Monday, December 13, 2010

News Of The Day And Some Very Interesting Perspectives

News Of The Day And Some Very Interesting Perspectives

Truth Is The Greatest Enemy Of The State.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant Secretary to the US Treasury, talk about the WikiLeaks. Max asks Dr. Roberts about what he thinks of what is happening to WikiLeaks story.

Wikileaks Mirrors
Wikileaks Is Currently Mirrored On 1885 Web Sites

Wikileaks Editor Faces Grand Jury Indictment?

In another sign that a U.S. indictment of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange may be imminent, his lawyer has said that a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., is currently weighing criminal charges.

"We have heard from the Swedish authorities that there has been a secretly impaneled grand jury in Alexandria," said Mark Stephens, an attorney at the London-based FSI law firm.

Stephens told Al-Jazeera over the weekend that he believes that there is "collusion" between the Swedish government, which has accused Assange of sexual assault, and the United States. "We understand [Swedish authorities] have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their interest in him to the Americans," the attorney said.

While the U.S. Justice Department hasn't confirmed the existence of a grand jury, Attorney General Eric Holder said recently that a criminal probe into WikiLeaks is ongoing. A CNET analysis published today shows that Assange could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, which previously was used in the extraterritorial prosecution of a non-U.S. citizen, though he would likely claim the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

A State Department spokesman today declined to comment on questions about the grand jury. An extradition hearing on the charges from Sweden has been scheduled for tomorrow in a London courtroom.

Some of the more hawkish members of Congress have called for Assange to be prosecuted under the portion of the Espionage Act that, in some cases, prohibits the disclosure of "national defense" information. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming head of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Holder to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, as did Senate Intelligence Committee heads Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kit Bond (R-Miss.). Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is publicly wondering why an indictment and extradition "hasn't happened yet."

Also today:

• A discussion thread saying -- without any evidence -- that the CIA set up a WikiLeaks mirror was a hoax. But reported it as apparently true, as did BoingBoing, which deleted its original story and then ran a retraction.

• Speaking of Wiki-hoaxes, the U.K. Guardian's Declan Walsh in Islamabad has a report saying that two Pakistani newspapers admitted they were duped by a fake account of the WikiLeaks cables that portrayed Indian generals as vain, "geeky," and engaged in a "genocide" against Muslims in Kashmir. And a Twitter note purporting to be from an Australian member of Parliament calling for Assange to be "aggressively interrogated" also appears to be a hoax.

• There's a ballad of Julian Assange up on YouTube. And look for more WikiLeaks-based games soon.

• Here's a profile of Geoffrey Robertson, the Australian-born, London-based lawyer who stands between Assange and deportation.

• has a list of sites hit by outages in the last 24 hours. At the top:,, and (used by Anonymous),,,,

• Time magazine has closed its poll for Person of the Year. Assange came in first place, and the results will be announced Wednesday morning on the "Today" show.

• Australian journalists are backing WikiLeaks. A Washington Post editorial on Saturday called such Espionage Act prosecutions "a bad idea."

• The domain name ( is now the primary one) is back online after EveryDNS yanked it about a week ago. is now using San Mateo, Calif.-based for DNS and is being hosted at Silicon Valley Web Hosting in San Jose. The site currently redirects to the site, which is offshore, with hosting and DNS in Russia.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”    — George Orwell

When I was a child and a young man, I lived in a free country. Now the government sticks its hands in my pants and searches my crotch if I want to fly a  plane. And already happening, TSA searches in train and bus stations as well. It’s also illegal in three states now to photograph a cop that is arresting you in a public place,  yeah, you can’t witness your own arrest apparently. Then there’s the so called “Free Speech Zones,” more police per capita than any other country, and the world’s largest prison system. What’s wrong with this picture? I don’t fully understand, but it’s becoming clearer all the time that this is not  a good thing.

Until fairly recently I was of the opinion that I didn’t need to worry too much about fascism in America. Lately I’m thinking I may have been too optimistic, and that we have gone so far down a slippery slope that there is no turning back. I think a combination of factors since the 1960s have eroded our freedoms in a myriad of ways that people have grown used to. Like the proverbial frogs in a  cooking pot, this danger has come on us so slowly that most of us aren’t aware that the water is starting to boil.

