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Science Is In Trouble

By Donna Lamframboise – Global Warming Policy Foundation – 27/10/16

We’ve all heard the buzzword. Whether it’s an anti-bullying program in Finland, an alcohol awareness initiative in Texas, or climate change responses around the globe, we’re continually assured that government policies are ‘evidence-based.’ Science itself guides our footsteps.

There’s just one problem: science is in deep trouble. Last year, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, admitted that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” In his words, “science has taken a turn toward darkness.”

Medical research, psychology, and economics are all in the grip of a ‘reproducibility crisis.’ A pharmaceutical company attempting to confirm the findings of 53 landmark cancer studies was successful in only six instances, a failure rate of 89%. In 2012, a psychology journal devoted an entire issue to reliability problems in that discipline, with one essay titled “Why science is not necessarily self-correcting.” Likewise, a 2015 report prepared for the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve concluded that “economics research is usually not replicable.” Its authors were able to verify the findings of only one third of 67 papers published in reputable economics journals. After enlisting the help of the original researchers, the success rate rose to a still dismal 49%.

Government policies can’t be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which they depend hasn’t been independently verified, yet the vast majority of academic research is never put to this test. Instead, something called peer review takes place. When a research paper is submitted, journals invite a couple of people to evaluate it. Known as referees, these individuals recommend that the paper be published, modified, or rejected.

If one gets what one pays for, it’s worth observing that referees typically work for free. They lack both the time and the resources to perform anything other than a cursory overview. Nothing like an audit occurs. No one examines the raw data for accuracy or the computer code for errors. Peer review doesn’t guarantee that proper statistical analyses were employed, or that lab equipment was used properly.

Referees at the most prestigious of journals have given the green light to research that was later found to be wholly fraudulent. Conversely, they’ve scoffed at work that went on to win Nobel Prizes. Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, describes peer review as a roulette wheel, a lottery, and a black box. He points out that an extensive body of research finds scant evidence that this vetting process accomplishes much at all. On the other hand, a mountain of scholarship has identified profound deficiencies.

Peer review’s random and arbitrary nature was demonstrated as early as 1982. Twelve already published papers were assigned fictitious author and institution names before being resubmitted to the same journal 18-32 months later. The duplication was noticed in three instances, but the remaining nine papers underwent review by two referees each. Only one paper was deemed worthy of seeing the light of day the second time it was examined by the same journal that had already published it. Lack of originality wasn’t among the concerns raised by the second wave of referees.

Anyone can start a scholarly journal and define peer review however they wish. No minimum standards apply and no enforcement mechanisms ensure that a journal’s publicly described policies are actually followed. Some editors admit to writing up fake reviews under the cover of anonymity rather than going to the trouble of recruiting bona fide referees. In 2014, a news story reported that 120 papers containing computer-generated gibberish had nevertheless survived the peer review process of reputable publishers.

Politicians and journalists have long found it convenient to regard peer-reviewed research as de facto sound science. If that were the case, Nature would hardly have subtitled a February 2016 article: “Mistakes in peer-reviewed papers are easy to find but hard to fix.” Over a period of 18 months, a team of researchers attempted to correct dozens of substantial errors in nutrition and obesity research. Among these was the claim that the height change in a group of adults averaged nearly three inches (7 cm) over eight weeks. The team reported that editors “seemed unprepared or ill-equipped to investigate, take action or even respond.” In Kafkaesque fashion, after months of effort culminated in acknowledgement of a gaffe, journals then demanded that the team pay $1,700 in one instance and $2,100 in another before a letter calling attention to other people’s mistakes could be published.

Which brings us back to the matter of public policy. We’ve long been assured that reports produced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are authoritative because they rely entirely on peer-reviewed, scientific literature. A 2010 InterAcademy Council investigation found this claim to be false, but that’s another story. Even if all IPCC source material did meet this threshold, the fact that one out of an estimated 25,000 academic journals conducted an unspecified and unregulated peer review ritual is no warranty that a paper isn’t total nonsense.

If half of the scientific literature “may simply be untrue,” then half of the climate research cited by the IPCC may also be untrue. This appalling unreliability extends to work on dietary cholesterol, domestic violence, air pollution – in short, to all research currently being generated by the academy.

The US National Science Foundation recently reminded us that a scientific finding “cannot be regarded as an empirical fact” unless it has been “independently verified.” Peer review does not perform that function. Until governments begin authenticating research prior to using it as the foundation for new laws and huge expenditures, don’t fall for the claim that policy X is evidence-based.

Donna Laframboise is the author of Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential, a report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

What the Philippines Says Vs. What it Does

By Joseph Thomas | New Eastern Outlook | 30.10.2016

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been identified as a menace to US foreign policy in Asia Pacific by both his supporters and his opponents. For his supporters, he is propped up as a hero of “anti-imperialism,” while his detractors claim his leadership incites instability, is nonconstructive and is leading his Southeast Asian state to ruin.

The truth, however, exists somewhere in between.

A look at the Philippines within Southeast Asia reveals a nation that has long existed within America’s geopolitical and economic sphere, but also a nation more recently emerging from that sphere, pulled into the political and economic orbit of Beijing and in a wider sense, an increasingly influential and growing Asia.

The Philippines eventually replacing its various, compromising dependencies on Washington is inevitable. Whether or not President Duterte’s recent rhetoric is proportional to the Philippines’ actual ability to replace these dependencies in the immediate and sweeping manner he has suggested is another matter entirely.

The necessity to compromise the Philippines’ sovereignty and independence in exchange for economic ties with the United States clearly is no longer in Manila’s best interests. Its trade with China and other Asian states far outweighs its trade with the United States.

Exports from the Philippines, for example, primarily remain in Asia, nearly two-thirds in fact. Exports to the US account for only about one-sixth of the Philippines’ exports. This is not insignificant, but it is clearly disproportionate to the political and economic influence the US seeks to wield both in Asia and in the Philippines specifically.

Nor is the need to continue depending on the United States to “underwrite” the Philippines’ security in the region necessary, especially since such “underwriting” generally involves protecting Manila from confrontations Washington itself intentionally provokes with the Philippines’ neighbours, including China. No clearer example of this can be seen than the recent Philippines-China row in the South China Sea, where the United States itself assembled a team of American and British lawyers to represent Manila in what it called an “international tribunal” which predictably ruled against Beijing in Manila’s favour.

