192750 The Secret World of Banking Ralph Nader ------------- Bush on Wall Street  ---------------- lbo-talk posts -----------190610 HAMAS HISTORY TIED TO ISRAEL ----Semantics of Murder Muslims play games with words to justify suicide attacks. BY AMIR TAHERI ------------ freerepublic.com/focus/site/user-posts?id=53757 all posts by konijn (Dutch for tame version of rabbit); he monitors the Hague Milo trial closely. Here he posts a zmag thing by Ed Herman which evokes only 3 responses whereas I get the impression posts (about guns and such)  boast very  many more albeit short comments --- ---------  lbo-talk 0771 Re: don't boycott israeli academics(nationalreview.com post and responses) --------- remember I linked ashen ruins piece on violence from the infoshop?? -- here are the indy responses at 192107 ----------------- 2 google pages worth of hits on the 2 words spinoza and state as searchterms ---- Most critical note out of the bunch: media-visions.com/globalsense-II-18.html From Part II: On Despotism and Authority Addiction - big site by Ken Freed (man with a rodent face) who purports to be very carried away by and to try carry forward the work of Thomas Paine -- but what his views on money are I know not (nor those of Paine come to think of it but seem to recall Beckerath regarding him not unfavorably). .  . a quick perusal tells me he seems to have caught a tiny but viable seed: "That's why the way we spend our money acts as a political vote." (found in a passage about interactive tv called A Proposal to Produce Public Understanding of Our Interactivity . Deep Media Literacy) ---- he is on aligningwithpurpose.com radio along with Cyberclass.net ---- nyt.co.uk/kenfreed.htm He is the author of two research reports from Financial Times Media, "Global Markets for Interactive Television" (2000), which says the smart money is on both personalization and privacy, and "Opportunities in Educational Television" (1998,) which calls for developing markets by developing minds,. .------------  2 Guardian articles: Strange Silence from the Left --- EDGE OF A PRECIPICE ----- 192881 and 192867 are identical posts by anarchogeek.com about service interruptions; here are the 3 comments ---------  ANTI-SEMITISM & OPEN PUBLISHING by rabble too  ----------- --------- ------- 8:42pm Tue Jul 16 '02 appointee to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cynthia Glassman, suggested that the so-called "Camel ratings" of banks be made available to the public. by Ralph Nader All the headlines about corporate disclosures and the need for transparency are sending shivers through the banking industry and its regulators who have always lived in a protected and largely secret world. Hundreds of millions of dollars are expended on examinations of depository institutions, but most of the key findings are treated as inside information between the bankers and the regulators who see a mutual advantage in keeping the depositors and investors-and even Members of Congress-in the dark about the gritty details of their performance. Only when an institution actually fails and taxpayer- backed deposit insurance funds are lost do the hard facts of mismanagement and regulatory miscues become public knowledge. The lack of timely disclosures about bank conditions arose a few weeks ago when a recess appointee to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cynthia Glassman, suggested that the so-called "Camel ratings" of banks be made available to the public. Camel ratings compiled by the regulators are evaluations based on examiners' and supervisors' assessment of six factors: capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to risk. Performance is based on numerical ratings of 1 to 5-with five designated as the worst. Ms. Glassman's suggestion produced an immediate uproar among regulators and the bank lobbyists. Comptroller of the Currency John Hawke, who spent most of his career as a big-time bank lawyer and lobbyist, immediately sent his spokesman out to denounce the idea of public disclosure, contending that the Camel ratings were an "internal tool of the regulators." Other opponents suggested that disclosure of the ratings might cause a "run" on a bank by scared depositors. This brings back memories of the savings and loan collapse in the 1980s when the Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank-Danny Wall--continued to paint rosy pictures and withhold bad news from the public while behind the scenes the savings institutions rotted and edged toward failure. At one point, Wall barged into the offices of the General Accounting Office in an attempt to block the release of a critical report citing mounting losses and increasing drains on the deposit insurance runs. And the friends of the savings and loans in key positions on Capitol Hill were all too happy to gloss over the worsening conditions until it was too late. The costs to the taxpayers and the savings and loan industry increased greatly under this blanket of secrecy. The public release of the Camel ratings would make it impossible for regulators and banks to hide conditions and let problems mushroom into disasters ala the savings and loan collapse. And as the SEC's Ms. Glassman asks "why shouldn't investors [as well as depositors] have this information." Richard Carnell, a professor of law at Fordham University and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, wholeheartedly endorses the idea of public disclosure of the Camel ratings, arguing that the disclosure would "facilitate constructive criticism of how bank regulators measure risk." Carnell was one the key staffers on the Senate Banking Committee who urged action on the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s and crafted many of the reforms after the collapse. Rather than facing the market discipline which full disclosure would help instill, the banks and other depository institutions prefer to utilize a costly deposit insurance system as a tranquilizer for the public. As thespeculation by the savings and loans revealed in the 1980s, the taxpayer-backed insurance creates a moral hazard that encourages excessive risk taking. Throughout this Congress, much of the banking industry has been on Capitol Hill in an intensive lobbying campaign to have taxpayer-backed deposit insurance increased from its present limit of $100,000 per depositor to as much as $150,000 plus indexing for future inflation. The present $100,000 limit was pulled out of thin air in 1980 by a handful of House-Senate conferees seeking a means of helping the ailing savings and loans attract deposits in competition with big money center banks. Actually, under loopholes, a family of four could keep as much as two million dollars in insured accounts in a single institution. The secrecy maintained by federal regulators combined with the tranquilizer of the massive deposit insurance program effectively takes the public out of the debate about banking policy. As a result, it is difficult to build public opinion about legislative and regulatory actions which impact on the safety and soundness-not to mention the efficiency--of banking corporations, and ultimately on the health of the deposit insurance funds. That was certainly the case in 1999 when the combined lobbying forces of banks, securities firms and insurance companies pushed through a near total rewrite of the nation's financial laws which authorized the formation of huge nationwide financial conglomerates- with little or no protections for consumers or the taxpayers who stand behind the deposit insurance funds. So, the idea advanced by a lone member of the Securities and Exchange Commission for disclosure of the regulators' ratings of banks is a welcome development in this desolate desert of secrecy which surrounds the banking industry. But, don't expect the banks or their regulators to agree voluntarily to come out in the sunshine. It is too convenient to leave bank regulation asan inside-game. The same is true for the Congress-particularly the House and Senate Banking Committees-which prefer to legislate favors for the industry without being bothered with messy facts in the hands of their voters back home. But the Enrons, the Worldcoms and the Global Crossings-among others- are placing a new premium on open disclosure. Perhaps, the sunshine may ultimately reach the musty dark corners of the secret world of banks and bank regulation. ---------  ----------------------  Bush on Wall Street--------- Send to a Friend Print Version July 10, 2002, 8:45 a.m. Bush on Wall Street Keen market watchers react to the president's speech on corporate corruption. Alan Reynolds NR contributor and senior fellow at the Cato Institute The president's speech Tuesday was quickly criticized for being both too detailed and too short on specific details. Regardless of what he said, Bush's critics were sure to sound tougher and meaner in the aftermath. But they did not sound smarter. Two sharpies from CNBC remarked that the one thing we learned from the recent congressional grilling about Enron is that congressmen are even more ignorant about accounting than we thought. Brazenly ignorant, in fact. Most congressmen think like lawyers, which means whoever wins is right. Bush has an MBA, so he shined best when endorsing private initiatives, notably the New York Stock Exchange proposals about making boards of directors truly independent of CEOs. The president's idea of putting an explanation of executive compensation in annual reports was also clever. Any such substantive improvements never appeal to the political class, of course, because they fail to expand either the government or the scope for lucrative lawsuits. The president's strategic error, however, has been to accept his critics' premises that (1) companies went bankrupt because of shady accounting rather than the other way around, and that (2) stock markets are weak only because of fear of accounting scandals rather than, say, fear of terrorism or lousy profits. The president says, "America's greatest economic need is higher ethical standards." On the contrary, the greatest economic need is for greater profits. What will it take to turn the stock market around? Greater profits. James K. Glassman Host of TechCentralStation.com and Washington Post columnist President Bush gave a superb speech Tuesday on Wall Street. He established exactly the right dichotomy: I'm a Republican, so I think that the way to stop people from doing bad things is to have simple, tough laws and brutal enforcement; Democrats think the solution is more bureaucracy and regulation. The only question is whether Bush should have gone to Wall Street, amid lots of hoopla, to deliver the speech at all. The accounting scandals are far more important to certain elements of the press and to Democratic pols than to investors, who have continued to invest in stock mutual funds at twice the rate they did last year, despite all the talk of "loss of confidence." By highlighting the scandals, Bush definitely hurt the stock market Tuesday, which dropped nearly 2% after his talk. Still, it was the right thing to do — not just for political inoculation but for justice. I only wish he had stressed more the discipline that market forces apply: As soon as shareholders learned that Enron executives had misled them, they took the market value of the firm down from $40 billion to zero — before indictments, before any government report. Enron was dead. That's the way it's supposed to work. Ditto, Andersen. Long before the indictment, clients were abandoning the firm. In the end, market forces are far more powerful than government rules. But, overall, Bush got it right: He stood up for an American value that was denigrated and degraded during the Clinton Administration: personal responsibility. You do something unethical or immoral, and you face the consequences. The last president didn't, of course. But this president will make sure that all the evildoers — murderers, terrorists, corporate-fraud artists — pay the price. Good for him. Victor A. Canto NRO contributing editor and president of La Jolla Economics I thought that the 1980's was the decade of greed — how wrong I was. It seems that during the 1990s greedy corporate officers paired themselves with unscrupulous accountants to simultaneously mislead shareholders and the IRS. That is quite a feat. So, how did we get into this mess? Unintended consequences. We set up a structure that did not distinguish between real long-term profits and short-term financially engineered profits. It reminds me of a story of a few years back. A trader was accused of fraud and of booking illusory profits. In his defense he argued that he found a glitch in the trading program, exploited the glitch, and thus should be paid on the paper profits — whether they occurred or not. The current situation is somewhat similar. CEOs and corporate officers have gamed the system. More importantly, shareholders and accountants have allowed it to happen. The clear evidence of the gamming of the system was the fact that many corporations were reporting two sets of books. One they used to show the IRS, and the other they used to show the shareholders. During the last few years the gap between these two measures widened substantially and not many people complained. Everyone hoped that corporations were only minimizing their tax liabilities — and maximizing shareholder wealth. Looking back, that was the naïve interpretation of events. Once a cheater always a cheater. If someone you know is cheating someone else, isn't it logical to think that given the chance they will also cheat you? My own life experiences suggest that is clearly the case. There is only one logical conclusion to this crisis — as Bush made clear in his Tuesday speech in New York: We should not tolerate cheating, dishonesty, or unethical behavior. This in not just a moral statement, it is a practical and selfish one. Cheating, lying, and dishonest behavior can come back to hurt us. Bush has correctly asked for higher transparency, which will make it more likely that shareholder wealth will be maximized in the long run. But the fear I maintain is of overreaction and/or poor implementation of the laws attempting to remedy the current situation. If misapplied, the proposed changes could make matters worst. They could result in corporations having to generate a third set of books. What we need is a simpler, more-transparent process. We do not need additional regulations that increase the regulatory burden of the economy. In other words, we do not need additional forms to file. We just need to redesign the current ones so that they will reflect the truth. Transparency should be the guiding light of the current reforms being considered. ------------- lbo-talk  ----------- >From the WSJ, 7-1-2002: Tricks of the Trade: On Factory Floors, Top Workers Hide Secrets to Success --- Bosses Seeking Input to Boost Output Often Hit a Snag: Tight-Lipped Old Hands --- Mr. Fowler's `Voodoo' Accuracy GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Bill Fowler knows that knowledge is power. That's why the 56-year-old factory worker seldom tells anyone anything... ---------- Great article, Kelley. I love the words `lore', `voodoo', `tricks', in the place of skill, craft, method, technique, and knowledge. That little yuppy biz (WSJ) stylistic dismissal alone tells it all. Since the WSJ considers core engineering craft, `voodoo' why would any one with such skills want to explain to them, these are the basis of the industrial revolution? They are convinced it was all built on the genius of management and capitalism. So fuck'm. I have systematically down graded my skill, efficiency, craft and knowledge at work for the last twenty years working in private shops. In the last dozen years I almost never show newer workers anything either, and certainly never explain anything to a boss, manager, or supervisor. I learned that detailed teaching skills are the fast track to being replaced by cheaper labor. The all time master of this is Loi B, one of my current work buds. He actively hides and protects his methods and techniques like they were state secrets and will point blank refuse to explain what he is doing to me or Larry G, his co-workers. Larry G and I on the other hand do share, but only between ourselves, in a mean spirited isolation of Loi. Joe M the new guy flounders around, and I've tried to help him but his work ethic is to keep from learning too much, so he doesn't have to work on more difficult jobs. As for the `just in time' production changes cited later in the article, I have to say, one of the key experiences I've had was watching a manufacturer change over to this sort of production system, and it