I think this started in the sixties and the early seventies. Decades of the Cold War had conditioned people to think of a huge and intrusive US government as “normal.” Then there was the sixties, when “Law and Order” and the “War on Drugs” started to enter the national consciousness. About the same time our once proud and independent press started to be acquired hyper-global-mega-corporations, a process that was complete sometime by the early nineties. The “War on Drugs” is important for it conditioned people to believe in a government that had the power to regulate everything, including what chemical citizens want to have in their bloodstreams. And Roe vs Wade also contributed, in that it created an entire and tireless political movement devoted to government regulation of what citizens do with their own bodies. (I’m not  a fan of abortion, I think every child should be a wanted child, but abortion prohibition is a terrible way to bring that about and does far more harm than good.)

And then of course the past decade has conditioned people to believe in perpetual war. And be perpetually afraid of enemies lurking everywhere. Despite the fact that terrorism in the USA is and always has been a very modest threat, there are ever increasing and intrusive efforts to “protect us” from it. Not to mention that now the government is starting to exert far more control over the Internet, the last bastion of free speech for those who have realized that what the main stream media, from Fox to CNN, is feeding us pure Kool-Aid.

The last thing that factors into this mess is the fact that in the past few decades we have simultaneously allowed our infrastructure to decay, moved our manufacturing to other countries, and turned our schools into little more than day centres for an increasingly ignorant and powerless and futureless population. The only thing that the USA has really invested in in the past few decades is more military, more “security,” more government, more police, and more prisons. And absolutely none of these create wealth in any way. Military spending is some of the m0st wasteful spending imaginable, as a tiny number of people build incredibly expensive gadgets that perform no useful function and have to be replaced by even newer and more expensive gadgets. … forever! And then, just to make sure it’s wasted, we ship these gadgets to the other side of the planet at fabulous expense to be blown up. Yeah, that’s makiing America richer and stronger.

I don’t know what’s going to happen here, but I fear that sooner rather than later something is going to snap. I mean, if there were another 9/11 today, not only do I think we would have  a police state overnight, manymany Americans are so hooked on their Kool-Aid that they would support it. Legions of Fox News viewers would that’s for sure. And the liberals and progressives seem to be going down without a fight as the country has drifted (or been driven) to the right the past few decades. People used to give a shit about the workers and freedom in America, now “union” and “strike” are dirty words.

And I wonder if the Wikileaks will be the match that sets the house on fire. My biggest hope at this time is that the government will launch massive Internet censorship. Most Americans don’t seem to notice when their freedoms are stripped away one by one, but if they can’t log onto their favourite web site, many of them go ballistic. It’s a slender reed to grasp, but it is one of several, and the situation isn’t hopeless. It’s not a police state yet, but it’s time to start waking up America.

(The image above is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I don’t know who created it, but clicking on it leads to the site I got it from. And yes, I know the juxtaposition of a swastika on the American flag is offensive to some, but fascism in America would be far more offensive, and I want to exercise my freedom of speech while I still have it. And no, I don’t think we have a Hitler on the horizon, but a Hitler isn’t required for  a police state. There’s  plenty of police states on Earth now that don’t have Hitlers.)

I have learned so much here on the Hive in just three short months. Call me stupid , call me arrogant , but I guess all those years putting myself throught college could not enlighten me for the real world. The real world I guess which has the Hive as its own little teenie wienie piece of foil. A foil that does such a good job of reflecting who we really are. And in the words of the late great Jonh Belushi from " Animal House," " Where were you when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
See who needs historical facts when some people here on the Hive can provide them for you. And like I have been told a few times in a short three months, if you do not like someone’s opinion here on the Hive then just do not read it. All opinions with interpretations of historical facts are covered by the banner of free speech. And no matter what is being said we all know that opinions are covered ,rightly so, by free speech. We could be in China and spend years in a  hard labor camp for calling someone in power a funny name. But since we are not let us make stuff up to our hearts content. 
And if someone says anything against your right to an opinion then just say they are arrogant and against the right to free speech. See it is fun for the whole family. And if you are in the same certain persuasion of say politics or religion then the more the better. And being a member of this or that persuasion then you get certain little perks. But that is another story. 
So in just three months I have learned that out president is a fascist, a communist, a socialist and a Marxist all on the same planet. Oh never mind that GM and most of the banks who got bailed out are almost done paying back the American taxpayer. Just srceam Marxism!
And if a women should have the personal right to choose  and keep her reproductive rights with her, just scream bloody murder. That is right abortion is murder. And do not pay attention that those people who are so worried about protecting life, are the ones who are usaully screaming for the death penalty. See if you fry a 100 guys and just because a few were innocent then just say it is the will of God. See is not playing God fun? 
And if a standing president gets assassinated in front of millions on TV, his brother gets killed and another dies in office just call the family a reign of terror.Bad taste who cares? See is not free speech fun when you do not have to worry about any repercussions?
And if someone calls to the attention of one of rock n rolls greatest members being shot in the back in cold blood just call him average. Or better yet just make fun of his cold blooded murder with crass jokes. Nothing to see here, move along. See it is fun for the whole family. 
And who can forget one of the Hives all time favorites. When you want to degrade and make light of one of America's most horrible institutions, slavery, just turn it around and blame the victum. You know like when white people were on the auction block being sold and the free blacks were walking around making fun of them. And if you quote or site some kooky odd ball references then it is my opinion and it is covered under the banner of free speech. And if you do not like it then er, stop reading it. See all better now, right?
So the list goes can go on and on. And if anyone catches me posting in a funny way please feel free to point out my absurdities. Please point out my fallacies because I know that free speech has to be cherished, protected and guarded. Because if we do not then I guess the Earth would still be flat and tax cuts for rich people produce jobs. Peace out.
John B. Logan 