The tribunal sought to inflame the confrontation, and bring it from a simple bilateral issue, to an increasingly serious international confrontation meant to isolate Beijing.

What the Philippines is Actually Doing… 

President Duterte’s rhetoric has been extreme, however the steps the Philippines is actually taking have been much more measured and proportional.

In regards to trade, the Philippines is on a natural trajectory to continue closing in with Beijing and the rest of Asia. Militarily, it also benefits the Philippines to incrementally remove US troops from its territory, scale back joint exercises, particularly those intentionally carried out to provoke Manila’s neighbours as well as seek new sources for cheaper and more reliable military hardware.

In terms of America’s showpiece conflict in the South China Sea, the Philippines has already distanced itself from Washington’s strategy of confrontation, encirclement and isolation in regards to Beijing and has instead attempted to resolve the issue bilaterally with Beijing itself. The expensive and time-consuming “tribunal” the United States organised for the Philippines has all but been thrown to the wayside as a result of this.

The Philippines’ shifting ties in Asia Pacific are more a matter of practicality than ideology. If practical matters dictate that the Philippines maintains some ties to the United States, it will do so. This is because despite shifting closer to Asia in general, the Philippines still has many economic and political ties to Washington that will be difficult to simply “cut” in the short-term. In the long-term, practical alternatives need to be created and incrementally implemented.

There are also a large number of Philippine political and business leaders who have no interest in severing ties with the United States, ties they directly benefit from and ties that they do not see alternatives to, with a Philippine pivot toward Beijing and the rest of Asia.

This political and economic bloc, however small, will receive increased support from the US to place pressure on Manila to slow down or even reverse its shifting ties. This can already be seen across various media platforms in and beyond the Philippines, as well as within the government itself.

Patience and Pragmatism 

President Duterte’s rhetoric is meant to stir up public support more than actually signal his nation’s real intentions. Other nations throughout Asia are also pursuing a “pivot” away from the United States and its attempts to reassert itself in Asia Pacific. However, they are doing it quietly, incrementally and are attempting to make whatever concessions they must with Washington to stave off large-scale, concerted attempts to destabilise or even overturn political order in each respective nation.

The Philippines has a long journey ahead of itself in establishing a more independent and self-sustaining nation state. It faces not only countervailing forces it must navigate amid Beijing and Washington’s ongoing jockeying for regional power and influence, but also internal challenges to overcome.

Should President Duterte place increased substance behind his extreme, often shifting rhetoric, and change tack toward more pragmatic and consistent policies, he may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds, popular support, and improved leverage for his nation amid a tumultuous time.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Who owns the ‘school’ that studies Canadian foreign policy?

By Yves Engler | October 30, 2016

Next week the Fraser Institute’s newly established Peter Munk Centre for Free Enterprise will offer a day long “Introduction to Economic Reasoning” seminar for Grade 10-12 students in Scarborough. Launched in June with $5 million from the founder of Barrick Gold, the Centre for Free Enterprise cements Munk’s position as leading contributor to right-wing ideas. But, the ideologue’s biggest contribution has been to a venerable public institution.

The Munk School of Global Affairs reveals much about the state of foreign-policy debate in this country. Among 35 million Canadians, the University of Toronto would be hard pressed to find a less credible source of support for the study of international affairs.

Peter Munk is a right wing ideologue and mining magnate with an important personal stake in a particular foreign policy. The Munk founded Barrick Gold has benefited from Canadian diplomatic support, export financing and development aid.

With its projects spurring ecological devastation, communal conflict and dozens of deaths on six continents, the Toronto company has led the charge against moves to withhold diplomatic and financial support to Canadian companies found responsible for significant abuses abroad. After An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries was narrowly defeated in 2010 Munk wrote a letter in the Toronto Star “celebrating those MPs who had the courage” to side with Canada’s massive mining industry lobby and vote against bill C 300.

Munk espouses far-right political views. In 1997 he praised dictator Augusto Pinochet for “transforming Chile from a wealth-destroying socialist state to a capital-friendly model that is being copied around the world” while two years later the Canadian Jewish News reported on a donation Munk made to an Israeli university and a speech in which he “suggested that Israel’s survival is dependent on maintaining its technological superiority over the Arabs.” In 2007 he compared Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to Hitler and later dismissed criticism of Barrick’s security force in Papua New Guinea by claiming “gang rape is a cultural habit” in that country. He responded to a 2014 Economist question about whether “Indigenous groups appear to have a lot more say and power in resource development these days” by saying “globally it’s a real problem. It’s a major, major problem.”

An initial $6.4 million contract to rename the International Studies Department the Munk Centre for International Studies stipulated the Centre would receive advice from Barrick’s international advisory board, which included US President George Bush and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. (When asked why he appointed Mulroney to Barrick’s board, Munk told Peter C. Newman: “He has great contacts. He knows every dictator in the world on a first name basis.”) The 1997 agreement empowered Munk to stop payments if dissatisfied with the Centre. Happy with its direction, Munk contributed $5 million more in 2006 and $35 million to launch the Munk School of Global Affairs in 2010. That deal committed the U of T to pony up $39 million from its endowment while the Ontario and federal governments chipped in $50 million (as well as a $16 million tax credit to Peter Munk for his $35 million donation).

Flush with resources, the School is highly influential. It co-sponsors an award for the world’s best non-fiction book on foreign affairs, Canadian Forces College workshops, annual lecture with Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy and Toronto International Film Festival speakers series. The School also co-sponsors the Munk Debates, which held the first-ever Canadian foreign policy leaders debate during the 2015 federal election.

The School’s Munk Fellowship in Global Journalism awards twenty fellowships for a year-long program run in partnership with the Globe and Mail, CBC News, Toronto Star, Postmedia and Thomson Reuters. The School has significant ties to the Globe and Mail with former editors-in-chief John Stackhouse and William Thorsell both senior fellows at the School.

While executive director at the Munk Centre in 2007, Marketa Evans helped spawn the Devonshire Initiative, a project for NGOs and mining companies to discuss corporate social responsibility and development issues. Named after the street where the School is located, the Devonshire Initiative undermined a government–civil society Roundtable that called for withholding government financial and political support to resource companies found responsible for major abuses abroad. Evans would later be appointed Canada’s inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility counselor, a post the Harper Conservatives set up to alleviate pressure to restrict government support for companies found responsible for international abuses.

