelon Day

For some neat info on Mike Ruppert, click here and here.

Seizing the Media

Asian philosophy instructs enlightenment. But given our daily exposure to a barrage of persuasive messages, monologues, sales pitches, come-ons, and uninformative hyper-sensational news, common sense and intimacy are tough enough a struggle to maintain.

We can each see how extended exposure to television and mass media dulls people with a sense of numbness and nausea. From every public space a monologue of coercion penetrates our senses and rapes our attention. Wherever we look, wherever we listen, wherever we go: the pornography of billboards, bus side placards, subway cards, glaring storefront signs and displays, the glut of junk mail, stupid fly-by beach planes and blimps, coupons, obnoxious bumper stickers and breast pins, embarrassing service forms, plastic banners and ribbons, absurd parades, street-corner handouts, windsheild wiper flyers, matchbook ads, business cards, screaming radios, the daily papers, every nanosecond of television, the package wrapped around everything we buy—from the label in our underwear to the robot computer that calls us in our homes—only the upper atmosphere and the ocean floor offer any sanctuary from America's ecology of coercion. At every turn the monologues drone on, imbedding the psychological mutagens that coax us to become pathetic customers and unquestioning flag wavers. At every turn we are under subtle attack.

The media serve the interests of the State and other corporations, but never the interests of the public. The media's screen of aggression and seduction is designed to mesmerize and captivate the largest possible sector of population whose attention is then sold like scrap metal to advertisers and gang raped by their slogans, jingles, and manic images. Protected by an uncrossable media moat, agents of the State profit from war and relax behind a web of information laws, censorship powers, and vapid explanations that swat the public of detailed intelligence and mass resistance.

So long as we do not control our own government, our own state, and our own broadcast media—the mirror with which we reflect on the reality of lives—we will continue to be forced to see fun-house mirror distortions of ourselves projected onto a dumpster of products that promise to make us each desirable, sophisticated, and correct. At every turn we are under attack.

There is much more to this piece here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Refuting the lie, a response to Popular Mechanics: debunking 9/11 myths

By Craig Schlanger
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Sep 25, 2006, 00:59

It’s been an exciting year to be a 9/11 Truth Seeker. With each passing month there’s been a trend of continuing revelations and historic events that will break the dam of government deception once and for all. There have been actors, musicians, scientists, engineers, former presidential cabinet members, rescue workers, survivors, historians, and even foreign officials weighing in with their doubts about the official 9/11 narrative.

Recent polls by both Zogby and Scripps Howard show the number of Americans questioning the government about 9/11 to be growing exponentially. When they know you have the truth on your side, those who stand to lose will employ the most underhanded tactics to keep their own conspiracy theory alive.

As if right on cue, Popular Mechanics returns to the arena of 9/11 Truth to present an extension of their March 2005 hit piece, “Debunking 9/11 Lies: Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand up to the Hard Facts.” Now they’ve taken the original piece and extended it into a book-length format. In view of the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and the 9/11 Truth movement gaining more mainstream coverage than ever, it’s only to be expected that an attack on the movement’s credibility would emerge.

On the inside cover of the book there is a list of endorsements from some well-known talking heads. For example, Glen Reynolds, proprietor of the neocon blog Instapundit.com, takes time away from equating the people of Lebanon with Nazis (see Instapundit.com, 8/13/06) to endorse this collection of “hard facts.”

However, for the ultimate grand slam, Popular Mechanics (and by association Hearst Publishing) chose to enlist the literary talent of America’s “maverick” Senator John McCain for the book’s forward. Senator McCain tows an extremely Orwellian line, reminding readers that Americans were attacked for their freedoms on 9/11 and that the evidence of al Qaeda’s central role in the attacks is “overwhelming.” (p. xii) The senator explains that over the years many Americans have had trouble accepting such historical occurrences as the “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor or the murder of a president by a lone gunman in a book depository. Certainly Senator McCain knows better, and I would imagine he has access to the same declassified documents that I do, which prove both claims to be incorrect. But before plucking the reader from the rabbit hole, McCain goes for the grand slam by claiming that anyone who questions the official 9/11 narrative is directly insulting all who tragically perished on that day, as well as “those who have fought in all the wars in our history.” (p. xiv) The suggestion here clearly is that any questioning of the government’s official line is treasonous.

In the interest of time, I will not go through each “myth” and refute it point by point. Since this book contains most of the same information as the original Popular Mechanics article, I would instead recommend that the reader track down Jim Hoffman’s excellent piece in Global Outlook Magazine #10. A more detailed piece by Peter Meyer was also posted on the Serendipity website last year. Other responses have come from Alex Jones, as well from the always resourceful website, Killtown.

It’s important to note from the start that this book is not meant to debunk anything. Its’ main purpose is to craft a mindset where anyone who questions the official 9/11 story likely spends their weekends at Roswell. This is a psychological attack on those who dare question their government’s account of a most tragic day in our history; it’s a return fire in an ongoing information war. The purpose is not to answer pressing questions. Instead, the writers choose the path of assassinating the character of anyone who dares ask such questions. Additionally, the book plants a seed in the mind of the reader that all 9/11 Truth seekers agree on every “myth” discussed. To reinforce this, the editors focus on major strawman arguments that I will discuss briefly.

Starting on page 8, a section focuses on an unsupported theory that the planes that hit WTC 1 and 2 were carrying pods that unloaded a cargo upon impact. As both of the pieces cited above (Global Research, and Meyer's) pointed out, this is an argument that has been made by a handful of fringe 9/11 activists and popularized in the widely discredited “In Plane Site” video. It usually goes hand in hand with the “no windows on the plane” theory regarding flights United 175 and American 11. This can be disproved by simply examining video and photographic evidence. These two arguments are analogous to the Umbrella Man theory in the JFK assassination.

The editors don’t do so well in trying to pull together a theory that explains the lack of air defense. Popular Mechanics wants the reader to believe that there was no air response simply because there was no protocol for intercepting domestically hijacked planes previous to 9/11. Some simple background research on NORAD, FAA or Department of Defense regulations should clear this up entirely.

Rather than refute what the book does tell us, it’s important to acknowledge what it does not report. As discussed in numerous arenas, including Capital Hill testimony by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers, there were a number of military war games taking place on the morning of 9/11. A consequence of the war games was that instead of seeing four hijacked aircraft on their screen, the honest people at NORAD were looking at nearly 30. Popular Mechanics doesn’t even mention these and the impact they may have had on a successful air defense campaign. This absolutely warrants discussion.

The book then shifts to the question of what exactly hit the Pentagon. This is the most wildly debated and divisive topic in the 9/11 Truth movement. Few people agree on the specifics: some say the building was struck by a missile, some say a commercial plane, while others feel that Flight 77 indeed hit the Pentagon. So while few of us agree completely on what did happen at the Pentagon, almost all skeptics agree that something smells rotten here. Video of the second plane hitting the WTC has become the iconic image of the horrific events of that day. However, we have never seen any photographic evidence of a 757 crashing into the Pentagon. This seems a bit strange when you consider that we’re talking about the most heavily guarded and visually monitored building in the country. The Pentagon has cameras covering it at all angles such that the image of a plane should at least register as a large blur.

