Reconstruction of TWA Flight 800. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Some years ago as I became increasingly aware of the severe dishonesty of our mainstream media on all sorts of controversial topics, I began telling a joke to a few of my friends.
Suppose, I would say, that I happened to be out walking one pleasant afternoon in Palo Alto, and suddenly heard a gigantic explosion in the general direction of Mountain View, soon followed by a huge pillar of smoke rising towards the sky. Being busy with my own work, I might have no time to bother investigating, and merely wondered what surprising story the front pages of my morning newspapers would reveal as the cause behind those dramatic events. But when I eagerly opened those papers the following day, mention of the explosion was nowhere to be found, either on Page One or anywhere else, even in my own local San Jose Mercury News. So unless I somehow persuaded myself that I had simply imagined the whole thing, I would henceforth stop believing anything I read—or failed to read—in my once-trusted news outlets.
I thought my allegorical fable rather amusing, and repeated it on a number of occasions. But quite recently I came across a rough counterpart in real life, a remarkable tale that had almost completely escaped my attention for over twenty years.
When I used to recall the leading events of 1996, what came to mind was Bill Clinton’s triumphant reelection campaign in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and political overreach by Newt Gingrich’s Congressional Republicans. Perhaps there had also been some sort of plane crash on the East Coast, though none of the details were sharp or memorable in my mind. But in fact, the sudden mid-air explosion of TWA Flight 800 on a New York to Paris route was actually voted the top national news story of that year, ranking above the presidential campaign, while the 230 fatalities made it by far New York’s worst disaster of the twentieth century, and the second worst airline tragedy in American history to that date. Indeed, some journalists at the time suggested that the resulting media coverage had eclipsed that of any other transportation calamity since the sinking of the Titanic almost a century earlier.
I had almost forgotten the story of that doomed airliner when I opened my morning edition of the New York Times in mid-July 2013 and read a short review in the Arts Section, favorably discussing a new television documentary presenting the “conspiracy theory” that the plane had been destroyed by a missile rather than by an accidental fuel tank explosion as the government investigation had firmly concluded at the time, a verdict strongly affirmed by both the news and editorial pages of the Times. I had recently published “Our American Pravda” and an eminent mainstream academic who appreciated my piece soon dropped me a note pointing to a website discussion of the details of the plane crash, about which I knew nothing. Being preoccupied with other matters, I could only glance at the material, which shocked me, but now that I’ve gone back and spent some time on the topic, the story turns out to be a truly remarkable one.
The outline of facts is hardly complicated. Soon after taking off from New York’s JFK Airport on July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 suddenly exploded in the air just off Long Island. So enormous a loss of life naturally produced an immediate scrambling of numerous federal agencies to investigate the cause, and with widespread fears of terrorism, the FBI launched the largest, most complex investigation in its entire history, deploying some 500 field agents to the area. The investigators soon gathered a copious quantity of seemingly consistent evidence.
Large numbers of local witnesses were immediately interviewed by the swarm of federal agents, with 278 of them reporting that they saw a streak of light, much like a missile, shoot up into the sky in the direction of the aircraft just before the huge explosion. Employees at the local FAA radar installation immediately reported to the government that they had seen what appeared to be a missile closing with the airliner just before it exploded, and other installations produced similar radar records. When tests were eventually performed on the plane wreckage, traces of explosive chemicals were found, exactly the sort used in the warhead of a missile, as well as some reddish-orange chemical residue that a laboratory later identified as likely missile exhaust propellant. An enormous effort was made to locate every possible piece of the wreckage, and for many of these, the contours of the damage indicated an initial explosion external to the plane. Almost immediately after the disaster, a bidding-war allegedly broke out between the national television networks for an amateur home-video showing a missile striking and destroying TWA 800, with the tape eventually being sold for more than $50,000 and briefly broadcast on the MSNBC cable news channel before reportedly being seized as evidence by FBI agents. In addition, a local resident provided a still photo taken at the time showing what seemed to be a missile rising toward the aircraft.
Based on all this initial evidence, many of the early news stories reported that the plane had probably been destroyed by a missile, with widespread speculation about whether the calamity was due to terrorist action or instead accidental “friendly fire” from one of the U.S. naval warships operating in the vicinity. Given the extreme sensitivity of the topic, government officials urged the media to keep an open mind until the full investigation was completed. However, the public debate sometimes turned rancorous, with some individuals soon alleging that a government cover-up was in the works. Eventually, the CIA was brought into the investigation, given its tremendous expertise in certain matters.
After more than a year of detailed research, the government investigation finally concluded that no missile could possibly have been involved, with all the eyewitnesses having been misled by what amounted to an optical illusion caused by the explosion of the aircraft. That explosion itself had been entirely spontaneous, probably caused by a random spark igniting one of the gas tanks. Given the controversy in the case, the CIA helpfully produced a computer animation showing the official reconstruction of the events, which was endlessly broadcast by our news media to explain the disaster to the public. The simulation showed the jetliner spontaneously exploding in mid-air, with no external cause, and just to further clarify matters, the CIA animators also inserted an explanatory message in large text: “There Was No Missile.” The New York Times, and nearly all our other mainstream media repeatedly echoed this same simple conclusion in all their stories and headlines.
The vast majority of our sheep-like population absorbed the simple media message “No Missile” and went back to watching their football games and celebrity music videos, being greatly relieved to know that well-maintained 747 jumbo jets flown by leading national airlines can occasionally explode in mid-air without any external cause.
However, various disgruntled “conspiracy theorists” refused to accept these conclusions, and returned to their “crazy missile conspiracy theories,” thereby earning the hearty ridicule of the entire mainstream media, led by the New York Times. These conspiratorial suspicions even extended to the U.S. navy, which had apparently been staging military exercises in the near vicinity of the calamity, exercises that some claimed including the test-firing of anti-aircraft missiles. Indeed, a local resident later provided a home video clearly showing a missile being fired in that exact same area a few days earlier during previous naval exercises.
The entire remarkable history of this incident is persuasively set forth in a excellent twentieth-anniversary book published earlier this year by investigative journalist Jack Cashill, who has been following the case since the late 1990s, having co-authored a previous book in 2003 and also produced an earlier 2001 television documentary Silenced, now available in its entirely on YouTube.
In addition, the 2013 television documentary by a former CBS producer, whose favorable review by the New York Times marked my first introduction to the topic, was discussed at length and substantially excerpted by NPR‘s Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!
Cashill is strongly affiliated with conservative publications, while someone like Goodman clearly leans toward the left, but the question of whether an American jetliner was destroyed by a missile, and the facts then covered up by the government is a non-ideological matter, so their perspectives seem almost identical.
For anyone having less than absolute faith in the official pronouncements of our government and our media, the likely reality of what happened is hardly difficult to guess, and for those who currently maintain such naivete, I suspect it will quickly dissipate if they choose to watch the documentaries or read the books. But the loss of TWA Flight 800 is surely of no great importance to our country. Accidents do happen. A large and energetic military, eager to test its latest missile weapons, perhaps carelessly and fatally crossed paths with hundreds of unlucky travelers on their way to Paris. Some 30,000 Americans die each year in fatal car crashes, and risks are inevitable in our modern industrial society.
However, from a broader perspective, I believe that the truly horrifying aspect of the incident is the tremendous ease with which our government and its lapdog media managed to so utterly suppress the reality of what had happened—an American jumbo jet shot down by a missile—and did so although this occurred not in some obscure, faraway foreign land, but within the very sight of Steven Spielberg’s home in the exclusive Hamptons, on a flight that had just departed New York City, and despite such overwhelming physical evidence and hundreds of direct eye-witnesses. The successful cover-up is the important story constitutes a central subtext in all of the books and documentaries on the disaster
Given the eyewitness testimony and other factors, it is hardly surprising that many of the initial media stories either directly referred to a missile strike or at least mentioned it as one of the main possibilities, and indeed there is some evidence that top government leaders initially assumed a terrorist attack. But President Bill Clinton was locked in the middle of his reelection campaign, and while the slaughter of Americans by terrorists might unify a nation, disasters brought about by careless military action would surely have had the opposite political impact. So it seems likely that once terrorism was ruled out and the American military believed responsible, a direct order quickly came down from the highest levels to make the missile and all evidence supporting it disappear, with all our supposedly independent federal agencies, especially the FBI, bowing to that primary directive.
As part of the standard investigation, all the debris were gathered and stored at a hangar for examination, but FBI agents were discovered spiriting away some of the most tell-tale pieces, or even caught in the wee hours of the morning hammering them into a shape that would suggest an internal rather than an external explosion. The amateur video showing the missile strike was only briefly broadcast by a cable news channel before being seized by government agents. When an investigative journalist acquired debris containing apparent missile residue and passed it along to a producer at CBS News, the evidence was quickly confiscated, with the journalist and his wife even being arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for violating an obscure law enacted to prohibit bystanders from removing souvenirs from the scene of a disaster; the veteran CBS producer who accepted the material was vilified as a “conspiracy theorist” and soon forced out of her job, her career destroyed. The written FBI reports of 278 eyewitness statements describing the missile attack were completely ignored, and in a number of cases, later statements were actually fabricated, falsely suggesting that crucial witnesses had revised or recanted their earlier testimony.
These particular examples only scratch the surface of the massive amount of coordinated government fraud and deception that was marshalled to make a missile strike seen by hundreds of witnesses officially disappear from the historical record, and transform the destruction of TWA Flight 800 into a rather mysterious and spontaneous mid-air explosion. The New York Times in particular became the primary mouthpiece of the official “See No Missile” party-line, repeatedly denigrating and ridiculing all those who resisted this total rewriting of the facts and history.
This gatekeeper role of the Times in the cover-up became particularly crucial once the high-profile figure of Pierre Salinger entered the controversy. Salinger ranked as a full-fledged member of the political-media establishment elite, having served as President Kennedy’s press secretary and one of the most visible public figures in Camelot, then briefly as an appointed U.S. Senator from California before becoming a prize-winning journalist and the Paris Bureau Chief for ABC News. Himself half-French by birth, he had many connections to the leadership of that country, which was galvanized by the large number of French victims on the flight. French intelligence became involved, quickly acquiring some of the same voluminous missile-related evidence suppressed by its US counterpart, and passed him the information. Cashill notes that Salinger was a loyal Democrat, and perhaps as a consequence he sat on the story until after Clinton was safely reelected in November, then attempted to break it, publishing a long expose in Paris Match, one of France’s highest-circulation popular magazines.