The School supported the Harper Conservatives’ low-level war against Iran. After severing diplomatic ties and designating Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 2012, Foreign Affairs ploughed $250,000 into the Munk School’s Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran. The aim of the initiative was to foment opposition to the regime and help connect dissidents inside and outside Iran. Expanding the Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran, Foreign Affairs gave the Munk School $9 million in 2015 to establish the Digital Public Square project to undermine online censorship within enemy states.

Canada’s most influential global studies program is the brainchild of a mining magnate with a significant personal stake in a particular foreign policy. And the school has been shaped in his hard right image.

Yves Engler is the author of Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Man Seriously Injured By Israeli Army In Ramallah

IMEMC | October 29, 2016

ahmad_ayman_hamed-e1477727500666Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded a young Palestinian man, near Ein Yabroud town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday at dawn after he reportedly attempted to “ram Israeli soldiers with his car, then tried to stab them.”

The Israeli army claims that the soldiers shot and injured the young man, identified as Ahmad Ayman Hamed, 21, after he “tried to run over them” near a military base, close to the illegal Ofra colony.

It added that the soldiers fired at the Ahmad’s vehicle, forcing him to stop, and that he allegedly stepped out of his car and “tried to stab a soldier, before he was shot and injured.”

An Israeli ambulance was called to the scene and moved Ahmad to a hospital for treatment.

Palestinian eyewitnesses said while the young man was driving his car, he was surprised to see a group of soldiers in his way on the main road, before the army opened fire and seriously wounded him.

They added that the wounded young man was shot with three live round in his abdomen, and was left bleeding, without any first aid, until the Israeli ambulance arrived and took him away.

Following the shooting, the soldiers invaded Ahmad’s home, and interrogated his family while searching their property.

Many Palestinians have been shot dead by the soldiers since last year under similar allegations of attempting to ram soldiers with their car.

In September, the soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man, identified as Mustafa Nimir, 25, after alleging he attempted to ram them with his car, but later admitted that the man was not even the driver of the vehicle, to blame his brother-in-law for “driving erratically”

Mustafa Nimir, 25, was returning home along with his brother-in-law Ali after the two had gone shopping and purchased clothes for Ali’s six-year-old daughter, and baked goods for the family.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Imprisoned lives: closed military zone in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron)


Photo credit –
International Solidarity Movement | October 30, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – It’s like living in a prison. That’s how residents describe what Israeli forces are doing to their lives in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood and Shuhada Street in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). The area was first declared a ‘closed military zone’ on 30th October 2015 – solely and deliberately affecting the Palestinian residents. One year of collective punishment, open discrimination, racism, apartheid policies and rampant attempts at ethnic cleansing in this area, commonplace tactics of an illegal occupying force in an obvious attempt to rid the area of any Palestinian presence and instead, create a continous ‘sterile’ strip of illegal settlements.

The ‘closed military zone’ has several times been extended within this year of collective punishment of the Palestinian population, adding even more areas and ‘re-inforcing’ and creating more checkpoints, exclusively for the Palestinian civilian population. Only the Palestinian civilian residents, who must register to pass through a checkpoint to gain access to their family home, have been degraded to a mere number on a list by the Israeli forces. Only ‘registered’ residents are allowed to reach their homes. The lists of Palestinian residents have been changed repeatedly lately, arbitrarily dropping various names from the list. Apparently registering with the occupying force as a resident in one’s own home just once often isn’t sufficient. This dehumanization of the Palestinian civilians who at the checkpoint are reduced to a number, is a deliberate tactic to create a forcible environment directly furthering ethnic cleansing. For some time Palestinian residents were assigned numbers that were marked on their IDs, completely ridding these civilians of their human aspect, instead making them a mere number on a list. Now, with those numbers temporarily not in use, Palestinians are reffered to by their ID-number. The Palestinian civilian trying to live in their own home is just that for the Israeli forces, a number, void of any humanity.

During the Jewish holiday of Sukkot,  Israeli forces basically declared a curfew on the whole area, closing Shuhada checkpoint, denying Palestinians passage while allowing exclusive access tor settlers at the same time. The prison this area is becoming for the Palestinian civilian population is further exacerbated by the fact that, if there’s a large number of Israeli forces or settlers from the nearby illegal settlements on the street, leaving the house is not an option. One year of collective punishment – a sad anniversary that proves that the Israeli state does not need to fear an outcry by the international community when implementing their racist, apartheid measures, ethnically cleansing an entire neighborhood. During a year in which the residents have not been allowed to receive visitors like family or friends, workers of any sort have been denied entry and even medical personnel will be turned away at the checkpoint.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel: 1984 Everlasting


By Stanley L. Cohen | CounterPunch | October 28, 2016

Empty Declarations of Democracy… Vacant Boasts of humanity

For decades, Israel has held itself out as being the lone “democracy” in the Middle East; a state where the rights of individuals could not and would not be held hostage to the autocratic whims of royalty, but rather a full partner to a free and robust electoral process that guarantees not just meaningful input from the governed but the ability to challenge state policies as the winds of change blow from “the river to the sea.”

Once again, recent events have proven this to be just so much a perverse myth… empty rhetoric… second only to the brazen unfounded Israeli boast of having the “most humane army in the world,” even as the body count of Palestinian children grows in cemeteries and prisons that have become very much its own unique brand of 21st century youth hostel.

Recently, Hagai El-Ad, an Israeli and Jew, who serves as executive director of B’Tselem (The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), spoke before the UN Security Council urging it to take immediate action against Israel’s illegal settlements.

Demagoguery and Inhumanity Exposed

Not quite 1400 words in its entirety, one paragraph in particular of El-Ad’s testimony sums up life for millions of those captured by a democracy that sees day as night… pain as pleasure. Crushing, despite its brevity, the power and pain of these words could easily be part of an opening statement by a war crimes prosecutor at a tribunal called to hold Israel accountable for crimes unseen since the Nuremburg tribunals some 70 years ago.

