Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Noam Chomsky visit draws more than 1,400 to Pacific University

Noam Chomsky visit draws more than 1,400 to Pacific University

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pacific University's Stoller Center gymnasium doesn't often see crowds half as large as the one that gathered to see Noam Chomsky speak.

The 1,400-seat gymnasium was packed to capacity Wednesday afternoon as Pacific students and visitors from across the metro area gathered to listen to an hour-long lecture from the famed philosopher, linguist and political critic.

During an hourlong talk titled "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East," Chomsky, 82, spoke pointedly about the United States' involvement in Middle East affairs. He referenced recent unrest in Libya, Egypt and Bahrain, and chided the U.S. government for what he said is a pick-and-choose approach to international relations.

"Where there's an oil-rich country and the dictator is reliable and obedient, he's given free reign," Chomsky said.

Chomsky also advocated for organized labor and spoke at length about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- an issue for which his outspoken anti-Israel stance has garnered widespread scrutiny.

"If the U.S. joined the world, Israel would have to do what the master said," he told the audience, drawing applause.

Chomsky's visit is the most highly-anticipated speaking engagement at Pacific in recent history.

Chomsky is famous for his role as a left-leaning critic of U.S. foreign policy and his pioneering work in linguistics. The professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has authored more than 150 books and won countless awards. He holds honorary degrees from dozens of universities around the globe.

The visit culminated years of work by philosophy department chair Dave Boersema, who had spent almost a decade convincing Chomsky to speak at Pacific.

The crowd for Wednesday's speech reflected Chomsky's decades-long influence on American thought. Many Pacific instructors canceled classes and encouraged students to attend the lecture. Rebecca Wagner, 20, a Pacific sophomore, said she and many other students had never heard of Chomsky before his visit, but the lecture was highly anticipated among students, nonetheless.

"Everyone has been asking each other if they're going," Wagner said. "All of my professors – even science professors – have been talking about how famous he is."

Others in the crowd, such as 74-year-old Tom Mottershead and his companion Susan Lilley, 69, of Hillsboro, knew exactly who Chomsky is -- they've followed his work for decades.

"I've been reading him for years," Lilley said. "He's a great mind."

The audience was respectfully silent as Chomsky spoke, but the many people recording on smartphones, taking notes and snapping pictures made Chomsky's celebrity status clear. So did the handful of people who began lining up hours before doors opened for the 12 p.m. appearance.

University spokesman Joseph Lang said Chomsky's visit is the biggest public appearance at Pacific in recent memory. In the past year, Pacific has hosted Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser and syndicated advice columnist Dan Savage, but neither drew crowds comparable to Chomsky.

"In terms of international recognition, he is definitely among the most notable speakers we've had," Lang said.

Following the lecture, Chomsky answered audience questions for about 30 minutes. Once again, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dominated conversation.

"All of this leads to broader issues of world order, he said. "I'll talk about that somewhere else in a couple of hours."

He quickly exited the room at 1:30 p.m. sharp, rushing off to Eugene, where he'll give a free public lecture at the University of Oregon, titled "Global Hegemony: The Facts, The Images."


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Noam Chomsky: On Mideast and Wisconsin

Noam Chomsky: On Mideast and Wisconsin

Interview with Luke Savage from The Varsity

April 6, 2011

By Noam Chomsky and Luke Savage

The Varsity (TV)

The Varsity: I thought we could start with the recent upheavals in the
Middle East. Could you discuss recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,
and elsewhere? What do you think is at the root of this regional
upheaval and what are its possible implications for the region, and
for the rest of the world?

Noam Chomsky: First of all it's worth bearing in mind that upheavals
are really not new. It's kind of like an infectious wave, so one
started then the other broke out then another one did but each one of
them has origins going well back. So take Egypt, the most important
country. The demonstration in Egypt — Tahrir Square, the January 25th
movement — was initiated by a group of young people — tech savvy young
people who call themselves the "April 6th movement". Why the April 6th
movement? The reason is that on April 6th, 2008 there was a major
labour action planned at the biggest industrial conglomerate in Egypt
along with solidarity actions, and it was all crushed by force by the
very brutal security system.

Well, we didn't hear much about that here, but it means a lot there,
so that gave the name to the April 6th movement. What that reflects is
that there have been substantial labour struggles, labour militancy
against the dictatorship — trying to gain elementary rights and some
elements of democracy. It kind of blew up on January 25th but it's
been going on a long time. And the same in the other countries: if you
look there's been protests, repressions, violence, torture, more
protests. This wave, it actually got started in Western Sahara, but
that was crushed very quickly by Morocco. Then it went to Tunisia.
There, it succeeded in overthrowing the dictatorship, lit a spark, and
then it spread all over the region.

And it's very important. For one thing it's, in many ways, the most
dramatic [and] possibly significant democracy uprising in recent
history. And it has a lot of promise, but plenty of problems. Some of
the problems are internal, some are external. You can see them
coinciding in the countries that the United States and the West are
really concerned about: namely the ones that have oil and that have
loyal dictators. If a country has plenty of oil and a loyal dictator,
the West is going to back the dictator to the hilt, and that's what
happened in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain — which is kind of like
an offshoot of Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the repression was so severe that people
could barely even appear for the demonstrations, and there's no
criticism of that in the West because their dictators are fine. In
Egypt, the US and the West followed what is, in fact, a familiar
gameplan when you can't hang on to a favoured dictator. What you do is
you hold on as long as possible. When it's impossible, typically when
the army turns against him, which is what happened in Egypt, then
[you] shelve him and try to restore as much as you can of the old
order, and that's in fact what's happening in Egypt and Tunisia.

A different case is Libya — plenty of oil but not a loyal dictator, so
the West would be happy to get rid of him, even though they've
supported him right to the end. I mean, the US and Britain have been
strongly supporting him right to the present day. I don't have time to
go into the details, but they're interesting. In any event, if there's
a chance to get rid of him they'd be happy to do it. So in fact, the
Western powers have intervened in support of the rebellion. Of course,
everything is called "humanitarian intervention"… But for example,
they didn't call for a ceasefire for both sides — they called for a
ceasefire for the government forces.

TV: The primary impetus for the rebellion in Egypt — you mentioned the
labour movement — but there also seems to have been a component of
secular nationalism. What do you think the primary impetus for the
anti-Gaddafi movement in Libya is?