If Salinger had hoped his prestigious standing and long journalistic record would insulate him from attacks, he was sorely mistaken, and instead the threat his stature and credibility posed to the cover-up unleashed an unprecedented barrage of insult, ridicule, and invective, with the New York Times running 18 consecutive articles attacking him, and America’s leading news magazines, Time and Newsweek adding their own denunciations. Such remarkable vilification may have partly been aimed at dissuading any other prominent figures from similarly breaking ranks and following Salinger’s lead in exposing the true facts, and if so, the effort succeeded and the cover-up held.
Prior to Salinger’s regime disloyalty, he had regularly appeared on leading American television news broadcasts and his opinions were treated with the great deference accorded to a highly-respected elder statesman; afterward he was purged and blacklisted, shunned by our elite media as a “conspiracy nut.” Indeed, upon his death a few years later, the disloyalty he had shown to his establishment colleagues seriously tainted his NYT obituary, which closed by describing the “strange turn” he had taken in advocating theories based upon “discredited” evidence.
I don’t doubt that numerous other prominent figures quietly took the lesson of Salinger’s defenestration to heart, much as high-ranking Soviet leaders noted the dire implications of questioning Stalin’s pronouncements. Indeed, I personally know of at least a couple of individuals prominently situated in our current elite establishment whose private views on various controversial topics would surely rank as “utterly conspiratorial” but who remain extremely reluctant to have those views become generally known.
Or take another example, even closer to me. My old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who had run the NSA for Ronald Reagan, clearly ranked in the upper reaches of the DC national security establishment in the early 2000s, serving as Director of National Security Policies at the Hudson Institute and an adjunct professor at Yale. Yet his strongly discordant views on the Bush response to 9/11 and the preparations for the Iraq War caused him to be totally blacklisted from major media access, reduced to publishing his dissenting opinions on an obscure website or in the pages of small, socialistic quarterlies.
When naive individuals suggest that maintaining a large government conspiracy in America is simply impossible because “somebody would have talked” perhaps they should consider the implications of this incident, which occurred so close to the media capital of the world. And if they ever decide to trust Wikipedia on any remotely controversial topic, they should consult the 10,000 word Wikipedia article on TWA Flight 800, comparing that exhaustive presentation with the simple facts provided in this article, or the wealth of additional information in the numerous books and documentaries upon which my treatment was based.
The old Soviet Union was notoriously reluctant to ever acknowledge serious government errors, but its propaganda machinery was of mediocre quality, routinely ridiculed both in the West and among its own citizens. Surely, their Politburo members and Pravda editors would have been green with envy at how easily our own American Regime and its media minions suppressed the true story of TWA Flight 800, shot down by a missile just twelve minutes after it departed JFK Airport in New York City.
This time, a Florida public school principal threatened to remove students from school-sponsored sporting events if they choose not to stand for the National Anthem.
“You will stand and you will stay quiet, if you don’t, you are going to be sent home and you’re not going to have a refund of your ticket price,” Lely High School Principal Ryan Nemeth said in a video, according to an NBC 2 report. “It’s something that I’m very passionate about and something we are going to do.”
Nemeth obviously feels strongly about this issue, but that doesn’t mean he can force others to adopt his view. People who choose not to stand probably feel passionate about their form of protest as well. I can’t stress enough that we don’t force the perceived version of patriotism in this country, and that distinguishes our freedom for the better.
Some were quick to challenge authority, as one student and basketball player, Adrianas Pena, told NBC 2 that Nemeth “shouldn’t be ejecting people just because they don’t wanna stand. Everybody has their voice to say something with it.”
This type of threat, especially from taxpayer-funded schools like Lely High, is unacceptable. The explanation for the video is even more irking.
This should always be voluntary.
On Thursday, Greg Turchetta, a spokesman for the Collier County school district said that the video was “taken out of context” because it came after students were “disruptive” during the anthem at a volleyball game.
Really, though? Is the school district really trying to argue that a warning that says “stand for the national anthem or get ejected from the game” is ambiguous and can be taken out of context? Really?
“They may have been laughing and joking, you know, it’s the beginning of an athletic competition,” Truchetta said. “They just came in, I’ve seen it sometimes when people don’t even realize what’s going on… oh the anthem is on, and they might have been slow to react to it.”
Let’s say that’s the case – students were chatting and didn’t even realize the anthem was being played. Surely there were other ways to deal with that than a grown man making a video trying to force every student to be a minion. And if some students made a conscious decision not to take part, they have that right. The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that if students have a religious- or conscience-based objection to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, they could opt out. The same rules would surely apply to the National Anthem.
Unfortunately, Truchetta doesn’t think the Constitution applies to minors, since apparently, students can only protest during the anthem if they have written permission from their parents and if their protest is a silent or “peaceful” one. (This is ironic since the video was inspired by Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, but by all means)
I think Fort Myers attorney Michael Noone said it best when he told a local TV station: “I don’t recall anywhere in the Constitution where it says that your freedom of speech rights come into effect when you turn 18.”
I don’t recall that either.
Al-Quds University journalism student Malik al-Qadi following his release from administrative detention
JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah.
Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel.
Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions.
Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and al-Qadi, 25, declared his hunger strike on July 16.
Qaraqe said in a statement on Wednesday that Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were set to be released on Dec. 8, while Malik al-Qadi would be released on Sep. 22, and that all three of their administrative detentions would not be renewed.
The three had initially launched their hunger strikes amid a mass movement across Israeli prisons in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid, who after 71 days suspended his hunger strike after striking a deal with Israel to end his administrative detention sentence. He was reportedly set to be released on Dec. 12.
Kayid was one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike protesting his administrative detention order, before he was finally released in May.
Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.
Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
According to Addameer, as of August, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 700 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
A Canadian company has sold Bahrain technology used to block opposition websites and human rights content on the Internet, Canadian activists say.
Specialists from internet watchdog Citizen Lab said in a report that Canadian Netsweeper website-blocking applications had been identified on nine internet service providers (ISPs) in Bahrain.
The report further disclosed that testing on the ISP of the state-run Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) showed that at least one of the Netsweeper installations was in use in the small Persian Gulf kingdom.
Citizen Lab researchers highlighted that the installations appear to have become active between May and July of this year.
That is “a few months after the release of a public tender by Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in January 2016 indicating Netsweeper won a bid to provide a ‘national website filtering solution.’”
The contract is worth either 1.1 million or 3.1 million dollars, the researchers said.
Citizen Lab said, “The sale of technology used to censor political speech and other forms of legitimate expression, to a state with a highly problematic human rights record, raises serious questions.”
Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
Manama has been relentlessly cracking down on dissent. Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deployed to the country to assist in the crackdown on peaceful protests.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists.
GAZA – Facebook administration has banned a large number of pro-Palestinian pages and accounts including Hamas-affiliated pages.
The Facebook administration closed over the past few hours several pro-Palestinian pages and accounts, some of which were banned for the tenth time.
A number of online activists accused the administration of online social networking service Facebook of deliberately suspending their accounts to silence the pro-Palestinian pages. Other Hamas members and activists have also voiced similar complaints.
The activists stressed that they never wrote anything on the banned pages that could violate Facebook’s rules.
Filastin al-Hiwar Facebook page which has over 145,000 followers, has also been abruptly suspended by Facebook.
Over the past few days, two Israeli government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss ways of collaboration between the two parties. The Israeli ministers and Facebook officials have agreed to work together to determine “how to tackle incitement on the social media network,” according to an Israeli newspaper.
In recent days I discovered that the Canadian branch of the Israeli-US-based Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is reporting that I am “well known for using academic credentials to deny the Holocaust.” On August 29, Daniel Leons-Marder mirrored the Canadian B’nai Brith report under the title, Facebook Allows “Kill All Jews” Post on Wall of Canadian Professor. In an item Leons-Marder claims has been shared 11,000 times, he asserted “B’nai Brith Canada reported the image, which was ruled acceptable [by Facebook] within two hours, when it was alerted to it having been posted on the Facebook page of Canadian Academic Professor Anthony Hall, who is a holocaust denier.”
The B’nai Brith’s Aug. 29 announcement starts with a bald statement that “Police have launched an investigation into an antisemitic Facebook post that was exposed by B’nai Brith Canada last Friday.” The earlier August 26 statement emphasized the role of Facebook, introducing me in the controversy as being “well known for using [my] academic credentials to deny the Holocaust and promote 9/11 conspiracy theories.”
Under the headline, “Killing Jews Is Now an Acceptable Message, Facebook Says,” the B’nai Brith announced,
“Antisemitism in all forms is rampant on social media, but this is the clearest, most obvious kind of antisemitism one could possibly create,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith CEO. “The classification of this as antisemitic cannot be challenged, and the fact that this promotes violence towards Jews is beyond dispute. Regardless, Facebook has deemed it acceptable despite its ‘community standards’ containing clear provisions against hate speech. The Jewish community deserves no less protection or respect than any other when it comes to hate speech and threats of violence.”
“Every year, upon publication of our Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, a contingent of detractors accuses us of saying the sky is falling, and that antisemitism does not exist in Canada,” said Amanda Hohmann, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. “Content like this is proof positive that not only antisemitism of a genocidal nature exists in Canada, but the systems that are supposed to protect us from racist hate speech don’t consider hatred of Jews to be problematic.”
B’nai Brith has reported the post to Lethbridge Police Services.
The Canadian B’nai Brith’s post, together with those of others that have mirrored B’nai Brith’s announcement, constitute the first time I have seen myself described in print as a ‘holocaust denier.” What is the definition used by the thought police to decide who is or is not a “holocaust denier? Are there many holocausts or only one? Who owns the term, “holocaust?” If there are exclusive rights, how were they obtained?
In the eyes of the B’nai Brith, is a “holocaust denier” anyone who disagrees with any element, large or small, of its favored historical interpretation? Is the B’nai Brith naturally hostile to anyone that retains independent, evidence-based perspectives on some of the most fraught issues of historical interpretation in contemporary times?