But to this day, we have not been given much more than five still video frames. These frames do not show any visual evidence of a 757. Add to that the immediate seizure of videotape from a nearby Citgo Station and Sheraton Hotel and red flags should shoot up. The government has said that they do have multiple videos of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon. However, when the DOD responded to a FOIA request by the right-wing organization Judicial Watch to release footage that would put “conspiracy theories” to rest, what was released was actually described as “underwhelming” by a Fox News reporter. Indeed, this was the government’s big opportunity to make their case. Instead, we were given no clear evidence of Flight 77, but what looked like still photos taken from almost the same angle as the previously released frames. If there is photographic evidence, which at least one of the 84 other surveillance cameras should have caught, why not release them all and shut us up?

The Pentagon section of the book offers a good example of some of the many inconsistencies present in this book. On page 61, the editors remind the reader that “it was unrealistic to think that the low-quality security camera image would reveal the crystal clear image of a Boeing 757 traveling at 780 feet per second.” Now turn to page 63 under the section titled ‘Flight 77 Debris.’ Here William Kagasse is quoted as saying, “It [Flight 77] was close enough that I could see the windows and the blinds had been pulled down. I read American Airlines on it . . . I saw the aircraft above my head about 80 feet off the ground.” This quote was aired on ABC’s Nightline. According to Mr. Kagasse, the plane was extraordinarily identifiable down to specific details of the position of the window shades.

So which is it? If Mr. Kagasse was able to leave the scene with such detail, how could not one single security camera capture at least the blurry outline of a plane?

When discussing the size of the hole caused by the plane, we run into another psychological tactic frequently employed in the book. As stated previously, the Pentagon is one of the most hotly debated aspects of the official 9/11 narrative. There are hundreds of web sites that explore the events of 9/11 with some entirely dedicated to the incident at the Pentagon. Yet, Popular Mechanics chose to cite http://www.the7thfire.com/ as their primary source for their information on the Pentagon. Why do that when sites such as http://www.pentagonresearch.com/ exist to focus solely on this topic?

I can answer that pretty easily. If the reader decided to check the source given, they would find themselves on a web site dedicated to new age topics such as dream catchers and miracles. Information related to 9/11 is something of a footnote in the grand scene of the page. The implication would be that those who question 9/11 typically sit around talking mind control and “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” both of which are hot topics on the site. This is pure misrepresentation.

Continuing the trend of misrepresentation, the editors went out of their way to tie as many sources as possible to Holocaust deniers. One example would be their choice to cite an article from http://www.rense.com/, noting afterwards that the site focuses frequently on Zionism and Holocaust denial. The message being that if the reader was starting to empathize with these conspiracy nuts, they should be aware that anti-Semitism dominates the movement. Nothing could be further from the truth. There will always be those who pin every wrongdoing in the world on Jews, Zionists and Israel.

Perhaps the most ludicrous assertion made in the entire book relates to WTC Building 7. Building 7 is often seen as the smoking gun of 9/11 research, based on its classic demolition-style collapse and lack of coverage in the “9/11 Commission Report.” Leaseholder Larry Silverstein also made an infamous confession in a PBS documentary. Mr. Silverstein states that he instructed the fire department commander to “pull” the building at 5:20PM. While some have argued that the first two towers collapsed because of the combination of fire and plane impact, the same could not be said of Building 7. While there were fires (pictured in the book), it was not hit by any aircraft. When combining the fact that the building collapsed at near free fall speed with Mr. Silverstein’s comments, this would seem an open and shut case: World Trade Center Building 7 was demolished. Mr. Silverstein later emerges to explain that by “pull it,” he was referring to removal of the fire fighters from the building. This is troubling when you factor in that the New York Times reported on November 29, 2001, that by 11:30 am all firefighters had been removed from the area due to safety concerns. Further, FEMA’s initial report indicated that there was only light structural damage caused by the fires. In fact, FEMA has all but literally scratched their proverbial heads in trying to explain the building collapse.

The editors also decided to take on the definition of “pull it” once and for all. After speaking with four unnamed demolition and engineering experts, they claim that not one of these individuals have ever heard the term “pull it” to describe controlled demolition. Instead the term is a reference to a procedure where a building is cut at the foundation and literally pulled over. To cover themselves, Popular Mechanics made sure to include a mention that the technique of literally pulling a building over itself was tried unsuccessfully on buildings 5 and 6. However, the aforementioned documentary showed a demolition team announcing that they were about to “pull” one of the other buildings. Once the order is given, the building clearly collapses in perfect symmetry. So it would seem that the attempts to “pull” the buildings were quite successful.

Since the publication of the original Popular Mechanics piece, Brigham Young University Physics Professor Steven Jones has released one of the most vital studies in 9/11 truth. Last year Dr. Jones began to study the possibility of a thermite reaction at both of the main towers of the WTC, thus causing their collapse. Further, Dr. Jones recently obtained a piece of debris from the rubble and was able to positively test it for the existence of compounds that would be consistent with a thermite reaction. As Dr. Jones’s study is very well sourced and thorough, the study must obviously be discredited in some fashion. Popular Mechanics carted out several metallurgic professors who disagree with the Jones hypothesis. They also quote Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc.,, who was contracted to remove all debris from ground zero. Mr. Loizeaux explaines that, "Dr. Jones misunderstands the properties of explosive charges.” Other than Mr. Loizeaux’s title, no other credentials are cited for him to make such an assertion. Finally, it’s noted that, “Dr. Jones primary field of study at BYU (Brigham Young University) is metal-catalyzed or cold fusion, a study that is unrelated to engineering or the performance of tall buildings.” The key word here is “primary.” While Dr. Jones may focus on such said issues in his studies at BYU, it does not mean that he hasn’t studied basic physics and metallurgy. So once again, the reader is to rely on assumptions and half-truths in the face of irrefutable evidence and dictates of logic.

Like a jury delivering a verdict, the book ends with a 20-page epilogue that serves as an indictment of the mind of “the conspiracy theorist.” Popular Mechanics Editor-In-Chief James B. Meigs manages to invoke the Illuminati, New World Order, and Zionism in the first sentence. Meigs cites numerous pieces of hate mail he has received, which accuse him of being everything from a government shill to a MOSSAD agent. Ironically, most of the charges leveled against people questioning the official 9/11 story are tactics employed throughout this book. A few examples include, but are not limited to, marginalization of opposing views, guilt by association, slipshod handling of facts, demonization and circular reasoning.

To his credit, Meigs acknowledges the questions some raised about the relationship between Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Benjamin Chertoff, head of the magazine’s research department. Meig’s admits that they are likely related, but have never met and had no contact for the purpose of the 2005 article. This is a great example of the use of circular reasoning. It defies logic to think that, in writing a story like this, any journalist worth his/her weight wouldn’t cover all the bases. In this case, if a member of your staff is related to the head of the very agency that was born out of the ashes of 9/11, why not tap into that resource? It would seem to be as good a time as any for a Chertoff family reunion.