did exactly the same thing---it killed them. Within about six years of changing they went bankrupt: slowing production, increasing costs, reducing quality, etc, etc. I love it when the asshole MBA efficiency experts take a face plant. The deeper truth is that US corporate culture no longer understands manufacturing and industrial production, since its whole emphasis has been to get rid of that nasty greasy stuff, the material realities of industrial production. If you noticed in the article: ``..One of Mr. Bosco's first priorities was to undo the damage the overhaul had caused. For that, he needed his workers to tell him what went wrong and how to fix it. As they searched for solutions, both the plant's managers and workers agreed that the root of the problem was that former management hadn't given workers any input into the redesign. `They ignored our experience, because they thought any monkey could build pumps,' says Mr. Bancroft, one of the plant's most seasoned pump builders...'' -------- At one time, core managers were grown up from the shop floor, and applied what they learned to the production systems---and were actually rewarded (shock of shocks) for it. But that era probably died sometime in the late sixties. I remember at least some of that sort of work culture as a kid and admired it. But the great rise of the professional managerial class over took that generation of old line managers and we got the `rust belt' of the 70s, the birth of post-modernity, etc. The 80s were a great lesson in how all that turned out: gutted US industry, shill corporations with a brand name and no US plants, and what the Reagan administration called the longest post-war expansion in history, etc. Well the 90s did all that and better. Just read Jim Farmelant's excellent post (Braverman's analysis of Taylorism, Johnson, etc.) But the ultimate sequel to Taylorism is the rust-belt of the 70s, the re-partitioning of industrial society back into the haves and have nots, and the reduction of a once rising working class back down into the mass urban miseries of poverty, crime, disease and early death. The ultimate problem with Taylorism is that so-called scientific management and rationalized production doesn't work. You simply can not pre-plan a production process anymore than you can completely pre-engineer a device without building one and testing it. And it gets worse. You can not pre-design a business around a pre-designed production system for a pre-designed product---unless of course the 'business', `production' and `product' are not real. Ipso facto, the imaginary product of imaginary production and imaginary profits---the dot.com, Enron, WorlCom, wonders of the twenty-first century.... Chuck Grimes -------------------- The history of the Boeing corporation does not comport with any of the assertions given above. That's just one company..... It's way more complex than what you suggest... Ian ---------- Yeah, whatta you want a textbook? This is e-mail. But I would add, the most likely scenario for Boeing success (if it is a success) are the linkages between shop floor and the engineering dept, where there is a constant interplay between design, fabrication, and production, and where the distinctions and divisions of labor (and wages) between high end technical fabrication and lower end engineering are blurred---and where management is intimately engaged in both engineering and technical fabrication. This kind of blurring of formal divisions is exactly counter to the high Taylorism and extreme rationalization that Jim Farmeland noted. I had some insight into the origins of `hi-tech' when I worked briefly in the old Lawrence Berkeley facilities about ten years ago. There were still shop floor engineers around from the heyday of nuclear weapons development---guys who started as technicians and machinists and worked their way into engineering, but stayed grounded in fabrication. Most of the scientists and high level engineers were long gone. (BTW, the best physical scientists I've seen were in astrophysics instrumentation where there was little distinction between theory, engineering, and technical fabrication.) If you really want to do just-in-time, and other highly rationalized systems you have to have a highly developed and highly skilled work force. You can not do it with low skilled, low wage, just-in-time work force that's called up and then let go, called up and let go.... You can not do it with a highly partitioned, and highly rationalized division of labor either. The problem with this latter approach is that all the detail of how these systems fit together depends on managers who understand the processes well enough to get them to fit together---and that understanding depends on their own technical and fabrication experience---back to the same problem. In most corporate cost cutting and streamingly moves I've watched, usually the first to go are the engineers, then the top production workers, then the middle managers---in other words the core production teams that have evolved to make production work efficiently. That's how it has been in places I've seen. Of course, I've only seen failures, places that went bankrupt. ``How to change it......................?'' I know, but I am not saying! Fuck'm. Let it burn. Chuck Grimes ------------------ You can not do it with a highly partitioned, and highly rationalized division of labor either. ========== FedEx does it every day, complete with hiring temps for 60-90 days before Xmas -then letting them go- and a large part-time staff to track demand dynamics. In many places you find part timers working more hours than full timers, at a lower wage too because of lack of seniority. Mgmt. tracks package volumes and adjust their hours on a daily basis. Spreadsheets are the new form of shopfloor control. And because info technologies are used by just about everyone in the company, the very notion of deskilling is problematic as a referent with regards to what's going on in that labor process. Rather it's controlling access to what the spreadsheets are capable of printing out given the questions asked. That's as rigid a hierarchy as anything Taylorism came up with. Secrecy creates rents. Meanwhile huge numbers of employees in the company have no secrets, the info. tech can track when they stop and pee or talk too long with a customer or consume something the nanny state says they can't. Ian ------------------- " . .a long time ago i heard a lecture by a Boeing engineer, who claimed they were the first large corporation to fully integrate CAD/CAE into their entire operation. and i mean ENTIRE. if i recall correctly this allowed for an unusally high level of interplay between designers, high-level engineers, and floor fabrication people...'' Les Schaffer ---------- Yeah, that's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. The WSJ article example of manufacturing high pressure pumps was interesting because it inadvertently illustrated part the deeper problems, probably none of which the writer understood. That is, fluid dynamics is so complex (Ian should love this) that it can't be completely engineered and rationalized in advance. So you absolutely depend on skill and experience with how certain fluids under a range of temperatures and pressures behave. Notice also for example that it was the company chief and managers who met with production line workers. Our example pump business had to depend on lower waged workers to refine the original engineering. So, my question is where were the engineers who originally designed these pumbs? Laid off no doubt long ago in some previous cost cutting move. That this kind of knowledge was considered shop lore and voodoo, really illustrated why US business culture (with its WSJ ideologues, neoliberal political hacks, and MBA clones) has become incompatible with high level manufacturing and a highly skilled work force. As Ian noted, FedEx does just-in-time labor, but as I wrote offlist, FedEx isn't manufacturing. It's a shipping service. So my conclusion is that Taylorism works fine as long as there is no tangible product or if the product doesn't matter. As for Eric's question: ``...Were you and every expereinced worker summarily replaced by some newbie, then the system would collpse of its own weight sooner...'' We have been replaced, and the system is collapsing. The neoliberal trick (talk about lore and voodoo) to keep it all going has been to direct the economy in a race to the bottom where all we have are FedEx and MacDonalds---the kind of business sectors where high Taylorism works, the product whatever it is doesn't matter, and niether does the skill level of the labor. What is the real cost of a fucked up hamburger or a damaged package? It is practically nil compared to a crashed airliner or an exploding oil line pump. ------------ Lost packages cost FedEX millions a year, and that's not counting litigation over the contents of the data in the packages which effects other firm's bottom lines. When I left in June 2000, the company was still putting out notices looking for a package shipped by GM in the late 1980's that was worth *a lot* of $. And the thing weighed less than 8 ounces. ------------------- Remember the Ford Explorer v. Firestone? A great example of how US corporate savvy met the limits of engineering and production line craft, and successfully over came them with marketing, management, and a lot of lawyers. Chuck ---------------------- On Tue, 16 Jul 2002, Chip Berlet : "White Order of Thule = Nordicist fascism & antisemitic White supremacy" > The case that Elizabeth was more antisemitic and altered her brother's > work when she edited it? Even if this is true, Friedrich still > articulated the idea of Will to Power and the idea of a superior type of > man. No? Well yes, but both were almost entirely philosophical notions. The Will to Power is an assertion that everyone, including you and me, define the world in categories that make us look good and our enemies look bad. We can't help ourselves. Even when we are being honest we are trying to win. And every framework, while illuminating part of reality, distorts other parts. The superior sort of man is one who can admit this sort of perspectivalism and still carry on thinking and acting and judging rather than getting vertigo and giving in to despair or the need to believe in an ultimate truth. That's putting a huge amount in a nutshell, of course. But it's a lot closer to the truth than saying he was the father of Nazism. He was an anti-anti-semite and an anti-German-nationalist. Those were Elizabeth's emendments, along with others designed to make it look like he celebrated bloody war rather than philosophical war. Mind you, there is a lot of slack in there. He very much enjoyed using the perspective of barbarians as an example; he was quite tied up with the heroic period of the Indo-European hypothesis (aka at that time as the Indo-Aryan hypothesis); and he didn't like mass democracy and is full of reactionary bon mots. Also he loved paradoxical and slap-in-the-face formulations. And he left a mountain of unpublished stuff, he wrote in fragments, and he went crazy at the end. And then there's his friendship with Wagner. Elements like this complicate interpretation and make it possible for an Elizabeth to support her case, and for a causal reader to come away thinking he was the exponent of a new barbarism.* But if you want to say that someone is the father of the Nazi use of the term Uebermensch, then I think it's fair to say that'd be Elizabeth. But why not just leave that square out of the chart entirely and just say that Master Race theory started with Nazism? Because if you want to go back before that, as far as I understand it, German scientific racism came chiefly out of German anthropology, which had nothing to do with Nietzsche, except insofar as they can both partially be traced back to the same roots in the developing phase of the Indo-European hypothesis, when linguistic unity was conflated with national and racial unity -- and whence their common use of term Aryan. Michael * This reminds me of my favorite casual reader of Nietzsche joke, which seems germane to a chart about right wing crazies. It was in the movie A Fish Called Wanda. Jamie Lee Curtis calls Kevin Kline a mindless gorilla who always uses force when there are better ways. He says "I'm not a gorilla! Gorillas don't read Nietzsche!" And she answers "Yes they do! They just don't understand him!" -------------------- Indymedia.org item 190610 HAMAS HISTORY TIED TO ISRAEL Richard Sale 12:23am Mon Jul 8 '02 address: UPI According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, "the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer. They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it," he said. upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=18062002-051845-8272r Analysis: Hamas history tied to Israel By Richard Sale UPI Terrorism Correspondent From the International Desk Published 6/18/2002 8:13 PM In the wake of a suicide bomb attack Tuesday on a crowded Jerusalem city bus that killed 19 people and wounded at least 70 more, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, took credit for the blast. Israeli officials called it the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in six years. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately vowed to fight "Palestinian terror" and summoned his cabinet to decide on a military response to the organization that Sharon had once described as "the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face." Active in Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas wants to liberate all of Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel. It is has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other acts of terrorism. But Sharon left something out. Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies. Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official. According to documents United Press International obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were "weak and dormant" until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies. After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, called Da'wah, that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many who were living on the edge. "Social influence grew into political influence," first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement's spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work. According to U.S. administration officials, funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted to set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini's Iran. What took Israeli leaders by surprise was the way the Islamic movements began to surge after the Iranian revolution, after armed resistance to Israel sprang up in southern Lebanon vis-Ã -vis the Hezbollah, backed by Iran, these sources said. "Nothing provides the energy for imitation as much as success," commented one administration expert. A further factor of Hamas' growth was the fact the PLO moved its base of operations to Beirut in the '80s, leaving the Islamic organization to grow in influence in the Occupied Territories "as the court of last resort," he said. When the intifada began, Israeli leadership was surprised when Islamic groups began to surge in membership and strength. Hamas immediately grew in numbers and violence. The group had always embraced the doctrine of armed struggle, but the doctrine had not been practiced and Islamic groups had not been subjected to suppression the way groups like Fatah had been, according to U.S. government officials. But with the triumph of the Khomeini revolution in Iran, with the birth of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorism in Lebanon, Hamas began to gain in strength in Gaza and then in the West Bank, relying on terror to resist the Israeli occupation. Israel was certainly funding the group at that time. One U.S. intelligence source who asked not to be named said that not only was Hamas being funded as a "counterweight" to the PLO, Israeli aid had another purpose: "To help identify and channel towards Israeli agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists." In addition, by infiltrating Hamas, Israeli informers could only listen to debates on policy and identify Hamas members who "were dangerous hard-liners," the official said. In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence. But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: "The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place," said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named. "Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with," he