|Progressive Calendar 11.20.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 08:54:27 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.20.08 1. Bus to GA 11.20 4pm 2. Eagan peace vigil 11.20 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 11.20 5pm 4. Afghanistan 11.20 7pm 5. Rethinking 9/11 11.20 7pm 6. Porn/Jensen 11.20 7pm 7. Hack alert 11.20 7:30pm 8. Amnesty Intl 11.20 7:15pm 9. $$ crash/KFAI 11.21 11am 10. Porn/Jensen 11.21 3:30pm 11. Torture school 11.21 12. Margaret Kimberley - Obama and Lieberman: two of a kind 13. Michael Collins - The Money Party/Joe Lieberman/collective amnesia 14. John R. MacArthur - Rahm Emanuel's political pirouettes 15. Mario Murillo - Holder, Chiquita and Colombia paramilitaries 16. Tom Burghardt - Repressing dissent at the RNC 17. ed - Lexicographers (poem) --------1 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Bus to GA 11.20 4pm Thursday, 11/20, 4 pm, bus leaves Augsburg College for School of Americas vigil in Georgia, to return 11/24. Cost around $120 for the bus (camping while there). 5 to 8 spots open as of this writing. Contact Nathan Barrett at barrettn [at] augsburg.edu or 612-229-9571. --------2 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 11.20 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 11.20 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 17-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Afghanistan 11.20 7pm Ghafar Lakanwal: "Afghanistan: Past, Present and Future" Thursday November 20, 7:00 p.m. Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701 36th Avenue North (corner of Boone), New Hope. Ghafar Lakanwal, Executive Director of the MultiCultural Development Center, will speak on Afghanistan. He is the former Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Afghan Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Lakanwal was born and raised in Afghanistan, imprisoned there, and sought and obtained asylum in the United States in 1988. He is Muslim and became a U.S. citizen in 1996. Afghanistan is going to be an essential part of U.S. foreign policy in the years ahead. This program is free and open to all. Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call Eileen, 763-545-2296 or email <nwn4p [at] yahoo.com>. --------5 of 17-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] UMN.EDU> Subject: Rethinking 9/11 11.20 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin) Park in church lot. Thursday, November 20, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. RETHINKING 9/11 Rethinking 9/11 is a compelling 60-minute documentary that presents photographic and other evidence regarding the fall of World Trade Center Tower No. 7 and other issues that make the official story of 9/11 very unlikely. It pays particular attention to behind the scenes activities of intelligence agencies from at least four countries and references other videos and documentaries in detail. For example, members of Israel's Mossad were present at the scene on 9/11; and some money for Al Qaeda came from Saudi sources through Pakistan's ISI (Interservice Intelligence Agency). Presenter: PROFESSOR MICHAEL ANDREGG. Dr. Andregg has been the Director of Ground Zero Minnesota since 1982, an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota since 1981, and an adjunct professor of justice and peace studies at the University of St. Thomas since 1993. He is an internationally recognized expert on intelligence operations, the author of the award-winning book, On the Causes of War, and the producer of scores of videos, including approximately fifty for the TV series, Rethinking the World. --------6 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Porn/Jensen 11.20 7pm NOV.20 Macalester, NOV. 21 Augsburg screening of film PRICE OF PLEASURE w/talk by Robert Jensen (more on film after event info) Screening of "The Price of Pleasure" and discussion THUR.NOV. 20, 7pm Macalester College Olin Rice Building Rm 250, Screening of film "The Price of Pleasure" http://thepriceofpleasure.com/ with remarks by Robert Jensen and discussion http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html **The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships** Directed and Produced by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun Co-Writer and Associate Producer: Robert Wosnitzer Once relegated to the margins of society, pornography has become one of the most visible and profitable sectors of the cultural industries in the United States. It is estimated that the pornography industry's annual revenue has reached $13 billion. At the same time, the content of pornography has become more aggressive, more overtly sexist and racist. The film features the voices of consumers, critics, and pornography producers and performers. It is particularly revealing when male pornographers openly discuss their views about women and how men should relate to them, and when male and female porn users candidly discuss the role pornography has played in shaping their sexual imaginations and relationships. The film paints both a nuanced and complex portrait of how pleasure and pain, commerce and power, and liberty and responsibility are intertwined in the most intimate aspects of human relations. At the same time, the film examines the unprecedented role that commercial pornography now occupies in U.S. popular culture. Going beyond the debate of liberal versus conservative so common in the culture, The Price of Pleasure provides a holistic understanding of pornography as it debunks common myths about the genre. The film features interviews with scholars of mass media (Gail Dines and Robert Jensen), economics (Richard Wolff), and psychology (Dr. Ana Bridges); writers on pornography and popular culture (Ariel Levy and Pamela Paul); producers and performers from the pornography industry (John Stagliano, Joanna Angel and Ernest Greene); and a former stripper/porn performer-turned-author (Sarah Katherine Lewis). --------7 of 17-------- From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com> Subject: Hack alert 11.20 7:30pm [Blodgett is a DFL hack, not a progressive; but it is a chance to confront him and his supporters at the meeting. -ed] MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE : For Immediate Distribution : Wellstone Action Executive Director Jeff Blodgett leads a post-election debrief and discusses his book Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way (University of Minnesota Press)--7:30pm, Thursday, November 20 at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Blodgett