Let me be clear. I do not pretend to know exactly what happened on 9/11: I also have my disagreements with many of the theories that have been put out there over the years. What I do know is that what the people were told happened on 9/11 is not the truth. If Americans are to take any lessons from history, it is that those in power will redefine the truth in a way that bests suits their interests and agenda. Those who stand to profit from an event like 9/11 have no interest in opening themselves up to any line of questioning. They also suffer in that the facts are not on their side. This book tries to serve as the bandage for a gaping wound in the official 9/11 narrative. Unfortunately for those in charge, that wound shows no signs of healing.

SOURCE: Online Journal

Monday, September 25, 2006

Letter to a Spook

by Sam Smith

I don't know for sure that you're out there at all, but from what I read and hear there's a pretty good chance, so I thought I would pass this along.

You may be tapping my phone, scanning my e-mails and collating my other electronic ephemera, but you don't know me.

Any writer can tell you this: you don't reveal character or describe an individual by just dumpster diving for data. Your efforts are not only intrusive, they're ineffective as well.

An individual is a product of experiences, some of which - though influential - may have been lost to memory, some of which - though searing - may never be mentioned again, and some of which - though exhilarating - may lack the words to describe them.

You are eavesdropping only on my front to the world. If I am down, I try not to bring my friends down with me. If I am mad about some public act, I try not to bore my friends too much about it. If I am mad about some private act, I try for the calm and restraint I do not feel. If I am really happy, I often lack the words to express it well. And if I have been given something, I try for gratitude even though I have no idea what to do with the damn thing.

You do not know my dreams, my fears, my stupid excesses of doubt, or how I alternately rebel against, resent or am resigned to the entropy of aging. You do not know how sad I am about the world that the people you work for will leave my children and their children. You do not know that I do not like vinegar, have never read Joyce's "Ulysses," sometimes fall asleep while waiting my turn in a board game, never watch football, or that two of my uncles were killed in wartime service to our country. You do not know that my utopia would have, above all, no need for dentists as well as "This Land is My Land" as our national anthem.

If you were to really know me, you would need to hear hundreds of stories, visit hundreds of places, and meet hundreds of people. Only a few of them are listed on my credit cards.

But you are not only misinformed. You are also a thief. You are stealing my privacy, my civil liberties, my peace of mind, and the incalculable pleasure of not having to worry about what someone else is doing to you. You are also a vandal. You are throwing rocks at the Constitution, scrawling graffiti on our national conscience, wrecking our reputation, and scratching the face of America.

And still you do not know me.

I don't know you either but I suspect you are earnest and were attracted to your dubious trade by its romantic and macho aura, recruited by the excitement of being a spy. Deceived by your employers, however, you have ended up just another technician in the dismantling of the First American Republic.

I believe you sincerely believe the contrary but I wonder about some things. For example, how many courses in American history did you take before embarking on this task? Did you ever read Benjamin Franklin's autobiography? Do you know who Thomas Paine was? What do you think Patrick Henry meant when he said, "Give me liberty or give me death?" Would you have tapped his phone, too?

And what about those who rebelled against the law to win rights for slaves, for women, for workers? Many of them broke the law. Were they bad Americans because they sought to become full Americans?

Do you know what the Palmer raids were? Do know why good Americans stood up to Joseph McCarthy? What did Woodrow Wilson mean when he told a group of new citizens "You have just taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. Of allegiance to whom? Of allegiance to no one, unless it be God. Certainly not of allegiance to those who temporarily represent this great government. You have taken an oath of allegiance to a great ideal, to a great body of principles, to a great hope of the human race." What are some of those principles? Did Wilson know what he was talking about or should he have been under surveillance, too?

If you have a hard time with these questions, maybe you're in the wrong business. You're judging people without knowing the rules of the game. You're determining who is a good American without knowing what that means. You're mistaking loyalty to the ambitions of a particular set of politicians at a particular moment as loyalty to a country, its land and its people.

But even though you are a thief and a vandal, and even though I suspect you don't know enough about America to judge me fairly, I'll make a deal with you.

You come out of your hole long enough to meet me someplace over a drink or over dinner. I'll tell you my stories and you tell me yours. No interrogation, no tape recorder, no probing into each other's private business. Just two Americans sitting and talking about what it means to them to be an American.

If you don't take this deal, I'll think of you not only as thief and vandal but as a coward as well.

If you do take this deal, you'll probably discover that we're both pretty good Americans, that you've been wasting your time, and that you may even want to find a new job.

SOURCE: Progressive Review

A thinker's guide to conspiracy theories

by Sam Smith

- A conspiracy does not have to be illegal; it can merely be wrongful or harmful.

- The term 'conspiracy theory' was invented by elite media and politicians to denigrate questions or critical presumptions about events about which important facts remain unrevealed.

- The intelligent response to such events is to remain agnostic, skeptical, and curious. Theories may be suggested - just as they are every day about less complex and more open matters on news broadcasts and op ed pages - but such theories should not stray too far from available evidence. Conversely, as long as serious anomalies remain, dismissing questions and doubts as a "conspiracy theory" is a highly unintelligent response. It is also ironic as those ridiculing the questions and doubts typically consider themselves intellectually superior to the doubters. But they aren't because they stopped thinking the moment someone in power told them a superficially plausible answer. Further, to ridicule those still with doubts about such matters is intellectually dishonest.

- There is the further irony that many who ridicule doubts about the official version of events were typically trained at elite colleges where, in political science and history, theories often take precedent over facts and in which substantive decisions affecting politics and history are presumed to be the work of a small number of wise men (sic). They are trained, in effect, to trust in (1) theories and (2) benign confederacies. Most major media political coverage is based on the great man theory of history. This pattern can be found in everything from Skull & Bones to the Washington Post editorial board to the Council on Foreign Relations. You might even call them conspiracy theorists.

- Other fields - such as social history or anthropology - posit that change for better or evil can come as cultural change or choices and not just as the decisions of "great men." This is why one of the biggest stories in modern American history was never well covered: the declining birth rate. No great men decided it should happen.

- Homicide detectives and investigative reporters, among others, are inductive thinkers who start with evidence rather than with theories and aren't happy when the evidence is weak, conflicting or lacking. They keep working the case until a solid answer appears. This is alien to the well-educated newspaper editor who has been trained to trust official answers and conventional theories.

- The unresolved major event is largely a modern phenomenon that coincides with the collapse of America's constitutional government and the decline of its culture. Beginning with the Kennedy assassination, the number of inadequately explained major events has been mounting steadily and with them a steady decline in the trust between he people and their government. The refusal of American elites to take these doubts seriously has been a major disservice to the republic.

- You don't need a conspiracy to lie, do something illegal or to be stupid.

SOURCE: Progressive Review

THE ROLE OF RESPECT IN PEACE

If you deconstruct the language of those who Bush would have us believe form the axis of evil, one finds not so much megalomania as insecurity, hurt feelings, and bitterness over their global inferiority.