“What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule? When violence breaks out, or when particular incidents attract global attention, you get a glimpse into certain aspects of life under occupation. But what about the rest of the time? What about the many “ordinary” days of a 17,898-day-long occupation, which is still going strong? Living under military rule mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily, violence. It means living under an endless permit regime, which controls Palestinian life from cradle to grave: Israel controls the population registry; Israel controls work permits; Israel controls who can travel abroad – and who cannot; Israel controls who can visit from abroad – and who cannot; in some villages, Israel maintains lists of who can visit the village, or who is allowed to farm which fields. Permits can sometimes be denied; permits must always be renewed. Thus with every breath they take, Palestinians breathe in occupation. Make a wrong move, and you can lose your freedom of movement, your livelihood, or even the opportunity to marry and build a family with your beloved.”

In a free democratic society these comments, while perhaps controversial, would certainly not constitute sedition. In an open, healthy State these words would surely give reason to pause and reflect… but never serve as a rational trip-wire to strip their speaker of his birthright as an unbound citizen empowered to support his government for policies he finds just but condemn it for those that bear the star of tyranny. It is a distinction that Israel has failed to adopt or learn over the course of its 50 year subjugation of millions whose only crime is to be born Palestinian in occupied land with sign-posts everywhere that simply say “ Jews only.”

Beating of Chests

Not long after El-Ad’s powerful speech before a world body entrusted with securing fundamental rights and liberty for all of its citizenry, the hue and cry could be heard among Israeli political elite to silence such subversive talk. Thus, Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan of the Likud Party undertook the first steps of reprisal by announcing he was considering submitting a bill to the Knesset that could remove the citizenship of Israelis who act against their country in international organizations. According to Bitan, “El-Ad’s actions at the Security Council are a blatant violation of the trust citizens must have for their country, so he should go find another country where he could be a citizen.”

Alarming, one might ask; no, not at all… merely another in an endless daily stream of steps by a government second to none when it comes to autocratic, indeed dictatorial, control of every fiber of its citizen’s freedoms, particularly their ability to access and exchange information without fear of retribution.

Much is known and largely ignored about the thousands of Palestinian civilians that have been targeted and slaughtered by the Israeli military machine in occupied Palestine, whether in Gaza or the West Bank. Indeed, the killing fields of Gaza or execution alleys of back street Jerusalem no longer acquire more than a passing fancy or footnote in the evening news spread across a world now busy with outrages of more recent vintage. After 70 years of slaughter, it’s just so much business as usual.

So, too, we have seemingly become numbed to the reality that thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in isolation, many sitting year after year, some for decades, in administrative detention cells of political prisons… uncharged, undefended and untried, tortured in ways that leave the spirits of those still roaming the now empty cellblocks of South Africa’s notorious Robben Island relieved their misery was ended quickly through state sanctioned executions by “suicide.”

The Mighty Censor’s Sword

Closures of Palestinian news rooms and television stations are commonplace… yet no more remarkable than assaults by Israel upon Palestinian journalists that long ago moved into triple digits and show no sign of abating. The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has documented a pattern of such attacks by Israel running, for some time now, at almost 400 per year. Although the exact number of Palestinian journalists killed or injured by Israel over just the last decade may never be known, it has been documented that seventeen lost their lives in Gaza, alone, during the months of bombings which it endured in 2014.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists and private bloggers have been arrested by Israel and held for violating vague administrative codes that typically come down to the application of entirely undefined prohibitions such as “incitement.” Dareen Tatour, a 35-year-old poet and Arab-Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested and placed under administrative detention on charges of inciting violence via her poetry which she posted on Facebook and which merely praises those who fight against Israeli domination. Also arrested and charged with criminal incitement was 19-year-old Anas Khateeb, on the basis of her Facebook posts which included such alarming statements as “Jerusalem is Arab,” and “Long live the Intifada.”

Recently, Palestinian journalist, Samah Dweik, was released from prison having served almost six months for an alleged incitement charge which resulted from comments about the occupation she posted on her private Facebook account. For most of her sentence, her family was banned from visiting or having any contact with her. She was but one of over 20 Palestinian journalists recently imprisoned by Israel for allegations of incitement, along with hundreds of other Palestinian activists or bloggers who have been targeted for arrest and prosecution for nothing more than postings of political opinions about the Israeli occupation and Palestinian resistance on social media. Dweik’s release came not long after Israel and Facebook entered into an agreement to “work together” to monitor Palestinian posts.

The Sword Cuts Deeper

Increasingly, Palestinians are not the sole victims of an Israeli policy to silence “dissent” or to dramatically curb the nature and extent of information made available to its citizens… Jews and Arabs alike. For example, not long ago, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confronted the military station director after Army Radio broadcast a documentary on the life of the leading Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, saying that material like Darwish’s shouldn’t darken Israeli airwaves.

In what can only be described as a systematic effort to control both journalists and citizens in their ability to read and write, to access and exchange information, and to reach informed opinions essential to a public and democratic dialogue about current and future Israeli policies, its machinery of censorship has become the linchpin of the State’s view of what is appropriate knowledge and speech and what is not.

Thus, of late, Israel has begun to demand of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter that they have input, if not control, over what posts ultimately find their way into the stream of ideas and debate within the Israeli public at large. According to Quds Press, Facebook and Twitter recently deleted thousands of posts, pages and accounts as a result of demands made by the Israeli Ministry of Justice based upon little more than amorphous claims that the information posed a threat to the safety of Israel.

On an even more ominous note, the Knesset has begun to formulate legislation that would require foreign entities to actively monitor social media sites for information deemed to be offensive to Israel. Under the legislation, content based liability could be found for material published by foreign nationals, addressed to foreign nationals and posted on foreign websites thereby reducing the concept of free speech in Israel to one that is cast by the prevailing political winds of the day and little else.

Recently the chief Israeli censor notified dozens of Israeli bloggers and social media activists that any material they might wish to publish in their personal blogs or social media accounts, when dealing with a wide range of what was described as “security” related subject matters, must be vetted. Although provided a generic and ambiguous catalog of those areas to be submitted for clearance, the targets, themselves, were not permitted to disclose the makeup of the list under penalty of law. If history can be counted upon to be the guidepost of what subject matters must be prescreened before publication, in the past the list has included such security “sensitive” subject matters as:

+ Cooperation agreements with foreign militaries;

+ Letters to the editor on military or security matters;

+ Contacts with foreign countries;

+ Anything connected to the nuclear industry;

+ Information about official delegations abroad;

+ Any material which constitutes a “danger” to people’s lives;

+ Immigration policies from “endangered” nations;

+ Use of foreign sources or material that touch upon any of these areas;

+ Detention of those suspected of security offenses;

+ Any information about military industries;

+ Appointments, resignations, firings, rumors about IDF activities or commanders

Finally, in a readily transparent effort to maintain a democratic illusion of a free and uncensored flow of information in the market place of ideas, pursuant to the censorship regulations there are complete prohibitions against leaving any blank spaces or other potential indicators in one’s writing or posts that might suggest or lead one to conclude that material has been deleted.