worked on Amy Klobuchar's election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. MAGERS AND QUINN BOOKSELLERS 3038 HENNEPIN AVENUE SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS MN --------8 of 17-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 11.20 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, November 20th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------9 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: $$ crash/KFAI 11.21 11am FRI.NOV.21.11am FINANCIAL MESS on KFAI Radio's "Catalyst:politics & culture" hosted by Lydia Howell Karen Redleaf, a people's economist who quit being working on a hedge fund 10 years ago in disgust, gives a preview of her CRASH COURSE ON THE CRASH talk (event info below). She talks about some of the reasons we're in this financial mess, subprime mortgages, and the various legalized scams & outright fraud - that continues with the Wall Street bailout. KFAI 90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm live streaming & archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at CATALYST page at http://www.kfai.org Event: SAT.Nov. 22, 2pm to 4pm: CRASH COURSE ON THE CRASH with KAREN REDLEAF and a panel of impacted communities. WALKER CHURCH, 3104 16th Ave,S,m Minneapolis FREE --------10 of 17-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Porn/Jensen 11.21 3:30pm November 21: Anne Pederson Women's Resource Center Feminist Friday Film: "The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality, and Relationships." The showing of the film will be accompanied by specials guests, Robert Jensen, anti-pornography and anti-prostitution activist and writer, and Renegade Evolution, sex worker, sex workers' rights activist, and blogger. Discussion with special guests will follow the film. 3:30-5:30 PM at Augsburg College in Science 123. --------11 of 17-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Torture school 11.21 Vigil: Close the School of the Americas November 21 to 23 Fort Benning, Georgia. Join torture survivors, community organizers, and social justice activists from across the Americas and converge at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, to start building the world that we hope for. The annual November vigil to close the School of the Americas is an opportunity for the progressive movement to push for the closure of the (SOA/WHINSEC) and to set an agenda for a new direction in U.S. foreign policy. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit <www.soawatch.org>. --------12 of 17-------- Obama and Lieberman: Two of a Kind by Margaret Kimberley November 19th, 2008 Dissident Voice Connecticut's Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman is an unrepentant proponent of United States government terror. He was enthusiastically in favor of the occupation of Iraq, advocating for war even before George W. Bush became president. Lieberman is the most vocal cheer leader for war against Iran, telling shameful lies about that nation in hopes of seeing the United States and Israel carry out a military attack. He is openly contemptuous of the rest of the Democratic Party, literally kissing Bush on the lips at the 2006 State of the Union address. Whatever else may be said about him, Lieberman is not stupid. When he embarked on his plan to endorse John McCain, and disparage Barack Obama, his party's nominee, he did so believing that he would not pay a price for his actions. So great was Lieberman's confidence in his untouchability, that McCain considered choosing him as a running mate instead of Sarah Palin. Despite giving aid and comfort to the Republican party, Lieberman will remain a member of the Democrat Senate caucus that doesn't even need his votes any more. There will be at least 57 Democratic Senators, more than enough to move any agenda that its members are willing to support. Barack Obama, now de facto party chief, gave the signal that Lieberman be spared the punishment he deserves. Not only would Democrats be right to toss Lieberman out of their caucus, but his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security committee should also come to an end. The neo-con Democrat hung on to his seat in 2006 after losing a primary and running as an independent. He emerged victorious only because he lied to Connecticut's voters. He lied about wanting to end the Iraq occupation and he lied when he said he would investigate Bush administration handling of the response to hurricane Katrina. Lieberman wasted no time in returning to form after he won re-election. He declared that investigating Katrina would be "a waste of Congress' time". When even Republicans ran from openly pro-war stances, Lieberman insisted that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. Like any wrong doer who goes unpunished, Lieberman's behavior grew more brazen over time. He endorsed John McCain and spoke on his behalf at the republican convention. "Lieberman's behavior grew more brazen over time". Obama's victory should have been the nail in Lieberman's coffin. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the authority to immediately strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Instead of doing what he has the power to do on his own, he told an outright lie, "Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase, Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut". After saying those words with a straight face, he punted to the rest of the Democrats in the Senate. A secret ballot vote will determine Lieberman's fate as the Homeland Security Chairman. Only two Democrats, Vermonters Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, have publicly stated that they will vote to oust Lieberman. The few who will speak publicly are all suffering from weak spine disease. They concede that Joe did the party wrong, but are unwilling to act against him. If Reid will not do the right thing, his colleagues are unlikely to as well. It is amusing to watch "progressives" express shock and horror at the sight of Lieberman's victory over Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats. They rant and rail against the perfidy of their leaders and wonder why Obama lets Lieberman off the hook so easily. As always, the explanation for seemingly irrational behavior is quite obvious. Lieberman's supporters have the deepest pockets of all Democratic party supporters. Simply put, there is money behind Lieberman, lots of money. Barack Obama knows this better than anyone. When he entered the Senate as a freshman in 2005 he chose Joseph Lieberman as his mentor. The