NC: Hatred of Gaddafi — he's a brutal, vicious dictator. He's been in
for a long time, '69. There's been plenty of protest, mostly
repressed. He has plenty of support too, you can tell that from the
reports, but there's a strong popular opposition to the dictatorship,
as there is throughout the entire region… Dictators are not popular.
Sometimes they're powerful enough and strongly enough supported by the
West so they can crush opposition — as, for example, in Saudi Arabia.
And Gaddafi's done that for a long time, with plenty of Western
support, incidentally. But this time, it broke through and the West
would be quite happy to get rid of him. That's why the Western powers
are intervening in support of the rebellion.

TV: I'd like to turn now to the topic of your talk at U of T in April,
which is entitled "The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom
and Survival." Could you talk about the "State-Corporate Complex"? How
it is manifested today in the United States and elsewhere, and why is
it a threat?

NC: Well, it's been there forever. I mean the state [and the]
interaction between state power and concentrations of private power
goes back hundreds of years, in fact, Adam Smith talked about it. But
it takes different forms at different times. And since the 1970s there
has been a kind of a vicious cycle that was initiated [then]. It
started with financialization of the economy and export of production
that led to heavy concentration of profit in financial capital, that
translated itself into political power. Political power then enhanced
it by introduction of a whole range of policies, ranging from tax
policies to deregulation, which further enhanced corporate power,
increasingly financial power.

By now, without going through the details, the result is that in the
United States, as everyone knows, there is tremendous inequality. But
what is less known is that the inequality primarily comes from
stratospheric concentration of wealth in a fraction of one per cent of
the population. If you take that out it's unequal, but not madly
unequal, and that's a result of this process.

In the meantime, for the majority of the population, incomes have
pretty much stagnated, work hours have gone up, and conditions are
rotten. There are repeated financial crises ever since the
deregulation set in, and the big corporations are just paid off by the
taxpayer […] they're rescued. Then they're richer than ever and set up
for the next crisis. That's a really severe threat. It almost crashed
the economy and the next time around it'll be worse. Quite apart from
the fact that it almost utterly undermines any democratic functioning
of the state — and it's pretty similar in other countries — the United
States happens to be extreme.

TV: A lot of this seems to be playing out right now in Wisconsin where
the Tea Party, the state government, and the unions are in a direct
conflict about collective bargaining. There was a recent New Yorker
article that alleged that the Tea Party movement was receiving much of
its financial backing from the Koch Brothers, who are also financial
backers of Governor Scott Walker. The Tea Party is often characterized
as a "grassroots movement." Do you agree with that assessment, and how
would you characterize the events in Wisconsin?

NC: Well, it's true that there's a confrontation between the Tea Party
and the popular movement, but that's kind of misleading. I mean,
there's overwhelming support for the protesters. First of all, it's a
major event… The Tea Party has never even dreamed of putting tens of
thousands of people on the streets day after day, occupying the state
capital… It's a major uprising. And it has plenty of support. If you
look at the polls, a large majority of people in Wisconsin support the
protests and are opposed to the legislation.

The Tea Party is a pretty small movement, actually. It's in a sense
grassroots. It comes out of an old nativist tradition that's
relatively affluent, white, anti-foreign, anti-immigrant, it's got
racist elements. It's against "big government" — well, they claim to
be against big government. On the other hand their hero Ronald Reagan
was a great advocate of big government. So it's pretty confused
intellectually, but it appeals to and grows out of a long nativist

On the other hand, it is small and relatively affluent, and it's
perfectly true that it gets massive funding from the corporate sector.
For them, it's their storm troops. So there's a confrontation, but
it's overwhelmingly a popular uprising against the attempt to destroy
the last remnants of the union movement.

TV: In 1970 you gave a lecture called "Government in the Future" which
was about the future of the liberal democratic state. Given the
immense inequities in wealth and income that you've talked about in
the United States, and the events that are playing out right now, what
do you think the future of the liberal democratic state is? Do you
think it's going to survive the next 25 or 30 years? What do you think
the alternatives are?

NC: Well, I think the answer to that question is actually being played
out on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. It depends which of these
forces wins. There are pro-democratic forces which are protesting,
there are anti-democratic forces which are dedicated to trying to
impose a kind of a narrow corporate tyranny. And how this plays out,
we'll see.


The Varsity: I thought we could start with the recent upheavals in the
Middle East. Could you discuss recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,
and elsewhere? What do you think is at the root of this regional
upheaval and what are its possible implications for the region, and
for the rest of the world?
Friday, April 08 2011 @ 06:34 PM UTC

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

CHOMSKY on Arab States - Toronto University

(Mis)governance and the Arab Crisis

What we are witnessing in Libya and other Arab countries is actually the culmination of decades of mis-governance in these countries


Some of the primary characteristics of Failed States, writes Noam Chomsky, are (a) their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction, (b) their tendency to regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and (c) if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance. Over the decades most of the Arab states have only witnessed authoritarianism, denial of democracy and mis-governance. The present crisis that the Arab world is going through is actually the outcome of mis-governance by the power hungry dictators turning these countries into Failed States and now into battle fields. Syria, Egypt and Libya are perfect case studies in this regard. 

Hosni Mubarak and Egyptian Politics
Historically Egypt has been the most important country of the Arab world, leader of Arab resistance against colonialism and the champion of the Palestinian cause. Ghamal Abdul Nassar espoused and vehemently followed the policy of Pan-Arabism but didn't succeed.   Following the assassination of President Sadat in October, 1981 by a Jihadi cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, Hosni Mubarak became the President of the Egypt and the Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) on 14th Oct 1981. He was the longest serving President of Egypt, his term lasting 29 years. President Mubarak Continued his predecessor's policy of periodic rigged elections and was re-elected by majority votes in a referendum for four successive terms in 1987, 1993, 1999. The referendum in itself is of questionable validity. No one could run against the President due to a restriction in the Egyptian constitution in which the People's Assembly played the main role in electing the President of the Republic. It was only in May 2005 that a national referendum approved a constitutional amendment that changed the presidential election to a multicandidate popular vote.
Like the other countries of the Arab world who have remained under dictators for a long time now, Egypt was also put under Emergency Law in 1967 (Law No. 162 of 1958) which continued to remain in force, except for an 18-month break in 1980s. Under the law, police has been given extensive powers, constitutional rights suspended and censorship is legalized. The law strictly prohibits any non-governmental political activity. As per non official records some 17,000 people are detained under the law, and estimates of political prisoners run 25 to 35000. Under the "state of emergency", the government has the right to imprison individuals for any period of time without any trial, and for virtually no reason. The very basic elements of a democracy-right to vote, right to contest elections, rule of law etc-have remained absent in Egypt.