said. All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials. "The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy," said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro. According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, "the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism." "The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer." "They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it," he said. Aid to Hamas may have looked clever, "but it was hardly designed to help smooth the waters," he said. "An operation like that gives weight to President George Bush's remark about there being a crisis in education." Cordesman said that a similar attempt by Egyptian intelligence to fund Egypt's fundamentalists had also come to grief because of "misreading of the complexities." An Israeli defense official was asked if Israel had given aid to Hamas said, "I am not able to answer that question. I was in Lebanon commanding a unit at the time, besides it is not my field of interest." Asked to confirm a report by U.S. officials that Brig. Gen. Yithaq Segev, the military governor of Gaza, had told U.S. officials he had helped fund "Islamic movements as a counterweight to the PLO and communists," the official said he could confirm only that he believed Segev had served back in 1986. The Israeli Embassy press office referred UPI to its Web site when asked to comment. www.upi.com/ ------------------------------- ----------------------------  Semantics of Murder Muslims play games with words to justify suicide attacks. BY AMIR TAHERI As President Bush and Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, met in Washington yesterday, the latest mass murder rocked Tel Aviv. A blast in a pool hall killed at least 16 people and wounded at least 57 others. So, will the Palestinian who here turned himself into a walking agent of destruction be regarded by his people as a "suicide bomber," a "terrorist" or a "martyr"? Many in the West assume that the Muslim world has already answered by honoring the human bombs as "martyrs." And the chorus of voices from the Muslim world does support that assumption. Foreign ministers from 57 Muslim countries met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this month with the stated intention of defining terrorism and distancing Islam from terror. Instead, they ended up endorsing the suicide bombers. Iran's former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, says he would accept the suicide of even 10% of Muslims in a nuclear war to wipe Israel off the map. Algeria's president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has described the bombers as "innocent blossoms of martyrdom." Ghazi Algosaibi, Saudi Arabia's ambassador in London and also a poet, has praised the human bombs as a model for Muslim youth in an ode. Ismail Abushanab, the Hamas leader in Gaza, says that 10,000 Palestinians should die while killing 100,000 Israelis as part of a strategy to "put the Jews on the run." And Saddam Hussein says the suicide bombers are "reviving Islam." Many Arab television channels have enlisted their resources in the battle for the hearts and minds of the Arab world, presenting self-styled sheikhs who use sophistry to bestow religious authority on a cynical political strategy. But even these apologists of terror find it difficult to justify the bombers in terms of Islamic ethics. The first difficulty they face is that Islam expressly forbids suicide. Islamic ethics underlines five "unpardonable sins": cannibalism, murder, incest, rape and suicide. The rationale is that these are evil deeds that cannot be undone. To avoid such awkwardness, the apologists of terror recently abandoned the term entehari ("suicidal") which was coined for human bombs when they first appeared in Lebanon in 1983. The apologists also know that they cannot use the term shahid for the men who self-detonate in civilian areas. This is a complex term. Although it also means "martyr," it must not be confused with the Christian concept of martyrdom. In Islam, Allah himself is the first shahid, meaning "witness," to the unity of creation. The word indicates that individuals cannot decide to become martyrs--that choice belongs only to God. But this is a lofty honor. There are no more than a dozen or so "shahids" in the history of Islam--people who fell in loyal battle in defense of the faith, not in pursuit of political goals. By becoming shahid they bore testimony to the truth of God's message. The Palestinian teenager who says in video-recorded testament that he or she has decided to become a martyr is, in fact, challenging one of Allah's prerogatives. To get around the semantics, terror's apologists now use the word etsesh'had, which literally means "affidavit." As a neologism, it means conducting "martyr-like" operations. Thus "martyr-like," the ersatz in place of the real, is used to circumvent the impossibility of regarding suicide bombers as martyrs in Islam. Muslims who implicitly condone terror know they cannot smuggle a new concept into Islamic ethics, where human activities are divided into six categories along a spectrum of good and evil. Most activities fall into a gray area, half of which is described as mobah (acceptable though not praiseworthy), the other half as makruh (acceptable though best avoided). Suicide bombing falls within the category that is forbidden (haram). To change its status as a concept, its supporters must give a definition (ta'rif), spell out its rules (ahkam), fix its limits (hodoud), find its place in jurisprudence (shar'e) and common law (urf). Such an undertaking would require a large measure of consensus (ijma'a) among the believers, something the prophets of terror will never secure. And not a single reputable theologian anywhere has endorsed the new trick word estesh'had, though some have spoken with forked tongues. The reason is not hard to see. Islam forbids human sacrifice. The greatest Islamic festival is the Eid al-Adha which marks the day God refused Abraham's offer to sacrifice his firstborn and, instead, substituted a lamb. A god who refuses human sacrifice for his cause can hardly sanction the same to promote the strategies of Mr. Abushanab, or Yasser Arafat. Islam also rejects the crucifixion of Christ because it cannot accept that God would claim human sacrifice in atonement of men's sins. Some, like Iran's President Mohammad Khatami, present suicide bombings as acts of individual desperation. This is disingenuous. One of the girls who blew herself up, murdering almost a dozen Israelis, had been recruited at 14 and brainwashed for two years. Mounting a suicide operation needs planning, logistics, surveillance, equipment, money and postoperation publicity--in short, an organization. But then, the recruiters never use their own children. No one related by blood to the leaders of Hamas or Islamic Jihad has died in suicide bombings. Arafat's wife, Suha, says she would offer her son for suicide attacks. Mrs. Arafat, however, has no son, only a daughter, living with her in Paris. It is always someone else's child who must die. Mr. Taheri is author of "The Cauldron: Middle East Behind the Headlines" (Hutchinson, 1988). --------------------------------- freerepublic.com/focus/site/user-posts?id=53757 all posts by konijn (Dutch for tame version of rabbit); he monitors the Hague Milo trial closely. Here he posts a zmag thing by Ed Herman which evokes only 3 responses whereas I get the impression posts (about guns and such)  boast very  many more albeit short comments ------------------- Here s Herman: Media and new humanitarian normalization of victor s justice Zmag | Edward S. Herman Posted on 07/11/2002 4:10 PM Pacific by konijn Media and new humanitarian normalization of victor’s justice By Edward S. Herman --- Despite the overwhelming politicization and abuse of judicial process that has characterized the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY, or Tribunal) from its inception, discussed in Part 1, the Western new humanitarians (David Rieff, Michael Ignatieff, et al.) and mainstream media have taken its work as entirely principled and truth- and justice-seeking. Demonization, an intense focus on worthy victims, and an automatic acceptance of official perspectives, quickly creates a consensus “truth” that is protected by repetition and an avoidance of incompatible information. Everybody can then repeat the established line and anybody who contests it becomes an “apologist for Milosevic.” Several dozen new humanitarians have played a major role in selling the official line. They have uniformly accepted the ICTY as a legitimate judicial body dispensing justice. For Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute (funded by Soros), establishing the Tribunal was “the most important step by the United Nations to protect human rights since it adopted the Universal Declaration.” The claim that the Tribunal is a “tool of the U.S.” he dismisses as unworthy of refutation (WP, May 5, 1998; NYRB, March 8, 2001). Neither Neier nor any of the new humanitarians discuss the significance of the Tribunal’s NATO-power origination, purpose, funding, and staffing; its less than stellar adherence to western legal standards; or its service as NATO’s public relations arm. Their assumption of the benevolent purposes of NATO’s leaders and of the unique villainy of NATO targets precludes critical analysis. Michael Ignatieff says, “The great virtue of legal proceedings is that their evidentiary rules confer legitimacy on otherwise contestable facts,” but he never examines the evidentiary rules of the Tribunal or evaluates the criticisms made of them; he knows a priori that it does not dispense “victor’s justice” (Harpers, March 1997; “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” May 31, 2000). Apart from expressing approval, neither Ignatieff nor his comrades discuss the Tribunal’s indictment of Milosevic on May 22, 1999, while NATO was bombing Yugoslavia. This remarkable politicization of an alleged judicial body did not bother the new humanitarians, nor did the Tribunal’s refusal even to investigate the numerous claims of NATO law violations. Yale law professor Ruth Wedgwood, who misleadingly calls Del Ponte the “internationally appointed prosecutor of war crimes,” praises Del Ponte’s report in which she declines even to open an investigation as “carefully done,” resting on “emerging” standards of law, and recognizing that “there is uncertainty and indistinctness in targets” in a “humanitarian intervention” (Fox News, June 16, 2000). Having taken sides, no rationalization is too absurd; the asserted moral ends justify the means. The politicization of the Tribunal serves the new humanitarians well. They regularly cite its findings as definitive confirmation of what they want to prove in their campaigning. For David Reiff, the Tribunal indictments of Karadzic and Mladic “FOR GENOCIDE” (his emphasis) show what a determined West could have done at any time to bring justice to the Balkans (Slaughterhouse, 1996). For Ian Williams, Carla Del Ponte’s estimate of probable killings in Kosovo is the final authority that “should have put questions concerning the death toll to rest” (Knight-Ridder/Tribune, Nov. 23, 1999). Rieff points out that national sovereignty no longer protects human rights abusers, “as Slobodan Milosevic learned when at the height of the Kosovo conflict, he was indicted for war crimes by an international tribunal at the Hague” (World Policy Journal, Summer 2000). Rieff takes it for granted that this indictment was carried out by a dispenser of justice—its public relations service to NATO during the NATO bombing of Serbia is unmentioned, perhaps never even strikes this war enthusiast and propagandist. A Prosecutor’s Dream Team The preeminent feature of media coverage of the Tribunal has been their uncritical following of the U.S. official and Tribunal prosecutor lead in reporting and interpreting the Tribunal’s work. They simply take Tribunal actions, usually the indictment or seizure of some preferred (Serb) villain, report the prosecutor’s charges in detail and without challenge, provide no critical historical context, and never analyze the selectivity in choice of villain or the political context of the Tribunal’s work. >From the beginning the media have never asked basic questions: Does the Security Council have a legal right to establish a judicial body like the tribunal? Do the funding, staffing, and police service of NATO entail NATO influence or control? Do the dominant members of the Security Council, who also dominate NATO, have political goals that might compromise the judicial efforts of a Tribunal? Instead of addressing these questions the media have assumed that justice was being served, with the benevolent NATO properly, perhaps belatedly, trying to bring “another Hitler” to justice. But such assumptions violate the principles of objectivity whose use supposedly differentiates a free from a totalitarian press. It will not do to say that “in this case” the truth was obvious, because the truth should always be kept open to question—and the media have repeatedly gotten on similar bandwagons of “obvious” truth that turned out to be untrue (the KGB-Bulgarian connection to the shooting of the Pope in 1981, the Soviet’s deliberate shooting down of Korean civilian airliner 007 in 1983, the latter later admitted by the New York Times to have been “The Lie That Was Not Shot Down” [editorial, January 18, 1988]). The media occasionally touch upon the problem areas, but they fail to acknowledge their relevance and importance and, instead of building on the challenging information they quickly move on. Jamie Shea’s NATO press conference statement of May 17, 1999, that NATO had no worries about prosecution by the Tribunal because the NATO powers finance the Tribunal and the prosecutor does only “what we allow her to,” was entirely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, despite its clear assertion of Tribunal subservience to external political control. On National Public Radio (NPR), the issue of whether NATO could be prosecuted for war crimes came up on “All Things Considered” (March 24, 2000), but the program dealt only with U.S. officials’ annoyance at the question, and the resultant possible straining of relations between the United States and the Tribunal. U.S. officials pointed out that the Tribunal “depends heavily on the United States for funding, personnel, and the collection of evidence,” and that raising the question of NATO crimes had led to U.S. authorities already “putting bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Tribunal requests.” With only U.S., NATO, and Tribunal officials commenting on the issue, its scope was narrow, and the NPR reporters did not ask what kind of justice results from a judiciary so dependent on an interested power. This same bias pervaded the coverage of Del Ponte’s June 2000 decision to exonerate NATO from war crimes charges without even opening an investigation. The major New York Times article on this decision was entitled “Kosovo Inquiry Confirms U.S. Fears of War Crimes Court” (Steven Lee Myers, January 3, 2000). In keeping with its title, the article did not discuss the evidence of NATO war crimes, which Canadian law professor Michael Mandel presented to Del Ponte in three large volumes, nor does it examine the basis on which Del Ponte refused to investigate as laid out in the Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign (OTP Report). The article focuses instead on theoretical U.S. vulnerability to war crimes charges. An AP report from the Hague (“U.N. Court Examines NATO’s Yugoslavia War,” NYT, December 29, 1999) notes that even if evidence of NATO law violations was found, “it is questionable whether Ms. Del Ponte...would go so far as to issue any indictments. The handling of the report is a delicate matter for the tribunal, which depends on the military alliance to arrest and hand over suspects.” But there is no suggestion that this dependence compromises the judicial character of the tribunal. Even more explicit in NATO- friendly framing is AP’s January 4, 2000 report “White House Blasts Kosovo Inquiry,” which features “Washington’s patience” being exhausted at these Tribunal provocations, its view that an inquiry would be “completely unjustified” (White House spokesperson), the awkward position of Del Ponte in trying to avoid charges of pro-NATO bias, and a number of citations to NATO spokespersons on NATO’s innocence—but not a word on the charges against NATO and the supporting evidence. Charles Trueheart in the Washington Post did quote Michael Mandel making a general case against NATO (“Taking NATO to Court, Tribunal Reviews Professors’ Charging That Alliance Committed War Crimes,” January 20, 2000), while giving NATO and the prosecutor equal space and the last word. Trueheart cites NATO officials saying “they had been assured by Ms. Del Ponte that she would not carry the exercise far,” and that assurance was fulfilled. The media’s coverage of the NATO “inquiry” and exoneration comprised a few back-page articles, far less coverage than given indictments of even low-level Serbs. The media never compared the speed with which charges were made that served NATO, based on NATO-supplied information, with the inability to decide the NATO case for many months despite massive information in the public domain (summarized in Mandel’s three-volume dossier). The fact that Milosevic was indicted for “crimes against humanity” based on 375 deaths, whereas according to the OTP Report “there is simply no evidence of the necessary crime base” with 500 NATO-caused deaths, failed to attract the media’s attention. There was not a single citation by the media to the report used by the prosecutor, which relied on NATO press releases as authoritative sources and gives solid evidence of pro-NATO bias, as demonstrated by Mandel. The reporters were too lazy and biased to examine this readily available document. The Racak “Massacre” By January 1999, the United States and NATO were ready to attack Yugoslavia and the United States was looking for a casus belli. The death of some 40-45 Albanians in the Racak area on January 15 was therefore greeted happily in Washington. Many questions have been raised about this incident: the Serbs had invited both OSCE monitors and journalists to witness their assault on this KLA stronghold, A.P. photographers were on the scene, and French reporter Christophe Chatelet, who arrived in the village after the fighting, found the site calm, OSCE observers helping some elderly people but telling Chatelet that nothing important had happened. There were no signs of a massacre. After the report of a massacre, Chatelet and Figaro reporter Renaud Giraud insisted on seeing the A.P. photographers’ tapes of the day’s events, which again showed nothing supporting the claim of a massacre. After the KLA reoccupied the village, the next morning 40 bodies were on display, U.S. officials immediately claimed a massacre, and Tribunal prosecutor Louise Arbour rushed to proclaim a war crime. The U.S. media also rushed to give the incident intense and indignant coverage. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, and Newsweek supplied 40 often lengthy articles over the next ten days. All regurgitated U.S., NATO, and Albanian claims of a slaughter of civilians. For Steven Erlanger, Milosevic “has thrown down the gauntlet to the West” by organizing a massacre (NYT, January 21, 1999). Erlanger and his colleagues never mentioned the findings of the French journalists who were on the scene, looked at the A.P. tapes, and expressed serious doubts in Le Figaro and Le Monde. The U.S. reporters failed to question the AP photographers present at Racak on January 15 whose documentation of the events there has since been kept under wraps. They did not interview the OSCE observers who were at Racak by invitation that day, even after U.S. and OSCE official William Walker admitted that the observers had not witnessed a massacre (Watson, LAT, January 20, 1999). They never asked why the Serbs had failed to remove the bodies, but left them for Walker to find and put to work for NATO. The U.S. media claimed that the massacre was an embarrassment to U.S. officials and NATO—e.g., “The Serb dictator understands well that NATO has little appetite for involvement in another Balkan conflict” (WP, ed., January 20, 1999). However, British journalist Allan Little quoted Madeleine Albright as saying to National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, after hearing of the alleged massacre, “Spring has come early” (“How NATO was sucked into the Kosovo conflict,” Sunday Telegraph [London], February 27, 2000). William Walker, the OSCE official who had hastened to the scene and claimed an atrocity, not only had a conflict of interest as a U.S. representative, he was a Reagan era apologist for Salvadoran army atrocities. Although the European press frequently mentioned his bias and European officials’ annoyance at his compromised behavior as head of the OSCE observer mission, the U.S. media took at face value his stance of being “visibly shaken” at the Racak death scene (e.g., Guy Dinmore, WP, January 17, 1999), and never mentioned his conflict of interest or tainted record. Although the Jesuit Order had publicly opposed Walker’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Panama, “based on his alleged complicity in [and role in the coverup of] the November 1989 assassination of [six] Jesuit priests in El Salvador” (Inter Press Service, June 28, 1993), Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times said only that “he was chief of the U.S. Embassy’s political section in El Salvador [and] ambassador from 1988 to 1992" (LAT, January 20, 1999); and for Jane Perlez, he was merely “a seasoned diplomat” (NYT, January 17, 1999). The bodies at Racak were quickly subjected to a forensic examination by Serb and Belarus specialists, in coordination with a Finnish team sent by the European Union. Professor Dusan Dunjic, of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Belgrade, who was one of the investigating team, says that 37 of the 40 bodies showed traces of gunpowder on the hands, indicating that before death the individuals had handled firearms; that the bullet wounds were in different parts and sides of the bodies and had been inflicted from different directions; and that although in civilian dress, many had identical black trousers and other clothing designed for long wear out-of-doors. The U.S. media never talked with Dunjic or his colleagues and relied only on the frequently ambiguous statements of the head of the Finnish delegation, Dr. Helen Ranta, who was a dentist and not a forensic expert. Her most often quoted words were that Racak was “a crime against humanity.” She continued by saying that “all killings” are crimes against humanity. This followup statement, which made the first statement meaningless, was never quoted. The Finnish study of the massacre has never been made public, which suggests that it fails to support the official story. The U.S. media have not found this secrecy worth mentioning. In January 2001 three of the Finnish experts published their findings in Forensic Science International (J. Raino, K. Lalu and A. Penttila, “Independent forensic autopsies in an armed conflict: investigation of the victims from Racak, Kosovo,” 2001). Although lacking in explicit conclusions, the article made clear that the bodies had been shot from many different directions as Dudjic had stated, and suggested doubts about a massacre. Deutsche Press-Agentur’s article summarizing the report is titled “Finnish experts find no evidence of Serb massacre of Albanians” (January 17, 2001). No major U.S. publication ever mentioned this study, despite their prior intense focus on Racak. In Louise Arbour’s indictment of Milosevic, the Racak massacre is the only pre-bombing charge. The media, having raised not a single doubt about Racak, naturally never questioned it as a basis for the indictment. When Arbour had sought to join William Walker at Racak, the media’s sole preoccupation then was Milosevic’s denial of entry to Arbour and threat to expel Walker. Paul Watson quoted James Rubin on the unacceptability of “the Serbs interfering with monitors bravely trying to do their work” (LAT, January 19, 1999). Milosevic had the strange notion that Walker and Arbour had a political agenda in which he was the target. Serving on the same team as Walker and Arbour, the media never hinted at this possibility. The Arkan Indictment On March 31, 1999, a week after NATO began bombing Yugoslavia, Tribunal prosecutor Louise Arbour announced the indictment of Serb paramilitary leader Arkan, which had been secretly issued in September 1997. The timing of the announcement was alleged by Arbour to be based on the desire to put on notice anyone who “might retain his services or obey his orders.” Marlise Simons and Charles Trueheart in the NYT and WP both reported the Tribunal explanation (April 1, 1999) and NATO’s “welcoming” the indictment, but neither pointed out that the rationale was silly, nor did they hint at the public relations service to NATO in focusing public attention on Serb evil. There were 11 articles on the Arkan indictment in my five media sample in the ten days after March 31, more than double the number on the refusal of the Tribunal even to investigate NATO war crimes. It is enlightening also to contrast the media’s treatment of Arkan and Nasir Oric, the Bosnian Muslim paramilitary killer, who had bragged to Western journalists about his slaughter of Serbs in and around Srebrenica, and who was at least Arkan’s equal as a mass murderer of civilians. But the West supported the Bosnian Muslims, so Oric was never indicted by the Tribunal and the media coverage of this criminal was negligible. During the period from January 1, 1992 through December 31, 1996, Arkan was mentioned 150 times in my media sample, 60 times in the New York Times. During the same period Nasir Oric was mentioned only three times, not once in the New York Times. Equally interesting, while Arkan was always described with adjectives like “notorious” and “monstrous” and nouns like “massacres” and “ethnic cleansing” (Charles Trueheart, WP, February 1, 1999), on the rare occasions when Oric was mentioned those words were missing. Thus, John Pomfret, although noting that Oric’s “war trophies” included videotapes of “burned Serb houses and headless Serb men, their bodies crumpled in a pathetic heap,” describes Oric only as “the toughest guy in town” and “a lion in his den” (WP, February 16, 1994). The Milosevic Indictment With NATO’s bombing of Serbian military forces in Kosovo not yielding an early surrender, NATO started to bomb the civilian infrastructure of Serbia.  These attacks were contrary to the laws of war and were producing growing criticism even within the NATO countries. Into this public-relations breach stepped Louise Arbour and the Tribunal, with a patched together indictment of Milosevic and four other high Yugoslav officials, publicly announced on May 27, 1999. In an outstanding example of parallel media propaganda service, not a single news or opinion piece in the 32 published in my media sample during the ten days after May 27, even noted, let alone criticized, that the Tribunal was gearing its work to accommodate NATO’s public relations needs, although several mentioned that it did seem to justify NATO’s war, and several quoted Albright as saying the same thing. Many articles focused on whether the indictments might hamper ongoing peace negotiations, but not one questioned the appropriateness of a supposed judicial body issuing indictments that would have immediate political consequences. Apart from the three or four citing Serb and Russian opinion, no article criticized Arbour, who was portrayed as a gallant believer in justice. In a later accolade to Arbour, Marlise Simons allowed Arbour to state her reason for indicting Milosevic in May—“we might miss out” on getting him as a result of a peace deal—but Simons did not mention that there might be an alternative view, and she spoke only of the indictment as “now seen as a tribute to the tribunal’s firmness” (“Proud but Concerned, Tribunal Prosecutor Leaves,” NYT, September 15, 1999). In many articles Arbour was described as in frequent conflict with NATO, which had been allegedly dragging its feet in apprehending the villains that Tribunal justice had indicted. Arbour’s statement accompanying the indictment, that indicted individuals are “entitled to the presumption of innocence until they are convicted,” was immediately contradicted by her remark that the current indictment “raises serious questions about their suitability to be guarantors of any deal.” These statements, which effectively declared Milosevic guilty by indictment before conviction, were never cited by the media. The media regularly noted that Arbour depended on classified NATO evidence for the indictments, but they never pointed out that this evidence had not been independently confirmed by the Tribunal, or that its supplier had a conflict of interest. The media, like NATO and Arbour, knew in advance that they were dealing once again with “another Hitler” so that the sole question was efficiently bringing him to book—there was no concern about niceties like due process and conflict of interest. Thus, in contrast with the media’s treatment of the charges against NATO, here the media offered voluminous and uncritical summaries of the charges, with gory details, along with half-baked and error-laden “background.” Apart from a few articles that gave brief contrary views from Belgrade and Moscow, the only dissent allowed was that the Tribunal’s action had been too slow. The Seizure of Milosevic When the Tribunal organized the kidnapping of Milosevic to The Hague, once again the media and Tribunal worked harmoniously in NATO’s service. The media treated this process intensively and as a triumph of justice, epitomized by the title of Time Magazine’s article “Bagging the Butcher,” and Newsweek’s reference to Milosevic as “our postmodern Eichmann” (both on April 9, 2001). The media prejudged the case, with vast assurance and matching indignation, parroting the lines taken by the Tribunal prosecution, themselves identical with the position taken by Madeleine Albright and her associates. Milosevic was spirited away secretly in defiance of the wishes of the relatively popular President of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica, and an order of the Constitutional Court, by a leader (Zoran Djindjic) who, while “pro-American,” had “fairly low popularity ratings” (Jeffrey Smith, WP, June 30, 2001). It was treated as a romantic escapade, with Djindjic the brave hero. That this kidnapping was done under financial pressure from the United States and other donor nations was viewed as entirely reasonable. None of my major media sample reported Djindjic’s anger when he discovered that most of the donor money from selling Milosevic went to liquidating Yugoslavia’s foreign debts. A few articles noted that forcing the extradition in the face of Yugoslav law and a court order might not help Yugoslavia recognize the importance of the rule of law. A number noted that the extradition was strongly opposed by many in Yugoslavia and might create political turmoil and destabilize the fragile new democratic government, but this view too was exceptional. None of the media noted the fact that Madeleine Albright had earlier explained that it would be inappropriate to pressure the Indonesian government to seek war crimes trials against Indonesian war criminals because it might destabilize the new, fragile government of that country. In The Hague Milosevic faced an expanded indictment, that now included his alleged responsibility for Serb crimes in Bosnia and Croatia. John Laughland has pointed out that this expansion “is in direct contradiction to one of the most fundamental principles of customary extradition law, namely that a defendant may not be tried for a crime other than the one for which he was originally sent for trial” (“Victors’ Justice,” The Spectator [London], February 9, 2002]). This point was never made in the major U.S. media. Laughland notes also  that, as the expanded indictments cover matters now seven to ten years old, which had produced no indictments earlier, “It seems obvious that these last-minute indictments over Croatia and Bosnia were issued to cover up the weakness of the Kosovo indictment. And the judges have connived in this.” The U.S. mainstream media have never made these points either. Prosecutor Del Ponte openly admits that, despite the age of those earlier events, she is busy collecting data for the new charges, thereby acknowledging that indictments precede evidence, not vice versa as in a genuine court. This abuse replicates Arbour’s in May 1999 when she rushed to indict based on unverified evidence from a party to the conflict (NATO), eager for a propaganda boost. Now, as in May 1999, the U.S. mainstream media don’t notice. The Hague trial of Milosevic is a show trial, like the Moscow trials of 1936-1937, with a demonized villain on stage whose certain conviction will vindicate the NATO war and interventions. After this service, the Tribunal can be dissolved, and the United States is now urging its near-term