What is behind the creation of the original post that set the controversy in motion? Who created it and why? Is this whole episode an engineered crisis? Is one of its purposes to fend off the criticisms of those that accuse the B’nai Brith and related Zionist agencies of claiming “the sky is falling” with their Orwellian system of Annual Audits of Antisemitic Incidents. Please see below the map published to present cartographic interpretations by the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.
As shall be explained below, the B’nai Brith has failed to perform due diligence in its handling of this matter. Its officers did not even attempt back up their provocative characterizations of me with even a shred of genuine evidence. The organization opted instead to exploit for its own political agenda the shock value inherent in the vile contents of an item allegedly posted, apparently very briefly, on my FB page. The item is said to have been posted by Glen Davidson. I did not ever see it on my FB page. I did not invite nor did I even have any knowledge of it until recently.
In its material the B’nai Brith describe the post as a “depiction of a White man assaulting an Orthodox Jew accompanied by a lengthy, violent anti-Semitic screed beside the photograph.” Here is the post, which I first saw sometime early in September as part of a smear piece published about me at “Aussie Dave’s” Israellycool.
To reiterate and to be absolutely clear, I did not post this social media item myself. I did not create it or solicit it. I do not approve of its contents. In fact I of course strongly condemn the message conveyed in both the image and the text. Due diligence demands, however, that I look further into this matter.
The B’nai Brith in Action
My initial research into the item’s content is leading me to the opinion that the image probably emerges from some sort of staged situation, one that seems to include the application of photo shop techniques. The most basic questions that must now be pressed concern the source of the atrocious text. From whence does it originate? Certainly I did not write it. Glen Davidson did not write it. Who did write it and why? Not once yet have I seen this deeper question posed by those who are exploiting the vile item to dramatize a real or concocted dispute with Facebook.
Quite possibly by design, the miniscule, densely compressed text is very difficult to read especially on small digital devices. Could this attribute be because the text was conceived not as a means of winning adherents but rather as a justification for political actions like the B’nai Brith’s current hate speech campaign highlighting my academic position at the University of Lethbridge?
I first saw the item among a number of screen shots all dedicated to “Aussie Dave’s” nomination of me as “Anti-Zionist-Not-Anti-Semite of the Day.”
I remember being particular interested in the part of the post that mentioned Ryan Bellerose, a Metis man and convert to Judaism who has recently been hired as the B’nai Brith’s new Western Canadian representative. Most of my attention zeroed in on Aussie Dave’s suggestion to his readers that they communications to the president of my University, Dr. Mike Mahon. I also took note of a screen shot of an item on U of L letterhead where Dr. Mahon responds to “JP.” Who is “JP”?
I can trace one thread of this matter’s origins to a recorded telephone call I listened to a year ago. Its source was Amanda Hohmann, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. In August of 2015 Ms. Hohmann telephoned the manager of a community venue in downtown Edmonton Alberta. Ms. Hohmann aim on behalf of her employer was to shut down a book promotion event. At the time Dr. Barrett along with his wife, two sons a dog and me were touring Alberta to call attention to an edited text entitled We Are Not Charlie Hebdo. Dr. Barrett edited the volume to which I had contributed an article.
The venue’s manager, Richard Awid, taped Ms. Hohmann’s intervention and subsequently played it back for me. Here is how I described this part of the episode in an article entitled “B’nai Brith Moves to Quash Free Speech in Canada,”
Mr. Awid was somewhat dumbfounded that a small event at his community hall, “one of 100 such venues in Edmonton,” would elicit such an intense response from a very powerful organization in Toronto. He played back to me on his answering machine a recorded message he received at about 9 am on August 12 from Amanda Hohmann. Ms. Hohmann explained that she had received “a few complaints” about “Mr.” Kevin Barrett on the B’nai Brith’s “anti-hate hotline.” (1-416-633-6224; 1-800-892-2624)
Ms. Hohmann asserted that
“Mr. Barrett is a known anti-semite conspiracy theorist, a Holocaust Denier, and 9/11 Denier and all sorts of other things.”
Ms. Hohmann made no effort whatsoever to give background proof of her allegations or to identify the sources of the supposed “complaints.” Nevertheless she proposed to Mr. Awid that he should “cancel the event and let Mr. Barrett know he is not welcome in Edmonton.”
In this telephone call the B’nai Brith’s “human rights” director tried to defame a colleague offering absolutely no proof whatsoever to provide evidentiary backing for her directive from Toronto that Dr. Barrett should not be welcome in Alberta’s capital. I believe the Western world currently supports many Amanda Hohmanns paid very well to target and slander regularly individuals like Dr. Kevin Barrett.
Are the protagonists in these ugly witch hunts ever held accountable for the excesses? Are there any constraints on the increasingly severe incursions of the Zionist thought police? What remedies are or are not available for the likes of Dr. Barrett who is a Muslim man. Along with the rest of the omma, Dr. Barrett and his family are regularly subjected to heavy doses of “hate speech” and sometimes worse?
When Richard Awid, a Muslim himself, did not adhere to Ms. Hohmann’s instructions, the B’nai Brith was able to send in a representative of the “hate speech” unit of the Edmonton police. The officer monitored the first part of the event and then left after informing Dr. Barrett that our presentation deemed was not to be hate speech by the police force he represented. I recall wondering at the time, does that bizarre episode foreshadow an era when all university classes will be policed by officials answerable to agencies like the B’nai Brith? Is that where this is leading?
The B’nai Brith has been front and center in Canada’s increasingly notorious record of aggressively policing citizens for supposed thought crimes and speech crimes. The B’nai Brith’s assault on free speech in Canada includes among its objects for criminalization Doug Collins, Malcolm Ross, Jim Keegstra, Ernst Zundel, Terry Tremaine, David Ahenakew and, most recently, Arthur Topham.
The case against Arthur Topham and his Radical Press is still ongoing. By following at a distance the tawdry prosecution of the self-employed reporter, publisher, editor and carpenter in Quesnel British Columbia, I was made aware of a very significant text published in 1941. Theodore Kaufman’s Germany Must Perish outlines an extremely ruthless strategy of genocidal destruction of a whole people. Has this classic description of genocidal intent and methodology been ever given prominence in a school curriculum in Canada?
My reading of an Internet copy of the text, one that became integral to the proceedings of the Topham trial, caused me to reflect on how one-sided the whole discourse on genocide is becoming. The suffering of one group is highlighted and elevated above all others while the suffering and assaults imposed on other groups is often downplayed, ignored or even denigrated. I had no idea before the B’nai Brith-instigated prosecution of Arthur Topham that there was such a detailed plan to annihilate the entire German people.
I only recently have become fully aware of the extent of the murder, rape and pillage of several millions of Germans after 1945 in American prisoner war camps and in orgies of Soviet-instigated ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe. Where are the museums to promote public education about these crimes against humanity? Where is the museum to commemorate the horrendous intergenerational genocide of perhaps a hundred million Indigenous peoples in the Holocaust of the Americas since 1492? Will future You Tubers make videos to ask elderly members of today’s generation what they did or didn’t do about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians now underway in order to clear the way for Greater Israel?
Thought Police Wreaking Havoc on Campus
The B’nai Brith is becoming especially aggressive in campaigns to have individuals fired from their work for expounding historical interpretations it does not like. The B’nai Brith boasted menacingly on September 15 of having destroyed the career of Nikolas Balakas, a long-serving lab technician at York University’s Department of Astronomy and Physics. The announcement that Canada’s most ruthless thought police agency had succeeded in its campaign to get York University to fire its employee was written by Aidan Fishman. Mr. Fishman is Campus Advocacy Coordinator of B’nai Brith Canada.
After counting coup on Mr. Balaras’s dismissal, Mr. Fishman concludes with the following plea that the University of Lethbridge should follow York University’s example. The B’nai Brith official wrote,
“Unfortunately not every administration is prepared to act with such decisiveness [as that of York University], as the ongoing saga surrounding Professor Anthony Hall at Lethbridge University shows. I hope that the administration in Lethbridge can use the excellent example set by York University on this matter, and take appropriate steps to ensure that their students are not similarly subjected to hatred and antisemitism on campus.”
Who is the real author of this “ongoing saga?” Where is the proof as of today that University of Lethbridge students are being subjected “to hatred and anti-Semitism on campus.” I have not once seen this kind of language appear in 26 years of teaching evaluations. Where is there any accountability for floating this kind of vicious agenda of smear? The intrusion into this matter of a B’nai Brith official described as Campus Advocacy Coordinator is, as far as I know, setting precedents at my school. What is the nature of the “advocacy” Mr. Fishman is “coordinating”?
The effort of B’nai Brith’s “campus coordinator” and possibly others of his group to inject themselves into the internal governance of the University of Lethbridge brings to mind a similar controversy brewing at Oberlin College. Oberlin College is a renowned Liberal Arts school in Ohio whose origins long predate the American Civil War. There Dr. Joy Karega has been suspended with pay from her teaching position as a result of a controversy also involving Facebook posts. I have written a lengthy open latter on the matter to Oberlin President, Dr. Marvin Krislov. The text, which has been mirrored on other web sites, was first published at American Herald Tribune.
In my effort to reach out to President Krislov, Dr. Karega and the other students and faculty involved in what has definitely become a fiasco for the Oberlin community, I proposed in my open letter that we all work together to mount a joint academic conference. I proposed that my own Liberal Education program at the University of Lethbridge ally itself with the embattled Liberal Arts College in Ohio to organize an event aimed at bringing thoughtful academic commentary to address a mounting crisis in higher education in North America.
I hereby invite Aiden Fishman to join this initiative and thereby embark on a constructive course rather than the trajectory of negativity implicit in his present preoccupation with hate talk and advocacy for division. Of course Mr. Fishman is far from alone in the type of “advocacy” in which he is engaged. There is a barrage of interventions currently underway from organizations like the AMCHA Initiative, the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Campus Outreach, Hillel, the American Jewish Congress, David Horowitz’s FrontPage and Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch to mention only a few. As currently on full public display at Oberlin College, these well-funded and deeply staffed interventions invariably wreak havoc on the principles of academic freedom and civil academic discourse on campus?
I suggested the following title for the event.
Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories:
A Rational or Irrational Phrase in Academic Discourse?
