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The “pre-emptive strikes” on logic and the English language by politicians, CEOs, and the media has turned into one of our Empire’s major industries. In recognition of the cutting edge advances being made today in American Newspeak, we are offering these awards to deserving individuals. Entries were judged by an exacting standard—how many times their utterances would make George Orwell roll over in his grave. Here are this month’s winners.
Father Knows Best
The U.S. Justice Department broke new ground with its crafting of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Among its finer encroachments on civil liberties, revealed by the Center for Public Integrity, is Section 501. It would allow the government to strip U.S. citizenship away from anyone giving “material support” to any group designated as terrorists.
Some of you may recall the U.S. Constitution forbids depriving Americans of their citizenship. A minor point. Justice Department lawyers adroitly found a loophole—the Constitution allows people to voluntarily give up their rights. The bill’s authors then reasoned, “an intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct.”
Getting the Visuals
When Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN, his background “visuals” consisted of blue draperies neatly trimmed by a row of flags. Few knew the draperies had to be installed that morning to cover over a work of art that normally stands there—a massive tapestry reproduction of Picasso’s famous anti-war painting “Guernica.”
Speaking in defense of the cover-up of Picasso’s images of dying women, children, and animals was UN spokesperson Steph- ane Dujaric, who stated, “We needed the right background that would work on television.” (If only Picasso had painted happy faces.) Unbeknownst to him, Powell was presenting the world with a perfect metaphor of how our policies and language of “collateral damage” cover over the realities of human suffering.
The British government was forced to admit that large sections of their “up-to-date” report on Iraq’s deception had been lifted word for word from an article by a postgraduate student in California named Ibrahim al Mirashi. The plagiarism was so blatant that even spelling and punctuation errors from the original articles had been repeated.
However, our English colony deserves praise for a number of key improvements on Marashi’s prose. Where the student described the Iraqi intelligence agency as “monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq,” the British upgraded that to “spying on foreign embassies in Iraq.” Much better. Where Marashi referred to Iraq “aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes,” British Intelligence improved this to “supporting terrorist organizations in hostile regimes.” Same evidence, just more “up-to-date” conclusions, which is undoubtedly why Colin Powell relied on it in his U.N. speech.
The state of Florida found yet another creative use for surveillance satellites. Under pressure from Florida orange growers, they have plans to aim their lenses at Brazil’s orange groves to count how many trees they have producing oranges. Florida orange growers have complained that Brazil’s crop forecasts are too inaccurate and drive down prices for Florida oranges.
Top honors go to Bob Crawford, director of Florida’s Department of Citrus, for this insight in defense of the surveillance proposal. “It’s creating a database,” he said. “I think it will bring us closer together.” Don’t we all feel “closer” when we see cameras focused on us?
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.