Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There Is A Real Need For An American Backbone And Uprising

There Is A Real Need For An American Backbone And Uprising

By Naomi Wolf

December 10, 2010 "
Huffington Post" -- This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They bothinvoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans' ignorance of their own history -- an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act -- a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used -- was designed deliberately to be used -- specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.

The Espionage Act was crafted in 1917 -- because President Woodrow Wilson wanted a war and, faced with the troublesome First Amendment, wished to criminalize speech critical of his war. In the run-up to World War One, there were many ordinary citizens -- educators, journalists, publishers, civil rights leaders, union activists -- who were speaking out against US involvement in the war. The Espionage Act was used to round these citizens by the thousands for the newly minted 'crime' of their exercising their First Amendment Rights. A movie producer who showed British cruelty in a film about the Revolutionary War (since the British were our allies in World War I) got a ten-year sentence under the Espionage act in 1917, and the film was seized; poet E.E. Cummings spent three and a half months in a military detention camp under the Espionage Act for the 'crime' of saying that he did not hate Germans. Esteemed Judge Learned Hand wrote that the wording of the Espionage Act was so vague that it would threaten the American tradition of freedom itself. Many were held in prison for weeks in brutal conditions without due process; some, in Connecticut -- Lieberman's home state -- were severely beaten while they were held in prison. The arrests and beatings were widely publicized and had a profound effect, terrorizing those who would otherwise speak out.

Presidential candidate Eugene Debs received a ten-year prison sentence in 1918 under the Espionage Act for daring to read the First Amendment in public. The roundup of ordinary citizens -- charged with the Espionage Act -- who were jailed for daring to criticize the government was so effective in deterring others from speaking up that the Act silenced dissent in this country for a decade. In the wake of this traumatic history, it was left untouched -- until those who wish the same outcome began to try to reanimate it again starting five years ago, and once again, now. Seeing the Espionage Act rise up again is, for anyone who knows a thing about it, like seeing the end of a horror movie in which the zombie that has enslaved the village just won't die.

I predicted in 2006 that the forces that wish to strip American citizens of their freedoms, so as to benefit from a profitable and endless state of war -- forces that are still powerful in the Obama years, and even more powerful now that the Supreme Court decision striking down limits on corporate contributions to our leaders has taken effect -- would pressure Congress and the White House to try to breathe new life yet again into the terrifying Espionage Act in order to silence dissent. In 2005, Bush tried this when the New York Times ran its exposé of Bush's illegal surveillance of banking records -- the SWIFT program. This report was based, as is the WikiLeaks publication, on classified information. Then, as now, White House officials tried to invoke the Espionage Act against the New York Times. Talking heads on the right used language such as 'espioinage' and 'treason' to describe the Times' release of the story, and urged that Bill Keller be tried for treason and, if found guilty, executed. It didn't stick the first time; but, as I warned, since this tactic is such a standard part of the tool-kit for closing an open society -- 'Step Ten' of the 'Ten Steps' to a closed society: 'Rename Dissent 'Espionage' and Criticism of Government, 'Treason' -- I knew, based on my study of closing societies, that this tactic would resurface.

Let me explain clearly why activating -- rather than abolishing -- the Espionage Act is an act of profound aggression against the American people. We are all Julian Assange. Serious reporters discuss classified information every day -- go to any Washington or New York dinner party where real journalists are present, and you will hear discussion of leaked or classified information. That is journalists' job in a free society. The White House, too, is continually classifying and declassifying information.

As I noted in The End of America, if you prosecute journalists -- and Assange, let us remember, is the New York Times in the parallel case of the Pentagon Papers, not Daniel Ellsberg; he is the publisher, not the one who revealed the classified information -- then any outlet, any citizen, who discusses or addresses 'classified' information can be arrested on 'national security' grounds. If Assange can be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, then so can the New York Times; and the producers of Parker Spitzer, who discussed the WikiLeaks material two nights ago; and the people who posted a mirror WikiLeaks site on my Facebook 'fan' page; and Fox News producers, who addressed the leak and summarized the content of the classified information; and every one of you who may have downloaded information about it; and so on. That is why prosecution via the Espionage Act is so dangerous -- not for Assange alone, but for every one of us, regardless of our political views.

This is far from a feverish projection: if you study the history of closing societies, as I have, you see that every closing society creates a kind of 'third rail' of material, with legislation that proliferates around it. The goal of the legislation is to call those who criticize the government 'spies', 'traitors', enemies of the state' and so on. Always the issue of national security is invoked as the reason for this proliferating legislation. The outcome? A hydra that breeds fear. Under similar laws in Germany in the early thirties, it became a form of 'espionage' and 'treason' to criticize the Nazi party, to listen to British radio programs, to joke about the fuhrer, or to read cartoons that mocked the government. Communist Russia in the 30's, East Germany in the 50's, and China today all use parallel legislation to call criticism of the government -- or whistleblowing -- 'espionage' and 'treason', and 'legally' imprison or even execute journalists, editors, and human rights activists accordingly.