In my research research into the Joy Karega/Oberlin debacle I became aware of the concerted campaign in 2014 to destroy the career of Prof. William I. Robinson. Dr. Robinson is Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Like Dr. Joy Karega, Dr. Steven Salaita, Dr. Hatem Bazian, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, Dr. Richard Falk, me and many others, Dr. Robinson includes in the curriculum some focus on the plight of Palestinian people.
Caption: Prof. Richard Falk, Former UN Rapporteur and Princeton University Professor of International Law, Speaks on the Issue of Academic Freedom at the University of California at Santa Barbara
The sociologist refused to back down from incorporating in his teaching critical perspectives on the harsh treatment of Palestinians especially in Gaza and the so-called Occupied Territories. Amidst proliferating Jewish settlements and the constant repressions of the Israeli police state, many Palestinians continue to eke out marginal existences on the heavily militarized lands set aside for them by the United Nations in Resolution 181. Resolution 181, an international instrument calling for partition of Palestine and UN trusteeship over Jerusalem, constitutes the primary law at the roots of the Israeli entity in its present form.
Prof. Robinson has written of his ordeal in August of 2014 on Truthout. In an article entitled “Repression Escalates on US Campuses,” the sociologist explains,
The persecution to which I was subjected involved a litany of harassment, slander, defamation of character and all kinds of threats against the university by outside forces if I was not dismissed, as well as hate mail and death threats from unknown sources. More insidiously, it involved a shameful collaboration between a number of university officials and outside forces from the Israel lobby as the university administration stood by silently, making a mockery of academic freedom.
The disciplinary procedure initiated against me by UCSB officials involved a host of irregularities, violations of the university’s own procedures, breaches of confidentiality, denial of due process, conflicts of interest, failure of disclosure, improper political surveillance, abuses of power and position, unwarranted interference in curriculum and teaching and so on. As I would discover during the course of the ordeal, individuals inside the university and in positions of authority had linked up with agents of the lobby outside the university in setting out to prosecute me.
Will the same toolbox of wrecking instruments deployed at the University of California be shipped in from the United States and unpacked at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada? Will the administration of my own school continue to uphold the University of Lethbridge’s good reputation as an institution of higher education where the vital principles of academic freedom and civil academic discourse are expressed and defended?
On several occasions I have publicly lauded the U of L for creating an environment of academic freedom. I made this observation, for instance, at the University of Lethbridge’s book event when in 2011 my volume, Earth into Property, was launched. In this 900+ page peer-reviewed academic text published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, I incorporate analysis that the B’nai Brith flippantly trivializes as “9/11 conspiracy theories.”
Deeply corrupt agencies like the B’nai Brith have a lot to lose when the basic facts about what really happened on 9/11–who did what to whom—become the common knowledge of the general public. That day may be approaching far faster than those hiding behind the tired old memes about “conspiracy theories” anticipate.
How much longer can the evidence of 9/11 be concealed behind the ruthless kind of ad hominem attacks that have become the well known-specialty of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in all its many constituent parts? How much longer will the public tolerate the hate propaganda and professional assaults that are obliterating the fundamental integrity of so many of our most important institutions?
What other lies and deceptions are being fed to the public on a regular basis? What is the level of public confidence these days in the trustworthiness of society’s key institutions including government, media, police and agencies of higher education? Who can say public confidence in these entities is high?
What is the appropriate role for universities in addressing issues of officialdom’s fraud and malfeasance especially in situations that have large implications for public policy? If even tenured university faculty can be intimidated into shying away from the professional responsibility to distinguish truth from falsehood, but especially in situations that threaten power’s imperatives, who will perform this vital function? Politicians? Talking heads on TV? Who will speak truth to the unaccountable power that the B’nai Brith in its current reckless demeanor so abundantly epitomizes?
Ritual Defamation in the Social Media Circus
To return to the Facebook post that lies at the root of this controversy, I have already publicly condemned the contents of the offending item in the September 16 edition of False Flag Weekly News. I currently co-host this regular broadcast along with one of its founding partners, Dr. Kevin Barrett.
I noticed a reference to my public condemnation of the item in question in the comments section of the B’nai Brith’s own web post of August 29. A commenter going by the name of Andrew Blair observes,
It is important to realize that Professor Hall publicly condemns that image and text. Go to False Flag Weekly, at minute 36, to see and hear his denunciation.When I put on my “fairness” glasses and look at that image I see Tony Hall in the headlock, and the arms locking his head are the image and the text. Does anyone else see that, or are my “fairness” glasses defective?
“Andrew Blair’s” question certainly resonates with me. The B’nai Brith’s description of the image in its news announcements refers to “a White man assaulting an Orthodox Jew.” Is the Orthodox Jew not a White man too? What is there to say that the aggressor in this image is not Cherokee or Mohawk or Palestinian for that matter?
What are the politics of the B’nai Brith’s choice of words in its racialized approach to its public announcement highlighting this inflammatory image? What effect is being sought? Did the image emerge from a real or staged situation? If it was the former, what was the event? Where did it happen? Who took the photograph? Have the investigators in the B’nai Brith-police-hate-crime-complex explored such matters.
Is the B’nai Brith’s emphasis on “police investigations” itself a staged tactic of sorts? Is it meant to dramatize the main story line aimed ultimately at seizing control of strategic instruments of Internet communication. The subplot, which is certainly intended to harm me personally and professionally, is that crazed and genocidal anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists– even “holocaust deniers”— are running around loose with full Internet access even in Lethbridge Alberta?
My own best assessment is that the offending social media item seems likely to have been produced by photo shop juxtapositions of different images. The “White man’s” head and the “Orthodox Jew’s” crushed glasses both look like inserts. The white wing of the victim’s crushed and displaced glasses seems to have been drawn in. There are signs of graphic tinkering in the relationship between the huge muscular arm in the forefront and the squeezed face of the suffering victim.
The reversal of Talmudic-style contempt for the Other (the Goy) cries out the pictured message of Jewish victimhood. The provocative power of the image is reinforced by the B’nai Brith’s very racialized description. In my recent research I have discovered that this image and other images very much like—images that often feature the same racist “White man”— show up on many Internet posts, even one I found translated into German.
Where the picture provides the main message, the text provides the “evidence” of the antisemitism that the B’nai Brith and its allied agencies are simultaneously engaged in inventing, cultivating, spotlighting and publicly combating. What justification would there be for the existence of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith without the métier of antisemitism? The primary essence of the B’nai B’rith entities is to advance the agendas of the Israeli entity in the Diaspora, in other words in Canada, USA, Britain, France. Australia, and many other countries.
The text in the offending item is perhaps the most appalling excerpt of gutter prose I have ever seen. Its contents are so reprehensible that they demand careful consideration. Like an illegal drug planted by corrupt police on a targeted individual, the reprehensible social media item has been metaphorically put on my digital front door step and then advertised by the B’nai Brith to advance its own political agenda. I am left with little alternative but to respond as decently and as conscientiously to a crime in progress.
The author, it is claimed by the item’s creator, is Ben “Tel Aviv Terror” Garrison. This Garrison person has many nicknames. He is made to exclaim,
“There was never a Holocaust, but there should have been and, rest assured, there WILL be, as you serpentine kikes richly deserve one. I will not rest until every single filthy. Parasitic kike is rounded up and slaughtered like the vermin they are. The White man has had more than enough of International Jewry and we are fully prepared to smite the parasite for the millionth time. The greedy, hook nosed kikes know that there days are numbered and, unlike in the past, they now have nowhere to run. This time, there will be no kikes left alive to spead around the planet like cockroaches. We will get them ALL into the oven and their putrid memory will finally be erased from the planet once and for all. Like all parasites the Jew will continue to reproduce until every last one has been wiped out. This is why it is crucial that all kikes are ruthlessly and mercilesslt butchered for the good of us all. KILL ALL JEWS NOW! EVERY LAST ONE!” Ben “Tel Aviv Terror” Garrison
What kind of demented mind would come up with such a macabre celebration of envisaged mass murder? What would be the motivation to pen such a blatant incitement to hate and slaughter of a specific people?
My research into the offending item’s origins quickly led me to the many Internet profiles and posts of Ben Garrison. Ben Garrison is apparently a real person who lives in Montana. It turns out that this Ben Garrison, the sole named individual in the miniature text of the offending Facebook post, is also the aggressor in the photo shopped image. Adorned with dark glasses and a cowboy hat, Garrison is pictured as (in the words of B’nai Brith) as “the White man assaulting an Orthodox Jew.”
The real life Ben Garrison is often described as a libertarian political satirist. He is a prolific cartoonist whose cartoon and personal images lie at the center of an increasingly contentious media circus. Significantly Facebook figures centrally in the many-faceted narrative of Ben Garrison. Perhaps his Facebook connection is a major reason why B’nai Brith and related agencies chose Garrison’s Internet personae as poster boy for its hate speech campaign of fund raising and ritual defamation.
Holocaust Studies experts at Tel-Aviv University are among the most outspoken proponents of the view that Ben Garrison is indeed the kind of bigoted psychopath who would in real life utter provocations to the genocide of Jews. These Israeli academicians would probably argue it is entirely in character for Ben Garrison to have actually declared with sincerity, “Kill All Jews.” The hypothesis that Ben Garrison’s racist screed should be taken at face value is implicit in the wording and headlines of the posts by B’nai Brith, Daniel Leons-Marder’s Everyday Antisemitism and the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism.
The smear campaign’s architects and engineers are attempting a controlled demolition of my reputation in their quest to harness Facebook more fully to their own agendas. These architects and engineers count among their allies the creators and authors at Encyclopedia dramatica, Of Ben Garrison the encyclopedia’s drama experts report, “Scholars from Tel-Aviv University’s Center for Holocaust Studies have ominously described him [Ben Garrison] as the most racist man in the universe, and the biggest existential threat to the Jews since Hitler.”
This characterization runs counter to the dominant view that Garrison is “the Internet’s most trolled cartoonist.” According to a Breitbart article entitled “Ben Garrison: How the Internet Made a Fake White Supremacist”,
Montana-based artist Ben Garrison isn’t a violent Neo-Nazi, or even a white nationalist. He’s a polite, accomplished cartoonist, with no history of overt or covert racism. His true political leanings are libertarian, anti-elitist, and anti-globalist. Garrison is, in fact, the victim of one of the most extraordinary and longest-running smear campaigns on the internet.