liquidation. Toronto lawyer Edward L. Greenspan writes in Canada’s National Post (March 13) that “The first two minutes of the Milosevic trial told me all I needed to know. This is a lynching.” Greenspan points out that in her opening statement prosecutor Del Ponte claimed to be working “on behalf of the international community and in the name of the member states of the UN”—in Greenspan’s words “Prosecutor for the Universe.” Judge Richard May didn’t object, probably because “he actually believes her. May knows what the world expects of him and this trial.” Greenspan also asks: how can justice be done in a court presided over by a NATO-country judge, and especially one who “clearly reviles Milosevic?” Greenspan points out further that, as Milosevic has opted to defend himself and is not very sophisticated in cross-examination and court-room practice, a fair judge would lean over backwards to help him—but May constantly presses Milosevic to be quick and not to bully witnesses, although bullying and pressure are, as Greenspan stresses, common, acceptable, and important courtroom practices. Milosevic is also at an informational disadvantage. An incarcerated individual, with some links to his home country, versus NATO. The recent arrest of U.S. diplomat (and CIA official) John David Neighbor along with Serbia’s deputy prime minister Momcilo Perisic, apparently involved a U.S. effort to obtain secret documents that would help the Tribunal prosecutor link Milosevic to war crimes in Bosnia (“Political tension brews in Belgrade over spying row,” Agence France Presse, March 19, 2002). The U.S. media, however, never acknowlege an informational and resource imbalance. They have even suggested that Milosevic may have an unfair informational edge via associates back home, as compared with poor NATO and the Tribunal, who complain of the foot-dragging of Yugoslav officials in producing incriminating evidence. No mention is made of the new dependence of Milosevic-free Yugoslavia on financial aid from the NATO powers, and the leverage this gives for compelling the turning over of suspects, potential witnesses, and information, in further arm-twisting operations like the one employed in forcing the extradition of Milosevic. May allows prosecution witnesses to testify at length about personal experiences, usually without supportive and verifiable evidence, and even to recite hearsay experiences. In Mahmut Bakali’s testimony (February 18, 2002), the witness cited what a local Serb official claimed to have heard that Milosevic might have said about Kosovo— twice-removed hearsay—without judicial interference. The media did not notice or object. In his opening presentation Milosevic showed the court some gruesome videotapes of Serb victims of NATO bombing. The media do not ask why Milosevic’s evidence is less proof of war crimes and genocide by Clinton and Blair than the current Tribunal witnesses prove Milo- sevic guilt. That comparison would show both political selectivity and the essential irrelevance of this kind of evidence, except to show that war is ugly and—for the purposes of this trial—to produce a desired moral environment that will sustain a conviction. When Marlise Simons interviewed and wrote about Carla Del Ponte, who claims to “represent the victims” (“On War Criminals’ Trail, An Unflagging Hunter,” NYT, February 9, 2002), Simons did not ask her: what about the Serb victims in Bosnia, Croatia, and those massively “ethnically cleansed” in NATO-occupied Kosovo? Why does the “unflagging hunter” not fulfill her legal obligation and go after NATO’s war criminals? Simons avoided such questions, in this interview and in her numerous articles in the New York Times, just as her colleagues failed to ask about the “evidence” that the KGB and Bulgarians were behind the shooting of the Pope in 1981, or did not pursue the “lie that wasn’t shot down” regarding the Soviet downing of Korean airliner 007. Her job is to go with the flow of propaganda that, as NATO demands and the Tribunal implements, has targeted Milosevic as the latest villain, whose conviction will demonstrate Western justice, brought to the world by the rulers of the New World Order. -------------------- 1 posted on 7/11/02 3:10 PM Pacific by konijn [ View Replies ] --------------------- To: konijn ....the Western new humanitarians (David Rieff, Michael Ignatieff, et al.)... These are properly called humaniterrorists!!!! By the way, I met Michael Ignatieff, and heard him speak (i.e., lie) at a conference on Kosovo. ...establishing the Tribunal was “the most important step by the United Nations to protect human rights since it adopted the Universal Declaration.” This should read: "Establishing the Tribunal was “the most important step by the United Nations to destroy the entire concept of human rights, and to nullify the Universal Declaration. In this, they were aided by the corrupted 'mainstream human rights organizations', which had become Serbophobic lackeys of NATO, the NWO, and radical islam.” 2 posted on 7/11/02 3:37 PM Pacific by Honorary Serb [ To 1 | View Replies ] ------------ To: Honorary Serb >>>>In this, they were aided by the corrupted 'mainstream human rights organizations', which had become Serbophobic lackeys of NATO, the NWO, and radical islam.” HS, do not forget to credit where credit is due. the architects of humanitarian intervention, Morton Abramowitz, Feurth, Albright, Holbrooke, the people who created and raised Osama Bin Laden and brought him to locale near you 3 posted on 7/11/02 5:28 PM Pacific by DTA [ To 2 | View Replies ] --------------------------------- Re: don't boycott israeli academics From: Michael Pugliese (debsian@pacbell.net) Date: Fri Jul 12 2002 - 15:50:50 EDT http://nuance.dhs.org/lbo-talk/current/0771.html http://www.nationalreview.com/15july02/nordlinger071502.asp >... Over 120 faculty members at the two universities signed the petition. This shook Jews and others on those campuses, and a counter-petition was circulated, opposing and denouncing the first petition. Almost 600 faculty signed that one, in an impressive act of "talking back." ... July 1, 2002, 8:45 a.m. Rude Awakenings Some effects of the Middle East wars on U.S. campuses. By Jay Nordlinger, from the July 15, 2002, issue of National Review hen the Arab-Israeli conflict flared again, the reaction on campus was dramatic. It could have been expected to be anti- Israel, and severely so; but it was even more anti-Israel than usual. It was more anti- Semitic, too. (Sadly, these two "anti-"s seem to be going together more and more lately.) Also unusual, however, was the response of pro- Israel students and faculty, chiefly Jews: They were more determined, less cringing, more defiant than in the past. More willing to talk back, and to fight back. A writer in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz sensed that an "awakening" was going on, and that a period of "passive vulnerability" was expiring. This sense is widely shared. Moreover, Jews on campus are reconsidering their politics and alliances. The word "realignment" is being spoken a lot. Many students and teachers are undergoing "second thoughts," to use the phrase of Peter Collier and David Horowitz, who took a sharp turn from '60s radicalism. "After 9/11, everything changed," people say. Some things actually may be. The press has been full of anti-Israel and anti- Semitic acts from campus lately, of which some of the "highlights" are these: bricks through windows of Hillel centers (Hillel being the international college Jewish organization); swastikas painted on Hillel walls and doors; the word "Zionazi" coined and sprayed; anti-Jewish libels, ancient and modern, spread through student newspapers and websites; jeering anti- Israel demonstrations on, of all days, Holocaust Remembrance Day; retrospective praise for the Nazis. (As in the Middle East itself, enemies of Israel on campus have trouble deciding whether the Israelis are Nazis, or the Nazis are to be hailed.) The worst case occurred at San Francisco State University, where a group of Jewish students, who had participated in a peace rally, had to be escorted to safety by police, from a howling, hate-spewing mob. (Sample screams: "Get out or we will kill you!" and "Hitler didn't finish the job!") Even where events are less appalling, Jewish students and faculty feel that they are under siege, forced to explain or defend "their" state, or even their status as Jews. The Left's last great campus cause was the anti-apartheid one; it was the last time, whatever their methods or proposed solutions, they had anything like the moral high ground. They are seeking it again, through anti-Israeli activism and rhetoric, including a strong linkage to apartheid. That Israel, like the old Boer Republic, is an "apartheid state" is almost an article of faith on many campuses today. Pro-Arab, anti-Israeli groups are joined by sundry more traditional leftist groups — environmentalists, "racial justice" advocates, anti-globalizers — which stuns and chagrins many Jews, previously comfortable in their liberalism. Michael Granoff, a "lay leader" of the Hillel Foundation, voices a common sentiment when he says, "The reaction of the human-rights community has been disappointing to many of us who consider ourselves left of center, but who see this conflict in a different way." The U.N.'s Durban conference, he says — an affair that proved grossly anti-Semitic — was a "rude awakening," a "very sobering experience." And only days later came the September 11 attacks, coupled, in short order, with a renewing of the Israel question. “DIVESTMENT,” AGAIN Harvard, as usual, has been the focus of particular attention. Of the many striking events that have occurred there recently, the most notable was the circulation of a "divestment" petition, calling on the university to withdraw its investments from Israel and "U.S. companies that sell arms to Israel." (The petition was a joint effort with neighboring MIT.) In this way, the linkage of the anti-apartheid cause to the anti-Israel cause was explicit and profound. Of all the states in the world, only Israel was so abhorrent as to warrant a complete "divestment." Over 120 faculty members at the two universities signed the petition. This shook Jews and others on those campuses, and a counter-petition was circulated, opposing and denouncing the first petition. Almost 600 faculty signed that one, in an impressive act of "talking back." Ruth Wisse is the noted scholar of Yiddish and political essayist; she is a prominent conservative at Harvard. Prof. Wisse says that recent events have "changed the atmosphere for every thinking person on campus." Current tensions pit professor against professor, student against student (even roommate against roommate), and professor against student (an especially fragile situation for a student). "Malice toward Israel and those who support it," says Prof. Wisse, "is now acceptable among people who might have felt the same way before but took pains not to make it visible." Jewish students are being, not merely challenged, but "assaulted" on the question of Israel, in class and elsewhere. And "they've never really encountered this before. Israel has not been popular with the Left, with the in-crowd, for many years, but this hostility is really of a different magnitude." Prof. Wisse has had "a run of students come to see me — ones I don't even know. They are rattled. Seriously rattled." And yet these students, too, are talking back and fighting back, expressing support for Israel — and for American policy — in various ways. They have participated in rallies, written for journals, and, in one case, even started one. (Harvard senior-to-be Rachel Zabarkes founded the Harvard Israel Review. She is presently a summer intern at National Review.) Traditionally liberal Jewish students are enjoying the company of some perhaps-surprising allies. The Harvard Republican Club held its annual dinner at the school's Hillel chapter, pointing toward "a new coalition of students who are concerned for Israel's security and America's alike," as Prof. Wisse puts it. Hillel has not historically been the scene of a great many Republican dinners. Over at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, something similar is taking place. This campus has long been a hotbed of anti-Israel feeling. Toward the end of the last term — to cite only one "highlight" — a conference called "Perspectives on the Muslim World: Unveiling the Truth" was staged. It was sponsored by a number of university entities, including the Department of Near Eastern Studies, the Department of Sociology, the Arab Students Association, the Black Student Union, and the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs — the gang was all there. A book was sold at the conference, and only one book: The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, featuring a chapter entitled "The Myth of the Holocaust." About this tract, no more need be said. Under pressure, the organizers issued an apology. ~~~~~~~ As I've noted before, "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, " (not to be confused with a book w/ a similiar title by Zeev Sternhill) is a screed by ex- French Communist intellectual, Roger Garaudy. Available on the CODOH Holocaust Denialist website, if memory serves. Critiqued here, http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=108 and in Alain Finkielkraut, "Anatomy of a Negation, " Univ. of Nebraska Press. The Garaudy text is also being cited by a loon I've run into at demos organized by Jewish Voices For Peace here in S.F. This nut looks like a twin brother of Michael Lerner (!) and hangs with the Sparts. When I've argued with him he is quite clear on the falsity, to him, of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. FWIW, I told him to rent, "Dr. Death, " by Errol Morris on the odious, Fred Leuchter. My first acquaintance with this character, I saw him with the Michael Shermer book from UC Press on Holocaust Denial, that I'd read a few weeks before he checked it out. He recommended The Spotlight. With that I made my leave, after muttering that Willis Carto was a fascist. Michael Pugliese -------------- This boycott gives me the creeps. I'd boot a Sharon enthusiast off an editorial board, but not Israelis in general. Should I boycott my Israeli shrink, or does she get an exemption because she works on the Upper West Side? Was there anything comparable in the South African sanctions (or sanctions movement)? Doug ------------------ (1) Mona Baker's dismissal of two Israeli academics from the board of her journal is controversial even among people who have signed one of the two petitions floating around British academia. The most-often-signed petition states at the end that "I will continue to collaborate with, and host, Israeli scientific colleagues on an individual basis", and although Professor Baker has insisted to the UK press that "I am not actually boycotting Israelis, I am boycotting Israeli institutions", this is rather contradicted by the letter she is reported to have sent to Prof. Gideon Toury, whom she dismissed, which says "I do not wish to continue an official association with any Israeli under the present circumstances". (2) Noam Chomsky has signed the Harvard-MIT Divestment petition refuseandresist.org/newresistance  /051002mit-harv-fac.html, but he refused to sign a version of one of these petitions calling for academic boycott, and his short response is interesting and available here . http://www7.huju.ac.il/eurois rael2002/letters.html (3) To reiterate Doug's question, if anyone does have information or opinions about the use of academic boycotts during the apartheid era (or in other times or places), I'd certainly be curious to hear about them. Chris http://users.ox.ac.uk/~magd1368/weblog/blogger.html --------------- Observations on l'Affaire Mona Baker. As Junius and other thoughtful commentators have observed, it's important to distinguish what Mona Baker has done from what the petitions she signed called for. There are at least two relevant petitions floating around. One was first published as a letter to the Guardian, and said this: Despite widespread international condemnation for its policy of violent repression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government appears impervious to moral appeals from world leaders. The major potential source of effective criticism, the United States, seems reluctant to act. However there are ways of exerting pressure from within Europe. Odd though it may appear, many national and European cultural and research institutions, including especially those funded from the EU and the European Science