For those disturbed over this censorship procedure, it must be remembered that we are, after all, talking about a state that recently placed 101st out of 179 countries in the press Freedom index worldwide. Indeed, this appalling placement for the Middle East’s sole democracy is significantly better than Israel has scored in the Freedom index for quite a number of years.

For those wondering just how widespread, indeed systemic, Israel’s censorship procedures are, it is a country with a military censor procedure that has banned, outright, publication of, soon to be, some 2,000 articles and redacted various information from 15,000 others in recent history. That is thousands of articles professional journalists and editors decided were of public interest but which never saw the light of day. Imagine how many more events of public interest went uninvestigated, or articles which were not written, issues debated, or challenges brought to bear for the Israeli body politic to consider because of self-censorship by journalists or editors too tired or principled to seek preapproval of their body of work by government censors. Stories simply swallowed up and disappeared by an industry of censorship.

Human Rights… Israel Wrongs

Although not yet law, in what can only be described as an all-out onslaught against core democratic rights and values, over the last several days consideration of a bill has begun in the Knesset that would empower the Defense Minister to detain a citizen without trial; to deny one the right to pursue or obtain employment in a field of interest; to limit access to various public places; and “to impose any other order or restriction necessitated by considerations of national security or public safety”.

Earlier in January 2011, the Knesset endorsed a right-wing proposal to investigate some of Israel’s best-known human rights organizations for “delegitimizing” its military. Among others was B’Tselem. The proposed investigations would entail inquiries into the funding of several human rights groups that have a history of criticizing Israeli policies. At the time, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel described the proposal as a “severe blow” to Israeli democracy and critics labeled the policy as “McCarthyist“.

Recently a variation on that bill became law in Israel compelling non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive more than half of their funding from foreign state entities to declare so publicly. Ultimately, the legislative criteria were tailored specifically to silence criticism of government policies by some 27 NGO’s… 25 of which, including B’Tselem, are considered to be left-wing… while the other two are non-affiliated. As intended, the bill will have absolutely no impact upon right-wing and pro-settlement NGOs which are funded almost entirely by private donations from powerful Zionists and Zionist entities from outside of Israel.

One can only imagine that upon returning home to the firestorm awaiting him, following his speech before the UN, Hagai El-Ad surely felt what it must have been like to be an activist leftist Jew in the United States during the dark days of McCarthy.

On the other hand, perhaps El-Ad should consider himself very fortunate indeed. On his twitter account, Arab-Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi mocked MK David Bitan’s call for El-Ad’s de-citizenship saying: “Why stop at removing citizenship? Why not destroy the home of the B’Tselem director-general? Why not bar his entire family from entering the country, remove his land, submit them to administrative detention, and put checkpoints and closures in his neighborhood?”

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

UN Expert to Investigate Israel’s War on Human Rights Defenders

teleSUR | October 29, 2016

A United Nations expert said on Friday that Israel is attacking human rights organizations and trying to delegitimize their work and that he will launch an investigation into the problem.

Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, presented his first report to the UN General Assembly calling Israel to end the nearly 50 years of occupation, which he said “is entrenched, is dripping in human rights violations.”

“The fact that the Israeli government threatened to revoke the citizenship of the executive director of B’Tselem is a particularly worrying path for Israel to wind up taking,” Lynk said, referring to the rights groups’ appearance before the Security Council earlier this month.

He praised the recent intervention at the Security Council by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which urged the UN to end the Israeli occupation in Israel and said he was especially troubled by the Israeli government’s reaction.

In a statement, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Lynk’s comments offensive and said it “shows the immense damage done by Israeli organizations that defame us in front of the international community.”

Most of the international community has labeled the Israeli occupation as illegal because the territories in which half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements, were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

The US, NATO and the Pope

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch | October 28, 2016

At the branch office of the Pentagon’s US-NATO military alliance in Brussels there is a never-ending whirl of activity and apart from provoking Russia by announcing an aggressive military surge around its borders, its latest achievement was to have Belgium issue “a commemorative stamp depicting the new NATO Headquarters and its distinctive architecture.”

On October 22 a ceremony was held to mark the new stamp, but no details were given about the price of the vast palace which will “enable all Allies to have the space they require and [in which] there is also space for expansion should the need arise.” There is never any mention by US-NATO of the staggering cost overrun that took place, but two years ago Germany’s Der Spiegel revealed that it was more than double the original construction budget, at over a billion euros.

Ten days before the stamp ceremony, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg left the Brussels Palace to visit a more modest one in Italy where he met Pope Francis. After his call, some observers were unkind enough to express surprise that Mr Stoltenberg could spare the time for such an appointment, but all was made clear when it was announced that the meeting took place in the sidelines of his visit to Rome to celebrate the establishment anniversary of the NATO Defense College, an institution that has contributed generously to the Italian economy.

His Holiness the Pope did not of course make a public statement about the meeting, but the NATO publicity machine (the large and remarkably expensive organization that also arranges stamp issue ceremonies) made up for the omission by announcing that he and his illustrious visitor:

discussed global issues of common concern, including the conflicts in Syria and the wider Middle East, the importance of protecting civilian populations from suffering, and the importance of dialogue in international affairs to reduce tensions. The Secretary General also stressed that climate change could pose a significant security risk.

It is remarkable that His Holiness engaged in such deliberations with the titular head of an enormous nuclear-armed military alliance, and it would be interesting to know if the Pope mentioned that he did not always agree with the policies espoused by Mr Stoltenberg and his directors in Washington, as he averred earlier this year.