Political corruption in the Mubarak administration increased dramatically, due to the increased power of the cabinet over the institutional system.  In 2005 'Freedom House', a NGO that conducted research reported that the Egyptian governments, under Mubarak expanded bureaucratic regulations, registration requirements, and other controls that feed corruption. It claimed that corruption has remained a significant problem under Mubarak, who promised to do much, but in fact has done anything significant to tackle it effectively. In 2010, Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index report assessed Egypt with a CPI score of 3.1, based on perceptions of the degree of corruption from business people and country analysts, with 10 being very clean and 0 being highly corrupt. Egypt ranked 98th out of the 178 countries included in the report.

In February 2011, there were various media reports regarding the illegal wealth accumulated by Mubarak and his family. ABC News indicated that experts believed the personal wealth of Mubarak and his family range somewhere between US $ 40 billion and $ 70 billion founded on military contracts made during his time as an air force officer. Britain's Guardian newspaper also reported that the fortunes of Mubarak and his family might be worth up to $70 billion due to corruption, kickbacks and legitimate business activities. On March 17, 2011 US Senator John Kerry, head of foreign relations committee of the Congress, officially confirmed that the government of the United States froze assets worth $31 billion belonging to Mubarak, including property and bank accounts.
Keeping the above facts in mind it is not very difficult to understand a why mass protests against Mubarak and his regime erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities on 25 January 2011, leading finally to Mubarak's resignation.

Libya under Col. Qaddafi

On 1 September 1969, a small group of military officers staged a coup d'état against King Idris and launched what is known as the Libyan Revolution. The Libyan army's Free Unionist Officers' Movement, led by the then 27 year old first lieutenant Muammar Qaddafi, took over power on September 1st, 1969.On 16th January 1970 Qaddafi became the primer of Libya. Immediately after taking over Qaddafi evacuated American and British bases from Libya. Inspired by Nasar's ideas of Pan Arabism, Qaddafi also attempted to seek the unification of Arab world. However, all his attempts to achieve Arab union in the form of the "Union of Arab Republics" with Egypt and Syria, or the union with Egypt and Tunisia, failed.  Without an official title, he is sometimes described as the "Brother and Leader", and other times as the "Leader of the Revolution".

Qaddafi controls all the main aspects of the country's political and economic life. In 1973, Qaddafi delivered his famous "Five-Point Address". The five main points of his address being: Suspension of all existing laws and implementation of Sharia, Purging the country of the "politically sick", Creation of a "people's militia" to "protect the revolution", Administrative Revolution and Cultural Revolution. Gaddafi renamed the Libyan Arab Republic to Jamahiriya in 1977, a meaning "state of the masses", assuming the title of "Leader and Guide of the Revolution" and forming "people's committees". He resigned from the position of General Secretary of the General People's Congress of Libya in 1979, but has remained in power as de-facto dictator for past 42 years now.

After taking over power Qaddafi has issued countless orders and passed hundreds of laws in almost all the spheres of life, including laws directly related to public freedoms and the exercise of political, cultural and economic activities, restricting the activities of the citizens. The majority of the laws reflect the regime's interest in protecting itself and closing the door to any other opinion or power that may compete with its authority. Interestingly these laws were not issued by the Legislative, but by the Executive Authority represented by the Revolutionary Leadership Council. The laws were used against Libyans to deprive them of their legitimate fundamental rights. The repeal of the 1951 Constitution which established and embodied the state's Constitutional legitimacy was Qaddafi's first step to tighten his grip on the state, followed by all sorts of restrictions on the citizens to curb their democratic rights. Qaddafi's word became law and his "Green Book" which he published in 1975 the political Bible for Libya.

Law 45 of 1972 prohibits strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations. Law 71 of 1972 treats political parties as criminal. An article of this law considers the exercise of political party activities as treason, and says that "Those who belong to political parties commit treason".  Articles 3 and 4 prescribe a penalty of death or no less than 10 years' imprisonment for anyone who calls for establishing any prohibited gathering, organization or formation of any political group. Dissent is illegal under Law 75 of 1973. One of the obligatory instructions is an order that says: "We execute even innocent people with the aim of terrorizing real culprits who may not be known at the moment. The locations of those who wish to defy the revolution shall be attacked and destroyed inside Libya, even if in a mosque. If the location is external we have to move to its location and attack and execute the perpetrators."  The Abou-Salim prison massacre on 29 June 1996 that killed about 1,200 political prisoners is one of the worst crimes against humanity. Qaddafi used light and heavy weapons against unarmed detainees whose only crime was strike due to poor health conditions, inhumane treatment, torture, humiliation and their continued detention without trial.

The rampant corruption and accumulation of wealth by Qaddafi and his close associates became another feature of his regime. There are varying estimates on Qaddafi's wealth. Some estimate it to be as much as £60 billion – which has been squirreled away in safe havens across the globe. The main vehicle for the Qaddafi's wealth is the $70 billion Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a "sovereign wealth fund" set up in 2006 to spend the country's oil money.

Syria and the Assads

In an interview to Wall Street Journal this January Syrian President Bashar Assad said that he was unlikely to face a popular uprising similar to the ones in Tunisia and Egypt because change inside Syria was shaped by "the people's feeling and dignity, [it is] about the people participating in the decisions of their country."  The President remarked that while Syria faced circumstances more difficult than those in most Arab countries, the country remained stable "because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people." However, the policies of Hafiz al Asad, who ruled the country for three decades, and Bashir Assad had provided enough reasons for the people of Syria to explode at any time, which finally happened this year.

In 1970 Hafiz al Assad becoming the first 'Alawi' President and  Syria became the country where minority Shiite Alawites rule over majority Sunnis. He placed members of his family, clan, tribe and sect, personally loyal to him, at important positions of power in the military, security, party and state institutions. He invested heavily in the military, giving privileges to the security forces and creating for them a vested interest in the survival of his regime. To protect himself from potential army coups, he created independent "Defence Companies" as a party militia, and an independent Presidential Guard. He never allowed any opposition to his power. In Feb 1982 Assad responded with unprecedented force to Muslim Brotherhood's opposition to him resulting in the killing of five to ten thousand people. Bashar took the reigns of power from his dictator father Hafiz al Assad in 2000. He continued with his father's policies, marrying to a Sunni girl. Like his father, Bashar maintained his supremacy by methodically undermining all potential alternative centers of power and legitimacy. Opposition parties and NGOs are banned, and an emergency law first introduced in 1963 allows police to arrest and detain anyone they suspect of "opposing the goals of the revolution." All forms of dissent are quickly and violently crushed, and the mukhabarat (secret police) have spies everywhere. In 2004, at least 30 Syrian Kurds were killed, and dozens more injured, in a crackdown by security forces in the northeastern city of Qamishli.  