WikiLeaks Taps Power of the Press
New York Times
By DAVID CARR Think back to 2008, when WikiLeaks simply released documents that suggested the government of Kenya had looted its country. ...
See all stories on this topic »

WikiRebels: The Must Watch Wikileaks Documentary [Video]
By Leon Pals
The documentary is made by Swedish SVT, a television network that has been following Assange and Wikileaks since the summer of 2010. Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist travelled to the key countries where Wikileaks operates and ... The Next Web -

Amazon's European Sites Go Down! Pro-WikiLeaks Hackers To Blame?*
By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
This is newsworthy even in itself, but especially so given that Operation Payback, the loose group of hackers who support WikiLeaks, have made Amazon a target, since they took down WikiLeaks. Twitter is abuzz with the news. ... Clusterstock -

Obama needs to crack down on cyber criminals like WikiLeaks hacker supporters ...
New York Daily News
BY Lore Croghan It's time for President Obama to lead a global crackdown on cyber criminals like the WikiLeaks sympathizers who attacked US companies last ...
See all stories on this topic »

Don’t Charge Wikileaks,” say my beloved former colleagues at the Washington Post editorial page this morning. The Post argues that,
Such prosecutions are a bad idea. The government has no business indicting someone who is not a spy and who is not legally bound to keep its secrets. Doing so would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations that vet and verify material and take seriously the protection of sources and methods when lives or national security are endangered. The Espionage Act is easily abused, as shown by a criminal case that dragged on for years, before being closed last year, of two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who did nothing more than pass along to colleagues and a reporter information they gleaned from conversations with U.S. officials. The act should be scrapped or tightened, not given new and dangerous life.
A few thoughts:
The blanket proposition that the government has no business prosecuting someone not obligated to protect secrets for disclosing protected material overstates an important idea. The important idea is that the United States has never had an Official Secrets Act, a generalized prohibition against private sector publication of state secrets. To create one raises enormous First Amendment concerns. The issue, however, cannot quite as black-and-white as the editorial suggests. Suppose, for example, that Wikileaks got its hands on the U.S. nuclear launch codes and published them with the the specific intent of harming U.S. national security. Or, to take a real example, suppose someone went on a binge of outing U.S. covert operatives in order to harm U.S. intelligence capabilities–an incident that actually gave rise to its own statute. I don’t think the Post would take the position that the criminal law is an unthinkable instrument in such cases. I certainly wouldn’t.
As such, the editorial’s contention that the old and vague Espionage Act “should be scrapped or tightened, not given new and dangerous life” realistically cannot mean scrapped. It can only really mean tightened or replaced with tighter statutes.
Such a tightening is not hard to imagine. Currently, the relevant statutory language, 18 U.S.C. 793(e), reads,
Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it . . .  [s]hall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
As currently written, the statute has at least four major problems (along with some minor ones I don’t treat here):
  1. The term “relating to the national defense” is not limited to properly classified information, thus potentially criminalizing far too broad a range of disclosures;
  2. The intent element, acting “willfully” with “reason to believe” that the disclosure could cause damage, is too weak to meaningfully separate the evil-doer from the member of the press who is just doing his job;
  3. It does not clearly criminalize publication at all, in contrast to other more carefully-drawn laws; and
  4. The statute does not distinguish between an initial disclosure that actually reveals closely-held secrets and subsequent disclosures that do no incremental harm. By its terms, the statute makes a criminal not merely of Julian Assange (for disclosing the cables to the New York Times and other media outlets), not merely of the New York Times (for disclosing them to the general public), but of all readers of the New York Times who emailed articles to one another or “willfully” discussed the contents of the cables knowing that the government was warning what damage their disclosure was doing.
Judicial interpretation in the AIPAC cases has addressed some of these issues to some degree, but this is not controlling law–just a single district judge’s opinion. So we have a grossly overbroad statute that, if taken at face value, is exactly the Official Secrets Act this country has never had. And while everyone acknowledges it cannot be that, nobody really knows what it therefore is.
Narrowing the statute to address these problems might leave a law that looks something like this:
Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note that is properly classified and not available to the general public and, with intent that such material be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation or with reckless disregard for that possibility, willfully publishes, communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be published, communicated, delivered, or transmitted, to any person not entitled to receive it shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Such a law would be much-more-clearly constitutional than the current Espionage Act language, precisely because it would purport to cover only a far narrower range of conduct. Yet ironically, the clarity of such a law would be a disaster for the press. One of the oddities of the current Espionage Act is that its very breadth ensures its non-use against media. Because it covers so much in the way of secondary and tertiary transmission of sensitive data, it effectively covers nothing. Everyone understands that a huge range of its possible applications are unconstitutional, and nobody knows what conduct violates that core of it that could actually sustain a prosecution. Narrow it to a serious attempt at identifying that core, and you effectively legitimize the effort to use it.
Consider the decision by the New York Times to blow the SWIFT program, a matter I discussed the other day and which I think was journalistically indefensible. Under the current Espionage Act, this publication is no more obviously prosecutable than, say, the Times’s day-to-day coverage of all manner of defense issues. The Times does both willfully, after all; the information in both cases relates to the national defense; and the Times does it with knowledge that bad actors might use that information to America’s detriment. A prosecution under those circumstances would be a reckless decision; the Justice Department would not do it; and the New York Times knows that–meaning that the law as currently written offers virtually no deterrent effect.
The more narrowly-drawn statute, by contrast, would give the Times a lot to think about in the case of the conscious decision to blow a highly-sensitive covert program. And it would give prosecutors a road-map to the circumstances in which criminal charges might have legs. Would a jury find that the newspaper acted with reckless disregard for the damage it might cause to national security? Was the material, in fact, secret and legitimately so? The ironic effect of a tighter law might well be to chill more publication than does the current law–and the filing of actual criminal cases against members of the media.
Be careful what you wish for.

 Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer has delivered his strongest broadside yet against the prosecution of his client for rape and misconduct, telling an English newspaper that the case is based on lies and conscious connivance between the two women complainants. The remarks are the strongest yet made by Bjorn Hurtig, one of Sweden’s most distinguished defence lawyers, and constitute a departure from the reserve that usually characterises Swedish legal process. They come as Crikey exclusively reveals that one of Assange’s accusers has written of the need for revenge against former lovers, writing on a since-deleted blog post about revenge on cheating lovers that "Sometimes it is difficult to go on without some kind of payback"
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to find the timing of Interpol's warrant for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who turned himself in to British authorities this week, curious.

The charges - "one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape," according to a statement from Scotland Yard - were brought against him in Sweden last August, yet he suddenly graduated to "most wanted" status just after releasing over a thousand leaked diplomatic cables in late November? It would be irresponsible of journalists, bloggers and average citizens of countries most eager to plug the gushing WikiLeaks not to wonder if those dots connect.

Still, as the New York Times put it, "there is no public evidence to suggest a connection," which some members of the public seem to find unbearably frustrating. With no specific target for their suspicions and no easy way to find one, folks all over the blogosphere have been settling for the next best thing: making light of the sexual assault charges and smearing one of the alleged victims.

By Sunday, when Keith Olbermann retweeted Bianca Jagger's link to a post about the accuser's supposed CIA ties - complete with scare quotes around the word "rape" - a narrative had clearly taken hold: Whatever Assange did, it sure wasn't rape-rape. All he did was fail to wear a rubber! And one woman who claims he assaulted her has serious credibility issues anyway. She threw a party in his honour after the fact and tried to pull down the incriminating tweets. Isn't that proof enough? The only reason the charges got traction is that, in the radical feminist utopia of Sweden under Queen Lisbeth Salander, if a woman doesn't have multiple orgasms during hetero sex, the man can be charged with rape. You didn't know?

Even Naomi Wolf - Naomi Effin' Wolf! - has taken a public swipe at Assange's accusers, using her status as a "long-time feminist" to underscore the absurdity of "the alleged victims... using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings”.

Wow. Admittedly, I don't have as much experience being a feminist as Wolf has, but when I see a swarm of people with exactly zero direct access to the facts of a rape case loudly insisting that the accusation has no merit, I usually start to wonder about their credibility. And their sources.