This has become particularly apparent with the rise of Chavez and Ahmadinejad, two national leaders who have proved unusually adept at using contemporary media to make their case. They represent, perhaps, a new generation of national figures who - all politics aside - make the staid habits and behavior of the Council on Foreign Relations genre of diplomacy seem pointless, lifeless and antiquated. In other words, while Bush is still stuck in the politics of a Masterpiece Theatre plot, Ahmadinejad, despite the pull of his traditional culture, is working overtime to join the hip hop generation.

At the core, the language and behavior of a Bush or Blair is based on notions of purportedly deserved power and how the less powerful are supposed to behave towards their betters. The language and behavior of Ahmadinejad and Chavez is popular, populist and evangelical and directed at winning the very hearts and minds of which Bush speaks repeatedly but doesn't have the faintest idea how to reach.

Thus we find the Islamic Republic News Agency reporting that Ahmadinejad plans to come to the UN and speak the same day as Bush and a day before Chavez. Both and Chavez will fly from Havana after meeting with the longest plank holder of power of our era: Fidel Castro. This isn't diplomacy; this is show business.

Castro, in his early days, also spoke at the UN. But, just as Mitt Romney recently refused state police protection for the ex-president of Iran, so the hotels of New York refused space for Castro. The result: Malcolm X found him a hotel in Harlem and a key step was taken in the alienation of a man who, with just a little respect and effort, might not have tormented every American president since by refusing to die or fade away.

The U.S. is in a similar stage with Chavez and Ahmadinejad. It is slamming every door that possibly opens between our country and theirs, gratuitously shunning and dissing them along the way - with the media helping on the ridicule end. But, as Castro proved, it doesn't work.

What can work is respect.

A letter from Ahmadinejad to German prime minister Merkel is remarkable not only in its words of respect expressed towards her and her country but in the clear longing for a similar respect for himself and his own land. This guy is smart and articulate and desperately wants the bigger guys to admit it. You don't have to agree with a single political point he makes to note this.

For example, even if one fully supports the creation of Israel, there is still room for empathy for those displaced to make way for it. Those who mediate for a living will tell you that you must hear the pain of both sides. Not just the threats felt by Israelis, but those felt by its neighbors.

And you might even find yourself faintly nodding your head as you read: "You are familiar with the pains and sufferings currently afflicting our world. Today, the pain and suffering of the people of Iraq that come from occupation, absence of security and daily acts of terrorism are tormenting the entire humanity. Relentless interferences of some bullying powers in the internal affairs of other nations, antagonism toward the inalienable rights of nations to have access to more advanced technologies, subjecting nations to permanent threats by relying on arsenals of chemical and nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, opposition to popular governments in Latin America, supporting coup d'etat and dictatorial regimes, absence of due attention to Africa and taking advantage of the power vacuum there to plunder their wealth are among the problems facing our world today."

Respect is important because it is one of the few doors wide enough for peace to enter. It is the antithesis of the bullying, bombastic, holier-than-thou approach of the Bush regime. It is also futile to speak only to one's friends or to establish impenetrable concessions one's opponents must make before you sit down with them. Now that we have seen how pointless such approaches have been, it is perhaps time to try something else.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad are leaders of weak countries with a strong need for respect. It does not hurt our oil supplies, our military strength or our economy to grant them this. Our continued refusal will, just as it did with Castro, only makes the times harder and the hard times longer.

SOURCE: Progressive Review

POLICE HANDCUFF TERRORIZE FAMILY, HANDCUFF KIDS AND KILL DOG IN $60 POT BUST

By MIKE GOODWIN, Staff writer
First published: Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SCHENECTADY -- A police strike team raided a woman's Prospect Street apartment and handcuffed her children and killed her dog early Tuesday in a $60 pot bust.

The woman called it excessive force and a case of mistaken identity, but officers said they stormed the home for a good reason: One of her sons was selling marijuana there.

The Police Department's tactical squad knocked down the front door of the upstairs apartment at 110 Prospect St. and flooded into the apartment shortly after 6 a.m.

"I heard a big boom. My first reaction was to jump out of bed. We were trying to find where our kids were at and all of a sudden we had guns in our faces," said 40-year-old Anita Woodyear, who rents the second-floor flat.

During the ensuing chaos, police handcuffed two of the woman's children, Elijah Bradley, 11, and 12-year-old Victoria Perez, and shot at her dog in the kitchen before killing it in the bathroom, Woodyear said.

"That seems like an awful lot of firepower for marijuana," said Fred Clark of the Schenectady chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "That's like spending $125,000 for $5."

Woodyear said she suspected police had intended to search a neighboring home, but had the wrong address on the search warrant. Neighbors said they suspect illicit drugs are dealt at other homes on the block.

"No apology, no 'sorry about your dog,' " she said.

But police said they have no reason to apologize. They said they raided the house because Woodyear's 18-year-old son, Israel M. Bradley, sold three plastic bags of marijuana there for $40 on Sept. 15. They allege he sold two other bags of marijuana in the house for $20 on Aug. 28, they said.

In addition, police said Bradley was carrying marijuana in the home on Sept. 1.

"We had the absolute right house. We had the absolute right target," said Assistant Chief Michael Seber.

Police said Bradley was one of several drug dealers they have under investigation on Prospect Street.

"The whole street is a mess right now. We'll be back," Seber said.

Bradley was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal sale of marijuana, an offense punishable by up to one year in jail. He was also charged with unlawfully possessing marijuana, a violation.

Police Lt. Peter Frisoni said Bradley admitted he sold from the apartment in a statement to investigators after the raid.

"The moral of the story is: If you don't want officers barging into your house with their guns drawn, don't let drug dealers stay with you and deal drugs out of your apartment," Frisoni said.

Woodyear said she is appalled about the way her children were treated -- and said her 12-year-old daughter was hit with pepper spray.

The dog, a pit bull terrier named Precious, urinated on the floor in fear and tried to run from the police before it was killed, Woodyear said.

Police said the animal was aggressive and left them no choice but to shoot.

Elijah Bradley said he awoke to find armed men in his home. "They had the shotgun in my face," the 11-year-old said. "I punched at him. I didn't know who he was."

Police said they had reason to have weapons drawn. Their search warrant noted that among the things they planned to search for were firearms, although no handguns were found.


The rest of this story is here.

Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines

Published on Sunday, September 24, 2006 by the New York Times
Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines
by Ian Urbina

WASHINGTON — A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections.

Less than two months before voters head to the polls, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland this week became the most recent official to raise concerns publicly. Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, said he lacked confidence in the state’s new $106 million electronic voting system and suggested a return to paper ballots.

Dozens of states have adopted electronic voting technology to comply with federal legislation in 2002 intended to phase out old-fashioned lever and punch-card machines after the “hanging chads” confusion of the 2000 presidential election.

But some election officials and voting experts say they fear that the new technology may have only swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones. Their concerns became more urgent after widespread problems with the new technology were reported this year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and elsewhere.

This year, about one-third of all precincts nationwide are using the electronic voting technology for the first time, raising the chance of problems at the polls as workers struggle to adjust to the new system.

“I think there is good reason for concern headed into the midterm elections,” said Richard F. Celeste, a Democrat and former Ohio governor who was co-chairman of a study of new machines for the National Research Council with Richard L. Thornburgh, a Republican and former governor of Pennsylvania.

