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Blogging the War Away
Selling and Cheerleading War
F ew of us escaped seeing the non-stop reports from Iraq from journalists—embedded and otherwise—on what have been described as the front lines of the fight for “Iraqi freedom.” Throughout the American media world, and beyond, there has been a hearty sense of a job well done, except of course, for regrets over those colleagues and soldiers who never made it home. We all watched the war as if it was only a military conflict. It wasn’t. There was also a carefully planned, tightly controlled and brilliantly executed media war that was fought alongside it. For the most part, that other media war was not covered or fully explained, even though it was right in front of us.
War as Propaganda
T he Baghdad-based reporters who worked under limitations imposed by the now defunct Iraqi Ministry of Information were not shy about telling us what they had to put up with. When that ministry and the TV station it managed were “taken out” in bombing attacks that flouted international laws, American newscasters cheered. Its propaganda function was crude and obvious. However, there was also propaganda flowing from other regional media aimed at the “Arab street,” which also was crude and distorted. While outlets like Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV strived to offer professional reporting, which in some instances out-scooped Western networks, other commentary reflected longstanding cultural biases— anti-Americanism, inflammatory anti-Semitism—with loads of violence and no attention paid to Saddam Hussein’s human rights abuses or to women’s rights. Kurdish journalists, who lived under the impact of Saddam’s ethnic cleansing in the north, criticized Arab satellite stations for these serious shortcomings.
Many U.S. newscasts pointed to these flaws and biases in part to project their own work as being free of similar problems. “They”—the “other”—practiced propaganda common to backward societies. We, of the developed world, practiced world-class, bias-free journalism—or so we wanted the world to believe.
The truth is that there were pervasive Western propaganda techniques built into American media presentation formats and many were highly sophisticated. Others obvious. They were rarely commented on or critiqued, except by war critics. Few journalists reported fully on their own government’s propaganda campaign and its interface with their own products. Washington’s anti-Iraqi propaganda was multidimensional and a key component of the “coalition” war plan. (Deceptive words like “coalition” were themselves part of it.) Aimed at the Iraqis was a well-crafted arsenal of psychological operations, or Psy-Ops, carried out by an IO (Information Operations) directorate that simultaneously targeted and destroyed the country’s communication system and replaced it with its own. A second front—and perhaps a more important one—was the Western public. Iraqis were targeted by bombs and information warfare while Western audiences had a well executed propaganda campaign often posing as news directed their way. British-based propaganda expert Paul de Rooij explains in several well-sourced assessments, “One generally doesn’t think of psychological warfare as something waged against the home population; but this is perhaps the best way to appreciate the U.S. experience during the past few months. The objective of such a campaign was to stifle dissent, garner unquestioning support, and rally people around a common symbol. Americans, and to a lesser extent Europeans, have been subjected to a propaganda barrage in an effort to neutralize opposition to the war, and this fits directly into a psy-ops framework.” All the networks had platoons of retired generals and pro-war military experts interpreting war news. U.S. TV quickly resembled Chilean TV after the coup. One Canadian critic called U.S. network, “the Pentagon’s bitch.” CNN’s news chief Eason Jordan revealed that he had sought approval from the Pentagon for his network’s key war advisors. At war’s end, critic Michael Moore rightly demanded the “unilateral withdrawal of the Pentagon from America’s TV studios.”
War As A Political Campaign
P entagon media chief Tori Clarke, who worked with PR firms and political campaigns before bringing a corporate approach and politically oriented spin operation into the Pentagon, admitted that she was running her shop the way she used to run campaigns. This approach was coordinated throughout the Administration with “messages of the day” and orchestrated appearances by the president and members of his cabinet. They were not just selling a message, but “managing the perceptions” of those who received them. In political outage, they used “stagecraft,” a term that once was used to refer to covert operations.