Wolf links to exactly one, an article in British tabloid the Daily Mail. "Using a number of sources including leaked police interviews," writes Richard Pendlebury, "we can begin to piece together the sequence of events which led to Assange's liberty being threatened by Stockholm police rather than Washington, where already one US politician has called on him to be executed for 'spying'."

Well! A reasonable person might be sceptical of information coming from a single anonymous source via a publication known for highly sensationalised reporting, sure, but in this case, there are a number of them.

That Daily Mail article also helped to inspire a December 3 Gizmodo post in which Jesus Diaz boldly asserted, "While you can say Assange is a douchebag for not putting a condom on and continuing after the woman requested he use a condom, there was no rape accusation in both cases." The other source for that claim was an AOL News article that relied on (hey, look!) the same Daily Mail piece, a Swedish tabloid, and statements from Assange's lawyers to cobble together a theory of what happened and why Assange was charged. Rock solid!

To Diaz and Gizmodo's credit, they quickly posted an update upon learning that the Swedish prosecution office had "issued a notice saying that they are charging Assange with rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion." Diaz added, "Obviously, this is now a completely different issue altogether. Rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion are extremely grave accusations. This is not the 'sex by surprise' accusation that was discussed before." (I don't know that I'd go as far as "a completely different issue altogether" - Feministe's Jill Filipovic wrote a terrific explanation of why "sex by surprise" actually is a pretty big deal - but good on him for acknowledging that much.)

Still, the notion that consensual, unprotected sex equals rape in Sweden (despite millions of Swedish fathers walking around free today) continues zipping around the internet. One wonders if the statement from Swedish authorities, which elaborates that Assange is accused of "using his body weight to hold [a woman] down in a sexual manner" and having intercourse with a sleeping woman, among other things, will even slow them down.

OK, so maybe the charges really are for rape-rape, but still - the woman has CIA ties! I've read that on at least a dozen blogs! Keith Olbermann tweeted it and everything! That's got to be coming from a highly credible source, right?

Actually, as far as I can tell, the only source for that claim is an August Counterpunch articleby Assange fanboys (seriously, they recast him as Neo of "The Matrix") Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett. Here's the most damning evidence Shamir and Bennett have compiled against Assange's accuser:

1) She's published "anti-Castro diatribes" in a Swedish-language publication that, according to an Oslo professor, Michael Seltzer (who?), is "connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner," who reportedly has CIA ties. Let me repeat that: She has been published in a journal that is connected with a group that is led by a guy with CIA ties. Says this one guy.

2) "In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter." That link goes to an English translation of a Spanish article noting that at a march last spring, Posada "wander[ed] unleashed and un-vaccinated along Calle Ocho in Miami, marching alongside" - wait for it - "Gloria Estefan in support of the so-called Ladies in White." Apparently, it's "an established fact" that Posada and the Ladies also share a shady benefactor, which means he should clearly be called a "friend" of the organisation, and this is totally relevant to the rape charges against Julian Assange, because the accuser once interacted with them in some manner.

3) The accuser is a known feminist who once wrote a blog post about getting revenge on men, and "was involved in Gender Studies in Uppsala University, in charge of gender equality in the Students' Union, a junior inquisitor of sorts."

Are you kidding me? That's what we're basing the "CIA ties" meme on? An article that reads like a screenplay treatment by a college freshman who's terrified of women? Actual quote: "[T]he Matrix plays dirty and lets loose a sex bomb upon our intrepid Neo. When you can't contest the message, you smear the messenger. Sweden is tailor-made for sending a young man into a honey trap."

Look, for all I know, Assange's primary accuser does have CIA ties. Perhaps it was all a setup from the beginning. Perhaps she is lying through her teeth about the rape. Anything is possible. But in the absence of any real evidence one way or another, we're choosing to believe these guys? Or at least this guy at Firedoglake, who says he's "spent much of [his] professional life as a psychiatrist helping women (and men) who are survivors of sexual violence" - giving his post a shiny veneer of credibility, even though it's a pure regurgitation of Shamir and Bennett's - but segues from there into an indictment of the accuser's post-rape behaviour. She socialised with her attacker again! An expert like him can tell you thatreal victims never do that.

The fact is, we just don't know anything right now. Assange may be a rapist, or he may not. His accuser may be a spy or a liar or the heir to Valerie Solanas, or she might be a sexual assault victim who now also gets to enjoy having her name dragged through the mud, or all of the above. The charges against Assange may be retaliation for Cablegate or (cough) they may not.