“You have to train the poll workers,” Mr. Celeste said, “especially since many of them are of a generation for whom this technology is a particular challenge. You need to have plans in place to relocate voters to another precinct if machines don’t work, and I just don’t know whether these steps have been taken.”

Paperless touch-screen machines have been the biggest source of consternation, and with about 40 percent of registered voters nationally expected to cast their ballots on these machines in the midterm elections, many local officials fear that the lack of a paper trail will leave no way to verify votes in case of fraud or computer failure.

As a result, states are scrambling to make last-minute fixes before the technology has its biggest test in November, when voter turnout will be higher than in the primaries, many races will be close and the threat of litigation will be ever-present.

“We have the real chance of recounts in the coming elections, and if you have differences between the paper trail and the electronic record, which number prevails?” said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the author of the Election Law blog, www.electionlawblog.org.

Professor Hasen found that election challenges filed in court grew to 361 in 2004, up from 197 in 2000. “What you have coming up is the intersection of new technology and an unclear legal regime,” he said.

Like Mr. Ehrlich, other state officials have decided on a late-hour change of course. In January, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico decided to reverse plans to use the touch-screen machines, opting instead to return to paper ballots with optical scanners. Last month, the Connecticut secretary of state, Susan Bysiewicz, decided to do the same.

“I didn’t want my state to continue being an embarrassment like Ohio and Florida every four years,” said Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, adding, “I also thought we needed to restore voter confidence, and that wasn’t going to happen with the touch-screen machines.”

In Pennsylvania, a state senator introduced a bill last week that would require every precinct to provide voters with the option to use paper ballots, which would involve printing extra absentee ballots and having them on site. A similar measure is being considered on the federal level.

In the last year or so, at least 27 states have adopted measures requiring a paper trail, which has often involved replacing paperless touch-screen machines with ones that have a printer attached.

But even the systems backed up by paper have problems. In a study released this month, the nonpartisan Election Science Institute found that about 10 percent of the paper ballots sampled from the May primary in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, were uncountable because printers had jammed and poll workers had loaded the paper in backward.

Lawsuits have been filed in Colorado, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Georgia seeking to prohibit the use of touch-screen machines.

Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that while there might be some problems in November, she expected them to be limited and isolated.

“The real story of the recent primary races was how few problems there were, considering how new this technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers not being prepared.”

Many states have installed the machines in the past year because of a federal deadline. If states wanted to take advantage of federal incentives offered by the Help America Vote Act, they had to upgrade their voting machines by 2006.

In the primary last week in Maryland, several counties reported machine-related problems, including computers that misidentified the party affiliations of voters, electronic voter registration lists that froze and voting-machine memory cards whose contents could not be electronically transmitted. In Montgomery County, election workers did not receive access cards to voting machines for the county’s 238 precincts on time, forcing as many as 12,000 voters to use provisional paper ballots until they ran out.

“We had a bad experience in the primary that led to very long lines, which means people get discouraged and leave the polls without voting,” said Governor Ehrlich, who is in a tight re-election race and has been accused by his critics of trying to use the voting issue to motivate his base. “We have hot races coming up in November and turnout will be high, so we can expect lines to be two or three times longer. If even a couple of these machines break down, we could be in serious trouble.”

Problems during primaries elsewhere have been equally severe.

In the Illinois primary in March, Cook County officials delayed the results of the county board elections for a week because of human and mechanical problems at hundreds of sites with new voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems.

In the April primary in Tarrant County, Tex., machines made by Hart InterCivic counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were cast. The problem was attributed to programming errors, not hacking.

In the past year, the Government Accountability Office, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and the Congressional Research Service have released reports raising concerns about the security of electronic machines.

Advocates of the new technology dispute the conclusions.

“Many of these are exaggerated accusations by a handful of vocal activists,” said Mark Radke, director of marketing for Diebold Election Systems, one of the largest sellers of touch-screen machines. “But if you want to talk about fraud and tabulation error, the newer technology is far more accurate.”

Mr. Radke cited a study from the California Institute of Technology that found that between the 2000 election, when touch-screen machines were not used, and the 2004 election, when they were, there was a 40 percent reduction in voter error in Maryland, making the vote there the most accurate in the country.

“There is always the potential for human error,” Mr. Radke said, “but that is easily correctible.”

But critics say bugs and hackers could corrupt the machines.

A Princeton University study released this month on one of Diebold’s machines — a model that Diebold says it no longer uses — found that hackers could easily tamper with electronic voting machines by installing a virus to disable the machines and change the vote totals.

Mr. Radke dismissed the concerns about hackers and bugs as most often based on unrealistic scenarios.

“We don’t leave these machines sitting on a street corner,” he said. “But in one of these cases, they gave the hackers complete and unfettered access to the machines.”

Warren Stewart, legislative director for VoteTrustUSA, an advocacy group that has criticized electronic voting, said that after poll workers are trained to use the machines in the days before an election, many counties send the machines home with the workers. “That seems like pretty unfettered access to me,” Mr. Stewart said.

SOURCE: Common Dreams

Also see this collection of links compiled in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 presidential election.

Urgent Letter from Dennis Kucinich about Bush Administration Plans for a US War vs. Iran

Dear Friends,

The Bush Administration is preparing for war against Iran, using an almost identical drumbeat of weapons of mass destruction, imminent threat, alleged links to Al Queda, and even linking Iran with a future 911.

In the past few months reports have been published in Newsweek, ABC News and GQ Magazine that indicate the US is recruiting members of paramilitary groups to destabilize Iran through violence. The New Yorker magazine and the Guardian have written that US has already deployed military inside Iran. The latest issue of Time writes of plans for a naval blockade of Iran at the Port of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil supply passes. Other news reports have claimed that an air strike, using a variety of bombs including bunker busters to be dropped on over 1,000 targets, including nuclear facilities. This could obviously result in a great long term humanitarian and environmental disaster.

Earlier this year, I demanded congressional hearings on Iran and was able to secure the promise of a classified briefing from the Department of Defense, the State Department and the CIA. When the briefing was held, the Department of Defense and the State Department refused to show and are continuing to block any congressional inquiry into plans to attack Iran.

Just this past week, the International Atomic Energy Agency called "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated" statements relating to Iran's nuclear program which came from a staff report of the House Intelligence committee. Other intelligence officials have claimed over a dozen distortions in the report which, among other things, said Iran is producing weapons grade uranium. The Washington Post wrote: "The IAEA called that 'incorrect' noting that weapons grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5% under IAEA monitoring."

I have demanded that the Government Oversight subcommittee on National Security and International Relations, of which I am the ranking Democrat, hold hearings to determine how in the world the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, viewed the report without correcting the obvious inaccuracies before it was published. Once again a case for war is being built on lies.

You will recall that four and a half years ago I warned this nation about the deception behind the build up to war against Iraq. Everything I said then turned out to be 100% right. I led 125 Democrats in opposing the Iraq war resolution in March of 2003. The very same people who brought us Iraq in 2003 are getting ready to bring us a war against Iran.