following year Obama endorsed Lieberman when he faced his primary challenge. It seemed incongruous for a politician thought of as a progressive to support the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. "There is money behind Lieberman, lots of money". How better to make the case with wealthy Democratic neo-cons than to cozy up to Holy Joe? Anyone serious about becoming president must have their support and the Lieberman stamp of approval surely gave Obama entre to sources of funding he would not have had otherwise. The two men are equally cynical. Obama got over any hurt feelings he may have had when he remembered how Lieberman helped him amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time. If he acts against him now, he risks the wrath of the same check bundlers he, Reid and the rest of the party still need. Lieberman's motives are simple. He believes in America's war of terror, and in the "special relationship" with Israel. He wanted to make sure that the confident black man didn't forget who was boss. If McCain won, Lieberman would be in the catbird seat. If McCain lost, he was still in the catbird seat with the full knowledge that the Democrats would be afraid to touch him. No need to ask why Lieberman is still sitting pretty. If Obama won't touch him, and Reid won't touch him, then his gambit will likely pay off. Their mutual cynicism got both men what they wanted. They will now live happily ever after. Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached at: Margaret.Kimberley [at] BlackAgendaReport.Com. --------13 of 17-------- Triumph of the Money Party Joe Lieberman & the Collective Amnesia by Michael Collins November 19th, 2008 Dissident Voice The full exoneration of a clear traitor to the Democratic Party predicts how Congress will treat the dire challenges facing the country. There will be little is no opposition to the arranged marriage between corporate and government interests. There will be no remedies for the problems that were created as a result of this arrangement. There will be no accountability for the crimes committed over the past eight years. The looting of the United States Treasury will continue. And the projection of power in behalf of corporate interests will continue when needed, unopposed, without regard to the well being of the nation as a whole or the interests of citizens. The Senate cave-in is a paradigm for past behavior by corporatist Democrats in both houses of Congress. Lieberman's retention of his committee chairmanship and caucus membership is all the proof we need that a majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus finds nothing objectionable to a member actively campaigning for the Republican nominee for president, live and in person. It doesn't matter that Lieberman dismissed the Democratic nominee's qualifications to be president. Could they be any more obvious? Lieberman spoke in support of Senator McCain's candidacy in prime time at the Republican convention. He derided the importance of parties by saying, "But when they (citizens) look to Washington, all too often they don't see their leaders coming together to tackle these problems. Instead, they see Democrats and Republicans fighting each other, rather than fighting for the American people". This description of party conflict is a total lie as Lieberman well knows. The tyrant Bush got nearly everything he asked for from Congress without any noticeable opposition, even after the Democrats assumed the majority in 2006. Lieberman went on to remind the assembled that George Washington had warned of the dangers of political parties. Then he told the audience, "Well, I'll tell you what: I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party". By implication, he argued that President-elect Obama did not put country before party. What country is Lieberman talking about? Is it the country that saw nearly a trillion dollars (and counting) given away to corporate failures on Wall Street while millions lose their homes? Is it the country that was tricked into supporting an invasion of Iraq to catch someone in Afghanistan? Wasn't this the invasion that precipitated events resulting in the death of 1.2 million Iraqi civilians, caused tens of thousands of deaths and injuries to U.S. soldiers, and began the road to bankruptcy? Is it the country that was attacked on 9/11 that never saw a real investigation other than the one choreographed by Condoleezza Rice's former collaborator. It is certainly the country in which the majority of citizens have little say while their government is looted by the corporate elite represented by Lieberman and those who endorse him. He does well by his friends. When the Enron scandal broke and tens of thousands lost billions in that pyramid scheme, Lieberman's Senate committee was in charge of investigating. But as The New York Times pointed out, Lieberman: "[R]eceived $25,000 from Enron. Critics have also pointed out that Citigroup, Enron's largest lender, is Mr. Lieberman's top donor, giving his campaigns $112,000 since 1997, campaign records show. A longtime Republican strategist put it this way, "Lieberman'.s problem is simple - Enron's biggest creditor is his campaign's biggest contributor". (Jan. 2, 2002) Lieberman delivered. There was no serious investigation of Enron by the Senate. The people were without an advocate. All we got was a wink and a nod paving the way for the latest corporate thefts. This is the best clue to Lieberman's morality and philosophy, the same morality and philosophy endorsed by the Democrats who welcomed him back to their "party" with open arms. He does put one country first, corporate America. His record is riddled with this sort of self serving deals that benefit of those who pay his campaign bills and employ his ex staffers. How serious can those 42 Senate Democrats be? Quite serious, actually. Most of them are guilty of the same betrayals that Lieberman committed. They're just a bit less obvious than the low key male hysteric that they find so irresistible. They are the hollow men and women who act as though political parties mean nothing. They are the political zombies with feigned amnesia allowing them to forget the crimes of the past eight years, crimes to which they've been a party. They represent the triumph of The Money Party: "It is not about Republicans versus Democrats. Right now, the Republicans do a better job taking money than the Democrats. But The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. They have no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It's all good when you're on the take and the take is legal". Michael Collins writes for Scoop Independent News and a variety of other web publications on election fraud and other corruptions of the new millennium. He is one of few to report on the ongoing struggles of Susan Lindauer, an activist accused of being a foreign agent, who was the subject of a government request for forced psychiatric medication. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of images. --------14 of 17-------- Rahm Emanuel's Political Pirouettes by John R. MacArthur Published on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by The Providence Journal Common Dreams God help me, but I had to laugh when I heard the news that Barack Obama had named Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff. What else could I do? Without even so much as a symbolic gesture in support of reform, the great agent of "change" immediately selected as his chief political enforcer a figure who epitomizes the Washington consensus of the past two decades - pro-"free trade," pro-Iraq invasion/occupation and, perhaps most importantly, pro-pork barrel. Which isn't to say that Emanuel does not possess great talents essential to the success of an Obama administration. It just depends on how you define success. If Emanuel's legendary aggressiveness were put to work in the service of "good government," he might, indeed, do wonderful things. But I somehow doubt that's what Obama has in mind for his friend from Chicago as he embarks on his 2012 re-election campaign. Like Obama, Rahm Emanuel was launched in politics by the Daley machine, but he really made his name in the Clinton administration as one of three principal White House lobbyists for the North American Free Trade Agreement, in 1993. Working alongside Mayor Richard M. Daley's brother, William, and then-U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, Emanuel developed a reputation for having "a personality that killed plants on contact," in the words of Margarita Roque, a former House staffer. I can confirm Roque's assessment, since in my own interviews with Emanuel, he outdid himself in ferocious candor. Asked to describe the effectiveness and reliability of his pro-NAFTA allies at the Business Roundtable, Emanuel was effusive in his praise of Allied Signal Chairman Larry Bossidy and a few others at Boeing and IBM. But as for "the rest of business - not worth a bucket of warm spit". Ordinarily, I might appreciate such a remark, but Emanuel was only expressing a certain type of politician's contempt for anyone who is not a politician or their surrogate - for people insufficiently ruthless to "get the job done," as Obama puts it. That Emanuel dared to say this during his brief tenure as an investment banker only accentuates his sense of superiority over the mere mortals who live outside the charmed triangle of Capitol Hill/K Street/Democratic Party power. To be sure, a President Obama needs a henchman - but it's important to know to what end. Like H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, Richard Nixon's chief of staff, Emanuel will no doubt involve himself in many pressing matters of state, from maintaining the status quo in the Mideast to deciding which campaign contributor gets to be ambassador to Sri Lanka. But in RahmObama world, it's the political tasks that always come first, foremost among them rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies. At the top of a very urgent list of priorities will be thanking Mayor Daley for his early endorsement of Obama during the primaries - preferably with a goody guaranteed to create a lot of patronage jobs, such as bringing the 2016 Olympic games to the Windy City. As a congressman and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Emanuel has reached deep into the pork barrel, and last year he defended an "earmark" that permitted the rebuilding of a bridge in his district "that not only was rated as deficient but also was identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a major evacuation route in case of a terrorist attack on Chicago". Posing a largely rhetorical question, Emanuel wrote: "Does that make me an 'earmark thug' or a congressman who took care of a critical need in his district?" It's unclear what would motivate al-Qaida to target Illinois's 5th Congressional District - why bother hitting Wrigley Field and the Cubs when they're already doomed? - but what is clear is that Emanuel knows how to game the system. What's more, like his tutor, Mayor Daley, he understands the political value of "terrorism" to accomplish important civic improvements. In 2003, Daley unilaterally tore up the runway of Chicago's lakefront airport, Meigs Field, in the middle of the night, so he could reclaim the land for a park. As justification, the mayor cited the threat of terrorist attack (from the air), even though neither Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge or his agency were ever consulted and Ridge declared himself "disappointed" by the Meigs shutdown. With all this, I can't deny feeling a kind of admiration for Emanuel. All through the 2008 campaign, he performed a balancing act - never publicly supporting Obama until Hillary Clinton dropped out - worthy of a professional ballet dancer. In fact, Emanuel was a ballet student when he was growing up in suburban Chicago, good enough to be offered a scholarship by the Joffrey Ballet. As it happens, I spent a lot of time as a kid at the studio where he trained, the Evanston School of Ballet, watching my sister, a future professional, take class. It would be easy to suggest that Emanuel's tough-guy behavior is a case of overcompensation for having spent so much of his young life in what some might view as a "feminine" milieu. I don't see it that way, even though I resisted occasional recruiting attempts by the school's co-founder, Phyllis Wills, for the usual "that's too sissy" reason. Anybody familiar with the ballet world knows that the small number of dancers who make a paying career of it are the equivalent of professional athletes - every bit as accomplished as the best football, basketball and track stars - and not sissies at all. In ballet, the self-discipline and physical training required to "get the job done" are not for weaklings. Thus, Obama may well have done himself a favor by picking a former ballet man to run the White House. We can only hope that if he does his grands battements in the Oval Office, he doesn't accidentally kick over the red phone and start a war. Published by The Providence Journal