Public evidence, as the Times noted, is scarce. So, it's heartening to see that in the absence of same, my fellow liberal bloggers are so eager to abandon any pretence of healthy scepticism and rush to discredit an alleged rape victim based on some tabloid articles and a feverish post by someone who is perhaps not the most trustworthy source.Well done, friends! What a fantastic show of research, critical thinking and, as always, respect for women.

This blog originally appeared on Salon's Broadsheet on December 7, 2010.

A World Upside Down? Deficit Fantasies in the Great Recession
Robert Johnson: Austerity and stagnation real risk to debt-to-GDP ratio
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Daughter of French right wing leader compares Muslims praying in ...
By barenakedislam
Daughter of French right wing leader compares Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation. Marine Le Pen said at a rally of the anti-immigrant National Front that there were “ten to fifteen” places in France where Muslims ...
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Daughter of French right-winger under fire for Muslim insult
Birmingham Star
This PMO = Prime minister Office New Delhi And CMO given , 60000 mental cases.... bomb blast ) (3) Mumbai Train bomb blast case of 2006 (11 July 2006) (4...

Who's White? Who's Black? Who Knows?

Never mind what you've heard. Halle Berry was not the first black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. She was actually the 74th white one. And never mind all this talk about America electing its first black President;  Barack Obama is actually the 44th white man to hold the job.

That, at any rate, is as fair a conclusion as any, given that Berry and Obama and millions like them are the products of one black parent and one white one. And yet it's a conclusion that almost no one ever reaches. Part-black generally means all-black in Americans' minds. Just as part-Asian or part-Hispanic or part-anything-else usually puts individuals in those minority-groups' camps. Such a curious bias is as old as the nation itself, and a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology illustrates just how stubborn it is — and suggests just what may be behind it. (More on They All Look the Same: How Racism Works Neurologically)
It was in 1662 that the colony of Virginia first tried to codify the legal definition of people whose racial pedigree was less than completely pure. To make things simple in a land in which plantation owners were already taking sexual liberties with their slaves, the lawmakers established what they called the "one-drop" rule — also known as hypodescent — declaring that any person with mixed blood who resulted from such a pairing would be assigned the race of the nonwhite parent.

That seemed clear enough, but things got tricky when the nonwhite ancestor was a grandparent or a great-grandparent and the minority blood became increasingly diluted. Creative legislators, however, had answers for that too. The so-called "blood-fraction" laws of 1705 ruled that anyone who was at least 1/8 black — which meant one black great grandparent —  could not be labeled white. A 1911 Arkansas law went further, declaring that citizens would be considered black if they had "any Negro blood whatever." And if you think that all that is an artifact of a less enlightened time, think again. A 1970 Louisiana law defined as black anyone who had at least 1/32 African-American blood — and in 1985, a state court upheld the legislation. (More on How Kids Get Clobbered by Racial Discrimination)

But this much can be said for the folks who wrote such nasty rules: They may have been no better than most other Americans, but they were no worse either, at least in their tendency to apply the hypodescent rule in their own minds, often unconcsiously. To test how this phenomenon applies today, a team of Harvard University psychologists led by PhD student Arnold K. Ho gathered a sample group of black, white and Asian volunteers and showed them computer-generated images of individuals designed to look either black-white or Asian-white. They also showed them family trees that depicted various degrees of racial commingling.

Repeatedly, the subjects hypodescended the individuals both in the pictures and in the diagrams, but not always consistently. People who were just one-quarter Asian or one-quarter black, for example, were overwhelmingly assigned to the minority group, but this happened somewhat less frequently for the Asians.

When the experimenters used imaging software to adjust the pictures of the mixed-race individuals subtly, the data became even more precise. On a scale of 5% white and 95% black to 95% white and 5% black, the target images generally had to cross the 68% white threshold before subjects identified the people as Caucasian. For Asian-white faces the bar was set lower — but only slightly — at 63%. And perhaps surprisingly, it was not just white subjects who showed this bias; Asians and blacks applied the one-drop rule with about the same frequency. (More on Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide?)

That last finding may be the most revealing of the study — at least in helping to determine why we assign people the identities we do. Since all humans — and most nonhumans for that matter — identify with their own clan  from infancy, you would think all races would show the same hypodescent bias in favor of their own group. The fact that nearly everyone in a mixed-race society, however, targets the same minority groups for one-drop demotion is a telling indicator that the phenomenon is learned — and powerfully so.