For a mixture of amusement and spite, in a trolling spree that has lasted over six years, thousands of online pranksters and real neo-Nazis have been remixing his cartoons into racist caricatures. Most Ben Garrison cartoons attack the government, corporations, and political movements.
However, almost immediately after one is published, it is remixed into a new version that attacks Jews, African-Americans, or other minorities. These are rapidly disseminated in troll communities and sometimes become more widely-shared than the originals.
If Breitbart has it right and Tel-Aviv’s Center for Holocaust Studies has it wrong, then the real Ben Garrison could not have written the disgusting text that goes along with the offensive image of the cartoonist putting his victim in a headlock. If Ben Garrison is not to be understood as the kind of person who could have come up with the wording replicated and publicized by Amanda Hohmann, Daniel Leons-Marder,and B’nai Brith’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, then these individuals are involved in a telling case of false flag deception.
Given the nature of their dubious employment in what Norman Finkelstein has labeled the “Holocaust Industry,” I find it difficult to believe that these individuals as well as their bosses, underlings and associates were not aware of the controversy swirling around Ben Garrison. After all, I was able to discovered the basic outlines of the Garrison controversy in a few google searches after viewing the posts featuring Mostyn’s, Hohmann’s and Leons-Marder’s comments. Is this group merely incompetent? Are its members part of a concerted agenda to change the public policies of many agencies, including those of the Canadian government, Facebook and the University of Lethbridge, through calculated misrepresentations, frauds and incitements?
In an Internet post entitled “Ben Garrison on Trolls” the Montana cartoonist is said to speak for himself. Interestingly, Garrison’s observations begin with his reference to the very same Facebook reference to “community standards” that supposedly initiated the B’nai Brith’s slander of me.
“This page wasn’t removed. We reviewed the page you reported for harassment. Since it did not violate our community standards, we did not remove it. Thanks for your report.”
This is the message [writes Ben Garrison] I received after reporting a hate page on Facebook. Near the top of the hate page was a statement that encouraged the extermination of all Jews. Along with that statement was a photo of my face and the name Ben Garrison. Trolls had stolen my artwork and photos from my blog, my cartoon site as well as my fine art site and had concocted an entire page devoted to spewing libelous hate. The troll entity called the page ‘Ben Garrison Cartoons—the Official Site.’ The trolls had stamped the name ‘Ben Garrison’ onto as many hateful images as possible throughout the page. How does one stop such blatant libel? Where do these trolls come from? Is it even possible to track them down? Why do they do such terrible things? Why me?
As I found out, it’s not just me. Many others have suffered the same outrageous indignity. It appears that trolls are no longer content merely talk to each other on sordid sites such as ‘4chan’ or ‘Stormfront.’ They want to go mainstream. Therefore, social media are a natural target for them. Do they really believe the vitriolic memes they are shoveling, or are they merely playing an elaborate prank? It doesn’t matter. Their memes of hate must not go mainstream. Facebook must wake up and block the hate before it gets established. Hate speech is not free speech. Hate speech is blind, one-dimensional blackness. It is not reasoned debate. It loudly shouts for the murder of human beings and Facebook is providing them a megaphone for that purpose.
In my view the largest weight of available evidence points to the conclusion that Ben Garrison did not write the “Kill All Jews” commentary. If Ben Garrison did not write the planted text, then who did?
Could the B’nai Brith’s highlighted social media item have been produced by a Zionist group, agency or individual? Why might partisans of Israel do such a thing? Could it be to provide the ammunition for smear campaigns directed against individuals and groups that criticize Israel? Could it be to create incidents to justify appeals for money such as those accompanying the B’nai Brith’s slanderous posts aimed at damaging the reputation of the University of Lethbridge and my tenured academic role in it as a 26-year member of the Arts and Science Faculty?
Worse, much worse, can be envisaged. Could it be that the production and planting of the of the Ben Garrison post as well as others like it might be deployed to provide “evidence” in thought crime and speech crime litigation, the ultimate specialty and raison d’etre of the B’nai Brith? It is easy to imagine how such an outlandish and extravagant expression of hostility as that said to come from Garrison could be rendered useful to Crown prosecutors serving the Zionist masters.
Regardless of its source, there is no doubt that the Ben Garrison post could conceivably be exploited as a tailor made item to assist Crown prosecutors serving the agenda of B’nai Brith and related agencies. Such an item could definitely be deployed in a litigious assault on designated targets in order to establish webs of connection linking alleged hate speech with genocidal intent as well as the semantic nuke in the Zionist arsenal of weaponized words.
The conspiracy to advance the public perception that the engineered phrase, “holocaust denial,” has any internal and external coherence as an outlawed category of forbidden thought and speech runs absolutely contrary to the intellectual viability of the academy as well as the health of society more generally. The basic premise of the world’s most fraught term creates a false dichotomy that is coming to epitomize the decline of evidence-based rationality beneath the ascent of a new kind of orthodoxy combining both religious and secular elements.
Those that want to entrench and enforce an outlawed realm of forbidden thought and articulation brandish the weaponized term like an ideological sniper on steroids. They have no interest in providing definitions of where orthodoxy ends and where denial begins. As I am discovering by raising even a simple call for “open debate” on the main platform of Zionism’s unaccountable power, there are harsh new authoritarian forces that need to be called to account if we are even to slow down the police state incursions in our post-911 world.
The new configurations of authority are extending to important agencies like the Royal Canadian Legion, Jasper National Park, and the Alberta Society of Fiddlers. Those overseeing these important institutions are made to feel empowered to impose arbitrary sanctions and punishments against an individual who dared to question enshrined orthodoxy.
The message is made clear that the vibrance of art and culture, the wellbeing of veterans as well as the need to protect some of Alberta’s most majestic Alpine environments have become secondary commitments. The treatment in Jasper National Park of violinist Monika Schaefer signals the end of our free and democratic society. Our right and need to express independent thought, the starting point of collective self-determination, has has been sacrificed in order to enforce supine obedience to the sanctification of an historical interpretation that must not be held subjected to sceptical scrutiny and reconsideration.
How many are now being held, including some Canadians, in dark European dungeons for questioning any aspect of the unrelenting vilification of Germany as home of the most the most evil society of monsters ever to walk the face of the earth? Will we ever be able to liberate ourselves from the spell that is causing us to become so blind and unresponsive to the holocausts we ourselves are imposing on the natural world and also on the besieged worldwide community of our Muslim brothers and sisters?
What are the chances that the nuclear holocaust currently being promoted by our governors can be held back when those most intent on making war not peace are so firmly in charge? Is there a connection between the decline of the anti-war movement and the rise of the militarized police state currently deploying false flag-induced fears to constrain our ability to think, speak and act in conformity with the imperatives of survival? What we most require at this moment is simple affirmations of life’s beauty and integrity. Instead we are delivered coercive dictates demanding we deny what our reason and research tells us to be true.
How did we the academics, but especially we the historians, allow it to happen that a whole category of the European past has been declared off bounds to unfettered discussion and critical investigative scholarship? By allowing this development to proceed, a very sweeping and consequential precedent is being set.
How did we the citizens allow the principle to develop that government can declare that whole subject areas of research and publication have been so perfectly interpreted, so correctly dealt with in every detail, that no revision and modification of existing conclusions can be allowed. What is the role of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith in enforcing the ruthless bulldozing aside of the most basic foundations of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and adherence to rigorous standards of scientific inquiry.
The B’nai Brith and Ben Garrison, the poster boy for the Zionist organization’s hate speech campaign, are exactly on the same page when it comes to Facebook. Both Ben Garrison and the B’nai Brith seek to constrain free speech on the Internet more tightly. Is this convergence of agendas a coincidence or are more calculated deceptions at play here? To publicize his desire that Facebook be more proactive in censoring the Internet, Garrison produced the following cartoon.
Facebook and Israel; Ben Garrison and the B’nai Brith
My FFWN co-host, Dr. Kevin Barrett, has evaluated the evidence surrounding the Garrison post and concluded it was “very likely produced by B’nai Brith itself, or other Zionist extremists of like mind, as a PR operation. No wonder they are “monitoring” the police to make sure they behave themselves.”
Presenting his own version of the B’nai Brith’s highlighted image, Dr. Barrett continues
The absurd rant with its lurid references to “greedy hook-nosed kikes” and so on does not pass the smell test. Whoever created this image obviously did not do so with the intention of convincing the public to take action against Jews and/or Zionists. On the contrary, it appears to have been designed for the opposite purpose: To convince the public that crazed, foul-mouthed, murderous anti-Semites are a clear and present danger.
Virtually every time a swastika is spray painted on a synagogue, the culprit turns out to be a “self-hating” Jewish Zionist trying to conjure up the specter of an “anti-Semitic threat.” Would an investigation of the provenance of this image find something similar?
Dr. Barrett observes that“the manufactured incident smearing Tony Hall may be part of a coordinated program, orchestrated from Tel Aviv, to try to stop the rise of the ever-increasing virtual army of pro-Palestine social media users.”
As highlighted in Telesur, the government of Israel and Facebook have been represented at the highest level in a series of meetings aimed at conspiring to hold back the growing flood of social media posts subjecting Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians to sceptical public scrutiny.
This recent development well demonstrates the specious nature of B’nai Brith’s characterization of Facebook as some kind of rogue agency unwilling to act immediately to pre-empt an existential threat emanating from Lethbridge. More likely the B’nai Brith’s alarmist posts in late August of 2016 were, in part at least, a ploy to divert attention from the reality that social media, but especially Facebook, is more and more being harnessed to Zionist goals and agendas.
Was the B’nai Brith’s deployment of the racist side of Ben Garrison’s dual public personae calculated to serve the double purpose of both smearing me and my school as well as leading interested parties to a surprising “libertarian” voice for the suppression of Internet freedom? What should be done about Internet trolls such as those at the B’nai Brith that have shown themselves to be unrelenting in planting lies and innuendo with the aim of silencing criticism of Israel?
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
“Viva Palestina” is an enduring chant along with “Long Live Palestine” and “Long Live Gaza”, all of which are often used by human rights activists and others who want to show their support and goodwill for the long life and well-being of the state and its people. However, using such slogans and messages of solidarity could soon become a hate crime in Scotland, a nation which has often been praised for its refusal to give unconditional support to Israel and its brutal military occupation of Palestine.