Co. John R. MacArthur, a monthly contributor, is publisher of Harper's Magazine. --------15 of 17-------- Fronting for Paramilitaries Holder, Chiquita and Colombia By MARIO A. MURILLO November 19, 2008 CounterPunch First the good news: We're two months away from President George W. Bush's last full day in the White House. The countdown for the end of the nightmare has begun in earnest. Now the bad news: As Barack Obama puts together his cabinet and eyes a slew of former Clinton officials for key staff positions, it is becoming ever more apparent that all those calls for change coming from progressive circles in the U.S. - and abroad - have fallen on deaf ears. Most striking, at least for the time being, is the soon to be named position of the top law enforcement official of the country. It looks like the first African-American President will appoint the first African-American attorney general in the coming days, something that on the surface looks like an advance, but should actually sound alarm bells for anybody seeking true change in the way things are done in Washington, especially when it comes to bringing corporate criminals to justice. Although no final decision has been made, the New York Times reports that the President-elect's transition team has signaled to Eric H. Holder Jr., a senior Clinton Justice Department official, that he will be selected as the next attorney general. Holder helped lead the team that selected Sen. Joe Biden as Obama's VP choice. Most news accounts about the pending appointment seem to be limiting their criticism of Holder to one of his final acts as President Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general in 2001. At the time, on the last day of Clinton's term, Holder apparently said he was "neutral, leaning toward favorable" for a presidential pardon for Marc Rich, the wealthy commodities dealer whose ex-wife, Denise, was a major donor to the Democratic Party. Clinton's pardon of the tax-evading Rich was criticized as politically motivated, leading to a congressional investigation over the matter. What is not being discussed too much, and was not even mentioned in today's New York Times report, is Holder's key role in defending Chiquita Brands International in a notorious case relating to the company's funneling money and weapons to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC, the right-wing paramilitary organization on the U.S. State Department's own list of terrorist organizations. In 2003, an Organization of American States report showed that Chiquita's subsidiary in Colombia, Banadex, had helped divert weapons and ammunition, including thousands of AK-47s, from Nicaraguan government stocks to the AUC. The AUC - very often in collaboration with units of the U.S.-trained Armed Forces - is responsible for hundreds of massacres of primarily peasants throughout the Colombian countryside, including in the banana-growing region of Urab, where it is believed that at least 4,000 people were killed. Their systematic use of violence resulted in the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of poor Colombians, a disproportionate amount of those people being black or indigenous. In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita that involved the fruit company's payment of "protection money" to the AUC, in direct violation of U.S. laws prohibiting this kind of transaction. In the agreement brokered by Holder, Chiquita officials pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $25 million, to be paid over a 5-year period. However, not one Chiquita official involved in the illegal transactions was forced to serve time for a crime that others have paid dearly for, mainly because they did not have the kind of legal backing that Holder's team provided. Holder continues to represent Chiquita in the civil action, which grew out of this criminal case. One of the arguments in defense of Chiquita's criminal acts was that the company was being strong-armed by thugs in Colombia, and that it either had to make the payments, or close up shop in the country, which would have resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in profits. Chiquita officials even disclosed to the Justice Department that they were making the illegal payments to the AUC, to see what could be done. As the Washington Post reported back in 2007, Federal prosecutors had said in court papers that Justice Department officials made clear in April 2003 that Chiquita was clearly violating the law and that "the payments . . . could not continue."1 The Post reported "lawyers at Justice headquarters and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington were incensed by what they considered the flagrant continuation of these payoffs, despite the warnings." At the time, Holder said he was concerned that company leaders who disclosed the corporation's illegal activity to prosecutors were facing the possibility of prosecution. "If what you want to encourage is voluntary self-disclosure, what message does this send to other companies?" asked Holder, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. "Here's a company that voluntarily self-discloses in a national security context, where the company gets treated pretty harshly, [and] then on top of that, you go after individuals who made a really painful decision."2 So in Holder's view, we should feel sympathy for these poor corporate executives, whose identities were kept confidential, and who were forced to make "very painful decisions" about opening up to their own criminality. Never mind that this company was complicit in the above-mentioned human tragedy waged by the AUC. The many victims of this paramilitary terror did not even cross the mind of the well-connected defense attorney now being considered for the Attorney General job. Yet the opposition to Holder's nomination to the top position at Justice should not stop with this sordid history, one that perhaps can be excused as the obligation of a lawyer to defend his or her client regardless of the alleged crime. The disappointment in Obama's pick for AG should stem from the President-elect's strong words during the campaign in defense of human rights, particularly for those of workers in Colombia. On several occasions, including in the last presidential debate held at Hofstra University just three weeks before the election, the Democratic Candidate said he opposed the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement precisely on the grounds of the human rights violations carried out consistently against trade unionists in Colombia, and the ongoing impunity that has followed in most of those crimes. This is directly connected to the Holder nomination because currently, there is a lawsuit underway from the families of 173 banana workers, who were killed by one of these paramilitary groups in Colombia. These family members do not buy into the argument, made by people like Holder and his Chiquita clients, that the company was forced to make these illegal payments to the AUC. Their claim is that Chiquita Brands International deliberately hired these armed thugs specifically to repress the rights of these workers, a tool used by other major multinationals operating in Colombian hot spots, including Coca Cola, BP, and the Drummond Corporation. As Dan Kovalik recently wrote in the Huffington Post, the major concern that emerges with a Justice Department led by Holder is that none of these allegations will ever be fully investigated. Kovalik points to the Human Rights Watch report entitled, "Breaking the Grip? Obstacles to Justice for Paramilitary Mafias in Colombia," where the organization recommends that, "in order to assist with the process of ending the ties between the Colombian government and paramilitary death squads, the U.S. Department of Justice should, among other things, "[c]reate meaningful legal incentives for paramilitary leaders [a number of whom have already been extradited to the U.S.] to fully disclose information about atrocities and name all Colombian or foreign officials, business or individuals who may have facilitated their criminal activities," and "[c]ollaborate actively with the efforts of Colombian justice officials who are investigating paramilitary networks in Colombia by sharing relevant information possible and granting them access to paramilitary leaders in U.S. custody."3 Will this recommendation be carried out by a Justice Department led by the man who defended one of the most visible protagonists in these crimes? If the Obama Administration is seriously concerned about impunity and human rights in Colombia, Holder should probably step out of the way immediately. Furthermore, and as Kovalik pointed out in his Huffington Post commentary, one of the most notorious paramilitary leaders currently in U.S. federal custody, Salvatore Mancuso, claims that he has extensive knowledge, not only about Chiquita's relationship with paramilitary death squads in Colombia, but with other major firms such as Dole and Del Monte. None of these firms are even on the radar screen of the Justice Department, and the question is whether or not they will be should Holder be appointed the next Attorney General. My assumption is that it is not a priority for Obama, certainly not for Holder. The calls for change in Washington's relationship with Latin America are coming from both within the United States and throughout the continent. There was no doubt that here in Colombia, people were relieved to hear of Barack Obama's historic victory on November 4th. Given his public denunciations of the murders of hundreds of union leaders in Colombia, and his interesting life story which points to at least somewhat of a distinct international perspective, it was not surprising to hear car horns go off in the streets of some towns when he was declared the winner on election night. But it now seems like business as usual in Washington, where corporate criminality is not a major priority, and justice is only an empty promise made on the backs of the victims of these crimes, directed mainly at gullible voters before elections. We cannot let this happen. 1 The Washington Post, "In Terrorism-Law Case, Chiquita Points to U.S.," by Carol D. Leonnig, Thursday, August 2, 2007; Page A01. 2 Ibid. 3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kovalik/lawyer-for-chiquita-in-co_b_141919.html Mario A. Murillo is associate professor of Communication at Hofstra University in New York and author of Colombia and the United states: War, Unrest and Destabilization. He is currently living in Colombia working on a book about the indigenous movement and its uses of communications media. He can be reached through his website. --------16 of 17-------- Policing & the National Security State: Repressing Dissent at the Republican National Convention by Tom Burghardt November 19th, 2008 Dissident Voice With "preemptive policing" all the rage in Washington, the whistleblowing website Wikileaks has done it again, exposing how repressive trends in the U.S. had real world consequences for democracy during September's Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul, Minnesota. On November 15, the global whistleblowers published a leaked planning document "Special Event Planning: 2008 Republican National Convention," a dense schematic used by repressors who targeted activists, journalists and concerned citizens during the far-right conclave. Labeled "Limited Distribution/For Official Use Only," Wikileaks believes that the dossier is "potentially legally significant due to upcoming legal cases over the mass arrests at the convention". Compiled by Terri Smith (terri.smith [at] state.mn.us) the Branch Director for Response, Recovery and Mitigation at the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency (HSEM), the 31-page file offers a veritable bird's-eye view onto the close coordination amongst federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Pentagon.s U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) during a so-called National Special Security Event (NSSE). The enabling authority for squelching dissent during NSSEs is partially derived from the 2006 National Security Presidential Directive-46/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-15 (NSPD-46/HSPD-15), a top secret dictate from President Bush. According to a statement by Roger Rufe, Director of the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), before the House Homeland Security Committee on July 9, 2008, NSSEs "are significant domestic or international events, occurrences, contests, activities, or meetings, which, by virtue of their profile or status, represent a significant target, and therefore warrant additional preparation, planning, and mitigation efforts. The designation process for NSSEs is established by NSPD-46/HSPD-15, Annex II and HSPD-7". Rufe goes on to describe the "mission" of an NSSE Special Event Working Group (SEWG) as one which will "support a unified interagency planning and coordination effort for Special Events and to ensure coordination of Federal support to the designated event. The SEWG identifies events that may