"When we see in our data that our own minds are limited in the perception of [bi-racial people]," says Mahzarin R. Banaji, a Harvard professor of social ethics and a co-author of the study, "we see how far we have to go in order to have an objectively accurate and fair assessment of people." It's hard to argue with qualities like fairness and objectivity in our dealings with others. In a nation that's becoming more multi-cultural and multi-racial by the day, it's hard to minimize their importance either.

by Robert Reich posted on Monday, 13 December 2010

Bill Clinton seems the perfect validator for Barack Obama — which is why the President is utilizing the former president for selling his tax deal. After all, the economy boomed when Clinton was president and 22 million net new jobs were created. What’s more, Bill Clinton was reelected — even though he lost both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterms.
But the analogy falls apart as soon as you realize Clinton’s economy was vastly different from Obama’s. The recession Clinton inherited was relatively small, and caused by the Fed raising interest rates too high to ward off inflation. So it could be reversed by the Fed lowering interest rates — as the Fed did in 1994. By 1995, the so-called “jobless recovery” had morphed into a full-blown jobs recovery. By 1996, at pollster Dick Morris’s urging, Clinton could proclaim to the American people “you’ve never had it so good, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The Great Recession has been far larger, caused not by the Fed raising interest rates but by the bursting of a giant housing bubble. In 2008, the biggest asset of most middle-class people, upon which they borrowed and that they assumed would be their nest eggs for retirmenet, collapsed. Housing prices continue to fall in most parts of the country. The Fed has lowered interest rates all it can, and unemployment remains sky high.
Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom engineered by Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who felt confident he could drop interest rates far lower than anyone expected without risking inflation. The result was 4 percent unemployment in many parts of America, as well as the best jobs recovery in history.
The price Greenspan exacted from Clinton — and a resurgent Republican congress demanded — was a balanced budget. As a result, Clinton had to give up much of his “investment agenda” in education, infrastructure, and other long-neglected means of building the productivity of average working Americans. The economy enjoyed a huge cyclical recovery.
But the economy’s underlying structure remained as it had been before, including stagnant wages for most Americans. Within a few years the middle and working class was treating their homes as ATMs, borrowing trillions of dollars in order to maintain their standard of living, and at the same time demand enough goods and services to keep almost everyone in jobs.
Those days are over. The Democratic Party can no longer ignore critical investments in the productivity of average workers. Nor can it ignore the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the very top, and the inability of America’s middle and working class to get the economy moving again.
The GOP hasn’t changed their story or their strategy since the 1990s. It’s the fault of big government. That was false then, and it’s false now. The structural problems are now much worse, and the cyclical recovery from the Great Recession pathetically anemic.
If the Democratic Party has stood for anything over the years it is to maintain and restore upward mobility for the majority of working Americans, ensure that the playing field isn’t tilted in the direction of the privileged, and limit the power of the richest among us to entrench themselves and their heirs into a semi-permanent plutocracy.
Continuing the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, including a sharp cut in the estate tax, violates these core principles. Doing so in the midst of an economic emergency that demands bold measures to rescue America’s vast middle and working class adds further insult. For President Obama and former President Clinton to tell America there’s “no other choice” or that “this is the best we can do” — when Democrats remain putatively in control of the House, Senate, and the presidency — is misleading.
I admire Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I advised the former and worked for the latter. They are good men. But they have either been outwitted by the privileged and powerful of America, or seduced by those on Wall Street and the executive suites of America into believing that the Republican nostrums are necessary, or succumbed Democratic advisors who think in terms of small-bore tactics rather than large and principled strategies.
I urge congressional Democrats to remember the larger principles — not in order to be purist or make the perfect the enemy of the better, but to move toward an economy and a society that we believe in, that reflects the needs of the vast majority of Americans at this difficult time.
Robert Reich : Republished with permission from Robert Reich’s blog.

No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted : By Chris Hedges
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The site, which "Israeli" media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the 200 soldiers listed as "war criminals". The list also included the home addresses, ...Uprooted Palestinians -

12-7-10 US Response to Wikileaks: Diplomacy as Another Means of Warfare-

By Debra Sweet

From World Can't Wait | Original Article

Update to article below (which is dated 12/6/10):  World Can't Wait has put a big part of our efforts in 2010 to promoting the revelations brought forth (note url change) as a means of exposing the illegitimate US occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan.  The latest "Cablegate" release is so important in understanding how the US uses diplomacy as a means of global domination, that the wrath of the US and all its allies has come down on Julian Assange & Wikileaks.

Developments today include that Assange has been taken into custody by British authorities under an arrest warrant from Interpol, sought by the Swedish authorities. I understand that US media such as NBC said that Assange was "found" after a "manhunt" to "face charges."  He was not hiding, as his lawyers repeatedly stated, and until yesterday, there was no arrest warrant.  There still are no charges, as he's being sought only for questioning.