However, the nature and magnitude of present uprising against the autocratic government clearly revels that government does not care about the wishes and beliefs of the people and people of Syria don't shape their policies. This kind of sustained, anti-government protest is almost unheard of in Syria, home to one of the world's most authoritarian regimes. The present uprising and the brutal response of the government has again resulted in the death of many innocent people.

Conclusion: What we are witnessing in Libya and other Arab countries is actually the culmination of decades of mis-governance in these countries. It is a fight of the common people of these countries for the democratic rights that have been denied to them in their own lands. However, the people of these countries need to be careful about the methodology they use for securing their rights. The Egyptian experiment has clearly shown the power of peaceful resistance as it does not provide much excuse to the rulers to perpetuate state terrorism.  One area where Mubarak failed and Qaddafi succeeded is pushing people for violence. It gave Qaddafi a reason to use all his brutal methods to suppress the revolution. A recent study conducted by  Maria J. Stephan and entitled "Why Civil Resistance Works-The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict", wherein they studied and compared hundreds of violent insurgencies with those of major nonviolent resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006, found that over 50 percent of the nonviolent movements succeeded, compared with about 25 percent of the violent insurgencies. Why? Because, as Eric Chenoweth wrote in an article in The New York Times, "for one thing, people don't have to give up their jobs, leave their families or agree to kill anyone to participate in a nonviolent campaign. That means such movements tend to draw a wider range of participants, which gives them more access to members of the regime, including security forces and economic elites, who often sympathize with or are even relatives of protesters". Also the people of Arab world should not allow too much of external intervention. They should try to win over their democratic rights by their own efforts even if it takes a bit more time and sacrifices. We have well seen the result of external intervention in Iraq for the so-called liberation of the people of that country. And finally it is very important for these countries to guard against slipping into anarchy or civil war once the revolutions are successful.

(Aijaz Ashraf Wani is Assistant Professor Deptt of Political Science, University of Kashmir. Feedback at aijazpol a

Students, workers and faculty rally against the corporate takeover of UofT

Toronto - The Anti-Corporatization Working Group of the UT General Assembly is calling a rally outside of the University of Toronto's Governing Council to protest the Munk "donation" and the privatization of education. Professor Noam Chomsky, speaking at a public lecture in the afternoon, has expressed support for the cause and is expected to make an appearance at the rally.

Organizers claim that the administration wants to generate discourses around global issues that are financed by and subject to the annual approval of the Munk Foundation. Peter Munk is the chairman of the mining company Barrick Gold, a corporation facing frequent allegations of international human rights and environmental abuses. What's more, Barrick is currently pursuing lawsuits against three academics who have written about these issues.

"The University of Toronto does not belong to Naylor nor to any private interests for that matter," says Gavin Smith, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and member of the anti-corporatization working group. "It belongs to all of us – students, teachers, staff workers and the community at large. This is where its quality lies, not in acting as the front for token gestures by rapacious mining interests."

Even the UofT administration seemed to expect controversy surrounding the acceptance of Munk's money. Negotiations around the agreement were kept secret, even from the Governing Council – a body that is, at best, a façade of democracy. At the last GC meeting, when a student governor presented notice of a Munk-related motion, the chair tried to prevent her from speaking. Though the motion was served with due notice, the executive committee of GC arbitrarily voted to remove the item from the agenda of Thursday's meeting, thereby stifling any debate on the topic.

"The omission of the motion from the agenda comes as no surprise. Its indicative of broader patterns of exclusion, marginalization and silencing of student, faculty, and workers' voices from decision-making at the University," stated Joeita Gupta, a student member of the University of Toronto Governing Council. "Please come together to keep our university public: say no to the corporate take-over of the University and to back-door fee increases."

In addition to protesting the Munk contract, the rally targeted the privatization of the University of Toronto. At the meeting, the Governing Council is set to approve tuition increases that would ensure that for the first time ever, tuition and other fees would surpass public sources of funding in UofT's projected budget.

The message of the rally is clear: students, teachers, staff workers, and the public are not silent sources of profit; they are the university. And they will rally to enact a new vision for UofT that reflects the interest of their community, not corporations and not neo-liberal governments.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

3April2011 CHOMSKY WRITES ABOUT Libya and the World of Oil

Last month, at the international tribunal on crimes during the civil war in Sierra Leone, the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor came to an end.

The chief prosecutor, U.S. law professor David Crane, informed The Times of London that the case was incomplete: The prosecutors intended to charge Moammar Gadhafi, who, Crane said, "was ultimately responsible for the mutilation, maiming and/or murder of 1.2 million people."

But the charge was not to be. The U.S., U.K. and others intervened to block it. Asked why, Crane said, "Welcome to the world of oil."

Another recent Gadhafi casualty was Sir Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, who resigned after revelations of the school's links to the Libyan dictator.

In Cambridge, Mass., the Monitor Group, a consultancy firm founded by Harvard professors, was well paid for such services as a book to bring Gadhafi's immortal words to the public "in conversation with renowned international experts," along with other efforts "to enhance international appreciation of (Gadhafi's) Libya."

happy devil Tony Blair self photo burning oil wells

The world of oil is rarely far in the background in affairs concerning this region.

For example, as the dimensions of the U.S. defeat in Iraq could no longer be concealed, pretty rhetoric was displaced by honest announcement of policy goals. In November 2007 the White House issued a Declaration of Principles insisting that Iraq must grant indefinite access and privilege to American investors.

Two months later President Bush informed Congress that he would reject legislation that might limit the permanent stationing of U.S. armed forces in Iraq or "United States control of the oil resources of Iraq" – demands that the U.S. had to abandon shortly afterward in the face of Iraqi resistance.

The world of oil provides useful guidance for western reactions to the remarkable democracy uprisings in the Arab world. An oil-rich dictator who is a reliable client is granted virtual free rein. There was little reaction when Saudi Arabia declared on March 5, "Laws and regulations in the Kingdom totally prohibit all kinds of demonstrations, marches and sit-in protests as well as calling for them as they go against the principles of Shariah and Saudi customs and traditions." The kingdom mobilized huge security forces that rigorously enforced the ban.

In Kuwait, small demonstrations were crushed. The mailed fist struck in Bahrain after Saudi-led military forces intervened to ensure that the minority Sunni monarchy would not be threatened by calls for democratic reforms.