I call on all American citizens to rise up and insist on repeal of the Espionage Act immediately. We have little time to waste. The Assange assault is theater of a particularly deadly kind, and America will not recover from the use of the Espionage Act as a cudgel to threaten journalists, editors and news outlets with. I call on major funders of Feinstein's and Lieberman;s campaigns to put their donations in escrow accounts and notify the staffers of those Senators that the funds willonly be released if they drop their traitorous invocation of the Espionage Act. I call on all Americans to understand once for all: this is not about Julian Assange. This, my fellow citizens, is about you.

Those calling for Julian Assange's criminalization include:
1. Rep. Candice Miller
2. Jonah Goldberg, Journalist
3. Christian Whiton, Journalist
4. Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Journalist
5. Sarah Palin, Member of the Republican Party, former candidate
6. Mike Huckabee, Politician
8. Prof. Tom Flanagan
9. Rep. Peter King
10. Tony Shaffer
11. Rick Santorum
12. Rep. Dan Lugren
13. Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Journalist The Washington Times
14. Rep. Virginia Foxx
15. Sen. Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
16. Sen. Joe Liberman
17. Sen. Charles Schumer
18. Marc Thiessen, Columnist

Protest Against The War, With Civil Disobedience-- Thursday, Dec. 16, At The Whitehouse

OpEdNews.com will be there, covering the action and pre-action talks by Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, Margaret Flowers and others. Do you think the mainstream media will even give it a mention? Let's hope so. Details below.

An Urgent Call for help

I am reprinting my request for help that I posted yesterday because my concerns are still the same. Thanks to those who responded yesterday. 

I am getting nervous this month about OpEdNews. We're already at the 13th and are about $1000 behind, and historically, as we get closer to Christmas, donations drop off. Please take a moment to help keep our holiday green with your donation. This is a time when we need to be fighting the powers that are darkening America's future, not worrying about paying bills. It is URGENT that we see your support, your financial support. We know not everyone can give, but most can afford $5. Some can afford $50 or $250 or more. Please dig deep and help. Click here to make a donation to OpEdNews today... because were fighting for your values.

For more information: before 12/16: Mike Ferner, 419-360-3621; Elaine Brower, 917-520-0767
on 12/16: Ellen Davidson, 917-297-8076 


News conference Wednesday, Dec. 15, 3:00 p.m., Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW #600

Featuring Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers; Mike Ferner, Veterans For Peace National President; Leah Bolger, Veterans For Peace Vice-President and retired Navy Commander; Mike Prysner, Iraq vet and co-founder of March Forward!; Ray McGovern, retired CIA official. 

WASHINGTON, DC--Military veterans will lead a nonviolent act of civil resistance at the White House

Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10:00 a.m. to protest the ongoing U.S. wars and occupations. Veterans For Peace (VFP)
organizers expect this to be the largest veteran-led resistance since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. 

Veterans are ready to risk their own personal liberty and are calling on others to do the same.

VFP President Mike Ferner sent a letter to President Obama Dec. 3, saying: "We will come in person to the White House to meet with you or until we are dragged away in full view of our nation and the world--military veterans, carrying their nation's flag, seeking a meeting with their President in the season of peace."

"We have killed over a million innocent people in these wars and made millions more homeless," says the former Navy hospital corpsman, adding "Millions of Americans are out of work and literally out in the cold. 

Clearly, our war economy values empire and death over jobs and real security. We are taking a stand for peace. The troops, mercenaries and drones must come home now!"

After a brief rally at Lafayette Park, veterans and supporters from around the country will proceed to the White House to deliver postcards to the President from thousands of Americans who want these wars stopped.

Rally speakers will include Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame; Ray McGovern, retired CIA analyst; Mr. Ferner; Chris Hedges, author and former New York Times war correspondent; Mike Prysner, Iraq vet and co- founder, March Forward!; and Dr. Margaret Flowers, Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program. The speakers will then join the other resisters at the White House.

"The purpose of this demonstration is simple and clear. We are showing that resistance to these wars and occupations will continue until they are ended--whether those wars are conducted by soldiers, mercenaries or drones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Yemen," declared Elaine Brower, antiwar military mom and one of the event's main organizers.

"Children are being orphaned, maimed or killed every day, in our name, with our tax dollars; soldiers and civilians die in order to generate profits for the corporate war machine that is draining the country dry," said an anguished Tarak Kauff, former U.S. Army paratrooper. "How long are we going to let this go on?"


Veterans For Peace is a national organization that since 1985 has been dedicated to exposing the true costs of war and militarism. Its members are from all eras and conflicts including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans For Peace, 314-725-6005, veteransforpeace.orgstopthesewars.org

Wikileaks Roundup: Assange Granted Bail But Still Jailed, 3 Hackers Arrested, Air Force Blocks Access To Cables

December 14, 2010 | Dean Takahashi
The WikiLeaks news continued to churn out new items today. First, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was ordered released on bail by a judge in England today. But Assange remained in jail as Swedish authorities decided to fight the judge’s decision to grant bail.
Assange is being held on charges that he sexually assaulted two Swedish women. During the hearing, the chief magistrate, Howard Riddle, agreed that reporters could send tweets as long as they did so quietly and did not disturb the court. Bail has been set at 200,000 pounds.
Also, three hackers were arrested in the wake of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the web sites of companies that cut WikiLeaks loose in the face of official pressure. Authorities found the name of designer Alex Tapanaris embedded in a PDF press release that was purported to come from the hacker group Anonymous, which launched the cyber attacks. Tapanaris’s web site was taken down and he was reported to have been arrested. Other hackers with ties to Anonymous were reportedly arrested in the Netherlands. Their identities may have been given away by the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) software — which was used to carry out the attacks — had user information with it.
Two teens have been arrested for sure, including a 16-year-old from The Hague who was allegedly involved inOperation Payback, which was the name of the revenge campaign to get back at WikiLeaks’ former partners such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. The second Dutch teen arrested was Martijn Gonlag of Hoogezand-Sappemeer. The timeline for the attacks has been kept at the PandaLabs blog.  WikiLeaks got hit with cyber attacks first and then Anonymous announced retaliation. Given the nature of the arrests, it’s not clear if we’re in the midst of a full-blown cyber war or if the attacks are the work of a small group.
Lastly, the U.S. Air Force blocked access to the New York Times to prevent personnel from reading the WikiLeaks cables that the New york Times is publishing. It’s also blocking publications such as the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, and Der Spiegel on Air Force computers. Of course, this is a losing game, as there are a lot of other sites that are running copies of WikiLeaks content. Wired rightly said this was like trying to put toothpaste back into a tube.

By Rob Kall
Poodle Journalism for Crying Wolf Hysterics
mainstream media operations or trained poodles dancing on short leashes for hysterical power holders, be the military, Whitehouse, congressional, Vatican. I call the power holders hysterical because, when they claim that lives will be lost because Julian Assange brings the ugly lies, misstatements, perversions, abuses of justice and petty, childish machinations of people of power, they are making it up, throwing hissy fits
By Kathy Malloy
Gone With The Republic
Neocons don't assume (official) Congressional control until January, but it feels they've been pulling the President's strings on issue after issue since near the beginning of his term. We need strong leadership now, not next week, next month, or next year.

By Kevin Zeese
War Effects Everything
War is killing us, says Margaret Flowers, we need to join together to end it. Join us in Washington, DC on December 16th at the White House. Visit Veterans for Peace.org for details

By Kevin Zeese
Prominent Americans Oppose Prosecution and Extradition of Assange
Americans need to organize to defend our right to know the truth about what the US government is doing in our name. The attack on WikiLeaks is an attack on the truth. Join us at WikiLeaks Is Democracy.

Hedges: Every Act of Rebellion Helps Tear Down Our Corrupt, Sick System
Hope and justice live when people, even in tiny numbers, stand up and fight for them. READ MORE

How the Pentagon Turns Working-Class Men into the Deadliest Killers on the Planet
An excerpt from antiwar activist Swanson's new book, War Is a Lie. READ MORE

Are the Cyber Battles with the Enemies of WikiLeaks the New Civil Disobedience?
Are distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks a legitimate and effective form of protest? READ MORE

Why Are the Feds Cultivating Their Own "Homegrown Terrorists"?
High profile domestic terrorism plots appear to have increased in recent months, but they’ve been largely concocted.READ MORE

How Glenn Beck's Twisted Worldview Goads Disturbed People into Acts of Violence
Glenn Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric has been tied to a number of violent attacks and threats against Beck's targets and other public figures. READ MORE

By Kevin Drum | Mother Jones

In Tapes, Nixon Rails About Jews and Blacks

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Richard M. Nixon made disparaging remarks about Jews, blacks, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans in a series of extended conversations with top aides and his personal secretary, recorded in the Oval Office 16 months before he resigned as president.

·         VIDEO: Newly Released Nixon Tapes

The remarks were contained in 265 hours of recordings, captured by the secret taping system Nixon had installed in the White House and released this week by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
While previous recordings have detailed Nixon’s animosity toward Jews, including those who served in his administration like Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, these tapes suggest an added layer of complexity to Nixon’s feeling. He and his aides seem to make a distinction between Israeli Jews, whom Nixon admired, and American Jews.

 Tea Party Nation President Calls For Palin To Lead A ‘Conservative Takeover’ Of The RNC As Its Next Chair

After a two-year tenure marked by embarrassing gaffes and financial woes, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele may soon be ousted in an upcoming RNC election, which has already attracted several candidates, including a pharmaceutical lobbyist and a man who has defended a white nationalist. But Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips doesn’t like the current field. In email to supporters today, the major tea party leader called for a “solid conservative take over the RNC,” explaining, “We must rescue the RNC and the party from those who would make this party Socialist-lite.”
The only person for the job, Phillips concluded, is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom he is hoping to draft into a run for chairman. In an open letter to Palin included in the email, Phillips pleaded with her to run, suggesting that no less than “the survival of our country” is on the line:
We are in a fight for the survival of our country. [...]
We need you as Chairman of the RNC. You have shown in the past no hesitation to take on the establishment. You did it in Alaska. If we end up with establishment control of the GOP and their support for an establishment candidate in 2012, Obama and the socialists will have won. An establishment candidate will not work to repeal Obamacare and the other programs Obama, Pelosi and Reid have put in place. We need someone who will put conservatives in control of the party apparatus, not RINOs. [...]
Finally, you are a superstar. You have an unbelievable ability to light up a crowd and to raise money. Both of which the Republican Party needs. Something is really wrong with the GOP when the RNC cannot fund a get out the vote campaign for mid-term elections. The GOP needs a conservative who can raise money and energize the troops. You are the only one out there with these unique talents.
Back in April, Palin expressed her support for Steele and said he was doing “a great job” as RNC chair. For his part, Steele has rushed to defend Palin in the midst of criticism she has faced from Republican leaders, telling them to “chill out.”
In his letter, Phillips explained that the letter would be sent to Palin “in the next few days” and encouraged supporters to build a movement to draft her. But the email also serves to suggest than anyone short of a far-right tea party conservative as chairman would be unacceptable to the tea party movement. Of course, if Palin did run — and win — the chairmanship, that would likely complicate or prevent an expected presidential bid in 2012.

Lowering Workers' Wages Is The Objective

  allowfullscreen="true"> More at The Real News

Leo Panitch: Big Business Opposed To Government Jobs Programs, As Their Objective Is To Drive Wages Down Through Fear And Global Competition


Net neutrality proponents declare current rules "unfit" for adoption by FCC

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/14/2010 7:37:20 PM

A quartet of network neutrality proponents led by MoveOn.org say they would rather the FCC do nothing than adopt the chairman's current compromise proposal to expand and codify network neutrality guidelines.

While industry players have reluctantly signed on to the compromise as an alternative to the "nuclear option" of Title Ii reclassification, MoveOn, ColorOfChange.org. CREDO Action and Progressive Change Campaign Committee say that it is Title II or nothing.

That came in letters to both FCC Chairman Julius Genachowksi and Title II fan Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps. They ask Copps to vote against the rules, saying that "In their current state, they are unfit for adoption by the Federal Communications Commission."

Copps has indicated there needed to be some changes to language in the draft order and that his vote is not a lock.

"[N]o acceptable proposal can permit paid prioritization; can exempt wireless broadband from the protections offered for wireline; nor can it move forward without reclassifying broadband, providing the legal footing required by the courts for implementation." they told Copps. They were pretty much preaching to the choir since Copps has expressed concerns about all those issues as well, though it is unclear whether that would translate to a no vote--or more likely a no "signal" to the chairman that would trigger a withdrawal of the item from the Dec. 21 agenda.

"In his relentless search for the path of least resistance, Chairman Genachowski has proposed a set of rules that, if adopted, would normalize ISPs' ability to discriminate between sources and types of content. The Chairman's proposal appears to be a collection of safe-harbors requested by the largest carriers, rather than rule to benefit average citizens. And by eschewing reclassification under Title II, the Chairman all but guarantees the courts will strike down the regulations," they wrote.

The chairman has not closed the Title II reclassification docket, which could leave a fallback position if the Title I route did get hung up in court.

The groups were equally unequivocal in their direct appeal to Genachowski. Saying his proposal as drafted would "doing irreparable harm to America's broadband infrastructure," they said it was "critical that the FCC not lend its credibility to such anti-consumer practices," and added that, "from our perspective, to do nothing would be better than to adopt the current set of rules."


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