It will be recollected that in February 2016 Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church met with Pope Francis in Havana and that Western media headlines included “Pope Francis Handed Putin a Diplomatic Victory” which was as absurd as it was trivial. But even The Economist headline was similarly slanted and amusingly asked “Did the Pope Just Kiss Putin’s Ring?” This set the tone for other comment, but one thrust of its reporting was especially revealing, as it pointed out in shocked — shocked — tones that the Pope had “made clear in his interview before the meeting that on certain issues he agrees with Mr Putin and disagrees with America and its allies.”

How truly dreadful that the Pope dares to be impartial and ventures to disagree with America and its allies about international affairs.

The Economist further noted that “On Libya, where Western powers helped to bring down former dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the pope was explicit: ‘The West ought to be self-critical.’ And he continued that ‘In part, there has been a convergence of analysis between the Holy See and Russia’.” The Economist did not mention the unpalatable fact that the ‘western powers’ — the US-NATO military alliance — bombed and rocketed Libya to a catastrophic shambles, resulting in anarchy and a base for Islamic terrorists.  Perhaps the Pope had taken note of that merciless Blitz, and of the fact that under the dictator Gaddafi the Catholic community in Libya had lived peacefully while now it is suffering gravely.

As recorded by Christian Freedom International, “The upsurge in attacks on Christians in Libya since the Obama/Clinton supported ouster of Gaddafi is of grave concern. CFI condemns these abductions, killings and attacks on Christian property in what is becoming an increasingly inhospitable region for Christians.” Perhaps Pope Francis raised this with the devout Mr Stoltenberg, a graduate of Oslo Cathedral School who was prime minister of Norway when its air force “carried out about 10 percent of the NATO airstrikes in Libya” from March to July 2011.

The news that the Pope has had the temerity and moral realism to “disagree with America and its allies” is not altogether surprising, but the report that “on certain issues he agrees with Mr Putin” must have shaken Mr Stoltenberg, whose fundamental stance is that “Russia is trying to kind of re-establish spheres of influence along its borders and for me this just underlines the importance of strong NATO, of strong partnership with other countries in Europe that are not members of NATO.”

Mr Stoltenberg believes that because Russia wants to establish — or, more accurately, maintain — spheres of influence along its borders then it must be discouraged or even stopped from doing so. This is confrontational, and it is unsurprising that His Holiness has made it clear that the Vatican is not an unconditional supporter of Washington’s Pentagon and its palatial sub-office in Brussels.

Mr Stoltenberg may not have read the address to the US Congress by His Holiness in 2015, when he said ‘We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.’ As reported, ‘The line drew instant, thunderous applause from Democrats, followed with some hesitation by Republicans, a pattern repeated throughout the address.’

In his talk to Congress Pope Francis eschewed the Stoltenberg line that Russia’s desire to maintain peaceful ‘spheres of influence’ around its borders must by definition be wrong and unacceptable and pointed out that ‘there is another temptation which we must especially guard against : the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.’

As President Putin observed in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera “we are not expanding anywhere; it is NATO infrastructure, including military infrastructure, that is moving towards our borders. Is this a manifestation of our aggression?” No, it is not — except in the eyes of such as the Pentagon and Mr Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg makes many visits round the world, including head-of-state-style attendance at the UN General Assembly in New York, where he had discussions with, among others, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko (“Dear Petro, it’s great to see you again”) and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; and another recent stopover was in the United Arab Emirates on October 19. There, while committing NATO to an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program he “praised the UAE for its role as a valuable NATO partner in projecting international security and stability: from Kosovo, to Afghanistan to Libya.”

Perhaps Mr Stoltenberg’s meeting with the Pope affected his short-term memory. He ignores the unpalatable facts that in Kosovo, as Freedom House reports, there has been “little progress in strengthening its statehood,” while Afghanistan verges on total anarchy and, as noted above, US-NATO’s war on Libya destroyed the country. These are far from being examples of “security and stability” as Mr Stoltenberg would have us believe them to be, but self-delusion knows no borders.

When Stoltenberg was made head of NATO, President Putin considered him to be a “serious, responsible person”  but warned with prescience that “we’ll see how our relations develop with him in his new position.” Unfortunately that apprehension concerning future developments has been more than justified. During a trip to Washington in April, Stoltenberg told the Washington Post correspondent Karen de Young, that “NATO has to remain an expeditionary alliance, able to deploy forces outside our territory,” which is a plain unvarnished statement of expansionism. The Pope summed it up when he quoted the Bible’s advice to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ but it is unlikely that Mr Stoltenberg could ever bring himself to abide by such wise advice. More confrontation lies ahead.

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Saudi Sanctions against Hezbollah Have Failed to Weaken the Party’


Deputy chief of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sheikh Nabil Qawook
Naharnet | October 29, 2016

Deputy chief of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sheikh Nabil Qawuq stressed on Saturday that the Saudi sanctions against the party have failed to weaken it, the state-run National News Agency reported on Saturday.

“The political developments and field achievements confirm the failure of the Saudi sanctions against Hezbollah, especially since Saudi Arabia wanted to weaken Hezbollah in Lebanon which has only grown stronger at the political, popular and military levels inside Lebanon and regionally,” said Qawuq.

“By renewing sanctions and terrorism ranking against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is but reflecting an outrage, despair and disappointment in the face of the Resistance, because the Saudi penalties have changed nothing of Hezbollah’s stances in Syria,” his eminence went on to say.

“Regardless of the pressures, we will not leave our national duty to protect our people and our nation, and we will complete the battle against takfiri terrorism, which has no choice but to be defeated in Syria, and we have no choice but to win.” added Qawuq.

He concluded: “The next phase that Lebanon is approaching will emphasize the strength of the strategic alliance between Hezbollah and Amal movement. Those who were betting on discord and division between the two were disappointed.

“If it was not for the Army, People and Resistance equation which Lebanon renews adherence to at this stage, and without the sacrifices of the Lebanese army and the resistance that has protected Lebanon from being sacked by the ISIL and al-Nusra Front, the Lebanese would not have had the chance to elect a president.”

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Excavating America’s Forgotten History of Political Repression

A review of Brad Schreiber’s Revolution’s End

By Kara Dellacioppa | Dissident Voice | October 28, 2016

America is a Haunted House.