Bahrain is sensitive not only because it hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet but also because it borders Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, the location of most of the kingdom's oil. The world's primary energy resources happen to be located near the northern Persian Gulf (or Arabian Gulf, as Arabs often call it), largely Shiite, a potential nightmare for Western planners.

In Egypt and Tunisia, the popular uprising has won impressive victories, but as the Carnegie Endowment reported, the regimes remain and are "seemingly determined to curb the pro-democracy momentum generated so far. A change in ruling elites and system of governance is still a distant goal" – and one that the West will seek to keep far removed.

Libya's population, energy, refineries, oil wells export terminals

Libya is a different case, an oil-rich state run by a brutal dictator, who, however, is unreliable: A dependable client would be far preferable. When nonviolent protests erupted, Gadhafi moved quickly to crush them.

On March 22, as Gadhafi's forces were converging on the rebel capital of Benghazi, top Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross warned that if there is a massacre, "everyone would blame us for it," an unacceptable consequence.

And the West certainly didn't want Gadhafi to enhance his power and independence by crushing the rebellion. The U.S. joined in the U.N. Security Council authorization of a "no-fly zone," to be implemented by France, the U.K. and the U.S.

The intervention prevented a likely massacre but was interpreted by the coalition as authorizing direct support for the rebels. A cease-fire was imposed on Gadhafi's forces, but the rebels were helped to advance to the West. In short order they conquered the major sources of Libya's oil production, at least temporarily.

On March 28, the London-based Arab journal Al-Quds Al-Arabi warned that the intervention may leave Libya with "two states, a rebel-held, oil-rich East and a poverty-stricken, Gadhafi-led West. … Given that the oil wells have been secured, we may find ourselves facing a new Libyan oil emirate, sparsely inhabited, protected by the West and very similar to the Gulf's emirate states." Or the Western-backed rebellion might proceed all the way to eliminate the irritating dictator.

It is commonly argued that oil cannot be a motive for the intervention because the West had access to the prize under Gadhafi. True but irrelevant. The same could be said about Iraq under Saddam Hussein, or Iran and Cuba today.

What the West seeks is what Bush announced: control, or at least dependable clients, and in the case of Libya, access to vast unexplored areas expected to be rich in oil. U.S and British internal documents stress that the "virus of nationalism" is the greatest fear, since it might breed disobedience.

The intervention is being conducted by the three traditional imperial powers (though we may recall – Libyans presumably do – that, after World War I, Italy conducted genocide in eastern Libya).

The western powers are acting in virtual isolation. States in the region – Turkey and Egypt – want no part of it, nor does Africa. The Gulf dictators would be happy to see Gadhafi gone – but, even as they're groaning under the weight of advanced weapons provided to them to recycle petrodollars and ensure obedience, they barely offer more than token participation. The same is true beyond: India, Brazil and even Germany.

The Arab Spring has deep roots. The region has been simmering for years. The first of the current wave of protests began last year in Western Sahara, the last African colony, invaded by Morocco in 1975 and illegally held since, in a manner similar to East Timor and the Israeli-occupied territories.

A nonviolent protest last November was crushed by Moroccan forces. France intervened to block a Security Council inquiry into the crimes of its client.

Then a flame ignited in Tunisia that has since spread into a conflagration.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

1.2 trillion BLACK BUDGET usa military dictatorship

In his important 2006 book, Nemesis, the Last Days of the American Republic, the third and concluding part of a trilogy, the late Chalmers Johnson, who was an expert on Japan and US foreign policy, writes that as much as 40% of the Pentagon budget is "black," meaning hidden from public scrutiny.[1] If the figure is even approximately correct, and I believe it is, the number is alarming because it suggests that democratic oversight of US military research and development has broken down. In which case our democratic values and way of life are presently at risk; not from without, as there is no foreign enemy that can destroy the US Constitution, but from within.

I would argue that Chalmers Johnson's estimate was corroborated on September 10, 2001, on the eve of the worst terrorist attack in US history, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged during a press conference that the Department of Defense (DoD) could not account for $2.3 trillion of the massive Pentagon budget, a number so large as to be incomprehensible.[2] Any remaining hope that the US military might still get its budgetary house in order were dashed at 9:38 am the next morning, when the west wing of the Pentagon exploded in flames and smoke, the target of a terrorist strike. Incredibly, the exact point of impact was the DoD's accounting offices on the first floor. The surgical destruction of its records and staff, nearly all of whom died in the attack, raises important questions about who benefited from 9/11. Given the Pentagon's vast size, the statistical odds against this being a coincidence prompted skeptics of the official story to read a dark design into the attack. As Deep Throat said: "Follow the money."
photo of pentagon building damage with boing 767 superimposed

Was the Pentagon accounting office destroyed because diabolical individuals planned it that way? No question, the west wing presented a much more challenging target than the east wing. Targeting the west wing required a difficult approach over the Arlington skyline. The final approach was especially dicey and amounted to a downhill obstacle course, skirting apartments and a large building complex about a quarter-mile from the Pentagon known as the Naval Annex; which sits atop a hill that rises from the flat ground along the Potomac River. In April 2008, I interviewed Army Brigadier General Clyde Vaughn, a credible witness to the events of that morning. Vaughn explained over the telephone that on 9/11 he was on his way to work at the Pentagon via Shirley Highway (I-395) when the strike occurred. The general told me the hijacked aircraft (presumably AA 77) just missed the Naval Annex and would have hit the US Air Force memorial that presently occupies the site, had the 270 feet-tall monument existed on 9/11.[3] The new memorial was constructed in 2006 and dedicated the same year.

Why did the terrorists not take the easy approach up the Potomac River? The river approach would have afforded a reasonably good chance to crash the offices of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which were located on the opposite side of the building, in the middle of the outer "E" ring. The location of their offices was no secret. Surely terrorists would have been more interested in decapitating the command structure of the US war machine than going after a bunch of accounting clerks.

That morning, there were other striking anomalies. The crash of AA 11 into the North Tower at 8:46 am should also have raised red flags, because the point of impact at the 95th and 96th floors was too remarkable to be happenstance. Both floors were occupied by Marsh & McLennan, one of the world's largest insurance brokerages, with family ties to the private intelligence firm, Kroll Associates, which held the security contract at the World Trade Center. Indeed, the network of corporate ties is so entangled that were I to trace all of the links, they would easily fill a book. Here, I will sketch out only the most salient connections.