require a coordinated Federal response and collectively coordinates Federal assets to bridge any capability gaps identified by state and local partners that have not already been addressed by exhausting local mutual assistance agreements. Within this process, the mission of OPS is to act on behalf of the Secretary and his HSPD-5 responsibilities to integrate DHS and interagency planning and coordinate operations for designated Special Events in order to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorist threats/attacks". (Roger Rufe, "Statement," House Homeland Security Committee, July 8, 2008, pp. 1-2) Several elements comprise the SEWG: five senior managers from DHS. OPS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service (USSS), and the DHS Office of Risk Management & Analysis (RMA) and, as revealed in the Wikileaks document, representatives from the Pentagon.s U.S. Northern Command. During the RNC, the "lead federal agencies" heading up repressive operations were the USSS, FBI and FEMA. On Saturday, August 30, 2008, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department executed search warrants on three houses. According to the Friends of the RNC 8, the police seized personal items and arrested eight RNC Welcoming Committee organizers, charging them with "conspiracy to riot in the 2nd degree in the furtherance of terrorism," a felony which may land these activists in prison for many years under provisions of Minnesota's PATRIOT Act. During the RNC, operations were coordinated by the Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC), described in the Wikileaks file as "a centralized communications and coordination center operated 24 hours a day during the NSSE". In St. Paul, the MACC was "staffed by representatives from all participating operational security entities, local government operations, and public and private institutions who are responsible for the critical infrastructures of power, gas and telecommunications". MACC's "Work Product," according to the document (p. 14), will provide: "Timely dissemination of information to all entities participating in operational security, crisis management, and consequence management. Provide the Common Operational Picture to support decision-making and command and control activities," and "serve as the centralized coordination center for security-related activities". Described as "the coordination point where these resources could be used for a crisis or consequence outside of the NSSE," the MACC was the organizational hub and speartip where federal, state, local law enforcement and "private institutions" interacted "at any time during the event to utilize the event's public safety resources to assure that the normal delivery of public safety responses from their agency were uninterrupted". A perusal of the "MACC Seating Chart" (p. 16) affords additional insight into the resources brought to bear against journalists covering the RNC and citizens protesting the crimes of the Republican party and their Bushist minions. The first tier is comprised of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN DOT), Minnesota State Police (MSP), Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul Police Department (SPPD), USSS and the FBI. The second tier, in addition to representatives from the Minneapolis and St. Paul Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Service personnel, are staffed by three representatives from NORTHCOM. Additional NORTHCOM "seats" appear on the "third tier" of the HSEM chart, along with proxies from the Minnesota National Guard's Joint Task Force (JTF-MN), FEMA, USSS and the FBI. MACC's fourth tier was staffed by a host of federal law enforcement entities including officers from the ultra-spooky National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As I have documented in several articles, most recently on November 9, NGA provides mapping tools and imagery intelligence (IMINT) derived from America's fleet of military spy satellites "flown" by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In other words during the RNC, America's spymasters were providing satellite intelligence to federal, state, and local law enforcement, some of which quite possibly, were used to target the homes of activists and media workers or coordinate attacks on demonstrations. While there is no indication in the MACC "seating chart" that the National Security Agency (NSA) was directly involved in providing "lead federal agencies" with signals intelligence (SIGINT), the fifth tier reveals that U.S. telecoms, all of whom are NSA private partners in warrantless wiretapping and driftnet data-mining were "present and accounted for" during the RNC. Indeed, prominent places "at the table" were filled by Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, QWEST, Sprint and AT&T. Attorneys involved in defending the RNC 8 and other protesters "preemptively" arrested, would be well-advised to subpoena these company's records and determine whether or not corporate telecoms handed SIGINT over to federal, state and local repressors. The Wikileaks dossier also reveals that Saint Paul Operations Center Command Posts were staffed by an entity labeled "other federal". Here one finds the FBI's Joint Operations Center (JOC) and the Bureau's Intelligence Operations Center (IOC). Both entities have been linked during NSSEs and the surreptitious surveillance of Americans to privacy-killing FBI "packet sniffing" operations formally called Carnivore (DCS-1000). Now called Red Hook or DCS-3000, software installed on America's telephone, internet and wireless infrastructure can monitor all of a target's internet, wireless and text messaging traffic. Digital Storm, or DCS-6000, captures and collects the content of phone calls and text messages, while Magic Lantern is a keystroke surveillance tool that can be installed remotely via viral e-mail attachments. Wired reported in 2007, that Magic Lantern is a "computer and internet protocol address verifier or CIPAV," one that "gathers a wide range of information, including the computer's IP address; MAC address; open ports; a list of running programs; the operating system type, version and serial number; preferred internet browser and version; the computer's registered owner and registered company name; the current logged-in user name and the last-visited URL. The CIPAV then settles into a silent "pen register" mode, in which it lurks on the target computer and monitors its internet use, logging the IP address of every computer to which the machine connects for up to 60 days. (Kevin Poulsen, "FBI's Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats," Wired, July 18, 2007) According to documents released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2007, the Minneapolis Field Office was one of 57 sites for the Bureau's collection of "post-cut through dialed digit information". Technological heavy-lifting originated from the FBI's Science & Technology Law Unit, Engineering Research Facility located in Quantico, Virginia. As security expert, whistleblower and CEO of Bat Blue Corporation Babak Pasdar disclosed in a sworn affidavit to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) back in February, Verizon Communications allowed the Bureau and other security agencies virtually "unfettered" access to the carrier's wireless network via the FBI's so-called "Quantico circuit". Collectively, these highly-intrusive (and patently illegal) FBI programs are called DCSNet, an acronym for Digital Collection System Network. As Wired revealed in 2007, DCSNet "connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected". The profound interconnections amongst federal security agencies such as the FBI and the nation's private telecoms acting in concert with securocrats is but one indicator of the breadth and scope of America's high-tech corporatist police state. Wired reports, The network allows an FBI agent in New York, for example, to remotely set up a wiretap on a cell phone based in Sacramento, California, and immediately learn the phone's location, then begin receiving conversations, text messages and voicemail pass codes in New York. With a few keystrokes, the agent can route the recordings to language specialists for translation. The numbers dialed are automatically sent to FBI analysts trained to interpret phone-call patterns, and are transferred nightly, by external storage devices, to the bureau's Telephone Application Database, where they're subjected to a type of data mining called link analysis. FBI endpoints on DCSNet have swelled over the years, from 20 "central monitoring plants" at the program's inception, to 57 in 2005, according to undated pages in the released documents. By 2002, those endpoints connected to more than 350 switches. (Ryan Singel, "Point, Click - Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates," Wired, August 29, 2007) Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed that the FBI no longer feels compelled to obtain judicial oversight or even the consent of cell phone operators when deploying base station-faking technology that it employs for the illegal geolocation of mobile users. Known as Triggerfish, documents obtained by the ACLU in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department, detail how the technology pretends to be a cellular base station to which handsets connect and identify themselves. By claiming to have "lost" the unique identifier of a targeted mobile phone, Triggerfish then "asks" the phone to resend its unique details. It had been assumed that a warrant was necessary before the Bureau could begin tracking an individual's cell phone. However, as the ACLU clearly reveals in the documents, under provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the FBI has been able to obtain dodgy pen-trap orders from all-too-compliant judges on the FISA court. During the RNC, these signals were probably routed via Triggerfish to the JOC/IOC: game over for "Text Mob" protest organizers. When federal, state and local law enforcement entities raided the homes of activists and media workers in St. Paul, the Bureau knew which activists and which computers, cell phones and other electronic devices to preemptively seize. On August 30, 2008, the FBI were joined by some 30 St. Paul police armed with tasers, pepper spray and automatic weapons when they surrounded the house where I-Witness Video and Democracy Now! journalist Elizabeth Press were meeting. People inside were forcibly detained and photographed, while police made a record of the journalists. names and addresses. A warrant was served, covering all the journalist's equipment, including privileged notes, computers, cameras, video tapes and communications equipment. Five other members of I-Witness Video who were not present during the home invasion were detained for more than three hours, preventing them from documenting three other simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Additionally, members of the Glass Bead Collective were also illegally detained and had their notes and equipment confiscated by the Minneapolis police. The Wikileaks document also reveals that the Defense Department's Joint Task Force Minnesota (JTF-MN) was a key player in the St. Paul Command Operations Center. Indeed, Major Jon Dotterer, the Operations Officer attached to JTF-MN documented in a Power Point presentation, "As many of you may have scene [sic] on the news the MN National Guard was used in support of the St Paul Police Department at the Republican National Convention. Our QRF [Quick Reaction Force] was used to give the local police forces the flexibility and freedom to use their assets at other critical points of interest". Dotterer's briefing details how JTF-MN "coordinates with civil authorities," primarily HSEM, and "provides [a] response element" and "activates for [a] major contingency". What Dotterer doesn't reveal is that JTF-MN is also an active component of U.S. Northern Command. To conclude, the Wikileaks document provides new and startling information how federal, state and local law enforcement entities acting in concert with corporatist "private partners" during September's Republican National Convention, conspired to deny American's their right to peacefully protest against the far-right Republican party. With resources drawn from the FBI, USSS, DHS, NGA, FEMA and NORTHCOM, the repressive capitalist state coordinated its response to oppositional currents in the U.S. by launching preemptive attacks on RNC protest organizers and journalists. Fully in step with the "countersubversive" mind-set underpinning the Bushist "war on terror," one that equates dissent with terrorism, recourse to preemptive policing by our corporatist masters is indicative of the precarious state of a system facing total crisis as it stares into an abyss of its creation. Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press. --------17 of 17-------- Lexicographers have just found that "change" really means "no change no way" ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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