– Peter Levenda, author of Sinister Forces

There is probably no other historical era more misunderstood by Americans than the 1960s and 1970s. From the political assassinations of major political figures and political assassinations of ordinary civil rights and antiwar activists to the emergence of government secret intelligence programs designed to monitor and ultimately crush dissent in the United States, most Americans remain vaguely, if at all, aware of how this hidden history impacts our lives today. And this lack of awareness has unfortunately allowed for these same forces to deal some crushing blows to our “democracy.”

The American public learned of the FBI’s Cointelpro and the CIA’s Operation CHAOS and MKUltra through the Senate Hearings on government intelligence abuses led by Senator Frank Church in 1975 as well as through the work of independent journalists after the break-in of FBI offices in Media Pennsylvania in 1971.1 These government and journalistic investigations brought to light an array of systematic abuses of government authority against Americans, partially illuminating the covert and ruthless attacks against the movements of the era.

The Johnson administration’s failure to deliver on its promises of genuine and meaningful civil rights reforms led to a series of urban riots beginning in Harlem in 1964 and were followed by those in Watts, Detroit and Newark as well as in a host of other cities across the country. These riots terrified the establishment and prompted the government to create programs designed to federalize local police departments rather than address the underlying social problems that gave way to the riots in the first place.2 Through the Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 1965 and the subsequent Omnibus Safe Streets Crime bill signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was created as a mechanism to launch an unprecedented “War on Crime.”3 The purpose of the LEAA was ostensibly “violence prevention. ” The LEAA funded the creation and training of SWAT teams in Los Angeles in order to destroy the Black Panther Party and other perceived political threats. The LEAA funded “anti-violence” research in prisons and hospitals and worked alongside the CIA’s MK ULTRA program engaging in such delightful activities as drug experimentation, surgical, and chemical lobotomies on prisoners and psychiatric patients. LEAA funds also went into the school system and developed testing of young black children to “predict” whether or not these children would become violent in the future.4 (For more information of how the LEAA funded projects in schools that led to the psychiatric drugging of Black and poor children, please see the work of psychiatrist Peter Breggin).

The other widely misunderstood factor in the development of America’s police state is the relationship between the deepening of America’s involvement in a genocidal enterprise called the Vietnam War and the growth and over-determination of the American National Security State on political life in the US. While it is a fact that the United States lost the Vietnam war, the lessons learned by the military/intelligence establishment were employed in future counter-insurgency campaigns in El Salvador and Iraq and in the United States as well.5

revendThis is where Brad Schreiber’s Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA comes in. Revolution’s End is a careful examination of the relationships among various government intelligence, police and prison agencies that colluded to create a synthetic terror group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). Their assassination of Oakland School Superintendent Marcus Foster and subsequent kidnapping of heiress and closet revolutionary Patricia Campbell Hearst dominated the news cycle for years. While other researchers of the shadow state have examined the SLA and the Patty Hearst trial in depth such as Paul Krassner and Mae Brussell, Schreiber’s exposure of government involvement in the creation of the SLA is nothing short of explosive.

Schreiber was handed a folder full of documents from Dick Russell, the legendary journalist and author of The Man Who Knew Too Much. These documents came from private investigators working on Patricia Hearst’s defense team including the private detective and former Las Vegas police officer Lake Headley who was hired by Dr. L.S. Wolfe, father of slain SLA member Willie Wolfe. Schreiber utilizes the contents of that file to great effect. They include startling facts such as Patti Hearst’s pre-SLA relationship with Donald Defreeze (the petty thief, turned LAPD informant, turned provocateur and fake revolutionary). Using a college friend’s student ID, Hearst was allowed to visit Defreeze in prison at the Vacaville Psychiatric Unit as a part of a project called the Black Cultural Association (BCA). BCA was ostensibly a rehabilitative project but in effect it was a behavior modification program run by Colston Westbrook, a former CIA officer who worked with Pacific Architects and Engineers, a known CIA front company that was responsible for building the prison interrogation centers (PICS) in Vietnam as part of the CIA’s deplorable Phoenix program. The Phoenix program was a covert CIA coordinated program of counter-insurgency/counter-subversion against the South Vietnam’s civilian population.6 And here lies one of Schreiber major achievements, exposing a direct link between the Vietnam pacification program as Phoenix was euphemistically coined, and America’s pacification program at home.

The BCA received many visits from a prison rights group largely associated with another shady “revolutionary” movement of the era The Venceremos Organization, a Maoist group based out of Stanford and at the time led by English Professor H. Bruce Franklin. Venceremos had originally had a Chicano leadership but this leadership was displaced in the wake of the split of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU). BARU included H. Bruce Franklin and Bob Avakian. Having formed the organization after the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Franklin and Avakian split over disagreements about the role of armed struggle in the United States. Venceremos, was, along with the August 7th Guerrilla movement, the bases from which the SLA drew its white cadre. In the last few years before the dissolution of Venceremos, many of its members became involved with the United Prisoners Union (UPU) created by Popeye Jackson.7 It is within these circles that Patti Hearst becomes connected with Vacaville and Defreeze. During the visits to Vacaville, Patty Hearst was able to carry on a sexual relationship with Defreeze with the blessing of Westbrook. As Schreiber tells it, as Defreeze starts to become more unhinged as his treatments continue at the hands of the Vacaville prison authorities, he gradually changes his identity to that of Cinque, the Black revolutionary. He speaks of violence and kidnapping to Hearst. She becomes understandably unnerved and breaks off the relationship with Defreeze. Here according to Schreiber begins the plotting of revenge against Hearst. Importantly, Schreiber points out that Vacaville as a psychiatric hospital was a way station for inmates going on to serve their sentences in other facilities. The vast majority of them were passing through receiving their “treatment” and then moving on. Defreeze, in contrast, stayed at Vacaville for well over a year which was highly unusual. Defreeze’s situation even caught the attention of “thorn in the side of the CIA” Congressman Leo Ryan who investigated Defreeze’s case and the prison authorities use of mind control experiments.

Defreeze, a failed criminal, who couldn’t find consistent work to take care of his children and who had been handled by the forces of the state for a number of years was sent on a mission at the behest of Colston Westbrook, to assassinate the first Black superintendent of a public school district in the United States, Dr. Marcus Foster.