The CEO of Marsh & McLennan on 9/11 was Jeffry Greenberg, son of Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, owner of AIG, the world's largest insurance conglomerate (or second largest, depending on the source). Greenberg's other son, Evan, was CEO of Ace Limited, another large insurance company. Maurice Greenberg had been a director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for many years, and in 1994-95 served as its chairman. Greenberg was also vice-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which in 1996 published his report, "Making Intelligence Smarter: The future of U.S. Intelligence"; as a result of which, Senator Arlen Specter floated Greenberg's name as a candidate for the directorship of the CIA.[4] Although George Tenet eventually got the job, the mere fact that Greenberg was in the running shows the extent of his influence. In 1993, Greenberg's huge insurance conglomerate AIG reportedly bankrolled the Wall Street spy firm, Kroll Associates, saving it from bankruptcy. Thereafter, Kroll became an AIG subsidiary. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Kroll acquired the contract from the Port Authority of New York to upgrade security at the World Trade Center, in the process beating out two other firms.[5] Kroll continued with the WTC security contract through the period leading up to the September 11 attacks. One of Kroll's directors, Jerome Hauer, also managed New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Office of Emergency Management, which was located on the 23rd floor of WTC 7.[6]
this is an actual photo.  The screen-dust from the missile with the airplane hologram
protruded on THE OTHER SIDE, and the holography continued, showing an intact
airliner nose cone. google NOSE-OUT 911 WTC pinocchio

Notice this means Kroll had unfettered access to all three of the buildings destroyed on 9/11. This startling coincidence should have been reason enough for the 9/11 Commission to investigate Kroll's shady background as well as its relations with AIG, Ace, and Marsh & McClennan. The commission was armed with subpoena authority and might have probed deeply enough to learn the truth. Unfortunately, the official investigators were not interested in connecting the dots. Although Kroll was based in New York City, it served (and still serves) an international clientele through 60 offices in some 27 countries. Over the years, the firm has repeatedly been accused of, and/or formally charged with, conspiracy. In 1995 the French government expelled several Americans from the country, including a Kroll employee named William Lee, for allegedly spying on French industry. Lee's involvement with Kroll made French authorities suspicious that his Paris operation might be a CIA front.[7] The French were surely aware of Kroll's longstanding practice of hiring former CIA, FBI, and British Intelligence agents. Kroll/AIG made no effort to conceal the fact that between 1997-2003 the AIG board of directors included Frank G. Wisner, Jr., son of one of the founders of the CIA.[8] Wisner Jr. is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wisner Jr. also served as US ambassador to several nations, including Egypt, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[9] As I write, Wisner's name surfaced in the news. Last week, President Obama dispatched Wisner as his personal envoy to confer with the embattled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.[10] Even as popular pressure continued to build for Mubarak to step down, Wisner embarrassed Obama by publicly encouraging Mubarak to ride out the crisis and hang onto power. No doubt, his action reflects the view from Langley, which would much prefer to see Mubarak remain in power. The CIA has long supported the Mubarak regime and in return was allowed to use Egypt as a haven for renditions and torture. Wisner's thumbing his nose at his own president, no doubt, is also an accurate measure of the US national security state's low opinion of Obama. It certainly exposes Obama's weakness as president.[11]

Did the French government over-react in 1995 when it expelled a Kroll employee for suspected industrial espionage? Possibly, but the French had good reason to be wary of CIA meddling in their country. It is a safe bet the French have not forgotten Operation Gladio, the rogue intelligence network secretly organized in Europe by the CIA, NATO and British MI-6, after World War II.[12] "Gladio" means "sword" in Italian and is the root of the word "gladiator." Known as the "stay behind armies," they were in every NATO country, and totaled thousands of paramilitary soldiers. Their ranks included known underworld criminals and drug traffickers; and crucially, the CIA kept the whole operation secret for nearly forty years.

Although the stay-behind armies were supposed to form the nucleus of an armed resistance movement in the event of a Soviet invasion of western Europe, the invasion never materialized, and the CIA-trained forces were sometimes used for other less savory purposes. These included smear and disinformation campaigns, mass bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and attempted coup d'etats; all of which was blamed on the communists. Before it was over, the CIA-staged terror campaign added up to hundreds of incidents in Italy, France, Greece, Belgium, and other European nations.

The news about Gladio first broke in the Italian press, in August 1990, at the time of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait; and immediately touched off a political earthquake on the continent. As they say, bad news travels fast. Shock turned to outrage as Europeans learned that for decades the CIA and NATO had been sponsoring terrorist attacks in the democratic nations of Europe. All of which, as noted, was blamed on the communists. The purpose of Gladio had been to strike fear into the population of Europe, and thus, to weaken the left-wing parties.

If this sounds like fantasy to the reader, it is only because the US media, to this day, has never informed the American people about the CIA's long and ugly history of staging international terrorism. Here in the US, it is euphemistically known as "counter-terrorism." Although the average American is ignorant of the fact, most Frenchmen probably also know that under Gladio, the CIA lent support to an attempted putsch against French President Charles de Gaulle in 1958 by reactionary elements of the French army. The renegade French forces were opposed to de Gaulle's controversial decision to end to the French military occupation of Algeria. Most of the people of France probably also know about the CIA's involvement in at least one other conspiracy to assassinate de Gaulle in the mid-1960s; but which fortunately failed.[13] De Gaulle survived some thirty assassination attempts. At the time, the CIA's involvement caused a near rupture in US-French relations. De Gaulle reacted angrily by pulling France out of NATO, and ordered US military forces out of France. The US was compelled to move NATO headquarters from Paris to Mons, in Belgium. Nor did the American people hear the truth about what really happened. In fact, they still do not know, because the US press has never informed them.

Given this brief background, one must ask: Were the French trying to send a wake-up signal to the American people when they leaked the following shocker about 9/11 to the world press? In October 2001 the prestigious French paper Le Figaro reported that in July 2001, just two months before 9/11, Osama bin Laden received dialysis treatments and other medical care for a serious kidney ailment at the American Hospital in Dubai, one of the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf.[14] At the time, bin Laden was a wanted man, and had been indicted by the US Department of Justice for the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Yet, according to the detailed report in Le Figaro, the Americans treated bin Laden as a VIP guest. The Al Qaeda leader arrived with a retinue that included his personal physician, a nurse, four bodyguards, and at least one of his lieutenants. Bin Laden reportedly held court in his hospital suite, welcoming members of his large family, Saudi officials, and even the local CIA station chief, who evidently was a well-known figure in the tiny country. The CIA official was evidently seen entering bin Laden's room. Immediately after leaving, he caught a flight back to the US. The article in Le Figaro was closely followed by a story in The Guardian (UK), which added more details. It noted that bin Laden's Saudi guests had included Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence. The story also named French intelligence as the source of the story in Le Figaro, and added that the information was leaked because the French were "keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere."[15] If the story is accurate, it means Osama bin Laden was a US intelligence asset right up until the morning of 9/11. There is no other possible interpretation. In which case, the American people have been seriously misled, indeed, have been fed a pack of lies, about the events of that horrible day. I would add: there were no retractions. Le Figaro stood by its story. Meanwhile, the US media played dumb and never even reported it.