To the astonishment of legal observers and human rights activists, a landmark trial is set to go ahead in Aberdeen after Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) member Alister Coutts, 56, was charged with “acting in a racially aggravated manner with intent to cause distress and alarm”. His “crime” was to utter “Viva Palestina” next to the Jericho Cosmetics stall in the city’s Union Square shopping mall.
His arrest, charge and impending court appearance has now fuelled speculation that pro-Israel Zionist groups in Scotland are exerting undue pressure on the authorities to “get tough” with SPSC and other Palestinian-supporting groups. Following an initial crime investigation the police will send a report to the local Procurator Fiscal, who will consider the content and decide whether to take any further action.
While such decisions are said to be taken in the public interest, the disclosure of a host of secret email exchanges between the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service on one hand, and Zionist organisations on the other, has alarmed SPSC, which says that they reveal the existence of a “cosy relationship” between the public prosecutor and the pro-Israel lobby in Scotland. The emails came to light after a Freedom of Information request was made to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Edinburgh. SPSC officials are now scrutinising the content of the dossier before making public its findings.
“It is extremely sinister for anyone to be charged with expressing the idea of saying ‘long live’ to a community,” commented SPSC co-founder Mick Napier. “The charge therefore seems to have a patina of wishing harm to the Palestinian people. If so, this is certainly breaking new ground in the Scottish legal system; that by saying ‘Viva Palestina’ you are considered to be attacking someone.”
After Coutts had said “Viva Palestina” a policeman arrived and ordered him to leave the shopping mall, a request which, his defence team will argue, was in itself illegal. As soon as he stepped outside, he was handcuffed, held for seven hours and charged.
“He is now deemed to be a racist for saying Viva Palestina in the vicinity of a cosmetics stall,” Napier pointed out. “In the meantime, we are examining what some might regard as the overly-chummy emails.”
The trial, expected to commence next month, comes amidst the backdrop of a nationwide campaign by SPSC against the Israeli-linked cosmetics firm Jericho SkinCare. The group accuses the firm of using minerals extracted from the Dead Sea on the coast of the illegally-occupied West Bank, which is Palestinian territory. SPSC notes that the extraction and commercialisation of resources from an occupied territory breaches UN conventions and it has launched a boycott campaign against a number of cosmetic firms linked to the practice and is lobbying for them to be removed from Scottish shopping centres.
According to Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Dead Sea products are linked closely to the commercial viability of Israel’s illegal settlements and are targeted as part of the global boycott movement. The organisation has produced a fact sheet outlining the legal position. Jericho SkinCare’s website states that the company’s products are “based on Dead Sea minerals”.
A Crown Office spokesman said that he was unable to comment on ongoing criminal cases [sic] but added: “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service corresponds with many community and faith groups, particularly in relation to the impact of hate crime in their communities. All prosecution decisions are taken following an independent and thorough assessment of the available evidence.”
Let’s see what this translates to in practice.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, approximately at 2:30 after midnight, the village of Bil’in in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, broke into and searched several homes and confiscated hard discs from a number of laptops.
Most of the invaded homes belong to nonviolent activists, senior members of the Popular Committee against the Wall in Bil’in, including Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, his brother Abdullah Abu Rahma, in addition to Ahmad Abu Rahma Mohammad al-Khatib, Ashraf Abu Rahma and photojournalist Haitham Khatib.
Photojournalist Khatib said four military jeeps and two army trucks, carrying around six soldiers, invaded the village and started searching homes before confiscating hard disks from a number of laptops.
“The soldiers just said they will be the property back, but no one believes this,” he said, “They took my car before and never returned it; they are just lying.”
Coordinator of the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, denounced the latest military invasion, and the searches of homes, in addition to the illegal confiscation of private property.
Abu Rahma added that the escalating Israeli violations will not be able to stop the nonviolent, popular resistance, in the village.
The protests in Bil’in started approximately twelve years ago, and kept going despite the ongoing excessive use of force and escalating violations, including night raids, home invasions and curfews, and despite the death of several nonviolent activists on the hands of the Israeli military.
The villages managed to regain 1200 Dunams of orchards, out of 2300 Dunams illegally confiscated and isolated by Israel for the construction of the Wall and the illegal colonies.
Freshly purged from Labour, CHARLEY ALLAN calls for unity and calm at this weekend’s party conference opening
SO, I’ve been purged. My services to the Labour Party are no longer required. To all intents and purposes, I am an ex-member.
In an email on Wednesday evening, general secretary Iain McNicol informed me that I was in administrative suspension because of “comments you have made on social media, including between 10 April and 8 July 2016.”
I had half expected this. After reading and writing about so many members who had fallen foul of Labour’s retrospective “rudeness rules,” I knew a few of my own tweets might be flagged up — not to mention my weekly column.
It’s surely no coincidence that my ballot was already over three weeks late, despite multiple assurances from Labour that this was due to “admin error” and not because I was on any potential purge list.
Ironically, my re-reissued vote finally arrived by email on Wednesday afternoon, less than three hours before I received my suspension — the democratic equivalent of being dumped by text message.
I quickly discovered online that this was happening to lots of people, in what looks like a last-minute mega-purge for the final week of voting.
Conspiracies sprung up that Electoral Reform Services, which is responsible for this election, was telling Labour how everyone had voted, but the firm denies this — and to be fair most people make it pretty clear who they support online.
But even without the whiff of ballot-fishing, there’s something plain wrong about taking away a vote once it’s already been cast.
Labour’s had plenty of time to decide whether I’m worthy of membership. Disenfranchising me 10 days before the result simply adds insult to injury.
Going from the dates provided, it appears that my crimes include pointing out that Tony Blair had “hijacked” Labour in the past, calling non-specific MPs “traitors” and referring to “apartheid Israel” in both a tweet on April 10 and this column the next day.
While in hindsight I might have overused the T-word, especially on June 28 — aka “Coupsday Tuesday” — my Twitter comrade Angela McEvoy wrote it just once and still found herself suspended at the weekend. And the MPs themselves had taunted us as “Trots, rabble, dogs” for daring to rally around Jeremy Corbyn.
On Israel, I should’ve listened to myself — the piece in question warns: “Maybe I’ll be kicked out of Labour for saying all this.”
But the party’s rulebook makes it clear that members can’t be disciplined for “the mere holding or expression of beliefs or opinions,” so what else is going on?
My offending tweet took issue with former donor Michael Foster’s column that day in the Mail on Sunday, in which he accused Corbyn’s brother Piers of being a racist.
Foster, who failed in his High Court bid to keep Corbyn off the leadership ballot and was recently suspended for his “nazi stormtroopers” attack, objected to Piers tweeting: “Zionists can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for Palestine.”
The former showbiz agent’s logic went: “Try replacing the words ‘Zionists’ and ‘Palestine’ with ‘Blacks’ and ‘White South Africa’.”
OK then — “Blacks can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for White South Africa.”
Apart from not making sense, this inverts the correct analogy. When Jimmy Carter talks about apartheid in the Occupied Territories, he means that Palestinians suffer intolerable institutional discrimination by Israelis, not the other way round.
“White South Africa can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for Blacks” is much closer to the truth, as illustrated by the iconic 1984 photograph of a newly elected Corbyn being arrested in Trafalgar Square.
Maybe it was my hashtag #AntizionismIsNotAntisemitic that caused offence, in which case the piece itself should see me banned for life. Even so, they’ve had five months to let me know I’m not welcome.
In truth, the purge is out of control, but it’s heartwarming to see local Labour comrades — including my MP and councillors — rally round, as well as lovely Corbynistas online, many of whom are victims of the mass cull themselves.
As in other cases, prominent Corbyn-sceptics have shown solidarity in public, putting pressure on Owen “big M” Smith to speak out against the suspensions.
But the man himself seems more interested in tacitly defending the purge by fuelling suspicions that Momentum would be banned under his leadership, despite previous pleas to address its rallies.
“There is nothing comradely about setting up a party within a party,” Smith declared on Friday night, ignoring the Pfizer-funded influence of Blairite faction Progress.
“Momentum in Brighton and Liverpool — some of them exactly the same people as were in Militant all those years ago — organising to deselect a Labour MP,” he complained.
Calling for deselection is the new master-crime, yet everyone conveniently forgets Blair’s “show trials” against sitting left Labour MPs who were replaced by high-profile Progress members.
On Thursday, author Paul Mason was accused of bullying Labour Co-operative MP for Redcar Anna Turley by tweeting “deselect asap” in response to her defence of Tory ex-minister Anna Soubry.
Turley was one of several Smith-supporting MPs who tweeted their glee at Soubry’s spiteful attack on Question Time fellow panelist John McDonnell.
Soubry claimed female Labour MPs were “so frightened, humiliated, almost terrorised by Mr McDonnell and his gang they will leave politics,” adding that the shadow chancellor himself was “a nasty piece of work.”
Turley, who called Unite leader Len McCluskey an “arsehole” on Twitter in July but still has her vote, said Soubry “spoke the truth tonight” — prompting Mason to call for her deselection.
That’s not bullying or abuse, it’s part of the democratic process. If local members want to be represented by a different candidate at the next election, they have every right to make that decision, as does Mason to express his opinion.
What’s happened to the Labour Party — when eye-rolling isn’t allowed during debates, there’s a blanket ban on branch meetings and whole districts are suspended on trumped-up charges?
Loyal lifelong Labour members and supporters have been brought to tears by the smears, while the right’s plan is clearer than ever — provoke chaos at this weekend’s party conference opening.
However the vote goes, Corbynistas have to keep calm on Saturday.
Let’s just say the purge works and Smith steals this election — we would need an instant injunction and then ultimately be at the mercy of the Supreme Court, which wouldn’t look too kindly on a riot.
It’s far more likely that Corbyn will triumph, but his supporters are still outnumbered at conference — and under no circumstances should they be goaded by any angry, bitter and possibly drunk Owenites who don’t care about party unity and are looking to cause trouble.
Any violence in Liverpool, no matter who’s behind it, will be blamed on Momentum — and the right will use this as a pretext to proscribe the group and all its members.
We must also watch out for provocateurs in our own ranks, because spy cops aren’t only interested in trade unionists and environmental activists.
The world is watching and we can’t let Corbyn down.
Chat to Charley on Twitter: @charleyallan.
Abby Ohlheiser, Accessory after the Fact [source: Washington Post ]
Number 2 : Abby Ohlheiser, the Washington Post, and Facebook, for “Facebook’s trending topics promoted an article ‘truthering’ the Sept. 11 attacks”
ON the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, experts are sensationally claiming it is impossible that the towers were brought down by planes.
Instead, leading engineers believe the Twin Towers may have collapsed due to a “controlled demolition” – something it is claimed there is video evidence to support.
They disagree with the investigation done by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that was launched in August 2002.
Video evidence – which was made by people with a similar theory – has been posted online and seeks to offer proof.
Seriously? This is Abby Ohlheiser?
No, sorry. This is Rachel O’Donoghue, writing for UK readers in the Daily Star, under the headline:
[source: Daily Star ]
Rachel O’Donoghue needs a good copy editor; I’ve fixed her spelling errors, but I haven’t changed any of her words. She continues:
That six-year analysis of what caused the collapse also looked at the lesser known World Trade Centre 7 building, a third building that sat right next to the towers and fell at 5.20pm on the afternoon of September 11 – more than six hours after the two skyscrapers tumbled to the ground.
Its conclusion was that the “WTC Towers and WTC 7 [were] the only known cases of total structural collapse in high-rise buildings where fires played a significant role.”
The fires were apparently sparked by jet fuel that caused huge fires to engulf the upper floors after American Airlines Flights 11 and 175 smashed into the structures in a series of coordinated attacks on the morning of September 11, 2001.
But since the NIST investigation concluded, it has been pointed out that buildings like the World Trade Centre were specifically designed to withstand a fire and huge impacts like a plane hitting them.
What does this have to do with Abby Ohlheiser? Therein lies an interesting tale…
As you may know, Facebook has built its success on a foundation of really good ideas, and one of those ideas was to give their users an easy way to “feel the pulse” of the Internet, so to speak.
The idea is: With a bit of research, one could answer questions such as: What subjects are people talking about? and What are they reading?
The answers to these questions could be used to create a list of links, and that list could appear on the user’s sidebar, under the heading “Trending Topics.”
It was a fantastic idea, and they hired some people to do it, and it worked out great! But there was a problem.
The problem was not in making the list but in keeping it up to date. That was difficult and expensive and required a large staff working more or less continuously, and wasn’t this the sort of thing that could be done by software?
Well, of course it could. But they didn’t have the software, so the software had to be developed, and now it’s ready, or at least it’s ready enough to be deployed. So Facebook has replaced the people who used to maintain “Trending Topics” with a computer program.
Presumably because this software has only recently been developed, it’s still a little bit naive, so to speak.
That is to say, it was probably written to do what it was supposed to do. Stories like this come up frequently, and they illustrate both the strength and the weakness of doing things by computer. A computer does what it’s told: quickly, cheaply, precisely, and reliably. If it does the wrong thing, it usually means it was following the wrong instructions. And there’s the rub. A computer is “smart enough” to follow instructions, but it’s not smart enough to know when its instructions are wrong!
You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how often newly developed software is perceived as “faulty” because it was designed according to specifications which did not accurately reflect the needs of the people who had commissioned it. This has happened so often to me personally that I have come to expect it.
In the current instance, the case of Facebook’s “Trending Topics,” the programmers apparently designed the code to search and sort, building its lists according to the criteria I described above, and giving no attention to certain “hidden assumptions” which human editors take for granted.
In particular, the software didn’t know that the facts of 9/11 must be suppressed.
Rachel O’Donoghue’s piece appeared on Tuesday, September 6, and within a few days it attracted so much attention that Facebook’s software noticed it. But the software failed to perceive that the headline, September 11: The footage that ‘proves bombs were planted in Twin Towers’ could potentially be politically volatile.
Needless to say, this is an error that no human editor would ever make, but the software was just too dumb to pick up on the implications of the headline, or to read the article and find out what it said. And nobody was supervising it. The software was “flying solo.”
And it came to pass that early on Friday, September 9, Facebook users found “September 11th Anniversary” on their sidebar, and if they hovered over the topic, they saw this:
click to enlarge [source: Facebook via Abby Ohlheiser]
If they clicked on it, they saw this:
click to enlarge [source: Facebook via Abby Ohlheiser]
And if they clicked on this, they could read Rachel O’Donoghue!
When Abby Ohlheiser found out, she was most unimpressed. As she wrote:
Facebook users looking for more context on why the Sept. 11 terrorist attack anniversary was trending on the platform on Friday were, for a time, directed to a tabloid article claiming that “experts” had footage that “proves bombs were planted in Twin Towers.”
The Daily Star piece promoted by Facebook repeats a lot of common claims from 9/11 “trutherism,” a conspiracy theory based on an idea (unsupported by any actual evidence) that the World Trade Center must have collapsed in 2001 because of a “controlled demolition” and not from the damage caused by the airliner crashes.
This photo shows material being ejected from the South Tower, well below the impact zone and before the collapse of the building. It is prima facie evidence of explosives and therefore must be suppressed. [source: Daily Star ]
Is this correct? Well, no!
Unfortunately for Abby Ohlheiser, the Daily Star piece by Rachel O’Donoghue documents “actual evidence” of explosives in the towers, the existence of which Abby Ohlheiser flatly denies!
Engineers Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter are part of the growing community of experts who say evidence indicates the towers were brought down in a controlled demolition.
They wrote a paper for Europhysics News highlighting four important pieces of evidence pointing to this conclusion.
– Fires are not normally hot enough to heat a massive steel structure enough for it to collapse
– The majority of high rise buildings have sprinkler systems that prevent a fire from getting hot enough to heat steel to a critical level
– Skyscrapers are protected using flame-proof materials
– And they are designed so that if compromised, they do not collapse.
They go on to point out that the towers were actually designed to stay standing in the event of seismic activity, such as earthquakes, and incredibly high winds.
Abby Ohlheiser tells us what happened when she found out Facebook was linking to this article:
Shortly after The Intersect [i.e. Abby Ohlheiser] reached out to Facebook for a comment on the matter, the article disappeared from Facebook’s page for the topic. The lead article switched to a local news piece about a photograph showing beams of light bouncing off One World Trade Center.
“We’re aware a hoax article showed up there,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday, “and as a temporary step to resolving this we’ve removed the topic.”
The misstep comes weeks after the company removed the human editors who used to describe and curate the site’s trending topics, leaving the task of providing context for those topics to an algorithmically selected article from another site. As this most recent example illustrates, the algorithms haven’t always been up to the task.
“Algorithm” is a fancy name for a set of instructions. And one question which suggests itself is: Have the algorithms really failed in their task?
I can’t help thinking the answer depends on how the task is defined. If the task is to promote the topics that the greatest number of people want to read about, and the articles that the greatest number of people are reading, that’s one thing. If the task is to prefer relatively safe topics and politically acceptable articles, even if fewer people are reading them … well, that’s different.
And I humbly suggest that this difference was the cause of Abby Ohlheiser’s discomfort.
In an alternate universe where we had a free press and free social media, “trending” would mean “trending,” just as “topic” means “topic.” The most popular article under each topic would appear on the sidebar. And if people started learning about facts that the supporters of an absurd and murderous story wanted to suppress, that would be just too bad for them.
In such a universe, when Abby Ohlheiser “reached out” for a comment, the Facebook spokeswoman would say, “We are in the business of facilitating — not impeding — connections between our users and the rest of the world. We will not bow to pressure from politicians, nor from journalists, nor from anybody else. And you will just have to grow up and accept the fact that ‘trending’ means ‘trending,’ which is not always the same as ‘trending and pleasing to you.’ We thank you for your understanding, and we hope that in the future you will not waste any more of your time on similar complaints.”
But of course we live in the real universe, so Facebook declared Rachel O’Donoghue’s piece a “hoax” and removed the link.
Later, according the the spokeswoman, Facebook removed the whole “September 11th Anniversary” topic, which, as you can see in the screenshot preserved by Abby Ohlheiser, was at the time the most popular topic on the list by far, leading an NFL player who had not stood during the national anthem the previous evening by a margin of 340K to 28K.
This photo, which allegedly shows the beginning of a gravity-driven collapse, looks more like a volcano erupting, and therefore must be suppressed. [source: Daily Star ]
Hoax? What hoax? The official story is a hoax!
As Rachel O’Donoghue notes:
John Skilling, the chief structural engineer of the World Trade Centre, even admitted in 1993 – eight years before the disaster – they were made to specifically withstand the force of a jet hitting them.
In an interview with the Seattle Times he said: “Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed [but] the building structure would still be there.”
He then commented that in his view, the only thing that could bring them down would be explosives of some sort.
Eyewitness accounts describing the aftermath of the attacks supports the theory explosives were planted inside the towers.
Shortly after the planes hit, numerous interviews were recorded in which people who had been inside the World Trade Centre said that when they ran down from the upper floors they found the lobby had been completely destroyed.
Some also described finding people who had not been upstairs with “their faces blown off”.
Eyewitnesses who describe the lobby as completely destroyed, and statements about people who had “their faces blown off” despite not having been upstairs, pose a grave danger to Abby Ohlheiser and her contention that the “conspiracy theory” is “unsupported by any actual evidence” and threaten Facebook’s assertion that Rachel Donoghue’s article is a hoax.
But all these bits of suppressed evidence certainly corroborate the story Bob McIlvaine tells about his son Bobby.
Had Abby Ohlheiser not made such a big stink about Rachel O’Donoghue’s piece, I probably would not have seen it, and I wouldn’t be able to share the details with you here. But this is Abby Ohlheiser’s game, apparently — monitoring other “reporters” and complaining if they happen to cross one of her invisible lines.
Fortunately, if she can bend them to her will, she’s not content to let the matter rest. She uses her platform to tell everyone what has happened, even if it means bringing attention to the very thing she is trying to suppress.
On September 9, Facebook users were given the false impression that the “Topic” “September 11th Anniversary” was “Trending” because of these photos. Thanks to Abby Ohlheiser, we now know how and why this happened. [source: ABC 7 NY dot Com]
So, even if we stipulate that Abby Ohlheiser prevented a very large number of people from reading Rachel O’Donoghue’s piece, she still qualifies as a fail in my book for two reasons.