On May 16, 2003, the New York Times detailed how the Bush administration relies on TV entertaiment techniques to sell the president and his policies. Elisabeth Bumiller wrote: “Officials of past Democratic and Republican administrations marvel at how the White House does not seem to miss an opportunity to showcase Mr. Bush in dramatic and perfectly lighted settings. It is all by design: the White House has stocked its communications operation with people from network television who have expertise in lighting, camera angles, and the importance of backdrops. “TV news people have been tapped in this aspect of the media war. First among equals is Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer who was hired by the Bush campaign in Austin, Texas, and who now works for Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Sforza created the White House message of the day backdrops and helped design the $250,000 set at the United States Central Command forward headquarters in Doha, Qatar, during the Iraq war. Sforza works closely with Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraperson whom the Bush White House hired after seeing his work in the 2000 campaign. DeServi, whose title is associate director of communications for production, is considered a master at lighting.”
A third crucial player is Greg Jenkins, a former Fox News television producer in Washington, Bumiller revealed. These smartly polished sales techniques worked and typified the way the war was sold—and covered. It all underscores once again that we no longer live in a traditional democracy but, rather, a media-ocracy, a land in which media, the military, and politics fuse. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has written about how media coverage shapes public opinion, makes another point about the way TV coverage distorts reality. “The administration’s anti-terror campaign makes me think of the way television studios really look. The fancy set usually sits in the middle of a shabby room full of cardboard and duct tape. Networks take great care with what viewers see on their TV screens; they spend as little as possible on anything off camera. And so it has been with the campaign against terrorism. Bush strikes heroic poses on TV, but his administration neglects anything that isn’t photogenic,” Krugman wrote. No wonder we had newscasts in which images trumped information.
War As a TV show
T his war was a TV show on a new scale with as many “events” as a televised Olympics. Media outlets were willing, even enthusiastic participants in a made-for-television spectacle. It would be wrong and overly deterministic to conclude that these TV news operations were taken over, duped, or manipulated by the kind of crude force that prevails in some other countries between government agencies and the media. The Pentagon was not faxing instructions to the newsrooms, nor would they have to. Media companies had their own reasons for playing the role they did, as did “yellow press” publisher William Randolph Hearst who used—and, many say, started—war as a way to sell papers. He is reported to have said, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war” at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Today the relationship between government and media is more symbiotic, even synergistic. Wars like the one in Iraq are staged to project American power to the world. The pictures advertise that power (and market weapons systems at the same time). The news business is more than happy to oblige because war attracts viewers in large numbers. Journalists quickly become intoxicated by the ether of war and all the excitement and danger that awaits on the front line. For many reporters, war is where the action is. It is also a career builder. Covering war has always been a way for journalists to prove their bona fides, win bragging rights, and, of course, move up the ladder in the corporate news world. War represents the highest form of professional calling and appeals to their sense of patriotism and pride. Many promote the mission of those they cover as their own, just as many beat reporters are often co-opted by the officials and the agencies on which they report. The seduction is subtle. Some may be bought as intelligence assets, but most would resent any suggestion that they have sold out—or sold in.
Networks love war. It offers riveting reality programming. They see it as “militainment,” to borrow a term from Time Magazine . Its life and death drama brings in viewers and holds attention. The spectacle builds ratings and revenues. It also imbues news organizations with a sense of importance. It allows executives to demonstrate how valuable they are to the national interest. Executives at MSNBC boasted of how their war coverage brought Americans together and “emphasized the positive, not the negative.” Positive coverage also helps networks gain more access to the powerful, satisfying their advertisers in an industry where three out of every 4 commercials are bought by the 50 most powerful companies. In 2003, pleasing the Bush administration also promised an economic benefit, since while the war was being waged, media companies were lobbying for regulatory changes that would benefit their bottom lines. FCC chairperson Michael Powell, son of the Secretary of State, who was promoting the war policy, rationalized the need for more media consolidation, in part, on grounds that only big media companies could afford to cover future wars the way this one was being covered.