But I digress. Back to AIG/Kroll. In 2005, the government of Brazil formally indicted Kroll's chief Brazilian executive Eduardo Sampaio and five other Kroll employees on criminal charges, including bribery and various breaches of Brazil's data privacy laws. Sampaio reportedly escaped arrest by fleeing the country.[16]

In 2006 another Kroll affiliate made the news for "unacceptable billing practices" while representing the failed energy giant Enron in court.[17] The Enron Corporation had collapsed in late 2001 amidst allegations of fraudulent accounting; then, in January 2002, hired Kroll Zolfo Cooper to handle its chapter 11 proceedings. The US Trustee Program, which administers bankruptcy cases, uncovered the billing irregularities after Kroll sought an additional fee of $25 million for its services. The firm had already received a cool $100 million for scavenging the Enron corpse but wanted more, even as stockholders received nothing. Evidently, the folks at Kroll thought no one would notice a mere $25 million, which is chump change compared with the $30 billion in inflated energy costs that Enron gouged from the state of California in 2000-2001. All of which must be good: because Enron got away with it. According to economist Paul Krugman, emails confirmed that Enron had rigged the markets.[18] The heavily Democratic golden state has yet to recover from what must be viewed as a partisan attack.

Also in 2006: a whistleblower named Richard A. Grove went public with stunning testimony about his involvement with the Greenberg empire, an up-close-and-personal experience, Grove says, that nearly cost him his life.[19] During the period leading up to 9/11, Grove worked as a salesman for Silverstream Software, an enterprise company which marketed designer solutions to a number of Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Banker's Trust, Alex Brown, and Morgan Stanley. According to Grove, Silverstream "built internet transactional and trading platforms," designed "to web-enable the critical business functions of Fortune 500 companies, basically integrating and making available on the web the disparate legacy applications and mainframes while simultaneously streamlining workflow and traditional paper processes." The "end result [was] a lower cost of operation and more efficient transactions because inefficiencies such as people were being taken out of the loop."[20]
actual footage. it shows the wings disappearing.
Only (imperfect) hologrammes do that.

Grove was so successful as a salesman that (he claims) he became a millionaire before the age of thirty. He only realized, later, that the software he sold might have enabled fraudulent trading in the hours before and possibly during the 9/11 attacks. The most advanced software of all went to Marsh & McClennan, which, he says, placed an order in 2000 for a technological solution "beyond what we had done for any of the above-named companies; insofar as it would be used to electronically connect Marsh to its major business partners via internet portals, for the purpose of creating 'paperless transactions' and expediting revenue and renewal cycles." Grove inked the software deal with Marsh & McClennan in October 2000. After which, his employer Silverstream stationed a team of 30-40 technicians in the client's offices in WTC 1, led by several software developers who proceeded to design and build the software package "from the ground up." During this period, Grove served as liaison between Silverstream & Marsh to insure that the software would perform as specified. The team worked around-the-clock, seven days a week, to meet Marsh's pre-September 11, 2001 deadline. The end result was "a specific type of connectivity that was used to link AIG and Marsh & McLennan, the first two commercial companies on the planet to employ this type of transaction."[21]

Grove says he first noticed fiscal irregularities in October 2000 when he and a colleague helped "identify about $10,000,000 in suspicious purchase orders." Marsh's chief information officer, Gary Lasko, later confirmed that "certain vendors were deceiving Marsh … selling … large quantities of hardware that were [sic] not necessary" for the project. But Grove did not worry too much about this at the time; nor did he run into personal trouble until the spring of 2001, when he learned, while negotiating a license renewal contract with Lasko, that his own employer, Silverstream, was over-billing Marsh "to the tune of $7 million, or more." Grove brought the matter to the attention of Silverstream executives, but was told to keep quiet and mind his own business. A Marsh executive advised him to do the same. By this point, a number of Marsh employees had earned Grove's trust and when he shared his concerns with them, they agreed that "something untoward was going on." Grove names these honest employees in his testimonial: Kathryn Lee, Ken Rice, Richard Breuhardt, John Ueltzhoeffer, in addition to Gary Lasko, all of whom perished on 9/11.[22] Incidentally, a simple check confirmed that these names do indeed appear on the fatality list of World Trade Center victims.[23]

The proverbial schtick hit the fan on June 5th, 2001, the day after Grove sent an email to his sales team informing them that "Silverstream was billing Marsh millions above and beyond the numbers we were being paid commissions on…." There were only two possibilities: either the members of his team were being cheated out of their rightful commissions, or Silverstream was defrauding Marsh & McClennan. Later that day, Grove received word from Gary Lasko that Marsh had decided to retain Silverstream for the next phase of the project. The extension was good news and he immediately informed his boss. Grove was personally delighted because his rightful commission "would have been a payday worth well over a million dollars." He never collected it, however; because the next morning, Grove was summoned to his boss's office and abruptly terminated.

This is not the end of the story. Several weeks later, Grove suffered a medical emergency that required surgery and weeks of hospitalization. In August 2001, while still bedridden, a Silverstream company official visited him at the hospital and offered him $9,999 in cash, plus an extension of his medical benefits, if he would agree never to talk about the work he did for Silverstream. Grove needed the continuing medical coverage and agreed to the terms. However, after his convalescence he became suspicious about the secrecy agreement and decided that, at very least, he should maintain contact with the honest employees at Marsh, several of whom were now close friends. Shortly thereafter, one of them arranged for Grove to attend a meeting at the offices of Marsh & McClennan, at which the honest employees planned to "openly question the suspiciously unconcerned executive who seemed to be at the center of the controversial secrecy." The executive had agreed to participate via a video conference link from his apartment in uptown Manhattan. This was the same individual who, months before, had warned Grove to look the other way. Grove was in possession of documents proving illicit activity, and he planned to produce them at the meeting. However, on the day of the showdown, he ran late, having been delayed by heavy Manhattan traffic. Grove says he was within 2-3 blocks of the World Trade Center when UAL 175 hit the South Tower. By then, all or most of his friends in the North Tower were already dead, or trapped on the upper floors. All told, some 300 or more Marsh employees perished that morning. None of whom had any idea what was in store for them.


