Volume 20, Number 11
NYC Subway Workers
Outside The Bomb
Malai Joya Interview
Peltier: Silence Screams
Responsibility & Guilt
Gabriel matthew Schivone
Shock, Awe, and Antioch
George j. Bryjak
Guatemala '07 Election
Black Caucus Demise
Crackpots & the Left
Men and Abortion
Eleanor J. Bader
Guthrie's Live Wire Reviewed
In the Valley of Elah Review
Genocide in Iraq?
Health Care Hokum
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
More Nuggets From A Nut House
It is amusing to contrast the September 24, 2007 treatment of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger with Bollinger’s September 16, 2005 treatment of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and the treatment of the Shah of Iran in 1955 by Columbia University President Grayson Kirk (and by the media). As we all know, after having invited Ahmandinejad to speak at Columbia, Bollinger proceeded to give the guest a nasty, pedantic, and misinformed attack, calling him a “cruel dictator” with a “mind of evil.” But in 2005, Bollinger welcomed Pakistan President Musharraf with a warm accolade, as “a leader of global importance…[whose] contribution to Pakistan’s economic turnaround and the international fight against terror remain remarkable—it is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus” (“Columbia University has standing ovation for President,” press release, General Pervez Musharraf, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, September 16, 2005).
Musharraf and Bollinger families—from www.sipa.columbia.edu
In February 1955, the Shah of Iran was a guest at Columbia receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and he, like Musharraf, was greeted deferentially by Grayson Kirk and gave a well-received speech featuring an accolade to the U.S. “policy of peace backed by strength.” The New York Times also noted that the Shah was “impressed by the desire of Americans for a secure and enduring peace” (“Shah Praises U.S. For Peace Policy,” NYT, February 5, 1955). This was, of course, just a few months after the United States had overthrown the elected government of Guatemala via a proxy army and had installed a regime of permanent terror.
In the real world, both Musharraf and the Shah of Iran fit comfortably the category of “cruel dictator,” whereas Ahmandinejad does not. Musharraf came to power in a coup and has ruled by decree ever since, in the interim carrying out quite a few massacres of his own people. The Shah was installed as ruler by the United States in a coup in 1953 (only 18 months before his Doctor of Laws degree award—or reward—at Columbia University) and from the very beginning displayed his cruelty and intention to rule by dictatorial authority. Ahmandinejad won a contested election and has limited personal power.
The Shah’s torture chambers were famous, modernized with the help of his CIA and Israeli advisers and probably topped anything the Iranian regime has engaged in since the Shah’s departure. The crucial difference between the winners of Columbia presidents’ accolades and denunciations is obviously that the one denounced is a declared U.S. enemy and target, whereas the good guys served U.S. interests. As in so many cases of leaders who serve, any little defects like torture or dictatorial rule somehow fail to get noticed by the presidents of Columbia (or by the mainstream media), whereas the lesser defects of the leader of the target state arouses furious indignation as the Columbia president displays his deep concern for human rights and democracy.
It is a little awkward for Bollinger that since Musharraf’s 2005 visit to Columbia he has fallen out of complete favor and there is talk of ousting this “leader of stature” who has not shaped up adequately. But if Mus- harraf came to Columbia again, we can be sure that Bollinger would find the proper nuance for a leader who was of somewhat diminished stature, but still a U.S. instrument.
The Shah was even encouraged to pursue nuclear energy, just as the target Iran of today is being threatened for trying to do what the Shah was allowed to do, by dictate of the ruler of the world. In short, the double standard is comprehensive and even funny in its crudity, but the United States and its propaganda system prevent large numbers from seeing this and laughing the responsible char- latans off the stage.
Israel Bombing Syria “Fuels Debate”
Almost daily the title and framing of news articles puts on clear display the internalized bias of propaganda system journalism. A nice illustration is the September 22, 2007 article in the New York Times by Mark Mazzetti and David E. Sanger, “Raid on Syria Fuels Debate on Weapons.” The continuation page headline is “Israeli Raid Renews Debate on Nuclear Arms and Syria.” Then in a box we see this thought: “Washington worries, Is Damascus trying to build or buy an arsenal?” Now if Syria had bombed Israel to knock out some of its threatening weaponry, it is obvious that the Times headline would be much larger and the focus would be on the bombing attack itself, not on any “debate” that might ensue about nuclear arms. This would be considered an act of war and very bad business and deserving of retaliatory action (which would surely ensue). There would be no box that says, “Damascus worries, Is Israel trying to build an arsenal?” And there would be an indignant editorial denouncing Syrian aggression violating the UN charter.
What this reflects is the New York Times’s journalistic principles. That is, Israel has a right to an arsenal, whereas any Syrian arsenal and any Syrian effort that might enable it to defend itself is highly debatable. Furthermore, Israel shares aggression rights with the United States, so that if it attacks Syria that is not in itself bad or even problematic, whereas if Syria or Iran or any non-ally bombs another country, aids dissident or resistance movements like Hezbollah, or intervenes anywhere outside their own territory, this is very bad business. These principles are so well internalized that people like Mazzetti and Sanger probably don’t even realize that they are pretty brazen propagandists.