Foundation, regard Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. (No other Middle Eastern state is so regarded). Would it not therefore be timely if at both national and European level a moratorium was called upon any further such support unless and until Israel abide by UN resolutions and open serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians, along the lines proposed in many peace plans including most recently that sponsored by the Saudis and the Arab League. The other, advocated by a group called the Coordination des Scientifiques pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient, says this: "The campaign against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority launched at the end of March 2002 by the government headed by Ariel Sharon, in defiance of United Nations Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions, has led to a military reoccupation of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and to a dramatic increase in human rights violations. Under these circumstances, I can no longer in good conscience continue to cooperate with official Israeli institutions, including universities. I will attend no scientific conferences in Israel, and I will not participate as referee in hiring or promotion decisions by Israeli universities, or in the decisions of Israeli funding agencies. I will continue to collaborate with, and host, Israeli scientific colleagues on an individual basis." Mona Baker is a signatory to both of these documents, but neither calls for anything like the action she has taken. She has defended her action by saying (as reported in the Guardian) that, "This is my interpretation of the boycott statement that I've signed and I've tried to make that clear but it doesn't seem to be getting through. I am not actually boycotting Israelis, I am boycotting Israeli institutions". But this claim is flatly contradicted by a sentence in the letter she is reported in the same piece as having written to Professor Gideon Toury, one of the two Israeli academics concerned: "I do not wish to continue an official association with any Israeli under the present circumstances". [Emphasis added - and no mention of Israeli institutions here]. It is a great shame, then, that instead of considering the uses and disadvantages of the arguments of these two petitions, endorsed by hundreds of academics, the clumsy media spotlight has been resolutely focused on an outlying action which contradicts the spirit of the documents in whose name it was taken and which provides plenty of grist to the mill of rightist critics. On the broader question of academic ties to Israel, it's worth reading two contrasting left views, from the United States and from Israel itself. First, Noam Chomsky's short response, explaining his refusal to sign one of these petitions. (He had earlier signed the Harvard-MIT Divestment Petition). I understand and sympathize with the feelings behind this proposal, but am skeptical about it, for a number of reasons. One is that our prime concern should be ourselves: it's always easy to blame others; harder, and far more important, to look into the mirror. That includes Europe too, though the issue is particularly stark here, in the present instance. The petition states that "the US seems reluctant to act and continues to fund Israel." That's quite an understatement. Israel acts within bounds set by Washington, and the US has been providing the decisive military, diplomatic, economic and doctrinal support for the crimes that are condemned. The US does not accept the basic UN resolutions, these and others, and has vetoed the most important ones, which, if implemented, could have largely settled many of the prime issues long ago. That continues; there has been no break. Furthermore, what is said about Israeli intellectuals holds in spades for their US counterparts, who are far more complicit in crimes, even in this case, not to speak of innumerable others. It seems a bit odd for us to be on a high horse about that. Breaking contact with Israeli academics, artists, writers, journalists,... means breaking contact with many people who have played an honorable and courageous role well beyond what can be found here, and are a much more substantial element within their own society. I also think the emphasis is misplaced. The immediate goal should, I think, be to compel the US government to stop providing the means for enhancing violence and repression, and to stop preventing diplomatic moves towards the international consensus on a political settlement that the US has been blocking, unilaterally, for a quarter-century. That requires a preliminary struggle: to break the doctrinal stranglehold that prevents serious discussion of these issues within the mainstream of opinion, a very broad spectrum, reaching to left-liberal sectors. A call for suspension of arms transfers to Israel would be a natural first step, following the course of Germany, which has already undertaken it. As long as we are not able to achieve simple goals like that within our own society -- even to bring them to the arena of general discussion -- I'm very reluctant to call for breaking relations with people who, as a category, are considerably more advanced than we are. Second, Tanya Reinhart's essay, too long to be reproduced in this space, but which can be found here. Dave wrote [13.7.2002]: I remember that one of the Guardian letters noted that the press had concentrated on activity which hurt people in Israel, but that the majority of boycott activity was likely to hurt people here. "Most worryingly, by focusing on the actions of one signatory (and without my going into the pros and cons of the particular case) you appear to argue the rejection or acceptance of a boycott on the basis of a sample of one. This means that you erase the ethical actions of all the others. Some of these mostly "hurt" the signatory, such as declining to address an EC conference because of the participation of a formal Israeli delegation, or declining to join a research collaboration with long-valued Israeli colleagues." I haven't seen much evidence anywhere of the latter -- except for a story told by a novelist I know. He was offered a deal for his books to be published in Israel, but turned it down, for reasons of the boycott. I guess he must have lost out financially as a result. Through friends, I suggested that he should accept the Israeli offer, but insist that his books were simultaneously published in a cheap, Arabic edition. The pure boycott was probably simpler. posted by Chris Brooke at 11:24 AM. Comments? -------------------- Here's an ANC archive of documents concerning (academic, economic, consumer, cultural, and sports) boycotts against apartheid: anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/boycotts . ----------------- remember I linked ashen ruins piece on violence from the infoshop?? -- here are the indy responses at 192107 --- enough slogans (english) Harel B 4:11pm Sat Jul 13 '02 comment#192113 You 1) don't define "leftist" and you 2) don't define "the State" (and 3) excuse me, but on indymedia.org I expect better; that you don't say "Leftists are Pro-State" which is obvious to a 10 year old that that is false as soon as I produce a few people who consider themselves "leftist" and "not pro State", which certainly could be done) Throwing out ultra-general statements is not helpful. If you want to make specific claims about specific tactics and to argue about whether and when violence of what type is a good idea, let's have that debate. Obviously, the present post does not want to do that. Same with "leftist" same with "the State" etc ------------------ I for one (english) Ol'lefty 8:58pm Sat Jul 13 '02 comment#192166 find your post interesting and intriguing. I'm going to save it and study it when I'm little more fresh. I wish there was more post as serious and thoughtful as yours. My only problem so far, is your emphasis on activist being privileged. I find that most are middle-class and the middle-class today is far from being privileged, except maybe symbolically ---------------- think about it (english) the middles class 12:13am Sun Jul 14 '02 comment#192196 No bombs fall on our heads. we don't worry about where our next meal is coming from. We're loaded up with pleasant distractions. we deal with bullshit but nothing like what most of the world's population deals with. in fact a lot of people in the third world are making our shoes for cheap and bringing us good coffee and cocoa for cheap. That means that your/my lifestyle is sustained by the violence that drives this work force. Such violence is hidden from our view, but we are essential in sustaining it. Our Gap shirts,the gas in our tanks, the cheap vacations to Mexico are sustained by the use of violence. ----------------- I disagree (english) Someone 12:39am Sun Jul 14 '02 comment#192200 People who are white and middle class can help out in other ways by working to change the system into something more just and equitable. I think the fact that many are privilaged compared to the rest of the population gives them more power to do so. I don't see blowing up police stations during riots as a constructive act and don't see how it will help anything. One must also consider that a revolution could just as easilly end up creating a worse society not a better one. ---------------- To Someone (english) m. 7:08am Sun Jul 14 '02 comment#192220 Someone, I think what the author is pointing out is that if you're white and middle class the system serves you in certain ways. I think that when we talk about changing the system, we're rationalizing because don't really want to give up our position of privelege. The police will always have a prime directive, to maintain concentrations of wealth. Without that purpose, there is no need for police. Most of us who read this, like it or not, have a position of privilege that we're able to maintain thanks to the police. If society is reordered through direct participation, those of us with privilege will have to deal with the poor and oppressed directly. If we're really serious about "changing" the system, we have to acknowledge that the state is designed for a small group of people to dominate all others. Without the state, its just people and whatever they need to arrange to be able to live together. That's not going to be easy for a lot of white middle class people. Even those of us who claim to be committed to change. ---------------------- reply to m (english) someone 10:25am Sun Jul 14 '02 comment#192237 I don't disagree with you that people who are white and middle class may have certain privilages. I really don't think that most white radicals are simply looking to maintain their own position although I do believe thaeir are many different ways to do it. Unfortunatly I do not believe that a stateless society will happen in the near future. The reason is simply that living together as you put it will not be as easy as you think and their will be disagreements as well as oviously those who will commit violence as well. The state can exist to protect people as well as oppress. The society you advocate will not happen without a major shift in human behavior that I just do not see happening in the near future. Perhaps we will eventually evolove past the point when we need a state but as of right now it is not really an option. As to riots and the like while they certainly may result from long term conditions of racism and class I do not see it really as a positive step and if anything is only going to increase the police opression. Let us face it many white people even if sympathetic are going to be very much less so if they or their families are being assaulted. I suppose you could only say that is their own privilage but I really would doubt many people in their place would tolerate it. Also if you look at many revolutionary movements they seldom result in anarchy but usually in a more athoritarian society and with the possible exception of Cuba not even benifiting the poeple they were supposed to help. Nor am I saying that I would never blow up a police station just that in this current society I could not justify it. It will have to become very much like Nazi Germany before I would even consider it as a justifible act. My only point is really that I think that other actions can achieve change that will be truely liberating and better for the vast majority on this earth. It does not mean being white led or Americian led or controlled by middle class individuals. I think the civil rights movement in being black led but having many whites participating would be a good example. Also I think most effective social movements have both a radical side and a more liberal side. I think the radical side may do a lot to help the movement and act as a catayist but ultimatly the liberal side that results in the gains. --------------------------- 2 google pages worth of hits on the 2 words spinoza and state as searchterms  and some guardian items via indymedia  ------------------------------- http://radicalacademy.com/philspinoza.htm Spinoza treated the political problem and the religious problem in his Tractatus theologico-politicus. The methods of government of state and Church, for Spinoza, are not conducive to the elaboration of a rational philosophy. Actions performed in view of the temporal and eternal punishments threatened by the state or by the Church depend on fear and hope, which for Spinoza are irrational passions. For Spinoza, too, the ultimate end of man is, as we realize, for him to know God through reason and to act in conformity with this knowledge. The state must aid man in this rational knowledge of God. Spinoza holds that the state arose from a pact entered into by men, who at first lived in a condition of irrational nature and in perpetual war. Through this pact the members now composing the state renounced the use of force and violence in favor of authority or a sovereign who is the center of the state. The sovereign may use violence and force against the irrational instincts of his subjects. But this use of force is limited by rationality. Thus, if it should happen that the subjects are more rational than the sovereign, then by psycho-physical parallelism the state would fall, to give place to the rise of another state more rational than the first. Thus, according to Spinoza, has come about the passage from the natural state to the rational state, with a tendency to perfect rationality. VI. Conclusion Spinoza developed Cartesian Rationalism to its extreme consequences. He begins with the concept of substance, which, because it does not require another concept in order to be understood and to exist, is a clear concept and must be one. But he concludes with the most absolute pantheism. Spinoza's system did not meet with good reception at first, perhaps because it was not understood. Idealism took it over because it found in it the principal lineaments for a metaphysics in the idealist sense. -------------------------------- --- www.firstthings.com/ ftissues/ft9801/ reviews/mittleman.html - 23k By claiming that the emerging modern civil society requires a civil faith whose content is primarily a moral law inculcating obedience to the state, Spinoza turns civil religion into a caricature of Judaism, in effect turning all modern people into Jews: their "faith," whatever significance it may have for them on a personal level, is in fact merely a matter of obedience to the civil sovereign. This faith, like the faith of biblical Israelites, does not per se bring happiness. It does, however, secure civil peace within which individuals can work out their happiness. For Spinoza, the best civil state is a democratic, commercial republic where citizens have access to education and commercial opportunity against a background of legally secured liberty. And civil faith is a foundation of this civil society. -------------------------------- http://subsite.icu.ac.jp/ssri/ Publications/SummaryFolder/ J46SummaryFolder/Honma.html A Teleological Theory of Rights: Through Green's Critique on Spinoza's Doctrine of Natural Rights Nobunaga Honma ?This paper presents a teleological theory of rights developed by the British Idealist, Thomas Hill Green, through an analysis of his critique on Spinoza's doctrine of natural rights in Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation. Spinoza's doctrine on natural rights leaves a question whether such a doctrine leads to the best state which Spinoza presents in Chapter 5 of his Tractatus Politicus. Green believes that such natural rights as Spinoza presents is untenable because it is unable to bring about the ideal state presented in Chapter 5, believing that it is the conclusion of Spinoza' s Tractatus Politicus. ?Yet, Spinoza's argument is consistent throughout, or "consistently naturalistic" in the words of Leo Strauss. For Spinoza, the ideal state is a different matter. Spinoza's descriptive tone of argument does not require his explanation on how a state becomes the ideal state. It is enough for him to describe characteristics of the ideal state. Chapter 5 is not to be read as the conclusion of Tractatus Politicus. Green is wrong in supposing that Spinoza's doctrine of natural rights is mistaken, believing that it is not consistent with Spinoza's ideal state. So Green's criticism does not exhaust Spinoza out. ?On the other hand, Spinoza's argument does not exclude our asking the connection between the chapter 5 and his argument before it, or how his ideal state can be realized, starting with his natural theory. ?This is precisely the question this article pursues and the author tries to salvage Green's intention of his critique on Spinoza's natural rights. Seen from this angle, Tractatus Politicus does not offer positive statement on the connection. This means that, although Spinoza develops his version of natural rights in a consistent manner, the ideal state which he explains in the chapter 5 requires something more than that. This suggests a shortcoming of the concept of his natural rights. ?Green's version of natural rights theory offers an fruitful alternative in this regard. Green believes that it is natural for human beings to live together in harmony in a society. He thinks that it is their aim, resting on Aristotelian tradition of phusei politikos. Consequently, he believes that the power for the purpose of this aim should be regarded as a right because such power is contributory to the aim and therefore contributory to human nature. He argues that such rights as contributory to the aim are the only rights that should bear the title of natural rights because they are in accord with human nature. Thus he presents his teleological theory of natural rights. ?This version of natural rights enables us to expand the application of rights in political discourse. As a result, this concept of natural rights is able to show the way for a given state to approach the ideal state. Therefore, it can be said that it has much to offer in our reconsideration and reconstitution of the concept of rights. ------------------.------------ From Part II: On Despotism and Authority Addiction 18. Dark Leviathan ONE of the freethinkers of the era was English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who's Leviathan in 1642 argued a mechanistic view of life. Hobbes said we are by nature selfish, individualistic animals at constant war with all others in a world where life is "nasty, brutish, and short," where a fear of violent death is the primary motive for creating a strong state to control our animal impulses, so a sovereign's power should be absolute and not subject to the law, for our own protection. Hobbes articulated a cynical worldview we still hear to justify absolute despotism, steeped in the unconscious social belief in humanity as evil because of original sin. Not surprisingly, Hobbes was schooled in Aquinas' scholasticism, and he'd read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli on amoral pragmatism in politics. Hobbes would favor the Big Brother that George Orwell depicted in 1984. Hobbes influenced the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who later changed his first name to Benedict (Latin) after his 1656 excommunication by the Orthodox Jewish community in Holland, survivors from the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal, where Jews were forced to convert or die. Born in Amsterdam in 1632, he finished writing his Ethics by about 1665, but the work was published posthumously at his death in 1677. Spinoza began translating the scriptures from the Hebrew, becoming one of the first to offer what came to be called "higher criticism" of the scriptures. Spinoza saw the whole universe as a single substance, capable of an infinity of attributes, knowable through the physical senses and human thought. God is not the creator of a natural world separate from the creator, but rather, God is nature, or God is the natural universe in all its fullness. Spinoza generally agreed with Hobbes about the vileness of human nature. A social contract forms the state, but for Spinoza, right derives from power, that is, might makes right. The ensuing social contract is binding so long as it's suits one's advantage, a view two centuries later adopted by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who touted a "superman" not bound by any moral rules beyond ambition and expedience, so anything goes, and the only sin is getting caught. We see the legacy of Nietzsche in Nazism, yes, but also politics in democracies. Whereas Hobbes said personal advantage lies in satisfying as many desires as possible (instant gratification), Spinoza said the individual advantage flows from escaping those desires through understanding. Hobbes saw state repression is inevitable and necessary, but Spinoza imagined a community providing such consistent personal satisfaction that outrages rarely happened, so state repression was not needed. The society of Spinoza is the mass consumerism state soothed by soma that Aldous Huxley envisioned in Brave New World, which some say describes our modern society blindly mollified by mindless media banality. Spinoza offered a system of ethics to help self-destructive individuals from going off the deep end. Reasoning from Hobbes' premise that we call "good" whatever gives us pleasure, Spinoza instead concluded that all human beings and all of nature (Nature) share a universal, natural drive for self-preservation that compels individuals to maintain the living power of their being (survival), and because virtue, playing by the rules of society, gives us power to preserve ourselves, then virtue and power are one. Knowledge of one's personal power is usually discovered only by necessity, Spinoza asserted. Powerful or virtuous people act effectively in the world because they reasonably understand why they must, but all the others act out their lives without real awareness because they cannot help themselves. Freedom is being guided by the law of one's own nature, he said, which is always aligned with the law of human nature. Bondage comes from being moved or controlled by forces we don't see, from confusion in our minds. The intellect is always active. Ideas can be considered passively as well as with deliberate logic. All thinking is action, and all action is related to thought. Action for Spinoza is not caused by human will or soul, but only from ideas in the mind. Ideas are active and move us to act. If we are not acting, he said, we are not thinking. We are missing the insight that knowledge, virtue and power are one. -------------------------------- Strange Silence from the Left (english) Roy Hattersley 7:46pm Wed Jul 17 '02 (Modified on 10:00pm Wed Jul 17 '02) address: Guardian UK article#192923 First, there is no way in which the multinational corporations can be even deflected from their chosen course and, second, we should rejoice that unrestrained freedom produces the best of all possible material worlds. It was, perhaps, pointless to say: "Tell that to the starving people of sub-Saharan Africa." The fundamental flaw in unregulated capitalism ought to be obvious. This strange silence from the left Free enterprise flaunts its failings and social democrats say nothing http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/ Article/0,4273,4461376,00.html Roy Hattersley Guardian Monday July 15, 2002 Imagine if you can a scandal - comparable to those sweeping through commercial America - infecting the economy of a genuine social democratic country. It is hard to construct a hypothesis which mirrors fraud on the scale which is alleged to characterise the six major companies - Qwest Communications, WorldCom, Enron Corporation, Tyco International, Computer Associates and ImClone Systems - which are now under criminal investigation by the US Justice Department. But let us pretend that, 10 years ago, the Swedish social fund - by which that country's trade unions helped to manage tax-financed investment in socially desirable projects - had been accused of publishing bogus balance sheets and lining the pockets of its directors. There is no doubt what the reaction would have been. The chorus of excoriation would have been carefully orchestrated by the Adam Smith Institute. The scandal would have been denounced, not as an aberration but the result of socialism's inherent weakness. We would have been told that nothing better was to be expected from a system which disturbed the equilibrium of the free market. There would have followed confident, if not very carefully argued, explanations of why inefficiency and corruption is the inevitable result of tampering with a system which makes us prosperous. Now the six great companies - not to mention Arthur Andersen - have all demonstrated how fallible free enterprise is. And the world's social democrats have not said a word. It is, I fear, an indication of social democracy's crisis of confidence. The Friedmanites and Hayekians have not won the intellectual argument. But they have shouted their opponents down. We have been bombarded with the undoubted truth that technology makes the global market irresistible. But that honest fact has been embellished with two corrupt and self-serving inventions. First, there is no way in which the multinational corporations can be even deflected from their chosen course and, second, we should rejoice that unrestrained freedom produces the best of all possible material worlds. It was, perhaps, pointless to say: "Tell that to the starving people of sub-Saharan Africa." But we might now expect the weakness in the argument to be appreciated by those Enron employees who were encouraged to invest their life savings in the collapsing corporation while its senior executives methodically transferred their considerable wealth to other companies. The fundamental flaw in unregulated capitalism ought to be obvious. Men and women of apparent intelligence and generally recognised probity openly argue that "greed is good". We applaud the notion that the acquisitive instinct makes the world go round. So we should not be surprised if one or two men and women with masters' degrees in business administration try to make it spin a little faster with schemes which are a credit to their ingenuity but not their honesty. The profit motive breeds corruption. The best that capitalism can argue in its own defence is incompetence - a plea which makes nonsense of the claim that competition is the guarantee of efficiency. Perhaps, in the primitive societies, where (according to Adam Smith) a fair wage could be calculated by the time it took to catch and skin a badger, the fear of being undercut and driven out of business did keep prices down and performance up. But the men who ran Xerox and Arthur Andersen had not read The Wealth of Nations. Either that or, as Adam Smith warned, they combined to insulate and protect each other from the bracing winds of market forces. The inevitable success of capitalism is one of history's confidence tricks. Do not write to tell me that a command economy of commissars and rationing is consistent with neither freedom nor prosperity. I know that already. But I also know that if we treat the laissez-faire alternative as President George Bush treats it - near to perfection as any economic system can be but embarrassed by the behaviour of half a dozen unrepresentative rogues - we will never deal with its inherent flaws. The president's speech to Wall Street last week aimed "to restore confidence in the markets". It should have described government action which, by first punishing and then preventing wrongdoing, made renewed confidence justified. Yet social democrats have remained depressingly silent. Perhaps it would have all been different if 92-year-old John Galbraith could emerge from his gothic house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and smite the forces of the ungodly. But there must be somebody with the time and the talent to write a genuine exploration of modern capitalism's fundamental shortcomings. He or she could begin with the story of a real Swedish economic catastrophe - the unique reduction in national income in two consecutive years. That happened when the free marketers briefly became the Stockholm government. It passed, at the time, virtually without notice. Why do we social democrats lack the confidence to smite our undeniably vulnerable foes? . ------------ Poor Definition of the Left (english) ML 9:18pm Wed Jul 17 '02 comment#192932 To consider the Left to be nothing but the social democrats is to have political glaucoma. You simply are refusing to even see the majority of the left, from which condemnation of the present state of affairs with corrupt corporatism has been ongoing. For somebody to post this willfully stupid and myopic article here on Indymedia demonstrates the ignorance of both the author and the person who posted it here. Indymedia was founded to provide a forum for exactly the sort of criticism that is alleged to not be present on the left. And it has been doing exactly that since 1999. If you havenâ??t noticed, thatâ??s your problem, not ours. ----------------- disagreed (english) anti-ML 10:00pm Wed Jul 17 '02 comment#192936 IMC was not necessarily founded "to provide a forum for exactly the sort of criticism that is alleged to not be present on the left." if you read the article CAREFULLY, you will realize that it comes from a British author commenting generally about social democrat 'leftist' politicians in Europe, and their attitudes towards capitalism. the author does not discuss globalization or other aspects of multinational capitalism in detail. The entire article should be read in this context. further, the article hints at fascistic, centrist, rightist, or complicit tendencies in European leadership that perhaps have some correlations to U.S. Congress-Bush Administration 2002. RE: "condemnation of the present state of affairs with corrupt corporatism has been ongoing."--perhaps some mild condemnation [about as strong and ingenuous as Bush's own!], but NOT NEARLY enough direct action has occurred on the part of so-called U.S. 'Leftists' (i.e. a right-wing group called Judicial Watch is suing Dick Cheney for stock fraud). In any case, all the political rhetoric everywhere over this 'capitalism crisis' will be rendered meaningless after the bottom drops out of the stock market. p.s. welcome back, "ML" you narrow-minded, crypto-spook freak. -------------------------------- EDGE OF A PRECIPICE (english) Larry Elliott 7:41pm Wed Jul 17 '02 address: Guardian UK larry.elliott@guardian.co.uk article#192922 The US stock market collapse could trigger the biggest global recession since the 1930s. On the edge of a precipice The US stock market collapse could trigger the biggest global recession since the 1930s http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Archive/ Article/0,4273,4462175,00.html Larry Elliott, economics editor Guardian Tuesday July 16, 2002 Three years ago Time magazine carried an article by James Cramer, the founder of TheStreet.com, an online magazine fully dedicated to the worship of mammon. Extolling the virtues of a life dedicated to buying and selling shares from home, it was called "Yeah, Day Traders!" Cramer's message was simple. Forget teaching, forget tilling the land, forget making trucks or mending bones; instead make a living from speculation. There had, the article insisted, never been a better time "to trade for a living". In his splendid book on the triumph of extreme capitalism*, Thomas Frank called 1999 the summer of corporate love, and he was spot on. Just as in 1967, the promise was of liberation from the straight world of the past; the difference was that the drug of choice was not LSD but money. And the gurus of the revolution were not the Beatles and the Stones, but men like Cramer and James Glassman, who predicted that the Dow Jones industrial average would not stop at 10,000 but rise inexorably to 36,000. A suitable epitaph for the summer of corporate love would be John Lennon's for the Beatles when they split up three years after Sgt Pepper: "The dream is over." Today the talk is not of when the Dow will hit 36,000 but how low it will go. Today, a magazine that used the headline "Yeah, Day Traders!" would be in danger of being torched by the small army of investors who have seen the value of their portfolios shrivel since the bubble burst in the spring of 2000. Today, the issue is whether the price of collective market insanity will be a serious global recession or, even worse, a full-blown slump. There is an army of pundits out there willing to say that there is little to worry about. Policy makers everywhere are oozing reassurance, intoning the mantra that the economic vibes are good. Lawrence Lindsey, George Bush's economic adviser, was at it in the Financial Times yesterday, insisting that a recession in the US was "unlikely". In reality, of course, nobody knows for sure what is going to happen. Financial analysts have their charts which are supposed to be able to predict the future from the past, and these now spell trouble. Economists who look at the hard economic data say that cheaper money and higher spending means things are getting better. But both presuppose that economics is a science rather than a modern form of alchemy, and that the practitioners in its black arts are anything more than highly-paid witch doctors. The only theory that is really relevant to the stock market is chaos theory. The recent history of the dollar is a case in point. For at least the past five years, the strength of the US currency has been eating into corporate profitability and contributing to a record trade deficit. Markets knew that the dollar was overvalued, but kept on buying it regardless. Over the past two months, the mood has changed and the dollar has fallen by 14% against the euro, breaking through the one-for-one parity level yesterday for the first time in more than two years. When will the fall be arrested? Who knows? On some estimates, the dollar is still 30% overvalued, but a rapid fall of that size would feed back into the equity markets, with foreign investors rushing for the door. All of which explains why policymakers are a lot more concerned about the recent downward spasm in share prices than they are letting on. The sharp fall in American consumer confidence reported last Friday was a clear indication that the public mood has been affected by the declines on Wall Street triggered by the $3.8bn accounting fraud at WorldCom. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is giving testimony to Congress today but his words will be less important than the Fed's actions when it meets next month to set interest rates. Greenspan's real fear is that the US economy will become locked in a downward spiral in which falling share prices lead to weak consumption, which in turn puts pressure on company profits and - eventually - the financial system itself. Asset prices would collapse and corporations be forced to slash prices in order to generate cash flow, leading to a period of deflation in which lower interest rates failed to stimulate growth. It could never happen, say the optimists. In fact, it already has - in the world's second largest economy, Japan. There, the country has had four recessions since its bubble burst at the end of the 1980s. Prices are falling, consumers are hoarding cash; it would take but one more shove to push the banks over the edge into systemic crisis. Greenspan has been studying a voluminous report he ordered into the Japanese experience; that's how worried he is. The best that can be hoped for is that there are no more stories of boardroom wrongdoing over the coming weeks, and that some better (and honest) figures from some of the titans of corporate America produce a rapid recovery in share prices, which then boosts consumer spending. This would not provide a cure for the economy's ills, which are caused by excessive hi-tech investment and excessive borrowing during the bubble years, but it would at least buy Greenspan some time. F ar more worrying would be a continuation of the falls in share prices over the next couple of weeks. In those circumstances, the Fed would then come under strong pressure to cut interest rates at its August meeting, and would almost certainly bow to it. There is, however, no guarantee that it would be effective in restoring confidence. Why? Firstly, it would be a small cut of only 0.25 percentage points from the already low level of 1.75%. Secondly, it might be counter-productive, seen as a sign that the Fed was panicking (which it would be). Finally, the relevant level of interest rates is the one being paid by companies and consumers on their loans. These have not been coming down nearly quickly enough to prevent financial distress. The underlying problem is that since the mid-1990s, share prices are up by 200% but corporate profits - as measured by sober government statisticians rather than dodgy auditors - have risen by 40%. It is conceivable that Greenspan would have to cut, cut and cut again before Wall Street responded. Even then (and assuming there is no invasion of Iraq to complicate matters), there is a risk that the easing of policy will simply lead to a re-run of this year - a short-lived burst of euphoria followed by the realisation that companies cannot produce the earnings expected of them. Greenspan and Bush would then be in an even worse quandary than they are now, having used up nearly all the shots in their locker. Meanwhile, Europe and Japan - heavily dependent on a US recovery to keep their economies ticking over - would be faced with the prospect of deep, prolonged recession. If this sounds gloomy, that's because it is. It would be the most critical moment for the global economy since the 1930s. There would, however, be one silver lining: people would ask how we got into this mess in the first place. The answer is that policy makers, dazzled by Cramer, Glassman and their friends in the financial markets, deliberately removed the brake pedal from global capitalism. And, as any engineer knows, the brake pedal is what allows the machine to travel safely at speed. Without it there are only two speeds - dangerously fast and dead slow. -------------------------------- 192881 and 192867 are identical posts by anarchogeek.com; here are the comments: African-American DC resident 12:52pm Wed Jul 17 '02 comment#192892 "The issues Biodun choose were effective for creating controversy within indymedia. He would accuse people of taking power or control, making decisions in closed doors, of being racist, sexist, or authoritarian. To add extra strength to these righteous denouncements of people or processes in indymedia he used the fact that he is black to cry racism. Many of his alternate fake online personalities are minorities or women. In short he would create dysfunction by questioning issues that people are most concerned about. This makes it really difficult to just kick this person out of the community or discount them because their emails will resonate with people. Not knowing the history or that they are dealing with a disruptive person, many naive people will send supportive emails demanding answers to the questions Biodun raised. The issues actually are things that need to be addressed in the community but Biodun raised these issues not to resolve them but to bring the group in to organizational paralysis. " Is this diatribed designed to arouse suspicion of everyone who raises legitimate concerns about racism or sexism on Indymedia? This warning sounds like a smokescreen to me. If the charges of racism or sexism are unfounded, just don't spend too much time dwelling on them! To label every person of color or woman who wants to remain anonymous as a disrupter, agent provocateur, or infiltrator denies underrepresented groups a voice. It means the office of homeland security's announcement of 24 million spies has succeeded in creating enough fear and mistrust to destroy the movement. By succuming to these fears, you are declaring the government the victor worked in the 60s, will not work now (english) dk 3:33pm Wed Jul 17 '02 comment#192907 Looks to me like somebody's going to a lot of trouble to stir up the shitpot. Hey, do you have a job? It obviously took quite a while to compile this divisive magnum opus. You must really care about this stuff. Guess what, nobody gives a shit about your personal vendetta, if that's what it is. There is now a united front for justice, peace, harmony and future generations. No wedge is powerful enough to break it apart. These kinds of things -- stirring up of paranoia, finger-pointing, divide and conquer -- worked in the '60s, but they just won't work now. You guys are transparent but not invisible. -------------------------------- the geekguy (rabble) did this on the 6th of june: ANTI-SEMITISM & OPEN PUBLISHING The issue of anti-Semitism on indymedia sites has come up a number of times. A friend just asked me what I thought about it and this kind of came out. It's definitely rant quality. Things have gotten to the point where indymedia is being used to advance anti-Jewish racism. I don't use the word Semite because both Arabs and Jews are Semitic people to say it's anti-Semitism would be a little non-sensesical. After talking a little explaining the two groups of anti-Semitic posters on indymedia and a digression in to the general israel/palestine conflict I talk about how the future of open publishing can create a new space for political. Regarding the racist posts on indymedia, I see them coming in two categories. One are the true racists who are probably right wing anyway. They are attempting to use indymedia and the oppression of Palestinians both as a way of attracting members of the white left in to joining and advance their insane conspiracy theories about Jewish control over the world and how the Holocaust never happened. These folks are the ones who talk about the elders of Zion or keep spreading around the baseless rumor that 4000 Jews didn't show up to work at the WTC on 9.11. In theory our editorial policy of removing racist and hate speech should be enough to have these posts removed. The problem is that there are way to many posts. A few sites like the Israel and Palestine indymedia sites put a lot of work in to removing them but most do not. People simply don't have the time to go through and filter things as it's currently setup. Beyond time there is a bigger problem. That of making political judgments as 'indymedia'. Getting in to fights over the quality of questionable posting is a draining process and eventually people shy away from it. The second problem with anti-Jewish racism in indymedia is more difficult. These are from people who are genuine leftists who generally uphold egalitarian anti-racist views. They are reacting to the tremendous oppression which has come down on the Palestinians. When they look around for who is at fault they see the state of Israel. Israel does have populations Muslim and Christian citizens but it was founded as an explicitly Jewish state. The ethno-religious origins of the Jewish state make it really easy for people to confuse Jewish people with the state of Israel. When people are looking for a bad guy to explain what is happening in the occupied territories they see the state of Israel and by extension all Jews. This is not simply a vision created by the pro-Palestinian side. Sharon and the right wing Jews are actively blurring the line between the state of Israel and the Jewish diaspora. They do it to consolidate power. If you are a Jew and you don't support Israel then you are opposing the whole of the Jewish people as Hitler did. The Palestinians are an exploited minority make the obvious jump to equating the actions of the Israeli government with Nazism which so devastated the Jews 60 years ago. As soon as you say Israel = Nazism you get a huge reaction. It divides people and consolidates the power behind the groups which are unable to achieve peace because their power comes for the protected conflict. Anyway I’m not saying anything new, dozens of more articulate and well read leftist intellectuals have been advancing this critique for years. The only hope I see is if people start looking at the struggle in South Africa as a model for how two communities can come to live together. Unlike in Israel/Palestine the ANC never dreamed of having an all black South Africa. I personally think the best way out is to try and take religion out of the equation and start treating this as a second appartide. Ok, regarding the newswire. These second group of people who are leftists but who have fallen in to the good guy bad guy trap are the ones who are difficult to deal with. Just as during the Gulf and Kosovo Wars we had to say that both the US AND evil dictator of the moment were to be denounced. We need to try and encourage people to take a stand for a just and egalitarian peace. I personally think that both the Israelis and Palestinians would be much better off without a state at all. The history of post colonial states has proved they've been a dismal failure. Consolidating power under a post-colonial administration hasn't worked. What we need is open federated communitarian movements. In some ways despite it's hard line Muslim ideology and advocacy for the self-defeating tactic of suicide bombings Hamas is a model. Instead of becoming a new Palestinian Authority like the PLO, Hamas has build schools, clinics, and provided other vital social services. It would be interesting to see what they would achieve if they could continue this model of stateless community based governance of society. But I digress... Back to open publishing and indymedia. To address this problem of anti-Semitism within the left we need to be having a dialog real dialog. Many people who equate Zionism with Nazism think they are being more radical because of the reaction they get. To simply shut down the views of people in that mindset doesn't work. If people just started hiding those articles then everybody would become entrenched in their perspectives and fight about what should or shouldn't be on the sites. What I hope to do achieve a solution to this is redefine space in which this conflict takes place. The current form of indymedia is to have this really narrow channel in which the content flows. Either an article is visible or hidden. Some new sites have categories which nicely add depth to the same channel. The problem is that all of these things still have a flat one way vision for what is or isn't included. Our medium is the web and we need to look at how we can use a discursive networked model for organizing the information. The examples are already out there it's just a matter of pulling them together. First we take the concept from eBay about reputation and credibility. With eBay you buy and sell stuff with random people over the internet. Trust is very important so they include easy measures to judge and rate other people. If you think somebody's articles are racist or brilliant then you need to be able to say so. Other people should be able to find out that kind of information. The second place where I hope to draw ideas is from the Amazon lists function. In Amazon people are able to create lists of books around a specific topic. When you see a book you also see that it is on five different lists people have put together. From those lists you can find more information. Obviously due to the volume of articles on indymedia we'd want to be able to create the ability for groups of people to collaborate on a list. The third innovation which we need to draw from in the evolution of indymedia in to being a truly powerful sustained open publishing political news medium is the blog. Weblogs (blogs for short), are a way of individuals to be empowered to be their own media by writing about issues and commenting on other websites. Blogs use links extensively and seem to be one of the more powerful new forms of journalism which has developed on the net. The fourth inspiration is that of kuro5hin.org, it's a web news community where the users vote on the articles and editorial decisions about the site. We need to get away from having the potentially cabal like powers of an elite and toward a model where we can actualize popular democratic participation in both news production and editorial decisions. By combining those I hope that we'll be able to evolve indymedia in to something where you can get quality news of political issues which can address the long term problems like anti-Semitism in the movement from a bottom up perspective. Indymedia started out and is still best at covering breaking news such as major protests. For us to be effective in the long term in other environment we need to evolve. The process is slow but we are moving that direction. Part of the evolution is the switch so that on the global indymedia site the right hand column is no longer open publishing but has links to the featured stories from local imc's. Posted by rabble at June 06, 2002 07:45 AM --------------------------------