[1] Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Final Days of the American Republic, Henry Holt & Co., New York, 2006, pp. 9 and 115.
[3] Vaughn's testimony is intriguing because it does not conform in all respects to the official narrative. Vaughn told CNN: "There wasn't anything in the air, except for one airplane, and it looked like it was loitering over Georgetown, in a high, left-hand bank," he said. "That may have been the plane. I have never seen one on that (flight) pattern." The aircraft described by Vaughn has never been identified. Ian Christopher McCaleb, "Three-star general may be among Pentagon dead," CNN, September 13, 2001. Posted at
[5] Douglas Frantz, "A Midlife Crisis at Kroll Associates," New York Times, September 1, 1994, posted at
[7] David Ignatius, "The French, the CIA and the Man Who Sued Too Much," Washington Post, January 8, 1996.
[10] Vijay Prashad, "The Empire's Bagman," Counterpunch, February 2, 2011. Posted at
[11] Robert Fisk, "US Envoy's business link to Egypt," The Independent (UK), February 7, 2011. Posted at
[12] Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, Frank Cass, London, 2005.
[13] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Common Courage Press, Monroe, ME, 1995, pp, 148-152.
[14] Alexandra Richard, "The CIA met bin Laden while undergoing treatment at an American Hospital last July in Dubai, Le Figaro, October 11, 2001. (translated by Tiphaine Dickson)
[15] Anthony Sampson, "CIA agent alleged to haveb met Bin Laden in July," Guardian (UK), November 1, 2001. Posted at
[16] The Brazilian connection, June 25, 2005, posted at
[17] Mark Sherman, "Justice Department finds billing irregularities by former interim Enron CEO," Associated Press, March 27, 2006. Posted at
[18] Paul Krugman, The Great Unraveling, Norton & Co, 2005, pp. 318-320.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid.

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posted by u2r2h at 5:11 AM 4 comments

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why there will not be another Noam Chomsky

remarkable intelligent article.  The only thing missing is for Jonathan to have the actual guts to say 911 was an inside job, and the ultimate would be for him to have an 911 exposure article published in the Guardian.
But we try to be happy with what we get, you know, the stuff that does not change the system, the stuff that we are allowed to think.
Heresy is still not allowed ANYWHERE.

Confessions of a minion of the military-industrial complex

Or how I learned to stop worrying about where my academic research funding came from and love Raytheon


Jonathan Farley
Jonathan Farley

    Jonathan Farley speaks a Raytheon-sponsored event in Washington

    The author, Jonathan Farley, speaks at a Raytheon-sponsored event before the Capitol, with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, the late Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Congressman Silvestre Reyes and Raytheon Vice President Bill Lynn seated behind. Photograph: Jonathan Farley

    If I were the secret service, I'd be investigating me about now. There is a 2006 photo of me sitting next to Senator Ted Kennedy, Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis and Congressman Silvestre Reyes. Two of these three are now dead.

    We were at an event (pictured above) sponsored by Raytheon, maker of cruise missiles, 192 of which have stormed down on Libya recently, at a cost of $290m. And because American academics like myself want Raytheon's cash, few if any will criticise this war.

    The April sky was blue, puffy white clouds hovering above the dome of the Capitol behind us. Raytheon Vice President Bill Lynn (now deputy secretary of defence) introduced Kennedy, who praised Raytheon's spending $2m to improve math education, since "84% of middle school students would rather eat their vegetables or clean their room instead of doing math". The politicians attended Raytheon's bash because they love numbers: Raytheon gave Congressman Reyes $10,500.

    People used to invite me to speak at events opposing the military-industrial complex, like a demonstration in 2001 that British former cabinet minister Tony Benn discusses in his memoirs, mentioning my name. My fall began when, in the late 1990s, a colleague organised a conference at America's National Security Agency. Mathematician Lee Lorch, a victim of America's blacklist in the 1950s for refusing to testify to HUAC, refused to attend; but I felt I would be insulting my colleague if I declined the invitation.

    communist nigger monkey Jonathan Farley

    Years later, I found myself facing the same forces that Lorch had fought 50 years before. All other doors closed, I made a compromise: I became a science fellow at Stanford University's centre for international security and cooperation. I would do counterterrorism research, just not for the Pentagon.

    But the apple was sweet: I soon found myself doing deals with Lockheed Martin on border security and holding meetings with admirals and one Air Force general, including a four-person meeting with a future director of national intelligence, and coffee for two with a former deputy director of the CIA. (A nice guy, incidentally.) I accepted support from the US Army War College; I accepted invitations from the Joint Special Operations University; programme managers from the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Homeland Security contacted me about my work.

    Don't judge: even peerless, pacific Einstein became shatterer of worlds.

    I tried to escape, but no one gave me money to study why bees are disappearing, possibly threatening our food supply, or to help stop the spread of lethal infectious diseases. I still wrote essays criticising people like Iraq war co-conspirator Colin Powell, but, soon after I did so, a self-described former covert operative, who worked for an organisation that had invited me to speak, pointedly praised Powell in conversation with me. I never did get any more support from his group.

    He was, I felt, sending me a message – one most American academics understand, whether they work for the military or not: saying Scipio Africanus Obama should start his second term in The Hague means losing your support: professional suicide.

    Noam avram chomsky as a boy  - maybe 1936

    This is why there will not be another Noam Chomsky: few leftwing American academics who have the ability to make themselves heard – such as professors at elite universities – do so. In 1996, I attended a rally in Berkeley, but the only speakers who were professors were sixties revolutionary icon Angela Davis and myself. The American academy tends to deny tenure to leftists who wear their politics on their sleeve, as many humanists must; and if a scientist slips through, he risks the money without which he generally cannot work, should he dare to speak.

    Nor can he count on liberals' support. The liberal Nation magazine prefers someone like Juan Cole, who is frothing at the mouth for more missiles. The liberal Centre for American Progress prefers Lawrence Korb, who writes, "Obama has done [the Libyan war] just right." Did I mention Korb was a vice president of Raytheon?

    And me? I now work on ways insurgents can use math to defeat "coalition" forces. If the secret service wants to stop my research, they could smash me one fine morning, or – my preference – buy me out: an application of the "bottom-line philosophy", to quote Lorch, that has bankrupted the human race.

    I'll take euros.

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posted by u2r2h at 11:40 PM 0 comments