Clearly, there was a campaign in this war, as in others, that involved co-opting and orchestrating the news media. The most visible center of this strategy was the effort to embed reporters. Their work was subsidized by the Pentagon, overseen by “public affairs” specialists, and linked to TV news networks dominated by military experts approved by the Pentagon. When the war was over, Rem Rieder, the editor of the American Journalism Review ( AJR ), gushed, “It is clear that the great embedding experiment was a home run as far as the news media and the American people are concerned.” General Tommy Franks agreed and pledged that embedding would be used in future conflicts. AJR writer Sherry Ricchiardi amplified the view most favored by the mainstream media organizations that participated in the embedding experiment, “…despite initial skepticism about how well the system would work and some dead-on criticism of overly enthusiastic reporting in the war’s early stages, the net result was a far more complete mosaic of the fighting—replete with heroism, tragedy and human error—than would have been possible without it.” She quotes Sandy Johnson, the Associated Press’ Washington bureau chief, who directed coverage of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. “Compared with the scant access allowed then,” Johnson says, “This system has worked incredibly well. The naysayers,” she adds, “will be eating their words.”
Will we? Most embedded reporters claimed that they were not really restrained, but rather assisted in their work by Pentagon press flacks. This is probably true—and the reason the system worked so well. Manipulation in a carefully calibrated media spin operation is always more insidious when the manipulated do not fully recognize how they are being used.
Many of the “embeds” acknowledged that they came to identify with and sometimes befriend the soldiers in the units they tagged along with, usually with the caveat that it was no different from covering any beat. Former TV reporter Michael Burton offered a different view of embedding: “The idea originated with the Pentagon, where military and political strategists pitched the idea to editors last year as a compromise. The Pentagon strategists, already planning for the Iraqi war, wanted proud, positive, and patriotic coverage over the national airwaves. If the editors agreed to all their provisions for security reviews, flagging of sensitive information, limitations on filming dead bodies, and other restrictions, then journalists would be welcome. The editors went along and accepted the ground rules without a fight. Now, the story of war is seen through the eyes of the American battalions, but without the real violence. American children see more images of violence on nightly television than they do in this war, because of the deliberate editing at home. Instead, they see a fascination with high tech weapons, battle tactics, and military strategy reporting,” Burton says. He claims this leads to bias, although he acknowledges that many of his former colleagues demur. “Some reporters disagree, saying that eating, sleeping, and living with the U.S. troops does not make them biased (in spite of the constant descriptions of “we” and “us” when reporters talk about the military units). They say they are revealing more human-interest stories in real-time.
But, while embedded journalism provides more opportunity for human interest, it only does so from the American military’s perspective. Veteran New York Times war reporter Chris Hedges seems to agree with this view. He told Editor & Publisher magazine that he preferred print reporting to the TV coverage, but said that both were deeply flawed. “Print is doing a better job than TV,” he observes. “The broadcast media display all these retired generals and charts and graphs, it looks like a giant game of Risk [the board game]. I find it nauseating.” But even the print embeds have little choice, but to “look at Iraq totally through the eyes of the U.S. military,” Hedges points out. “That’s a very distorted and self-serving view.”
The Project on Excellence in Journalism studied the early coverage and found that half the embedded journalists showed combat action, but not a single story depicted people hit by weapons. There were no reporters embedded with Iraqi families. None stationed with humanitarian agencies or the anti-war groups that had brought more than 15 million people on the streets before the war in a historically unprecedented display of global public opinion. The cumulative impact of the embedded reporters’ work prompted former Pentagon press chief Kenneth Bacon to tell the Wall Street Journal , “They couldn’t hire actors to do as good a job as they have done for the military.”
War As Sport
T hey were actors in a news drama that had all the earmarks of a sporting event. In fact it seems to be designed as one. The main advantage of this approach is that Americans are very comfortable with the sport show—it is part of their daily diet, it is intelligible to them, and it gives them a passive “entertained” role. When one watches a sports game, there is no need to think about the why of anything; it is only an issue of supporting our team. The play-by-play military analysts incorporated the sports analogy completely—with maps/diagrams, advice to players, and by making the audience think about the strategy.