First, she gave the world a screenshot showing Rachel O’Donoghue’s headline and the name of her paper, so that everyone could see what had been published and where to find it. Now all her readers — and both of mine — know all about it.
Second, she has shown us very clearly how easily Facebook can be manipulated into suppressing vital evidence in a case of mass murder, and who she is and what she wants, and the same about the Washington Post, and the same about Facebook — which may be important if anyone is still in doubt.
Had Facebook not turned tail and fled, its users would have found it easier to maintain the illusion that they have a free press and free social media. But they might have learned a thing or two as well, and no doubt here lies the perceived danger.
Certainly Facebook’s part in this story proves one thing: Even if you can’t please everybody, you can certainly displease everybody. Those who aren’t angry at Facebook for linking to Rachel O’Donoghue are angry at Facebook for taking down the link and calling the truth a “hoax”. Or at least they should be.
Had Rachel O’Donoghue not mentioned her source, I might not have found the article she was writing about.
It’s from Europhysics News, it was written by Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter. It’s called “15 Years Later: On The Physics Of High-Rise Building Collapses,” and it includes:
– a short explanation of why steel-framed buildings don’t normally collapse, even after long hot fires,
– a short history of building demolition techniques, including the most modern ones,
– an overview of the reasons why they believe the towers were destroyed by modern demolition techniques and not by fires,
– a review of the official investigations, showing how far they were willing to deviate from the normal logical and physical constraints, and how little scrutiny their conclusions can bear, and
– a summary of the eyewitness evidence concerning explosives in the buildings, concluding this way:
Some 156 witnesses, including 135 first responders, have been documented as saying that they saw, heard, and/or felt explosions prior to and/or during the collapses. That the Twin Towers were brought down with explosives appears to have been the initial prevailing view among most first responders. “I thought it was exploding, actually,” said John Coyle, a fire marshal. “Everyone I think at that point still thought these things were blown up”.
When John Coyle says, “Everyone I think at that point still thought these things were blown up,” the words “at that point” and “still” indicate the power of the propaganda machine behind the official story. Even though they lived through it, many of the first responders became convinced in the aftermath that their perceptions of the day’s events had been wrong!
And yet! Popular support for 9/11 Truth endures, even after 15 years of relentless and powerful propaganda, partially because so many people know about the evidence that the perpetrators and their accessories after the fact are trying to suppress.
We can see what they’re trying to do. We can figure out why. And we’re not going away anytime soon.
Sorry, Abby! You lose! And so does your sad excuse for a newspaper.
Sorry, Washington Post ! If you don’t tell the truth about something important soon, I may quit letting you use my initials!
Sorry, Facebook, You lose, too! Everyone can see where you stand and why. “Oh, my!”
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present: three pathetic losers on the wrong side of a bloody red line marked “mass murder for profit!”
As I’ve been saying:
The facts must be suppressed, and the people who are trying to gather and disseminate those facts must be suppressed, and that is the one and only thing that matters to these people. And why? Why would you hide the crime unless you were trying to protect the criminals?
University of California, Berkeley, has reinstated a course on Palestine that was cancelled under pressure from pro-Israel groups, according to a press release.
Palestine Legal said, according to WAFA, that the university reinstated the student-led course titled “Palestine: A Settler-Colonial Analysis”, following an outcry from students and faculty describing the action as a violation of academic freedom, shocking, and unjustifiable.
Palestine Legal also sent a letter to the university chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, on behalf of Paul Hadweh, the student giving the course, warning that the suspension infringed on First Amendment rights and principles of academic freedom.
Following the outcry, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, Carla Hesse, announced in a statement that the course is reinstated.
“I hope we can now focus on the challenging intellectual and political questions that this course seeks to address,” said Hadweh, a senior student and course facilitator whose family is originally from Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.
“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”
Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Legal who represents Paul Hadweh, added, “This is a victory for Paul who spent eight months going through all the recommended and mandated procedures to facilitate a course. It’s also a victory for the 26 students who enrolled and had their academic studies severely disrupted, and for students and scholars across the U.S. who are facing a coordinated attack on the right to speak and study freely about Palestine-Israel.”
Echoing the concerns of Israel advocacy groups, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks had justified the suspension with concern that Hadweh’s course “espoused a single political viewpoint and appeared to offer a forum for political organizing.”
Jackson explained, “The university’s response should have been that academic freedom protects the rights of faculty and students to tackle difficult and even controversial questions. The extra scrutiny on scholarship relating to Palestine is obvious here. The university does not censor Israeli studies classes because they have a ‘political agenda’ or ‘ignore history’, although that case can also be made.”
The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.
“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.
ACLU affiliates around the country have done a lot of cases defending the right to record in public places, but this case (press release, complaint) is particularly striking. I spoke to ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, and he told me about how the incident came about:
Our client is a guy who is very concerned with privacy, and who protests DUI checkpoints around the capital region here in Hartford, Connecticut. He feels they’re both unconstitutional and a waste of money. He has done public records investigations, for example, and recently found that for every two man hours put into a check point, it yields just one minor traffic citation—almost always for defective equipment. He was well known to the police, who also knew that he is a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist.
So Michael was out on Sept. 11, 2015 in West Hartford. He shows up, has a big sign that says “cops ahead, remain silent.” It’s handwritten—this is not threatening stuff. He stood on a small triangular traffic island. He was standing there for an hour, hour and a half without any problems. Then, the state police officers who were working the checkpoint come over to Michael, and the first thing they do is slap the camera out of his hand so it hits the ground. He thinks it’s broken.
It was really brazen. There’s another video showing that the first thing the state trooper does is walk up and with his open hand slap the camera down to the ground. He doesn’t even say anything like “put that down,” or “please lower your camera.” He just slaps it to the ground. Then he interacts with Michael as if nothing happened, as if, “I’m just allowed to do that, and I don’t even have to tell you why I just broke your camera.” It’s an amazing level of hostility.
The troopers search Michael, and theatrically announce that he has a gun—which they knew he had, and which he was carrying legally under Connecticut’s open carry law. So they take his gun, and they go run his pistol permit. As they’re doing that, Michael picks the camera up off the pavement—it’s a nice SLR that can also record video. He picks it up and tries to turn it on as one of the cops walks back over, and that’s where the video starts. The cop announces that “taking my picture is illegal.” Michael debates with him a little because he’s very knowledgeable about the law and the First Amendment, and the end result is that the trooper snatches the camera, walks away, and puts it on top of the cruiser, without realizing that it is working and is recording video.
This is the point at which the troopers’ accidental self-surveillance begins. Barrett continues:
So we get the three troopers at the cruiser talking about what to do. Michael’s permit comes back as valid, they say “oh crap,” and one of the troopers says “we gotta punch a number on this guy,” which means open an investigation in the police database. And he says “we really gotta cover our asses.” And then they have a very long discussion about what to charge Michael with—none of which appear to have any basis in fact. This plays out over eight minutes. They talk about “we could do this, we could do this, we could do this….”
In Connecticut, police officers have clear requirements under the law to intervene and stop or prevent constitutional violations when they see them. But at no time did any of the three officers pipe up and say, “why don’t we just give him his camera back and let him go.”
In the end they decide on two criminal infractions: “reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian,” and “creating a public disturbance.” They have a chilling discussion on how to support the public disturbance charge, and the top-level supervisor explains to the other two, “what we say is that multiple motorists stopped to complain about a guy waving a gun around, but none of them wanted to stop and make a statement.” In other words, what sounds like a fairy tale.
The tickets they gave him started a criminal prosecution in the Connecticut superior court. Eventually the state dismissed first one then the other count, though it took a whole year for him to disentangle himself from the criminal justice system.
Meanwhile, Michael filed a complaint with the state police. They claimed they couldn’t do their internal investigation without interviewing Michael. They kept calling Michael directly—and they did that even though there were criminal charges pending and Michael had a criminal defense lawyer. His lawyer kept calling them and saying “don’t you ever call my client again, you have to talk to me.” But they continued to try and get Michael to come in and be interviewed without his lawyer, claiming that they couldn’t do the investigation unless Michael gave a statement. It was unbelievable—this is an interaction that was recorded from start to finish on high-quality digital video. A year later there has been zero movement on the internal affairs investigation as far as anyone knows, which just shows that police and prosecutors in Connecticut should not be in charge of policing themselves.
As a result of the police’s clear inability to police themselves, the only avenue left for Picard and the ACLU of Connecticut is a lawsuit. That lawsuit is based on three claims, as Barrett laid out for me:
The first claim is the violation of Michael’s right to record—the efforts to prevent Michael from recording what was happening. That includes the fact that they swatted his camera and attempted to break it, and took it away, and they also tried to block him from taking photos of the license plates on the police cruiser using his cell phone after his camera was taken.
The second count is a Fourth Amendment claim: the seizure of Michael’s camera without probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime, or a warrant for its seizure. The police cannot grab people’s property and confiscate it on a whim.
The third is a First Amendment retaliation claim. Whether it was because he was carrying a sign criticizing the police, because he was recording the police, because they just didn’t like him, or all of the above, it really appears from the evidence that they completely manufactured criminal charges against Michael.
If Michael had been just jotting down license plate numbers with a pen and pad and the troopers had taken it, or slapped the pen out of his hand saying “you’re not allowed to write down our license plate numbers,” everyone would recognize how ridiculous the situation was. And if the defendants had been any other kind of state or local employee—if they had been a road crew, and Michael had wanted to film them paving, and they had forced him to stop recording, their actions wouldn’t get any serious consideration by a court. Nothing about the defendants here being police makes their actions any more defensible. All Michael was doing was recording state employees doing their jobs on a public street.
The really interesting thing about this case is not just that the state troopers were so openly hostile to being recorded, or to anyone seeing what they were up to, but also that they appear to have had a very frank discussion inside the cruiser about how to punish somebody who was protesting them.
It’s surprising that we are still regularly hearing about incidents in which police are not respecting the constitutional right to record in public. But to hear police officers casually discussing the fabrication of criminal charges to retaliate against a protester is even more shocking. As Barrett put it to me, “It’s one of those things that on your darker days you may think happens all the time, but you never really thought there’d be a video recording of.”