With your help, I will lead the way to challenge the Bush Administration's march to war against Iran. Please support my campaign for re-election with a generous donation to help continue my work in the Congress. The plan to attack Iran, on its face, threatens the safety of every US soldier serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the countless Iranian lives at risk and the threat to world peace and environmental catastrophes.

With your support, I intend to continue to insist upon:

(1) Direct negotiations with Iran.
(2) The US must guarantee Iran and the world community that it will not attack Iran.
(3) Iran must open once again to international inspections of its nuclear program.
(4) Iran must agree not to build nuclear weapons.
Many of you joined me three years ago as I ran for President to challenge the deliberate lies about WMDs, Iraq and 911, Iraq and Al Queda and the Niger "yellowcake" claims which put us onto the path of an unnecessary, illegal, costly war in Iraq. The Iraq war has caused greater instability and violence in the world community. In the meantime, our government has used the oxymoronic war on terror to trample our Constitution, rip up the Bill of Rights and rule by fear.

Please join with me as we continue our efforts for the end of fear and the beginning of hope, for international dialogue, for cooperation and for peace.

Thank you,

Dennis

SOURCE: After Downing Street

Sunday, September 24, 2006

On Mike Ruppert

Mike Ruppert is famous for his research involving the events of September 11, 2001. For about three years, I considered him to be our de facto leader, that is the leader of the 9-11 truth movement, if in fact there ever was one. However, I was never one to just blindly accept ANYONE's reality as gospel, no matter how "proven" such a person was in their field. I am an amateur investigator and like any amateur investigator, I am capable of coming up with useful tidbits.

Well, for a couple of years, I came up with a few which I fully intend to publish at this blog as soon as I again have access to the research. It is no longer in my hands. A majority of it was stored at what is now a crippled site and to make a long story short, Memes.org no longer hosts it. As well, Indymedia, at Ruppert's insistence, has removed all instances of my research where it could be found and it was not a matter of memory storage space. It was all gone in a matter of a few days so that much of the research that I had stored at Memes was itself crippled, as it relied on information archived at Indymedia. It is, to this day, the only case I know of in which Indymedia, or someone there, deliberately censored someone. I know it was Ruppert because he threatened to have it done and then.... it was.

What was my sin? I came up with alternative theories to explain the perpetration of the events of September 11, 2001. For the longest time, I just knew that if Ruppert gave it any thorough looking at that he would be liable to connect dots that he was in a position to connect, with what I thought of at the time as a superior knowledge base. This never happened. Instead I was attacked and I don't mean merely ridiculed; I was told I was to cease even making such claims on any list he was a part of and miraculously, several people spoke out loudly and quickly, I might add, to tell me to lay off Ruppert. I was astounded. I never made single attack or stated a single thing on any list that Ruppert was a part of that was libelous by the remotest stretch, either legally or morally. However, Mike DID set about with a barrage of accusations, all of which were not able to be documented for a single reason: none of them were true. Most of his accusations were that I had made accusations which felt a bit like a trip down the rabbit hole, if you know what I mean. I challenged him to produce one email or post or item on the web or otherwise to support that I had made a single accusation but by this time, I was beginning to feel that, perhaps, some accusations were in order; and I made some.

In retrospect, this was probably exactly what Ruppert wanted from me. When someone happens upon a debate, it becomes very difficult to discern who started what when someone like myself is finally seen to be making such accusations: that Mike is a disinformation artist and an agent provocateur and, now, who is to say when exactly I STARTED to say such things. Believe me when I say that I spent a good deal of time swallowing my own worldview in order to come to this conclusion but it makes it a bit easier, I suppose, when one is the target of his lunacy. To this day, only a handful that are probably loathe to speak up were witness to the facts of what I say and, as such, readers are forced to compare the reputations of someone like myself and Ruppert in order to evaluate where to stand on said issue and this is where, in most minds, I probably lose. Neat strategy, Mike.

At any rate, I was encouraged when I found Victor Thorn's piece, which I reproduce below. I actually found it a couple of years ago and talked with him about doing show or at least corresponding with the possibility in mind and we did for a bit. However, very soon thereafter, ninety percent of the research that had taken me three years to compile was gone from the net, as I have explained and very soon thereafter, I entered a two year hiatus wherein I read very little news and did absolutely no activism; I felt defeated.

Why didn't I have it stored securely? Well, at the time, you see, I was homeless. For years I operated almost entirely from public libraries across the nation, covering geographical territory that could be seen as astounding considering that I also never owned a vehicle during this period (1997-2004). I lived in national forests around our nation and did what I could. I had noticed that my position as someone that had all kinds of time was what allowed me to achieve the level of analysis of news events that I had so I continued in this manner for a long time.

Below, you will see that Victor Thorn experienced very much what I did and I can only suspect that he entered into a relationship with the best of intentions, as had I, only to be targetted.

I hear that Ruppert recently left the country, in the middle of the night, and that it was publicized, else how would I know (if it is, indeed, true). I consider it an act of drama and nothing more. Enough from me. Here is the piece (it's a damn shame I had to rely on the 'testimony' of such right wingers to support my 'claims' - am I the only lefty he ever targetted?):

Mike Ruppert Unmasked
by Victor Thorn - October 1, 2004

On this date – Friday, August 6, 2004 – the world was the same as it was any other day – filled with allegations, suspicions, criticism and threatening lawsuits. Even crazy old Dick Eastman entered the fray. Yes, this was the world of Mike Ruppert – king of the conspiratologists, perpetual center of attention, and legend in his own mind.

So, I figured: it’s time to figure out what makes Mike Ruppert tick – to see what he’s all about. Sure, I already knew the basics --- LAPD cop quits the force, enters a mental institution, chases some crazy broad around the country, struggles through tough times, turns whistleblower, confronts CIA Director John Deutsch in South Central L.A., begins From the Wilderness, and releases his Truth and Lies of 9-11 on video.

But there had to be more, especially when the Internet was buzzing with so many rumors about Ruppert – the whispers developing into deafening echoes. From my perspective, there were only two courses of action. I could either unquestioningly buy into all the gossip, or investigate this matter for myself.

Mind you, I had never spoken directly to Mike Ruppert, nor had I ever even corresponded with him via e-mail. The only “contact” I ever had with Ruppert was via a review that I had written about his 9-11 video, which later appeared in my book, The New World Order Exposed.

All this changed on Friday, August 6, 2004 when I noticed that Ruppert was threatening to sue 9-11 researcher Dick Eastman. (I can’t remember exactly what this lawsuit entailed, but I’m pretty sure it revolved around an argument they were having about whether or not a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon on the morning of 9-11.) Anyway, my first thought was: how many people has Mike Ruppert threatened to bring lawsuits against now? But then an even better idea popped into my mind: why don’t I invite Ruppert and Eastman onto WING TV and get both sides of the story.

