Posted by: quiscus | June 15, 2010

June 15, 2010

1.  “SEC: Government Destroyed Documents Regarding Pre-9/11 Put Options”

2.  “Timing of Afghan Mineral Story Wealth Evokes Skepticism

So, the question for many observers was why the article, which dominated much of the foreign news in the network and cable broadcast media during Monday’s news cycle, was published now.

Risen himself suggested an answer in his story, noting “American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan.”

In that respect, the appearance of the Times story Monday looked to many observers like part of an effort to strengthen the case for giving the counterinsurgency effort more time. ”

3.  “Gangs and Violence in Jamaica and Haiti

Several political activists explained to Hallward, “In Haiti, as a rule, when you defend the interest of the people you are treated as a criminal, whether your name is Dessalines, Peralte or Wilme.” The latter was a community activist who was assassinated in July 2005 by UN soldiers; the former were two of Haiti’s historic anti-slavery and anti-colonial leaders.

The peoples of Jamaica and Haiti share a profound history. Their ancestors fought long and hard against the slave empires of the Americas, at times seeking alliances between each other. Haiti’s revolt against Spain, Britain and France was astonishingly successful. It wrote one of the most inspiring chapters in modern human history. Jamaica’s was not; the country did not gain independence from Britain until 1962.

Both countries have faced relentless, big power intervention in their internal affairs to prevent socially progressive government from gaining a foothold and expanding. Both are still waiting for a semblance of economic justice and independence.

From the Jamaican and Haitian experience, one sees that gang phenomena receive varied treatment from foreign powers and their media. Criminal gangs are tolerated so long as they abide their place and do not embarrass or encroach upon the business world of their sponsors. Sometimes, as in Jamaica, they must be curbed when the U.S. master requires a publicity show for its phony war on drugs.

Self defense efforts that arise when poor people and neighbourhoods are obliged to defend themselves against institutional violence are, however, never tolerated. What the CBC and others condemn as gang violence is in many cases the desperate effort of some of the poorest and most oppressed people in the world to protect themselves against the real perpetrators of violence, the imperial overlords of their countries.”

4.  “The Role of “Mental Imagery”: Giving a “Human Face” to Racism, Genocide and War Crimes

Psycho-biological Basis for Image Leverage”

5.  “The media’s understanding of its role

It’s not that these media figures fail to perform their assigned function or consciously decide that they won’t.  They don’t even conceive of their purpose in this way, because holding government officials accountable is not actually their purpose.  With some accidental exceptions, the corporations which own these media outlets don’t choose people for these positions who want to or who will perform these accountability functions.  They choose the ones who have no interest in doing so, no ability to do so, and who simply won’t — and thus don’t.  Gregory and Henry don’t succeed in their corporations despite their failure to do their jobs of holding government officials accountable; they succeed because they do their job, which doesn’t include that function.

One other point:  what Axelrod tried to explain to Gregory about accountability — “trust” and attempts to understand someone’s character are irrelevant; what matters is evidence and “mak[ing] sure that they do what they’re required to do” — is also a good guide for how citizens should think of political leaders, even (especially) their favorite ones.”


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“Leaking This Information is the Act of a Hero.”

How sad it is to see the climate in the United States today — the majority is still lock-step in line with the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about so many decades ago. I want to make the following points:

1) First and foremost, there needs to be more discussion about the potentially enormous ethics violations that seem to have been committed at Wired Magazine. Everyone knows Kevin Poulsen & Adrian Lamo are friends. It is obvious they worked their target, Bradley Manning, for days — in co-operation with the FBI and US Army CID. This hearkens back to COINTELPRO tactics. How likely is it that Lamo worked entirely on his own with no involvement from Poulsen, who only found out about it all after-the-fact, in time to “break the story” for Wired? There is no disclosure provided in the original article and it is written as if Poulsen wasn’t involved at all. Could it really be that, in pursuit of breaking a big story, Wired magazine staff helped set up a situation where the FBI/USACID got to use proxy interrogators, who misled a suspect into believing that he was only answering questions from someone he could trust, instead of federal/military law enforcement, without any Constitutional protections in place? This needs to be more critically examined.

2) Would Lamo have snitched out Daniel Ellsberg in 1970, hypothetically speaking? Based on the justifications he’s publicly offered to date, it seems so. This isn’t something to be admired. The US War Machine rolls on exactly because of mass media complicity, the lack of information about US militarism around the world and the witch-hunt persecution of everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Valerie Plame to Cindy Sheehan to the millions of Americans who protested this war BEFORE it began and were subjected to scrutiny, harassment and intimidation by law enforcement (an under-reported story). In the 70s, the persecution of Daniel Ellsberg only caused support for him to increase. Somehow, it seems like the same will not be true for Bradley Manning unless thoughtful & concerned citizens do something about it.”

7.  “Cashiering Helen Thomas

Lastly, there is the double standard. One off-hand “ill-conceived remark,” as NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard stated, in praising Ms. Thomas, ended a groundbreaking career. While enhanced careers and fat lecture fees are the reward for ultra-right wing radio and cable ranters, and others like columnist Ann Coulter, who regularly urge wars, mayhem and dragnets based on bigotry, stereotypes and falsehoods directed wholesale against Muslims, including a blatant anti-semitism against Arabs.”

8.  ”

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This Is What the End of the Oil Age Looks Like


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