Many of the cable news networks pictured Iraq as if it was the property of, and indistinguishable from, one mad person. Accordingly, attention was focused endlessly on where Saddam was, was he alive or dead, etc. Few references were made to U.S. dealings with his government in the l980s or the covert role the CIA played in his rise to power. Saddam was as demonized in 2003 as Osama bin Laden had been in 2001, with news being structured as a patriotically correct morality soap opera with disinterested good guys (us) battling the forces of evil (them/him) in a political conflict constructed by the White House along “you are either with us or against us” lines. Few explained that there had been an undeclared war in effect for more than a decade against Iraq before the hot war of 2003 was launched.
There were many stories in this war but most followed a story line that reduced the terms of coverage to two sides, the forces of light versus the forces of darkness. This is typical of all war propaganda. This war was presented on one side, the “good side,” by endless CENTCOM military briefings, Pentagon press conferences, Ari Fleischer White House Q&As, Administration domination of the Sunday TV talk shows, and occasional presidential utterances riddled with religious references. Counter-posed on the other side— the “bad side”—were the crude press conferences of Iraq’s hapless minister of misinformation, a cartoon figure whom no one took seriously. The two armies were spoken of as if there was some parity between their capacities. There was endless focus on the anticipated chemical or biological weapons attacks that never came and on the weapons of mass destruction that have yet to be found (at this writing).
Omitted from the picture and the reportage were views that offered any persuasive counternarrative. There were few interviews with Iraqis or experts not affiliated with pro-Administration think tanks. Or with military people, other than high-ranking retired military officials who quibbled over tactics not policy. Or with peace activists, European journalists, and, until late in the day, Arab journalists. We saw images from Al-Jazeera, but rarely heard its analysis. This list of what was left out is endless. Footage was sanitized, “breaking news” was often inaccurate, and critical voices were omitted as “Fox News” played up martial music and MSNBC ran promos urging “God Bless America.” The role of “Fox News,” an unabashed 24-hour booster of the war, probably deserves a book of its own. Its aggressive coverage pandered to the audience, simplified the issues, and attacked competing media outlets and correspondents who deviated in any way from the “script” they were promoting. Fox’s apparent success in attracting viewers with its non-stop hawkish narrative led to a “Fox Effect” that caused many competitors to try to emulate its approach. MSNBC was accused of trying to “outfox Fox.” Its coverage polarized the media war and bullied war critics.
Not everyone who watched bought into its terms or was persuaded by its story-line. The war and its coverage also turned off and tuned out tens of millions who took to the streets, rejecting the pro-war media frame in the largest global protests in history. Relying on independent media, international newspapers, and websites for their information, they criticized both the policy and the press. In the aftermath of the giant February 15, 2003 protests, the New York Times commented that there were then two opposing global superpowers—the military might of the United States and world public opinion.
As the war erupted, the critics were “disappeared” from media view just as Saddam disposed of his critics. He used violence; our media used inattention. Even as those protests were often badly—and in some cases barely—covered, they nevertheless spoke for millions who rejected the media war aimed at their minds and spirits. One can only hope that, as the claims and “evidence” used to stoke up the war are unmasked, the media role will also be seen for what it is. As Paul Krugman commented on the Times Op-ed page: “Over the last two years we’ve become accustomed to the pattern. Each time the administration comes up with another whopper, partisan supporters (a group that includes a large segment of the news media) obediently insist that black is white and up is down. Meanwhile, the liberal media report only that some people say that black is black and up is up. Some Democratic politicians offer the Administration invaluable cover by making excuses and playing down the extent of their lies.”
Most of us were not on the battlefield. Our understanding of what happened, our perceptions, points of view, and prejudices were forged and framed by our media choices. We need to see that as a problem that demands to be addressed. Just as we consider politicians lying to us a problem.
Danny Schechter is the author of The More You Watch the Less You Know, News Dissector, Mediaocracy, and Falun Gong's Challenge to China . He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines. A longer version of this article is published online at www.coldtype.net.
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AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
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MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
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MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
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ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
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LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
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SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.