An old favorite of mine that beautifully illustrates the New York Times’s structured bias and normalization of Israeli state terrorism is an article by Joel Greenberg on “Israel Rethinks Interrogation of Arabs” (NYT, August, 14, 1993). This was a period in which Israel’s torture of Palestinians was running at 400-500 victims per month, a point mentioned rather matter-of-factly deep in Greenberg’s article. But instead of the article featuring the torture itself—and it was alone in even mentioning the subject and giving the estimated number of victims—it is framed around Israeli thoughts on whether such “interrogation” procedures are helpful. The torture “fuels debate.” It isn’t worthy of an article on the torture regime itself. The Times has always steered clear of reporting on Israeli torture and, in a notorious case, when the London Times Insight team produced a lengthy study of Israeli torture in 1977, the New York Times refused to pick up the story (also fended off by the Washington Post) and mentioned it first in an article featuring the Israeli rebuttal to the torture charges (which were not spelled out).
Anti-Semitism as a Function of Israeli State Terrorism
The point was made years ago by Alexander Cockburn, but retains its value as a virtual social science law: that the more ruthlesslessly Israel behaves toward its untermen- schen the more furious the outcries of growing anti-Semitism. This law is easily explained: when Israel escalates its violence, the “defenders of anything Israel chooses to do” realize that Israel’s actions might provoke criticism in the West among those elements of the population overly sensitive to enlightenment values. So the best defense is a good offense. That is, start proclaiming that anti-Semitism is once again on the march, picking out or even manufacturing illustrations, and continue the long-standing effort to conflate hostility to Israeli actions to anti-Semitism. Of course, the conflation is rendered plausible by the fact that the campaigners who are identifying critics of Israeli actions as anti-Semites are usually Jewish and are usually linked to the well-financed Jewish lobby. So these Jewish campaigners are de facto supporters of Israeli state terror, making it not unreasonable to see a definite connection between the two, even if these campaigners don’t represent Jews in general.
The purpose of these campaigns is not only to silence criticism of Israel, but beyond that to help mobilize the West for war against Israel’s targets, now notably Iran. This program has been frighteningly successful. The U.S. Senate and Congress are now virtual appendages of the Israel lobby and rush to denounce its enemies and clear the ground for war against Israel’s targets. The political leaders compete for subservience honors and are afraid even to denounce the leaked suggestions that nuclear weapons might be used against Iran, let alone put a brake on further U.S. aggression. The media not already in service have been beaten into submission and the lobby has had notable successes in its McCarthyite campaigns against academics who don’t meet their standards of political correctness on Middle East issues. A stream of quality academics have been attacked and some of them damaged by Lobby campaigns—Juan Cole, Rashid Khaladi, Nadia Abu el-Haq, Joel Beinen, Joseph Massad, Norman Finkelstein, among others. People like Jimmy Carter, Stephen Walt, and John Mersheimer have been under steady attack for expressing critical views on Israeli policy and Lobby influence. Speakers not satisfying the Lobby principles have been denounced and invitations withdrawn because of the systematic pressure. Publishers of books deemed overly critical, most recently Pluto Press, have been threatened. Although the efforts of Campus Watch, CAMERA, Israel on Campus Coalition, and the David Project are such a clear throwback to the McCarthy era efforts of Red Channels and other private thought-police operations, you would hardly be aware of the civil liberties threat if you read only the mainstream media.
Democracy in Its Last Throes?
The already weak (plutocratic) democracy is in deep trouble in the United States, and good arguments can be made that it is likely to be stripped of its façade in the very near future. Right now it is crystal clear that “the people” do not rule and that monied interests and powerful lobbies determine eligible candidates—it is power sovereignty, not popular sovereignty. We have had a telling illustration of this following the 2006 election, where a majority of the the public clearly rejected the Bush policies and Iraq war, verified by polls, but were unable to do anything about it through the political process.
The Bush–Cheney team has already done serious damage to the democratic structures of this country: the checks-and-balances system is badly impaired, executive power to ignore congressional legislation is now openly asserted and still in place, executive power to permit torture and ignore international law has been strengthened, the right to privacy and due process has been weakened, habeas corpus is in jeopardy, and the executive’s power to go to war and carry out assassinations and other covert and military operations abroad has also been strengthened. In a recent speech, Daniel Ellsberg argues convincingly that a coup has already taken place with these legal-structural changes making for an all-powerful executive (“A Coup Has Occurred,” September 27, 2007, www.consortiumnews.com). But he then goes on to point out that a war with Iran, with its more catastrophic effects, including an impact on energy prices and supply, as well as wider warfare (possibly including the use of nuclear weapons), would almost surely produce a second coup and a police state. He argues that this may be just what Cheney, his chief-of-staff David Addington, and other elements of the Iran war support network want, but it would be the end of a great U.S. experiment and would usher in a new dark age.
Edward S. Herman is an economist, author, and media and social critic.
Z Magazine Archive
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: email@example.com; 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.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com; 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.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
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.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
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: email@example.com; 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.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
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/; email@example.com.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.