But, as Glenn Greenwald says today of the attack on Wikileaks: "Look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet… their funds have been frozen… media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose—which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions."

Our concern is that Sweden will win extradition, and the US will snatch Assange to carry out its mission, stated last week by Attorney General Holder, to change whatever laws need to be changed to stop Wikileaks' exposure, and also that Assange may be killed, frankly.   The very bad decision today from the US District Court in Washington D.C. on the ACLU/Center for Constitutional Rights challenge to the Obama administration's use of extrajudicial targeted killing indicates it's likely that the government will carry out such threats to Anwar al-Aulaqi and others.

Can  you imagine the conversation in the Obama administration since the cables have been released by   Attorney General Eric Holder, who can’t find a reason to prosecute anyone for actual torture, says ominously, referring to the legal difficulties in possible U.S. prosecution of Julian Assange,
“To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation.”
But Robert Gates, whose Pentagon has been threatening Wikileaks openly since the Afghan War Diaries release in July, said on November 30:

“I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought… Many governments — some governments — deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation…Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.’’

The refrain from the government goes: Wikileaks is guilty of terrible crimes which “endanger national security;” they have blood on their hands…but, for damage control purposes, it’s not such a big deal when what they revealed.  Yet pressure was placed on this week to remove Wikileaks from its servers.  The site is up now, after being removed from’s servers Wednesday December 1.

The Department of Justice no doubt exerted pressure on Interpol to put out a warrant for Julian Assange on sexual misconduct charges from a prosecutor in Sweden that have been off and on again.  Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s British attorneys, said the warrant from Sweden was highly unusual for the charges, and that Assange is not in hiding, but is taking care of his personal safety, given threats by people in power against him.  See more today on Democracy Now.

Glenn Greenwald, on writes about the kinds of attacks on Assange and takes them on:

“The group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process.  There was Sarah Palin on on Twitter illiterately accusing WikiLeaks — a stateless group run by an Australian citizen — of “treason”; she thereafter took to her Facebook page to object that Julian Assange was “not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” (she also lied by stating that he has “blood on his hands”:  a claim which even thePentagon admits is untrue).  Townhall’s John Hawkins has a column this morning entitled ”5 Reasons The CIA Should Have Already Killed Julian Assange.”  That Assange should be treated as a “traitor” and murdered with no due process has been strongly suggested if not outright urged by the likes of Marc ThiessenSeth Lipsky (with Jeffrey Goldberg posting Lipsky’s column and also illiterately accusing Assange of “treason”), Jonah GoldbergRep. Pete King, and, today,The Wall Street Journal.

Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves — eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.”

In addition to the New York Times and other US mainstream media who are spinning the story of the cables in support of US domination of other countries, there are journalists analyzing the content of the cable leaks from the standpoint of justice.  Scott Horton, on Democracy Now December 1, talked about what was revealed over the last years, when the U.S. strongly pressured Spain not to prosecute Bush regime officials over rendition and indefinite detention.  Democracy Now summarizes:

U.S. officials were especially alarmed when prosecutors in Spain and Germany began comparing notes on their investigations into CIA extraordinary rendition flights. U.S. officials said, quote,  ‘This co-ordination among independent investigators will complicate our efforts to manage this case at a discreet government-to-government level.’  The investigation in Germany was in regard to the CIA abduction and rendition of German citizen Khaled El-Masri. He was wrongly abducted and flown to Afghanistan, where he was held for months without charge. When it looked like 13 CIA agents might be charged in the case, the U.S. embassy in Berlin stepped in and, according to one leaked cable, threatened, quote, that ‘issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship.’

Gareth Porter dug into the disinformation U.S. diplomats put out on Iran in Russians Refuted U.S. Claim of Iranian Missile Threat to Europe. Glen Ford takes apart US policy towards Iran in American Racism on Display in WikiLeaks Iran Cable:

Jeremy Scahill, this morning on Democracy Now, spoke to the open lies of the United States, specifically the Obama administration, in denying that the U.S. has military operations going on now in Pakistan.  The cables show otherwise.  Democracy Now.  Scahill exposes the Pakistani government’s blatant lies to its own people, while the U.S. behind the scenes, orchestrates two drone programs in Pakistan, allegedly a sovereign country.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and Brad Manning – whose execution is now being demanded by Mike Huckabee — must be defended, as a really key part of our movement to end the wars and war crimes.   This is just the beginning, on both sides of this battle over truth and empire.

We — all of us– need to keep digging into those cables and exposing the real crimes they cover.

I signed this statement, New Evidence Demands End to Wars, and urge you to come out to The White House on Thursday, December 16.


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