So, without further delay, I reeled off an e-mail to Ruppert inviting him to appear on WING TV. In addition, I also addressed some of the innuendo and outright accusations surrounding him:

“We have been receiving tons of e-mail in the past few months that are seriously calling into question your validity and honesty as a 9-11 researcher. Some of the claims being made are that you are a PATRIOT FOR HIRE (in other words, just in it for the money), and that you have sold out (i.e. a cop on the take). Finally, others are saying that you are deliberately covering up what actually happened on 9-11 by steering people away from it toward peak oil. These things are definitely not going unnoticed, and we would like your take on these matters.”

Before proceeding any further, I would like to make a few things perfectly clear. First, this was a private e-mail from me to Mike Ruppert, and was not posted in any other forums. In fact, I have never criticized Mr. Ruppert on any Internet group or in any discussion rooms. Thus, my note remained solely between him and me.

Well, about two hours later, right before Lisa Guliani and I were about to eat supper, the phone rang. I answered it, only to hear Mike Ruppert on the other end. After introducing himself in a very surly fashion, Ruppert growled that he was RECORDING this conversation for legal reasons; and that if I didn’t cease-and-desist in my threats and slander toward him, he would proceed to take immediate legal action! Yup, you guessed it – my name was now added to an already lengthy list of people Mike Ruppert was threatening to sue.

Anyway, after listening to Ruppert rant, rave, and swear about Dick Eastman and how sick he was of people questioning his motives, I assured him that I didn’t even remotely slander or threaten him. Rather, I repeated some of the charges being leveled against him; then invited him onto our show to address these issues. That, I explained, was what responsible reporters and journalists do instead of simply shooting from the hip like a cowboy. I even went on to say that it would be real easy for us to appear on WING TV and repeat these rumors, but such tactics would be unfair to him; thus, the invitation.

Well, after somewhat calming Ruppert down (twenty minutes later), I asked him once again if he would like to appear on our show; to which he responded that I would have to contact his representative, Ken Levine. I agreed to do so, and after hanging up the telephone, I commented to Lisa, “That’s the angriest and most paranoid man I’ve ever spoken to.” This ended chapter one of my interaction with Mike Ruppert.

Shortly thereafter I turned on my computer to find an e-mail from Ruppert where he once again threatened to sue me:

“I sent out the following statement to Eastman yesterday. If you or he represent my position in any other way than what I say here, you can rest assured that legal action will follow, and quickly.”

[As a sidebar, I have never spoken directly to Mr. Dick Eastman in my life, and have e-mailed him less than half-a-dozen times. Thus, any implied relation is non-existent.]

Ruppert then went on to explain his views on the 9-11 terrorist attacks, specifically where he stood in regard to what hit (or did not hit) the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001. He only did so, though, after telling me, “This is addressed on my website, if you are intelligent enough to find it.” I mention this point because, as you will see later in this essay, it is indicative of Mike Ruppert’s modus operandi where he feels compelled to take nasty, abusive pot-shots at those who he views as detractors.

Anyway, for the next three weeks I periodically spoke with Mr. Ken Levine and tried to schedule Ruppert for WING TV. The results, though, were less than optimal, for Levine kept “fluffing me off” and running hot-and-cold with me. Even after hearing how we were booking the hottest names in the 9-11 field (including Dave von Kleist, John Kaminski, George Humphrey, Eric Hufschmid, Phil Jayhan, Jim Hoffman, Michael Elliott and Ian Barksdale), along with numerous presidential candidates, Levine wouldn’t commit; instead telling me he’d keep working on it. (This point is important to remember, as you’ll soon see.)

Finally, on August 31, 2004, I decided to go directly to the source once again, and thus sent the following e-mail to Mike Ruppert:

********************************

Mike,

Victor Thorn here from WING TV (http://www.wingtv.net). I spoke with you on August 6, 2004 about appearing on our television show (via telephone), and you referred me to Ken Levine.

Over the past 2-3 weeks I have been trying very diligently to set-up a date for you to speak about your new book, but thus far have not been able to get a commitment from Mr. Levine.

This is puzzling to me, because without trying to sound boastful, we have the hottest TV show on the Internet (bar none), and have been interviewing everyone who’s anyone in the alternative research field, including Jim Marrs and David Ray Griffin; along with seven different presidential candidates and a variety of other heavy-hitters.

In addition, there is not an organization in existence that wants to uncover the truth about what really happened on the morning of 9-11 more than we do, along with uncovering other examples of government dirty-dealings, such as CIA drug trafficking, etc.

In other words, we have a custom-made audience that would be very receptive to Crossing the Rubicon: 9/11 and the Decline of American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. On top of that, I devoted an entire chapter of my book The New World Order Exposed (now in its eleventh printing) to your videotape, The Truth and Lies of 9/11. I would also like to distribute your new book from our WING TV bookstore, and also plan on reviewing it as soon as it is released. (Needless to say, I would welcome a pre-release copy to create some advanced publicity.)

So, what I’m doing is coming directly to you to say: let’s set-up a date for you to appear on WING TV. We’ll give you a huge number of viewers all across the ‘Net, and will promote this appearance to the hilt. Considering the explosive nature of what you’ll be presenting in your book, many people from both inside and outside the 9-11 truth movement will be gunning for you. What we are offering you is a fair shake with maximum coverage and no bullshit.

As I told you earlier this month during our telephone conversation, we’re not cowboys or bomb-throwers. Rather, we play it straight and want only one thing – to expose the truth.

With all of this in mind, Mike, let’s arrive at a date for you to appear on our show. I realize you’re busy, but all we’re asking for is 20-25 minutes of your time on the telephone. That’s it. Surely within the next month or so you can arrange that. Whether intentionally or not, Ken has been giving me the run-around – fluctuating between hot and cold – and in all honesty we haven’t had this much trouble EVER getting a guest! So I’ll lay it all out to you straight: you pick the time and date (Friday, October 1 would be ideal), and we’ll do whatever we can to accommodate you. All we’re asking for is 20-25 minutes – that’s it.

To close, we plan on doing a Mike Ruppert show in late September/early October, and we would very much like you to be a part of it. Considering all the benefits outlined in this letter, we don’t know how a sweeter deal could land in your lap. WE’LL SELL BOOKS FOR YOU AND GET THE WORD OUT!!!

Mike, those in the alternative research field (not the mainstream media) have been your core supporters for years, and WING TV stands at the forefront of this audience. Please keep this in mind as your book goes to press and you start booking interview dates. We’re on your side, and we’ll do anything we can to help. Work with us, okay.

Victor Thorn
WING TV
Sisyphus Press

********************************

Ruppert’s response on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 was truly bewildering. He began his e-mail by stating: “We have tried to be polite. It didn’t work.” Well, actually, Mike, you weren’t polite in the least, as I have shown. Levine was, but on two different occasions you threatened to sue me. That’s polite?

Ruppert continued in the e-mail’s second line: “I will not now or ever be on your television show. There will be no discussion.” Again, more of Mike’s politeness.

He then goes on to say: “The reason is that you are an extremely careless researcher. Your book contains a number of errors which could have caused me and my business harm. I evaluated your book almost a year ago and decided then that I would never have any association with you.”

Ruppert then proceeds to list all of the “errors” in my book, but not before once again trying to bully me with this completely absurd threat: “Please cease and desist all attempts to contact either me or Ken Levine. If you do not respect this request then I may ask you to reimburse us for all the trouble you have caused with your errors.”

Take a moment now to think about the totally unfounded and, in all honesty, irrational nature of this statement. Ruppert wants to “charge” me for trying to schedule him for our show – to pay his personnel costs! It’s ludicrous.

The situation gets even worse, for one of the supposed first “errors” that he cites in The New World Order Exposed is this passage: “Mike Ruppert begins his Truth and Lies of 9-11 videotape by offering a $1,000 cash reward to anyone that can disprove the information contained within this presentation. To date, the money still stands.”

I checked this quote, and that is indeed what I wrote. But Ruppert continues, “Problem number 1: the offer was only for information contained in the “Oh Lucy” timeline and never for the entire tape. Problem number 2: the offer expired more than a year ago. (It has now been expired for more than two years, yet there are still people calling our office based on your book, making unfounded misrepresentations of my offer. Your book has cost my staff about 60 man-hours over two years. I pay the salary for that.)

The stupendous inanity of this statement is so mind-boggling (and, quite frankly, embarrassing to Ruppert) that I don’t know where to begin. First, Ruppert prides himself on being an “accurate reporter.” How did he figure the 60 man-hours? Does he have a formula? Did he actually sit down and calculate over a two-year period exactly how many phone calls he received, then trace them directly to my book? How can we take this guy seriously? Secondly, he says the offer expired more than a year ago, then immediately – in the very next sentence – says it expired more than two years ago. Which one is it? Is this accurate reporting? It almost sounds as if Ruppert has a standard form-letter which he sends out to people whenever this issue arises. (More on Ruppert’s “form letters” later.)

Thirdly, The New World Order Exposed has only been in print for 1 ½ years, and if anyone does a quick Google search, they’ll find numerous sources quoting his $1,000 reward offer (more inaccuracies). I would love to take credit for having such an influential book, but once more Mike is being overly dramatic and disingenuous. Plus, here we see Mike Ruppert yet again bellyaching about paying his employees and trying to place the burden on someone else.

Continuing his criticism of The New World Order Exposed, Ruppert points out a GLARING error where I say that “six of the first seven CIA Directors came from Wall Street,” when in fact it should be six of the first seven DEPUTY Directors. Is it because of this oversight that he wouldn’t appear on our television show? Plus, Ruppert also found one misspelled word in my book - one, in a 567 page tome. Well, I hate to inform Mr. Ruppert, but when I read the transcript of his speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, I certainly found more than one typo. So, if we used Ruppert’s rationale, his entire speech should thus be discredited. I hope everyone can see how ridiculous these tactics are.

But none of the above examples truly reflect Ruppert’s pettiness, obfuscation, and true motives more so than does the following: Mike Ruppert said that the reason he wouldn’t appear on WING TV is because I am a careless researcher, and The New World Order Exposed is filled with errors. But let’s look at the reality of this matter. First, this book is now in its eleventh small press run, and has sold this well with an advertising budget of zero dollars. That means people have found out about it via the ultimate form of advertising: word of mouth. In addition, The New World Order Exposed is being distributed by First Amendment Books in Washington, D.C., along with Adventures Unlimited in Illinois – two of the most respected booksellers in the business. It has also been reviewed in nearly twenty venues, including The American Free Press, the highly-respected Midwest Book Review, Black Diamond Books, and nationally distributed Clamor magazine (not to mention blurbs and endorsements from Jim Marrs (Rule by Secrecy), Gordon Thomas (Seeds of Fire), Michael Collins Piper (Final Judgment), Paul Walker (Aftermath News), Meria Heller, and Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Marvin (Expendable Elite)). Lastly, the Japanese publisher, Tokuma Shoten, purchased the rights to The New World Order Exposed, and will release a translated version later this year.

Now, please understand; I’m not mentioning all these points to blow my own horn. Instead, I want to ask the reader one very important question --- can all of the above people be wrong about this book, or is Mike Ruppert simply copping-out and searching in vain for a scapegoat? Ironically, the answer can be found directly from Mike’s own From the Wilderness website, for shortly after my review of Ruppert’s 9-11 video appeared in such respected publications as Bank Index and others, I was contacted by HIS people and congratulated for doing such a superb job. Now, keep in mind – I didn’t contact them – they contacted me. Plus, they were so pleased with this review – the same one that Mike Ruppert is now criticizing – that they actually gave me a free one-year subscription to his From the Wilderness newsletter. Does it sound like they would do something like that for a sub-standard, error-prone review? Hardly. The thing I’m most curious about is: how did these glowing accolades which emanated from FTW itself suddenly turn so negative and bitter? Do you think it had anything to do with Mike Ruppert needing an excuse not to appear on WING TV?

As I’ve come to learn, though, these types of tactics (and his behavior in general) are typical of, and fit part-and-parcel with, Mike Ruppert’s standard operating procedure. But before moving on to show you more of what I mean, I would like to bring one more point to bear. After receiving the above-quoted e-mail from Ruppert, I spoke once again with Ken Levine, who revealed to me a very interesting bit of information. He said that when Mike Ruppert sat down to decide which interview forums he would like to participate in after Crossing the Rubicon was released, he also created a list of shows he refused to do. And guess what show Mr. Levine said was on that list: WING TV! Now, considering that I had never spoken to Ruppert until last month, how conciliatory I was to him in my lengthy e-mail, and how I even gave his 9-11 video a glowing review; I wonder how he came to put me on his J. Edgar Hoover-like “black list.”

The big question now is: if Mike Ruppert won’t appear on WING TV, what types of shows and/or interviews is he going to do? Ponder this point very carefully, for his decisions are quite telling. If his first speech is any indicator (at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, frequented by the very ruling elite that he is supposedly rebelling against), I think we should all wonder where Mike Ruppert’s loyalties really lie.

********************************

Before anyone jumps to conclusions and proclaims that I’m the only person who harbors the above-mentioned misgivings about Mike Ruppert, what I will proceed to show in this section is that Ruppert’s irrational behavior, questionable decision-making process, and his abusive modus operandi have been written about by many others in the alternative research field. As you will see, the preponderance of evidence is so overwhelming that all of us have to seriously consider whether we want this man to be our “self-appointed” spokesman, for at what point does one’s negatives begin to outweigh their positive strides.

One of the most repellent traits that Mike Ruppert exhibits is the way he lashes out at people who criticize his work. As you saw in part one of this article, Ruppert took a swipe at me at every turn, and seems to be especially prone to such behavior whenever anyone is perceived to be a threat, or in opposition to his views. What results is an ugly display of arrogance and supposed mental superiority toward his detractors that ends up making him look foolish at best, and downright asinine at worst. What follows is just one example of these “flames,” but believe me, many more exist on various discussion groups and forums on the Internet.

Response to Jerry Russell’s article: Peak Oil? Don’t Buy Into the Hype! – Posted on 911-strike.com: “Listen, let’s take the passive-aggressive gloves off here you asshole.” [Very classy, huh. I wonder what former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and all of Mike’s petro-buddies would think of this intellectual retort?]

View the rest here.





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