Schreiber points out that the political targeting of Marcus Foster was beyond bizarre. Foster’s assassination has never been fully explained. SLA members Russ Little and Joe Remiro were convicted of the crime but Schreiber reveals that it was Nancy Ling Perry and Patricia Soltysik along with Cinque (Defreeze) that actually riddled Foster’s body with nine cyanide tipped bullets. Schreiber speculates that the reason that Foster was targeted by Westbrook was that public schools were coming under attack for doing too well a job at educating Black and other minority children. After his election in 1966, Governor Reagan’s California launched a crusade against political activism in schools regarding them (along with the California prisons) as a breeding ground for radicalism.8

Schreiber casts Donald Defreeze in a rather compassionate light. A failed criminal, Defreeze like thousands of others, was recruited by the LAPD to become an informant and provocateur. This is the story of thousands of others who are pressured with time in prison for noncooperation. Or if they were in prison, they often were threatened with chemical or physical psychosurgery or indefinite solitary confinement. Yes, many did it for the money but as Schreiber points out Defreeze hardly earned a living from what was paid to him by the LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Section (CCS).

The one revelation that nearly made me fall out of my chair as I was reading it was the revelation that according to Schreiber’s research, the SLA was created within the California Department of Corrections (CDC) as an interracial prison gang that would spy on the other gangs and provide intelligence to the leadership of the CDC. There were chapters of the prison SLA at San Quentin, Vacaville, and Soledad. Inmate Robert Hyde, a long term prisoner, was pressured to become the head of the prison SLA and he was told to inform on any legal action inmates were planning against the CDC regarding abuses against prisoners. Hyde decided that becoming an informant inside the prison was a death wish so he refused. Eventually Hyde appeals to the FBI for help. At a certain point, Hyde was informed that there was to be an SLA formed outside of the prison to infiltrate dissident groups. Schreiber then discusses the effect of the assassination of George Jackson and the effect that it had on the climate inside the California prison system.

Schreiber provides many other fascinating insights into the formation and eventual destruction of the SLA. He points out that most of the left viewed the SLA with great suspicion, accusing the SLA of having been created by the CIA. So their mission to infiltrate the left was largely a failure. However, in the Bay Area, there were many in the urban poor communities that helped hide them from the police. Schreiber highlights how the SLA was able to artfully manipulate the media into broadcasting their communiques including the demand that William Randolph Hearst fund the People in Need (PIN) program. Hearst spent millions to fund this food distribution program that led to chaotic scenes of distribution workers tossing palettes of food off of truck beds to angry and hungry people.

On the fateful night of May 17th 1974 in a house in South Central Los Angeles, located, as Schreiber points out, a mere 3 miles from the epicenter of the Watts Riots, six SLA members lost their lives. Nancy Ling Perry, Camille Hall, and Patricia Soltysik died from gunshots wounds. Angela Atwood and Willie Wolfe died from smoke inhalation. Defreeze reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Schreiber goes into the serious inconsistencies of the official reports of the SLA deaths. His research shows that, in fact, the SLA members were not given a chance to come out alive. Nancy Ling Perry, it would later be shown, was shot in the back presumably as she was trying to turn herself in. He also found evidence that incendiary/explosive devices were thrown into the house by the LAPD. Given the secret origins of the SLA and Defreeze’s relationship with the LAPD and the CDC, it is very plausible that the LAPD had decided ahead of time that there would be no peaceful resolution to the standoff.

Lastly, Schreiber makes a critical point that the live television broadcast of the police shootout and bombing of the South Central Los Angeles SLA hideout was the introduction of the LAPD SWAT team to America’s night time television viewing audience. The live broadcasting of the LAPD destruction of the SLA could be seen as a terrifying prelude to our current War on Terror.

Revolution’s End is a remarkable book. However, it would have been even better if Schreiber had included some of the documents he cites. More thorough footnoting would have improved it as well. However, footnoting would have made it a less readable book. I hope that Schreiber (if he hasn’t already) made copies of the documents he possesses and donates them to a local university or library. The information age has inundated the public with information/disinformation overload. And due to increasing government restrictions with regard to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), documents like these are becoming more difficult to get your hands on and they are just too precious for any one person to keep to themselves.

Revolution’s End is a highly readable book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in unearthing the secret history of government repression in America. Schreiber had to decide where to go in-depth. His focus on the background of Defreeze and Westbrook are laudable choices as is his focus on the assassination of Dr. Marcus Foster. There are many threads of research that can and should be followed up on including Congressman Leo Ryan and his research into the mind control experiments in prisons, and the post SLA creation New World Liberation Front (NWLF) which according to Schreiber was credited with many more domestic bombings than the Weather Underground. One wonders what shadowy origins the NWLF had. Schreiber’s book is a great contribution to the study of the government repression and the shadow state. Importantly, it has the capacity to inspire people, especially young people, to learn about this history in depth and allow this history to inform their analysis of what is happening today.

  1. United States Senate. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, (94th Congress, Second Session, Report No. 94-755) Government Printing office; April 23, 1976.
  2. Horne, Gerald. 1997. The Fire this Time: The Watts Riots and the 1960s. De Capo Press.
  3. Thompson, Heather Ann. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. New York: Pantheon Book. p. 18-21.
  4. Breggin, P. R. and Breggin, G. R. (1994). The War Against Children: How the Drugs, Programs, and Theories of the Psychiatric Establishment Are Threatening America’s Children with a Medical ‘Cure’ for Violence. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  5. Valentine, Douglas. 2016. The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. New York, NY: Clarity Press.
  6. Valentine, Douglas. 2000. The Phoenix Program. iUniverse: Lincoln, NE.
  7. For a fascinating inside look at the rise and fall of Venceremos at Stanford, see Max Crawford’s The Bad Communist, a thinly veiled “fictional” account of Crawford’s time with Venceremos at Stanford. It includes detailed of the gruesome murder of Black Panther Fred Bennett supposedly at the hands of James Carr at the Venceremos training compound in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After the book was published in 1979, Crawford exiled himself to Paris for a while to escape the heat generated after he published his book.
  8. Rosenfeld, Seth. 2012. Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power. New York: NY, Farrar, Giroux, and Strauss.

Kara Z. Dellacioppa is chair of the sociology department at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is the author of This Bridge Called Zapatismo: Building Alternative Political Cultures in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Beyond (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009) and co-editor of Cultural Political and Resistance in the 21st Century: Community-Based Social Movements and Global Change in the Americas (Palgrave, 2011).

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment